CINDY TRANE CHRISTESON
"People are looking for not a watered-down, superficial religion, but
for a God who makes sense and a God who cares, a God who inspires
them to a higher way of living, but who can be understanding when
they fall along the way."
-- Joseph Girzone,
from Joshua and the
Our conversation was about fun, family, faith, failure and the
future. I was in between appointments, as was the woman next to me, a
woman whom I would be happy to have as a friend. She had dark brown
hair and deep brown eyes and when we spoke, I felt like I had her
We began by sharing about children. She had been camping recently
and told me all about the children in her family, the group she was
with and how much everybody loved the beach. I heard about fun in the
sand and the sun and surf. I enjoyed her descriptions about
everything and everybody. I've never met her family, but I can
practically picture their eyes, their expressions, their interests,
and even what they wore at the beach.
The woman also shared that after sundown, her group sat around
campfires and cooked marshmallows under a clear sky dotted with
stars. She said that as the temperature dropped, and blankets and
towels were passed around, everybody's moods seemed to lift and the
discussions went deeper.
"God is super amazing, super awesome -- I don't get him at all,"
one young member of her group said.
I told her that I too never cease to be amazed at God's creativity
-- in the world he created and in the people he created. She seemed
surprised, and that is when our conversation moved to faith, failure
and the future.
Fortunately, she had been to a church that she really liked. She
said she loved the message and the music and the people around her.
Unfortunately she had been to a gathering with some of the people at
another time, and she felt like they were hypocrites. I tried to
explain that just as nobody is perfect, there is also no perfect
church, and the fact that she had a bad experience did not negate the
need and reason for churches.
She then told me of some of her failures. I expressed that we all
fail but that God wants us to approach him and connect with him, as
our perfect parent. I told her that I had certainly made my own share
of mistakes, but I loved the fact that God was more interested in my
spending time with him than he was of me pretending to be something
that I wasn't. I explained that my husband, Jon, and I had recently
visited with our granddaughter, Mary, and how much we longed just to
be with her. Mary didn't have to do or not do anything; we just
wanted to be with her.
I also told the woman that I'd heard a young boy on a church patio
recently say, "God is bigger than the biggest ocean, and he is better
than the bestest dessert."
I told her I loved the simple truth and the fact that God does
care and he is right there with us as we walk through life.
And you can quote me on that.
* CINDY TRANE CHRISTESON is a Newport Beach resident who speaks
frequently to parenting groups. She may be reached via e-mail at
firstname.lastname@example.org or through the mail at 537 Newport Center Drive,
Box 505, Newport Beach, CA 92660.