I love words. And sometimes when I recall certain events in my life, words–like written words–flash across my mental view of those events. Does that happen to any of you? When I think of 2014, several words flash through my mind. First, I see God. He pulled me close to His side this year, and I didn’t shy away for fear of where He would take me. What a sweet journey it’s been, and it’s only just begun. Another word I see is music. I played the piano every day this year. Every day. I don’t consider myself an accomplished piano player, but the old adage “practice makes perfect” does ring true here…although in my case, it’s more like “practice makes better.” I see the word family. Through a closer relationship with the Lord, my family and I have grown closer into a tightly-knit unit. My boys and I talk about Jesus like He’s our best friend, because He is. My husband and I both committed to a daily quiet time with the Lord and it’s changed both of our lives. A fourth word I see is writing. As soon as I tuned my ear to His voice and started picking around on the piano again, I started writing again. But I didn’t just write songs. I started journaling, which led to some devotional type writings that I thought would stay in my notebook, for me and the Lord only. Which was okay with me. All of these words lead to the last word that floats across my picture of 2014. That word is opportunity. When I think of this word, I see myself sitting in the old fellowship hall of my beloved church family’s building. I see myself writing “Please send me an opportunity” on an index card and committing to pray for that opportunity and to trust in the Lord who would provide in His perfect timing. The Lord has since sent me an opportunity every day. Many opportunities were already there–I just didn’t see them through my business and my insecurity. Like slowing down to talk with my boys about why I played the piano. Or talking with them about having a quiet moment with Jesus each day. Like stopping to hold the door open for a person weighed down with life and offering a smile. Like taking an extra moment to talk with a stranger in the waiting room, then realizing that they weren’t a stranger after all, because the Spirit in me was in the Spirit in them, too. He’s sent me an opportunity every day. But some opportunities were special. Meeting some of my long time heroes of music and songwriting. Studying under them. Writing about singing groups that I love for a magazine. Singing and speaking at churches and leading worship at revivals and women’s conferences. Making a CD. And starting this blog. The joy that I feel when I get to journal God’s opportunities and songs for my friends has been so fulfilling…so exciting! Meeting new writers, new friends, who are also grabbing God’s opportunities has been heartwarming and encouraging. I started the blog My Story, My Song because I wanted to share my music with my friends on social media. I didn’t realize how many words were on the tip of my tongue. Words about faith, words about family, words about teaching, words about writing and music. My Story, My Song is a blog with different categories. Most of my posts are Devotionals. Many of them chronicle my adventures in writing and music. Almost all of them include a song at the end. Songs speak to me like nothing else, especially the hymns of the church and songs that the Lord whispers to my heart. About halfway through my blogging journey, I began posting occasionally about teaching, which is very near and dear to my heart as a ten-year veteran of teaching kindergarten. My teaching posts don’t include songs, though the response to the teaching posts have been overwhelming and appreciated. I wanted to share some of this year’s blog highlights with you, my friends. The first post I made… I spent forever reading and rereading my first post back in April of 2014. I think my husband could have recited it from memory by the time my shaky hand hit the “publish” button. It really is a scary thing to lay the words of your heart out for anyone to read and respond to! Here is my first post ever: This Is My Story The hardest post I wrote…My sister and her husband went through an amazing journey of adoption and premature birth and faith in God. When they were ready to share their story, I thought the words would just flow like water. They didn’t. I just sat and stared at the blinking icon forever, praying and thanking God for their journey, which became our journey. Eventually, He sent the words. Here is the story of Hannah, Jayson, and Carter: Walk to You The most fun post to write…On Fridays, I talk my husband’s ear off about school. Particularly, kindergarten. I unload the week’s victories and frustrations and he listens (I guess) patiently while I let it all out. One Friday, I decided to give him a break and write it all down instead. It was So. Much. Fun! Here it is, my favorite one(!!!!!!): Teaching Kindergarten…ABCs, 123s, and OMGs! The stories I was privileged to share…We all have a story (and I song, I believe). This year I was honored to share some of my family and friends’ stories of hope in a God who never fails. Their stories reached many, many hurting hearts and provided healing and comfort. One story, mentioned above, was the story of Hannah, Jayson, and Carter. Here are three more stories: Linda’s Story, Becky’s Story, Sandra’s Story The most popular (and surprising) post I made…One summer afternoon I was at home with the boys playing at my feet, and my mind was swirling with “back to school” ideas. I love teaching. I love kindergarten. I truly do. And God spoke to my heart about what His kind of love really is, and how that relates to the classroom. So I stood at my kitchen counter and wrote this post, which surprisingly made it to wordpress.com’s number one post for three successive days, and in the top posts for several days after! It was reprinted in several magazines and newspapers. This meant a lot to me, though it may not to professional bloggers! I was stunned that such a simple post from my heart garnered nationwide attention from teachers, parents, pastors, laypeople, and atheists alike. But, you know, we serve a mighty God, and He takes our simple efforts where He wants! Here is my heart for teaching in a post: To The Christian Teacher in A Public School I want to leave this year by saying thank you to you. For reading. For liking. For commenting. For sharing. I appreciate it so much. Every little click means so much to a writer who pours his or her soul out on the screen. Thank you, friends. Looking to more opportunities for 2015. Paige What about you? Did you start a blog this year? Did you continue a wonderful blog? Share it here in the comments, so we can follow you and share in your opportunities!
sharing at holleygerth.com and faithalongtheway.com