In my school’s chapel program on Friday, I got to see two of my friends lead worship for a gym full of regular students and visiting guests attending a racial reconciliation conference. It was a beautiful worship service, helped by the fact that these two friends of mine are music majors, gifted with trained voices almost as beautiful as their souls. As I was sitting there, thinking about how lovely these two friends are, I had a thought that I feel like sharing.
My mom has always encouraged me to become friends and emulate a certain type of woman. They tend to be extroverted, bubbly, carefree, with the sort of faith that comes easily and freely. From all external appearances, they have very blessed faith lives, with any crises of faith being minor or hidden away. They don’t swear, they listen to Christian radio, and they display all the other virtues of good, American, evangelical women. To put it simply, they are very much unlike me.
I struggle with my faith. It’s so far beyond messy, my extensive vocabulary fails to find an acceptable substitute. My faith is not the praise and victory of the Summer Christian; it’s much closer to the anguish, doubt, and pain of the Winter Christian, though I have briefly assumed to mien of a Summer Christian when social pressures exceeded my stubbornness (see particularly my time in YWAM). Even having experienced those things that Summer Christians emphasize (the activity of God in the world, the providence, divine intervention, and healing), my heart continually leads me to a posture of winter worship.
My faith could be best characterized by a series of upheavals, and I know my family sometimes worries about me because it doesn’t match the example of those role models I have been pointed toward. The truth is that I struggle with reconciling my faith and my life experience because I deeply, deeply care that what I believe to be true accurately and adequately explains my experience of a deeply broken, deeply messed up world. If I did not care about the truth, I would not struggle: instead, I’d end up tossing my faith to the wind as an irrelevant moral system incapable of addressing the problems of the world.
It’s been a major source of mental anguish and emotional turmoil that I could never even begin to approach that standard of the Summer Christian- I have been measured and found wanting. This feeling of inadequacy has prevented me from entering into relationship with those godly women, and while I’m working on leaning into that discomfort, I find that there is some fundamental gap in experience that often interposes itself when I find someone who has not been touched by winter.
So as I was sitting on the wooden bleachers, watching my two lovely, Summer Christian friends (who, as an aside, are engaged and are ridiculously amazing for each other), I was suddenly struck by a thought. It’s okay that my faith may never see Midsummer. If the seasons of my faith go from September to April, it is still as valid as those whose faith lives from May to August.
I don’t have some grand conclusion to the thought, just a little more peace.