My husband is not my soul mate.

The Art in Life

It might seem odd that on this, our one-year anniversary, I am beginning a post with the declaration that my husband is not my soul mate. But he isn’t.WegmannWedding161

I wouldn’t want to imagine life without James. I enjoy being with him more than anyone else in this world. I love him more than I ever thought you could love someone, and I miss him whenever I am not with him. I wouldn’t want to married to anyone else other than James, which is good, because I plan on being married to him forever, and he has to let me die first.

But I reject the entire premise of soul mates.

WegmannWedding294Do you remember those awesome Evangelical 90’s/ early 2000’s where Jesus was kind of like our boyfriend and we all kissed dating good-bye because we just knew that God was going to bring us THE ONE and then life…

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Why millennials are leaving the church

CNN Belief Blog

Opinion by Rachel Held Evans, Special to CNN

(CNN) At 32, I barely qualify as a millennial.

I wrote my first essay with a pen and paper, but by the time I graduated from college, I owned a cell phone and used Google as a verb.

I still remember the home phone numbers of my old high school friends, but don’t ask me to recite my husband’s without checking my contacts first.

I own mix tapes that include selections from Nirvana and Pearl Jam, but I’ve never planned a trip without Travelocity.

Despite having one foot in Generation X, I tend to identify most strongly with the attitudes and the ethos of the millennial generation, and because of this, I’m often asked to speak to my fellow evangelical leaders about why millennials are leaving the church.

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This picture pretty much captures the essence of my summer.

I have had a summer filled with good memories. Memories of Sunday Funday/Totes Use, lots of time spent with Jessie, reconnecting with old high school friends, becoming reconnected with my home church, VBS, and tons of other things. I have enjoyed my time. It has been good, not great but good. I say this because I have realized that when I say things are great, I am just using a silly human word to make things sound better to the world…It has been good, and I actually mean that. I have enjoyed seeing old friends and reconnecting. Good. I have loved helping with church things and VBS. Good. I have looked forward to Sunday Funday/Totes Use. Good. All of these things are so good. And for some reason I am set on calling them good, instead of great, because great is a fluffy overused word.

But there has also been the not so good. I have had a hard time being at home. It was expected, I knew that I would struggle, I knew that I would have to stand firm, but I also knew that i could crumble. I knew I could cut, I knew I would restrict my food, I knew I could have bad thoughts, and I knew tons of tears would come. I knew it, I knew it would be not so good…I used to say it was going to be horrible, but horrible is when something really bad happens…Things that make people cry when they hear, not all of this stuff that has been going on in my life this summer. Things are not so good, because if I say it like that, it leaves room for Christ to work and to change me and my attitude and my experiences during my time at home.

Now, I say that this picture captures my summer, and I say this for several reasons.

One, there is a beautiful lake behind me in this picture. Filled with turtles and fish, and a beautiful fountain. There is also muddy trail, lots of rock, and even some insects. You cant see it in this picture, and neither can I….That is the past. There are some pretty beautiful memories that I have left behind in the past year. Leading vespers, working with the kids at church, the million coffee dates I have had, and so many other good things. There are also bad things that I have left behind. The experience from camp last summer, it’s past me, it still affects me at times, but its back on those rocks, the broken relationships, and even some hurtful words have all been left. I cant see any of that in this picture, but that doesn’t mean that they still aren’t on my heart and mind…and that is okay (that’s what I am learning) as long as they don’t control me.

Two, my legs are bent and my hands are raised, and I am jumping. My legs are bend because when I cannot sand, I will fall on my knees. I need that at times…(That is another thing I am learning) My hands are raised…I am surrendering. I cannot do this on my own. I need Christ, I NEED him to control my life, I NEED him to mold me and shape me and form me into who he has created me to be. I am jumping…I have been at a stand still for the past year….I have held on to so many things. I have let so much control my life, and there is nothing that I wanted more, than to be free from it….When you jump, there is no way you will end back in the same spot you were in…Even if it is a half an inch off, it’s still not the same…I have realized that small change is good change, and eventually that half an inch becomes two inches, than six, eventually a foot. It’s a process….And I am finally happy to rest in that process.

Three, I still have my head and my heart. I still remember the things that have happened to me in the past. The experiences that I have witnessed, the awful things I have done to myself, the lies that I have believed my whole life, and the memories of what could have should have must have been. I know in my heart that Christ has set me free, and that I am made new, but my heart and mind together allow me to grow and learn from my past and challenge me to be a better person, and look more like the face of Christ the older that I get.

Four, there are stair steps in front of me, on a beautiful green grass hill. They are stair steps first of all…Not a smooth little incline hill..No, stair steps, at times I am sure I am going to have to be pushed and pulled, and forced to take the next step, but I will be climbing that beautiful green hill. at times, if I want to take a rest on that hill, God will gently remind me of Psalm 23…And at times I am sure that I will need it.

And finally number five. There is a whole new world just on the other side of that hill. It’s new, unknown, and at times, I am sure that it’s scary, but I have decided that it will be totally worth it. I have been sitting in the same spot for over a year, and I am tired of it. There is something far greater than any human thing that I could be offered if I continue to sit in this same stop.

I have not been a very nice person to be around the past year. I have become so bitter and angry, and sad, and isolated, and alone and hurt. Satan has controlled far too much. I have realized that for the first time in the past few weeks. I still struggle…but it’s different, I don’t allow a slip up to control my life…. It’s just a process….It’s okay to struggle. To need people…To cry because your parents are treating you like crap, but that is where God comes in. He sends people to listen and to love, but he ALSO comes to comfort and to protect.

This is such a new thing for me. I have always given God the same character traits as my parents. It has been so encouraging to watch God change my mind about him, and give me a clearer idea of who he is, and how much different he is than my parents.

So, this is my summer, these are my thoughts. I am looking forward to those stairs, and that beautiful green mountain. I am praying that I restore friendships that have been strained because of my past year, and looking forward to allowing Christ to use this past year for something good, because I am tired of dwelling in the bad of it.

Here is to the following year. To dwelling in the day and seeking Christ ,and allowing him to continue to change this heart and mind as they are jumping towards the new green hill.