The following is a personal reflection/testimony by Kara K., a member at City Square Church.

On the nightstand by my bed, I keep letters and quotes that dear friends have given me over the years. They speak of hope, courage and love. If any day seems like it has been extremely difficult, I read through the stack to remember how strong I am and how much I’m loved. I recently added this to the stack. It’s a quote from the book “Love Wins” by Rob Bell.

“May you experience this vast, expansive, infinite, indestructible love that has been yours all along. May you discover that this love is as wide as the sky and as small as the cracks in your heart that no one else knows about. And may you know, deep in your bones, that love wins” (p. 198).

Pastor Brian recommended I read “Love Wins” when I told him I wanted to learn more about his understanding of God. I’ve thought a lot about my faith lately. Although I believe in God, I’ve been slowly frustrated, disillusioned, and ultimately heartbroken by what seems to me to be a narrow understanding of who God is and how he chooses to interact with the world. I object to how some people understand God because I feel like they emphasize following directions in just the right way in order to earn God’s love. If God truly loves us, should we really be concerned about how he might punish us for our sins against him? People who hold this view are perfectly entitled to their opinion. The right to hold differing views on this matter is what the freedom of our country allows. I don’t claim to understand God better than anyone else. But I believe that God doesn’t run an exclusive fraternity to which we must earn admission. I believe, when it comes to God, love always wins.

I have a physical and visual disability that sometimes makes it difficult for me to navigate to various places. I see God in the love that is extended to me each week by the various people who meet me at the light rail station to make sure I get to church safely. I see God in the love between a father and son as the son joyfully asks questions to learn about the world and the father patiently nurtures his curiosity. I see God in the love that’s invested in the hours of band practice to have beautiful music at church. I see God in the love behind the foresight to print a statement of inclusion in the church bulletin that states that everyone is accepted regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, political ideology or mental and physical ability. I’ve seen all of these things at City Square Church.

I originally came to City Square to hear my friend play in the band. I stayed because I found the presence of love and God to be undeniable. I feel so blessed to be part of such a wonderful faith community. For whatever negative experiences I’ve had regarding my faith in the past, City Square is patiently and lovingly healing the cracks in my heart.