I am one of those people who isn’t afraid to ask the tough question. I love to get people thinking about opposing viewpoints or scenarios. When these are thoughtful civil discussions, we can begin to see that the alternative perspective has merit. We can begin to incorporate those perspectives into our own and realize a change in ourselves.
I am a parent, who like you has dreams that my child will find love and happiness in life. I may also be a parent like you whose child or grandchild is part of the LGBTQ community. My love for her and my joy for her hasn’t changed. I have taken this to the Lord for many days and nights and I am trusting that He is with her, as he has been all her life.
I’ve been reading a lot more during this time home alone. Mostly I have been reading about the way God can completely change who we are, if we are willing to open that door. I know he has changed my heart, my thinking, and my desires in many unexpected ways. I know God has forgiven me in ways people never have. I know I have found peace in that forgiveness and a greater willingness to offer that same mercy and grace to others. It all started with God moving in my life when I opened myself to his ways over my ways.
Life has a way of sending us in new directions. I have walked many roads in my day, many that have not been easy. The past few years have been less complex as I continue to learn how to make my life less complicated.
And now I am ready for The Lighter Walk.
I have a deep faith in the transformative power of Jesus Christ in my life. I continue to develop a rich personal relationship with God. I have learned to let the words in the pages of my bible come to life and guide me through the Holy Spirit. When I am willing to look, I see God in the world around me. I have come to appreciate the connection between those wonderful words, nature, and the way in which my heart and mind are more open in those spaces.
I am ready for life to be less complicated. I don’t need to walk a thousand miles to find myself or to find God. I don’t need to embark on a foreign adventure to find what is already inside my heart and soul. I do; however, need to open my bible, open my eyes, open my ears, and become willing to receive the love God has surrounded me with here where I live and any where my feet carry me.
I need to let the light into the darker places from journey’s past and walk in a lighter direction.
What does that mean for this blog? It means I will slowly begin to turn this over to The Lighter Walk. It means that I am going to start walking in nature here, and near, where I live. It will start with a simple walk in the parks, the fields, the mountains, and the beaches around me in Virginia.
The Lighter Walk is a journey I hope you will join me on. I hope that as I step out you might want to walk with me and share what God is doing in your life. I hope that we will discover that if we keep it simple, we will simply hear and be with God
More to come, but for today I am letting go of other people’s expectation about how a walk with the Lord should look. I am letting go of the notion that we need some complex deep theological angle to meet with God. I am letting go of all that has held me back and starting a simple lighter walk with God.
Dying drying trees
Brown and lifeless
Waiting for new life?
Branching off, crisscrossing,
Intersecting each other
Giving way to
Solid trees, grown upright,
Branches reaching upward
Unity in growth
Brown transformed to green
Growing, dying, rebirthing
All reaching up
All branching out
All rooted in hope
Watered in love
Growing through faith.
How many times do we hear people say that someone they are in a relationship with is the love of their life–until they break up and move on to the next “love.” In a culture that seemingly embraces divorce it is hard to imagine that any one person can be the love of our life. Today many young people are rejecting the marriage norm and instead are moving from relationship to relationship when boredom or routine settles in.
I used to be one of those serial lovers–always looking for my soulmate or one true love. I have been fortunate to experience that kind of love a couple of times in my life but I sensed that something was missing. Its because the kind of love I want can’t really be found in a mortal man. I wanted unconditional, all forgiving, all loving, and perfect love. Pretty hard expectations to place on another mere human.
I am struck this morning by Jesus’ command to love our neighbors as ourselves and the words of his followers about loving one another, especially fellow believers. I can personally attest to the way in which my life was changed by the love of people in the Christian community. I also know that there were those who would rather I not be around and who did not think I belonged in their group. They were the ones who looked down on me because of my circumstances and thought I was of less value than they because of my situation. It breaks my heart when I see that today.
Refugee. Displaced. Escapee. Fleeing from danger. Running in fear. Lost. Alone. Desperate.
Those words came to me this morning as I read Jesus’ and the disciple’s words about love. As I read about loving those in the body, I wondered about those refugees coming to strange lands with no hope. I wondered about the fear I am reading that many here in America have about what this change means for them. I wondered how it is we as Christians can believe in Jesus and have read the stories of his outreach to strangers, and yet we are not rushing to embrace these people.
The man I follow crossed the road for the despicable, for the untouchable, and for the criminal. His only agenda was to touch them, love them, and give them an opportunity to know that they are worthy of God’s love. They were all valuable in his eyes, even the loathsome sinner. This Jesus went into areas of the world where no Jew was to go to show us that there are no boundaries or borders to God’s love for man. And by his actions they came to know God the father and Jesus the savior and their lives were transformed.
Why then as Christians are we not overjoyed at the arrival a people in need of God’s love? Why are we not rushing to them with arms full of clothes and food and jobs? Why are we not sharing God’s love with them rather than pushing them away as the untouchable? Why are we letting the fear that Jesus told us to let go of run us? Why are we not taking this time to give them an opportunity to become part of the body of Christ?
Where is the love?
I am not a political person. I don’t write a political blog. I am just a believer and follower of Jesus Christ who tries to live out his message in all that I do. Maybe this is radical thinking for some of my readers and I hope it gives you pause to pray about the neighbors who share your streets and will compel you to cross the road to say “hello” and build a new relationship with them. Maybe this will encourage you to adopt a refugee or immigrant in your midst and share the love of Jesus with them. Maybe we who follow a God of love and second chances will be gracious enough to offer the same to a stranger. I pray that today God will present you with the opportunity to do that and I pray that we as the body of Christ will find a way to love the hurt and broken he is sending to us. HE IS SENDING TO US! The broken have come to our shores and there couldn’t be any easier way than that for us to share Christ’s love than in this moment.
He makes the whole body to fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. Ephesians 4
Image by The Refugee Art Project
As I lay out my plans, I have found it helpful to have someone who will ask me the questions I don’t want anyone to ask me. I have a coach and a spiritual director who does a great job of seeing into my carefully concocted plan and finding the areas that I am avoiding because it might cause me to regroup and take new action. As much as I dread these questions, they get at the meat of what God intends for my plans and away from how I envision things. Some may call this an accountability partner, other wise counsel, or maybe just a concerned friend. Whatever title you give this person, make sure you have someone who will tell you what you don’t’ want to hear—and this applies especially to relationship building!
Jealousy, fear, and self-interest can get in the way of our celebrating the good fortune of someone close to us. Jealousy comes from the fear of losing something—someone is moving on without us or doesn’t care about us. Fear arrives with the unknown—what is going to happen once the person close to us moves up the ladder or marries or moves away. Often it is our own self-interest that we turn to when we hear news about change—what does this mean for me? However, if we truly love and care for one another the first response should be that of joy and celebration.
No matter how young or old we are, looking for love can turn us into someone who we are not. We can easily get caught in the trap of acting one way and feeling another way just to snare a potential life partner. And then one day we realize that the person who has fallen for us has no earthly clue who we are, and we begin to wonder when the lid will blow on the lie we have been living. Change is a good and positive thing; however, let’s make sure we are changing for all the right reasons—because we see something in ourselves that needs transformation.