Wednesday, June 2, 2010

In the chaos, in confusion

So, this morning Lily and I were eating at the table.  I was working on my daily to-do list, Lily was grubbing on her chocolate poptart and banana.

I remembered today was the day to redeem my Chickfila spicy sandwich coupon!!!!
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I had an old coupon that was still good for another sandwich and I was wondering if Chris would like to meet the two of us for lunch today.  I walked down the hall to our bedroom where Chris was sleeping and I noticed he wasn't in the bed.  I checked the bathroom and saw it was dark and he wasn't in there either.

Sometimes Chris likes to play "Let's See Who I Can Scare By Jumping Out At Them When They Least Expect It"--so I checked the closet and under the bed and saw he was in neither location.

Hmmm.  I called his name and got no reply.

I started thinking, "What day is it?  Did I forget he went to work?"

I went back to the kitchen--his car was still in the driveway.

And then the panic sunk in.

Promise me you will not laugh at this next thought:

Has the Rapture happened?  Have I been left behind??!!

Ok.  I mean it, stop laughing.  

I started getting all worried--how could I have been left behind?  I love Jesus and I know Him--and why was Lily left behind?--and how on earth could this have happened?--and is it on the news?--who can I call?--how embarrassing!--who will be with me?--oh dear fret and fret--

I asked you to stop laughing.  I mean it.  

Then, I looked and saw him asleep in Lily's bed.  

Ahem.  

Of course relief made me giggle at myself and then I thought about why I was so afraid.

Because the truth is, deep down, my faith is belief in the things unseen.  

I remember having two conversations with two of my closest friends in college--about my faith and how I could believe in something that seemed so fairy tale.  I remember crying because I couldn't convince them of my faith.  I was so frustrated and angry that my years of faithfully spouting my Sunday School memory work weren't working--and that they were each able to poke holes in my verbage.

Why wasn't it working?

It was something that eventually drove a wedge between us and I wish I had done and said some things differently.  

Looking back, I realize that I wasn't wrong about my faith, but I was wrong in how I went about sharing my faith.  I couldn't just tell people the Truth and expect them to take my word for it because I had a reputation of being a smart and trustworthy person.  Just because I believe it to be true doesn't mean that they will.

They might even think I'm wrong.  

I can't make people believe in something they don't want to believe in.  I can't change their hearts.  I can't change their minds.  

And honestly,  I don't want someone to believe in Jesus just because I do.  That's ridiculous.  People should have minds of their own.  

However, I do have a responsibility to share the things that have happened in my life that I believe are God-controlled.  

The moments in which my world came crashing down in the most suffocating way and the sudden peace and clarity entered my soul. 

The moments I prayed so specifically for something that could only have been Christ controlled--and my prayers were answered.  To the letter. 

The moments my soul whispered things that I couldn't have known in sticky situations to help me talk to people--or avoid the situation at all costs. 

The immense joy that fills me in a worship service.  

The physical and warming presence of the Lord when I cried out in agony over certain situations.  

Knowing that I have endured great trials over the years--and seeing how they have helped me in future situations.  

The promise that there HAS to be something more.  

I hope you have not glazed over this post and thought to yourself "yeah, yeah, blah blah Jesus Jesus."  I am hesitant at times to talk about my faith.  I never want to be one of those crazy loons that we see on the television who are so artificial about their beliefs.  I do not want to cram my religion down your throat in a way that makes you want to run for cover.

But, I want you to know that there is a purpose to all this madness we call life.  There is a reason that we deal with crap.  There is a method to this madness.

And that reason is to bring glory to God.  

One day, this world is going to end.  Your life is going to end.  And yes, the human part of me sometimes wonders if it could be that when it's over, it's just over.  And we'll all rot in graves and no one will remember us and life will keep spinning.

But, my friends, what if that's not it?  What if Jesus is real? What if Heaven is real?  What if we will be restored with our family and friends who share our faith?

Why shouldn't we hope for the best?

We spend our lives hoping for the best--that our teams will win important games.  That the one person we care for the most will want to marry us.  That our family and friends will overcome sickness.  That we will be successful.  Why on earth wouldn't we want to hope for the best in the eternal sense?  That there is a Heaven, that Jesus will return, that our pain will be wiped away, that all of this is for a purpose.

Sometimes life really sucks.  I mean REALLY sucks.  People lose jobs, lose babies, lose marriages, lose spouses, lose parents, lose health, lose homes, lose reputations.  There are days I don't want to get out of bed and face certain situations like everyone else. There are days I just want to crawl in a hole and not come out because I don't want to deal with the sadness or angst or anxiety.

But, I promise you, there is a method to this madness.  There is a reason we endure trials.  

And things will have to get worse before they get better.  

I believe it all comes back to relationships.  We form relationships with people when life sucks.  We bond with individuals who have been there before.  We get caught in crazy terrible situations and we sift through and find people that are wonderful and awesome and we love them because they are incredible people we wouldn't have met otherwise.

One of the scariest conversations I've ever had in regards to my faith was with a good friend at ECU.  He knew that I was a Christian and he knew that my faith meant that I didn't agree with his relationship with another friend of ours.  He called me out on it one day right in the middle of the Croatan.  I knew that my response could jeopardize our entire friendship and that nearly broke my heart.  I told him that, "No, I don't agree with your choices, but I love you the same as yesterday before this all came out" (literally! haha!)  He told me that he respected the fact that I didn't compromise my beliefs, that I was honest with him, and that it didn't keep me from loving him.

I have to believe that our relationships are what makes us most effective as Christians.  That we treat people well, that we do not shun them, and that we love them and love on them.  And know this--I am not friends with certain people because I see them as "souls to be won" or some other religious mumbo jumbo.  I don't intentionally seek out people to love--I stumble across them and just happen to love them for who they are.  I think they are incredible.  However, I also believe in being honest and not changing myself to make things easier for them.  I want to be real--and sometimes being real means sharing the things that could cost you your friendships with people.

I am a regular person, girl, mommy, and wife who loves my family and friends, works hard at a job, pays bills, makes mistakes, and my faith is real.  I say and do things that aren't always right and I certainly don't have it all figured out.  But, I do not want to gloss over the Christian side of me because I want my blog to be a true example of who I am.  I feel that if I do not share this with my readers (all 6 of you! haha), that I could be doing a disservice.

My faith is not artificial--I believe in Jesus like I believe the sun will rise in the morning.  My faith is personal.  It is a relationship with Jesus.  It is a choice.

You can trust that I will not cram it down your throat--because I would be annoyed if someone did that to me.

But, this entry is an invitation.  If you're reading this and wondering about my faith, if you're reading this and there is a little piece of you that wants to know more--please ask me.  I promise that I will not be weird, I promise I will listen, and I promise not to fill our conversation with crazy church lingo that people spout from time to time that make my skin crawl.  I promise not to shove it down your throat and I promise that I will not beg you.

I believe that faith is a choice you have to make on your own.    

I just ask that you please consider it. 
  

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