In the Light

Hello, there, dear friends! I have been continuing on, digging deep into my heart, searching the Word, searching my soul.

Listening to a lot of tunes, one of which I will share below when I am done rambling. πŸ˜‰

Anyway….really, essentially, I am working a lot on who I am in Him and what He has for me…

I turned 43 last month…and I feel it-if not significantly more.

No…you didn’t miss it.

I purposefully did not disclose the day here or with many in my offline world. No offense, but I just didn’t feel like it. πŸ™‚

It’s not a tragedy or anything. It’s a testament to how far He has brought me, really.

Yet…I have found myself less than thrilled with it.😏

Now, I hestitate to deem this a typical “midlife” crisis though it has many of the earmarks.

I find myself wondering often if I’m enough.

Am I doing enough?

Am I being enough?

Despite my rep for cooking for and hanging out with our little youth group, I am also famously reclusive here in my little town.

A big part of that is due to the physical limitations…

And other parts?

Mentally, emotionally, socially?

It’s just…who I am.

I dearly, dearly love people. I care from the depths of my soul.

Empathy is a major component He has placed on my heart, as is intercessory prayer.

Yet…I really intensely struggle to be around many people for very long. Some folks I feel downright uncharitable about. And it’s getting more profound the more years I add.

And that is just being around them. Forget engaging in conversation!

It’s disconcerting. I waffle between feeling the need to apologize for myself and to defend my oft-noted, very introverted territory.

And, sadly, I am just as well known for the list of “I can’ts” or “can’t anymores”, as the case may be.

Driving.

Traditional employment.

Being on my feet too long or on any uncertain terrain.

Climbing.

Running.

Dancing.

Lifting things of any significant weight.

Opening jars.

Sit-ups.

Being in a crowd.

Holding an infant in my arms.

Wrangling toddlers.

Selling books.

Selling myself. πŸ™„

And that is but a partial list.

I’d write more, but that’d belabor the point.

It can be a tad depressing to read, to be sure.

And, yet…lately, I have begun to ask myself: do I use it as a crutch?

Oof.

Dare I admit it can become an… excuse?

A way to not have to push myself beyond comfortable bounds?

I don’t know.

Perhaps.

Can lingering on my fears and tucking myself in tight to my limitations become an actual…sin?

Oh, dangerous territory indeed, especially to an ex-charismaniac!

So much of the belief system prescribed in the name-it-and-claim-it crowd depends on only talking positivity over oneself and calling all sorts of things that are not as though they are. As if the power rests alone in my little, feeble hands!

I don’t want to go back to those places in my mind that displace a sovereign God. Ever.

Too often did I browbeat myself for not “stepping out” in some things-certain it proved a severe “lack of faith” not to believe I was going to be absolutely in divine health and prosperity because God told me to declare it so.

Never mind some thorns in our sides are not necessarily meant to be removed.😏

But, in that, Paul still went out and did what God had for him to do.

So…it stands to reason God asks me to do so, too.

But exactly what?

There were times in my life I thought I knew.Now? Everything, every wheel turning in my brain, every joint in my body feels…rusty.

So…the search for the what goes on, if a bit slowly. I have ideas in baby form, but are they mine or are they God’s?

Well…

I guess I’ll know it when I land on it.

But, to land on it, I will have to keep venturing, even with the protest choir crying in the back of my head.😏

Because if there is one thing I want, it’s to pull away from these hinderances that bog me down in sin and self-loathing.

I want to be in the light, as He is in the light.

And I have to learn to accept the thorn in my side at the same time as I seek the ways He has for me to live in His light.

And this introduces to the promised song, straight from another beloved 90’s Christian Band, DC Talk.

Oh, how many days did they inspire my soul!

Would that I could just share their entire catalog.

So, so many of their songs resonate from The Hard Way to Jesus Freak, from What if I Stumble? (That long, long ago in a galaxy far away I sang as a duet at churchπŸ™‚) to Consume Me.

But, this week, In the Light and its raw, powerful lyrics stir me in particular. This is my heart’s cry, in fact. May it be all of ours. Have a listen and draw near to His light. Blessings and prayers. And I thank you for yours. ❀

So What? Or, Yes, I’m in Pain

Ok. So I didn’t plan to post again this soon. But, this popped into my brain and God won’t let me let it go. I don’t know who this is for, but I do know my friends with chronic illness will potentially relate.

I don’t want to talk about my pain, God.

It’s weak.

I will sound like a whiny mess.

I don’t want to sound like that, God.

Ok. That is partially my charismatic upbringing talking.

The whole “don’t speak that pain over yourself”. Don’t admit struggle.

“Name and claim” your healing. Demonstrate enough faith and it will be! πŸ™„

Sigh. I still have that residue in me when it comes to sharing how I am really feeling…

But, still my mind goes on-

Others have it worse, anyway.

I’m not in a wheelchair yet.

I can feed myself.

Take a bath.

Walk for some distance.

Make cookies.

Draw.

Write.

Pray.

Sing and dance for You, albeit awkwardly.

So what if I have to sit down a lot.

And so soon after I got up to do something! πŸ™„

So I have to be mindful of not looking too high up, position my head on a pillow just so that, when I go to bed, I avoid vertigo.

No spontaneous naps on the couch for me, though my body does try it when I am exhausted, anyway! πŸ™„

So I wake up expecting achy joints of varying degrees, allergies year-round, and depleted energy before I even roll out of bed.

So I don’t get to teach anymore and have had to turn down job offers for fear I can’t guarantee I can fulfill them on any given day.

So I can’t really be a help to my husband’s handyman work or be a D.I.Y. on my own house like all those cute couples on HGTV.

So my hands and shoulders are to the point I cannot safely support a baby in the church nursery.

So I have to be more and more cautious what I feed these delicate innards. No….today is not a cheese day. Cheese is dairy. And dairy doesn’t like me right now.

Just scrape that off my pizza, please. πŸ™„

So the highest I can climb is my tiny step stool and, even then, I must carefully position these long, skinny, teetery feet.

So I even fall down occasionally from this wacky lack of balance I have.

So those achy joints I spoke of might even sometimes slip out of sockets and have to be cautiously put back in.

Yep. Really. So what?

So I have EDS. That’s Ehlers-Danlos to the uninformed.

I could expound but, the effects are so wide-spread and so varied, you’d do better to just look it up (Note-I am just in the annoying, somewhat life-altering but not-quite-so-bad category comparitively speaking.).

Essentially, though, those are not things I want to talk about, God! Please don’t make me!

Oh, I know I just did spend a whole post on it…😏

But, what I mean is, where this can lead to major depression at times, I must refuse to dwell.

I cannot dwell-

Not when I have You, my strength, my rock.

You who leads me to rocks that are higher than I….and makes sure I don’t fall off them! πŸ˜‰

You who brings me joy and love and peace every day. Even incredibly achy joint days.

Not to mention the worthy promise this body, this thing which houses me and rebels against my desires all at once, is not for always.

I sometimes feel rather trapped now, but there will come that day of the new.

This earth will indeed be set right.

And this dilapidated house for my soul will, too.

One day, I will hurt no more.

Nor will any of you, my friends…that is, if you trust Jesus.

Blessings and prayers to you. Thanks for reading my “whiny mess.” I hope you got something out of it. πŸ™‚

Things

Possessions have somewhat an odd history in my family.

I grew up witnessing an avid, almost compulsive search for certain items, repeated again and again, regardless of lack of funds.

There was a rather manic sense of the never enough, as well as an extraordinary amount of reverence for some objects from select people.

The church of the “name it and claim it” we attended was not particularly helpful in this matter, to say the least.

Oh, and heaven forbid anything should ever happen to these things, even accidentally.

Also, heaven forbid you didn’t show the proper level of admiration for them, unless and until the purging cycle would begin.

Then, your insights might briefly be welcome…

Even though they were not even your things most times, but, rather, something you were just watching someone else have, love, discard of, and often regret the loss of down the road.

Frankly, the whole process frustrated me intensely at times.

Oh, not out of jealousy, mind you.

I had my physical needs met and then some.

I also received many a “guilt gift” after the worst altercations at home.

But, that is another matter altogether…

All this to say that, along with my ever developing faith, these baffling ways have influenced much of my current views on the subject of things.

Which is that things are just that.

Things.

Some are wonderful, some you might even consider beloved.

Gifts from others should indeed be appreciated, particularly when knowing the heart behind them.

But, in the end, not a single possession can we take with us, save our salvation in Christ.

Therefore, nothing should ever be elevated above that.

It’s an ongoing problem, of course, but I do think specifically of this:

Shortly, we shall see in our country the yearly avarice escalate as it tragically always does at this time.

People will sacrifice family to camp out for the “best” deals.

They will scramble, claw, and scratch for the latest greatest whatever.

Or, they are, in fact, home, but not present as they scour the internet for their elusive prizes.

Either way, they will max out credit cards, fling away savings, and drain accounts in the pursuit of what?

To impress someone with their extravagance?

To keep up with some arbitrary standard?

To prove something to somebody somewhere?

To try and buy what can never be bought?

For, if I’ve figured out one truth, it’s this:

Joy cannot be found in any store.

It doesn’t exist in finding that one particular, physical object you have always longed for.

Because, as I could clearly see over my growing up years, the feelings were always so fleeting.

Hence, the dissatisfaction would begin to nag once more like a tickling throat, the throwing aside the old would commence, and the hunt for more would begin again like a desperate search for refuge.

A refuge refusing to be found…

Because it’s not there in the temporal, physical realm!

Not a bit of this stuff can ever be our rescue.

Not one iota will count towards what we are building for eternity.

Some will build with hay, straw, wood, stubble.

Others with precious jewels and gold.

( See 1 Corinthians 3:12)

In the end, we will answer for what we’ve prized, what we’ve built as believers.

And, it will be our living for Him that counts, rather than living for the sake of things.

I pray I can keep this in my heart this season and always.

May we each be able to do so, friends.

Blessings to you!

With the Blinders Off

I promised this in a previous post. Prayerfully, I am plunging in to expand on my experience with the charismatic movement…

The first time I ever blogged something, even before my almost-but-not-really mommy blogger phase , I began writing with a mission.

I was fresh out of the charismatic movement I had spent so many years in, full of intense emotions, and determined to counsel others on the dangers therein.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I was terribly grounded yet in my newly found wisdom- nor the ways of the blogging world.

I really didn’t get readers. 😏

So, needless to say, that attempt didn’t last very long!

It would be quite some time, in fact, before I even broached the subject again. And when I did, it was much more tentative than my earlier attempts.

I was beginning to recognize how much of my earlier belief system needed unpacking and how much needed to be rebuilt.

And that takes time. Painstaking time. Coming out both barrels blasting as if I had the authority?

Not an option if I truly wanted an about-face from the past.

For so many things clung to me from my very first church experiences onward, things that permeated the very atmosphere.

Things that honestly left me angry when the truth fully dawned on me.

Things I was not ready to talk about with any measure for quite a while.

But, now that the initial anger I left my old church with has long since faded, I feel I can delve into this. I may still tread on some toes, but I know in my heart there’s no malice in my words- just deep-seated sorrow.

I hope I can convey that somehow here, even with the hard things that must be said.

So, what are these things I speak of?

Well, there are several, so I will begin by highlighting what stood out to me from the various erroneous teachings and just plain oddities I encountered over the years:

1. If you aren’t “falling out in the Spirit” (allowing someone to pray over you till you fall flat on the floor, presumably in a state of euphoria) and babbling together in strange tongues, you are missing out on the “better” part of the Spirit.

This part of the Spirit, according to their teaching, is a special, separate anointing that all Christians should and can have, if only we want it enough.

2. There was also the “name it and claim it” philosophy running rampant- that which says the more you give monetarily, the more you get monetarily, that Christians ought all be financially rich, or something is wrong in their walk, that what you declare in His name can automatically be.

3. There is an almost superstition to keeping every word spoken on the positive. To make sure we are “speaking only good over ourselves”. As if admittance of a struggle automatically causes even more struggle to dump over our heads.

4. Those who were not inclined to gyrate in the Spirit during music were subtly shamed for our “lack of fervor”.

Singing the same phrase countless times, almost chant-like, was supposed to somehow generate more of the Spirit in our midst.

5. We were to hunger for physical signs- angel feathers, gold dust, supernatural healing. Heaven was supposed to meet earth and become an everyday occurence, effectively eliminating reverence.

6. Sermons were there, but wandered over the same few passages that could be bent to human will in the guise of “seeking the Spirit”.

Seldom was salvation discussed or altar calls offered, at least not to lead anyone to Christ.

Altar calls usually involved looking for a prophetic word or the aforementioned “falling out”.

Some would have what they called “carpet time” for hours while their children anxiously waited in the nursery-unless it was a day someone had a notion to troop out the young ones for their “training in the Lord”, that is.

6. Guest speakers were brought in by the droves, some with mystical music to accompany them, some who claimed prophetic giftings, others whose moral failings and extrabiblical leanings were continually excused by grace and the words “fresh revelation”.

This last is what finally broke within me, caused me to stop punishing myself for not being “enough”, and stirred my heart to leave.

I had begun to read the Bible with new eyes that saw what it said versus what it could be bent to say.

I saw that nothing in scripture advocated much of what we did Sunday to Sunday.

So…I saw the writing on the wall.

I knew I couldn’t remain in a place where I could not respect what my leadership embraced, nor what they turned a blind eye to.

So much of it could be summed up to that. Spiritual blindness.

For, that by itself can easily account for buying into a pack of lies that simultaneously claims freedom from the rituals of traditional church and piles on a whole new set of them.

And, as stated, there was a time I was furious for the years this belief system robbed me of.

But, now… it’s more like heavy heartache.

Because I don’t know how many of those people I spent so many years with are really, actually saved.

I want to think some believe in the truth of trusting Christ alone for salvation, but there were so many crowded ideas and conjuring up of “a movement of God”, I cannot honestly say I could see the fruit.

It’s not that they never did good. Their food and clothing ministry thrived. The downtrodden felt like they were embraced.

But the confusing spiritual mix they served up in addition clouded the rest.

And, walking around with that knowledge, yet unable to persuade anyone in that old life of what I feel God revealed to me, is hard.

Unspeakably hard. Especially when some are beloved family.

I pray but I also keep my distance now, honestly. There’s no listening ears there at this point, and definitely no going back for me.

I now exercise extreme caution, testing teachings Berean-style to scripture, and sitting under a pastor that is very much Bible-based, to the point of directing us to test what he says to scripture.

I’m finding the simple clarity of salvation in Christ alone is a life-giving antidote to years of burdensome clutter.

And, slowly, I am finding my feet in sharing this. I am surer now than ever of where I stand:

On Christ alone.

To any who are unsure of the charismatic movement, I pray you test what is said against the Word of God and the Word of God alone. Thanks for reading and God bless!