Last week I confessed my lack of church attendance. Here it is another Sunday morning, and I am not at church. I’m taking baby steps. This morning I took my coffee and my Bible out to my front porch, where I could breathe in the morning air and listen to the birds’ songs.
I had to search for my Bible. I can’t remember the last time I’ve cracked it’s spine, and couldn’t remember where I had left it. I found it tucked away in the bottom of my nightstand.
One thing I love about the Bible is the fact that no matter how long I’ve been away, the sweet pages always welcome me back. I may not completely internalize the words I’m reading, but the wispy sounds of the pages are like a balm to my soul.
I turned to the Gospels. I have found that in my deepest of struggles, Jesus’s words and actions are the ones that ring most true. Even when I am doubting this whole Christian thing, Jesus is still one awesome guy.
As I flipped to Matthew, I found a couple coffee stains sprinkled around John the Baptist’s words.
Memories of being snuggled in with coffee and my Bible came flooding back. For years, the words within these covers have brought me joy and comfort. And they have convicted and torn me apart.
I have doubts and questions and fears. I know I’m not the only one. Over coffee yesterday, a friend confessed similar feelings. This faith thing is messy. Yet, we both agreed that Jesus is who we aspire to be. Neither of us are ready to give up.
I will continue to search these pages. There is truth and peace to be found.
As I woke up this morning and sleepily scrolled through my Facebook feed, I saw the colorful pictures and energetic posts.
“He is Risen!”
“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, He is risen!”
Instead of happiness and excitement at my risen Lord, I felt that all familiar and unwelcome feeling of frustration. Why is it that on this most joyous of all days I can’t simply feel… happy? Why do these ugly emotions continue to surface?
I don’t have all the answers, although I have some rough ideas. I’m still working through my issues. I still get hung up on some stupid stuff with the church. I’m working, processing. I’m getting there. Slowly.
I long to feel simple feelings of happiness, contentedness, joy, and peace. Years ago I felt them. I felt close to my risen Savior. Not so much this year.
Then I remembered that the truth of Easter does not hinge on my feelings and frustrations toward my faith. It doesn’t depend on me feeling happy. Jesus is risen, and no amount of nasty feelings can change that.
So today I will focus on time with family. I will relish the chance to make some pies from scratch that will pare perfectly with my husband’s homemade ice cream. I will snuggle a sweet puppy who will be so excited to see me that she will pee on the floor. I will remember how incredibly blessed I am and how much Jesus is in the little things.
Whether you are loudly proclaiming from the rooftops or huddling under a blanket on your couch, Happy Easter. Whether you are filled with joyous emotions or struggling to force a smile, Jesus has risen.
Happy Easter friends.
The first time I picked up a Bible I could understand, I was hooked. I read through the gospels and was intrigued and confused by Jesus. He compelled me. I longed to know what made Him do and say the things He said. He never made excuses or apologized. He didn’t seem to care what others thought of Him.
Throughout this whole faith crisis, I am happy to report that my belief in Jesus has never wavered. Every time I return to the gospels, I see a man that I am proud to worship. I see someone full of faith, love, compassion, and all things good. I still see that complex man that I could not figure out that first time I cracked open the New Testament and couldn’t put it down. He still perplexes me as much as he perplexed college me.
If every other foundation of my Christian faith were proved false, if all the rules and truths I’ve been taught crumbled to pieces, I would still come back to Jesus. I would still serve Him, even if it meant completely going back to the drawing board, reworking every part of my life that I thought was so sure.
If I believe in nothing else, I will always believe in Jesus.