This past weekend I was incredibly blessed to attend a blogging and writing conference in Pennsylvania called Allume. I was graciously sponsored to attend by the Teach Them Diligently Convention, and am so grateful for the opportunity to go.
There were over 400 women there – all writers in some form or another, all seeking God, his wisdom and direction in not only their writing, but also their daily lives. Some girls I’ve known for over a year and was blessed to throw my arms around their necks for the first time. Some I’ve only known for a few weeks, others I’d never met – but because of our oneness in Christ, we were able to connect, converse, encourage and challenge each other in many ways.
For the past few months I have really been struggling with my blog. Through sermons, reading scriptures and being challenged by posts on idols and prioritizing God-time and family time, I have struggled with where this blog fits – if anywhere. While I determined that this space was GOD’S, I was still holding very tightly to MY ideals, desires and pride.
I have flip-flopped between so many arenas of blogging style, voice, approach, niche and audience, trying to garner up attention with a healthy side of humility and recognizing that God doesn’t need me to have more followers, but he needs me to follow HIM. I have gone from not caring who reads my posts, but simply writing for him, to writing crazy amounts during the week so I can participate in link-ups, to feeling the dry spell of no words and no time because of no focus. I had allowed myself to be swayed in so many directions that I didn’t know anymore where I was going.
The latest shenanigans I pulled were the crazy 31 Days of Fall Maternity Fashion. Yeah, you probably didn’t notice, but I didn’t finish – and I’m not going to (at least not now!). While I prayed over the idea at the beginning and THOUGHT I was receiving a go-ahead, I realize now that I think it was just my pride talking – WANTING to do it because it IS a great challenge (thanks Nester!) but not for the right reasons of hopefully benefiting and encouraging others. That series, while fun at the beginning, became drudgery, and, in my husband’s words, quite boring. It’s ok, you can go ahead and say it, because IT WAS BORING! Thankfully, combined with a house full of sick kids and the weekend away, I’ve been derailed enough from it to see it clearly for what it became – a total distraction and pull away from what God wants me to do, and write.
So now I’m left with this big question mark. What DOES he want me to do?! I had hoped to gain wisdom and direction in this weekend away, but I realize now that with everything I’ve learned, it is going to take weeks, maybe even months, of processing, praying, prioritizing and surrendering to figure it all out – IF I even figure it out.
A couple weeks ago, before the conference, I attended a few sessions of a marriage and counseling seminar with Caring for the Heart Ministries. My husband and I received our premarital counseling from them during our engagement, and it changed our world and relationship with each other, and God.
During the seminar, I began to see clearly my heart toward my children – cold, hard, impatient, unloving. Not always, but at certain times and moments. And I began to see that a lot of those moments are triggered by stress – loads of laundry to do, a house in a state of disaster, poor planning resulting in lack of time to complete tasks – and blogging.
And suddenly, I knew. Or really, rather, I acknowledged what was happening.
My blogging was causing stress and strain in our family life.
Because it was becoming once again all about me. MY message. MY connections. MY wanting to be recognized for MY words and MY accomplishments. Racing to do things to put up posts to link up with other blogs to point everyone back to me.
Sarah Mae, a precious and sweet woman who writes words of grace and love and challenge (and also is a coordinator of the Allume conference and author of a few books!) wrote a while ago about how Jesus left the 99 sheep for the 1 that was lost (please read this! it applies to anything that is taking your focus off where it should be!).
I was pursuing all the wrong things. God wanted me to be willing to give Serving From Home to him, to let him take it from me if he so desired, to leave the 99 so I could go after the 1. Him, and then my family. And in the pew of this seminar, my heart bared before him, I gave this space to him to do with as he pleased. I emptied myself of me, my blog and I, and I filled myself with him. I didn’t know where it was going to lead, what he was going to show me, but I KNEW that I was finally willing to LET GO OF IT ALL if he wanted me to.
To be continued….
* Read – Part 2: I Had a Dream*