May I call you EWAG? It has a ring to it, and it’s easier than writing your full name, Each Word a Gift. I’m not sure if personifying one’s own blog makes sense, but you’ve been with me through a significant portion of my life. You’ve made it as close to being a true friend as a URL can do!
You started out as a simple little page where I wrote about my growing baby and my wonderful husband. Then I grew up (I was 20 when I married him, you know), and you grew into something else… a place to process publicly what God was doing in our growing family. I remember when we announced our plans to adopt, only to announce an unexpected pregnancy soon afterward! That was a special post with you.
That third baby was the best surprise of my life, and then the adoption plans became reality. With joy I shared on your glowing screen the triumphs of rescuing our little girl from a terrible place, and with great relief I poured some prayers and struggles into you. My personality is such that I don’t fully experience an event until I’ve shared it. EWAG, you helped me share and therefore experience a dramatic story of redemption; thank you!
Things got a little sticky because of your charming effect on people. Some of your followers may have come to believe they had the whole picture about who she was, what she had been through, what the rest of us had been through, and what she needed. I have to break it to you, EWAG: I didn’t tell you the whole story. I was careful to feed you only shareable bits and pieces. But still, because of the way you magically made words glow in front of your readers, some of them fell deeply in love with the child you portrayed. When our path took an unexpected turn – when trusted advisers, adoption experts, family members, and most importantly God Himself spoke clearly about how to save both her and the rest of us – we reached a point where I just couldn’t explain it all to you. It wouldn’t have been wise, safe, or respectful for me to do that. So while your followers may have felt like they knew 95% of the story, in reality it was probably closer to 5%.
Do I regret sharing with you? No, I don’t. I think you did more good than harm. But I think you should also know how much power you and your URL friends have. Humans view you as a window into someone else’s life, and that can be a fine thing until that limited view tricks them into thinking they know the whole story. Sometimes people get so involved in your dramatic storytelling that they grant themselves power to pass judgment. But judgment based on extremely limited knowledge is never a good idea.
I’m glad I changed your name when I did from your original one to the more thoughtful EWAG, because I’ve needed your constant reminder from the biblical book of Ephesians to hold my tongue unless I’m building others up. This is where your name’s double meaning comes in! 🙂 To help me make my speech more edifying to others, and also to do everything else, I rely on this amazing book called the Bible in which every single word is literally a gift from God to us. Through these words He gives us everything we need for life. Here is one portion He sweetly showed me on a rough night when I was struggling under the weight of human judgment. He encouraged me with 1 Corinthians chapter 4:
So be careful not to jump to conclusions before the Lord returns as to whether or not someone is faithful. When the Lord comes, he will bring our deepest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. And then God will give to everyone whatever praise is due.
Yes, oh yes! I am so glad He knows it all, and His is the only judgment I should heed.
So what am I saying about you and me, EWAG? My relationship with you, while real, can never be 100% transparent. I’m sorry to break it to you, but my pen-and-paper journal has always been the writing friend who knows me best. Moreover, I’ve found a safe place to process our recent loss. We’re members of a group of about 150 families who’ve all been through something similar. It’s true we’re connected via screens, but behind each screen is a another mother who understands how it feels to walk this road. Everyone there has experienced the caring, dreaming, praying, traveling, giving, loving, trying, helping, succeeding, failing, accepting, stretching, weeping, breaking, begging, losing, forgiving, trusting, and releasing. This road is a particularly hard one to understand outside of personal experience, so it’s a blessing to share this kind of community.
Moving forward, I’ll be thinking about what direction to take with you. What kinds of things will I find to share when you blink your cursor at me? Time will tell. Until then, I’ll leave you with some of God’s words from Psalm 50 that have helped me get my mind off human judgment and onto thanking and trusting Him.
Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me. He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.