It is amazing to me how God works even if I don’t always understand the why or the what of it. His timing is resoundingly perfect…every time. And I’m beginning to see how all the little things stack up until they become a big thing like sanctification. I’m going to share with you how one conversation, a happenstance mention, and then a random like on a Facebook page today sparked what my blog is very likely to be about for a small slice of time.
Several weeks ago, minutes prior to our Sunday School class starting, one of the dear ladies in our church brought up a concern she had over a loved one struggling with gender identity. This, of course, sparked a discussion, and I was DEEPLY moved in that moment by not only my great reluctance to look at the issue but also at the immediate response of the few others in the room. The discussion made us distinctly uncomfortable and if I believe, a bit afraid.
I’ve been walking around with that chip on my shoulder for all these weeks as more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more news comes out about the massive level of confusion over gender and sexuality that exists in this world. And I’ll freely admit that I fear it…I mean really, honestly, deep down in my gut at moments RESENT that this is the time I must live in and raise my children in.
Through a series of very real God-encounters, I have been deeply convicted of the SIN I am committing by succumbing to this fear. The sin I am committing in not trusting that God put me in the world for such a time as this. The sin I am committing by believing that I can save my girls from this world by pretending that it does not exist. Whew. My chest hurts a little bit.
Earlier, I did what everybody does in a moment where the crushing responsibility of parenthood started to crowd me…I got on Facebook. 😉
While I’m cruising through cute pictures, Scripture, and articles, I spot a link to a current series by Matt Chandler called A Beautiful Design. God promptly reminded me that I had written down THIS EXACT LINK on previously mentioned morning when that same dear lady mentioned she had watched it after another wonderful woman in our church sent her the link. THE SAME LINK. That I have not, until this moment, attempted to watch.
Well, I started it. How like God to piece together so many seemingly disconnected moments to bring me to this today. To this answer to prayer. To this opportunity.
I started the video and about 19-ish minutes in, I had to stop. I had to stop because God is good, all the time. And I am desperate to stop listening to what the world has to say and START listening to what God is trying to teach me. About me. About Him. Mostly about Him.
Matt Chandler speaks to something in this video that I believe God has given me an experience and a heart for, and I want desperately to know the end result of all His work. But then, I’d be dead wouldn’t I? And the knowledge would be part of a world that no longer needs it. So, thank you Jesus, that I am here and that you are at work and that you know what you’re doing.
What Matt speaks of in this video is a big, huge, wide, gaping, FAT HOLE in the church, at least in the churches I frequent.
Before I go any farther, I’d like to make one thing clear. This is NOT a condemnation on churches or some misguided belief that churches are not the place for people to find healing. Contrary, I STRONGLY believe that the local church is God’s avenue for teaching us about community and doing life together, and this is a call first and foremost to myself. To remember that God’s truth comes first in a world that is deeply confused. To remember that God loves all of us and died for all of us and is perfectly capable of redeeming ALL who repent and trust in Jesus. To remember that this instinct inside of me to reject what I do not understand or do not want to understand and then bury my head in the sand is not how Jesus approached sin and its consequences. And with all that being laid out as plain as I am capable of making it, I’d like to proceed.
M.C. speaks about the struggle in the hearts of those that are confused, broken, and seeking fulfillment, particularly in the areas of gender identity and sexuality. There are so many of us out there hurting and shamed because what we are taught and what we feel and what we want and what we don’t want and what we have and what we don’t have and who we are and who we are not and who the world wants us to be and who God wants us to be…none of it seems to line up with the person we look at in the mirror. None of it feels like it fits. Like the skin and the body and the mind and the heart and the mouth and the ears and the freckles and the mole and the teeth and the stomach and the thighs…none of it feels like it fits. Uncomfortable in our skin. Then that discomfit starts to radiate into everything else. Not smart. Too fat. Bad teeth. Lame smile. Weird face. Tall. Skinny. Large. Too girly. Not girly enough. To neat. To tame. Sigh. Bleh.
ENOUGH! Enough…I’m tired of being tired of who I am.
Jesus Christ is the answer. He lived this life. He lived it as a man. A celibate man. Who understood the adulteress woman’s need for tenderness. Who understood the Samaritan woman’s desire to be KNOWN. Who understood the disciples’ fear and the grief of death and the wickedness of hypocrisy. Who lived and died perfectly as a God-man and then got up from that death and poured the last minutes of His earthly walk fully and completely into those dear souls who followed Him. Entrusting them with the great task of passing it on.
The sense that I got as I watched Matt introduce this video is that He is grasping something that I am just beginning to recognize. Part of my purpose in this life is to pass it on. But that is not something I can do well if I do not understand it myself.
And I’m gonna put it out there. I don’t understand what it means to be a woman. No gender identity confusion or pronouns or other worldly sentiments. I just simply don’t fully grasp what it means to be a woman. I’ve no doubt that there are many out there who believe themselves experts on the subject. Or believe that they hold a key to understanding that I currently lack.
But, I don’t want that answer. I want God’s answer.
I am excited to start this series. Like Matt warns in the opening of the first video, this is not some sort of replacement for my participation in a local church. And while I struggle to understand what role I play in my church body, I am certain of one thing. I must do my best with what I do know and understand. I must be myself and do my best to love fiercely the church body that I belong to. I have much respect for my pastor and elders and leaders. I am immensely grateful to be part of a church family that so highly values the Word of God. And watching/listening to sermons/teachings by other pastors will not supersede the care of my local pastor and church.
I made one of my in the moment decisions when I paused that video at 19:17. I’ve decided that I would like to share this little slice of my journey with you.
The oh-so-helpful Village Church seems to understand my ingrained desire for study guides…questions to answer…you know that kind of thing, and on their website, I found a very convenient study guide to complete for each part in this series. They mean it to be used in a group type setting, and I’d like to do that in my own unique way.
So, as I watch these teachings and dig deeper into what it means to be God’s redeemed child, to be a woman, to be part of a community of confused, broken, and ultimately God-loved people, I will blog it.
Goodbye 31 Days of Waiting and HELLO, A Beautiful Design. 🙂