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Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

Yes.  You read that correctly.  Cricket made me cry.

No, not “a” cricket.  Just Cricket.  Not an insect (are they insects?  Hang on a second I need to Google this.  Ah….they are indeed insects.  Closely related to katydids.  Who knew??)  Not the sport.  Just Cricket.

Cricket is a moniker used by someone who posts on an internet bulletin board on which I frequently lurk.  (RMSJr if you’re reading you’ll know the board and moniker I’m talking about.)  Cricket’s not her real name (No!  Really Spudsie??  LOL!) .  Her frequent posts help balance out my infrequent ones.  Over the years I’ve come to really respect what she has to say and look forward to reading her views on political and social topics.  Her views frequently mirror my own (sorry RMSJr….I know that probably pains you….you love me anyway right?  ;-))  and she’s able to articulate things better than I could.

The main thing that has impressed me about Cricket is her willingness to state her point of view and not care what anyone else thinks.  (Or at least that’s how it seems from my perspective.)  She’ll let everyone know where she stands and engage in dialogue regarding just about any topic regardless of the online insults hurled by “anons” or even known posters.  Her beliefs are her beliefs and she’s not afraid to let anyone know.

That’s sooooo far from where I am.  I suspect my beliefs and views are just as strong and deeply held as Cricket’s.  I tend to keep them to myself.  I recently told a friend of mine that I’m a democrat and she was really surprised.  The circles I tend to “run” in are largely republican—make that vocally republican.  And I’ve learned over the years just to keep quiet on most political topics.  It’s a habit I’m slowly trying to un-learn. 

(Yes, I know.  I’m not really “un-learning” a habit.  I’m changing the way I interact with people.  I’m choosing to speak up.  I’m choosing to be authentically “me”—whoever that is.  It’s just easier—and shorter—to write that I’m un-learning.  Grin!)

So I really admire Cricket for being herself and for being willing to freely state what she believes.

There was a thread started recently about Jim Wallis and the subject of social justice.  It hit a nerve with me when someone called Jim Wallis a Socialist.  While I cannot claim to have read everything written by Jim Wallis, I have read a fair bit of it.  And it seems crystal clear to me that he is NOT a Socialist.  Period.  So I jumped into the thread and gave my opinion.  And somehow Cricket and I ended up posting a few things back and forth to each other. 

Now I’ve “known” of Cricket and actively followed her postings for a while.  But given the infrequent nature of my own posts I’m positive she had never noticed me before.  Since we seemed to share similar views on the topic and had similar experiences from other Christians when discussing the topic I made a bold move.  Well…..bold for me anyway.  LOL!  I posted an e-mail address and invited her to drop me a line to continue the conversation off the board if she’d like.  And she did!!  Cool beans!  J

She sent me an e-mail with some more of her thoughts on social justice, a little of her back ground, a little bit about her views on different stuff, and an invitation to share my own thoughts.  So I did.  I replied with an overly long e-mail (some of you who have received similar e-mails from me can commiserate with Cricket….LOL!) about a little bit of my history and my thoughts on social justice.

Describing what “social justice” means to me is challenging.  I feel very inarticulate.  I feel as though I stumble and fumble my way through it.  It’s something I FEEL rather than THINK.  And goodness knows I have problems identifying emotions and feelings, much less using them to explain a bigger concept.  When I hit “send” and watched my e-mail disappear into cyberspace I wondered if my words made any sense.  Was there anything of worth in them?  How many typos did I have?  LOL!

Evidently it made a lot of sense to Cricket.  She replied with an e-mail today that made me cry.

Good tears.

She shared a few stories from her life, some of her early exposure to the concept of social justice—before she knew what it was called or knew that not everyone viewed it the same way.  She shared some of her frustration with “church people” (my words—not hers) and their frequent opposition to social justice. 

It was really cool learning that about her.

That wasn’t what made me cry. 

What made me cry was what she said about me. 

Recently I’ve been praying that God would show me what he wants from me in a very clear way.  In a way that I CANNOT miss or misinterpret.  I’ve been praying that in the context of trying to find a life direction.  (See previous blog entries for more about that.  J)  “Hey God, I’m gonna need some major help.  Could you show me what you want from me, where you want me to go in such an obvious way that I cannot miss it.  In a way that I will feel in my soul that it’s where I can start.  Even if the direction changes along the way, even if you have something different in mind for further down the road, could you simply show me where to start.  Make it resonate in the core of my being.  Make it energize me in a way I’ve forgotten I can be energized.  Please open my eyes, my heart, my mind.”

I trust God will help me as I continue my search.  There hasn’t been handwriting on the wall (yet!) or anything like that—and there may never be exactly what I am praying for.  And that’s okay because I know he’s got my back!  And when the creator of the universe has your back, it’s probably best to just let him do his thing.  He’ll come up with a way of guiding me that will be more impactful, more effective than anything I could imagine.  (You rock God!!)

I think in my prayers he’s heard something else.  Something I didn’t really articulate.  (He’s really good at reading between the lines.)  He’s heard my desire to try to see myself differently.  He’s heard my frustrations at not understanding why people say the good things about me that they occasionally say.  He’s heard me say, “What do they see that I don’t see?  Why can’t I see that in myself?”  And he’s sending people to me to help me see ME more clearly.

And this is where Cricket’s e-mail made me cry.

She started her reply to me by calling me a beautiful soul.  I kid you not.  It caught me completely off guard.  I wasn’t expecting anything remotely like that!  I mean, really, the only thing she knows about me is what she read in one e-mail (albeit a lengthy one…).  That’s it.  One e-mail in which I felt I didn’t express myself very well.  Wow.

And she didn’t stop there.  She went on for three paragraphs to say the most heart-felt things about me.  In one e-mail she was able to see things that I haven’t been able to see in thirty-cough-some years.  Not only did she see them, she told me about them.  She told me about me.  And since I wasn’t expecting it ALL of my defenses were down.  I felt the full impact of it deeply.  It actually resonated with me.  Wow.

As Yoda would say, “Unexpected this is.”

I love it when God answers a prayer I didn’t even realize I prayed!

So today has been a good day.  Cricket made me cry.

And see myself a little differently.

Thanks God!

Thanks Cricket!

Cricket

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An open prayer to God

Hi God.  It’s me again, Spudsie.  I need some help.  Again. 

You know Mr. Spuds and I have been visiting a new church recently.  And I LOVE the authenticity I’ve seen there.  And I’m feeling really compelled to get more involved.  Yet I’m hesitating.

Is this the right place for Mr. Spuds and me?  (Did you locate it so close to us that we couldn’t help but find it eventually??  J )  I know no church is perfect.  And I also know there are a lot of churches that wouldn’t be right for us because of the theology/doctrine/teachings/etc. 

This one feels right so far.  You know how hesitant I am to trust my feelings—so I find myself looking for concrete things to back up my “gut.” 

Do they believe in the Bible?  Yep.  Do they believe it is the perfect word of You?  Yep.

Do they believe their goal (individual and corporate) is to bring other people into a relationship with You?  Yep. 

Do they believe in being open about who they are and what their struggles are?  Yep.

Do they hold the same basic tenets of faith that I believe are essential to knowing You and leading others to a relationship with You?  Yep….well…..mostly….well….I don’t know.  There is one slight sticking point here.

Here’s where I’m stuck.  You know I was raised attending a Church of Christ which taught the “six steps to Salvation” of “hear the word of God, believe the word of God, repent of your sins, confess your sins to God, be baptized, and live a life faithful to God.”  (Otherwise known as the single word “hearbelieverepentconfessandlivefaithfully.)

You’ve worked on me over the years.  You’ve helped me grow to a point where I understand that no work (or works) on my part can earn my salvation.  It’s a gift from YOU!  Freely given if I choose to accept it.  And in understanding that I’ve become convicted that baptism is an outward sign of an inward faith.  That baptism is NOT what saves me.  Your grace saves me.  Your love saves me.  You save me.  Not something I do, or have done to me.

Yet I’ve continued to attend churches that practice baptizing people at the same time they confess You.  At the same time they invite you into their lives.  And I suppose I continued to assume (without giving it much thought) that at the point of baptism You entered their heart, their lives.

But that doesn’t match baptism being an outward sign of an inward faith does it?

This new church offers baptisms several times a year.  AFTER people have invited You into their lives.  After they have accepted You as their Savior.  They teach that people are saved by You entering their lives.  Period.  That You are there even without a baptism.

And I’m struggling with that.

Are You asking me to grow?  Gently nudging me to see if I really believe baptism is an outward sign of an inward faith?  “Okay Spudsie.  Let’s see what you really think.” 

I need some help here.

Often in the past when I’ve heard things preached or taught that “sounded” reasonable but went against what You have said in the Bible I felt the “wrongness” in my gut.  My throat would tighten.  My stomach would be in knots.  I would have a fight or flight type of response.  And I’ve always listened to that.  And taken the teachings back to the Bible and been able to clearly see where the teaching didn’t agree with Your word.  

I don’t feel any of that panic with this question of “delayed” baptism.  This church teaches that baptism is still a very important, very special, very sacred action.  (But You already knew that!)  They simply teach salvation in a way different from what I’ve lived with for so many years.  I’m having problems trying to determine if my discomfort with the teaching is because of my formative years of “baptism is necessary for salvation” sermons.  Or is it something bigger than that?

So I’m asking for help in this area.  (Along with all of the other areas You are already helping me.  Thank You!!)  If this isn’t the right church for Mr. Spuds and I, I need You to make it super clear.  (Preferably a sign in the parking lot reading “Spudsie—this isn’t the right church for you!”  That would be really clear!  LOL!)  I know Your timing is always perfect, so I ask this next part humbly.  If you could make it super clear, super soon I would really, really appreciate it.  You know how hard it is for me to open up to people.  And I think I want to get involved with and open up to some of the people at this church.  So (again, asked in all humility) if this isn’t the right place for Mr. Spuds and I please make it very clear to me very soon.

I’ll continue to wrestle with this issue.  I simply wanted to take a few minutes and ask You for some specific help.  If You want me to grow and are using this as a way to help me, I appreciate it.  You’re being incredibly gently.  Thanks!! 

If I’m feeling drawn to this church for reasons that have more to do with me than with You, please open my eyes and show me that. 

If this is where Mr. Spuds and I should be, please help me feel that “peace that passeth all understanding”  (You know in my heart I’m a King James kind of gal!) when I’m in situations that encourage me to open up to people.  Help me feel that same sense of safety I feel when I’m talking with Jim.  Provide that protection for me.  And help me to recognize it.

Whew!  That’s quite the laundry list of requests isn’t it?  One last one, if I may.

Please take all of this stuff in my heart that I cannot even begin to articulate at all and give me what I need to grow.  As gently as You can.

I love You.   

Your devoted and struggling Potato,

Spudsie

Amen

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