I’d worked hard to pursue publishing, but God was requiring more. Mom needed to move in with me because she was no longer able to live alone. I was overwhelmed, discouraged, and stressed, but God said to stop chasing my dream to publish picture books and devotionals and surrender to serve my mom.
Six weeks after moving Mom into my home I received my first picture book contract. God has His plans for me orchestrated to give each publication as He wills. After all, every manuscript I’ve ever been given belongs to God who can do things under difficult circumstances.
My mom raised me while living in less-than-ideal circumstances. She birthed me, nurtured me, fed me, clothed me, and loved me.
I was born in Muncie, Indiana, and was taken home to an apartment with meager furnishings. I don’t remember much until I turned four. Poverty, fear, and shyness were my first memories but memories of attending school, going to church, playing outdoors; riding bikes, playing board games and jacks filled my years from age five to eleven. Jumping rope and skipping my Lemon Twist outside our shack on summer days evoke fond memories. Daddy worked, sporadically, while Mom tended to me, my younger sister, and my three older brothers. Mom was always there supervising our activities and doing her best to nurture my siblings and me.
Pinto beans, fried potatoes, and cornbread were one of our meager meals and it’s still one of my favorite dinners. Fresh tomatoes on a bologna sandwich with Pringles and a Coke made for a great lunch on grocery shopping days. I also remember biscuits and watered-down gravy when food was scarce, but Mom never failed to fill our bellies.
Money was never in abundance and our homes were mostly shacks. My clothes were often ill-fitting because they were hand-me-downs from friends, neighbors, and cousins. The tied-together shorts I wore to school in first grade felt uncomfortable, and I can only imagine what they looked like to my teachers and classmates. But on a blessed note of remembrance, a family we attended church with gave me hand-me-downs from their daughter. Nice dresses from JC Penny and other department stores were worn by me from age eight to ten. Mom clothed me with what she was given.
Mom was a firm disciplinarian. When Mom told us no, she meant it. Manipulation and scheming didn’t get by her so it was best to be quiet and obey. Mom gave hugs and words of affirmation but not in abundance. She knew life was tough so tears and whining, though I did my share, did not break mom’s resolve while child-rearing. Mom was consistent.
Now I’m nurturing, feeding, clothing, and loving Mom as she’s experiencing Dementia. We are blessed abundantly with love, support, and provisions from our Heavenly Father. I’m sometimes at a loss and I get tired and frustrated, but I’m doing the best I can. I’m supervising and nurturing Mom. I make sure she eats and is clothed while striving to be consistent.
If I were actively publishing books to reach millions would that ministry mean more than serving my mom? I think not. Jesus doesn’t give a direct command to pursuing a writing career but he does give a direct command concerning our parents.
Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.