Hi Hello Dear Loved Ones and Strangers!
Welcome to my Blog; can I get you anything? Hot chocolate, a big ole hug, a nice hand hold? Please make yourself at home!
I’m sitting outside of my dorm (up against the brick wall completely burrito-ed in a blanket). I don’t think I’m crazy here, but I really enjoy being cold.
This is gonna be a religious blog post, and despite whatever you may believe, I’d invite you to read! Who knows, maybe you’ll learn some cool things about yourself (or this great big world we get to occupy for a little bit).
I grew up very religious ((shoutout to my Episcopalian middle/high school)). I was raised Methodist by some really cool peeps (my raised-catholic momma (who hates being called mama, sorry) and my preacher-kid daddio (who has never been called that before, but hey I’m trying new things). My grandma is this rocking awesome Methodist Preacher who marches for equality and loves herself a good glass of wine! But the dopest (a really great adjective, right?) thing about how I was raised was the way my family let us kiddos choose what we believed. I know a lot of people who were forced to believe this-or-that and therefore resented it. People don’t really like being told what to believe, ya know?
I don’t have that ~cool~ testimony where God like pancake-flipped my life in this miraculous way, but I’d argue that my journey won’t be over until I take my last breath. No one’s testimony is ever complete until they are!
I grew up with a really strong faith; I had my doubts as most questioning kids do, but I never really experienced a total blackout of my faith. When I was a freshman in high school, I struggled with a lot of mental health issues ((if you’ve read my blog before you might know a lil about that)) like big time anxiety issues. I started to fall into that spiral where I was mad at God.
“Hey God, if you’re so freaking great and loving and all that, then why did my camp counselor kill herself? Why did one of my best friends cut his wrists in the bathroom? Why do I want to not live anymore? If you’re really up there then get me out of this. Don’t let me wake up tomorrow. I don’t want anymore of this bs.”
((my fingers are getting very chilly at this point, so I apologize for these frozen-not-so-poetic words))
I was frustrated and mad and felt as if everything I’d been taught was some watered down truth meant to put a band-aid on all the hurt around me. It felt like religion was an excuse to ignore the real world, to ignore the real issues, to ignore the pain. I was done with the hypocrisy of those around me; I was done with the idea of suffering; I was done with feeling like my anxiety could suddenly go away if I were just more faithful in my God.
I didn’t stop believing in God, but I stopped loving him; I stopped having faith in his goodness. I was convinced that christianity was a whole load of crap, and that everyone around me was just being naive in their blind faith.
Then I went to my favorite place in the world, no not Disney World (even though that is up there). I went to Camp Cheerio, which is definitely the best summer camp in the whole world! It was my last year as a camper and I was not at all ready for those amazing memories to end. It was our camp-out night, a fine Wednesday night, and we laid out under the stars. My counselor gave some devotion that has long since left my mind, but I remember laying there under those beautiful stars and for the first time in almost a year, I prayed. I was sort of at a loss for words, but God has this miraculous way of speaking for me when I don’t know what to say. So there I was, staring at a sky full of hope and wonder counting shooting stars and praying; it was the calmest I had felt in such a long time. I felt the Holy Spirit work in me that night.
Later in the session, I sat in the woods by myself (a fun thing called Solo Night), on top of a fallen tree, with a bible open in my lap. I’d always loved the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, so I figured I should start there. I read this story that I’d heard so many times before, but for the first time I felt like I understood Joseph – a man who had everything taken from him, a man who was utterly alone in the universe – I saw how God delivered him through all the bs of life. But the most amazing thing to me was how Joseph was so strong in his faith through it all. That couldn’t be naive blind faith, that was something else. That was an amazing belief in something bigger than himself.
I am so far from perfect and I deal with strife over guilt every day, but I remember that someone loved me enough to die for me. Which in theory sounds like something we would do for any of our loved ones, but he didn’t just die for one of us – he died for each and every one of us. The liars, the cheaters, the murderers, the crooked politicians, the sex offenders, the rapists, the worst of the worst, and the best of the best. How absolutely wild is that? It will never make sense to me. Ever.
There is nothing in this post that I can say to capture the absolute peace I feel in my God. There is no way to capture his grace. But when I think of the love God has for me and every one of the 7 billion people on this earth, I am overcome with emotion.
I can sit here and type forever, but nothing is going to measure up. Nothing is gonna feel like enough. I encourage you to look at the little things in your life that have gone so inexplicably right, those things that seem like daily miracles, the way your little sister smiles, the way the sky is painted every morning and every night, think of it all. There is something bigger than us out there in that wonderful sky. When I hear the way human voices come together to create the most beautiful and intricate of harmonies, I cannot help but think of the wonderful things God has put in my life.
There is something so much bigger than us; there is something so much lovelier than us. I’m not tryna make any of you religious or anything, but it’s a pretty cool experience and I highly recommend it.
“Let us acknowledge the Lord;
let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.”
That’s pure poetry y’all.