Being a stay-at-home mom for more than a decade, you can develop some fairly strong and unexpected addictions. Some I have conquered, like my Pringles addiction, through self-denial and the painful realization that no amount of time on the treadmill can overcome the fat content of an entire can of potato chips eaten in one sitting. Some I have replaced, like my Diet Coke addiction, which I have swapped for Sparkling Flavored Water. Some, however, I have resigned myself to, like my shameful addiction to postal deliveries. It is shameful mostly because on average, nothing very interesting is ever delivered to our mailbox. If I’m lucky it’s a Kohl’s discount card or an encouraging note from a friend. An Amazon delivery is heaven on earth. But usually it is a combination of bills and junk.
But not today, sister! Today I received the first installment of my book advance from B&H/Lifeway Publishing. That’s right, Amy’s writing a book. Actually Amy has been writing a book for a while now but now someone is going to pay me for it. Not only pay me for it, but publish it and try to convince other people to read it! I have been a bit bashful about sharing the news but as you are taking time to read our blog, I hope I can assume some interest in Spiegel projects outside of Wisdom and Folly.
The working title for the book is Exiled to the Promised Land, a title I had before I really understood what it meant. The basic idea is this. We are often presented with certain stereotypes of women. One is the picture-perfect superwoman who does it all. This is the woman who makes us all feel inferior and small. We might think we are doing okay until we compare ourselves and our accomplishments to Miss I-Woke-Up-At-Five-A.M.-And-Memorized-The-Entire-Book-Of-John-And-Then-Did-A-Full-Pilates-Workout-And-Then-Made-Homemade-Whole-Wheat-Cinnamon-Rolls-For-The-Fam. Comparing yourself to this woman is like discovering a piece of food in your teeth after you get home and realizing that no one told you. We want to admire her but instead we just use her excellence to beat ourselves over the head. The other stereotype is the soccer mom who drives her kids to school in her pajamas while throwing frozen waffles (which are probably still cold in the middle) at them, manages to accomplish nothing all day, and then, still wearing pajamas, picks up the kids. She is frazzled but authentic. She is the comfort food we feed on after staring at stereotype number one for too long.
Over the years I have struggled to live like Miss Perfection but believe like Miss Authentic. That is to say, I’ve been driven to achieve, though often failing, in an attempt to prove something to myself but have desired to see my worth outside of those achievements. In His infinite mercy, God has shared a truth with me over the last couple of years, and this became the seed of my book. That truth is that I am His and my worth is to be found in His work not in mine. Pretty basic Gospel stuff for a girl raised in the church, but sometimes I so long to prove my passion and my dedication that I forget for Whom I have all this passion and dedication. But if I can remember that in my relationships, in my decision-making, and in my parenting, in fact, in everything I do, that my identity is found in Christ and Christ alone, then I can find the freedom to do His work in my own unique way. If I forget this, the promised land becomes a place of burden and sorrow, a place of exile. But if I cling to this truth, any place can be a place of freedom, anyplace a place of promise.
I am writing the book this summer and it is set for publication next summer. I look forward to sharing it with you all. This blog was a major step in this journey and I thank God for the many ways you have supported and encouraged me. Through this project I hope to do the same for you.