I’ve been MIA for a little over a month on social media, and a lot longer on here. I really needed a break, a deep spiritual cleanse, a snack, or a nap. I really wasn’t sure which. I lost all my motivation and inspiration to write. I was overwhelmed by the world I was living in and having a hard time getting out of bed. I was having trouble connecting to my husband, keeping the house clean, and keeping the laundry and the dishes clean.
I was just a mess.
So I just, stopped.
I went to work, went to class, went back to work, and then came home and went to bed. I was waking up at 2:00 a.m. to do my homework because nobody was awake to distract me, nobody was awake to need anything from me, and nobody was awake to argue with me.
For the last 6 and a half years, I have been inactively searching for what it meant to be a Messianic Jew. I really didn’t understand it. So I celebrated Hanukkah and Christmas and told everyone I was Jewish. I had a hard time telling Jewish people I was Jewish though because I knew that there was more to it than latkes and candles, but my only resources were Jewish websites that were telling me that I was not and could not be Jewish because of my faith in Jesus Christ.
I probably could’ve just googled Messianic Judaism and taken an hour to really read about it, but apparently, I really prefer to do things the hard way.
So I allowed six and a half years to go by of me not understanding who I really was. Which means I allowed six and a half years to go by without even trying to learn who YAH was. I mean I “tried” by googling Hannukah. I “tried” by observing Shabbat – sort of, for like a couple months. I “tried” by half-heartedly praying to God for help. But man I let six and a half years go by without really talking to Him, without really seeking Him. I was held back by something, be it myself, or just His timing – who knows?
We started going to this Baptist group, and everybody was SO nice. It felt really really great to have a group to rely on and to spend time with people once a week. I truly adored the people. But quickly, it ran dry for myself and B. Weeks went by where we learned -nothing-. We spent -0- time in the Word, but we were frequently reminded that we were sinners.
I found out that Baptists didn’t believe in women being preachers, and I (who once felt a calling to be a preacher, and also a slight feminist) was appalled. I don’t know. Don’t get me wrong, like I said, we adored these people, but something wasn’t sitting right in my soul.
So I had a 1 on 1 with the pastor, and we talked it out. I asked him what exactly they believed in. I brought up women in the church. I asked about the Holy Spirit. I asked about biblical gifts (specifically speaking in tongues/translating tongues). And none of it lined up between the two of us.
-Disclaimer: This conversation was MONTHS ago. I am trying to recall it from memory, so it is not word for word. But these are the main points – from my perspective.-
I’m going to be honest with you, I knew from day one that this group wasn’t going to give me everything that I needed because I’m also Jewish. I knew this going in. But when the pastor asked me if being Jewish “really has an effect” on me, or “really matters because I believe in Jesus,” or however he put it – time stopped for a second.
Does being Jewish really “matter” to me? If I believe in Christ, am I not a Christian? How does a bloodline really affect my beliefs and behaviors?
And I answered him, “Yes, it does matter.”
And I told him that I appreciated him taking time out of his day to meet with me and that I would talk to B, and we would discuss where to go from here because this was an important decision. We’re trying to find a church to raise our family in.
The idea of a pastor telling my hypothetical daughter that she can’t be a preacher if she wants to be didn’t sit well with me. I don’t want anybody telling my little girl that she is anything less than ANYTHING YAHWEH GIVES HER THE POWER TO BE.
We never went back after that, but what solidified my decision was that once Halloween rolled around, this church participated. This church actually posted an ad on Facebook that depicted a little cartoon boy dressed up in his Halloween costume – DRESSED AS SATAN – advertising their Halloween get together or celebration or whatever.
I don’t care if Halloween is or is not the Devil’s holiday. That is not my argument here. My problem with it is that it is largely depicted as the Devil’s holiday, and the last place that should be participating in it is thechurch. Halloween is a Celtic holiday, where the Celtics “built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes.”
I have a problem with this, I have always had a problem with this. But I think that’s understandable considering the first of the ten commandments is, “Thou shall have no other gods before me,” and the Celts were making sacrifices to other deities.
But, hey, who am I to say?
At this point, we were churchless with every intention of finding a new one and zero intention of finding anything with an appreciation for Judaism. But we were all talk and no action. We were really tired on Sundays – and that was all the excuse we needed.
About five months went by with us planning to visit different churches in town until we found the perfect one for us. I had a bracket system made up that included every single church in town and a list of criteria the church had to meet before we would settle down with one. Yeah, I’m that person. But Sundays became brunch and homework days, and school was overwhelming so we never really tried. We did go to one event at a church rather than a service. The speaker was from Bethel in California, and it was okay. It felt good to be back in the midst of believers, but I didn’t connect with the service. I didn’t connect with what he said or how he spoke. It just didn’t measure up for me.
During this time I wrote my final research paper for my English class on Messianic Judaism (An in-depth look at why Messianic Judaism is simultaneously the ultimate form of Judaism and of Christianity), and as helpful as it was to understand the meat of the topic, it left me feeling more discouraged than anything. I realized there was still so much I didn’t know, so many rules and fine details I could never understand – I felt inadequate. Like, I wasn’t Jew enough to claim to be a Jew. Like it was in my blood, but it wasn’t in me. I felt like I took ten steps forward and two hundred steps back. But what I did learn from writing this paper was that I didn’t know a lick about Christianity.
“Now when it comes to Christianity, you would think that after spending 18+ years adamantly identifying as a Christian and attending numerous churches and youth groups, that I would know how to describe what Christianity is off the top of my head. The difficult part is that there are so many branches of Christianity (35 of them in the United States alone) (ProCon.org) that I find myself at a loss for words when I try to say, “This is definitely what Christianity is.”
Needless to say, this research paper left me hungry for information but hopeless at finding the answers. (I also was being lazy. Of course, I could dedicate my life to researching the true meaning of these topics, but I also didn’t feel like going on a 40-year quest over a 10-page research paper.)
Fast forward to the beginning of this semester where the University gave me the run-around and made it impossible for me to schedule the classes I needed to take this semester – leaving me with LITERALLY ONLY ONE OPTION TO FILL THE EMPTY SLOT IN MY SCHEDULE.
History of Christianity.
(I like to call this Divine intervention, people.)
To try and simplify it:
- Christianity started as a sect of Judaism (Messianic Jews), who believed that Jesus Christ was the Messiah.
- Jesus’ mother (Mary) was a Jew – therefore HE was a Jew (this isn’t new information, I know. But I need to spell this out so you can see what’s happening.)
- If Jesus Christ was perfect and led a sin-free life (to set an example for His believers to follow), then he would have had to follow the laws of the time.
- If Jesus followed the laws, and Jesus was a Jew, he would have had to follow the ten commandments and all of the other laws in the Torah perfectly.
The Ten Commandments (for reference):
- I am the Lord thy God, thou shall not have any gods before me.
- You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything.
- You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
- Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
- Honor your father and your mother.
- You shall not murder.
- You shall not commit adultery.
- You shall not steal.
- You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
- You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, wife, or property.
- So Jesus died for us and rose three days later.
- His believers were Jewish.
- The Apostle Paul traveled to spread the word of Jesus as the Messiah, but knew his audience would be different everywhere he went (speaking to Jews, or speaking to Gentiles, or speaking to Pagans) so he adjusted his message and approach along the way to appeal to as many people as he could.
- One of the biggest deterrents for a Gentile or a Pagan to “convert” to becoming a “Messianic Jew” was the fact that they would have to become circumcised – because at this time, being a believer in Christ meant following the laws of the Torah (because it was still a sect of Judaism, it was not a separate thing).
- Eventually, the Pagans and Gentiles who had no background in Judaism outweighed the Jews, and it was decided that one did not have to become circumcised to become a believer. Paul helped to make this decision. (This is where the separation really started).
- Eventually, at some point down the road, the church started to adopt Pagan holidays and assign them new meanings (Christmas and Easter for example) so that Pagans were even more comfortable coming to Christ because they didn’t have to give up their old ways. (I’ll dive more into these holidays in another post.)
- Also, the Sabbath is on Saturday. The Lord’s day is on Sunday. The church is who decided to honor the “Lord’s day” instead of the Sabbath, to help separate themselves further from the Jews. (Commandment #4)
To sum it up..
Jesus came here to die for our sins. He did not come here to nullify the laws that God gave us, but to show us how to live them.
Matthew 5:17-19 “Don’t misunderstad why I have come – it isn’t to cancel the laws of Moses and the warnings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them and to make them all come true. With all the earnestness I have I say: Every law in the Book will continue until its purpose is achieved. And so if anyone breaks the least commandment and teaches others to, he shall be the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But those who teach God’s laws and obey them shall be great in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
A game of “telephone” within the government, and the Apostle Paul, essentially decided that these laws are irrelevant (people choosing things and their own freedoms instead of choosing God). See Commandment #1 & #2
Learning all of this had my head spinning. I was eager to know more because I realized that the answers to both of my questions (What is Messianic Judaism? and What is Christianity?) were being answered at the same time! BECAUSE THEY WERE THE SAME THING. THEY JUST GOT A LITTLE OFF TRACK.
Then we met Jacob.
I hope he understands what a huge role he has played in such a life-changing experience.
Jacob is a barista who works at another shop in town who lives a Hebraic lifestyle by following the Torah and believes that Yeshua is the Messiah. He invited us out to his congregation of fellow Hebrew brethren, and we haven’t looked back since.
We were careful. We agreed to try it three times before we made our decision, but I think we knew after the first time. They were so welcoming and supportive. We were both terrified of offending someone with our ignorance for the culture, and they didn’t even bat an eye. Jacob was there for us to answer every question we had along the way – meeting with us once a week outside of schule to explain things in depth.
Reading from the siddur on Shabbat and observing Shabbat has been such a blessing for us. Hearing the Rabbi speak on the lessons from the Torah and explain them from a Hebraic mindset has been incredibly helpful. B feels like he’s actually learning the Bible now, and I feel like I’m actually connecting with Yahweh again.
But there was one day in particular that we met with Jacob outside of schule that changed my life.
We sat with him and grilled him for like two hours with questions about the group, about the Bible, and about things that Christianity left open-ended for us. The question that changed everything for me though, was asking him whether the group believed in the Holy Trinity. (I was unaware that the Holy Trinity I was talking about had been over-complicated by another group of believers, so the answer started out a little rocky.) Once we got on the same page about what I was asking though, (God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit – all being separate and all being the same), his answer blew me away.
Unfortunately for all you reading this, I don’t even remember what he said.
I think I blacked out.
BECAUSE HIS ANSWER WAS SO COMPLETE AND THOROUGH AND MADE SO MUCH SENSE THAT I LITERALLY COULD NOT HANDLE IT. I DIDN’T EVEN REALIZE HIS ANSWER WAS POSSIBLE. I THOUGHT IT WAS A YES OR NO QUESTION.
I literally had to stop him from continuing to explain because I was so BLOWN AWAY that I felt like I was going to pass out. My entire world shifted in that moment, and I realized that the pieces that the church “left up to faith” actually had answers.
Like did you ever think about what sin was? Did you ever feel hopeless because you’re a sinner, and how could you ever measure up, and why bother even trying because you’ll never get it right? Were you ever under the impression that even being angry was a sin, or that any negative anything was sinful?
But even Jesus became angry at the temple! HE OVERTURNED TABLES OUT OF ANGER. And yet HE was sinless.
Because a sin is not being angry. A sin is breaking the laws that God gave us in the Torah, plain and simple. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. But I never felt like I had a chance of getting things right because to me – even being angry was a sin.
Anyway, getting back on track…
My entire world shifted.
And B and I drove home, and I just cried my heart out. I don’t know if I was sad or if I was happy or what – but I was overwhelmed for sure. And I thought,
“How could I ever again live any way other than the way Yahweh has written for me? I can’t. I’m done. That’s it. It’s Him and me from now on, anything He wants – I’ll do. I can’t live this way anymore. I’m all in, Yah. I’m all yours.”
We pulled up and I walked in my house and I saw that it was messy. It wasn’t like – tornado messy; it was just careless messy. But I got this overwhelming urge to clean it, and the only thing that kept going through my mind was, “Yahweh wouldn’t want us to live like this.” And we cleaned and cleaned and cleaned until the house was spotless, and then we went to bed.
Since then, I’ve felt this shift in my life, like my entire being is being shifted away from who I’ve always been, and shifted into a new me. I have this crazy strong desire to honor my husband by keeping the house clean, by cooking dinner for us, by keeping the budgeting in check, by doing the grocery shopping, by planning the meals, and by just making his life easier if I can.
I know that doesn’t sound like much, but I was a boss ass independent lady who didn’t want to stay home and cook and clean up after a man. My work was my life. My work was my hobby. And now the idea of working eats away at me. It’s not that I don’t want to have a traditional job out of laziness, it’s simply that I don’t feel a calling to that anymore. I feel called to care for my home and my family. I feel called to honor Yah and spend time in His word. I don’t feel called to this 21st-century lifestyle of independence and feminism. And I know that’s not a popular opinion right now, either. Because of this shift in my life, going forward my writings based on the topics of homemaking, marriage, budgeting, religion, etc. will be posted on my personal blog Rosemary & Mint. The Married Barista will become more specific to industry issues.
But since that day, my marriage has blossomed 1000x over. I not only love my husband, but I like him. I adore him. I want to spend time with him. I desire to take care of him. I have more patience for him (something I had none of before). I feel like we’re finally one. I feel like this is what marriage is supposed to be like.
All in all, this experience has been beyond incredible for me. And I’m sorry I was MIA for a while, but also – I’m so not sorry.
I’m only sorry I didn’t go missing sooner.
Lastly, I do want to express that I don’t hate the church. I’m disappointed that Christianity as a whole has moved so far away from its origins and is missing the mark as much as it is. But I don’t hate the church; I don’t hate Christianity. I’m blessed to have spent my entire life inside of it because it brought me to Yeshua.
At one point, a friend of mine who was going to schule with me for the first time shared their concerns that this new perspective would compromise their beliefs (coming from a Christian fellowship). And I got really excited to tell her that this new perspective literally just completes the story. Every hole in Christianity is filled here. Questions people go their entire lifetime wondering are answered here. This just finishes the circle, fills in the blanks, and brings you closer to Yahweh.
I hope you don’t feel upset or frustrated upon reading this. This is a change that’s happened in my life, but it took me almost 26 years to get here. It’s something that in His own time – Yah put on my heart. And if you don’t agree with it, and if you don’t understand it, that’s okay – because I didn’t understand it for a long time either. Everything that I have written is based on my own understanding. Because I am not perfect and all-knowing, everything is up for debate. If you have questions, feel free to reach out.