Love, for Goodness Sakes… (Thoughts on Faith)

I don’t want to be weak & ineffective. And I do not want to be mean-spirited. Most definitely in my faith. But I find myself caught in between two ideologies & it’s a tough line to tow. On my right, the militant & unashamed, wearing theological combat boots & bum rushing through  a person’s wounds & hurtful history in order to dominate the conversation with their own piety. But of this they aren’t aware. On my left, the blended believer whose faith is so contoured into the universe, it’s hard to know where their feet are planted. They unintentionally coax people into embracing their sickness, often giving no true remedy. 

Honestly, I can only share with others the God that I truly know. During my church’s prayer service yesterday, I heard the following, “Don’t be afraid to talk about my Love.” 

Why be fearful talking about God’s Love? And how are we missing it by dwelling in either of the two extremes: militant Christianity or passive Christianity? My guess would be we are defining Love through our own experiences, rather than through God’s explanation. 

The militant believers are afraid of using Love as the center of their evangelism and theology because it appears weak. In their eyes, it waters down the Gospel, taking away the urgency in the call to repentance. 

On the other hand, the well meaning passive Christians oversell the Love aspect as if God is not multifaceted. They take the compassion of God and dumb it down to the fickle level of human experience. And that would be doing the world a great injustice. My feelings change often. But the way God feels about me never will. It isn’t necessary to be overly emotional to help people identify with this Truth: God truly loves me. 

Romans 8:38-39 sums it up immensely:

“I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

If we have an inaccurate view of God’s Love, then we cannot fully grasp the Gospel in its totality. I can have a head knowledge of how sin entered the world or how I need a Savior, or even the difference between good and evil, but if I do not let His Love affect me, to the point that I am fully convinced of it more than anything else, then I run the risk of dwelling in the extremes of my Faith. Either I conjure a emotional counterfeit that lulls the heart into a slumber or I will push potential believers into a corner of self-righteousness. 

God is Love. And He loves you. There’s more, but it’s that simple.

Glory.

We’ve finally announced it.

…I’m pregnant again. 12 weeks and 5 days to be exact. And while this pregnancy has already been so different from my last pregnancy, I cannot help but remember where I was mentally and emotionally 2 years ago.

I remember being excited and fresh. I also remember not being prepared at all for the news we were going to get in 7 weeks. If you’ve been following, you know how it changed us. But God, in His sovereignty, decided to allow us the gift of seeing our daughter be born healthy and fully developed. Not a day goes by where I don’t consider how differently things could have happened.

So.

Here we are again. Armed with more medical knowledge, more hope, and a bit more spiritual vitality. Because we know that if God “did it before, he can do it again”. Prior to my first appointment with my midwife, I caught myself formulating a Plan B for this pregnancy. A safety net so that the likelihood of pregnancy loss or preterm labor would be next to nothing, spiritual intervention aside. And, it just so happens that I am not eligible for this special medical provision.

So.

Here I am again. Warmed by the growing miracle inside my belly & holding on to the only thing I have/need: A Promise. This promise was spoken to God’s people before. It was a promise of being the vessels of God’s glory.

Isaiah 60:19-21

“No longer will you have the sun for light by day, Nor for brightness will the moon give you light; But you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, And your God for your glory. “Your sun will no longer set, Nor will your moon wane; For you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, And the days of your mourning will be over. “Then all your people will be righteous; They will possess the land forever, The branch of My planting, The work of My hands, That I may be glorified.

How crazy is that? God promised them that they wouldn’t need natural means to see & feel light in their lives. He wanted to be so prevalent in their hearts, that the only illumination they would need to see their way, would come through Him. Their glory would be His Glory.

I want my life’s purpose to be to hold and reveal the Glory of God to others and to be used to encourage and inspire others through it. It’s a humbling thought, because God could have chosen a different platform for me to display his Glory. “Why this way?”, I wonder. When I am tempted to question God’s plan for this pregnancy, I train my mind to remember what’s already been spoken.

…the day I took my pregnancy test, I was alone in the bathroom at home. My husband and daughter were in the living room and I managed to sneak away without having my daughter accompany me, as usual. I wasn’t “late” by extreme measures and I was barely symptomatic. I had a feeling and was curious. The moment the test turned positive, I (almost instinctively) placed my hands across my stomach and prayed.

After my “Amen”, I heard, “Joy. Joy this time around.”

Do It Bigger.

I’m comfortable with confined spaces. 

I have a cozy, high ceiling loft that is a hallway short of being a studio layout. The only seating room my office has is the couch for my clients, my swivel desk chair, and a quaint little rocking chair that I sit in during sessions. I have a compact VW with a tiny backseat that could probably fit two people and a small infant… 

There’s a comfort in it. Small stages with rusted microphones, watched by chill open mic patrons, with faint music in the background that barely carry out into the surrounding streets. For the longest time, that felt like my lane. And whenever I felt my passions sound off above a dull roar, I hushed them. I never asked myself if there would ever be a larger stage for me. A crisper sound system that could hear my every breath, gasp, & crack in my voice.  I never considered whether it’d be my turn to do things bigger than I’d gotten used to.

…boy oh boy…

There are certain things I can feel or see peering over the horizon concerning my future. Opportunities and projects that leave me at a loss. I’m not afraid. Just stumped. Because I’ve always gone through life taking on exactly what I felt I could handle. Sure, I’ve overcome challenges. God has unfolded many miracles in, around, and through me. But even they have, in some way, made sense. It was only in hindsight that I reflect back on my life and think, “Good Lord. How in the world did I get through that?”

Now. That question is coming up a lot earlier: “Good Lord. How in the world am I going to get through…..that?”

Of course, the answer will always be the same. 

And I’ll still laugh nervously. Take a deep breath and clear my head of any automatic trains of thought that seem to stall my stride. 

The end of transitions tend to unfold in this manner. Like the beginning of a roller coaster’s drop: Your stomach and your brain start to wish you’d stay back on the ride’s platform. But…at some point, you lift up your hands, squeeze your eyes shut, and give yourself completely to the experience. 

Completely to faith. And to Giver of the Ride.