The tear in my flesh

Jackson Pollack "Autumn Rhythm"

This mothering thing is hard. No one really tells you how hard it will be. Or maybe they try and you just can’t believe it until you live it on your own. No one tells you that your heart will be torn in two and you will go through repeated cycles of trying to figure out who you are and how to match your independent desires with your desires to serve and love your family well.

No one mentions how messy it all is – that the desires will never match up, will never fit and yet somehow it all comes together anyway, but it looks more like a Jackson Pollack painting and less like Michealanjelo.

Before we were mothers, we were all something besides…mothers. We had dreams and longings and aspirations and desires that went beyond cleaning and scrubbing and washing and drying and refereeing and surviving.

When motherhood sets upon us, those dreams don’t disappear, but they do shift. Our desire to be Mommy becomes so much stronger than any other thing we’ve ever felt and we give ourselves wholly and fully to the task and yet….there remains something else inside.

The truth is, I sometimes feel like a big failure for not accomplishing more before I became a Mom. And I fight the feeling of failure for not attaining more even after I became mother. I compare myself to others and I wonder why they seem to accomplish so much and I can barely get through  my days.

Then I remember that every journey is different.

I wish I was finished with this novel. I wish I could write it faster. I feel like I’ve failed already for taking so long. But the truth is, this is the best I can do. I cannot stay up until all hours of the night writing, because that’s not how I operate or function.

I can’t do this any faster and still do my job as Mom well. I’m learning to be okay with that.

I wish I had more time. I wish it were easier. I wish I could accomplish more in the few hours I have alone. I wish I could shirk every other duty and focus solely on the one thing I want to do the most – finish this book.

But that is not where life has me right now. Right now I don’t have the solitude needed to be a great writer. I do, however, have everything I need to be a great mother. I have all the tools and all the abilities and all the time to excel in the role that matters most.

I will finish the book. I know that I will. But it’s taking time – so much more time than I want it to. I won’t finish it in the wee hours of the mornings because I must sleep in those hours so that I can be alert to pour all my energy into my number one job. And I will save a bit of time, a bit of energy for the desires and longings that are mine and will work fervently in the little time I have to reach that goal.

But it won’t be a quick ascent. I am the tortoise in this race. I’ll reach the finish line, but only through perseverence because I’ve found that, for me, slow and steady is far more successful than fast and furious. I’m much less prone to burn outs that way.

Lisa-Jo Baker wrote a wonderful post on writing the other day. It has encouraged me so much. If you feel like you’re always a step behind, like you can’t keep up, I suggest you read “If You Wish You had an Island to Write On Alone.”  This quote by Madaleine L’Engle bounces off my soul and clangs inside my heart:


“I uncovered the typewriter. In my journal I recorded this moment of decision, for that’s what it was. I had to write. I had no choice in the after. I didn’t matter how small or inadequate my talent. If I never had another book published, and it was very clear to me that this was a real possibility, I still had to go on writing.”


Day 16: If you, like me, feel frustrated with the longings that war against once another, take heart. It will all come together, and though it may look messy and wild, in the end it will be considered a masterpiece. 

Image Credit

Dream a Little Dream


I am a dreamer.  A day dreamer, night dreamer, all the time dreamer.  A dreamer with an active imagination.  With all this dreaminess there is often quite a bit of disappointment.  Because dreams don’t always come true.  Of course, the fulfillment of dreams all depends on how you view things.

When I was little I dreamed of being a famous actress.  This is a common dream for most young girls, I suppose.  At least most young girls who like to be on stage…and I did like to be onstage.  I learned at a young age, though, that being famous would mean a lot of elbowing around, jockeying for position in a pool filled with talent.  I may be a dreamer, but I’m not a big fighter.  It only took a few experiences of rejection to scare me away.  Maybe I should have tried harder, but the fact is this dream was just that – a dream.  It wasn’t a passion.  You have to have dreams combined with passion to power through that type of rejection.

As a young adult, I was made aware of a tiny little gift I had with words.  That’s nicer than saying I am long winded and just happen to be able to spin my wordiness in a way that’s comprehesible, right?  About this time I did my first Beth Moore Bible Study and I determined that I would one day write Bible studies like Beth Moore.  I dreamed of holing myself up for hours at a time with nothing but my Bible and computer.

It didn’t take me long to realize that God created only one Beth Moore.  That’s not to say I couldn’t write a Bible study or two someday, but trying to match the spunk and verve with which Beth Moore writes is like saying I’m going to go out and be a 7 time Tour de France winner like Lance Armstrong.  Just because I can ride a bike doesn’t mean I can win the race, ya know?

As I’ve gotten more mature (notice I didn’t say older) my dreams have evolved a bit.  I dream more realistically.  I dream about what my children will think of me when they’re grown.  I hope it’s good things as a result of happy memories.  I dream of seeing my children grow and mature in wisdom and knowledge.  I dream about what they will be like/look like/act like as teenagers and adults.  (Sometimes I fear this to!)  I dream of where life will lead us as a family.  I dream about the experiences I want to give my kids – where I want to take them, what I want to expose them to, who I want them to see and meet.

I dream of living in a mansion and having two maids – one to clean my house and the other to do my laundry.  I dream of handing my personal shopper a grocery list and having her return an hour later with bags in tow, then handing them to the cook who prepares all our meals for us.  I dream of the private jet that will shuttle us to our private island in the Carribbean…

Um…not all of my grown up dreams are realistic.

I do dream of exposing my kids to a world outside their own.  I dream of taking mission trips as a family.  I dream about serving our local community together as a family.  I dream about introducing my children to the concept of missions in a real and tangible way, passing along the heritage that is so rich in our family’s history.

I dream of sleeping through the night.

I dream of having a greater involvement in the Russian culture with my children beyond simply teaching them the language.  I dream of having a greater impact through my writing  beyond simply sharing the mundane moments of our days.  Even when the mundane moments are pretty funny. 

For example as we drove in the car yesterday Sloan asked me when our dog, Sadie, would have puppies.  I told him she wouldn’t because she was fixed to not have puppies when she was a baby.  “Oh,” he said.  “Did you fix her because it’s so messy and gross for dogs to have puppies?”  “Um…” I answered.  “Yeah,” he continued.  “When dogs have puppies they shoot ’em out all goopy and black…like a rocket.”

I dream of better monitoring what my children see on TV.

I dream of touring Europe with my husband…. I can check that one off the list!  The only problem is now that I’ve done it once I dream of doing it again and again.  Gonna have to reign that one in.

I like dreaming.  Sometimes it’s all that gets me through the long days.  Other times, however, it breeds discontentment so I have to keep the dreaming in check and be as realistic as I can, while still allowing the occasional hope to peek through (like the private maid and personal chef – I’m not letting go of that one too easily).  The thing with dreams is that so often you can look back and see God’s hand in them and see how they came true.  Sometimes they are realized in a way that’s a bit different than you imagined, but often they’re even better than what you imagined.

Dreams are good.  Dreams are scary.  Dreams sometimes require action.  And that may be the scariest part of all.  I can’t sit back and lay out my dreams before God and then wait for Him to make them happen.  Sometimes I might have to chase a dream without knowing if I’m supposed to trusting full well that He will make that clear to me in time.  This sometimes requires a rather frightening leap of faith.

The best part about trusting God with your dreams is looking back and realizing He gave you far more than you could have asked or imagined.  Even in the heartaches of the past, I see how He carefully wove the fabric of my life to bring about the fruition of dreams I didn’t even dare to dream.  Perhaps that’s easy for me to say as my life is abundantly blessed.  I would be remiss if I didn’t confess that there are hidden heartaches and unrealized dreams that are hard to let go of.  But if I’m willing to look beyond those circumstances and really stare into the face of what’s before me I could say this without a single doubt:

My life is a dream come true.  And I never even tried to dream this up.