So, as it turns out, there is not really a “typical Christian”. Sure, there are the ones that we put on pedestals and admire their sweetly polished, simple life. But I have found real life to be messy, unpolished and full.
The faith I long pursued was blown out of the water recently as God began taking me on a journey toward a fresh one - one that is quirky, hard, loving but oh so much fun. I spent years being the “good girl”, always obeying the rules - all for obedience sake. And yes, I loved Jesus, but had only experienced what my faith looked like inside of the well-intentioned church box I had always put it in. It was a faith within boundaries.
God sent me on a very personal assignment - to be in pursuit of a fresh faith. In pursuit, because I have most definitely not arrived yet, and fresh because there wasn’t anything inherently wrong with the faith I had always had. It was doctrinally sound, but missing aspects of Jesus that I so desperately needed. God wasn’t nearly as all-consuming as He needed to be.
I've decided to share my journey in this little online space with you. Everything written here will be Christ - centered and bible based. There will be food, fellowship, faith & fun - all pouring out from my desire to pursue Jesus and the people He came for with everything I am.
With that said, I know that there are many of you here that do not share that same faith. I know you well and you are incredibly dear to me. It is extremely important to me that you know YOU are welcome here in this little online home too. I will do my best to write with grace and understanding while praying that my yearning to love you better somehow makes it onto this screen.
It is with great love - and a teaspoon of fear - that I share with you my pursuit of a fresh faith.
A Heart for the Nations
God's heart is for the nations. This is not a political statement in support or against the current officeholders, but the fact is that God loves all people groups. Jesus came for the black orphan, the privileged white teenager, the unseen Muslim woman, the beautiful agnostic single, the suburban Hindu mom, the most remote parts of Africa and the people who speak languages we have yet heard. As God began teaching me this, I wondered how I have gotten this wrong for so long. It's not that I ever thought that He didn't love people who were red, yellow, black and white, but it was that I had held the belief that it had nothing to do with me, apart from a mission trip status.
If God goes after the nations - why am I not doing the same? I’m not talking about signing up for a mission trip, I’m talking about my next door neighbor. I’m talking about making eye contact with the mom who walks her kids to school wearing her hidjab (Sadaf - did I spell that right?). I’m talking about asking the Hindu woman who checks me out at the grocery store about her beautiful Henna tattoo. These women - these families - are HERE and God has convinced me, through His inherent Word, that I will have to give an account for not reaching out to the people that He has intentionally placed in my life.
This idea has radically changed me. It brings tears to my eyes to think of all the people that God brought into my life after I prayed a simple prayer of - bring these people to me. They have always been here, of course, but I prayed to see them with fresh eyes - through the lens of the love of Jesus.
These women from all races and religious backgrounds have become precious friends. It makes me cringe when I think of all I missed out on by secluding myself - perhaps unintentionally - from people who are different than me. Do we agree on everything? Absolutely not. But what I'm finding out is that we are way more alike than we are different - and that is an incredibly beautiful realization.
I pray that you’ll begin to pray that same prayer with me here. That we would begin to see all people for who they really are - people in need of community, just like us. I cannot wait to hear about what God does through that prayer in your life.
Jesus came so that we would have life and have it abundantly. At some point I realized that my life sure was busy, but it I wouldn't describe it as abundant, so I am now on a mission to change that.
When I think about abundant living, it has nothing to do with material items of course, but it instead looks like going on a walk with my kids or throwing the football outside. Abundant living is taking cookies to our grieving friends. Abundant living is going on vacation and making friends while you are there. Abundant living is putting our phones down and laughing with our friends and family. It is being fully present; making the most out of every moment while we have it to live.
Abundant living is not filling our lives with busy, but instead filling our lives with purpose. It is living intentionally and loving well.
In living the abundant life, we begin to see traces of God's faithfulness and His handiwork woven into the fabric of our everyday lives, but we must seek this perspective out. It has become a daily manna for me - just enough to keep going when discouragement seeks to destroy. My sincerest hope is that here, on this little space of the internet webs, that we can encourage each other to live the abundant life.
An Active Faith
I had been a good little church girl for so long that I never felt the desperate need for Jesus in my daily life. But to realize that not only is He is active in my church building amongst believers, but that He is also active in our homes, schools, workplaces, marriages, dating life and families was to realize the greatness of my God.
I had only known Him to be in those places in a technical sense - He is GOD, so of course, He is everywhere. But I had never experienced His movement outside of the church building and mission trips. It was such a little faith, and probably to an extent, it still is.
Can I be super honest? I was - and had been for a long time - bored in my faith. I had done Bible Studies and sang the worship songs and served in our church. But I was so bored, y'all. I wasn't learning anything new, purposed just for me and me alone directly from the Holy Spirit. Living daily in dependence on Jesus's mercy is such a more exhilarating way to live!
If you are feeling stale and stagnant in your faith, I have good news for you. Your journey starts today. You have a place here. There are still many days - heck, many parts of my day - that I get stuck in a feeling of doubt and faithlessness. But, God always delivers me. My prayer for you, sweet reader, is that wherever you find yourself today, that you would be encouraged here. That you would not read these words and see a woman who has already achieved an active faith, but one who, instead, actively (and imperfectly) pursues Jesus. You will find the Holy Spirit active in your life when you reach for Him with a fresh faith today.
Y'all, there is so much more I seek to learn on this journey toward a fresh faith. In fact, I feel like I'll never arrive at whatever it is that I'm trying to attain this side of heaven. That's not a failure, that's an emptiness that only the perfection of Heaven is designed to fill.
Would y'all join me on this journey? The one where we can admit that we will always be flawed, Christians will never be perfect, but that we can spur each other another on toward the goal of abundant living, active faith and loving others well for the sake of the cross.
I am so beyond thankful that you have shown up to this place. It is Holy internet ground for me, and I truly hope you enjoy the time you spend here. Now grab a creamy cup of coffee, and read on.