Hope you were sitting down!
I finished something. A book! With big words and everything. This accomplishment alone is perfect evidence of not only the goodness of God, but also his power. Because finishing things is hard.
Come to think of it, starting things is hard too. After this tornado called Covid ripped through our lives, I felt disconnected from my old self but also completely disoriented as to how to live as my “new self”. I missed the confidence of “being me” and “knowing what I was supposed to be doing.” Even if I wasn’t very good at it, I used to THINK I knew what I was doing. Those were the days!!
Please forgive me for all the things. For being opinionated. For not having an opinion. For overworking. And for doing nothing. As I look back on three (oh my word how is it three?) years of tumult, I am potentially perceiving a silver lining. All the stuff that happened inside and outside my heart smashed up my routines and eliminated my externally supported religious behavior. And once the dust settled and the swelling went down- I found myself COMPLETELY lacking. But also, I found God lacked nothing.
I know. Alert the media. One more person aware that they were doing much of “Christian Life” in an anemic, self-supported way while God stood by holding a cold cup of coffee. Invited to my world but not ruling it. So, when the music stopped and we all scrambled for chairs, I fell. And it hurt.
But unlike most existential crossroads, this wasn’t only deeply personal – it was universal. The entire world was questioning everything from the government to buffet style dining. Moving through all the stages of grief: anger, defiance, depression, I was shocked at how easy it was to NOT go to church, read the Bible, pray. Was it true that a lifetime of Christian obedient behavior could be undone in a matter of months? How do the faithful remain faithful when the behaviors that equaled “faithful” are suspended?
Good news. I reexamined the Good News. Like sifting the rubble after a hurricane, I excavated my beliefs and found the foundation firm. Because God is true and does not engage in lip service. However, much of my world (and my behavior in the world) was exactly that. Lip service. Thanks to Covid (and midlife, and all the other stuff) I stood bare-baby-naked in the light of his truth. While painful, it’s incredibly freeing. What does God following look like? Not on the outside (because clearly my external behaviors didn’t go the distance) but on the inside. Inside me.
It's quite a story. Not the story we are used to reading because my story HAS to include all the failed attempts at God following. God works through my failure much more powerfully than he has ever worked through my success. And I am stubborn and stupid. And most of my growth is best described as “kicking and screaming”. God asked me to write a story that reflected his perfect work inside an imperfect life. And it’s the HARDEST BEST thing I have ever tried to do.
So there it is. Well actually, it’s here
I hope you find it helpful. I hope you see this amazing God shining through and redeeming a broken human. I’m not the person I once was. And hopefully, I will always be morphing into the person He created me to be. Because no one wants me to stay bare-baby-naked. And that’s the truth.
Your very best friend and now distinguished author,