Tag Archive | judge

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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What Brought You Back?

I’ve been asked this a lot recently, especially by some of the younger adults, the ones I taught in Kids Club or assisted in the Jr./Sr. High Youth Group…What brought you back?  They didn’t really know much other than one day me and my family just up and left.  We turned in our membership certificates and walked away from our church family.  In the years that I’d been away, close to 6 years it would seem, much water has passed under the bridge.  That water was mostly dark and polluted, clouded with a lot of sin and sinful ways of life.

The better question would be, what kept me away?

In a word:  Pride (aka: self love)

Nothing but pride can really be to blame.  Sin took me away, pride held me there.  My heart, that most deceitful part of me, turned me from what I knew was sound and right, and took me on a long and twisted path through a very dark and godless place.

There were many reasons that we chose to leave our church family, but each boils down to one thing, ME.  Issues with the music (it was too slow for me, all those hymns, not upbeat enough or contemporary enough), the teaching (I felt unfed and uninterested) the people (hypocrits, gossips, unloving). I wasn’t living a Christ honoring life, there was a private, sinful side that was well hidden from everyone, that I entertained.  Sure I went where my spouse went, and I could easily point a finger in judgment and blame him, but then no one put a gun to my head either.  One can carry that whole submission to your spouse thing too far when it is used to cover your sin.  And for a while, when dissatisfied in that dark way of life, I inwardly tried to cover my sin with that.  At any time I could have walked away.  I blamed the music, people, teaching, ex..when in reality the problem was within me, my own sinful heart.

First…submission ends at sin’s door.  I have no problem being the godly wife that submits to the husband’s authority.  But when the leader/head of the wife begins down a wrong path, that is  right where the submission ends.  I was enticed by sin and once it was conceived in my heart it gave birth to a wretched way of life of my own chosing.  I should never have taken those first steps, which started with the mind with fantasy.  What is it about God’s people that when they fall, sins of a sexual nature are where we stumble?  Maybe because the most intimate display of love for each other is the one most used by the devil.  Once you destroy that fabric,  the physical bindings of the marriage, the rest will unravel.  Trust me on this, it is true. 

When I focused on MY likes and dislikes, rather than on the Lord,  I was no longer on solid ground, I was standing on sinking sand.  See, the worship service isn’t about me at all. It is about GOD, it is about WORSHIP.  Worship of the Lord, adoration and praise of my Savior, not about me.  I focused on ME, not Jesus.  My heart was in a wrong place outside of the church, already on a road to destruction.  I had  taken my eyes of Christ and put them on me.  He was no longer the object of my passion, I was.  Worshiping the Lord  through music  isn’t about the beat, how fast or how slow, how old or how contemporary….it is about the content of the words I’m singing to God.  Those words of the old hymns are timeless treasures.  But I was hung up on me and missed that.  YES there are many wonderful contemporary songs, but the point is not the music, it is the words I am singing, from the heart, that matter.

God’s word, no matter what passage, is right, holy and perfect.  But I wasn’t leading a life that sought His Word, I was seeking my own desires.  I began to find fault with the teaching, then the teacher, the elders, and the church family.  The further away I withdrew, the quieter that still, small voice of God  within grew, until I could no longer hear it at all.  I heard instead my own thoughts, desires, and followed myself.

There were times that the Lord sent a  gentle nudge my way to bring me back.  A brief light pierced the darkness but I shyed away. Light uncovers things and I certainly did not want anyone to see my sins, so I turned away and hid.  I knew in my heart of hearts that I was far from home, squandering the priceless gifts God had given me, but caught up in the sin it was hard to go back.  The further away I got, the more I sinned.  When at last I brushed off the last of that sinful way and turned around, pride got in the way for a while.  I was terrified of being judged.  I knew that many were aware of where I had been. 

I feared what others that might know would say, what people might think.  When I left I was married and  my spouse had  sat as chairman of the deacon board. We had been very active in the body of believers, and now I was divorced and smelled of the pig pen I had been living in, my sin.  Pride  wouldn’t allow me to take the steps to return.

Thankfully a dear friend (actually many) had prayed long and hard since the day we left.  This one dear friend was nearing the end, ready to give up and accept that perhaps I wasn’t meant to come back.  God was faithful to her, and the others, and when she was reaching the point, His divine  intervention allowed circumstances to roll into place and we reconnected.  The Lord used her and my favorite comfort food, to open the door and let the light shine inside my heart again.  Instead of hiding it, I confessed it.  And I listened to the wisdom of God, shared through this beautiful vessel of my long lost sister in Christ, and it grabbed hold.

2 days later I walked back into my former church.  I was very apprehensive and afraid of being judged.  Again,  pride got in there.  I have nothing to fear of the judgment of others, believers or not.  I have a judgement coming my way, we all do,  one I need to be concerned about, and that  was only a piece of what she had shared over dinner.  Nothing I wasn’t aware of, just nothing I was thinking about as I should have been.  The Father is gracious to His children, and as I entered those doors my heart and soul knew peace.  I felt  like the prodigal child come home.  There may have been those that stood in judgment that day, but I never saw them.  I instead saw open arms,  warm embraces, and no shortage of tears of joy that I was home again. 

I want so much to say to those young people who have slipped away, the ones whose parents I now worship with once more….swallow your pride, put to death the self, and please, come home again.