Answering Your Question

About six years ago I closed comments on Sayable and have only regretted it once or twice. I closed them for a few reasons, the primary of which was I wanted Sayable to be a place that encouraged contemplation more than discussion. So much of the online world centers on discussion and I didn't want to be hosting one more place for it. I wanted discussion to be happening in my home, my community, and my church, but I didn't want to be responsible for moderating it online. For me, that was a good choice. At the same time, though, I didn't want to be irresponsible as a writer and not provide a place for readers to be heard if they felt led. I opened a contact page and haven't looked back. Alas, it has created a beast in the form of email for me, a beast I have not mastered or even tamed slightly.

You readers seem to be more willing to get raw and real and vulnerable in an email, I suppose, than in a comment. You ask more questions. You ask for prayer. You ask for advice. You rant. You rave. You ramble. It's glorious. I wouldn't have it any other way. Generally, though, keeping my personal/work inbox at a minimal level is enough work for me. Delving into the emails coming in from Sayable and giving them each the response I wish I could would be a full time job in itself. It would probably be two full time jobs. I cannot, in good faith, give that much time to responding. My position has been (mostly) to not respond. If you've gotten a personal response from me (as in, not an auto-response or a response from someone assisting me), you're among the precious few.

A few months ago a friend helped me sort messages into those that were just saying general thank yous and those who wanted a response directly, and there they've still stayed, unanswered. Nagging in the back of my mind constantly. On principle, I'm quite okay with their unanswered state. I am a wife, a friend, a housemate, a home-maker, a home-group leader, and I have full-time work on my plate. I have to give those things my primary attention. On my less principled days, though, I feel the presence of those emails stalking me around. 

I spent about an hour this morning reading through a hundred or so emails, and thought to myself, "There is so much overlap here, what if I just answered these questions in blog format?" Many of your questions I've already answered (and I'd encourage you to avail yourself to the search bar or tags below—which is the best way to finagle your way through 17 years of archives), but some I might have a new or different perspective than I did before, or just want to revisit for your sake. My aim will just be to occasionally answer some questions, maybe weekly, maybe less often. I still cannot respond to all the emails, but if you asked a question and I tried to answer it, I will try to send you a link. I will not quote any question directly, because there really is a lot of overlap and it would be better to present the question as an amalgam of them all. 

I jotted down a few of the questions here, so if you see yours, just keep an eye out for it later: 

Why do you have a male housemate? (You'll be delighted or dismayed to find that now we have a male AND a female housemate!)

What advice do you have for someone who is engaged or married to someone with a mental illness?

How do I make new friends? 

How do I live an intentional life? 

Do you endorse everything someone (Jen Hatmaker, Jack Deere, Brene Brown, Madeleine L'Engle, etc.) has said just because you reviewed or recommended their book?

How do I trust God when I've had nothing but loss in my life? 

Why should I listen to anything you've written when you're married to a divorced man? 

Do you recommend writing under a pseudonym? 

What would you recommend to someone who thinks they're called to write? 

What do you do when you can't make yourself not doubt God?

Should I date/marry: an unbeliever, divorced person, someone with mental illness, or someone I don't feel peace about? 

Thanks, as always, for reading, friends. Some writers write because they can't not. Some write because they want bigger platforms or publicity. Some write because they have something to say and want to be heard. Some write because they say it's like breathing for them. That's not me. I don't need to write. I write for you. As long as you keep reading, I'll keep writing. So thank you.

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Passions and Singleness

I feel like I've been throwing you all sorts of links to writing I'm doing elsewhere, but I had an emergency root canal yesterday and producing any sort of coherent thoughts today feels near impossible. So here's some writing I did while not under the influence of pain medication.

First is a piece  I wrote for my church on how marriage isn't the only status that illustrates the gospel, singleness does too. Here's an excerpt, and here's the full piece

My marriage didn’t make the gospel more true to me. In fact, marriage in some ways tempered my ache for the coming King. All my years of being single had taught me to long more, hunger more and treat chastity as a sort of fast not waiting for a husband, but waiting for the ultimate Groom, Christ. But in marriage I’ve often felt the itch of my longings more satisfied by my husband than by God. When I’m lonely, he’s there. When I’m lacking, he tries to provide. When I’m fearful, he tries to comfort. When I should be looking to the Savior as my ultimate companion, to the Father as the ultimate provider and the Spirit as my ultimate comfort, I settle for merely looking to my husband.

In many ways I understood a more intrinsic truth of the gospel in my singleness than in my marriage: We are all still waiting, regardless of our marital status, for the return of our Groom, for the marriage feast and for an eternal life together. My prolonged singleness was preaching a more inclusive truth of the gospel than my marriage—which is merely a picture of the covenantal love between Christ and His bride. (Continue reading...)

And here is a piece that was published in the Winter print issue of Light Magazine (a publication of Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission) on how to view your work if it's not your passion. Here's an excerpt, and here's the full piece now available online

We can begin to believe simply because we’re passionate about something or feel a certain inclination toward it, God means it for us now or in the future, but God’s Word never promises this. Over and over God tells his children to be faithful, work hard, trust him, and empty ourselves. We’re reminded in Scripture of men and women who worked a very long time and never saw what actually was promised to them (Heb. 11).

When we believe a desire for a vocation means we will get to do it all our life, we’ve made the passion for the thing our idol. How much better to trust the work of our hands to the Creator of all, knowing he takes what is a formless void and makes it all beautiful in his time? Our work is good because, when all was still a formless void, God was preparing us for good works (Eph. 2:10). (Continue reading...)

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