Thursday, January 19, 2012

Why Do I Blog?

That's a question I have been pondering for months now, and this is a post I've been writing in my head for a long time as well.

There are thousands upon thousands of blogs out there.  And each person behind each blog has their own reasons for writing.  For putting their thoughts into words and pictures and sending them out into a great big world that has plenty of words to read and pictures to view already.  For letting their voice be heard.  And for having the courage it requires and taking the effort and time to do so.

I am new to the blog world.  I was busy getting married, transitioning into the role of pastor's wife, working jobs, having babies, and making a major move when the blog scene became popular.  Honestly, I started blogging practically before I started reading blogs.  My mom had a list of blogs she enjoyed, and would sometimes show me ideas or articles when I was at her house.  She told me I could and should be doing this, that I had things to share.  It sounded interesting and intriguing.  (And of course, we all know we should listen to our Momma!)

I figured out how to create a blog and started dabbling with it late 2009.  I started actively blogging in 2010.  There are weeks and sometimes months where time is hard for me to find to sit down at the computer, but overall I have been fairly consistent the past two years.  I have not done advertising or such.  This is a little blog.  But the statistics show someone is reading.  In fact, lots of people are reading, and extremely surprising to me, people all over the world are reading!  And I keep writing.  And taking snapshots of life.  And writing some more.  But through the writing, I have mulled over the reasons why.  And here they are.  The reasons why I, an average wife and mom with a small little life, blog.


To be an encouragement to others.

By nature I am a glass half full, happy, uplifting type of person.  And I have also learned through the years from Scripture how we are commanded over and over to uplift and edify one another, and have tried to practice this.  But I started blogging during a season in my life where I was receiving mostly discouragement from many people in my life.  I clung to the little encouragement I received during that time like a life raft to  keep my head above water.  As I grew stronger and stronger in the Word of God during that time, it encouraged me beyond what I could have imagined and enabled me to press on.  And I realized something crucial...people need encouragement.  Many people are drowning in discouragement.  There is plenty of it out there.  But I wanted this little blog to be a place where people could come to be encouraged and lifted up, whether through Bibles verses and things God has been revealing to me in my study of His Word, or a funny story about my kids that brings a smile on a tough day, or by sharing out of my weakness that He is strong enough to carry us all through this broken world.  I often pray over blog posts that someone will be encouraged.  And it has been interesting through the years the feedback I have received, often via a private message in my facebook inbox or the like.  People who I had no idea were reading have taken the time to share how they have been encouraged on their journey through  this blog. And their sweet words have been an encouragement to me to keep writing and sharing.

A recent and very neat example is this.  In December I felt compelled to write this blog about our worst Christmas ever during "the blurry years" of my life.  A few days later I received a message from a sweet, young wife and mom I have actually known my whole life.  We are separated by distance and I haven't seen her in a few years.  Come to find out, her Christmas 2011 was remarkably similar to my Christmas 2006, only her oldest was 2 and her new baby was 9 days old.  Their family was hit with a horrific stomach flu and like me, she felt like she may not survive it trying to nurse and care for a newborn being so sick and helpless.  She wrote to me how she and her mom read my story while both laughing and crying.  She said it was a terrible Christmas, and she was feeling overwhelmed about how she is going to make it through her own blurry years, but she was encouraged by my post and was reminded that Christmas will come again next year and things will get better.  I responded to her message with more words of encouragement, and marveled how God works.  His timing is perfect.  To God be the glory.

Because I am a writer.

And writers write.  Whether it is songs or essays or critical analysis or journal entries or love letters or facebook statuses or books or blog posts, we write.  I have been writing since I was a young girl.  And I believe God imprinted on my heart in my late teenage years that I will one day write a book for His glory.  I feel Him pressing on my heart to do so often lately, and ask you readers to pray for me in that area.  For some reason that is an overwhelming thought, but when the timing is right I want to be willing to do what He wants me to do, and I need to trust that He will enable me to do so!  In the meantime, here I am...being faithful to write from the heart of a regular girl facing the chaos of this life and finding contentment in Christ along the way.  And I am enjoying the process!  Blogging is a wonderful creative and emotional outlet.

To be a light.

There is a lot of darkness in this world.  It is everywhere we turn.  And there is a lot of darkness on the internet.  But darkness isn't merely the opposite of light, it is the absence of light.  And I want to shine brightly as a light for Christ!  I want this blog to be a bright spot in someone's day.  To be a place to find light, hope, and joy in a dark, broken, and grim world.  There have been multiple times I have considering unplugging from it all, deleting my facebook and pulling my blog.  Stepping off the stage and hiding in a corner.  It often seems easier.  I admit sometimes that critical people have threatened to get the best of me and discouragement has nearly pushed me in that corner of fear and self-protection.  But then darkness would win as another light was extinguished.  My light would become absent.  And guess what?  I believe God has given us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!  I claim that victory and give Him thanks!  And I determine in my heart daily to not grow weary in doing good - as difficult as it can be not to give in to weariness - but to press on to the upward calling of Christ Jesus and to make His name famous, show how He changes lives, and proclaim the joy found in living for Him!

And my statistics show that "empty tomb," "the empty tomb," and "the empty tomb of Jesus" are three of the top searches that have brought people to my blog in its all time history.  I will press on.


To inspire.

People inspire me.  Photos inspire me.  Words well used inspire me.  I see something and it triggers in my mind something I could do.  Let's face it, life can be mundane.  And if we're honest, the responsibilities of being a wife and mom can be mundane and draining at times.  I have learned through the years that I thrive, not just survive, when I live an intentional, positive, active, creative life.  And while so many people out there live in states of discontentment, dissatisfaction, or depression (the statistics are sadly astounding) I hope that something they see here may inspire them.  Inspire them to find joy in the daily by making time for God's Word, or trying a new recipe, or rearranging something in their home for a fresh touch, or finding a great deal.  Inspire them to try something new.  To make something -  be it a loaf of bread, batch of muffins, a craft with their kids, or a simple DIY project - and experience the emotional and physical lift that come from doing so!  This is a blog about a girl on a super tight budget with limited resources and talent.  Nearly everything I share is simple, affordable, and "doable" for the average person.  But I have found the ultimate resource -  joy drawn from an abundant life in Christ - and want those who read this to draw inspiration from that and do something!  I hope and pray my readers leave wanting to show love in a new way, minister to someone in a new way, add a homemade touch of cheer to their home, make a great meal or treat for their family, or to face the day with increased energy and a fresh focus.

To be a role model.

After over a decade in student ministry, I am connected to a lot of teenagers and twenty-somethings on facebook.  My heart beats for those girls more than I could ever describe, and I find myself constantly thinking of ways to reach out to them, praying for them, and trying to bring them encouragement on their journey.  I have been very surprised to find out how many of them read this blog on a regular basis. It brings me joy that they stop by, because unfortunately the teens and twenties generation lives in a world of distorted images, false realities, and an image driven race to "success."  Many of them have been walked out on by someone, and hide major insecurities.  They feel fiercer competition for image and status than we ever felt thanks to social networking.  They have seen marriage become more about a wedding than a covenant, and have even seen celebrities they follow enter marriage as a joke or publicity stunt.  They are under a ton of social pressure and often feel confused by conflicting messages all around them.

But here, on this little blog, I want them to find truth, which is found in one place - God's Word.  I want them to know they are loved by God and can find contentment with Him, not the things of this world.  I want them to know that life is much, much, much more than status and image and other empty and meaningless vanities.  I want them to know marriage is not a joke or meaningless union, but a God-given blessing; that when vows are taking seriously and a couple makes Christ the foundation of their life, it can be absolutely amazing.  I want them to know that a good spiritual, marriage, and family life takes hard work, but brings joy far greater than the material things that seem so tantalizing or temporary pleasures that give a short but later empty high.  My husband and I try our utmost to model to the next generation something real, genuine, strong, and happy - and that is rooted in Christ alone.


Recently one of the precious girls in our youth group who we love to pieces and who reads this blog was sharing some of her boy problems with me.  After a long conversation, she smiled and sighed and said, "Well, hopefully one day I'll find my Mr. Jimmy."  Oh, sweet girl - you will!  Just hold out for him.  Wait for a guy who loves and honors God first, cherishes and respects you, believes in honoring vows and keeping commitments, and seeks to live like Jesus - then you will find your Mr. Jimmy.

To remember.

I guess this is where this blog is more for me and our family than anyone else.  Life goes fast.  Days race by and turn into years.  I try to be present in each day, making the most of the moments God gives us.  But it can be easy to forget what was happening and how we felt and what God was teaching us during all the seasons of our life.  I want to remember those things.  And I want to remember the funny things my kids said, or how our house looked at Christmas, or what activities I did with my kids, or even how to make that baked oatmeal or those marinated strawberries I loved.  I want to remember  how my heart felt during the ups and downs of our  life.  This blog is a journal of sorts, a capture of life as we knew it.

I write with discretion though, relying on the Holy Spirit for help.  I believe there is a marked distinction between authenticity and immaturity.  I have cringed countless times scrolling down my facebook newsfeed as I have seen private conflicts in marriages, families, friendships, churches, and companies made public and open for commentary.  I feel sad and discouraged as I read sharply opinionated statuses or blog entries that seem to drip with bitterness, ugliness, and anger, or seem directed at a person to tear them down.  I know how many times the Bible warns us about our words, and I try my best to use mine carefully.  I don't do it perfectly, but as I journal through this life, I aim to do so with discretion and respect, keeping some issues and lots of details sacred between God, my husband, my family, and me.  I want to be able to share struggles as they are part of our life and journey here on earth, but I never want to hurt anyone in the process.  So some parts of our life go into this particular journal, and others stay tucked away.  And I write about a lot of happy moments because honestly and simply put, we are a happy family!  This blog is filled with pieces of my heart and the life we share and love.

And one day when my kids are older, they will have detailed access to my heart and love for them during their childhood years.  They will know what joy I took in being their mom.  They will know I loved God's Word and delighted in keeping our home when they were little.  This blog will bring back memories and be part of their heritage.  I love that.


As I wrap up this post, I just wanted to say thank you.  Thank you for reading! Thank you for your feedback.  Thank you for sharing a cup of coffee and your journey with me.  Thank you for being patient with me when life's responsibilities keep me from having the time to post as often as I'd like, or bearing with me when I pull back, don't write as often, and try to retreat into that self-protrective corner.  If you have questions or topics I could write about that would help you along the way, please let me know.  Please know that when I sit down in my green chair to share my heart and life, I do so with intentions to encourage you, be a bright light in your life, inspire and energize you.

And most of all, please know that the greatest reason I write is so you can see Jesus.  So you can see His love and invite Him into your life, and let Him transform it into something abundant and joyful.  So you can develop a passion for His Word and let it seep into your daily activities, making them more intentional and positive.  And that through Jesus, even in the midst of this crazy world, you can find contentment.

With Much Love and Many Thanks,

Jennifer

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful :) I always enjoy the encouragement!

    ReplyDelete