Since beginning to blog in February of 2020, I’ve grown increasingly more frustrated with my limited understanding and lack of personal experience with the phrase “free in Christ.” And looking back (as I do annually) at the website and why I began writing in this way, I am reminded that seeking what this term means has always been at the heart of my journey. My home page declares it! Yet a clear, livable definition has remained illusive. However, I think my pursuit of wisdom and my willingness to be vulnerable is paying off.
WHY AM I WRITING?
The timing between beginning to earnestly write and a pandemic that would change my perspective on faith is rather miraculous. Initially, my motive for writing was to have an outlet to share some insights on faith and life, but now I know that the act of writing is my way of working out what I don’t understand. This form of “verbal” processing has not only saved others from going mad (listening to my dronings) but has honed a hobby into skill. One that I now believe can be of use.
Several painful personal circumstances have occurred in these three years since the onset of Covid-19. I’ve casually mentioned some of them in other posts but skirted any deep talk online. And each year I’ve written less and less. Both for my own blog and devotionals for others to publish. I did not know what to say about the tornado I found myself whirling in, so I stopped writing much at all.
INSPIRED BY A BIBLICAL WRITER
Ironically, the inspirational Bible verse that I chose to represent my blog, putting it on my home page, contains these lines from Psalm 119 (MSG):
“And I’ll stride freely through wide open spaces
as I look for your truth and your wisdom;
Then I’ll tell the world what I find, speak out boldly in public, unembarrassed.”
I’ve been the opposite of bold and utterly embarrassed to talk about troublesome things because I fear scorn or peer pressure from the Christian community. Frankly, I didn’t consider myself biblically educated enough to stand behind my opinions. I don’t feel safe in heated conversations and tend to avoid them.
But today these words embolden me to continue to study and write about the truth of the gospel…even the parts pertaining to controversial and difficult topics. Because some of these subjects are now within my wheelhouse to discuss. Writing gives me the time to go slow and the editing ability to be a better, non-defensive communicator.
I feel called to open up about what it is like to be both a Christian and a parent of a child identifying as transgender. And I need to write to help me navigate what I am wrestling with and maybe it’ll help others traverse the same. I do not claim to have “arrived,” but am only beginning this part of the journey.
I BEGAN AS A PHARISEE
As a white, Christian woman, raised in a conservative, republican, American, Christian home, I had no experience with the “big” sins. And by big sin, I mean my genealogy was without murderers, thieves, and sexual sinners (or so I believed). My life was built on being good, going to Sunday school, and saying “no” to drugs. I didn’t really need Jesus’ freedoms because I was keeping all the rules. I was a good girl.
So, it’s no surprise that I’ve struggled with the whole “freedom in Christ” bit. If I don’t understand what a sinner is, how can I relate to grace?
Here’s what I know about being a goody-goody…you don’t relate to those who aren’t. And when you don’t relate, you lack sympathy and compassion. You keep a distance, and you certainly don’t fraternize in friendship with those people.
This is the Pharisee story.
And my story.
It could be your story too.
CHRIST SET US FREE FROM RULE KEEPING
However, God is rescuing me from that lie of a life. He is saving me by putting me in hard places where I must make hard choices between relationships and ideology. Or relationships and theology.
Let me be clear, God is not suggesting I choose between lost people and Him. But between His beloved and rules. I can’t help but wonder if some Christians see standing alongside sinners as somehow standing apart from Christ.
My choice is to stay in relationship with my child despite the lifestyle they are exploring because I interpret the Bible as saying that God does not leave us nor forsake us.
So, this is a new insight I have into living free in Christ:
Love does not always follow the rules.
Or rather our interpretation of the rules, which so many churches adhere to.
Love does not draw lines in the sand that say, “cross this and you’re out of the family,” or “you only get so many chances.” Jesus died to release all of us from legalism and into relationship. And, in case you didn’t know, relationships are messy. Yet I’m pretty sure Jesus already had that figured out.
There’s soooo much more to say, but I’m well over the word count of a reasonable blog post. I will continue to talk about my opinions and relevant Biblical discoveries on my blog while I continue to write devotionals for publication on other websites (also posted on my “Published Devotionals” page). I welcome your questions as I share as openly as possible about my experience.