Falling in Love with the Church

After being in a Christian cult it was very difficult to find a place to call home. There were some good parts to the cult (if not, it would not have been quite so appealing), such as a sense of community. Believers talking freely about God and the bible without pastors egos or laymen titles, just us, the teachers, and the taught ,on equal footing, all loving God’s word and discussing it openly.

We didn’t just go to church, we did church.

From Sunday afternoon dinners with the whole group. to singles, couples, and families joining hands around a meal to pray, we spent time together. When we left the cult, wounded, broken, and scared to go anywhere, we started a home church. In the safety of our home we learned about God in a new light as we grew together in New Testament principles.

Just like us, others found a place in our home where the wounds inflicted upon God’s people, by God’s people, could find a place of common healing – a bond of brokenness. Our Saturday night fellowship became a place to propagate many of the wrong teachings we had all embraced, as well as truth seekers sharing differing doctrines and ideologies, as God opened our eyes piece by piece, to who He really is. We continued to explore our limited formal church options in rural Vermont, but we were lost in the culture and customs of  a Christianity we didn’t recognize.

Coming from a place where grace was lacking and works was a way of breathing, main stream churches felt much too liberal for us.

Hello dear ones, I am right here. Jesus kept beckoning us to follow Him through the brokenness to the place of wonder.

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Wounded people, wound people, and we were a long way from becoming wounded healers. 

We tried – oh we really tried, and throughout most of our endeavors our home was known as a place of great peace; a place where people gathered to safely discuss theology and a life of discipleship. Somehow, in the midst of the mess of healing, breaking, and healing again, God’s spirit continued to guide us to Love.

Where sin abounds – where the law tries to steal, kill, and destroy –  grace abounds even more.

We were parched, lost in a desert of gospel barrenness, but the refreshing waters came in the hands of those who knew how to love us in our messy parts. It came through the types and kinds of Christians I would have run away from before – liberal, “love gospel” types, who spoke about Jesus in ways that made me question my beliefs. They were tormenting questions. The enemy of my soul whispered that I could lose my salvation by even thinking them.

Come.

It was the voice of Jesus speaking Good News in a wilderness of dead works.

Chaplains, psychologist, counselors – friends – as I began to pursue my education in psychology, I found others who professed Christ living in great joy and peace daily on a journey, not just concerned with arriving at a destination. They were the fragrance of Christ; I could breathe in grace and breathe out freedom. They were the church. 

I read books by authors who wrote about a different Jesus – one who could free me from my performance anxiety to live fully loved. Fully engaged.

I began to enjoy the journey and find peace in the questions.

“Good Morning Jamie, I love you.” I began to understand what it means to be deeply, unconditionally, recklessly loved with a Perfect Love.

My cup of English Breakfast Tea in the morning is sipped with Jesus sitting beside me, encouraging my questions, revealing the answers, or pointing ahead to the path where they may be discovered.

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I began to see that performance based Christianity was a vicious cycle of attempt to change, fail, pray more, fast more, try more, fail more.

Grace says, “I love you in your messy, nakedness and I have clothed you in beauty.”

Grace says, “Only when you love, accept, and forgive yourself will you love, accept, and forgive others.”   

I stopped trying to defend myself as a female chaplain by explaining that I wasn’t a pastor, and embrace the God gifts I have to teach and encourage. I could hear the voice of Jesus and the feel the presence of God when a heart was touched, set free, healed, or embraced by the power of God’s love.

I learned to pray, “Forgive them Father they know what they do” when they unknowingly ripped the scabs of spiritual abuse off our hearts and made it bleed again.

I began to see the church as the family of God – broken, bleeding, messy, incorrigible, and in desperate need of repair.

Just like me.

The more intimately we get to know people, the more we see their flaws. We have a chance to choose to love in spite of their messy lives and filthy hearts. We get to choose to deliberately walk through the mess with them, instead of bailing.

Just like Jesus.

Each person with a story, begging to be told, released into the freedom of forever. Each person is yearning for the Lover of our souls in the dark places and begging Him come – fill the burning passion of holy love.

It was scary leaving the desert where only those who knew how to love wounded people like me came and went. It was scary leaving the safety of my wilderness room where only the Sacred and I met together. It made me vulnerable to opening up the wounds of abuse again, and again, and again.

To grow in grace requires others. It requires the church. They are the water that feeds us, the storms that break us, and God fixes, and then we break again, and are fed again, in the jumbled up journey.

We need each other to be conformed Him – to learn to love who He loves, serve who He serves, and be who He is.

To love the unlovable.  Like us.

The accepted ones. The redeemed ones. The forgiven ones. The beautiful ones.

The journeying ones.

Confessions of a Recovering Complementarian (Sort of – part 1)

He had broad shoulders and piercing blue eyes. My heart skipped a beat when I looked into those eyes, gazing gently from the landing above. From his wavy hair to his fur lined boots, he radiated warmth as he smiled and nodded in my direction.

I did meet him again, and yet again – and then one Valentine’s Day we stood before a Justice of the Peace and said “I do.”

We were best friends, even more so because we had started our lives together with a dose of reality. I was in the process of a divorce, and had a two and a half year old wee one. The wee one wasn’t a problem for Dave, whose love was large enough for both of us, easily. There was a kindness about him – a gentleness.

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Our family quickly enlarged to three children, and we were blissfully happy in a relationship that was based upon gender equality. It never entered our minds it could be wrong, or should be different. Desiring a new start from our pre-marriage crowd, we moved to New England.

We met Jesus there – at least the version of Jesus that was provided to us. That was when the problems began.

It didn’t take long before our happy marriage, our mutual respect, and our friendship was put to the test. We were both young – still early twenties. I was really easy going, and head-over-heals in love. Dave was incredibly caring, fun, and full of confidence, when we met and married. (Throw in a touch of male, twenty-something arrogance and ego for the full picture, a healthy dose of insecurity for me.)

We believed there was nothing that we couldn’t face together, nothing we couldn’t agree upon. But, within weeks of being introduced to Jesus, and claiming Him as our own, we were told we were in an unscriptural marriage. Marriage was for life and I had divorced and broken that covenant. Done deal. No turning back.  Not only that, but I was the “guilty party” according to the naysayers.

We made it through that sticky mess; my level headed husband, combined with a lot of God’s grace, prevented my frantic suggestions of divorce to spare us all from hell, from becoming a reality.  We found a new church home – still in the same group – but this one accepted divorce, if it happened before conversion.

Phew, I was safe.

We needed a new car and Dave and I had been shopping around. That was when the first mini-vans had just been introduced and we enjoyed test driving them together. We discussed car options for our growing family as we laughed, plotted, and ultimately just grabbed a burger knowing that the burger, not the car was in our price range.  It was something we had done when we were dating – looked at cars, homes, furniture, and other Sunday afternoon fantasies.

So, we shared with others a bit of our love story at church one night – we talked about looking at cars together. It was a fun memory, a test drive of a brand new car, when the car broke down just a few blocks from the dealer!  But the memory didn’t matter to law-makers, only the law did. The joy of the moment was robbed when we were quickly told that our relationship was out of order. I shouldn’t be part of making decisions about cars, it was Dave’s responsibility to make decisions. 

It wasn’t long before the strong Patriarchal views were chipping away at our love and mutual respect.

My strong husband no longer appeared quite so strong in my eyes. He wasn’t a biblical leader – a spiritual head.  I was no longer easy going or “submissive” as I tried to push him into a role that he didn’t want, or agree with. His happiness waned as he witnessed me tormented because who I was, wasn’t biblically right. The more I tried to be someone I wasn’t, the more I failed, the more miserable I became, and the more I blamed him for not being the spiritual head. If he would take over, I could step down. If he would only lead in prayer… if he would only lead in devotions… if he would only lead in child discipline…if he would only lead in discipleship…if he would only lead in budgeting, if he would only lead

Our once happy marriage was a cycle of blame and regret. Isn’t that what happened in the garden? Didn’t Jesus redeem us from that?

The joy of leading bible studies for my children became a burden as I became convinced it was his job to train them up, not mine. Discipline became law, because it was his responsibility as the leader. When we lost a child and when constant difficulties prevailed, it was because our home was “out of order.” We were cursed.

 I was too much, and he wasn’t enough. Who we were, who we were created to be, was simply wrong. 

We tried to lose ourselves, our personalities, our God given gifts and talents – who we are, into a theological jumble of hierarchy.  He got angrier, I got more frustrated. He retreated, I pursued.

I wish I could say this was just the story of our marriage, but it wasn’t. We know it to be true in so many marriages from our past, and into our present. Struggling, pain filled, and confused couples, hurting to be restored. Often, they don’t even know where to begin. 

Then grace happened; the music of our marriage slowly began to be heard. I am the high notes and Dave is the low notes. Low notes are usually not played as often, but when they are, they are rich, and full, and command a presence.

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What was once a burden to lead or be led has become the symphony of our lives, as we again harmonize decisions, ideas, passions, viewpoints – all with the same respect that Jesus revealed to us when He walked this earth –  loving on women, slaves, men, tax collectors – everyone equally.

 The gospels reveal the intrinsic worth of all people, and you can’t really believe that all people have value if you deem one gender more valuable in thoughts, knowledge, gifts, or leadership abilities, than you do the other. You can’t have balance if one gender is considered too emotional, weak, or good only for the services that are below the capabilities of the other.

The life of Jesus reflected things differently.

Some say it’s a gray area, and yet others have scriptural proofs for both egalitarian and complementarian views. I have been passionate about both sides – seeing both sides as black and white – at that time.

One came from a place of have to, and one springs new from a place of want to. 

Now I see Jesus in all His passions, and with that sight comes the freedom to focus on how He treated women, how he radically tossed aside the cultural musts and must nots of His time to teach women, heal women, hang out with women, and above all, love women.

He set the example of submitting one to another as he washed his betrayer’s feet. 

He set the example of lifting up the lowliest when he chatted to the Samaritan woman, alone, at the well, drawing her into a place of safety and comfort.

He set the example when he told Martha that Mary was doing the best thing when she sat at his feet – a place reserved previously only for students – only for men.

He set the example when he wrote in the sand the words that set an adulterous woman free, and threw male hypocrisy back at her accusers. 

Dave always set that example too. 

Now I am free to love and be loved. I am free to use my gifts. I am free to lead, and free to relinquish leadership to our mutual decisions and benefits as we play to the music of our lives.  Dave is pretty happy over the changes that brought us back to who we were created to be. He knows he’s enough. I know I’m not too much.

The women he fell in love with – he’s the man with the piercing blue eyes. Back to love; back to two individuals seeking our God as one.

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The new and improved, image bearing, spirit filled, Jesus living, version of our symphony, is being played beautifully again – richer, deeper, and fuller than ever before. 

I hope your symphony will find it’s voice again too.

Jamie

The War Room – Wounds, Reality, and Weapons

war room 1We saw The War Room the other night. Admittedly I went with a negative opinion of the movie before it even began. I had planned on waiting until it was $1 and change in Redbox, but some of the reviews, comments on Facebook, and the overall reaction of many had me intrigued. I was hoping I was wrong.

I believe that as good as we may think these movies are, and as great an underlying message they may have, they also promote an unhealthy view of discipleship. I am not a huge fan of any movie which paints an unrealistic and biased view of the “saved” versus the “unsaved.” The “saved” are the great husbands, fathers, mothers, prayer warriors, volunteers, helpers, ethical, hardworking, wonderful people, while the atheist, Muslim, and all unbeliever’s, are the angry, abusive, unhelpful, chauvinists (i.e. God’s Not Dead).

First, I’d like to say what I liked about the movie.

It promoted prayer and trust in God.

It promoted mentoring new disciples of Christ – something that is lacking in church relationships everywhere.

It showed that God does in deed answer prayer and changes hearts in doing so.

It promoted a single woman’s strength in prayer.

It starred people of color. Kudos to the movie makers who are trying to break down racial tensions in Christian movies.  (And in my experience, the truly bruised kneed women I know as prayer warriors storming the gates of hell, are my friends’ of color. They taught me how to put the “P” in prayer.)

What I don’t like.

First, do we as Christians, with over 2,000 years of testimony still need a fictional movie to teach us to pray?  And then to come away in awe over what prayer can do based upon a fictional account? (I am in awe over that.)

Are we still absent from the “relationship not religion” we profess to embrace? Most healthy relationships are healthy because they communicate. How can we profess the relationship and yet say we don’t talk to God? Does it take a movie to be reminded that the weapons of our wars are best used on our knees? (Or in our cars, or our living rooms, or bathrooms, or the grocery store…)

Third, the prayer closet was a bit over the top. Most middle class or below (the majority of the church) do not own houses with giant walk in closets. Actually, if we move away from American consumerism to most European countries, or developing third world countries, a prayer closet is non-existent. Prayer should be practical to all people, at all times, in all places.  It was missing a practical side.

I also felt it missed prayer as a relationship of talking to God throughout our day – walking in constant communion with the Holy Spirit. Yes, there is a time for quiet prayer, contemplation, concentrated prayer, praise, and meditation, (preferably daily), but it is like date night or alone time in a human relationship, versus casual conversation. It sets up busy, sleep deprived moms to feel like they can’t seek God without hours away from the demands of family. It robs people of the power of God in meeting us in the mundane – soapy hands in a sink, muddy knees in a garden, waist high in piles of laundry, blowing bubbles with our littles.

My very best times of prayer during the season of life my littles were toddling at my feet, was when I had fifteen minutes for a shower! The Holy Spirit would fall in a way that I could touch the face of God!

Mostly, I simply can’t embrace a movie where the wife of a cheating, verbally abusive, selfish, crook, was merely told to pray for him – not even to consider counseling, a mediator, or a loving confrontation of “Hey, I love you but what you are doing is simply wrong!”  This may work in the movies, but it does a disservice to women in real life. It is the very type of abusive complementarianism that gives Christianity a bad name, keeps women in bondage, and promotes unhealthy, uncommunicative, and unbalanced, relationships. (I’ve seen way too much of it in my work.)

Dave and I watched this together, and he being the wonderful, soft-hearted, man I love, he was moved to tears by the story of reconciliation, as we should all be. Meanwhile, I couldn’t help but notice that there were only three other women in the theater with us – all of them sitting alone. I heard some sniffles and I was moved to wonder what their stories are. Are they in a real life struggling relationship? Are they divorced? Have they prayed for years to no avail? What will this kind of “God always answers our prayers in miraculous ways” do their faith? If they have any faith in God at all.

My heart broke for them as I witnessed them wiping their tears. 

I have some friends who have been in their prayer closets praying for husbands for ten, twenty, even forty years who are still waiting for their prayers to be answered; others who stayed for years only to be deserted. It must be nice to have a man go from adultery to such deep conviction within what? Weeks?

Yes, it can and does sometimes happen. Usually it is messy, painful, and wrought with long and difficult times. (Former pastor and author Tullian Tchividjian, and his wife can attest to that.) Thank-God grace abounds –  and abounds even more fully in our darkest moments.

Not every marriage has a happy ending.

I also was completely disheartened to see there wasn’t any reaping what the husband had sown. Even though he deserved to go to jail, Santa God continued to provide the means for a three car garage, huge house, exorbitant lifestyle, despite the “Community Center” job he ended up with. (Last I checked, they usually don’t pay huge house salaries.) I would have felt much better if included in their conversion came the knowledge that wealth and prosperity belongs to God and maybe we need to downsize and change our lifestyle. Maybe a community job in reality won’t pay the bills on big executive homes.

Admittedly, it hits a sore spot for me. Just a few years back when my hard working husband was laid off (no fault of his own but IBM’s big downfall) and after a couple of years of living off our retirement, now gone, he accepted a job for less pay.  It came with a high price. We were facing our eighteenth move and with it the loss of our “gonna finally die here” dream farm in way upstate NY. We didn’t want to move, we didn’t like starting over again, we didn’t like not having a dime left in our 401K after caring for our large (single income) family, and a gazillion farm animals, that we were forced to liquidate. We didn’t really like anything about our circumstances.  

But we did like God.  In fact, we trusted Him with our lives despite the odds.

We had prayed.

And prayed.

And prayed some more.

One Sunday a “prosperity preacher” came to our church. The preacher opened his mouth and it went something like this, “I see Christians in this economy losing their jobs and accepting new jobs for less pay. People that is a lack of faith. You need to claim higher pay, with bigger blessings, not settle for less…” Wa-wa-wa-wa… (A little Charlie Brown goes on in my head when I hear this stuff.)

Of course he left with a substantial offering. 

As for us, we were incredibly blessed that Dave had employment in his field, and despite our having to move, we trusted in God’s goodness towards us, His plans, and His future. We still do.

We are Americans after all. We don’t know what faith for provision really means. (Syrians do right now.)

War Room had the potential to be a solid movie that encouraged prayer, while also revealing the heart of Christ in relationships and healing. It could have enlarged the eyes of viewers with a greater Kingdom vision seek justice and love mercy (Micah 6:8).  Instead, it was an unrealistic, feel good movie, that I am confident will cause wounds to people who are in struggling marriages, set others up for prayer failure when the expected outcomes don’t happen, and possibly even further abuse in oppressive, dominant, patriarchal families.

But that’s just my opinion.

The Message of the Cross in the Face of a Child

“I don’t want anything else from this world. Everything I was dreaming of is gone. I want to bury my children and sit beside them until I die.”
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Compassion has a face. Love has a voice. Action has a motive. Christ. 

We are all strangers in a strange land, pilgrims passing through.                   (Full story here:  News )

He only wanted a life for his family, fleeing from a country where over 11 million people have been displaced since 2011 and a hundreds of thousands have died. Surrounding countries such as Iraq, are facing their own civil wars and terrorism.

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Where would you go? He tried to go to Canada to join his sister through legal immigration means, and they were denied.

What would you do to save your littles?

It is so easy for us to miss the living, breathing, brokenness of real life, amidst the abundant sterility of our well-kept lives. The faces of refugees are not sterile, or well-kept, but desperate and stricken.

They were just little boys, the same ages as some of my grandsons.

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In the face of Galip, I see my four year old Hector, who just started Kindergarten last week. I bought him a backpack with the image of a shark on it.  It is an,  “I love you, work hard in school,” gift of my love. I’ve never had to think about keeping his head above water as we struggled to stay alive. I don’t have to worry about a bombs exploding overhead.

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Galip should be picking out a backpack and jumping with excitement over the big yellow buses that go by. He should be grinning from ear to ear as he picks up his new box of crayons and shows them to papa with pride. He should be looking forward to Christmas and the shiny light shows that North America displays. His aunt should be able to see the snowflakes reflected in his eyes as he gazes in rapture at his first downy sight. He should be visiting museums and learning about Pirates, U.S. History, and tasting freedom and safety. 

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In the image of tiny two year old Alyan, I see our little grandson David Grubb.

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I can’t look at the image of Alyan’s lifeless body, lying face down on the beach, without weeping. He should be smelling flowers, and growing up to the  questions of “why?” “Why do they have so many cars mama?” “Why is it so green?” He should be swinging on a swing saying, “higher!” or playing in a sandbox with his mother hovering nearby, her eyes full of the wonder of raising a toddler. Instead her eyes are closed, forever, and her husband holds the images of pain for a lifetime as they were buried in the very place he tried to flee from.

I would have taken them all into my home so they would not be a “burden” to society. David would have housed them, and clothed them, fed them, loved them, and helped them to find a new life. He would have held their toddler so mama and papa could explore an evening in their glorious new beginnings. In doing so, maybe they would find their life in Christ. (The sad implication of our financial changes as result of David’s former loss of career with IBM, isn’t in our own lack of need, but in our inability to help and house the hurting.)

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In helping others, we are helped. In loving others, we are loved. In teaching others, we learn the many things education can’t provide. In giving, we receive gifts that no amount of money can purchase. The things that the Donald Trumps’ of the world are lacking in – a Kingdom vision.

People are often shouting about the sins of America in terms of external issues of morality, and what we need to do become a great nation again. Maybe the wicked ways we need humble ourselves and pray about (2 Chron. 7:14), are not the things that America is doing, as much as what we are not doing, caring for widows, orphans, strangers, and the poor, and revealing a nation full of compassion towards all of God’s image bearers. (Duet. 24:17, Exodus 23:9, Duet. 27:19, I John 3:17, Is. 58:7-10 to name a few.)

Jesus was moved with compassion towards all people, at all times; outraged only at those who were more interested in the preservation of themselves and their historic religious identities. Acts 10:38 says it clearly,

“You know the story of what happened in Judea. It began in Galilee after John preached a total life-change. Then Jesus arrived from Nazareth, anointed by God with the Holy Spirit, ready for action. He went through the country helping people and healing everyone who was beaten down by the Devil. He was able to do all this because God was with him.   (The MSG)

We are all refugees in a foreign land seeking a safe place to rest our heads, be free from struggling, and find peace in this fleeting moment of time.

For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding. I Chron. 29:15 (ESV)

With issues of sovereignty, it’s crucial that we remember we are all just passing through the place we temporally call home. We are here to glorify God and to grow His Kingdom, with disciples who are relentlessly pursuing Him. We should be radically altered in that pursuit so we are transformed to reflect the character and nature of Jesus!

 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,   Phil 3:20 (ESV)

Maybe our “passions” as American citizens of heaven, need to be re-aligned.

 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.  Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.  I pet 2:11 (ESV)

Let us all be people of grace to the Alyans’ and Galips’ of the world. Let’s not appear before God as a nation whose sin was to stand by and idly watch the suffering of others, engorged by our own gluttony, as we turn our eyes from suffering.

Maybe that is the message of the cross.

Jesus, Spider Webs, and Blogs

Today is one of those days. It’s an, I want to escape into a cheesy novel like, Love Comes Softly, or regress to my childhood Miss Bianca in the Salt Mines, while soaking in a bubbly hot tub. It’s a day I choose to share my heart, instead of hiding it.

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It is “a worst of times” kind of day, it is a “best of times” kind of day.

It’s a day where I find myself weeping over the broken, fallen, hurting, horrible world we live in. It’s a day my heart breaks for the multitudes whose pain I have embraced. It’s a day my mama heart hurts over the pain my children are feeling. A day I wish I could snuggle them to my breast again and make it better.

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It’s a day I look up to heaven and rest without the answers of why we must suffer, why the “formula” of faith never works, and I know that somehow God is holding my babies in the palm of His hand and cradling them gently.

It’s a day I do some happy weeping; rejoicing over the beauty of a life well lived, an unfolding flower, a kiss from a furry friends, roses from my husband, the image of my tiny new grand-daughter, or the blessings of living in such an easy country.

MilaIt’s a day I am in awe of the love of God.

There is a time to weep, and a time to rejoice.

The more we live and the more deeply we love, the times of weeping and rejoicing become conjoined at the hip. Our emotions are woven into an intricate web of happiness and sorrow, rejoicing and suffering, beauty and pain. A web of sticky strands waiting to capture us.  Filled with the tears of life.

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Jesus has chosen to reside in our webs. 

It’s a day I miss my son who is in the presence of Jesus. I can imagine Micaiah hanging out with my Lord Lover, and I cry with a conjoined unfolding of immeasurable joy trapped in a web of “what’s?”  What’s his smile like? What does he hug like? I’ll never have my arms wrapped around him in an embrace of, “I don’t really want to let go.” Never seeing him open his eyes, or hear the sound of his voice. “What does he look like Jesus?” “What does his voice sound like?” Never meeting his children. Never saying “I love you.”

June 2014 Micaiah J Grubb 424It’s a day I feel weary of working in grief, weary of a non-profit, weary of newsletters worries, weary of funding woes, and weary of wondering why Americans are so afraid to join me in this painful, but sacred place.

It’s a day I love what I do. It’s a day I feel energized. I love serving the wounded Jesus holds close. I love equipping others to understand lament and walk beside the wounded also. It’s a day I love living out to the fullest the life He has given me.

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It is the best of days, it is the worst of days.

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11391291_10153290279263903_854655281588271216_n IMG_9482It is a day that I should be doing my college work instead of blogging. I should be getting out a newsletter instead of blogging. I should be mopping my floor or doing the piles of laundry instead of blogging.  I should be busy with anything but blogging. It should be a Martha day, not a Mary day. 

It’s a day I want to be Martha to the needy, the poor, the broken, the lost, and the suffering – instead of blogging. It’s a day I want to be the Hands and Feet.

It is a day I am so thankful for a husband who takes the Martha and the Mary; a Beloved  who takes the broken and beautiful me, wholly and unconditionally. 

Iphone 435 (2)It’s a day I don’t care about typos in my blog.

It’s a day I don’t care if you like my tattoo, cause I think Jesus does. He was with me when I got it.

It is a day I decide to toss the judgment of others to the wind, and dare to be a real human, with real issues, and real pain, and real desires, and real regrets, and real worries, and real joys, and make that knowledge public, in the hopes that someone else struggling to know a real God may be touched by knowing me as a real messy, but adored, used, accepted, and beloved by God, person.

A real person who loves and serve a real God. A God named Jesus. A God who gets me. A God who I love beyond life.

And have sometimes, hated for a moment, then another moment, and yet another moment, for not just fixing it all, and making it all better.

He’s a God who I don’t understand, yet no longer have to. He’s a God who loves me more than life too. He proved that on the cross.

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A God who experienced the best of times, and the worst of times alongside suffering humanity.

A God who chose to. 

He’s a God that’s in the darkness with us.  He leads us out though sometimes we may lose sight of Him for a while.  He always knows exactly where we are, and pulls us out by an unseen hand; the touch is so gentle that sometimes we miss it for the pain dominating our hearts.

He’s a God who takes us for who we are, what we are, when we are, and where we are. He gently lifts, and molds and mends, all the while letting our light shine from a place of authenticity, transparency, and reality.

If we let Him.

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Not to make us someone other than who we are, but to make us clean, forgiven, accepted, and whole. A peculiar people loved by a perfect God.

God resides with the Jesus lovin’ drunk in the gutter whose pain was more than He could overcome, the mother dying of cancer, the orphan wandering the streets, the disaster survivor hanging on by a thread, the visionary wondering why our visions aren’t realized, and the person praying as the bomb goes off. levi and dave (2)

He’s with the bride saying “I do,” the infant taking its first breath, the child blowing out the birthday candles, the father playing catch, the teen running to home base, and the mom dancing with her toddler.

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He is with us in total solitude, and in hand clapping praise. He is with us as we rise in the morning, and as we drift off at night.

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He’s with the gardener, the carpenter, the engineer, the homemaker, the widow, the teen, the nurse, the chaplain, the paramedic, the janitor, the landscaper, the check-out clerk and the mechanic.

He’s with them in the best of times, and the worst of times.

He is with us in our spiritual formation, and our spiritual deserts.

He has promised He will never leave us or forsake us.

He is with me as I blog.

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My tears may fall again today and that’s Ok.

I love my tears. They are a gift.

I love even more that Jesus sits next to me and hands me the tissue to dry them, and then chides me and says, “You beautiful mess you. Now open up that text book and learn about me. I’ll read Miss Bianca in the Salt Mines and run the tub for you later. I’ll even make you tea. ”

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(If you don’t know this God, I encourage  you to find Him. If you don’t feel loved, I encourage you to trust Him. Contact me if you’d like me to help with the introduction. It’s not needed, but some people are shy, afraid, or think that their mess is too big for God.  My information is everywhere on the internet. Seriously, Jesus is  a game changer.)