On Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at 11:33 am, I clicked “publish” on my very first blog post. I was sitting at my kitchen table with this sweet thing sitting next to me.
Other than carting my then- kindergartner and then-3rd grader back and forth to school, I was pretty much house-bound, thanks to the erratic sleep patterns and incessant clinginess of my newly-adopted 15-month-old Guatemalan daughter.
Prior to adopting Elliana, I taught real-life women on Tuesday mornings in my home. Foreseeing that I would need to concentrate fully on our beautiful new child (and the 2 other children who were undergoing adjustments of their own), I disbanded the real-life women’s group I had grown to love. It was a good thing. A God thing. But it was a HARD thing. I thought it would only be temporary—maybe a few months—before I got the baby’s schedule regulated, and we’d be up and running again.
But integrating this toddler into our life proved more challenging than I anticipated. I could barely keep up with the dishes and laundry, let alone vacuum, shower or cook a decent meal. There was no way I could pull it together to host a weekly Bible study.
Most moms would have been content with the break from teaching—an opportunity to focus inward instead of outward.
Not me. I’m a little nutty that way. I love focusing on my family, but I also have an unquenchable desire to reach beyond my four walls and touch the world.
So, God, in His infinite goodness, handed me a gift. The gift was this blog—God Speaks Today. Writing here afforded me the much-needed writing and teaching outlet I craved. With the push of a button, I could extend my voice beyond my dusty, unvacuumed, home and speak to people on the other side of the country—the planet, even! Not only that, but I soon learned that book publishers love bloggers because they afford a wannabe author a “platform.” And—bonus!—I could do all of this at any hour of the day or night, while sitting at my kitchen table, unshowered.
A gift, indeed.
Well, over the last 4 years, my life has slowly evolved. I am no longer housebound, for one. Those kids are growing up.
Words can’t describe how differently my children need me now than they did then.
My “3rd grader” is about to become a teenager.
My “kindergartner” is now a 4th grader.
And that baby? She’ll be starting kindergarten in exactly 5 months.
It’s happening so quickly, I can hardly stand it.
Now, the real women in my life—the ones with whom I previously disbanded—are inviting me to reconnect. Other women are asking me to mentor them. I have speaking and teaching opportunities—including an open invitation from my pastor to teach at my church, anytime—all I have to do is say the word. (He claims he doesn’t offer this to just anyone. I’m choosing to believe him.)
Surprisingly, instead of embracing these real-life relationships and opportunities, I often find myself saying “no” because I have made blogging such a high priority in my life. Over the last 4 years, I have successfully reworked my schedule in such a way that every kid-free hour is reserved for writing blog posts (it takes me forever to write one stinking blog post).
I refuse almost every invitation to connect during kid-free hours because that is my “writing time.”
Confession: I sometimes resent the blog for dominating my life.
The weirdest shift has taken place: Instead of having this great ministry outlet while I’m housebound with a new baby, I am now choosing to be housebound in order to keep the “great ministry” alive.
And truth be told, the blog isn’t all that great anyway, which is another whole issue entirely. I have so many ideas for this blog (I’ve got an entire Word document with dozens and dozens of ideas), but I simply do not have time to implement any of them. And then when Moody publishers told me they’d offer me a book contract just as soon as I increased my subscriber numbers—that totally messed me up! When am I supposed to do that?
I have tried, believe me. And after years of hardcore effort, I have concluded I cannot give my blog the time and attention it needs right now. Sure, I could free up my hands by slapping something mediocre up here once a week. But, man, do I ever stink at that.
And you are worth more to me than that.
I want every post to be worthy of your precious time—because I do take it very seriously that you carve a portion of your week to read my stuff. It just feels irresponsible to me to give you less than my best.
I had a revelation recently: What if all of this frustration is simply God trying to end a season in my life?
What if my hands are so full of “blog” right now that God couldn’t hand me a new gift—a better gift—even if He wanted to, because there is no room in my hands to embrace it?
What if instead of constantly striving to cram all of this into my schedule (write another blog post, build an author’s platform, build my on-line presence), I trust the Gift-giver enough to open my hand, set it all down, and see what He hands me next?
These are the questions I’ve been asking myself. And I can finally say with great peace and confidence that I choose to set down the gift—God Speaks Today—for now. It has everything to do with being a good steward of what God has placed in my hand. And then listening to how He speaks to me while my hands are empty.
It’s been so long since I stood before Him with hands empty.
Come August, my entire little clan goes to school all day, every day. Talk about a new season. When I have (count ‘em) thirty-five kid-free hours a week, I will reassess where the blog fits.
I always imagined that Fall 2012 would begin the Year of the Blog. But I suppose, if I’m truly setting it down, I need to be prepared that God may hand me something else entirely. I just don’t know at this point.
In the interim, I may post something here and there (I mean, don’t you want to know the final results of the P90X2 challenge?) but I’m not putting any pressure on myself to do so. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself, in case you can’t tell. Besides, I really just want to look my kids in the eye. Drink up every second of having a preschooler in the house. Have dinner or lunch with real people.
I feel like I’ve been stuck behind a computer screen for 4 years.
Oh wait, I have.
So, there you go—the impending blog break. The full explanation. Probably more than you ever cared to know. Thanks for reading it until the end.
1. This isn’t a media fast, or anything like that. I will still be reading and commenting on YOUR blogs. Some of my dearest friends are bloggers. I don’t want to lose you.
2. If you subscribe to my blog, you won’t have to check back to see when I’ve posted. In fact, absolutely nothing in your life will change. Until, of course, I post something on the blog. At that point, the post will quietly appear in your inbox. It really does free you from the burden of remembering to check the website. (After what I just said about building my subscription numbers, you may think this is a cheap ploy at getting new subscriptions. I promise, it’s not.)
3. If you leave comments on my blog, I will still see them and will respond if you leave a way for me to do so.
4. You can always e-mail me at jonsandy(at)bellsouth(dot)net. I check e-mails daily (okay, constantly).
5. You can keep up with me on Facebook. I love to banter on Facebook. (Please indicate in a message that you are my blog friend and not a creep. Otherwise, I may be tempted to ignore you.)
Thank you for all the nice comments and e-mails I’ve received since Friday, telling me how sad you are that I’m leaving temporarily. You have no idea how much this blesses me.
It’s now March 4, 2012. 11:33 PM.