Easy Lemon Cream Sugar Cookie Bars
I hope you’ll join me in the comments to share stories of when you changed your mind. As a reminder, this is a series to prompt one another to be vulnerable, be sincere, and listen — not to argue or debate. So, when have you changed your mind?
I changed my mind about homosexuality after God very lovingly chipped away at my rigid set of rules. I grew up believing that homosexuality was a sin. When I found out my sibling was gay, it didn’t change this belief but it did strike a lot of complications into my heart. Was she never supposed to get married? Was she supposed to live a celibate life? I reasoned that I was born with temptations I had to resist, too — in fact, Mike and I dated for 15 years without getting married because he was an atheist and I believed it was wrong to marry him. Maybe that was just her cross to bear and not marrying Mike was mine? But that didn’t sit right in my heart with Christ’s message. He set us free. Why were there so many constraints?
I went to college and met John, the first gay Christian I knew and one of my most beloved friends still. More complications. I believed he was gay and was a Christian — and also that you had to repent of sin to be a Christian. Where was the disconnection? I wasn’t sure. I felt curiously uncompelled to save his soul. Indeed, I felt like we were in many ways put together for my own benefit. I remember him praying literally all night on his knees in the chapel for the exoneration of a prisoner his minister father and family had befriended on death row. I wasn’t going to teach him much about faith. I gathered up my complicated thoughts and stored them in my heart. I was holding on loosely to “knowing” and trying to abide in the vine.
About 4 years ago I went through a personal crisis. Mike and I had broken up for about a year but things weren’t right. I knew now I could go on and find someone else, but the Christians I dated were so different than me. Mike had always built my faith in a way that felt much more sincere than my interactions with anyone in my church or elsewhere. I was listening to a song one day (Nicki Minaj, don’t judge me) and again, something clicked. I’d been praying so fervently for God to lead me in the right direction and He had been all along — He had been saying, “EAT. EAT.” and I’d been saying, “No, I won’t eat anything unclean,” (fellow Christians may get this reference — Peter’s story from Acts 10). Finally it clicked, “Don’t call something unclean if I’ve told you it’s clean.”
I set a date to see Mike and called my mom to test my thoughts: “Mom, how would you feel if I married Mike after all?” (Not marrying someone you’ve dated for 15 YEARS is what I would call holding on to a belief, by the way). The shift changed everything for me: suddenly I realized I’d been listening to everyone else share rules with me, instead of trusting what Christ had actually said to me. Instead of abiding in the Vine. I hadn’t believed there were two laws, and the rest all hinged thereon. I hadn’t believed all things were lawful. I hadn’t believed in the freedom of Christ. But suddenly I did. Suddenly I understood why nothing had felt settled or right when I “loved the sinner but hated the sin” regarding homosexuality. Suddenly I understood what picking up my cross would mean for me: picking up the utter terror of letting go of all of these ideas I’d carried around like a shield, thinking they were making me good, making me loved, making me safe.
I let them go.
And I have never felt such clarity about my faith as I do now that I’ve let them go.
I feel embarrassed that it took so long and that it took something personal for me to change. But I think this is probably how change often works. I feel sure this is the right path for me — and one I’m called to support others in walking.
What about you? Tell me about a time you changed your mind about a significant belief.
The I Changed My Mind Series:
Introduction: The I Changed My Mind Series
Story 2: How I Changed My Mind About Sexuality
Story 3: How I Changed My Mind About Abortion
One year ago: Vanilla Bean Cheesecake
Two years ago: Peaches and Cream Cheesecake Braid
Three years ago: Coconut Cream Pie Bars
Four years ago: Bailey’s Hazelnut Chocolate Tiramisu
Five years ago: Brie En Croute with Figs & Rosemary
Six years ago: Mini Apple Pies with Cheddar Crusts
Seven years ago: Red Berry Pie
- 1 roll (16.5 oz) refrigerated sugar cookie dough
- 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
- raspberries (for topping)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare an 8-inch square baking pan with a foil sling sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Press the prepared sugar cookie dough into the bottom of the pan in an even layer. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until lightly brown around the edges. Let cool completely.
- In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon extract, and food coloring. Spread evenly over the sugar cookie base and top with raspberries and lemon zest if desired. Cut into squares and serve.
KimMarch 20, 2017 at 9:40 am (6 years ago)
Thank you for sharing your life with us, Julie, along with fabulous food. This series is giving me perspective on how to talk with friends and family whose Christianity is much more “black and white” than mine.
Julie RubleMarch 20, 2017 at 11:47 am (6 years ago)
Thank you for the affirmation, Kim! I think sometimes as Christians we have a LOT of people around us who would frantically shut down processes like these out of good intentions and fear, and NOT a lot of people around us open to real and/or continued transformation, so my hope is that putting these stories out there gives folks in the shadows and edges a much-needed model. The “if you can see it, you can be it” idea — where “it” is just open to change 🙂 Thank you again for your kind words!
LaceyMarch 20, 2017 at 2:08 pm (6 years ago)
I am a mormom, The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. Christ has always taught to love as he loves people. Our church teaches to love and be kind to everyone of different faiths and even who believe or use free agency to make choices we dont agree with. One thing I would like to say is that I came to an understanding of Christ’s teachings that you cannot pick and choose the ones that go along with the narrative I want to believe in.
18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
We have free agency, but it does not change the fact that thae lord has given a path to happiness.
I just found your site and I love the recipes you post.
Julie RubleMarch 20, 2017 at 2:29 pm (6 years ago)
Hi Lacey — thanks for being here. Please note the groundwork for this series: “this is a series to prompt one another to be vulnerable, be sincere, and listen — not to argue or debate.” In other words, while you are free to share stories, I ask that you not debate with ideas presented in the stories shared. Not here, anyway! It undermines the comfort to share.
If you’d like to discuss further in a different space, I’d welcome that wholeheartedly. Please feel free to email me at julie ‘at’ willowbirdbaking ‘dot’ com. In response to your comment here, I will just share that I consider myself to have a relatively conservative (in the literary analysis sense, not the political sense) interpretation of scripture and that I definitely don’t consider myself to “pick or choose” what to believe from it. If this seems paradoxical to you given the story I’ve shared here, again, please feel free to email me to discuss (and that invitation is open to anyone!)
TeramisMarch 21, 2017 at 4:48 am (6 years ago)
Julie, I’ve followed you for years because I love your food, but after reading this I also love your open-mindedness and the path personal growth has set you upon. I am one of your many gay readers. Why do I know you have numerous gay readers? Because I have recommended this blog for a long to many friends who I know have subscribed. Your words here have gone far today in helping to make this a welcoming corner of the web. Thank you.
Julie RubleMarch 21, 2017 at 12:12 pm (6 years ago)
Thanks so much for your sweet words, Teramis <3 I feel ashamed that it took me so long and so much personal turmoil to come around. I hope sharing this story will help others on this journey. Thank you for reading!
RebeccaMarch 21, 2017 at 10:26 am (6 years ago)
I so enjoy your recipes and your “life lessons”. Thank you for daring to be vulnerable in this age of seemingly constant criticism and attacks.
And, I truly see you living by the greatest command of all in showing love for yourself and others.
BTW, I just started reading this interesting book if you haven’t seen it before – The righteous mind : why good people are divided by politics and religion by Jonathan Haidt.
Julie RubleMarch 21, 2017 at 12:07 pm (6 years ago)
Thanks for the kind words and for the recommendation, Rebecca!
Crystal MoranApril 14, 2017 at 1:03 pm (6 years ago)
Love your site and I love your way of thinking. I am in the same vein of thinking as you and have actually talked to my mom about when she was conflicted regarding her own sister who is gay. Love is love, is what I think and there are far worse things that people who say to follow the bible very closely have done. Thanks for sharing!
Julie RubleApril 14, 2017 at 5:52 pm (6 years ago)
Thank you for being willing to complicate your views <3 I totally agree.
Charlotte @ What Charlotte BakedApril 14, 2017 at 7:34 pm (6 years ago)
As a woman who’s married to another woman, it makes me so happy to read your story. I am too often guilty of assuming that Christians will have a problem with my life, and that I need to avoid interaction at all costs. I guess this post has made me realise that my mind needs to be changed about that, and that i can’t judge a book by its cover. Thank you so much for sharing.
Sweet SugarbelleMay 26, 2017 at 11:14 pm (6 years ago)
I don’t really have a good story…I’d have to think about it longer, but you could’ve been telling my story. When I learned my brother was gay, it turned all of my core beliefs upside-down. I came for the recipe, and stayed for the story. Thank you.
Julie RubleMay 26, 2017 at 11:47 pm (6 years ago)
I’m so glad you were willing to be turned upside-down <3