Thursday, June 25, 2009
Is this You God?
I am increasingly amazed at how God is revealing more and more to my heart. My life as well as my heart is changing quicker than I realized. For months after we first moved to Arizona it seemed nothing was happening. What I am referring to is my spiritual journey which before our move out west included church life. My very core and life was steeped in the activities of church.
My "churched" brothers and sisters in the Lord have no idea where I am at this point in my life. Some think they do and I know it is out of genuine concern. I used to be like them. Even last year, I would be concerned if I had found out a dear sibling in the Lord had fallen away from church. I would think things like, "Something is terribly wrong. They must be fallen away in their relationship with the Lord." Or, "They are falling into error and falsehood." These would be some of my exact thoughts even a year ago.
I do not write to defend my stance. I write here because it helps me to sort out all the things changing so quickly in me.And if by some chance someone stumbles across this blog, maybe it will help them in some way. Maybe there is some sister in the Lord who is going through something similar...Lord, let them find this blog and be encouraged in some way. Let them know that you do not judge them for the things they are feeling. Protect them from guilt and other voices who would condemn them into thinking they are way off course.
It is difficult not to judge if you have not been on this side of the road. The Lord has allowed me to be on this side of the street in this season so I can truly feel the frustration and pain of those who have left the organized church.No longer will I wrongly judge those who have left and label them as backslidden. Who am I to make that call? How do I know what is really going on? Could it be that maybe, just maybe the Lord called them out of the church for something different? And how dare we now label them as "unchurched". We must stop that right now! We are all the church no matter how we are called to act as the church. It is that simple.
Yesterday, my eyes were opened even more. What most people who are close to me do not realize is that I have been in tears, on my face constantly asking the Lord to show us if we are really off course. I have asked the Lord to show us what to do. "God? Do you want us to find a church? Where do you want us to go? Are we just bitter now and basking in unforgiveness for pain we have endured? Give me a clean heart if that is so." Over and over. Day after day I have strained my heart in prayer and soaked my floor in tears because I just want to be in His will.
And the funny and strange thing is the Lord has not given me any instructions.He has not given John any either. Why is that? I have come to realize that the Lord many time will not tell us what to do. He just wants us to rest and abide in Him. Just be. Just be. Just be. And through that HE will gently guide us.
This is becoming more and more clear to me as each day passes. I can see Him doing that. All I have done is look to Him and He is faithfully leading the way. When we first moved here I thought that we should start looking for a church.Well ,we attended a couple and the peace was just not there for various reasons. I felt bad about not having peace about looking for a church. However the Lord spoke to my heart and told me I was putting this pressure on myself. He was not doing that.
So back to yesterday. A dear friend whom I met just a couple of months ago invited me to a ladies tea. I did not know any of these women. However, I really wanted to go and meet new people. This was another thing that had been bothering me. We had not found a church, so we have not met many people.However little by little I am seeing the Lord put those dear people in my life whom He wants there...not who I pick to be there. Interesting I think!
So I attended this beautiful tea and there were four other precious women there with the kindest ,most beautiful and peaceful faces. They had all come from different churches and denominations. And most interestingly, they all have come out of the organized church. We all shared our stories with openness and grace. Honestly I was a bit timid about going...did not know what to expect. I prayed that it would be a safe place where the Lord would be honored. And my prayers were answered.
It has been quiet surreal to sit and watch the Lord orchestrate how we are meeting people. It is like nothing I have ever encountered. And for those who may even be judging as they are reading this...hear this. These woman did not say one thing degrading about anyone. They shared openly and graciously about their experiences, where they are now in their journeys and mostly about their love relationships with the Lord. There was a level of authenticity I have never seen.
One of the women there is a grandmother. She and her husband have been out of the organized church for many years. I was amazed by the wisdom and grace that flowed from her words. She listened and encouraged and gave comfort through her words and countenance. Another dear lady was the daughter. She told me that she has always been close to the Lord but that since God had released her from the organized church she has walked in so much more freedom. I was blessed by her peace and how she was truly in engaged in everything shared. I could really tell there was something totally real about all of these women.
The sweet lady who hosted the tea expressed her passionate desire to gather believers together for genuine fellowship. I loved her heart and know that He is going to give her many ideas and opportunities to do just that. I was just blessed by her gift and willingness to open her home even to someone like me whom she did not even know.
And then there is my friend Donna who invited me to the tea. The Lord truly set up our meeting a couple of months ago. She came across one of my blogs and emailed me. We began to correspond and we found out we only live a few mileS from each other. She has lovingly reached out to me over and over. She and husband are beautiful people and their children are amazing!
So....Is this you God. Yes it is You. It has to be. And Lord you are doing something beyond what I can figure out. I am encouraged beyond what my words can express. Lord you truly have been setting me free when at times I felt so down and doubtful.
So I continue to reflect upon You and your words. These are a few that come to mind this day:
FORGET ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENED. DON'T KEEP GOING OVER OLD HISTORY.
BE ALERT, BE PRESENT. I AM ABOUT TO DO SOMETHING BRAND NEW.IT'S BURSTING OUT! DON'T YOU SEE IT? THERE IT IS! I'M MAKING A ROAD IN THE DESERT,RIVERS IN THE BADLANDS. ISAIAH 43:18-19 THE MESSAGE
I KNOW WHAT I AM DOING. I HAVE IT ALL PLANNED OUT-PLANS TO TAKE CARE OF YOU, NOT TO ABANDON YOU, PLANS TO GIVE YOU THE FUTURE YOU HOPE FOR.WHEN YOU CALL ON ME, WHEN YOU COME AND PRAY TO ME, I WILL LISTEN.WHEN YOU COME LOOKING FOR ME, YOU WILL FIND ME.YES, WHEN YOU GET SERIOUS ABOUT FINDING ME AND WANT IT MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE, I WILL MAKE SURE YOU ARE NOT DISAPPOINTED. GOD'S DECREE. JEREMIAH 29: 11-14 THE MESSAGE