Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019. The good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly.


Tues. Dec. 31st, 2019

Hello friends,

On this last morning of the year, I woke up early (5:30am), and did my usual routine. I made coffee, turned on the fireplace, and snuggled into my morning prayer chair with Charlie. For those of you that don’t know, Charlie is our rescue dog and he is truly a light in our lives. We have a friend who was struggling with depression last year, and you know what his doctor’s advice was?  Get a dog.  And he did.  And he said it changed everything

Dog lovers get it. I mean, I know many who own a dog, but owning a dog and loving a dog are two different animals, right?  (pun intended.) 

Dogs can teach us so much about living life moment to moment. They don’t worry about the future. They pretty much just accept life on it’s own terms and seem happy with whatever is given to them, whether little or much. They don’t hold grudges. They are always happy to see those that they love and don’t hold back on expressing their joy when you walk into a room. I can seriously just run to the grocery store and come back 20 minutes later, and the greeting I get is like I’ve been gone a year.  With all the jumping up in the air, tail wagging, and whimpering with happiness he can muster, Charlie will always make sure I know that someone is glad I just walked through the door. He makes me smile every single day, and he is one blessing I am definitely grateful for in 2019.

I know many of you are taking this day to think back on 2019 and evaluate the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. Was 2019 a good year?  Or was it a bad year?  The truth is, for most of us, it was both.  

Something I have recently come to understand is that more than one thing can be true at the same time.

2019 held tears of joy and tears of sadness. It gave us hellos and goodbyes. It gave us cheers and disappointments, happiness and sadness, clarity and confusion. But that is how life is meant to be, right?  We can hold two truths at once. 

We can feel love and grief.

We can feel joy and sadness.

We can be hopeful and scared.

We can be grateful for every single thing we have around us and wish everything could be different.

We can absolutely love the direction our life seems to be going and miss where we used to be.

We can be 100% sure that God loves us deeply and be completely confused about religion.

Personally, that last statement is where I’ve spent much time in 2019. My faith journey has been almost torturous these last few months.  I’ve spent many days in what Richard Rohr would call the “disorder” phase of my spiritual journey, unpacking so many “truths” that were taught to me by well-meaning, but under-educated Sunday School teachers of my past.  Boy, when you start understanding how many of those “truths” aren’t true, it can make you question everything. I cannot lie… it’s a scary place to be… at first.

But God’s love is liberating. It truly is. And I have found rest in that truth many days during my religious disorder. And I still do even now.

But back to this morning….

As I grabbed my journal and opened my daily devotion, I was led to Ecclesiastes 3. Many people know that chapter. It’s the one where King Solomon wisely talks about the seasons of life. 

“To every thing there is a season
A time for every purpose under the heaven.”

Life is truly all about seasons. Spring, summer, fall and winter. Each holding beauty in it's own special way, even though you may struggle to find it in some. 

Ecclesiastes 3 starts with a beautiful poem, both reassuring the reader that God is in control, but also sobering the reader to the mystery behind it all.  Ahhhh…. the mystery of God. Another time that two truths collide at once for me. While my human mind wants answers, which means the mystery of God causes frustration, I also find comfort in knowing that God is more powerful and knowing than I am. I mean, who would want a God in charge that didn’t know more than we do? If my knowledge is on the same level as God, WE ARE ALL IN TROUBLE.  :-)  

But seriously, I am learning to embrace the mystery of God and understand that human beings are truly only capable of coping with the moment. We don’t need to know our future. It would probably make our heads explode. So God only gives us small glimpses into what is in store, because He knows it’s all we can handle.  THANK YOU GOD.  Thank you for leaving much in the mystery. I’m worrying about quite enough right now as it is.  :-)

The bottom line that these verses bring to light is that while there are good things in life, the bad things cannot be escaped. NO ONE escapes the problems of this world. 

I think it’s human nature to live in the “if only’s”: 

If only I had more money, I wouldn’t have problems, and I would be happy.

If only I had fame, I wouldn’t have problems, and I would be happy.

If only I had that promotion, that bigger house, a newer car. 

If only I had a husband (or wife).

If only I had children.

If only I had all the answers.

What is your if only?  Are you placing all your future happiness on the shoulders of something or someone of this world?  Truly think about it.  What are you waiting on to be happy? 

Listen friends, I don’t claim to have everything figured out, but this one thing I know for SURE….living like that will not serve you well.  I know, because I tried it for years. 

We don’t always have the power to change our circumstances, but we do have the power to choose joy. Even in the midst of difficult, even heartbreaking circumstances, I have felt and seen joy. Yes, it’s an unexplainable paradox, but it’s real and it’s holy and it’s beautiful. So so beautiful.

I recently started attending a new church in Nashville. After 6 years of avoiding any sort of organized religion I finally felt brave enough to look for a community of believers again.  I was led to a beautiful place called “Spero Dei”.  I call it a “place” because it truly has become a place for me not only physically, but emotionally as well. It's a place where my doubts and questions are welcomed. It's a place where the mystery of God is embraced. It's a place that includes all people, no matter what they look like, who they love, what they believe. It's a place where everyone's story has a home. 

“Spero Dei” is a latin phrase. Most people know that Dei means “God”. Spero means “I hope”. So basically, “I hope in God”.  It can also be interpreted to mean, “I believe, trust, presume, expect, anticipate and look for”.  All of that is true. I may be a little conflicted about religion right now, but I definitely hope, believe, trust, presume, expect, anticipate and look for God these days. In all things. 

I will finish this little year end note by saying this: I have no idea what 2020 will bring to you or your loved ones…. but as your friend, I promise you this: I will be praying for you. I will pray for you in general, by name, and often. And if you have a specific request, just let me know. Anytime, any day, anywhere. If you are needing someone to bother, nag and beg God on your behalf, I’m your girl. Truly. 

And as for me and my gang, I have no idea what is around the corner for us either — but I am choosing to be hopeful (while at the same time scared). SO MANY UNKNOWNS. Will the same difficulties of 2019 follow us into 2020?  Or will we embark on a completely new set of trials? I would appreciate your prayers for us as well.  Prayers are a powerful thing. I have felt them carry me through my darkest days. I am truly grateful for my prayer warrior friends. So so grateful.

So as 2020 begins tomorrow,  I will embrace the mystery of God and let go of needing to have all the answers. I will try to love those in my life as best I can. I will try to offer more grace, more mercy and more forgiveness than ever before, and I will pray those around me can find it in their hearts to offer me the same. God knows I need it.

And I will remember that above all this, my hope is in the Lord.
Spero Dei y’all. Spero Dei.

Love and blessings,
M




Friday, September 20, 2019

For those hurting today.....




Gosh friends...sigh....it’s been a tough week for many in my friendship circles.

πŸ’”My sister and brother-in-law lost a close family member.
πŸ’”A friend’s friend lost his son to suicide.
πŸ’”The Nashville touring community lost one of it’s own in a horrific bus crash.
πŸ’”2 friends buried their Mothers on the same day.
πŸ’”My son’s friend got a terminal diagnosis.

.... and that’s only a few written in my prayer journal. Many are too private to share. But clearly, the hurt is being spread around these days. No, it’s not just you. Everyone has their own burdens to carry. No one gets through life without scars. But we do have help, and hope.

In my deepest darkest pain, I have been carried through by the grace of God. I have cried out to Him over and over for relief from hurt I thought I could not bear — and He graciously gave it. I have felt the prayers from those who love 
me, forming huge protective barriers around me to keep me from falling down so far that I could never get back up. Prayers that lifted me out of the belly of the whale so that I could breathe again. And a sweet, precious mercy straight from God that renewed my soul and gave my spirit light enough to see hope again. 

For those of you that are hurting so badly today, I pray you can feel God’s tenderness towards you. He cries each tear with you. I am so grateful we have a Savior that knows what we are feeling. He walked this earth and loved and lost too... so yes, he truly KNOWS what we are going through and He has promised to stay right beside us to help us through our pain. He has done it for me over and over again. I pray you let Him do it for you too.

Yes, you’ll be able to smile again.
Yes, you’ll be able to feel “light” again.
Yes, you’ll feel hope again.
It just takes time. Healing time. 

Until the healing comes forth, remember....you are not walking this dark path alone. The Lord is extra close to the broken-hearted. ❤️

Much love,
Marcia

Monday, August 5, 2019

One Nation Under Stress

Stress.

I truly believe it’s killing us all... and not just physically. It’s killing us emotionally and socially as well. It’s literally tearing us apart and America is showing signs that it could become completely torn in two if we don’t do something to stop it.

We recently watched the HBO documentary “One Nation Under Stress” , which tries to uncover the reason why American life expectancy has fallen in the last few years and is now officially shorter than all other major developed countries. And that is despite spending more on healthcare than any other country.

The physical ramifications of stress are real. Most of us have become way too aware of that in recent years. You can just do a quick google search and find out how we are suffering physically from the stress that our current culture imposes on us. That is not new news. Physical ailments ranging from heartburn to cancer are listed as the body’s inability to process the stress we are under. It is actually considered a public health crisis by most professionals. 

However, one of the most interesting things they talked about in that documentary was how when human beings are stressed, it severely limits their ability to be empathetic towards each other.

Ok.. now we are getting somewhere. That is explaining A LOT about the state of our nation as I see it now. We are losing the ability to empathize with one another because of our stress levels. It’s almost like the stress shuts down that part of the brain where we care about one another on a purely human level. Yes, we care about the people we are close to and love... but do we care about strangers? 

I’m a strong 9 on the Enneagram, which is the Peacemaker. I hate conflict with a passion and will do just about anything to avoid it. However, I have learned in recent years that there is a big difference between Peacemaking and Peacekeeping. Being silent about injustice in my view is not PeaceMAKING. It might keep the peace in my little world for a bit, but in the grand scheme of things, learning to speak up when I see something being done to another human being that I believe is wrong is something I’m only recently getting brave enough to do. And it does take bravery to speak up about anything in this current social climate. It’s especially hard for a moderate like me because when I speak up, I don’t risk being attacked by the “other” side.  A progressive’s voice will get attacked by a conservative and vice-versa, but when moderates speak, they usually get pummeled by BOTH sides. It’s a scary place to be. BrenΓ© Brown talks about this in her book, “Braving The Wilderness”, which I highly recommend.

But back to stress and empathy. How can we reverse this trend? How can we stop letting our current cultural voices convince us that we are each other’s enemies? Just because we don’t see eye-to-eye politically, socially, or religiously, does that mean we should fear one another? Not just FEAR each other, but actually HATE one another. That is the message I see from our loudest voices in America today. Our political, religious and social leaders are encouraging fear and hate and tribalism — and it is STRESSING ME OUT. ;-)

I had started this blog on Saturday before my show down in Alpharetta, GA - a couple of hours before I heard about the mass shooting in El Paso.  I had trouble sleeping on Saturday night because of this horrible news rolling around in my head. Another mass murder in America? What is going ON? Then I got up on Sunday morning to drive back to Nashville and heard about yet another shooting, this one in Dayton, OH. I was truly heartsick. 

I recently finished an in-depth study of the book of Galatians and I couldn't help but have Gal 5:15 running in my head: 

"But if you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out, or you will be consumed by each other."

The horrible truth is we are a nation that is consuming each other right now. And I believe it's because we have bought into the notion that we should be afraid....very afraid. Afraid of anyone that isn't like us. Anyone who doesn't look like us. Anyone who doesn't worship like us, vote like us, speak the same language as us. And how does fear manifest itself?  In anger and STRESS.

Guys, this mass murder problem that America has is a deadly combination of fear, stress, anger.... and guns. Too many dang guns.  

I'm not saying I'm for a complete ban of guns. We are gun owners ourselves, but good gravy friends, it has gotten out of hand!  America is the only country in the world with more guns than citizens. I know, I know.... I hear the common defense of "Guns don't kill people... People kill people.", but C'MON ON. Guns is definitely a common denominator in this mass shooting thing. While it's clear that the mental health issue is another part of the problem American culture is facing today, trying to ignore the consistent use of automatic rifles in these mass shootings is just INSANE. We have got to find a way to get these guns out of the hands of these angry white men.

Sorry, but that seems to be the other common denominator. White men. Should we round up all the white men in the country and deport them?  No?  That's crazy you say?  Yes, of course it is.  But let's face it.... we are a country under attack by our "own". Our fear of everything and everyone have led us towards a path of truly "consuming each other" (again -Gal 5:15).  

One of the main fears I keep hearing is of losing our "rights" in this country and the freedom to live as we choose to live. But we are actually losing our freedom by believing the lie that we must live in fear of each other.  

There is only one path out of this. And the answer is found again in Galatians.

"It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?"


 I just hope and pray that we can find our path back to loving each other again and not just picking sides and deciding that whoever isn't on our side is our enemy. That is the stress talking. We are not each other's enemies. We are each other's neighbors, even when we don't see eye to eye.

Let that sink in: WE ARE EACH OTHER'S NEIGHBORS. No matter our skin tone, religious affiliation, or political attachments. And we have got to claw our way out of the stress induced fear and hate in this country and find our way back to LOVE. 

Love your neighbor friends. Don't be afraid. Just love.

"There is no fear in love." - 1 John 4:18 

Much love,
M







Saturday, July 20, 2019

Loving Better: My journey towards becoming an affirming Christian

I'm finally ready to come out.

No, I'm not gay. My "coming out" is not from the closet of sexual identity secrecy, but from religious legalism and the exclusive Christian club that I was afraid of being kicked out of for many years. While my gay friends had to keep their true selves covered up because they were afraid they might not be loved if people knew the secret they were harboring, I too felt the pressure of keeping my support of them private.

However, after a couple of years of wrestling with this issue and going on a journey of deep study to try and find the truth about it, I can come out with full support of my LGBTQ friends and say that yes, they too are made in God’s image JUST AS THEY ARE. They deserve the same rights, permissions and respect as anyone else, and that includes marriage - as well as being able to be included in any church, or religious circles of their choosing. And it’s a damn shame that they aren’t.

After posting a recent link to a sermon by a "pastor" in Knoxville, TN saying all the LGBTQ community should be rounded up by the government and executed, I started having friends private messaging me, asking what my stance was on LGBTQ's and Christianity.  Then, after I posted my feelings about PRIDE month, I started getting even more people questioning my stance.  I am happy to say that almost every single person who contacted me privately expressed the desire to "get where I am" on this, and was honestly asking me how I got clarity on this polarizing cultural and deeply personal issue.

How did I get to my position on this?  Well, it’s going to be impossible to go through every single step along the way, every book I read, every scripture I studied, every trusted teacher I spoke with. My decision of affirmation came because of a combination of research, scripture study, experience and prayer. MUCH prayer.

First off, I studied the science behind sexual orientation. Meaning, is it a choice? My conclusions are that it is indeed NOT a choice. There are many medical findings to back up this stance, as well as some of my own experience. What I mean by that is that in my own experience, I certainly didn’t choose my sexual orientation. There wasn’t a moment in my life where I said, “Hmmmm.... shall I choose to be attracted to men, or women?”  Nope. I was hopelessly heterosexual, even though there was a time in my younger days that I thought it might be cool to be attracted to women, I just couldn’t go there. It felt completely unnatural— and it was.  Just like it is completely unnatural for a gay man to force themselves to try and have sex with a woman, or a gay woman to have sex with a man.  It feels unnatural because it is unnatural for them. And God doesn’t want us to participate in “unnatural sexual relations”.  I finally felt I had done enough study to conclude that our sexual identity is not a choice and since "sin" is a choice, then anyone who is born gay, lesbian, or any of the other letters in LGBTQ is not any more sinful than the rest of us sinning heterosexuals.  We ALL fall short. No question about that.  But drawing a dividing line between homosexuals and heterosexuals just doesn't make sense to me anymore.
---------------------------------------
Ok... so now let's go to the Bible and see what it says about it.  We know about the "Big Six".  Those six pesky scriptures that I've been taught all my life that are seemingly very clear about homosexuality being a sin.  Some call them the "clobber verses". Charming, huh?  ;-)

Actually, before we go there, let's talk about the Bible. I've been doing a LOT of historical research on the Bible lately along with my studies and MAN.... for someone who has grown up in church all my life, I have come to realize that I knew very little about this great book.  That realization was horrifying and exciting all at the same time!  The last year or so I have found a renewed love of studying the scriptures. Even going back to understanding the original Greek and Hebrew words and the true context that the Biblical authors meant in their letters. Did you know that the word "homosexuality" didn't even show up in English translations of the Bible until 1946?  Probably because there is no perfect counter-part to the Greek and Hebrew words that we have now replaced with "homosexuality".   I'm not going to go through every passage individually here, but I can say that after my research, I agree with this statement from Brandon Hatmaker:

 "Every verse I have found in the Bible that is used to condemn a “homosexual” act is written in the context of rape, prostitution, idolatry, pederasty, military dominance, an affair, or adultery. It was always a destructive act. It was always a sin committed against another person. And each type of sexual interaction listed was an abuse of God’s gift of sex and completely against His dream for marriage to be a lifelong commitment of two individuals increasingly and completely giving themselves to one another as Christ did for the church."  

I have found nothing pointing me towards condemnation towards a loving, monogamous same sex relationship. And even more upsetting is the bad "fruit" that has come from the churches stance on this. When we are living right in the Spirit, it produces good fruit from our lives.  Galatians 5 says the fruits of The Spirit are: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control.  What has come from holding onto this bad theological stance against the LGBTQ community has shown bad, stinky fruit. High suicide rates, broken families, loneliness, and exclusion from the church, just to name a few.  Our misinterpretation of scripture all these years has put up walls... stumbling blocks if you will, so that someone who is gay feels rejected by the church, and too often, ultimately rejected by God.  The church has done so much harm to these beautiful souls and I can't be a part of it any longer. I just can't.

Even if you can't hang with me on this and still believe that homosexuality is a sin, let me point out 2 things to consider:
1) We are ALL sinners. We all sin every single day. No one's sin is worse than another's.  To point out someone else's sin, as if it is worse than what you struggle with, is just wrong. Don't tell me you don't struggle with sin. And if there WERE a list of sins in order of how bad they are, there are MANY that show to be much more destructive to God's plans for us than loving someone that happens to be the same sex as you. The harm that I see done to others from gossip, gluttony, pride, adultery, greed and envy is incredibly damaging. And I see that being done DAILY by people who claim to live righteous lives. Righteous enough to feel confident enough to make it their lot in life to persecute those who just want to love.  God help 'em.

and....
2) As Beth Moore once stated, "You can't shame someone into a transformation on the inside."  Yes, you might shame someone into pretending for a bit that they aren't who they are so that they don't risk being excluded from their community. But shame only changes outward appearances, and usually only temporarily. No one can pretend forever without falling apart. (Remember the high suicide rates I spoke of earlier).  Only the Holy Spirit can change someone's heart, if indeed it needs to be changed.  Only the Holy Spirit can do the inside work. We humans don't have that kind of power.

What kind of power DO we humans have?  We have the power to love.  We have the power to point people towards Christ. We have the power to help lead them towards the Holy Spirit and then let Him take over from there.  That is all we have the power to do.... and yet, too many Christians choose another route. They choose to push them away from Christ instead of bringing them to Him.  They choose to shame, humiliate, and exclude.  Churches close their doors to the "gays", or at the very least make them feel unwelcome to serve as equal members of the community. I can't even imagine how it must feel to love the Lord and yet not feel I am welcome in a church of my choosing.

Let me finish by saying that there is more to my story than I am telling here. My story also includes getting to know many gay Christians whose lives are beautiful examples of GOOD FRUIT. They love and serve everyone they know in ways that I know would make Jesus proud!  I see the way they choose to use their lives helping their fellow man and making this world a better place.  I see how they choose forgiveness time and time again, as they let God keep their hearts soft in a world where I'm sure mine would have hardened by now. It brings tears to my eyes when I think about how they have been marginalized and mistreated for so long by a church I have loved my whole life.

Don't get me wrong. I still love the church. I still love the Bible. I love it even more than I ever have because I'm starting to really understand how it's meant to be used and interpreted.  It's a book of unsurpassed wisdom with a deepness and richness that no man is ever going to be able to understand perfectly. But I truly do believe it has been used wrongly, to shut out human beings instead of inviting them to the love story. The love story that is open to us ALL.

One last thing. I didn't write this to change anyone else's mind. There was a time when I was convinced that homosexuality was a sin and there was nothing anyone could do to convince me otherwise. I had the scriptures to back it up, along with a community of like-minded believers. And I'm not gay, so why would it even matter to me that I get this "right".  Why would I spend so much time on this subject... something that I don't personally struggle with?  The only honest answer I can give is that it's because God put it on my heart strongly to figure this out. Maybe it's because of my gay friends. Or my gay nephew. Or my friends with gay children. I've seen their hurt, their pain, their confusion. Maybe it's because we are all called to speak out when we see an injustice and God has laid this burden on my heart to speak up for these who I feel are being treated unjustly.  Or maybe it's just because Jesus said:

"A new command I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love each other. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another." - John 13:34-35

I am an incredibly imperfect ally to my LGBTQ friends. But I am trying to love them as Jesus would want me to. I hope anyone reading this will at least pray over my words and if the Spirit leads you to more study in this matter, I'll add a few resources that might help you along.

Much love and peace and blessings....
Marcia

RESOURCES:

"God and the Gay Christian" by Matthew Vines.  http://www.matthewvines.com/
His viral video sermon was one of the first resources that was put into my view as I started my journey. It also apparently played a big part in Rachel Held Evans journey towards affirmation.

"Changing Our Mind" by David P. Gushee: https://amzn.to/2Z1iVOr

Brandon Hatmaker's FB blog: https://www.facebook.com/pg/HatmakerBrandon/posts/?ref=page_internal

"5 things to remember when the Bible is used against the LGBT community":  https://www.rofum.org/5-things-to-remember-when-the-bible-is-used-against-the-lgbtq-community/?fbclid=IwAR3c8hJnWyx4OKg5ca3NdaGtehgKhspfg5c5p8cLy4BzivuGIPfRR2WOenI

"Penny In The Air: My Story of Becoming Affirming" by Sarah Bessey:
https://sarahbessey.com/penny-in-the-air-my-story-of-becoming-affirming/

Adam Nicholas Phillips blog: https://medium.com/@adamnicholasphillips/the-bible-does-not-condemn-homosexuality-seriously-it-doesn-t-13ae949d6619

"Does Jesus really love me?" by Jeff Chu: https://www.amazon.com/Does-Jesus-Really-Love-Christians/dp/0062049747/ref=as_li_ss_tl?keywords=does+jesus+really+love+me&qid=1559765591&s=gateway&sr=8-1&linkCode=sl1&tag=sarahbecom-20&linkId=0de75fd4db2707e732e5a08834df1df8&language=en_US





Saturday, July 6, 2019

My own little faith shift....


I’ll admit that I’ve been in a “faith shift” of sorts lately. Certainly not shifting away from my love of Jesus or the Bible and it’s teachings. I’ve actually fallen MORE in love with Jesus and studying God’s word lately, but I’ve been worn out from the exclusivity of most religions and quite frankly, it has kept me from attending any church regularly for several years. Also....

I’m worn out from all the double standards I see in most churches these days.. The in-fighting, hypocrisy, and arrogance that seems to be coming from religious leaders these days is disturbing and frankly, extremely off-putting.  The “Who’s right/Who’s wrong” game is strong right now.  

I’m worn out from having questions about things that don’t make sense in the Bible and being labeled a trouble-maker for bringing them up. 

I’m worn out from having someone who interprets something in the Bible differently than me telling me I’m “being deceived”, as if they have a better connection with God than I do so there is no way it’s the other way around. 

I’m worn out from having to explain to my LGBTQ friends why they aren’t allowed in the “Christian Club” because of their sexuality, when they had no choice in the matter.

I’m worn out from seeing my divorced friends feeling like outcasts from a church home they loved and now aren’t welcome in because the church “picked his/her side”.  Apparently there is no way the church can minister to both sides. Sad. 

I’m worn out from women being held back and told they aren’t allowed to use their gifts to honor God because “the Bible says women aren’t allowed to teach.” Heck, if we believe the Bible, we aren’t even allowed to TALK!  Whoops.

I’m worn out from the political bias. If you are truly a Christian, you can only vote Republican?  News to me!

I’m worn out from seeing friends who gave their hearts to church ministry for many years, only to get discarded because the church elders now want to “go in a new direction”.  They lose their job, their friends, their church home... all in one swoop. Heartbreaking.

The bureaucracy, the hypocrisy, the political attachments, the exclusivity.... all things about today’s Americanized version of Christianity in many churches that I believe would grieve Jesus should he walk in one today. 

All that being said.... I love Christian community, fellowship, and group worship.... and I have missed it because the things I just listed above have kept me away for several years now.  I am grateful to have recently found a church that I am comfortable in again. One that loves and welcomes the people I love. One that gives much room for questions, contemplation and healthy examination of scripture.  One that encourages me to find my own connection to Jesus, my own personal faith... not a borrowed one. 

If you are thriving in your church, you are blessed.  If you are not, my encouragement today is DON’T GIVE UP.  Keep searching for your people, your community, your faith.  Christians are only human and can get it wrong sometimes, but please don’t let the failures of human beings run you away from a God who adores you.  He is there... and He is waiting for you.  I don’t have everything figured out, but I know that to be TRUE.

Have a beautiful weekend friends!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Newest video on YouTube - Abba's Child

I have a brand new lyric video out on YouTube that I'd love you guys to check out. It's the title track to my latest cd, "Abba's Child" and it's one of my favorites!  Being in the music industry, it is sometimes easy to let what I do DEFINE me, but finding my identity first and foremost as a daughter of The King is the only way to keep myself steady and grounded in this shifting world that we live in. 

I hope you all find the lyrics in this song inspiring. And I also encourage you to find the book "Abba's Child" by Brennan Manning. After reading that book, it turned my life around and was definitely the inspiration to this song!

May you all have a blessed holiday season and I'll see you all in 2019!

Love,
M

For more about the story behind this song: http://marciaramirez.com/abbas_child/