Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A View From Inside

I'm sad. I'm tired. I'm easily upset. I'm physically exhausted. I'm spiritually weak. This is who I am right now. I accept all of these things because it is who I am, living in a world God designed that Satan has tainted with sin.

I'm not mad at myself for my inability to be happy all of the time. I'm not even mad at myself when something seemingly simple, like a passing comment from my wife, upsets me and sends me into a downward spiral. This is who I am right now. This is the place I've been called to spiritually and emotionally.

What does make me mad, however, is the belief by most people in my world that it is my responsibility to "fix" all that is wrong with me. That it is my responsibility alone to repair everything broken in my life by simply deciding I want better.

In reading scripture and learning the personality of Jesus when he was in this world, I believe his goals for his Church are much different than what we have deemed them to be in 2012. I am confident that he gave us each other because we ar weak. We are broken. We need extra hands to hold us up.

"Why aren't people trying to help me?" I'd wonder.

"What do they expect from me? Just to decide I'm all better?" I'd cry to my wife, hours after we should have both been soundly asleep to prepare for the next day of work.

To understand how I've come to this place, you need to know a little bit about me.

- I'm a Christian.

- I was raised in a rather traditional Christian home.

- I went to a Christian college, got my degree in Communications and have been a working American for the last 7 years.

- I married my college sweetheart, Joy, August 13, 2005.

- My daughter Maggie died May 25, 2011.

Maggie's death changed everything. (If you would like to read that story you can check out my last blog)  That was the last defining moment of my life. That is, until I realized how broken many of our relationships had become. This emptiness and distance forced me to ask a lot of tough questions about community, church, friendships and who and what was REAL in our world.

Once I started to probe and ask questions about this one thing, American Christian community, something I was raised to just accept the way it was, it was as if I had crawled into a black hole. I began to see everything differently and not hesitate to question anything and everything.

- Why are we spending so much time working instead of spending time with people who need to be loved?

- Why don't we know more about grief? Why don't we teach each other within Christianity to lament with each other the way we praise together?

- Shouldn't the church be a group of people who spend most of their time together? And how about support?

- Do we know each other well enough, with deep intimacy that allows us to share our inmost struggles? Can we talk about the ways Satan makes us the most vulnerable?

- Shouldn't Christians from all denominations be spending time in service together?

- Why do we let our Sunday morning preferences cause such rifts between us when our core beliefs are so similar?

- Shouldn't the work of the church be distributed around to all of it's parts? Why do the elders and ministers have to do so much of the work? And why do we pay people to do this stuff?

I'm sure my wonderful wife is tiring quickly of my constant questioning. At this point there are few things safe from my questioning. Here is what I know:

- God loves me, and everyone else too.

- He gave his Son Jesus as a sacrifice for everyone's sins. The grace that came from that sacrifice gives me worth as a person when my sin had previously made me worthless.

- My job on this earth is to glorify my God though everything I do.

I'm pretty comfortable with these being the only concrete facts in my life right now. All of the other stuff I thought was necessary and important kept me from remembering these three things. So for now, we'll keep it simple and see how that works.

SO, this blog will be a steady progression of my thoughts and questions. I'm very tired of feeling lonely, and I know my thoughts are expressed much more clearly when I sit down and write through them. So if you are ever wondering how I'm doing, knock on my door first. That's what friends do. But if you can't make it to my place in Round Rock, TX, check this blog. I'm going to try hard to be diligent in its upkeep, and I'll always be honest.

I'll probably include some photography from time to time, and I'll keep you updated on our newest blessing. Joy is pregnant again, and due June 28. All of the tests and images look like we will have a healthy baby in three months!

Thanks for reading.


  1. Hi Steve. Great blog, really fantastic. I just wanted to let you know we are reading a book called Crazy Love. It's absolutely amazing. Chapter 1: Stop Praying. Wow - what a paradigm shift this was from the very beginning. It has been a life changer for me and I thought you might like to read it too. Perhaps you've already have. I love your heart.

  2. I wish I did live closer to knock on your door more often friend. Please know that you and Joy, Maggie and the new baby are never far from my thoughts and are constantly in my prayers. I love you guys.

  3. I liked how you said about how different denominations should worship together and how even though we have different ways of worshiping, we still have the same core beliefs. I struggle with this everyday. I like my church but others, actually classmates, are always condemning and I feel guilty for wondering if my church is alright for me. My church does not really have the modern-day worship and it has a lot of beliefs that other churches don't have. Reading this helped me loosen the strings a little and trust your judgments of our religion.
    I know this does not have much to do with the point of your post, but that detail really meant so much to me.
    Thanks for blogging... I enjoy hearing the thoughts of other devout Christians.

  4. I am finding my relationship with Christ through different circumstances than yours...but wanted to let you know I am going to make a point to pray for you and Joy. I am friends with Suzanne Mangrum and that is how I found your are a deep thinker and I believe I need the deep thoughts, so thank you!

  5. I love this post. It articulately encompasses so many of the thoughts that I've been struggling with over the past few years, yet haven't had the courage to both face head on and verbalize publicly. You and Joy are blessings of transparency...

  6. I too have been taking a look at Christian community (or lack of it) lately. I think there's a lot of fear and a lot of busyness that gets in the way of a lot of good.