Monday, November 18, 2013

Trudging Through The Mud of Rededication

     Turning your life around isn't easy. Any change is messy. It takes awhile to get things right. We have all of our plans.."my life is going to be this way or that way after a make this change", we think. Yet, nothing ever goes according to our plans. Sometimes, things are better than we planned. Sometimes, they are worse. Other times, the are completely different, different being the key word, because they are not necessarily better or worse, simply unexpected.
     When, I decided to rededicated my life to Jesus Christ not too long ago, I knew I had a hard road ahead of me. I had been through this before. I'm an all or nothing kind of gal and that is something I will have to unlearn if I'm going to follow Christ with consistency. In the past when I had doubts about my faith, if I didn't understand something, if I couldn't decide which slice to eat from the many splintered pie of theology, or if I did or thought something unworthy of Christ, I would go in the opposite direction of Him. I would go my own way. Perhaps, I can not know or please God, I thought, but I can know and please myself, right? Surely, I'm not the only person who thinks/has thought this way, but you rarely hear this sort of raw honesty or transparency from others who follow Him. Here's the thing, I KNOW others have had to think this way, but I doubt they take it as seriously as I do. I, personally, have not seen many fall from grace in such depth as I have and actually return. I want to scourge myself of these things, these imperfections and when I can not, I give up. Remember, it's all or nothing with me. All of us know people who 'backslide' and all of us have been 'backsliders' at one point or another, even if only slightly. Yet, no one wants to admit or talk about it. That makes it really hard for me. I fear, well, not really fear, but I dread (Yes, that IS the proper word!) people's reactions when I speak of these things. They go into what I like to call 'Extreme Makeover Mode' or EMM for short. The part where they try to fix me or the 'morally superior' attitudes suck, but nothing hurts or isolates me as much as the lack of honesty, transparency, and vulnerability. I just want understanding. I want someone to say. "Hey, I've been there." I need prayer and encouragement through the scripture. So far, I have done a decent job of encouraging myself (and others!) Yet, I have struggled greatly and I fear being sucked into my old ways. I know a day will come when Christ will urge me (He is already doing so, to some extent) to pick up my cross, dedicate myself to the ministry He has called me to, and, excuse my fleshy-ness, interact at a more in depth level with other Christians. The latter fills me with dread. I know it is my own heart that keeps me from loving others. Maybe, once I get past this fragile state, I will do better. Right now, I'm trudging through the mess I have created in my life as a result of not following the Lord. It turns out, the flesh leads to destruction. That is what I have learned and what I'm resisting fiercely. Please, if anyone is reading this, pray for my strength. Pray that I am able to keep seeking Christ and that this muddy bog I'm in doesn't take me under, yet, again. Pray that whatever ugliness is within me that is holding me back from fellowship and community, dissolves. There is nothing I need more in my life right now.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Prodigal Daughter

     I don't know how many of you know who Caleb Kinnaird is, especially those of you who are not from these parts, but if you don't know about him, you should check out his mom's blog. It can be found here: Though Caleb is only a child, the Lord is using him in people's lives. I know God has used Caleb in my life. There really are no words to describe the type of anointing the Lord has placed on Caleb. For lack of a better word, it's almost magical. There is something super-natural about his story and the power is has to reconcile people to the Lord.
     Here is my testimony about what the Lord did in my life recently; I hadn't been a part of a church for a long time and, I certainly wasn't focused on God. Sure, He was there, but on the back burner of my mind. My life had ended up in a vulgar place, much like the Prodigal Son. While he was in a literal pigsty, I was in a metaphorical one. My life had sank into darkness. I no longer felt gratitude. There was an emptiness in me that was a source of great sadness.I had been watching Caleb's story since before he was born. In all honesty, I didn't think things would end well and my heart ached for him and his family. I haven't prayed much in the past couple years, but I couldn't help praying for Caleb. My heart desired a miracle for him, though, I had lost faith in the Lord and His willingness to help any of us. I thought the Lord was finished with me, that He would never forgive me or renew me, and I dared not ask. I ask for the Lord to help Caleb, but I dared not believe.
     One day, a few weeks ago, I logged onto facebook to find a miracle had happened. Caleb had a new heart. I was shocked that the Lord had, indeed, answered my (and so many others) prayers! I became very emotional. Tears slid down my cheeks. I put my hands in the air and began to praise God. I got lost in the moment, worshipping Him. I don't know how long I went on praising Him, but when all was said and done, Caleb wasn't the only one who received a new heart that day.I had a new heart, as well.
    I rededicated my life to the Lord that day. I have been filled with the Holy Spirit since. I know I am a new creation. I don't really know what is going to happen next, but my faith has been restored. My heart is filled with gratitude and hope for the future. My faith is renewed in the risen Christ.
    This has been the song my heart is singing:
Please, keep me in your prayers, that I continue to grow strong in Christ. The spiritual battles have already begun in my mind and life. I'm not going to let go this time. I will cling to the Lord. Also, keep Caleb and his precious family in your prayers.