Monday, January 26, 2015

It's Ok Not To Be Sure

After we lost Lilia, I clung to this verse like no other. I'm going to admit something here that I don't talk about very often - but when I got pregnant with Declan I prayed my FACE off for a daughter. I just knew that God would grant me that desire. After all, it was a good desire - I had lost a precious baby girl, I wanted to experience the joy of having a daughter of my own. I watched friends have their little girls, and I knew that God would reward me for my faithfulness after such a tragic time.

I'm a little ashamed to admit this now, because I've learned a lot since then - but that's honestly where my brain was during that time. I had dreams about having baby girls, I doodled baby girl names - I was sad for our loss, but I knew that God would redeem my situation. I mean, just read the verse! 

Well, as the story goes - little Declan was not a girl. Truthfully at first, I was pretty shocked. I mean what? I prayed. A lot. I told God the desires of my heart! I even gave Him a list when I prayed as to why I felt like I needed a daughter. (I am hanging my head in shame after that last statement)

But here is the thing I'm beginning to realize after a lot of heartache and disappointment in various areas of my life. Sometimes, God's redemption doesn't look like what we think it should. And God granting us the desires of our heart doesn't look like what we think it should either. He's not a genie. 

And I don't know all the answers - I still don't fully understand this verse, although I have studied it a LOT. My heart has truly yearned for some precious and legitimate things and I have seen God grant some of those, and I have seen others seemingly fall by the wayside. Things that are broken and seem beyond repair - things that may just actually be beyond repair. 

This week I've been telling myself that God CAN redeem any and all situations. He can. I know this. But I also think that God's redemption may not look at all like what we hope it will. 

Maybe He will put broken pieces back together. But maybe he'll take those broken pieces and make something new from them. Maybe He'll scatter them like the wind and just when you feel like you can't take another breath because the pain of brokenness is too much to bear, He'll show you how He makes beauty from ashes. 

I wish I understood God. I wish I understood every verse in the Bible. I don't pretend to be a spiritual scholar or theologian. I'm learning more every day, and I'm trying to trust a God that quite honestly, makes very little temporal sense. 

I suppose there are a lot of cliche and trite Christian statements I could make here to wrap this up but I want you to know that sometimes it's ok to live in the grey area of not understanding. It's ok to be upset and angry and confused and sometimes it's ok to not be ok. I had a friend ask me recently how I was doing and I said you know, I'm not really sure.

And she said, "It's ok not to be sure."

Yes, friends. It's ok not to be sure. It's ok not to be sure how or why or what. Just don't stop talking to God. Because for me, that's when my relationship with God deepens and grows and becomes even more beautiful. That's usually the time where I find myself in that really sweet spot - even if just for a little while, until life gets in the way again. That sweet spot of communion with Him. It's a constant tug of war - finding myself in that space, then finding myself farther away than I meant to be. 

Life is painful and it's messy and sometimes I can't wrap my mind around how stuff continually keeps breaking. Sometimes I cry out to Him in despair, sometimes in anger, and probably not nearly as often as I should - in thanksgiving. It is so hard to be thankful for the brokenness. It is so hard to be thankful for the fire that refines us. But my eyes are on eternity. My eyes are on that prize. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

My God Is...

If we are Facebook friends, you might have seen this post awhile back on my page:

I have been thinking a lot about this, about the responses and comments this post got and I wanted to clarify a few things.

I love church.

I seriously do. I am one of those extroverted, church lovin, worship singing, cafe visiting 'basic white Christian' girls. Ok? I admit it. I'm not ashamed. I love a great service, music that gets me inspired and a message that gets me motivated. I am NOT anti-church. Not at all.

This Girl Is Me And I Am Not Ashamed. Ok?

But after being involved in the professional side of ministry for 5 years, here is what I know.

My God is bigger than a church building.
My God is bigger than a worship service.
My God is bigger than the best sermon ever preached.
My God is bigger than the worst sermon ever preached.
My God is bigger than the biggest celebration you could ever imagine.
My God is bigger than the most horrific tragedy you will ever encounter.
My God is bigger than the pastor who struggles.
My God is bigger than the pastor who succeeds.
My God is bigger than a perfect guitar solo during worship.
My God is bigger than a wrong note.
My God is bigger than a broken marriage.
My God is bigger than betrayal.
My God is bigger than my insecurities, my fears, and my disappointments.
My God is bigger than my best day.
My God is bigger than my worst day.
My God is a righteous judge.
My God is a loving father.

My faith is defined by the knowledge of all those things, and so much more. My faith is defined by my intimate, personal relationship with the God of the Universe. I will be let down, disappointed, abandoned and deceived by the human beings who work tirelessly to carry out His mission. BUT - and hear me when I say BUT - I will also be enlightened, uplifted, carried, loved and encouraged by those same human beings. 

The church is imperfect. God is perfect. 

My faith is not defined by my relationship with anyone but Him.