Yes!…oh, wait…

 

HomeMaker

Life is funny sometimes. All the best laid plans, filled with good intentions, research, and excitement can get turned on their head. This happened to me this year.

I started the New Year with a new blog, a new social media schedule, a Patreon, about four different short stories/flash fictions sitting in different publishers’ laps, and all my social media nicely linked together under the name Faerie Stories: Warrior Stories for the Brave. I was excited! I had plans to use my writing time and that shiny new schedule to build a platform for Children’s stories, Middle Grade stories, and YA stories. I was ready to work. I set aside more of my writing time so I could listen to videos and podcasts to hone my art and meet other writers. I was excited.

Well laid plans are a good thing, but sometimes you don’t really get to experience them. Sometimes something bigger and better comes along. Sometimes something you only dreamed about happens. Sometimes your husband needs your help more than others. This is what happened to me.

In short order this year, my husband was nominated as an elder in our church. He was voted in and shortly after that he was brought on full time with the church planning on paying for seminary. With that blessing, I quit my job at Nordstrom. I became a full time homemaker for the second time in my life, better prepared, mentally, emotionally, and educationally this time around. Since my health had started improving, I longed to quit splitting my energy and time between my home and Nordstrom. I longed to have my whole focus here.

With both our lives changing, my writing had to be examined and my husband and I both agreed that for now, for the time being it needed to be a hobby. It was time for my writing to be something I piddle with instead of focus on.

This was hard, but necessary.

Necessary but not easy.

The best laid plans of mice and men...

It meant that just as I felt like I was starting down the road to being published, I had to pull back. Just as I felt my voice being accepted, I had to slow down. This means no more getting up early to write. I get up early to get my day going. Instead of writing six days a week, I might write two hours a week. This means putting my mind to work in my home for my husband instead of torturing characters. Sad day.

There is a huge push in writing circles to be published. When you say you’re a writer, that’s the first thing people ask. All the writing forums are about being published. They’re either there to help you polish, or prep, or primp your story for the world. That’s all wonderful, but I’m not at a point where I can devote the time or money to primping my stories for the world. I had to make the tough decision to unfollow, unsubscribe, and stop reading all the things about writing. No matter what I did, the minute I engaged in a writing group, I can’t focus on my work. All I want to do is write. It’s hard to be content when you’re feeding your mind with all the other writers who have shiny books.

Just as I kicked off my new blog, I found my blog writing better suited to my old blog.

Just as I prepared to jump in the deep end, I found I didn’t really have a pool.

There was some sadness to this decision. I’ve wanted to have one of my books in print for years now. Almost twenty years. But, that dream has to wait. Oddly, there was also a lot of freedom in this decision. Now that I moved from trying to be publishable, to just writing for fun, I could…well…write for fun. I can take what little time I have and work on fun stories, old stories, new stories. I was suddenly thrilled at the idea of all the stories I could work on cause I didn’t need to spread my time around writing things that were meant to be published. In a way, I took a big sigh of relief. Sometimes a dream is meant to be a hobby for a little while longer.

So, right now, I’m going to post between here and my Gentle and Quiet Spirit Blog. Gentle and Quite has a much broader readership that I feel like I’m no longer serving or interacting with. On Faerie-stories, I’ll share about my writing, and my stories, but theological, soapboxes, and homemaker articles won’t be here. I’m going to be a focused, down and dirty Homemaker and HearthKeeper. I’m still writing. I’m going to keep my social media platforms open and inching along, but not at the pace I was before. So. Please keep reading if you can. Follow me on all my things. And we’ll see what the Lord does in my life…because dear reader, sometimes He brings things about you totally didn’t expect.

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Ordination Service: A Wife’s Perspective

A Wife's Perspective
Growing comfortable being a Sunday widow, I watched you walk to the front of the room just like I had countless times before. But, this time it was different. You left my side, stalk up in your heavy way of walking that has earned you the nickname Strider, and stood beside Pastor Jarrett. Steve Martin, Steve Garrick, and my father (looking a bit Balin-ish) joined you. Jarrett said a few words and then one by one they laid their hands on you and started to pray.
I started crying. I hadn’t planned on crying today. I didn’t expect to cry. Tear up? Yes. Weep? Nope. I couldn’t hold back. I couldn’t stop. Tears streamed down my face. Emily Shiflet, who drove up from Houston to witness this great event, put her arm around me. I wept.

But, these were not sad tears. These weren’t happy tears. They were mingled tears.

There was more joy in this situation than I can ever express. I have had a front row seat in my husband’s life. I have seen his great sin, his many faults, and the great grace he has been shown. I have known him when our marriage was falling apart, and when we were putting it back together. I have walked at his side when he was asked to teach, and when he kept teaching despite the long hours of study it took, despite the cut in pay it took, despite the lack of any sort of consistent day off it required, despite the hours I never saw him. I have prayed for him and with him. I have studied him both as my husband, and as a fellow church member to see if he was qualified.
It has been my husband’s dream to be a pastor since he was a kid. And here we are. It hasn’t been an easy road. It’s been a road filled with sin, pride, the work of sanctification, patience from others, self-sacrifice, self-doubt, sleepless nights, long conversations, encouragement, critiques, and grace upon grace upon grace.


I wept tears of joy to see my husband get to step into the role he’s always dreamed of filling. I wept tears of joy because God worked it all out in his timing, which was so much better than ours. I wept tears of joy because God promised to gift his churches with pastors and teachers, and today he kept that promise yet again. He’d raised up a young man to continue to shepherd our church. And, I wept cause just a month ago, I don’t think my Dad would have been able to be there. To see him standing there, gripping my husband’s shoulder, was joy upon joy. I wept tears of thankfulness.
But, there was a tinge of sadness to those tears. While my husband took the role of pastor on his shoulders, while the older men prayed around him, while the church watched and prayed, I had a deep sense of missing two men. I deeply, heart-achingly, trustingly missed my extra Dad. Price was being ordained and Vidal was no longer with us. Oh, how thrilled and proud he would have been to see his son called as a pastor of our church. To see Price standing there would have probably made Vidal cry, but it was a moment I know Vidal longed to see. The Lord, in all his kind wisdom, chose to take Vidal home before he got to see this great moment.
The other man I missed was Ron Baines. Ron took Price under his wing early on. They shared a great love of the Old Testament, and Ron pushed Price to go to seminary. Ron was one of Price’s greatest cheerleaders. Again, I wept because I knew Ron would have been thrilled. Ron would have been one of the men up there praying over this new pastor, but, the Lord, in all his kind wisdom, chose to take Ron home before he got to see great moment.
So, I cried and cried. Happy and sad tears, trusting tears overflowing with the grace of God, trusting his timing and providence, for he is God and knows all things, sees all things, and I’m but a weary creature.
There was such a huge amount of joy wrapped up in this moment. Getting to see my husband’s dream come true was one of the most fulfilling moments in my life. My love for him has only grown. I’m so proud of him, so thankful for him, so happy for him.
Our church has endured persecution of late. Price being ordained was encouraging. Christ proved through this that he was still with us, still tending us, still gifting us, still faithful to us. We weren’t cut off, we weren’t lost. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers, were still together. My Dad has been on sabbatical due to some, honestly, scary heath issues, and not only was he able to be there yesterday, but, Christ hasn’t left everything in Jarrett’s lap. Dad had to step back from his duties, but in God’s perfect timing and providence, Price was brought in. Price has been faithfully serving for five years and wasn’t a raw recruit. He wasn’t a greenie. God worked it out perfectly so that when Dad had to step back, Price came to the table with experience. It was an amazing thing to see the love of Christ for his bride.
So my husband is officially an elected elder of our church, and an ordained minister.
I’m tired, but happy. I’m filled with joy to stand beside this man through life, to every day, when I cook, clean, iron, pay bills, enter accounting info, water plants, vacuum, and manage all of life, to serve my pastor, and by serving him, I’m serving the church.
I believe every women who diligently keeps her home serves her church. I believe that with my whole heart. My service just because a little more tangible, that’s all.
Pray, dear sibling-saints, pray for your pastors. They bear a great burden. They have a great love for the flock. The sacrifice much of this world for the sake of the next. Pray for them. They defend us from the wolves within and without. Pray for them.

Quote of the Weekend

 

Courtesy of Pinterest.

 

Good thoughts!!!

Church and Home

Church and home

Hi! Thanks for stopping by to check out my new blog and other social media links. Many of you know me, and even know me really well, but I wanted to do some introductory posts for the next few months to kick off my new blog. Since I’m only posting once a month, this may take most of this first year. (This should make you happy, because that means I’m actually spending most of my time writing stories.)

You can get a good overview of me and my writing from my About Page, but there are two things I want to highlight today: Church and Home.

If you ask me what is most important in my life, I will tell you it’s my local church. I’m a member of Heritage Baptist Church, a confessional, associational church in Texas. I’ve been a member of HBC since Feb 1995. Even though I grew up in this church, I didn’t really understand the importance of church, and my church membership, until I was much older.  God, in His kind providence, had to take me down a few notches. Before then I was a member, but found our church pretty uncool, boring, and filled with annoying people. I loved some people, but spent too much of my Sundays seeking to be shocking. (I’m so appalled at my behavior as a young person. Thank you HBC for loving me anyway.) For a time, my husband and I even left HBC. We were going through a very sinful stagr, but thankfully God is good and brought us back.

After we came back—humbled, repentant, needy—I began to see my church as it really was. I saw the importance of meekly listening to the preaching of the Word. I saw the love of the saints. I saw men and women fighting every day to beat back sin. I saw faithful attendance as the beautiful thing it was. I saw the joy of the confession and the association we were part of. It took leaving my church to help me see what I almost lost.

I’m so thankful for my church.

I believe that serving our church is our greatest and highest calling as believers. This is the real work that we do. These fellow saints are the ones we work for. Why? Because we love Christ. We love the one who died for us. And what does He love? He loves the Church. He serves the Church. So that’s what we do. We love and serve the church.

Church and Home Quote

 

So, what does that look like for me? Well, the closest church member that I have the privilege of serving every day is my husband. He lives with me. He’s a fellow saint I can serve all the time. And, by serving him, I can serve my whole church. It is good for my church, and for me, to be submissive to him. It serves my church to take care of things for him. And, doubly so, because my husband is a gifted brother in our church with a hope for the pastorate. Every meal I cook, every cup of tea I take to him, each receipt I record, each bathroom I clean, is serving a fellow saint and serving my church.

All of that bleeds into seeing my home as my career. Writing is something I love with all my heart. It is something that makes me feel unbelievable happy. It is something that feels ‘really me’. It is something I’ll do the rest of my life even if I never get published. I love to tell stories, even if I’m only telling them to myself and a small group of fans. But, for all that love and passion, my home is my career. When I got married, I took on this career. I became a homemaker when I said “I Do”. For years, I thought of homemaking as an innate ability, much like having gray or green eyes. I’ve since come to realize that I need to view it as much as a career as a doctor does: study, practice, learn, and grow.

This is what is on my mind, in my thoughts, in my prayers. This is my labor.

Balancing between my love of writing and my career is a work in progress for me right now. I don’t think writing, seeking to get published, or any of that is wrong. I just have to work to keep it in the right spot. It isn’t my heart’s focus. My home and keeping it is my heart’s focus.  This is harder than you’d think. There are so many more glamourous things I could be doing. I could start my own Style Consulting business. I could use my energy to serve my church where that service could be seen by others. I could push and push and push for a writing career. All of that would earn me the praise of those around me. (Except for my husband who would be living and dealing with a dirty house and a proud, praised wife.) All that would be glorious. But, what I’ve been called to as a married woman is to keep my home and help my husband. And my husband needs me to manage all the things so he can work and study. Be content, oh heart, be content.

Whenever I’m struggling with this career, when I see fellow sisters getting to do things I want to do, or be involved with things I want to be involved with, I have to have a little talk with myself. My life isn’t their life. What I see isn’t always what is. This is where God has put me, right now. This is the husband he has given me to help. This is the saint I’m called to serve day in and day out. He’s the one I want to love, not myself.

I believe God gave me a love of writing. I want to use that writing to serve my church. I want to write things that encourage those in the trenches. I also want to serve my home with my writing abilities. Yes, that means working towards bringing in a small income with my writing. But, it also means keeping my writing within certain boundaries. It means writing Children’s and YA stories. And it means not taking too much time out of my day to work on my writing.

once-upon-a-time-719174_1920

So, when you read articles here on my blog, or see FB posts, Tweets, or Instagram pictures, know that it comes from the heart of a woman who loves her church first, then loves her home, loves being a HearthKeeper, and then loves to tell a good story of light overcoming darkness.


What is your career? How do you balance between your passions and your responsibilities? Do you make those responsibilities your passions? Do you have a church you love? Comment below and tell me about you. 


If you’re interested in supporting my writing, and getting to be a character or characters in my stories, fly on over to my Patreon Page and check out the different options. 🙂

A huge shout out and big hug to my Patrons:

Emily S.

Rachel A.

Naomi A.

Thank you so muc for paying me to write!

 

Quote of the Weekend

 

Courtesy of Pinterest.

 

Love this!