I have analyzed, over analyzed, thought about, questioned, traced and re-traced everything about everything in the past 20 months.
I have spent countless hours researching medical information but researching inside of myself as well.
What do I believe? Why do I believe it?
And because my parents took me to church my entire life and because I left that church and attended one with a vastly different approach to God, I am not sure that I ever truly thought about the things that I believe in context to my life. I believed them because there were told to me as truth. I trusted the people telling me and I trusted the system in general.
But to be perfectly honest with you, none of that matters to me at this very moment. The last few months have been amazing in my journey to finding my true self. It was necessary for me to really figure out who Jesus was to me and not just in a church setting. It was essential for my growth, expansion and ultimate triumph through a trial in my life that is sure to be a lasting part of every day. But all in all, my beliefs have changed. My ideas are different. And that alone has brought so many things to the surface of my heart that are raw and difficult.
I have been taught the message of grace my entire life.
But what I was being taught was that grace was enough if I were also doing enough.
Somehow the church managed to still make the mercy of a loving God about me.
If I was good enough, If I followed the proper regulations and rules, If I prayed enough, If I witnessed enough, If I lived just right and correct...
Or if I didn't, at least if I repented, got re-dedicated and started over fresh that then...maybe then, Grace would be enough.
I was taught and made to feel like that those around me who weren't living correctly were chancing life at hell every day. That they were sinners and I should keep my distance. Inside of me, I always knew that approach was just flat out wrong. Thankfully I married a man who agreed and early on we opened up our home to anyone; not just the religiously correct. Ultimately we wanted to pour into their lives the notion of love and not religion.
What began to happen in this last year was that I realized that my struggle and my confusion did not come from the Lord. Oh no. I love the Lord and have an intimate, woven, deeply structured relationship with Him. It's personal and not influenced. It's corner's are rounded and would never fit comfortably into the box of typical religion.
So when Rache looked at me in the dark of our cozy living room late one night and said, "Rame...I think that you are going to have to realize that you're issues right now are not about God but about the church," I finally felt a profound freedom.
She was right. And it was ok to say it. I was disappointed in the church.
Not our church in particular but the structure of a building that had so manipulated my ideas of life, love, God and health.
I believe in church. Our family goes often. But now our family goes with a weight of religion lifted and the truth of grace defined.
Grace is in the moments when I didn't feel strong enough to cry out to the Lord so the wind did it for me. Grace is in the times when I stood in my hallway and pounded my fists against our dining room walls, screaming at God for a life that I didn't ask for; a sick child and uncertainty. And then the following day when I felt the sure presence of God seducing my heart in the quiet of an orange kitchen. Grace is when I have nothing to give and yet He fills me up to overflowing.
Time and time again.
Grace is just that-Grace. No strings attached, no hidden agenda.
God. Me. Grace.
This year I have not only deciphered my relationship with grace when it comes to the church but I have also learned how to give grace when before, I'm ashamed to say, I didn't.
I lived in this very black and white world where right was right and wrong was wrong. There was no room for growth, change, pain, triumph, victory or even emotions.
It just was what it was and there was no dancing in the gray.
Let me tell you friends, life is filled with a whole lot of gray. It is ultimately our choice to serve God or walk away but it is fine to dance there. In fact, it is more than fine. It's a beautiful mix of knowing too much and knowing so little. Being in the gray is not being lukewarm. It's not being undecided. It's not serving God too little. It's simply an innocence, a place of freedom.
I am so sick of wondering if I'm too hot or too cold. The world makes me wonder when inside of myself I know that my love for God has been enriched by the trillions this year. I'm so sick of analyzing, thinking, wondering and worrying.
Today I don't care if "God has a greater purpose" or if "He chose this for me because He knew I could handle it."
Today I don't care. Today I just want to live and not think.
I want to breathlessly, effortlessly, graciously live.