An open letter to my fellow Christians

Dear fellow Christian,

I want to start off this letter by letting you know that we’re in this together. This journey, this crazy life, this learning about God and following Him with every part of who we are. You’re not in it alone, I’m here with you. I want to lay that foundation, I want us to remember the things we have in common, and remember that we’re on the same team. I’m hoping if you remember that, then you’ll know that what I’m about to say doesn’t come from a place of judgement, but it comes from a place of wrestling alongside you. I too am trying to navigate the waters of following Jesus in our current culture, and I know it’s hard and that sometimes what we thought was black and white is suddenly turning gray. Gray is much harder to navigate.

In a culture that debates over everything under the sun, from climate change to abortion, to homosexuality, to organic vs conventional, to complementarianism vs egalitarianism, to gun control,  to vaccines, to health care, to politics, we don’t have to look very far to find something to disagree about. Our opinionated world seems to look more for the points of contention than the points of concurrence, and it’s starting to take a toll on us. There are extremes everywhere you turn, but I’m beginning to wonder, Christian, where are the peacemakers? Where are the peacekeepers? Where are those among us who will call for love above all else, and a love that is for everyone not just the people we agree with. Where are the people who look different from the world, and who love unconditionally, outside of their own ability, but because He first loved us? Didn’t the word that became flesh for us, that became the sacrifice for us, say that they will know who we are by the way we love one another? Does the world know who we are and who we are loved by? Do they know that they are loved by Him too because of the love we show them?

We forget that we are His hands and His feet, and that the words we speak bring life or death. They bring healing or they wound. And I want you to know that you can choose kindness over speaking your mind in “love” that feels like hate. No matter what denomination you come from, you can choose to walk in humility and embrace your fellow man with open arms. You can love everyone, even if they disagree with you.

In Micah 6 the question is what can we bring to God to please Him, how can we bring Him delight? Verse 8 contains the answer. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Christian, is this the way we are living our lives and walking out our relationship with God? Are we doing justice? Are we standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves? Are we protecting the innocent, and making our purchases count for something good? Are we fighting for freedom, for those are in chains? Are we loving kindness? Are we welcoming everyone in our lives, whether they look, think, or act differently than us? Are we affirming people, assuring them in their identity and that they too are image bearers. Do we live a life marked by mercy and grace? Do we walk in humility with God? Do we walk in humility period? Do we leave space for being wrong, and for being taught?

The answer to all of the above should be yes, because this is what is good. This is what the Lord requires of you and of me. This is what He requires of us Christian, can we do it? Can you do it? Can I do it? Are we willing to love beyond our own capabilities? Are we ready to put aside the differences that divide and extend the grace that will act like a bridge across the space where our differences dwell. To be honest with you, I’m tired, aren’t you? Aren’t tired of the fighting and disagreeing, and disliking? It’s exhausting. No matter what side of the fence you sit on, conservative, post modern, emergent, feminist, traditional, it doesn’t matter. You’ve been a part of the problem. You’ve been a part of the arguing. I’ve been a part of it. But it’s time Christian, to fight not against one another, but for the souls of the lost. It’s time we fight for their hearts. It’s time we touch them with kindness, humility, and justice. It’s time that we are known not for words of judgement and hatred, but for words of life. It’s time we are known for the love we show, not just for the “love” we say.

“Let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”

I hope you’ll wrestle with me, and wrestle with God as we try to walk out His word, His truth, His love. I hope that this olive branch I’m extending to you will be received, and that even though maybe we disagree on some things, we can continue to agree on the main thing. That maybe starting with you and me, Christians will start to be recognized not for the judgment they fling but instead for the way we love, because of the way we were loved by Him.

Love,

Sarah

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Five Months of Mawage and the Five Things I’ve Learned

Steve and I are now five months into our marriage. I know what you’re thinking, “WOAH! Five whole months, that’s a lifetime. She must be a marriage pro.” And you would be right. (JUST KIDDING) Honestly, I’m the opposite of a marriage pro, but in all seriousness these past five months have been equal parts wonderfully amazing and difficult, hilarious and frustrating, and magical and eye opening.

I think we went into marriage as prepared as we could be. We went to marriage counseling (via Skype), read books, and talked about what we wanted our relationship and life to look like. We prayed that God would inhabit our union. But honestly, nothing can really prepare for you this crazy wonderful and growing experience. So to commemorate our five months, here are five things that I’ve learned thus far.

1.) Laughter is inevitable (and so is crying) 

Nobody can make me laugh quite like Steven Combs. For reals. He’s hilarious, and if you don’t know this part of my handsome husband you are missing out. We are constantly being goofy, and if anyone ever got ahold of my phone and read our text conversations I would hide my head in the sand out of pure embarrassment, because seriously, we’re crazy. To give you a glimpse, one of my frequently used emoticons is the poop smiley face, because that one just always seems appropriate in our conversations. Also, sometimes we talk to each other like we have no teeth… don’t tell him I told you that one. But just like he can make me laugh like none other, he also makes me cry. This is marriage y’all {especially because I’m a super emotional human}. Sometimes he makes me mad and sad, and sometimes I do the same to him. He can make me the happiest human being, but he can also make me sad. It’s just life. It’s real and it’s marriage. Sometimes he says something, and my girl ears hear something that he didn’t mean, and thus tears follow. And sometimes I say something and his male ears hear something that I don’t mean. When you live with and love someone, you’re not always going to get along. If you never fight, and always always get along perfectly, either you married (or are dating) someone who is you in the form of the opposite sex, or someone isn’t being honest. Laughing is great, and happens everyday, I’m not even exaggerating. But y’all crying happens too {not everyday}, and I’m learning that that doesn’t mean that our first year of marriage is a flop, it just means we’re humans. 

poop smiley

2.) He can read my mind. 

Sometimes I get upset about something, but I don’t want to tell Steven. Or sometimes I think something’s funny and I laugh at it in my head, and I swear he knows what I’m laughing at and gives me the eyes and then we laugh out loud together. I don’t know how he does it, but he has this way of knowing me so well, that he can read my thoughts before I’ve even admitted to myself that I’m thinking them. It’s truly remarkable, and also stinks because I can’t ever lie to him about my feelings. HE JUST KNOWS THEM. I know, I’m creeped out too. Maybe I should start wearing one of those creepy aluminum helmets.{See photo below}

alumninum hat

3.) The issues I had before marriage, still exist in marriage.

Surprise, surprise. Marriage isn’t a magic cure-all that makes all your personal issues and insecurities go away. I know, what the heck, right? The same stuff I had before we got married, is still the same stuff I’m dealing with now. I’m a people pleasing, co-dependent chick, with no concept of boundaries. That was there before, and it’s still there now. Marriage didn’t magically make me this secure and confident woman. I’m having to learn to be that apart from Steven, not through of him. So I go to counseling, and she gives me books, and she helps me have epiphanies, and I do the hard work of soul searching and life changing, and God helps me navigate it. But the benefit of my helpful and encouraging man, is that he is there for me along the way. He helps me live in reality, he calls me out on my stuff, and doesn’t let me live in it. Man, I’m so grateful for that!! He is the opposite of an enabler. Most of the time I love that, but other times when I want to buy a purse and he gets me to actually consider my purchase, I don’t like it anymore.

scrunchy face

Photo credit: KD Burke Photography

4.) Marriage is a journey and an adventure, for real. So be ready for the ride.

I married a dreamer and a visionary. He’s constantly coming up with new, revolutionary ideas like more-than-profit t-shirt companies and an all natural soda company and recording booths in our office and full length CDs recorded in said booth. Because of this I am learning to go with the flow and join in the dream. For example, back in the fall he built the recording booth with the help of a friend from church. They resourcefully made it from large doors that the previous owner had left behind in our basement. After they put the doors up, and our friend left I stood in the office and just broke down in tears. Steve was so confused, poor man. “It’s so big!”, I sobbed. {yes friends, sobbed, that is not an exaggeration.} He tried to comfort me, and told me he would make it smaller, and the faucet slowly started to turn off. But you see the waterworks started because I couldn’t see past the large structure in our spare room for what it represented. This booth meant that we could record great quality music in the comfort of our own home. This booth would be a blessing and an asset, and yes it was large but it was worth it. And I’m learning that that’s what being married to a dreamer means. It means sometimes something will be scary {I.e. starting a company from the ground up}, but when you look further down the line and you think about the impact that dream could have it makes it all a little less scary, and a lot more wonderful and exciting. Now this isn’t to say that I just say, “YES THAT’S A GREAT IDEA” to everything. I think that being a part of this two man team means that we speak wisdom to each other, but sometimes it does mean jumping in with both feet even when I’m scared, because that’s a part of what marriage is all about. So be ready for the ride.

KCCC table

5.) Marrying my best friend=best idea ever.

I think I’ve said it on here before, but I’ll say it again, I married my best friend. I know that’s cliche, but it’s so true. He’s my favorite person {and not just cause he’s a hottie}. He just gets me {see number 3}, and he knows how to encourage and inspire me. If I had a rough day, he’s the one I want to talk to about it. If I’ve had a great day, same thing. I love exploring new places with him, and learning new things from him. Honestly the main reason I was able to motivate myself enough to graduate {better late than never, am I right?} is because Steven was constantly encouraging me. He believes in me way more than I believe in myself, and sees my potential even when I’m blind to it. I am a better person because of him, and he allows me to see and experience the love of God in a way I never have before. He is my best friend forever, and that is my favorite part of being his wife.

graduation photo

 

I know our marriage is just a baby one. It’s just an infant really. But I hope that throughout all of our years I will be able to look for the things I am learning, and that I will always call him my best friend. I hope that we’ll always use poop smiley emoticons, and that as iron that sharpen iron, we’ll continue to sharpen one another. I am grateful for the gift of our mawage, and I am grateful for the gift of my Steven.