For my thirtieth birthday, I got a makeover…of my attitude. I haven’t blogged for two months because I took time off, intending, in fact, to come back a “new woman.” But when I said “Goodbye for July” (and August, as it turns out), I only intended to revamp my website and my writer persona—not my whole person. God had other ideas.
The makeover God wanted to give me was not primarily professional. It was more, shall we say, domestic? He wanted to make me into a loving, attentive mother. Self-sacrificing, patient, and wise, like Jesus was as he dealt with his children. This is not the woman I was focused on becoming as I signed off for July—at least, not the woman I wanted to be full-time.
I wanted to have this separate space in my life for the writer persona that has emerged through this blog and my other projects in the past two years.
On my new (but hardly dazzling) website, I have branded myself thus: “Lindsey Gendke: Writing True Stories for His Glory.” I wrote that tagline for potential memoir publishers, and maybe even clients one day (and because it describes my recently published works). I also wrote a lovely bio to characterize this blog and direct my future writings: “I am a happy writer, wife, teacher, and mom who doesn’t mind sharing that she used to be depressed,” et cetera, et cetera.
But after I signed off for my break in July (and after life got really busy, and Sam got really mobile), I couldn’t find time to write. I became unhappy, and I didn’t want to share that with this audience. Ironic, huh?
It didn’t even matter that my first book, The Hidden Half of the Gospel, was published during those weeks (more in my next post). I still felt rotten.
Suddenly I became hard to live with because all I could do was complain about the lack of time I had to write. I found myself repeatedly apologizing to my husband for my nagging and hurtful words, and vowing to do better the next day. But the next day I only repeated my word crimes again.
Confession: sometimes when I’m stressed, I swear, and these negative months were no exception. Buc told me I better get my sporadic swearing outbursts under control before Sam was old enough to know what I was saying. But I knew I needed to get more than my words under control. I looked around at my life—beautiful baby, loving husband, nice house, good friends, PUBLISHED BOOK!—and I could not understand all the negative words flying out of my mouth.
I tried to write this post a few times…but found the words coming out so negative that I just couldn’t publish them, not in their totality. Here is one paragraph of clarity that slapped me in the face, though:
“I am disturbed sometimes by my lack of patience for Sam, my annoyance at how he disrupts my plans. I hate the wrong attitude I see in myself. Where is that love that conquers all? The love that doesn’t mind beginning the day at 4:20 because your sick baby is ready to get up? The love that is happy to put someone else’s needs before your wants? Sometimes I hate what motherhood shows me about myself. I hate how selfish it tells me I am.”
There it was, in plain black and white: I needed an attitude adjustment. That’s when I started doing everything I could think of to redirect, and correct, my thinking, flooding my mind with positive influences such as Christian radio programs, Scripture, books on mothering, and encouragement from my mommy friends.
I did not feel an instant change. Over a period of weeks, I had good moments and bad. But little by little, God spoke to me, until finally one day, He gave me a breakthrough.
As I tried to write this blog post one last time, and as I looked at the negative words I had previously penned, a switch tripped in my brain.
Wow, I thought to myself. Why am I complaining so much?
Suddenly, God brought to mind all the prayers he had recently answered.
- I asked him for a book published by age thirty—he gave me one.
- I asked for a baby—he gave me one.
- I asked for a calling to touch hearts—and I believe he gave me one through the writing of my memoir.
With the realization of these answered prayers came instant repentance, a prayer of thanks, and my much-needed attitude change. Really, just like that.
I suddenly understood that it was time to rest from writing—at least in the professional sense. I understood now that writing more books might happen during later seasons of life, but right now is not one of those seasons.
I also suddenly remembered telling Buc, before we conceived, that I wanted my thirties to be a decade of relaxing from work and enjoying family. Now, I felt absolutely convicted that my first duty was to my family, and I regretted that I’d brought so much negativity and resentment to that sphere, treating my home duties as burdens rather than my calling. I understood that I had entered a new season of life—family, motherhood—and while I might find a moment here or there to write, writing could not be my primary focus right now. Not when my baby needed me, and not when my husband needed me.
It felt so freeing to hear God speak to me that way, and I’ve felt peaceful ever since. Over a week has gone by, in which time I didn’t do any writing, but I was okay with that, because I was taking care of my family—my primary job.
So, now that I have undergone my attitude adjustment, what happens with this blog?
I have decided to keep the “Writing True Stories for His Glory” tagline, because it describes the professional work I have completed, and one purpose of this site is to promote that work.
But as far as future posts? Right now I am a mother at home with my baby, trying to work out my faith through the trials of everyday life, and hoping to find a little writing time on the side. In a way, I guess my blogging counts as a story for His glory, because humans need to see faith worked out in the mundaneness of everyday life—otherwise, what good is faith?
God is doing something beautiful in my life, and it doesn’t exclude writing. It just means writing is not the end goal of my days right now—not for this season. That said, I hope this blog will be a witness to God’s continuing transformation in my heart and my mind. Specifically, I want to become more Christlike through my role as a mother, and I think that’s a story worth telling.