My parents are ministers. My grandparents were ministers. I was raised in the church. And still, in my early 20s I wasn’t sure I believed in God. I’d definitely turned my back on organized religion.
I went to church with my parents sometimes, and I took my daughter to church sometimes, but I could have argued with the best of them about how the church was created for two reasons: money and the subjugation of women.
The lifestyle I lived could be classified as humanistic, I suppose. I was a “good” person. Enough said.
When an elderly customer invited my boyfriend to church one Sunday, I’m not sure why we went. Probably because they were expecting a new minister and the church was by the mall.
Whatever the reason, we went. And from the moment we walked through the doors, the church motto, “A Home for Every Heart” rang true. We weren’t judged. We were accepted. Everything changed.
My church made a point to minister to people with a world of hurt in their eyes. I think Letting Go started way back then. An idea I had to grow into.
So many people hurt today. And so often we forget the role of the church as my minister today says is to Love God, Love People. We get so caught up in life or work or what we need, we forget about others. I’m certainly guilty of that. Or we get so holy and full of our “rules” we think we’re better than others. I’ve been there, too.
Thankfully, God doesn’t expect perfection, but he did give us direction.
John 13:34-35 (NIV)
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Today, I believe. I don’t clobber people upside the head with that belief. I don’t preach hellfire and brimstone. I don’t talk about the rules. I simply say God sent His son to die for our sins and He loves us unconditionally. He’s ALWAYS there, even when we don’t believe. ###
Find out more about my books on my Amazon author’s page. Letting Go by Mary Beth Lee available in kindle format and print.
***GUEST BLOGGER alert. Janet Brown will be guest blogging here tomorrow. Her story is so inspirational. Please stop by!
Posted in Family, thoughts, writing
Tagged Christian Fiction, Christianity, church, God, Indie Publishing, indiebook, Jesus, Letting Go, Mary Beth Lee, religion, self publishing, self-pub, writing
Alert! This is a post dealing with religion. If that bothers you, STOP READING!
A loved one called me Jezebel the day I wore red lipstick to church. I was a young single mother at the time, so I found the idea of my red lipstick paving the road to hell quite hilarious. At least that’s what I said out loud. Inside, I was crying. Fortunately, a ridiculous comment like that didn’t shake my faith. Pissed me off, but it didn’t make me turn my back on God. I figure comments like that have shaken others’ faith. Funny how people like that think they’re glorifying God. I think Jesus would have something to say about that. The Jesus I know was about something far bigger than red lipstick. Don’t even get me started on the number of times I’ve heard people talk about tattoos being of the devil. Or how drug addicts are a product of their own bad choices so we just need to leave them to go to hell one hit at a time.
Over the years people have done a lot to ruin the words and actions of Jesus for non-believers. That thought is directly behind my decision to write Christian fiction in addition to the other genres I write in. The Jezebel comment and the anger and hurt it caused led directly to Grace is Enough (out now) and Letting Go (in the works). I held those emotions back for so long, I didn’t even realize they were simmering in my brain, just waiting for a chance to break out. Funny thing, though; even when I started writing, I held the pain back. I didn’t let myself feel completely. Someone once told me writing is like bleeding on the page. They’re right. If you want to write, you have to be willing to feel everything. Use the pain. And then heal it with your art. I did.
Grace is Enough (summer 2011 as Prodigal) is available now on Amazon. Get it here. Find more of my books here.