Jennifer Kostick– Jennifer Kostick is an author and speaker who teaches women how to activate their life’s purpose through the study of Scripture. Jennifer knows more about grief and loss than she ever thought she would, but Jesus met her in the middle of fierce storms and held her tightly with an even fiercer love. In addition to her love of teaching the powerful truth of Scripture, Jennifer is married to Paul, her husband of twenty-five years, has three children, and a beautiful daughter-in-law! She is also a full-time seminary student… because you can never know too much about the Bible! Jennifer blogs at www.Jenniferkostick.com and is passionate about encouraging women through a godly message of mercy and hope.
For days I’ve debated as to whether I should write this post, but sometimes a subject matter weighs so heavy that one cannot escape the burden. So here’s what’s on my mind:
I’ve been writing my blog since September 19, 2012. That means in six short months I can say I’ve been chasing this dream for five years. This dream… how do I define what this dream even is? There’s a lengthy list of women I’ve become acquainted with that have dreamed of becoming a writer and speaker for as long as they can remember. But that was never my dream. As 1950’s offensive as this may seem to some, my dream was to become a wife, mother, and create a happy household. It’s the scars I still wear from that dream which brought me to this one.
I need to be honest and let you know that I haven’t always been happy with God for leading me to the place I’m standing in now. The place where He whispers, “write” and I shout, “I’m going to sound stupid. I’m not smart, I’m no theologian, and I’m not good enough.” And I’m not one for taking any biblical thought out of context, so let me tell you that in a world where everyone is screaming, “You’re enough,” I’m usually adding two words to the end of that statement: with Jesus. Let’s just be honest, you’ll always be enough with Jesus and you’ll never be enough without Him. I can’t sugar coat that phrase, so I won’t even try. Fulfillment comes from learning who we are in Christ.
This dream started when I was asked to speak in a child development class at a local community college. It was a favor for someone. She would receive extra credit, and little did I know, I would receive a calling. Other than in classrooms full of elementary students, I never spoke anywhere before. But that day in front of real, live adults I shared my pain and eternal hope. After that, I sat down and wrote my testimony about miscarriage, stillbirth, and infertility in manuscript form. Before this, I had never written anything other than parent letters. In the meantime, while trying to figure out what to do with my little book, I began writing my blog.
I had no idea what blogging really was. I had never even read a blog before I started writing one. I learned quickly about link-ups, online twitter parties, and making internet friends. I was naïve, because I had no idea all of this led to an ugly word: platform. Everyone was after their platform – working hard to build an audience. And, for a fraction of a second, I was caught up, too. And then I realized that when you try to fit into a mold, you lose your unique calling. I stopped working to build an audience and focused on my audience of One. Don’t pat me on the back for this, I told you I’m not very happy with the dream God placed in my heart. Some days I don’t want to do this. In fact, most days I don’t want to do this. Rejection hurts.
You see, even though I’ve chosen not to work overtime building a platform, rejection is still part of the place I’m living now. God gave me words to say and with all my heart I know He wants me to say them. However, I also know I’m not meant to follow a step-by-step cookie cutter blueprint. He didn’t make me that way.
I had one of the top literary agencies in the country give beautiful accolades about my writing. I even scored a phone meeting after they read my manuscript. I thought this had to be great news. I was wrong. They said they would not be able to sell my book to a publisher because of the small subscriber count on my blog, the tiny number of Facebook fans I have, and the fact that I’ve almost zero twitter presence. They couldn’t risk signing me even though they believed in my words. Instead, they wanted to encourage me to keep writing in hopes I could contact them in the near future with much higher numbers. Well, I don’t know what to do about increasing my numbers, because I hate looking at people as if their nothing more than sums of subscribers lumped together for my gain. It’s gross.
I’ve experienced fellow bloggers with taglines speaking of how passionate they are about following Jesus, and then as soon as they build a small online rapport and think they have assurance that I will continue following them, they slyly unfollow me. (There are apps for these things, people. We can tell who unfollows us. That’s another thing I learned during my platform building phase.) I don’t think the people who are working hard to build platforms using the name of Jesus realize what an oxymoron it is to click the unfollow button so that they can give the illusion of popularity. The worst part about all of this is at the beginning of my journey, for a very short period of time, I did this myself. Yuck! But that’s not me, and I just couldn’t continue on that path. It’s a common method, though, regardless of how “famous” someone is. Do you know that I had someone who is very well known with tens of thousands of followers do this to me not two weeks ago?
When is enough, really enough? How can you tell people they are “enough” but then drop them to make your follower ratio seem plentiful? Seriously, when?
Here’s the thing: there are a million women just like me doing the exact same thing just as well or a whole lot better, and that’s okay with me. Most of us won’t be offered contracts with well-known agents or ever sign deals with huge publishing houses. That in no way means we aren’t kingdom builders working for the cause of Christ. Maybe you’re reading this and you aren’t a writer or speaker and can’t even believe I’m writing so off topic today compared to my regular devotionals. Sorry. However, this applies to you as well.
You, too, are a kingdom builder. In your own unique way you’ve been called to participate in the work of God. You are meant to do big things, bigger than you can imagine. But, here’s what you need to grasp: your definition of big might be very different from God’s. This life is about living for Christ and leading others to Him. We are to be kingdom building spouses, kingdom building parents, kingdom building friends and so on… When we sow into another life, it has eternal value. It’s not here today gone tomorrow. It’s forever.
Kingdom building is not about popularity, it’s about humility.
Listen, I would love to have the opportunity to speak to large groups and have my words become more widespread, but if that’s not what God is doing then He has something better, and I better shift my definition of what “big” is and catch His vision while tossing my own aside. And, maybe you do too. Maybe we all need to remember that changing our baby’s diapers, and reading bedtime stories have eternal value. Maybe we need to remember that kissing our husbands passionately builds our relationships and affords us love and support that enables us to build the kingdom with our best friend by our side. Maybe, just maybe, we need to remember that sharing our beauty from ashes story with only one person can mean a life pointed toward Christ that could possibly be the biggest thing we ever do. This is about eternity. It’s about people. It’s about living real life in our own communities while sharing our stories in unique ways.
If you have talked to one person today, had one person read your social media status, or have one subscriber on your blog, then YOU have had an opportunity to invest in the kingdom. It’s no small thing…
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
-2 Corinthians 5:20 (ESV)
You are meant to be a kingdom builder!