Carrie and I have many mutual friends and I have prayed for and watched her family as they have navigated some severely difficult trials. I asked her if she wanted to write a post sharing her story and where she finds God in it’s midst. Her first response, was that she probably shouldn’t because she isn’t in a black and white place in her faith. She didn’t feel like she could “wrap everything up with bow”. I said, “perfect.” If the only people who share their stories within Christian community are the one’s who have it all together and figured out, where does that leave the rest of us? As I blogged last week about faith and what it is, I continue to press into the idea that all of us are in pursuit of who God is and we can all learn from each other on the journey. I hope our faith can flourish when we become real about our doubts. am thrilled that she has chosen to share her secret here. -Willow
Wanna know a secret? I cannot sum up all of my beliefs in a neat and tidy bundle. All the things I used to feel so certain of are not actually certainties for me anymore. If you ask me to recite the Apostle’s Creed, I can do it, but if I parse it apart and think about all the tiny details inside of it, I might start to squirm.
Here’s another one: There was a time when I learned so much from hearing sermons and doing Bible studies. I was very involved as a participant and as a leader in Bible Study Fellowship. I learned a lot. Now, I find it challenging to stay focused on the spoken word. And, truthfully, I have become a questioner…perhaps a doubter…
For a number of years I’ve tried to put my “statement of belief” in written form. I’ve composed it – or parts of it – in my head periodically, but I have not actually formed a well-written, well-composed, clearly understood statement of faith. It’s haaaaard.
But here’s what I know: There is a God. How do I know this? I know this because how in the world could there NOT be a God?! Who the heck do you think created this world? Who orchestrates events – or allows events to work themselves out? I know that there’s a God because I feel it in my bones…in spite of all the things I DON’T fully understand, I KNOW that there is a God.
I believe that he is a God of love. I believe he cares about all of us. I think he cares about Presbyterians and Methodists and Baptists and interdenominationals and non-demoninationals and Assembly of God people and Muslims and Seventh Day Adventists and atheists and agnostics. I believe he loves rich people and middle-income people and poor people. I think he loves heterosexual people and homosexual people and married people and single people. I believe that God loves people who were born in the tiny country of Monaco and he loves people in Suriname and Syria and Afghanistan. I believe he loves people whose skin looks like mine and people who have different colored skin than mine. I believe he loves people who try very hard to obey every single one of the Ten Commandments and those who couldn’t give a rat’s ass about any of them. I believe he loves people who say “rat’s ass.” ☺
I am always being judgmental about people who are judgmental – which I don’t think he likes so much. It seems to me that God likes it best when we quit trying to fix everybody around us and try to fix ourselves. I think it makes God happy when we love each other…
He loves even our broken selves. That one is a hard one for me. The gracious God thing… As my friend Doug says, “there is nothing you can do that will make God love you anymore or any less than he does right now.” Whoa! Good one! Love that – and I struggle with that.
My life, since 2008, has been full of “life events.” Deaths, illnesses, divorces, uncertainty, change… I haven’t really loved a lot of the events of the past six years. I have fussed at God about a lot of it. I’ve questioned God. I’ve questioned tenets of the Christian faith. I’ve rebelled – mostly internally. And, as I’ve mentioned, my “statement of belief” has gotten fuzzy.
But here’s the thing: Even though things aren’t so clear and exact for me anymore, I still believe there is a God. I still believe he loves me and the billions and billions of other people in the world. I don’t think he really wants me to get it all together before he’s able to love me. I don’t understand him…but I love him…and believe he is there. And, if things don’t go my way, I don’t think that means that he‘s stopped loving me. I believe he still loves me and that he is still good – regardless of the events of the day. If something really miraculous happens, it doesn’t mean that he loves me more than he loves the person whose prayer wasn’t answered the way they wished.
It’s a funny thing to doubt and believe at the same time, but that’s pretty much where I am… And, it’s taken me FOREVER to get as comfortable with that as I am. (Not to say that I’m totally okay with that…) But that’s where I stand.
I don’t totally get the whole thing. I can’t let go ‘cause it’s way down deep inside of me.- Carrie
To read Carrie’s blog, click here.