Confessions of a blogger

I started blogging in 2005. Mercy was a few months old, I was in my final months of study at Fuller Seminary, and I remember that it was around the time that we began putting Mercy down for a regular morning nap. I would put her down in her crib, and on most days I would spend the next hour and a half studying furiously for John Thompson’s Church History class, but on others I would sit down and indulge in writing a blog post. Maybe it was the isolation that new motherhood can bring, maybe it was the stress of trying to balance tough academic work with sleepless nights, and maybe it was the need to carve out something that was just for me, but blogging helped me feel a bit more human.

I first got the idea to blog because a good friend of mine had started. I loved reading her thoughts, and she told me how easy it was to set one up. Around that same time, another good friend introduced me to Heather Armstrong’s blog,, and I quickly became a regular reader there (along with hundreds of thousands of other people). She made me laugh and sometimes cry, and I was struck by the level of intimacy she revealed in her writing. These were my initial inspirations, and they were the extent of my blog reading.

I stopped blogging that May, the day that I found out I was pregnant with Aaron. Mercy was only six months old, I was terribly sick that first trimester, and life overall became pretty overwhelming. Oh, and I was in the midst of a difficult quarter of Hebrew that was sucking the life out of me. All that to say, blogging fell completely off the radar for that season.

I started blogging again three months after Aaron was born. I don’t remember why, but perhaps it is not coincidental that it was about the same amount of time after Aaron’s birth that I resumed as it had been after Mercy’s when I had started blogging in the first place.

Sometime in the spring of 2006, I started reading Scot McKnight’s blog regularly. I also added my blog to a website that features a collection of bloggers within my denomination, and also became a contributor at At some point, Scot McKnight picked up my blog and added me to his blogroll, and started highlighting pieces that I wrote in his weekly “Meanderings” feature. I am pretty sure that Scot McKnight is single-handedly responsible for the majority of people who read this blog. Later that summer, Doug and his brother surprised me with a new domain that allowed for me to leave Blogger and switch to WordPress. This made me very happy!

Somewhere along the way, people began to visit this site regularly and share wonderful comments and encouragement. I also began reading more blogs and I “met” some truly delightful individuals this way. Actually, that understates things. I have had new relationships form that I am intensely grateful for that likely would never have happened any other way. I now have a very dear friend on the other side of the country who ended up at this site because of a google search for someone else. It is amazing and humbling to consider how God works through any medium. If for no other reason than this, I am grateful for this blog.

I don’t usually get too introspective about why I blog. It is a habit for me now, something I just sit down and do, usually every day. I think that writing here helps me sift through and sort the events of my life, not necessarily understanding them but at least telling their story. And I find that if I do go a day or two without blogging, I begin to feel an itch, a small agitation in my spirit, and it is with relief that I return to this keyboard and pound something out.

This blog is at once a very personal exercise, yet it is done in a public venue. As a strong introvert, that is an interesting juxtaposition for me. And I cannot answer why I have never been able to maintain the spiritual discipline of journaling (private), yet have found success in the discipline of blogging (public) daily. Something to ponder.

I have been thinking about all of this because of something I read recently on someone else’s blog. A young woman in Chicago found my blog and describes what happens here this way:

“John Steinbeck writes a beautiful essay about “Why Soldiers Don’t Talk,” where he explains how men who go to war and women who give birth have a biological mechanism that causes them to be totally unable to re-live the pain and fear of those events because they will be required to repeat them in order for society to progress. All they can remember is that they were afraid and that is was painful. They cannot actually call up that pain and fear, the way most of us can do with tastes and music, they can only call up the memory. I believe that this is the other reason most memoirs and speeches of community development practitioners are a little blah. The immediacy is missing.

With the nostalgic tone that most people tell their stories with and the details that elapsed time and the need to summarize leave out, as an audience, we must use our imaginations to empathize with how hard it must be to live in under-resourced communities. Our imaginations aren’t enough, though, because we are limited by our own lack of experience. We imagine an extension of our suburban, middle-class experience and that does not do their lives justice. This is why I was glad to find The Margins. Because the story is being told while it happens, there is no over-arching thesis to be proven. Her brain has not had time to protect her from the memory of being scared for herself and her children. Because of this, her faith in the midst of all she is going through shines all the brighter. Read especially Erika’s post A Walk in the Park to see what I’m talking about. She doesn’t know yet that it will all turn out to be OK. But she does it anyway.”

I have always hoped for the privilige someday of writing books. But for now, I am grateful for this opportunity to “tell the story while it happens.” And I am grateful as well for those who have joined us in our story here. You are a daily blessing to me.


  1. Erika,

    Brilliant post! Thanks for sharing the journey with us. There are people within our community that I mention your blog to as I feel they can realte to your voice calling out God’s blessings in the moments as they happen.

    Stories are so important and as we strive to scribe digitally the moments of our days via blogging, we remember…and I think that is perhaps the single most important action we can do as we live the Kingdom calling on our lives…thanks again.

  2. John,
    I love your comment about remembering! Perhaps that is why my spirit starts to get all tangled if I don’t blog–I am in need of that ritual of remembering, of rehearsing who God is and how God is faithful. Maybe in a way this blog is my altar of stones built to declare and remember the rivers safely crossed!

    Thanks for your encouragement–it is deeply appreciated!

  3. Erika,
    This seems like an appropriate place to tell you that reading your blog has challenged me in many ways. And as I sit here with a squirming boy in my arms – i’m searching for the right words…in short i know that it is your testimony of life on Kenwood that has helped me more frequently ask “what does it mean to love this person”. thanks for that. 🙂 P.S. I heard of Scott McKnight thru YOUR blog and am excited to here him talk in PDX next month.

  4. Thanks for your stuff, Erika. I thought I was the only evangelical out here who relaxed with Maker’s Mark. I honestly don’t remember how I came across your site. But once I did, I stayed. I look forward to your book.

  5. maria,

    Thanks for sharing that! And you will thoroughly enjoy meeting Scot–he is truly a delightful person and a fantastic teacher. I am jealous that you will be there (at Irvington no less!)

  6. My heart jumped a little and I even let out a small gasp (I’m not normally that dramatic) when I scrolled down and saw that you were quoting me! Thank you for the honor.

    I found your blog through Arloa Sutter’s blog. God is marvelous when he combines the release that you get from blogging with the insight that we receive from reading.

  7. Hey, PrincessMax,

    I was just thinking about you. I was in the other room doing some work and I thought to myself, “hey, you should leave a comment on her blog and let her know that her words really touched you.” So, it was great to come out to the computer and see your comment waiting for me 🙂

    Thanks for what you wrote. I love how you framed what I am trying to express here!

    Oh, and we have some things in common. I lived in Chicago for seven years (college and post-college), and Doug and I honeymooned on Orcas, my favorite place on earth (I am a native Seattlite). I thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts from your year there.

  8. Erika, Your blogging is certainly unique to you. And communicates what you’re going through, very well.

    I do resonate with some of what you say for my own experience. There is a sense of immediacy and dailyness in the way I blog, which kind of keeps me on edge about it, and is a part of my walk in God and in community, hopefully. (I too, by the way, have been poor at personal journaling, while opening up in blog world. I think it’s because I really like to interact with people)

    Anyhow, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

  9. Oh, and I should mention that Scot McKnight has been a key influence on me in blogging. First by reading his blog (for around a year), then starting my own that he so graciously linked on his blog.

    And I really like the friendship aspect, as well as the sharing aspect….

  10. Ted,
    I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog and love that you are faithful in writing daily. I sense that–that it is a part of your own daily walk wiht God and others. That is what makes it so beautiful! I’m curious, what was the thing that inspired you to start your blog in the first place?

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