I’ve been the Deputy Editor of Liberti Magazine for about four years. I’ve worked on 15 magazine editions, edited hundreds of articles, and written more blogs than I can be bothered to go back and count (although I reckon it’s about 150 and, yes, sometimes I do go back and read the ones that get lots of likes and shares to make myself feel good…)
I’ve interviewed women with incredibly inspiring stories, collaborated with a bunch of talented writers and even got to hang out on a boat drinking prosecco with our fabulous columnists (and that was only my second day on the job – win). Needless to say, being Liberti‘s Deputy Editor has been a privilege and an absolute blast but, as of tomorrow, I won’t be doing it anymore.
In a lot of ways, Liberti changed my life. I left uni with an English degree and no idea what I wanted to do next. I’d always loved writing but struggled finding my style, my voice – and the patience to sit down and actually, you know, write something. I didn’t know what kind of job I wanted, or who I wanted to be when I grew up. Why wasn’t there something out there that was creative but structured, fun but meaningful, that made a difference to people but not in a lame, over-earnest way? I drifted between unemployment and boring jobs, fun jobs, writing jobs, but never the job for me, until eventually I landed in publishing and thought, “OK, here are some nice people and I like making books happen – that’ll do”.
And then I met Bekah Legg.
Bekah turned up at my church and I, like a lot of people who meet Bekah, instantly formed a bit of a girl crush. Bekah was (and is) a force of nature; she has five kids and about a billion jobs and side projects. She’s lived in Africa. She’s written books and spoken at conferences. She’s overcome incredibly tough situations. And, spoiler alert, she has her own magazine.
Bekah didn’t think these things made her cool, which obviously made her way, way cooler. She was wise and funny and open and encouraging and – hands down – the best communicator I’d ever heard. There are a lot of great writers and speakers in the world, but when it comes to speaking to people where they are, Bekah just gets it like no one else I’ve ever seen.
Now, Satchells are, by nature, a little bit prone to hero-worship. To this day, we mock my Dad for buying an Avril Lavigne album – when he was in his 40s – because our Minister was really into Avril Lavigne. I have a habit of getting to know any fabulous woman and generally getting a bit obsessed with inspired by how great she is. But Bekah was the OG.* It was the first time I’d met someone – and, importantly, a woman – who worked in fields I was interested in and had similar talents and characteristics and just seemed to be kicking ass and taking names.
Now I knew what I wanted to do: I wanted to be Bekah Legg when I grew up.
But before I sound any more like I was just a desperate Bekah stalker, I fell in love with Liberti all on its own. I’d always been wary of “Christian media”, but Liberti was special. It taught me that you could love reading long articles about real issues, real causes, and also love flipping through the fashion and shopping pages. It taught me that you could discuss God and faith openly, but not in a way that made you want to gag. It taught me that it was OK to talk about feminism, to be open about sex, to have a laugh – and that could all still take place in a Christian context. Liberti was so special, in fact, that I felt like I’d finally found the job I was looking for. The problem was, it didn’t technically exist.
Steve and Bekah weren’t advertising for anyone – as far as I knew, they didn’t need me in the slightest. And back then I certainly wasn’t the kind of person to just throw my hat into the ring. But I felt a pull towards Liberti, so much so that I eventually emailed Bekah out of the blue to see if she needed any help at all – an email that I can remember almost word-for-word, such was the amount of time and energy I spent nervously writing and re-writing it – and Bekah replied in her characteristically enthusiastic and breezy way that I may just be the answer to prayer she was waiting for.
I didn’t know it then, but that email changed my life forever (and, for the better, in case this over-indulgent, 1500 words of soppiness wasn’t clear). For the first time, I had a job that I loved and was good at and seemed to help people. I moved down to four days at work so I could devote real time to Liberti. I worked really hard, I cared about the tiniest details, I wrote all my deepest, most personal thoughts and put them on the internet for everyone to read. And I got to learn from the best; to find out how the mind of the great Bekah Legg works and steal her secrets. And – holy grail of #lifegoals – I got to be her friend.
So you might be wondering, why give it all up if you love it so much? And honestly, I really wish I didn’t have to. When I started working for Liberti, I had a nice enough day job that didn’t take up my brain space. But then Pursuit International came along – a charity my friends were starting that wanted to help young people in India break the cycle of poverty – and I jumped on board. And then, a few years later, I was at lunch with Bekah chatting about a position at church they were trying to fill, and found myself – once again – begging Bekah Legg to pick me for the job.
At first it worked really well; a lot of people never find one job they really love, and I had three! But the problem with having three jobs you love, even if they technically add up to the same hours as one, full-time role, is that you’re constantly thinking about all three of them. You’re wearing three hats, all of the time, and eventually it melts your brain. And so, after a week during which each of my jobs involved major events and deadlines and crises, I realised that something had to give. I realised that I had been spreading myself too thin, I had to drop one of my hats, and logically, guttingly, that hat had to be Liberti.
When I told Bekah my predicament, she accepted my resignation with the kind of grace and kindness that you can rely on from the actual Bekah Legg. And once again, in that same breezy, enthusiastic, creative genius way, she said, “You could do a column in the magazine if you wanted to – you’d be great at that, and it would only be four times a year.”
So I still get to call myself a Liberti Belle. I still get to use the voice that this brilliant magazine helped me to find. I still get to read inspiring, interesting, intelligent articles – only now I can read the finished thing in the pages of a magazine instead of the first draft on my computer. And I might even pop up on this blog from time to time if I find I have something I desperately need to get off my chest – you can’t get rid of me that easily.
Most importantly of all, I still get to work with Bekah Legg – only now I’ll see her even more in the church office (and really, it was having lunch with her that led to me getting this job at church so it’s kind of her fault if you think about it…) I still get to call Bekah my colleague and role model and hero, and I’m lucky enough to get to call her my friend.
But it’s still the end of a chapter. And so if you’ve been reading and liking and sharing these blogs over the last four years, this is my long-winded way of saying how much I appreciate it. You have no idea what an absolute joy it has been to talk to you; to put some half-baked idea out into the world and for people to read it and, on some occasions, actually get something from it. If I had all the time and energy and creativity in the world I could do this forever, but unfortunately it’s time to close this chapter – and what a chapter it’s been.
So, for one last time:
Written by Chloe Satchell-Cobbett, Deputy Editor, Liberti
*OG means Original Gangsta, for the benefit of anyone who’s not under 40.