Ending one year and beginning another always stirs some self-reflection in my heart. What have I done this past year, and what will I be doing in the next? Have I loved Jesus well, and how can I grow with Him in the coming months?
This morning as I was listening to a sermon at church about the Wise Men’s long sojourn to see the baby King, I thought about their patience and persistence toward a goal that seemed elusive. Had the Messiah ever come before? No. Did these men have communication with Bethlehem to verify that indeed Jesus had been born? No. Did they have a guidebook to lead every step of their journey to Jesus? No. But they went in faith, and found Him. They found Jesus and gave Him their gifts.
As I journey toward Jesus, what am I bringing Him? While I pondered that this morning, asking God what gift He wanted from me, I thought about my writing. I feel very humbled that God might want to use my fumbling words to do some work in His kingdom. But what can I say? I want to bring to Him even the smallest thing I have to offer!
This afternoon Will and I spent some time talking about my future regarding writing. I’ll just be honest about a few things here, and hope you are okay with it. 🙂 I love to write, and I’d be happy to do more of it. (Public speaking–a totally different story. I’m glad Will likes to do that, because I sure don’t!) But there are a number of factors to consider.
First of all, I strongly dislike the image of a Christian woman whose life is centered on a career of speaking and writing while her little family struggles along at home. I’m not going to judge other women, but I want my heart to truly be at home first. I want my children to grow up with lots of snuggles and kisses and reprimands and wholesome food and all the things children need to grow up healthy and happy and ready to serve Jesus. If I neglected them to write more, I would feel like a travesty.
Second, I know that this work of writing could very well be a temporary work. I’ve experienced this before–God gives a job to do, then he takes that job away after a time and asks us to do something else. I want to be wise enough to see when a particular venture has run its course.
Finally, if I am to keep writing this year, somehow I need to create more time to do it. I need time with God, reading my Bible and other spiritual books. I need extra space to listen to the Holy Spirit and to wrestle with difficult questions.
I also need to be able to discuss concepts with Will on a regular basis. I like to run my ideas past him, and often he adds angles to consider or suggests how I might make something more clear. Just having his support helps me be brave.
And of course, I need to have time to do the writing itself, as well as the correspondence that accompanies blogging. I feel like I haven’t done as well as I should have at responding promptly to comments and emails. But I LOVE to hear from people…don’t think I ever get tired of it! I do often need time to process and think through my answer before I reply, so that’s another reason you might not hear from me immediately.
All this boils down to the necessity of using my time wisely while caring for my family, nurturing spiritual growth, and writing my thoughts.
Several times I’ve thought briefly about monetizing the blog somehow, but every time I consider it I ditch the idea pretty quickly. I hate pop-ups and ads on a blog that I am trying to read! And I’m choosing to trust that God will provide for our needs! Recently a reader who we’ve never met was impressed to pray for us early one morning, and ended up sending us a hefty check! The gift felt like incredible reassurance from God, because this past year was difficult for us financially. So no advertising on here for now…except what WordPress puts on, and I wish they’d skip it!
If you’ve made it through all that journaling (haha!), you might be interested in knowing what the five most-read posts were in 2016. In this order, the top five were:
- To leave or not to leave?
- A Question Without an Answer
- My Church
- To my former church community
- Arabah (which was actually written last year)
The series on hearing God’s voice was the biggest writing project that I tackled this year, and also ranked very close to the top of the most-read list.
I found it interesting that the top four posts all had to do with the church. Hmmm. Sounds like a subject people care about! I’ve dropped some of my original ideas for this blog–I thought I might write occasionally about gardening and cooking, or other homemaking sorts of things. But I finally concluded that lots of other people can write about those things and I’ll focus on the subjects that really burn in my heart. I like to intersperse the heavier subjects with lighter posts about my family to reassure everyone that I am a vulnerable human being and not a die-hard rebel!
Some things that are stirring in my brain that you might see on my blog this year: the authority of Scripture, women living out their potential (and not as insipid tea-sippers), parenting a child with mental health struggles, finding identity in Christ, perspectives on money, questions about church membership, how to build relationships within God’s church, a few book reviews, plus random subjects I pick up from my study of Scripture.
I don’t know if you wanted to read all that, but there you have it. 😉 What gift do you find in your hand to bring to Jesus? And how do you need to order your life so that you can make that journey of faith? I’d love to hear how God is calling and working in you! If you have any advice for me, fire away!
Happy New Year!