let your light shine…

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I have a confession to make.

I never wanted to have a blog.

There are five main reasons for this. I’m a very private person. Up until recently, I didn’t have a Facebook page and I was a fictitious person on Pinterest (I know, I’m a little weird); but I enjoy my privacy. Writing words on a page for all to see leaves me feeling very raw and vulnerable. Truthfully, it terrifies me. More so the personal posts; posts where I am splayed open, exposed for anyone to see (kinda like this one), but even on the more ordinary posts . They all leave me open to criticism, judgment and rejection.

I don’t know anything about technology. Truthfully, I should have been born back in the 1800’s when moms stayed home with their 10 kids, tended a garden, and canned and preserved. This life to me sounds idyllic, minus the lack of washing machines, dirt floors, really cold winters, poor healthcare… (Ok, so maybe I wouldn’t want to live back then). But I don’t have a gift with using technology. I don’t know what I’m doing and it overwhelms me. I am also scared of getting sucked into the technology vortex. It is so easy to become addicted to the phone and computer and forget the little faces that are ever present and real around  me.

I am not a writer. Again, this opens me wide up to criticism. I can’t remember all the rules of writing (Caleb and I haven’t yet studied this) and I was not blessed with the gift of stringing words together.

I am a very sensitive person, always have been, probably always will be. Harsh criticism and rejection leave me feeling down; and having a blog for everyone to see almost invites this, asks for it. No one can please everyone. I have learned that lesson. I don’t want my self-worth to rely on positive comments, how many” likes” we get or how many subscribers or followers we have. I don’t want a negative comment to impact my day. I don’t have it all together and I don’t want people to think I do. Which leads me to my next reason….

I don’t have it all together. I make mistake after mistake, my house is often a mess, I get impatient and overwhelmed with kids and life, I rarely make my bed (I used to work nights as a nurse and really what’s the point when your just crawling right back into it?), I often serve granola and smoothies for supper and I wear yoga pants so often that anytime I put on jean shorts and a shirt my kids tell me how cute I look and ask me where I’m going… I am a broken person.

When this idea to start a blog as a family popped inside my head I didn’t know what to do with it. Joey and I talked it over, I talked it over with friends and family and I prayed about it; a lot. When my brother died, I promised God that He could use me in any way He wanted to bring good out of the bad. I kept hearing this promise ring over and over. Was that God reminding me of my promise? I set aside a week to pray about it. During this week, I read passage after passage in the New Testament about shining your light.

Luke 8.16   “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed.  Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.

Matthew 5:14 reads like this in the Message translation, “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” I love this. I want to be a prism to bring out the God-colors in this sinful, evil world.

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I argued with God that I really didn’t have a light to shine. Isn’t it being proud if you think you have a light? But just maybe it is the voice of Satan, whispering in our ears, that we don’t have a light to shine and that it is prideful to think we do. Don’t let Satan dim your light! Throughout the new testament I have been amazed by the apostle Paul. He knew he had a light and he wasn’t afraid to let it shine. So maybe it isn’t arrogance, maybe it’s a quiet confidence of who we are in Christ.  He had such confidence in the light he had to shine, the light given to him by God. I want, I need that quiet confidence that I am made in God’s image, that I am special to Him, that HE created ME and I am His child! I better have a light to shine!

But here is where the humble, quiet confidence can easily blur with pride. Where am I reflecting my light? Who am I shining it on? What is my motivation for what I do? C.S. Lewis has said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less…” That means looking less at my fears, my failures; using them less as excuses and doing what God is asking me to do. That means looking less at the success that may shine on me and reflecting that light more on Christ. He has asked us all to be His hands, His feet, His voice, to shine our light for Him, onto Him. That is the kind of light I want to be….The one that shines so brightly that others need to know the source of it.

Ann Voskamp  says this, “Be brave, Do not pray for the hard thing to go away but pray for a bravery to come that’s bigger than the hard thing.” And this, “The world has enough women who live a masked insecurity. It needs more women who live a brave vulnerability.” With God by our side, Joey and I have been able to put aside our need to be private and we are willing to let God take us where this journey will lead. We are now on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram and we have obviously started this blog. With Christ by our side, we have decided to live our lives with a brave vulnerability.

Technology still makes me crazy but I am learning about widgets and plugins. Thankfully, I have a patient husband by my side, guiding me through it all. I have set boundaries with myself so I’m not staring at a computer or phone all day. I want, I need to stay present with my children.

I’m still not a writer, but God is writing through me. People are being blessed by the words being written and it’s not because of me. Each post is prayed over. It’s so easy to fall prey to wanting the credit, receiving the glory, so I pray that with every word I will be a prism and always reflect the colorful light onto Him. It’s an everyday struggle, but I know if I daily hand it over to Him that the battle will be won. I pray He continues to write for me and brings His holiness into all of our posts.

I am still sensitive. With the criticism, the judgments, not enough “likes”, He will be beside me. If I can keep my gaze ever on Christ, then my self-worth will not be defined by the standards of this sin-filled world. I will remember that I am writing for Him.

I am still a broken person, but this last year has taught me that it is in this brokenness, this weakness, that God becomes my strength. He will use my past and my present, to do great things in my future; not because of who I am, but because of who I am when I allow Him to use me. It’s in our pain, in our brokenness, in our darkest moment, that our lights will shine brightest.

We ALL have a light. There are no exceptions; we ALL have a light, we just shine in different ways. God is asking each of us to use our light; to shine our brightest so that we will reflect others to Him. What has He been asking you to do; how are you to shine your light for Him?

12 thoughts on “let your light shine…

  1. Lovely Heidi! You have such a beautiful quiet spirit in your approach on life! Im grateful for how God is using you to bless our community!

    1. Thank you, Tootsie! I am blessed that God can turn ordinary writing into something He can use. Thank you for your encouraging words.

  2. I’ve been incredibly blessed by your blog. God is guiding you. I find myself anxiously awaiting your next post ;). Blessings on your journey and thank you for sharing your heart.

  3. So much of your post resonates with me. I’m so glad you’ve decided to let your light shine in this way, Heidi. It’s already been a blessing to me, and I’m sure to many others.

  4. I don’t even know how I “found” you, I don’t have Internet at home, and I have five little kids and very little time for blog reading…but I just had to stop and say that your blog/words/stories bless me more than any other I’ve ever read. Thank you for shining your light! This is one mother, wife, child of God who is being impacted (as well as my family! :)). Blessings, sister!!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I feel honored that you would spend your precious time here, on our blog. Thank you! I feel so blessed that God is able to use all of us in different ways. Blessings to you and your family.

  5. I loved your Crippled Lamb post and it lead me to this one. Thanks for sharing your words. Lots of truth and wisdom there. Looking forward to reading more.

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