I looked at the calendar and realized that next year comes this week. Ack! Where did the time go?
2014 has been a year of growing where I’m planted more than moving forward. In both blogging and life, I’ve spent time looking inward at what is and is not working, praying for direction, standing firm in the face of challenge, and listening to God as He uses what I am doing to draw me closer to Him.
IRL (In Real Life)
Big Guy and I have faced a couple big challenges this year. At the very beginning, I lost my job unexpectedly. Then, Big Guy lost his job, too. For about a month, we were both unemployed. It was such a scary time—yet it was also a time that drew us closer to each other and helped me see some of my husband’s good qualities of perseverance and persistence.
My husband landed in a secure job that he enjoys. I returned part-time to a career I’d had for over twenty years. Our finances have been pretty critical for most of this year, and we’ve had to make some difficult choices.
One decision has been to downsize fairly soon. It will involve purging junk and packing stuff that has accumulated over the past nearly fifteen years. It will be exhausting work, but I am excited to be on the other side of it, with less clutter and a more refined sense of what we need in our lives.
Time and time again, Big Guy and I have found ourselves in situations where neither of us is at our best. Although we have often found old patterns of interaction rising to the surface, we have discovered that we are both good at interrupting the old habits and replacing them with words and actions of kindness and love.
Big Guy spent five days in the hospital this summer. Everything else fell away, and all I could see was him and his health. I ate and slept at the hospital. We even managed date night at the hospital. He is working on his health, with exercise, cardiologists, and a brand new blood pressure cuff under the Christmas tree.
Every day, I am thankful that he is still here to curl up with me at night and hold me when times are tough.
We are being refined in terms of how we do marriage and interact with each other. As I look back at where we were a year ago, we are in pretty much the same place—but we are not the same “us” that we were then. Growth has happened right where we were.
I did experience one big change. After 30 years of the same hair style, I’ve been growing my hair out. I’ve discovered that it’s somewhat curly. It’s now longer than chin length. Maybe I’ll get a new picture one of these days.
In the Land of Blogging
The Forgiven Wife has also grown without really going anywhere different. This has largely been a year of still trying to find my blogging feet.
Although my writing and voice stayed pretty much the same, I did try a few new things. I added pages to the blog. I put my picture on the blog. A few savvy readers even noticed some social media comments where I revealed Big Guy’s real name (although in real life, I do often call him Big Guy).
In late summer, I made the switch to self-hosting. So far, I’ve survived. (The jury’s still out, though.)
Although the blog didn’t change much, I had a couple significant experiences as a blogger in 2014.
She Speaks In the spring, I asked for your support in sending me to the She Speaks conference. I am still humbled and in awe of the way God used you to send me to such a wonderful conference. I still haven’t thought through all the things I learned there. It was the first time I really thought about myself as a writer. I’d wanted to be one my whole life, and it hit me there that I actually am one.
I experienced God’s presence so much while I was at the conference. I also got to spend time with Bonny from Pearl’s Oysterbed and Gaye from Calm.Healthy.Sexy. You can read about my trip and see a picture of the three of us here.
Six Things to Know My other major experience as a blogger was to come under attack for one of my posts. In Six Things to Know About Sexual Refusal, I wrote about some common threads I’ve seen in emails I’ve received by refused husbands. The post has had more shares and more comments than any other post I’ve written. It has also been written about negatively on other sites. I’ve read quite a few of the articles, including the comments. At times, it has been painful. Some of the attacks were personal; others made assumptions about me that aren’t even close to the truth.
I’ve done some research into purity culture, rape culture, feminism, healing from trauma, and the writers who wrote negatively about me. I have a better understanding than I did of why the post triggered hurt and rage as it did for some women. I stand behind what I said, although if I were writing it now, I would rephrase a few things.
Reading my character dragged through the mud was not a pleasant experience at all. However, in the midst of all the comments and assumptions about me, people in the comment sections were writing about marriage. They were speaking to the importance of sex in marriage. Some were sharing their own pain in being deprived of sexual intimacy. It was the truth of this pain that the post was trying to communicate, and the truth was being communicated to a much wider audience than I would have reached on my own.
My Favorite Posts I like some of my posts better than others. Sometimes I like them because I can sense God’s hand in the writing and I know they will make a difference. Other times, I like posts because they’re fun to write or because they help me see how much God had transformed me and my marriage. So, with no rhyme, reason, or order, here are my top six favorite posts from this year:
- Dear Sister
- A Moment of Hard Truth
- Silence the Lies
- 12 Marriage Lessons from Candy Crush Saga
- How Does He Feel Most Loved?
Where Real Life and Blogging Intersect
Although this blog is not my life, it has become a more vibrant presence in my life. We’ve talked with our family about what I’m doing and what I’m writing about. I’ve shared the blog with several friends. I’ve talked to several other bloggers on the phone—you know, with real voices and household noise in the background and everything!
Different pieces of who I am in real life have come together in unexpected ways in this virtual space. I expect that will continue as I move into 2015. I have some writing and editing projects underway, and I have some ideas for new ways to help this site minister to hurting wives.
Over the past several years, I have seen different aspects of myself come together in new ways—kind of like I’m a more whole and integrated version of myself than I used to be. This blog has definitely contributed to that. Likewise, some of my professional background will contribute to some of the ideas I have for moving the blog forward.
The next couple months will see a lot of transition in my life as I prepare to move, get used to a new workplace (a new part-time job, doing what I’ve done for years but for a different organization), and immerse myself in editing projects.
It looks like 2015 will be another year of growth for me.
May God bless all our marriages during the coming year, bringing healing and new growth for us all.
Image courtesy of Vlado at FreeDigitalPhotos.net