Maybe I’ve Had it All Wrong….

Maybe I’ve had it all wrong all this time.  Maybe I’ve been asking the wrong questions.  Maybe all this time I have wasted in frustration and anger trying to find just the right answer for my questioning faith has been backwards. 

What if the sadness serves a beautiful purpose?  What if not knowing is the truest answer?  What if ?

What if I listened instead of questioning?  What if I sat in the stillness and the quiet and waited instead of screaming?

What if someone else’s powerful story whispered itself into my heart instead of letting it scream into my fears and doubts.  I wonder what that would look like.

I don’t know.  I don’t know because I only know what my restless and faithless heart have been living.

I think I have it all wrong.  I say that I can think of a few people who deserver cancer, sickness, death and pain way more than the people who are currently living that.  I can think of more than a few people I would rather have dead than our friends Paul and Laura.

I can think of more people who should be beheaded or in imprisoned for believing a different God.  Of course I can think of things like that, my heart is so hard.

But maybe I am looking at it the wrong way.  As I read and I watch and I finally listen to a voice other than mine a whole new world is opening in my heart.  Hundreds of thousands of people being touched by the simple story of a boy with cancer.  Hundreds of thousands of people given hope in their own painful life through a woman who knows she will not live to see her children get married and play with her grandbabies.  Hundreds of thousands of people being given the opportunity to love and pray for someone they will never meet.  Hundreds of thousands of people being moved to be the voice, the hands and feet of Jesus even if they don’t know it.

I wonder what these people would say if we asked them?  Some might say they hate God and they are angry.  But many of these people are saying they are grateful for the privilege of living this life well.  They are grateful for what God did in them and in others through it.  They are saying they wouldn’t have it any other way.

Funny they are not saying why me.  They are not saying God is bad. 

Maybe I’ve had it all wrong all this time.  Maybe my soul has been sicker than their bodies.  Maybe in accepting the grace of God in their broken bodies without being angry at God about it, maybe I will find healing for my soul .  And maybe in their beautiful deaths I will find my true life in Christ as they find their true lives in the throne room of God.

And maybe one day I will get it right and my soul will not be sick anymore.

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He Knows Me

I heard this song tonight on my Pandora station and it captured me immediately with it’s haunting melody. I have been so tired. And I have been so angry. Just MAD and HURT and feeling so let down.

The singer declares that He knows me. God knows me. He knows my anger and my fatigue, He knows my disappointment. He knows me.

He sees my ugly and my unholiness. What she doesn’t say is that He loves me, but somehow through the sound of her voice declaring His knowing, I believed it. I believed that He loved me completely in my mess. It has been a while since I have felt that kind of belief.

And so I wept. I wept my tiredness, my confusion, my anger, my disappointment. I wept my feelings of guiltiness for the feelings above. I wept my helplessness to change the things I hate in myself. I wept for the joy of a God who knows me and yet still loves me.

I begged God for an answer to some things in my life just yesterday. I begged because I have been praying for so long with no answer. No response of any kind. Not a “be still and know that I am God”, not a “my grace is sufficient for you”, not a no, a yes or even a maybe. Nothing, nada, zip, zilch. For months the silence has been deafening. Do you hear me God?

If He knows me He must hear me.

Today someone responded to one of the blogs I had written. I had been feeling mute for so long, but someone heard. Later someone out of nowhere told me I was beautiful, I often feel invisible, but today I was seen. Tonight I heard this song that I am known, and I felt loved.

None of these were prayers that I prayed. The things I am praying for remain unanswered at this time. and God remains silent on all of them.

But tonight He told me that He hears me, He sees me, He knows me, He sees something beautiful in me and loves me.

I am not fixed, and I still have so much farther to go in my walk with God, but for tonight I am grateful to be known.

How bout BEING the “Christ” in Christmas ?

As  a Christian it is not an easy thing to be the bearer of bad news.  We are emphatically instructed to go out and preach the GOOD news, not the bad news.  Unfortunately so many of us Christians get riled up about Christ being taken out of Christmas and pretty soon we are throwing out ideas that sound like if we don’t take control soon there will be no hope for the baby Jesus laying in his manger.

I have to wonder, how did so many people, who were saved out of their ugliness by grace, get so judgmental of a world of people who haven’t met and experienced the Love of God yet?  How did we get so high and mighty about the people who are in the very same bondage that we ourselves were in not so long ago.

It reminds me of ex smokers.  Some of the least tolerant people I have ever met in my life are ex smokers.  Myself included.  We hate cigarettes and the people who smoke them.  We hate the stale, nasty all consuming scent of a cigarette being puffed in the outside air as we walk by.  We get angry crying out “how can they do THAT” with a sneer or a pitying look on our face.  We ex smokers are sooooo much better.

That is how we Christians often act in the face of those who haven’t given their lives over to Christ yet.  As if we are somehow better because we KNOW what Christmas is all about……………and ummm they don’t…..because they don’t know Christ………so exactly HOW are they supposed to honor a Christ they have never met?  and many don’t even acknowledge?

Just to make it clear, I don’t think that those who don’t believe what I do have the right to strip any vestige of my beliefs from the world.  If Christ is not real then you should not be offended by my make believe God.  I am not threatened by your beliefs or your evidence and if you don’t want to say Merry Christmas, my heart is not broken, but please don’t take it away from me because you don’t believe…..however…..

Getting back to us Christians.  We need to stop preaching and start living the gospels.   Do you realize that a large majority of the bible was written TO believers, not unbelievers?  Do you realize that all the instructions on how to live, how to be Holy, how to love, how to serve, how to honor and respect God were written TO those who knew God/Jesus already?  Do you realize that when God spoke of sin and not walking in it anymore it was US He was talking to?

Us, me and you.  Joe blow the pew warmer.  The Holy and set apart ones, the chosen frozen.  The Christian.  Love your neighbor as yourself was written to you and me, not the unsaved neighbor.  In fact, I believe that quite possibly God wasn’t just saying to love your Christian neighbor as yourself, but I would venture to guess He was also saying love your unbelieving neighbor as yourself…………Love your atheist neighbor who really is trying to wipe the thought of Jesus out of Christmas.  Love your Buddhist neighbor as yourself……

The thing is that we have zero idea of what our fellow man has experienced in their lives.  We have no idea if the man who is so angry at God has a good reason.  We don’t know what the world has seen and what that has done to them.  We don’t know if someone was wounded “in the name of religion” or whether the horrible things they have seen have seared their hearts in a way that just the mention of Christ makes the wound different.

We don’t know if the things that make us question God being good propel someone to run the other way when they see us Christians barreling down on them with guns of self righteousness blazing.  We just don’t know.  And if truth be told, we were on that side of the chasm at some point in our own lives , so can’t we be a bit more understanding?

I propose that we keep the Christ in Christmas not by what we say or by what signs we put up in our windows or posts on facebook, but by what we do and how we love.  I propose that we Christians love our neighbors…..and maybe invite them over for some spiked eggnog…..just kidding….sort of……..even the gay ones……gasp……..not kidding about that.

I propose that we greet everyone with a merry Christmas that comes from a heart of love, from a heart that is so aware that we are all sinners…….yep, you and me the Christians……..I propose that we drop the anger and the sarcasm and the judgment of those who aren’t like us and be Christlike for once rather than being christian.

I propose we take Christmas off the throne of our hearts and put Jesus back on it.  He doesn’t belong in the manger anymore, He belongs in our hearts.

Life is hard enough, and for some the holidays are hell, maybe by putting Christ back into our hearts we might be able to bring some real Christian cheer to the holidays.