Oceans Between Us…

 

Oceans Between Us – Jenni Cockerham *

Almost exactly 2 years ago to the day I penned these words*. It is a mini memoir that was written mostly for me. But it was written with others in mind…those who have had hard histories…who were struggling or disillusioned with life…or God. I think I have spent the past few years spiritually disoriented…after having spent the past few decades so very clear. I had not picked up this “book” in 2 years–I had forgotten it held some real treasures of truth. In it–I tip my hat to my French teacher, my young life high school friends, my Indiana roots, and to another woman who wrote the introduction…recognizing we (and our stories) are all part of a grand moziac. If this post nudges or stirs you to read it…(or more importantly) share with someone who needs it…then please pass it along. I am so very convinced it did my soul good to put the words on paper–but I am still very much finding they ring true for my life today. I have learned that disillusionment leads to transformation. I am looking forward to walking through the next few decades seeing life through a different lens. Transformation is not to be feared but embraced. Therefore we should not shy away from the disillusionment, the feelings, pain or disappointment…we should welcome them and walk with them. If we don’t, we will find other ways to eat, (or not eat), drink, drug or shop them away–but this leaves us fat, (or too thin), drunk, high, and highly accessorized–keeping up with the Jone’s–yes–but still as stuck as we started. Here’s to where you are from where I am and where I’ve been. With all my love to all of you on this Transformation Tuesday.

May You Be a Blessing and May You Be Blessed,

Jenni

 

Easter Kids Living in a Good Friday World…

I cannot help but identify with the small band of followers who were left on this earth confused, alone, and wondering why in the world they put their trust in a man for the past 3 years who ended up dying a common criminal. The very first Good Friday must have been one of the most devastating days in the lives of the friends who had done life with Jesus. A man who claimed to be God’s son, who performed miracles and even brought his friend back to life…now hangs on a cross? When they agreed to follow him–they had hoped for much more. They believed something big was going to come from this man’s life…following Him was going to bring about change in the world. They likely believed they had swallowed a big fat lie. I assume that Friday in their grief, they started to make preparations to go back to their fishing jobs; bracing to hear the sarcastic voices of friends and family say, “I told you so.”
Anne Lamott says we are “Easter people living in a Good Friday world.” We are living in a devastating place where I believe it is bleaker every day. I can’t un- read the papers. I can’t forget the phone call I had yesterday with a friend who is experiencing extreme loss. I can’t un-see the things I saw in Africa. I can’t un-hear what I overheard yesterday at a coffee shop…a man sharing with a co-worker that his wife drinks 2 bottles of wine each night and he drinks a bottle of JD and together they still wake up and function the next morning. (It was not an AA meeting it was a business meeting of one co-worker sharing how we wades through his world.) Cause we all stumble around in the haze of this Good Friday world. Some want to believe there is a God over all and that He cares for the intimate details of our lives…and yet we see the hurt and pain and brokenness of our own lives and the lives of others and we wonder? Some doubt as Thomas did. Can you blame him? He endured the darkest Good Friday there ever was. If you doubt…you are in good company. You are living in a Good Friday world…looking around at the aftermath of a gruesome crucifixion wondering: Where is God?
There is no magic wand waved by God in this world. There are no modern day miracles so large that we are somehow shaken from the haze. And yet, I believe disillusionment often precedes transformation. What I see are the smallest movements toward one another. I see God in the care of others needs. In the, “You too? I thought I was the only one,” conversations. In the entering in of the mess. In the meals shared. In the cold water offered on a hot day. It is the small actions toward our neighbors and friends where just for a moment we see glimmers of goodness and an inner Easter. I deep down have the heart of an activist…I want the whole world fed, protected, healed, at peace and saved from its current state of devastation. And though I will live out my days doing my best to contribute and ease the pain of this broken world–I am reminded…I am an Easter girl living in a Good Friday world. Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world.” It is Easter that we long for. And unlike the little band of friends Jesus left on that first Friday blindly grappling to make sense of it all…we have whispers and hope that we will one day be lifted from this haze. Therefore…I grow in gratitude for the ultimate miracle performed on that day–that made us His Easter kids. This Good Friday world is hard…but there is hope…and we celebrate it this Sunday morning.
May You Be a Blessing and May You Be Blessed,
Jenni

Our Most Provocative Super Power…

 

 

 

 

 

 

A recent Facebook post grabbed my attention. It was written by a brand new mommy who was headed back to work after her maternity leave. Referencing leaving her little one she stated something like…”No one prepared me for how hard driving away would be!” The string of comments that followed were peppered with both words of encouragement, polite judgement or at least insinuated disapproval. All responses had an opinion. Oh–friends. This is one of those super sensitive hot buttons that fill women with a great deal of stress and drama. No matter what decision is made and for whatever reason–there are differing opinions on what SHOULD be done. I have had the awesome privilege over the past 12 years to become the mom of 3 beautiful kids AND I have a passion to lead and inspire those around me. I hold a necessary position of helping make ends meet financially for our family…so this has personally plopped me in the middle of several hot button discussions.

Upon further reflection, I realized I have made many polarizing decisions throughout my adult life. (We all do.) Those decisions (and the voiced opinions of others) have created self-doubt and guilt. They have also caused me to feel isolated or at best incredibly misunderstood. If you have felt misunderstood or have guilt surrounding personal life decisions…perhaps this blog might help? You can follow my wildly unpopular journey…finding threads of similarity to your own story–or if nothing else encouragement and hope…because there is a powerful super power that I have discovered though this process!

It started in my late teens when I chose to walk with Jesus. He was super misunderstood…so I should have known walking with him wouldn’t be easy. Post college I made the decision to go on Young Life staff…mainly unpopular to the people who matter most…my parents. (What is Young Life staff…and your salary will be WHAT?)

Once we had children I chose to stay on Young Life staff. (So you are NOT going to stay at home with your babies?) After having my 2nd child, I worked part time. (So you didn’t want to stay working full time?) I took graduate classes for counseling and then went a completely different direction–I opened a studio in my home and worked as a personal trainer. Those endeavors took time away from my family which brought about voiced criticism and praise depending on the person! (Wow I am so proud of you for owning your own business! Goodness–you are working long hours aren’t you?)

After spending time learning about our bodies and nutrition, our family shifted to a vegetarian and specifically a more “plant based” diet. Wow. Lots of hate. (But don’t you like bacon? Is this an animal rights thing?)

But the twists and turns continued as our family did the unthinkable. We uprooted our world–and moved to Africa. Adoption itself–let alone attempting to form a transracial family evoked plenty of feedback. But if that wasn’t enough…because we were living internationally for an indefinite amount of time, we homeschooled during those years. HOMESCHOOLED.  Adding another stigma to my collection. (Aren’t you afraid they won’t be socialized? I just could never do it.) Due to some post-traumatic stress from that adventure as well as fostering a need to figure out where we would lay roots…I have continued to homeschool even upon returning from Uganda. (Cue the side-ways glances.)

The icing that brings us to present day? I partnered with the Pro-Activ doctors and once again own my own business…in direct sales. (Isn’t that some sort of pyramid scheme? I just could never be in sales.) Wow…I have stirred the pot of opinions to overflow!

Friends! I have learned so very much over the past few decades while making (wildly unpopular) hot-button decisions. Paramount…and lean in for this one: When it comes to the approval of others…you.cannot.win. Truly…no winners. I have also found that most people have an opinion surrounding what we do. (Social media doesn’t help with this. If we go online for validation… we.won’t.find.it! Actually we may…but we will often receive just as much negative feedback!) So we circle back around…we cannot let the opinion of others dictate our REAL LIFE choices…or our emotions for that matter! 

Here’s the second lesson. We are all are doing the VERY best we can with what we have. Each of our stories are so widely varied and the factors that led to those decisions are incredibly complex. Each intricate and delicate decision came from hundreds of different factors related to our history/background, our current circumstances, and even our dreams for the future. But somehow we read a few simple words on Facebook…so and so went back to work…or didn’t–and we see this as a black and white issue. I have lived in the black and white of life and there is no freedom or grace there–I have learned the world is SO very full of gray!

Interestingly, it seems the choices of OTHERS (made for their very special and unique story) can make US feel as if they are placing a statement on OUR unique circumstances and story. So if I eat vegetables…Kelly thinks I am saying HER diet is all wrong. NOPE…I eat vegetables because of my own convictions. If I choose to homeschool…Maggie believes I am indicating her private, public, or any other educational option is not a good one. NOPE…I just have found this is best for our fam in this season. I choose to work from home through a channel that is often misunderstood…does that mean YOU need to do the same? NOPE…it is what is best for our family and something I love. Period. The end.

Do you see what is happening? We have this provocative super power called…CHOICE. Not everyone is afforded the opportunity to choose whether they stay at home or work outside the home–but many westerners are afforded this gift. BUT we “should” on everyone else about their choices. Or we view their decision as a personal affront to our own decision. We have too many opinions about what are others are up to. On these hot button issues…we simply need to mind our own business. We need to be gentler with others…treat them like soft little furry bunnies who are doing the best they can to navigate the wilderness.

Ready for the secret sauce? Here is where our super power is taken to the next level. When we are able to shake off the “shoulds” of others…this power of choice can free us and take us to new heights. We then CHOOSE who we let in our heads. My little bunny friend…you are doing the very best you can with your unique circumstances and story. Don’t let other people’s opinions waste mental space or place guilt and shame where it doesn’t belong! Even more exciting…once we have exerted this super power once or twice in our lives we gain confidence to use it again and again. We realize how empowering it can be–and we are set free.

I wouldn’t trade my story or my circumstances for anything in the world. I have taken a wildly unpopular road less traveled. I am sure I have disappointed and confounded many along the way. BUT (and here’s the secret)…we never win when we make choices we THINK will please the rest of the world. I would strongly encourage you to strap on your cape of invincibility and activate your most provocative super power…remember your story is unique and you are not only able to choose what you do–you have the power to choose to block out the hate. From one cute little bunny to another…take my cue and…YOU DO YOU.

May You Be a Blessing and May You Be Blessed,

Jenni

 

Confessions of a (Recovering) Work-a-church-a-ministry-a-holic

Disclosure: Sometimes when I write, I write for anyone who will read it. And sometimes when I write I have a specific message meant for a specific group. Now certainly anyone is welcome to read this piece, but this is written for folks who might consider themselves one of God’s kids, and specifically someone who is working to serve Him with their lives. Today I am writing with you in mind…

This summer I made a trek out west…the midwest to be exact…desiring to reconnect with my Indiana roots. I drove around the streets and soaked up the delicious slowness. One night I was invited to a friend’s house. When we arrived there was a scampering of little feet running up and down steps, there were giggles and basketballs bouncing on a court out back. The wine flowed freely and the laughter was contagious. The twinkle lights outlining the deck gave a perfect glow. The love communicated through this group of friends was evident. This was not a special night it was their typical Saturday night. It was slow, it was infectious and it spoke directly to my soul.

Funny how I am forty and feeling like I am JUST learning some huge life lessons. Is it is a rite of passage or did I miss the memo being passed down from those older and wiser? I am learning about myself, about priorities, about family and friends, about ministry and relationship…about life. If you’ll hang with me I will share more of these lessons through this channel over the upcoming weeks and months.

Here’s the thing…I wish I would have learned this sooner. My life would have felt different–or at least I could have modeled better behavior for those who followed or were watching. I desire for those I love who are just a few steps behind on this journey to latch on and learn FASTER than I learned…to prevent headache and heartache and confusion.

Most of us have been taught your life IS ministry…and in some ways it is…but maybe not how you are thinking. See, we also have been taught ministry trumps all. Living day to day in this reality means no rest for the weary, ever. You get the call you go. Yet, there will aways be more needs than there is time to fulfill. The busyness box stuffed with good things causes us to trade better for best. (And you will know it, because “better” actually turns you bitter.) Those closest to us feel the effects of this most profoundly. The littles that look to us for their needs and wants have a blurred and confused understanding of service and ministry as we give of ourselves until depleted and leave nothing left for their precious hearts at home. And so it goes, our slow Saturday nights are gobbled up by things we feel obligated to do…or may even find great joy in doing…but at what cost? And here’s the kicker…we act like WE are the victims of the schedule we have created. We are exhausted and over-extended but we were the ones who said yes to all.of.the.things.

When my mind is swirling and cluttered…I find books to center and calm me. Transparent authors have been fantastic guides. Lewis and Lamott, the list runs long…so many welcomed truth tellers. I have found the words ofthis woman extremely timely on some of these subjects…in her book Present Over Perfect  Shauna Niequist declares,

You don’t have to sacrifice your spirit, your joy, your soul, your family, your marriage on the altar of ministry. Just because you have the CAPACITY to do it doesn’t mean you have to. (157)

There is something about the American dream, there is something in the fabric of our culture that has birthed a mantra. A “self-made-ness” mantra that has seeped in to our spiritual culture and the rush and the push and the drive and the DO threatens our very soul.

She goes on,

I have seen a thousand examples of fruit in the churches and starvation in their marriages and families. I would not call that blessed, or whole or healthy, or God’s intent. (158)

To be clear it expands farther than the church proper, it is the western missionary work we saw in Uganda, it is in the para-church organizations, it is in our small groups, our committees/service projects, and it is in our homes. We are human beings not human doings. And to be clear, doing things for God does not equate relationship with God. But internal and external voices tell us we must do more, we must be more. And if you are looking to attract others to faith…I can assure you they are not interested in the rush, the chaotic, the overwhelmed, and the busy life we present in the name of God. Sit in that statement for a moment. I think our friends watching are far more interested in the intentional, in the small, in the meals, in the moments. In the times around the table…or sitting on the deck under the stars. That is where He shines brightest.

When we slow down we see faces. We see hurts and hardships. When we slow down we raise the white flag acknowledging our inadequacies and our inabilities to be all things to all people. This actually become a freeing and refreshing reality. Speed keeps us from truly feeling the feels. And it gives a false sense of worth…so we put our heads down moving forward knowing this can’t be all there is to life…all the while, despite our best intentions, I believe others are watching who are not likely very impressed.

For the past year I have fought for many things…but one is the desire to be authentic…to feel the feels. Giving myself permission to ask, question, doubt, and discover. The search for authenticity required slowness and silence. It required doing wildly unpopular things like saying “no” and “not for this season.” It required questioning the status quo…even the Christian status quo…and the very roots of my theology. I feel as if I am landing on the soft side of this thing with God…more ready than ever to walk with Him. I am ready to feel the safety and security of my tribes’ embrace…and to do this in the comfort of my deck chair out back…sipping on sweet tea or something stronger…knowing that in this slowness I am being more authentically who I was made to be and not doing what I think God is expecting me to do.

For those who find this incredibly obvious…I am thrilled for you. Oh how I wish I could have learned this earlier. This is written with so many and yet no one specifically in mind…if a tiny truth popped off the page then terrific…take it and let it soak in to your soul. But for those who are tired, (exhausted even), I feel you, and there is no way God intends for you to wear your body out for his namesake. He doesn’t love you for what you do…but cause you’re His.

Recently Chris and I have vowed to love the life we live…and he keeps saying, “if we don’t it’s our fault.” So here’s to learning to slow down and stop doing things for God…and working to simply be His kid. Here’s to laying out a life we love…with sweet days and nights around tables and on back porches. No doubt adventures will flow out of that time…but it begins in the slowness and soulfulness of seeing Him and seeing others the way we were designed to live.

Stumbling through the Playground of Life

I remember the day Lela Serapin spit in my face on the playground. We were standing near the metal dome-shaped soccer ball climby-thing. I remember standing there stunned wondering what in the world I had done to receive such treatment and why in the world she was so angry? I think we were talking about our backgrounds…and I shared a bit about my families’ faith…I might have uttered the name of Jesus. What I quickly discovered was her background and the offense she took of his claim to be more than a man. Whatever the words spoken that day…she was cut deep and I was devastated. Not only because my face was covered in humiliation and saliva…but also because I never intended her harm.

The playground of life is full of whimsy…squeals of delight, belly laughs and tender moments where we hand in hand run from activity to activity…seeking pleasure and connection along the way. There are monkey bars where the blood rushes to our head and we penny drop down landing proud and bit light-headed. Boys are chasing girls and strategies are planned and plotted. There is jump ropes and hop-scotch and swings that make us feel like we can touch the sun. The highs felt in these moments are second to none.

Until your friend falls from the top of the splintered bridge of the jungle gym and fractures her wrist. Until Andrew Frank collapses after chasing the girls from an asthma attack and is gasping for air on the grass. When the overweight child is picked last for the kickball team. Or he is called Crusher because he is so big and cannot fit in to a child-sized desk. When a bee stings an allergic child and she goes in to anaphylactic shock. When Lela who has played Cabbage Patch dolls at your house and shared multiple popsicles–spits in your face. The whimsical moments of childhood innocence end. And there is an unsettled sense that everything is not okay. 

From childhood we sense it…even in our safest most magical moments there is a sense of darkness that is near. For some children it started early, their homes were not safe and their innocent lives were interrupted by darkness before they knew Light. For many it was a gradual sense and it has grown in to adulthood where we still run around the playground of life. We do our best to find whimsy, laughter, and tender connection. We fight for the highs where our tummy drops as gravity pulls us back toward the earth.

We are quickly pulled to earth when we receive a devastating diagnosis. When we lose someone we love tragically to death or divorce. When our parent or child struggles with addiction. When there is a car accident, or a shooting, and then another shooting. We look down at our friend on the ground gasping for breath…we wipe the saliva from our face…and we recognize something is not right–and we wonder if there has to be more? If this simply is not the full picture…if this is not actually the life to the fullest we thought it would be. We wonder if there is more to this life than living and dying? We wonder if this side of heaven is only the prelude?

Linking the events of my life together I have so many magical playground moments to point me to the belief that there is an Author of a story that brings together laughter and friendship, connection and love. But I also see a more sinister side to this world that has absolutely no law and suffering is not a respecter of persons. The poor decisions of others have devastating effects on innocent bystanders. There is even a brokenness to our planet where mosquitos bring malaria and people die. This may beg the question: Why would the Author create only to destroy? Or allow His creation to suffer?

In my younger years I grew exhausted from the adults speaking of heaven–I found it boring imagining angels lying around on clouds playing harps all day. I now find myself stumbling through my faith journey needing there to be more. Needing this to not be it. Because this world holds too much pain and heart-ache and anger to fit into my brain as the ending point. My desire is not to live for heaven…sitting by idly counting the days until glory. (You.have.got.to.be.kidding.me.) But I desire to do my best to bring a little bit of heaven to the fractured playground. To bring assurance and and support to those laying flat on their backs staring at the sun wondering if this is their last painful breath. I don’t get to change my circumstances or my personal suffering…but I do get to choose how I respond to the brokenness that happens on the playground. I choose to believe there is more and live with hope despite the devastation. I remember the trouble-makers on the playground, their negativity and their drama. I remember gravitating toward the friends who created adventure each and every time our feet hit the asphalt. The brave ones who were plotting playground plans before we were actually out the door. I want to be the one who brings joy and hope to the adventure…who doesn’t pretend there is no harm or danger–but enters in, loves well, and gets dirty along the way.

May You Be a Blessing and May You Be Blessed,

Jenni

 

 

Cause This Day Can Be Hard…

So I see this as a blessing and a curse. And it is probably a combination of nature and nurture generating my hypersensitivity to the feelings of others.  Sometimes I am paralyzed as I don’t want to say something to offend…or do something that might hurt your heart. (I am not perfect at this and am sure I have hurt many–but I can assure you it was not intentional as I have spent the better part of (almost) 40 years doing my best to be very very very sensitive to the hearts of others…especially surrounding delicate topics like this one!) So on a day like today as much as I would like to post a picture of my babies (and there is NOTHING wrong with doing this)…or a picture of my mom (and this is also to be celebrated)…I pause. Because this day can be hard.

This day can be hard for those who have lost a child recently…like the mother I heard about who lost her baby at 19 weeks…this weekend. Or maybe the loss of your child was 15 years ago–but Mother’s Day brings about a sweetness as well as a sting. There are other women with big beautiful mother’s hearts who are painfully watching their friends on facebook but have not birthed a child of their own…a longing that aches the other 364 days of the year–but today her pain is highlighted. I see you sweet pea. I see you.

Another shift of our awareness on this day accompanies a loss of a mother. My mother in law was a beautiful gift to me and someone I miss regularly…especially when I see the wonder in my children’s eyes and know she would have enjoyed teaching them something new. I see my husband continue to grow in to an amazing man and father and I know his mom would have loved to watch this unfold. The loss of a mother whether recent or distant makes this day difficult. An especially painful loss on this day happens to those who who have lost their mothers long ago even though she is still living. You know who you are if this is you, and you endure an especially private pain. You would never speak ill of your mother who is unable to be the mom you had hoped she would/could be. There is likely grace–loads of it–surrounding your relationship…but there is sadness and grief not joy on this day. Daughter…I am so sorry…I see you.

For those whose mom is sick, or absent, or is a woman you never knew. Or for those who are sharing the responsibility of motherhood, maybe you are a stepmom, or a foster mom…I see you. Single mom friends…I see you.

So today on a day full of beautiful pictures and celebrations–of course I celebrate with so many of you! But I want to take a moment and honor those of my friends who are feeling the sting of this day and I want to say your heart is being held. I will hold it in case you thought no one noticed…you are not forgotten. You are allowed to feel a bit hollow even if your house is full.

There is a Love greater than mine that says I see you. I think certainly it is nurture…but stronger is Nature…screaming down from heaven reminding me of the hearts that matter to Him. Remember today on this painfully beautiful day He is especially fond of you.

If you have a precious woman in your life that you SEE and might be encouraged by these words…please pass them on–or send a few words of your own her way!  

May You Be a Blessing and May You Be Blessed!

Jenni

 

 

My Love/Hate Relationship with Facebook…

Oh Mark Zuckerberg you lovable little genius you. The thing you predicted would blow up has taken over and altered the way we communicate and connect with the rest of the WORLD. Thank you and darn you all at the same time. I could not be more grateful to follow and keep track of my sweet friends I met and did life with in Uganda. I could not be more grateful for the ways I can keep a “visual eye” on that beloved place and the people who live there. But then I honestly get tangled/trapped in the mind numbing scrolling and sometimes am completely sucked in to a video of a pug pouncing up the stairs or I “need” to know what animal my face looks like!?! Several seconds of my life later THIS pops up.

Completely.unneccesary. But in the “Facebook moment” I NEEDED to know. (Love/hate.)

On the inspirational side of this communication highway–Facebook carries vital messages of hope and encouragement in to my world. This platform is wrapped in relationships with people I love and relationships I hope to continue to cultivate. With a press of a button I am able to stay connected to precious stories of real people I care about and “like” to “follow”! There are inspiring quotes, and passionate pieces of news stated in ways that are humorous and a bit more palatable to consume. Mark has even made a simple way to tell my friends “Happy Birthday” because he somehow knew my brain is too cluttered to keep all of that straight! This is when I feel all the feels and am full of Facebook love.

Then there are the more annoying posts…the I really didn’t want to see that post. You know when your child gashed his head open and received 5 staples post. (For my nerdy doctor and nurse friends out there I know you find those fascinating–but as for me and my eyes–no thank you.)

Oh and let me go ahead and call out right now that little side biz of mine. From the bottom of my heart a big thank you to my Facebook friends who have no interest and will NEVER purchase R+F products. Grateful for your willingness to power through my page–pushing past my business posts to get to the heart of what is going on in my world. You are patient my good people…thanks for not un-friending me, but for exercising a restrained eye roll and quick two fingered flip as you scroll on by. (I try to not to be obnoxious or create white noise–but I understand: if this is not your thing–it is not your thing.) I found my job on Facebook–as well as answers to something I was looking for…so I will always be an “intentional poster”–but I also understand that there is a lot vying for your attention so forgive me for adding to the mental clutter. (Love/hate.)

Then there is the more sinister and serious side that I must address because people behave very badly on Facebook. Especially within this election year we have become downright hateful and aggressive. (I am not super swimmy with our options–but in my humble opinion, Facebook shouldn’t be the platform for us to make up our mind or change the minds of others.) Oh and while on the topic of persuading others–the hateful and embarrassing things Christians say on Facebook…y’all I just want to hide under a rock and throw my laptop away. The cruelty and unkindness does not represent me or my tribe. My lack of words on the subject is absolutely intentional–it is a distancing of sorts between myself and the obnoxious, hurtful words daily spoken in the name of Christ and Christianity.  We feel compelled to “speak truth in love” on our STATUS UPDATE or on the update of another!?! No. Not the platform little lamb…not the platform. The Good Shepherd is calling and begging you to stop doing more damage than the good you think you are doing. My lack of words on this subject in no way expresses my lack of love for my good Shepherd…but I see far more folks standing up for something they believe in while crucifying their “friends” for not having the same preferences or religious/political beliefs. True connection and friendship happens face to face one conversation at a time. Period.

I thank God for my ability to stay in touch with my friends who I met years ago in Indiana, or while doing YL at Apex high school, or via POWER, or Hope, or while traveling the globe…but to be clear…we FIRST met: FACE TO FACE. Only then did Facebook become an important messenger and delivery service. Our purpose in posts matter. Or at least it matters to me. I want to bring far more love and grace in to this space… (Love.)

Because I can assure you that when looking across the kitchen table from said “friend” eye to eye, face to face, the kind of hate we write on Facebook would so very unlikely be spewed in spoken spaces. Yet with written words we shred from the comfort of our couches…hidden behind our screens forgetting the humanity of others. This hate and harm (as well as a few random quizzes and mind-numbing videos that I get sucked in to and spend too many minutes of my precious life completing) have caused me to want to close my account forever.  (Hate.)

But Facebook can be full of light, love and inspirational stories about humanity that bring me back around and cause me to place a stake in the ground. I will be different. My posts will have purpose. My words will be building, kind, and constructive. Life is hard y’all. This world can be brutal. Let’s not pollute this platform. Let’s be better than that. Much better.

May You Be a Blessing and May You Be Blessed,

Jenni