I have a very vivid memory of that moment: grass too green to imagine, framed and dotted by lush trees and a few brick buildings. I was in the car with an acquaintance; I don’t remember where we were going. I just remember sitting next to her, watching the cultivated college landscape go by as she drove down the winding road and said about the most recent speaker, “She said she thinks of God as She.”
I didn’t quite know what to do with that; neither did she, to be fair. It was an idea she played with as we drove, and I listened.
That’s the moment that keeps coming back to me as I think about God as mother.* That wasn’t the moment when I accepted it, or even heard of this idea. I think it was the moment where the idea of God as feminine became a possibility, or maybe even the seed of an idea.
If you’re curious about this idea, feel free to check out my devotion.* Here‘s another personal narrative of seeing God as mother. This article offers a good overview of Biblical sources that describe God as mother, and this site has a pretty comprehensive list of verses.
*They’ll ask for a login to see the devotional I wrote, since it’s been a few days since it posted–but it’s completely free to create one if you don’t already have one, and I never get unwanted emails from them. Don’t freak out!
Speaking of freaking out: there’s also no need to freak out about all this God-as-feminine talk. As the Creator of both male and female (Genesis 1:26), both genders reflect God but God has no gender. And so I prefer to use no pronouns at all to refer to God–but that also means that it makes sense to use imagery and ideas of and about both genders to talk about God.
Mountains stretched to the horizon, mountain after mountain: most of them blue-green with evergreens, a few tall enough to be topped with rocks and snow. The closest had a peak covered by a meadow bright with flowers: gold, scarlet, and violet swaths, with highlights of creamy white and tiger orange dotted with jagged boulders.
That rainbow mountain was why I was here.
I’ve always loved nature and seen God in it. Well, almost always. There were a few years there where that wasn’t quite true, and today I’m over at Off the Page telling my story of seeing God in nature, especially in those few years.
(You may especially enjoy it if you love hearing about flowers, bees, mountains, beautiful nature things…)
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I have been blogging here only sporadically at best. I’ve always had the goal of blogging regularly, but I’ve struggled to find subjects or even to articulate what this blog is about. That’s part of why I haven’t been blogging much–I’ve been trying to figure out what I am blogging about, and what I’d like to blog about.
I chose the title ‘Adventures in Writing’ because writing is something that weaves through my life, but especially because writing is something that gives me life. It’s something that helps me to listen and love myself and connect with God. But a few things became obvious on reflection:
- writing here only about writing just isn’t working. It’s been a struggle, and it just doesn’t feel quite right, and
- writing isn’t the only thing in my life that’s life-giving.
Why not write about everything that gives me life, all of the places I see God, and not just those places that have to do with writing? Why not expand my focus here? I didn’t see any reason not to, so here we are! I’m expanding my subject, and you may notice I’ve changed the name of the blog to reflect that, so let’s give this a try!
Stay tuned: Friday I’ll have a post that explains in more detail what I’m hoping for my reimagined blog.
It’s been a while, embarrassingly so.
I have all sorts of excuses, but it boils down to the fact that writing has been hard lately. I haven’t felt motivated, and I kept pushing it off until “later.” I’ve had some difficult news on the job search front, and the whole thing has been really discouraging, and it’s been hard to be optimistic and feel like much is worth doing in the midst of that. I haven’t felt like I could listen well enough to write.
I’ve always felt like writing is all about listening–to myself, to others, to God, to the story or article I’m writing. And I’ve been bad at listening lately, whether it’s to God or myself or the people around me. Discouragement makes it hard. Discouragement makes me narrow my focus to myself, to whatever’s gone wrong and whatever I’ve done wrong. Narrowing doesn’t lead to listening.
I’m trying to listen again, to write again. Both give me hope.
I need some hope.
Here’s my latest writing update. As you can see, it’s not very consistent or prolific. I reached my goal of an hour a week only twice. And I’m frustrated that I made so little progress. I know I can do better.
However, it was a difficult few weeks emotionally. Nothing happened, really, but I struggled again with being unemployed and with what I have been learning or should be learning. As much as I’ve loved a lot of the past few months in really unexpected ways, making what feels like little progress is frustrating, and I let that frustration overwhelm me and keep me from writing.
So… Not as good as I hoped. At all.
But: I am not a robot. I cannot expect myself to always feel like writing. I cannot expect myself to always write one hour, exactly, not one second more or less. I cannot expect myself to always write well, always be completely undistracted. I am not a robot. It’s okay if I don’t feel like writing, or if I need a day off. Yes, I would like to build writing into a more regular habit, and yes, not feeling like writing isn’t always an excuse to not write. Yes, absolutely, and I am working to write more consistently. That’s why I post these updates. But, as I work towards building this habit, sometimes I need to remember to give myself a little grace, instead of being frustrated that I’m not perfect.
Give yourself a little grace. You’re not a robot, either.
I linked to my blog on my resume.
It seemed like a brilliant idea at the time–look, all of my writings and sermon clips, all in one place!–but the first time I sat down to write a post after that, I blanched. Somehow the idea of sending out words into the anonymous internet is WAY different than sending out words into the internet that is now full of people who are considering you for a job. A job as a pastor, no less.
What should I post now? What if they didn’t like it? What if I revealed something about myself, and they decided I was too imperfect for their church? What if they saw the flaws I struggle with and talk about here, and decided to take themselves far away from that?
So I posted something, so no one would think I wasn’t regular about posting (although anyone who scrolled to the next blog post would notice that there was a gap of a month and a half), but it wasn’t too revealing. Big news, but nothing too personal. And after that, every time I sat down to write a post, I would freeze up. What could I write that wouldn’t show churches that I’m a human being with flaws and problems??
Then I had the brilliant idea to ask Off the Page if I could write a hugely personal piece for them, and they said yes. Whoops.
So, I’m being personal and vulnerable. To the Internet. Including all those people who might end up here because they’re considering hiring me as their pastor. Here it is: my problems, my human-ness, my sinfulness and struggles. And I know I just spent a while saying I don’t like being vulnerable, but please go check it out. Being vulnerable is important. I wrote something true and something that I love–and even if it’s also the scariest piece I’ve ever written for the Internet, I’d love if you went and checked it out. Please join me in my vulnerability.
It’s time for another update! Here’s how the past week went:
Tuesday: 40 minutes
Wednesday: 0 minutes
Thursday: 15 minutes
Friday: 0 minutes
Saturday: 0 minutes
Sunday: 150 minutes
Monday: 25 minutes
As I looked over my times for this week, I was left wondering what I was really trying to accomplish with this challenge. I mean, obviously, I wanted to write more, but as I look at my results this week I remember that writing is intricately bound up with the rest of my life, at least for me. Everything I’m doing is feeling rushed and fragmented and isolated from everything else. And that made writing hard.
Why am I writing? Having a time goal alone isn’t working. It makes it easy to forget that writing feeds my soul. Words feed my soul. Writing gives me joy and life. So, yes, writing every day is a professional goal as I strive to make a part-time career in writing, but writing every day is also a personal and spiritual goal. Writing connects me to God as few other activities do.
I want to write because writing is good for me. I want to write because it is good for my soul.
I want to write.