My thoughts on gay marriage

I’ve kept quiet on this subject for a long time. I hate confrontation and there’s no way to talk about this subject without hitting an angry wall on either side. I’ve struggled with it, read the Bible passages, and prayed to God about it.

In high school, before I became a Christian, I was of the opinion that it didn’t matter who your significant other was. If you truly loved them, that was all that mattered. A Christian friend voiced the opinion that he thought it was sin. It was the first time I had run into that opinion and I was pretty shocked when he said it. I remember thinking how narrow minded he was.

In college, I began to read the Bible. I found the passages that condemn homosexuality. I began to realize that the words my high school friend spoke had been truth. According to Christianity, homosexuality was a sin. I prayed about it, and drifted to that side.

As my faith progressed, I discovered more and more shades of gray. Things that used to be simple and black and white  became much more complex when real people were involved.

As homosexuality and gay marriage has become more prevalent in the news, I have prayed more and more about it. It was one of the those things that I had a hard time swallowing from the Bible, but I had just accepted as God’s word. I wish I could say there was more clarity on the subject for me, but the more I prayed, the more confusing it became. I found myself asking God why gay people were being so discriminated and not offered more of God’s grace.

One thing did happen as I prayed. The more I prayed, the more I found myself face to face with real live gay people. I have gay friends, and they are wonderful people. Several of them are Christians. They love Jesus with an intense love that I envy.

I can say with a fact that they did not choose this. This is how they are, how they were beautifully and wonderfully made. I know that some of them tried to change it. I’m sure they felt guilt and shame. In the end, they chose to embrace it.

This whole issue is still fuzzy for me. I read the Bible passages and I struggle. I argue with God about them. I still can’t say with certainty that I identify fully on either side of the issue. I see both sides. Christians, I get it. I understand why you protest. And gays, I’m so sorry for all the hatred and anger you’ve had to endure. It’s not right.

What I can say with certainty is that I applaud the recent Supreme Court decision. Because I strongly believe in equal rights for everyone. People deserve to be treated with respect, even if you completely disagree with their life choice.

I also believe that Christians need to stop judging and start loving. I have enough of my own crap to worry about. Why should I focus on what someone else is doing wrong? We don’t need to keep telling people that homosexuality is a sin. I think we’ve made that abundantly clear. The Jesus I know would embrace that gay person. He would go to dinner with him and listen. He would honor her story and her life.

And that’s what I hope to do as well.

Confession Time

I have a confession.

I have not been to church in a year.

I’m not proud of that. It wasn’t intentional. I stepped away for a bit to rest my mind. I got so weary of overthinking things. I needed a break.

And, as usually happens, habit sunk in. I relished an extra day of sleeping in and savoring coffee. The solitude and quiet was heavenly. Weeks turned into months, and before I even realized it, a year. My short break became the norm.

I wish I could say I want to go back. But honestly, I haven’t missed it. It’s easier to ignore the issue than face it. It’s a large part of the reason I haven’t been blogging much. I began to feel that I had run out of things to say. I felt like a hypocrite, complaining about all that’s wrong with the church while I sit at home on my butt. I was ashamed to admit that I had essentially given up.

Church used to be the place where I felt most whole. Now I can’t walk through the doors without feeling like I’m breaking in two.

My introverted soul is exhausted. I have grown weary of dealing with people on a daily basis. I’m tired of sarcasm, passive aggressiveness, and rudeness. I crash into my couch at the end of the day and want nothing to do with anyone. And while I know that within the church there are precious people who carry none of the above characteristics, I no longer have the energy to seek them out.

The tragic irony is that I miss community. I desperately long for it. The thought of being amidst a sea of people, making small talk chases me away. I want to get back to that place where I feel comfortable sharing more than the weather. It’s so worth it when you’re there but such a struggle to get there.

Easter this year was much like the rest of my year. No church. A quiet morning with my coffee. One thing was different though; I felt discouraged and sad that the day didn’t feel special. So I blogged about it. I didn’t think much about it, since I hadn’t blogged in months. I just wrote and put it out there. I didn’t think I would get much reaction.

The next day, I had a sweet email from a former worship leader who had stumbled upon my blog. She made a desperate google search to find someone who might relate to where she was. She too was feeling empty on the most glorious day of the year. She found encouragement in my words and thanked me for sharing them. I in turn found encouragement in her words.

I have thought and prayed about this blog often in the past year. I began to think the blog had run it’s course and that it was time to close this chapter in my life. I thought I was out of words.

Turns out I’m not.

I can’t guarantee how often I will blog, as life is still very full, but I will blog again. There is still gunk to be worked through and grace that I need to learn to give and accept.

And as much as I don’t want to, I will be returning to church. Drew and I will be searching for a new church home, and we plan to visit some different services. I look forward to sharing my experiences here.

Thank you for your continued grace with me as I have processed and pouted through this awkward journey.

The truth of Easter

Happy Easter.

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!”

“Happy Easter!”

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.

Advent Do-Over

We took our Christmas tree down today (don’t judge.) The living room looks empty now. I always hate to take down the decorations, and I’m glad that Drew is so patient with my desire to leave them up just a bit longer. I’ve been thinking about this Christmas season in the last couple weeks.

My current job is in event planning. Although exciting and filled with creative opportunities, it’s also incredibly exhausting. The first two weeks of December were a complete blur as I helped plan a neighborhood event for about 1000 people. The last half of December I was a total zombie as I tried to get my brain to work again.

I feel like I missed out on Christmas this year. That makes me sad, since it’s my favorite time of year. I want an Advent do-over. I don’t want all the hustle and bustle and craziness, but I want the quiet worship. The carols. The soft glow of the Christmas tree. The lighting of the Advent wreath. The magical story of the manger. The expectation and the waiting for a Savior. The sweet feeling of a warm home and people you love nearby.

Although the Christmas tree may be gone, I can still relish in a warm home and my loving husband close to me. I can still have quiet worship, even if they aren’t Christmas carols. And I can still read the story of sweet baby Jesus, and relish in the future of that baby and what it means for me.

I hope your Christmas season was wonderful and that your New Year has continued to bless you.

Living with kindness: Thoughts from watching a Thai insurance video

I used to be a soft hearted person. I loved people, and helping them in any way possible. As I’ve grown older, cynicism has slowly crept in as I’ve seen the nasty things people do and say. I’ve been stung by the harsh words and actions of others. I’ve started keeping others at a distance, overly cautious and afraid of what they might be capable of.

I was paging through my Facebook news feed, and something prompted me to click on this video.

It brought tears to my eyes. I needed that reminder that no matter how others respond to my actions, I need to be kind, thoughtful, and caring. Every day offers me chances to serve others, and I need to use every chance I get.

Jesus was often treated with contempt and hatred. I’m not sure why I expect (and often demand) better treatment than He received. Just because someone treats me with contempt does not mean that I need to offer the same emotion back to them.

Do you find it hard to live with kindness and thoughtfulness?

Merry Christmas

I pray that this Christmas brings you whatever your soul needs most.




Hugs and kisses from sweet little ones.

Laughter around a full dinner table.

Escape from hurtful words.

Release from painful pasts.

May the love and grace of our Lord Jesus shower over you this Christmas.

Community is Messy

I recently joined a rather large Facebook group. It’s a great community of people. But with so many people, it gets a little overwhelming.

Someone posted some concerns about the group, one of which was the constant posts. He probably could have worded his comment better, but I admired him for his honesty. Not everyone agreed with me.

People labeled him a “hater.” There were snarky comments about how he could just take his negative self and leave the group. I was annoyed at how quickly he was written off.

It reminded me of some resentments that I had stuffed down and forgotten about.

Years ago, my husband and I attended a church. We served in a few different ways and connected with the community there. Then something changed. We weren’t sure what. We just realized we were uncomfortable with how some things were being done.

We realized the problems may have been with us. We were willing to admit that, but we wanted to talk about it. My husband spoke up, sharing his concerns.

His comments and critiques were not taken well. He was essentially told, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

I was stunned that the community we trusted told us to put on a happy face. Instead of talking through it (which was really all we were asking for), the situation was shelved, and we were left hurt and more than a little bruised.

We didn’t need to be right. We just needed to be heard.

In community, there needs to be freedom to speak up and share. Even if the things shared are not so positive. Even if we don’t want to hear them. Let people speak honestly, and then encourage healthy communication. Realize it’s okay to disagree. Don’t just tell someone to play nice, or label them a hater.

My guard is up. I’m afraid to trust people again. I feel like I have to keep the fake smile on and just act like everything is okay.

I’m scared to really engage in any other community.

Luckily, in that Facebook group, not everyone labeled that poor guy a hater. Several spoke up and shared that they had similar concerns. Including me.

But the best response was from a friend of mine:

“Community is messy. Let us know how we can encourage you.”

I long for this. The recognition that it’s not always wrapped up and pretty. Things get messy, but if we give each other the freedom to speak up without fear, without judgement, that is the start of something beautiful.


Letting go

I'm having a hard time with church. I feel hurt, betrayed, and let down by Christianity. Because of that, I really want to walk away from church. I'm a bit of a loner anyway, and besides, people get on my nerves.

Who needs church, anyway?

I do.

Despite all my hurts, resentments, and overall annoyances with the Christian culture, I know I need the community. I need people that can hold me accountable, because when left to my own devices, I'm not always a great person. I need people to love me despite my flaws. I even need people that I don't see eye to eye with, because living around people that only believe the way I do is boring. How will I ever stretch and grow if I'm not around people that view the world differently?

I'm working through these issues, trying to let my resentments go. It's hard to let go when I've gripped them so tight for so long. It's hard to let down my guard and open my heart again.

I'll continue to chip away the hard-heartedness. In the meantime, I'm sorry for the way I've treated the body of Christ.


Put the iPhone down and step away slowly

I'm late in posting today.

I remembered last night at about 11:00 p.m. Drew and I are on vacation this week, so my mind is blissfully not really here. I decided to write the post in the morning. Normally, my inclination is to get up, make my coffee, than immediately turn on my laptop and begin to work. Especially if I forgot to get the post ready the night before.

This morning, I made my coffee and headed to the front porch. I intentionally left my iPhone inside, my laptop turned off. I sat on the porch. Nothing else. I sat.

I left my glasses on my nightstand, so with bleary eyes I looked out on my front yard. I was groggy, with tendrils of dreams still grasping the corners of my brain. I watched as three birds took turns on the feeder. I stifled back laughter at the cardinal that splashed around in the birdbath and made a mental note to change the water daily for them.

For a brief second, I wished I had my phone so I could take a picture or a video of the happy bird. Then I remembered that not all moments need to be captured. Some simply need to be experienced. So I just sat, sipping my coffee and relishing in the happy, noisy birds and the quiet of my mind.

Sure, this post ended up being even later. But I really don't care. Do you know how often my mind quiets down? I'll give you a hint. Not often.

I'm becoming convicted lately of how I can't slow down. My brain is constantly going, thinking and processing through my day, coming up with possible blog posts and witty tweets, and thinking about all the chores I haven't completed. I forget how important it is to stop, slow down, and breathe.

I can't put my iPhone down without wanting to immediately pick it back up. Check Facebook or play some mindless game. My brain starts in with all the crap that's there and I just want to make it stop. Numb it. When I'm in this place, it's so hard to write, live life, worship.

I try to pray, and my mind won't cooperate. I can't focus on reading my Bible, because it's not 140 characters or less. My attention span has shortened dramatically.
computer software
My goal this week is to take some of those much needed moments of quiet. Watch the birds splash around. Take those deep breaths. Show myself that nothing bad will happen if I put the phone down and walk away.


Do I have to worship WITH other people?

Corporate worship is kind of a problem when you don’t like people.

I worship fine on my own. In the quiet of the morning, with my coffee, tapping away at my laptop keys, I worship. As I take a walk through a beautiful park on a Spring day, I worship. In the blissful silence of downtime by myself, I worship.

Come Sunday morning, surrounded by people, not so much. Part of my problem stems from being an introvert. I feel like my introverted tendencies have come out in full force in the last couple years. I don’t know if it’s just a phase, or if it’s from using up all of my extrovertedness in years past. Whatever the reason, being around people exhausts me way more than it used to. And Sunday mornings just don’t sound very fun anymore.

Another part of my problem with corporate worship is that the rest of the congregation didn’t seem to get the memo that we’re in worship. I’ve shared before about my pet peeve of people talking during communion, or even during the ENTIRE SERVICE. Call me crazy, but I’m here to focus on God, not to overhear your lunch plans.

Corporate worship is so important. I want to be a part of it, to feel engaged in it. Instead, it leaves me drained and frustrated. I long to shut everyone else out and worship on my own. But that kind of defeats the point.

There comes a point where I probably just need to grit my teeth and do my darndest to engage in the service. But even then, I feel like we’re all just worshiping on our own, in our own little bubble. We just happen to be in the same room.

What are your thoughts on corporate worship? Do you ever struggle with it?