Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Conversation with God...

One of the things that I have really been thinking about lately is prayer.  In the past few years I have prayed with such passion believing that God was going to meet every need just the way i asked for it to be answered.   In conversations recently with friends and family members this has been a topic.  My Aunt Cookie passed away two months ago while waiting to be put on the liver transplant list.  I know that many prayers went up on her behalf all over this country.  It was not answered like we thought it would be. I know that she is with Jesus right now enjoying no pain or suffering and that is the only thing that comforts me, but my prayer was not answered like I wanted it to be.  My Aunt Dora passed just yesterday, two  months to the day from my Aunt Cookie.  As I lift up my family to my Comforter, I am believing that He will be near them and bring them peace that only He can during this time.  My prayers, up to this point in my life have been requests for help in time of trouble.  Although, I know that this is important, last night, I had a revelation.  In my questioning of why should I pray if He already has the answer, He urged this thought....Cindy, I just want you to have conversation with me.  I want to be close to you like a friend.  Wow, why is this such a shock to me?  When I become friends with someone or want to build on a relationship with a family member, I meet with them, talk with them and as we get closer, I share my struggles, hopes and dreams with them.  Isn't that what prayer really should be about?  He wants for us to desire that relationship that needs a conversation to know that all is well.

I went for a jog this morning to continue thinking about this and had a very nice "chat" with God.  I have chatted before, but today it was not begging for an answer but just telling Him about what I am facing and enjoying a time alone with Him.  Wow, how refreshing.  I meet with a friend to do the same thing, why wouldn't I think of God this way?  When I want to build a friendship, I want to talk with that person as much as possible.  How else will I truly know them if I don't spend time with them?  God wants the same from us.

When I returned, I opened my Bible for the first time in a couple weeks (yes, I haven't read it in awhile).  I have a Celebrate Recovery Study Bible that I purchased when I attempted to go through the 12 step program.  I am not one that usually opens up my Bible and says, what is it today that you are speaking to me about and just magically comes across something...but today, it opened to Psalms 27: 1-6...and the 11th step. "we sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contacts with God, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out."   The devotion goes on the say this...."Most of us initially turn to God for the help he can give us...... we may be surprised to find that, as time passes, we turn to God out of a desire to be near him,  As we discover how wonderful he is and how much he loves us, we draw near to him because of the joy we experience in his presence."

Really, this is not something that I didn't already know but I guess in the experiences of the past few years, I have come to realize that prayer means something completely different to me.  So, if you see me and share a struggle with me, I may say something like, "I will chat with God about that", not being disrespectful but acknowledging that my friend, and creator, God, will be there to listen and know my concern for you.

Friday, June 3, 2011

life's a struggle

Wow...I have to be honest.  This trip 'home' has been a huge struggle for me.  As I lay awake here in Oklahoma, I am deep in thought of the journey that has brought me this far.  It is easy sometimes to just get busy with life and stay distracted just so I don't have to focus on the entire picture of my journey.  It is important to regain focus and meditate on where God has brought me from and where He has me today.  I realized today, as I spent the day with my old friends that mean the world to me, I am so different than when I lived here two and a half years ago.  I suddenly felt very alone.  It has been such a difficult two years and I would not wish it on any of them.  I just long for the friendships that I had when I lived here.  I miss my home.  I miss the security of knowing exactly what was going to happen day to day.  I miss the structure that my kids had in a home and church.  But, I do not miss church as I remember it.  We have been in church ministry for over 17 years and have been the pastor that manipulates people to serve, forced our own convictions on others, been so religiously minded that we have pushed those who needed love and grace so far away from us and the church that they don't care if they ever darken the door of a church building.  I know that it is very important to lift each other up as believers but I was never going beyond the walls of the church to love on others and share Christ's love with people who didn't know Him.  Now, it angers me when I hear anyone placing judgement on another claiming that they are not spiritual enough.  Isn't that up to God to point out? I think Jesus showed how we are to respond when he didn't place judgement on the adulteress who was being accused.  He said, he who has not sinned may throw the first stone.  And after nobody could do it, he showed her grace and told her to go and sin no more.  God, help me.  God, help the church.  How arrogant of me to think that I can play the part of God and tell others how to talk, walk, live....I am to go out and share the good news.  Is the "good news" how NOT to live?  NO, heavens no.  I don't care how spiritual you think you are, only God knows the heart of people.  Let God be God.

My biggest struggle right now is whether or not I want to continue ministry as I have known and seen in all my life.  Our culture thinks that if you are a 'Christian', you have to go to church.  I have come to the conclusion that God just wants us to have relationships with each other and Him.  If my boys grow up and have a deep relationship with God and share kindness, grace and love with others, I think that is all I could ask for.  Maybe I am wrong in my thinking but that would make me happy.  I am not against the church by any means.  I just want to reach people and show them God like they have never seen Him.

Bare with me as I continue to evaluate my journey.....I am not there yet.