Writing As Worship

Manna in the Wilderness

She sets her heart upon a field and takes it as her own. She labours there to plant the living vines. She wraps herself in strength, might, and power in all her works. She tastes and experiences a better substance, and her shining light will not be extinguished, no matter how dark the night.

PROVERBS 31:16-18

Growing up, stories became the patchwork of my childhood and I soon learnt I could dream up my own. In my twenties, when I took my writing more seriously, I was determined to write fiction novels. I was typically a one project at a time person, and when I was pregnant with our son fantasised about writing an entire book series with characters I could come back to during motherhood. What happened, however, was I couldn’t write. At all. Or at least, I couldn’t write what I was accustomed to writing. For, instead of fictional prose and quirky characters, came life-inspired poetry that would become a time capsule of that first year of motherhood. Still, I didn’t consider that “proper” writing. How I wish someone had told me otherwise at the time. I kept trying to force writing fiction, but it just wasn’t happening. Then, nine months later, ridden with postpartum anxiety and depression, I felt prompted to give up writing, to fast from writing. I battled the Lord at first till I began to discover that writing fiction had become my golden calf in the wilderness. And what I hadn’t realised was that my poems were like the manna. I can now look back at those poems and remember those precious moments often forgotten in the blur of that first year of motherhood. And I’m grateful for them.

Now, pregnant with our second earth-side child, I don’t want to fall into the same traps I did in those early months of motherhood. I don’t want to force unrealistic expectations upon myself to create what doesn’t feel natural in the season.

If the poetry comes again, I want to be grateful for it. If I’m simply recording my thoughts and learnings, then I want to be grateful for that too. Whatever inspiration the Lord provides in this season with these two little gifts in my life, my desire is to be filled with gratitude. To remain strong and at peace, not to allow my anxious thoughts to overwhelm me. To remember that I cannot do all the things, but I can do some things, and I can often do those things well. I want to take a large step away from comparison and the fear of missing out and embrace what is happening in my present.

* * * * *

We lay our battles outside the door.

Like yesterday. And the night before.

We’re a little bruised – you and I.

Our weariness shows in low light.

But lullabies sing our hearts awake,

cheek to chest, new mercies await.

All is forgotten from the day that was

and all that matters is now, because

even with angels standing by,

I hesitate to say goodnight.

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