A Blog by Jennifer Aulthouse

A heart for those who want more of God. A desperate plea for those who don't.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

On Writing V

OK. It’s been about 6 weeks since I last wrote anything besides excuse notes for school. I had such momentum going. It went.

I can’t blame the Board for this one (which will only make sense if you read the last post in January). They were given time off on purpose, and to their credit, returned at once when their sabbaticals were over. No, it’s not writer’s block. In fact, it’s been more like writer’s-sink-is over-flowing-because-there’s-so-many-ideas-pouring-out-and-no-place-for-them-to-go. The last week or so, then, has been like “writer’s mop and bucket” as I now have some time to gather together and clean up all of these ideas. But I digress.

I always anticipate the new year coming as a time to evaluate and start afresh with new ideas of how I can approach life. I don’t do “resolutions” anymore; I now instead consider new ways I can approach life in the character of Christ, and then pray for the strength to stay focused on Him so He can bring about that character. This year, it was simply to love well. That’s more than enough of a challenge for me, and frankly, whatever practical goals I have I just know will fall into place if I can love well. Remember that I said this.

Besides this, I asked for vision - vision for my children, vision for me as a writer, as a person, as a wife. I assumed, of course, all of this would take me to glorious heights of insight and idea and purpose, coupled with days, weeks, months of inspired writing and opportunities and discussions with people and just all around jolly golly goodness as wondrous advancements are made for the Kingdom of Heaven. Oh, the thought life of a naïve idealist!

Yeah. That whole character and vision thing hasn’t happened in quite the happy Hello Kitty world I had imagined it would.

“Privileged Suburban Mom Horror Story, The Sequel” has been showing at our house this winter. If you read a few posts ago, you’re already filled in on the plot from the first installment. The cast of characters is all the same, minus the exterminator. Praise the Good Lord Almighty for that! This time, instead of fleas and dying refrigerators and other unwelcome situations, it’s been a continuum of illness which descended upon my children one after the other (illnesses, I mean, not children.....there’s only 2 of them). Fevers; flu; a weird hand, foot, and mouth thing; croup; a trip to the er; and an epilepsy diagnosis with scary-potential-side effect-ish new medication twice daily thrown in.

I’ve been, of course, my calm, cool, pleasant-to-be-around, never-rattled, collected self through all of this. Well, okay. Let’s just say the sequel was better than the first one, character-wise. Sort of. Externally, anyway. Kind of. At least for a few of those days. Sigh......

Truly, though, God’s been working through things in me during this time in amazing, paradigm-shifting ways. There’s a new found peace and expectancy in me that the journey He has planned is so vastly beyond what I can imagine and I find myself embracing that sense of mystery – slowly, slowly, but embracing. Smiling over it, not trying to figure out the ending ahead of time. He has put a vision in me, and it’s being pieced together and revealed from things I really didn’t expect beforehand to have that significant of an impact on me. And He’s removing some rotten, decaying roots that I really had no idea were in me at all, but I see that it is absolutely paramount that they be gotten rid of before I can take this vision to whom He has purposed to experience it**. That takes my breath away........I’m whining about having so many dishes to catch up with while He’s doing radical change on my heart. That’s pretty efficient on His part.

I don’t have anything to show for myself tangibly over the past several weeks as a writer or really anything other than being a driver, an errand girl, and a fairly monotonous cook, which is vastly different from my vision plan. But serious, deep, laborious work has been done internally, and it has left me with a joy – joy for who God is, what He has done, and even joy that in the midst of this I’ve had a mostly cooperative spirit, because I felt my eyes being opened, and I sensed His working so strongly and these changes happening within. His ways are not our ways. What I assumed was a momentum towards writing did not carry me to where I had supposed I was heading. Instead it was part of a continual momentum of preparation and refinement of my character into Christ-likeness.

So it seems things have gotten back to “normal”, whatever that is. Everyone is healthy. March is always our busiest month as a family, and so finally now the schedule is showing signs of slowing down. I am enjoying my daytime solitude once again and am feeling now as if I’m basically caught up mentally from where the “Focused And On A Mission Creative Writer Jen” (here and forever known as FAOAMCWJ.......catchy, huh?) part of me had to check out for awhile so I could focus on who is supposed to get ibuprofen when and who is next up for acetaminophen and what time I need to start the crock pot so dinner will be ready when we get home from this latest doctor visit. Perhaps some of my struggle is the basic assumption that FAOAMCWJ is who I’m just meant to be at all times and a sign that everything in the world is as it’s supposed to be.......maybe “Organized, Self-sacrificing, Focused On Nothing But The Immediate Physical Wellness Of The Family, Non-writing Jen” (OSFONBTIPWOTFNJ......even catchier!) isn’t some anomaly alter-ego that has to come out when “bad” things descend on our home, giving her all to save the day and rescue FAOAMCWJ from the evil clutches of, well, life. Maybe God works through her as a tool in the momentum of sanctification, ushering me into godly character. Maybe FAOAMCWJ is just another tool to be worked through in this momentum, and not really the end picture of being perfected in Christ. (How about a side of incredibly misguided ego to go with that plate of naïve idealism?) Maybe it’s about wholeness, and how the momentum of sanctification is meant to saturate every single part of us in Christ-likeness.

Where to? I ask. Continued focus on writing, and trying to dive into some lengthier projects I’ve had in mind and heart for awhile now? Further study in the realm of spiritual direction and taking some more steps towards professional pursuit? Focusing on speaking and having some more opportunities? I’ve been wandering around for the past couple of weeks trying to get a sense of where I’m to be headed, now that what I thought was my momentum is gone. I await the answer.

I hear only this: “Draw near to Me”.

**I don’t want to distract from the post, but I also know that sometimes when writers are vague about what they’re experiencing, it can be frustrating because you want to relate fully to what they are experiencing, yet they are holding something back. So I will share what these rotten roots were that I didn’t even realize were there and wreaking havoc in how I go about life, and the truth I believe God revealed to me about them:

1 – I really do have a deep-seated belief that women are inferior to men. The truth: I am no less valuable because I am a woman. I don’t have to try and make up for it by feigning a strength that I don’t have. So I am working on not fearing what I perceive as weaknesses.

2 – I often don’t speak up about things out of an inherent fear that I will lose someone’s respect, or what I say will be misconstrued and then I will be prevented from serving in a way I desire to. The truth: Just because someone may strongly disagree with me doesn’t necessarily mean they will lose respect for me. I don’t need to be afraid that my imperfection is a disqualifier. So I am pushing past my fear of tension.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jen,
    I'm most interested, and excited about what you wrote at the end in #1. I'd like to hear about how you became aware of the lies you were believing and I'd like to know if you have any female heroines of the faith, past or present.
    Mary B.