Monday, April 14, 2008

Still here with open comments... for now

Friends... your words are amazing! Imagine what it was like to click on CTB&Me this morning and see over FIFTY comments! Thank you is not enough.

I've been online for over ten years now. During that time I have been an administrator of a popular emergency preparedness site, part of a Christian women's forum (which has now been together for ten years), and taken part in a number of homeschooling lists and forums. It never ceases to amaze me how people think they can type out something in the privacy of their home (or coffee shop, etc.) and have it not hurt the person on the other end. I have seen people crushed by such words.

I've received a lot of snarky comments in the time I've been blogging (it will be two years in August). All of them I've been able to laugh off realizing people are different. If you see I've deleted a comment it is always for one of two reasons... it is SPAM and leading you to a website or Blogger had a hic up and posted two or more of the same post.

This one, however, cut to my soul and caused great distress. I couldn't get it out of my mind, even at church Sunday morning. I had to wonder if others thought the same thing. This was an attack on my character, my honesty, and my credibility. If the person had sent me an e-mail and politely asked me that question, I would not have had to reply in such a public manner.

We all have certain parts of our life that bring great pain, where words hurt more than other areas. You can attack my choice of church, my decorating, my style, my cooking, and even my decision to homeschool. I have very good friends who do not understand my Christian commitment or my conservative politics but they are not subjects that can bring hurt (we agree to disagree).

However, Job's friends are never welcome. My family and I have had many people offer judgement about why we have suffered and sometimes... people just suffer. God allows situations in our life. Even when suffering is a result of our own decisions, judging is not the way to change situations. Everyone has areas in their life where emotions are raw and harsh words are like pouring salt in the proverbial wound.

I cannot watch movies about children who die or go missing because my first child died as a preemie. I cry when I see pictures of homeless children because I have been close to it. Words about "using the system" cause me to emotionally come apart for awhile because I have suffered greatly trying to get help from the system. There are areas in each life where a sign must be posted... "don't go there". Only the One who created us can walk that particular path with us... eventually bringing healing.

There is a blog I enjoy reading very much and I'd love to leave an inspiring comment. However, she does not allow comments anymore for the same reason I just went through. One person ruined it for everyone else by making a comment that destroyed a weekend for her... a weekend she had been looking forward to. I have also had favorite blogs end or at the least... had to go to a private blog... all because of people who seem to have no idea the hurt they bring to another person's life.

A blog, more than any other online space, is very personal. That man, woman, teenager... is opening up a part of their life... or all of it! Many bloggers, like authors of books, tend to be rather private people in real life. You are being invited into the most cozy and personal space to chat and exchange ideas... to know you are not alone... would the words you write in the comments be words you would say to the person, over tea or coffee, face to face?

I accept Cindy's apology but I hope she realizes (before making such comments elsewhere)... words have consequences. No longer is this blog a safe place for me to share with others how God has brought us through great trials... to show what amazing ways He helps us live beautifully with little money... and how we can be more prepared for those storms in life.

There will always be a memory of the pain just a few words, most likely typed out without thinking, brought this past weekend. Once words are spoken, they cannot be taken back... whether they be criticism or gossip.

However, life giving words, like those waiting for me this morning... bring life and renewed hope. May your words today be those which edify, lift up, and bring renewed strength to fellow sojourners who are trying their best to finish the race with grace.


cheri said...

Don't you wish everyone's comments would be guided by Psalm 19:14?
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer."

I love reading your words of hope and comfort amidst difficult circumstances. The world needs to hear more of what you have to offer!

Thank you for the inspiration that you have been to me in the short time I have been reading your blog.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Glad that you are still here with comments still on!

While we may be lulled into thinking that blogs are always cozy havens, that has never been the entire story. For me, it's a risk that I willingly take because the good comments far outweigh the bad. Far. Way far.

I love what Cheri shared about Psalm 19:14.

Hugs to you today, Brenda. Keep up the good work!

Bren said...

I pray the sting of those hurtful words will pass soon. It took me months to get past the hate filled e-mails I received last October. I still feel the sting when I see the e-mailers name in a comment box. I never made her public, but told her if she continued I would. She stopped.
I was so glad to see that Cindy had apologized and she did not try to defend herself in anyway. The "no excuse" comment shows she truly understands what she did...struck without thinking. May she feel the forgiveness you have freely given her, for I fear her hurt will be as deep, if not deeper, than yours if she does not feel forgiven.
Thanking God that you will continue to blog and recieve comments. You are loved and blessed by many out there. I am glad you can see that. (((hugs)))

Susan said...

Please, please, please, don't stop writing your heart-felt expressions of God's goodness or the "Cindys" in this world will win...don't let her rob you of your joy.

For his anger is but for a moment, his favor is for a lifetime; weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5


Lady-in-the-Making said...

I am so glad that you are still here with comments. I am sorry you were so hurt. I, too, have considered making my blog "comment-less" because of some of the comments I have received.

At one point, I put a note on my comments: "If you don't like my blog, leave!" It is so annoying and hurtful that people feel the need to visit a blog they don't agree with!

marye said...

FWIW I agree with Susan. Blogging IS a ministry and as such we have a responsibility to blog as unto the Lord with whole you have in the past. Don;t allow someone to cause you to close your heart to your ministry..I fear it will be you that suffers in the long run.
This weekend was rather a weekend of sniper attacks by the enemy of our souls, I believe. Hopefully you will have a few moments of R&R before rejoining the fray.

Anonymous said...

So very glad you are hanging in here.....would miss you something awful if you were to leave.


DebD said...

I'm glad you haven't turned off your comments and so sorry this happened.

I had something not dissimilar happen to me when I first started blogging. Its still a very, very painful memory for me and I have also learned to be guarded with what I share and say.

And I think you are so right about most of us bloggers being the more quiet-private types in real life.

dreamsbookstea said...

Thank you for all your lovely posts. I've been a silent reader for a while now, and I just want you to know that you have given me so much inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Dear Brenda,
I hope like marye said that you won't stop feeling like you cannot share - for that is a way your words can help and encourage many.

I, too, have gone through great difficulties, loss, health & financial challenges. There is a real need for your words and wisdom.

I understand you feeling sensitive about such words - I am sure I would too. I do hope and pray you won't give up because of the negativity of one. Have you thought about moderating comments as an option?

God bless...

Abounding Treasures said...

I am so glad that you are still here! May the sting lessen as time passes and it's wonderful that the Lord has led so many to let you know how important your blog ministry is to them :o)

Have you considered "comment moderation"? That's what I have used from the start to ensure that nothing gets through without my OK.

It was good to see that Cindy apologised and offered no excuses. After reading all the support comments, she is probably feeling badly and will be blessed by the forgiveness you have offered.

I found your blog just after Christmas and have always been encouraged, inspired or challenged when I have visited :o)


Quinne said...

Hi Brenda :) Sending you hugs and prayers and such love today. I am delighted to find you here - hope and joy intact :)

*Whispering* Courage, dear friend!

If the Father leads you to stay, be encouraged. It is the heart that you share so openly that we love. Love, Q

Beverly said...

I am sooooo sorry that you were hurt like this. I love reading your blog and find it so encouraging to hear about your thrift store finds. And I have never heard you complain about not having money but thanking God for the things you do find. Please know that I am praying for.

Anonymous said...

This is for Bren above-
Do you know you can block certain email addresses from your blog? Check in your...whatever you call it-the place on your blog where you set things up. You should never have to fear seeing certain people's comments on YOUR blog.
I hope this helps you.
joanna :)
p.s. Hi Brenda!

Anonymous said...

You have a lovely blog and a lovely heart; please don't stop sharing your heart with others. Hurtful accusations and judgements come to all who serve Christ at some point. He's gone before in being reviled and judged, he knows us and our hearts, and He is our Healer.
I love this quote from Elizabeth Elliot (writing about Amy Carmichael) -
"...dying to her own natural reticence, (she) held herself no longer for her own keeping, but only as something to be shared." I pray for that kind of heart myself, knowing that the reality is hard work and the pain that vulnerability sometimes brings.
Linda T.

Morning Glory said...

Brenda, I've been behind in my blog reading lately, and have come over to find all this turmoil on your very peaceful, beautiful blog. I simply don't understand the need some people have to leave hateful words behind on someone's blog.

I recently saw the same thing happen to a young woman who has chronicled her brain cancer surgery over this past year and someone left her a very nasty remark about being self-absorbed. It was astounding.

My only thinking on it is that these people who say such unkind things must be very unhappy themselves.

Bless you for your honesty and the beauty you bring to the blog world.