Stewarding Your Passions in the Season of Motherhood

How to Steward Your Passions in the Season of of Motherhood at annswindell.com

This is the start of my newest piece for The Gospel Coalition. You can read the whole piece here!

I love to write; it’s one of the ways I feel most connected to God. Before my daughter was born, I wrote for several publications. But when she came into the world, my writing life was put on an abrupt hold. I often wondered: Do I have to wait until my children are grown to return to my passions?

As Christian mothers, this question bubbles up often: How do we navigate the years of childrearing with our own desires to create and innovate and learn?

While there’s no one response for every woman, it’s important to ask the right questions as we consider how to steward our passions and live faithfully in our current season. Here are four such questions.

1. In pursuing this passion, do I have the support of my family and church family?

When Hunter Beless was still nursing her second daughter, she considered starting a podcast for women, but she hesitated. “I thought motherhood wasn’t the season to explore my own passions and desires, and I feared not having enough time or energy to do something outside of caring for my husband and children,” she recalls.

Still, she couldn’t shake the feeling that this was something she should pursue. “I prayerfully submitted both the dreaming and planning process to the Lord. After developing my ideas, I began to seek counsel from my husband, mentors, and friends. Things continued to align as I moved forward, which led me to ask, ‘Why not?’ At worst, it offered an opportunity to experiment, play, and create while my kids were sleeping, and at best it had the potential to encourage other women to glorify God.”

With the support of those around her, Hunter started the Journeywomen Podcast, which is growing rapidly and blessing women across the country and world. But it began with submitting her ideas to the Lord and her community, trusting him to guide her in the right direction.

2. What’s the ultimate end of pursuing this passion?

There are countless ways to pursue our passions, but we must always reckon with the centrality of the gospel. Is Christ at the center of this pursuit? Is the good news at the core of why I’m doing this? Whether you work a secular job, volunteer at a nonprofit, join a neighborhood committee, play in a tennis league, or serve in your church, it’s helpful to consider how this pursuit will give you opportunities to live out the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18–20).

Dianne Jago started the magazine Deeply Rooted because she sensed a need for something other than what she was seeing in “popular Christian women’s ministry, which unfortunately included a lot of misuse and misunderstanding in the interpretation and application of the Scriptures.” She desired to see Christ exalted in media and to point other women to a right handling of the Word. Jago’s passion is anchored in the gospel, and it has borne beautiful fruit in her life and in the lives of readers.

Read the rest of the article here, at The Gospel Coalition!

Still Waiting by Ann Swindell

Come and Write Your Story

Come and Write Your Story at www.annswindell.com

This is the start of my newest article for The Gospel Coalition.
You can read the article in its entirety here!

I’m not gifted at comprehending my own spiritual growth while still in the midst of it. I don’t typically live through trials and victories with my antennae attuned to how God’s transforming me. I wish it were otherwise; I wish I had the ability to see my immediate experiences through the lens of spiritual development. But most of the time I’m just doing my best to love God and my family—and make it through the day intact. I’m not necessarily looking for the big themes or revelations the Lord is weaving into my life in the moment.

But I know God has numbered the days of my life (Ps. 139:16) and that he’s working out all things for my good as he conforms me to the image of his Son (Rom. 8:28–29). I don’t want to miss these things; I want to be able to point to how God’s transforming me “from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18) as I walk with him.

I turn to two things in order to help me understand my spiritual growth: my Bible and my pen. via… Click To Tweet

So I turn to two things in order to help me understand my spiritual growth: my Bible and my pen. Reading the Word and writing my story—these are how I’ve learned to experience my life as a purposeful whole, even when the days feel splintered and confusing.

Read the rest of the article here–and let me know how you understand your spiritual growth over at TGC!

And, if you’re interested in writing your story, make sure to check out the Writing with Grace: Memoir class that I’m teaching this fall. Registration is only open until October 11th, so don’t miss this opportunity to learn how to write your story powerfully and hear from industry experts! See you there!

Yes, the World Needs Your Story

The World Needs Your Story www.annswindell.comThis is the start of my newest piece for Darling Magazine.
You can read the whole article here!

For those of us who find ourselves drawn to the written word, the pull toward pen and paper is more than just a hobby. It’s a lifeline. Many of us flourish when there are words flowing from our soul onto the page — we’re able to make sense of things better when we’re writing, and we think our thoughts most clearly when we write them down on paper.

For those of us drawn to the written word, writing is more than a hobby--it's a lifeline. #amwriting Click To Tweet

As unique as the personal writing experience is for each of us, research is starting to reveal a universal reality that many of us have inherently known for a long time: writing about our lives is healing. Several studies point to the fact that when we honestly write about our own lives, working through our questions and challenges on the page, we can experience emotional breakthrough. That’s because when we take time to write about what’s bothering us, the act of writing enables us to see our lives in a new way and release past burdens. Writing can help us reframe our experiences and see ourselves as active participants in our lives, rather than as victims or observers.

Additional research has found that people who take time to intentionally write about their emotional state “were able to create the distance between the thinker and the thought, the feeler and the feeling, that allowed them to gain a new perspective, unhook, and move forward.” When we write about what’s happening internally, it enables us to parse experience from emotion — and then decide how to change.

Writing is a powerful tool.

If you’ve never taken the time to write your story down, maybe this is the nudge that you need. While writing about our journey and the emotions that we’ve experienced may feel initially overwhelming, the work that it can do in our hearts and our minds might actually change the course of our lives. It can help us to really see how we’ve been living and what it might look like to flip the script in our current story.

Read the rest of the article here, at Darling Magazine!

And if you want to write your story, check out my online writing course, Writing with Grace: Memoir. Registration is open until October 6th, and I’m offering a discount to blog readers: save 10% with the code: MEMOIR10. I can’t wait to join you there!

Image via Maddie Greer

Don’t Write to Get Published

I have a deep respect for The Gospel Coalition and the work that they are doing online and in the “real” world as an organization that unabashedly proclaims the truth of the Bible. I was able to attend The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference in June, and just this week I had the opportunity to write for their blog. It was an honor to write for TGC about one of my favorite topics! You can link to the full article here.

And, if you’re a fellow writer, make sure to read all the way to the end of the article at TGC, where I offer a discount code for my Writing with Grace course–registration is open until the 17th of August (and don’t forget to check out the site and the brand-new video I released)!

Don't Write Just to Get Published www.annswindell.com

Here’s the start of the article for The Gospel Coalition:

For those of us who love words, we’re drawn to the clack of the keyboard and the parsing of meaning on the page. We feel alive as we wrangle words into sentences; some of us even feel closer to God as we work out our faith by writing about it. Time spent writing feels important, even holy.

For those of us who love words, we’re drawn to the clack of the keyboard. We feel alive as we wrangle words into… Click To Tweet

But for many of us, running parallel with our love of writing is the desire to get published. This desire can be fueled by the culture at large, which says our writing only matters if our readership is huge and our byline well known. Publication is commonly assumed to be the goal of the writing life, and seeing our words in print the truest form of validation for our work.

As an author and teacher of writing, I often have conversations with other writers fixated on publication. They’re desperate to see their work published somewhere. They want to know how to start a writing career, or how to get the inside scoop on writing for a top magazine.

In response to their questions, I have to ask: Do you want to be published? Or do you want to write?

Do you want to be published? Or do you want to write? Click To Tweet

These aren’t the same question, although many of us confuse one for the other. For as much as writing is tethered to publishing, getting published doesn’t make a writer. Writing makes a writer.

Read the rest of the article over at The Gospel Coalition, and don’t miss out on open registration for Writing with Grace!

Writing with Grace course www.writingwithgrace.com

Three Ways Counseling is a Gift You Give Yourself

As someone who has benefited immensely from Christian counseling, I was thankful to get to write a piece about the gifts counseling offers us for
Darling Magazine

3 Ways Counselingis a GiftYou Gift Yourself (1)

We’re still settling into the rhythms of life in our new city, and last week we had dinner with a family that we’re trying to build a relationship with; we go to church with them and our kids are about the same age, so it’s an easy connect.

As our kids ran around one another, I talked with Lesley about life in the last year and a half — all of the transitions that have taken place as we’ve moved cities, changed jobs, and essentially started over in our adult lives. I mentioned that professional counseling has been a game-changer for me in the last season of life, and Lesley paused to ask me more. She had recently been considering counseling but wasn’t sure if she should pursue it, or if it would be a good fit for her. Here’s what I shared with Lesley that night — the three ways that counseling was one of the best gifts I’ve ever given myself:

1. Counseling helps us to walk the journey of health and wholeness intentionally.

Most of us long to live in healthy, empowering ways in our daily lives; we want to respond to ourselves and others with kindness, and we want to live from a place of love rather than fear. But there are very few practical ways to determine if we are actually growing in wholeness and personal wellbeing. There’s not a to-do list that we can check off at the end of every day. Rather, the journey to healing and health is one that will take a lifetime of intentionality. Committing to counseling sets at least one clear step before us on the path to wholeness, and it offers us tools for not only coping with, but thriving in our daily lives.

The journey to healing and health is one that will take a lifetime of intentionality. Click To Tweet

2. Counseling helps us to own our brokenness and our glory.

A good counselor — one who is seeking to help us rather than trying to appease us — is a person who will speak truth. And when that truth is about our brokenness and the ways we have failed, it can be hard to hear. But it is necessary for us to come to terms with the brokenness that we carry so that we can better understand how we respond when confronted with pain and anger and fear. We need to hear the hard truth so that we can forgive and change and grow. And the good news is that as we better understand our brokenness, we can better understand our glory, too. For we are not solely broken; we are those who are choosing to try again, to ask for forgiveness again, to show up again. We have more strength than we know, and more resilience than we might have imagined. These are gifts that a good counselor helps us to see in ourselves.

We have more strength than we know, and more resilience than we might have imagined. Click To Tweet

Read the rest of the article here, at Darling Magazine!