A Story About Letting Go and Letting God Take Charge in Our Lives
Letting God take charge can be challenging! God’s ways are not our ways. That is for sure! God plants hopes and desires in our hearts. He gives us gifts and talents unique to us for us to use according to His design. Sometimes, we are eager and open to follow these dreams in our hearts, and other times, they take a backseat in our lives.
It is important to remember that God is always faithful. He renews the dreams He places in our hearts and opens doors to pursue them when the timing is right.
God plants seeds in our hearts.
When I was growing up, God planted two big dreams in my heart.
- to be a teacher
- to be a writer
It has been amazing to see how He has brought both of them into my life in ways I never would have expected.
When I was in elementary school, I wanted to be a teacher. I played school at home with my dolls and with any of my siblings who would play along. I even made library checkout cards for my own books. (Some of them are still there over thirty years later!) I was set-I knew what I wanted to do in my future.
Then I got to high school. During our freshman year, my friend Lisa started writing poetry and she inspired me to write poetry, too. I fell in love with writing. English and math had always been my two favorite subjects, but as I got into higher levels of math (like Calculus), I started liking English a whole lot better! I enjoyed writing and it seemed to come fairly naturally to me. When I did well in my English classes, some of my classmates would ask me to help them with their papers.
As I progressed through high school, the idea of writing as a future career came to my mind. At the time, I thought if I went into writing as a career I would have to be a reporter or a novelist. I was not interested in reporting and I did not have the confidence at the time to write a book. So, I thought writing would not be a viable option for me as a career choice.
In college, I majored in Literature. (Of course!) I enjoyed the challenge of pursuing my degree and the writing I did for my classes. Write a ten-page paper? No problem. Share my thoughts on Frankenstein as it relates to the genre and the time period in which it was written? Sounds great to me!
I thrived in that environment of reading, discussing, and writing about literature. I still thought that writing was not the best career choice for me (even though I longed to write), so I still planned on getting my teaching credential.
When I got to my last semester of college, I changed my mind about teaching. Being a quiet, stay-by-a-wall-at-a-party type, I suddenly realized one day that I did not want to teach a classroom full of students. So, after I took the entrance exam to get into a teaching credential program, I never applied to any.
I worked mostly in office jobs and did some writing after I got my degree, wishing for the courage and know-how to pursue more writing avenues.
God waters the seeds He plants.
My husband and I met while I was in college. We got married a few years later. When we started our family, I quit my job and stayed home with our children. I made time to write when I could; I journaled, wrote poetry, wrote stories, and outlined even more story and essay ideas.
I felt a longing in my heart to write. To be honest, those first ten years or so of motherhood were a challenge for me. We had our first three children in three years, then family illnesses occurred. We then had two more children in the next seven years. It was a busy time!
Even when I was nursing babies, changing diapers, making meals, and keeping up our home, I felt the pull to write at the same time. This strong pull was like another child wanting my time and attention. We also began homeschooling our children. (Here is where God manifested in my life my childhood desire to teach.)
Sometimes, I would feel resentful that I did not have as much time to write as I wanted to. Even journaling (which took less time and effort) took a backseat to my kids, and at times frustrated me. When I poured myself out in words on a page, I connected to myself; my ideas, my thoughts, dreams, and prayers came to life on a page when I picked up my pen. Only I did not pick it up as often anymore. I felt a loss of part of myself when I did not answer my inner desires to write. I struggled with this desire for many years, alternately making time for it and ignoring it.
For years I prayed about writing off and on. In time, I finally had peace about the fact that I might not be able to write as I desired. I knew my children were more important than any words I could write. After a while, I had a change in my thinking that helped me to let go of writing. I thought of our children as books. I decided that if the best books I ever wrote were our five children, then those were the most important books I would ever write. And I was truly satisfied with that.
I still journaled when I could, when the need to pick up a pen was strong, like a siren’s song. The desire and need to write were still a part of me, but I did not feel the sadness or frustration at not being able to write as I wanted to. With God’s help, I was able to let it go.
God begins to grow the seeds He plants.
Are you waiting for the, “But then this happened” part of the story? Here it is! God gave writing back to me a few years after I had let it go.
When our kids were a bit older, I was praying about going back to work, but needing work I could do while still homeschooling our children. I prayed for months and the jobs I applied for and interviewed for did not pan out. I got the message that I should find something I could do from home.
As I started looking into work I could do from home, I happened upon a webinar about blogging. I was intrigued, so I signed up for it. As I watched the webinar and took notes, I felt like God tapped me on the shoulder and said, “This is what I have for you.” Blogging? Really? I was blown away.
I put it in prayer. As I prayed about starting a blog and learned more about blogging, doors I did not even know existed opened up and God cleared the path for me to begin a website. It was quite amazing. Any obstacle I thought would be in the way was cleared.
What would I write about? Who did I want to help? The answer was easy for me: Catholic moms. In particular, Catholic moms who feel overwhelmed with the day-to-day responsibilities of motherhood, yet who want to continue to grow in their faith and live with joy. Moms like me.
With this topic, I could write about meal planning, family date nights, budgeting, homeschooling, marriage, tips for reading the Bible, and ideas about how to add more prayer to each day.
I was humbled and greatful* that I could share my experience and tips I had learned (and was still learning!) as a mom as well as share my Catholic faith with others. I was excited to write and share with others. Also, I was learning a whole new skill by starting and maintaining a website, which was scary and exciting at the same time.
(*Yes, I know the correct way to spell greatful is grateful. I like to use greatful because my heart is full of gratitude to God for His many gifts. Grate to me reminds me of something grating on my nerves or a cheese grater, not a show of greatfulness.)
About a year or so after starting my blog, I found a list of writing topic ideas that I had written down a few years before when I was thinking of freelance writing. The list included every single topic that I cover on my blog. I just stared at the list when I found it. I was in awe of God and so greatful to Him for giving me the dream of writing and the ability to write about my many interests.
To me, the beauty of God’s gift of blogging is that I can write from my heart, write about what I want to write about, and what I am called to write about. No one is pressuring me to sugarcoat what I write or leave out my faith. I can be completely myself and share my heart and thoughts with others without being told, “It is too Catholic,” or anything like that. I can be who I am in my writing; I can be authentically myself.
Wait on God’s timing.
After I let go of writing and gave that desire back to God, He returned it to me with an avenue to use it in. He exceeded any of the dreams and expectations I ever had about writing.
God’s timing is always perfect. When He opened the doors in my life for me to start my blog, our oldest son had already graduated from high school, our two daughters were about to graduate, and our youngest two sons were becoming more independent with their schoolwork. I was not chasing toddlers around anymore or getting up in the middle of the night (usually!) anymore. My motherhood was changing as my kids were growing.
As I work on my blog now (5 years after I began) I continue to pray for God’s guidance and help. I pray that I may serve others as He calls me to serve and that I may write what He wants me to write. I pray that those who God leads to my blog may find in it what He wants them to discover about Him and about themselves.
In time I have also written and self-published some books. Talk about learning more skills. ???? It has been an adventure for sure! (You can find them on the my books page.)
God’s timing is always the best.
The desire and dream God planted in my heart to teach came back to me when my husband and I were called to homeschool our children. The desire and dream to write that God planted in my heart years ago is now growing after many years of semi-dormancy.
I am amazed and greatful that He has brought to me the opportunity to write in a way I never expected, but one that is just right for me. When someone asks me what I do, I am still amazed and I say I am a writer. I am a writer. I can finally own that now. (Well, I am still working on saying it with confidence!)
God is good. God is faithful. He leads and guides us in ways we (or at least I) do not always understand, but His ways are the best ways. I pray I can be faithful to His call to me and implement the gifts He gives me for the purposes for which He has given them to me so I may live out my life for Him the best I can.
What else did God have in store?
Well, God has even more in store for our family! To read about another idea He planted in our hearts and how He worked out everything in His timing, be sure to read Working to Follow God Faithfully.