Friday, June 28, 2013

Unfounded Fears and the Memories Behind them...

  When I was a little girl, my best friend lived just four houses down the street.   We were a year or two apart in age, but when we played together....which was all the never seemed to matter.  My friend also had an older brother who was in high school, he played on their baseball team and every week her and her family would travel to where ever his away game was and cheer him on.
  One day my friend asked if I wanted to come along with her family to one of his games.  The particular game she was inviting me to was an away game, over an hour away, and at night (they were going to play under the lights).  Having been an avid baseball player myself at that time, I of course wanted to go and ran home excitedly to ask my parents for permission.
   I remember walking the short walk from her house to my house, practicing the speech I would give that I was sure would convince them that I had to go to this game!  I walked in the door and immediately asked my dad his opinion since I knew he was always more lenient than my mom and that if anyone would say yes it would be him.  Unfortunately, his response was his typical "Go ask your mother" speech and after several unsuccessful tries to convience him that he should make this decision alone....I went off to find my mom.
  My mom of course listened to my requested and my list of reasons why I thought she should say yes....and then...when I could no longer think of anything else to say....she said "Not on a school night"!  I tried to stay calm and reason with her that one late school night wouldn't kill me and that I needed to go for "educational" reasons (afterall I was a ball player myself), but she stood firm....I could not go because it was a school night.
   What I did next will live down in infamy as one of the gutsiest stunts I ever tried to pull off in my childhood life.  I looked my mom squarely in the eye, told her I understood exactly what she was saying and that I would obey....and then I walked out the door, down the street, into my best friends car and drove off with her family telling them my parents had no problem with me going!
  Everything was great about that night....our team own, I got to try all types of stadium food, and my friends brother even told me I was his favorite fan of the night!  Then I got home and walked in the door at eleven something at night...aka well past my curfew and bed time....and found my frantic angry parents waiting for me!
   They had been worried sick about me....this was before everyone had cellphones so they couldn't just call my neighbor and find out if I was with for the last several hours my family had been searching the neighborhood and calling everyone they could think of to find out where I had gone.  In the back of their minds was the possibility that I had gone to the game anyway, but neither of my parents wanted to believe I would disobey them so out rightly, but now that it was apparent  I had, they were angry to the tenth degree.
  I remember my dad marching me upstairs that night, kicking my sister out of our shared bedroom, closing the door, and giving me a spanking that reminded me for weeks after, never to disobey like that again.  I also remember while my dad was punishing me...he was crying....real solid bonified tears.  Now I've only seen my father cry a handful of times in my life, so that's probably why it stands out to me....but also it gave me a real sense that my wrong had hurt him as well....and that was a much worse punishment than any spanking he could of given.
  Flash forward 25 years or so...I find myself once again excited to step and do some thing I think it great....and while I have all sorts of reasons as to why my parents should feel the same, they have some trepidation.  And once again I find myself listening to their concerns all the while knowing in the back of my head, no matter their feelings on the matter...I'm still doing it!  I'm not a little girl any more...I don't need their permission...and while I would like there matter what, I'm going to walk out that door and metaphorically "go to the baseball game".  I just worry that when the games over and I come back home...I'll find them once again frantically waiting on the other side of the door, stressed and hurt by my choice...and that's a scary thing!
  Anyone else still stuck in that cycle of wanting to please your parents even though you're an adult?  How do you break it?  Do you ever really stop caring what they think and longing for their acceptance of your decisions?  Any advice or thoughts would be appreciated =)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Treading Water in the Open Sea...

  I shared a few weeks ago about how lately I feel like I am struggling in my relationship with God….how my sin, while showing me my need for a savior, literally makes me sick to my stomach!  I feel unworthy and completely incapable and unacceptable to God….and yet I know He is my Savior, the lover of my soul, and the only thing I can cling to in this world (You can read more about that here).
   But what I didn’t share a few weeks ago, was that a few months ago I began asking God to show me the depths of my sin.  While I’ve always known I was a “sinner”, my sin didn’t really seem to bother me…as long as I didn’t get caught in it by someone else….and I really felt like I needed to understand how much of a “sinner” I really am in order to understand the full depth of God’s love, grace and forgiveness.
  The thing is….I don’t really think I thought about the ramifications of that prayer before I started praying it.  It’s one of those “dangerous” prayers….right up there with “God break my heart with the things that break yours” and “Give me patience Lord”….that are awesome in terms of your relationship with God, but often involve a refining fire and being broken and pruning….and well those things just aren’t pleasant!
  I have been living in the “unpleasant-ness” of that prayer for weeks now it seems….week upon week of feeling completely distraught and overwhelmed with my own self-centeredness and the reality that I will do pretty much anything to bring honor to myself instead of God….and yet I’m sure I haven’t even seen more than just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to depth of my sin! 
  I wish that I could say I see the end in sight….like there was a light house in the distance or a beacon of hope telling me that the lesson is almost over….  But I don’t.  In fact, I kind of feel lost at sea….like I’m in the middle of the ocean with water and waves all around, but no land in sight! 
  I have so many questions and feel this sense of disconnect between what I know in my head to be true about God and what my heart is feeling!  I want to understand why God would love me so much to forgive me time and time and time again….why He would choose not to give up on me….and why he would even call me into His service, when all I bring to Him in return is a heart that desires to honor Him, but often carries that out in ways that just don’t…..but I can’t seem to find those answers….and that’s frustrating!
  Maybe the problem is that I’m looking for reasoning in something that can only be understood through faith and I have to learn to just accept truth because it’s truth and not because I understand it from beginning to end.  Or maybe this is God’s way of bringing me into a deeper relationship with Him, where I understand that I am nothing and I have nothing outside of Him.  Or maybe….this is just the answer to my prayers.
  All I know for sure is that I must keep treading this water…and so I do…praying along with Paul in Ephesians 1 that “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give (me) the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that (I) may know Him better…and that the eyes of (my) heart may be enlightened in order that (I) may know the hope to which He has called (me), the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe”! Amen!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

To Whom Else Should I go?!?!....

  There is a story in the Bible where Jesus is preaching to His followers and He gives them a hard teaching, causing many of them to turn away and no longer follow Him.  After so many people desert Him, Jesus turns to His 12 disciples and asks "Are you going to leave me now too"?.  Simon Peter replies to Him.."Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.  We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” 
  This week I feel like I could almost voice those same words.  I don't really know how to explain it....words seem to fail me when deep stuff is going on in my heart.....but the past few weeks I've been least when it comes to my faith. I believe in God....I know He is real...all my hope is in HIM....and there is nobody else to turn to.  Yet......I feel dirty, unworthy, incapable and unacceptable....and like I have no right to come to the Father!
  Now logically, as a Christian, I know this is NOT true!  I've been preaching to myself for weeks now about how because of the blood of Christ I am forgiven, justified and sanctified.....holy and blameless in the eyes of God!  I am grateful for this..... Thankful for this....know this is my ONLY hope!  And yet I'm struggling to walk in it.
  I go to church....or listen to our current sermon series online....and think about the high calling God has placed on all of our He's called us to be perfect and set a standard of living that is so high none of us can obtain it except through Him.  And then I feel this despair come over me, because I know I don't live like this....I'm so far off the mark....and I begin to wonder what's wrong with me that I can't seem to allow God to live all this through me. be honest....I guess a part of me knows I'm missing the whole point of these sermons....that at some point I chased a bunny off the trail and got lost trying to catch it.  But I can't help it.....I feel like I'm suppose to GET I'm suppose to be a Christian who understands the fundamentals of faith...and isn't this fundamental?!?!  Why is this, for me, such a hard teaching....showing me just how wrong I am and making me feel like I will never get it right!?!  I feel strapped to God's operating table once again...with His inspecting lights shining down on me...and it's uncomfortable....and I don't like it one bit!
  And YET...the truth of the matter matter how uncomfortable things get, no matter how much I don't understand or how Dirty and unacceptable I feel.....I find myself clinging desperately to the very thing that scares me the most in this moment....the very heart of Jesus.  Because even though I feel like I'm covered in Mud, with cuts and bruises all over me and bones broken  before Him, I know He is the healer...and I know He is the one who can make sense out of this chaotic misunderstanding...and I know HE is my only Hope!  To Him I cling....Amen.