When I first created my blog “Faithfully Following” in 2011 I was searching for a way to organize my thoughts through some difficult times. My husband was struggling with his career and faith and was contemplating enrolling in seminary after a long stretch of unemployment. We were raising two kids and I was trying to balance a full-time teaching job and motherhood. We were drowning in financial and marital stress. That was 6 years, one kid ago, and two moves ago. It’s funny, I identified then some of the same struggles I have now: I am bossy (er, I possess leadership skills), I have difficulty following, I can move too fast, and sometimes I need to take a step back to see the big picture so I don’t drown in the details.
When I hit the publish button for the first time six Octobers ago, I figured I’d eventually find a blog title that fit. Until then I kept hoping I could make it fit my actual life and family. But we’re doing so much more than just following now. So, where did my blog name 5 Matches come from? A few things inspired me.
These are sitting above my kitchen cabinets in our little parsonage on the Illinois prairie. They represent each of the initials of our party of 5: Todd, Christina, Madeline, Ava, and Harper. I just looked up one day and it hit me: when you move the letters around, you can spell the word “match”.
Matches start something. And we’re definitely in a season where we are starting things: ministries, friendships, new parenting stages, and jobs. My husband in his role as itinerant United Methodist pastor is always trying to light a fire and encourage new activity where there was none. About 2 years ago I ended my teaching career and began working for Faith in Place, an interfaith earth care non-profit in Illinois, where I get to talk to people of faith about why we should be leading the way in caring for our common land, air, and water. This past November I became a Jurisdictional Guide for the United Methodist Women Be Just Be Green initiative, which means I get to talk to women all over the midwest about the intersections of economic, gender, racial, and environmental justice and what women can do to help fan the flames of justice. It’s pretty amazing.
We might sing to our children, “this little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.” They in turn can be little matches to their siblings and classmates, bringing light to the whole place. My husband and I know that it only takes a spark to get a fire going, and so our job is to strike the match, then get out of the way as the fire of the Spirit takes the lead. 5 Matches feels more honest and reflective of the real us. And so we carry on.
I feel called to Multiply Goodness because it’s another way to stoke the fires of change and bring the message of earth care to a new audience. When we learn and listen together, we’re unstoppable.
What kinds of fires have you been lighting lately?