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They can't take grace away from us: A Love story

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I pushed and pushed but still the doctors, in a desperate move, had to use forceps. The moment she came out, a team of surgeons rushed me to the operating room for emergency surgery. I begged them to not take me from my baby, having no idea how seriously injured I was, no concept of how badly I needed medical intervention. When I was wheeled back out two hours later, I held my tiny pink creature, already wriggly and stubborn. I said her name out loud.

Georgiana.

Her skin against mine, she found her way to her life source and began suckling.

In that moment, I met Love.

It’s the kind of Love that arises from the mud – the pain and suffering, the tears, the deep ache from within. From this place, Love comes down, and she quietly, firmly, demands to be heard.

This was my birth story, and my rebirth story. This is when Love required me to reclaim my faith. After slamming the door to fundamentalism several years ago, I thought I had to leave Jesus behind. Fundamentalist Christianity or nothing at all. Isn’t that what we were taught?

I went on my way, responding appropriately if cornered, but inside thinking I may never have a relationship with God again, because they told me that relationship with God looked like something very specific, and it was a life I no longer could perform. I closed that chapter in my life, and did my best to forget it ever happened.

But the birth of my daughter awakened something in me. Overwhelmed by Love for Georgiana, my soul began stirring. Nothing is cute or dainty about this kind of Love. It is fierce and gritty and it overtook me like an ocean wave, demanding answers as to why I am in rebellion against grace.

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I did not choose to have this faith crisis. Nor is the the timing random. I am here, doubting, questioning, venting, wrestling, resting and sharing it all with you because I am powerless against Love. I am in its grips.

I let Them take grace away from me, and I’m here, asking for it back. I’m doing the hard work of filling the holes in my spirit that leak all the grace poured out to me, by others and by God. And I’m learning to share that grace with those around me.

A lovely new blogging friend, Alissa from Alissa Writes Words talks about the “beautiful wilderness of free”, and her story of unlocking the cuffs that bound her to legalism.

No matter what I believe, you do not get to take Jesus away from me, she wrote yesterday.

And I think that’s the heart of all of this. When I thought I had to reject God because I rejected fundamentalism, I’m actually not rejecting fundamentalism at all. I’m saying, I don’t want to live like you anymore, but I still think you’re right about all the things you say, so clearly this Christian thing must not be for me.

This was me, mocking grace.

But Love is slowly drawing me back. As new dimensions of love are added to my life, I realize through gag-inducing diaper blowouts that Love is grittier than I ever imagined. I am broken, exhausted, desperate and fueled by Love.

This is my spiritual rebirth.

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15 Comments

  1. AlissaBC on February 12, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    O yes. Beautifully put. It’s funny, giving birth and becoming a mother is what shook me up too, though I’m still figuring out exactly how. I’m so glad our paths crossed on this journey. : ) Looking forward to hearing more from you.

    • Carly Gelsinger on February 13, 2014 at 6:34 am

      Birth shakes us up. Yeah, that’s a good way to put it. I am so glad our paths have crossed too.

  2. Katie on February 12, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Wow, this is gorgeous. A friend of mine had a similar rebirth when she had her first son. I enjoyed reading about your evolving understanding of Love–gritty, unyielding, full of grace. I think we have to never stop learning what love really is. If we stop, THAT’s when we’ve lost Christ.

    • Carly Gelsinger on February 13, 2014 at 6:25 am

      Thank you, Katie. Everyday we are being refined by love.

  3. Kirsten Oliphant on February 13, 2014 at 5:02 am

    Oh, wow. I am SO glad you linked up and can’t wait to read more about your journey! this was gorgeous and I loved the way you in so few words described your daughter’s birth and used that as a segue and sort of representation of your struggle with God and/or faith. Loved. Beautiful and powerful!

    • Carly Gelsinger on February 13, 2014 at 6:27 am

      Hi Kirsten, I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Thank you.

  4. Carol Bovee on February 13, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Love this! I’m a mother of three and they have taught me more reality about God than anything else. You shared the mother-love beautifully. Prayers for your journey and your beautiful girl! 🙂

    • Carly Gelsinger on February 14, 2014 at 1:50 am

      Mother-love is really something else, isn’t it? Peace to you, Carol.

  5. Emily Brisse on February 14, 2014 at 1:34 am

    Hi Carly. I found your blog via Twitter, and I can relate to much of what you write about in this post alone. My first child turned one last week, and I’ve been on my own spiritual pilgrimage for several years now, so I know all about grappling with Big Feelings and Old Teachings, and trying to find where my family and I fit inside of it all. I’ll be interested to see what you post in the future. 🙂 Best!

    • Carly Gelsinger on February 14, 2014 at 1:52 am

      Well, welcome! Big Feelings, Old Teachings, yes, yes, yes. We’ll figure it out eventually. Look forward to hearing your thoughts around here.

  6. Anita on February 14, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story, Carly, and I’m glad to be present for your ‘rebirth’ as well. Keep holding on to grace. God is bigger and loves us in more ways than we could ever imagine–don’t let the legalists put him in a box. Enjoy your freedom!

    • admin on February 14, 2014 at 11:17 pm

      Thank you for these kind words, Anita.

  7. Anita on February 14, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story, Carly, and I’m glad to be present for your ‘rebirth’ as well. Keep holding on to grace. God is bigger and loves us in more ways than we could ever imagine–don’t let the legalists put him in a box. Enjoy your freedom!

    • admin on February 14, 2014 at 11:17 pm

      Thank you for these kind words, Anita.

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