And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I wrote this eleven months ago and put it away in a folder on my computer. I happened upon it today. Some things change and some stay the same:
I am a normally tidy person. My house is picked up, the beds are made. I like order and it helps me function better.
But life is messy right now in just about every category that I thought I had under control. Don’t ask my my views on politics, theology, women’s role in the church, racism, homosexuality, social distancing, shelter-in-place, opening the economy, travel, school re-opening. In any other time of my life, I would have had a ready answer or opinion. Now, my best answer is “maybe.”
Let’s talk about theology. I was raised in a strict home and attended an evangelical but legalistic church. The basis and authority for my beliefs was the Bible and it was all that was necessary. Yet, we live in a post-truth era and people don’t believe the Bible nor do they accept it as the final word on any given subject. The term “evangelical” is no longer my go-to description of myself because everyone has their own opinion as to what it means. I prefer “Christ-follower.”
There is a raging battle on social media reflecting the dissension in the various church denominations about the role of women. I have been in church leadership for fifty years, mostly working in women’s Bible studies as a leader which was an acceptable place to serve. I was chosen to be a deaconess, once, and was disappointed to learn that the only thing I was asked to do was to roll bandages for missionaries. As I look back over the years, I realize that in some ways, I helped blaze the trail by consistently encouraging women to study the Bible so that when those behind me began their ministries, there were women ready to receive it. But Twitter rages. complementarian or egalitarian? Homosexual marriage. It is all so messy.
How about racism? I grew up in an all white town, schools and church…at least as I recall. I don’t remember knowing personally a black person until I married and was working in a bank in Oakland. The odd thing is that I lived in Lynwood which was right next to Compton and Watts was just a few miles away. I do remember, standing at the bus stop in Junior High and someone mentioning that a black family had bought a house in our town which generated the “now there goes the neighborhood” comment. I had no idea what they were talking about. And now I listen, learn, and lament for those who have suffered for so many years. I read books, watch movies and documentaries, and listen to podcasts to get a better understanding of this problem. I wish there was a tidy fix but it is all so messy.
My daughter was born two weeks before Roe v. Wade passed and I completely missed the debate raging nationally. I spent the next few years mothering, adding a son to the mix. But you can’t be totally out of it is you listen to any news or do any reading. When I realized what I missed, I vowed that I would never be so uniformed again…and promptly volunteered as a counselor at a crisis pregnancy center and served for five years. This passion led to involvement in the California Republican Party for 25 years. I served in every possible leadership role over the years, eventually serving eight years on the Board of the CRP. I believed that if I gave enough time, energy, effort, and money, I could help make needed change. But I learned that at the whim of the voters, an election could and would undo and overturn everything I had worked so hard to achieve.
As an enneagram 8, I am wired to want to make a difference, to stand up for justice. However, I realized that politics was not the answer. I was invited to serve as a mentor mom for a group call MOPS – Mothers of Preschoolers — and I discovered that she who rocks the cradle, rules the world. THIS is where I could make a difference…a real difference.
COVID-19 has turned the world upside down. The loss of life, plans, businesses, freedom, travel, with no end in sight, is overwhelming. Restoring life back to some semblance of order will take time, new ideas, discipline, and God’s grace on our world. MESSY! Yes..
Do you relate to any of this? What is different in your life after a year of COVID-19? Has God given you some peace and order? Some new ways to do things that work even better? He has for me. I trust you can answer YES!