Just some things I've been thinking about...

Growing up a PK, you tend to 'know' all the answers. Folks act like you should have it together, so most of the time you pretend you do...it's easier that way. At least that's how it was for me. I played the pious part and, though I do admit there was a lot of sincerity on my part, there was also a lot of playacting and guessing. I began my conscious effort to live for and in Christ at a young age, seven, but was somewhat hampered in growth, I think, because of my tendency to hold things in, and flounder around on my own instead of humbling myself and asking. I still do that a lot, it's hard on my pride to admit I don't know. :)

One thing that always bothered me about my Christian walk was prayer. I read countless books on prayer, and never seemed to get it. Why do we pray? Does it really do any good? How can you remember to pray every day? How to you make the time? How much time do you spend in prayer? It has only been recently, in the last few years, that I have finally felt like I know what I'm doing. That God has given me this means of communication with Him to not only strengthen my faith, but others' as well.

I think what I always had the hardest time with was reading about all these great Saints [note: my use of the word, Saints, includes living Christians as well as dead] who would spend hours on their knees. Who would, when they prayed, feel the nearness of their Savior. Who would also see great things happen because of their faith. Me? I can't kneel for long because of knee trouble. One strike against me. I would begin well, following some pattern or other, but then my mind would begin to wander, or I'd fall asleep. Two strikes against me. I rarely 'felt' anything. Three strikes against me. And, heh...nothing seemed to happen when I would pray. Strike four. How big is a mustard seed, anyway? Huge, I'm telling you! :) But I kept on trying, because I knew I was supposed to.

Communication is vital to any relationship. Husband-wife, parent-child, sibling-sibling, friend-friend, coworker-coworker...if we don't communicate, nothing happens usually, unless it's bad. Talking to one another, writing notes or letters, even physical communication is important, waving, hugging, holding hands. So, I wondered, why do we place so much importance on human communication, and there aren't really any 'rules' to how you communicate with one person or another, but we put God in a box and say that we must do it this way or that? I began to talk to God more. Just conversationally. I'd tell Him about what I was doing, and send quick prayers up for small things....shoelaces that wouldn't come un-knotted, keys that I couldn't find, dinner that wasn't coming along as fast as it should be, that I'd hear from a particular person or other, the loveliness of a flower, the brilliance of the sky, the wind on my face, a kiss from a child....and I began to feel like I had found something that I had been searching for all my life. God should be approached reverently, but He is also our Father. What if (since I live at home) I only talked to my dad at specific times, and not at all the rest of the day? 'Sorry, dad, this isn't our talking time.' It totally didn't make sense. So I really worked on communication with God, and it did take work, it didn't come naturally. I talked to Him sporadically throughout the day, and also just listened. It was wonderful. I began to see things in my life that I hadn't seen before, some good, some bad. I began to want to talk to Him. I wanted to pray, instead of just doing it because I knew I was supposed to. And He blessed me with not only that desire to pray, but strength and growth in my walk with Him. I began to pray for others more, not just when they asked me, but whenever they crossed my thoughts, I would pray for them. I think also my prayers, growing more frequent, also grew less selfish. I had an intense desire to see God's blessing in the lives of others, and to see them share this same joy that I had.

There is a closeness in knowing that God has given us this means of communication with Him. There is something amazing about knowing that even if my prayer is no more than a nearly unintelligible, "Oh God", that He knows. That in my time of quiet listening, I may feel nothing more than a peace and happiness, or I may hear Him whispering my name, reminding me that I am His. There is great happiness in belonging to Him.
It seems like every so often (more often, actually, than I'd like to admit) I get caught up in pietism..."I'm a pk, so I know all the answers" "I'm a good person, much better than those folks" "I've never done anything really bad like they have"...I feel like such a righteous person and don't really think about my own sins...they're such small sins.
I get caught up in doing good things, being a good person...for the wrong reasons. And all of a sudden I realize that it's out of my control, and that I'm doing all of these things for my own appearance, instead of for the glory of God, but I can't seem to stop myself...I keep on, piling more and more good deeds on, as if they will help me be a better person. And God waves His hand in front of my face, trying to get my attention, and I kind of blink and keep on struggling. Then He whispers in my ear, and I brush it away as if I just felt or heard something in my sleep, and I just keep going...growing somewhat frantic as I realize all over again that I can't be super-girl and be everything I'm supposed to be. Then His voice reaches my consciousness. "My child." And I stop suddenly, as if a person steps out in front of my car. My heart races as I strain my whole being to listen..."My child. Why do you weary yourself and take upon you burdens too large for you?" And suddenly I am conscious of what seems like the weight of the whole world upon me, bearing me down so that I can hardly stand. I feel ashamed and disgusted at the weight that I have gathered upon myself, but cannot shake it off. "My child. I am always here. My shoulders are infinitely stronger and more able to bear burdens. Will you give me yours?" And remembering this, as a dream repeating itself, bowing before my Maker, tears of sorrow and repentance stream down my face. He reaches down and touches me, and I sob for joy as the weight lifts, wondering why and how I could forget that He has given Himself for this very purpose; that I might be His child. I look at Him wonderingly, and shyly ask Him once again to teach me to rest in Him, to seek His face, to desire His glory above all else, and to never again try to do it on my own. He takes me in his arms and says, "My child. Rest in Me. For only here will you find perfect peace. My child, know that I only give you what I know you can handle, but even that you cannot handle without Me. My child, never grow weary of coming to me, for I will never grow weary of you." And as I lay there in His arms, a peace that only He can understand and give, washes over my soul. Once again I remember that I am His, and He is mine. By His mercy, I will never cease to be His, and by His grace, He will never cease to be mine.

I was only going to post this to a small handful on my friends list. As I read through my scribbles, through my tears, it seemed as if God was asking me, "Why? You share your happiness, why not this? Why are you only willing to share a part of yourself, an incomplete picture? This, My child, is a gift, just as your happiness and love of life is a gift. And none of the gifts I have given you are for you alone; they are yours to live, and by living, share. If you were to keep these gifts locked away, they would grow pale and wither. Never be afraid of repentance. For with repentance is growth, and health, and maybe not immediately, but also joy." And I said to Him, "I am afraid", and He softly asked, "Has the lesson been unlearned so quickly?" And I, by His grace, was able to once again give back what I had so quickly taken to myself, and know, to the very depths of my soul that His ways and will are perfect, and that I am His.



August 2011

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