A year ago, I was a restless stay-at-home mom with a standing three-week appointment to color my gray hair. Run ragged by the demands of a busy schedule, I found myself at the same time exhausted and bored. The Lord had gifted me with an amazing, hard-working husband and four beautiful children, but I wanted more.
Rewind twenty years. I was a fresh-faced college student, ready to take on the world. I filled my schedule with literature and theater classes to prepare me to teach high school English and Drama. I was mentored by the best professors, studied endlessly, and even taught and volunteered in Africa between my junior and senior years.
My whimsical life continued unfolding in my favor. I was offered a teaching job as a traveling English teacher in a poor, underserved area of Los Angeles. Rubbermaid cart of supplies in tow, I trounced from class to class like a hybrid of Mary Poppins and Jodi Foster in Dangerous Minds. Needless to say, I was thriving.
Then, as any magical gypsy teacher would, I met my husband. We married, and I had to let go of my dream job to move with him to his first Army station. I had plans to finish my Master’s in Education and continue teaching- but I was young, in love, and excited for adventure, so I chose this path without a second thought.
Early on, being a stay-at-home mom made sense. But my husband’s career was extremely demanding, and we lived far from any family support. Depression began to sink in. The days ran together, and every one of them felt the same. I lived through the motions of motherhood but felt shame for not enjoying the process. I poured myself out for the sake of my family ignoring the stir I felt to take time for myself. My cherished hobbies were pushed aside for lack of time.
In retrospect, I see I compromised my ability to mother well because I neglected to care for myself. But in the moment, all I felt was shame. So many women would give anything to stay home with their children, and here I was, in a deep pit of depression, barely able to summon the strength to get through the normal rhythms of motherhood. The Lord sustained me, but my soul continued to cry out for more.
Last year, I finally realized my depression feelings may not be original to myself. Fresh out of four years of counseling, I knew the Lord was finally opening me up to a new season. Instead of wallowing in my sadness and shame, I began to look for ways to be fruitful with them. I was shocked and relieved when I found Christian blogs about the struggle of motherhood. Soon after, the Lord gave me a kindred community of women who longed to walk in their gifts like I did. I was beginning to feel like myself again.
Books like Restless and Love, Skip, Jump encouraged me to ask the Lord about my giftings. What did He have in mind when He created me? Why was I here? Was my role simply to be a mom and accept it willingly, or was there more He was stirring in my heart to do? I had some healing, repentant conversations with my husband over those few months. The Lord was gracious to confirm my giftings when my husband told me he knew I was created to paint and write. We prayed together the Lord would open up doors and provide direction.
It came at the strangest moment. My husband was getting ready for work. He was brushing his teeth, and I was sitting on the floor in the bathroom. I blurted out, “What do you think about me starting a blog? A place to share what the Lord is doing in my life, a place where I could be real about my struggles and encourage women that they aren’t crazy.” He spit, out of surprise and necessity, “I can see you doing that.” The idea took hold, and it wouldn’t let go of my heart. I burned out Google that day. I didn’t know a thing about blogging. I could barely navigate social media!
I took one step at a time: I was able to purchase a domain name, set up a simple WordPress theme, and watercolor my logo. I learned how to create blog posts, add graphics, and ultimately published my first post all within two months of neurotic googling. Finally, I felt alive! I would get my kids ready for school in the morning, kiss them goodbye, and rush home to get my household chores done so I could write, create, and learn how to improve my teeny-tiny blog. I was finally feeling challenged.
I am recovering people-pleaser who struggles with wanting to be accepted, so when I realized I needed to publicize my blog, I was afraid to jump in. Social media intimidated me- who would want to follow a stay-at-home mom new to the blogging scene? So, I prayed. And I signed up for Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Those early days were so rough and raw. I was new to the process, but I was willing to grow and learn. Along the way, the Lord brought people through Instagram who started guiding me to new levels of growth in my blog. I joined the Influence Network and found a whole new world of Jesus-loving bloggers and small business creatives. I asked questions, started guest blogging for their sites, and asked for feedback on my blog. With their gracious help, I was able to rebrand my blog, refine my graphics, and develop stronger content.
On the surface, my blog had nothing profound to offer. I don’t have useful homemaking tips or a Pinterest-worthy wardrobe. I am simply a woman who is wrestling with her past, her insecurities, anxiety and fears. But I am also a woman who feels the deep calling to put herself out there to share the hard stuff with other women to let them know that it isn’t just them who feels this way. I don’t know where my writing will lead me, but I have found a community of women who simply want to know they aren’t alone in their struggles.
Through this process, God has reminded me that it is the process of stepping out in faith, being courageous enough to dream God-sized dreams is what mattered most. Even if not a single soul reads my work, the process of obedience is changing me. And I know He isn’t done yet. Yes, I am a mom and wife-but I am also a disciple of Christ.
He has commissioned me to go out into the world and proclaim the gospel. I was hiding in my home, resigned to simply keep to myself, raise my kids, and pass through life unused and ineffective. But God saw more in me to give. In helping me to begin looking outward to a hurting world, He made me a better mom. He helped me show my kids how to use their gifts for the Lord, how to shine out of His work in their lives.
I know my struggles are being redeemed. I believe that the Lord gave me my weaknesses, and my past in order for me to share my story to other women who may have walked a similar path. I want to show that God is active in all of our stories and empower women to walk in theirs. I don’t know what your gifts and talents are, my friend. But don’t sit back and believe the lie that you are not valuable for kingdom work. Just like me, you’re called to share your heart with the world through the gifts and talents He’s given you.