Writing, motherhood, and sacrifice

Back when I started blogging on a small private platform, sharing my timid words with only a close circle of friends, I was in survival mode. I was writing as a means to point my overwhelmed heart (and maybe a few others) back to Jesus on my weariest of mothering days. And it worked. The flow of words buoyed me up and carried me down the river with my three young boys. Eventually, patio popsicles gave way to afternoons at the skatepark, as boys grew into miniature men. The seemingly endless season of post-partum-depression came to an end, and thus began life post-partum-depression. As my hormones found their way home, so did I. And I continued to write as I learned again to live at peace within my skin.


[Tweet "When a woman's life transforms, so does her writing."]


A little over a year ago I launched this blog to celebrate my own growing up. Because what I found is that when children grow up, so does their mom!  Slowly, rediscovering her own independence as they discover theirs. It's a beautiful marriage of freedom, theirs and ours, as we walk this life together, intertwined.


There I was, just a little over a year ago:

Breathing deeper, so I began writing deeper;

Seeing clearer, so I was speaking clearer;

Hoping stronger, so my words of hope held more strength too.

It was here that I found my voice, upon these pages.

Writing bolder, because I was living brave and bold;

Laughing louder, because my children made me laugh;

Sleeping deeper, dreaming in the uninterrupted nighttime hours.


Life today is not without challenges, heartaches,

nor forehead-to-the-ground prayer sessions,

but I'm not paralyzed by the journey any more.

In fact, I feel set free to enjoy it:

The mothering and wife-ing and writing it all out,

still pointing my heart to Jesus as I do.

Free to trust, instead of fear,

free to hope, instead of doubt,

free to love, instead of tremble,

free to sing, instead of moan.


Looking back at this transformation,

from lamentations to psalms of praise,

I can see clearly the Lord  seated upon the throne of my life -

reigning sovereign over each season.

And from this vantage point my response is still the same...

                       ...to write.


writingchairWendy Speake


There are, however, times - seasons - when writing simply doesn't fit, because life presses in too tight. Oh, the ache of such crowded hours.


"Why, oh why did I start this diary, knowing how crowded my life had been for many years? When it is almost impossible to write letters it seems the height of absurdity to attempt self-recording of any sort. As it is, I can only snatch moments to jot down fragmentary paragraphs or ideas which I have no time to develop, as a hungry man seizes mouthfuls of food. But having gone so far, as I have, I cannot now let go the raw material I have retrieved from oblivion; it will brighten my dull moments in retrospect." (Helen Keller, April 1, 1938)


I know a young woman, with two perfectly fairy-like daughters who cover their Mama in maple syrup kisses. Their life together is blessed - blessed the way my life was most certainly blessed when I was most certainly overwhelmed by the blessings, just a few short years ago.

She used to write upon the pages of her blog, about the marvelous and the mundane. And then she returned to work and suffered some personal loss that nearly consumed her whole.

Things had been quiet for some time, so I went looking for her words just the other day, and found that she had shut her website down. Because sometimes you have to shut down vital organs to survive. What irony! Words for a writer are like the heart thump-pumping and the lungs in and exhaling.


[Tweet "When a woman is also a mother, sometimes she must shut down a piece of herself, in order for the whole to survive. We call it sacrifice."]


There are seasons for that. And I honor this mother's sacrifice.

In this season, as my young friend puts her nose down to the business at hand, I am imagining her, here and there, jotting down little notes to herself for a future day. Notes scribbled within the pages of her extensive journal collection. It is my prayer for her, and for you, if your life is too crowded right now to indulge in your own private pleasures, that you might carve out cracks and crevices, slivers of stolen moments, to scribble down dreams and record visions for another day.


“I’m a collector of journals.

I keep them stashed in the console of my car,

tucked into the folds of my purse,

laid on the shelf in my entryway,

stacked by the jewelry box on my dresser,

and sometimes pushed deep into the back pocket of my worn out jeans.

My husband makes jokes but the truth is that they are everywhere.

Every day I spill my heart out in ink on the paper of these journals.”

(Mindy Rogers, 2014)