I had this place where I was comfortable, where everyone was nice and just doing the best they can in this life. And God, while good, seemed rather distant and easily contained. Life just ticks along – you get up, feed everyone, rush around getting ready, go to work, come home, eat supper, hang out and go to bed just to get up and do it all over again.

It was easy for me, then, to become cynical about the faith that I was raised in, to punch the holes into the theology of the people I grew up with and spot the gaps in the preaching and methods, and point a finger of blame when “they” got it wrong, to separate myself from the culture and, like most kids raised by immigrant parents (because, in a way, my parents were like immigrants to this strange new land of Christianity), I took for granted my life in the new Kingdom, completely unable to imagine a life without freedom, without joy, without Jesus.

(For instance, after my post about my parents’ marriage, a few of you wrote to say “YOU ARE SO LUCKY!” and I realised, yes, yes, I am. The gift of love and rock-solid security is one that I still carry today. Never underestimate the power of a Godly heritage and a legacy of Love.)

My life hasn’t always required a lot of faith.

My parents – the immigrants of the old world into the new kingdom of love – fought hard so that I could rest in that easy place. They walked away from the rage and anger, the bitterness, the generational tendencies, the “your father did this” and so “you’ll always do that too,” separating us from the Old World through their own obedience. And I took for granted things that came easily to me in the Kingdom of Love, unable to recognise that they were easy for me because my parents had paid the price.

Because of their obedience to God, because they have sown in tears and joy, I am reaping that harvest of love and faithfulness, of a good marriage, of faith, of questioning, and of knowing even seemingly mundane things like how to breastfeed and fight fair.

My legacy has meant that rather than fight the battles they fought, I have had another type of battle to overcome: being cynical, skeptical and prideful among them.

But God will not leave us there – in the seat of pride and ease – for long. So my new chapter of life started when God tuned the frequency of my heart to a new wavelength. And I heard and saw and wept with the echoes of poverty, suffering, death, war, complexity, no-easy-answers and even the presence of rank evil.

In a small way, in my adulthood, I, too, experienced my own disillusionment, my own sorrows, my own losses.

And now I meet normal looking girls that broke their own arms, preferring physical pain over the emotional torment of their souls. Ones that were so angry, full of rage and bitterness that it became hard to love the unlovely. I was convicted of my own judgemental heart and it stung to remember that anyone can love those who love them back. I heard of betrayal, rape and torment, my heart wrung out for Africa and my next door neighbours. Broken homes and families, crippling anxiety and depression for loved ones, violating sexual and physical abuse, trapped in drug and alcohol addictions – we’re all just going through life, acting like we’re fine half the time.

Now I see a world that desperately needs a rescue.
This is a world where I need faith. And I see I am no different.

I am looking with new eyes at Scripture these past few years – no longer skipping over them like they were rote memory verses from my childhood or misused snippets for fridge magnets or weapons of warfare to be used against others that believe differently.

No, now I look at Isaiah 61 and see that God’s heart for humanity is… good news for the poor, comfort for the broken hearted, the release of captives and freeing of prisoners. I hear that his favour has come and he gives a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.
And now that I believe it – like truly in my heart of hearts, believe it – then that makes all the difference in the world.

The truth is that in a nice, sanitized, neat and tidy world – it’s easy to live like you don’t need Jesus. In these modern constructs, designed to make life as easy and mess-free as possible, you can embrace the illusion of control over your own life.

It’s when you step out, into the world, into real life (or get shoved out into that world, so I hear from some, by the choices of others or random chance) that you realise: oh, we need Jesus.
When the longings of our heart can’t be satisfied by the things of this world, the only explanation is that we were made for another one as C.S. Lewis wrote.

I’m walking closely with Jesus again, clinging to Him to hold my heart together, asking daily for wisdom and strength. (Sometimes I feel like it takes more wisdom and strength to potty train than anything else in the world.)

I’m feeling the pull of the Old World against this New Kingdom of Love and every prayer I pray, every hand I hold, every word of hope and life I speak, every eye I meet is an act of protest, a snatching back from the darkness, a proclamation of freedom, a revolution of LOVE.

(I’m also realising that most of this makes no sense. I appreciate you being here as I process my journey out loud, often not knowing what I mean half the time.)

post signature

In which these are the instructions for the morning
In which I am a working mother and proud of it
thank you for sharing...
  • Pin this page0
  • 2
  • Natasha F

    Um wow. I love your heart and the Truth that flows through your writing. You have a gift and it definitely blesses me every time I read your posts!

    • Natasha, I am so honoured that you popped by my little corner here. Thank you for your kind words – I am a better woman for knowing you even as we are just embarking on this friendship.

  • Mary1912

    I can relate to this. When I was young, I lived in a bubble….a world that was uncomplicated, straightforward. I knew Jesus was real and he was real to me but I never understood songs and sermons about the longing for heaven and the end to the mess of this world. I thought the world was pretty ok, for me at least.

    Then I started to grow up and learned that while I knew a lot of stuff in my head , I was never taught how to put it into practice. I made a lot of mistakes. Tons. Lots of regrets. It let me to bad results in some situations. Then I got to know the power of Him and his mercy, his deliverance, his grace. I stepped into this misery of my own making and encountered other miseries not of my own choosing. In the end, we need his mercy, his grace, his forgiveness, his deliverance.

    Today, I live by faith…sometimes hour by hour (as I do on this day). I know he is with me. I can FEEL him. And what a blessed experience it has been to walk these past 17 years or so learning who my God is. It has been a generally painful experience. But I know who now is my healer and my strength. I know his grace and I know his mercy. I know his provision.

    • Oh, Mary – thank you for this! Amazing. I love how you think and you always make me think. It’s a hard won realisation. i think sometimes that if we knew when we embarking on the journey what it would entail, we’d turn away. But once it’s here, once we’ve walked that path, we are actually thankful for those things because without them we wouldn’t know Him the way we do now.

  • It makes good sense. I really have enjoyed reading some of your posts. Sounds like we have been down some similar roads. Thank-you for being so transparent, you have helped me to grow even more in grace and forgiveness on this journey of faith.

    • Oh, Rachel – that’s an incredible compliment and I so appreciate it. Thank you!

  • oh, but sarah, the sense it DOES make. i relate so so so much to this post b/cs i’ve been cynical. i’ve waxed angrily at how his Church hurt me and i’ve wept over having to overcome toxic shame and patterns of self hate so that i teach my little boys to love. i am in a place where i long to know him again, and for the first time i’m emboldened by scripture. i’m reading on the old testament tabernacle and i’m struck w/ the raw imagery of this beautiful (albeit temporary, able to move quickly) structure to whom the Isrealites took their sacrifices to the priest, who then bloodied and burned those beasts on the altar, amid fine linen and gold. they had to stare (and smell and hear) the COST of sacrifice in a way that we never will. am i so thankful for the cross that has replaced that? yes. but do i long to see w/ the eyes of gratitude that they experienced? absolutely. true, we were not meant to be HERE. fish out of water indeed (love love love mr lewis!).

    • Oh, that’s good stuff, right there, Misty. Wow! Thank you for sharing that!

  • OH YES! The illustration of immigrants into the new kingdom makes my heart skip a beat! YES…that is the thing! LOVE IT!

    • I’m so glad that resonated with someone else! It felt like a weird analogy but it made the most sense to me, so I’m glad you get it.

  • I liked the last part in italics most of all…and I am so very grateful that you are sharing your journey with us. I think you make more sense then you think. 🙂

  • Makes all the sense in the world 😉 Thanks for sharing your thoughts so beautifully.