I am going to share my leaving home story in a different light. My pastor’s sermon was about letting go. George’s sermon inspired this post (as well as immigration).
You have heard it said: no one leaves home unless it is really bad. While my story is about changing churches; our faith reveals what is happening in the world.
I was born and raised Church of Christ – with a side of Methodist. I loved that world, and I still do. I look back and remember all of the people who have filled me up, and I thank God for them every time I remember. Leaving home was a tragedy for me at the time. I had no idea what would lie ahead, but I knew I had to go.
When my world fell apart, I couldn’t make it better. I tried to remember how amazing my family was and let that be enough, but I couldn’t get out of bed even knowing that. A light inside of me was burning out. I had never been so scared in my life. I never thought I could sink to that level of despair. I needed help. The world I lived in at the time wasn’t good for my spirit anymore. It was life or death for me.
Twitter pastors saved my life. I started hearing a Bible story I had never heard before, and I could not get enough. Every sermon, every dialogue, reading scripture with new eyes, and listening to people who have always been disenfranchised (or had been through my process) started breathing life back into me. I found myself wanting to live again. I was free in a way I had never known before.
I tried to take this message to the world I was in, but it didn’t fit. I didn’t fit. I could not live one way online and have my flesh and blood life be the old message. Despair was creeping up on me again. Something changed in me, and it was imperative for my life that I live the new story-now. I watched every attempt I made to change where I was get rejected, and the story was moving backwards. I remember the moment I said: I can’t stay. It was deep grief.
So, 2 years later, when Mark Wingfield spoke the words my soul longed to hear at the Moxie Matters Tour-hope was alive again. I saw Mark, and I knew he was going to be my friend. A month later, after I told my Guardian Angel, Nancy, that I had to go- I went to Wilshire believing we could live this story here.
George’s sermon was so clear. I did not have to guess at what message he was trying to send. It was a dream come true. He was also right there when we got up after service to meet us. He showed me where Mark was, and I stormed the aisle with my family to get to him. He received me and didn’t think I was crazy. He said he will never forget that moment either. Ha! I was so desperate-I did not care how strong I was coming across.
All of the sudden I could see in color. A world opened up to me that was never available to me before. My second visit was the “Coffee and Conversation” with George, and I was lucky we were the only ones that week, because I had a lot to say. I tried to tell George my whole story in those 30 minutes. The first thing I told him was Rachel Held Evans had sent me. I had just read her book, “Searching for Sunday”, and I wanted that church. I also told him I was burned and unsure if I would ever love church again. That is when he asked: Have you thought about seminary? I AM KIDDING! He asked me about seminary a month later obviously. 🙂
I was so shocked by the reception my family received at Wilshire. They welcomed us, the stranger, and treated us with hospitality we had never known before. It truly is a redeeming moment. A moment I will always remember when life will try to make me forget again. That is the story of Israel (in the Bible-not current day Israel).
For me to be taken seriously by men was a game-changer. I was shocked by their desire to know more about me, and ask if I had thought about seminary (within 2 months 4 men asked, separately). They were inviting me to join them in the work every step of the way: Blog writing, teaching, praying, preaching practicum. They helped me with my seminary essay on their vacation and birthday. It took me awhile to trust they really liked me though. The pain of being left out and ignored takes a toll no one can fully grasp until you are treated with full equality. I kept waiting for them to be annoyed with me and ignore me. That is what I knew, and had gotten comfortable with-unfortunately.
Not only did they not ignore me-ever-they stayed by my side when I started breaking down. The first year was fun. I lived off of their faith and said yes to things I was never asked to do before. The next year was serious, and I wasn’t acting the same anymore. They started witnessing me melting down, and I still do. I am pretty sure I scared some of them, but they never left my side. Their faith increased when mine was failing. It feels like a moment when Peter is being lifted up out of the water by Jesus when the reality of walking on water hit him.
Mark Wingfield and George Mason have changed my life. They have leveraged their privilege to bring me to the table. We are the best of friends. Every time I run away – they go and get me. My life is new and full of new possibilities, because I left home. We have used fear as the motivating factor to keep people out. What about the possibility of saving someone; and their whole life changes and can be used for the good in the world?
My life has changed so much that not only am I starting seminary, but I went parasailing on our last vacation. I wanted to do something the old Lindsay would never do before I start school. I was scared, because I am scared of heights, but I saw beauty I would never see any other way. I got to do it with both kids too, and we saw two dolphins swimming! Kimberlyn was scared, but went with Jake before me, so she comforted me despite her anxiety. Blake, who was super chill and loving it, made us laugh. After that, I felt like a new person.
All of this because I let go. I went to a new home that welcomed me in a way I had never known before, and now life will never be the same. My life is better, and for that – my family life is better too. You never change just one person by helping.