Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Life is hard. Sin is everywhere we look. I see so many broken people around me. Even people that seem "ok" Nearly everyone has some hidden scar or brokenness that needs to be healed.
I once got my Private Investigator's license. I was always interested in, what I thought, was the pursuit of truth. But now that I have become a Christian, I am learning that the definition of truth is different than I once believed. Jesus showed me that the truth of certain situations are not in what they appear to be, but in what they have the potential of becoming. For example, most private investigators are hired to determine whether or not there is cheating in a marriage. They want to expose the truth of infidelity. Fair enough. But Jesus showed me that no matter what the situation may be, anything can be turned around. With the hand of Jesus, so many lives and situations can be altered for good.
I have been in those dark and hopeless areas of life. I have been repeatedly treated horribly by certain people in my life. Even after doing good to certain people, I have been treated horrendously. I have been taken advantage of so many times in life. I remember one night in particular. My best friend had died in a tragic accident. We were very close. His name was Andy. We had dated for about 3 years. I remember how lost and utterly hopeless I felt after his death. I couldn't explain it. He died a senseless and horrible death. I remember thinking that I was worthless because I felt that I could have prevented this accident.
I sought solace in the first man that made me laugh. I was desperate for that means of escape. My mind was haunted by memories. I was a shell. I thought that because my friend chose death over me, I was worthless. every action of others only confirmed my belief that no one cared. I know that they did, but I was blinded. There was no light in my life.
I turned to the one thing that I found solace in...affirmation from a male figure. I sought to be loved. To be accepted. I remember as a child, I would often get teased in school. I would hide behind that mask. I let that hurt consume me and define my life for many years. I didn't have the bond of communication with my family. I was living inside a shell. We were trapped in these shells. Only recently, has that begun to heal. Only through Christ Jesus. But I so longed for affirmation and acceptance that I would turn to men who were not right for me. Men who preyed upon my kindness and good nature. Men who must have sensed how lost I was.
That's how I met my husband. I became involved with him as a means of escape. While we were dating, I knew that there were "violations". I would often resort to my private investigation skills to uncover the "truth" of what was really happening. I would confront him and he would lie. Continual lies. Lies. Lies. Lies. Lies nearly destroyed my life.
I remember one night in particular, I looked back on my life. I saw how my life had been a downhill spiral. It has started when I began to look to these men and relationships for comfort and consolation. I thought I had always been a good person. I was in such a state of depression that I felt like a terrible mother to my child. I was on antidepressants and anti anxiety medication. One night I took a few more pills than I should have. I thought that I wanted to die. I could see no hope. No way out. I could see no light at the end of the tunnel. How I could've used a ray of light during this time. Some kindess. Anything. But it seemed that I was surrounded by sin. By dark deeds. The hand of darkness was around me.
I knew that I was living in a sinful situation. I was practically living with this man who was continually disrespecting and degrading me. I look back and think. Wow. I can sing. I have a beautiful voice. Jesus gave me talent. Jesus gave a mind. Jesus gave me a pure heart of love. I have an education. I have been to other countries and seen beautiful places. I used to have wonderful friends. What happened? How did I allow myself to reach this dark corridor of life?
The answer is simple. I was made for Jesus. My life can only be whole and complete through Him. I was always meant to belong to Him and any other path for me, would be a path that would lead to heartbreak and despair. He was there when I was bullied. He was there when I didn't know how to form a close relationship with my family. He was there, waiting for me to turn towards Him. Waiting with love, hoping that I would fall into His arms. The place I was always meant to be.
He had shown me His love when I was about 18 years old. This guest preacher came to our church and called me to alter. I was shy and a little embarrassed (he was very cute) so I didn't answer the call. But I remember that night, I was lying in bed and all of sudden , tears filled my eyes and I was in the presense of the Greatest Love that I had Ever Felt. There was a sense of surrealness and completeness to it. It was beautiful, supernatural, and very real.
There is something that a lot of people don't realize. Jesus is alive. He is a very powerful force. He is a beautiful light. He is love. That night I felt that power and love for the first time.
I remember throughout my teen years, I would sometimes talk to Him on my drive to work. There were a few occasions when I would look at another person, a total stranger, and feel a complete and intense love for them. I couldn't really explain it when I was younger. It was very overwhelming. I would look at someone and begin to cry because I felt this surreal and amazing love. I now know and understand.
Jesus was letting his love for others, flow through me. He was showing me a fraction, a very small portion of His love for others.
I remember one time I was at my little sister's t-ball game. I saw the mom's of one of the players. Her name was Mrs. Joanne. I remember the day was normal, just like any other day. I think I was eating something from the concession stand. All of a sudden, this Love came over me. I looked at this woman, who I didn't even really know, and felt the Love of Jesus. He was showing me His great love for her. It was so Big. A few weeks later, Mrs. Joanne passed away. I wonder why He allowed me to feel that supernatural love, but I believe it is because He wanted me to share it with her daughter. To give her daughter some hope. To let her know that her mother is with Jesus. That her mother was loved in a greater way that she could ever imagine.
Back to the dark place :(
I knew I was living in sin, so I thought that marrying the man I was involved with would somehow change things. It would give a rightness to the overwhelming sense of wrong. So we married. The first few months, I could honestly say that i was happy. I was praying again and I was married. I had always longed to be in a marriage. But not any marriage. I always wanted a marriage made in Heaven. One in which God was the orchestrator. I believe that a couple that is serving the Lord is a very powerful force. I had always long for that kind of marriage. One where the love of Jesus brought light into everything. A marriage of no lies. No deceptions. No greed. No worry. , That is what Jesus wants our marriages to be...whole and beautiful.
Well, the beginning of the marriage brought it's disappointments. I could see myself trying to find God but wresting with anger and bitterness over the way I was being treated. I could tell of every violation and misfortune that I endured, but I'll skip all of that. I'll fast forward. I found myself consumed with anger and hatred. Tempted to walk down dark paths of anger. But I decided to trust my life with Jesus . And that has made all the difference. I chose right according to the Bible, as opposed to what felt right. As I sought Jesus, I could see began showing me how we are all sinners. It is only through his grace that we are saved. He showed me the image of that beautiful flower. Even though my life, my marriage, seemed like nothing, If I would let Him water it, then it would grow from a tiny seed into something full and beautiful. His Light would shine upon it, and it would flourish. Lately, my husband and I have begun praying together and seeking Him together. I know that he is genuinely sorry for all that he has put me through. I am believing God that things will blossom. I have prayed for his complete transfomation, for patience, guidance, and changes that need to take place within myself for things to work.
Because Jesus showed me that He wants families to work. He wants healing where people will allow his touch. He wants His Light to shine upon everyone. He wants us all to flourish in Love and Beauty.
Too many times we blame God for problems in our life. But there is a horrible darkness out there. I have seen this darkness. I will soon post my experiences in that dreadful realm. So often times we are stubborn and choose sin. We choose evil over good and curse God for the consequences of our own actions. But He loves us anyway. He is there waiting for you still.
The truth of the matter is that no matter what things seem, if we let Jesus water our lives, things can turn around in unexpected and beautiful ways. Never give up on hope.
I remember years ago I would look at the Bible and wouldn't really derive much meaning from it. I would see words on a page but couldn't really comprehend the true value of the messages. But once, I truly devoted myself to following this Great Book, the words came together in very meaningful ways. I can see how faith brings the words to life. Now when I read the Bible, it shines to me because I am seeing it as a reflection of my own life. So for those of you who do not understand the power of the Bible, commit yourselves to following it's message and soon the missing pieces of the puzzle will fit together. You will find fulfillment and hope.
I can see why they call it the Book of Life. I didn't truly start living until I immersed myself to following the Word of God. Now I can see past the dark corridors and the world has expanded. I can see and understand God's plan. I can now see what truly matters in life.
As a society, we all too often place a value on our "things." We are a country driven by our things. Many judge us according to what we have or don't have. We judge ourselves based on what we do or don't have. Jesus is teaching me that we don't need much in order to find true peace. At the very root of Christianity is giving. Giving and sacrifice. Even now Jesus is dealing with me about giving up many of the things I own. Because He is showing me that He will take care of me. The other day I was thinking about the lesson of the feeding of the five thousand. One boy shared what he had. Jesus fed all those that sought him and the boy had more than he started out with.
I look at the people of Japan. My heart goes out to them. I could never even begin to imagine what they are going through. One image that really stuck out in my mind was seeing all of thier things, everything they had worked for their entire lives had been washed away with a giant wave.
As Americans, it's easy for us to feel entitled to things. I went to Jamaica in the not too distant past. I went on a cruise. I couldn't help but feel somewhat guilty. I saw all of these struggling people on that island. Children with no shoes on thier feet. Tiny houses. People walking from village to village because they had no car. When I got back to the cruise ship, the enviroment changed 180 degrees. Don't get me wrong, I loved my cruise. But there was so much self indulgence that I honestly felt a guilty. How much we take for granted!
I am learning that there is a joy in giving. Each of us has a soul. To give is to nurture another human being. To plant a seed. As a society, we have been trained to hold on to what we have. But remember that God will provide us with what we need. And even more left over.
I'm not trying to make anyone feel guilty for having things. But I think that it is important to put things in perspective. To learn to give. To learn to share. To begin reaching out to those who have little or nothing at all. It's so easy to judge these people.
yes, there are people who take advantage of the system. People who choose not to work. People who choose not to contribute. But there are so many people out there that have stories that we can't see. The lady at the homeless shelter who was abused her entire life. The man in prison who never really had anyone to care about him. Who never knew the love of Jesus. The people in the nursing homes who have been forgotten and have no one to visit them. The children who have lost thier parents to AIDS. It's these people that need us, as Christians.
I remember the story by the Russian author, can't remember his name...The story was called How much Land Does a Man Need? I vaguely remember the story but I think the main character was very greedy and would try to hoard land. But in the end all he needed was a hole 6 feet deep. I guess the point I'm trying to make is, so many things we think are important simply aren't. In the end, all that matters is how we lived our lives. How much we gave. The Bible says to be do doers of the word, and not hearers only. My journey has just begun. I am hoping to do much because If there is one thing that I truly believe in...one thing that I KNOW..it is that Jesus is Real and God is Good.