24/7 MOMS

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Runner’s Renaissance, Again

By Steph Fink
Finally.  Finally, I figured out how to be satisfied as a stay-at-home mother or SAHM for those who know the lingo.  This was no small feat for this strong Type A woman who just l-o-v-e-d the atta-girls of public recognition.  I loved running fast after a goal and obtaining it.  Oh how my flesh leapt for joy with public praise or an award of any type.  While there’s nothing wrong with worldly success, my self-worth was all tied up in my worldly titles and another thing…those crazy women in their minivans…they drove me crazy too.  I’d never be like one of them. Humph.  
Then I became a mother.
Then I became a mother who drove a minivan.
I was so grateful for my two sons’ lives but I must admit that I struggled with my identity and self-worth.  
My children’s births made gave me new life, a rebirth, a personal renaissance if you will.
Running after their every need, I slowly learned how to recalibrate “success”.  Success was no longer how many cases I closed, but how many diapers I closed…only to reopen and replace, again.
Sure, I still had difficult days but overall, I was finally content.  
When balance arrived, something happened. God spoke.  Not in audible words but this idea kept repeating itself.  Write to encourage women.  
Um, I don’t know if you know this God, I’m a Criminal Justice major who hated English class.  
He was aware.
I had just become content and now I’m supposed to go through another rebirth?  And in a career field I had absolutely no past experience in? Yup.
So, I got busy writing.  I attended a writer’s conference and wrote some more.  I wrote some more, then took one of the scariest steps of all; I submitted my work to editors.  I kept receiving rejection notices.  Just like becoming a new mother, I floundered with my new identity and was frustrated.
Type A people like getting things checked off their checklist and my goal to “get published” seemed nothing short of a fleeting pipe dream.  Feeling rejected is bad enough, but when you get an email or letter stating REJECTION…it’s a kick in the gut to a Type A lunatic.  
Defeated and on the verge of, “I’m quitting” came this idea.  Use my strength for strength and my weakness for strength.  
I changed my goal from “get published” to “obtain 40 rejection letters.” I proudly stated my revised goal to my writers group.  They all supported me because it was realistic.  It was a long distance runner type approach as opposed to my former sprint approach of “get published”.
And heck, I was already well on track to obtaining my new goal! 
So as I settled into my new pace, a slower, more realistic pace, the most unfamiliar thing occurred…an editor wrote “YES!”  
The two responses that followed my first precious “YES!” were “MAYBE!”   A maybe in the writing world is just like getting your child to at least sit on the toilet when potty training.  May be a “yes” or may be a “no” but either way it’s progress!  
I had to pace myself.  Pace so I don’t about face and quit.
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1b-2a (New International Version)

Have you ever struggled with your identity being a mother?  Have you gone through a personal renaissance?  What was it like?

Steph's writing has appeared in Proverbs 31 Ministry, P31 Woman magazine.  In her free time she can be found encouraging numerous MOPS group in the northern Virginia area on the "Colorful Art of Friendship - Allowing God to Paint the Masterpieces" and MOPS leaders on "Being a Bright Light".

Steph can be found blogging at www.encouragedinheart.org or on Facebook at Stephanie Fink or on her Facebook page Encouraged in Heart - Stephanie Fink.  She loves big hair, big cups of coffee and big bear hugs.

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Anonymous Kristen @ Busy Kids = Happy Mom said...

It's like Steph was living in my house when I became a SAHM and lived it right along with me! Thanks for the encouragement today!

October 2, 2011 at 1:00 PM  
Anonymous Steph said...

Never in a million years did I think that I'd drive a minivan OR write about one for an AWESOME MOM WEBSITE! Thanks for the opportunity, Trisha! :-)

October 2, 2011 at 3:18 PM  
Anonymous Jacy said...

I have never thoguht of myself as Type A, but I definitely struggled with quitting my career to become a SAHM. I missed finishing projects, and just like you, I missed the many "atta girl" remarks. But I have really great kids, and God has changed my idea of success and my value. Love being a mommy. They are only little for such a short time! Love, love, love your blog Steph! Thanks 24/7moms for introducing us!

October 3, 2011 at 7:29 PM  

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