I remember as a kid I did everything I could to follow the rules. I didn’t cry too much. I excelled in school. I never did anything to get into trouble. I didn’t lie.
And one day I realized no one cared that I was beig as good as I could be. I rebelled. I snuck out of the house, cheated, stole, inhaled awful things, slacked off in school. It didn’t make me happy, but I thought I was free.
All my life I rejected Christianity because I thought to go to heaven you had to be a perfect person. And I had already done bad things. I figured even if heaven was real, it was too late anyway. I didn’t think I could relate to Christians because they seemed to know something I didn’t know.
Well, they DID know something I didn’t know. I never read the Bible. I never heard the gospel. I only heard bits and pieces of things people said that only confused me.
What drew me to the Lord was when I actually heard the gospel and discovered God loves me even with all the bad things I’d done. Even more awesome was that Jesus was a perfect man who suffered horribly as a sacrifice. He died so I could be saved. I don’t have to be perfect. I am deeply loved.
Me. A horrible sinner. I am forgiven. For all of it.
Knowing this doesn’t make me feel like I have a free ticket to do what I want, but instead that I can start anew and live for the Lord and try my best to do things that glorify Him.
And that changes everything.
Charlie came early. His life has been one scare after another. First it was the sacral dimple. Then an innocent heart murmur. And.
We realized he hadn’t been hearing us. We would sometimes shout his name without even a flinch. He never noticed people entering a room. When my husband suggested he might not be able to hear us, my heart stopped. How did I miss that?
Hearing tests failed. Too much fluid in the ears would automatically fail him. So he got tubes in his ears to drain the fluid, and in a month will get an ABR hearing test.
We have been praying a lot over this. I pray every day to restore his hearing and allow him to catch up with his speech.
He’s 9 months old. It’s when babies typically babble. He doesn’t. Yet.
But something awesome has happened. He is hearing. No test yet, but I know he can at least hear a little. When I talk to him, his face lights up. And I am faithful that when we get his hearing test done, he will pass with no problems.
A friend of mine posted a thought-provoking blog over at MouthyGirl.com. It’s about realizing the truth about friendships and where you stand with people. I think we probably all come to a realization in our lives at some point.
I made a realization a while ago that many of my “friends” were just people I got drunk and partied with. Many of them used me in some way or another, and those people are gone.
Here I sit thinking. Am I even a good friend? I never see anyone. It’s not just their fault. I have not put much effort into setting aside family so I could nurture my friendships. People don’t call me. I don’t get fun texts anymore. People probably know it’s pointless to invite me to anything because well now that I have kids I don’t have time to go out.
I think I tend to close myself off and often feel like I just bother people.
I don’t know how much of it is true. But my friends are all so far away. I have not yet made any local friends. I had better do something or one day I may find myself without any friends outside of my family.
I’m not a mean person. Perhaps just negligent. I get wrapped up in my bubble.
I have no real excuse except that I got lost several times. I have detached myself to the point of near rejection. And it isn’t because I don’t like people. I LOVE people. I just focus so much on one thing, like my kids, and then nothing else exists.
Here I admit. I have been a terrible friend.
“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” Luke 12:25
I have been anxious all of my life. I do not know from where it came, but I have been gripped with fear about cars, heights, bugs, dogs, and crowds of people. I have forced myself to face these fears over and over. Still, that anxiety sits in the back of my brain.
I think in the back of my head I think by being so aware of danger I might spare myself an early death. In all truthfulness, it has crippled me. Now I push through it and have learned to breathe. I want it gone. I want to not feel that horrible flapping in my heart and dizziness in my head. It does not improve my life to worry.
In the past I let it take over. I would not cross bridges if I could help it. I recall a time when I was first driving and came to an overpass. I stopped the car and turned around and told my passengers we were not going. That is just ridiculous, but that is how severe it was. It was painful. I cannot live that way.
No one should.
“But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.” -Isaiah 59:2
Why should you obey the ten commandments if you are forgiven your sins and have a place reserved for you in heaven? Well, it is about obedience. But also sin separates you from God. For every sin there is a consequence. What may seem like freedom and instant gratification is really a hole into which you are digging yourself. When you allow greed, lust, sloth, or any other sin take over your life, you are making those things your God. God made laws for a reason. Do not be drunk… why? Because when you are drunk you lose your inhibition, you make poor choices, and you cannot react as you would sober. When you make alcohol your God, your whole life revolves around drinking. And everything else falls to the wayside. When you sin and make other things your God, you are distancing yourself from God. You are setting up patterns of decay in your life. And you wonder, “Why am I so unhappy?”
This is not to say that anyone can be perfect. You will sin all the time. But you need to try to be better. To confess your sin, to ask forgiveness, and repent.
You have everything you need. New furniture. A snazzy computer and the latest iPhone. You own your own home and have a real career. So, what went wrong? Why does it feel like the years have passed and you lack any sense of fulfillment?
Every day is the same day in and day out. Wake up. Work. Go home. Eat. Sleep.
Where is the joy? Where is that sense of purpose?
I’m writing this because sometimes I am just terrible at talking face to face. A lot of the time you shut me down before the words can get out. And these are words I want so badly to say to you.
What seems so ridiculous to you may be the very thing your life is lacking that can bring you joy. No matter what things you collect or how cozy you are in your career, those will never bring you joy. Those are just comfort pads. Those are just replacing what you really need.
You reject my faith. You think, “What’s the point? It’s all a myth. It’s too incredible to be real. And Christians have an ugly history of being imperfect.”
ALL people are imperfect. Even you.
Maybe you just don’t know enough. That it doesn’t end with “I’m forgiven because I believe Jesus existed.” That is not how it works. Even Satan believed in Jesus. That isn’t what saves you. You must believe Jesus is your LORD and SAVIOR. What does that mean? It means believing that Jesus endured the pain for people who weren’t even kind to him, who did terrible things, so that they may be forgiven of their sin and be welcomed into heaven. It also means making him LORD, which means you grow closer every day to be more like him. You will never be perfect. But you are to work every day to be all the things he was an example of.
And when you get there you realize the changes that occur within you. That there IS more to life. That you will find purpose where you never expected.
And Joy. True Joy.
Now you might be saying, “but I don’t see Christians behaving that way. They are hypocrites.”
Those may be the Christians you have noticed. But not all who claim to be Christian truly are. And as I have said, no one is perfect. It’s a constant effort to grow closer to God and do his will.
Forget how others live their lives. Start living yours. And I pray that one day you will start a conversation with God and try to understand what you have been missing. I love you.
Lately memories have been floating back. Thoughtless and offensive things I’ve said to people. Instances when I have pushed away people who love me. I recall once being asked if I’d like to go to a movie when I was in 9th grade. A guy I thought was out of my league was asking. I just KNEW he must be joking. I laughed and said “no!”
I’ve hurt so many people as I was in my own little world. I was trying to protect myself by pushing everyone away.
Every memory that comes up makes me wince. I would never act that way now. It really is a wonder anyone has stuck around.
I hope I have been forgiven by those I’ve hurt. I may never see them again and who knows.