Growing Up and Growing Out

I started Accidental Devotional 5 years ago. I was going back to work after our second baby in two months. My husband was less than a semester into graduate school and the people I trusted most were beginning to suggest that writing was something I did, but perhaps a writer was something I was. I found the name in a comment from a dear friend, Abby reading your blog often turns into an Accidental Devotional. I loved it. It was perfect.

And it was. I spent 2012 blogging five days a week and following people I admired on Twitter. A few of those people have become my dear friends, and while I am not totally proud of every single post I wrote that year, writing is like running. You only get better if you do it. Like all of life, you have to show up. And I did. I did show up over and over again.

Slowly I began to show up other places. On a place called Mercy Mondays. To the FaithFeminisms conversation. As a guest poster on a blog no longer in existence about why I stopped talking about my inner city teaching experience. I showed up to online writing groups and a few conferences. I just kept showing up. Sometimes people ask me about how to go about blogging, and really this is the only piece of advice I have. Show up. Keep writing. Keep tweeting. Keep posting.

Slowly I found that I was writing about more than the ways God showed up in the middle of my messy life. I started talking about race, feminism, parenting. I started talking about the questions I was having about my faith, my profession, my privilege. Every single time I thought I was bumping over the boundaries of what my readers wanted from me, I discovered there was more than enough room. Over and over I thought, this is it. I have gone too far. I have said too much. Over and over again my readers said me too, we love you, we are with you. I cannot believe the community I have found, here on the internet. It has been such a gift.

There is a lot of new happening in my life. Next week all my colleagues will go back to school. I will not. My husband will (in two weeks God willing) go from being a PhD candidate to a PhD. Period. My baby is going to pre-k. I am going to seminary. It is a lot, but everyone is more than ready. Everyone is sure that this is our next right step.

We got our back to school hair cuts last week, the girls and I. I took eight inches off my head before we even started talking about styling. New haircut lead to new head shots lead to new banners lead to new website. I still own and that is probably how you got here, but I am ready to show up as my whole self. I have moved on over to and all of my social media places are @abbynormansays I should have my email up by the end of the week.

Of all the changes happening in my life, this is the one I am most bittersweet about, changing my url. Maybe I am a millennial. I love Accidental Devotional. I love everything it brought me. I love everyone it brought me, but it just doesn’t quite fit anymore. It is like growing out of a favorite dress as a child, or realizing that the couch you love dearly is about to collapse under the weight of your dog. These things have served you well, but it is time to move on.

I am excited and ready to move on, but I want to pause here and say thank you. Thanks for finding God with me at Accidental Devotional. Thanks for giving me the space to grow into myself. I am sure I would not have made the decision to go to seminary without this space. Thank you for giving me the space to grow and cheering me on in that growth.

Here’s to just being Abby Norman. All of her. All the time.

12 thoughts on “Growing Up and Growing Out

  1. Good luck on the next chapter in your life. I have laughed and cried with you. Continue to move mountains. 😂

  2. Thanks for showing up! Thanks for writing. Your bravery is inspirational. I’m a Texas pastor’s wife working on a Masters at a time when I thought I would just be in the middle of raising 6 children. I always appreciate what you have to say.

  3. It has been a pleasure to have read your posts over the years. My daughters are both teachers so a lot of what you wrote about was close to my heart. Thank you. I have appreciated being challenged to think and consider things you write about. I have also enjoyed commenting and reading other readers thoughts as well. I think we all benefited from your blog.
    Best wishes on your Journey!!

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