Did the title of this blog throw you off a little? Stay with me friends.
When I first started blogging in May of 2010, there was no agenda. In fact the original plan was to log on, post Joel’s results from his latest Oncology doctor’s appointment, and log right back off.
That changed the evening I sat down to write my very first post.
As I shared my heart in what we were walking through the tears started to flow down my cheeks. It was clear this was going to be about much more than doctor’s results. This blog was going to be my outlet, a place where I could share my heart with my little world (I had no idea it would eventually be with people all over the entire world.)
First time I hit the “publish” button the result was instantaneous. People were connecting to our story, told in my words with honesty. For me though, that part was just a bonus.
I believe writing is an art. And any artist knows you don’t create art for any other reason than to express yourself. If people connect with what you’ve created it makes it all the more special. But first and foremost it is out of your own need for release. This space was that for me and more.
Over the years I have loved sharing the details of our journey with you, always with no agenda. My purpose was quite simple, to tell our story authentically and inspire you toward hope in the process.
For those of you who have followed along you know I was widowed at a young age, but recently entered into a relationship again after reconnecting with my high school sweetheart. You all were so kind in your response to my news and wanting to know more. I decided I was finally willing to share.
It took months, MONTHS, to think about what I wanted to say, how I wanted to say it. It was a love story, but it was our love story, and as open as I am, felt very protective of him and sharing those details of "us" with the world.
Because this time, I knew it would be the world.
It’s a daunting thing, writing. Trying to find the exact way to express what you want to say, just the way you want to say it.
In this instance I agonized over it all, edited a thousand times over to make sure it was perfect, this was one of those times it had to be perfect.
I wrote about how my love and I reconnected. I wrote about how hard it was to date again after loss. I wrote about how I try to honor my husband’s life in living mine fully.
I shared a story as openly as I could-one that was simply about love.
I took a deep breath, pushed the “publish” button…..shared it with you all….and waited.
It was from a stranger telling me she saw my piece in the Huffington Post and how she knew their audience was a bit more “liberal”. She asked if that was why I had “left out any mention of God” in my piece. She told me how disappointed she was in me for doing so.
Wow. I read her email several times over just to make sure I was clear on what she had said. And in a moment my heart went from being sure I had said all the right words to doubting every single one of them.
How could this woman, who doesn’t even know me, question the motives of my heart?
For the record: the answer to her question is a simple No. No, I did not cater to a “liberal” audience in the piece I wrote. I simply shared from my heart, as I always do, no matter who is reading it. With all sincerity, I truly didn’t know that in sharing there was a certain quota of Christian language I was expected to meet.
Thinking about her email over the next few days made my heart ache, but not because some woman I had never met made a completely inaccurate judgment call on my heart. More so my heart ached because it seemed she, like many others in my community, are simply missing the mark.
In case anyone had their doubts, I will say it now: I am a Christian. I follow Jesus. I love Him. I am not in any way ashamed to say that.
Where I do get ashamed, at times, are with the people within my own community of fellow believers.
Why do we judge each other so harshly?
Where do we get off thinking we have the right to do so?
Why do we always think “we” are right and “they” are wrong?
Why do we label things as Christian or Secular?
Why is it Us vs. Them?
I do not, for the life of me, understand any of the above. Quite honestly, it is the farthest thing from the man I choose to follow. He was all about how a person lived their life, not labels.
Here is something I will tell you right now-I am not perfect. Never will I be, never will I claim to be.
Do you want to hear a funny story that encapsulates me as a Christian pretty well?
When Ellis was in the hospital I sarcastically said to my friends I was thinking about writing a book titled “F-Bomb Prayers”. Why? Because most of my prayers in those moments were not perfect faith-filled longings, but at times were laced with anger, and even some colorful language.
I had just endured heartbreaking loss and was on the verge of facing it again. I didn’t have the strength to be perfect, but I did have the humility to be real. And that’s what I was.
God I don’t understand this.
God I am damn angry.
Why is this happening?
God I am hurting, where are you?
Why have you left me?
Here’s what I believe: My God can handle every bit of my questions and imperfections.
You know what else: He wants you to bring every broken piece to Him. We don’t have to be perfect! If we were we would've never needed Him in the first place.
Even Jesus, on the cross, was asking some tough questions about what the heck was going on.
“Why have you forsaken me?” is about as real as it gets.
Because sometimes in the most tragic moments, even though you know He’s still there, it feels more than anything like He’s not.
Those are hard moments, guys. That’s when it get’s real between what you truly believe, and what you claim to believe. Where the rubber meets the road so to speak. It’s ok to be real with Him in those moments, to wonder, to wrestle.
If you claim to follow Jesus, you know you’re far from perfect (at least you should). So there’s no part of me that understands why at times we seem to be the most judgmental people in the room.
Now for the next part.
I recently read a blog by a well-known author who came out with her beliefs on a position that was looked at as very controversial by some within the Christian community. This is not a blog to defend or debate her stance. As an observer what was disheartening to me, in reading her words, was how quickly people within her own community of believers, turned on her. It happened lightening quick. And she’s not exaggerating. I saw it spreading all over my Facebook timeline-people picking their sides, listing all the reasons why they were for or against her. It broke my heart, I can't even imagine what it did to hers.
Here’s where I land. We need to be for people. We don’t have to agree with each other, but surely we can love each other. My heart grieves for the ways we as Christians, have wounded our fellow man and other believers. There’s never a time when someone should be made to feel like they aren’t enough, because the truth is none of us are.
It is by grace, His grace, we live.
So here we are...I feel the need to clear the air with an honest proclamation. I am NOT a Christian Writer. I never set out for this blog to be a Christian blog. I feel the need to say those words firmly. And do you know why? I don’t believe there is such a thing.
I am a Writer who is also a Christian. There’s a difference.
Just like there is someone who makes music who is also a Christian. There are players who play basketball and are also Christians and Chef’s who are Christians but also have a passion to cook food. We are all just people doing what we love and believe our Creator gave us the gift and freedom to do so.
He is in us, so He flows from us. Everything we create is an expression of Him.
When we start with the labels, there’s an expectation in people’s minds that none of us will ever be able to meet. Because none of us are perfect we will never be able to live up to that standard. We all fall short, and I am the first person to admit I have, many times.
So who am I?
Well lots of day’s I am still trying to figure it all out. For now I will say I am a pretty goofy girl, a Mom, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a girlfriend, a blogger, a foodie, a creative and a person who is a believer.
In this space I write about all of the things I love, and those are numerous. I try to write authentically and with passion. I try to live my life in a way that points you towards hope and purpose from pain. I try to inspire people that they are able to overcome even the most horrific of circumstances, because we are still living and breathing after journeying through them ourselves.
Are all of these things because of my faith? Of course they are, my faith is the epicenter from which all things are created, even if I’m simply writing about a bed-spread I love.
Everything that flows from me is out of the abundance of who He is in me. And if you want to know who/what I am? That’s it. His.
Oh, and there’s one more thing. It’s this funny thing called writing. My name is Sarah and I love to do it.
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