There’s Nothing to See Here (Or – How I’ve Changed)

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I have been really wanting to get back into blogging.  I frequently have ideas for topics to explore in a post and I have a huge file with such a list.

Every time I sit down to write though, something stops me.  I think it’s mostly fear.

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Fear of what people will think.  Fear that I will disappoint people or shock people or hurt people.  Fear that people will think that I am a different person on my blog than I am in real life.  Fear that people will think I’m too vulnerable.  Fear that people will think that I am sinfully stuck in grief.  Fear that people will assume rude or untrue things about my parents or upbringing.

It’s a hard bondage to be in.  But I’m tired of being in that bondage to fear.  I just want to be me, a twenty something woman who is pursuing the Lord, and who doesn’t shy away from the bumps, bruises, questions, and doubts along the way.

So here is an attempt to do that.

I came across this blog post recently and loved it.  I was somewhat a follower of hers back in the day and I was excited to discover her current blog.  The part that stood out to me the most though was when she said, “There’s nothing to see here.”

I have changed a lot over the years.  It’s true.  I have asked questions and re-evaluated what I believe on so many issues….how I dress, the music I listen to, parenting, marriage, divorce, gender, tattoos, vaccinations, healthy living, legalism, 4 letter words, homeschooling, hair color, body piercings, body image, the Bible itself, the character of God, homosexuality, dating/courting, etc.

On some of those issues, I have changed completely from what I used to believe.  On some I have changed slightly.  On some I haven’t changed at all.  I think you would be hard pressed to find any person who has not changed quite a bit over the last decade or more.

I know some probably look at me and see a completely different person than I was 10, 15 years ago.  And I have a lot of fear of man there.  I fear that people will think I’m just running as far away as I can from what I used to believe.  I fear that people will think that I am discarding the Bible and cherry-picking Bible verses to fit what I want to believe.

What people can’t see, though, is the years and years that literally went into each one of those issues.  I can’t think of a single issue that I didn’t pour hours and hours and years and years of thought, prayer, tears, and Bible searching into.  I haven’t changed willy-nilly.  I am not discarding the Bible, and I am taking care to hold my questions and beliefs (changing or unchanging) up to the light of God’s word.  I read from scholars, authors, and bloggers, on both sides of issues, to make sure I am grasping fully different “sides.”

There’s nothing to see here.  I am just a person who is trying to follow hard after God.  I am just a person who has learned that I would much rather be someone who has doubts and questions and takes them to God than a person who is comfortable with her beliefs and doesn’t continually hold them to Scripture. I am learning to hold many of my beliefs lightly, willing to see if I am in error.

And I feel awake!  Awake to God’s grace, His glory, His joy, His fullness.  I didn’t know if the light would ever shine this way again and I am continually thankful for the work He has done in my life.

I am currently going through Beth Moore’s Children of the Day devotional with a friend, and one of the sections this week was on the topic of being awake.  She was discussing 1 Thessalonians 5:5-6, and the part about being awake as children of the day.  She proceeded to describe what being awake is like.

“Then, blessed be the Name of the Lord, something wakes us up.  Maybe we’ll never be thankful for what shook us out of our slumber, but we can be thankful at least to feel wide-awake.

“Awake to the activity of God around us.

“Awake to His Word on the surface of that page.

“Awake to the lightning before before we hear the thunder.

“Awake to our present season.  Awake to our people.  Awake even to our pain lest it end up meaning nothing…..

“To be awake is to still have questions and not just tidy summations….

“To be awake is to still grapple with mystery….This is the paradox of the crucified life: to lose ourselves in Christ is to find our very lives.”

It is an incredible thing to be awake.  To be alive.  To be walking in dynamic movement in the power of God.  It is sobering.  And humbling.  And sometimes scary.  But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

So there’s no crazy story here.  The only thing here to see is the working of God and that is a pretty powerful thing to see.

 

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Every Day Is a Step of Faith

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The past few months have taught me about faith in ways that I never understood before.

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Faith is not always big and bold.  Faith is not necessarily unwavering.  Faith is not an absence of emotions in the presence of trust.

Wayne Grudem defines faith as follows…

“Trust or dependence on God based on the fact that we take him at his word and believe what he has said.”

I always had a picture in my mind of what faith looked like.  And that picture was always of a bold confidence, an unwavering peace, a complete and total trust.

Lately my faith has looked quite different.

Every day in life is a step of faith.  And for me that has become even more true since losing my two children in miscarriages.

I have struggled with a lot of crazy anxiety issues since my losses.

I could lose another pregnancy.

I could lose the Wingman.  Something could happen to him.  I have had very vivid images of terrible things happening to him that tear my heart in two and cause my chest to tighten.

It is almost paralyzing.  And you know what can sometimes make me even more scared?  The thought that if I follow God, He might lead me through that.  Of course, the reality is that even if I don’t follow God, these things could happen.

But that thought of releasing control to God can be hard.  It takes faith.  Faith to wake up each day and say, “I am in Your hands.  The Wingman is in Your hands.”

Faith is stepping out and following Him, even when your steps are small and faltering.

Faith is being bold enough to step foot out of the door, knowing that a car crash could take the people you hold most dear.

Faith is allowing someone to babysit the Wingman, knowing that he could have a terrible accident while I’m gone.

Faith is getting out of bed to face each day.

Because all of those things require me leaning on the Shepherd’s staff.  It requires me to say, “God You are the One who is holding us in Your hands.”  I barely have strength to lift my head and look at the path.  Sometimes I am scared to look at the path.  But I cling to His staff and I say, “I don’t know if we’re going the right way, but I know You can see this entire path, with all its twists and turns.”

Sometimes I think that means that my faith must be the size of a mustard seed, because it isn’t that bold, unwavering confidence.

And sometimes I wonder if that means my faith is strong, because I have experienced some of the deepest pain of my life and yet I am still choosing to say, “God You are good.  Your ways are good.  Lead me.”

Whether it is mustard seed faith or mountain moving faith, it is some sort of deep.  A depth that I have not experienced quite like this before.

So this is me….embracing my mustard seed.  This is me getting up each morning.  This is me allowing my son to still be a 2 year old and not stifling him in the name of protecting him.  This is me continuing to plan outings and ways for my son to thrive.  This is me pursuing fertility health so that I can hopefully get pregnant again.  This is me, in all my vulnerability, handing God what is most precious to me.  My family.  My husband. My children.  My son who I have here every day….my babies in heaven….and my future babies.

-Bonnie