31 Days of Story:: Conclusion

story - conclusion

Most mornings I was up by 5am so that I could snag those fringe hours while they were available.  It can certainly be challenging to discipline oneself in such a way that it makes it possible to write new content every single day for 31 straight days.  Especially when you’ve got 3 kids (one of whom wakes up, energetic as ever, before sunrise on a regular basis.)  And even moreso when you’re simultaneously battling Depression and hopelessness due to challenging life circumstances.  Some days I would park at a coffee shop while the kids were in school and write 2 or 3 posts at a time so that I could take a few days off to spend time with my family or friends.  Other times it took me 2 or 3 days to really hash out my thoughts in a coherent, concise way for a post.  I chose to make every Thursday a Guest Post, so that was always a welcome relief for me— that only required a teeny bit of polishing.  Creating the graphics for each day was unexpectedly delightful.   I enjoyed capturing new images on my camera throughout the month.  And it was nice to be able to stick with the same basic format every day so there wasn’t much thought that needed to go into each day’s design.

But the hardest part of writing this month wasn’t necessarily the logistics of it all.  I’m used to writing almost every day of my life.  I seem to always have plenty to say.  Brevity is my challenge.  Being concise.  Having a meaningful (and somewhat efficient) point.  The challenge for me is that, more often than not, I am “prayer writing”— or journal writing, if you will.  No editing necessary there.  So having to go back and edit out my ramblings and rewrite the parts that are vague or wordy or unrelated is the time-consuming part for me.  The initial dump out onto the paper/screen is the easy part.

And on top of that: I am always trying to determine what is and isn’t “okay” to write about.   I have to pray about it, asking God for wisdom and discernment to know when is the right time to share a particular part of my journey.  I don’t want to be a fool and share something that I’ve not fully wrestled with… yet I also want to be honest about my conflicted, flawed journey…  So I have to pray a lot about what to share with my readers and what to keep close to my chest until a later time.  “Is this appropriate to talk about right now?  Or is it still too raw?” is something I must constantly ask myself.

So that was my journey this month.  I dug through my heart and life, tried my best to be real – yet wise – with you, and tapped out words that I pray blessed or uplifted or inspired you in some way.

It is my heart’s cry to be a voice of encouragement and hope to you.  I want so much for my simple, broken, flawed journey to be doing some good in this world.

broken journey doing good
With all that in mind, I am praying that, even now, if you click back on any of the posts (below) for this series, God will meet you and whisper truth and encouragement to your heart through it all.  I love you.  See you again soon!

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Here are links to all the posts for this series.  (I put an asterisk *** next to my personal favorites):

  1. Introduction
  2. ***There is No Victory Without the Struggle [pep talk about the beneficial nature of our dark & challenging seasons in life]
  3. A Ring for His Wife [fun little story about something adorable my son did]
  4. Our First Date [narrative about my first date with my husband – 15 years ago]
  5. Happy Birthday to Me [narrative about what my husband got me for my birthday this year]
  6. Jerico & Garret – A Guest Post [story written & illustrated by my 3 year old son]
  7. ***He Comes Home Weary*** [my very favorite post this month – about a day in the life of a police officer]
  8. The Importance of Breathing [pep talk on the value of rest and quietness in our lives]
  9. Courageous Confrontation [discussion about friction in friendship]
  10. Hide and Seek Smackdown [vignette about the simple joys of family life]
  11. ***Wishing I Could Hurry Past the Difficult Chapters [frank discussion about where I am at in my life right now]
  12. ***I Blew It Again [story about (yet another) motherhood fail moment]
  13. The Late Hospital Drive – A Guest Post [narrative written by my daughter about a stressful night in her life]
  14. Real Life Friends [vignette & celebration of the beauty of authentic friendship]
  15. He *Delights* In Me [applying Psalm 18:19 to our lives]
  16. Everyday Goodness [celebration of the “little things” that change the world for the better]
  17. ***Messy Hospitality [wrestling with the humility required in cultivating vulnerably honest friendships]
  18. Hike-Writing [celebration of the cleansing power of my happy place: the hills]
  19. A Sleepless Night [a story about meeting with /god during the dark & challenging times]
  20. The Time I Exploded – A Guest Post [short narrative from my daughter about a time she was incensed at the unkindness of strangers]
  21. Empathy Training [vignette describing a moment two middle school girls got a firsthand lesson in empathy]
  22. The Treasure:: God Within [my epiphany: when I moved from ineffective, self-sufficient thinking to God-centered, God-surrendered habits]
  23. ***Cozy Friends [vignette celebrating the beauty of Christian friendship]
  24. The House I Grew Up In — Part 1 [collection of memories from my childhood]
  25. The House I Grew Up In — Part 2 [collection of memories from my childhood]
  26. When You Need to Walk Away [celebration of the gift of empathy & support during hard, confusing times]
  27. ***What Hasn’t Happened Yet? — A Guest Post [encouragement to those asking “why?” in the midst of trials]
  28. Not Forgotten [story of how isolated I felt as a mom of young children]
  29. 10 Things That are Saving My Sanity Right Now [a list of things that are keeping me happy, hopeful, and buoyant right now]
  30. ***Not My Battle to Fight [story about when God told me to hold my tongue when I wanted to engage in”helping someone see the light”]
  31. Conclusion [wrapping up the series]

 

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What about you?

What has the last month been like for you?  What is a challenge you have voluntarily taken on recently?  What are your favorite and not-so-favorite parts about what you are wrestling through right now?

Please share your story in the comment section below.