Three years ago in the fall, I felt like it was time to start writing a blog. My reasons for doing so are deeply meaningful to me, so I'm taking a risk to share them publicly.
As much as I like writing, I'm not an expert. There's a lot of editing that goes on behind the scenes, whether I'm asking Norm to look for holes in my logic, or asking some of my writer friends to proof a post. I still owe my friend S cookies for helping me edit something recently. I need to take a critical writing class, a photography class, and a computer class, too. I'm not making any money here. All I'm doing is tossing my stuff out to the internet, and hoping that my story helps somebody. Whether or not you are my biological sister, it doesn't matter. Some of my closest friends are so dear to me that I count them as sisters. I'm not sure how far these words will reach, but if you're somebody I haven't met yet, I'm hoping this is worth the effort, and worth forfeiting a measure of privacy.
So why did I start writing? Three years ago during my church's annual Women's meeting, one of my favorite mentors gave a speech called Turn On Your Light. I don't know Sharon Eubank personally, but I've admired her for many years. I love this lady. During her remarks that night, I felt a nudge, maybe a heavenly nudge, that it was time to start writing my story and sharing it in a blog. I still remember where I was sitting, surrounded by my girlfriends at the church, sitting on benches watching the broadcast. I still remember feeling very clearly that this was a necessary step. It was a powerful moment, or I wouldn't have acted on it. My good friend J has been keeping a blog for years. I modeled mine after hers.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[b] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
The idea of light and sharing an internal fire, or an internal spark, has always resonated with me. My purpose in writing this blog is to do that. There are things I've learned that make my light reflect more brightly, so I want to share that with my sisters. Opening up about some of the difficult parts of my journey with my friends and neighbors is a scary step. I believe that being genuine and vulnerable leads to deeper friendships. I hope that in exposing some of my foibles, it lets you realize that each one of us is deeply flawed, but there's hope. I hope this blog is different from others. I'm not trying to be a Barbie or pretend that everything is peaches and cream over here. My intent is to be real. A while ago I wrote a post about brokenness because I was struggling through a season of grief and turmoil.
Some of the questions that Sister Eubank recommended:
- Will you articulate your faith?
- How do you feel about Jesus Christ? my answer here
- Why do you stay in the Church?
- Why do you believe the Book of Mormon is scripture? my answer here
- Where do you get your peace? Why does it matter that the prophet has something to say [today]? here
Earlier this year I listened to another speech from another powerful female mentor. Her remarks are here and in a nutshell, she talked about light again and how it helps us to see. Can you see how light is the theme that keeps surfacing here? Bonnie Cordon currently serves as the Young Women general president of my church. She has been a hero to me because she's fearless in teaching. She sets a powerful example for women, of how to be articulate and beautiful and assertive and kind. We need more strong women who are fearless in defending good. We need more women who will speak up and speak out and share their light.
This world is increasing in darkness. I'm overwhelmed with grief at the global and national crises that are constantly in the news. There are a lot of things I care deeply about, but they're outside of my circle of influence. My circle of influence is pretty small. It's my home and the people who live here with me, it's my extended family, it's my friends and neighbors on my street, it's my kids' friends and school acquaintances.
My ability to lift and bless the people I love is proportional to where I live. I can't do a service project for homeless people in California, because that's too far away. But I can do a simple service project and donate toothbrushes and shampoo to the local Salvation Army. I can't fix problems of poverty in third world countries, but when I see poverty here in Texas, I can share.
I can't fix problems related to the sex trade, but I can fight pornography here in my neighborhood. I can teach my kids about the birds and the bees, and that life is sacred. I'm available when teenagers need to ask awkward questions.
I can't fix problems of refugees in foreign lands, but I can be welcoming to strangers and foreigners here. Ephesians 2:19 says, "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God."
I can't control national politics, but I can vote. I don't determine the outcome, but I can peacefully respect others. I can pray for the President of the United States, even when I don't like him. I can't control the looting or rioting in big cities, but I can teach my children to be builders and not wreckers. I love liberty and respect the flag, so I can fly it outside my home every single day and sing patriotic songs. I can't fix problems of racism, but I can love and respect all of the people in my life, whether they are the same as me or different.
I can't control what other families are doing, but I can celebrate my own family. I can celebrate my marriage and the amazing things my husband does to protect and provide for us. Here's the funny thing. I don't write every day. I don't even publish something every week. This entire year my blog has been sleeping, up until September when I decided to tell the story about my Twenty year anniversary. I didn't tell the story to brag, or to get dozens of likes. I told the story because it's a miracle. My marriage has not been a bed of roses. My husband and I have weathered some really difficult seasons, and we continue choosing to stay together. We keep choosing to forgive, and to turn to God to heal us of our brokenness. We keep making mistakes with parenting our kids, and they are starting to see that Mom and Dad are messy, just like any human on the planet. I can celebrate being part of a team that makes me become a better person. My marriage is precious to me, and I'm so grateful for the terribly difficult seasons because they've made me stronger. I'm lucky to have a spouse that is strong and steady and sturdy. With his help I've learned to find my own voice.
My voice and my light may be small, but I'm just getting started. Sometimes I'll write notes and share what's important to me. I've loved the Sara Bareilles song called Brave for a long time. The video is super fun to watch. So Happy Birthday little blog. Keep being brave. And keep shining your little light.