I love my Time Hop app! Every morning while I eat breakfast, I open it up and see what my life was like one year ago, three years ago, eight years ago, whatever, on this day. For someone who is constantly living in a state of nostalgia and a self admitted sucker for the past, stuff like this does my heart good. I love to look back and see where I was, who I was before.
This week is a little Time Hopesque for us here at GLOW since it’s our one-year anniversary and I’ve spent it thinking back on what GLOW has meant to me over the last year. Really though, I’d have to go back farther than a year if I’m gonna do the story justice.
In the summer of 2014, an old and dear friend of mine that I had known since high school, you all know her as the wonderful Alyssa Martin, sent me a Facebook message. She shared with me that she felt like The Lord had placed the dream of starting a Christian women’s lifestyle blog on her heart. It would be all about seeking Christ in the everyday and creating a community for women to seek Him together and grow in their faith. She laid a detailed plan and casted her dream like a fish hook that got stuck in my heart and then ended it all with “would you be a part of it?”
Alyssa and I with another friend of ours in 2008
I sat there staring at my computer screen wondering just how God could be so good. You see, if you looked back at my life a little over a year ago, you’d find me chasing after my two-year-old and his trail of Play-Doh crumbs while I held my five-month-old twenty-four-seven. It was that phase that all moms know about. The one that feels like survival mode, that’s comprised of precisely zero time for yourself and where sleep has been replaced by coffee. I was in the full swing of stay at home mothering of two and that was just the way I wanted it to be.
I knew that what I was doing was beneficial and that it was only for a season. I had done it before with my son after all, this paralysis that comes with a newborn. I knew that eventually she would sleep all night, I wouldn’t nurse her anymore, she wouldn’t have to be held all the time and I would have a little bit of my day and my arms to myself. I knew that mothering was a ministry, one that I never doubt I am called to, and that learning self-sacrifice was a worthy lesson but even still, I felt a little bit guilty about my lack of contribution to the world outside of my home.
Maybe it wasn’t just guilt. Maybe I felt the need to have something that was my own, and impacted other people. Or maybe, the Holy Spirit was preparing my heart for GLOW.
I had been praying through this for a few months, trying to sort through the parts that were simply new mom hormones and the parts that might have been valid and as I prayed, I began to realize that I missed ministering to other people. There was a struggle in my heart though because, the only forms of ministry that I could think of would require me to give up time with my kids and I wasn’t ready to do that. Annabelle wouldn’t go into the nursery at church, she wouldn’t even take a bottle. She needed me, and only me, so I began to pray for a ministry opportunity that could coexist with my season of life, the one that left only nap-time for any effort to be put into it.
Enter Alyssa’s message. I could have cried when I read her words. God had given me the gift that I had been longing for. In one wonderful website, He gave me something that encouraged me and encouraged others. I felt like I had something that brought me joy and sharpened my heart and my abilities all while His daughters, women I have never met (hey there, ladies!) were getting the same benefits.
Since GLOW started I have been amazed by the goodness that God possesses to make a gift stretch long and far. I believe that He did give Alyssa this idea because there were women that needed to be encouraged and challenged in their faith. It’s part of the Kingdom building that He promised he would do (Matthew 16:18). But isn’t it just so like Him, so a part of His beautiful character to not only think about the people who would benefit from the building, but those that are doing it as well? He could have just been concerned about the end result, but he cared about my heart and my joy, too.
God has plans for all of His people. They’re good and prosperous and if we’re living within His plans, they will include plans to go and make disciples of others, to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ, and build His church for His glory, not our own. That’s certainly exciting, but I’ve found that the tenderness of God’s heart towards us and His uncanny attention to every detail can be found in the behind the scenes stuff of His plans. I’ve found that His plans are always two-fold, they benefit His Kingdom but they do so in a way that brings our hearts joy. He bends and molds His methods to the messenger that’s carrying them so that there’s joy and fulfillment in the delivery.
He knew when he made me that I would have an obsession with words. Spoken words, written words, words that are sung, words that are signed, any of them, I’ll take them all. He knew that writing and reading would awaken a place in my soul that nothing else could so He gave me a chance to do that for Him and in the process, we both benefited.
God’s plans for our lives are always a win-win. He knows you better than you know yourself and He made you the way you are on purpose. Find what awakens your soul unlike anything else and ask Him to use it so that years from now, you can look back and see the goodness of our God in your life and in the lives of others.