One thing I found myself doing yesterday was texting. In church. (I feel like I need to go to confession or something!). I sent my friend Jules a text.
T: I’m in church.
J: Do you like it? I’ve seen it.
T: It’s a mega church (which means to me ~ there’s more than 25 people)
T: But they talk about serving.
T: I’m so confused…
J: Know the feeling.
J: I feel like my world has been shaken
As I sat there listening to the message years of ideas, thoughts…my whole identity came crashing down. I literally sat there confused.
Now, I KNOW this is probably quite confusing to some readers. I have a strong foundation in my belief. But it was inward-focused. Not every church in the “group” was this way. I just happened to grow up in a small, abusive, controlling assembly. Coupled with my father’s own impressions of the world, I grew up believing that anyone outside “The Body” was lost. We were a small group of people. Earmarked to bring in the early rain. I never questioned that teaching. Until I found myself outside of “The Body”.
While most of my friends (not associated with the church I left) believed they belonged to the Kingdom at large, I felt lost. After all. I left THE BODY. I lost my vision. I was now lost. And greater Christendom at large was just not an option.
Proverbs 16:18 comes to mind. Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. (KJV). My fall was about to come. But it would not be my destruction, but a gently submission into the arms of my savior.
Within seconds Jules was on her way and I was falling apart. Isn’t HE amazing? Just as communion ended I walked outside the auditorium. I waited for Jules by the coffee spot. I saw someone I know through Facebook and smiled. I know that she and I will become friends. I can tell. So I ordered a tea. And before I could sit down Jules was there.
Jules is not only my friend…she is my sister. When I moved to Portland at age 16 I lived with her family. Although I wouldn’t allow them to legally adopt me, they became my adopted family. A mom. A dad. And the big sister I always wanted. We are in some ways complete polar opposites, but in one way we are alike: we both left the church and lost our identities.
You see, we grew up as “body brats”. The ones who were always doing what we were supposed to. Dressed right. Prayed. Testified. Served on crews. We both were the Coffee Queens. So, here we were. 2 moms who thought they would never see adulthood because the world was going to end in 80s…90s. Sitting in the auditorium of a place we were taught to never visit. To worship. To blend our voices.
Yep. We make plans. God laughs.
And right there I realized why I was there. Because I needed to know BEYOND all shadow of a doubt that my savior can be found ANYWHERE. Yes, truth is good. Having the spirit dwelling is good. But how long have I allowed my quest for being “RIGHTEOUS” to keep me from seeing the entire Kingdom?
I had already made plans with another friend to meet at this amazing coffee shop called Insomnia. (If you’re in the area, contact me and we’ll go visit.) so our talk was quick. We made plans to homeschool together the next day.
When I arrived at Insomnia I know that the Lord had already gone before me. Our conversation was so rich. Full of hope. Encouragement. I left feeling connected. No longer alone. Walking the path I was made to walk. Seeing just a little more clearly.
The husband surprised me. We’re going on a date. To Olive Garden (Ok…this is NOT in my eating plan.). To talk. A much needed talk. And just as my friend and I had talked about earlier, steps that we needed to make…he surprised me again. In FACT the very thing that she and I stated would have to happen…are the very things he said to me! It’s as if he listened to our conversation.
By this point, I am literally coming out of my skin. I can’t believe how clearly I’m seeing…feeling…breathing in the beauty around me.
The husband looks at me and makes a cute statement. “You’re finally awake.” I giggle. Ya, whatever dude.
So then my dearest friend messages me. How’d it go. And I started to tell her. And the words just flowed from my fingertips. It was if a dam had broken lose and I no longer could contain the water inside.
Yep. And a 33 year affair with doctrine ended today. I sat there and realized that I don’t know it all. And that’s ok. I’ve missed the point. Entirely. Even if how I see Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit is different…after our conversation this week…I recognize that I miss the entire point.
…even IF I only believe ONE GOD….period…I cannot deny who Jesus is/was AND…the Spirit is MUCH more than I ever believed. Whether it be an entity or life force…or comforter…or whatever…I felt IT today. And through it I felt my connection with Jesus…and in that stillness he says, “Have you met my Father?”
And my whole world fell apart…
I feel shell-shocked. But strangely freed in a way…
You see, I never knew Jesus. Not until I was 36. I didn’t KNOW him. And when I realized I cried for a week. But God. YHWH. The Lord God of Israel. The Father. I haven’t known him.
Because somewhere along my journey I believed that he wasn’t pleased with me. And I would never please him. And the day I believed that lie. I died.
but I feel like that piece of me…the piece that I’ve kept hidden for most of my entire life because of what MEN have told me to be, do, think…it’s awoke. With a vengeance…and I can’t keep it quiet one second longer. And all I can think of is Jesus smiling and saying, “Welcome to the Real World”.
Suddenly it doesn’t matter if Adam & Eve were real or an allegory…when or where…or how. BECAUSE today I realized for the first time that I AM like Adam…I’ve hidden for so many years. Because I was afraid.
And as we went back and forth talking about joy and men and the way we found ourself in this mess I heard this word.
I’m alive. The realization has shocked me. Changed me. I cannot explain to you how I feel. It’s like walking through a whole new world. The irritating things that drive me nuts. The dog misbehaving. Kids forgetting to wash the bowl. Myself reacting with the usual irritability.
I’m alive. I keep telling myself. I’m alive. It’s ok that life bugs me. Because guess what world? I’m no longer in a fog. I’m alive and well!
And because I love Kenny Chesney…I have to share the song I’ve’ been humming to myself today.
So damn easy to say that life’s so hard
Everybody’s got their share of battle scars
As for me, I’d like to thank my lucky stars that I’m alive and well…
It’d be easy to add up all the pain
And all the dreams you sat and watched go up in flames
Dwell on the wreckage as it smolders in the rain
But not me…I’m alive
And today you know that’s good enough for me
Breathin’ in and out’s a blessing can’t you see
Today’s the first day of the rest of my life and I’m alive
And well…I’m alive and well
The stars are dancin’ on the water here tonight
It’s gonna fall a soul when there’s not a soul in sight
This boat has caught its wind and brought me back to life now I’m alive and well
Writer(s): Mark Tamburino, Kenneth Chesney, Dean Dillon
Copyright: Basuare Music, Sony/ATV Acuff Rose Music, Sixteen Stars Music
To conclude. Sorry this was SOOO long. But thank you. To everyone who played their part. Deeply. Truly. THANK YOU.