Amazing things can happen when we open ourselves up for the world to see who we really are. Not who others imagine us to be, but our honest, authentic selves that God created us to be. I heard a movie star say one time that she would never receive Botox because her face tells a story and it shouldn't tell a story of her visiting the doctors office. Just as our faces age; so do our minds and bodies. With age can come courage, wisdom, and believing in oneself to follow their heart. Instead of us trying to mold ourselves into earlier days; we should embrace this continued beauty that shines from within. The older I get, the more I realize that time really can just pass me by. Life can quickly become filled with deadlines, headaches, and stress instead of laughter, joy, and inner peace. This past year was quite a journey for me spiritually, emotionally, and physically but I am so thankful to have gone on this ride. I have witnessed that our God is greater than evil and when I allowed myself to submit to his amazing grace; wonderful lessons were continuously learned.
The first lesson that I learned this past year was to follow my heart. I was so unbelievably nervous to start this blog. Last summer, I really felt prompted by God to start writing but I had no idea where to start. I remember many conversations with Raleigh where I would exclaim how crazy it was for me to write. For starters, what would I write about? Secondly, who would even care???? I wondered if my friends would think I was weird or if I wrote down my thoughts others would make fun of me. For the longest, I didn't even share this new adventure with my family because I was scared that I wouldn't get their approval putting my thoughts out on the Internet. Nevertheless, I decided to follow His poking finger and we launched the blog one year ago today. I immediately begged my best friend to become a "follower" so it would look like I had friends that cared about this crazy thing!!!! Soon, I got even more brave and decided to link it to my Facebook page. Gradually, more people began to visit the blog and I was less fearful of what others' thought about me. Each time I wrote, the more I became addicted to writing. It felt so good to share my thoughts without any interruptions or fear of being shot down by a Bible scholar friend. I still wasn't sure where this blog was heading but I knew that it was quickly becoming a very important part of my life.
As the year progressed, I gradually felt a stronger push from the Lord to let go of the world that I was in and trust Him to control my life. Raleigh and I had many tearful conversations about my future as to whether or not I should continue working or stop to follow this desire to write. Round and round we went trying to make sense of our situation. We were very unsure of the timing because if I stopped working, it wouldn't be because of kids or family; it would simply be because we felt like God was calling me to do something else. That something else had no benefits, insurance, or pay. All it held was blind faith and endless possibilities. After much prayer for a sign, one Sunday we got our answer. We sat in church listening to our preacher and we felt like he had written that message especially for us. After that day, we knew that if we didn't follow God He would start looking elsewhere. We bravely made a decision to tell our parents our new plans for our future.
After we shared our news to our families, we discovered that God had blessed us for trusting Him. He answered our other desire for us to start a family! We were overcome with joy and believed wholeheartedly that God was truly in control of our lives. Quickly we realized that the ball was in our court and it was time for me to say goodbye to what I knew in order to take this step in a new direction. Even though we realized that it was time to let go, I couldn't bring myself to do it. I didn't want to let anybody that I worked with down and I had a hard time deciding when the best time would be for me to break the news. I became like Gideon in the book of Judges and I asked God to show me a sign that He was in control. He had already blessed us with a baby but I still need another nudge to be brave enough to quit. God remained patient with me and totally blindsided me with a double portion of his goodness. Late January we found out that we were having not one baby but two! It was hard for me to contain my emotions because I knew that was a sign from God for me to trust him.
So, that is what I did. I trusted Him. I stopped working and began to write even more. Soon, I realized why He wanted me to trust Him and why He had put writing on my heart. My life changed drastically on April 30th of this year when our girls were born three months premature. Over the past three months, all I could do was cling to my faith in God to get me through my darkest hour.
It has been an amazing experience to trust God with my life. I feel so free. Also, I feel His presence and that gives me more confidence to boldly speak His name to others. I realize now that my job in this world is to be a witness of His love to others. It is my responsibility as a follower of Christ to spread his truth and that everything that I do is for His glory. For years, I have struggled with the word humble. So often, it is confused with words such as meek, tiny, and small. But, I have realized that being humble is the exact opposite of those words. I have learned that who I am is not about me....it's about the light that shines within me. I am so humble because the words on this screen are not my own. I am simply a vessel to spread the message of Jesus Christ. It is all about Him and not about me.
Friends, Christ has shown me that I can be used to glorify his name. He has shown Raleigh and I that we are tools for His trade. Since last September, this blog has received over 17,000 visits. We have over 90 proclaimed followers and receive about 200 visits a day from people all across the globe. This blog is not just an Alabama thang; it has spread to cities in every continent except Antarctica (if you know somebody that is doing scientific research up there, do you mind sharing this with them?!?). As I said before, it is amazing what can happen when we let ourselves go to follow Christ. There is this great quote in The Shack about the church. Jesus says, "It's all about relationships and simply sharing life. What we are doing right now -- just doing this -- and being open and available to others around us. My church is all about people and life is all about relationships. You can't build it. It's my job and I'm actually pretty good at it."
Fellow sojourners, we want to continue to share our life with others. We want to continue to form new friendships and deeper relationships within this community of believers. So, we have asked God to continue to show us the direction for this blog and how it can be used to further share His name with this world. We believe that we should offer more features on this blog than our life story. As you can see, we now have six new tabs on the home page titled Articles, Community, Media, Ministry, Prayer Requests, and Social. Below is an overview of what you can find inside of these tabs.
- Each month we will do a feature article called the Do-Gooder where we highlight people or businesses that are doing good things. This idea was formed through two passages that Jesus spoke in Matthew about doing good. The first is Matthew 7:12, "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you" and the other is Matthew 12:35, "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him." The first of these will come next week.
- This page will showcase a live discussion forum on a wide variety of topics. We encourage you to get in there are start a fellowship with others. Feel free to create your own topics and be active.
- We will be continuing our Book Reviews, as well as expanding into Music and Movie Reviews.
- Monthly Memory Verse
- Trusting the Truth: Testimonies from believers on how they decided to live their lives for Christ
- Free downloadable lessons that can be shared for youth, small groups, and Sunday School
- An area where you can share your prayer request with us
- Chris10's Monthly Must-Haves are a fun way to show that we can love things in this world such as fashion and food but not be consumed of this world
We want to continue to let our light shine but we also want to create a community where you can let your light shine. One thing that Raleigh heard and has always said is, "If you want to go fast go alone but if you want to go far go together." We need help to continue to make this blog grow for the glory of God. We need prayer warriors and believers to share their testimonies. If you feel God telling you to act upon these requests, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In closing, we are so excited about the expansion of this blog and look forward to what lies ahead. We hope that you continue to follow us on this journey and look forward to your companionship if you feel called to join us. So much of God's glory has been revealed to us and we can't help but share it!