There is so much swirling around in my heart and in my head these days.
There are a handful of half-finished blog posts sitting in my drafts folder, and even more ideas and heart ramblings jotted down in the “notes” app on my iPhone, since the ideas and revelations always seem to come to me in the midst of laundry, pushing a stroller, or cooking dinner.
A bit of honesty? There was a time not long ago that I used to be so frustrated that I never got “me” time to sit down and write. I just wanted a moment of peace to reply to emails, soak in the quiet, reflect, and let the words tumbling around in my heart pour out on the written page. And yes, I was trying to embrace the season and be the mama my kids need, an encouraging wife to my husband, but a bitter root settled inside my heart that told me I deserved a break. It whispered that I needed space, that my creativity needed room to grow. While it might be true that I needed those things, I began to try really hard to make it happen, and every time something would thwart it. And I got mad on the inside.
Now, I’m not at all saying that we mamas don’t need a break (we do) or that God doesn’t have specific areas of gift for each of us to cultivate aside from our primary ministry in the home/workplace/etc (because He does). If you are pursuing your passion and being obedient in your priorities, please, march on, friend. I’m cheering for you.
For me, this time, it was a heart matter.
I was convinced that pouring out words as worship was the answer to my soul’s cry. Because it’s one of my passions, after all, and doesn’t God want me to use the gifts and desires that He put there? It felt like a part of my insides were being stifled, and I couldn’t help but think that getting it out onto the screen or onto paper would be the answer. A pouring of words that would bring healing to the soul.
But in the meantime? The angst growing inside because I couldn’t “get the words out” through the keyboard? I realized the the words I was living were leaking a bitter taste. Not constantly, and not even the words themselves so much as the attitude behind them. And one morning while reading in Psalm, I see this:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! ” – Psalm 139:23-24
I knew things were off. I could feel it in my spirit, and He was drawing me. So, I asked Him. Show me, Lord. Is there anything you see inside my heart that grieves you? Search my heart and reveal it!
God, in His mercy and grace, is always faithful to answer.
Because immediately He whispers this scripture, which I well know, into my heart and the conviction rains down hard:
“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” – Luke 6:45
This lesson is not one that is unfamiliar to me. In fact, I’ve heard it often and learned it a few times, but my heart is so wayward and needs to be calibrated by truth daily.
In all of my good intentions to pour out the written word as an offering (and I still believe God has put that in my heart for a purpose), I’d let things slip into being more about me than anything else. Even though it was put in a pretty package of “passion” and “outlet” and “ministry”. My words and actions in my daily life with my children, in my home, were a direct compromise to the words I was planning to serve on the platter of my blog in hopes of encouraging others. I was in fact, doing the opposite of encouragement inside my own home. The energy I was spending sulking about my lack of “time” and wanting to chase dreams was taking away from energy that should have been invested in my family, friends, and those close to me.
I was so desperate to pour out, to “be used by God” (which IS good thing, I believe), when in the meantime, I didn’t realize the good I was withholding from those I hold dear, the ways God wanted to use me to love them. It was a slow fade. I’m not one to lose my temper easily, and time has taught me to hold my tongue before lashing out.
But I’m weak, and my heart is a wretched thing that needs Jesus and His grace, and my mouth often needs the washing of the Word, because the things that spring forth out of it some days? Pure bitterness. I could see it in my attitude, and I started to sense the effects of it in my children. I began to lose my patience more often, my words became sharper, and I’m ashamed to admit the amount of times I lost my temper during that time.
I realized that this completely backwards, a house-of-cards fallacy to believe I can pour out words of grace on the written page when the words spilling out of my heart in my home and sphere of influence were the exact opposite.
I was grieved, utterly.
The truth? Those inside the walls of my home, in my church, in my community, are my passion, my ministry, and they need my encouragement the most. The life I live in my home is what validates anything I portray online. One must live with integrity before being able to write with integrity. This truth is one that I’ve recited to myself often and believe emphatically, and would even proclaim wholeheartedly…but the slip of the heart is a subtle thing.
I can’t expect for love, truth, and grace to flow out of the same heart where bitterness lies. It just doesn’t work, and I’d be a hypocrite.
I’m thankful for His reproof, for His weeding out of a bitter root, and that the season of wandering (at least in this area) wasn’t prolonged. It will be something I need to keep in close check, all the time.
I don’t know that I will ever be a consistent blogger. Maybe. God might change things up next week, or next month, or next year, because I’m learning as our hearts are tuned to Him, He has a way of expanding time and space and fills it with His plans, His goodness. In fact, since this heart-correcting several weeks ago…I’ve gotten ironically gotten multiple opportunities to sit quietly, to write, and my husband actually asked me this week to plan some time to get away and write while he watches the babies (um, brownie points, anyone?!)
It’s almost like God’s saying, “see? This verse? Um, hello, it’s TRUE.” :
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33
So, I know God is moving, refining me to carry the weights and joys that He has for me. I’m excited, however great or small they may be.
I love this online place, I pray for it often, and it’s God’s business what happens here, through the deep thinking and the lighthearted ramblings, through the kid stories. Because, you guys know, it seems to look different every time I open my computer to type.
In the meantime, I’ll write when I can, and I’ll love it. I’m excited to continue sharing my heart here, because part of being obedient is doing that, too. It might be every day for a week, and then nothing for a month. Who knows. God is slowly revealing His vision for me, for this place, but it’s a process, and I’m learning. I have dreams and plans that I’m not giving up on, but I’m giving them to Jesus and in His timing, He’ll take care of them.I’m just along for the ride.
And when it’s quiet over here? I’m being a wife, a mama, and a friend. I’m busy enjoying walks, toddler tea parties, date nights and texting with my husband while he’s working a long night shift, folding laundry, rocking a teething baby, making dinner, finding time to take a shower, having coffee with a friend, drinking in His word that I am so thirsty for, and praying earnestly that God guides each and every step through it all. I love and SO treasure this online community, and am so thankful for the friends I have here. I pray they continue. When push comes to shove, I choose my family, hands down. I know you guys already know this, but I just need to say it for me. This is not some mantra to show you where I stand or to impose unnecessary burden on anyone else. I even debated about writing it. It’s just because I’m putting a stake down for me, saying, “yes, Lord, do this work in my heart…I’m saying yes.” I’ll probably struggle with it again, and this is just part of the journey.
And I’m sharing it with you all.
Because truthfully, I can’t come over here and write when things aren’t as they should be at home. I just can’t. It makes the words over here just seem fake and fluff, and that’s not who I am or who I’m called to be. To see myself straddling that line puts an inch-thick layer of disgust in my heart.
It’s gotta be honesty and truth and real and messy and being led by Him and for Him, or nothing at all.
Thank you to all of you for being here and sticking with me in this journey, words fail me for gratitude.
Lord, help me, fill me, and lead me…
“And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” – Colossians 1:17