One Year On

ONE YEAR ON

This week marks one year since starting Faith Diaries Blog. I set out with no other ambition than to encourage others with my journey to motherhood, the disappointment and hope discovered along the way. It’s crazy to think that birthing the first post, which in retrospect was way too long and took me forever to write, seeded what you now see as this blog. A somewhat devotional style collection of thoughts written in short posts to bring inspiration, challenge and hope with the odd dose of humour. At least I laugh at my own jokes.

I’m an encourager, it’s part of who I am, it’s in my DNA, it’s one of the gifts I’ve been entrusted with and must steward well. I didn’t always know it but it’s something I’ve discovered as who I am in God has become clearer. I love to encourage, most of the time (let’s be honest). Motherhood is a gift that provides a daily opportunity to encourage and nurture a gorgeous tiny human (and mostly myself to keep going!), but there’s more. More within me to give, whether I like it or not. I’ve also grown into a better thinker since marrying Rich who has a brilliant brain. Apart from the trappings of overthinking, I like this in me. I would consider myself an ideas person who is fairly resourceful (apologies for this sounding like a CV – there is a point) and I require some form of creative outlet. Early motherhood presented me with reduced opportunity to be physically present at many things and so part of the reason for continuing to write this blog is so that I don’t spontaneously combust from ideas, thoughts and encouragements swirling around in my head!

I used to apologise for the things that I felt God had placed within me, not verbally, but often by shrinking back with false humility, I’d subconsciously step back, step to the side and push others forward. I don’t believe in self-appointed leadership which is a funny thing to navigate in the online world. Neither do I advocate overzealous self-promotion, but I have discovered the importance of us all bringing our voice and experience to the table in the name of making a positive difference, even if just to one person. In fact, always for the one person.

So to mark turning one, because it’s important to celebrate and evaluate, I thought I’d share some things I’ve learnt over the past year. I’m still a baby blogger and amateur writer so these are reflective points regarding my learning, life and blogging from the past 365 days. This is my journey, but I hope it inspires yours too. Notes to self:

  1. I must write shorter sentences. I’m still learning.
  2. Frustration is often related to passion, I need to run with it, allow it and explore it but ultimately transform it so that it makes me better and not bitter
  3. Love never fails – in all areas of life. This I’m still learning about, growing in and pondering. God is love.
  4. Ministry is life – Romans 12. Everything I do, everything I say, counts. It matters to someone, somewhere whether now or in the future, even if it’s just me and my family. Mundane, small, large and exciting activities all have significance.
  5. Discipline is key – Discipline makes the difference. There’s talent and there’s gift but without discipline and refinement, they lack purpose. Discipline in small things and everyday tasks breeds discipline in all aspects of life. Discipline brings freedom.
  6. It’s always about the one – connection to and love for people must be the start and end point to all meaningful endeavours and interactions.
  7. Curiosity and learning make us all better and are good for the soul. Expand, stretch, grow. Let’s not be ignorant or arrogant, but remain teachable.
  8. A bad day, a bad post, a bad circumstance aren’t the end. Failure and disappointment don’t have to be the final destination. Get up, keep going, move forward, try again.
  9. Stay true to who you are – Learn, follow, glean wisdom, seek counsel, but don’t get distracted by comparison and what you’re not. Do you.
  10. Practice makes you better – the aim isn’t perfect, perfection requires an end, better means continual growth. Practice makes me a better writer, friend, wife, mum, leader, learner, and so the list goes on.

As I sign off this post here are some fun facts and stats from my blogging year:

  • Top 3 Most Read Posts:

Busy Is Not a Badge of Honour

My Journey To Motherhood (also first ever post)

Serious Fomo

  • Favourite posts to write:

The Rose

365 Days Later

  • Posts I felt were most important to write:

Busy Is Not a Badge of Honour

Radio Silence

Why Mums Make Great Leaders

Love Beyond Reason

Love Thy Neighbour

  • My Mother-in-law once replied to the email version of a post with a typo correction and accidentally posted it as a comment 😉
  • I make my husband read/listen to all posts before I publish, thanks Rich! It’s his pleasure of course 😉
  • I use Google to find synonyms, thanks Google!
  • I knew nothing about blogging when I started
  • I owe a lot to CBeebies programme ‘Hey Duggee’, loved by Sienna, it allows me an uninterrupted tea and thought sorting time

So that’s it, I hope it’s been as interesting for you as it has for me! Here’s to another year! 

9 Reasons Why I Write A Blog

9 REASONS WHY I WRITE A BLOG copy

9 Reasons Why I Write My Blog

  1. Discipline – I’m a person that thrives in some structure and discipline. I loved training at dance college, physically it was tough but I excelled in having regular daily and weekly routines in which to grow. Doing the weekly blog keeps me accountable and focused
  2. Obedience – Blogging isn’t something I ever had a strong desire to do and I hesitated in starting because I didn’t want people to think that I thought I had “something” to say. I have no axe to grind on the internet. However, when I became a mum to a newborn my availability to serve was limited and the experiences I had at the beginning were challenging. I thought, “What can I do to help another?” and that’s when I felt compelled to document some thoughts. A quote from Bill Hybels was the push I needed to start, “Your vision could be someone’s only hope.”
  3. Mindfulness – It forces me to think, to notice, to stop and to be present. I have to actively engage in life with myself, family, friends and others, as well as my relationship with God. I have to listen and wait and take time to process things and this is a good pursuit.
  4. Articulation – Thoughts whizz around my head and can float around for a long time without landing. Writing them down helps me to better articulate those thoughts and sharing them with others helps to refine my communication.
  5. Growth – Writing offers me the opportunity to grow and to learn as I try and practise this skill. It also helps me to reflect on my experiences in a way that helps to solidify things learnt from life and my encounters with God and others.
  6. Creativity – I have always enjoyed and engaged in art in various forms. The blog allows me to explore and improve in the art of writing and have another creative outlet.
  7. Inspiration – It encourages me to look differently at things and to have an open heart and mind. To find inspiration in my every day and to embrace the wonder in the normal as well as the exceptional.
  8. Enjoyment! – Quite simply, I enjoy it. Sometimes, that’s a good enough reason to do something positive. It fills up my bucket! I’ve penned handwritten journals for a long time and the blog in some ways is an extension of that.
  9. Hope – In the early months of motherhood I searched online for answers and encouragement to some of the issues I was facing. My prayer is that some of the content could offer hope to another who may find themselves in a similar situation, searching for a light at the end of their tunnel.