Lately I have been wrestling through what I’ve found is a pretty common mom thing. I can’t help but feel that over the years I have lost a part of myself. I miss who I was before I took on the responsibility of being an adult. The creative things that once made me feel like me. The things that used to make me feel better when I was down. The things I felt made me unique. But once I started paying back those college loans, had the responsibility of a career, of being a wife and then being a stay-at-home mom trying to balance the budget, those things started to seem kind of irrelevant. So those things got pushed more and more to the side. And part of me hollowed and dried up.
And then my kids got a little older.
I’ve been hearing rumors of this for years. That life will open up a little bit as the kids grow. That there would be room again for my own pursuits. And here it is. So I’m feeling these nudges. Nudges toward discipline, toward trying something new. Toward trying something old, toward putting myself out there. But there is a problem.
I’m feeling completely creatively barren. I’ve been drained dry from fifteen years of adulting pretty hard. (blah, blah, blah, refinance! Blah, blah, blah–escrow!) Not to mention I can hardly put two thoughts together. I want so much to say something, but my mind fails me AND my heart lacks the courage to say what I want. I definitely didn’t start a blog because I’m overflowing with post ideas.
I went to a prayer retreat with the ladies from my church recently. It was one of those grassroots efforts by a group of women within the church. They didn’t bring in a curriculum. they didn’t bring in a speaker. One of our ladies taught, and we prayed. We didn’t talk about praying, they didn’t give us handy tips, we just prayed. It was such a sweet, sweet time. We studied Hannah in 1 Samuel 1-2, which is where I got the term “creatively barren.” Barren was defined to us as “Incapable of producing, unproductive, fruitless.” Definitely how I’m feeling. I don’t want to minimize the pain of being actually physically barren, I just appreciate that the passage can be applied further than that.
It became pretty clear pretty early on that in addition to my stage of life, God is allowing me to have this block because me being creative has always been about me. Developing me. Glorifying me. Calling attention to me. Inviting admiration of me. What I heard God saying last weekend is I have a worship problem. There is a part of me that believes the Gospel is there to make me look good. Ouch. And if He gives me back my “voice,” it’s not mine to hoard or exploit.
Just look at Hannah, who wanted so badly to have a baby. Not an uncommon desire, even today. She even pledged that if God gave her a child, she would dedicate him to service in the temple his whole life. So He gives her that child and she actually goes through with it. Not in bitterness, but in joy. Because she knew that God is sovereign. She knew God loved Samuel more, and she knew Samuel was not truly hers to begin with.
And you know what? Neither is our Samuel. Anything we create is only because the Lord allowed it and gave us the intricate bodies and brains we have. We are made in the image of a creative God. One who can resurrect lifeless dreams that rattle in the breeze.