"Believing in God is as much like falling in love as it is making a decision. Love is both something that happens to you and something you decide upon." -Donald Miller
I have read Donald Miller's 'Blue Like Jazz' a multitude of times over the years. I have underlined, highlighted, and scribbled notes so tiny and cramped that they are all but undecipherable to anyone but me. I have felt his words wash over me and ease my soul from both my highest of highs, and those times when I have fallen so far, all hope seems lost. Yet throughout every reading, these two lines stand out the most. It is as if Donald Miller had cracked open the book of my life and penned within the words I most needed to read. You see, I used to believe in God like I believe in religion. As something, cold and impersonal, formulaic, and out of sync with humanity as a whole. This was before I gave birth to my beautiful son, and the world as I knew it was turned upon its head.
If you would have asked me three years ago where I would be now, I would have told you, "anywhere, but here". More specifically, I would have seen myself far away, at some east coast university, living a life that was empty, and void of the joy that encompasses my current condition. You see, it is easy to hide behind a veneer of false fulfillment when you find yourself to be unloved and unlovable. This is where the beauty of Christ steps in. Christ loves me because of the very nuances that I define as my imperfections, my shortcomings in this world. He does not love me despite of them, he loves me because of them, and to me, that is the most perfect love of all. A love worth emulating in all that we do.
Flash back to three years ago, and you would have met a girl who was terrified of living for something greater than her self. Who hid behind an image of perfection, to hide the truth to anyone who cared to venture in. This girl had an eating disorder, but cannot stand to this day to define herself as an anorexic. Eating disorders, like most things in life, are something that we as human beings have, they are not, they should not, become something that we are. This girl was terrified, was lonely, was trying so desperately to become someone she wasn't that she forgot entirely to see the beauty within herself. This was before I met my life partner, before I met my beautiful son, before I met myself, and most importantly, before I came to know who Jesus is, and not merely who society, who The Church, paints him to be.
The Christ I know is a loving Christ. A Christ who came to earth to be a shepherd to his sheep, to give his life for the imperfections of humanity, and to love us, despite all the facts. This is a version of Christ that many of us forgets exists, if we knew he existed at all. A Christ that if he were here today, would more than just love us as children of God. But would like us, as a friend, as a person, as a whole. This is not a Christ who would make us to feel guilty and ashamed of who we are, but offer us a way through the hopelessness of this world. For what does it say about God's design if we as humans see fit to tear it down and judge it according to our standards? Does it not say that His design falls short, that our opinions and judgments of his work hold more credence than His own? "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23. For we are all equal, for God loves us just for who we are. This is the beauty of redemption, this is the beauty of grace, this is the beauty I choose as a focus for my life, for my family, for whatever the future may hold.
Flash forward to three years later. I am holding a giggling little boy in my arms, and waiting for my love to wake up from his sleep so we, as a family can start the day together. I am reveling in the beauty of silence. Of walking alone with God and with my thoughts. I cannot tell you that I am better now, no matter how desperately I want it to be so. I still struggle each and everyday with coming to terms with myself and my inequities. To see myself as God sees me, as perfect and whole, just the way I am. Perhaps this is one of life's lessons to be learned: that life is not easy, that it is dirty, difficult, and raw. That no matter how hard we may try, we will never live up to the standards of the earth. Maybe the lesson is that it is time for a new standard. The standard of Christ, and the standard of self acceptance, of self love. Maybe it is when we begin to believe that we are lovable, that we can step out into the world and love others with all that we've got.
This is what I wish my blog to be about. About one mama's journey through life, love, motherhood, and faith. About finding perfection in the imperfect, and learning to love ourselves more, one babystep at a time.