How to Follow Your Heart

When I was in fourth grade, I told my teacher that I wanted to be switched into a different class because he wasn't serious enough about fractions. Basically, I've always had sky-high expectations and I'm a bit of an intense person. Also, I like to do things my own way, on my own terms, even when my terms don't make any sense. 

The first blog I ever read was the Pioneer Woman's. I somehow stumbled across her website while sitting in the library at Norman Hall in between Educational Psychology and Culturally Responsive Classroom Management. I fell in love right then with storytelling for its own sake. 

There was no agenda; she wasn't selling a course or a coaching session (or even a cookbook), she was just writing down her story and making us all laugh. It made such an impression on me that three years later, as a college graduate turned stay at home mom in need of a creative outlet, I started writing down my stories. 

I returned to my childhood love for journaling, for cataloging the day's events, recording the things that I said and the things that I felt. It was a time of self-discovery, too, having had my identity as a professional student stripped away and replaced with this new mom identity that didn't seem to fit just right even though I loved it desperately.

I wrote about God and I wrote about motherhood and grace and how to not be such a perfectionist and how to actually experience God when all I really wanted to do was take a nap.  I wrote for the sake of writing. I wrote because I loved to. I wrote because it helped me to understand what I was thinking. 

And then I wondered, Could this help someone else? Can I use my words to come alongside other mamas and cheer them on and hold their face between my hands and let them know that they don't have to figure it all out today or even tomorrow. 

IMG_0692.JPG

And so I got myself a real blog. And I started following the rules about writing habits and editorial calendars and branding and marketing and social media and photography and making connections and monetizing and all the things that you have to do in order to help people with your words. 

And in doing so, I exhausted my creativity, my passion for writing and for the women of God, for dreaming big dreams and for making a difference with your life. By following all the internet rules about the right way to serve your readers, I served exactly no one. 

This is a manifesto, I guess, about the kind of space I want this to be and the kind of leader I want to become. 

But also this is for you, because I want you to know that some journeys can't be rushed, only experienced. You have to grow into motherhood, to let it mold and shape you into the truest version of yourself. You have to grow into your calling, to let your life tell you who you are before you start telling it what you're going to do with it.

You have to walk around palms-up, expectant and ready to receive what the Lord is going to give you. You have to deal with the confusion, the momentary disappointment, and the learning curve when the Lord hands you what you did not expect. You have to be gentle with yourself, to abide in the things that you know to be true and to forget what you know to be false, and find joy in the journeying. 

On an ages-old instagram post from those early days, I wrote about playing blocks with my baby boy (who's now going to kindergarten in a few short weeks). He would set the blocks all up as fences and barns for his cows, and as soon as it was finished he knocked everything down and started over. He knew then what I'm still learning - the fun is in the journey, not the destination.

Enjoy your journey, friends. Nothing is instant. Most things are messy. Every bit of it is beautiful. And please know this: from the very beginning, I have prayed this verse over everyone who reads my words. 

I ask God from the wealth of his glory to give you power through his spirit to be strong in your inner selves and I pray that Christ will make his home in your hearts through faith. I pray that you may have your roots and foundation in love, so that you together will all God’s people, may have the power to understand how broad and long, how high and deep, is Christ’s love for you.
— Ephesians 3:16-18

Love you. Mean it. Thanks for grace and for always holding space for me to be my biggest, messiest, most undone self. The internet makes me tired, but you are my people and I'm grateful for you.