The Sunshine State did not disappoint today.
After church and a quick run to the grocery for a few lunch items for next week, came home and jumped in the pool for a while.
Swirling the water around with my toes and doggy paddling, I’m not a real picturesque swimmer, but I make do. Most of all, I just floated and paddled, soaking up the sunshine and enjoying the scent of freshly mowed grass.
As I looked up at a few white billowy clouds, I thought of their beauty and thought also, hey this is really cool.
Floating weightless, and observing the clouds do the same, it occurred to me that most people have some kind of God connection, and whether they acknowledge it or not, it is still there, I believe.
I have never been one to get into deep religious arguments or skirmishes about the status of things.
Quietly go and do, hopefully live in such a way that I am a blessing.
Grandma always said don’t talk religion nor politics, and that is safe.
Yet I admire when folks are real with me because proverbial smokescreens of relation seem so shallow at times.
So when I write about God, or a muse, or something I have pondered, it is my way of sharing a part of me that blooms because of seeds others have planted.
Girl, get to the point.
Our pastor shared something today that I found very thought provoking. It went along the lines of “Are you showing up” for God?
And I thought you know, I have always felt the need for God, for His Presence in my life. I have always, even as a child, thought how on earth am I going to be good enough to get into heaven?
This might have something to do with me spending years of my childhood grounded, lol, for either sassing my parents, or foraging my own way instead of following instructions (for the last time, button your coat, turn the faucet so it does not drip, do not bring home C’s on your report card, as we already know you are a minimum B).
I laugh now when I look back, really, because as an adult I am such a rule follower.
So salvation to me has presented many challenges, as I thought to myself you have to be more than perfect to get to heaven.
Youth group changed all that for me, as our youth leaders glowed with the love of Jesus and were not hypocritical. They knew they would never win any of us by beating us over the head with a Bible, but by living it out before us, Christ in jeans.
Jeans. Opposite of a conservative Baptist church I attended in my early childhood years, the Southern Baptists reached into my heart and home and slowly, showed me their faith in action. My parents were impressed with the preacher who owned one suit and used to be a rock musician. Amazing Grace was really something when that man played the piano.
One half of my family was Baptist. The other side of my family were Church of Christ (non-musical.) And of course, that was one of the grounding occasions of my teen years, having an interesting discussion with one of my grandmothers over church history and music, and how music is so a part of worship.
After attending a number of Baptist churches, I came to the non-denomination Christian fellowships (i.e. the Alexander Campbell movement, not the only Christians, but Christians only.)
I raised my kids in those churches, and returned to the Baptist denomination after my first marriage ended.
Eventually, I came to the Assemblies of God, drawn by the open worship concept, and the warm and inviting church, who helped me through some of the worst parts of my adult life.
I also attended jeans and Jesus churches, which reminded me of my youth group.
In my second marriage, I went to a charismatic church and also joined a Jewish synagogue (by marriage, it was obvious I could not sing in Hebrew, though I did try!)
By the end of that decade, my marriage ended. So I was like wow, in church circles, this does not look good. But sometimes it is not meant to be and you have to move on.
I found I also began a heavy spiritual search. Who are you anyway? Every church I visited had a little pamphlet, a small handheld cross, a religious coin, a pen or a church coffee cup. I enjoyed the fellowship of many churches before I finally landed at my current church, Episcopal (Anglican.)
There are several of us who attend who came from different denominations. Some confirmed, some did not.
A Jewish friend of mine, who is a dear friend, to whom I still owe an Indiana pot roast, said once to me, how did you go from Baptist to Charismatic/Pentecostal to Episcopal/Catholic, so I thought I would share.
The God connection.
I feel like we all have a place for God in our hearts that only He can fill. Every nation on earth has some aspect of religion or relationship, worship or tradition.
I still feel drawn to Him because I have seen Him in others, and in nature – the works of His hand – in day to day things like sunrises and a child’s laugh, and the light of a candle on a stormy day.
Have a splendid evening, all. I was thinking of doing my spiritual writing on Sunday, then creative and life encouragement the other days.
Molly, my cat, sends her regards.
Prayers for all, for a safe and beautiful week.