Today starts a new segment on Maple Alps: Intentionality Spotlight! Similar to Women of Intention, different bloggers will be featured in an interview style. Unlike Women of Intention, the focus will be more on their blogs themselves, as well as an area of intentionality in their life.
I am excited to kick off this series with Hanha of Transparency Blog. It has been a blast getting to know her enthusiastic self (and doing an interview with her over at her blog here too!) and I am excited to introduce her to all of you. Stay until the end to find out how you can follow her amazing blog as well!
First some easy stuff: Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your work, passions, and interests?
Hi, my name is Hanha and I am the writer behind Transparency Blog! To fit everything in one nutshell, I am basically super passionate about encouraging others and sharing the love of Christ - like I met Jesus and now there’s no turning back like the old hymn says haha. I graduated from the University of National Champions—Go Heels!— and I’m currently pursuing plans to become a physician in the near future, either in family medicine or pediatrics.
A few fun facts? I’m addicted to Grey’s Anatomy. I have a special place in my heart for tacos, and podcasts are my present obsession. In my spare time, I daydream about places I can travel and I love connecting with friends on Instagram. Come say hi!
You write a beautiful blog on faith. How did you come to begin Transparency Blog, and what is your goal for it as a blog? Did you always intend this to be your blog’s focus?
Thank you so much! Beginning Transparency Blog was a process. A PROCESS! I started writing when I got to college in 2012, and when I say writing, I signed into my google account and used it as an expressive means to write prayers and talk to God. I would literally throw on some worship music and just write, or should I say complain? Haha (Freshman year was rough, okay?!)
But it wasn’t until I saw a friend share a post from her own blog that I thought about the idea. So then there was the whole battle with whether or not to make my blog public. I fought insecurities like, “What if no one reads it? What if my friends judge me? And how will mine be different since everyone and their mom is blogging nowadays?” You can read more about that here, but somehow I did it, and it took about 2 years to take that leap of faith.
A year of on-and-off posting, and then pride set in. I started to research all the ways that I could make my blog famous, and lost sight of the sole purpose of my why, which was to talk about how great Jesus is. So I stopped - out of nowhere and for awhile. I basically gave up, and decided to just leave it alone.
That was in 2015, but something changed this year. I made it one of my personal goals to get back into blogging, and this time I wanted to be more consistent and have the right intentions. I battled with another round of insecurities, but it only took about 3-4 months because God and some friends basically encouraged me by saying it didn’t matter if my blog grew or not, or if people read it. What mattered is that I was being obedient to what God was telling me to do, which was to write what he placed on my heart.
I originally wanted to focus my time on Instagram - posting consistently and engaging with other people, but 3 weeks in, I felt led to write more. Some captions were just entirely too long to be captioned, and it was difficult to place all the links I wanted to share. So here I am! It’s June 2017, and I finally feel like I’m exactly where God wants me to be. And I also feel like I’m walking boldly in my calling as well.
Transparency Blog has always been about writing about my faith because it’s purpose is to give Jesus all the glory that He righteously deserves. It’s why I chose the name Transparency because I want to be transparent about my life in order to encourage other believers to pursue Christ with their whole heart.
My primary goal is to honestly be obedient to whatever God has for me. But secondary to that, it is my prayer to inspire other Christians by reminding them that they are deeply loved, that they are important, and that someone cares about them. I want them to know that they aren’t alone on this journey, and that there is a community for them if they ever find themselves needing one.
I love how you write so passionately and intentionally about your faith and the lessons you learn from what you read in the Bible and your life. How do you decide on what topics to share about?
Believe it or not, I honestly do not know. HA! Plot twist. Sometimes, I write what God has placed on my heart and other times I share stories and try to figure out how I can connect them back to faith. And I love sharing stories about the lives of other people. I think that we can all learn from each other, because we each have something unique to offer! Even at church, testimonies are some of the most powerful examples of God’s grace and faithfulness.
Seriously, anything that talks about the power of God and how amazing He is, is fair game. And what’s even better is that God is alive! The lessons keep coming, and the more we seek Him, the more He will transform the renewing of our minds so that we can become more like Him. So being led by the Holy Spirit is the best way I decide on what to write about. But then again, because I’ve just recently started to get back into blogging, I’m beginning to find my niche and figure out what topics my readers want to read more about.
What is one specific area in your life you find that intentionality is critical? How do you exercise mindfulness in it?
PRAYER! Prayer is absolutely huge for me, and I would say worship is too. I truly believe that we are called to have a heart of worship, and I think the best way to worship is through prayer. I think that it is through prayer that God speaks to us, connects with us, and shows us just how much He cares for us.
For me, I make an effort to spend time with the Lord in prayer at least every 2 days. I’m constantly talking with God throughout the day, but I’m talking about truly taking 15-20 minutes to sit, meditate, and worship Him. That has honestly been life-changing for me. I’ve cried my hardest tears sitting at the feet of Jesus, and they are the same moments where I have found restoration and redemption through Him.
We get to witness how sufficient His grace is through prayer, and it reminds me of my favorite quote, “Once a man was asked, ‘What did you gain by regularly praying to God?’ The man replied, ‘Nothing… but let me tell you what I lost: anger, ego, greed, depression, insecurity, and fear of death.’ Sometimes, the answer to our prayers is not gaining but losing, which ultimately is the gain.”
If you could give one piece of advice about prayer to someone who struggles with it, what would you tell them?
Get yourself a prayer journal. That has also been completely life-changing for me. In my prayer journal, I write down everything, and I mean EVERYTHING! From sermon notes, to my personal prayer requests, other people’s prayer requests, my dreams, and the visions God has given me for my life.
The best and most humbling part is that God has answered every single one of the prayers that I have wrote down. Even with the specific job that I was looking for, God answered it and I sit in awe of His power. I will note that most of my prayers have dealt with the posture of my heart, but I do believe that God is extremely faithful in all things.
So if you’re struggling with spending time with God everyday and being intentional with your prayer life, then I think a prayer journal is a great incentive to start. It may be difficult at first, but as you look back on the things you’ve wrote, you get to see God’s faithfulness and provision. You also get to see how much you grow over time, even in areas that you forgot you even prayed about.
Everyone always talks about creating a vision board at the beginning of the year, but those visions and dreams do not have to stop after January 1st. Habakkuk 2:2 says, ‘Then the LORD replied: "Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.” He says that His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23), so why not write what God shares with you each and every day and be a witness to His power?
When you have something to write down, it holds you more accountable to your habit. For me, it’s definitely a little awkward when I notice I’ve missed a few days. And honestly, that feeling of witnessing God provide over and over again becomes addictive. The more He answered my prayers, the more I wanted to write everything down. So I challenge you to activate your faith because God really can do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us!