Ten years ago today I entered a new season and stopped working full-time. I worked for our college ministry alongside my husband (one of the pastors) as an admin for five years, but admin wasn’t really where I was gifted. Details stress me out, and while I love to be organized, I’m horrible with systems. I did admin work for the sake of ministry work (mentoring/discipling college girls), but admin was not my future, nor was it my passion. I had to lay it aside. I went to our pastor and told him we had to find someone else. Someone more gifted in administration. (And the girl who replaced me was phenomenal!)
It sounds easy right now as I type out the story- looking back it wasn’t so bad. But, at the time, it was really hard. I wrestled for a long time over the idea of not having a job title or paycheck in my name (no matter how small). I was twenty five years old and a full-time church volunteer and wife. I was sure I would be labeled lazy by all who knew. Little did I know when I made that decision that two weeks later I would take a pregnancy test and it would be positive. Whew. Full-time mom sounds a little better, right? (why I cared so much is for another day.)
The following spring, Lily came into this world and I was now a stay-at-home mom.
If I’m honest, motherhood was more a calling than a dream. I’d never not wanted kids, but it wasn’t one of those things I dreamed of all my life. I remember being conflicted in my late teens/early twenties between a career path and family path. I felt like I couldn’t do both- and do them both well. (There are certainly some who can. My own mother did.)
But looking back it’s pretty amazing how God has used my family as a way to bring me closer to Him and making me more like Him. I’ve said often, it was God who wanted me to have kids, I just obeyed. (And obeying God, no matter how hard it is at the time, is always better.) With each pregnancy, each child added to our family, God changed my heart and my desires. And that, folks, is how you end up with five kids when you’re thirty five year even though ten years prior you were terrified of just one. One step of obedience at a time. God knows if I’d have known then where I’d be now I would have run.
Seven years ago today our family entered a new season and moved our little family of four from Charleston, SC to San Jose, CA to help start South Bay Church. We were a part of a big vision and a phenomenal team, and while there have been some tough moments along the way, overall it’s been an exciting ride. Watching South Bay Church grow from three families to hundreds of families has been so fun. Seeing people who have never heard the Gospel find hope in Jesus is life-changing. For them and me.
I’ve grown more in the last seven years than I have in my entire life. Being a part of starting something (like a Christian church in one of the most unchurched regions of the country) forces that a little. The entrepreneurship and start-up mentality in Silicon Valley is contagious and keeps me thinking bigger and dreaming higher. You don’t settle for mundane. Comfort isn’t the goal. Getting better, learning more, is. I may never get used to the housing market here in Silicon Valley, but the culture and people I love so much.
Today, I enter a new season and transition to being a writer. It’s a dream that began over ten years ago when I would sit at my admin desk and think up book ideas in my head instead of the announcements I was supposed to type into the bulletin that week. But today, while my husband is at work and my five kids are at school, I sit in a coffee shop, and I write. Because, for me, saying I’m a writer must be because I am indeed writing.
Five years ago I really wanted to get serious about writing. Looking back I had no clue what that meant, but I had a big pity party with God about it. About “my” dreams and wanting to do what I wanted. While I may have been whining a little, I did listen to God. Deep down I really wanted to honor Him with my life and my dreams, but I was tired of waiting, and I was really tired of being with small kids all. day. long.
What I felt God whisper to me that day was, “Now is the season to PREPARE. Learn about writing.” I finally relented and realized I had a lot of learning to do. So I started to prepare. I didn’t really know what to do, so I just did everything that fit into our schedule and kept my family from suffering in the meantime (because if everyone around me is suffering for the sake of my dream then I needed a new dream.) I read books, subscribed to blogs, took classes, attended a critique group- anything that taught me about writing, the process, and publishing. I wrote pieces of my story, submitted articles to online magazines (and a few were published!), blogged, joined book launch teams for other authors. I tried all I could in my current reality. Whenever I grew weary and impatient (which was way more often than I’d like to admit) I would remember, this season is for preparation. Do that well.
Now here it is. Those five years
flew crept by. Am I ready?
I think so.
I’ve prepped the kids, organized schedules, pre-cooked meals (and meals and meals), and everything inside of me is bursting with excitement. Because more than anything, this is a dream come true. This is a dream I’ve waited for. And I don’t want to take five minutes for granted.
I haven’t learned it all, but I have learned enough to know it’s what I want to pursue, I’m willing to make the sacrifices, and will discipline myself to do it.
Last week, I spent three days writing for an hour a day. Not much, but a little practice, a warm up. I noticed a big change in myself after those three sessions. It was like something in me came alive. I had more fun with my kids, I was more patient, I wasn’t as irritated. It was a small reminder of why I write. Because when I don’t, something isn’t right. Whether it’s a book or a blog post, my mind comes alive through the discipline of writing. It’s taken a while to embrace it and enjoy that about myself. But now that I have, I might be able to live my dream.
Are you heading into a new season/transition? Dreaming of a different one? What can you do today to prepare you for where you want to be? In five years? In ten years?