This is my friend Sarah and she amazing.
She is true and honest and beautiful. And a hoot.
And always answers my random emails, which I am beyond grateful for.
Sarah is one of the people who makes me feel less alone – especially in world of writing and publishing, and because I generally feel as if I am wandering around in the dark in that arena, her openness, wisdom, and friendship has been a lifesaving and generous gift to me.
She has also graciously opened up her blog space to my words, her arms to my hugs, and the seat next to her on more than one occasion.
AND today she is opening up with all of y’all as well!
Sarah (pregnant with Tiny #4) sweetly agreed to be the next momma-in-the-spotlight for my Faith, Art. and Motherhood series – sharing a bit of her process, her struggles and her heart with us all.
So without further adieu, Ms. Bessey:
Blog Name: SarahBessey.com (I know, so creative!)
Kids Ages: 8, 6, nearly 4, and a new little tiny on the way in February-ish.
Relationship Status: married for nearly 14 years to Brian.
Other Job(s) besides blogging/creating: In a previous life, I was in marketing and strategic development for financial services institutions and then in the non-profit sector.
Expression of Faith: I’m a neo-charismatic post-everything cafeteria Christian – we worship at the Vineyard but I’m heavily influenced by Anglicanism and Anabaptist theology these days.
Where Do You Live? We live in Abbotsford, British Columbia, a small city just outside of Vancouver. And I could play it cool but it really is that beautiful and amazing to live right between the oceans and the mountains. We live in a semi-attached house and our neighbourhood is next to a blueberry farm.
How did you find your creative niche? Was this something you have always done, or did you fall into it by accident? I’ve been writing since I was eight years old. In fact, that was when I decided on my vocation. I’ve always written and I believe I always will – I was writing long before anyone bothered to read it and I’ll still be here at last call.
Where do you create? Office? Kitchen table? Oh, everywhere. I’m the mother of small children and so I have a finely honed skill for selective hearing. Most of my books are written either at the public library or local coffee shops but I also write at my kitchen table.
Do you create best in solitude or in the middle of chaos? I write best in solitude but that’s rare in my life so I write in the midst of life as it’s happening. If I couldn’t write in the midst of life as it’s happening, then I’d never write. In fact, I wrote a post about it for SheLoves Magazine. http://shelovesmagazine.com/2014/chasing-a-dream/
How does your faith influence your creative process? My faith is deeply connected to my creative process. i don’t just say that because I write a lot of narrative theology – telling stories about the ways that I find and encounter God in my daily life. But I have found that a lot of my beliefs about God come home to roost in my creativity. I work through what I think and believe and even hope about God. I find myself grappling with what I believe about God’s abundance because I’ve found that writing is like manna to me: there’s no use hoarding because you only have enough for today and then there is the faith that there will be enough again tomorrow, for instance.
Sometimes I feel as if writing, parenting, and the practicing my faith are all drawing from the same well inside me, that they tax the same part of my heart. This means that quite often I find that I have depleted all of my resources pouring into just one of the three, leaving the other two wanting. Do you have this same issue, or is it just me? I have found that for me the parenting and the practice of faith are the well that I draw from. The only times when I feel writer’s block or whatever you call it is when I know those wells are dry. If I didn’t have a full life, if I didn’t have a deeply well there, then I don’t know what in the world to write about!
What do you do to recharge, or refill the well; In your creative process? In your parenting? In the practicing of your faith? I refill in pretty ordinary ways. In fact, I find it’s the ordinary things that fill me up the most. When I’m feeling depleted and empty, I do basic quotidian things: laundry, clean my house, cook meals, go for walks in the mountains, read books, knit, coffee with my sister, go to church, go for a drive, read books aloud to my tinies, all of that stuff. The more I bring order and joy to my life with those things, the more I feel settled in my spirit and alive again. I sometimes joke that the secret to happiness is being easily pleased – and I’m pretty easily pleased by the ordinary things. The more I dig into the dirt of my life, the more richness I find in the soil.
Do you have any advice for other mom’s out there who are also trying to learn how to live out their callings as artist, mothers and followers of Christ? What is something you wish someone had told you earlier on? I wish someone had told me that it doesn’t have to look one-way to be the right way. My path to becoming a writer has been rather unorthodox: it’s been organic and very slow, low on expectations and high on sheer love of the craft, deeply embedded in my real life. And now I am so thankful for that. My voice as a writer came out of that season and I cultivate those things now. The “real life” stuff isn’t keeping me from my vocation and calling, that is my calling and it only enriches my vocation.
What are some specific challenges you are facing right now in all three of these areas? Well, it’s always time and balance, isn’t it? Finding time for the work while managing balance but I don’t think that’s unique to me as a writer. I felt the same tension as a full-time working mother. That’s just the nature of life, I think, and we all hit on decisions that make that easier or harder for our particular families.
Lent and Easer are both coming up – are there any practices or traditions surrounding this church season that you celebrate at home with your kids that you would encourage other parents to try? I don’t do much for Lent with the tinies yet but it’s a big part of my personal devotions at the moment. We tend to focus more on Holy Week and Easter for our family both through our church and through our families.
How can I, and my readers, pray for you? Well, we are adding a new baby to our family very soon so any prayers for this last month of pregnancy and for birth are greatly appreciated! Also as we transition to having a new baby in the house again – it’ll be an adjustment in so many ways for us as a family and even for me right now since my new book is coming out in August – I’ll be nursing and editing at the same time!
Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers regarding the interplay of art, faith, and parenthood in your life? Any experiences or practices you would like to share? Being a writer is an interesting thing as a parent. I’ve had to learn to let the tinies own their own stories instead of imposing my narrative on them, or turning their lives into content. But my life is fair game. 🙂 It’s been one of the great gifts of my life, an altar for encountering God as I sort through the narrative for my own life as it’s unfolding. Particularly when I write about marriage or mothering or my faith, writing has been the one thing that connects everything for me, making me feel less fragmented and more whole. I think God meets us there in those places.
Sarah – thanks so, so much for your friendship, your words, and your transparency – here and on your blog and in your books. You are a gift and I am so blessed to call you friend.
Wishing you lots of love, laughter, sweetness, and gifts of sleep when they are needed most as you travel your newest journey!