The Conlectio Newsletter
God Doesn't Need Your Platform (or Lack Thereof)
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Hi friend!
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of hosting our second annual EWAT writer's retreat with the ladies above. We had so many great talks that weekend, but we kept coming back to the same topic: platform, ministry, and how to steward them.
As a blogger, I’m often asked how to build a platform; how to increase readership; how to “get seen”. Other bloggers make a living teaching these things to new writers. But as a believer, I don’t answer these questions. Quite honestly, I can’t.
From the very beginning of my blogging “career”, I committed to never pursue numbers. As hobby became part time job and now a supplemental income for our family, I have been constantly tempted by the appeal of the numbers game. While I certainly educate myself about marketing, social media trends, and blogging issues, I continue to prayerfully remain faithful to what I knew was necessary at the beginning: To write truth and write it well, whether or not anyone reads it.
This doesn’t make sense for a writer. Should I not be pursuing a platform? Should I not be working to get my message heard? If one thing has remained abundantly clear in my walk with the Lord, it is the answer to these questions. And the answer is no.
God does not need my platform, period.
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I firmly believe, given what we see of God’s work with mankind in Scripture, that platform is not earned but given. As we are faithful to follow the Lord and to preach the message He has given us to share, He gradually increases our visibility. Or doesn't. He does this according to our spiritual maturity; what we can handle in that season of life. 
He also permits us to grow when we aren't ready to teach us just how hollow a platform is when it is devoid of intimacy and built on striving.
Three years ago, I could not have managed the following my blog currently maintains. It’s not that I wasn’t technologically astute enough; I was not spiritually mature enough. Pride would have destroyed any positive outcome my writing accomplished, and sometimes, that’s exactly what it did. Each time a post of mine went viral, it was followed by long seasons of quiet; times where I had to assess whether I was writing for numbers, for readers, for applause – or for Jesus.
God grants a platform to those who faithfully follow Him into the quietness. Sometimes all we hear is the echo of our own voice. But as it reverberates in our minds and hearts, we learn what should be said better, how we can improve, and what He really wants us to say.
A Bible teacher once said our priority should be “closet before rooftop”. Before we find a rooftop to declare God’s glory to the masses, we should be spending a lot more time in the closet. The closet is the quiet place, the secret spot, the place no one can see you or your relationship with God. It’s where you hash out what you believe and ask the hard questions. It’s where you meet God in the midst of your own struggles and pain and baggage and instead of advertising it in an Instagram caption, you actually take time to process it with Him.
We live in an age where a quiet time isn’t complete unless there’s a photo of it (read more here). Like the Pharisees who prayed on street corners, we pray and read and seek God on social media, where everyone can see everything, all the time.
This dilutes our message. It limits our testimony.
My testimony of overcoming sexual sin was shared after years of processing with the Lord. I shudder to think what would have happened had I exposed this struggle before I had truly dealt with it. I could have been sucked in by the appeal of “authenticity” and “vulnerability”, terms we use liberally online. But true authenticity and vulnerability happen best in real life relationships, including our relationship with the Lord.
We need the closet before we are ready for the rooftop, and too many young writers get these two reversed.
I have three commitments as a writer:
  1. To never pursue numbers, but to pursue the Lord’s guidance.
  2. To not seek to personally profit off of God’s truth, but to proclaim it willingly and freely.
  3. To drive my readers to God and to His Word, not to myself.
I hope and pray those things are accomplished in my work. But these things cannot happen if my goal as a writer is to raise myself up; to build my platform so “God” can be heard.
If God wants to be heard, He will be heard.
He does not need me to build Him a platform. He is the ultimate platform-builder. I often think of Peter, who was not well-spoken and was often impulsive. His sermon at Pentecost brought 3,000 people to Christ in one day. But Jesus didn’t tell Him to go to Jerusalem and find a rooftop; He didn’t tell Peter to work for a platform. He told Peter and the other disciples to wait. Wait for the Spirit. Wait for Him to descend in power, to give you what to say in the exact language it needs to be heard.
And after they obeyed Him, He gave them a platform.
God doesn’t need my platform. And honestly? I don’t think He needs yours either. But there’s something He wants.
Your willingness to obey Him, even in the echo.

Register for Verity Conference!
We are so close to Verity Conference Nov. 4-5 and we want to be sure everyone who plans to come gets a ticket!! I am so stoked to see you all this fall, worship together, and learn how to be a better witness for Christ in our communities. More on this below!
In the Know
  • This week's social media schedule:
    • Monday: Ask Anything on FB/IG
    • Tuesday: The Conlectio + discerning theology in worship
    • Wednesday: Verity Episode: Discerning Halloween
    • Thursday: Day in the Life
    • Friday: Book and product recs (IG)
  • For homeschool content, my new account is @willowsbendhomeschool
    • Monday: Homeschool Co-op/Weekly Update
    • Tuesday: Q/A
    • Wednesday: Farm and Nontoxic tutorials
    • Thursday: Off
    • Friday: Product and Book Recs
Some Really Great Books
  • Gluing the Cracks: This NEW book by Katie Blackburn is about motherhood, disability, and hope. I am always looking for books to recommend to my mamas of special needs kiddos, and this one will not disappoint! I know Katie in person and her sincere, loving heart will be evidenced on every page. 
  • Like Me: A Story About Disability and Discovering God's Image in Every Person: While we are on the topic - this is a children's book by Laura Wifler now available for preorder! The illustrations are beautiful and I can't wait to treasure these words with my own kiddos. Laura also has her book Any Time Any Place Any Prayer available as a board book for babies - only $5!
  • Crown Him King: A Study of the Kingdom of God: This study by Gretchen Saffles (of Well Watered Women) takes you through a study of the kingdom of God in Scripture! I use the WWW journal and love it.
  • Praying the Scripture for Your Children Journal: You all know I LOVE Jodie's book by the same name - I have used it three times through praying for my kids and am starting it again shortly. She just released a journal that I can't wait to try out!
  • Giving Your Words: The Life-giving Power of a Verbal Home: This new work by Sally Clarkson looks amazing and I can't wait to read it. Anything by Sally blesses me, and this is no exception!
  • Holy Hygge by Jamie Erickson: I loved Jamie's book Homeschool Bravely and I am diving into her new one in October! It combines both my passions: a theological home and a hospitable one. 
What I'm Loving
  • Garden of the Gods: I had the honor of interviewing at Focus on the Family last weekend (for my co-authored book The Flirtation Experiment) and was super bummed when my flights changed and I had to stay an extra day. Then I realized my friend Tabitha lives in Colorado Springs… and she spent the whole afternoon introducing me to the AMAZING Garden of the Gods! I am stunned at the beauty of Colorado. I can't wait to go back!
  • My Fave Bone Broth Hot Chocolate: I mentioned this a few months ago, but it is my FAVORITE for evenings. I add collagen as well, but here is a base recipe!
  • The Theologian Tee, Sized Up: This tee is being retired from our shop after it sells out. I'm currently wearing it a size up so it's nice and baggy. I love it with leggings and my LL Bean slippers!
  • This Gold Metal Claw Clip: Our nearest Target is 1.5 hours away so you can bet your bubbles I maximized on my airport visit to stop in here and grab a few things! One such thing is this adorable hair clip now that my hair has grown out to a bob.
  • Farmgirl Flowers: Two things I love about this: FF makes it easy to GIVE, and it's great to receive! I actually had a freak-out moment today when a box of flowers arrived from my retreat girls and I thought I had accidentally shipped a bouquet to myself (I had just sent some flowers via FF!). I love to use their “free ship shop” option!
  • Lindywell Pilates: Popping this in here again because some of you were asking for my discount link! This is my go-to Pilates program and we are starting a 14-day challenge October 3rd!
  • Meeting Ann Voskamp in person: This dear woman has blessed my life greatly through her writing, her desire to love her family well, and the similarities between us - living far in the north, in little towns, surrounded by country as we homeschool kiddos. She's years ahead of me, and I have learned so much. I was so blessed to meet her in person when she came to town to speak at our C.S. Lewis festival! PS Her book Waymaker is beautiful!
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On the Farm
  • Here's a picture of our “NEW” kitchen! My mom and dad were SO much help in transforming our cabinets to this gorgeous black! I love how it grounds the space and removes the excess wood tone. I feel like I wake up in a dream house every day!
  • Perpetua had her vet check up: A few weeks ago she had a massive abscess and none of our local vet clinics could get her in. Josh and I dealt with it the best we could and last week, we finally had her checked out when
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In Our Homeschool
  • We are in week four of Cycle 2 and having a blast studying the Middle Ages. We have been doing a lot of read alouds on science and history. This week, we are building a castle from Lego and cardboard, taking a nature walk to learn about the food chain, and finishing our chapter books The Sword in the Tree and Magic School Bus Food Chains.
  • Little Entrepreneurs: It was 4 pm on a Tuesday when I came inside and found Adeline “making lemonade”. “Please, please mom can we sell it by the road?” I wanted to say no. Our road is so busy, it's hard to stop and turn around, and I just wasn't sure about two little girls by the road even if I was right there in the driveway… but I let them lead this time. They dragged their wood craft table and chairs outside, made a sign, brought out the lemonade and 9 cups, and in less than two hours had sold $15 worth of lemonade! The math doesn't add up… as they charged 10 cents a cup ;) We have some kind neighbors! 
  • Our Medieval Themed Movie Nights: The girls have really enjoyed our read alouds of Medieval Fairy Tales, Saint George and the Dragon, Caedmon's Song, and Margeurite Makes a Book. As we read, we look at pictures and define terms. After reading Robin Hood, we watched the animated Disney Robin Hood as a family (anyone else have a crush on that fox as a kid?? Just me??). Josh and I also borrowed Kevin Costner's Robin Hood: Men in Tights and Camelot for our own movie nights - the girls will get a few glimpses of Camelot and we'll also add The Court Jester with Danny Kaye (one of my faves!).
    • Phy Trivia You'll Never Need: When I was 15, I used my dad's jigsaw to cut a three foot shield out of plywood, painted it black with a red lion and something in Latin, and got Dad to help me hang it, by chains, from a 10 foot L-shaped pole in the back field. I then proceeded to “joust" my shield from horseback and quickly learned that if a shield swings OUT when you joust it, it promptly swings back and knocks you off your horse. Middle Ages, 1. Phy, 0.
for the awakening, 

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