Here’s the Joy looks back over 2018 and looks forward

As far as this blog is concerned, 2018 came in with a bang, with David and Louise Turpin: the picture perfect homeschooling family, the post that broke my blog when it garnered over 55,000 views in a day (almost 100,000 to date). Ironic thing was, of the many commenters, some of them thought I was an anti-homeschooling blogger (I was compared to Hitler, which is always a fun experience), when in reality I loved my 24 years of homeschooling and highly recommend homeschooling for those who love their children and are ready and willing to put in the work that it requires to give their children a quality education.

And to top it off, the person who helped me get my blog back up and running after it broke was my 100% homeschooled son, who now works as a coder in Manhattan for Adobe, the ones who make Photoshop and other well-known software.  (As a side note, that impressive job he has is not because he was homeschooled, but because he’s a highly intelligent self-starter who has a good wife who encourages him.)

And one more thing about that. Having a post that goes viral, in my experience, is no indicator of overall blog popularity. From the Turpin post I gained a grand total of three subscribers.

So anyway . . .

From there, my two other most popular blog posts drop way back in view count, with Rachael Denhollander lost her church over her advocacy for abuse survivors (which was also published in January, a record month for sure) receiving almost 18,000 views over the course of the year. As it so happened, That “innocent until proven guilty” question: a response to Ryan Fullerton (which had also been published in January, a couple of weeks earlier) was actually written about that very same church, the church that Rachael Denhollander lost. Funny how that worked.

And the third most popular was an evergreen post, Why did David lift his eyes to the hills? A new perspective on an old question, which even though it was written over two years ago, received over 16,000 views in 2018. This goes to show two things: (1) You can’t estimate the number of views from the number of comments, since there are only 7 comments on this post. And (2) It seems that a lot more Bible readers have this question burning in their bosoms than I ever would have guessed.

From there, view count drops way back again, to what are, for me, more normal numbers. So posts like Rachael Denhollander, SGM, and Bob Jones University and The vision of James MacDonald, mega-church pastor who sues bloggers’ wives garnered around 3,500 to 4,000 views each, and from there it went down to 1,500 to 2,000 views for quite a few others.

My own personal favorite posts that I wrote in 2018, the ones that most reflect my own heart and passion, weren’t among all those top ones. I’m passionate about untwisting Scriptures to show the love of God for all the broken who come to Him for healing, so I could list several of those (you can see them all at my All blog posts page). But I think the top one for me was a very personal one, Making sense of the church world’s epidemic of abuse. (It seemed to me like sort of a “part two” for this one from 2017.)

The fact is, that even though before 2018 I had many abuse survivors in my life and spent many hours with them one on one, both in person and over the phone and over texting apps, this year the number of people and the number of hours increased perhaps by five or ten times. I estimate the amount of time I spent one on one with abuse survivors in 2018 was well over a thousand hours.

Sometimes just listening and caring, but often in the course of prayer ministry (I’m trained in Immanuel prayer ministry, which helps a person connect with Jesus in order to help them process trauma and receive healing), I heard the painful and agonizing descriptions of first-hand accounts of trauma the likes of which I had been made aware of only fairly recently, some of which I previously hadn’t been absolutely convinced of. There were also some new things this year I heard for the first time, things I hadn’t even guessed at. All of them had to do, of course, with the evil perpetrated by human beings against other human beings. Many of these stories prostrated me, driving me back to the Lord again and again.

I could see how the Lord had prepared me in the past, oh, maybe ten or fifteen years, for the work He was bringing me now. Maybe one day I’ll blog about the journey He led me through in order to land me here, in the trenches, in the darkness, pointing to the Light and leading wounded people to the Light of the World. He has been preparing me for my mission field in His unorthodox academy (maybe His version of home school, heh).

But all that to say, I sense a leading from the Lord to blog less in 2019. My blog posts take a lot of time spent in Bible study and research, and lately I’ve been burdened by the Lord to spend more time in prayer (not only the prayer ministry kind, but also the old-fashioned worshiping and crying out to God kind) and being more available for one on one work with the people who are asking me. Alas, there are only so many hours in a day, and I still haven’t figured out a way to avoid sleeping.

I wasn’t able to finish my book this year, Prayer Armor for Defense Against the Enemy’s Flaming Darts, so I do hope to finish that in the coming year. My brain also continues to teem with blog post ideas, as I continue to become aware of ways the Scriptures are being twisted, my Savior is being represented as an angry overlord over His very own redeemed people, and those who have been wounded in His Name are being shamed and blamed. I’m still doing the study on fear I began a while back and still have several posts forming out of all that I’m learning. I’ll still be posting occasionally.

But if you’ve read this far (I guess you have, lol), if you are familiar with my blog enough to know my heart and passion, and if you would like to guest blog for me, untwisting Scriptures, commenting without rancor on false teachings in the churches, or telling your own story in such a way that it can offer hope to others in our Savior Jesus Christ . . . well, send me an email at rebecca@heresthejoy.com. I’d love to hear from you.

Happy 2019, Here’s the Joy readers. I pray that in the coming year you’ll see our Lord Jesus Christ more and more clearly to be the great and loving Savior He really is, who delights to rescue you from sin and shame, who loves to transform you into His image while you still maintain your own personhood, who finds great joy in just being with you as His own redeemed child, and who wants you as well to find great joy in Him. As you learn to trust Him more and more for your healing and hope, you will not be disappointed in Him.

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Cindy Burrell
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So many wonderful insights you shared this year, Rebecca. Thank you for your diligent, life-giving ministry to the wounded – so many seeking comfort in God’s truth.

Your comments about changing priorities reminded me of a little booklet I read years ago called, “The Tyranny of the Urgent.” It discussed how the urgent things in our lives often crowd out the important things that simply wait for our time and attention. I pray that, as you hope, you are able to find time for the important things in your life that are calling you, and that God continues to bless your life and ministry in the coming year.

Quietrunner
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Quietrunner

I have only begun reading your blog a few short months ago, but have already been blessed so much by it. May God continue to bless you with discernment, compassion and strength as you so willingly serve Him and minister to those wounded in church environments in 2019. Thank you for your voice in 2018!