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Hopewriters Challenge

I participated in a 7-day writing challenge with Hopewriters as a way to grow my newfound habit of writing. Each day there was a one-word prompt as inspiration for sharing. I hope that you benefit from reading these entries as much as I did from writing them!

{Disclaimer: I came down with the flu half way through the week, so forgive me if it gets a little loopy toward the end!}

Day 1: New

“The One sitting on the throne said, ‘Look, I am making everything new.‘” – Revelation 21:5

This handy stack of verses (compliments of @shannonrepparddesigns) sits beside the two household items which I am guaranteed to visit several times each day: the kitchen sink and the coffee pot. As a homeschool mom of 3 young ones, my impulses for caffeine and cleaning occupy an unduly high place on my totem pole of security and peace. However, as I make a b-line for these false fortresses, a glance at my monthly verse prompts my soul to allow the word of God to wash over me and awaken my soul. This passage for January from Revelation 21:5 feels especially relevant as we make our resolutions for new habits, mindsets, and health regiments. I keep wondering if my recent hope for developing a new muscle as a writer will flourish or fizzle out. What a sweet reassurance this verse brings from the One whose plans never fail or wain. Brothers and sisters, hide yourselves and your plans in He who consistently has, is, and will continue to make all things new.

Day 2: Light

We all have a need for light moments. We crave it in dramas when the comedic relief character chimes in. We welcome the witty side comment which cuts the tension in a meeting. Even our taste buds chase after those dishes which couple salty flavors with a sweet aftertaste. This year in our first attempt at homeschooling, I discovered the need to bring joy and silliness into our daily grind. As someone who loves to check boxes and cross off to-do’s, carving out the space and time for playful moments in our homeschool day feels a bit like torture. But, as I narrate our reading exercise in a kermit-the-frog voice, or walk a paw patrol character through our math lesson, the laughter and the play accomplish a quiet subversion. Truth and knowledge stick to the light. When we stop taking ourselves quite so seriously, our important words become softer and yet more effective. So, join me in taking a deep breathe so we can slow our roll and welcome the light which makes lessons worth learning and life worth living.

Day 3: Open

This was my four year old on our way into the gym this morning. A balmy 42 degrees, perhaps she was protecting herself from the January cold. But my money is on the likelihood that our resident introvert was just soaking up the last moment of solitude before entering a building full of familiar and friendly faces, and descending the stairs into a nursery of voices and eyes. She comes by it honestly. Inevitably, wherever I venture with my little crew of daughters, I am the recipient the typical opening lines: “You’ve got your hands full!” “Daddy’s outnumbered, huh?” “They are precious! Enjoy every minute.” I get it. We are quite the spectacle with their singsong voices and princess accessories, paired with my disheveled appearance and usually agitated state. More often than not, I want to just burrow into my coat like Lydia. But, these unsolicited interactions are part of the life that encompasses my calling in this phase. I have been given an opportunity to engage in love and kindness with the people in our path who are probably likewise tired, overwhelmed and in need of human connection. I sigh at it, but I really need it too. As I reluctantly open myself to the souls around me, the comfort in community that we were designed for softens my heart and fills my days with significance.

Day 4: Dream

What are your anxiety dreams about? Are you late to class and forgot to study for an exam? Running in slow motion from an assailant? Showing up for a meeting and realizing you have no clothes on? Mine are nearly always about ballet. I forget the choreography in the middle of a performance. I can’t get my costume on in time for my entrance. The directors body shame me in front of my peers. It’s a strange reenactment of residual longing and disappointment. There’s an irony to the fact that my most vivid interactions with my former dream of 12 years now take the form of a nightmare. In a way, that’s what happened in real life. Making a career of dance became everything to me to the degree that it trumped my health, self respect, and wisdom. I think that’s the danger for some people with “chasing the dream.” Like anything other than faith in Christ, when it becomes too ultimate, it turns into a nightmare. Sometimes it doesn’t become your nightmare, but rather the one of a person you love. But believe me, someone will suffer. This isn’t to say that you need to stop dreaming, stop reaching, stop hoping. Do those things that your soul can’t help but pursue, but hold them in their rightful place. The problem with the narrative, “you can do anything you set your mind to,” is that it denies the question of whether or not you should do it — for the sake of yourself and your community. Do dream, but not in a vacuum. Do reach, but not without boundaries. Do hope, but not without the courage to surrender. Remember that you are worth more than simply what you make of yourself.

Day 5: Slow

“Do we have to decide right now?” If I had a nickel for every time my husband has asked me that…I probably would have immediately spent my gains on ill-planned expenditures.

Typically, I consider decisiveness to be one of my strengths. We planned our wedding in 3.5 months. I found and purchased our living room furniture in a span of 15 minutes. I made the tile salesperson swoon last year when I selected the style and layout of every piece of tile and grout in our home in slightly over an hour (and there were a LOT of options to pick from). While I usually turn up my nose at people who belabor decisions and research ad nauseam, I have found myself lingering in their camp recently. Granted, the decisions we are weighing these days carry more significance than color schemes and visual flow. What should we do for our kids’ education next year? What does it look like for George to take the next steps in his career while still putting our family first? How do I explore my own passions in tandem with motherhood? These decisions make me squirm because they can’t be made in an hour, or even a month.

As I sit in limbo, it makes me realize that much of my “skill” in decisiveness stems from fear. I’m scared of the unknown, and I feel powerless when I slow down. To pray for guidance when I don’t pretty much already have my mind made up is new territory for me, and I don’t like it. But, hopefully this scary new place of careful waiting will usher me into this next phase with more wisdom, more courage, and more trust. 

Day 6: Brave

{This is apparently when all the Sudafed & cough syrup finally caught up to my brain}

A Flu Haiku

What is bravery?
A husband’s lingering care
When he knows he’s next. 😳🤢😷🤒

Day 7: Rise

“Arise, for it is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it.” Ezra 10:4

Grieving the people’s sins, Ezra falls to the ground in despair. He is mourning the ways that they turned from God, and confesses it aloud. He is broken. Then Shecaniah, a leader of the people, speaks up: “We have broken faith with our God…but even now there is hope…” (10:2) Shecaniah follows the prophet’s example in confession and reassures him that he is not alone. Then comes the exhortation to rise up and lead the people into renewed obedience.

See the beauty of shared repentance? Unconcealed tears. Contagious confession. Communal rising.

Published by juliedavis1013

Wife of 1. Mom of 3. Daughter of the King.

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