Why I’m Not Moving To California | Faith

It’s interesting, I’ve gotten a lot of questions recently about why I chose to stay in Ohio after I had very seriously started making plans to move to California.

I really, truly thought I was moving. I put in my notice at my job, and I started looking for jobs and apartments in Pasadena. I started getting rid of most of what I owned. I started looking at on-campus classes instead of online classes. I started planning a cross-country road trip and looking at Air BnBs and picking which National Parks I wanted to visit along the way.

And then, I stayed.

And now I have my own apartment in Cincinnati.

So what changed?

When I tell people I really felt God calling me to California and then just as quickly I felt God calling me to stay, I get some rolling of the eyes and some “yeah, I don’t think He really called you there just to change His mind in a few weeks.” Or I am told I had personal motives for staying.

I was skeptical too. But I really think the whole situation was directed by God.

I was set and ready to move. I wasn’t incredibly excited about it, but I felt God wanted me there. I prayed about it a lot. And a few times while I was praying, I kept thinking of the story of Abraham and Isaac.

If you don’t know the story, Abraham was told by God to take his son, Isaac, to the top of Mount Moriah and sacrifice him on the altar. Abraham loved his son and didn’t want to do that, but He trusted God. So he took Isaac and some wood and began the journey. Isaac asked where the sacrifice was, and Abraham said God would provide the sacrifice. And right as Abe is about to kill his son… God says STOP IT.

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He never wanted Abe to sacrifice his son. He wanted to test Abe’s obedience to God and see how far he would be willing to go. Would he sacrifice his son whom he loved for the God he loved and served?

Yes.

I feel like moving to California was a moment like this for me. God wanted me to trust him and be willing to leave everything I have here in Cincy to move across the country to a new place with new friends and a new job and a new house. I said yes, I would go, even though I didn’t want to do it. And then I felt God say, STOP. It’s ok. You were obedient. You can stay here if you want.

So I stayed.

Yes, a lot happened in those few short weeks, and a lot has happened since I stayed. But I’m confident the whole situation was led by God and that I made the right decision to stay.

Life is messy. And usually it doesn’t make sense.

But God can change our circumstances in an instant, and even though it might seem unlikely to us, His plans are better than ours ever were or ever will be.

I don’t know what is coming next for me, but I know 2017 will be a big year filled with change. And I’m looking forward to whatever that may be.

loverae1

Christian Women and the Industry | Faith

There have been a lot of things on my mind recently.

Israel.
Academically studying the Bible [aka, let’s-bust-out-the-commentaries kinda thing].
Hospitality.
Extended prayer and God time in the morning [complete with homemade lattes].
Growing a few close friendships instead of many acquaintances.
Sculpting.
Throwing pottery on the wheel.
Practicing Sabbath.
Reading the Old Testament.
Attempting to get my finances in order.
Overcoming irrational fears.
Minimalism.

The list goes on and on. Recently, though, I’ve found myself really frustrated by what the Christian industry considers the market for “Christian women.” I recently attended the inaugural Belong Tour in Columbus, Ohio, and I was initially pretty excited about it. With big named Christian women like Jen Hatmaker, Shauna Niequiest, and Nichole Nordeman, I thought it would be fantastic.

Parts of it were good. I really loved Angela Davis – I can’t wait till she releases her AMDIO Method DVD. That woman could motivate a rock to come to life and start working out. And I thought Jen Hatmaker was hilarious to watch in the background, and she told humorous stories. But I had zero moments over the weekend where I thought, yes, this is pertinent to my life and I can take something away from this. It was all “women are strong! we can do this!” and “we can think for ourselves!” “God is love!” which is true but that is only part of His character. Why do we (as Christians in general – not just women) always talk about the fluffy, “God and Jesus are love” and never discuss the challenging writings in the Old Testament?

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Like, hello, God wipes out entire cities for disobeying Him. And there is a story in the Bible where a Levite priest marries a prostitute, who is literally raped to death by a group of men in the city, and then the priest chops her up into twelve pieces and ships one piece to each of the twelve tribes in Israel (Judges 19 if you want to read it for yourself). Why aren’t we talking about Jael, the badass woman in Judges 4 who sneaks into Sisera’s (the military commander of the king of Canaan’s army) tent while he is asleep and drives a tent peg through his skull?! Why do we spend so much time talking about Ruth and how she is so obedient and patient and listened to what everyone told her? Why not talk about Ruth from the perspective that she chose to defy the norm and remain a single woman who supported her MIL when culture would tell her to remarry and have babies? She was a rebel! What about when God revokes His promise to Eli the priest because of his sons’ sins, saying that his family line will basically die out?:

“Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that members of your family would minister before me forever.’ But now the Lord declares: ‘Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained.  The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your priestly house, so that no one in it will reach old age,  and you will see distress in my dwelling. Although good will be done to Israel, no one in your family line will ever reach old age.  Every one of you that I do not cut off from serving at my altar I will spare only to destroy your sight and sap your strength, and all your descendants will die in the prime of life. And what happens to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will be a sign to you—they will both die on the same day.– 1 Samuel 2:30-34

Ouch. Why aren’t we wrestling with these stories?!

Yes, there is a time and a place to work through our emotions and pass the Kleenex. There have been times where that is exactly what I needed. But literally everything on the market for Christian women is this way. To be honest, I think most stuff for Christian women is designed for either new believers or women who have zero confidence in themselves. What about the mature Christian women? I have yet to find something that encourages women to break out a commentary, study the cultural and historical significance of a passage, and wrestle with it when it challenges and shakes the literal core of our faith.

How strong am I really if I can’t face something that shakes what I believe? 

I will be the first to tell you that I am probably the least “feminist” person I know and almost never find myself pushing for more women’s rights or really women specific anything. But this stereotype of the passive Christian woman who needs encouragement and self-confidence needs to be changed. I’m so over the emphasis on sitting around and just waiting for a guy to fall into our lap so we can get married. How about we live life as an awesome single woman instead and help bring the Kingdom of God by living our passions and teaching others about prayer and Scripture?

Maybe I am alone in feeling this way. But, based on the reactions I got to a similar post on Facebook, I think this is a huge desire for a lot of Christian women.

So.

What would you like to see created and developed for Christian women? What do we need to bring to the market? How can we change the culture?

I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

loverae1