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Into The Unknown

For the last year, my husband and I have found ourselves sitting with our faith, examining many of the beliefs we hold as “truth”. The circumstances that led us into this season were outside of our control but made this journey inevitable. It’s been imperative for us to realize how our Christian faith has been informed by the Bible, and by the example of Jesus, but also how it has been informed by cultural norms within the American church that may sound like “truth”, or have been accepted as such, but are not supported by the Word. It’s been a good and fruitful journey, but it has also been challenging, sometimes frightening, and lonely. And I share this because, though the journey feels lonely, I believe that I am in the company of many others who find themselves walking this very same path…whether I know it or not. If that’s you, I’m here with you, and let’s keep going.

In the midst of this season, I’ve found myself returning to a few key scriptures as a sort of compass that points me to the character of God. I tend to do that when I get overwhelmed by theology-return to the most simplistic truths in the Bible that I can find to tell me who God is. One particular set of verses continues to remind me of the simplicity of the gospel, and why it’s called “the good news”. Romans 8:38-39 says, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

And as these verses rest on me like a blanket of peace, I acceptthat there is nothing I can do to separate myself from this God of love. There are no questions I can bring before him that will separate us. There are no emotions I can feel that will separate us. My behavior, my mistakes, any beliefs I may hold dear that are, frankly, wrong—none of these things will separate us. Knowing that I’m fully loved and that that won’t change, empowers me to continue asking questions that lead me deeper into the truth.

Amanda Brown is a resident of Makanda, Illinois where she shares her home with her husband, Zeek, and their two beloved doggos. Originally from Wisconsin, Amanda moved to Cairo, Illinois after her college graduation in 2010, and has been in Southern Illinois since. Her husband, also a transplant to Southern Illinois (originally from Florida), shares her passion to dig deep into and celebrate what the Lord is doing in this region and they are happy to call Southern Illinois home. Amanda was healed of cancer as a small child, after originally being given only three days to live. She grew up knowing the power of the Holy Spirit because of this miracle, and learning to walk in communion with God. During her time in Cairo, Amanda experienced the life altering gift of community and authenticity, which developed a passion within her to see people know their dynamic identity in Christ and live confident, free lives. She is equally devoted to racial reconciliation and unity in the body of Christ. Amanda believes that authenticity and laughter are two of Heaven’s best gifts, and can often be found prattling on and giggling about the difficulties of being an adult over a cup of good coffee.

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