March 26, 2017

It is Finished by Marnie Pohlmann

As a writer, I'm not sure I will ever say the words, "It is finished." Perhaps this is because I am a Mom, familiar with a vocation that is never finished. Even when a chore is complete, a few hours later it is undone.

Parents spend time
making a meal that is eaten in ten minutes, 
     while soon everyone is hungry again…
washing the dishes,
      to dirty them with another meal…
sweeping the floor,
      only to have crumbs and dust bunnies multiply...
folding the laundry, 
      and seeing the same shirts end up back in the dirty clothes basket…
making beds, 
     then sending kids to them for a nap…

Everything done becomes undone. It never ends!

Because a mother's work is never finished. 
Yet we eventually come to be at peace with the undone.

Writing is like parenting.
I have so many unfinished ideas
floating around in my head…
scribbled on scraps of paper…
hiding in my journals…
languishing on my computer…

They are not yet even projects!
Some are just twinkles-in-my-eye dreams that may never be birthed. As a writer, though, it is never too late to nurture new life, so I continue to collect these seeds.

I do have a few teenage projects in my family.
Some I have nurtured for a long time.
A novel…
A devotional book…
A memoir…
These are not yet ready to leave home, but they are growing.

Some of the youth have shown up more recently, hanging out but not yet feeling like part of my family.
I feel joy and anguish as I post in this blog space or on my own blog. I wonder, like all parents, what I am thinking, as I take on the responsibility of caring for an online life.

And some of these teens stay only a little while, like neighbour kids, before their time with me is done.
Contest entries…
Calls for submissions to magazines or anthologies…
These short-lived relationships help me stay involved. They force me to practice writing in unfamiliar areas. The rewards of writing to a deadline often outweigh the fears of rejection.

I like to spend quality time with each of these projects, however, life always seems to interrupt. Other family members call for my attention.
     Work demands the bills be paid...
     Ministry asks to be fed…
     Seasons switch clothing, adding to the laundry pile…

When I do make opportunities to connect with my projects, their teen moodiness does not always appreciate my attention.
We sit face to face,
     only they reject me with the silent treatment…
They don't like
     the fashion in my words clothing them…
Eyes roll
     at my attempts to play word games…

Occasionally I brush the hair from their face and send them out into the big world. A mother's angst frets they are not ready, and worries if they will be safe, treated with respect, and find their way to meaningfully influence the people who meet them. They go off where I can no longer reach to feed them, dress them, or care for them.

Still, I cannot say "it is finished."
I will always be their mom. They will always be my baby. I continue to see ways I could have done better by them. I continue to wish I could shape them differently. But they are gone, and I have others still at home who need my attention.

Because a writer's work is never finished.
And that's alright.

"It is finished."
Even our Lord, who said these words as He died on the cross, wasn't really finished!

Jesus rose from the dead (Hallelujah!) so we can be God's work in progress.
Sometimes we rebel…
Sometimes we run…
Sometimes we laze about the house not helping with the chores…
And God continues to love us, nurture and grow us.

God is an expert on resurrection and new life. So, when we look at our parenting or our unfinished writing projects, we can be at peace.

God's work in us and through us is never finished.

*photos courtesy of, CCO license.

Marnie is one of God's unfinished works in progress. 
Read how God is working in and through her at Phosphorescent.


  1. And then the grandchildren come, and all you need to do is enjoy them, love them, be proud of them. All three of my daughters are writers in their own way.
    Love, Love, LOVE this post, Marnie.

    1. Yes, the grands are the best part of letting the kids go!

  2. I love the parenting analogy, Marnie! I can relate to this in so many ways. :)

    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels like this!

  3. I love each and every one who post on the IWO blog. I appreciate your words and your faithfulness. I feel like a mother at times, (to continue with Marnie's metaphor...) to all of those who are regular contributors here. So, I never want to be accused of having favourites among my fold... BUT... Marnie, my friend, this is an example of why, perhaps, you come the nearest if I was to admit to a favourite...
    Oh Marnie! You always mange to touch me with your words! Bless you ten thousand times for your faithfulness to write during the storms. You have a gift beyond your own understanding, i think. I want to bless you with every blessing of heaven today. May God give you the nudge - at the proper time - to put your words into a form that will reach many more people, for we are not to hide our gifts under a bushel.
    End of sermon. :)

    1. Tracy, thank you for blessing me. All this IS beyond my understanding! But I'm so glad it resonates with others. God is continuing to grow me so I can grow the seeds He has planted.

  4. Oh my--so much truth. And I"m so glad God is never finished with us!

  5. A great post Marnie! Your writing is proof our words are alive and just waiting to bless the world. I'm going to read this post again and give it permanent lodging space in my brain!

    1. Alan, I was glad to see on your post that you have relationship with your words, too, so I know you "get" that parenting analogy.

  6. What a wonderful post! Everything needed to shape a great story.

  7. I also "get" your parenting analogy, Marnie, and I love it, as it blesses me both as parent and writer. You did well to carry your analogy, or extended metaphor, to it's completion on this page and its extension as you continue to write and nurture projects at whatever stage they exist.

    You also give us new thoughts on Christ's dying on the cross. His suffering was finished, but his work is ongoing. We are his projects and he watches over us, loving us to fruition.

    May God continue to bless your writing, Marnie.

  8. Thank you, Sharon. And may God continue His work in and through us as writers.

  9. Auntie Marnie, this is beautiful written! Thanks for sharing!

  10. What a beautiful post, Marnie!

    1. Thank you, Sandra. I appreciate the encouragement.


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