Women authors tend to publish their first book a decade after male authors, a friend once told me, because women’s careers are more often interrupted by raising children.
True? Who knows.
When I became a mother sixteen years ago, I hoped to raise children while writing from home. With hard work, determination, and a lot of help, I’ve managed to do it. But publishing a book?
For more than a decade, I’ve gotten up early and stayed up late and spent many Saturdays in front of my computer diligently working to learn and perfect this craft called writing–while also earning money and raising children (three of whom I homeschooled). As soon as our youngest entered first grade, I’d write full time. That was the plan.
However, our youngest is now two-months-old, pushing off that much anticipated first day of school by at least five years. It’s also why this summer my blog posts went from once-a-week to once-I-get-around-to-it.
I love our large family and am constantly amazed by the people God has squeezed into it. A guitar player. An aspiring NBA star. An artist. Really? But even though the older kids are now in school and the preschooler keeps me laughing as he runs around the house in his underwear shouting, “Super Undie Grundy Man!” and the baby naps, finding time to write is nearly impossible.
When the kitchen is a mess and there’s nothing but kale and catsup in the refrigerator and it’s time to make dinner–again!– and the three-year-old won’t stay out of his sister’s bunny cage and one kid wants to be driven to a friend’s house while another needs a form picked up from his doctor’s office and the baby wakes up hungry, it’s hard to imagine ever again picking up the rhythms of my writing life. Like a recent afternoon when my husband walked through the door after work and asked how my day had gone.
“I’ve gotten nothing done,” I complained.
“You’ve accomplished a whole lot.” He ignored the dirty dishes as he leaned against the counter.
“Not as much as I wanted.” I stared back as if everything that had gone wrong with my day was his fault. “I feel like I’m pulling a sled full of lead.”
“I know it may not feel like it,” he said. “But I’m at the back pushing.”
“Well, why did we have to make the load so heavy?” I asked. According to my original plan, I should have been working full-time by now.
“It’s not lead.” Dana shook his head while our three-year-old raced down the hall on his tricycle and the baby napped in the swing nearby. “It’s gold.”
A few days later, a dear friend sent me this email, “If we could see into the eternal/spiritual realm we would be transformed. I’m certain that much of what seems now like just plain drudgery/work will shine like gold.”
Makes me think of that long ago story about a girl sitting in a room spinning straw. Only, instead of straw, I am spinning dishes and children and work and words. No little man has appeared in my living room asking me to guess his name, but slowly, slowly as I offer each day to God and call on His name, I begin to see the shimmer of gold filling my skein–not just in the books I write, but in the lives of my children. That’s the alchemy of God.
“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold,” Job 23:10.
Funny, isn’t it. When we seek gold, Scripture warns we’ll find all kind of evil. But when we seek God, he transforms the ordinary events of our lives into something precious.
What are you spinning? And how have you seen God turn it into something beautiful?