“But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you our Potter; and we all are the work of your hand.”
— Isaiah 64:8
Every life has a story to tell. It’s not just a simple cliché: It’s an undeniable fact. We all get from point “a” (birth) to an eventual point “b” (death) via a journey or life path that becomes our unique story. And as our personal stories unfold, we move from one chapter to the next — page by page — driven by instinct, desire, duty, and determination to reach the ultimate destination: Success, joy, freedom, peace, fulfillment… Who wouldn’t strive for that happy ending? But a great story is usually riddled with drama: Twists and turns that are both in and out of the main character’s control. Some call it fate, some call it kharma, some call it destiny. In my personal story, I call it transformation.
That’s because I wasn’t always the “entrepreneur, writer, wife and home-educating mother of three” that I describe myself as today. There was a time — when I had the pen in my hand — that the story was going in a completely different direction. After rising to the top ranks in college and graduate school, I was on my way to becoming a successful journalist and creating the career and financial stability that everyone hopes for. As I moved from copy editor all the way up the corporate ladder to executive editor, I thought there wasn’t anything that my carefully executed planning couldn’t anticipate… except for the drama, of course. The unexpected twist in the tale was being laid off from a position I’d worked tirelessly to attain because of circumstances completely out of my control.
So it was time for a new chapter, and I embraced the idea of entrepreneurship. Most of my life I’ve been labeled a perfectionist, control freak, “type A” personality, etc. — it had served me well in my journalism career, so why not be my own boss? It’s not far off the mark for the eldest daughter of eight children, right? After all, God prepared me for the role: It seemed perfectly clear to me that the sharpened leadership qualities I had gained along the way would be even more useful now. It’s my destiny to be in charge, I assumed — and that was completely fine with me. Especially now that I had two children in the picture, and control over my schedule never felt more appealing.
However, I continued to wrestle the pen out of God’s hand. Instead of taking a moment to consider a totally different outcome from this new opportunity, I still felt that impulsive chase to be “the best” — to be the superwoman mother and entrepreneur. And once again, I felt like a miserable failure when I didn’t achieve all that I thought I could or should. During the past decade of meshing motherhood with a career and a business, I realize that I’ve hardly considered the notion that “superwoman” may not be the character that God — my Potter — was molding me to be. I’ve been afraid to let go of my own expectations long enough to see what He has been trying to create, and I am realizing now that this resistance to change had become my biggest obstacle.
Once again, it was time for “a new chapter” in this story.
Two college degrees, two careers, countless relocations, and three children later, I have discovered an unexpected peace and joy in the knowledge that every morning reveals a new chapter in a story that I’ve finally stopped trying to write on my own. No matter what happened yesterday or what I think should happen today, each new day that I am blessed to live, I’m simply turning to an unwritten page that’s waiting to be filled in with insight, growth, transformation, and further shaping into a useful vessel with divine purpose by my Heavenly Father — my Potter.
There is a lot of molding that I am still trying to surrender to. For example, my idealistic view of home educating our children seemed manageable and even practical for the years that I simply thought about it and didn’t act upon it. But now that I am finally in the midst of it, the daily reality of homeschooling is challenging me to the core. Continuing to pursue my business, my writing, and other passions I believe God placed in my heart for His purpose — while keeping my family priorities at the top of the list — also feels more challenging than ever.
So I don’t know exactly where this “new chapter” is going. I only know where I have been, what I have learned, and the fact that I have taken enough personal detours to know that at this point, I don’t want to stand in the way of what God is transforming me to be. I am putting myself back on the Potter’s wheel.
It’s my hope that by capturing some of these new chapters in the pages of this blog — the practical, the humorous, and the thoughtful lessons of my days as an “entrepreneur, writer, wife and home-educating mother of three” — my stories can encourage you to let God finish writing your story as well.
— Renée Gotcher
“Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I hope in Him!’” — Lamentations 3:22-24