Friday, December 5, 2014

Five-minute Friday: Dear Church

  [Linking up with Kate and the Five-Minute Friday community to the prompt of  "Dear." This is not in the five-minute format, as it generally is not for me, but I thank you for allowing me the liberty to go with it...]

Dear Church,

I fumble for words to begin, and even so, they snag at the edges of my heart's corners. There are so many layers and textures, don't you know, to how I feel about you?

I want you to know, before you know anything else, that I love you. 

I do. I love you, even though I admit I don't know exactly what that looks like so much of the time - especially now. Even though that love, at times, is conflicted. What does it mean, I ask myself, to love you well, with as much truth as I can lay hold of? 

It's complicated, like so many relationships are these days. 

I guess the answer for me is, I love you as a mother. You might not have carried me in a physical womb, but in a spiritual womb of sorts, I was born from you and into your arms. And you raised me up in the ways you knew best. You wanted me to know right from wrong, to have a compass to guide me on this journey, to shape who I would become and who I would follow and how I would live and love. To keep me safe along the way.

And like any home, as an adult, I have needed to tuck into the folds of who I am those things you taught me that I hold dear. And to let go of those things that no longer aid me in my journey, but hold me back from who I'm becoming. I've needed to reaffirm those things I still believe as truths and slowly, carefully identify, untangle and unlearn those things I no longer believe.

It's been a long time coming to this place of launching out, but the time has come. As any grown child, I need to push away, find my way in this world. I carry your words with me in my heart, and I'm working on tuning out the ongoing soundtrack of words that you mean well, that sound like noisy chatter in my head.

I'm not angry with you, but I do forgive you. For the ways you've failed to mirror the love of the One who breathed you into being. For the ones you've hurt along the way, myself included. For being imperfect, as all of us are. 

I'm not running away, nor am I leaving for good. But I'm not sure my coming back will mean I'll live again in your house.

I need to go, so I can clear my head, my heart, and turn the next page of this story.

I hope to live in the same neighborhood, several houses down, where we can freely visit, sit in each others' kitchens and around each others' tables, and help each other out, as family does, in good times and bad. I will always honor you as a mother. 

Can you trust that my leaving from underneath your roof is not the same as leaving the family? I am not abandoning you. You are, for better or worse, woven into my story. And long, long before my story ever was, you laid out for me a history.

I simply cannot remain here as I am here, in these too-small walls, in the same bedroom I've always had, with the same childhood bed and the posters on the wall, the same music playing on the stereo, the nightlight dimly aglow in the dark.

I need to find my new way of being in this family.

This is a huge part of my childhood, my teenage years, my young adulthood, I'm packing up and taking with me. It's a wrenching, a tearing, to move out of this house. 

It's a sadness, to see your face in the window and know you probably don't understand why I need to do this. I hate the thought of hurting you, but I cannot stay at the expense of not following the One you've always taught me to follow to the outer edges where I can so dimly see he's calling me to come in trust. 

Please, don't ask me to define for you exactly what this will look like. I cannot answer that yet.

But it's here I feel a deep courage welling up inside me. A tenuous peace, the very essence of tension itself. Isn't what I always wanted that I not live a comfortable life? I just assumed, for all those years, it meant uncomfortable in the sense of radical opposition to the status quo. Living in poverty, in danger, in another country far across the world.  Instead, I'm finding it's a quieter, perhaps no less radical choice to make my home right here, in this place of spiritual tension, where I have no place to lay my head except next to Christ's at the end of each day.

I don't expect you to understand or agree with all the whys or the hows of this journey. But I do hope, one day, you can look at me and see some kind of reflection of the beautiful, untamable One you always wanted me to look like.

I hope we can see that in each other, for in understanding each other, this is where we'll truly discover how to love.  That's really all that matters, is it not?

With respect and gratitude, 



  1. Amber, Oh the church. . . so needed and so imperfect. We love, we hurt. We become. Beautiful post. Keeping loving your church, shortcomings and all Juliea

    1. Thank you, Juliea, especially this - "We love, we hurt. We become."

  2. Hey, dear friend. I love you. I'm hearing your heart. <3