Forty years ago, I stood next to my grandfather under a familiar white tile counter. The smell of onions and hamburger permeated my senses. I could almost feel the steamy bun between my fingers; taste the White Castle square before I pulled it from the miniature box bearing the blue pen drawing of the famous restaurant.

A year ago today, I pressed publish on this blog for the first time.

I crawled into a virtual canoe waiting beside the shore and took the paddle in my hands. I had no idea where I was going and could barely see above the water line. He told me not to worry; His voice would lead me to the destination.

Sometimes we know what life tastes like before we put the bite into our mouth. The writing life is often like paddling in the dark without a map, we just hope we’ll hit land before the mosquitos of self-doubt eat us alive.

For four years, I received a paycheck every two weeks for the articles I wrote, never certain about calling myself a writer. Until I tasted the words of strangers standing at my door holding the other paddle, dripping sweet on my welcome mat imprinted Redemptions Beauty.

And as I listened to my pastor explain the way God spoke to Ezekiel (Chapter 1) in a crazy vision using simile and metaphor yesterday; I saw how God used all the same messages for me over the past year as a blogger.

  • The unexplainable disappointments in life are an opportunity to sit in a place of transformational exile. Because it’s in the places of brokenness, God changes me for purpose. The same way he changed a priest into a prophet in the person of Ezekiel.
  • The act of writing is a lonely seat for this extrovert. But When I’m alone, God sees me. He never takes His eye off the one He gives life.
  •  Swept up in the eloquent words of others and their columns of accolades, I forget where I’m going and lose my way. And in those moments, He takes my paddle, digs deep into the waters of my soul, the truth leading me back on course. When I’m lost, God leads me.
  • Days of doubt come in the awareness of my small place in the crowded room of words shouting from the world. In my weakness, He strengthens me.
  •  And on those days of grief, looking back and wishing I’d done it all differently, he reminds me of the promise in the rainbow. When I fail God, he forgives me.

Today, as I write post #235, those 6,225 comments in a span of a year allow me to see above the water line. I’m grateful for you, standing among the crowd gathered on the shore of welcome.

Yesterday, I sat at the dinner table and watched my family open a box of chocolate cookies. When H put one in his mouth, he said it tasted like Sunday School. Sometimes we know what life tastes like before we take a bite and those moments give us courage to keep paddling the uncharted waters.

I hope you’ll climb in the boat with me for the next leg of the journey, there’s always an open seat.

Continuing to count gifts with Ann:

  • Celebrating a one year blogoversary.
  • For every single one of you who chose to follow Redemptions Beauty and join the journey.
  • For the encouragement of friends and family over the past year, helping me to breathe when self-doubt suffocates.
  • New blogging friends that help to navigate the unknowns.
  • Prose that inspires me to be better.
  • The faithfulness of God, the way He assures me along the way through dreams and visions and answered prayers.
  • For my grandparents, their belief in me before I believed in myself.

Linking with Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday, Playdates with God, Soli Deo Gloria, Just Write, Into the Beautiful.