by Laura Robinson
Sophia is the Greek word for Wisdom, and Propel Sophia seeks out the voices of truly wise women and asks them to share worked examples of how they express faith in daily life. Pull up a chair at Sophia’s table, won’t you? There’s plenty of space.
One Thursday afternoon, I shared a photo of my husband sitting at his desk, with plants and a curated bookshelf perfectly placed in the margins of the frame. It was a nice photo, and the caption even nicer, “For a husband who prays hard & often, for sunshine on our front porch, for friends who bring truth AND hope, for houseplants & a home office, and for the chance to try again tomorrow. #getaftergrateful”
Sounds idyllic, right? Here’s what was actually happening that same Thursday:
• Orange County, California had just entered mandatory stay-at-home orders
• My husband & I lived in a tiny one-bedroom apartment, both working from home and attempting to share the single desk in the photo
• I was struggling to find any kind of purpose or direction in my career
• I was homesick as ever, worried sick about the effects of Covid on my family thousands of miles away
• We were just learning that my health had taken another nosedive, setting us back even further on the journey of getting pregnant and starting a family of our own (while our friends seemed to be getting pregnant left and right)
Yeah, not quite so idyllic. But my post was not inauthentic. I was genuinely choosing to be grateful. I was grateful that my husband was praying so fervently for our nation and those affected by Covid-19. I was grateful that we had a front porch to sit on when we could not otherwise leave our house. I was grateful that spring was starting to show her face. I was grateful that I had good friends and FaceTime. And I was even grateful for our tiny breakfast-room-turned-home-office. These things weren’t fake or contrived - I just had to choose to see them. I had to choose to lift up my eyes and turn my head and see all of the beautiful gifts that were just waiting for me to notice them.
Somewhere along the way, I looked up and realized that my instagram feed had evolved from a place to share fun travel pics or selfies with my husband, to a reel of moments that left me feeling renewed hope and joy.
It probably started with #getaftergrateful - a hashtag my friend Rach Kincaid started in 2015 to help us get loud and intentional with sharing our gratitude. She’s been leading me towards deeper gratitude in real-life and online for years now, and I am indeed so grateful.
During one of the hardest years of my life and marriage, I started reminding myself of answered prayers, captioning photos we prayed for this. It was a way to find joy in my circumstances, to remind myself of God’s faithfulness and all of the ways He’d brought me through.
And when I felt like joy was “out there” but never “right here,” I would write abundance lives here, right under my feet. It helped me remember that the abundant life promised in John 10:10 doesn’t wait for me in a new season or a new job or different home - it is here, under my feet, right where I’m at.
These phrases, while just instagram captions, have been so much more than that. They have been sign posts for me to find joy in my every day, even when nothing feels particularly joyful.
These posts have also been small but mighty reminders of the truth found in God’s Word. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to be thankful in all circumstances. Psalm 116:2 tells us that God bends His ear to listen to us when we pray and when we worship. And, my personal favorite, Psalm 27:14 reminds us that we can take heart and carry on, because we will walk before the Lord in the Land of the Living.
I’m the first to admit that social media comes with plenty of issues, but I am thankful for what these posts have done for me over the last few years. They have been a reason to share of God’s goodness. They have been an encouragement when things felt dark. They have been a reminder that yes, God does answer prayers. And mostly, they have been a way to grab onto joy when joy has felt fleeting and scarce. These posts aren’t just for the #aesthetic or to pretty up the feed. They’re a testimony. The choice to be grateful, to look for the joy, to find abundance right here under my feet is a discipline. It’s worship.
Laura Robinson is a project manager, MDiv student, and enneagram enthusiast. She enjoys serving alongside her husband as he pastors at Saddleback Church, learning about the local church’s role in social justice, and tending to her houseplants. Laura is a Charlotte, NC native living in Southern California, and she can be found on Instagram @lauraallycerobinson.