I don’t know what those letters mean to most people. Maybe they’d think I’ve got movie house dyslexia? Or it’s some local television station? I don’t know. Whatever. It’s not a secret – the letters stand for Gentle Christian Mothers. They were an amazing resource for me when I first became a Christian.
Cuz I did life completely ass backwards. (Are you surprised?)
Had babies, became born again, got married – had another baby.
Had an amazing (what I thought was) spiritual experience – Lost the husband, Lost the kids, Lost the faith.
Okay maybe not completely lost faith, but I’m definitely in a questioning state of mind.
GCM is a forum. Few of them exist in quite the same way these days I think – so if you’re a young mom you may not even be aware that such things exist. Or maybe they do exist and I’m just not aware of them – because I’m not a young mom anymore. Forums – for me- were the stage between bulletin boards, email message lists, newsgroups and social media. (If the words before social media mean anything to you – God bless you…it means you’re either one of my online friends from those sources or you’re just kind of old-ish like me or you’re very strange kind of geek…I love you all!)
I am a blessed to be a member of a handful of unique and supportive online communities – only four of them pre-date GCM and of the two still open to new members – only one of those a free membership.
Membership at GCM is always free, but it’s not always open. You have to agree to the Statement of Beliefs before you join – it was – for the longest time – one of the few places I would admit that it was my goal to never spank.
(I didn’t succeed – as my ODTBX will sometimes very loudly point out if asked…so you can check with him if you want time and dates and circumstances – because I honestly did the best I could and while moments embarrass me and my depression really messed up a whole lot of could’ve beens – I’m mostly proud of who I was as a mom and I like my kids)
In any case – GCM is not just about the non-spanking – it’s about replacing the spanking with emotionally healthy, developmentally appropriate, child centered discipline. Concepts that were not mainstream in my peer group (mostly because I didn’t really have one once I got pregnant with my first) and certainly not ones that were common within the the one church I went to during the stage when it truly mattered in my life** which I left shortly after they distributed the horrid book by Micheal Pearl )
In addition, there was support for some of the topics that have sparked mommy wars since – well – forever? – maybe.
Birth knowledge focusing on optimizing the odds of natural childbirth
Breastfeeding beyond six weeks
Things that I shared with many mommy friends, except for the whole faith thing.
Outside of this particular forum I’ve met very few Christian professing mothers who have openly expressed that they don’t spank. Certainly none that I recall that lived in the same community at any time it would’ve come up. There were a few along the way who I expected might not…but I couldn’t be entirely sure. I didn’t ask.
Sometimes I wouldn’t be asking if they spanked. Sometimes I wouldn’t be asking if they were Christian. Outside of GCM the answers one could never assume an affirmative answer to both…
And so it was for many years. A safe place.
Until I stopped feeling safe.
And I started feeling more ignored, less valued – like it wouldn’t matter if I was there or not.
No one ever raised a “where is…has anyone heard from…” thread for me. And that’s a silly thing to want. If I’m living for me – why would I care if some stranger I never met (and likely never will meet) notices I’m not posting on a forum. Especially when forum participation ebbs and flows and changes as life circumstances do – and just because no one posts doesn’t mean they don’t notice.
But I got to thinking – that it wasn’t healthy to post something and keep hitting refresh and getting progressively disappointed as minutes and then hours (at times) went by with nothing more than a few responses, most of them emoticons – praying or crying or smiling or something appropriate to the post but less then the words, the advice, the atta-girls or the “hey you might want to considers…” –
There was no value in posting on a personal level – other than inviting self doubt and anxiety. “Why don’t they like me?” “How come so and so’s story gets more views, more responses…why is no one opening my threads…do my headlines suck…do people think I’m a loser…”
And it truly doesn’t matter if it’s true or that the truth is that people are busy and no one ever realized they’d hurt my feelings by not responding because I’m a big huge attention whore –
And so the personal side was only hurting anymore and the business/networking side was (and always had been) non-existent. Beyond maybe a logo or two back in the early days…the only sale I’ve made that wasn’t just giving away free hosting or services- ended up deciding not to even launch a business after only a fraction of the sessions they’d paid for and are still awaiting a refund…so I’ve really lost money from all business interactions there.
And all of these realizations that GCM might not be a healthy place emotionally (or financially- it’s not just the direct cost of donations but the hours of time wasted reading and writing- which isn’t wasted when it’s enhancing your life but just silly when it’s making you miserable) for me anymore.
And thus GCM became the first thing I gave up in my efforts to show up.
Because as someone famous or witty once said at one point in time – You have to be willing to let go of the things that are no longer serving you in order to make room for bigger things…perhaps something about letting go of resentments to welcome the blessings…there was something I’m too lazy to look up at the moment.
The point is…well I’m not sure there is a point. Except that I promised to explain why I left GCM and that’s pretty much it.
So does Giving Up on things come in threes? Like the old wive’s tale says bad luck and death come in? It sure seems like it so far –
Tomorrow Giving Up Smoking…or maybe the Giving Up The Day Job or maybe we’ll talk about the things I’m gaining – like clarity and confidence – maybe –
Start Improving Your Marketing Now
Subscribe to get 30% off your first order plus a free checklist to fine tune your local marketing reach plus an occasional email to help inspire you to marketing excellence in your small town small business.