Honest

in the midst of it all

I will never forget the moment I became a Christian.

Isn’t that a weird statement? I’m sure though, that there are other moments that people will never forget. It could be the moment they fell in love, or the moment they felt at home or the situation that occurred where they physically felt themselves became an adult.

For me, it was July 3rd, 2000 at a youth conference at Purdue University in Indiana.

Since then my whole life has in some way, shape or form, revolved around the church.

Like, fun fact, did you know that I have a not-yet-completed masters in leadership with an emphasis in spirituality? Or that I was a children’s pastor or that I used to regularly write sermon recaps for my church in Orange County? Or that the world race isn’t the only mission trip I’ve done. OR that I went to a Christian leadership academy in the south of Spain.

I’ve gone through ups and downs in my faith, just like any relationship.

There was the season after my friend Joe died that I had no space to pray, talk to God or even be in a church. I was angry, hurt and alone.

Then there was the time after the world race where I for all purpose fell apart and had no clue what I wanted to believe.

And then, there is now.

Yesterday, I wandered around a bookstore, mainly in the religion section. I perused titles and read the first few pages and tried to find something that matched what I was feeling.

I’ve been unsure lately.

So, I’ve been thinking about all the places I have been solely because I’m a Christian.

There is a lot. I have had a lot of experiences and emotions and adventures because of it.

The timeline of the last 18 years of my life would have looked very different had I not walked up to the stage in the midst of hundreds of high schoolers.

And that’s weird.

My faith and my relationship with God is very different then when I was 14. Then, it was based more on feeling. I felt God. More than I think I realized back then. If I would have gone to a church that focused on spiritual gifts and prophecy, I have no doubt that it is something that would have filled my life. There would be moments when I was leading worship that I would feel what I know now as the spirit moving through what I was singing.

But, why I am saying all these things?

Well, I’m at a place with my faith where I feel as if Jesus and I are on a break. Like we are at that friend level where we sit in room and no one says anything and it feels uncomfortable.

Woof.

I ran out of church today because of it.

I ran out and looked at my calendar and contemplated what it would be to take a break from church.

Here’s the thing: I love my church. I love people and the atmosphere and all of it.

I’m just processing what it would be like to take a break for the self-care.

I’ve been a Christian over half my life now. I’ve had seasons of not going to church and seasons where I worked 6 days a week at one. I’ve held babies on five continents and preached in everywhere from a South African township to a maximum security prison in Peru.

I’ve heard dead on from God from people in bars and spoken words to people about themselves that I have no business knowing.

What I want to say is I’m not breaking up with God.

What I want to say is whatever deity you may believe in find no shame in taking a breath and looking at it all.

What I want to say is that you can believe and question all in the same breath.

So, this is just me, writing on a Sunday, on my second mimosa and just figuring out all the things.

Honest, washington whimsy

wear the damn tiara

I was thinking a lot while I was in church today about why I go to church.
I’m not from a regular church attending type of family. We were able to make our own choices and decisions, we were about to choose our path.

I’m grateful for that.

I’m grateful that I know, from the very depths of my being that ,at some point in my life, I decided of my own accord, to choose Christ.
I technically became a Christian the summer of 2000 (youth conference in Indiana). I’ve done a lot of Christian things in my life. I’ve been on mission trips and outings as close as my backyard and as far away China (and everywhere in between). I’ve taught Sunday school, I’ve led worship, I’ve ran VBS, I’ve been on the payroll of 3 different churches at one time, I’ve been on the writing team where I written recaps of sermons for the church website. I went to a Christian university, was the president of a choir there. I began a probably never going to be completed Masters in Leadership in spirituality. I went to a Christian leadership academy in the south of Spain.

What I am trying to say is I have an extensive resume of Christianity over the last almost 17 years of my life or as my friend Krys put it once, I’m a serious Christian-I’ve held babies in Africa.

But like, really, why?

After I went on the World Race and during my time in Spain, I went through a crisis of faith. What it came down to was this: I had always been a good person. I had always been kind, service oriented, people loving.

After I came to choose Christ and do all of these Christian things, my life felt as if it fell apart. And through all of the things I had to come to terms with the fact that all the good things from before, all the loveliness in my life that I deemed Meghan were actually indeed one and the same with the loveliness that was Christ in my life. It wasn’t just Christ. It wasn’t just Meg.

It was both/and.

Then I moved to Bellingham.

And there is an incredibly long, winding story as to the how and the why which I’m sure I’ve written about at some point.

But, the short of it is: I came to Bellingham for a church, for a community.

I think I might have come to bring something even though I don’t quite know what that is still.

So, this morning, I was in that very church, the one that I have been to most every Sunday since I moved to Bellingham, wondering why. 

Quick side note before we move on: I love my church.

But, when I was thinking about why church this morning it wasn’t necessarily why MY church. And I keep trying to type as if my fingers will just perpetuate the correct answer to my question. I think that, in all honesty, I don’t know why. 

Part of it (as I just messaged to my magical unicorn Betsy) is that I’m struggling with being in a box these days. So questions of things that pertain to my identity are hitting me hard. Whenever I feel firm and rooted and knowledgeable of who I am, I feel a lot of pressure. 

In all honesty, it feels like in books about normal girls becoming princesses and all they want to do is push against it, all they want to do is not be that thing. Even though they know it is part of who they are. That all the things are in them for a reason.

I don’t want to wear a tiara.

But it has my name on it.

(I need everyone to know that writing the above five sentences physically made me gag).

Holy rabbit trail Batman.

This is 700 words that I wrote off a singular question in my brain (that I didn’t even answer) about why I go to church.

But, what I did, is continued the questions I ask of myself.

Even when it feels slightly painful, or uncomfortable, or when I don’t want to know the answer, I never want to stop asking myself questions.

As much as I would love to have it all figured it out, I’m glad I don’t. 

And I guess, that IS part of the reason I go to church, whatever that may look like. 

Moral of the story: don’t stop asking questions of yourself, don’t stop seeking wisdom, and don’t stop being who you are–even when it doesn’t feel as if it fits.

It does.

Wear the damn tiara.

Honest

Seriously, where would I go?

A couple weekends ago I went to Orange County.

It was glorious.

There was boating, salsa dancing, drunken watermelon, Susie cakes, laughter and friends.

(and that was just Saturday)

Sunday though? Sunday was my day. Haute Cakes, coffee, RockHarbor, getting to see my Grandma Winnie (who might I add made me teary eyed with just one hug, I miss that woman)

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Sunday felt like home. It felt normal.

Walking into my church on Sunday was overwhelming. I remember the first Sunday I went after I came back in December. It was something I’d been waiting for. At that point it been a little over 2 months since I’d been in an English speaking church. To not have to listen for translation is something I can’t really describe.

And to be in a place that has seen so many of my tears?

The surge of emotion that came when worship started was almost too much for me, but I held on. I knew that if I lost it, there would be no coming back.

A new series on Sunday “Words of Life”. I feverishly took notes, and read along with the scripture.

But there was one verse that stuck out to me. We were in the book of John (chapter 6), after Jesus fed the 5,000 and He had just explained to them that HE himself was the bread of life. And the disciples could not grasp it. It was too hard of a concept.

So some of them left.

He then turned to the twelve and asked if they were going to go.

Let me stop there.

Life has been rough lately for too many reasons to count. Lonely, depressing, quiet, among many other things.

So when Jesus turns to the twelve and ask if they were going to go I get it. I feel like He’s maybe asked me that question in the last 4 months, not in a “when the going get’s tough” kind of way, more in a “When I just can’t seem to make sense of it” kind of way.

Sometimes Jesus makes NO sense, at all. He speaks in ways that we can’t comprehend or fathom. He knows it’s going to be ok. But sometimes we forget.

In verse 68 Peter says this, “Who will we go to? You have the words of eternal life.”

And it doesn’t say, but in all honesty I picture Peter being weary here. Extremely weary. He’s been following Jesus, listening to him, trying to wrap his head around all of this truth and wisdom. He’s been trying to figure out how it fits in his life. What he is supposed to do with it.

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All that thinking is tiring. Truly exhausting.

So at the point where Jesus is asking if they are going to go, Peter throws his hands up and basically is like (this is the Meg Message version), “we know all of it sounds crazy to so many people, we know that sometimes it is crazy but we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you speak truth, that you are truth and we want to live in that truth.”

And that verse shook me to the core and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

I know that weary feeling well.

The feeling I’ve had these days takes me back to parking lots and tears and nightlights in the dark.

But the thing is, even then and even now I know that there is nowhere I would rather be and no one I would rather follow then Jesus.

Because even though it is sometimes crazy sounding, even when he tells me to do things that no one ever will understand, I know he speaks the words of eternal life.

So sitting in church, I threw my hands up.

Because really? Where WOULD I go?

Who would I turn too?

Just like the twelve that day, I knew.

Because I know from the bottom of my heart WHO speaks the truth. I know that sometimes those words just aren’t easy to comprehend, but they are still the truth.

I think I’ve always known that. The days when it was super dark, or super bright. Be it in the United States or chilling in my tent in Mozambique, I’ve always known that He is the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE.

So, when I feel like life has gotten too big or too hard, I’ll remember that. When I feel as if life has gotten away from me or my mind contemplates life without Jesus before I can get my heart to remember what I know I will rest in the knowledge that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that HE is on the throne.

It’s a comforting thought, comforting knowledge to remember and know that HE is on the throne. Because whatever life throws me, WHEREVER life takes me I can be assured in that.

I’ll leave you with these words I wrote. My creative writing professor my senior year along with my songwriting/music theory professor always reminded us less is more. So after you’ve read all of these words you can read this shortened version of everything I just said.

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