A couple of years ago my husband Dallas and I decided we would start a blog. We were both pastors of our church at the time and it seemed like a good avenue to connect to our congregation, especially in a busy culture when people often have to miss our gatherings on Sundays. But one thing held us back.
What would we NAME this thing?
There are so many blogs with clever or insightful or meaningful names. We couldn’t come up with anything. Finally we decided to keep it simple: The Friesen Blog. friesenandfriesen.com. Straight and to the point. And kind of cute, since we’d be writing as a married couple.
Since that time two years ago, a few unanticipated things happened. The first was that the blog was read by more people than we ever imagined. We really did think it would be a blog for Mount Hamilton Baptist Church, with maybe a few others here and there. After a few months, we were delighted that lots of our other friends, and friends of friends, were reading as well. The second, for me, was the discovery that I loved blogging! Pretty soon I was writing a lot more than just follow-up from Sunday sermons. I wrote about my grief after losing someone I loved. I wrote about things I was learning as a parent. I wrote about the things that were on my mind that mattered to me, or that I thought would make people smile. This also meant that I was doing most of the writing (although for those of you who know us, the fact that I would have more to say than Dallas should come as no surprise).
After a while, people started calling friesenandfriesen “Leanne’s blog.” Dallas didn’t mind. Instead, he kept encouraging me to write more. And share more. And to get a twitter account already so I could tweet my posts!
But it was still nice to be known as “friesenandfriesen.” Our unique mix of marriage and ministry was a lot of what made us “us.” And I did still get Dallas’ feedback before I posted almost anything, so that still made it our blog…right?
This summer when Dallas was called to a new position with our denomination, the question came up a couple of times: so what are you going to call your blog now?
This was a question I was not ready for.
For a few months, I stuck with the old title. It was safe and comfortable there. I liked the cover picture. People who followed it were used to the old name….and of course, what would I name this thing??
After a few months, I did make some updates. I toyed with a new title, and I even taught myself how to update the formatting of the page. But the domain name was still “friesenandfriesen.com.” There was still a little trace of the original plan left.
Then a couple of months ago I got an email reminding me that the domain name would soon run out. Friesenandfriesen was officially coming to an end (unless I wanted to pay some more cash to keep it). Paying money for a name that no longer applied didn’t make much sense, but what SHOULD I call it? Dallas helped solve the problem. For my birthday Dallas bought me (what I thought) was a very romantic present. My own domain name: leannefriesen.com
Why was this present romantic? To me it said a few things:
- I believe in you.
- Your voice matters.
- You can do this without me.
It’s that last one that I have doubted a lot over the past number of months. When Dallas first left, I confess, I relished the challenge of proving I could do this on my own.
This has not been the experience I have had.
Instead, there have been many days and weeks where I felt as inadequate as I have ever felt in years of ministry. I have been humbled, sometimes frustratingly so, by my own limitations. I have been more emotionally exhausted than I thought possible. leannefriesen.com started to seem like a pretty bad idea. Afterall, if I’m barely managing to keep my head above water as a pastor and a parent why would anyone want to read what I have to say? And also, when do I even have time to write this thing?
What I have had to learn over these past number of months as the days of friesenandfriesen drew to a close is a simple, but painful truth: I CAN’T do this on my own. But it’s not because I need Dallas. It’s because I need God.
I cannot say it better than Douglas Coupland does in his book “Life After God,” when at the end, his character confesses to his readers:
Now, here is my secret…My secret is that I need God — that I am sick and can no longer make it alone. I need God to help me give, because I no longer seem to be capable of giving; to help me be kind, as I no longer seem capable of kindness; to help me love, as I seem beyond being able to love.
I guess for me it’s not much of a secret, but these words are very true. I have only been friesenandfriesen for a short while, but I have always been God’s. And I have always, and will always, need God.
So now I am leannefriesen.com, which is more than okay.
Because I am not doing it on my own at all.
I hope you will keep reading at leannefriesen.com!
And share if you’d like your friends to read!