Being Real with God

by Diana Abt

Recently, after looking back at the path of my short life, I observed what has seemed to have been a long, winding, up-and-down, emotional road; each turn stained with either sweet tears of joy or stinging tears of loss.  I consider “what could possibly lie on the way ahead me?”, “How familiar or foreign will the future journey be for me?” and “Do I even want to go there?” I wonder to myself if those are “ok” questions to ask.  “Is it okay to question or doubt God?”  In reading the words of David, whom God called a man after His own heart, I find relief in the way he openly expressed his emotions and questions to God. In the 13th chapter of Psalms, the transparent and vulnerable spirit behind David’s words draw me to also want to identify with God with that kind of exposure.  In loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, we may express how we feel before God as a part of our spirituality.  David even expresses feeling forsaken by God.  Have you ever felt like God has forsaken you?  Have you ever told Him?  As sons and daughters of God, we are invited and accepted by God to bare all of ourselves before Him.  We are free to enter into His presence and not leave our emotions at the door.  He won’t take offense.  In fact, may it be a spiritual act of worship.  Take time to write a psalm to God.  You can read a recent one of mine below.  Expose yourself to Him and may you find rest in His presence.

Hiding Place

coming undone. speechless. baffled. at a loss. what do i believe? shaken. what's at the core? really? inconceivable. what? how? seriously? lost? found? centered? the blinders on race horses. please blow the whistle. could it be? what happened? what about them? can i? again? surreal. unattainable? attainable? in reach? selfish? i am silenced by your wondrous grace? what is love? question mark, question mark, question mark. pregunta. empty. vacia. conocimiento. entendiendo. Comprendes?

hmmmm. Uncertain. do you hear what i hear? what do i hear? what do i listen to? escucha. contesta. manipulation. false. Truth. what is it? music? what to do. go? GO? whenwherehowwhywhowhatif? for real? sigh. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. shhhhhhhhhhhh. quiet. still. in the secret. connect? why? are you real? are you real with me? am i? I AM. surface. deep. depths of. hole. Whole. well. soul. cavity. inverted. loooong. longing. who are u? representation. hungry. yearn. anhelo. living. water. tick. tock. this. is. it. Alive. Home.

- Diana Abt

From Paris, With Love

by Elodie Sophie

I've always known that my life was missing something in regards to God. Neither of my parents have religious backgrounds and the only times I went to church were for funerals and weddings. I always thought that church was an ancient place where people go to listen to a moral lesson and to be scolded for your sins. Why would I want to pursue a God who runs a place like that? During this past year of my life, I have faced hard situations and questions about myself. I wondered why life is so difficult, despite my good intentions. These questions and challenges prepared me to start building a relationship with God, even if I didn’t quite know where to start or what it meant.

Elodie and Amy
Elodie and Amy

Last week I came to Antioch21 Church while visiting my high school friend from France, Amy Peterson.  Antioch21 caught me off guard.  It was so different from what I thought church was.  Everyone was open and relational, instead of condemning.  As soon as the pastor started talking about loving your enemies, I felt like he was talking to me.  I was so deeply touched by everything that was said during the service.  My brief time with Antioch21 challenged my whole way of thinking about God.

I realized I found what I’d been looking for!  I've been searching for a relationship with a God who fills me with hope, instead of judgment;  I've been looking for community that is open and accepting, instead of closed.  I have now come to realize that God offers love and forgiveness.  He fills you with strength and hope in the midst of despair.  The day I visited Antioch21 church will be forever engraved in my mind, as the day I began to build a relationship with God.

Since being back in France this past week, I have bought myself a Bible and have been reading non-stop.  I've discovered so many answers to my questions and gained so much insight at a heart level.  Now, I'm wholeheartedly building my new relationship with God and hope to get baptized.