We the hungry...

>> Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Between the ages of 12-18, my time was spent ricocheting between living with various relatives (a few of those years were spent in a foster home). Prior to that, I was raised by a young, single mother. I was a latchkey kid. This left me feeling disconnected and alone most of the time. The last year of my teens was spent traveling and wandering, with a portion of it being homeless. My experience as a homeless teen forced me to not only take a closer look at the pain and suffering that is a result of human depravity and greed, but to also live and breathe it. It's one thing to read about it in a textbook; hear a personal account of what it's like; or to have a conversation with one who is homeless, but it is quite another to experience it first-hand. Instead of looking at that person with disgust, I became that person forced to urinate in public (because if you're homeless, you're not allowed to use public restrooms). Instead of covering up my nose to hide the stench, I became that filthy person whose body odor was so offensive nobody wanted to be around them. Instead of worrying about what college I would attend, I was worrying about whether or not I was going to be able to find a dumpster that was wasn't chained shut so I could eat something. Anything. Sometimes, when I am driving by a group of homeless people in my nice-ish car with the heat on, I have to quiet that voice that wants to judge them and remind her of what it felt like to be in that position. I have to remind her of what it felt like when hunger was a way of being; what it felt like to have no dignity; no sanctuary; no home...and sometimes, she listens...and she reminds me of the echoes of that life that she can see in the Church --only this crises of homelessness doesn't have the easily distinguishable tell-tale signs. You cannot smell us when we approach, but if you're quiet, you can hear our hearts crying out. We are hungry for an authentic encounter with the King of Kings...

Many Christian's today can relate to my story, in that most of us feel as if we don't have a spiritual home to land. We are the spiritually homeless. We are stuck in the middle of The Church that is having an identity crises and the Church that we know is possible. It’s not as if we don’t want to belong, because we do, but we are unsure as to where and how we fit into the Body. A large number of us have grown restless and feel despondent. We have this beautiful vision of what the Church could be or what we think it should be, but we have no idea how to breathe life into that vision. Instead of seeing a beaming Bride when we look at the Church as a whole, we see a schizophrenic maiden with a head full of split theological hairs. Her hands are mocking her feet, and sometimes it seems as if she is slapping herself in the face. We look at all of her imperfections and fail to notice that beneath her tattered dress, encased by her ribcage, is a heart that is beating to the rhythm of the sounds heard spilling forth from the High Throne in Heaven. Hers is a heart that is sealed with the mark of the Lion of Judah. Her Groom is the Risen King, and you can be sure that His vision for His Church is far greater than we could ever dream up ourselves. While we see and dream dimly, His visions are bursting with color at the seams, and that vision? That vision will be carried out into completion -- we just need to hang onto His coattails and go wherever He takes us...

How about you? Have you ever felt spiritually homeless?


Dorie January 10, 2010 at 4:51 PM  

I love this. I love the parallels you are drawing here. Your story is awesome and I'm super smiley to be your friend. You are beautiful inside and out.

Kaira January 10, 2010 at 7:52 PM  

I want to KNOW you! Lets sit and talk soon.


About Me January 11, 2010 at 4:27 AM  

Dorie, thank you for always encouraging me in the writing process and reminding me to keep my eyes on Him.

Kaira, likewise! Talk to Dorie (she's the queen of connecting people!)

Zombie January 11, 2010 at 1:04 PM  

I have. God has richly blessed you Mandie. I am thankful for you.

About Me January 11, 2010 at 1:13 PM  

adam, that made me tear up.

Burkulater January 11, 2010 at 5:57 PM  

I have met her, and she's real. She's someone you can instantly connect with. Her faith is true, and you cannot mistake it.

I remember feeling spiritually homeless a couple times, and the encounters with God shortly after were the most amazing of my life.

About Me January 11, 2010 at 6:25 PM  

You guys are the best. I wish that we could smoosh Downriver with Grand Rapids!

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