Almost a month ago it was one year since Popular was released. One year since my heart and soul was bared on pages to receive both criticism and praise. One year of hearing God work through words, one year of coffee dates with parents that made me weep, one year of emails and cards that let me know the power of God. A year that has taken me more places than I ever thought possible, more encouragement that I dreamed of hearing, and meetings that I never imagined sitting in.
I wait. I wait to know more will happen. I wait to know what is next. I wait to know if I am done with my dream of writing. Am I done using the gift that I feel God gave me for his glory? A writer friend told me that writing ebbs and flows with seasons of life and I wonder as I am less than 1 month away from delivering our second child if for these days I am done. It’s hard to imagine life without a pen and paper. Hard to imagine not dreaming of the illusive “next.” It’s hard to tell people that, “I don’t know” when they ask if I will write more books. Because the questions isn’t do I want to? Yes I want to. Every day I dream of ideas but I also feel the gentle pull back of the one who called me to this in the beginning. If they aren’t his words, his story, his truth, then I don’t want to write it.
It’s a sobering reminder that our dreams don’t give us life. I had one big “dream” when I graduated from Auburn University in 2009 and it was to write. It was on my bucket list and I thought one day… maybe. Then 3 years later I was signing a piece of paper that made me a “writer” to the rest of the world (or at least to my tiny world). I thought when I saw my book on shelves, or heard girls were reading it, or reached some pinnacle in my head that fulfillment would come rushing in but instead I just feel the lingering question of what now.
As I bury my head in toddler books, try to learn how to cook on a budget (who knew steak wasn’t budget friendly…), maintain a healthy thriving marriage, be a friend to those around me, love well, and enjoy this phase, I am reminded that sacrifice doesn’t always mean suffering. I am reminded that God doesn’t work on a timeline, that maybe I have quite a few more books in me that he will ring out when the time comes but until then I don’t find my joy in what I’ve accomplished but in the one who has called me to be faithful, today… many more books or no more books. And to be thankful because my house might be messy but its full of the fingerprints of a full life, and my to do list might be a mile long but my daughter will go to bed fed and know she is loved, and while I might feel as a big as a bus God gave me another baby that will grace this earth soon (eeekk).
So learn from me… whatever the dream is that you are believing will take you to ultimate fulfillment might come and go and the feeling of wondering what’s next will follow. Be faithful now. Today. And if the dreams are fulfilled praise him but if they aren’t praise him anyway because when life becomes too much about stages and dreams we miss the grace. We miss the right now. We miss the days we are walking in for the dream of what might be ahead and we will miss beautiful life happening right in front of us.
Anne - Sweet girl, you have the highest calling as wife and mother, and I applaud you for recognizing that! You will never, ever regret one second of your time spent on those you love, because you’re right, the seasons change, and all too soon your little ones will be grown. May they rise up and call you blessed, because you are! Love your transparency!
Emily - Hi Mrs. Baldwin. I just wanted to express my thanks to you personally for writing this book. A lot of christian authors dodge around sex and alcohol which makes it hard for teens (aka me) to connect. Your book really spoke to me and made me want to praise God for everything he does. He really is amazing! Thank you so much for your testimony and know that there are girls out there who needed to read this more than you know. Thanks!