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“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” Charles M. Schulz

We relaxed into a sense of belonging because of each other’s sense of not belonging.

Over a jar of Fruition fudge, my friend and I talked into the afternoon about marriage, kids, church, good places to eat, houses, marriage, travel, kids, good places to eat … you know, rambling, repeating and roaring laughter.

One thing led to another led to another.

She and I confessed to each other that we both often stay to ourselves because sometimes we feel misunderstood, and the worst is when we feel judged.

We talked about the pain when a friend made harsh statements, placing religious rules ahead of the relationship. And how church is often the last place hurting people can find help. Our minister preached, “We were created to belong. That’s why we’re surprised when it is difficult to fit in at the place where we expect it to be easiest, at church.”

It’s one of the first times I shared, outside my husband and kids, about the conflict of being a Christian writer, yet feeling uncomfortable quoting scripture and overtly witnessing from my blog, or anywhere else for that matter. I appreciate friends who write Biblical insights, who talk about Jesus being their savior, and the Holy Spirit being their guide. It’s the same for me.

However, my experience with religious abuse sometimes makes every hair stand on end when I read about the day of judgment, righteous anger, and the sins of the father. Not that I don’t believe and know the value of each one, it’s just I’m sensitive that not everyone’s encounter with religion has been warm and fuzzy.

Maybe its been more like they’ve been burned and they’re never coming back for more.

Devotions, sermons, conversations about religion, sometimes just one doctrine-packed word can trigger a grim feeling inside me that God is about condemnation and punishment.

Instead, I want to believe he’s about breaking religious rules and running amok with outrageous love.

“You need to write about that,” said my friend. “More people than you know are hurting and need that help.”

Who needs your help? What are you going to do about that?

WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – She’s right. I need to reach beyond chocolate and affirm my right to belong and blog about it. What about you? We were all created to belong, you know? Chocolate sometimes brings friends together for more important stuff. Yes, even more important than a jar of fudge.

On the side: Fruition is the company who produces fudge in a jar. Interesting that Webster’s definition of fruition is 1. state of bearing fruit 2. realization.

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