I've been joking lately that I needed to write a blog about the adventures of my life over the past year of being 24 years old, but for fear that MTV might come ask me to be the star of their next trashy reality TV show, I have spared the world. ;)
Also, when I came back to this blog and looked at the 5 blogs I had written over the past few years, I really just wanted to delete them all because holy moley, have things changed. But that's life, right? If you want to go back and read my published blogs from before--have at it. It's where I've been and now I'm here. Just writing about tidbits of my life. I try to be interesting. I'm not famous yet, but the Blogger analytics don't lie-- and I know SOMEONE is reading my stuff. :)
No, but for real... life has been crazy lately. Right now, it's quarter to 3am. I'm on my work laptop...and the intention when I opened it was to work...because I was lying in my bed and thinking about work and I couldn't sleep so I thought screw it--I'm just going to work.
But then my ADHD ping-pong ball brain saw that I had a text message from a friend and even though it was 1:47am and most normal people are sleeping at this time of night... I responded.
(***Because, if I wouldn't have responded then my ADHD ping-pong ball brain would have forgotten to respond until two weeks later when that person had texted me again asking me why I missed the lunch plans we made....I digress.)
Anywho, just a cool friend of mine---that I've known for I really don't even know how long...he's probably known me longer than I've really known him---and I had been in touch recently.
OH----AND, it's no surprise to anyone that I'm divorced. INSERT gasping people saying "OMG, I'm SO sorry, I had no idea you were going through that...." Well, whatever, you probably did know because I'm from a small town and people talk--I know how that goes.
I'm jumping around so much.. anyway this friend that I was chatting with--he's, like, SUPER musically talented and has played music with my dad for quite some time and has also gone through a divorce or what I like to call the dreaded "D-word"...like, for real, that Divorce word sucks butt. For the rest of my life on any date I go on I'm gonna have to say the damned thing and I'm not thrilled about it! But, it's played such a role in who I am right now that not saying it wouldn't make sense, in my mind. It's been the single most pivotal thing in my life. I'm freaking 24 years old. And I'm divorced, like, what the whattttt?!
So, this dude--he's cool with music. And it's always kind of been a side hobby of mine to jam out with a friend on a guitar. I don't claim to be Whitney Houston....but I mean--I can carry a tune and harmonize pretty easily. My mom and my dad (also divorced--ick that word) raised my sister and I on music. I've got an appreciation for every genre and I FEEEELLLL lyrics and rhymes and melodies deep down in my soul, man. I love my parents for it. My dad plays three instruments fluently and can sing. And my mom can harmonize pretty dang well and ALWAYS blasted music on our old Bose speakers in the living room when we cleaned the house. James Taylor, Mariah Carey, Hanson or N'sync (if she let my sister and I DJ)....you name it--we blasted it.
My sister and I were in choir in school and both went to state honors choir. We like music and so does this friend of mine which brings me full circle to the rest of this story--sorry, I'm tired and this is going to be a little unorganized and all over the place. BUT, I promise if you stick with me until the end--I hope you see some really GOOD STINKING STUFF. I promise you, I'm feeling SO PUMPED right now.
So, I just asked my friend if I could reference his name and quote him in this post--of course he's cool-- so he said yes...some of you probably already know who I'm talking about by now.... Dan Jackson! Cool dude, yeah? He's a worship leader at C1 in Three Rivers. Plays mad guitar and can belt out anything you throw at him--his voice sort of reminds me of Mac Powell (Third Day-Lead Singer).
He's been playing open mic nights too and just through small facebook interactions, we thought it might be cool to team up and do some together since we had sang together before when I was in high school/early college.
So, then he asked me if I would want to be a guest on his worship team at C1. And that's when I started to panic a little. Like, hands sweating, might avoid conversations with him in the future because I didn't want it to be awkward when I said "Hell no".
He texted me and asked me if I had a good email to use to get me registered in the program that the church uses to schedule people on the worship team and insert panicked Shelb, again.
Actually, I straight up said, "Don't schedule me for anything". haha Wow, Shelb... Not offering anything up for discussion.
So, at 1:47am, I texted him (while eating a whole pack of beef jerky in bed and scrolling through twitter)... I just explained how once I move back to Kalamazoo I was going to be living with my dad for a few months until I found a place I loved and that my dad was hoping that I could attend church with them as a family and that if I liked it that I might try out for the worship team there. I said I was intimidated because their church is huge and their worship team is OUT OF THIS WORLD GOOD (and of course, my dad is on their team because, you know, he's also OUT OF THIS WORLD GOOD).
He texted me back which is weird because it's almost 2am. And he said that he thought I would do really well no matter how good they were! And I apologized if I had woken him up because it didn't really cross my mind that normal people should be sleeping. BUT, I was awake... and my heart was pumpin fast and I just word vomited on him (sorry, Dan). I would try to explain the way the conversation went down...but I really think it would be best if you just read it, as is--no paragraph form and my scatter brain comments. The rest of the conversation was as follows:
And honestly, I also need to get my heart right with the Lord! I have not been in an environment where I have felt comfortable weeding through all my emotions because I was scared of how and what I would feel. So. I've not been accessing my spiritual/Christian side very much (if at all) because it hurts. And also feeling extremely bitter because a lot of "Christian" people have bullied me in terms of being divorced and not portraying on my social media that I'm sad about it and that I'm advertising that being divorced and single is awesome. C'mon. I'm not gonna put on my Facebook how sad and lonely I am every day. No one wants to see that and also there aren't many who know the entire situation but maybe they think they do. I'm not really concerned with what others think but it has left a bitter taste in my mouth about really getting involved heavily in a church again because for some stupid reason it has always been the one place where I haven't felt comfortable being vulnerable--and really it should be the one place where we FEEL comfortable being vulnerable. That's a rant. My thought process right now is that I'm not prepared to feel things until I feel I'm in a safe place to--and also that I really just don't want to feel things because it's easier.
I totally get it!!
I can 100% relate!!
Divorce sucks man.
The problem is - the church takes "God hates divorce" as license to beat up on people. As if that phrase means divorce is the unforgivable sin. It's so backwards!! God hates divorce because of what it puts His precious child through! God is an amazingly loving father first!! That doesn't change no matter what side of the choice to divorce decision, for however Biblical reason or not, that there was for it.
I go to church with a lot of people that have all kinds of different things in their past and present that many in other churches would frown on and look down on them for. Reality is - we are all human. Even the frowning people! Especially the frowning people. Which is worse? Struggling with certain areas in life and knowing that you are falling short - or - trying to act as if you are perfect and pushing that need for appearing perfect on everything else?? I'm pretty convinced - by reading about the life of Jesus - that He prefered repentant prostitutes over the most law abiding church goers. He called those church goers a brood of vipers, and line a grave full of rotting bones
You can be as open and honest about as much of whatever you have in your past or present that you think might disqualify you from being ok to be on stage at a church, all you will hear from me regarding that side if things - how much God still loves His precious daughter, how much He wants to hold you and let you know that His heart is broken for you, and how much He would absolutely love to hear you open up your heart to let the love you have for Him come back out in worship - and - how, if you are willing to do so with a mic in your hand, we at C1 would be incredibly appreciative of your willingness to do so. :)
Trying to act like you're perfect is what led me into such a dark place. It's so exhausting. There is so much freedom in being vulnerable with people. And I feel like the best relationships flourish with vulnerability. Just like we can't fake our hearts with Christ and our relationship with him if we want that relationship to flourish and be pure. I'm not living my life without sin. I'm messing up so bad right now. But. Why can't I be honest with my Christian friends in saying that??? And then in doing so, still know that they're going to love me hard and not abandon me because I'm "too far gone". I'm obviously not "too far gone".... otherwise I do not think I would not be having this conversation. The bottom line is, I want to get my relationship with Christ right. Some people have said to me "you need to go back to your old Christian-like ways". But honestly, I don't want to "go back to" where I was. If I'm going to follow Christ than I want to know that I can be vulnerable and say Hey. I'm not perfect. But that's WHY Christ existed/exists. Rant.
It seems you are in a very good place to me! A place where your heart is longing for a real, living relationship with God, rather than a life of struggling to live up to a crazy list of rules!! And - that's what God wants too!
I'm really glad I had this conversation. I honestly haven't talked about Christ/Church/my walk with anyone really. As I explained earlier. Because I don't like to be asked the hard questions like "What are you doing in the way of your spiritual walk?" ...because if I'm honest the answer is...absolutely nothing. I'm not in the word. I'm not taking time out of my day to spend time with the Lord. I'm not doing it. I don't know why. There are parts of me that desire that intimacy but I've been partaking in much more "worldly" activities to fill that void right now. But, if I do live out the Christ-like life, I just want to go all in with abandon. And each time I've made that commitment I've felt that perfection was expected and would never be honest with my church community or Christian friends about my struggles with sin in my life--I wanted them all to think I had it together--that I was the spitting image of a perfect Christian and my life was just great. (Obviously I can't fool anyone now when there is no wedding ring on my finger and I live by myself...) If I come back to church...if I start new with Jesus--maybe this isn't the right choice of words but I don't want to half-ass it!!! Hahaha
We all sin. ALL! Everyone!! What is sin? It's not this list if things that us humans have created supposedly based on scripture. It's simply put, anything short of absolute perfection. We all are there!! We all sin! None of us have obtained perfection! Not me - certainly not me- not my pastor, not Sarah (who has to be the most amazing example of what it is like to have a super intimate relationship with God) - we all mess up!! That is precisely why Christ came, and why He sent the Holy Spirit. Christ paid for the price of our mess ups, and sent the Holy Spirit to help guide us into messing up less - why? Our mess ups cause a distance between us and God - like when Adam and Eve sinned, they hid immediately. God still wanted to hang out with them!! He didn't push them away. He knew what had happened. He still showed up to walk with them in the cool of the evening. He still wanted to be close to them. Same with us. WE (and others that frown on us) step away out of guilt. Jesus provided the payment - created the open door - to walk with God in spite of our mess ups - and Holy Spirit came to guide us to that door. All so God can hang out with us!
(PS - I can't think of a more "right choice of words" than "half ass" - just sayin)
SO. ANYWAY. That's it. I don't really want to add much more to this. Because, right now I don't really have much more to add. One day at a time, my friends.
xo, Shelby Sue