New Things

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Art by Lori Macmath; allyouhavetogive.com

I am sitting at my desk. It is in front of a large picture window in my back living room. George Winston Radio is playing on Pandora behind me. I just created the station on my phone. I hope it turns out to be a good station for my writing time.

Because this is my new thing…writing at my desk, the one overlooking my backyard woods, during the hours of the school week in this newly quiet house.

Writing isn’t a new thing for me. I have been writing—for publication, even—for several years now. But writing has always happened in minutes between the rest of my life. The life of five children I have been home educating these past ten years. People often asked me how I could write in the midst of real life. That question bothered me a bit, though at the time, I didn’t know why. I think maybe it was because I never knew how to answer—I didn’t see what they saw. I was always frustrated I couldn’t get more accomplished.

Now I understand why they were asking. And I wonder who that was—that person who wrote all those articles for magazines and blog posts (when there was a consistency of blog posts) and the beginnings of a book and full proposal to go with it, all with the words: WRITTEN BY: SHARI DRAGOVICH written across the top.

Strange.

Maybe even more strange: as my children have gotten older, rather than writing becoming easier, it has become more difficult. At least, this was the case this past year. Their schooling, while they could do more of it alone, became increasingly demanding. When they were done with their work, their free time became increasingly louder. Their sports schedules intensified. Some were in school, some were at home. Writing took 3rd string to homeschooling, which was quickly taking 2nd string to keeping everyone’s life in forward motion.

But putting writing higher up on the priority list is not why I am now sitting at my desk, alone in a quiet house, not quite sure I’m loving the George Winston station, and determined to keep my bottom planted in this old kitchen chair, fingers moving across the keyboard in this new thing: a full-time writing schedule. Or at least fuller than before.

At least this is what I keep telling myself.

But what if it is? What if the reason my children are all in school full-time now is precisely so I am able to devote more time to writing?

The day after I came home from the Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing back in April, Superman and I took a Sunday drive to the lake so we could check on the boat and make arrangements for its housing at a new marina. On the way, I was carrying on about all the writing ideas that had been pouring into me the past days at the conference and how I would manage to work writing time into our next school year.

Superman looked at me and said,

“I think it’s time for everyone to go to school in the fall. They are ready. They want to go to school.”

Immediately my eyes filled with tears. But I wasn’t surprised. I felt both failure and relief. My exhaustion in the last year of homeschooling had finally betrayed me. But I never would have conceded. I’m too proud for that. Superman knew it. God knew it. Together, they unburdened me.

Over the months leading up to this week, I kept telling myself that the reason we weren’t homeschooling anymore was because they were ready. I have also struggled against the lie that somehow I failed. Failed in not nipping burnout in the bud. Failed in not finding new exciting curriculum to keep things fresh, failed to be more patient with my children who tried me the most, failed to let the Spirit fill me with the kind of love needed to teach each one effectively.

But none of these are true.

What is true is that God was answering a prayer I had been praying since moving to Roanoke:

“Lord, everyone else in this family has a new purpose here—Tony has a career to build, the kids have new opportunities and friends and the rest of their childhood to live. Please. I want a purpose here, too. A purpose that is my own. Forgive me if that is selfish. Please, in Jesus’ name, hear my prayer.”

And not until this week—this day…not even until this moment, in fact—has it dawned on me that maybe the reason I am sitting at this desk with hours a day to write uninterrupted is primarily because this is God’s desire for me…for our family. He has answered my prayer. He was answering it all along.

This is a part of my purpose.

My new writing time isn’t the result some sort of concession, or a weakness of my resolve to push through the homeschooling blahs, or even primarily because it is the right time for our children to enter into the school system—it is the right time. But not just for them. It is the right time for me, too.

Isn’t that something else?! Yahweh of the Universe, out of His great desire and because it gives Him great pleasure, has done a new thing in our family’s life…all because He has a purpose for me.

 See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

–Isaiah 43:19

 

 

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