My three best friends moved out of state between 1999 and 2000, when I was in the midst of high school. My family changed churches a few times between middle school and high school. All of a sudden I found myself without many close friends nearby. Throughout the remainder of my high school years, on into my college time, my continual prayer request was that God would grant me like-minded friends. I searched for ways to meet others through e-mail or forums, to no avail. I see now God's wisdom in witholding me from my heart's desire, as my idea of like-minded friends was very narrow and exclusive at the time. I had to first learn to love and appreciate my fellow Christians, even if they didn't have exactly the same standards as myself.
Towards the end of college I discovered a home school forum (Generation Joshua) and a Biblical Womanhood Forum, both of which I participated on to some extent for a number of months. I did meet two good penpals through the latter forum, but I also knew it was time to move on from both of those forums. Last spring I discovered blogging (beginning my own blog in the fall) and Homeschool Alumni.
All of a sudden God abundantly answered my prayers for more friends. I eventually withdrew from the HA forums, as they were too time-consuming, but I still have kept in contact with some of my HA friends, and I have several penpals that I write. Blogging has opened up an even bigger door to meet like-minded people, and I have been so blessed with the people God has sent my way. I have yet to meet in person anyone that I've met online, but I hope to someday! My blogging friends, especially, have challenged my viewpoints and encouraged me in my daily Christian walk.
I've met many people online, not just those that are cookie cutters of myself, who have been a blessing to me. And along the way God has been bringing people into my "real life" who have also been an answer to my prayers for fellowship. God doesn't always answer prayers exactly when or how I ask them, but He does answer them! . . often far better than I could ever dream. I asked Him for a different church, and instead He gave me a love for the church of which I am a part. I asked Him for cookie cutter replicas of myself nearby, and instead He gave me Christian friends that don't necessarily have the exact same ideals, but who are, nevertheless, a wonderful blessing in fellowship! I asked Him for children of my own, and for now He has given me a whole nursery of children to cradle. I asked Him for a few penpals, and I have an overabundance of them!
Isn't it easy to abuse the blessings of God, though? Sometimes blogging distracts me from cherishing the little things of everyday life. It is easy to get caught up in writing my next post, and since I'm a perfectionist, that can be a time-consuming process. It's hard not to be consumed in reading each additional post of my blog friends, and making sure to leave a meaningful comment. Meaningful blogging conversations are wonderful! But they shouldn't become my life, and often blogging time is also used up doing unmeaningful things, like struggling to upload pictures or reading through miscellaneous posts.
I appreciated Sherrin's recent reflections on the benefits of blogging, and I whole-heartedly agreed with her. Jessica's quotes on silence were equally good, and a good reminder in light of blogging. Sometimes blogging is taken up with prattle, at the expense of other pursuits. I am the first person to encourage enjoying life and living it joyfully, and I love to post rambles on occasion. But that shouldn't consume my blog life! This summer I haven't been spending as much time on blogger as before, due largely to my constantly-changing schedule the past few months, but it still has consumed much more of my time than it should.
I'm not withdrawing from blogging. I feel clear that God is not desiring this of me at this time; in fact, when I've considered completely withdrawing, I have not felt a peace about it. But I also realize that blogging has to take a backseat at times. I also realize that blogging will probably not be a permanent part of my life. I cannot imagine managing to continue blogging after I am married with children, should this be in my future. I admire the mothers who balance blogging, but I don't think I would be able to keep things in balance as well as they do. Just as motherhood is a season, I have a feeling that blogging is also a season in my life. I don't know when this season will end, but I am enjoying it while it is still upon me, and praying that God will grant me moderation in this area.
With several new responsibilities this fall, blogging will have to take an even farther backseat. I may have to cut down on the number of blogs I read, and there may be longer periods when I don't post. But I'll still be here :), until I sense that this season of blogging has passed. For now, I have a number of other things I hope to accomplish today, and the rest of this week is much the same. With a trip to Kentucky next week and school beginning the following week, I have a number of projects I want to finish before the summer is out. I have people to meet and things to do, in addition to and often more important than my online time. But I'll still see you around, and cherish my time with my blogging friends. And I hope to get a few of my many, many drafts completed in the next week. We shall see.