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