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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Staking Everything on Faith - Personal and Confidential

by Tracee Sioux

Please do not read this if you are feeling grouchy or critical - come back later when you're in the mood for some spiritual talk and want to send generosity of spirit and encouragement my way.

I've only received two "words" from God, directly to me, Tracee Sioux, in my whole life. Well, at least that I can recall recognizing them as such. I mean, God's probably been super-verbal my whole life, but I wasn't tuning in. That is most likely the case. And I call it two words, but they are the same scripture so it's all connected and it feels like maybe it is the exact same thing he's been trying to tell me my whole life.

But, this time. This time I get it.

I've openly discussed my shameful feelings of desperation for a man to love me. For a man to recognize my beauty and encourage my talents and skills. God was gracious enough to give me a moment of clarity where I could see exactly how this is playing out in my marriage, which plays out in front of my daughter. I am desperate for him to validate who I am, he exploits that to get what he wants, my daughter sees that and adopts my desperation mistaking it for love. You can read all about the consequences of this ridiculous cycle in my article Desperation by Osmosis. http://traceesioux.blogspot.com/2007/03/desperation-by-osmosis.html

The other is about my career. I used to be a successful reporter. I wrote for newspapers in Utah and California for about 4 years and then moved to New York and wrote for a travel trade magazine. I was good at it. I won awards and made a decent living. I was driven and I found the work deeply gratifying.

Then I became a mother and it changed the significance of work in my life. Now, I was torn between what I thought was best for the baby and what I thought was best for my career. Truthfully, it was sort of an unforeseen dilemma in my life and in my marriage. Before the birth of my daughter daycare was hypothetical. After the birth it became something I just couldn't do.

You have to understand that I was raised Mormon. Mormon with a capital "M." I was bred to breed. To mother was my entire function as a woman. To be a stay-at-home mother was entirely expected of a "good mother." My entire training as a girl centered around one day having children and then devoting my life to staying at home and caring for them. When it was a hypothetical issue that played itself out in the media I could honestly say that I believed I could do both - pursue my career and mother my children in the best way possible. But, when that choice was staring me in the face I just couldn't. That's all. I couldn't. Right or wrong. I just couldn't drop my baby off at daycare for 50 hours a week to pursue my writing career and miss the whole mothering experience that happens during those 50 hours.

I attempted to do it several times. We moved to East Texas and I got a job at the local daily and tried to resume my writing career before our daughter turned two. But, it caused a tremendous amount of anxiety and depression. I just couldn't care about the pot holes or the city council meetings or any of the other nonsense I found myself writing about. Because while I was writing about it I was just thinking about how my daughter was being put to bed by someone else and the only time I had seen her that day was to get her ready for school and drop her off.

Don't misunderstand me. I am not saying that the only way a woman can be a great mother is to stay home. I'm not judging anyone else's decisions. I'm just admitting that the conflict for me was too great to bear and it led to a whole lot of very real pain. I started taking prescriptions to manage the anxiety and to quiet the guilt and minimize the depression. Then I became dependent on the medication and ended up in the hospital trying to go cold turkey without having seizures from withdrawal of the medication.

I quit writing all together for several years. I felt betrayed by my gift, and yes, I will be honest I believe I have a gift. I felt too much anger toward my self for not being able to manage both my writing career and my mothering instinct. I took jobs in the photography profession and developed those skills instead. I had always worked as a photojournalist as well, so there was real interest there and I could leave work at work and be emotionally present for my family when I was at home.

But, I missed the writing. I've always communicated through writing. I've worked very hard to become a skilled writer. I've always felt driven to say what I have to say. I've felt driven to help people communicate their stories. I've been pretty successful at it in the past.

Kid two. We had a baby a year ago and I, of course, felt compelled to stay home with him for the first year. I just think it does matter who changes them, feeds them, talks to them, lays them down for a nap. And I feel it's my right, responsibility and privilege to be the one who mothers him.

One day I'm sitting in church and the sermon is on burying your talents. I believe it's Matthew 25:25 where God punishes the servant who buries his talents rather than multiplying his talents. Now, perhaps you're one of the Bible scholars who believes this story is about money and I don't waste my time arguing semantics of theology. For me, this verse was clearly about my writing. That it was time for me to get over the anger and betrayal I felt about my writing talent and the conflicts it had led to in my life. So the Pastor says anyone who wants to be prayed for to stop burying their talents should up up and be prayed over by the congregation.

So there I am standing alone in front of the whole church being prayed over. And I tell God.

If you want me to use my talents to write, then I will write. But, you have to make clear to me what I am to write about. It can't be a struggle. I must be inspired and it must do good and I need it to not conflict with my mothering.

And I waited. And then I started feeling inspired to write. I started getting some clarity about some things in my life. I started opening up the Bible in my darkest hours and always, without fail I would turn to I Timothy 4:14-16.

Neglect not the gift that is in thee; which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them. For in doing this thou shalt save thyself, and them that hear thee.

And I began to write. To write things I care about deeply. To write from a place of empowerment for myself, for my daughter and for my audience. And I have sent articles to magazines and a book to publishers and posted my writing on this blog. All in faith that it will be helpful to those who read it and in the faith that I will profit from it.

My husband, a Christian, mocks and minimizes my words from God.

I told him that if he can't love who I am today, then he should move out and stop punishing me. I don't have the capacity to be anyone other than me and I'm a fantastic woman and I deserve to be married to someone who thinks so.

He packed his bags and moved out last night. He wants me to take another menial part-time job and pursue my writing in my "spare time" until the money starts to flow in. He wants better cars and a bigger house and he wants to play golf and have some fun. (Who doesn't?)

But, I believe I should act on faith and devote myself wholly to it. Really it all leads back to the first word from God about his attempts at controlling me through my desperation for him to validate and encourage me.

As you can see, I've staked everything on faith in this one scripture. Faith that I will get a completely transformed marriage that is positive and fulfilling to us and our children. Faith that if I write what I feel inspired to write that it will lead to profit for my family. Faith that my readers will benefit from my vulnerable insights. Faith that I will start getting acceptance letters from magazines and book publishers. That I will win the writing contests that I've entered. That I will see my Adsense and Bidvertiser accounts grow to contribute to our family's financial stability.

I told God last night as I lay in bed, now would be a good time to give him a sign that I should follow my writing path. I think a check and an acceptance letter and a bunch of clicks on my blog would be a good sign, don't you?

3 comments:

Jonna said...

Tracee, you are in my prayers. We haven't met, but from reading your writing (and yes, dangit, you have a GIFT), I feel that I am coming to know you like a friend. It sounds like you already know all of this, but be strong, be there for your kiddos, and take the best care of their mom for them, so that you can take the best care of them.

Rebecca said...

You are in my prayers as well! Be encouraged!

Rebecca

jen said...

Praying for both of you here too mama.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Staking Everything on Faith - Personal and Confidential

by Tracee Sioux

Please do not read this if you are feeling grouchy or critical - come back later when you're in the mood for some spiritual talk and want to send generosity of spirit and encouragement my way.

I've only received two "words" from God, directly to me, Tracee Sioux, in my whole life. Well, at least that I can recall recognizing them as such. I mean, God's probably been super-verbal my whole life, but I wasn't tuning in. That is most likely the case. And I call it two words, but they are the same scripture so it's all connected and it feels like maybe it is the exact same thing he's been trying to tell me my whole life.

But, this time. This time I get it.

I've openly discussed my shameful feelings of desperation for a man to love me. For a man to recognize my beauty and encourage my talents and skills. God was gracious enough to give me a moment of clarity where I could see exactly how this is playing out in my marriage, which plays out in front of my daughter. I am desperate for him to validate who I am, he exploits that to get what he wants, my daughter sees that and adopts my desperation mistaking it for love. You can read all about the consequences of this ridiculous cycle in my article Desperation by Osmosis. http://traceesioux.blogspot.com/2007/03/desperation-by-osmosis.html

The other is about my career. I used to be a successful reporter. I wrote for newspapers in Utah and California for about 4 years and then moved to New York and wrote for a travel trade magazine. I was good at it. I won awards and made a decent living. I was driven and I found the work deeply gratifying.

Then I became a mother and it changed the significance of work in my life. Now, I was torn between what I thought was best for the baby and what I thought was best for my career. Truthfully, it was sort of an unforeseen dilemma in my life and in my marriage. Before the birth of my daughter daycare was hypothetical. After the birth it became something I just couldn't do.

You have to understand that I was raised Mormon. Mormon with a capital "M." I was bred to breed. To mother was my entire function as a woman. To be a stay-at-home mother was entirely expected of a "good mother." My entire training as a girl centered around one day having children and then devoting my life to staying at home and caring for them. When it was a hypothetical issue that played itself out in the media I could honestly say that I believed I could do both - pursue my career and mother my children in the best way possible. But, when that choice was staring me in the face I just couldn't. That's all. I couldn't. Right or wrong. I just couldn't drop my baby off at daycare for 50 hours a week to pursue my writing career and miss the whole mothering experience that happens during those 50 hours.

I attempted to do it several times. We moved to East Texas and I got a job at the local daily and tried to resume my writing career before our daughter turned two. But, it caused a tremendous amount of anxiety and depression. I just couldn't care about the pot holes or the city council meetings or any of the other nonsense I found myself writing about. Because while I was writing about it I was just thinking about how my daughter was being put to bed by someone else and the only time I had seen her that day was to get her ready for school and drop her off.

Don't misunderstand me. I am not saying that the only way a woman can be a great mother is to stay home. I'm not judging anyone else's decisions. I'm just admitting that the conflict for me was too great to bear and it led to a whole lot of very real pain. I started taking prescriptions to manage the anxiety and to quiet the guilt and minimize the depression. Then I became dependent on the medication and ended up in the hospital trying to go cold turkey without having seizures from withdrawal of the medication.

I quit writing all together for several years. I felt betrayed by my gift, and yes, I will be honest I believe I have a gift. I felt too much anger toward my self for not being able to manage both my writing career and my mothering instinct. I took jobs in the photography profession and developed those skills instead. I had always worked as a photojournalist as well, so there was real interest there and I could leave work at work and be emotionally present for my family when I was at home.

But, I missed the writing. I've always communicated through writing. I've worked very hard to become a skilled writer. I've always felt driven to say what I have to say. I've felt driven to help people communicate their stories. I've been pretty successful at it in the past.

Kid two. We had a baby a year ago and I, of course, felt compelled to stay home with him for the first year. I just think it does matter who changes them, feeds them, talks to them, lays them down for a nap. And I feel it's my right, responsibility and privilege to be the one who mothers him.

One day I'm sitting in church and the sermon is on burying your talents. I believe it's Matthew 25:25 where God punishes the servant who buries his talents rather than multiplying his talents. Now, perhaps you're one of the Bible scholars who believes this story is about money and I don't waste my time arguing semantics of theology. For me, this verse was clearly about my writing. That it was time for me to get over the anger and betrayal I felt about my writing talent and the conflicts it had led to in my life. So the Pastor says anyone who wants to be prayed for to stop burying their talents should up up and be prayed over by the congregation.

So there I am standing alone in front of the whole church being prayed over. And I tell God.

If you want me to use my talents to write, then I will write. But, you have to make clear to me what I am to write about. It can't be a struggle. I must be inspired and it must do good and I need it to not conflict with my mothering.

And I waited. And then I started feeling inspired to write. I started getting some clarity about some things in my life. I started opening up the Bible in my darkest hours and always, without fail I would turn to I Timothy 4:14-16.

Neglect not the gift that is in thee; which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them. For in doing this thou shalt save thyself, and them that hear thee.

And I began to write. To write things I care about deeply. To write from a place of empowerment for myself, for my daughter and for my audience. And I have sent articles to magazines and a book to publishers and posted my writing on this blog. All in faith that it will be helpful to those who read it and in the faith that I will profit from it.

My husband, a Christian, mocks and minimizes my words from God.

I told him that if he can't love who I am today, then he should move out and stop punishing me. I don't have the capacity to be anyone other than me and I'm a fantastic woman and I deserve to be married to someone who thinks so.

He packed his bags and moved out last night. He wants me to take another menial part-time job and pursue my writing in my "spare time" until the money starts to flow in. He wants better cars and a bigger house and he wants to play golf and have some fun. (Who doesn't?)

But, I believe I should act on faith and devote myself wholly to it. Really it all leads back to the first word from God about his attempts at controlling me through my desperation for him to validate and encourage me.

As you can see, I've staked everything on faith in this one scripture. Faith that I will get a completely transformed marriage that is positive and fulfilling to us and our children. Faith that if I write what I feel inspired to write that it will lead to profit for my family. Faith that my readers will benefit from my vulnerable insights. Faith that I will start getting acceptance letters from magazines and book publishers. That I will win the writing contests that I've entered. That I will see my Adsense and Bidvertiser accounts grow to contribute to our family's financial stability.

I told God last night as I lay in bed, now would be a good time to give him a sign that I should follow my writing path. I think a check and an acceptance letter and a bunch of clicks on my blog would be a good sign, don't you?

3 comments:

Jonna said...

Tracee, you are in my prayers. We haven't met, but from reading your writing (and yes, dangit, you have a GIFT), I feel that I am coming to know you like a friend. It sounds like you already know all of this, but be strong, be there for your kiddos, and take the best care of their mom for them, so that you can take the best care of them.

Rebecca said...

You are in my prayers as well! Be encouraged!

Rebecca

jen said...

Praying for both of you here too mama.