After a much-needed deep and thought provoking conversation with a precious friend of mine, I went out to my little backyard to listen, reflect, and pray. As my heart stirred and ached with all the changes that have been occurring recently in my inner self – the deep places of my being, my heart and soul – I longed to rest in that place of peace where God and I commune together. So many questions. So much is changing. Such new and fresh peace mingled in with so many old questions and fears. After a time of prayer and asking myself some hard questions in the presence of God, my peace returned. Answers soaked my heart like a calming rain, and I knew it was time to write.
Over the last couple of years, I have been going through a significant turning point on my walk of faith. Looking back, I can truly say that it began with my first trip to Haiti. When I left for Haiti, I had so many hopes and expectations traveling with me. I thought I knew the kind of agenda that God would lay out, one that included many saying the Sinner’s Prayer, biblical change for me, and healing for the sick. I looked for God in all my typical ways – very focused prayer time alone, passages of the bible leaping off the pages, and perhaps a prophetic word from a brother or sister. But as the days went on, I was not to find God’s voice in any of these familiar ways. No, His voice did not pierce the hearing of my heart through any of the avenues that were previously familiar to me, instead, his voice thundered through quiet, small acts of love.
As God and I began to commune via these moments through the following hours and days, a fresh perspective began to sweep a clearing in my mind. A perspective that included less religion and more relationship. So many of my days in faith had been clouded by fear and legalism. So many years had been spent scrutinizing and calculating every decision and move for fear that I might somehow land outside of God’s will. Miss the mark. Wander from the faith. This mindset was a product of my own cognitions and personality. This was not the fault of a person or a church. These were manifestations of my own inner struggles and it was so refreshing when those first fluxes of light began pouring in.
While Haiti marks the beginning of the change, it by no means encompasses it all. Upon returning home, several events took place that contributed to me evaluating the way I viewed God, religion, and my response to both. Life events and letting go of the fear of questioning would become catalysts that contributed to this search. While the journey has been complex, painful, sometimes confusing and healing all at once, I am glad that it began, and I am glad that it has not ended. I still have many questions, but I do have a few answers for myself. At least right now.
Love is the greatest. Period. At this time, I do not adhere to a specific religion or specified set of beliefs. I still believe in God, creator of heaven and earth, creator of all mankind, and sovereign over all. I do not believe that any one book or religious text has ALL of the infallible answers. I just don’t. Wars are fought and lives are lost over this. Several faiths believe that their scriptures and beliefs are THE ONLY WAY, that there is no other way. Love is lost and hate is propagated in defense of these beliefs. How can I say that this is the face of God? I just can’t anymore. I look at the things Jesus taught, and I see him pointing to the Samaritan (the one considered as unclean by the believing Jews) as the example of a good neighbor who manifested God’s love, not to the ones claiming their religious texts and beliefs were the only way. No, he pointed towards love as the evidence that God was working in a person. Over and over again I see the message of ,”love is the greatest”.
While I know that my journey and beliefs may cause pain to some of the people I love so very deeply, please know that this is not my intention. My intention is to be open, honest, and authentic; for love is manifested in these attributes. I know that I do not have all the answers. I know that I am still searching and learning. I know that God is still at work. I share these thoughts today because it is the truth of who I am and what I believe. I made a commitment to attempt to live life authentically and unveiled. This is my loving attempt ❤