This is the most often quoted verse in our household, at least from my mouth. I am a stay at home homeschooling mom. I am home all day with my children and they have ample opportunity to have many ugly things come out of their mouth. But it’s not really coming from the mouth, but the heart.
This truth rests heavy on me as I write this post up today. I am shifting my blog. In January of 2020 I renamed my blog The Ragamuffin Mom. For various reasons, I have shifted away from that. I am still very much a ragamuffin and still very much in need of the reminder to believe that I am wholly accepted and deeply loved by God. My year has been spent resting in that truth. But God didn’t use my blog to bring me that peace. He used a dramatic shift in the way we do church to bring about the rest I have needed for so long.
In February 2020, my family made the shift to helping an Anglican priest with his church plant here in Northwest Atlanta. We are not Anglican. We both grew up Baptist, spent most of our marriage in non-denominational churches.
The church plant we joined is part of the Reformed Episcopal Church, a subset of the Anglican Church of North America. I was so nervous about this switch. We had some great talks with our priest, grew to love his family, and began to slowly embrace the worship in our little church plant.
As I think back to who I was when I started the Ragamuffin Mom and who I am today, the difference is dramatic. Where I used to spend hours navel gazing to find my sin and confess it, now I don’t. I know I am a sinner, but I know a greater grace now. It was a grace that seemed to elude me for a very long time. I suppose maybe the grace I knew in my head finally travelled the fifteen inches below and took root in my heart.
The liturgy of our church now works into it confession, moments of repentance, forgiveness, and worship of God. All the things I longed for but couldn’t grasp.
The most glaring difference in worship in my new church and worship in all the other churches I’ve been a part of is how we worship. In every other churches we were a part of, the worship music was based on current trends in music. It was like watching a concert band. And just like at a concert, my emotions were moved. I felt good.
Since I have been out of it though, the Spirit has done some deep work to expose my heart. What I was looking for was the high that came in singing to music specifically designed to manipulate my emotions. Worship music is written the same way that movie soundtracks are written: to evoke emotion. That isn’t worship of God; it’s worship of me.
Now we use a prayer book. We pray the same familiar and comforting prayers each week. We take the same beautiful communion every week. No more waiting on an arbitrary date to eat my bread and drink my grape juice. We do communion with wine and break like Jesus did, literally drinking from the cup (when we’re not in the midst of a pandemic.)
It’s beautiful. Comforting. Familiar.
My heart cries to write about all I am experiencing. There is so much pent up inside me that I feel at times like I will bust.
I have been like that for a while but I have struggled to name what it was that was pent up inside me. But through the fall of 2020, my church has been reading a book together called The Benedict Option.
I found it refreshing. It was like someone had been reading my journals or reading my mind all these years. Someone else thinks the exact same way I do.
This what I have wanted to write about for a LONG time. I haven’t had the boldness to do so. I felt shame over my strange ideas. Until now.
I am embarking on a journey. One that takes me toward simplicity and the liturgical church calendar intersecting into a life lived for the glory of Christ.
I am seeking to put off the things of this world that have so deeply entangled me. Acceptable sins, I believe Jerry Bridges called them. I am:
- decluttering more than my home
- growing a practice of working better and with more purpose.
- returning to a simpler time when my diet was fresh, raw, and yummy (as opposed to processed, preserved, and artificially flavored).
- craving to return to a more disciplined self with regard to our homeschool and some of our educational focus.
The Liturgical Calendar
Liturgical living involves following the church calendar, which turns over this weekend with the beginning of Advent. This calendar is cyclical in nature. It’s basically walking the year with Jesus consistently at the forefront of what I do. There are assigned fasts, prayer, and feast. And freedom to do all or none of it.
I love the image life as a journey. Much like Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress, we all have a journey that we walk through. It’s our own journey to the Celestial City. Some will have longer journey’s than others. Others will have journeys that take greater detours: some through suffering and some through poor choices.
By grace, I hope in my year to change habits of worship, habits of thinking, habits of prayer, habits of eating.
As I go, I will share my heart. Some of what I share might be boring, while some of it might be a bit bolder than you would care that I speak. Regardless, it’s still my heart. I hope that what overflows out of it is an intense love for Jesus and people. Maybe it will inspire you toward simplicity and liturgical living and join me on my journey