On the edges of a 40 Day journey toward the Cross & Resurrection Sunday… maybe looking for pockets of time to love in unexpected, fresh, creative ways, to use our gifts to be the gift back to those who need to know the embracing grace of Cross Love — might be a quiet and meaningful way to bless our communities and bless our families… Jessica Turner is a veritable expert in looking for pockets of time & for ways to love well: She works full-time in marketing, writes regularly on her lifestyle blog, mothers her three beautiful young children, yet still finds time each day for using her gifts in life-giving ways. Jessica has been a kindred friend for more than five years — she’s taught me so much about giving with joy & loving upside down & deeply — and it’s a humble joy to learn from her needful journey of The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You — an honor to cheer her on and a grace to welcome Jessica to the farm’s front porch today….
O ne of my treasured childhood memories is seeing my mom paint in the Fringe Hours of her day – afternoons while my sister and I were playing, or evenings, when the house was quiet.
She was always happy when she painted, and this happiness impacted every other area of her life.
Mom began painting as a teenager.
In her early twenties, shortly after she had me, she was invited by a neighbor to take weekly classes. She enthusiastically signed up, and over the years painted many incredible pieces.
I remember waking up in the morning and running to her painting table to see what she had accomplished while I slept. I marveled over her talent and art.
My sister and I loved when our mom would let us paint alongside her.
My dad would give us scraps of wood, and we would paint people, hearts, and balloons.
Painting with my mom is my earliest memory of doing something creative that brought me joy. Moreover, I recall how it did the same for my mom.
Now, as an adult, I recognize the significance of my mom’s painting hobby. Because while she was a wife, mother, volunteer and employee, none of these roles prevented her from making time for her gifts.
She understood the value of practicing self-care and she didn’t feel guilty for taking that time. My mom was born with a God-given artistic talent and she flourished when she made time for her art.
My mom comes from a long-line of women who made time for their gifts. My grandmother loved to knit and read. My great-grandmother loved to embroider and sew.
This legacy of self-care and seeing it in practice made a huge impact on me.
As I mother, I want to instill the same values in my children.
I recognize this is easier said than done. Days are busy and it is often simpler to forgo our needs than to make them a priority — so we can more beautifully pour out for other’s needs. We are really good at being everything for everyone:
The boo-boo kisser.
The bed maker.
The tireless worker.
The cookie baker.
The clothes washer.
And when the day ends, there’s roles we neglected.
If we push our own needs aside, again and again, eventually we will hit rock bottom. And when that happens, everything and everyone suffers.
To prevent this, we must be intentional in our pursuit of fringe hours, which are those times of day that often go underused or wasted all together.
For me this looks like rising before the sun to have time for me. To write, to read, to be quiet with the Lord and nourish my soul so that I am better able to pour into the lives around me.
I have experienced the fruit of fringe hours for years, and the practice is life-giving and life-changing.
I believe I am the woman God created me to be when I am using my gifts.
But that’s not all. Sometimes I say no to dishes, laundry and bed-making. I say no to one more evening activity. And with that bit of time, I do something I love, for me — and for people I love.
We all have 168 hours in a week and one life to live.
I want my kids to remember a mom who was happy and creative. I don’t want them to remember a mom who was stressed because the laundry baskets were full and the bed was unmade.
I want my children to inherit a legacy of passion, grace and creativity. When they are busy adults, I want them to remember to steward their giftings and be intentional to not overload their schedules. I want them to fight for quiet and time.
The original artist, God Himself, created us with a unique set of gifts, skills and talents. We mustn’t let those giftings be stifled.
The best lesson for our children to live intentionally as adults is to see an intentional lifestyle demonstrated at home.
Jesus said to love our neighbors as ourselves. What would our love look like if we did just that and really, truly loved ourselves well? The positive ripple effect of this love and joy would be noticeable, making us better neighbours, better wives, moms, friends and co-workers.
Making time for our gifts is something worth fighting for because when we take that time —
we reflect the generous beauty and giving heart of our Creator.
Jessica Turner is the founder of the popular lifestyle blog The Mom Creative, where she documents her pursuit of cultivating a life well-crafted. Additionally, she is a writer for DaySpring’s (in)courage, an advocate for World Vision, a regular speaker at blogging conferences nationwide, and an award-winning marketing professional.
Jessica’s book The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You is a gift for every woman who struggles with finding time to do the things she loves and practice self-care. Jessica surveyed more than 2,000 women for the book and this research provided insights that spans age, life stage, and geography. A truly practical, helpful book that gives permission in a gentle, yet firm way, The Fringe Hours will have you saying yes to sharing your creative gifts again. Highly recommend: The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You.
Track your time: If you don’t know where you could possibly find time in the day for you, try tracking your time for a week. Click here for a free printable and to learn more about this exercise.
Connect with other women: Join the free Fringe Hours book club, hosted by (in)courage and connect with other women who are exploring what it looks like to make time for their gifts.