Still Typing After all These Years

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com

Gentle Reader,

Ten years.

A decade.

Three books. An entry in an anthology. Appearances on other sites. Hours wrestling with shortcode. Discovering that I like wrestling with shortcode and other aspects of web design. Over 700 posts. (Somewhere around 800 if you count the ones I’ve purged).

You’d think that I would have run out of things to say by now.

I’ve crossed the line into being an “old timer” within the blogging community. I remember the days when Facebook notes were the thing and I had a LiveJournal account at one point. Before that was the glory and grandeur of MySpace. (Remember Tom)? If there was a free, online platform for me to try, I tried it. Blogger, Google+, TypePad…

If I were doing this the “right” way, I’d give you a list of things I’ve learned and tell you how to build a “successful” blog. I would wax poetic about how wonderful it is to be a writer. But I listicles aren’t really my thing and the most important lesson I can share with you is to never write when you’re angry. While it is wonderful to be a writer, it’s also difficult. It really cutting veins open and splashing blood on the page. Even the most detached, clinical of us knows the struggle and vulnerability inherent in hitting “publish.”

Honestly, I’m at a loss as to how to mark this anniversary. A lot of life has happened. I’m not who I was when I began this practice of putting my words out there for any and all to consume. I had hopes of gaining influence back then. Maybe a little money. Now the number of subscribers I have scares me; it’s a great privilege and responsibility. I can’t be flippant about speaking into anyone’s life. My bank account has seen very little action, which, let’s be real, is discouraging. It’s hard when nobody seems to want your stuff. But that just means the value of my books will go up after I die, right? Starving artist and all that?

Guess my twisted sense of humor remains the same.

Admittedly, I wonder if anything I write truly matters. Do I make a difference? Has anyone come to know and love the Lord even a little bit better because of something they’ve read here?

Maybe I won’t know until Heaven.

Maybe it’s not even about that. Maybe it’s only and always about simply being faithful to share the Gospel the best way I know how. The rest is between the internet surfer and God.

So, I continue on along the way. Certainly older, perhaps a little wiser, definitely with more grey hair. Oh, and scars. A lot more scars. Literally and figuratively.

Thank you, dear reader, for journeying with me. It is my honor to walk this road with you. I wish I could sit across a table from you, see your face and hear your story, while we indulge in some fried chicken and chocolate ice cream. (I’m a medically-mandated clean eater. That meal sounds fabulous to me right now). Until such time when our meeting is possible, I will continue to imagine you on the other side of the screen. I will continue to pray that you come to know and rest in the limitless love of the Savior who gave His all for you. May you be encouraged and equipped to live faithfully in this crazy world.

Onward.

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Happy Anniversary!

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Gentle Reader,

I had an anniversary with God yesterday, though we’re celebrating today. Two years ago, on September 19, at around 6 o’clock in the evening, He stopped me from committing suicide.

I’ve heard that it comes off a bit morbid to celebrate a day like that, but I can’t help it. September 19 will always be important to me. I think it’s important to God, too. That day marks a change in our relationship. I’m not any less of a sinner than I was two years ago. I’m not in possession of some secret to living a great life. I still miss the mark, sometimes intentionally. I still struggle with those dirty words, “obligated” and “perfect.” I still experience conflict, anxiety and dark moments of sadness.

But that day…I came to the end of myself. Staring into the pit of evil, I saw with striking clarity just how much I didn’t know, how much I didn’t understand. I knew that I couldn’t pull myself up. I had to start talking – to God and to people. I had to start being honest about how clouded everything was. Most importantly, I had to learn how to punch the Devil in the mouth. I had to learn to stop buying into his garbage, his lies, and start standing on the truth of what God says. It’s a process. Some days are better than others. But I move forward. And that’s what counts.

September 19 also reminds me of the way the Lord has preserved my life throughout the years. I could have died in utero. I could have had a negative reaction to the anesthesia used during my first surgery and never woken up again. I could have died in a school bus accident. But I’m still here. Bless the Lord, O my soul!

This is a happy day. This is a joyous day.

Dear reader, whoever you are, I want you to know that there is hope. If you feel beyond the reach of light today, please know that you are not! I know that it hurts. I know you are tired. I know that you don’t know where to turn and you feel every emotion so intensely that you’re actually numb, and that confuses you. I know that you just want it to stop. From your place of hiding, where you lay curled up in so much pain, cry out to God, even if it comes out as a whisper. He WILL hear you. He WILL respond.

I don’t know what the path will look like for you. Each person’s story is different. But you are alive for a REASON. Have you been prescribed medication? TAKE IT. Are you seeing therapist? KEEP THE APPOINTMENTS. If you don’t have medication or a therapist, GET BOTH. Journal, sing, go for walks, sit in silence. Sleep. Eat. Most of all, listen to the Spirit. Listen to the Voice of the One who made you, who knows you intimately. He WILL be faithful to guide you to a place of healing. He WILL take all this sorrow and fear and use it for something good; your story will touch and influence others.

If you don’t have anyone you feel comfortable talking to, call this number: 1-800-273-8255. There is someone on the other end 24/7. Please, my friend, don’t let the inky waves take you down. I know you have no strength – God does, and He will pour into you exactly how much you need for that day, even that second. Despair is NOT the end!

My journey to faith. (15)