Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Writing is Enough

By Robin

Some Mommas are called to work. Some Mommas are called to stay home.

I'm the latter. I gave up a teaching career to be a stay-at-home-mom. There is no scriptural command for this. It wasn't a black and white decision. It was obedience to a conviction deep in my conscience. Some call it a gut feeling. I believe it was the prompting of the Holy Spirit, guiding me in the absence of a black and white word on the page.

Obedience to that conviction has freed me to be obedient to another: the call to write. Maybe it's presumptuous to call it a "call." It began as an interest, a hobby, a passion. Now I can't not do it. I'm restless when I've been too long away from the screen or the page.

It's not a job. There's no editor, no deadline, and definitely no pay. It's just something I do. I've been thankful for the task, the way it's challenged me, grown me, and forced me to delve into the things of God.

A strange thing happened recently. After 10 years of having littles in the house, my youngest, my baby, went off to kindergarten. Suddenly I had whole, uninterrupted days to work on my craft. It should have been a writer's dream, but it didn't take long for insecurity and doubt to break through the loam of my confidence like obtrusive, tough-to-kill weeds.

Americans especially, but humans in general, are, I think, hardwired to produce. To do something useful with their time in this fast-paced, high-payoff society. Writing as a hobby with no foreseeable contribution to the family began to feel like it wasn't enough.

Our family's financial path has not been a smooth one. Today the paychecks come on time, and the pantry is always full. We have enough, and we are thankful every day for that. But over the years there have been job losses, months of unemployment, under-employment, and periods of uncertainty. The savings account is not where it should be.

Some days the compulsion to leave my home, my nest, my refuge, to work at a paying job is stronger than my conviction to stay home and write.

Just seeing that sentence makes my heart beat a little faster. Maybe I was mistaken all those years ago. Maybe it was only my gut, which is prone to be wrong, and not the Holy Spirit. Lots of women work. Work is good. Work is safe. Work is necessary. Would it really be so bad if I put down the pen and left my writing desk in pursuit of a much needed paycheck?

I've been bringing these thoughts to God for weeks. I've waited, avoided writing, avoided thoughts of a future without writing, just waited. Patient. Wondering. I've turned to my steady old friend, my bible studies, which keep me thinking on the things of God when I would rather be thinking on the things of Robin.

This morning my study took me to the first chapter of Daniel, in which Daniel and his friends have been recruited to serve the Babylonian king but refuse to eat the king's food or drink his wine. My commentary says the reason for the abstention isn't stated. God's people frequently eat meat and drink wine. It doesn't appear that they permanently abstain, so it's reasonable to conclude that the food is not bad or unclean. Many ate of it. It wasn't necessarily a sin to consume it.

All we know is that Daniel felt a deep conviction not to eat it. He wanted less. He would subsist on vegetables and water. For him to eat the king's richer fare would have been a sin.

You know how the story ends, don't you? After a time of testing, all could see that God had met Daniel's physiological needs. Not only was the diet of vegetables and water enough, but he was better off, fatter and healthier than the other young men.

Can't I say the same?

I have found so much solace, peace, and purpose in my time at home, mothering, keeping a home, and yes, writing to my heart's content. God has met my family's needs all this time, preserving, delicately at times, our one-income arrangement.

It has been enough.

It would be a sin for me to say to God, "These vegetables and water are not enough. I want Babylon's meat and wine. I want the paycheck. The fat retirement account. Security. Stability. Predictability."

These things aren't bad. It is possible for others to serve and honor God in the midst of pursuing them. It is not a sin.

But they have not been called to subsist on vegetables and water. They have not been shown, over and over, that it is enough. I have.

My friends, fellow aspiring writers, who labor with me at a thing which seems at times to be fruitless, hold fast. Remember why you started down this path. Be patient. See if God doesn't prove His sufficiency. See if you are not "better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king's food." Daniel 1:15

I'm not talking about being fatter in the flesh of your savings accounts. I'm talking about your appearance, having "put on," as Paul says in Colossians 3:12, "compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience."

Listen to those promptings, friend. Be obedient to them. Don't look at the world around you and begin to question what you were once so sure of. Where God has brought you, what He has provided, though at times it feels meager in comparison, it is enough. Trust Him with that, and with your future. And write on. For goodness' sake, write on.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Robin,
    your post resonates with me because I'm also a SAHM. Or at least I was until this year. Although, I'm not sure if working for only five hours a week takes me out of the SAHM catagory, since typically that's where I'm at. Anyway, I love that even if you doubt your God given gift to continue on as a writer, you encourage us to keep at it. My youngest went to school this year. I could be working part time hours (more then just five-ha!) and I've been looking forward to making a paycheck for years of staying at home. But now that I have the opportuninty, I really feel like God is telling me to stay home and write. And my husband is on track, encouraging me to do the same, which just confirms it to me. Our one income has been 'enough' and will continue to be until God calls me into the work force in a bigger way then just five hours a week. But for now, it is enough.


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