I started Growing4Life on a whim in June of 2010. I had no expectations or dreams. My daughter had told me about this new thing called “blogging” and I just decided that this would be a quick, easy, and fun way to use my love for writing to point people to God and His Word. Eventually I started writing twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays, which I have been doing for quite some time now.
It wasn’t until 2015 that God used a post that went viral to grow my reach here and, while I do trust His wisdom, I’d be lying if I didn’t say it scared me a LOT. I was used to my little subscriber list and small following on Facebook. I wasn’t sure I was prepared for thousands of subscribers or Facebook followers. In fact, I was pretty sure I wasn’t prepared. But, given solid advice from godly people who love me, I soldiered on, writing in the same way I had always written, although a bit more unsure and certainly a lot less confident.
This blog can sometimes be a source of trial for me. I write what I write because I believe it is true, according to God’s Word. But, of course, this is not always received well in this day and age of rampant false teaching and in this current church culture that is obsessed with positive thinking and falsely believes that any negative words are sinful (by the way, no where in scripture is this line of thinking supported). This can sometimes lead to some pretty difficult trials of which I could never write or talk about here.
While I think I am viewed as someone who is strong and courageous, I am actually neither. I am dismayed when people are upset with me or don’t like me. I hate when I don’t please people. As you can imagine, this has led me to some very difficult times. And I know that I would not continue to write through those hard times without the “support team” that God has built up around me. I think it’s time that I introduce them to you–
My husband, Eric–I would not be writing if not for him. He encourages and supports me as I write. He has wisely counseled me to refrain from writing about certain topics, to remove a post, or to word something differently. We face the inevitable storms that come with this type of blog together as a united team. I know without a doubt that I would not be writing if it was not the steadfast and loving support of my husband. I am grateful beyond words for his wisdom and for his love for the truth. We are united in our concern for others and in our commitment to the sufficiency of scripture. I am pretty sure that Growing4Life would not exist without this member of my team.
Our kids–Eric and I are blessed to have three daughters and a son, as well as two sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law, as part of this team in an “unofficial capacity”. Some of them show their support by reading the blog faithfully, proof-reading posts, or talking things through with me when I feel uncertain about a post. But they all show their support by participating in family discussions about God and His Word which will often be the starting point of future posts. These conversations have us digging into the Word to find out what God has to say about some very difficult and sometimes unpopular topics, as we all seek to be a light to those around us. But beyond that, my family makes me laugh, they help me not take myself too seriously, and they keep me humble. I am so grateful for all of them.
My parents–My parents are a never-ending source of encouragement and wisdom. I can (and do) share anything with them and I know that they will direct me in a godly way. When I am down, they encourage me to stay the course. They pray for me as I write and face the inevitable trials that come with speaking the truth. I am blessed beyond measure and so thankful that they raised my brother and me to love the Lord and to stand strong in biblical convictions, no matter the cost.
My brother–If you’ve been around awhile, you have heard me mention Pastor Dean, my younger brother by seventeen months. He loves and knows the Word better than anyone else I know. He loved the Bible and started studying it about the time I was just starting to focus my attention on boys. He continued in that love and his study of the Word into his teen years and then on into his college years. As I got married and raised kids, he went to seminary to grow in his knowledge of the Word. All these years later, I find myself often turning to my younger brother for biblical wisdom and answers to hard questions. His answers are never based on his opinion but on what the Bible says. I know that he is dedicated to the sufficiency of scripture and that he will never compromise for his own benefit or to be popular. Because I know him, I know that he is 100% trustworthy. Notice I didn’t say perfect. I, of all people, know that he is not perfect! :) I have been blessed greatly by his ministry and he has encouraged me, helped me understand hard passages, and reminded me of when I just need to admit I can’t understand.
Sometimes I feel that perhaps my purpose here is to draw people to his ministry. He is greatly gifted in expositing the Word, which he does every week in a small church in Ohio. You can check his sermons out here.
As I write the above, I fear that you will think my family is perfect. But, of course, it isn’t. We are sinners and we most certainly do not always get along. However, we are united in our love for the Lord, a real rarity these days in a family and this united love for our Savior is really a big part of what God uses to continue to give me the strength to write about the unpopular truths of scripture.
You see, I believe it is important to write about all of scripture–not just what is popular. And so I do want to write here about God’s love and His grace and His mercy. I want to write about how much He cares about us as we face big troubles and small ones. These are comforting messages. But I am also compelled to write about holiness and sin and false teachers and all of the other things that we can clearly see in God’s Word.
And I am pretty sure I would have quit a long time ago, if not for my supportive family. But there is one more member of this team that I have not mentioned and that is…YOU.
So many of you, maybe even unknowingly, are a critical part of the Growing4Life support team. When I pray and ask the Lord, “Should I continue? Is this what you want?” Inevitably, one of you writes a word of encouragement. When I tell the Lord, “this is just too hard,” He often uses one of you to remind me of why I am writing. I cannot even begin to share the amount of times I have been ready to quit and God gently reminds me that He is not finished with this yet by using one (and sometimes several) of you at just the right time. His timing is always impeccable and I have seen that over and over again since the inception of this blog. Some of you have gone on to become friends, supporting me and my family and this blog ministry in prayer and regularly encouraging me. One of the wonderful things about the internet is how it can draw like-minded people together.
And so, although I have mentioned this here before, I just want to thank you once again. If you have been encouraged and challenged here at Growing 4 Life and have taken the time to tell me, then you have been an integral part of the support team here. Words of encouragement are a very powerful tool to build up, just as words of discouragement are a very powerful weapon to destroy. I thank those of you who have used your words to encourage me. God has used you to keep me going.
Life is hard under any circumstances, but it is a lot harder when lived in the scrutiny of the public eye. I am not sure I would have started writing this blog had I been aware of what the Lord had in store for me. But here I am. I want nothing more than to be used by Him for His glory. I have no other desire than to point people to Him and to realize that His Word is sufficient for all of our Christian life. This is not my blog, it is His. If He makes it clear that it is time to stop writing, I will gladly give it up. But He is daily providing me with the strength and courage to continue through the support of my family and also through your support. By His grace, and until He makes it clear that I am to move in a different direction, I will keep going.
No one in the public eye is without a team in the background. And I, even in my relatively small public eye, am no different. So now you know my team. God has graciously provided this support team for me and I am deeply, deeply grateful to Him.
There isn’t much to take away from this post by way of application. But I would offer this one challenge: Take some time today to consider your support team. God has given us all ministries. Who is supporting and encouraging you as you serve the Lord in the opportunities He has provided you? Why not take some time today to thank them?