Ask. Seek. Knock. Breathe.

Today, I’m privileged to be guest posting at Rachel Held Evans‘ blog.

Rachel is an author, a speaker, a blogger, and, in her own words, “a skeptic, a creative, and a follower of Jesus.” I would add that Rachel is a seeker of the truth, and she’s asking important questions, right out loud and in public. She’s hosting some of the best, real, faith-filled conversations on the web with lots of people who agree with her and lots of people who don’t.

When Rachel asked me to guest post about the intersection of faith and parenting, I was thrilled – and terrified – because I knew, when I accepted her invitation, that I needed to be faithful to tell the truth, and the truth for me is often full of doubts and questions.

Telling the truest truth I know comes with a huge measure of vulnerability – and that’s why I hope to see you there, friends, on Rachel’s blog for a real discussion about how faith in parenting looks to you… even if it looks way, way different than it does to me.

Sending you x’s and o’s,
Beth 

……….

Ask. Seek. Knock. Breathe.

I used to prefer for God to live in a box.

Not a jewelry box. Or a moving box. Or a giant refrigerator box. Or even one of those pet store hamster boxes with breathing holes like the one I bought in 1980 with my best friend, Tracy, because two seven-year-olds co-owning a hamster is always a good idea.

Nope. My God-box was different.

My God-box was more like a Lunchables box. The kind that’s well-shaped with plastic compartments for neatly stacked crackers and round spheres of pressed meat and contoured for protection against breakage.

That was, to my mind, the very best, most structured kind of a God-box, and my God deserved the best.

I liked my boxed God very much because He was neat and tidy, and also a He with a capital H. And everything in my life fit into my God-box compartments.

I think that’s normal for a kid raised in the Church, and it isn’t bad or wrong. It just turned out to be, well, a little too easy and preserved for the realities of my life as it unfolded.

Continue reading this post at Rachel Held Evans’ blog…

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
14 comments
  1. Thank you Beth. I aspire to be like anyone who exhibits such authenticity in faith. This is what this plastic world is craving. Opening our eyes to what is true is the only way to see.

  2. I began working in rural E. Africa 6 years ago, and after my first trip, came home with the conviction that “I need to get a bigger God”, by which I meant, “This God I have found is too big to fit in my box. I need a bigger understanding to know who this God is.” I’ve been searching and growing ever since. Every time I think I’ve started to understand just how big and amazing God is….he surprises me again.

    I cried when I read this. It’s good not to be alone.

  3. This is one of the most substantive, healing, and loving things that I have read in a long time. This moved me and encourages me. I hope I can be willing to have this courage and freedom.

    (I read Rachel Held Evans blog and this is the first time I have read your blog.)

    1. Thank you so much for such a generous comment. Welcome!

  4. I followed you here from Rachel’s blog, and I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate you sharing this part of yourself. I can identify with so much of this; it’s such an encouragement every time I encounter somebody who is also tossing out the Lunchables box, and seeing how far, wide and wild God can really sprawl!

    Thank you.

    1. Welcome, Ann! And thank you so much for taking the time to introduce yourself. I just love the visual image of a wild God-sprawl. Perfect!

  5. Loved your post, Beth! It had my heart racing! Beautifully written, and very encouraging!

    1. Thank you, Kelleigh. Always. You’re a great encouragement.

  6. Beth, this post immediately brought to mind a short book I rescued from my mom’s library, YOUR GOD IS TOO SMALL, by J.B. Phillips, which includes a chapter titled, “God-in-a-Box”. (This is the writer who produced the Phillips translation of the New Testament.) In his introduction he says, “The trouble with many people today is that they have not found a God big enough for modern needs. While their experience of life has grown in a score of directions, and their mental horizons have been expanded to the point of bewilderment by world events and by scientific discoveries, their ideas of God have remained largely static…There are undoubtedly professing Christians with childish conceptions of God which could not stand up to the winds of real life for five minutes. But Christians are by no means always unintelligent, naive, or immature. Many of them hold a faith in God that has been both purged and developed by the strains and perplexities of modern times, as well as by a small but by no means negligible DIRECT EXPERIENCE OF GOD HIMSELF.” (My caps.) I certainly hope I’m in that latter group. (By the way, this book was published in 1953.)

    1. A lovely quote and a timely reminder that the need to experience God directly is timeless. Thank you, Judy.

  7. “I should probably make people wear shoes in my theology” has made my day. As, incredibly, have your other recent experiences caught on the blog.

    Thank you for also having ill children, but finding ways to express that lovely time of life so much more eloquently and humourously than I could. (And please forgive me for spelling in UK English. I just can’t get out of that box.)

    1. “Thank you for also having ill children…”

      The pleasure’s all mine, Lucy. 😉

      And thank YOU for this sweet, humourous message. (We can all use a few more u’s in our lives, yes?)

  8. Love this. Thank you for such encouraging words xo

    1. Thanks, Fiona.

      x’s and o’s right back to you…

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