You are my reader. I value you as my reader in a way that is distinctly unique and I never want you to forget that. I talk about you wherever I go. I hold you in the highest regard. I feel like I can sit down on days like this and write you a letter you’ll actually read because we’ve been somewhere together. You and I, we’ve sat in heartbreak together. We’ve sought after God together. We’ve gone through transitions together. We’ve tried out tinder dates together and graduated from college together.
You have seen the real me. Not the “internet” version of me. I honestly don’t believe we should be enabled to have “internet versions” of ourselves. Be who you say you are. Be exactly as you are on the screen as you are off of it. The world does not need another double standard. We don’t need to add to that pile, friend.
I want to tell you a little story. It’s short. I will never forget the day I bought the domain name “HannahBrencher.com.” It was such a small gesture following a phone conversation with a woman named Lindsey Pollak. My blog was called “Hannah Katy” at the time and she told me I needed to change my blog name.
“Go online and get the domain,” she recommended. “Own your name.”
Before “Hannah Katy” was “As Simple as That.” I thought I would forever live under the banner of “As Simple as That” until I realized that life really isn’t that simple. People are hurt unnecessarily. Heartbreak happens and it doesn’t make sense. People leave us. They don’t leave notes. We give our hearts out in tiny gulps and we endure the choking that comes from a love that doesn’t reciprocate. This is life. It is not simple.
It never felt so freeing— in my then three years of blogging— than the chance to no longer have to hide behind a blog name or an identity I’d grown out of. Something miraculous happened on the day I started writing from HannahBrencher.com. You and I became closer. We started to evolve together. We grew trust. You started emailing me about your first dates and your last goodbyes. I pocketed your stories. We both grew thicker skin.
I realized in those formative years of writing that a blog space is just as a home as it is a church. People crave to be invited in. We are all just wandering around, sipping coffee, hoping someone will remember our names and walk us home when the street lights come on.
There is a reason why I love a man named Lane Sheats so much. We got engaged two weeks ago. He filled the yard of my best friend with twinkle lights and familiar faces as he got on one knee and asked me about forever. I love him for so many reasons but I love him an extra layer deeper because he remembers you. Yes, you. He remembers to remind me daily that I exist for people. I exist for this blog space. I exist to demonstrate love, no matter how hard or tiresome that gets on some days.
Today he emailed me these exact words, “Think about all the responses you receive from your readers, friends, loved ones, event attendees, etc.. Follow your Monday morning emails
advice. Dig in, do the work, and see the results afterwards. You could imagine you're writing your book to yourself, as if you asked yourself a question. I know you said yesterday it's easier when someone emails you a question and you can unpack it and delve straight in.”
So that’s why I am writing to you so personally today. I sat at my computer, beside a stale cup of coffee, and I asked myself the question, “What would you need to know today?”
The answer was obvious: I need to know that I belong somewhere.
You belong somewhere. You do, you do, you do. You belong in places that know your name and places that don't yet know you're coming for them.
I want you to know that you get prayed for daily. You are thought of daily. You are a priority in my life that people might not ever understand because the internet is scary to some people. All that separates you and I is a screen. And still, I've attended your weddings. I've visited your cities. I've played games at your bridal showers. I've attended your high school graduations. To me, the internet is where we fall in love, find God, pack suitcases and move to new cities. You are not a speck or a fleck in my story. You are pivotal. You are the game-changers that make my daily work worth it. I want you to know that even if you don’t know God, even if you question His nature, there is someone in this world who is thinking of you today. She is hoping you feel seen and loved by random people on the street, in the aisles of Target, and through your inbox. She is wanting you to know that you deserve goodness and hope. You deserve a love that is inexhaustible. You deserve rest for your tired bones and people for your journey.
I always, always want this corner of the internet to be a safe place for you. I want you to know that you are always welcomed in my corner. You are sought after here. We think about you in these parts of town.
tying you closer than most,