It’s been a long time since I wrote on this little blog of mine, and I feel like I owe you all an explanation.

Things were booming in this project of mine.  I went viral for a bit.  I even got recognized in public.

That’s a super weird experience by the way.

But then it just…stopped…

Not the shares, or the likes, or the stats of the blog.

Me.  I stopped.

Life went haywire for me shortly after my post went viral.  One day….one day….I will share in great detail about what I went through in 2016.  It’s not completely my story to tell.  There are other people involved, and I want to have full disclosure when I am finally able to let it all out.

But it’s not really their story either.  It’s God’s story.

I had to learn some things in 2016.  In order to do that, God had to take some things away from me.  One of those things was my desire to write.

Stories wouldn’t come.  My fingers wouldn’t work.  I would log into my site and sit blankly in front of a screen.  Nothing.  No inspiration.

And those feelings are confusing.  I thought I was being given a platform to spread the love of Jesus through a talent He had given me.  People were approaching me to thank me for what I had written, and I believed I was making a difference in people’s lives.  It hurt my heart to know I wasn’t doing what I felt I was being called to do, and it really wasn’t a choice of mine to feel this way.  But I also didn’t want to present something that was fake or half-hearted just for the sake of presentation.

So I kept my fingers silent.

But on this side of the heartache, I see things so clearly.

Was I truly writing this blog for the sake of Jesus?  Or was I praising the gift instead of the Giver?  Was I seeking the next topic for a post instead of seeking a lesson to be learned?  Was I too concerned about the site stats and bounce rates and likes to see what I truly had been doing?  Was I spending too much time in jealousy of others who were seeing success of blogs turning into books and speaking engagements, while I was still plugging away at the keys?

Through the silence, I learned so much about myself, and about my Jesus.

I learned about forgiveness.  Deep and true forgiveness that doesn’t hide behind regret.  Forgiveness that doesn’t wait for it’s next opportunity to be mistreated and used as a weapon.  Forgiveness that is only possible because of the supernatural grace and mercy that Jesus so freely gives.

I learned about time.  My babies are growing so quickly.  I hate the word “intentional” – just ask my Life Group class about the time I got on my soap box about that dang word and how we Christian bloggers love to use it.  Sometimes my only intention of the day is to get to bedtime without anyone dying, and that’s ok.  But I learned that with every bedtime, my children are another day older, and it’s another day that I could have shared a little more, loved a little more, and given a little more.  Time is a bittersweet gift.

I learned about worship.  Real worship that’s not just when you sing along in the church service.  Worship that overtakes your thoughts and your actions because obedience and submission is just as worthy worship as the solo I sang a few weeks ago.  When I raise my hands on Sunday morning, it’s because of the other six days of the week that God has shown Himself over and over to me, and I get to experience it and thank Him for it.  This worship is so much better than just a song with pretty words and lovely melodies.

I learned about quietness.  Choosing words that are meaningful and uplifting.  Staying quiet when necessary (this was a hard lesson).  Saying “no” when necessary (even harder).  Relishing those few minutes I get to spend with my journal and Bible before the house wakes up and we move onto daily tasks.  Putting my phone down and just being.

I learned about self-control,  I’m not going to sugarcoat things – one of my favorite sins is rage.  I love an argument for argument’s sake.  I also like things the way I want them, and I will lash out at those who get in the way.  Unfortunately, this left my husband and my children terrified of me.  I work (and pray) hard for control over my tongue so that I can be a source of comfort for my family, and not a field full of eggshells.

I learned that I’m a pretty good teacher to those who are willing to listen, and I’m not just a person who can write.  I can speak.  He’s taught me to be bolder with my words to people and not just the open air.  He’s been fine tuning the gifts He’s given me to use them better and stronger than ever before.  He’s taught me to rely on Him for the abilities.  He’s the One who created me like this, and He knows best.

I learned that God isn’t saying “no” to this calling that I was so sure He was calling me to.  He’s just been saying “not yet.”  I can’t serve Him fully without all these lessons He’s had to teach more, nor is He done teaching me.  And I certainly can’t teach other people about grace and mercy, while I’m harboring resentment and rage.

There’s a reason the pre-flight instructions tell you to put your mask on first before helping someone else.

I’m a different person than I was a year ago.  I am so thankful for that.  My marriage is different, my work life is different, my worship is different, and my confidence is different.  It took a year of silence to figure all this out, but I’m hoping the silence ends soon.

But by taking away this need to write, I have been given so much more.  A fresh and green start, with renewed energy and hope.  A heart full of gratefulness and peace.  A galley of friends I’ve been able to counsel and spend time.  A quiver of two highly energetic children and a husband who waits patiently for our Wednesday night date nights after bedtime.

Praise the Lord that we are never truly “finished.”  God is working constantly in us and through us and before us so we can reach the places He always intended us to be.  Places where His name is glorified instead of ours, and places where we have peace in giving the glory to Him instead of ourselves.  When God takes away things, it can feel like punishment or pressure.  But more often, it’s for Him to teach us things we would have never known otherwise.  For that, I am eternally thankful.

The Lord gives and The Lord takes away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord. – Job 1:21