Category Archives: God, Religion & Church

The “Christian” Reaction


I have been saddened, confused, and often disgusted by the Christian reaction to the struggle for equality taking place in our nation. I say “the Christian reaction”, though I know many Christians who strongly support equality, because those who protest the rights of others seem to be those that the world hears. I say “the Christian reaction” because, with some exceptions, our churches and our leaders still pride themselves on their staunch stance of disapproval and their willingness to say “the unpopular thing.” In so many churches the ability to rise above ideas like tolerance is worn like a badge of honor, and those of us who enjoy the world with a softer and milder approach are thought to have fallen victim to approval seeking behavior, lacking in the strength to stand against popular opinion.

What arrogance is it that these people never stop to ask themselves if it may be they who are wrong.

It saddens me that there is a world of people convinced that they are hated because of who they choose to love. Many would say “I hate the sin, not the sinner.” Having been on the sinner side of the equation I can assure you, hate feels like hate no matter what part of me it’s directed at.

It saddens me that an entire population of people is being made to feel as though God is only accessible to them if they are willing to set aside a piece of themselves to reach Him, a theology without precedent in Christ. Let me be clear, if your only interest in my soul is outlining the sin within it; if you feel like you need to tell me, “God loves you but not your sin”, or you want to sit with me and share the scriptures that tell me where I’m in the wrong without a solid foundation of mutual love and respect between us, you are not adequately showing me a loving and accessible God.

I am confused by a church that taught me for years that the most important role we Christians play in this life is to bring the love of Christ to an unbelieving world, that souls claimed for God is our greatest success, and then alienates an entire population of the world with talk of hate and division.

I am confused by a church that demands freedom from state and government influence and intrusion, but meddles in government affairs with lobbying and protests and boycotts and public statements of position on topics not at all the affair of the church.

Speaking of affairs, I am confused by a church that does not protest the laws of divorce as an attack on marriage. Call me simpleminded but isn’t the ending of a marriage more of an attack on the institution than a wedding?

I am confused as to why Christians feel they own the idea of marriage – I’d be willing to bet that people were getting married many, many years before there was a Christian theology to practice and preach at those of us who are doing it wrong. I am confused by how a wedding of people who are strangers can undermine your own marriage, how any declaration of love can impact the institution of marriage as a whole.

And, finally, I am disgusted: by the hypocrisy and the doubletalk running rampant within so much of the church; that so much attention is focused outward when so much needs work on the inside. I am disgusted by the lies these Christians tell themselves, by the scripture tossing that is used to defend a bigoted and hateful position. I am appalled that the modern day Christian uses their Bible to rob others of civil liberties in the same way that those who went before them oppressed women and enslaved minorities.

I am disgusted that, no matter how many times it’s said, these Christians cannot understand (or do not care) that they are hurting people; their behavior and protests and angry letters and Facebook statuses and viral memes are all causing actual pain to actual people who have done nothing to deserve the onslaught that is the Christian attack.

The truth is you cannot convince a population of people how wonderful and loving God is by actively protesting their civil liberties and meddling disapprovingly in their very personal and very real matters of the heart. The truth is that showing people a wonderful and loving God is the only Christian public service that really matters at all.

The only hope I can offer is that there exists a different kind of Christian from the one described above. There is a body of believers that, together, builds a church of the spirit focused on communion. There is a movement of love quietly sweeping the nation. It is my belief that the power of love is greater than that of hate. It is my fervent prayer that someday soon the voice of this movement will drown out that of a church too far gone from the model of Christ.

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Estrogen-drenched, Philosophical Tailspin


I very recently had occasion to attend a wedding shower. Normally I avoid with plague-like obsession any sort of event that ends in “shower” unless it involves bathing, with the feeling that they are the estrogen drenched olympics of social obligation and I have no stomach for copious amounts of estrogen. This particular shower was for the engaged daughter of a friend of mine and because I love and have great respect for her family I decided to go. Besides, given I’m in my third month of pregnancy, I figured I’d finally be estrogen drenched enough myself to fit right in.

Leading up to the event there was the normal amount of dread that accompanies any decision I make to attend shower festivities, dread that sees me asking my more estrogen appropriate sisters if I have to play the stupid games and do I have to be nice to everyone. I have such a loathing of wedding and baby showers, in fact, that I have seemingly blocked from my memory those of my own sister. I’ve been told I was in attendance, and there’s video to prove it, and I know these particular events were before I was drinking in earnest or doing drugs of any kind, but I cannot remember a single moment of either of the two I was present for. I’m already dreading my own baby shower, asking my sister on more than one occasion to please not play any “stupid games”.

In addition to the normal dread, there was a new sense of apprehension about attending this particular shower. There were bound to be various members of my former church present, people I hadn’t seen or spoken to for the better part of a year, people I wasn’t at all sure I wanted to see. Would it be awkward? Would I feel out of place? What would the reaction to my pregnancy be?

I’m happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Not by the shower, of course, that was the predictable, mind numbing display of giggling games that I still cannot believe any person actually enjoys, and the properly placed ooh and aah of well-practiced women watching the opening of gifts. My contribution to the actual wedding shower portion of the day involved bringing a gift that my sister and I decided to wrap in a purple vinyl tablecloth, introducing myself as “just here for the cake”, and doing as little as politely possible to involve myself in any gaming activities.*

No, the surprise came in the form of those church folk I was so apprehensive about seeing and in the genuine pleasure it was to see many of them. There was a warmth and affection that, unbeknownst to me, I had been missing. These ladies were exuberant in sharing their excitement at my pregnancy. They laughed with me as I acted out various ways I would try to keep my daughter away from the color pink and smiled encouragingly as I talked about names I was thinking of. This group of people, friends of mine that I had walked away from in my anger at the select few and the system as a whole, seemed genuinely happy to hear that we had signed on a house and would be moving into it soon. They wanted to know what it looked like and where it was, they wanted to hear how happy I was about everything. They were glad to hear that my relationship is solid and wonderful. They shared stories of encouragement for the next months from their own lives, children, and relationships. I spent the afternoon laughing and, game playing portion aside, not watching the clock. When I finally did leave it was to a round of hugs and well wishes and, yes, estrogen drenched giddiness about when they would all get to meet my little one.

I’ve spent the last 24 hours or so thinking about this. This was not the reaction I had anticipated. Actually, the reality of this welcome stands in sharp contract to the stern faced crowd of judgment ready, freedom crushers I had painted in my mind. I find it perplexing. In my anger at a particular situation and for a few errant individuals, did I really lose sight of the goodness of the rest? Does this mean that there might be more that I was wrong about? If so, what is it? Did I, in the undiscerning fury that comes from betrayal, turn my back on a source of joyful encouragement and friendship the likes of which I have not been able to replace completely?

Above everything else that was surprising, I think what stood out most starkly to me was the sense of happiness that infused these women. This is, no doubt, in large part to my current hormonally-based intolerance for the amount of whining, complaining, opinion tossing and general discontent that I seem to sense from a portion of my circle of friends as of late. I feel as though I have become a near recluse in my community, occasionally coming out for the companionship of my sisters and little else, simply because I cannot stand the incessant negative focus of the conversations that take place. There are relationships that are terrible, but no one is leaving them; jobs that aren’t paying the bills or aren’t fulfilling, but no one is looking for new work; personal issues of near crisis, but no one wants to go to therapy. Is it any wonder, with the amount of unaddressed pain in their day to day lives, a few of my friends are quick to cruelly cut down my choice of baby names, to point out the difficulty that comes with moving farther away from the circle, and say time and again, with a certain amount of glee, “if you think it’s bad now, just wait a few more months” when they hear that I’m not sleeping well or that this, that, or the other thing is sore.

I clearly remember leaving the church to join a community and saying loud and clear, “These people love and accept me no matter what!” At the time, it was true, I felt loved and accepted in my decisions; decisions to keep drinking, to embrace God if I needed to but not the church, to be as much of myself as I wanted to be. These days, however, I don’t feel quite as supported or as unquestionably accepted to be who or what I am becoming. I wonder if it easier for my community to support me when I am struggling. I am beginning to believe that, in some circles, it is easier to support someone who is struggling than it is to be happy for someone who is happy. Or, perhaps it’s not that at all. Perhaps we simply feel accepted in the environments that match us in that moment. Perhaps a group of well-established women who have found their way to a sort of balance in life feel more supportive to me in this season of living because I am also feeling balanced and joyful. Just like a community of soul-searching individuals who have not yet found their way to peace felt more accepting to me when that is where I was myself.

In the end, I don’t have any of the answers. I love very much my community circle, even if I don’t always feel particularly lifted up by them. And I realize now that I may have been missing out on something else that I love when I turned my back on an entire church of people over an incident of personal betrayal. It seems to me that I may find, in the end, I need one just as much as the other. If that’s the case, it would appear I may owe a few people an apology for my lack of trust and belief in them as individuals and for lumping them all in with what I (still) see as a depressingly sinking ship.

For the record, being tossed into a philosophical tailspin by my participation in one has not, in any way, heightened my appreciation of those gift-giving extravaganza’s known as the “shower”.

*I should mention here that for those that enjoy these things, I’m sure the shower was lovely. The food was excellent, the hostess was flawless and the company was truly wonderful. Should that lovely family be a reader of this blog it’s important to understand my opinion in no way reflects your success… I’m just a shower hater, don’t mind me.

I Believe In Miracles


I believe in miracles. Now, to be fair, I also believe in wood fairies and elves. I plan my attack for surviving the zombie apocalypse and can convince myself quite readily that toys come to life at night. Those things aren’t the same as miracles, though. I believe in those things because I want to. I think it’s fun to think I’m not alone in the woods when I’m hiking, that one day I might experience an “other world” out there. I think it’s neat to figure out whether I should go by boat or land, or stay put, when the zombies come. My imagination is my playground and I create a world there that I want to believe in.

Miracles are different, though. I believe in miracles the way I believe in science. I don’t understand them, but I’ve seen them in action. I believe in miracles because I have seen the evidence of their reality in my very own life. I do not doubt that I need oxygen to live and breathe. I do not doubt that miracles happen everyday.

Many people would consider my recovery from addiction and alcoholism to be a medical sort of recovery. Science says that if you go to rehab and follow steps x, y, and z then you are no longer an addict. Well, actually, science says that you’re an addict for the rest of your life but if you do what you’re told to then you can live without acting out on your addictive behaviors.

I, on the other hand, know my recovery to be miraculous. First of all, I haven’t followed any of the steps. Even the rehab I went to was anti-program. I’ve never sat in a circle and said “Hi, I’m an addict.” I actually got kicked out of rehab for being rebellious and overly anti-establishment. I hang out in bars and around people who do drugs. Science says I should be a big old relapsed mess of drug bags and hangovers.

Even that might not be the miracle. I know me. I know me better than I know anything else. I know that I’m not the kind of girl that gets and stays clean because of willpower or desire for a better life or any other such romantic idea. I’m the kind of girl that finds dark alleys romantic and thinks cocaine in bathrooms is sexy. I’m not the girl that gets and stays sober.

Except that I am. I am sober and I am, apparently, that kind of girl. Because I am the kind of girl that believes in healing, in miracles. I believe I am one.

Not convinced?

When I was in my very late teens I was told that I had a disease called poly cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), characterized by dozens of little cysts on my ovaries that were continuously growing and bursting. I was told that, because of this disease, I would never be able to naturally conceive a child. I spent the first 10 years or so of that diagnosis mourning the idea that I would never be able to have a natural child without a lot of difficult and expensive medical intervention. Slowly I grew accustomed to the idea (or hardened to the mourning) and declared I didn’t want to have children, conceding that maybe someday I would adopt. I relish the role of Community Aunt and, over the last couple of years especially, have come to peace with what I believed to be my reality.

There was one moment, perhaps a year ago, at a nighttime church service, in which I swore I had been healed. There were visiting ministers, prayers for healing, shouting prophesies… all the things that get a good Evangelical worked up and feverish. I swore I had felt my insides being healed, I gave thanks for this healing. Months later, I had an ultrasound for an unrelated condition. The doctor mentioned the cysts on my ovaries in passing, pointing them out casually on his way by. My heart sank. I hadn’t been healed after all. I had fallen prey to the emotionalism of an Evangelical service and been a fool to believe otherwise. My heart hardened further.

Not a very convincing story of the miraculous, it it? I suppose not. Unless, that is, you fast forward another year or so to present day and find out that, to my complete astonishment, I am pregnant. Seven weeks pregnant with the naturally conceived child that was supposed to be impossible. That sounds much more on par with the miraculous.

The thing is, a few cysts doesn’t matter to God, or whether or not they are visible on an ultrasound. If He wants a baby to be conceived, He’s just going to go ahead and make that happen. Why? Well, because He believes in healing, in miracles.

You might say, “Well, there’s a chance the doctors were wrong or that you got pregnant by a fluke. Perhaps the cysts weren’t erupting that day or the egg sneaked by them all Mission Impossible like.” And there’s a chance you could be right. There’s the possibility science can explain exactly what happened. It’s nice when God let’s science find the reason behind miracles, but it doesn’t make things any less miraculous. Of course, I choose to believe in wood fairies. And oxygen. You choose what you like.

Knowing Nothing


I’ve been wanting to talk about God lately, but I haven’t been sure what to say. It’s like I’m relearning everything, starting at the very beginning, and what do you say about that? Hey guys, read all about how I know nothing?

Thing is, knowing nothing is pretty incredible from where I’m standing. I’m starting over when it comes to me and God, but I don’t feel alone or afraid. I don’t have any of the answers, can’t seem to know with surety what is right and what is wrong, but I don’t feel out of touch. I’m moving slow, if at all, one foot tentatively in front of the other, but I don’t feel like I’m behind.

God brought me back to where I know nothing, so that he can teach me everything.

The other day I was driving in my car, reaching out to God for the first time in awhile, almost shyly, singing Misty Edwards’ song “Light of Your Face”. It’s a great worship song but, like every other worship song I think is great, my favorite thing about it used to be how much fun it is to sing, and the memories I have of singing it. (Obvious side note: when you’re not singing worship songs for the right reason, it might be time to forget everything you know and start over.)

So the song begins, “Oh Lord bless me and keep me, cause your face to shine on me. Lord be gracious, with the light of your countenance, give me peace.” Good stuff, all of it. Then it shifts to, “For I live only to see your face, so shine on me.” Pause. Singing in my car, I come to those words and I stop singing. Why? Because it’s not true. It is not true of me that I live only to see God’s face. I think back to all of the times, in all of the places, that I’ve ever sung that song. I try to think of every time I might have sung those kinds of words in worship. I can’t think of a single time that I have truly and totally lived only to see God’s face, only to worship him, only to be with him.

I realize that, even months after leaving the traditional church, I’m still playing a part, I’m still saying what I should when I’m supposed to. This isn’t doing God, or me, any favors.

I realize it if it’s not true then I shouldn’t sing it… or say it… or write it. If I am not living solely to see God’s face then I shouldn’t pretend that I am. The revelation continues.  I understand that when it is time for me to be in that level of relationship with God it will be because he brought me there, not because I elbowed my way to the front of the room.

The song continues, “Let the light of your face shine down on my heart and let me feel it.” These words are true, I sing them again and again and again. Show me God, in the way I understand, let me feel it. Let me feel it, let me feel it. I realize that, above anything else, this is my prayer. I realize I’m singing out to whatever and whoever God really is, and not what I’ve made of him. Let me feel it God, let me know the real you.

I see a deer in the snowy woods just to the side of the road. It’s a little understanding God and I came to a long time ago. A deer spotting always comes when I’m particularly in need of knowing that God is listening, that I am loved by him. I keep singing and slow down to admire this deer. Another steps out, then another. I drive slowly by them, three deer in the woods, staring at me as I go by. My heart fills, the smile grows. I can feel it.

Two days later. Same song, same search. I’m walking my dog in a snowstorm. Big, fat, heavy flakes of snow are being dumped over the woods and back roads. It’s a gray day and it’s depressing me and so I take to the outdoors in hopes of finding a little solace. I’m singing all alone in the middle of nowhere. “Let the light of your face shine down on me, and let me feel it.” Again and again.

I stop with a sudden realization, looking around as snow meets snow. The light of God’s face. God’s face. I’m looking at it. Here in the middle of the woods, bundled up to keep warm, my dog looking at me curiously as I breathe deeply, filling my lungs with crisp, refreshing air; here I am looking at God’s face. I am walking on, singing in, living with God’s face. He is everywhere, all around me. I can feel it, and it’s amazing.

These two moments are true unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced with God before. They hold a deeper truth for me because they are mine, because I found them in my own searching, because no one told me where to go and what to expect when I got there. These two moments are gifts that God presented to me in response to a very specific, and very genuine, prayer. This is the kind of truth that is sustaining. This is authenticity. I can feel it.

tightrope


An except from my journal, “Why is it so hard to stay riveted on God?! Why when I freely proclaim and hold such gratitude for all that He’s done for me and that He’s saved me from, do I so quickly ‘burn out’?  Is it the same peculiar personality trait that makes me an addict – a facet of my internal self-destruct, my immediate gratification demands – or do others struggle with this very same thing?  I’m afraid and I don’t know of what.  God help me.”

I am the woman on the tightrope, only there is no netting below (back up plans are for those who aren’t truly committed).  One wrong move and I fall, a breath’s distraction and I lose everything.  The wire burns against the sole of my feet, steadily dependable.  I’m not afraid of falling, that idea hasn’t even crossed my mind.

I”m afraid of jumping.

I don’t want to.  I don’t want to go anywhere, to look away, to lose my path.  I have never felt anything like the powerful love of Christ.  I have never known freedom like I do when I know myself in Him.  There is nothing – no drug, no scene, no release – that could be compared to Him.  And as so often we sing, “it’s overwhelming”.  To time and again fall only to be lifted back up, time and again to turn away only to be found and restored, His love is beyond anything I could paint with mere words or song.  I don’t want to lose this.  But sometimes it feels like that’s just what I want and that, really, it’s just not up to me.

I’m afraid of jumping.

Because good things don’t come to those who are undeserving and history has warned me that moments of peace are followed by years of tumult and it might be better to sell myself short before the truth comes out anyway.  Whatever that is.  I think that’s what I’m afraid of…whatever the truth might be.

And I wonder, those who wag their fingers and name me as proud, what kind of arrogance is it to think you deserve to be where He has brought you?  What kind of dismissive gratitude says ‘thanks very much now pass the host’?  How do you manage to sit the fatness of your bottoms in these chairs of comfort and pass that labeling gaze on those still struggling to arrive, when the very fires of hell are still cooling from your heels!

And so, I am the woman on the tightrope and, every so often, I forget to keep my eyes on Him and I look instead to the body of His church, the truly lost, and the sorrow freezes my progress.

Is it better to jump now than to live a lie?

Surely there is an option c?

I’m willing to listen…

desperately seeking silence!


Don’t act like it isn’t sometimes too much for you, too. I’m so tired of disingenuity. If you’re alive; if you’re breathing and you’re caring then it’s sometimes too much for you, too! I mean, don’t you ever just want your head to Shut. The. Eff. Up. Already?! Tick tock tick tock. Like heaven forbid some half formed idea go unexamined. What is my brain telling my own damn self that I don’t already know anyway? And how many more times can I think through the same tired thoughts, on the same worn out circle before I realize (again) that, oh yeah, I don’t know the answer.

I mean, I come here to write about something, about one thing that my mind is replaying over and over, to share it and highlight this journey of mine like I promised, and then my brain goes nuts, absolute bananas, lightbulbs flashing everywhere. I’m so damned indecisive I can’t even decide what thought process to focus on long enough to write it down. I could start taking requests. What kind of b.s. are you in the mood for today? God is so good? God is so hard? I love life, I hate living, I’m lonely, I admire my independence? Ministry is the greatest blessing I’ve ever been given? The ‘call’ is God’s great curse on the desire to live a ‘normal life’? I like men, I like women, I like sobriety, I wanna do a line, I hate my body, I love my curves, I love Vermont, I crave the concrete, kumbaya and hard f’n rock… Dude.

Don’t tell me your head doesn’t do it, too. And it’s so unbelievable ridiculous the way we smile and nod and act all in the very center of control. Have you ever thought about how ridiculous we really are? I mean… really? Why are we trying to look so in control all the time anyway? What the hell was the last thing you were ever actually in control of? Yeah. Nothin’. Just. Say. It. You got nothin’.

Doesn’t that feel better?

The truth is so annoying when I’m all wrapped up in my head like this. Seriously. It’s so annoying I don’t even want to type it. I can feel my lip curling as I think about it. Because when does it stop, when does it all just go away??

When we surrender.

I warned you. Ugh, annoying. Trite platitudes designed to keep you down, rob you of your freedom and enslave your precious independence. Well… except that it’s not. Except that it’s absolutely true that the only time I’ve ever felt free from the nauseating-endless-nonstop-rollercoaster-vegas-lightbulb-flashing mindtrap of mine is when my heart and spirit were in a place of complete surrender to God, where His will was the only way and nothing else mattered.

And I’m not there right now. I’m no where close to that kind of anxiety-free, easy street kinda livin’ right now. And I’m pissed about it. I’m pissed because I worked damn hard to get there the first time, got myself out of a lot of bad entanglements, relationships and mindsets to be able to relax with that kind of surrendered freedom. And then what’d I do? One by one my pretties, one by one.

Annoying.

What’s annoying exactly? That I’m going to have to go back through some of that stuff to get there again. What? You didn’t seriously think I was going to hang out in here in ‘every man for himself land’ did ya’? This endless brain conversation that keeps me up nights and gets me up in the morning can kiss my UV-ray colored derriere thank you very much! One doesn’t taste of the promise land and decide that the ghetto actually suited them better, trust me.

So here’s the thing. Stop acting like you don’t do it too. Stop plastering on that so-fake-even-God-is-pissed smile for everyone. Just fix it. Jump the hoops, cut the ties, wave goodbye and get it done.

Surrender dude. It’s the only way up.

Letting go (have no fear)


Fear is the great crippler of our generation. Fear that the things that have been promised to us are not real, that the Promised Land is filled with giants too formidable to be slain afterall. There is, in this generation, a pattern of those we have trusted over-promising and under-delivering. Looking around we are convinced that no one is telling us the truth.

It carries into every area of our lives, including our relationship with God. We raise battle fists into the air. “Surrender! Surrender! Let go!” we cry as our fingers close tighter around those things we, ourselves, hide. (how i long for a church where judgement is the greatest of all sins and no one feels too ashamed to taste grace) While the allure of perfect peace and joy are tempting; in this age of free 30 day trials we want a taste before we buy.

God isn’t having any of it. He’s old school that way. From an era where promises meant something and life was all or nothing. And so we damn ourselves to limbo while He watches us perplexed.

With one hand we reach toward God and the idea of the real, lasting fulfillment that we’re told He offers – Sunday morning services and the latest Christian rock CD. We do as much as we can manage without signing any commitments. We take notes to sermons we only half hear and remember to thank God if things go well.

In our other hand we hold those things we call Plan B. A night or two out with the girls or the guys seeking anything but Christ, the relationship we know is poisoning us from the inside out, whatever those things may be that, in Sunday circles (division born of judgement), we don’t talk about or reference. And oh, how we know the illusion of their allure. There is no at-last peace and assurity in these things we cling so stubbornly to – but there is something. There is something that, for the moment or two we are engaged, makes us not alone, not afraid. “It isn’t what I want”, we reason, “but it’s what I’ve got and there’s no point in letting go until I’m sure of this something better.”

I wish I could scream from the mountaintops the truth instead of the lies we are believing; the depth of our illusion and the reality of His promise. All of our self-loathing, insecurity, fear, shame, loneliness – all of it – everything – gone!

There is one moment. One terrifying moment, that seems to steal our very breath, is the cost of living in the middle of the certainty – the peace and joy everyone wants and no one seems to get. There is one fraction of time where, no matter who you are and what your story, your fear will battle you hard and only the purposeful exercise of your will can push you through.

It comes with the letting go.

You have to believe that even if everyone else you’ve ever met is a liar, God is not. Even if no one has ever truly, deeply loved you, God does. If everyone else has eventually left, hurt you and let you down, God has not.

He stands in the exact same place He’s always stood, offering the exact same thing He’s always offered, available in the exact same way it’s always been available. Whatever it is you want out of life – whatever it is you truly desire, without exception – He’s waiting to give it to you.

It comes with the letting go because He’s prepared to fill both hands.

“…the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:8 (NAS)

double-minded (adj) – wavering or undecided in mind

*While I don’t often reference my own experience in musings such as these, I feel this time I should. I hurt for our generation and the lies we have believed. I can stand with assurity behind the things I say because I live them. Life is rarely perfect, the cost of a fallen world. Still, I stand today with peace unlike any I have ever known with a joy that defies circumstance. Letting go of all that I held onto made the difference in my life between fitting in and stepping aside. I am always available to share my story as proof of what God can and has done. Please believe me when I tell you that those things you are seeking are so readily available – if only you trust. You don’t have to feel alone or afraid anymore.

(originally written 03/29/09)