“There is nothing that is going to make people hate you more, and love you more, than telling the truth.”
the action of confirming something or the state of being confirmed.
(in the Christian Church) the rite at which a baptized person…….affirms Christian belief and is admitted as a full member of the church.
This is the google search definition of “Confirmation” – a rite that you will experience tomorrow in a church that has become our new home since 2012.
A person’s journey of faith is something that is deeply personal. It is something that no one denomination, one priest or pastor, no one set of beliefs can make happen for you. I read somewhere that we are not bodies with souls, we are souls with bodies. I believe this. Because my entire life has been a soul-seeking journey, learning about who I really am, who God really is, and what the purpose of my life is and should be.
You’re a very thoughtful, insightful, perceptive, and intelligent young woman. You have had an untrusting nature from the moment you arrived on planet Earth. You do not just accept things at face value and, for that reason, I believe your journey of faith is going to be very different than what mine was at your age. I readily believed in God. I readily accepted what I was taught. And it wasn’t until later that I discovered that while some things have to be accepted on faith, God did not intend for us to never use the power of reason which He gave us, or never question someone’s teachings, just because they taught them “in Jesus’ name”.
I think your confirmation is symbolic for someone like yourself. It’s says, “I am here. I choose this path. I want to walk it with God’s help.” It doesn’t mean that you won’t still question some theological ideas. It doesn’t mean that you won’t ever act like a child of darkness instead of a child of the light. It doesn’t mean that one day you might decide that your path of faith looks very different than the one you’re walking right now. But it does mean that you have me, and a godmother, and a whole host of people who are standing up with you, making a vow to also walk that path beside you, and support you along your journey.
Every time you repeat those words on Sunday, “I will, with God’s help.” I want you to remember that this is the entire Christian life in 5 simple words. It is willingness to be as much like Christ as we can be, while understanding that we are powerless to do it on our own. It’s the entire reason for the tattoo on my shoulder, “I am the vine, you are the branches, if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you will bear much fruit. Apart from me, you can do nothing.” If I haven’t learned anything else in my 34 years, I have learned that my strength and courage come from a Higher Power, and I could not have made it through some of the most difficult times in my life without my faith.
This path you’ve chosen is not an easy one. Specifically, this denomination of Christianity is not an easy one. You’ve already experienced the confused stares, the inaccurate assumptions, and the feeling of being a tiny minority in a sea of people that think very differently about spiritual matters. But I think that’s probably going to do you more good than harm. Why? Because, for people like you and me, a journey of faith is more than just believing. It’s about knowing what we believe and why. In a world where many people readily believe what is fed to them by the media, politicians, preachers and teachers, or let themselves be completely led around by their emotions, it’s so very important to carefully examine what your mind is being told. I think it’s a Christian principal. We are told to “take every thought captive” and I believe that is partially what is meant by that. If you’re going to live your life as a follower of Christ and His teachings, you have to be prepared to take up the cross, YOUR cross. You have to be prepared for other people not agreeing with you, you have to be prepared to stand on the side of truth – even when it hurts. Which is why I started this post with that quote. Truth is a great equalizer. It will weed out the “fake” from the “real”. Remember that truth is painful, but it’s also freedom.
There is also a side to Christianity that is probably going to be much harder for you than you even realize yet. We’ve talked about it some, but it will increase as you get older and see more and more unfairness and injustice around you. That side is the surrender. You like to have a plan. You like to know what’s ahead of you and be able to prepare for it. You like concrete answers. And sometimes, daughter, there are none. There is no explaination. There is no rhyme or reason. And it’s in those moments that I pray you allow your soul to take over. That you let yourself “be still and know”. That’s where true peace is found.
I follow this radical Divine, not only because of what I have learned over the years, but because of how it has spoken to the very deepest parts of me. I’ve seen it in my closest moments with God, and in places where it seemed like my faith was an ember just on the brink of completely flickering out. That’s the beauty of this journey: no matter where we find ourselves, we are never alone. That supernatural presence is always with us. You are “sealed by the Holy Spirit in baptism, and marked as Christs’ own forever.” Forever. In this life. In the life to come. You are claimed. You are redeemed by the blood of One who cares for you more than anyone you’ll ever know, even me.
So that is the thought I will leave you with, Reagan. More than the truth, more than the peace, more than all of these things I wish for you to experience, my greatest hope is that you will just allow yourself to be enveloped by great Love. Your creator knows you, designed you, and is the very author of Love. If you allow yourself to be known and loved by God, you will know and love others more completely. You will see them through the eyes of Love itself. And it will remind you that we all arrived in life with a need that only that kind of love can satisfy. Be that kind of love. I know you will, with God’s help.