Ten years ago today, I wrote my very first blog post. The reason I started was because I liked to write. I had no real aspirations. It was just for the writing, and for the possibility of interaction with others who liked to write.
Things have changed in ten years.
When I began, I was a homeschool mom with three kids at home. Now, I am an empty nester. That's a big change. My circumstances have changed, and with it, some of my interests.
When I began blogging, it was okay to post recipes, and quizzes that asked, "What Pride and Prejudice Character Are You?" Now, recipes are for food blogs, and the quizzes are for Facebook. Blogging was more friendly back then. Some days, it seems far too serious for ordinary folk like me.
When I began blogging, it was okay to write 1,000 words. Now, I think people have trouble with 500 word posts.
In 2004, Facebook was not open to public use, and Twitter was still two years away. One heard about blogs by reading blogs. It's much easier to promote a blog now than it was then.
When I began blogging, I had been a parent for fifteen years. I thought I knew a lot about parenting. I discovered I had a lot yet to learn.
What's stayed the same?
Controversy still sells.
People still know how to beat a dead horse.
Grown men and women still conduct themselves online in ways that, if their children did so, they would be in trouble.
I'm still not a fan of stereotypical "women's ministry" content, whether it's a blog or a book.
The Advantage of Being Unknown
I have not made one dime with my blog. I have not built an impressive platform. I have not become famous. I have not become a "speaker," or had a book published. I am still just a simple bible teacher, wife, mother, and member of the body of Christ. I have a modest readership, and I'm very thankful for the small numbers who read here and occasionally reach out with a word of encouragement or a comment. Once, I was seriously thinking about packing it in, and I got an email from a reader thanking me for blogging. My husband reminds me regularly that one reader is enough to keep on writing.
Being unknown gives me freedom I wouldn't have otherwise. I like blogging without others having expectations from me. It means if I want to knit in front of British crime dramas instead of blogging, no one is going to care. If I choose to post a recipe rather than comment on the latest controversy, the blog cops won't come a-knocking. No one is waiting for me to make utterance, and that's a relief. There is a tremendous amount of responsibility to be someone everyone is waiting to hear speak. I don't think I would like that responsibility. My primary vocation is my family, and I'm grateful that nothing seriously interferes with that.
Ten years with no substantial reward? By the world's standards, my blogging effort has not proven to be fruitful. Maybe even in some Christian blogging circles, I'm not successful. Perhaps. But I have been given an unexpected gift: friendship.
I have a group of blogging women who are my friends. Some of them, I've been fortunate enough to meet in person, embrace, share a meal or a cup of coffee with, and have fellowship that ended far too soon. I can turn to them when I need prayer and counsel. Two of those ladies I have known since I began blogging in 2004. When two years is like a thousand in blogging years, how cool is that?
There are other people I have met through blogging, some who have been brave enough to allow my husband and me to come to their homes. That is what I have loved about blogging: the connections I have made. I have no monetary success, no fame, no audience who waits with bated breath for me to speak. But I have friends, and that's a gift.
In 2004, I wondered if there were other women who were serious about theology and doctrine. One of the suggested names I had for this blog was "The Purpose-Driven Dissident." That was how I felt; like I was always in the wrong place, saying the wrong thing. I probably was saying the wrong thing, but I was not alone in my search for like-minded women. When I began The Upward Call, I did not know that I would find such women through blogging. I did not know I would find other women who felt like they didn't fit, like they were on the fringe. I didn't know I'd come to see that sometimes, the fringe is a good place to be. I'm thankful for these past ten years of blogging.
And this post is over 500 words; if you made it to the end, I thank you.