Safe Space. Real Journey.

Photo credit: Beth Graybill

Photo credit: Beth Graybill

This past weekend my wife, Laura, was invited to be part of a small panel for a conversation during the 11:00 am Gathering at our church. And — she was invited just 10 minutes prior to the start of the Gathering. This wasn’t about poor planning at all. Rather, a woman who had participated at the earlier Gathering time had become ill and was unable to serve on the panel at 11:00 am. So, our friend, Beth Graybill (who has taught, hosted and led discussions beautifully through our recent Everyone an Icon series) made the ask.

I’m grateful for Laura. And I’m grateful for South Bend City Church. Here’s why.

Those who know Laura, know her to be full of spirit and spunk. She is transparent; she is honest. The longer I know her and share her journey, the more I experience her willingness to allow others a glimpse into her sometimes uncertain world. The more she accepts imperfection, the less she senses a need to protect herself. I’ve witnessed her invite more people into her story - the fun and spunky parts as well as the raw and shaky parts. Her honesty is self-revealing. Her grace is other-focused. She’s a remarkable human being. I’m so grateful for her. 

And I’m grateful for our church. As Laura was invited to answer some simple questions with some not necessarily easy answers, I heard her speak publicly of her recent doubts of God. Real doubts. Does God exist? If God exists, what kind of God is God? Is this God a God she can and wants to trust? 

These honest questions have marked her journey for some time. She talked about them on a Sunday morning to our entire church community at the 11:00 Gathering. And it was more than okay. 

It didn’t matter that Laura was raised “in the church.” It didn’t matter that her husband had served as a pastor for years. It didn’t matter that what people thought of her might have shifted as she spoke. 

Questions are welcome at our church. Doubts are common place. 

We don’t so much search for answers; we search for God. We don’t rush to make our doubts go away; we invite Spirit’s presence in the middle of them. 

Like Laura, I have my own doubts. I question myself...and God. I hear voices within me about myself that don’t sound like Love. I often take a step and slip back a couple.

And my journey is not only welcomed, but shared at South Bend City Church. 

And more importantly, Laura welcomes and shares my journey...and I welcome and share hers.

I hope you have a community, friends, even one friend who creates a safe space for you to be you. For you to question, doubt and wrestle. A space where you can practice, not perform. One where growth is slow and organic, not manufactured, overly-structured and fast-tracked. I hope you have a space where you know that you are an Icon, made in the image of God…an identity you share with every other person around you. 

You deserve a safe space. You were made for it.