Smartphone 101


God redeemed my iPhone even though it didn't need saving


By Taryn Jost

I am technologically challenged, and I'm only 39 for Pete’s sake. I got email and a cell phone nine years ago. Think back to 2006 and you will realize that I was not only late to the game, but the game was over and a whole new one had started! But I didn't care. I had my flip-phone and email. What more did a girl need? And once I got my phone, I didn't really want to upgrade. I knew my phone, and my phone knew me. 

So it was a no surprise two years ago when I gave my upgrade to our oldest daughter so that she could get an iPhone and I could stay in my happy place. But over time, my happy place became less happy.  Randomly my phone would be unable to download text messages, and emojis read like hieroglyphics. Not being able to read my texts was unacceptable! It was time to upgrade.

Questions churned inside of me. Was I honestly going to dive into the world of smartphones? What would that say about me? It's as if these phones are taking over the world. Did I really want to be a part of that? Wasn't it nobler to live "simply" and keep my outdated phone with zero capabilities to help me figure out where I was when I got lost while driving?

As I processed why I was experiencing such turmoil, I realized that these questions were merely a cover up for what I was really feeling—fear. Fear that my brain just might explode while trying to figure out how to navigate this piece of technology. I dreaded the time and effort it would take to figure it all out and I feared how stupid and insecure it might make me feel. 

But I am here to say that getting an iPhone was a blessed experience. This crazy phone has provided numerous opportunities to connect with my two teenage daughters, and I don't mean via texts or calls. For the last 15 years I have been the "teacher" and the "expert" for my two teenage daughters. But now they are learning on their own, and they need me less. This new season feels very foreign. I need to find new ways to connect, but what does that look like?

Sometimes it looks like being the student instead of the teacher. And my new phone has allowed me to do just that. Being as severely challenged as I am in the area of technology and social media, I needed my girls more times than not when I first got my iPhone. My daughters were teaching me, and I was looking at them with wide eyes of confusion. They were the ones saying, "I've shown you this already, remember?" and I was the one saying, "Oh yeah, I forgot."

I can't tell you how much fun I had sitting on the couch with my oldest daughter as she and her friend walked me through what all the emojis mean. How do people know these things? Or how hard we laughed as we sent Snapchats across the living room. My daughters even gave me a lesson on taking a good selfie. Did you know that you are supposed to cut off part of your face sometimes? I had no idea!

I by no means feel equipped to walk my girls through their teenage years, but I don't have to. I serve a God who promises to help me in all things. And what a creative God he is. Who would've thought that he would use an iPhone to answer a few of my prayers!

Taryn Jost lives in Littleton , Colo., where she and her husband are planting The Micah Project, a USMB church plant. She speaks at women's events and retreats and blogs at Surrendered Momma ( This essay is adapted from a blog post.



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