Natalie Wilson Eastman (MDiv, DMin) is the author of Women, Leadership and the Bible: How Do I Know What I Believe? A Practical Guide to Biblical Interpretation and a member of the Redbud Writers Guild. She has served as a full-time youth minister to girls and women; worship leader and team developer; missionary to East Asia; and a retreat and event teacher/speaker. She lives in Delaware, OH, with her husband and three children. Find out more at natalieeastman.com. "I don't 'write,' Lord—not in that way, anyway."
"Perhaps I wasn't clear the first time: I'm not a 'writer,' Lord."
"I'm too extroverted to sit and write. I'd rather speak. I'm much better in the moment directly with people, Lord."
"I'm no good at structuring and outlining a paper, Lord, much less a book."
"Are you sure you have the right Natalie Wilson, Lord?"
The story of writing my new book testifies to God's urging, wooing, and guiding to reclaim me as the ezer (strong power) he created (Genesis 2:18). The transformation has occurred on so many levels that it's hard to know where to begin. You saw the beginning of the movement in the opening lines of this post. I'll continue by saying that it took between twelve and thirteen years to finally publish the book.
While Suzanne is my colleague through the Redbud Writers Guild, and I took notes on what she and Carla Sunberg wrote in Reclaiming Eve, it was Jamie Wright's words in the final chapter (pps. 161-162) that struck a chord with me as I considered what God has been calling me to reclaim: how does my life reflect that I am his ezer, a woman created in his image to reflect him to the world?
In discussing the parable of the talents (Mt. 25:14-30), Jamie says,
[God] isn't looking for qualified applicants with a certain amount of experience. The only way we can disappoint him is if we sit on our hands and do nothing.
I've disclosed to you that from the start I doubted my ability, questioned the calling, and even questioned whether God realized he was speaking to me. I had many of what I've come to call "Moses Moments" during those dozen or so years—moments when doubts made me feel paralyzed. Still, I finally said "yes" to God. And then I just kept on saying "yes."
This meant, literally, that I kept showing up: I just kept writing, I just kept sending out query letters and proposals; I just kept ignoring the many rejections; I just kept sitting to write when I could find or make (or was given as a gift)—some time.
And that, my friends, is a testimony to God's patience, provision, and poking. For all of that, I praise him and give him all the glory for the book, for the forthcoming accompanying e-books (something I thought would never happen in a million years). But most important is the message to be shared, and the joy of helping women develop their Bible study skills, find their own interpretive voice, and experience the freedom and competence to stand on their own two theological feet.
Even as I throw myself into this new season, planning an outreach ministry-business to surround the book and support women's efforts to grow in their ability to study the Bible and interpret what they read with both spiritual and academic tools and integrity, I still have my “Moses Moments.” Although the book is now complete and published, and I must admit I'm "humbly proud" (for those who can appreciate that oxymoron) of how it turned out, a reality check testifies that I'm twelve years older than when I started, and the old grey matter is definitely showing signs of struggling.
I'm now married with three small children, a small business, a part-time job, and a lot of sleep deprivation—on top of the book work. Some days, it feels like I have no grey matter left, or that the grey appears to be transferring to my hair. In addition to those challenges, I get to experience the joys of the hormonal swings of perimenopause, during which estrogen levels cyclically rise and drastically plummet. With them, my memory surges to crystal clarity then inexplicably and completely disappears.
I struggle: "What if people ask me to come speak? What if I can't remember the points in my book?" I do have a basis for that fear: my husband asked me the five pain points of my book once and I couldn't remember them. Truth be told, I've balked on my children's names before, as my mind went completely blank. Yet, I have to say, to sisters and brothers alike, my experiences and fears aren't unique and my challenges aren't the worst there are; but I keep showing up. And I'll keep on showing up to contribute whatever God calls me to contribute, no matter how crazy or frightening they seem to me, as long as God continues to call me as an ezer to his people. I trust and hope that will be until he calls me home.
To what do you think God may be calling you? (Please share in comments below.)
Is there a task, passion, or grief (see Reclaiming Eve pps. 156-157) you can't get off your mind , or that keeps coming to you while in prayer or contemplation? Take time to have conversation with the Lord about it. Test it out with a few steps of faith, time in the Word, individual prayer, and community prayer, and see what God confirms, redirects, and/or corrects. May God bless you as you find the will and space to say "yes" and then just keep showing up.
On #ReclaimingEve: “I recommend this resource for every daughter of Eve!” — Nancy Beach, leadership coach, speaker; author, Gifted to Lead: The Art of Leading as a Woman in the Church