Creative processes, Femininity, and Fish Sticks...

I’m having one of those days. Creative people will likely (maybe) understand…It happens when we try to write music, or a book, or create an amazing work of art. There are a lot of days along the way that lack inspiration and ideas, and then there are days when too many ideas are flowing..too many snippets of great themes to write a piece of music around, too many lyrics that flow and too many words to say to be coherent or logical or understood. Today is one of those days. I’ve been trying to sit down to write for about three hours. But life…do I really need to elaborate? I mean you understand right? I have children, we homeschool, I teach piano and voice, and have laundry piles and paperwork piles out the door. I juggle so many things, that sometimes I feel like I juggle the juggling…and sometimes I just need TIME. Today is one of those days. I have just started in the last several months to allow myself the opportunity to work on some writing projects. I say allow, because I really have to schedule the TIME in to be able to sit down and get anything accomplished. I say allow, because for me to sit down and type these words out means that I am not folding that pile of laundry or fixing the paperwork that is going to one day overtake the office. I say allow because it means I’m not working on grading the work that is being done or not done, or checking on what’s cooking in the kitchen. There’s three children, there is always something cooking in the kitchen. But I have to sit and write, if for no one else but myself. I am compelled to write. I have discovered that I am a “stream of consciousness” type of writer I do this because I am also a perfectionist and I do try very hard to edit my thoughts after, but in the midst of the process I work really hard at just letting the ideas flow. But today the ideas are everywhere. I have been working for a couple of days now on a blog post regarding illegal immigration and the role of the church. I have ideas on politics, and the things that are so important in the upcoming election. My head is turning on the lack of prayer in our churches and daily lives, and the great need for a spiritual awakening right here right now today. I'm compelled by the great needs of our society and the culture at large globally. I’m overwhelmed with the thoughts of the ravages of cancer and the disease that affects so many lives of friends and families today. As a matter of fact I have to laugh for a second and let the computer catch up to me. I am typing so fast that I have apparently overwhelmed my pages app with my typing because it is laboring under the load of my thoughts. mercy… This happens to me when I argue an opinion with a friend or my thoughts go into overload and can't keep up and so I sound very illogical and unprepared. That's why writing holds such appeal for me. I can type type type away, and then go back and make sure that the point I'm trying to make is still the point I am writing about.

I have never actually planned on my blog being a one track mind kinda place. I have lots of ideas to share about many different things, not just my Christian walk, but these first few posts seem to be centered around that for some reason. I have prepared some other posts in fact and some are related to real life lessons but I haven’t been really excited to post those yet. Again I’m not sure why…I’m trying to navigate through the ideas in my head carefully being sure to post the next “right” thing.

You see I have always been a “strong woman” … definition - opinionated, and prefers being in charge. That’s right, everything about me screams let me lead and I know how to get things done. This is a difficult position for any woman. We have natural God given abilities, we have confidence, we have a strong work ethic and believe if we don’t know something now or today, we can certainly figure it out. We are headstrong and opinionated and believe we have the answer to the problem. We are full of ambition and ready to take on whatever task lies in front of us. The problem with myself and others who are wired like me is that we are very goal driven and list oriented. We thrive on the checklist and the feeling of accomplishment it brings. Unfortunately this means that we are not relationship driven. This can mean that we can neglect the very folks around us who love us just the way we are. We can neglect nurturing relationships with the TIME they need, because we need the TIME to accomplish our lists. Does this resonate with anyone else besides me? I mean I do it all the time…I choose to stay in and fold laundry, or work on a project, instead of shop the mall, sipping a latte or grabbing lunch with a friend. I detest spending time on the phone, and prefer a quick text as means of communicating. But all of that leads to distance in relationships because people feel like we don’t care about them. Or they perceive us as having a superior attitude to everyone else because we don’t really sit and make small talk. Having a Mary heart in a Martha world is a true challenge. I read the two books that Joanna Weaver wrote about this very topic when my kids were little and seemed like they required tons of work. I still remember that Joanna Weaver wrote them even though it's been likely 10 years since I last read them 14 times in a row.  At this particular phase of my life though, my husband and I were very busy working in our local church.  Not only did we have very young children but we also assisted in our church by leading the youth group, leading the college and career, having weekly Bible studies that included dinner and teaching Sunday school each week. I also was the church pianist, and planned out the music for the church services for part of that time, including the special music schedule, and my husband worked in the sound booth, ushered and was in leadership positions in various committees that met weekly, or monthly etc. I also baked muffins every week for delivery to the folks that were visited on Monday nights after they came to church on Sunday. Lest you think I was home all the time during the day with nothing to do, I was also working as an Administrative Assistant for a VP from my home, and I am tired just typing these words out! Trying to implement strategies of being more like Martha and resting at Jesus’ feet were almost impossible at the time, but I did find myself craving something more from my relationships. There were almost too many goals and things to be accomplished at that point in time.  It was a real battle to find time for anything else at that stage, and most days felt as if I was failing on so many levels.

Unfortunately,  I have also found myself in a quandary in today’s Christian culture at large. These are not necessarily treasured character traits of the Christian woman in today's society. I have found myself at odds with many things since I was a young child. There have been ideas in the church that have been difficult to accept - and sometimes I have wondered if I changed denominations I would be happier. I’ve told my mom for years that I’m sure I really should have been a man. Haha...did you laugh?  Good - I do too, because I really am glad I am a female, but surely you understand what I mean.  I took a spiritual gifts survey many years ago and the number 1 trait - evangelism. Do you know any Baptist female evangelists? I say Baptist because I know that’s the distinction. I have been taught to direct choirs, and lead orchestras, but do you see any women as Baptist worship leaders in a church? Also before you believe me to be disparaging the Baptist faith and denomination. I am absolutely not doing that. I definitely am a Baptist and my search and study of Scripture bears out that my theology aligns mostly with the Baptist Faith and Distinctions. But being full of ambition I desire to run for political office, and start a business, write books , write and publish music and do theater. The lists are endless of things I enjoy and want to do. So how in the world do I navigate this treacherous water. Before you write me off as a blazing feminist, understand that I am not a liberal feminist. What I want to be is an advocate for girls and women who desire to please the Lord in our femaleness. I don’t believe it is wrong to be a strong Female voice. But I do believe it can be a harder row to hoe then if we are born with a little different nature. Being compliant and easy going would be far easier to manage in this church environment but wouldn’t we all get a bit boring if we were all alike and thought just like each other? What does it look like on a daily basis to be a strong female leader, happy in our femininity and strength but not assuming a role of leadership of men?  Well I certainly don't have all the answers, and I'm certain I get it wrong a lot of the time but this is what I have found out so far. It’s following the Lord and doing what He leads us too. It’s submitting to our husbands desires and goals and dreams, even when it means giving up some of our own. It’s working and pursuing, and gaining knowledge knowing that there may be a day in the future when that skill set or talent may be needed. It’s doing the thousand little things each day in our lives that God calls us to in our family lives even when it seems dull and unimpressive. It’s working hard to influence the young hearts and minds in our care for their greater purpose of bringing glory to the kingdom of God and realizing that it is no small task or work of ministry.

Do I regret being a woman in this position - not at all. It’s here in this spot of the rock and the hard place that I learn to trust my Creator. Realizing that he does not give us desires and ambitions just to torture us with seeing these things unmet. My desire for marriage and a family was so great when I was in college, but I could not see who God had planned for my future. My mother reassured me frequently that God places in our hearts the desires that we are to have when we are pursuing Him and His will. God has always met those needs and desires for me just not always on my timetable. But His perspective is far greater than mine and He sees the beginning and the ending not just the middle of what I’m doing at that moment.

So at this point in time, I feel as if I’m on the brink of something new.  God is stirring in my heart anew a change of some sort. I have no idea what it may be, but I’m ready for whatever God has for me when He’s ready to show me. I have been impatient in the past and that leads to nothing but dissatisfaction when we are discouraged that our timetable is not being met. I was ready to run for political office in the Spring. I was ready to jump in, had my talking points, opinions and reasons why I was a good candidate to elect. And then the family fell apart…there was a knee injury, and wrist problems, there was physical therapy two, three, four times a week with doctors appointments in between. It was so painfully obvious that the timing was just not right. Not yet.. So I wait, knowing that I’m ready and willing for whatever lies ahead.

For’s checking that the fish sticks haven’t burned in the oven. The 11 year old boy is making lunch today…one more step on the road to independence for the youngest one and me learning to let loose of the reins a little bit at a time.  It's learning to rest in the moment, and work hard at the appointed times and pursue our relationship with God with all that lies within us.