I am reading a new book now called “The Heavenly Man”. The remarkable true story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun. On the back is the quote “The world can do nothing to a Christian who has no fear of man.” I am only two chapters in and I already feel like I am a world away from the kind of life this man has lived. It is making me thankful for the freedom I have. The freedom to assemble with other Christians without fear of persecution. The freedom to own a copy of the Bible. Freedoms that I rarely think about because I have always known them. It also is making me painfully aware of my own spiritual apathy. Sometimes I question whether or not we can create our own appetite for the presence of God or if it is only He who can create it in us. I feel like I get tangled in the business of life and everything else becomes more important than the pursuit of Him. I tell myself almost daily that tomorrow I will do better but at the end of the next day I fear little has changed. So I do what I can and listen to the word and read these kind of books.
Last week I had the passing thought “sometimes I wonder if I’m even saved.” Yesterdays Sunday service was very difficult for me. It was what I have come to call a “Happy clappy” service. One where I felt like I’m being pumped from the platform to perform in a certain way….to dance, clap and spin around with everyone else because that is what we’re doing today. My stubbornness and past hurts of being in similar services and immediately judged and supposed to be someone who needs to “get free” makes me dig in my heels and withdrawal within myself until the worship service is over. About then is when someone decided that I needed to dance. He came over and grabbed my hands and tried to spin me around. I got angry and asked him to please stop. He walked away without apologizing and I know what he was thinking. “Lord, please help that girl get free”. Then another lady decided to give it a go. I asked her politely to please stop. She danced away again not saying anything but I’m pretty sure she was also thinking…”Well God you are going to have to give that tough nut your kind of breakthrough. My efforts failed. She needs deliverance. “ At that point I decided to brave walking up to the front of the service to where my husband was standing next to our pastor and ask for the car keys. Wubs was MC-ing the service and because of my current varied hurts and issues with church life I didn’t want to join him up front. I was happy and content and worshipful in the service until I was made to feel like I needed to perform in order to look spiritual. Deeply frustrated I left. This time I wasn’t crying. I just was asking God what He required of me and I knew immediately that He understood me and who He created me to be. I forgave the people who were trying to “help” me and cast the ache in my heart at His feet.
In the evening my pastors wife asked me if I would side mic next Sunday. I told her no and explained to her what I had gone through that morning. I was thankful to get it off my chest. I told her that I didn’t feel comfortable upfront leading anyone. I desperately need God to heal me from the rejection and judgment of others. To free me from the fear of man. I realized only two chapters into that book that this area is a major issue of mine. My pastor’s wife apologized for what happened even though it wasn’t her or the church’s fault. Then she proceeded to really encourage me. I swear if it wasn’t for them I would be so confused about my spiritual life. I am thankful for the voice of truth and wisdom that so often comes from them. Once I got what happened off my chest I felt like I was able to receive the love of God again.
Today I listened to this message and again, God was reading my mail. Word for word answering my current fears. At one point in this message Danny Silk even talks about the question believers sometimes have about whether or not they are really truly saved. I needed to hear these words and he delivers truth in such a funny way that all you can feel is happy when you are done listening. The premise of the message is how we turn the fear of the Lord into this:
All we continually hear is an accusing voice looking at everything we did wrong. He brought out the fallacy of that way of thinking. It gave me so much healing to my mind and heart today. I hope it can bless you too.
Phew I know that was heavy but I swim in deep waters sometimes as I know you probably do too.
In lighter news:
I put this gift bag together for a friend at church who was eyeballing my cool new glass tea carafe last weekend. I decided to get her one and gave her some tea too.
Brewster was helping me with the ribbons…note how close his mouth is to the bow…he’s inching his way in for chomp-zes.
Playing with ribbons is tough work.
I’ll climb in your craft bag and take a rest.
Ooh is that a feather duster? So feathery and snuggly...
And more news yet…I made baked potatoes for dinner tonight. Wubs is a little OCD with salt application…and practically everything else.