Sunday, August 7, 2016

In Spite of Myself

We’re going to talk about faith today, something I don’t often do, because it is a private affair between Jesus and me.

However, as women, we need to talk more about our faith. Most people would think that we are talking about faith every day, but we’re not. Women like Joyce Meyer and Beth Moore are talking about faith every day. The rest of us are talking about it on Sunday, or when we attend the large conferences sponsored by the big name women of faith. The rest of the time, we are pretty much off in our own little worlds, wrapped up in the day to day goings on in our ordinary lives.

In my last post, I mentioned that I struggled with surrender. I could not take that step from the pew to the altar. It was heart wrenching for me. There was something inside that was holding me back, keeping my behind in the pew. I could not for the life of me figure out what the problem was. I felt like a total faker taking communion.

About this time last year, something set in my heart that just said, “Stop. Don’t go any further.” It wasn’t a harsh word that came from a dark place. It was a gentle word that meant; Stop. Don’t go any further. I haven’t been to church since the baptism of my newest granddaughter last year. I heard the message loud and clear. I stopped. It was hard to not go to church. It still is.

I’ve been spending a lot of alone time with God over the last year. You might think that I have been hashing out my differences with Him, but no, God had other plans. In those quiet hours, I discovered what it was that was keeping me from the altar, un‑forgiveness. I argued my case, quite valiantly; I had forgiven everyone who had wronged me throughout my entire life. There was no one who had been forgotten, not even the kid who said I looked like a boy at the doctor’s office in Minot when I was five years old.  Yep, everyone had a clean slate with me. Imagine my frustration, when God said, nope that’s not it.

I knew it wasn’t atonement for my sins, because if that was the case it was a hopeless cause. For cripe’s sake, I had basically made a pact with the devil in my life. Trust me, there’s no atonement for that. By the grace, and only by the grace of God, there’s a coming back from that.

Sometimes, we can be pretty dense in our lives, and God just needs to tell us the answer for his own purposes, not ours. It dawned on me like a ton of bricks one day. It was definitely the un-forgiveness that lived in my heart, but it wasn’t the lack of forgiveness for others, it was not forgiving myself.

I had been the type of person that always said, “I’m sorry,” or “it was all my fault,” or “it must be me.” I blamed myself for everything that has happened to me, including being broken when I was born. Yes, I was so good at it that I was able to take the blame for not being born healthy like most other children. I held myself in my own prison for almost 40 years, believing that I was not worthy of anything – including life. With darkness overshadowing my whole life, it was pretty easy for the devil to sidle up beside me and tell me he could change everything, and boy did he ever. He changed everything for the worse, and the part that kept me behind the bars of my prison was my ability to blame myself – for everything.

I don’t do that anymore, and I won’t. Not everything is my fault. I am not responsible for the behavior of others, and I do not need to ‘do time’ on their account. It came down to God asking me, “If I can forgive you; why can’t you forgive yourself?” He also asked me another question, “If I can love you, in spite of your life; why can’t you love yourself?”

Don’t get me wrong, my life has not been all sunshine and roses since that day, and it never will be. We will all have our demons to fight until the end of days. Trials and tribulations are a part of everyone’s life, no matter how happy they appear on FaceBook. Yes, even the likes of Joyce Meyer and Beth Moore have their moments.

What I will say is this. I have never felt so free in my entire life. Things have gotten exponentially better, since I opened the gates and let myself out. It’s been a rough road, which I will share more about later, but it was so worth the traveling. Today, I am forgiven and loved. I am forgiven and loved by God and myself. It is truly the only validation that a person needs.