When a Writer Can’t Write
I haven’t watered my plants in weeks. As I type, yellow leaves dangle in the wind moving back and forth, hanging by a thread until finally giving up. Next to the leaves, bright red peppers rot right on the vine. Somehow, despite the lack of water, fresh green leaves with tiny buds adorn the top. My half-dead plants remind me of my writing life lately. I’ve got ideas and words and phrases hanging out in my head but no energy to bring them earthbound. Most of the lessons are still being learned and I simply find myself being unable to share much.
What does a writer write about when she can’t say much?
I could write about grief, hurt, confusion, and discouragement.
I could write about how it feels like my body is failing in my 30s.
I could write about mom guilt and worry over missed milestones and social struggles.
I could even write about my battle with OCD and intrusive thoughts.
There is so much I could say. But, I can’t. Because all of these things are hard and unsolved and in-process. I don’t know how to write about them because I don’t know how to work through them yet. In some ways, it feels like someone taped my mouth shut with duct tape. The things I want to say are not ready to be said. Which is proving to be really hard for me.
For years now, I’ve written openly about my struggles and sorrows. And I’ve stood amazed as I watched the Lord use them for the good of other believers. I want God to use this season too. I want to receive messages from women who didn’t give up on him because he met them through my words. Then, maybe it would all make sense. Maybe then, I’d begin to heal.
But right now, most of the words I write are for me and God alone. Maybe God wants me to trust him even when I don’t see the fruit born from the sorrow. Maybe he wants me to simply wait on him and rest in him and rely on him. As my friend Glenna Marshall writes about in her first book, “the promise is his presence.” What if I’ve made the promise to be what he accomplishes through my trials rather than the life-giving truth that he is with me in them?
It’s a question I’ve been pondering lately as I find myself grasping for the harvest before it’s time. I’ve been begging the hand of God to move and to work and to make it all better, forgetting he offers his hand to hold, to comfort, to remind me he’s here. I wanna see the good spring up from the bad and the sad. But maybe he just wants me to see his goodness that transcends every sorrow and circumstance.
So like my toddler reaching out to grab my hand to steady himself, I’m reaching for the Lord to steady me, trusting him with every unfinished trial and when he will use it for good.
So, what does the writer write about when the words on her heart aren’t ready? She writes about how God is faithful and how he is enough. She writes about how he sees and knows all and how that is a greater comfort than she could ever explain.
He is my portion. I know one day the timing will fall into place and the words will too. I trust him with that.
“Thou savior art my portionMy Portion by Shane and Shane
What wealth untold is mine
What pure and priceless treasure
Not earthly but divine
My soul is in Thy keeping
My life is hid with Thee
Thou savior art my portion
And shalt forever be“