Life Updates: Teaching a Lay Leadership Course, my Writing Career & What I Gave Up for Lent

Hi, friends. Stay tuned to see what’s going on with Retrospective Lily… 🙂

The last few weeks have passed by in a whirlwind. I tend to put blogging on the back burner when life gets crazy, but I guess that’s okay, since it’s been more quiet around here lately. [Or maybe I’m not taking time to connect with recent/active bloggers, or maybe my posts aren’t as good anymore…who knows!] Anyways, I’m glad for the opportunity to share my thoughts. I’m also thankful for the readers and writers who have stuck around on WordPress.

Lay Servant School 2020

The last two weekends, I (along with Sandrea) taught the introductory course to Lay Servant School, a program through the United Methodist Church that educates and equips lay leaders. I was honored to shepherd a new group of disciples in servant leadership, communication skills, caring ministries, and more.

I’m in the wheelchair; Sandy’s the black lady in the front row, one over from the left.

Changes at Work

While preparing my curriculum and attending the four sessions of LSS required most of my time and mental energy the last few weeks, my writing career is on a slow-but-steady upward trajectory. Praise God! FYI, I got a job as a contributing writer for a local newspaper last summer.

Sidenote: I’ve been reading Psalms for the last month or two, and it’s really boosted my prayer life. [My calm, rote prayers of the past seem so flimsy and unauthentic in comparison.] I prayed several times that God would enable my career to expand. I feel the prayer is being answered. Now, let’s hope my other buns in the oven (repeated petitions) are baking.

We are taking on a new venture at work (my boss keeps referring to it as “birthing a baby,” lol). We’re going to make our online presence a serious priority and push to generate more revenue. I will be taking on more responsibilities due to that.

A photo from “Helping Hands Peru”

I’m also starting to get more article assignments. Yay! I write two of the weekly installments–Calendar Events and Crime Report. Last November, I wrote an article about myself and another lady in our readership area with Friedreich’s Ataxia (crazy coincidence, BTW). I finally got to write another one in February for a lady from my church who turned 100. Then, I was assigned an article pertaining to a Peruvian immigrant, also a local business owner, who runs a charity in his hometown. Right up my alley!

What I Gave Up for Lent

In the midst of the chaos, I’ve somehow managed to pray and read scripture (pretty) regularly. For a long time, I didn’t understand why people gave things up for Lent; when I tried, I inevitably failed because it was a game to me. After my spiritual awakening and in the midst of ongoing sanctification, I now understand the reason behind fasting in general and especially during Lent. Some might consider what I gave up “cheating,” but if so, cheating’s never been so hard…

Bitterness

I like to think I’m sooo different from the FA’ers who sit around pitying themselves, but the struggle is still real. My own feelings of bitterness relate more to my inaccessible living situation and the lack of freedom and control that entails, but still. I have felt bitter towards my family for not helping me get into an accessible home. I have felt bitter towards the world that the housing market lacks affordable options. I have even felt bitter towards God for not making a way into a better situation yet.

As I wrote in a recent post, I do try to choose gratitude. There’s much pain and suffering in the world I don’t understand and will never have to. I know that my family loves me and God will lead me to an affordable home in His timing. So, it’s time for me to uproot this nasty bitterness from my heart once and for all. It is an unproductive, unhealthy emotion.

We are reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis in my Sunday School class. Since my “Screwtape” has tormented me with bitterness for a long time, he’s not letting it go without a fight. Literally–there was a screaming match this week over a cup of coffee! (After which my “Screwtape” seemed to be laughing at me) Clearly, I’m going to have to recommit to this fast every day…if not every hour and every minute.


So, how are you, really? Let me know in the comments. And thanks for reading. ♥

15 comments

  1. Audience interaction fluctuates so much! I used to be focused a lot on numbers and comments, but over the years I’ve worked on not caring as much. I realize people may be able to read more than comment. Or people who used to read and or comment things kinda shifted for them relating to blogging. As well as the content we produce isn’t going to fit everyone. And yes, we may not connect with others the way they desire, so if they don’t see us interacting then they may feel less inclined to interact. Which I understand, but it’s still sad 😭

    I’m still mystified about it, actually. 😅 Things I think might get traffic do not always even if people originally seem interested. Or the fact remains, I forget about those individuals who are interactive because comment numbers aren’t everything, but, wow is it easy to be pulled away from what matters. I still have this struggle sometimes.

    I think bitterness is tough! It forces you to give yourself an awarness and I think that’s great because being actively aware helps us be more accountable!! It’s hard but God can refine us through it!!!

    Way to go on all of your goals and writing! So exciting! 😊😊😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All good points!! It is mystifying, haha. I’ve worked on caring less about numbers. People get busy, and I shouldn’t take things personally. But it is just so dang easy for “Screwtape” to make me question myself. Like I said, I really appreciate the ones like you who are still reading, writing, and interacting!

      Thank you for your encouragement. ♥♥♥

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s a powerful book and so many good points.

        I’ve found when I focus on numbers or why or why not people are not coming my focus has shifted from Jesus and why I blog to me. It’s not easy to admit, but it helps me refocus. I work on praying for God to help me with “just one” and go from there.

        You definitely have an out reach, and I believe God uses it. Blogging, Insta, your church, and other places. 🙂

        I appreciate you, too. Lily!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. So happy for your writing career! Don’t get discouraged on the blogging front. Some of us just go through seasons when all we can do is eek out a post per week (or less) because life is sooo busy! (That’s me!)

    Oh, and I get the bitterness. I have been fighting a similar battle myself.

    Keep up the good work! I love your posts. 😊

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I rejoice with you little sister about your writing and ministry opportunities 🙂
    It can be frustrating wrestling with the inner battle. I understand that all too well. I often think about what Paul wrote when he said- I die daily.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, you have been quite busy. Congratulations on your new writing venture! I’m not surprised.. you’re a very good writer. Also so cool to hear about your deeper quality of prayer life after digging into the Psalms. I could use that in my own life. And your ‘sacrifice’ for lent. I’ve not ever done that. I’d love to hear how this changes your life once it is all said and done. God bless, Lily. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much, Dee! That “sacrifice” isn’t getting any easier under the current circumstances, haha, but maybe I was led to reading the Psalms and learning how to pray more authentically for “such a time as this.” Lots of faith-filled but lament-filled prayers going up lately, ugh!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You have been busy, yet you did an excellent service this past Sunday! Keep sharing the wisdom which God lays on your heart, whether it is thru blogging, teaching or in the pulpit. Trust that the message is going out to whomever needs it ! Continue to lead and to be led. Love you!

    Liked by 1 person

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