What’s Next? (On creating anyway and seeking delight)

One year ago, Erin and I signed the book contract to write The Beauty of Motherhood: Grace-Filled Devotions for the Early Years. We each scribbled our signatures, scanned the pages-long document, said a prayer, and got to work. We didn’t share that particular step far and wide. There were no big reveals on social media or blasting the pics of signing the contract. Stephen had just left for three weeks of a much needed sabbatical from church leaving the kids and I at home. Charlotte, Isaac, and I toasted the book over ice cream. Erin and I celebrated with voice messages and texts of awe. Can you believe this is really happening? 

But mostly, we got to work writing. 

I wrote the devotions in my head at the pool. Prayers traveled from my mind to my journal or document on my phone. I woke up early and used any free moment of quiet time. In the year since we signed the book contract, we wrote the entirety of the book, edited over and over, invited trusted friends and mentors to guide us, wrote late into the night over a google doc, encouraged preorders, brainstormed and implemented marketing strategies, talked on podcasts, wrote guest essays, launched the book, organized book signings and church events, asked for reviews, and through it all, we lived our lives with kids, family, and work commitments. 

 Erin and I wrote the book we craved as new moms. 

We wrote this book for the mom who can't find a moment to herself. The mom who is lonely and wondering if she'll see the light of day. The mom who is pacing the halls with a fussy baby. The mom who cries at every daycare drop off. The mom who wonders if her kids will have friends. The mom who desires her own friends. The mom who steps on Legos and cheerios. The mom hasn't showered in days. The mom waiting in the carpool line. 

The mom who wants to remember she's not alone. 

Looking back over the year, I’m also realizing now more than ever, I’m that mom who needs to hear a word of grace. I’m tired of always thinking about what’s ahead and what next steps I need to be taking (or usually more accurately, what I should have been doing weeks ago and what I forgot to be doing). I’m drained by the constant thoughts of what to post and when to post and how to make engaging content. 

The other day my finger hovered over the IG app, a tiny X popped up, and I hit delete removing IG from my phone. Plenty of others have taken social media breaks. Plenty of others have no desire to even be online, but for the last year I felt the need to be present. I needed to sell a book. So I did. I showed up. I wrote and posted. I followed some best practices, but also did my own thing. I posted when and what I wanted. I truly made connections. And through it all, I’m filled with gratitude. Erin and I have a deep working and personal relationship. Together, we’ve connected with other mamas searching for glimpses of grace in their lives. We’ve conversed with churches and pastors desiring to bring moms together. 

But now I’m craving time to turn my attention elsewhere: 

To delight in the light dancing on the walls. To feel the dirt running through my fingers. To watch small seeds turn into plants and vegetables. To witness the hummingbirds dance. To linger in the early morning over my Bible, journal, and hot coffee. To delight in my childrens’ eyes. To splash in the pool. To get lost in hours of card games. To write by hand. To hike and listen to birdsong. To send letters. To marvel at stories. To stretch my body. To still my brain. 

We’ve been wondering if we’ve saturated the market already by talking about our book too much. Do you need to have one more reminder that our book makes a great gift for a new mom or for the mom who needs a little pick me up? How many times can I tell you that this is a great book to gather moms in your congregation or community? Do I really want to take another quote and make a graphic to share on social media? Yes, and no. We believe in our book and desire for moms to be reminded of the beauty of their lives when they read our words. We know there are so many others out there who could find solace in this book. 

Ultimately, the message behind The Beauty of Motherhood is one I’ll stake a claim on, it’s one that bears repeating over and over: God is with us in our mothering and no matter how (tired, guilty, lonely, frustrated, angry, joyful) you feel, you are not alone. 

I will not tire of sharing this good news. 

And that’s what I’m turning to in the months to come — grace upon grace upon grace.

//Our book, The Beauty of Motherhood: Grace-Filled Devotions for the Early Years is officially available wherever books are sold. Pick up your copy at Bookshop, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your local book seller!