Wednesday, June 9, 2010


This morning as I was helping out with a project for church I came to the moment that is always tricky for me: the moment when I am asked to declare my title (or occupation). Generally it happens at the doctor or school as I am filling out the patient/parent questionnaires. In my flurry of scribbling down the usual facts, I come to this one and pause.

I know many women who gussy up the term "homemaker," feeling it doesn't properly reflect all we stay-at-home moms do ("domestic engineer" being the most common that leaps to mind). My pause this morning, however, came not from a hesitation to label myself a homemaker. It came from a resistance to label myself something else entirely.


My kind friend who was working with me on the project stated matter-of-factly that this is what it would say under my name. Instantly my stomach churned and I felt warm. I had to correct him. To admit that it felt untrue. To suggest that we stick to something that I know to be true: "Wife, mother, friend." Yes, yes, and yes. This is who I am. But writer?

Long after he was gone and the project was finished, I was left thinking about my hesitancy to label myself a writer. Why? Well, first of all a writer writes. And I have to confess I haven't been doing much of that lately - at least pen to paper (or more accurately fingers to keyboard). My head has been busy cataloging story ideas and blog entries, but that seems to be as far as I get these days.

What would give me the confidence to call myself a writer? If I were published? If I posted fresh material faithfully to my blog? If I had an audience of readers?

Truth be told, I've known I was a writer since my high school crush admitted my letter made him pull over his truck as he read it on the drive home. I've know since my essay was published in our senior yearbook. I can still remember the response of my classmates. I've known since my first college English class when the professor (notoriously tough to please) praised my first essay. I've known as I've worked with student writers, edited professional writers, and mentored (and been mentored by) aspiring writers.

To say that I am something doesn't mean it must be my occupation. Wife, mother, friend...not my occupations, but essential parts of who I am. In the end, I see that adding "writer" to this list isn't a deception but an admission - I am a writer. It is part of my gifting and part of my glory.

It takes courage to say it; it takes even more courage to believe it. But here it is (I'm not sure the fill-in-the-blank is long enough to hold it all): "Daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, seeker, student, believer, mentor, teacher, leader, listener, encourager, worshipper, ponderer, and writer." I'm sure that answer will merit a double-take at the doctor's office.

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