The last time we chatted I told you about the apple crisp I was making for small group. By the time our friends arrived at 6:00 our house smelled like heaven– apples and cinnamon and deliciousness.

By 6:30 our house smelled like smoke because of the fire in our oven.

Welcome to our home. We like to burn dinner for our guests as frequently as possible.

Did you know that if enough olive oil drips off the pizza crust and pools next to a very hot element it is, indeed, flammable? So while my husband stood near the oven and made calm, quiet observations about how high the flames were reaching and our friends sat nearby and watched this spectacle, I was standing on a chair waving a magazine by the smoke detector because if one goes off, all of them go off, and it is literally loud enough to call Lazarus from his tomb.

Eric says we have a ministry of helping other people feel better about themselves, and we have proven this true again. You may recall that earlier this summer I incinerated the hot dogs on the grill for these same folks.

Ahem. Tonight’s dinner is in the crock-pot, and so far nothing is on fire.

Flames and craziness aside, we love this. We love it when our house is full of friends and family and smoke.

And I have a family and friends I love, a job I love, a church I love, laundry I’m not so crazy about, and a bunch of other things to do, like read and sleep and keep the house decent. I’ve been keeping up on my writing and blogging, but only halfheartedly, because it’s been pushed to the side by the other important things in life.

I’ve also been trying to get ready for a workshop I was teaching at the Breathe Conference this weekend. The closer the conference came, the more agitated I grew. I wondered why on earth I was even included in the workshops, because, obviously, my talents lie in the culinary and parenting aspects of life, not the writing or teaching world. I’m barely even a writer at this point, I thought to myself.

Saturday came and I put on my big girl sweater and headed to the conference, feeling like a fraud who should stay home and do some laundry.

But at the conference, I was reminded.

I was reminded of my calling to write. I was introduced to lovely people with the same weird calling. God and I had a little moment where He gently pointed out that maybe I’ve let all those other good things get in the way of listening to Him and focusing on this really important thing. Of course I need to parent my children well–I’m the only mother they’ll have. I don’t get to take a powder just because I like to make words line up one after another.

But I’ve let the immediate fruit of other ministries take precedence over the longer, slower fruit of writing. Let’s face it– I can march to the kitchen and have hot cookies and happy children in less than an hour. In comparison, writing takes a lot longer. I have a book coming out in the spring, a book I started when my son was in preschool five years ago.

My calling is frustrating, so I’ve been ignoring it (and God) by being really busy with a lot of other things that require my attention. It’s hard to hear well when you have your head stuck in a dryer, trying to find that small lost sock. It’s hard to hear well over the smoke detector as dinner scorches.

It’s hard to hear when you aren’t trying to listen.

Jesus, were you talking about me? I'm seeing a connection.
Jesus, were you talking about me? I’m seeing a connection.


But I’ve been reminded of how wonderful this calling is, and I’m excited to start listening once again. I’ll still be serving inedible food for anyone who cares to stop by, but I’ll be listening too.

What about you? How’s your calling going? Does it need a refresher?

Here are some links to my friends who were also at the conference– here’s what they have to say about it:

10 Comments on “I Can’t Hear You, God. I’m Too Busy Doing Stuff for You.” (Things I Said This Weekend.)

  1. Amelia
    October 13, 2014 at 7:12 pm (3 years ago)

    I’m so glad you were able to join us at the conference! “But I’ve let the immediate fruit of other ministries take precedence over the longer, slower fruit of writing. Let’s face it– I can march to the kitchen and have hot cookies and happy children in less than an hour.” Oh how I can relate. I’m a get-it-done, check-it-all-off-the-list kind of gal. Writing is so not that. Congrats on the book coming this spring! Hope to see you at Breathe again!

  2. Susie Finkbeiner
    October 13, 2014 at 7:28 pm (3 years ago)

    Sigh. I’ve been there, Jessie! But your blog is a great one for supporting others…and it always gives me a giggle. Keep going. Rah, rah!

    God is using you!

  3. Jessie Clemence
    October 13, 2014 at 8:53 pm (3 years ago)

    I’ll be back! You did a beautiful job with the planning.

  4. Jessie Clemence
    October 13, 2014 at 8:53 pm (3 years ago)

    It was nice to be among others God is using in a similar way. Being a writer can be weird.

    October 13, 2014 at 11:28 pm (3 years ago)

    Better to burn dinner for your guests than burning your dinner guests.

  6. Jessie Clemence
    October 14, 2014 at 10:37 am (3 years ago)

    That’s true. I’ve never once burned a guest.

  7. David
    October 14, 2014 at 2:19 pm (3 years ago)

    And I thought olive oil was supposed to be good for you. I don’t recall any food catching fire in this house, but my mother set a pan of oil on fire on holiday when we were kids. Apart from memories of smoke blackened ceilings, you got me thinking about the calling thing. And church.

    I was reading from a book called ‘Church Actually’ this morning. I’ve reached a chapter called ‘Honoured Architects’ in which the key text is John 13:14 about the disciples being told to wash feet because Jesus had. The author reminds us that we received our gifts for the benefit of others (he is particularly referring to leadership in this chapter). He says: “All our gifts, it turns out, come alive when surrendered in love for the sake of others.” I guess we all need a refresher from time to time on our callings, where they are leading us. A bit like an annual review at a place of work. But it isn’t always easy to get back on track when the distractions are so many, not least of all the ones that are meant to be there like family!

    Sounds like the conference(s) went well? And Marilyn made an apple crisp. Except we call it apple crumble. And she put blackberries and tayberries in too. The leftovers are sitting out in the kitchen calling my name.

  8. robynm2012
    October 17, 2014 at 1:52 pm (3 years ago)

    I’m so glad you presented at Breathe. You gave me lots of inspiration for my blog. I love your sense of humor, too. Blessings to you – I hope you spend more time writing even though the results are not quite as immediate as baking a batch of cookies. Hang in there! ~Robyn

  9. Jessie Clemence
    October 17, 2014 at 2:45 pm (3 years ago)

    Thanks, Robyn! I’m so glad you got something out of the presentation.