Carey McNamara

Carey McNamara

I am a wife to Bob, a mom to Connor, and a physician assistant who is passionate about beating heart disease. As a devoted lover of Jesus, I am on an unending quest for more truth, love, and wholeness through Him. I have come to a place in my life where I realize God is not afraid of my questions, and I have learned the joy of pursuing Him until I discover His heart. As a result, I created a blog to encourage others in their own journey towards Life, Liberty, and Love in Christ. I am passionate about doing life authentically in community, and am thrilled to share a bit of that with you here.

In part one of this article, I addressed some of the differences between the Church we read about in the New Testament and the customs and mindsets of the Western Church today (READ HERE). I concluded that until we return to the true nature of following Christ and of serving one another in our gatherings, we would be left lacking. But since we can’t change the whole Church culture ourselves, where does that leave us – what do we do in the meantime? If we aren’t getting much out of Sunday morning church, is it okay to occasionally skip? Or would that dishonor God and only lead to further discontent and disengagement over time? I do not claim to have all the answers, but as I have worked through these questions personally, I have come up with ten things to help me . . .

Have you ever gone to church on Sunday morning and felt like you were wasting your time? Maybe the worship music felt flat (and those gathered just appeared to be going through the motions) . . . or maybe your mind wandered through the boring and irrelevant sermon (which only seemed like the pastor was trying to “fill time”). All you could think was “I should have stayed in bed,” or better yet, “We should have gone out on the boat today.” Well I have . . . on many occasions, but the feeling was never unique to one particular church. Though I have always valued going to church, my Sunday morning experiences have varied widely throughout my life. Sometimes I leave the service feeling like I met with the Lord, encouraged and better equipped in my spiritual walk, and other times I leave feeling completely . . . 

A dear friend of mine recently lost his young daughter in a horrific tragedy. I wanted to comfort him, but the gravity of his loss, and the manner in which it occurred, left me speechless. I had no words that could erase his bitter heartache - even my prayers seemed to fall flat. For months I sought to find understanding, purpose, or hope in her passing . . . but how could there be a divine plan to such an atrocity? Whoever said God would not give us more than we can handle was flat wrong – this was way too much for anyone. Sure God’s Word promises that His grace will be sufficient for us in our time of need, and that His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) . . . but how do we acquire this grace in our darkest nights, when there simply is no answer to the question “why?” And how do we reconcile the apparent contradiction of a loving and faithful God who could . . .

I was taught from a young age that Jesus was the only way to God, and that if I accepted Him as my Savior then I would go to heaven. Seemed like a no-brainer to me. All I had to do was believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for my sins, ask God’s forgiveness, and then accept His free gift of salvation. I believed what my parents told me . . . and what child wouldn’t do that in order to spend eternity in paradise instead of hell? With my child-like faith, I said the prayer and sealed the deal. However, I remember even then thinking how fortunate I was to be born into a Christian family. I wondered about people raised in other cultures or religions, and how a loving God could send them to hell. I mean what if my parents were Muslim or Jewish or Hindu and had a different understanding of “truth” – I am guessing I would have just followed their lead into a different faith . . . and with no less sincerity! So due to mere chance (or God’s "cruel" election), I would have gone to hell for believing the wrong thing. But I know for certain that God is good, so something does not . . .

I exercise almost every day and have maintained a healthy weight for most of my life, and yet still, I have issues with food. I began to realize this a few years ago when I was reading a book called “The Heavenly Man.” In the book, Brother Yun shares the details of his experiences in China when he was imprisoned for sharing his faith. The prisoners were fed a bowl of “mush” once a day, and he said that the men would ravenously fight over this food. He quoted Philippians 3:19 and wrote, “Their god was their stomach.” I immediately stopped when I read those words - surely that Scripture just applies to people who chronically overeat, not to starved prisoners! Suddenly, my inner cravings were exposed. I never thought I had a problem with food, but in reality, if you had asked me to give up my sweets . . .

I had only been working as a physician assistant for a year or two. There were several medical assistants at the practice, but for some reason, one of them was consistently rude to me. When I asked her to do anything for my patients (like draw blood or run a strept screen), she would roll her eyes or huff and then take her own sweet time to get it done. She did not treat the other employees like this, so clearly her issue was with me, but I had no idea why she disliked me. Since this girl was only a couple of years younger than me, I thought that if I reached out in friendship, maybe she would soften towards me . . . so I invited her over to my house to hang out with me and my roommate. The look on her face clearly communicated she was not . . .

I used to think witches, demons, and magic spells were just fantasy, something made up for entertainment . . . but by the time I was in Middle School, I knew otherwise. My dad was a Baptist pastor, and even he did not grasp the reality of demonic oppression until tormented people started coming to him for help. Some of these individuals had even been victims of satanic ritual abuse, the worst kind of evil you can imagine. This certainly was not something he learned about in seminary, but my dad was determined to help these people find freedom . . . so he went searching for understanding. Because there were few pastors who knew how to navigate such situations, my dad became the local expert in deliverance ministry, and this ended up becoming a large part of my dad’s passion and calling. This is why I learned about Halloween at a young age. I learned that it is the highest “holy” night for Wiccans and Satanists, a time for ritual sacrifices and ceremonies, and for the worship and invocation of evil. But we did not just read about these things in a book, we learned about them from people who had lived through the unfathomable atrocities that occur on this day. This insight forever changed my view of Halloween, and I could no longer . . .

Over the past decade, I have watched several of my Christian friends walk away from their faith. And these were no laissez-fair Christians either – they were passionate Jesus lovers who ran after God and seized every opportunity to share His love with others. But now, some of these same friends deny the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and have embraced a form of religious pluralism instead (the belief that there are many ways to God and we will all end up in heaven). So what happened - how did they get derailed? And what can we do to . . .

It was one of those days. You know, the ones you never want to repeat again . . . or have anyone remind you of what went down. Connor was three, and he had discovered the fun of stuffing lots of toilet paper in the commode before flushing. He yells for me that the toilet is overflowing and I dash upstairs to assess the damage, only to find he had stuffed the toilet full with paper after . . .

Last year, I had the odd idea that I should give up wearing make-up for Lent.  But Lent was starting in just a few days, and the thought of not wearing make-up to certain places felt daunting . . . so I put the idea on hold.  I try to say “yes” to all of the Lord’s promptings, but He knew I needed more time to process this idea.  This was one of those thoughts God planted for me to ponder . . . until I felt His grace to move forward. So I told my Abba I was listening and gave Him my “yes” for the following year.  And now here I am a year later . . .

Page 1 of 4