Today's #NHBPM prompt asks me to share advice for dealing with negative feedback in my community.
I've been blessed by surprisingly little negative feedback over the years, so I don't know that I have much advice to offer. The one gem I can pass on, isn't even original with me. It is basically, "This is my blog, so if you don't have anything nice to say and we can't resolve legitimate concerns, I still have the power of veto here if you choose just be be ugly or unreasonable in comments." This one piece of advice has been very freeing for me, to realize that freedom of speech does not prevent me from freedom of moderation over my own comments. Censorship is still not something I take lightly or use with abandon, but if a public confrontation cannot be resolved, I'm not tied to continuing to publicly leave derogatory, attacking, or offensive replies live on my own website.
Since I don't have much else useful to offer on the topic, I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce you to some healing communities, both "mine" and others.
For infertility and loss at any time from conception through early infancy, there is a message board forum I helped launch years ago. Hannah's Prayer has far outgrown me and I can claim little ownership or input any more, but it will always hold a very special place in my heart. It is so much more than a "fertility forum" and really is the first resource I turn to for parenting after infertility resources, or just about any information in life, and really is my first source of breaking world news, shared from an international perspective. This world-wide community of Christian sisterhood is amazing and usually new posts have replies within minutes, day or night. It is well-worth you time investment of a few hours or days to get your (simple) registration approved to gain access! I feel like I need a t-shirt that reads, "Everything I've learned in life I've learned from my HP sisters."
I know it isn't exclusively infertility related ,and I haven't used the resource nearly as much as I could, but I feel I should give an "honorable mention" shout out to HysterSisters here, for women contemplating or undergoing hysterectomy. Another honorable mention is SoulCysters for women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCO). Endometriosis Support should receive a shout out too. Be Not Afraid is the first place I direct parents when they face the negative prenatal diagnosis of a child. And if someone is threatening to miscarry or unsure about medical prognosis in early pregnancy, I direct them to Misdiagnosed Miscarriage for equal doses of hope and medical realism. My own book on infertility also has a blog at Hannah's Hope: Seeking God's Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage & Adoption Loss.
For chronic pain or illness (I have yet to find a great resource specific to ME/CFS. Anyone know of one?) my go to resource is Rest Ministries. I had no hand in the formation of this organization, but see founder, Lisa Copen, as a dear friend as we have been through the growing pains of starting young internet ministries together. The primary difference is that Lisa has maintained nearly sole leadership and day-to-day management of RM, while I have been blessed to pass daily operations of HP off to a fantastic Board of Directors. I honestly don't know how Lisa does what she does, all the while battling her own physical challenges as well as family management and creating amazing ministry resources, from blog posts, to videos, to forums, to social media participation. My own offerings to this community are two manuscripts in progress, Harvesting Hope from Heartache and Given Me a Thorn.
A stroke community I have recently found to be helpful is StrokeNet. I have only been attending there a couple of weeks, so far, so I can't tell you much about history or background yet, but so far I have really appreciated the stories and understanding found there. I am also sharing my unfolding stroke journey (and hope to eventually also write a book under the same title) at Stroke of Grace.
Today I am thankful for the internet and the ability to connect with thousands of folks facing similar struggles, people I would never meet off line! Does anyone have a copy of the poem about "my best friends live in my computer"? I would like to post that here!
First Published Book: Hannah's Hope : Seeking God's Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage, and Adoption Loss
Book-in-progress on drawing on the fruit of the Spirit in times of trial: Harvesting Hope from Heartache
Next book-in-progress: 6 strokes at age 39, Stroke of Grace
Future manuscript in the plans: Given Me a Thorn, the apostle Paul's story as applicable to living with chronic illness