Have you ever read the right book at precisely the right time? One Beautiful Dream by Jennifer Fulwiler is about a religious mom of 6 kids (under age 8) navigating the season of having babies while also pursuing her dream to write. So we have a little in common! And so often I have felt like my dreams conflict–my husband and I want a large family so obviously I have to set writing down, to quit. I’ve tried to quit so many times, but I find myself there again, writing a poem, a book of poems, sending them to publishers. Here’s the question Jennifer poses:
“What if all our desires to create–both with children and with work–are, in fact, all pointed in the same direction? What if both are different but complementary ways of getting in touch with the ultimate Source of creativity? What if following your God-given passion is not just okay to do during the baby years, but actually something that has potential to enhance your whole family’s life?” – Jennifer Fulwiler, One Beautiful Dream
So often I just see the immediate conflict–the baby interrupting writing time, writing distracting me from the toddler throwing tupperware all over the floor, the tugging on my time–but maybe a “literary mama” is what is best for them because God gave these kids to me. Maybe they need a mom that is writing poems, and, as much as I naturally crave time alone, I need to be surrounded by babies, babies everywhere.
Jennifer talks about the resistance to making art– the lies that creep in to discourage. The ones she lists here could have come out of my own mind–
You can’t follow that call to have more children–you’r already failing so miserably
Why bother writing this book when so many other people are so much better at this than you are?
I desperately wish I were a better writer. I desperately wish I were a better mother. But the answer to being better at both isn’t necessarily for me to give up on either one. God gave me a unique calling that is made up of some different moving parts but it is all going in the same direction. Something about writing is important and I need to keep doing it. Welcoming all these little baby-strangers into my life, one at a time, is also part of that calling, and I don’t fully understand how it is all going to work out together in the end.
This book helped me though. It made me feel like although my big family dream and my poetry dream are both crazy dreams to so many (most!) people, God made me for this, so even if I fail, I don’t really fail. I feel inspired to keep going. And I don’t think that right now that is going to look like starting a new book or a novel, but it might, if that inspiration comes, and I’m not too afraid to follow it.