I’ve been thinking about this space for a long time, wondering what to do with it now that everything has changed so much. This little corner of the internet was built around a life I no longer live; a career I no longer have, a marriage I’m no longer in, and a family that looks nothing like it did twelve or thirteen years ago when I started writing down words and letting strangers read them online. The Very Worst Missionary was created and grown as a “faith and lifestyle blog”, but it’s fair to say that the faith and lifestyle depicted in many of these pages doesn’t even come close to representing my faith or lifestyle today.
When I started writing, it was as youngish wife, a sort of a progressive Christian, an evangelical missionary, and the proud Mom of three rowdy boys. That’s who I was, and I know that’s what brought many of you here. But with the exception of a the latest posts about my divorce and the death of my son, many of the words that linger here feel like they were written by another woman in another life. I remember her and I love her, but I’m not her. Not anymore.
These days, I write as a middle-aged ex-wife who, over the years, has become more progressive and (arguably) less Christian, an ex-evangelical and ex-missionary, and the always proud, but ever grieving Mom of two amazing men and a dead forever-teenager.
Like, I don’t even know what to do with all of that information – so I certainly don’t expect you to have a relevant place for my story to fit into your life. It is totally understandable if this space just isn’t for you anymore, if I am not for you anymore. Maybe I’ve become too depressing or too liberal or maybe I’m not Jesus-y enough for you, and maybe this is where we part ways as a writer and a reader who used to have more in common.
If that’s the case, I want to thank you for being part of this magical community. Thank you for loving and encouraging me as The Very Worst Missionary. Even if we didn’t always agree, you changed my life by giving me a platform, sharing my work with your friends, and buying my dumb book. I will always be grateful to you for that. If it’s time for you to go, I say go with God. And try not to be an asshole.
But if you plan on sticking around to see what happens next in the absolute batshittery that is my life, you can expect some changes. I’m still figuring out what it all looks like, but what I can tell you for sure is that this is the end of The Very Worst Missionary.
That’s just not who I am anymore.
I haven’t been a missionary for so many years now that trying to explain this space to people is…well, it’s just kind of weird. I still have big thoughts and opinions about the relentless stupidity of the North American Evangelical Missions industrial complex (I said what I said), but I’m no longer immersed in that world. And I don’t want to be. I have no desire to weigh in on missions trash all the time, especially if it’s for the purpose of maintaining a brand.
There is no plan to shut down this blog, delete existing posts, or shutter my social media feeds. To be honest, I’m not the least bit ashamed or embarrassed by the path that brought me this far, the path that drew me out into the wild where I’ve found both more suffering and more love than I ever thought possible. A lot has changed, but the personal evolution I can see when I click through these old pages still makes me happy. I like the woman I’ve grown into, I like the Jesus I’ve come to know, and I like the God I found out here in the wilderness. The God who finds me, again and again, to remind me, “You are not alone.”
I want to write what I know, and what I know right now is divorce, disillusionment, and death. Lucky for me, all that shit is super common, so I doubt I’ll have trouble finding my people if the whole VWM crowd jumps ship. Of course I’m going to keep talking about pop-culture nonsense, and ethical shopping, my favorite recipes, and all kinds of crap. But I’m also going to dive into some stuff that is more difficult, more painful, and more personal than ever before. This feels right and good. It feels like what I’m supposed to be doing with my life moving forward.
In my book, I wrote that “in [their] desire to heal the world, God wastes nothing. Not even the very worst thing.” And I think I still believe that, so I have to write. I have to write down these hard won lessons and I have to give words to this impossible grief, because they happen – the very worst things. They really do happen, and they happen to us all. If writing about my very worst things could help you walk through yours, then I’ll be damned if I let it go to waste.
I loved being Jamie the Very Worst Missionary. But I also loved being a wife. And I loved being Jamison’s mom. Sometimes you get to choose the direction of your life path, and sometimes others choose for you. Today I’m choosing a new direction for myself, and for this community, and I’m actually kind of excited to see where we end up.
Here’s to new adventures!
All my love,
Jamie the Very Worst
(That’s it. That’s my whole name now.)