Sunday, January 08, 2017

-?- Pt. 1.....The Great Adventure

I found this little wooden sign the other day. (It's the picture on top of my blog now.)
When I saw it, my heart did a little jump because it's perfect: the outline of the United States behind the words, the rustic wood, the font. The price was pretty perfect too, so I bought it.  I place it next to where I usually bring my coffee, light a candle and curl up to spend time with my Lord, and I look at it and say "Jesus, YOU are my greatest Adventure." It's been a long road for me to be able to say that and mean it.
I want to invite you to hear that story.
I think I want to start blogging about the past couple years because my hope is that my experiences will resonate with others and will maybe help us to think counter culturally. I think there's a dangerous trend among us Christian millennials, and the only way to counteract it is to be vulnerable about my experiences (don't we love that word!! But no; not just "vulnerable" until people admire me but "vulnerable" until people may not admire me as much anymore. THAT is tough vulnerability...but I think I'm ready for it).

When I started this blog, I had SO. MANY. DREAMS. I wanted to live in an exciting place and do really big and adventurous things. I wanted to travel, and meet many people and live an out-of-the-box life. Pretty much that's the goal of most millennials and we're told we can do that, so why not grab life by the horns and be GREAT!? (Oops! If you're a Christian you add "For Jesus" on the end of all those goals. And of course, I did too. And I meant it. I didn't just want a big adventurous life for ME. It was for Jesus too.) God let so many of my dreams come true! I lived in the Alaska bush for a while helping my precious sister, and I traveled to Asia and Europe and Australia and South America and Mexico. I had the privilege to be a caregiver to my hero Elisabeth Elliot Gren, and I got to start a beautiful girls' discipleship group that was growing and thriving in my area.  My future felt so vast and open and it felt like life really could be one big Adventure (for Jesus). The possibilities were so stinkin' endless! I started looking into a two year program where I'd go to an unreached people group and translate the stories of the Bible to their language. That was my greatest, unimagionable , wild adventure (for Jesus) dream. That would be the creme' del a creme. Maybe I'd get married, and then my husband--who would be some cross between a Navy Seal and Billy Graham-- and I would be a dynamic team. We'd do great works for God and probably travel all over, and people would look at us and think "Woah. That couple is living an exciting life (for Jesus)." If I didn't get married, well then life had the potential to be even crazier. I could be this cool Amy Carmichael/Brutchko morph and have a huge ministry (for Jesus). Most likely I'd be living in a mud hut somewhere and blogging about my experiences to an inspired, bored American church across the sea like Katie of "Kisses from Katie".

Thoughts like these are fueled by the messages we're bombarded with:

 Nothing wrong in and of itself with these messages or these dreams. Except, for me, it wasn't what God had in mind. And when you're whole life is wrapped up in dreams of one trajectory, if God chooses to change the trajectory you can get really confused, really fast.

If you're interested in hearing about my trajectory switch and the entire mindset change that's accompanied it, I hope you'll read on as I begin to blog about it. I haven't figured everything out and that's one reason this blogging process feels very vulnerable. I wanted to get life figured out and then impart my wisdom to a waiting world. :) Instead, I'll invite anyone interested into the journey with me. Dialoge with me in private messages or comments, and help me avoid the imbalanced pendulum swing that usually accompanies epiphanies.

I spent a long time trying to give this blog series I'm embarking on a really gripping name. I wanted it to be a little edgy and pique your curiosity. I wanted people to see the title and think "Oooh now she has some amazing counter cultural wisdom to impart to us. I shall read and be enlightened." instead, I decided to--in the spirit of this post-- give the series title a very unassuming and appropriate name.
It means I've got questions. And questions are a good way to start. Jesus said that if anyone lacks wisdom, all they have to do is come to Him as a loving Father and ask Him for it. In return, He gives the perfect gift to the asker.
I pray, Lord, that as I blog about my journey and my questions, You'll give wisdom to help me help others.

That's all for now. :)

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Dear Gay Friend

Dear gay friend,
I address this letter to you as my "gay friend" not because that's how I define you, but because that's the aspect of your life that I want to address. I'm not a theologian. I'm not even a super wise person. But there are things I wish I could say to you. But I haven't had the chance yet. So I'll say them here.

1.) Your identity goes WAY deeper than than your sex drive. So I'm not going to label you primarily as my "gay" friend (despite the title of this post). Anymore than I'd label you as my "creative" friend or my "pretty" friend, my "heterosexual" friend or my "black" friend. Your sexual orientation isn't what makes you a funny individual, a deep thinker, or a creative soul. It's not what makes you a faithful friend or a caring person. Nor is it what makes you a brave fighter or a wise learner. Those are the things I value about friendship. And those are the things that make me value you. Sexual identity is part of what makes us who we are, yes, but it's not what defines us. So while I'm not going to ignore yours, I'm not willing to let it define you in my eyes either.

2.) I don't have to agree with or like everything about you in order to love and like YOU.  That  doesn't make my offer of friendship patronizing or judgmental. It doesn't mean that the only reason I want to love you is so I can "win your soul" or make you think the way I do. It means that friendship is the most beautiful when two people who are very different can come together and love each other. I offer that kind of friendship to you.

3.) I don't think your desires or orientation towards the same sex are wrong or creepy. Yes, I DO believe that acting on those desires by giving in to lust outside of heterosexual marriage is wrong. If you do choose to do that, does it make me unable to love you or be your friend? No. I have (and will, no doubt) made the wrong choice and chose lust apart from my marriage bed at times. It put me on the exact same plane as you, friend: broken, standing naked in front of a righteous Judge, in need of God's grace. We stand there together. That brings me to my final point.

4.) Yes, I have an agenda for our friendship. But it's the same agenda that I have for my marriage, for my parenting, for my other friendships, and for my SELF, every day. It's to help you, me, and everyone around us recognize Jesus' love in a greater way. It's to draw you closer to God. It's to help you understand who He is, and to help you love Him. It's to love you well and help you love God well. I don't know what journey God may lead you on and so I don't feel responsible to guide you on that journey or tell you how to take it. But I will love God, and I will love you, and I will honor both of you in that order. I won't pretend to believe that you can be a Christian who lives a gay lifestyle, because I don't believe that. But if you DO believe that, I still offer you my friendship. With Christ at the center, as He is at the center of every other part of my life. If you're not a Christian, than you may or may not be interested in that kind of friendship. If you ARE a Christian than you most definitely are interested in that kind of friendship. Either way, it's who I am. It's what I bring to the table.

I won't reject you; please don't reject me either.