Archive | September 2012

I’m Not Who You Think I Should Be

I’m not who you think I should be.

  • I cuss like a drunken sailor at times.
  • Black is my favorite color because no matter what color my hair is, black shirts, dresses, coats, etc. just look best on me.
  • Speaking of hair, I like to wear mine a bit wild. This includes the color which changes permanently at times, other times it is spray in/wash out pinks or purples, or whatever color goes with the football team I’m cheering for or just the mood of the moment.
  • I have a  nose ring.
  • I have 7 holes in my ears and sometimes enjoy filling each one.
  • I have 3 tattoos and yes there WILL be more, including a full arm sleeve.  No I will not cover it up to make you more comfortable.
  • My favorite attire is jeans.  I don’t own many or care to wear dresses. I don’t own many pairs of dress pants.  I simply prefer and will wear jeans. Yes even to church.
  • I like all genres of music.

After a brief time, I left what should be my church home because I felt judged upon my return from walking in darkness for a number of years.  In fact I was judged.  It made me mad to be honest.  No one knew the heart of the woman that walked in there that day. Oh I was welcomed by many with open arms and even tears of joy.  That going ‘home’ was one of the most difficult things for me to do.  I knew some were more than aware of some of the paths I had walked since leaving ‘home’.  The prodigal son has nothing on his sister, trust me on this.  One day I will share that testimony of coming out of the darkness again and reaching for the light, but not now.

For a few weeks things were great and I was hungry for the food of God’s Word and the fellowship with other believers. I over indulged in wanting to reach out to others when this broken angel was the one needing healing.  I was under a microscope, and some around me began to nitpick at every post I had on Facebook, my blogs on the other page, even a post about a song I totally related too was torn apart because the artist who wrote and sung the song is not a believer and if anything is the complete opposite in character of one.  They missed the point of the post because they went all Pharisee on me instead of READING it and trying to understand what I was saying.  Instead of feeling reconciled to my ‘family’ and the love and encouragement I so desperately needed, I felt like I was falling short and being judged by the outside of the vessel and not what was on the inside.

Outside, the part of me that others initially see before getting to really know me, is sometimes not what one would expect from a believer.  I’m not the one to run around with a Christian sticker on my car so that every mistake I make driving (including a less than kind gesture with my hand) draws judgment upon my faith.  I don’t outwardly wear or do much of anything that would draw attention or judgment to my beliefs.  I prefer to let  my story, my actions, and the things my right hand is doing apart from the knowledge of the left one, be my testimony, though at times those are indeed rather weak.  Too many times I’ve watched those that “walk the talk” and have a certain way about them that seems all true believer, that impresses and draws the others praises, fall off the path in the worst of ways.  Even some within the very body of believers I called home.  It should be a glaring reminder to my brothers and sisters in Christ that anyone, regardless of their strength of faith, can and will disappoint you at times when they fall from grace.  Don’t be so quick to judge the vessel by what is on the outside.

Those who would judge me by my jeans and black shirts, and the lyrics to a song by an artist far off the path, would have a field day with what I could share of my own fall.  You who would pass judgment on me need time to accept me first.  May I suggest that there is a enough debris in front of your own door to tend too that you ought not be so concerned about what is in front of mine.  Indeed there is a spec (in all honesty several) in my eye, but you have plenty to contend with as you deal with the logs within your own.  I have  plenty of my own sins and short comings to deal with, I do not have the time to be busy pointing out yours.

My point to all this? Don’t judge me because I do not fit into the mold that you think I belong.  I am not Betty Baptist or Suzy Sanctified and don’t own those masks.  No mid-calf length jumpers and barely there makeup or sensible shoes for me.  It is NOT my style or even comfortable on me.  When I arrive on that pew again this Sunday, I will be dressed how I am comfortable.  It will be modest, but it will be ME.  I am not there to impress you with my clothes, or by saying the right phrases or buzz words of the day.  When I again walk through that door I come as a sister in Christ, starving for the food of God’s Word, hungry for the fellowship of the fellow sinners saved by God’s grace and not anything of their own doing.  I am there because as believers we are not to forsake the gathering with other like MINDED in faith. I am there to learn, be fed, praise and worship the Lord.

A dear friend and sibling in Christ, shared this with me:  “It’s not that people necessarily deliberately judge or are unkind; they just think they know what you should be like….and don’t understand that you simply aren’t what they think you should be.”  I am NOT who you think I should be.  I am a broken angel, my wings are tattered and torn, dirty and wounded.  But I am who the Lord has made me, a work in progress and an ever changing (for the better when I let Him do the work) vessel.  I’ve flown through storms of my own choosing, and yet I was and am exactly where He would have me to be.  I don’t fit into your mold, but if you can look past the outside and into my heart, you’ll see a long lost sister who has come home and needs to be with her faith family again.  If you cannot hug and love me for who I am, the unique, special, marvelous creation spoken of in Psalm 139, then you sit on  your pew and I’ll sit on mine.  I’m not there for you. I’m not there for God’s mercy.  I’m there because of God’s mercy, I’m there for Him and Him alone.

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Me, Heaven, & Righteousness

I recently began a fantastic bible study written by Kay Arthur, Lord, Only You Can Change Me.

I picked this study because it is one of Kay’s studies, and ALL over her books, studies, etc. are outstanding.  Another reason is because I’ve been trying to get myself back to the right path in my life.  One that is Christ honoring and not so self centered.

One of the first things this study does is to take the reader through the Sermon On The Mount, reading all of Matthew chapters 5-7.  Then going back and marking each reference to ‘heaven’ and ‘righteousness’ throughout those passages.  Next, going through and listing the verse reference and what it says about heaven, then the same for righteousness.  If you are having any doubts  about your own position in on your journey toward the pearly gates, this is a good place to start.  It is an eye opener.

Here are some of the things I learned about heaven:

It belongs to the  poor inspirit.

It belongs to those persecuted for righteousness.

Our Father is there.

Until it passes away none of the law will pass away.

Unless our righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees we won’t enter the kingdom of Heaven.

Our Father there is perfect and we are to be perfect.

God’s will is done there.

Not all who call out “Lord, Lord” will enter there.

Only those who do God’s will can enter.

Our forgiveness from our Father hinges upon our forgiveness of others.

There were many other things, if you mark the word ‘heaven’ then go back and list everything these chapters say about it, but that gives you an idea.

The list for righteousness was a real eye opener as well.  One of the biggest being we must SEEK it.  That was my “one word” last year.  I fell rather short on SEEKING most anything I needed when it came to my journey.  Praise the Lord for His forgiveness.

While going through these passages for this study I did note that I have the following passage highlighted in every bible I own, and I had underlined verse 44 in addition to the highlights.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[b] 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren[c] only, what do you do more than others?Do not even the tax collectors[d] do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

For the record, the red highlight above (my doing) is the verse I underlined.  This one is a place I fall very short.

I wonder about where my heart might be today had I stayed more grounded in the Word of God and not allowed myself to move away from what I knew deep down was right.  Would I still be married? Or how much faster would I have healed (still in that process) if I had clung to God’s Word when going through the divorce and afterward?  I can honestly say I did NOT love my ex-husband through that time, certainly did not bless him or do good by him.  For the first time in our history I said unkind things.  Throughout our marriage, when outside of our home, I never spoke ill of the man.  But once he sought a divorce and I had moved out, I let it fly with both  barrels in my other blog and to anyone that listened.  I turned my hurt into hate.  And because I could not begin to pray good things for him, I simply didn’t pray at all.  No, not blaming him for my failure to live a Christ like life, that is all on me.  I’m not responsible for his actions, only my own.

Another section that really bothers me when I read it, is Matthew 5:31-32.

31 “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality[a] causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.

I don’t know where to go with this one.  I struggled with it when my first marriage ended, and even more so now.  Not having been the one that ended the marriage, where does it leave me?  Per the passage it causes me to commit adultery because he divorced me.  Does this mean that blame, that sin, is on his head and not mine?  And what of a future marriage…if I marry again it causes someone to commit adultery.  It is a messy business, this whole matter of divorce.  I understand now why the bible says that God hates divorce.  It causes ripples of pain, confusion and further sins in the lives not only of the one wanting out, but for the one left behind too. (For more about this topic see Matthew 19:3-9)

I’m a long way from that place, but I have a long way to go.  I’m past the meanness in my heart and soul, the hate, but the pain is still there, my heart very raw.  But I will be applying scripture to my life in this and every other area, and praying for ME to be the one changed.