TBKW 2020 Review and Reflections

Welcome to TBKW’s Year End Review post – better late than never, right?

~ ~ ~ 2020 STATS ~ ~ ~

Here, on the blog, there were 14,072 views, primarily to the home page and then to these posts with the most direct traffic:

#1 – The Transformative Power of Good Leadership is an oldie from 2017 that got a lot of circulation from Pinterest in 2020. I’m so happy because this is written about one of my favorite TED Talks and I would love more people to encounter this!

#2 – Francis Chan, the NEO House Network, and Women in Leadership – another oldie from 2016 that is a common search result for people wondering if Chan is complementarian or egalitarian, I believe. I share the Full Gospel Church story from Seoul, Korea – how they became the largest church in the world by empowering women to lead.

#3 – R.C. Sproul on the Role of Men and Women – I gave an egalitarian position to each of his sermon points on the topic of male headship and female submission. My response posts always do well and I enjoy writing them, so I think I will find a few more complementarians to respond to in 2021.

I wrote eight new posts in 2020, ranked below by my favorite rather than date posted or traffic stats:

God hears the prayers of the oppressed – Y’all, there is a right side to be on when we’re talking about racism in America, and much of the white evangelical church ain’t on it. Scripture is clear that God cares for the oppressed. “History has it’s eyes on you.”
Her father’s joy – the story of Abigail – Notes on one of my favorite Bible women (I named my daughter Abigail)
Abigail Sequel – What about Submission? – and a follow-up post regarding what Abigail’s story has to teach us about submission
On being a bad feminist who tolerates all kinds of nonsense, but also having no patience for bad depictions of God’s love – I read Francine Rivers’ terrible book “Redeeming Love” and wrote about how this was an abusive depiction of God’s love rather than God’s actual unconditional love
Holy Post – Race in America – my transcription of Phil Vischer’s excellent video on racism in America
Quoting the Fathers of Complementarianism – a link to a Facebook album I made of disgusting, misogynistic quotes from theologians and pastors
Voices of Protest – links to social media accounts I recommended for understanding the #BLM protests of 2020
Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood by Aimee Byrd – book recommendation

2020 was also the year that I bit the bullet and paid $19 to take “wordpress” out of the blog url: http://www.thebeautifulkingdomwarriors.com looks so much more legit.

I’ve heard that blogging is dead, people don’t read blogs anymore and I’m okay with that. I’m always behind the curve, definitely not trailblazing or trendsetting. The joy for me comes in the writing and I celebrate the rare “Like” or comment on the blog.

Meanwhile, on The Beautiful Kingdom Warriors Facebook page, 2020 brought some significant traffic upticks. Facebook has become the place where I post the articles and posts I’ve come across and found important, the musings of theologians and activists that I follow, and tons of memes – the clear winner as far as reach goes. I had my first viral post last February:

I can’t remember exactly how many people “liked” TBKW before this post, I think it was around 3K. That doubled in February, and with more people engaging on the page, my posts picked up traction. I ended the year with close to 9k follower and my reach is usually around 600k per month.

I’ve increasingly expanded beyond gender issues (egalitarianism vs. complementarianism, sex abuse, domestic violence, rape culture, purity culture, abortion, etc.) to include posts about racism, politics, trauma, theology, evangelical culture, etc. This leads to some unliking and unfollowing the page while others find the page because of similar values and concerns. I haven’t figured out the best way to encourage people to stick around, to communicate that I don’t want the page to be a vacuum of confirmation bias. I want pushback. I am just one person posting things I come across on the internet. I am not trying to be an authority on or guardian of The Truth. I have learned a lot and am so grateful for everyone who sticks around and engages in the conversations, especially when there is disagreement. I love engaging with kind people who help me understand things better.

As much as I would like more diversity, TBKW seems to resonate most with younger Christians, primarily women and US citizens, with similar political views. I am grateful to receive messages thanking me and to see “mentions” recommending TBKW to their friends as a safe community to grow in faith. Like myself, others have felt less lonely because of TBKW.

Getting personal……2020 Reflections:

As it has been for several years, my writing is harried and sporadic. I could find something to write about every day, if I wasn’t stretched so thin and had the mental space to let the words flow. Mostly, I am clinging to others’ words in my Enneagram 5 need to learn, and never process what I am learning through writing. This grieves me.

Life in 2020 was overwhelming in many ways. On top of a global pandemic and its financial impact, I am a working mom whose “free time” is consumed with housework and homeschooling. I was worried about my husband’s health (he finally received a diagnosis and treatment in November), my brother was in a life-threatening car accident, and my kids were struggling to find their groove in quarantine.

Embarrassingly, the hair that broke the camel’s back was turning 40 during a pandemic. I had dreamed about traveling to celebrate with my closest friends. Reaching the “middle-aged” milestone was jarring when I realized my entire life was in survival mode. I was treading water, fighting to stay ahead of bills and work shifts and supporting my family. I had assumed that by 40, I would figure out my health issues. I had unrequited academic dreams and writing goals. I was having a mid-life crisis and I. was. not. okay.

So I asked for help. First, I reached out to a former pastor. She is a gifted counselor and we set up a weekly phone chat. Collette was a precious guide out of the darkness, making sense of my emotions and offering her “me too” stories, encouragement to rest, resource recommendations, and hope that this season would pass.

Second, I signed up for counseling on Better Help and began weekly sessions with Berty. She told me that I was over functioning for others, I was captive to the tyranny of the urgent, and I was angry like a lot of women my age because I was realizing that I had given my life away. She encouraged me to reclaim my life and make SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Actions, Realistic, Timeframe). She said we overestimate what we can accomplish in one year and underestimate what we can accomplish in ten years. She gave me homework each week that led to setting up a writing space for myself in our guest room and to writing the 8 posts that I managed to share.

I love my new writing space!

When I went back to work at the restaurant and the kids went back to school in August, I thanked Collette and Berty and said I wouldn’t have time anymore for their support. I could certainly use support still, but I am much improved. They had been lifesavers, pulling me out of my burned out pit. This fall, I put my caretaker hat on to help my mom through a big surgery in October and then a broken ankle in November. Then we all got COVID in December and had a huge scare when my mom had to be hospitalized. Praise God we all recovered. Mom was ecstatic to move home in January but we’ve missed having her here with us.

Two and a half weeks ago, I had a hysterectomy. My Facebook posts have tripled and I have been commenting much more during recovery! But that will level out and I am committing to writing more posts here on the blog in 2021. The Beautiful Kingdom Warriors is an outlet for me that gives me a sense of purpose and releases my pent up need to process my thoughts. There are so many things I would like to write about, so I am going to utilize my new SMART goals tool and get to it.

I thank you all for following TBKW. It is incredible that we get to partner with God to bring God’s Kingdom values and love to our communities. We can truly manifest God’s will on earth as it is in heaven through our unique gifts and callings. Let us continue to encourage one another, inspire one another, and urge one another on to love and good deeds. God bless!

2 responses to “TBKW 2020 Review and Reflections

  1. “Life in 2020 was overwhelming in many ways.” Amen, Sister! While our specific challenges were different, I certainly sympathize with the struggle to keep your head above water amidst the onslaught of multiple waves. Thanks for sharing your reflections. Like you, I miss writing and hope to create space in my life for it again this year. –Jennifer K.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for the comment, Jennifer! Your writing matters, I hope you do make space for it again this year. ❀ Ruth

    Liked by 1 person

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