It was one year ago today. One year ago today, the story that I thought I was living was interrupted with the most unwelcome plot twist. Things had seemed strained between us. She’d seemed preoccupied. She’d been spending a lot of time on her phone. I’m not sure what exactly prompted me to check our cell phone records; but when I did – after a Wednesday night Bible Study – it was clear that there was something going on. During the current statement cycle, she’d managed to log over twice as many minutes and over four times the amount of text messages as I had. The records didn’t show the content of the messages, but they did show the telephone numbers of the maker and recipient of each phone call. I recognized most of the numbers – mine, her parents’, even my brother’s – but there was one number that I didn’t recognize. And, it was on the list a lot. Late at night, after we’d (I guess that should read, “I’d”) gone to bed. Early in the morning. During her drive to and from work. On her lunch breaks. The same number, over and over.
I have a confession: I don’t really know what I believe. About God. About faith. About what happens after we die. I’ve been having what some might call a ‘crisis of faith’ for years, but I’ve been feeling the weight of these questions especially heavy for several weeks, and I wonder if opening up about them here might help me get closer to the answers. Or, perhaps it might help someone else who has questions feel a little less alone.
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The last year of my life has been crazy. So much has changed. I’ve moved, changed jobs, changed churches, lost friends, lost family, gained friends, gained family. The biggest change, though, has been my divorce and its consequences. Part of me wanted to ignore that here; to begin writing again without acknowledging the reality of that difference. To choose a topic from the news or a thought that I’ve been wrestling with and begin a conversation, as has been my modus operandi. But, I knew I couldn’t. I knew that this was too big to ignore, too significant to avoid. So, I began to think about what this process has meant for me and what I’ve learned along the way. My hope in sharing is that someone else might benefit. Maybe this will give someone who’s going through a divorce the permission they need to feel the things they’re feeling. Maybe it will be a source of hope to someone who’s been through a nasty breakup. Maybe it will be a reminder to a couple in a healthy relationship to take time for maintenance. Whatever the case may be, if you’re reading this, I hope it helps. This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, but below are some key lessons I’ve learned from my divorce. Continue reading
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Recently, I’ve become more and more aware of the differences that exist among those of us who identify as Believers. Some of us are instantly recognizable by the length of our hair, or the types of clothes we wear. Some of us believe in the Holy Trinity while some assert that Oneness is a more appropriate conceptualization of God’s nature. We have different ideas about modesty, salvation, miracles, tongues, music, politics, morality, hair, yoga – you name it, there are people who have differing opinions about it. As these differences become more evident with the advent of social media, it seems as though there’s been an increasing focus on what distinguishes us from other believers. Rulebooks are being updated to include all the things that one must do to be a true Believer (as described by the authors of such works). I think that it might be helpful, though, to identify some things that you don’t have to do in order to be part of the Body of Christ. So, I’ve compiled this short list:
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t fully understand gender identity. I know that it is a very complex, nuanced issue. I know that I have never struggled with gender dysphoria. I know that my experiences are not every person’s experiences. I know that life can be complicated and painful and difficult. I know that life’s problems and pain, for those whose experiences differ from mine, can be much worse. So much so that research suggests, as adults, transgender people attempt suicide at an astounding rate of 41% – even higher for those who come out to their communities as transgender, 50%. Continue reading