Thursday, April 2, 2015

feeling introspective

Why keep a blog?

I've asked myself this question on many occasions.

After all, it is time consuming. There's the taking of pictures (which I actually like to do anyway.) Then they have to be uploaded and edited. And, of course, then there is the actual writing of posts to go along with the said photos.

Well, if I seek the glory and recognition of man in my keeping of a blog (which, admittedly, I struggle with), then I'm doing all of this for selfish and vain reasons. My blog is a means to promote myself if this is my viewpoint. And pride (which, again, I admittedly struggle with) is not honoring to God.

I do struggle with this. Why keep it? Why take the time if I can't reach the size audience that others are reaching? Why put the work and effort into it?

Does anyone else relate?

Well, one thing I can say for sure is that comparison is the thief of joy. 

You knows it's true.

That's the danger in blogs, Facebook, Pinterest, etc., etc., etc.

Why does she prosper and have thousands of followers when I only have a couple hundred? How is it that she's practically making a living on her blog and writing books and speaking at events, and, ludee-ludee-duh. It goes on and on and on.

Well, I don't have an answer for that one. I do, however, know that we're not meant to have a following. Rather, we're meant to be followers. Followers of Jesus Christ. And if we seek fame and recognition in a worldly sense, well, that's called vanity.

Because the Bible says that we are to encourage one another (I can do that on here, right?) We're to put others first and ourselves last (oh, what a challenge that can be sometimes.) We're to seek the glory of God and not the glory of ourselves. We're called to lead others to Christ, not to our blog posts.

Is anyone getting this? Or am I alone in these thoughts that I have seriously pondered and analyzed over and over again.

Why do I keep this blog?

Maybe I still don't know for sure.

I do know that it's been a huge blessing when I've received an email from a reader stating that she is thankful for my transparency in my struggles with anxiety disorder and depression. I know that God is taking that horrible, awful struggle of mine and using it for His glory.

I know that it feels my heart with joy when a reader tells me that she felt God led her to my blog. To God be the glory for that one. And it reminds me that I don't need to exert lots of effort trying to promote my blog. If I write for Him, He will send those that will be encouraged or blessed by the words He gives me to type in this space.

I also know that it's pretty awesome to be able to come here from time to time and scroll down through my posts and see all that has happened, all that has changed, all that we have done as a family, how my children have grown, how my interests have changed, how God has spoken to me. Seven years worth of posts are tidily kept chronologically here in this little piece of the web. And it blesses me to be able to re-read my online diary.

And I can record our adventures in alpaca and chicken farming, homesteading, and gardening. I can record our efforts to live a more self-sustainable, simple life.

I can document the various homeschooling  memories we make. The time spent in the kitchen, learning to cook and bake. The many, many art project and handcrafts we pursue together. The wonderful history lessons and historical trips we experience.

I can document Ian's recent fascination with Japan and ancient Japanese life and culture. I can document his made-from-scratch, made-by-himself Japanese dinner of Ramen and Dango. A dinner that was splendid and such a great learning experience for him.

I can document Lily's crafting projects. Her knitting adventures. Her crocheting and weaving activities. Her jewelry making. Her industrious spirit.

And I can read back and see how God has redeemed me and held me up on a firm place through some very dark, scary seasons of deep depression and agoraphobia.

Yes, keeping this blog is a good thing. That is, this blog is a good thing as long as it keeps its rightful place. Because God's glory needs to come first. And living must occur. And chores must be finished. Lessons must be done and enjoyed. And then, after those priorities, the posts can be written and the photos can be documented.

These are some things God's been speaking to my heart. Seek Him first and His righteousness, and He will provide for all other things.

Face life with joy and humility. Live for Him. Die to self. Seek His desire for my life, and I will find that it is better than anything I could have ever imagined for myself.

It's true, you know.

He's loves us. He desires only good for us. He has come to give us abundant life and victorious living. And all of that comes as we seek Him and desire to point others to His Son.

Jesus died for me. He died for you. He is the source of eternal life. Surrender your life. Place your faith in Jesus Christ who loved you so much that He bore your sin and the sin of the world and died a tortuous death because of that love. And as we celebrate Easter this Sunday, we celebrate the day that Jesus rose from death and claimed victory over death.

Jesus loves you. He loves you dearly. He pursues you. He pursues me. His love is a perfect, fulfilling love. And if you feel like you're missing something. If there's an empty spot there in your soul? Well, I'm here to say that that empty spot can only be truly filled with Jesus. From someone who has sought after worldly things in an attempt to feel fulfilled, I can say that none of that stuff will last. It always burns up or melts away. But Jesus never does. He never leaves.

Turn to Him, friend. Accept Him today. Experience true joy and peace.


Simply Quaint said...

I so look forward to reading your blog, I love to see the new things you are creating, how your family is growing, all your fur babies and what fun activities that inspire in your daily life....a wonderful journal of course for you to reflect on as well.... Keep posting I know for one I enjoy my morning coffee visiting with you...

Rachel E. said...

I'm with you with the blogging and such. I have struggled with the very same feelings. It's very difficult to remain true to your original intent in blogging. I'll tell you the truth. I love this blog. I like how down to earth you are. I like how your pictures are storytellers. I also like that is isn't a super big blog. From reading those super blogs, I find they lack somethings. I think because they are trying to be more of a business, they lose out on the importance of reaching individuals. They don't reach the heart as much as a small scale blog.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog! You have a wonderful heart and I see God in what you do. As always, I love your pictures! What are you making in the picture with the almonds, honey, sun butter, oats etc? It looks so yummy!


FulMel said...

I have to agree with Rachel E.
It's funny, your blog is very much like being able to come and "visit" at a really good friend's house. There's a genuineness to your tone and that is quite refreshing, really. Some blogs can leave you feeling discontent, but then you come across someone who seems to be down-to-earth (like you). Thanks for being yourself!! God is our source for everything, and sometimes He lets us have a little extra "happy" in our lives. Your blog helps to bring that.

Simply At Home said...

Amber Thank you for joining my blog. And leaving a sweet comment. I am looking forward to reading your inspiring blog. Teresa

My Garden Diaries said...

Such a beautiful beautiful post! I ask myself the blog question all the time. Sometimes I think it is time for me to stop blogging but the good that comes out of it keeps me going. The people that I have met inspire me through their without this blog...I would never have met them. I once cared about the followers but I gave that up pretty quick. I just like the connections I've lovely to have found your wonderful spot here friend! The photos are fantastic!! Nicole xo

Lulu said...

love your your craft room, so lovely..
have a blessed Easter..

Ashley said...

I love coming here to your space on the web. When I visit, it's sort of like meeting at a friend's home - a friend that you really look up to and are inspired by. Thank you for inviting me in and offering your encouragement. Your blog is not in vain when it is filled with posts that point the reader to Christ. :) ((Hugs))

Kay said...

Hello...I'm not even sure how I came across your blog other than Divine keystrokes! :-) Oh yes, I was looking at your review of A World of Science!!! I took a second to see read your bio and saw that you live in the rolling hills of the Northeast....and all I can think of is Pennsylvania, only because we just returned from a quick "vacation" there! I had never been there before...we stayed on a farm in Lancaster and I fell in love with the area!
Then I saw your tab for anxiety and I read more! Now that I've read this post, I'm sure it was God that led me here! I've dealt with anxiety and depression my whole life, and it came to a giant head in my early 20's...severe panic attacks and agoraphobia, along with debilitating depression as a result. It totally brought my fun, fruitful life to a halt. I've been on medication ever since, which I've struggled with the idea of, but it seriously saved my life. That was over 20 years ago and my life has been back to normal ever since. Now I still have very occasional panic attacks, (and post-partum time was especially difficult) but I know what they are and since the racing, uncontrollable, downward-spiraling thoughts are controlled with the meds, I can function right through them.
When my daughter was 9, she went through the exact same thing, which was probably my worst fear, but God is good! He held her through it, just as He did me, and He equipped me with tools to help her. She is 11 now and is the biggest bubble of joy! Of course, she still has an occasional attack, but she's learning how to deal.
Anyway, I just had to share...people always tell me that my best quality is my transparency! :-) Thanks for sharing your story, too! I look forward to reading your blog!

Mrs. Chrissy T said...

First off this post is beautiful and I have said these things to myself (yes~I do talk to myself and every now and then! In all seriousness as someone who has suffered depression, suicide attempt, and anxiety as well I can relate to all you wrote. I have often left my blog because of depression and then I always go back and scroll through and it often helps me pick up the pieces and go on. I will look at photos I took and joy will fill my heart of special moments that wasn't always so dark or gray.

Blessings my friend. I am so glad to have checked your blog out.