“You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, a letter from Christ. . .to be known and read by all. . . written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:2-3).
Just a year ago, I sat with my daughter and her husband, around their kitchen table—and together we named this blog, identified the scripture above as the theme verse, purchased a domain name, and looked at website templates. A few weeks later, a friend designed the logo and a Facebook page. On August 1, the first blog posted—my own abortion story.
“ 'You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, a letter from Christ...'
2 Cor 3:2 ”
It’s hard to believe the post you are reading is the 34th Living Letters blog. So much has happened, so many unforeseen things—both hard things and happy things. I have to admit the beginning was very hurried. I’m the kind of person that has to just dive into things or I may never get them done. I thrive with deadlines. A year ago, I was in the last month of directing a pregnancy resource center and also winding down 30 years of living in the Pennsylvania Poconos. Unknown territory lay before me, and the reality of retiring meant that I could begin my dream of writing.
Committing to start blogging seemed like the surest and most logical way to begin. The goal then was to build up a readership so that the books that might come later would have some waiting readers. Up until then, I hadn’t really followed any blogs. I subscribed to one by a well-known author, just to see how she blogged. On Facebook, I paid most attention to blogs with personal stories because that’s what I like to write and read. It’s easy to scroll past bloggers on Facebook if the topic isn’t of interest or you don’t know the person writing.
What I didn’t realize then, but sure do now, is that it seems like there are almost as many bloggers as there are readers. Everyone blogs. About everything. Talk about a saturated market! The blogger count at the end of 2019 was more than 500 million with more new ones popping up every day. My plan to use blogging as a way to gain readers quickly overwhelmed me. I needed business cards, a business and marketing plan, folks to help me in areas where I had no expertise. I had to create a unique site, be different from the mainstream. Yet, all I ever wanted was to write, not start another business.
“ The blogger count at the end of 2019 was more than 500 million with more new ones popping up every day. ”
I had dozens of people’s stories I wanted to tell; issues I wanted to research and discuss; ministries and resources I wanted to introduce to a larger audience. The ideas keep coming. Right now there are enough for another full year. But how to schedule, grow readers, write blogs three times a month, and begin to work on larger book projects? Even while trying to adjust to a new place to live, a new city, a new church, and a new way of doing almost everything. I felt like I was hopelessly trying to find my way out of an extensive labyrinth.
“Be still,” is often whispered in my mind during times like these. If it were shouted, it would just be more noise clamoring to be heard above the din. But the quiet words, put there by the Spirit of God, immediately calm me. “Know that I am God.” My times are in His hands. Accepting the reality of the whole situation, I gave it over little by little—knowing full well that I can’t do it by myself, I put my trust in Someone who can and who understands it all better than me. Not to say I live anxiety free. But to stop, recognize, listen with open heart and hands, receive what the Lord will provide, and then walk where He leads, despite my natural inclinations to do otherwise.
“ I can’t do it by myself, I put my trust in Someone who can and who understands it all better than me. ”
I just listened to our Virginia governor’s press conference where the process for higher education after Covid-19 was discussed and the latest discouraging state revenue report given. One of the officials who spoke said that as we come out of this, we should not expect things to be exactly as they were. Nothing will ever again be what it was. We will have a new normal. I thought about how my own experience in beginning a blog is no different than thousands of educators, businesses, laborers, parents—pretty much everyone right now—all struggling to cope with the after-life of a pandemic. Added to that is the climate of social injustice, political unrest, and general upheaval that has invaded the world’s corona virus chaos.
It’s not just me entering a new season of life—things will not be the same for any of us. Except that for those of us who know and love Jesus—He is the same yesterday, today, tomorrow, forever. He has left us with a book full of unfailing promises, His spirit which resides in us, and a commitment to come back soon for us, to take us to an everlasting place that He is right now preparing. Meanwhile, He has assigned us work to do right now in building up His kingdom through our everyday lives.
My work assignment at the moment is blogging. Despite the initial learning and month-by-month adjusting, it has been a pleasant journey. I was not gifted with much technology comprehension, but I have a son-in-law who is laboring for me in that area. His wife, my daughter, has proven to be an excellent reader and editor, and has professionally polished every blog. The graphic designer who beautifully enhances each blog and designs every Facebook post—well, you can see the remarkable job she is doing. I have also appreciated the help of Jordan Smith, now a Liberty University sophomore, who is researching and writing an occasional blog. I thank God for each of them and thank them for their willingness to give of their time and services.
“ ...for those of us who know and love Jesus—He is the same yesterday, today, tomorrow, forever. ”
I’ve worked with some wonderful people who have told their amazing stories, had the opportunity to interview a number of people doing great work for the Kingdom, and introduced some outstanding ministries to readers. But my favorite memory happened in January just over the Louisiana border at a rest stop along an interstate highway. It had been a long morning driving through Mississippi, made longer because of my urgent need to find a rest area—with none in sight! Finally, relieved in Louisiana, I decided to have a look at the visitor center to exercise my legs for a bit. Someone behind a counter called out to me and before I knew it, I was engaged in conversation with another retiree who clearly enjoyed her retirement job of meeting travelers.
It was also evident that she loved Jesus and became more and more enthusiastic as I told her that I did too. I stayed there much longer than intended, but knew it was one of those times that God had so perfectly arranged two believers meeting and encouraging one another. I left her with my business card, and only a few days later noticed that she had subscribed to Living Letters.
My prayer is that Living Letters is blessing its readers. That they are being encouraged in their faith, informed about issues they weren’t aware of, and introduced to missions and ministries which they can support and find involvement. One of my readers recently asked me how I find the people I write about. Those connected with Pregnancy Resource Center of the Poconos will recognize many of the names—which explains how I met them. Some stories I happened onto, or asked around to find just the right person. But I responded to the reader who asked: “I think God has put me in touch with people all my life, who have stories to tell. He still is!”
“ My prayer is that Living Letters is blessing its readers. ”
Social media conversations can weigh one down. Everyone has an opinion. Looking at what is happening in the world right now oppresses the mind and affects the human spirit. But I notice there are certain people who are posting nothing these days but flowers, or nature pictures, and I find those refreshing. To me, those are the posts that are saying, “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (Psalm 46:10, 11).
I can’t see around the next bend in my road. I can’t be sure what’s there. You may not know your next step or how what you are facing now will all work out. But God does, and He wants to love you and love others through you as you take it. Just put one foot in front of the other.