I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14
Blog: (noun) a website containing a writer’s or group of writers’ own experiences, observations, opinions, etc.
Blogged, blogging (verb)
August 2011, ten years ago, I wrote my first blog. I blogged. I looked it up first, and when I saw I could just throw my opinion out there on the World Wide Web, like casting a trawl net into the ocean, I was intrigued. And so it began. Blogging. You can read my first blog here.
It was inspired by a refrigerator magnet that I still have. It says:
Everyone is entitled to my opinion.
I still think that is hysterical, partly because I believe it’s true. My mother’s nickname for me as a mouthy little girl was “last word Lucy.” My words have gotten me into a world of trouble. Taming my tongue has been hard, even discouraging. But God in His long-suffering mercy is teaching me Grace and Silence too. He has also shown me the power of words that are used for His glory, like an arrow pulled back and steadying its aim.
Spencersmom.com began with those in mind, who like myself, were traveling the hidden path, the hard climb with no map in hand. The loss of a child is unquestionably the worst devastation a life can endure. But I have discovered there are many life experiences that derail a soul. Other losses, betrayals, rejection and loneliness. The craving for hope is as universal as the need for air. So, I’ve taken my words and aimed upward. Through all circumstances, and I’ve blogged through many that would seem “unspiritual,” including the Marathon Bomber, Post Concussive Syndrome and Grumpy Old Men, I can point to a lodestar, a safe harbor – a place of healing and redemption. Same answer always – Jesus Christ. You will find no other on this blog. But you will find an opinion that has been tried. As Job declared:
But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. Job 23:10
We live in a world that’s smothered by opinion. I do recognize that mine is not essential. But it seems to me, (in my opinion) that opinions begin and end in the frontal lobe, conceived through intellect and reasoning. Thought out, but never tried in the adversity of lived life. The bigger the brains, the better the opinion. Eventually, you don’t even need your own perspective or belief set – you can just borrow them from others who seem smarter. The danger of “parroting” opinion is that it bears no weight or value. It’s a two-dimensional hand-me-down. Your “view” is a cheap knock-off of the original, and even the original, for all of its glitz and bling, may be faux gold.
Perhaps the best way to discover what you really believe is to suffer, and suffer hard. The refining furnace of pain has a way of whittling away the endless dross of opinion, peripheral doctrine and beliefs. When I buried my son, I was humbled by the house of cards I had built. The neat stack of principles and policies I had constructed for God imploded immediately. In the smoldering heap of ruin, God in His patience and mercy, helped me rebuild. But this time, there would be no house of cards, no neat set of equations and balancing scales. I found that most of my opinions don’t matter. Weightless fluff.
There is a clarity and discernment that is pure and unblemished, a fearlessness of life or death when you finally come through the furnace. It was just Jesus within the fire and there, waiting, when I emerged – more majestic and mysterious than ever. “Follow me,” was my only direction. All obstacles had been stripped away, and the path was clear, His word a lamp for my feet. I find it is most difficult to follow Jesus on a good day – when the sun is bright and the way seems smooth. C.S. Lewis writes, in Screwtape Letters,
“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”
Soon we begin to gather those things we at one time surrendered. Our plans, position, our bitterness and self-pity. Sometimes it’s the “blessings” of God that most incumber us. If we’re not careful, we begin to resent God Himself, and His messengers. We are, on this side of heaven, in the flesh and inclined to pitch our tent towards all that dazzles and draws our hearts away from the rough climb upward. My son Spencer wrote:
“This life is nothing more than a pilgrimage to heaven. This journey is a journey of the heart.”
Ah yes! It is more than just a set of footprints. It is a journey of the heart, and that’s why Jesus knew He was handing us enough with just one simple command: Love one another. Ten years goes by in a flash. And in all of my stumbling and fumbling, have I gotten any better at this? I guess others would have to answer that for me. As my words lift into the clamor of opinion, whether spoken, blogged, podcasted or spray-painted, the question is; Do they matter? And most importantly to me– do they glorify God? Have I “walked in love” (Ephesians 5:2)? Have I hit the mark?
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:6
“Always?” Not me, not yet, but this I still strive for, “pressing towards the mark.”
Thank you, dear friend and reader, for 10 years of following along, or maybe just stopping by once, and sifting my words. Thank you for GRACE. May you find pure gold and words that edify and equip you for this journey – the call upward in Christ Jesus, a “journey of the heart.” And that’s much more than just my opinion. It’s the Way, the Truth and Life. It is the answer.