Letting Go of My Writing… The Post That Started Me Blogging

Since I’m behind in blogging and these words are still relevant and I’m playing around with an old ebook idea, Writer … Interrupted Finding Balance in Your Spiritual, Personal, and Professional Life, and it was sitting in my draft folder… here it is!

February 24th, 2006

depressed Sad business woman

Today I am in mourning. I’m grieving the loss of a love. The loss of an idol in my life.

My writing.

How ironic my first entry of my writing blog is about NOT writing! Here’s my story…

For too long I have been going at a ferocious pace, writing, editing, staying up way too late and disappearing for hours from family. I’ve told myself I needed the break and the escape, and I believe with all my heart that is true, but I’ve been running to the wrong thing. Instead of running to God, I’ve been running to my writing.

When I started my first novel 14 years ago, I knew it was inspired by God. I knew nothing about HOW to write a novel, but I sat down and wrote the story God wanted me to write. During those 14 years, I had four children and very little time to write. I only dusted off my WIP a couple of years ago, excited that I finally got the opportunity to do something I loved. Something I was born to do. With a renewed zeal in writing and finding ACFW to help teach me how to write, I jumped in with both feet. Just about that time we decided to pull our children out of private school and homeschool them. It was a difficult decision, one I didn’t really want to do and wasn’t even sure if it was God’s will, but I knew the alternatives didn’t bring me peace. So I went with the plan that brought me the most peace.

Homeschooling the first year was a nightmare. My children fought my teaching and my discipline (as well as fighting each other). If one child wasn’t having a melt down, one of the other children were. Personally, I had an inner meltdown (as well as an outer one) about three out of the five days a week. So was this part of God’s plan? I really didn’t know, but I was willing to stick it out. During this time, the only refuge I found was my writing. God gave me a suspense idea one weekend and despite the fact that my computer decided to quit that very weekend, I jotted 30 or so pages on paper. The characters, scenes and dialogue flowed faster than I could write them down.

My first WIP was completed, though it needed a lot of work after being critiqued and rejected by several publishers. I decided to shelve it and run with this new suspense I was passionate about. Well, I ran with it and worked crazy hours, late nights. Writing was a great way to escape the insanity of homeschooling, and I loved immersing myself in my characters’ lives. I toiled and labored, and soon desired writing above anything else. I polished my WIP, submitted proposals, entered contests and received some rejections, learning a lot in the process. I grew as a writer, and I loved every hectic minute of it, yet my home was in chaos. My kids were out of control, and I was at a loss as to what to do.

I knew I hadn’t fully given myself to homeschooling like I had to my writing, and I didn’t want to. To me it was all work that didn’t bring any joy. Still, I knew I needed to go at a slower pace and save more of my energy for my children. About six months ago, I thought I had put my writing on the altar, realizing it had become an idol. So I cut back on my writing, limiting it only to the weekends. I thought that was enough. I guess it wasn’t.

Last night at a bible study I admitted to my homeschool group that all I wanted to do was write. And I also told them about the problems we’ve been having schooling issues with my one of my children, problems that had been going on for years and was one of the reasons why I didn’t want to homeschool, but also the reason we pulled him out of private school.

A discussion came up about seasons in our lives, and maybe I would have to give up writing for a season. When I heard those words, I felt like the blood drained from my body. I’ve thought about it many times, praying that God wouldn’t ask me to give that up…anything but that. I was scheduled to leave for a writer’s conference in the morning. I had paid the non-refundable money and told an author friend to save a spot on her appointment list. I also planned to sign up for an appointment with an agent. I told so many people I would be going, and now God was asking me to not go.

But as she talked and challenged me, and as I became choked up with emotions I knew I had to give it up. I knew that just cutting back wouldn’t do it. I needed and still need a breakthrough in my family, and I was willing to kill my “Isaac” to get it.

So here I sit in mourning. I feel like Abraham must have felt as he climbed the mountain with Isaac, his beloved son. He knew he was going to offer his son as a sacrifice to God and was willing to do it though it would grieve him. The son he prayed for would die by his own hands. My dream and calling I knew came directly from God would have to die.

God is a jealous God, and he will not have any idols before him. Though I’m devastated at my loss I’m trying to walk in obedience. I have laid my Isaac on the altar and raised the knife, not knowing whether God will grab my hand before I strike, resurrect my baby on the altar or just let it die. But I do know His will is perfect even though I have no understanding why he would take this from my life. But for now I know I need to let it rest in peace.

13 Comments

  1. Hello Gina,

    Thank you for your story. Like many of the women who have left comments here, I too, have struggled with the same issues. I have been writing for many, many years–I wrote my first “book” in the second grade. Yes, we go through seasons. I’m married 13 years and also homeschool three “spirited” boys (7,9,11). I laid my writing down when I had children and was content to work on an ocassional project (sometimes months or years between them). Even still, the Lord never let the passion or the gift die. Over the past two years, He has opened writing doors that I never woud have dreamed would come at this time in my life. I had resigned myself to the fact that my writing career would be put on hold until the boys were grown. Not so. As so many of these women have said, when we get our priorities straight–and KEEP them that way–we find that we can have balance and walk in obedience to our Lord. When He opened the doors again for me in 2006, I was taken aback and had to ask, “NOW, Lord? Are you sure?” In faith, I walked through the doors and He has continually blessed. I see He has done that for you as well through your blog. It’s a season not only for our family lives but also for writing. All the other “larger” projects He has put in your heart, He will fulfill. Thank you for sharing. You are a blessing!

    In Him,
    Lynette

  2. Gina, I wrote so much more and don’t know where it went.
    What was the sacrificial lamb that the Lord gave to you?
    Next time (I should have learned) I’ll type what the Lord
    gives me into a windows document.

    Ms. “V”

  3. Gina,
    Isn’t it interesting how our Blog posts) to help others. Thank you for trusting in God.

    Ms. “V”
    http://www.victoriapoller.com

  4. Thank you for sharing your heart. I really needed to read this today.

  5. Wow! How amazing that I decided to read this today! I’ve just gone through a similar ‘soul searching’ though not about writing. My Isaac was different…but the story so similar.I even had to do some rewriting on my devotional book before sending it off to the printer….because I had to include all that the Lord had just taught me.
    I hope you have time to check my site, and read some of my posts from March…My Isaac, He Will Make a Way…are two that deal with this subject.
    Thanks so much for this post!

  6. Oh, Gina! I’m dying to ‘fast forward’ your story to now, though, and find out the ins and outs of how you got here! (gee… you must be a good writer to make me think all that! :D)

  7. Thank you for your willingness to be open about what God is doing in your life. I have spent the last few years doing the same thing with numerous interests,, including but not limited to, writing. Now the Lord is calling me to write more, and I think only now can I safely do it in the way He wants me to, not allowing it to consume me and keeping my priorities straight. Of course He has also called me to do half a dozen other things I love at the same time, which certainly keeps me from putting any one thing above the rest. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness.

  8. Gina:

    I just found your blog, leaping over from Novel Journey. I’m moved because, as a mother of 3 sons (11, 3, and 1) who also works away from home full-time (which means I neglect home a lot of the time), I struggle with finding time to write.

    God has seeded so many books in me, I think surely He wants me to do this. I’ve found that writing is one of the things that truly gives me joy.

    I used to castigate myself for not making time for what God clearly was calling me to do. I’m writing more consistently now but that doesn’t say much, given that it may be an hour or two once a week as opposed to sporadically over a 9-month period.

    I made up my mind to write almost 6 years ago. I’ve managed to start a lot of works and complete very few. Lately, the song that ALWAYS echos in my head as I write is “Seasons” by Donald Lawrence. I think that it MAY finally be my time, 6 years later, after God forced me to put my energy into my family and my marriage.

    So, be encouraged and feel good about doing what God has called you to do in this season. I believe He calls us many times to do many things, just not to do them all at the same time. And be open. He may use your writing gift to bless to others while you wait on Him.

    I was certainly blessed by coming to your blog.

    Patricia

  9. Gina,

    Barabara is right – you’re a fine writer. I’ve learned so much from you, your brutal honesty when critiquing my work has made it stronger. Thank you for that.

    I’m sorry it has taken me so long to get to your blog. I feel like I let you down as a friend – I’ve been so busy dealing with the thrash and chaos in my own life that I didn’t take the time to read about what you’ve been going through. I’m sorry, my friend.

    Like you, I struggle with finding the time to write. Work has demanded anywhere from 12 to 16 hours a day of my time the last few months, and while I feel called to write the book I’m working on, I know that my first call is to honor Him by being a Godly example to my family.

    We should never get so wrapped up in wanting to do God’s work that we neglect our families. I’m proud of you for recognizing this. And I believe that he will reward you for it, and your writing will be blessed like never before. But it will happen in His timing. And darn it all, His timing usually isn’t as fast as we’d like.

    Blessings,
    Wayne

  10. Gina: WOW! I’m so impressed by your transparency and excited to have a portal into your pilgrimage. Two thoughts come to mind that I heard Graham Cook say that have brought me through some hard times. One, God doesn’t tell you how long you are going to have to die to a idol, because we would just try and hold our breath. Two, God is not so much interested in delivering us from the “desert” as He is wanting to hold our hand to walk with us through the desert. Hope that encourages you, see you at Bible Study, Dee

  11. Barbar and Paula,

    Thanks for your encouraging words! It’s nice to know I’m not alone on my journey. And you said it well, Paula…balance is the key. But right now I know I don’t have balance. Maybe that’s why I have to leave writing behind for now, so I can regain balance. I sure hope it doesn’t take me long 🙂

    Blessings all,
    Gina

  12. Sweet Gina,
    I understand–no feel–every word you’ve written. Homeschooling and writing are my primary callings, too, as you know, and always there is the struggle. Writing is way more exciting. Homeschooling is so much work. I, too, have been praying for God’s direction. So far, I haven’t felt it was time to lay down the writing, but I’m still asking Him to make me open to that if it is His desire for me and my family. But, what He has been impressing upon me is balance. I need to play and pray and laugh and read and watch movies. Not just work all the time–homeschooling and writing.

    Like you, I’ve turned to writing when I should have turned to God. May He move mightily in both of us, showering us with His grace, empowering us for the journey, and keeping our hearts free of idols and honest before Him. May He lead our writing journey’s and show His timing and will.

    Saying a prayer for you, now.

  13. Gina, you are a good writer. As one who waited until I was no longer needed as much as a mother, I will attest to the fact that there will be plenty of time for you to write if you keep your priorities straight now. God won’t take away the gift, He will simply ask you to place it on the shelf until your children do not need you as much. You only have them under your influence for just a short time – the world has them forever after that. What you build into them now will determine how closely their walk with God will be when they grow away from you. They are your ministry now but when they become adults, you will complete your book and many more. Barb

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