The Top 10 Posts :: Sarah Bessey

It was a full year around the blog even if I wasn’t writing as often as in years past. The top ten posts are below and it’s a mish-mash of editorializing and story-telling and narrative theology across a whole rash of topics. Sounds about right for this place – I’m often all over the place.

These are the top 10 posts that were written in 2015, based on hits, listed in order of popularity. (I only included the posts that I wrote here in this place, instead of all the guest posts or articles and essays that I contributed elsewhere.) These aren’t necessarily my personal favourites or even representative of my full work but they’re the ones that resonated with people the most.

You know, forgive the navel gazing but I continue to be amazed that I’m still here blogging after 11 years of this. Doing a round-up like this makes one a bit thoughtful, I suppose. I know that blogging as a medium has shifted and changed A LOT over the years and most of the bloggers I started out alongside of have had to step away or shut down for diverse reasons but I’m hanging on still. I’m not sure how blogging will look for me in the future but I still believe in the meritocracy of the medium and its accessibility for us all to speak up, its still important to me even if it is diminishing in its primary place for how I write. Book writing has really caught my heart and I am already writing into the next one, if you can believe it. And then I had a rocky year personally with a lot on our plate between a move, a more complex pregnancy, a new baby, four tinies with their own diverse needs behind the scenes of the blog, my husband’s work, a new book to finish and then release, and all the other life and changes within relationships offline and even online.

And so perhaps that was reflected in the time/attention I had to give to this place. I know that I’ve shifted in what I blog over the years – less blogging about my tinies experiences/lives, for instance, less burn-down-the-Internet soapbox rants, less day-in-the-life blogging with simple stories from daily life – but that means that when I do write, it’s with more thoughtfulness and intention, I hope. I long for the words I write to tell the story of how I encounter and experience God, too. I also had my usual burst of creativity right after giving birth but then that waned into the exhaustion and busy-ness of our family right now. I simply don’t have the time or bandwidth or energy of years past.

I’m often not quite sure where I fit in the online spaces. Like most of us who feel a bit of a misfit, you end up feeling like you fit everywhere and yet nowhere entirely. So I keep creating in this space here and I keep finding out that I’m not the only one who wanders and wonders in these ways through theology, politics, relationships, parenting, prayer, identity, and all points between. I’m always deeply thankful for the complexity you all bring to me and the ways that we together navigate life.

So thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading here and for all of the times you’ve commented, emailed, or shared my words with your own people. I don’t take it for granted and I’m thankful for the life and community we’ve all found here in this corner.

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Photo by Sharalee Prang Photography

1. The Sanitized Stories We Tell

I feel like we give out gold stars to people who get over things quickly. And like any former evangelical over-achiever I wanted my gold star. We want people to heal on a timeline. Yes, yes, that’s terrible but aren’t you over it yet?


2. Here We Are Again

In the dark, in the wee hours, in the early light, nursing in the corner of the couch, the end of an episode of Gilmore Girls while the rest of the house sleeps and I lightly pat a baby’s diapered bottom into blissful sleep. We smell like baby soap, her hair puffs out like duck fluff. Her mouth is a triangle tent, her breath is an anointing. I could go to bed, I could go to sleep now, she’s ready for a long stretch of sleep. But instead I sit here in the dark, for just a few more minutes. She’s stretched out on my chest, curled up with her legs tucked under – she’ll only do this for another few days, I know, this newborn froggy-leg thing. I stay there, sniffing her hair, patting her bum, breathing slow with her for just a while longer. I can feel the earth turning, time is still moving.

Here we are again.

For one last time.


3. [Love Looks Like] 2:07 a.m.

But here’s the truth: lifelong love is actually most built throughout the hours of the day, all twenty four of them, in the ordinary moments of our humanity. Lifelong love isn’t just for lazy Saturday mornings of coffee and books, it’s not just midnight breathlessness scented with perfume, it’s not just evening dinners with a bottle of wine. Those moments of our lives are lovely and necessary, too, but they’re not the fullness of love either.  Love looks like choosing each other, again, in all of the rotations of the clock’s hands, in all of the years we share together, in the seasons and the minutes. It’s glamorous and sexy, and it’s boring and daily.


4. A Voice for the Voiceless

I am a pro-life Christian feminist. Christians have a long history of valuing the undervalued, saving the discarded from society, and welcoming the differently abled as icons of Christ. Our Jesus came to bring us life and life more abundant. So to us, life is sacred, a gift from God, precious. Every person carries the breath of God. We are made in the image of God. … Because of both my faith and my feminism together, I believe in advocating for life, more than ever.


5. What church planters can learn from Target’s failure in Canada

And yet this has been my experience and so I admit, I’m a bit wary now of outsiders coming into Canada as self-appointed missionaries to Reach Canada For Christ™. I’m not quite at the “get off my lawn” stage yet though. So when news broke today about Target’s abject and utter failure to expand into Canada, I began to think this morning about how church planters to Canada (or even within Canada) can learn from the Target failure.


6. I used to think God wanted a lot from me

That old God wanted so much from me: time, money, energy, focus, worship, passion, work.God wanted my best behaviour, a clean conscience. Work harder, do more, strive strive strive. People are going to hell if we don’t do our part, the stakes are high. Defend the faith!


7. Why not have a woman preach?

You’re missing it. Don’t miss it. Open your eyes and see what the Spirit is birthing in these days, watch women rising up to reclaim their communities for peace and wholeness, watch women laying on hands and proclaiming the Gospel with their lives and their voices and their writing and their songs and even, yes, in their quiet. Watch women raising their children, gathering the lonely, loving the unloveable, building up the church, watch the world change.


8. I’m here, you’re not alone

I’ve heard that most of our theology is autobiography. I think that’s true. I think we often project what we learned about authority or our parents, in particular, onto God. And then we often parent our children in the way that we believe God is parenting us. So if we believe God is a terrible judge with exacting standards and a trapdoor to hell, then that changes how we move through our lives, how we judge others, particularly our children. And yes, I think that damages people.


9. You’re already so loved

You’re already so loved, you aren’t earning a breath of love or tenderness more than what you already have just by breathing – just by existing, just by being here in the wonder. Your name is already written in the lines of the hands of the universe, you’re star-breath-of-dust and you are beloved, intimately, faithfully, wholly. It’s your lifelong rock, you are known. You are loved with delight and abundance, with choice and desire, with covenantal love.


10. When you feel a bit selfish for pursuing your calling

If teaching or preaching or writing or managing or leading or painting or film-making or delivering babies or studying astro-physics or whatever it is makes you feel more whole, then darling, do it all to the glory of God and you’ll see that the way it makes you come alive will stain your entire life with joy.


 

 

Joy :: Third Sunday of Advent
Love :: Fourth Sunday of Advent
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  • Handsfull

    I must confess to being a little bemused by all the ‘blogging is finished!’ blah. I have a theory. I’ve noticed that a lot of blogs seem to have devolved into a ‘platform’ for selling. I don’t read blogs because they will give me months of blogfomercials about their latest book, I read them because I care about the writers point of view, the way they write and their quirky take on life. I read them because I’m interested in the writer and their thoughts. When a blog gets turned into a marketing tool, I turn off.
    I love the way you write, Sarah! I love it most when you write about whatever’s on your heart, when the Spirit is moving, when you are willing to share something about your gorgeous tinies with us. Be real, instead of a promotional machine, and we’ll keep reading your books AND your blog!

    • you know what, you might be right. Maybe it’s because it feels sales-y now. Lots of sponsored posts, everything selling something, very little just plain writing. It’s a hard line to walk because I know I do it, too – I wrote two books and I want people to buy them, after all. Still trying to figure out how to do it in a way that isn’t disingenuous, I guess. But thank you for your encouragement! As I’m trying to figure out the next year of work, this helps me remember what I love to do, too! xo

    • Gosh, I feel like you nailed this on the head. I’ve noticed the same thing on blogs and as a blogger myself I’ve sensed an overwhelming pressure to build your platform/email list/following first and worry about your craft later. Isn’t it true that if the content is good, the platform will follow? This is exactly how I feel about Sarah’s writing and blog. This space is so enormously resonant and I’m so thankful for Sarah’s investment in all of us by posting wonderful, thoughtful work that we get to access for FREE. It’s a quiet ministry, but true ministry nonetheless.

      • Thank you so much, Bekah! I have always felt like craft and content is underappreciated among bloggers so this makes me happy to hear. I do think that the other thing is that when we concentrate on the craft/content then our platforms might be smaller or less influential than the big guys but it feels more authentic to me personally and so I’ll call it good. I need to keep my soul while writing, you know? xo

    • Here, here! THIS is why I come back “here” and why I steer clear of other sites. Well said, and what Bekah says below, as well. Deep cries out to deep, and my Spirit thirsts for the truth you unabashedly share, Sarah. Jesus didn’t need to build a freaking platform…don’t get me started…

      • Thank you so much, Adrienne. Love reading your words this morning.

  • I reread The Sanitized Stories We Tell when I lost my first pregnancy in October, and, while weeping, resolved to keep my heart open and allow myself to truly grieve for my lost baby. I’ve been blessed with friends and a husband who are still openly grieving and loving right along with me, but there’s certainly a tendency to want to hide my tears (especially as an INTJ. I’m having way more feelings than usual). I found this passage from Anne Lamont as well, and thought it was beautiful and wise:

    “But what if the great secret insider-trading truth is that you don’t ever get over the biggest losses in your life? Is that good news, bad news, or both?
    The good news is that if you don’t seal up your heart with caulking compound, and instead stay permeable, people stay alive inside you, and maybe outside you, too, forever.
    This is also the bad news, not because your heart will continue to hurt forever, but because grief is so frowned upon, so hard for even intimate bystanders to witness, that you will think you must be crazy for not getting over it. You think it’s best to keep this a secret, even if it cuts you off from certain aspects of life, like, say, the truth of your heart, and all that is real.
    The pain does grow less acute, but the insidious palace lie that we will ever get over crushing losses means that our emotional GPS can never find true north, as it is based on maps that no longer mention the most important places we have been to.
    Pretending that things are nicely boxed up and put away robs us of great riches.”

    Thank you for writing with such openness and honesty. I’d rather have a few posts from a blogger like you than daily posts from someone who pretends that life is always easy, or life is always terrible. Life is beautiful and heartbreaking, often at the same time.

  • Sarah, I am pretty new to your blog and to blogging myself and have been struggling to find my niche in the world of giveaways, crazy fonts, “pinnable images,” tweetable quotes and pop-up adds when really all I want to do is write. So I love how I can just relax and breathe easily when I read your posts. Thank you for modeling writing for the sake of writing. Please don’t stop. God is using you. Continue to work out publicly what He is working in you. And thank you for being brave enough to do just that.

  • KSW

    Sarah, thank you for writing, thank you for your thoughtfulness, thank you for sharing your art. A lot of times your blog ends up being a different perspective regarding something I am struggling with and I read with tears. I give your books as Christmas presents. Bless you.

  • Jory Micah

    I have so enjoyed your blog this past year. Thanks for never giving up even when no one read your blog for 7 years. So thankful I found you! Xo

  • I’ve loved these and other posts. It is enough – y’know? You are enough.
    So grateful for your words, your presence in this online world, even when your year has been a rocky one.
    Much love to you, friend.

  • Yes, I echo Tanya — you’re enough. I love reading your words and I agree, it’s so important to have free words (something I’ve been writing and thinking through those same issues). Thank you for writing out of abundance and not scarcity. For slowing down when you need to. It’s a terrific example of continuity and calling versus production and popularity.

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  • Stacey Tupper

    Was just introduced to your blog. I am so thoroughly enjoying reading past posts. A post from 2012 is what hooked me. Keep writing sister in Christ.