Thursday 19 August 2021

When The Church Does Wrong

This was two years ago. I had the amazing opportunity to preach twice, and it was a blessing, a thrill, a highlight of my life even. But now, today when I see this memory pop up, it feels sour.

Chris knew he wanted to be a pastor before I even met him. We got married and he began 5 years of school, including a semester of internship. Less than a year out of school he got the job we had been praying for, and we moved our family to our small town we still love and call home. Our time at the church came to an end 6 months ago, after 4 years in pastoral ministry. We left feeling sad and wounded from our experience. We have been silent about it though, because as a Christian there is this unspoken rule that you don’t talk trash about “The Church.” If you’ve been hurt, you just hold it all in, because you don’t want to speak out and possibly skew the view of the church as a whole. We assume non Christians can’t separate big C church from little c church. If one church is bad, then the Christian Church as a whole must be bad.   Obviously this is not true, but we can’t possibly confirm the widely held belief that The Church is far from perfect. I think it’s why you only ever hear the bad from people who have walked away from it all- they’ve burned their bridges and they have sworn off The Church altogether, so they don’t care about the unspoken rule.

So we are left with two views being presented by Christians. Everything is rosy, or it’s so bad I left it all behind, God included.

There is another place to land however. You can be hurt by one church- one building that is supposed to represent the character of Christ, but falls short. And you can talk about it. You can trust that the Holy Spirit will not allow your words to diminish someone’s view of Jesus.

You can stand up and boldly say that they should be better, and not feel like you are hurting the work of the church. Why can’t we believe that God is so big and so great, that even if a non believer knew everything about the fallacy of man, they would still choose to follow Him? Why do we have so little faith?

We haven’t been to church since February. Six months without sitting in the pews, worshipping together, learning together. It’s been a time of pain and loneliness, but also growth. It’s been hard- we live in a small town where the church options aren’t that vast, and we feel hesitant to step into vulnerability again. It has forced me to take stock of what I believe. I don’t have someone teaching me each week. I’m not engaging in corporate worship. I’m all alone with my thoughts, a lot of which are sad and angry. Some might say this is a dangerous place to be- vulnerable to the schemes of the enemy to plant seeds of doubt. “What is the point of following Him when his followers are so flawed that they hurt others?” “Is God good, all the time?” “Is He even real?”

It’s a place that can be very lonely without counsel- someone to guide you through it. I know this. But I’ve been persisting in the darkness for a reason. I want to put in the effort to see for myself. At our old church, following Jesus seemed so easy. Effortless. Worship music would start, and without any doing of my own, I would fall into a place of deep worship and admiration of God. Immersed. The teaching was always relevant, poignant, and meaningful. I rarely walked away without feeling like God spoke to me through the words of someone else. The community was authentic. The people were real, and they cared.

Opening my bible feels hard right now. To separate the hurt that the church inflicted from God, is difficult. It’s important work though. It’s hard work worth doing. So, we're taking some baby steps, God and I. God is not the church. God is here with me, and someday soon we can go visit church together.

Monday 9 August 2021

New Blog Post Who Dis

It's been a really long time since I sat down with my laptop. A really long time since I decided to type out some of my thoughts. So much has changed, I considered starting a brand new blog. Looking back on some of my old posts feels like reading through an old diary. There are moments I feel embarrassed for what I've written. For what I've thought. 

Four and a half years ago we started our life in pastoral ministry. We moved to a small town not far from where we both grew up, and where we started our family, and we started a new chapter. Six months ago we closed that chapter. There were highs and lows. A lot of lows. One of the things I hated most though, was feeling like my voice had been silenced. Being a pastor's family brings along a microscope into your life, and for fear that my thoughts would be perceived as Chris' thoughts, and therefor THE PASTOR'S thoughts, I found myself biting my tongue until it bled.

It wasn't just that though. It's been a few years of a lot of growth and learning, and I just didn't feel like sharing a lot of it. It's been messy, and there have been lessons I've had to learn a number of times. I think I had a fairly narcissistic approach to blogging, and felt like I needed to have something to tell, to teach even. 

I have nothing to teach. Very little to offer anyone that reads this actually. It's laughable to think that I would write anything with the intention of it being for others. Instead I'm writing for the joy of writing, and the comfort that it's always brought. 

I'm keeping my blog name the same, because if there is anything that is true, it's that I'm just stumbling through life, and the only thing graceful about it, is the grace that Jesus shows me everyday.

Monday 15 June 2020

Marriage Monday

Marriage Monday!

This morning I crawled into bed at 5:45 with Scarlett, hoping I could snuggle her back to sleep. We had been up since 5. She blew bubbles while I laid there attempting to accept the fact that she wasn’t going back to sleep. Chris rolled over, and I apologized for waking him up. He asked what time it was and sympathized when I told him how long I had been awake. And then he offered to get up for a bit until I needed to get up for the first dayhome kid’s arrival. I closed my eyes and was back asleep in seconds.

I’m telling you this story because while it is SO NORMAL for us now, it wasn’t always. When Elliott was little I would sometimes be woken up 5-6 times in the night, and up for the day well before 6. And I did it all alone because I didn’t know how to communicate my needs, and I sort of thought that night time/early morning parenting was a solo sport. I grew up with a Dad that was mostly a spectator in the parenting game, and while I didn’t consciously think I wanted the same thing, my actions created a similar environment. I often took on all the hard parts of parenting because I was afraid that Chris would resent our choice to have kids if it was too hard, and in the early years I was afraid he wouldn’t want more kids unless it seemed easy.

Monday 18 March 2019

10 Years Of Being Loved By Him

It was in March of ‘09 that we went on our first date. Or “non-date” as we called it because neither of us really knew if it was a date or not, and when we ran into a mutual friend that point blank asked us if we were on a date, we both kind of choked. 😂. We went to our first show together - Christian Hansen at the ARTery. It was a high intensity, crazy, jump up and down and dance kind of show, but we stood awkwardly together at the back. Then finally we just sat down near the door and talked and talked for hours. I told one of my best friends the next day that I had just been on the best date of my life... even though I wasn’t sure if it was a date or not.

If you would have asked me that day what I hoped for 10 years down the road, I could have never imagined this life. I probably could have pictured the marriage, house and kids. I was in my early 20’s and knew I wanted all that in my future. What I couldn’t foresee what just how madly in love I would be. Anything I had felt before Chris was a spark in comparison to a bonfire, but the real surprise is how our years together have turned into embers that burn hotter and brighter than I ever imagined. 

Monday 21 January 2019

Marriage, Seven Years and Two Kids In

The last time I wrote exclusively about marriage was when we were blissful newlyweds. I think we had been married a year or less when I first started clickety clacking away about all my thoughts and ideas on marriage. I remember a friend commenting on a post on sex, saying something like "I can't wait to hear your thoughts on all this once you've had a couple kids." There was probably a winky face in there, because I'm pretty sure she had two kids and knew what I didn't... kids really do change everything!

So here we are. Seven (and a half) years in, and two kids later, and I still have a lot of thoughts and ideas about marriage (and sex!) So many, that I thought I might as well write a whole series of posts about it. Some of you may have seen my Instagram (@Melissa1014) story where I asked for suggestions on what specific marriage issues to write on. I got some great suggestions! I'll try my best to touch on all of the questions I had throughout this series, as well as some things that I consider to be very important in our marriage.

Tuesday 27 November 2018

Less Netflix, More Chill

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of speaking to a group of women in our church at an event. This is a copy of that talk!

So something that has interested me for quite a while now is STRESS. 

What is stress? According to the dictionary Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.

I looked up some stats, and apparently when asked to rate our stress from 1 to 10, the average answer given is 6. So, it sounds to me like we want to be clear that we’re ok- we have it together… but don’t expect too much out of me because I AM just slightly more stressed than I should be. Women report on average, a 5% higher answer than men. And I’m sure none of you will be surprised that generationally speaking, Millennials report the highest levels of stress. 

So, what are we all so stressed about? Beats me. That’s not what I’m here to talk about tonight. The truth is that stress is there in all stages of life, and its real, and it’s probably not going anywhere. 

Tuesday 10 July 2018

Almost a Year Down The Road

I can't decided where to start or what to write, so I'm just going to start typing, and we'll see what comes out. Sound good? Great. My last post was on October 23rd. Almost 8 months ago? I'm pretty sure I was a different person on October 23rd. I wrote about post partum depression and how I had just started taking medication, which if I remember correctly, was in late August of last year. So now I've been on medication for nearly a year. 

I want to be very careful about how I share this journey because I realize so much more now than I ever have before how insensitive it can be to make claims on mental health. Whether you admit it or not, we all have preconceived notions on what mental health struggles are like. I'm sure if you hear the words depression or anxiety you have ideas of what those things are, and you likely even have a person in your life that struggles with one or both. You probably also have idea of what medication for these things is like, and/or what it is like to be on these medications.