As I get more in to regular blogging, there are things I want you to know. These items set a tone, I hope, that is instructive and constructive. Growth and improvement is always my goal, for myself, my family, and people whose lives I am fortunate enough to touch and with those who touch mine.
Let's start with The Doubts 1st and get them out of the way. The Doubts always set in after a decision is made, a step is taken. The Doubts tell me that I don't have anything worth sharing, no one will listen, people will misunderstand, and that there are many bloggers and writers much better than me and more worth your time. The Doubts sometimes gain some ground in my head. Temporarily. Now that they are out there in the nebulous blogosphere, know I'm going to keep writing. For me.
The Disclaimers need more consideration and understanding. They do not interrupt or change my writing. I believe knowing them could be important to my readers' understanding about where I come from, my motivations, and that I teach, share, and act with the end goal always in mind.
Disclaimer #1--I am not a theologian, a therapist, or a preacher, though I have spent lots of time with all of the above! I am blessed to have a spiritual heritage rooted deeply in studying and knowing scripture. This begins with the youngest babe and continues throughout life. Education is very valued. Numerous universities, fully accredited, exist within it. Preachers, children's ministers, youth leaders, even therapists immerse themselves in Greek, Hebrew, doctrine, and theology as they earn fully accredited undergraduate and post-graduate degrees. Smart people, folks. I am not them. My formal training is in teaching in secondary public schools in the areas of Reading, English, Humanities, and as a leader in curriculum, assessment, writing, creativity, child and adolescent development, brain development, and gifted education.
Disclaimer #2--Despite my upbringing, I do not hold to many of the traditions and practices of my early faith and church experiences. The denomination I spent the 1st half of my life in (at this point) uses women only in background roles which are quiet in corporate services and in very traditional places preparing and serving food, cleaning, and teaching children, including the title of Children's Minister. I choose to participate now in fellowships and churches in which women, men, and children, are valued, allowed, and blessed to each bring glory to God through the gifts and talents He has put in us--whether that is teaching, preaching, prophesying, healing, singing, playing an instrument or feeding large groups of people.
Disclaimer #3--The more I live, the more I understand how little I know. I am a researcher by nature. I am passionate. When I believe in something or someone, I dive in all the way. I am either ALL IN or ALL OUT. I struggle with living anywhere in between. I continually read, study, research, and explore.
Disclaimer #4--My goal in writing and living out LEAD, is not to become well-known, to take on large or very public leadership roles or to impress people. I don't see myself coming out of this as a preacher or leader of a religious group or organization. I want to touch people personally and intimately exactly where they are and to walk alongside people and families, fellowships and organizations who need what I have to offer. I desire to grow in my comfort and confidence in speaking and teaching on spiritual topics and scripture, but my most important desire is to always be practical, hands on, and engaged with people.
Disclaimer #5--I do operate out of a place of faith, if you haven't figured that out. My faith is a journey, ever-changing and ever-challenged by life. I am not here to indict, convict, blame or point fingers. I strive to operate out of a place of compassion and seeking understanding, rather than a place of judgment. I hope to use my life and experiences to help others, to give purpose and meaning to the hard things in my life, and to make a way for those who come after me where they can use my wisdom gained through hard knocks. I see errors and mistakes as catalysts for change and improvement. I do hope to change people and practices, especially regards to the topics nearest and dearest to my heart.
Disclaimer #6--I do not expect everyone to agree with me, and I am not threatened by disagreement, discussion or confrontation. I am strong, self-aware and I do not seek approval or permission to be who God is still creating me to be. I do ask and seek to challenge people to put on someone else's glasses for a minute to see life from their perspective. I want to challenge you to do the research, think critically, and educate yourselves--especially when discussing hot-button issues. Let's be respectful, open-minded, and loving. Most of the time people just want to be heard, acknowledged, and validated. Let's seek to do this together, no matter the topic, opinions, or points of view.