Combating the Doldrums

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By Linda Brooks Davis

Ever find your enthusiasm for a writing project flagging?

I have.
Have you figured out what to do about it?

I pull out this photo of Ella, my granddaughter. And remember.

My daughter called me in the fall of 2004 with news that rocked our family. After years of failure and disappointment, she was pregnant with triplets.

But dire warnings lurked on the heels of good news: Premature delivery. Brain damage. Blindness. Cerebral palsy. Developmental deficits. Death.

Lynn’s physicians presented her with a medical alternative: selective reduction. They couched their information in clinical phrases devoid of emotion and faith–those aspects of personhood that raise humans above mere animals. Baby A would be the one to “go.”

Surprised that A’s heartbeat would be referred to as a baby and not Throbbing Collection of Cells A, I prayed as my daughter chose to trust God with all three babies. Hospitalized most of her pregnancy, Lynn surpassed by 4 days the all-important 28-week milestone.

Baby A turned out to be Ella, Lynn’s only daughter, my only granddaughter, and my grandmother’s only offspring named for her. As Ella developed over the subsequent 12 years, I recalled our family prayer circles and vows to keep the children lifted for the Lord’s anointing.

It’s a battle at times to keep Ella perched on our open palms. The instinct to protect is mighty strong. Forgetting God loves her more than we do, we want to clutch her and pull her to us as if we can do what God cannot.

Which reminds me of writing. And the doldrums.

Writing projects are somewhat like writers’ children. We birth them with no small amount of grunts, groans, and growls. Occasionally we’re tempted to selectively reduce them in quality to save time. We celebrate their birth with memories of agony banished. We cheer those who recognize their worth. And we smile that the future bodes well.

But how do we react when others focus on our offsprings’ shortcomings, when they shrug with a ho-hum? Or pick someone else’s child over our own. We may experience heart ache … wounding … even heart break.

At those times, do we hold our children in clenched fists as if we can accomplish what God cannot?

Do we slump into the doldrums?

Or do we ask ourselves why we do what we do?

Do we write for others’ approval? For our own gratification? Or for a higher purpose?

Why did Ella and her brothers live? Why did they pass the NICU’s milestones for discharge and then thrive? Was it for me, their parents … or someone higher?

Ella’s exuberance in the pink curlers reminds me my priorities shifted at her birth. It underlines my purpose. And brings me out of the doldrums.

Sleeping in fat curlers is a far cry from comfort, as is sitting upright in my desk chair hours on end. But—oh—what a difference when I remember I write not for myself but for Him.

Linda Brooks Davis FebLinda Brooks Davis won the 2014 Jerry B. Jenkins Operation First Novel Award. The Calling of Ella McFarland was released by Mountainview Books in December 2015. Subsequently, it won the 2016 Carol Award in the Debut Novel category. And its novella sequel, A Christmas to Remember, released in October, 2016. Long-time members of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Linda and her husband Al delight in their son and daughter, veterinarians who get along well enough to practice together. And they dote on six beautiful grandchildren. Visit Linda on her website at

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