Monday, August 31, 2009

Guest Blogger Jennifer Johnson

Hello! Happy August 31st! I’m so glad to be sharing this day with you. I’m Jennifer Johnson. Wife to a great husband—the best, in my humble opinion. Mother to three amazing daughters—one’s leaving the nest for college, another is a busy sophomore in high school, and the third is an active sixth grader. Every day, I teach language arts to 150 seventh grade students at Anderson County Middle School. And, I write two to three books per year.

How do I do it? I have no idea! LOL!!! :)

No, seriously, I do live an eventful life. My guess is you live one as well. So, how does one do it? How does a gal work full-time with all the responsibilities that go into a forty-plus-hour workweek and still find space in her day to conjure up strong heroines who need and yearn to meet Mr. Right? How does a guy take care of his family’s needs and still be able to connect mind to heart to fingertips as he molds the perfect combination of alpha and beta male for his next novel?

It isn’t easy. But, it’s doable. IF it’s what God desires for you.

The truth is, I don’t have the time. Sometimes I look back at what I’ve “accomplished” over the course of a year and I shake my head in confusion over how in the world I was able to get so much stuff done. The number one reason I’m able to take care of my family, work, and write is because of my relationship with God. I don’t mean going to church on Sundays, though we need to hear the Word and bask in the fellowship. I don’t mean saying a quick, “get me through this” prayer, though sometimes we need to be able to do that, too.

I’m talking about the fact that I am absolutely, completely, 100%, ridiculously in love with Abba. He is my life. I will do anything for Him. (Even though I admit that sometimes he nudges me to do things I don’t wish to do, like stop and talk to a perfect stranger about His Son, or He pokes at me to immediately apologize for the stupid, white lie that just slipped from my lips.) Though I may cringe at uncomfortable moments of obedience, I simply cannot take another breath without Him. Without Him, I’m nothing. I can do nothing.

The simple truth is I can juggle so many “things” because my body is wrapped around Him, just as a small child would wrap herself around her daddy’s waist, while He is doing the juggling. In the heart of things, it is that simple.

If you’re overwhelmed, your family is unhappy about the time you spend on the computer, your work ethic at your job is lacking, and all this has been happening for what seems too long, ask Jesus…is this what you want from me? Am I supposed to be writing?

I had a plunge-to-the-bottom moment like that with God approximately six years ago. It was at the annual American Christian Fiction Writers conference (back when it was American Christian Romance Writers). I finally told God, “It’s too much. I can’t do it anymore. I can’t take any more rejections. What do you want from me?”

He told me. His answer—I want you to write.

JoAnne asked me to share how I juggle working and writing, and for months I’ve been trying to think of how to encourage you…maybe give you a list of do’s and don’t’s to help you use your time better. But, as I’ve thought and prayed about this, I’ve realized the juggling is an individual thing, and the best person to tell you how to best manage your responsibilities is the One you should be talking with daily- the Father.

How do I do it? I’m a wife, a mother, a teacher, and a writer. It’s a juggling act, but I’m not the one tossing the pins. That’s how I can do it. Oh Jesus, how I love You!

Watch for Jennifer Johnson's latest book Finding Home releasing to Heartsong Presents in September.


Mary Connealy said...

I do know that whatever else happens, I have a firm goal of adding 1000 words a day to my WIP. Five days a week. A book grows pretty fast at that rate.

I try to NEVER skip this. I've had days I did a lot more but I try to NEVER do less.

Right now I'm at around 70,000 on a 100,000 word book and I'd really really like to have it done (not polished but with THE END typed) before ACFW. That will take 2000 words a day seven days a week.
I don't know if I'll make it but I'm going to get REALLY CLOSE.

Mary Connealy said...

And I need to go write, right now instead of reading blogs. :)

Erica Vetsch said...

Thank you, Jennifer, for the reminder that unless God is building our writing house (family house, job house, etc.) we are laboring in vain.

So wise to ask the one we should be talking to every day about what He wants.

Pepper Basham said...

This is beautiful and such an encouragement. Definitely a post to get our hearts back in focus instead of being distracted by frustration and worry.

You're right. If God's called us - we do it - and He's matter what the task - be it motherhood, matrimony, teaching, or writing.

Thanks for reminding me. I needed it today of all days because I started back on my 'teaching' schedule at the university where I work.

Thanks again, Jennifer - and congrats to your daughter.

Aaron McCarver said...

Hey Jennifer,
Great heartfelt blog! I know that I have to remember Who things are for to get them done. While I am not married and have no children, I do work at 4 jobs so things can get hectic at times. I just always try to keep in mind that the One Who calls me to do these things always promises to give me what I need to do them! Thanks for the reminder! Hope to work with you again soon!

Cara Putman said...

There is no way you have a daughter in college! What a beautiful family, Jennifer.

I'm much like Mary. I have a daily word count goal when I'm on deadline -- and I make it happen no matter how late I have to stay up. Otherwise life gets insane. And I've learned to ask for babysittign help before I'm so far behind I can't catch up.