Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Blog Blessings

It's funny how I used to blog just to keep track of our family. I didn't want to lose our memories. I wanted far-away-family to be able to see how our kids were growing and changing. Then life got busier. And busier. My blog was set aside. And hundreds of pictures just sat in my computer. Unorganized. Unprinted. Un-remembered.

Then one day last October, I came across this girl named Jami's blog. It is amazing. It is crazy how I could read a blog written by someone I've never met, who lives half-way across the country, and realize how much her heart speaks to mine. It's like she speaks the same language. But I've never met her in real life.

Anyway - one of her blog posts was about being a good steward of memories. Not losing them. Preserving them for my kids and their kids and their grandkids. Giving my kids something to look back on when they grow up to they see how much I loved them and their dad, what we did, what I thought about them and life and Jesus.

I thought of all of our family's pictures. Our memories sitting on my computer. Neglected. Funny things my kids had said that had gone unrecorded. Details of family memories that are probably lost forever. And I decided to do something about it. I opened up my Macbook. Logged into my Blogger account, and started again. It's never too late.

Little did I know the adventure the Lord had for me through our little blog. Soon after I started to blog again, I knew the Lord was moving me to share more. To go beyond the surface of the pictures. To dig into our lives. Reality. That some of life is fun and sweet and pretty. But some of life is hard and ugly and struggle. Yet Jesus takes it all and makes it good and beautiful. He redeems. He saves. And, I was bursting inside, so badly wanting to give God the glory for it all.

Pretty soon, I found myself sitting on my bed with my Macbook, this stuff just pouring out of me onto the computer screen. And Eric kept saying, "yes, keep writing this stuff, keep sharing about real life and about Jesus." And some friends and family kept saying "yes, keep writing this stuff, sharing about real life and about Jesus." Jesus kept saying "yes, keep writing this stuff, sharing about real life and about Me."

And, He rewarded. I know I've said it before, but I just can't get over the way that He has encouraged me to keep going. When I've faced criticism or discouragement, time and again - exactly when I need it-  Jesus has sent other voices to say "keep going, keep writing this stuff, keep sharing Me."

My sweet friend, Jen. She and her wonderful mom are two of my biggest cheerleaders. 
Thank you if you've been one of those voices, by the way. I know it may not seem like a big deal, telling someone that you like this or that about their blog or something they've written. But, it always comes when I feel ready to give up and go back to only posting smiling faces and "today we made Christmas cookies" type of posts.

Sometimes I don't even know what I'm saying, or if my words are clear, or if any of it makes sense to anyone but me. But, Jesus has used my blog to start conversations with other women that wouldn't have happened otherwise. It has deepened my already-existing friendships immensely. And it has given me new friendships with women who I'm coming to dearly love.

Last night we sat on a back patio having dinner with new friends. A friendship the Lord brought together in real life via two girls writing two blogs. Sarah and I could have crossed paths in many other ways and other times. But the Lord chose to use now and our writing to cause our families's lives to collide.

And we get the joy of experiencing the Lord, as He pulls back the veil just a bit so that we can see the way He weaves our lives and days with the journeys of others around us. And in those moments there is just no denying that He places us where we are. That He is Sovereign over our moments, our comings and goings. That He alone orchestrates where we are and who are we with. That He hems us in behind and before.

In Joshua 4, the Israelites finally crossed into Israel, under Joshua's leadership. The Lord told Joshua to tell twelve men to each take a stone from the Jordan River. The men were to carry them across the Jordan River, into Israel. The stones were set up as a memorial for the Israelites and their children to remember forever what the Lord had done for them.

We (thus far in life) don't have a river that needs crossing and we haven't been wandering in the desert for 40 years. We have other wanderings, other struggles. But, God shows up in the midst of it all in so many ways. Sometimes it's in providing a new friendship when we weren't expecting it.  Such a blessing. And as we interact with people who He has placed in our lives, they are almost like a memorial in themselves. They remind us of the way the Lord orchestrated a friendship. Far more fun than a dozen stones, I might add.

And, recording those moments where the veil is pulled back gives us memorials to look back on, later in life, in times of doubt. It gives us another way to remember. And then for our children to know and remember the ways God was at work in their lives, too. Ann Voskamp, in her book One Thousand Gifts, says, "[i]n memory, the shape of God's yesterday-heart emerges and assures of God's now-heart and reassures of his sure beat tomorrow."

Ann's words articulate my heart in blogging and recording our memories. That our family would look back and, in our own history, see God's faithfulness in the biggest details and the smallest. Then, when the next storm comes, we would be able to trust His goodness in the midst of it, even when we can't see clearly what He is doing, because He has always shown up in the past. And that we could live, walking into each of our tomorrows, without anxiety and worry because we know by experience just how Good He is.


haley munson said...

Keep. Blogging.
I love reading your blog and the words just flow so easily and jump right off the computer and into my heart. You touch my heart and encourage me when you blog so just keep doing it. Please. Plus I love seeing your family because I miss you dearly friend, more than you know.
Ps. Dana bought me the Ann Voscamp book and I am stalked to read it! :)

Love you!

Teresa said...

I have been following your blog for the last few months and have enjoyed the honest and heart-felt nature of your writing; it's refreshing!

I had a similar experience just a few months ago and logged back into my own Blogger account after more then a year. Thanks for the wonderful reminder of the gift that we are preserving for our children and future generations!

Sarah said...

So beautiful and powerful, Joc.

This is your place, to fill with those memories and stories, no matter how trivial they seem to you at the time (can I just say, "Mmmm...Christmas cookies!?") because even in these everyday moments, He is present. You aren't filtering Him out when you share, you are presenting things through that filter that we are blessed to see everything through now. And that is so, so beautiful. Someone said to me last night that the only time you have to worry about what you are writing is when that tension, the tension between writing what is really on your heart and worrying about how that Truth will read to others, the time to worry is when that tension isn't present. You are glorifying Him with every photo (no matter how poorly taken.) :) And with every word. Blessed by this post and by you and your family! He's is weaving together something amazing for us all.

P.S. I must have heard the names Marshall and "Eliza" 47 times yesterday.

Dana Gay said...

I also enjoy your blog :) I love reading the words that come flowing from your are an opened honest women with a beautiful passion for Christ! Glad your my friend.

Anonymous said...

Your blog brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your journey. You are able to put into words what many of us also face in life....those human moments and faults. It is only with God that we can find peace and purpose. What a wonderful way to record your life's journey and you are right, through these thoughts you can be reflect on all the times you can see God at work in your life. Why are we so surprised sometimes to see that He was there? : ) Silly humans we are!Sometimes Satan's voice can be so loud and he always seems to attack us in our weakness. But God tells us he can make us strong in our weakness. Praise God!

Love the pix and adventures of your family.

I pray you are feeling good and taking care of yourself! You are in my prayers.

God Bless,