Tag Archives: faith

Not Sure (or, The Scariest Thing I’ve Ever Written)

I’m not sure if I’m a feminist. To be fair, these days there are a lot of things I’m not sure about, but right now, this seems to be at the top of the list.

You see, “feminism” has never been something I’ve thought about or prayed about or engaged with. Its existence has always been in the back of my mind, I guess, somewhere in that part of my brain where all of the yes, that is a thing which exists, but that’s all I know about it things live – but that was as far as it went.

Until, all at once, it went a lot further.

I took a required course on the role of women in the church, and what had once been a non-issue suddenly moved to the forefront of my academic thinking.
Soon, it moved from my academic thinking to my heart’s questions.
I got mad.
I cried a lot.
I wrote an angry letter to my old pastor, then I burned it.
I read A Year of Biblical Womanhood, and I felt peace. A lot of peace.
After the peace, I had a lot more questions than answers.
But this time, the questions were tinged with a knowledge that everything would be okay.
I subscribed to some blogs.
I wasn’t looking for feminism. I wasn’t looking for anything with a name.
I read blogs from all across the board.
I got mad at Mark Driscoll, so I tried to figure out why.
I read the Bible. Especially New Testament instructions to the church
I emailed a feminist I had mutual friends with.
She wrote back.
I subscribed to more blogs.
We ate donuts together and I asked her a million and twelve questions.
She gave me a hug.
She was normal.

And now, here I am. I’m not sure if I’m a feminist or not. I’ve done some research, but I don’t have time to fully immerse myself in the study. There are still some things I can’t reconcile, some questions that haven’t been answered, and some implications that I’m not fully comfortable with. I am pro-life, and I am 100% convinced that homosexuality is a sin – those are two big ones. I want to get married and I am pretty sure I want my husband to lead me – but I also know that I want a voice, and that I will not be silenced based on my relationship status. I’m not sure how to deal with the hundreds of people who are smarter than I am, who have interpreted Scripture differently.

There are a lot of things I am sure of, though:

I am sure that Jesus does not think less of me, as a woman, than he does of men.
I am sure that I have been called to serve Him.
I am sure that call will not change whether I am married or single.
I am sure that justice will not come to millions of oppressed women around the world as long as the Church continues to believe that women are worth less than men in the eyes of their Savior.
I am sure that I trust the Holy Spirit to guide my life, and that He has brought this issue to the forefront of my life for a reason.
I am sure that I will have somewhat of a nervous breakdown after I hit “publish” on this post, because a lot of people I love very dearly will misunderstand it and be offended or assume I’m “struggling.”

I’m not sure if I’m a feminist, but I might be on the way.
I am a little terrified.
I am a lot unsure.
But I am asking Christ to guide me to freedom as He intended it; to His truth.
And I am sure that He will do that.

feminisms-fest-badge

This post is part of the three-day Feminisms Fest linkup, which today is being hosted at Love is What You Do. Please do yourself a favor and peruse the other blogs participating; they are really wonderful and encouraging. Join the discussion by adding your own blog to the linkup or on Twitter using the hashtag #femfest!
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I Want Alone

I want a cornfield, darn it.
I want to walk the lane back to the woods, just me, Jesus, and a border collie
I want to sit on the rock at the edge of the forest
Praying out loud into the air over the rolling fields
I want the train tracks, the gully filled with jagged rocks just behind Dawn’s house
I want to sit on the edge, throwing stones off the bank as hard as I can
Watching them crash and break and crack
The only time therapy will ever be free.
I want Piatt Lake. I want to sit on the lifeguard stand
Watching God paint the sky in hues my eyes can scarcely take in.
I want to dangle my legs off the footbridge
To listen to the frogs and crickets sing their nighttime songs
I want to wrap myself in a blanket and sit on the pontoon
I want to find stories in the millions of stars
To watch a meteor shower reflected in the glassy lake.
I want to drive, for hours and hours, miles and miles.
I want open road, without traffic, just me
Just me and the playlist that, if you listened closely enough
Would tell you my life story.
I want alone.
There’s no alone here.
There’s plenty of community, and community is wonderful, but there’s no alone
And sometimes, we all need a little bit of alone.
I want to cry, the kind of deep, raw, cleansing cry that only happens when one is alone.
I want to process without having someone knock on the door every 5 minutes,
Asking how I am, how I’m doing, what’s going on, am I okay?
I want ALONE.
I want to ask my questions without it being assumed that I’m struggling or not doing well.
I want to scream at the sky and shake my fists
Because the God I serve can handle my doubts
But I can’t have them if I don’t have alone.
And He can’t answer them if I can’t voice them.
I want alone.

Summer2011-0614

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Where I Belong

“Maybe you’ve been away from your family for a long time, and you get to fly home tonight. They’ll pick you up at the airport, and it’s hard to find anything that compares to that joy of running into their arms.” The chapel speaker was talking about home and heaven this morning, and my mind started reeling, thinking of the glimpses of heaven God has granted me on this earth – the places in this life where I have found pockets of Home.

The Most Joyous Day of the Year – no, not Christmas. The wheels touching down on the tarmac, walking down the airplane stairs into the oppressive humidity and into the airport as quickly as possible, gulping in the familiar smoky air. Waiting, waiting, waiting for the bags, impatiently shifting from one foot to another. Finally crossing through the doors from baggage claim, seeing my Peruvian family after a year. Sprinting into their arms in a chaotic storm of Spanish, English, tears, and laughter. Sound kisses on cheeks, strong arms finally tangibly wrapped around me after a year of aching. Smiling so big my face could crack open, accepting the water bottle Zaida instantly has ready, and walking outside to board a motokar for the first time in so long. Home.

A left turn onto North Rd. after four and a half hours in the car. Rolling down the windows to inhale the Pure Michigan air. God’s country. Finally pulling into the cabin. That first step into Piatt Lake, the first view of the sunset. Black stillness on the footbridge, stars reflected in the water below. Worship in the Miracle Building sanctuary, the trek from the cabins to the sweet shop, sitting on the pontoon with my dad, Tuesday night bonfires, pizza at midnight with Kendra. Home.

Ian and Avery clamoring for space on my lap. Taking hundreds of goofy pictures on my phone and laptop, telling yet another story “when me and Avery and Ah-Ah and Bo Bo and Papa went to a farm.” Will smiling up at me from my arms. Avery growing sleepy and snuggling. Home.

Moody. Chicago. Sitting in my room talking to Molly. Walking the tunnels to CPO or the SDR. Answering phones at work. Sprawling on the floor with the girls on my floor. Taking the Brown Line. Lake Michigan. Walmart Express. Classes, finally knowing my way around Sweeting. Home.

Sitting on the couch in the living room, watching Julian Smith videos with Bo. Mom doing the dishes while we try to watch TV. Laying on my parents’ bed at night, just talking. Waking up in my basement room. Farrand-to-Irish-to-Vienna-to the best Mexican food I’ve ever had. Fields, whistling wind, getting the mail, walking to the church. The librarian knows me by name. Home.

Turning into the driveway on Cole Rd, knocking extra-loud so Nana and Papa hear it. The pink room. #inthecornfields. Lady sitting on my lap in the big chair. Country magazine, morning devotions, and making dinner. Seven minutes flat from the back door to Jocie’s front door. Advice from Papa. Walks around the Arboretum. Crossroads Farm. Home.

Coffee with a friend. Weekend visits. Laughing until it hurts. The kind of hugs that you melt into and feel instantly safe and sheltered by. Long car rides. Fall walks. Home.

I’ve been so blessed to catch glimpses of heaven, of Home, here on earth. The problem with all of these things, though, is that they end.

The Most Joyous Day of the Year is followed in a few short days by The Saddest Day of the Year. Back at the airport, the tears flow again, the arms cling again. Sobs wrack my body as a soundproof glass wall separates me from the people who have worked their way even more deeply into my heart.

Summer ends and I have to cross the Mackinaw Bridge again, this time in the southbound lane. I leave the small cousins to go back to school. I leave school and everything changes before I come back. My parents sell the house I grew up in and soon I will have no legal right to sleep in my childhood home. Lady dies unexpectedly, Nana doesn’t remember me, and the barn is being sold. There are no more walks around the Arb because I’m no longer friends with the person I walked with.

The last drop of coffee is gone and it’s time to leave the cafe. The weekend is over. Sheltering hugs end within two minutes at the most. Fall turns to winter.

And then the speaker says some of the most powerful words I’ve heard in a long time.

“When we trust Christ, our souls find home.”

All the glimpses of Home I’ve been given are but temporary. They’re like watching but a few seconds of a preview for the most epic movie to ever be released. They’re not meant to be my home, but to make my heart long for my true Home – with Christ.

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A Weird Fall

This has been a weird fall, if I’m being honest. It has been a weird fall in so many ways, for so many people, that to even begin to try to explain the intricacies of the pain and joy interwoven in this tapestry called “life” would take pages and hours. My heart, the hearts of my friends and family, ripped and torn and bruised and beaten and healed and helped and dropped and kicked and restored – sometimes switching from ripped, beaten, bruised; to healed, helped, restored; and back again; within the span of a day or two. Faith, relationships, friendships, boys, girls, dogs, Alzheimers, school, pride, homesickness, in-laws, abuse, inadequacy – it seems everyone close to me is dealing with one of those in some big way, whether positively or negatively.

It’s been a fall of learning. Learning to love, learning to let go of love. Learning to embrace doubt without a ceiling, knowing that God is bigger than any doubt. Learning to step out and initiate new friendships, to invite the new girl to dinner or coffee, to stop being judgmental. Learning how to put up the necessary walls to get through a day of work or class. Learning when and with whom to take down those walls.

It’s been a fall of 8 page text messages, fingers tapping the screens of cell phones rapidly, urgently, as if typing fast enough can make the pain go away. It’s been a fall of honesty and confrontation, of putting the cell phone down and meeting in the plaza or at the beach or at Union Station to discuss in person. It’s been a fall of learning to admit feelings, to admit wrong, to admit to being hurt. Learning to stop sweeping everything under the rug. Learning to stop BEING the rug, letting everyone walk all over me.

It’s been a fall of ups and downs, rapidly, sometimes three or four in a day. Rejoicing with one friend then sobbing with another, in the same hour. Calling in to work because I just can’t get out of bed this morning, I’ll be in this afternoonThe kind of hysterical laughter that only comes when it’s been way too long since happiness from deep in the gut. Like a roller coaster, climbing and climbing then plummeting with no warning whatsoever.

Up, up, up, cornfields and new church and family reunions and journaling and long walks in the city lights and making up and new friends and late night nachos and perspective and surprise visits from Jocie. Down, down, down, endless headaches and misguided conversations and trying to make my own plans and crying in the car again and maybe not going back to Peru and things changing and Lady dying and nursing home conversation and doubt. Up, down, up, up, up, down, down, down, down, down, up, up, up, up, up.

{Have there been more ups than downs? Of course. Is God still faithful and in control? He is, has been, and forever will be.}

It’s been a fall of long-sleeve-covered hands wrapped around mugs of Peruvian mate de coca. It’s been a fall of new coffee shops, popcorn every night, How I Met Your Mother, apples, considering tattoos, and appreciating my roommate more than ever before. It’s been a fall of trips back to the Mitten almost every weekend, of avoiding journaling because I just can’t right now, of new musical tastes, boots and scarves, of solving other people’s problems alongside my own.

It’s been a fall of realizing how stinking blessed I am. A fall filled with moments where all I can do is whisper, “thank You,” because I don’t come anywhere near deserving the abundance of blessings God has heaped on my head. It’s been a fall of being selfish, forgetting how blessed I am just moments after my awe-filled “thank You,” demanding, “more, Daddy, more,” like a child. It’s been a fall of grace, of Him giving me more and more and more even though I ask for it selfishly. A fall of Him prying open my tightly closed fists, then wrapping His hands firmly around my now empty palms, showing me I’m not alone.

It’s been a weird and difficult fall, yes. But when I look back on my life, the seasons that were the “weirdest,” or “hardest,” are the seasons where God has taught me the most. The seasons where I’ve cried the most have been the seasons where I’ve also grown the most. It’s been a fall of leaves changing colors, falling to the ground, and being trampled on. The trees will freeze soon, but that won’t be the end. Soon enough it will be spring.

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My Only Constant

It goes without saying that the college years are, almost by definition, a time of great change. Whether attending community college, state school, a liberal arts college, or a Bible college; whether staying home, staying in-state, moving out-of-state, or traveling abroad; college ushers in a season of change for all of its attendees. Thus, it will come as no surprise to you when I state the following:

It seems like everything in my life is changing.

There are, of course, the obvious things. My zip code changed from 48746, to 60610, and back again, in the span of nine months. I went from living in a dorm room to living in my room at home. The label of “best friend” jumped from one person to another as my friend group at college grew. I took up journalling and learned to like coffee and spinach. The list goes on and on.

And then there are the not-so-obvious changes; the ones that don’t face every college student. The house I’ve lived in since fourth grade is up for sale. When I moved home from college, I deep-cleaned my room with the purpose of making it easier for my parents to pack it up and move it to Saginaw in the fall. My baby brother is going to high school in the fall, ending the era of St. Paul Lutheran School for the Hobson family.

I’m at my grandparents’ home in Hillsdale for a few days; my beloved farm #inthecornfields. With each visit, Nana’s Alzheimer’s is worse, and I see the changes in her almost daily. The house I grew up playing with is now outfitted for the senior citizens my grandparents have somehow become, complete with guardrails on the basement stairs and bars in the bathroom.

We spent last weekend at Piatt Lake, the place that has been my summer home since before I was born. Surrounded by friends from camp, I laughed from that deepest place inside of me… but even Piatt Lake has changed. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become aware that the place I once thought entirely perfect is, in fact, marred by sin. The place where I have heard God’s voice the loudest and most clearly is also the place where His children have hurt me the most deeply. The waterline is receding, the buildings and footbridge are aging. Where we once spent our summers happily disconnected from the world, we now have cell service on the beach and in splotches around the cabin; and our WiFi will be hooked back up this summer.

As a control freak, I’ve never been a big fan of change. In fact, if asked to list my biggest fears, “change” would top the list every single time. Yet change presses in from every side. Change doesn’t care about my plans, my control. Change takes charge and pushes me aside.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about change since I’ve been home from school. As I thought, cried, prayed, journaled, etc, God pointed me to His Word. I looked up “unchangeable” in the concordance in the back of my Bible, and found these two verses.

But He is unchangeable, and who can turn Him back? What He desires, He does. For He will complete what He appoints for me, and many such things are in His mind. -Job 23:13-14

See, in the midst of all of this change, it’s easy for me to get caught up in worrying. It’s so, so simple for me to fret about my plans and purposes. Change is scary, especially knowing that we can never go back exactly to the way things were. Yet in the midst of my fear, I heard the quiet whisper of my Savior: “I am unchangeable.”

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

He was the same when He spoke the world into being. He was the same through the Exodus, through the time of the Judges and throughout all of the prophets and kings. He was the same when He watched His Son come into the world one busy night in Bethlehem. He was the same when He watched that same Son being killed, so that I may have a chance to know Him. He was the same through the beginning of the church, through Paul’s imprisonment, through the Reformation.

His character has not changed throughout all of history. Though kings and presidents have passed away, my Savior has remained steadfast. Though wars have been fought, won, and lost, He has not been moved. Though laws have been passed, He remains the same.

My Jesus is the only thing that’s constant. Though my life swirls around me, He is the same. Though I may not come “home” next year, He is the same. When Nana doesn’t know who I am, He is unchanging. Throughout the fluctuations of friendships, He remains steadfast. When His children mess up, He is the same. Whether I am on staff at Hiawatha or serving in Pucallpa, He is the same.

Are you getting the picture yet? My heart is screaming, and if I were talking to you face-to-face, you would see the wild look in my eyes, hear the tremors of relief in my voice as I realize the full depth of the meaning of this. I need not worry, I need not fear. For in a world that is filled with the one thing I fear most, change,

He has not changed.

He does not change.

He will not change.

For all eternity, my Savior is steadfast.

He is my only constant.

Hallelujah.

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Being His Hands

This is a picture I found on Buzzfeed’s Most Powerful Images of 2011.  The caption simply read, “Christians protect Muslims during prayer in Cairo, Egypt.”

Tears pooled under my eyelids when I read the caption. You know why? Because as the body of Christ, this is what we are called to do.

To realize that Christ died for all mankind.

And to simply show love in whatever way we can.

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Stretched Thin, Spread Out, Worn Down

Sometimes, feelings bottle up inside and the only way to sort them out is to write them. This blog post is a result of those feelings. It may not make complete sense, and I promise that I’m not looking for your pity. Sometimes, I just need to share. Thanks for “listening.”

I should begin by saying I realize that my life is great. I am entirely aware of how blessed I am.  I’m a student at one of the top Bible colleges in the world. I have a solid group of friends who prop me up when I’m too weak to stand on my own. I have finally found a home church, and joined a Gospel Community there. I’m in classes for my major now, I have a job that I love, and my basic needs are met: food, water, shelter, etc.  If you look at my life on the surface, it’s “pretty great, actually.” In fact…

“I’m fine.”
“I’m doing great.”
“Life is good.”

These are all things I’ve told people over the last few weeks.  But they aren’t entirely accurate.

I’m balancing 17 credit hours, 15 hours a week of work, homework, Puente, 5North Min Team, PCM, some semblance of a social life, and sleep.  Actually, “balancing” is the wrong word.  It would be more accurate to say that I’m “precariously juggling” all of those things. And then there’s the fact that, as a human being,I’m required to experience a certain amount of feelings.  I lost one of my closest friends over Christmas break and I’m trying to find time to just be sad for a minute.  I sat in the hallway for over an hour, crying with another friend over her deep hurt. I’ve started counseling to deal with the hurt from our church split last spring. I’m actually homesick this semester, especially for my little brother. There is increasing tension in my group of friends that needs to be dealt with. Between my lack of sleep and the knowledge that each day will bring a lot more stress, it has become increasingly difficult to stop hitting the snooze button.

I’m stretched thin, spread out, worn down. If I could wave a magic wand to get anything I wanted, it would be a long weekend on a beach with a pillow, my Bible, my journal, and some music.  I long for sunshine and warmth, for the laughter and freedom that summer brings.  I want to spend a few days at the farm on Cole Rd, cooking for Nana and Papa, watering the steer, and rocking in the corner of the living room reading old issues of Farm and Ranch. I want to go to East Lansing with Maggie and Jocie and eat at Chipotle and go to Bubble Island and talk for hours.

None of those things are options right now. Instead, I snag a few free minutes to journal each day. I take time to breathe and relax before I fall asleep. Coffee is my new best friend, and I’ve started eating breakfast in an effort to have more energy throughout the day.  Sometimes I pause to stare at a wall for a few moments. Gospel Community is a welcome time to break out of the “Moody bubble” and share life with people outside of my daily circles. I make myself find joy in the little things. I remind myself that I am a wretched, awful sinner, but Jesus loves me in spite of myself. My roommate listens to me complain. I look at pictures of sunshine and beaches and summer. I hug people a lot. Gramma Kelci gives me frequent back massages. Sometimes, like last night, I drop everything and do something spontaneous with my friends. When none of those things work, I hide under my covers and talk to Jesus until I fall asleep.

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