All posts by Abby Smith

About Abby Smith

Abby is a person. She works at being an emotionally intelligent person whose main focus currently is being a happy and loving mother to four kids and wife to Malcolm. Born and raised in a General church minister's family, she has been exposed to the Bible and the Writings since childhood but is enjoying reading and understanding these books as an adult more and more. The amazing knowledge about love and wisdom and all of the emotions that follow have truly made her a happier and more self-assured person. Her husband serves as the head pastor of New Church Westville near Durban, South Africa. While leaving family behind is a challenge, she quite enjoys living in Africa.

Owning My Identity

When I sat down to write this article after weeks of thinking and making notes to myself I couldn’t compress my ideas into one article. I wrote one draft explaining the sort of identity crisis I have experienced in the last few months and resulting conflict and existential questions I have about where I fit into the world. Then I wrote another draft from a more doctrinal, intellectual perspective using teachings from the Writings about the intentional infinite variety that the Lord created resulting in the unending distinction of individual identities. I wrote another about the contentment and security in my own identity that has grown and developed in my years of being a stay-at-home mom and the peace that has come in that process.

Each draft held significant portions of my thoughts, each shared some of the profound realizations I have had in the weeks of thinking about this article. But I couldn’t get any one version to hold them all.

In talking through my article yesterday with some friends something was pointed out to me – part of my dissatisfaction was that all of these versions of reflections on identity are true and existing inside of me, even as they are in conflict and harmony with each other. Each version of my article felt true on its own, but still somehow lacked the punch I wanted. I think that was because, on their own, each one was too simple to hold the complete complexity of my reflections. Here’s my attempt to bring together those three drafts.

Over the last few months I have run into a boundary of what is required of my children (and therefore our whole family) by the school that they go to. I didn’t anticipate it, and it has thrown my sense of self into a spiral. It has brought on what I’ve decided to hold as something of an identity crisis for myself and my family. Questions about my goals in parenting and decisions for my children have all come crashing in on me. In particular, the purpose of education and extra activities both for my children and even myself, and how those things are developing and changing as my older children grow out of the small children phase.  My brain exploded. Now it feels like a flood of new and tense conversations need to happen between my husband and I. I need to seek out perspective from other people whose choices in these areas I respect. Now. Because the reality of my brain and anxiety means that I’m aware of these questions and that they will affect every. single. daily. decision.
Continue reading Owning My Identity

A Life in the World

When I get anxious I withdraw. Or maybe it’s simpler to say that only when I’m not anxious do I fully participate. There’s something small to be anxious about almost all the time. Something to be processing, holding, understanding, or accomplishing, and a need to do it “right.”

This last year has been an anxious one for me, and so one of near constant withdrawal – even as the loneliness and isolation has become a part of the problem. I have gotten a lot of things “right” this year in terms of my priorities – my kids and my marriage are pretty solid. We are happy in our day to day interactions. But something’s been missing for me, and I’ve been reflecting recently that I think it comes from too much separation. I’ve been holding back so as not to be overwhelmed, but held back so much that I’ve let go of some of the things that make life full and joyful. Continue reading A Life in the World

Choose Your Own Adventure: Heaven or Hell

God leaves us in freedom to choose heaven or hell – even in every moment of daily life, and going on to eternity. We are spiritual beings, and as such have connection to heaven and hell while living on earth. We are able to choose which direction we turn for our influence, as the quotes below describe.

“Each of us is a spirit. That is the source of our thinking and intending. This means that the spiritual world is right where we are, not distanced from us in the least. In short, as far as the deeper levels of our minds are concerned we are all in that world, surrounded by angels and spirits there.”
Divine Love and Wisdom 92

Continue reading Choose Your Own Adventure: Heaven or Hell

Finding My Way of Sharing the New Church

I’m no evangelist. I tend to be quiet and introverted, and am usually too busy following my kids around to have much of a deep conversation – especially with people I don’t already know well. But that’s also why chasing my kids around suits me well. 🙂

Don’t get me wrong – I have plenty of big opinions when you get me one-on-one. And I can be plenty stubborn and pushy about what is right, and why I am the one who is right. And I care about and think about things deeply. But, because of my personality, that just doesn’t come out in my usual conversations.


Being raised in a ministers’ family (with a very outgoing, ready-to-talk-and-get-into-deep-things-quickly kind of mom) and now married to a minister, I have often struggled with feeling like I was the lame part of the pair in terms of sharing the Word. It’s not that I don’t think I’m doing good work: being a stay-at-home mom and fully immersed in the life of my kids is exactly what I want to do, and I feel useful doing it. But, if so many of my family member have poured their lives into sharing and spreading the Word, where is my role in that? It’s a question I’ve thought about frequently. Since I’m not comfortable pushing into other people’s business and (even if I wanted it) I don’t have a venue for public speaking like my husband (or a conversation that lasts more than 5 minutes for that matter) I don’t really share my experiences, thoughts, or feelings about the Lord and the Word. Continue reading Finding My Way of Sharing the New Church