The Hope Blog is Ten Years Old

It was  ten years ago today (July 15, 2007) that I began this personal blog on WordPress.  Within two hours, I had 4,000 unique visitors. I was publishing a busy news and comment blog as a part of the issues program I produced and co-hosted,  and when it crashed unexpectedly due to a technical problem, the ensuing silence of several days allowed me to put together  the personal blog I had long wanted.

My primary site was down, but a co-blogger in that field told readers what had happened to my site and directed them to the brand new Hope Blog. That’s why things were so busy that first day.

Looking back in your life, have you changed much in ten years? Is it good change or not so good change?  I reflect today on  the good changes and lessons learned over the last decade. It’s also interesting to look at ways we have stayed the same. In certain ways, i have stayed the same.

How have I changed? Here are a few ways.

I am  far less trusting of people than I was ten years ago. Like the saying goes, I never trust words, sometimes question actions , but I never doubt patterns.  Not anymore. I am wiser about people. I’ve learned to listen to my instincts  far more than I used to.

I have changed in that I have witnessed, firsthand, God’s providence in caring for our family.  Tom and I have lived this, especially over the last six years since our lives were turned upside down. We went from theory to seeing first hand the miracles God did to provide all our needs, something He continues to do. We were also blessed by the love of those God used to provide for us when we were without employment, overnight, with a family to care for and a mortgage to pay.

I have changed in that I no longer have any interest in much of what passes for “discernment” ministry.  So much I could say here, but I think my first point on my list pretty well covers it.  I think one of my adult sons summed it up well when he said, “Any ministry that is based only on pointing out the error of others is, by nature, imbalanced and unhealthy.” My son was absolutely right, and this is the world that I operated in for so very long.  It’s not opposing error that is wrong. But when that’s 90 percent of what you do, you have a mentally and spiritually unhealthy situation.

I care far less about the opinions of others than I did ten years ago.  Due to the many different denominations, viewpoints, agendas. I was constantly in contact with through Christian talk radio, I felt I had to please everyone, sometimes leading to ludicrous situations.  Twenty-three years of trying to please everyone. Too often, I never pleased anybody, and my in box would overflow with outraged listeners telling me where I had gone wrong. I even had more than one show up at the studios to “rebuke” me for promoting this cause or guest or author. It was madness.

It’s only now, years later, that I am able to say, without embarrassment, this is who I am. If you disagree, that is certainly your right to do so, but I am not changing to please you. I love God, I want to be the woman  that God made me to be, not a clone of somebody else. That may displease some people who watch from afar, but I won’t lose a wink of sleep over it. I feel a freedom that I never used to have before. By losing pretty much everybody from our former lives ,  God was able to give me something far better. The people now in our lives are those we choose to spend time with, not opportunists, users, pharisees and ministry idolaters who will leave tread marks from their “ministry” bus all over your face when you’re no longer useful. We have the dearest neighbors. Unlike those we used to work with, they love us, and we have had numerous chances to show love right back. Emily is the family ambassador, smiling and waving at all who walk or drive by.

I have stayed the same in ways. Tom and I just celebrated 22 years of marriage.  In his quiet way, he has done more to strengthen my faith in the Lord through tough  times than a lot of those thundering about this or that from pulpits or microphones.  Tom lives what he believes every single day, and his family, co-workers  and neighbors have  seen it. I love him even more than the day we married.

My faith in the Lord is not only still there, it has been strengthened. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever. Great is the Lord’s faithfulness, the one who lifts up our heads in the midst of incredible sadness. I will not join the many who spew blasphemy and curses because they were targeted by someone for abuse. Those engaging in evil will answer for it at the Court of No Appeal.  We may have been targets, but we don’t have to be victims. Love really is greater than hate. Nothing can grow in the soil of hate.  But when love is the soil, what beauty can grow from it!

It’s expensive to maintain files of ten years. I’m paying annually for extra space needed on WordPress. I may drop the blog  archives and retool the site at some point in the near future. There is much more I could improve on this site. But I’m not interested in “growing my brand.”  I have no brand. I just have this site to share my thoughts  and talk about my Savior and my family. Thank you for stopping by. and for the encouragement you send. Even if a handful read what I share, you are worth it.