one Saturday morning

All my life, I’ve struggled with knowing what I want to be or what I want to do.  It was never really a problem until recently, due to being on the other side of child rearing and “the busy years”.  My search for significance is turning up empty a good bit of the time.  Things come along occasionally in my life and I think , “Is this it?” or a month later, “Is THIS it?”  I’m tired of asking that question and having “it” never turn out to be “IT”.
This all came to a head Saturday morning when I was reading a devotional and it warned against letting the emptiness in my soul, heart and mind be filled with these three things- self pity, self preoccupation, or giving up.  That described me to a "t". Giving up is exactly what I’ve wanted to do when it comes to the area of writing.

I have such a struggle in this area.  The more I strive to be a writer, the less I feel like writing.  In comparing myself to other women writers- which is strictly taboo, I know, but happens all the time- I feel instant defeat.  I read a wonderful blog the other day, delightfully written, and the author wrote  - “when I write, it’s fairly easy.”  That makes me wonder about my own ability, because I often don’t feel like that. I sit here and imagine words just flowing out of her fingertips and it being effortless for her many times over.  I’m sure this probably isn’t true.  Reading her blog really put me over the edge, probably because she writes just like I’d like to write.  And gets noticed for it. Ugh.

Comparison is a bear.

Reading that devotional, I realized I was all about self pity, self preoccupation and giving up, which is a place I never thought I would be.  I cried my heart out to God.  I told him I felt dried up, useless, and like I had nothing left to say, and that I’d been feeling like that for a long time.  It wasn’t really a pity party, it was more of a cleaning out of my soul.  I needed to say all these things to Him, because He is the only one who truly understands me and would clearly see the mess in my brain that I was trying to sort out.  It unearthed some real deep seated feelings of never, ever really knowing what I wanted to do in life, from after college on.  I graduated with a teaching degree with no desire to teach.  And it just kept going from there.

So now when I think I’ve hit on “it” and then the “it” loses its appeal and seems to shrivel up and blow away, it makes me crazy.  I unclenched my tight fists, held open my hands and said, “God, I give it all to you.”  And I felt Him saying, “Beth, I want you.  I want your heart.  I don’t care if you write or play basketball or crochet for Me; I want YOU first and foremost.”

And I realized that is what I was lacking.  My tears stopped and dried.  I felt a much lighter load inside- in fact, no load at all.  Only joy.   My heart now had an answer – that He wanted to love me more if I would only let Him.  He showed me that I was not spending the time with Him that I used to- when words flowed more easily and I always had a story to tell on my blog and when I was thrilled with my writing even if no one else was.  I've recently complained that I’m dry for material, but I’m not spending any time in His word or really praying for Him to use me.
I think that may have something to do with it....
After having that meeting with God,  as I was hanging up laundry, the beginning lines of this blog post came fast and furious into my head and I knew I had to go write them down.  Like, right that minute.  Primarily so that I wouldn't forget them, but also, because I sensed they were the beginnings of a story to tell.  I practically ran to my laptop like I haven’t in months or maybe a year and started this raw writing, and poured out words without even thinking about it.  It just all drained out of my fingertips, from my head, through my heart and onto the page.

I have discovered this - My connection with writing is directly proportional to my connection with God.   (click to tweet this)
I had never thought of that way before.   But it makes total sense to me now.

This still doesn’t mean fame, fortune, recognition, a book deal or any attention whatsoever.  But the way I was driven to write this piece is the way I want to feel again.   It's actually the passion that I was missing more than the writing.   What I was longing for was the desire to write –  that's what I so desperately wanted to return.

And I believe it has, because I've recognized its source.
Thank you, God  of the universe, for meeting me exactly where I was one Saturday morning, and speaking to my very need.   You have shown me some incredible things that only you could have known I needed.

It's all about You.


easy trust

Trust was easy...when there was nothing going on.

When I began this trust journey in earnest, the mid-winter snowy doldrum days went by at a leisurely pace.  At any moment, I could take inventory and come up with everything being just as I liked it -all grown children accounted for and in their proper spots in life, good jobs all around, great health and a warm, cozy home for the myriad of snowbound, cabin fever kinds of days.

It's quite simple to trust when everything is going my way.

But now the changes have started to come, and I realize my heart is anxious today because there are - and will continue to be - decisions and deadlines and calendar dates I won't have any control over, and the planning towards them puts my stomach in a knot because I must, I MUST, see that these things work out perfectly or someone's life is going to be ruined.

Gee, you'd think I'm God, wouldn't you?  Repeat after me - All control is only an illusion....

So here's my chance. I want to do things differently this trip on the worry-go-round.  I want to put my trust in God into action and watch Him work, as opposed to fretting over all these circumstances and manipulating people and things to get details crossed off my list.  I want to give over to Him all the things that are running through my mind at a constant exhausting pace, and watch Him produce the results.

The giving over is easy; it's the not-taking-back that's hard.

When the deadline looming on the calendar sends me into a panic and decisions have to be made with no one making them and when I feel that wrong paths may be taken unless I step in and make it all right again, I am telling myself right now that I will need to spend more-than-usual time in prayer so that I can gain His perspective, experience His peace and be comforted by His presence.

This is a growth opportunity for me, if I'll only take it.

I want to get it right so that this trust thing becomes easier next time around.

And the time after that, and the time after that....

she's here!

No, I did not just give birth. 

Thank goodness.

But...a delightful little girl and three musical bears did get released on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble scene just this past weekend, so may I introduce -

What fun!

Seeing it on the bookshelves at B&N this past weekend was pretty much a thrill; being nestled between a Berenstain Bear's book and Eric Carle was the icing on the cake.

I started this blog with the intention of it being the record of my journey toward picture book publication.  That was February of 2009.  Here I sit, exactly 5 years later to the month, with a picture of the cover of my published picture book.

It kind of blows me away.

This was a dream of mine that I didn't even realize existed.  Not until I started working in the elementary school library in February of 2008 and became inundated and surrounded by picture books did my love of them surface completely to the point where I felt I needed to write one.  At first I thought it was just me following a familiar pattern; typically, I have a hard time sitting back and just observing or enjoying things that I come across.  If it's out there and possible, I either want to teach it, sing it, lead it, write it, or speak about it.  I'm a front row and on stage kind of gal that usually bites off more than she can chew and gets rather ahead of herself and overcommitted. 

So, I figured this could be more of the same.  It's not enough for me to just enjoy picture books; no, I need to write one.

And for whatever reason, this time it took.  Things began to happen that I couldn't possibly have orchestrated or predicted.  The key element was that I met Corey Rosen Schwartz online and her generous offer of collaboration worked for both of us and here we are.

I have spent time recently focusing on dreams of mine that haven't worked out.  The frustration comes, the questioning, the wondering why.  Then I come and sit down and write about this and see the uncanny timing, the way God put me exactly where I needed to be when I needed to be there (without any help from me; He's really quite talented, you know), and the direction the past 5 years have taken, and I think "wow".  Why am I lamenting what hasn't happened when this has?

I am thankful that this event is a part of the story of my life.  I am thankful that it happened.  And many thanks to you, too, for your continual encouragement and support that I felt all along the way.

Onward and upward....