I started this blog nearly nine years ago. Since then, our family has seen a great deal of change…such as:
a miscarriage…a growing girl…a dying, beloved Dalmatian…a marathon runner…fibromyalgia…a hysterectomy…a teenaged girl…a new canine friend…speech and debate…churches…homeschool co-ops…Classical Conversations…dual credit classes…photography…and much more!
But perhaps some of the greatest changes have happened in me.
I’m a bit older now. Maybe a little wiser. My blogging has dropped off in these past years mainly because I haven’t been able to find my voice because it is ever-changing. And though my faith in God is still EVERfaith, my definitions have shifted away from Reformed theology. The more I got to know Jesus, the more confused I became about Old Testament teachings and the Conservative Christian movement in America. When I looked at the condition of my heart towards those who disagree with me about hot-button issues (such as abortion and gay marriage), I saw that I was not loving them. Instead, I was despising them. Then I decided that if it comes down to me following Jesus’ command to love or following the Old Testament command to utterly destroy, I’m following Jesus.
My political convictions, once tied so strongly to my faith, are beginning to turn upside down. I used to believe that the Republican Party was the embodiment of Christian values and that it was my duty to uphold and support candidates that agreed with my version of righteousness. And then I began seeing that neither major political party is righteous. There are some wonderful aspects and some awful aspects about both parties.
I was so conflicted and stressed about this year’s presidential election…until I realized that I am no longer a Republican. What a relief it was to realize I don’t have to choose! None of the current Republican candidates reflect my beliefs. I don’t have to be upset about any candidate’s rise in popularity among Republicans, because that is no longer “my” party. I’ve moved on.
Yet I am not a Democrat, either. I don’t know what I am. There is not a political party that is both pro-Life and anti-death penalty (strange as that may seem!), or that is for balanced budgets, fiscal conservatism, eliminating mandatory minimums, free speech for all, and federal steps to keep local water supplies clean and safe. So for me it will be about trusting God to help me weigh the choices…because no candidate walking this earth is perfect!
Yet above all that is a conviction that my citizenship and loyalty belongs first of all to the Kingdom of God. I’m in the process of learning what that really means, to be a citizen of THE KINGDOM. Jesus talked about that subject all time, and I’m learning from him, little by little. And in the Kingdom, I’m learning things are upside down. The poor are raised above the rich. The lepers are healed and admitted while the rich young man can’t enter because his hands won’t let go of his stuff.
Perhaps the biggest change that is coming is a change in geography as my family pulls up roots and migrates to The Land of No Shoes. Florida, of course! God has moved in mighty ways, allowing us to both buy a home and sell our home without using realtors, closing doors and opening others, all so we can live where our hearts sing. I love this image
because it speaks to my happy place. I look at at this photo and I hear the sound of the waves crashing, feel the breeze and the spray on my face and the powdery sand between my toes. I see my daughter squeezing a bit of joy out of our last day of vacation, and I remember her rolling up her jeans and wading in for just a little while longer.
Now the challenge will be to take advantage of life and savor these moments as often as we can grab them. I know the Lord is steering us to Florida, but I don’t know yet what he has planned. I think it will have something to do with getting to know the poor — at least I hope it does! I recently read these words in Shane Claiborne’s The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical, and it struck a chord in me that I hope is only the beginning of a new adventure:
We can adore his cross without taking up ours. I had come to see that the great tragedy in the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor but that rich Christians do not know the poor…I long for the Calcutta slums to meet the Chicago suburbs, for lepers to meet landowners and for each to see God’s image in the other. It’s no wonder that the footsteps of Jesus led from the tax collectors to the lepers. I truly believe that when the poor meet the rich, riches will have no meaning. And when the rich meet the poor, we will see poverty come to an end.
Tens years ago, in my first blog post, God is my GPS, I wrote about how God helps me know where to go. Although I have been shaped and molded into something different, this truth remains. Change is afoot, and we’re embarking on a journey. We know our destination but don’t quite know our place or the people we’re being sent to love…but God knows! And his directions never fail. May God’s will be done, whatever that may be!