Something I came to realize over the last few months is that I don’t think I know my voice. I don’t mean my actual audible voice. I mean the inner part of me that is meant to speak out to the world. I have figured out the message for this time in my life, but my voice still eludes me. Neil Gaiman said, “The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.“ So, I guess what I’m missing is me. Who is Melody now at this moment? Who do I want Melody to be?
As I begin this ecumenical journey, one of the things I want to seek out is a greater understanding of church and me. What does church mean to me? What is the true difference between church and the Church? What is my place in the Church Body? How am I meant to affect other Christ followers? And the world? Where is my voice in the chorus of believers? This journey is not just about understanding denominations; it’s also about understanding me. What is Christ telling me? Where does God want me? What do I need to know to be a better member of the Body? Honestly, the questions go on and on and on.
The truth of the matter is, like with everything, the way to understand the path to answers is getting deeper with God. There is no one who knows me better. God formed me, He knows every molecule of my body, every thought in my mind and every moment of my life. He knows me deeper than I know myself. To find my voice — to find me — I need to find God. I need to go deeper with Him and let Him reveal truth in my life.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart...”
Who are you? Who are you in God? Have you found your voice? Your message? Do you see the path before you? What answers are you seeking right now? Whatever it is you’re looking for, whatever it is you need to know, hand it over to God and let Him take you deeper so you may know your voice.
As a writer, the most difficult thing is the first sentence. There is something so intimidating about that initial spark of thought that must be put down into words. It is the beginning, it’s the attention grabber, it’s the moment that introduces the message, thoughts and feelings of the author to their audience.
This is true of everything. That first moment...it’s terrifying. Walking into class on the first day, stomach twisted. Getting ready for a first date, palms sweaty. Sitting behind the wheel of your first car, trembling. So many terrifying firsts.
I am at a first. I am terrified. My life has dramatically changed in the last 18 months. To go through the list of things that have been upended would take me a very long time, but through it all I have had a few stabilities, like having a job. Now, even that has changed. And as a result, another part of my life has also changed, my connection to my church home. So, not only am I facing several first moments, but I must also process my grief and sorrow for what is ending. Terror, pain, sorrow, anger, fear, excitement, joy, confusion, and so much more is just bubbling around inside of me. I’m on the precipice of so many firsts I do not know what to do. It’s like a tidal wave of emotion and change wanting to swallow me whole.
I’m about to start what I’m calling an ecumenical journey. I have many questions rolling around in my head. I grew up attending several different churches, but I never really had the opportunity to get to know anything about the churches. For one, I was very young and I was mostly interested in learning about God and I wasn’t thinking about denominational issues. Secondly, my parents had no interest in connecting with any singular church and so moving from one church to another was a way of giving me church while maintaining the distance from church that they needed for their peace of mind. Now I have this chance to go and really explore church life. I get to try and understand why if we are one body under one God, how we can we be so dramatically divided. What makes a Lutheran Lutheran? Why do Anglicans like their liturgy? What’s the difference between a Methodist and a United Methodist? Can God be found in all of these denominations or have we put too many human rules and dogma into our churches? These questions and so many more await me. The answers, I have a feeling, will beget more questions. There’s something truly remarkable about that, and something truly terrifying. The unknown. The unwritten. It’s the first sentence of the next chapter in my life. What will God and I write together?
Surely, no matter what you are doing (speaking, writing, or working), do it all in the name of Jesus our Master, sending thanks through Him to God our Father.