Each week we run an interview as part of our “Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow in the Life of…” series. The interviewees share how their past has shaped who they are today as well as who they hope to be in the future. If you’d like to participate, just send me an email at [email protected] and I’ll send you a questionnaire!
Today’s interview is with Shelly Wildman of Life on the Wild Side:
1. Looking back on your childhood, what events do you think shaped who you are today?
Without a doubt, the biggest event was losing my brother when I was 11 years old. It shaped me in every way, but not for the worse. God used what was a terrible situation in my life to show me the depth of His love for me, and I am a Christian today because of it.
I truly believe that He can take something very tragic and make it into a shining example of His good grace.
The other big event was becoming a mother (three times!) Motherhood has changed me in more ways than I can count, but I could sum it up as a refining process. All of my ugly keeps coming to the surface, and God just keeps pointing it out so that I can get rid of it. Funny how motherhood can do that to a person. It’s hard, but it’s so good.
2. Were you always a writer?
I still don’t think of myself as a writer, but it’s where I find myself most comfortable these days. As a child, I was a voracious reader, eventually becoming a Literature major in college. After college I attended graduate school in English and have been an adjunct professor for…a lot of years. Rather than teaching Literature, though, I was asked to teach a writing class which I’ve taught ever since. I love it!
Today, through my blog, I feel more like a writer than I ever have. I love the practice it gives me, as well as the discipline. As I tell my students, it’s writing, not rocket science. It just takes a lot of practice, so sit your rear end in the chair and get to work!
3. How would you describe yourself today?
Oh boy. First and foremost, a follower of Christ. I hope that comes through in what I write, what I do, and what I say. After that I’m a wife, a mother, a teacher, a friend. I’m all about the relationships in my life.
That said, I’m also very introverted. I need lots of time alone in my day, which is probably why being a mom to young kids was very hard for me. There was no alone time to recharge my batteries.
4. What do you most love about your life?
Where do I start?! There is so much to love. Being a mom to three teenage girls is absolutely a blast. Oh sure, there are definitely moments of drama, but mostly moments of fun. Having a college student who goes to school in the same town we live in is also really fun—it gives me a chance to get to know her friends in a way I never would if she had gone far away.
I love the town I live in (except in winter). The people here are wonderful, and there’s a lot going on. It’s a great community. And being near Chicago has its definite perks. If you’ve never been to Chicago, you really should come see it—it’s the most beautiful city in the country.
I love having opportunities to travel and a husband who likes to come with me. I had a grandfather who was blessed with wanderlust. He was always planning his next adventure and I think I’ve inherited that from him!
5. What would other people be surprised to know about you?
People always seem surprised to learn that I grew up on a farm. But they are also surprised to hear that country life was not the life for me. I needed people around me (I know! So strange for an introvert, right?).
I wanted neighbors. I just had a friend say to me last week that she was thinking about moving to the country, and I simply nodded my head and thought, “Hope that works out for you.”
6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
In five years, my youngest will be graduating from high school and heading to college. That opens up a whole new set of opportunities for me, I think. I’ll probably have more freedom to travel, to write, to teach, to do more of whatever God wants me to do. I look forward to that.
I’ve stopped asking questions like this of myself, though, because so far, life has been so unpredictable. I just want to wake up every day and ask, “O.K., Lord, what do you have for me today?”
7. What legacy do you hope to leave behind?
More than anything I hope to leave behind three girls who love Jesus with all their heart. That has been my life’s calling. That is my life’s mission.
Beyond that, I hope that whomever I touch through my blog, my classes, my writing, my speaking, is inspired to follow God more wholeheartedly.
As a mom to three teenage daughters, Shelly just wishes time would slow down. In her “spare time” Shelly loves to read, write, cook, walk her energetic but adorable dog, and spend time with junior high girls each Wednesday night. She is married to her college sweetheart, Brian. Come join her everyday adventures at Life on the Wild Side.