Why I Quit Writing..

Why I Quit Writing..

“You absolutely cannot quit writing!” she bossed. “It’s your gift,” she demanded.

A smile spread across my face, “I have no intention on giving up on writing!”

The last blog I posted was 5 months ago. That breaks all the blogging rules. If you do not post once a week for six months straight, you cannot even apply to be on most blogging forums. Consistent writing produces consistent traffic, which produces consistent ratings, which they say produces successful bloggers.

This August will be my SEVEN YEAR blogging anniversary. I was 28 when I started blogging. My kids were 6, 4, 3 and 18 months. We were living in King George, Virginia. Mark was working for the DOD via the Navy, and I was homeschooling and keeping all the small people alive and well (Actually, mostly alive. Well, is subjective.)

I started blogging for sanity. I needed one thing, just one thing to call my own. One thing that allowed me to use adult words and tap back into who I was before gold fish, apple juice, diaper changes and Fresh Beat Band became the melody of my day.

In addition to my sanity, this was also the forum where I began to process my mama’s terminal illness, ¬†her eventual death and my grief journey.

When I glance back at my early posts, I see a young woman who functioned primarily in black and whites, legalism and formulas. I had one million opinions and genuinely thought people needed to know them. I had so much fire in my belly and desperately wanted everyone else to feel the same fire at the same level. That sweet young woman makes me tired. I also see a young mom who was crazy about her husband and her kids, all while feeling a little crazy in the head. Somethings never change. ūüôā As the months and years pass, as my stories about my kids shifted from the funny things they did and said, to the heart-wrenching prayers we prayed out of desperation over their little aching souls, I see a young woman grow into a woman. As the months and years pass, the black and white fades more to gray. My legalism begins to melt, because I see myself more clearly. I see my brokenness and utter dependence on Christ alone through grace alone. Time and pain shattered all my formulas, because oh my goodness there is no secret equation for living. A + B never equals C in the kingdom of God, because He wants our hearts not the sum total our human arithmetic.

This white space here on the blog built me. It really did. I’ll never regret the choice to write. Never. My brother once told me, “Writers, write. That’s how I know you’re a real writer!” Those words gave me life.

Right now, in the sweet orbit of my world, my writing is morphing into something different. To begin with, school is getting all my writing power and energy. 10,000 words a week can make even a lover of words hate words. I don’t always get to write about the things that inspire me, but for the most part I do, and I am grateful. Second of all, those tiny babies who first appeared on this blog are no longer babies. They are these wonderfully, independent creatures who deserve to be able to write their own stories without my narrative tainting them. Their friends, teachers, coaches, and peers are all over social media, which is totally fun. But because I adore my kids, respect them and deeply desire to protect the best parts of them, everything I say about them now they get to approve or VETO. We live in a tiny town with big eyes, and I will storm the gates of hell to uphold their integrity. Here’s the ironic thing, my kids are providing the BEST writing material they have ever provided. The stories I could tell you would go viral in 2 seconds, and I say that with all humility. But man, my kids are more hilarious, more witty, more charming, more beautiful, more kind, more bold, more fiery, more humble, more tender, more authentic and raw than I will ever be. GAH! Maybe someday when they are grown they will give me permission to walk back through these glory days and share the chapters that I have only written on my heart. Until then, they are all tucked away and sealed for me to feast on for a lifetime. Third, and maybe most importantly, I’ve decided that I do in fact have something legitimate to say, but I don’t have to say it any more. As a young wife, mother and writer the haters often wrote the, “JUST YOU WAIT” monologue. “Just you wait til marriage gets hard. Just you wait til you have 2 kids, 3 kids a boy kid. Just you wait til they turn 2, 6, 10… Just you wait til you have a TEENAGER (insert all the horror looks–For the record, I adore my teenager and these are best years!!) Just you wait til you don’t like your spouse any more. Just you wait til something really hard happens in your life. Just you wait til someone really criticizes your work.. JUST YOU WAIT……” I’ve waited, lived, persevered and sometimes crawled through the “just you waits”. ¬†And you know what? I’m still fighting and breathing. #BOOM! But standing on this side of a lot of the “just you waits” I have realized, I do in fact have something to say, but I don’t have to say it any more. *Deep sigh of relief.* I have nothing to prove any more. I don’t have to convince anyone of anything. Whether it’s wifehood related, motherhood related, theologically related, politically (OH GAG) related, culturally related, etc…etc.. It’s not my job to persuade. It’s not my job to convince. It’s not my job to save a blooming soul. How arrogant to think I could ever be more persuasive, more compelling, and more savior-esk than the Triune God, Himself. Oh young Sara, you were so dear.

Today more than ever, I believe in the power of words; written words, spoken words, broken words, expletive words, painful words, compassionate words and REAL WORDS. Don’t hear what I am not saying, I think if you are writing, KEEP WRITING. I think if you are preaching, KEEP PREACHING. I think if you are teaching, KEEP TEACHING. I think if you are singing, KEEP SINGING. But for me personally, I don’t have to do those things anymore the way I used to. I get to use adult words all day long in school, and all night long with Mark and the kids as we ping-pong hard, real-life topics around our dinner table. I get to process daily life with individual people in a really intimate setting that is deeply satisfying. I get to breathe and process my own junk in the silent presence of the Almighty God, while He faithfully refines and renews. ¬†What more could I want?

This post is not goodbye. It it just a pause. A halftime of sorts. A mid-life crisis melt-down… (Just kidding) Do not fear, I write a little something everyday in all the other social media venues, because writing is like breathing to me.

This blog space is so dear to me. I found myself on the white spaces here. I found myself in my words; my beat-up, broke-spelling, grammatically-atrocious, words. But oh my stars, I wouldn’t trade this for the world.

Thank you for reading. You have no idea what you’ve done for me!

~Sara

What’s New & What’s Next?

What’s New & What’s Next?

“Mrs. Littlejohn, in 3 minutes or less, can you tell our admissions board why you would like to pursue your Master’s in the Art of Counseling?”

I blinked, took a deep breath and reminded myself of what all my amazing public speaking teachers and professors had taught me, “speak slowly, speak clearly, embrace the silent pause and make eye contact.”

I began, “35 years ago, in the privacy and warmth of my mother’s womb, I believe that God knit me together with a counselor’s heart. Even as a little girl, I remember watching people hurt and suffer, and everything in my body was drawn to be close to their pain. I could never distance myself or convince myself to not feel on behalf of others. My husband often says of me, ‘I’ve never met someone who feels as wide and as deep as you!’ I was raised by two parents who constantly spoke over me, ‘People and relationships are our eternal inheritance. People are ALWAYS more important than things! People always win!’ Not only did they speak this over me, they lived it out in front of me. Early on in my adult life, I realized that we are ALL counselors. Naturally, if anyone is in relationship with another human, we are called to walk, talk and sit with each other in community. Community; real, life-giving, God-honoring, deeply-honest, self-sacrificing–truly knowing and truly being-known– community. Community always births compassionate counseling. I am already a counselor by choice, my heart’s desire is to become a counselor by trade. I feel like this program is a culmination of what God started 35 years ago. Our world (my world, my community) is broken, hurting and desperate. Satan has no new tricks. He has used the same tactics for thousands of years. He convinces people they are the only ones who have ever struggled with their particular thorn/thorns. He convinces them they are the only ones with wrecked stories. He convinces them there is no hope for them, no redemption, no way out. He shames and lures them into a dark pit of isolation and cyclical despair. And in that isolation, he has a front row sit to speak lies and damnation all over the hearts of the vulnerable and hurting. ¬†People need real help, with real words from real people who are wise, knowledgeable and trained. Sunday school answers and bible verse band-aids are inadequate, thoughtless and damaging. My desire as a biblical counselor will be to come along side my counselees, sit with them in the uncomfortable places until I am stained by their pain, and whisper over them, ‘You do not walk alone!’ I would be so humbled if you let me come and be apart of your program! Thank you!”

3 VERY long months later, I sat at a junior high basketball game when the notification finally arrived in my inbox.

Dear Mrs. Littlejohn,

Welcome to the Master’s in the Art of Counseling Program!¬†

I lunged down the creaky bleachers in my boots and sprinted out into the dark of night. There was one call I HAD to make.

“Hello?!” He said quickly. He too, had been waiting all the days to get the news.

“I GOT IN! I GOT IN! I GOT IN!” I jumped up and down like a fool outside the gym as tears pooled in the corner of my eyes. “Can you believe this?!” “Can you believe how kind and good God has been?!” “Can you believe He made a way! He did this!”

“Congratulations, my love!” Mark smiled through the phone line.

I shouldn’t have been so surprised. God has always been faithful to us. After all, He was the one who knit me together with precision. He wrote desires on my heart, and He gave me specific gifts to use to illumine His face to others. We’ve been waiting for the puzzle to come together. At times, we tried to force the puzzle pieces to no avail. As a mama in the trenches, with babies pulling on me 24/7, ¬†there were days I felt like a caged lion. But He met us there, He reminded us to BE ALL THERE. He told us over and over, “Write your kid’s story first! This is the story for right now.” And then the right now, became right.

All this to say, I’m going back to school (I’ve actually been in school since August :)) And we are thrilled, terrified and out of our brains pumped!

This sweet blog will be sorely neglected in the up coming months, as all my brain power pushes out papers for school. But oh friends, it will be so worth it!

Many of you have written asking where I have been, and that makes my heart so happy, you are so kind to me! So, I felt it was only fair to catch you up! While I will not be posting much over here on the blog, I post almost daily on all my other social media outlets. Typically it is just a short snipet of our lives, but it keeps me connected and writing. Feel free to link up with me over there!

As always, thank you for reading!

Here’s to the next journey!

~S

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