One of the most interesting trends in the world today is humankind’s willingness to abandon traditional lines of privacy across the internet. We throw our secrets and stories liberally online, hoping strangers will nestle right up beside them and embrace them as their own. Meanwhile we may be becoming strangers with those in our own home and fail to throw our neighbor so much as a smile. Companionship is redefined and we are in danger of becoming our own messages.
Yet, I do celebrate the blurry privacy lines this time has afforded us. Obvious danger lies in spilling so much of our guts, like no generation has before, but this openness is consistent with ideals I have learned. As an early adolescent, I witnessed many families dividing and many people’s faith disintegrating. Ironically, the main connection between these stories was that the sufferers all felt alone in their experience and silenced because of it. I, or my family of origin, living overseas at the time, was privy to the distress only because of our distance, from them or at least the people they didn’t want to let down or in. I couldn’t help but think that if only they could speak freely, above a whisper, about their triumphs and failures, they might find meaning and movement. I hoped that one day, I would be open enough about my problems to allow others to do the same. I hoped to avoid the lie of loneliness I had seen and offer conversation pieces and messy mid-points so that others had an entree to talk about their losses, their marriage issues, their doubts about the Divine, their debt, their addiction, and on and on.
So here I am, remembering those young convictions, in the midst of a global climate that takes kindly to jibber jabbers who can type. In some ways, I love writing; I love the vulnerability it provides, the therapeutic cadence of the process, and the time and space it gives the reader to engage. In other ways, I fear this–this blog, this hobby. I am mindful of the dangers I opened with and dislike the unapologetic self-promotion inherent in the blogosphere. I know too well my pride and capacity for hypocrisy. Wide Places is not meant to be an escape, from my own responsibilities, or home, or neighbors or from your own really. I pray it is an invitation to walk together, engaged and open, lightly and deeply. Some significant parts of my journey so far have been being adopted, a missionary kid, a once-young wife and mom, a missionary church planter, a foster mom in pursuit of adopting, one committed to living simply, and most importantly, a redeemed sojourner in this beat up, beautiful world, hoping to keep within arms reach of both grief and gratefulness.
The Loving One I follow inspired the phrase Wide Places in Psalm 119. The poet shares that they walk in wide places when they adopt the precepts and testimonies (or stories) of the Lord as their own. So many think of faith and God-talk as claustrophobic and irrelevant; I have found it to be the opposite. The more I learn from the Bible and the more I am engaged in healthy community, the more I see the expansiveness of His pasture and the wideness of His love. Here, on Wide Places, I recount times when the ordinary stories of my life brush shoulders with God’s grace. From testimonies of heartache to posts about simple, pretty things to small victories of womanhood to frivolous tales of my beautiful children, I hope my story shows you His and relates to yours. Together, wherever we are, may we find and rest in the wide places.