Second Simplicity: Extreme Grace Lessons
My friend Amy Peterson is hosting a series about the idea of second simplicity in faith. As someone who remembers my "first simplicity," of childhood, well (and longs for it sometimes) I quickly warmed to the idea of writing based on this prompt. The thing I've found about second simplicity, however, is that it is followed by third and fourth and fifth. I have lost count.
I found myself at another simplicity this past week (my second week back at church) and all of a sudden, I knew what I wanted to say in this piece, over at Amy's. I'd be honored to have you join me over there as I write, and I highly recommend following this series, and the rest of Amy's lovely work.
Here's how my piece begins:
I spend this morning crying through church. It’s only my second time back after a long absence, and I can’t keep it together. We read about God parting the Red Sea for the Israelites fleeing the Egyptians and the page in front of me blurs until I no longer try to follow along. The words wash over me like warm water. I make a mental note to bring a handkerchief next week.
I grew up in the warm, cozy nest of evangelical Christianity. My very early roots are charismatic, and I remember how it felt to trust that the Holy Spirit would always move. As I got older, and we moved from California to Washington State, we also moved to another church, this one Presbyterian, like my mother’s roots. This church began my circuit from church to church, every few years, first with my family, then on my own. I began to feel like a nomad.
But I still managed to soak up what was being said and done, as children do. I began to learn the way to God’s heart.
I would rise early in the morning, or stay up late at night, to be sure I got in my daily Bible reading and prayer. I did my best not to think about boys, for fear of hurting Jesus’ feelings. I raised my hands in worship. I volunteered in the nursery.
It’s hard to put my finger on exactly when I left that particular nest. My heart had grown weary of trying to prove that I belonged. Slowly, without fanfare, I simply faded away. I used to say that I didn’t feel that I would be missed if I decided to leave. It was heartbreaking to be proven right.