I didn’t make any New Year’s Resolutions this year. I had dreams, goals and hopes and I even wrote some of them down, but not as a MUST-DO resolution. It’s not because I don’t like a list – I love a list. I just tend to be very disappointed when I miss the mark, and it can cause me to just shut down and give up. I didn’t want to shut down anymore, so I decided to do something different this year.
I gave myself permission to just keep trying. I gave myself permission to fail, and I gave myself grace in the process. I decided to not quit. I was excited and moving in a good direction.
I wanted to lose weight.
I wanted to be healthy.
I wanted to write.
I wanted to spend quality time with my kids and husband.
I wanted to go deeper in my faith with Jesus.
And then, without warning, my world was shaken. I was out of sorts and afraid. Continue reading →
Numbers are everywhere. Number of likes, how many followers, retweets, number of posts, what is attendance, giving… Sometimes, we can get lost in the sea of numbers.
Numbers are certainly important, and data is worth compiling. Research matters. Platform matters.
But, souls are important.
A friend emailed me recently, and shared she sometimes feels like she gets in a rut with her writing because she feels like she is saying the same things over and over.
I can totally relate.
It happens to me often. I wonder do I have to say the words ‘childhood sexual abuse’ one more time? Isn’t it implied? Can’t they assume that is what I am referring to? What if I just say broken childhood or trauma? Why don’t I just write about something lighter? Something that more people can relate to? Something that is not such a taboo topic? Something that would be easy on the eyes and light on the heart? Something more popular?
I hear the gentle whisper, “Write for the One.” And then, I remember being the one.
I nervously made my way over to the bloggers retreat at The Cove. The first session was on “Living Inspired” with Jess Connolly. She was beautifully transparent and real as she reminded us that while we may feel pressure to be inspiring, our main role is be inspired! We need to be deeply rooted in Christ and assured of our identity in Him.
I have 27 pages of notes, and the thought of condensing them overwhelms me, but there was one big thing that happened at this conference that blew me away as I felt the unfailing love of my Savior pour over me.
That evening, I went to the main lobby and was greeted by a warm fireplace and the smell of spinach artichoke dip. I made a plate and sat alone in a corner all by myself. Two ladies came and sat by me, and in our delightful conversation I ended up sharing my heart, my passion, and my story before heading to my room with tiny snow flakes dancing on my face.
The next day as Jon Acuff was digging into the heart side of blogging, my pen was anxious to capture every word on paper.
He orders the steps of the righteous not the leaps and bounds.
Bravery is a choice not a feeling.
If you want to change the world, change one person’s life.
Then at the very end of his presentation, he talked about how sometimes small things lead to bigger things. He shared about speaking to a large group of teens and having them write down how they saw themselves and why. One girl had written something like “touched by a boy at 7, touched by a man at 12, worthless.”
At this point I was frozen, and I stopped writing. Of all the notes I had taken, this was what I came to hear. I felt it in every bone in my body.
He went on to say, “We were never meant to suffer alone. Your story is a lot of other people’s stories and they need you to be brave. Blogging is going first. When you go first, you give others the gift of going second. Go first. Your story matters.”
I sat there staring straight ahead.
When I finally got up to disappear in the bathroom, I met one of my lobby friends who placed her hands on my shoulders and said to me, “Did you hear that??? That was for you!”
With tears streaming down my face, I said, “I know, and He had me share with you last night so I wouldn’t doubt it.”
And then I stood in the hallway and snapped this pic.
Here is this scripture from the Message version:
Now you’ve got my feet on the life path,
all radiant from the shining of your face.
Ever since you took my hand,
I’m on the right way.
I spent some time in the prayer room gazing at the beauty of His Creation, before returning to the final sessions.
On the drive home, my heart was full and the smile on my face stretched from ear to ear. I sang praises to Him as I watched the sunset behind me and the clouds turn pink before me. Almost home, almost there. Almost ready to go first.
Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.