The most anticipated part of driving across the country as we start a new chapter in our lives has been the forced solitude. Hours and hours of driving with nothing to keep me company but fuzzy and ever-changing radio stations and an iPod full of Paul Simon. Perfect. A chance to process how I have changed these past 7 years, how I am hurt by the events of the past few weeks, how I am excited about the future. The first conclusion I have come to is there is simply no denying that the Christianity that I now practice is intensely different than the Christianity I once practiced and is also different than the Christianity practiced by my evangelical community. I have changed. It is oftentimes difficult to change while being in a marriage. As the cliché is often heard “You are not the person that I married.” It has been difficult to feel that sentiment from friends and colleagues, feelings both of pity and anger from them, disappointment and rejection from me. I cannot pretend that I am not hurt by those feelings, but I also know that I cannot allow them to keep me from being true to the story of God I see unfolding in the world.
What has helped me to stay true and is charting my course as we begin to write this next chapter has been the incredibly rewarding experience of finding those who too are being abused or neglected by their spouse because they too are not the person that their Christian community first married. And then to lead them out of feelings of self-hatred and loneliness, into a Sabbath rest with a God who loves them despite their doubts, despite their questions, a God who does not fear an upended faith.
Here’s to many more stories of people finding Jesus, a God who truly knows the human condition, does not fear it or ignore it, and so loves us anyway.