I’m writing a book.
There, I said it! It’s out there! Phu!
It’s a Christian book about motherhood titled “The Fruits Of Our Labor”. In it, I rawly reveal the many truths that God has been rooting in my heart, while instructing the importance of keeping the ‘Fruits of the Holy Spirit’ in daily motherhood.
I’ve been a little reluctant and anxious about putting this news out there for all to see, but while at church this past week, I realized I had to. I realized doing so would actually bring me peace, which coincidently is the Fruit of the Spirit that I am currently writing a chapter about, so peace is heavy on my heart these days.
It’s impossible to have peace when you are living in fear, and me not sharing this news and these plans was me living in fear. I can’t explain why it’s so scary to share this news, but I suspect it’s my heavy fear of failure. Namely, my fear of not finishing. Writing a book while raising 3 young children is no easy feat! It’s so simple to lose course, as you’ll learn I’ve done, more times than I’d like to admit.
While at church on Sunday, I came to the realization that my fear is all the more reason TO share! I need your prayers! I need your encouragement! I need your positivity to help me through the negative times that will continue to come on this journey! Let’s be real, this is a book about God, the enemy does NOT want to see it come to fruition and WILL continue to create obstacles to make it all the more difficult to complete.
Jeremiah 29:11 reads, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Though it was a surprise to me when God called me to write about Him, it wasn’t a surprise to God. He created me to do this! So why have I feared? Why has it taken me so long? Well, that’s all part of my story…
I’ve always known the Lord. I’ve always loved the Lord. I was Baptized as a baby in the Catholic Church, and I went to a Catholic School from Kindergarten through 12th Grade. Though I no longer choose to practice the Catholic religion, I am so thankful for the way my parents decided to raise me, because it has lead me to right now, this moment, where I get to share all the things God is doing in my life!
From a young age, I had a big appetite for the Lord! I always craved for more. It wasn’t until I was an adult, in college at Robert Morris University, that I started to explore my faith more. I attended a Chi Alpha Campus Ministry Service, and I was so filled by the worship and the Word. It was so real! It was so relevant! It was so raw! It was so honest, and right then and there, I knew, this was how I wanted to live my life. But knowing and doing are two completely different things…
I found myself caught in the chains of confliction. I was left wondering if I should follow my heart or follow my mind. My heart was telling me to explore my faith further so I could find what I had been yearning for, while my mind was telling me to follow the rules of what I was taught to be true my entire life. I didn’t know it then, but I was under attack! The enemy saw me, eager, but weak in my faith. I was such an easy target.
Can I share something with you that I wish I knew back then? When you really have Jesus in your heart, it is so much harder for the enemy to get into your mind.
When I’m confused, I shut down, a trend you’ll see again in my story. When I’m conflicted in making an important decision, I’m prone to choose nothing instead of something. It’s been said, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” And fall I did. I always remained a relatively “good girl”, but the next few years of my life were definitely my most reckless because they were lived at such a distance from Jesus.
Shortly after I met my future husband, Patrick, he invited me to a Couples Bible Study with him. I had never been to a Bible Study before. I didn’t know what to think going into it, but I was open to exploring it. After a few weeks, the topic of Salvation came up, and I listened as it was explained that I could know I was saved just as long as I accepted Jesus into my heart, claiming Him as my Lord and Savior. As I drove home that evening, I pondered this. I mean, I thought I was saved, and I thought I had Jesus in my heart, I knew He was my Lord and Savior, but I wondered if He knew that I knew, because I never really told Him He was…so while sitting at a red light with my turn signal on, I officially turned my life over to God as I prayed “Lord, I know I’ve known you all my life, but just in case you don’t know, I claim you as my Lord and Savior!” The light turned green and I’ve been “going” on my journey ever since, fully knowing where I’ll be when my journey ends, no matter what!
When Patrick and I moved to Nashville in 2011, he suggested that I hold off from getting a job right away. He wanted me to like Nashville, so he wanted me to have the time to make friends, explore and delve into any opportunity that came my way. I had been working since I had turned 15 years old, so not working, was not something I was used to! I’m not one to sit still, so I had big plans to write. I already had a blog I was keeping up with, but with my newfound free time, I was going to write a book! It was going to be a cutesy chick-lit book that would make for a fun read and write. I had a group of girlfriends who were reading and critiquing as I wrote, and I was confident in the direction I wanted to go with it. Around the same time, I also started to attend the Tennessee Titans Women’s Bible Study. It was here that I felt the Lord speak to me for the very first time in my life.
When God revealed to me that He wanted me to write about Him instead of other things, I was terrified! My first thought was “Who am I, Lord? Why would you want me to write about You?” It was quite comedic to later learn that Moses had the same initial reply to the Lord when he was called to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Through Moses’ story I learned that God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called! But it took awhile for that truth to fully sink in…
The more I felt the Lord prompt me to write about Him, the more I fought back. I was so defiant that I would literally say out loud to Him “You’ve got the wrong girl! I don’t even know enough about you! That’s why I go to Bible studies, so I can learn about you! I can’t do this!” As I would sit down to continue writing my story, I would continually feel the Lord tell me He wanted me to write His story. I was beyond frustrated with my Maker! I didn’t want to write about Him, and if He wasn’t going to leave my heart alone about the matter, then I wasn’t going to write at all. I quit writing my story. I quit writing my blog. I quit writing all together, but God never quit on me.
When we would go to Church on Sundays, I felt the Lord speaking to me. I knew what He wanted from me, the words being preached were tailored to me, but I didn’t want to do it! One Sunday I burst into tears after the service. I’m sure Patrick thought I was a new kind of crazy as I explained to Him that the reason I was crying was because I felt God calling me to write about Him. I remember him saying “Oooookay, so write about Him.” He didn’t understand that it wasn’t that easy! I didn’t want to write about God.
My heart aches at my disobedience. I wasted so much time. A plethora of precious time that I had back before I had children. But God always knew how long it would take to soften my heart. My defiance wasn’t a surprise to Him, He knew and planned for it all along. Psalm 139:16 says, “…all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” My book is written in His book! He created me to do this!
The Fruits Of My Labor
When I became a Mother, I learned more about my Heavenly Father. The more I learned, the more I found that I was capable of writing about Him, and in fact, I did want to write about Him. I wanted to share with others about His unconditional love because for the first time in my life, I understood what unconditional love was.
In 2015, I brought back my blog, promising myself that I would write about whatever came to my heart, even if that meant writing about God. For months I shared things I wouldn’t normally share on my blog. I became transparent in my writing, not caring how my truth would make me look to the outside world. Sometimes it made me breathless as I typed words, because I knew in my heart, they weren’t my words, they were God’s. It was interesting to learn that the tougher the subject matter was for me to share, the greater the response was from other women. I would field personal emails from many women thanking me for my posts, as they were walking through the same difficult thing. Reading that someone else was going through something similar normalized their struggle while it made me feel like my writing had real purpose.
It wasn’t until my sister-in-law, Chassidy, sent me a book titled “Hope Unfolding: Grace-Filled Truth For The Momma’s Heart” that I realized God’s greater plan. This wonderful book, which I highly suggest, is written by Becky Thompson, the author behind the blog, Scissortail Silk. That was my “Aha!” moment! I realized that all along, God was writing my book through my blog, and now it was up to me to put the pieces together! Those crazy promptings that I was now being obedient to, were the subjects I was to be writing about! I don’t remember when or how the title, “The Fruits Of Our Labor” was laid upon my heart, but I felt strongly this was to be the name of my project. When I looked back through my past blog posts and unpublished writings, my heart started to flutter as I realized I had content that would relate to each Fruit of the Holy Spirit…Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. I knew it would still take a lot of work to elaborate on each subject, but I felt such a burden lifted knowing that I had a head start on each chapter! God has truly proven His provision to me through this project! He is so very good to us when we choose to take up our own cross in His name.
So there I was, with all the pieces of the puzzle spread out before me, just waiting for me to put them all together. For the first time ever, I was ready and willing to write for and about God! The timing seemed perfect, it was the start of a new year, my kids were at ages where they weren’t as dependent upon me to entertain them constantly, their nap times were synced up, and their father had finally figured out how to schedule his Grad School classes on just two days a week so he would be around to help in this season. 2017 was going to be my year!
2017 wasn’t my year. 2017 was Lilybelle’s year. When I was so ready to be selfish with my time, God clearly called me to be selfless with it. I both conceived and gave birth to my third child in 2017. It was a shocker of a pregnancy for me. I had only gone to see my doctor because I needed another prescription for my birth control. Can you even imagine my shock when the nurse told me “birth control isn’t going to be necessary this time…” Sure, I wanted more children, and a baby is always a blessing, I knew what a gift from God this child was, but mentally, physically and emotionally, I wasn’t at all prepared to receive it. Not to mention, my husband was in Grad School and we hadn’t seen a paycheck come in in 3 years time…
I tried to stay the course in my writing plans, but this pregnancy took every ounce of energy right out of me. When I tried to tune in to God, I only heard static. I was so confused! Had I not heard God correctly all these years? Had I misinterpreted His plans for my life? Silence still. Y’all, I was too tired to even care! I knew I was in a bad place. I knew I needed to be poured into, not pouring out in this difficult season of my life. I took it as a sign that there must be something more God wanted me to learn through this pregnancy.
After Lilybelle arrived, I kept waiting to hear His voice, or see a sign, but I continually got nothing. Clearly, God was teaching me patience, amongst other things in this drawn out season of silence. I continued to keep my ears, eyes and heart open to the Lord. When He was ready to use me, I would be ready to say “Here I am Lord.”
That time of course came. After hearing a Sermon on Spiritual Alignment, I came to the realization that all these years of back and forth had knocked me out of alignment with God. When a car goes out of alignment, you take it to a mechanic and get it fixed. When your body is out of alignment, you go to a chiropractor to get it fixed. When your faith is out of alignment, you need those around you to help get you back on track. You see, we need help from others to help fix our problems, we can’t do it all alone! I met with my pastors wife and opened up to some other women of faith whom I admire and trust about my writing. I started openly talking to Patrick about my plans to begin writing again. I’m sure he was thinking “Here we go again…” but this time proved to be different. I started to be intentional about sharing what I was writing with this select group of loved ones, and their support has been integral to my books ongoing development.
This book is meant to be a transparent look into my motherhood where I unabashedly share my struggles so I can help other mothers who are too afraid to admit they too are struggling. Me hiding the plans for it isn’t me being transparent, it’s me living in fear of what other people will think, it’s me living without trust in my Lord that He IS going to finish this book!
2 Corinthians 12:9 reads, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” Bring on your power Lord, because I’m all in and ready to shout out each and every one of my weaknesses to bring glory to Your name!
Friends, please keep me and “The Fruits Of Our Labor” in your thoughts in prayers! Your encouragement is so very welcomed in this endeavor! I look forward to the day that I can share my finished product with you!
So now you know, I haven’t gone anywhere and I’m definitely still writing! I’ve just been putting all of my focus on my book instead of my blog these days 🙂
Be Blessed + Be A Blessing