Excuse the bold heading, but when you remove all the fluff, that’s exactly what this post is about. So here we go…
Yesterday I got home from my ‘post university, solo, eat-pray-love’ trip to LA, California. If you’ve been following previous posts and my social media you would’ve already known that, but even still, I haven’t had the courage to tell anyone (that isn’t Christian) that the only reason I took this trip is because I felt God whispering, “come my child, let’s go on a little adventure and discover a few more dreams for you.” (I know, you’re probs like, WOAH ASH! You’ve lost it.. Yes probs…) but anyway, I’m back in the UK now, and I’ve decided to hold myself accountable to the change of heart and character that happened while I was away..
No more being ashamed of God. (If you don’t believe in God- don’t stop reading, it gets good AND I’m about to apologise to you all… and who doesn’t love an apology).
Anyway, I digress… My trip was basically just an awesome week of discovering God, learning what His character and nature mean to me on a personal level and how the core of who I am has been completely flipped upside down because of the love I’ve experienced… The problem with this statement is that (until I press ‘publish’) I am completely ashamed to admit it.
I am ashamed to say this to anyone that doesn’t call themselves a Christian because, hey, us “believers” don’t exactly have the best reputation around town. A lot of Christians don’t even like Christians, ask me – I know all about that one.
Christians are people, just like you and me. The church is made up of Christians.
People are broken.
People make mistakes.
People hurt. People cheat.
People speak lies over other people.
People walk away.
People push. People judge.
God is good.
God came to heal.
God has never made a mistake.
God speaks truth over people.
God never walks away. God waits.
God meets us where we are.
God is the only thing that stays the same.
Christians are people and they mess up.
Christians are also responsible for representing the church.
As far as I’m aware, human nature will continue to let people down, be critical, hurt and misrepresent what God intended the church to look like. But if we remember to separate the true nature of God with the people that represent Him, the church has no power and the real power is placed back at the foot of the cross. And the beauty of the cross is that it’s an outpour of mercy and forgiveness over all that is hurt and broken.
So if you’ve been hurt by ‘church’, I am so sorry. I truly am sorry.
I know how you feel and only by understanding God’s nature, have I been able to forgive the human fault and error. Forgive the people that hurt you for your own sake, whether you go back to church or not – that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that as Christians we stand together, holding each other accountable to portray the true nature of God, what it means to believe and then with that, we establish a healthier and more sustainable reputation for church. So please world, don’t judge me for believing in a power that is higher than I, or for believing in a God that has a wild adventure in store for my life, for believing in a God that has more love for me than I know what to do with.
And for the sake of sounding like a complete hippy, “I am on a spiritual journey maaann”, figuring things out, learning and growing… I will disappoint people in the future (future-future me says sorry), I will make mistakes, I will break promises. I will have bad days, and the storm of life will come, bad things will happen and everything in my human nature will want to blame God, but in that moment, I know I have my ‘church’, whether it’s my mom or a friend, that will remind me of God’s truth and of God’s love, and that such is life.
“Without Goliath, David would of just been another little boy throwing stones in a field” – said someone at the Bethel conference, I forgot soz.
A quick note to Christians, God wants us all to be advocates for the church and for all His people! Fight for eachother through encouragement and never give up the fight for what is right! Defend the church through actions of love with good motives and honest characters that are seeking love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Galatians 22-23 “But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to gather and direct our energies wisely.”
Embrace mercy and give grace.
Make life wild and fun.
Risk it all and live with passion.
Let go of anything holding you back from a story full of life and freedom.
It’s always waiting for us.
I’m under no obligation or pressure in any of this, and that is which encourages me the most. My life is messy but all God is looking for is: “those who are simply and honestly themselves before Him” (John4:23 MSG). And ‘simply honest’ is something I am capable of doing.
So I will leave it there as I ain’t no preacher-lady, and on that note,
my dear dear friends, may you never lose your wander, Ash xx
PS. IMPORTANT: to the non-christians, and to all my special friends who haven’t entirely figured out the whole “God” thing – that’s fine! He is a mysterious God and doesn’t want us to completely figure Him out.. But also, my main point in all of this is that I kindly ask, PLEASE DO NOT treat me any differently for being vulnerable with all this, literally nothing has changed, I’m in no way EVER going to judge you and so I kindly ask you to do the same.
Also also… I still love red wine. A lot.. And will probably swear when I kick my baby toe on the side of my bed. These things don’t make me a ‘bad Christian’, they make me a real one, and honey, that’s all I was called to be. Okay. For reals, that’s all.