1. You are a wife, mother, author and poet—you wear so many hats! What does a typical day look like for you and your family?
Each month seems a bit different for us because of different creative projects we take on. Right now, my three-year-old daughter goes to daycare three days a week, which is usually when I get a chance to work. I also help lead the small group ministry at my church, and I host and lead a small group of ladies at my house Monday evenings. My husband leads a small group of men at our house on Tuesday evenings. He mostly works from home for a business he helped start called Native Supply, as well as other work opportunities. I try to make my Fridays a free day for me to have some intentional mother-daughter bonding time with my girl. Saturdays are all over the place with church meetings, events, meeting with younger sisters from church, or traveling for events. Sundays we attend our church, Living Faith Bible Fellowship, and fellowship with folks after service.
2. When did you start writing poetry? How has your art grown or changed through the years?
I started writing poetry around the age of 16 shortly after the Lord saved me. I would write about what I was learning from God’s Word in my journal, and it would often come out as poetry. I had a high school English teacher who put together a poetry slam and asked me to memorize one of poems to perform it. I did as she said, and I began to realize that spoken word poetry was a gift God had given me to share the gospel and proclaim the truth to others. I still write poems in my journals as I grow in my walk with God, and some of those poems turn into performances, spoken word videos, and now children’s books. The style of my writing has morphed over the years because of different musical (mostly hip-hop) and poetry I’ve been exposed to. I believe I’m still developing my own unique writing “voice,” and I’m learning to embrace that it comes with practice over time.
3. In your most full or challenging seasons, how have you still managed to create?
Since God saved me in high school, writing has been a pretty essential way for me to process how God’s Word speaks to whatever is going on in my heart. Oftentimes, my prayers find their voice on the pages of my journal way before they spill from my lips. So my spiritual and emotional health is very connected to my making time to write. If I haven’t been writing, I’m most likely avoiding in-depth time with God because I don’t want to deal with some wound, sin, or fear. When I’m doing this, God tends to bring me to the end of myself and I can’t seem to function until I write out my prayer and press into His presence again.
I try to make time for writing by simply having my journal near me when I’m reading God’s Word and praying. It also helps me to pull away for a half-day every few months so I can spend some extended time in prayer, reading God’s Word, and writing. The majority of my creative projects have been birthed in those moments of spending time in God’s Word with a pen in hand.
4. You just released your first children’s book, Love Made! You mention in the book trailer about your journey through pregnancy, from struggling to see it as a blessing to truly embracing the gift of motherhood. Can you speak a little more to that journey?
Yes! Before I got married, I would say, “I don’t mind if we get pregnant on our honeymoon!” Then I got married and said, “You know what? Let’s wait a couple years because I want more time with just you.” Shortly after I said that, I got pregnant. We were eight months into our marriage. I didn’t feel emotionally, financially, or spiritually ready to be a mom. I thought my relationship with my husband would suffer under the pressures and fatigue of parenthood. I knew that God’s Word says children are a blessing, but I struggled to believe that at the core of my heart.
We publicly announced our pregnancy when I was 12 weeks pregnant. That same night, I began bleeding. I thought I was having a miscarriage, and I can’t tell you how scared I felt. My OB told us to come in the next day, and I held my breath during the ultrasound. When I heard, “There’s the heartbeat,” relief flooded in and tears filled my eyes. It turns out I had subchorionic hematoma (basically a blood clot on the outer placenta), which could dissolve on its own or could lead to a miscarriage. Thankfully, it dissolved by the time I was 20 weeks pregnant.
God used that health scare to help me see how precious that little life was inside of me, and as soon as I got home I wrote my first poem to our unborn child. After that, I began writing more poems during my pregnancy. Near the end of my pregnancy I wrote a poem to our unborn child, and I called it “Love Made.” It is a joyful poem that connects the eternal joy of God to the joy we felt as new parents. The poem was proof that God had worked a ton in my heart to embrace the true blessing of having a child.
5. What inspires you: as a wife, mom, and artist?
As a wife, what inspires me are the healthy, Christ-centered marriages of older couples in my church. As a mom, what inspires me is my older sister who became a mom years before me. The way she models repentance before her children has inspired me more than all the wonderful things I’ve read about motherhood.
As an artist, God’s Word and God’s world inspire me all the time. Truth, beauty, and goodness abound. There’s always something to wrestle through, something to lament, something to delight in, something to praise God for. Inspiration is everywhere, especially when we seek to see through the lens of faith.
6. Do you have any favorite resources that you’d recommend to fellow creatives?
Last year, a book that really helped me was The Elements of Eloquence. If you’re a communicator of any sort, I think you will enjoy and benefit from this book.
7. Do you have a scripture, word, or mantra that guides your work?
“Is it true? Is it good? Is it beautiful?”
8. It’s beautiful to see your motherhood and creativity come together in the book Love Made. How do you believe motherhood and creative work complement one another?
Motherhood is the sweetest and the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced. And this means that motherhood offers loads and loads of inspiration—the fears, the joys, the silliness, the epic fails, the fatigue, the body image issues, the change of seasons, etc.
9. Have you ever wanted to throw in the towel and quit being an artist? How did you fight past that feeling?
Too many times to count. Typically, when I create a spoken word recording or video, I’m spending money and not making it. I haven’t ever “gone viral” and I’m not widely known. When I let that get me down, I have to remember a few things: (1) the gifts God has given me are for the purpose of serving others, not my ego. (2) God sees what’s done in secret, and my works will be tested by Him, not by social media. (3) I literally can’t stop creating, even when I don’t make any financial profit, because God has wired me this way to process life in Him through words. (4) If what I create brings even one person to Christ, or helps even one person endure in Christ, then I have gained more treasure than money or fame can buy. (5) The artistic gifts God has given me will be one of the ways I serve God on the New Earth (Heaven) for eternity, so it makes sense to serve Him with these gifts now. (6) The Parable of the Talents is for real (Matt. 25:14-30).
10. If you could tell moms who long to create as they raise little ones a word of advice or encouragement, what would it be?
Just do what you can. God sees how busy and tiring this season of life is for you. If you can only manage to scribble some drawing or poem on a piece of paper towel, you’re still creating. Who knows what God might do with that? And who knows all God is up to in your heart, your character, and your scribblings in this season?