Welcome, Dear Reader, to the one year anniversary edition of this blog! Thank you for reading. I’ve learned a lot through blogging this year:
- People are not looking for perfection. They are searching for honesty. I believe many have had their fill of the “best-foot-forward-our-life-is-nothing-but-wonderful” that permeates the Internet. Almost everyone I know is dealing with some problems, so they appreciate knowing others experiences some heartaches too.
- People want to comment. They want to be heard. On my blog there is a place to contact the technical person in case a reader has a technical issue. There is not a place to contact me personally. I’ve been told by the “tech team” I’ve received some lovely comments over the past year, and I’ve received some not-so-lovely comments this past year. I’ve never seen one comment because I decided long ago, I was going to remove that portion of blogging off my plate. Evidently, this frustrates some.
- People often choose their own narrative. I’m told when I wrote about my initial consideration to stop blogging, but then decided to keep writing, I received comments lamenting the fact I was shutting down the blog. Which I don’t understand, because the whole message of the blog was that I thought about stopping but then decided to keep writing. This is a good reminder to me to read all of the information I’ve been given about a situation and not jump to any conclusions. I’m not shaming anyone as I’m fairly certain we all have the potential to do this in our lives.
- People are longing for hope. Period.
- Some people are offended by God. Anytime I directly quote scripture or the focus of my blog is about the Lord, I lose readers. I don’t get worked up about it. My blog is not for everyone, just like everyone doesn’t want to be my friend. I get it. It does make me sad, since I believe God is the Hope which all of us seek, but I’m not going to take Him out of my writing, no matter how many people stop reading.
- Some people are very upset this is not a blog focusing only on my daughter and her paralysis. In fact, just this past Christmas Eve, I had a woman complain, “I never know what’s going on with Alissa anymore because you don’t write about her very much!” Ma’am, Alissa is eighteen. She is an adult. Her story is now hers to tell. And please understand, there has to come a point where we don’t continually focus on the wreck, and paralysis, and all of the heartache it ushered into our lives. No matter what heartache any of us face, we all have to move on! That heartache changes us, for sure, but to just dwell on it hour after hour day after day is not productive. In fact, one of my favorite things about my life now is that when I go out in public, I would guess that only 60% of people talk to me about Alissa and paralysis. The other 40% of the population talks to me about normal things! I love it! Sure, they may ask how Alissa is doing, but they also ask how my son is doing. We have normal give and take conversations about normal life activities! I love that the focus isn’t always about the wreck anymore. Woot! Woot!
- But probably the most important lesson I’ve learned is that I have to remain open and willing to follow the path determined by God. Last year, I honestly thought this blog would become a job for me. I was ready. I was ready to contribute and earn a living and serve others. I couldn’t get too worked up when I realized that via the blog, I was contributing and serving others, but I certainly wasn’t earning a living.
A funny thing happened while I was substitute teaching. I initially took the job to serve children, the school, and the community in which I grew up and taught. I knew there was no way I could ever teach again. Teaching is so demanding. I was bringing home anywhere from one to four hours of homework per night. . .and that was just as a sub! My daughter might need me and I needed to be available and how could I be available if I was teaching full time?
But oh, how I loved the kids! How I loved being back in the classroom! On my last day at school, many children gave me gifts, but I think what I treasured the most was a sincere heartfelt letter from a little gal. Her gratitude couldn’t have been expressed more beautifully if she’d been an award-winning author. As I cried, reading her letter to my own daughter and son, I looked up to see tears in both of their eyes and asked, “What do I do with that?”
My 6’3” son looked down at me and said, “Mom, you go teach!”
So this past January, my daughter wasn’t the only Jagger to return to college. I, too, have gone back to college to take classes to renew my teaching license. I don’t know if I’ll get a job, but I do know I won’t get a teaching job if I don’t have a valid license. All that to say, if I’d hung on too tightly to the blog, I might not have been open and willing to teaching, which is firmly where I think God wants me to be at this point in my life.
And my book? Well, every time I think I will have some time to finally finish it, something else pops up. It certainly doesn’t mean I will abandon it, but for whatever reason, I don’t think God is calling me to finish the book right now. I don’t know His reasoning for that, but I do know I can trust Him. Besides, maybe He’s holding off for a “bigger and better ending” and I never give up faith and hope in that, Dear Reader!
Yep, it’s been a year full of learning with the blog. Thank you for sharing it with me. Now that I’m in college again, there may be a few weeks when I may not be able to crank out a weekly blog, but I will always return just as quickly as the Lord allows.
So, Dear Reader, until the next Wednesday the Lord allows . . . may we all be open to where the Lord leads us this new year.