God is in the in-between. Maybe it doesn’t feel like it. Maybe it feels like He’s left you. Like He took you on a wild ride and then put a boot in your back and left you on your butt, surrounded by dust, nothing left of Him but the distant sound of screeching tires. ⠀
It might seem like He is gone. ⠀
But He didn’t leave you. He didn’t abandon His promises to you. He didn’t abandon His plans for you. He is there in the in-between.⠀
He is there in between the swirling dust, in between the quiet of your indecision, in between the whispers to follow ten different roads, in between the roar of expectations. He is there.⠀
He did not retreat to a throne in the sky, where He’ll whistle and roll His eyes, apathetic, indifferent – He did not.⠀
He did not speak love and life and value over you only to leave you dirty and alone and used up – He did not.⠀
He did not form every part of your being and count the hairs on your head and suffer for you only to discard you like weeks-old pizza with three different colors of fuzz – He did not.⠀
He loves you. Even here, here in the in-between - where maybe it doesn’t feel like love and maybe it doesn’t feel like a good plan. Maybe it doesn’t feel like anyone knows or cares or could possibly understand what churns around in your heart, threatening explosion, but He does.⠀
He knows. He sees you. He gets it. He is here. He is here in the in-between. ⠀
When Martha complained Mary wasn’t helping her and Jesus defended Mary’s choice, Jesus said these words which have become my go-to truth when I am feeling off or down or depressed or anxious.
He said we only need one thing. There is only one thing us humans need. It’s Jesus. So whether anxious thoughts are stemming from worry over a relationship or a job or a goal I haven’t accomplished yet - I can go back to this truth.
I only need one thing.
And I have it.
Sometimes I imagine losing everything else - I’ll imagine every relationship being destroyed, I’ll imagine none of my goals are ever met, I’ll imagine having nothing and no one but Jesus. I imagine this and I take a breath and I think about how even then I have the only thing I need.
And what is even better - better than knowing there is only one thing I need to be completely satisfied and fulfilled, better than that - is knowing it will not be taken away from me.
Jesus said it right there in His conversation with Martha and Paul wrote it later when he said that neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation can separate us from His love.
Not only do I have the one thing - the only thing I need - but it will not be taken away from me. Not today or tomorrow or ever.
One of the things I thought I would include in my book Capturing Thoughts was a collection of scripture reflections. There are so many scriptures I turn to in anxious moments and I wanted to share my thoughts on them individually- the things God has spoken to me through those bits of scripture, the reason each anchors me and calms me, the ways they move my perspective from myself and back onto my savior.
Instead, the book remained a collection of meditations, laments, and prayers and those reflections will be something I write over time and share here on my website.
When I am asked "How do you get to be so content in your singleness?" My first answer is always to suggest taking some time to be intentionally single, but my second answer is this - don't be afraid to be different.
Look around at this whole big world and try to imagine making your way in it without all of the cultural expectations. What if you didn't HAVE to mimic the typical American family? What if your main goal was to follow Jesus and raise happy kids?
Don't be afraid to live a life that doesn't look like everyone else.
Don't be afraid to have little in common with other families. You can still be friends ;)
Don't feel like you've done something wrong when you have Cherrios for dinner on the floor while you watch TV.
Don't feel like you're failing your kids if you don't have a single family dwelling, if you don't have pets, if you don't have a picket fence - if you don't have [the hundreds of unnecessary things so many of us think we HAVE to have.]
What is most important for you and your family? Being unscheduled? Spending lots of time with family? Travel?
Answer that and prioritize it when you make decisions. With every decision, you might look more and more different from the people around you, but you will be setting yourself up to be more content.
I don't know about you, but I choose content. Every time.
This is a snapshot of my son's birthday. If we were trying to be like everyone else, I'd be bringing him cupcakes for his class at school today. Instead, we woke up on a boat in the middle of a two and a half week trip. A barista bought him this cinnamon roll and put a candle in it and lit it for him, which was the sweetest, and I just asked him if he is happy right now and he said "yes," which is as good as it gets really.
Our life isn't perfect. The ways I choose to be different come with their own set of challenges. But, we're content.
You may need a break from sitting in a building on a certain day at a certain time, but you don’t need a break from being with other believers.
You may need a break from an organized Bible study, but you don’t need a break from pouring over scripture with your friends.
I love my country, but this country is not my God. I think I live in one of the greatest nations on earth - simply because people, for the most part, are free to do as they'd like with their lives, worship their God as they'd like.
This place is a blessing, but places change.
Which would you rather have – this answered prayer or the financial security?
And not that God could not or would not provide both of those things – that wasn’t the point of the whispered question. The whispered question was kind. The whispered question was really asking, where is your heart, where is your priority, who are you worshipping?Read More
I'm not sure how we got here - where tons of people including myself are commenting on one person's faith - someone we don't know personally and probably never will.
Ten years ago your name wouldn’t have popped up all over social media, most people would have no idea where you are on your faith journey, and I still wouldn’t know your name.
But here we are and I do know your name and I do know the tiniest, most miniscule snippet of your journey and I find myself sitting here with thoughts about it.
Anyway, I’m Stevie and I’m really into Jesus. I hope my life is - at least I’m attempting to make it – all about surrender to Him. So that’s the tiniest, most miniscule snippet of where I am in my journey.
Here’s the thing I wanted to say – I read a quote from you about how you are losing your faith and I related with every single word. I’ve wrestled and will continue to wrestle with these things too. I hear you.
And I love how your words come across as honest –I think we exist in the middle of a generation of people longing to be honest about where they are right now and how they are feeling and where they are struggling, but who also feel an intense pressure to cultivate a certain image, to fit into a mold. It’s especially prominent and, I think, especially damaging among Jesus followers.
Your words are joining a symphony of people saying “I’m not going to hide and pretend and fake.” I think you’re going to inspire others to do the same and this is exciting and encouraging to me. It isn’t scary or sad to me that someone is being honest about their doubt.
If God is real, He isn’t afraid of your doubt, or mine. He isn’t running from our questions. He isn’t devoid of answers, and He isn’t mad at us, or avoiding us, when we ask. If God is real, He is so far beyond our ability to comprehend that it’s kind of insane for me to think I would ever run out of questions about Him.
A God I can wrap my brain around isn’t worthy of worship.
There are a billion things I find strange about 2000's Christian culture in the wealthy West, but you hit on a big point of frustration for me. There isn’t much grey space.
Inside the organized church, it feels like we’re either in or out, like we are coloring inside the lines or we need to have our crayons taken away, like we are on board or thrown overboard, like we either say the right words or we better keep our traps shut. At least that is how it feels.
I imagine the pressure to stay “in” is even more intense from prominent positions in Christian organizations or when your paycheck is tied to your faith. So thank you. Thank you for being honest about where you are right now. It’s brave. Thank you for not pretending. Thank you for not faking it. Thank you.
If anything, and I know it isn’t worth much coming from a total stranger, your words sound to me like someone who just broke free of some chains he needed cut. We can’t find truth when we’re chained up with hiding or faking. And sometimes we can’t be open about where we are AND be accepted in a certain space.
I think you're on a crazy journey and I think it’s going to lead you right to the feet of Jesus eventually. I think this because you said you wanted to find genuine truth. And if you really go after it - if you really chase after genuine truth -you'll find it. You'll find Him.
A few years ago, I remember being a little devastated when multiple Christian leaders tweeted “Goodbye [person who is doubting/leaving faith/changing theology].” I didn’t like it. I don’t know if anyone is doing that to you on Twitter because I don’t hang out there much – I hope they aren’t – but I wish the instinct was to say something like “Hey [person who is doubting/leaving faith/changing theology], I see you, I hear you, I’m for you.”
So I guess that’s what I’m trying to say to you and anyone else feeling similarly. I believe what I believe. I believe in Jesus and I believe my whole life belongs to Him and I believe I will only ever be satisfied and free when my palms are open and I’m living a life surrendered to Him. AND I see you, AND I hear you, AND I’m for you.
I’m scooting over at the table where you’re still welcome, where you’re still seen, where you’re still loved.
This butterfly caught my eye as I was walking and I wondered if I could get close enough to take a picture.
It turned out to be exceedingly easy. The little guy made no move to fly out of my shot - it didn’t even flutter a wing to make it difficult for my camera to focus.