Don’t Trip Over Me

I clearly remember the day I decided to leave my childhood church. I had walked away from that particular body of believers (who were and are amazing people) when I decided Christ was the last thing I wanted to pursue. When I returned after my two year hiatus, I was broken beyond recognition spiritually and wanted anyone to tell me the pain dulls someday.

Actually, I wanted more than that. I wanted someone to hear about my wounds and tell me how to heal; because I had no idea how to do it myself. Growing up, I was the picture-perfect Christian kid. I knew the right answers. When Christ renewed my faith, I knew the right answers but my life made those answers feel foreign, unfamiliar and unobtainable. 

I needed help but was given the impression I seemed “fine.” I was experiencing redemption, but I felt anything but fine. The day I told old friends why I needed a fresh start, a few people gave me very vague answers. I heard lines like, “I’ve been there.” “I know why you’re hurting.” 

… But in my childishly adult 20-year-old mind, those particular responses had come too late. I’d sat wounded and feeling alone for months. I had needed someone more spiritually experienced to get me back on track and it felt like that counsel never came. I’ll always remember the confusion I felt when I was told someone understood my struggles right before I walked out the door. I had no clue I had people to go to to get help… until it was too late. They seemed too perfect to include me.

So, I left and “started over.”

That was close to ten years ago now. Christ saw my spiritual hunger and gave me a Body of believers who loved me deeply but didn’t let me get away with anything. Change isn’t always a bad thing, and to this day, 3,500 miles away, I’m genuine friends with people from both churches. 

I was told recently that I seemed like a very “open book.” As a pastor’s wife, that sentiment is both terrifying and terrific. Too little transparency and people feel as if you’re fake. Too much transparency and your ability to co-lead with your minister husband gets hazy. I want to be relateable; I’m afraid of being a stumbling block.

As I struggle with finding that balance as a new wife to a pastor in training, I’m constantly kicked back to how I felt drowned in loneliness when I first came back to the Lord. I let people see my healed and now-beautiful wounds because I’m learning leadership first starts with being touchable. 

You don’t have to be perfect to be in my group of believers. You don’t have to have all of your sin “Christianized” before being a godly impact on others. You simply have to be willing to realize Christ is the source of your joy and your love. When you realize that, your story loses its shame and Christ changes the game by being the Victor.

If you stumble over anything when you notice I’m an “open book,” may you stumble over the Cornerstone of Christ just as I did.

Advertisements

But God Didn’t Do It

She had been widowed for over 20 years. *Connie was lonely. She wanted a relationship. In her old age, she felt as if that ship had sailed… Until she met him. 

*Daniel. She took such pride in talking about Daniel. He was kind, funny, intelligent and seemingly intentional on pursuing Connie. As I sat listening to her talk like a 13-year-old schoolgirl, I could tell she was at least infatuated with Daniel. I knew Daniel, though. He could make the wrong side of a mule feel like the queen of England. 

When I asked her how she knew Daniel loved her and wanted to marry her, she very matter-of-factly said, “I had a dream where I was Esther of the Bible. I looked out the window of my house and there he was. Daniel shouted my name three times: ‘Esther! Esther! Esther!’ Obviously, that was God’s way of promising me Daniel. Have faith, Darlin’! It’ll happen.”

Sadly, Daniel didn’t get the picture. He married someone else two years later and my friend Connie was, needless to say, heartbroken. I was convinced Connie would reconsider the hope she had placed on a very sketchy plan. However, when I asked her about it, she swatted away my concern and said, “You’re 17 and have yet to be in love. I’m just know God’ll make it happen. You’ll understand someday.”

I never got the chance to see it her way. Neither did Daniel. Connie’s relationship with God never went any deeper and the questions she could have asked God laid silently on my prayer journal, not hers. She tried to stay faithful in her walk with the Lord, but she felt betrayed, angry and as if God had lied to her. 

Connie refused to take to heart that the Bible states “…God is not a god of confusion” (1 Corinthians 14:33) or even that Titus 1:2 shares God “…does not lie.” She had dedicated her life to God giving her Daniel. When He didn’t, she was positive He would eventually…and sooner rather than later. 

Before you shake your head over Connie’s views, and though this example is extreme, don’t we all do this? Whether it’s the desire for a relationship, a child, healing from a disease or that perfect house on 32nd Street… If we’re fixated enough on something it’s dreadfully easy to stop listening for the real Someone of all someones. 

It’s good to have hopes and aspirations. It’s healthy to have dreams of the future. But we need to be careful that we are not weighing God’s character against what He does or doesn’t do in accordance to our plans. 

We were made for His glory; He was not made for ours. Our perception of His will may change. But that’s our perception; not His ability to come through as our faithful God. 

Not My Job 

I’m lonely. I need to talk. 

I hate hearing those words. They’re the two phrases that, once upon a time, immediately sent importance and purpose shooting up my spine; now, they send dread. Once upon a time, knowing that a guy was “lonely” meant I could fix something. I wasn’t sure what… but dang it, I was gonna fix it.

Age and experience (all 26 year of it <wink>) has taught me not to respond to inquiries from a man who openly declares his loneliness. It’s no one’s fault and he could very well be only lonely; but still, when I hear that declaration, I immediately look for another man to take over.

Here’s the problem: Outside my Christian-Bubble College surroundings, it feels impossible to find another man who is willing to step up to take care of a hurting/lonely brother. I get it. Women are busybodies (we really are) and men are ADD (sometimes). 

This is an incredibly vague plea to men who call themselves Believers in Jesus Christ. Step up for the men who are hurting. Though you may be able to turn the concern for a hurting brother off, it’s much harder for the women in your life to do the same. If you don’t take initiative, we will. Don’t make us do that. Let us lean on your ability to support each other. 

Multiple times I have found myself being confided in by a man over a situation that was none of my business. I found myself thrust into the confidence of a man over sexual, emotional and mental issues I still struggle with comprehending. Though God gave me the chance to walk away each time, it still bothered me. During my conversations with these  men, often times, older gentlemen walked within earshot, gave me an uncomfortable look and walked away.

Men, you do hundreds of things which I admire, cherish and adore. As a sister in Christ, though, I’m asking you to support each other more deeply in order to protect the hearts of the women in your lives. We need you to work us out of the job of supporting men we were never called to support in the first place.