Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Blessings & Lessons From January

Is it just me, or did January begin and end in an instant?
I have no idea where the time went!
It seems like I have been overwhelmed by so much this month,
yet it feels like I accomplished so little.
{is that even possible?}

At the same time, when I look back on January, it has been an enormously fulfilling month.
What a way to kick off the year!

I attended an amazing women's conference at church this month.
I felt loved.  Connected.  Empowered.
I learned so much about myself and who I am.
What's exciting is that this conference went over so well that they are already planning the 2nd Chosen conference which will be held January 24-25, 2013!  Mark your calendars.  If you live in or around Charleston, SC or you can get here some how, some way, I highly recommend it.  I think it would be fun if some of us from this little bloggy world met up and went together!!

I participated in a 21 day fast with my church.
It was a time of prayer and deep reflection and spiritual growth.
I had specific prayers in mind throughout this fast.  I have not really heard from God in terms of answers.
However, I will continue to be faithful and pray to Him knowing that the answers will come and they will come in His timing not mine.

Sisterhood mornings began last week at church.
Such an incredible time of fellowship with my fellow sisters in Christ.
I am blessed to be leading a table this semester and, while it is stretching me, I feel like I am about to arise {the theme of Sisterhood this semester is "Arise"} and start to come into my own throughout this semester.

I began meeting with a "Huddle".
If you want to learn more about huddles, I would highly recommend Mike Breen's book, Building A Discipling Culture.  Our huddle consists of four women {myself included}.  We will meet a couple times a month...for life.  It's not a short term small group.  It's a group of women who meet to support each other and to be accountability partners in Christ.  I am very excited to see what God has in mind for our huddle.

Through discussions with my husband, combined with church meetings and sermons in church, we have decided to make a much more concerted effort at being intentional parents and spouses.  I am not saying that we do a bad job, but our family life could be so much more if we put a more intentional effort into it.  This is going to be our best year as a family.

The blogging world at large.
I have hooked up with some amazing women of Christ on facebook.  We all blog.  We're all connected through a page on facebook.  I don't know how many of the ladies there know each other in real life, but the relationships formed and forming through this page are incredible to see.  Prayers are being lifted up.  Prayers are being answered.  I'm even seeing posts where the answers are nothing short of a miracle.  There is power in prayer, friends.

I also have a group of bloggy friends outside that page.  I met them through blogging yet I count them as friends.  Again, there is an amazing source of strength, support, and encouragement out there.  It's incredible.

Sadly, in the blogging world, you may occasionally meet resistance or find that you've lost a connection or source of support.  Things may be said {or not said} which may leave you wondering what you did wrong or just "why?" - and that's ok.  It's going to happen every now and then.  This has happened to me this month.  It's a little heartbreaking - after all, I put a lot of effort into my blog and when "bad" things happen, it's hard not to take it personally.  Maybe you've been there too??  {And I truly, sincerely hope that I wasn't the source of it!  And if I am, please please accept my apologies!}  I think, though, that this can be a learning experience.  Maybe it can even help to empower you.  

You see, this is a recent {and new} thing for me, and at first I was taken aback.  I realized it's not the end of the world pretty quickly.  It's just not.  We're all individuals with our own unique personalities and blogs.  If we are truly being honest and being ourselves in our blogs, then it shouldn't matter what Person X thinks if they aren't in alignment with your vision.  If Person X has plans for their blog and it doesn't happen to include you, well, it may be because Person X's vision is just not the same as yours...and that's ok!!  Do you agree with Person you X's vision?

How much effort are you putting in to creating a blog that is based on your vision?  Chances are it's a lot.  Does it really matter what Persons X, Y and Z think?
Ok, yes, you want to attract a loyal following,
but what is your motivation for that?
Is it about numbers so you can say that you have the biggest following of all time?
Is it about saying you have more followers than Person A?
Are you keeping a mental tally of how many people are following Persons B, C and D on GFC, Bloglovin, Twitter, etc.?  And are you trying to make sure you can match their numbers or surpass them?

Is that what it's really about??

For me, it has always been about writing - first and foremost, I write to share my story and to recount the blessings in my life that have come through the challenging situations in my life.  I want to praise and thank God for the situations because of how they let me grow.  Secondarily, I am writing stories to share with other people who may have been through a similar situation.  If even one person finds some help in something I've shared, it is so worth it.  Words have such incredible power.

I've realized this month that, truly, what is shared here - be it encouragement, support, or even some random post about a recipe I tried - that it be used for His glory.  I've always felt that, but I'm learning that I have to be more intentional about making sure that happens.  It is not about "me".  It is about Him.  When you look at it from that perspective, then nothing else matters.

I want to support other bloggers so I can encourage them.  I want to help to introduce my readers to other blogs which they might find encouragement through as well.

It's not about a dollar amount.
It's not about the numbers.
I love looking at the stats, but I need to be more intentional about not caring as much about what the numbers are.

It is all for His glory, and I am so grateful for the blessing and the opportunity to share a bit about myself with you in my little effort to praise Him who gave it all for me.

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