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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Faith

1faith Pronunciation: \ˈfāth\ Function: noun Date: 13th century
1 a: allegiance to duty or a person :
loyalty b (1): fidelity to one's promises (2): sincerity of intentions2 a (1): belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2): belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1): firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2): complete trust3: something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs
synonyms see
belief— on faith : without question

Faith. Where do I start? Talking about my Faith often makes me cry so getting through this blog will be a cleansing process I suppose.


What has amazed me about my walk of Faith is that no matter how many times I've tried to do it on my own... He finds a way to pull me back. Sometimes it's probably more of a He waits for me to fall flat on my face and then drags me along for a little while.... Wait, Jesus wouldn't drag me. He picks me up.

I think one of my first memories as a child is of my grandmother(Grandsam) piling on the bed with me, my brother and cousins every night before bed to say the Lord's prayer. She would make us all join hands and while we prayed if you opened your eyes you would see her watching all of us as we prayed. A gentle glow on her face.

So I was raised a good little Lutheran. Baptised and confirmed. Here's what Lutherans do really really well: we memorize creeds, books of the Bible, prayers, liturgy, confessions and hymns. We didn't actually read and discuss the bible at church (at least I don't remember doing so). Every Sunday we'd get dressed. My mom would do my hair, force my tom boy feet into some patent leather Mary Jane's and hand me my matching bag. Chris and I would usually fight in the back seat all the way to church where we'd go to Sunday school and sing our little hymns and do our Jesus related arts and crafts. Confirmation was two years of weekly meetings with the other kids my age and the Pastor. Here's where church got interesting for me- in my adolescence I was ridiculed CONSISTENTLY at church. The kids at church were obnoxious and little punks. It was more of a mating game than an actual learning experience. I began to hate church. When I approached the Pastor about what I was feeling, I was pretty much told I had to suck it up. It was the right advice, but I began to see organized religion as this place where I was more uncomfortable than anywhere else. In high school I drifted from the church, but not in my prayer and my faith. I did really began to grow frustrated with organized religion. I hated the bride of Jesus. How awful was I?

In college I bounced around between churches that had evening services . I prayed, but wasn't deliberate in my prayer. Life was just sort of happening to me and I didn't really talk with God about his plan for me. I think I was coasting along on the prayers of my Grandsam and my Mother. After college I landed a professional job and lived 20 minutes or so from the church I grew up in. So back I went. I was married in that church and later joined another Lutheran church on the other side of town close to where I bought my house. I didn't always attend regularly. My commitment to church and to God was not that strong if I am being truthful. I don't remember praying (other than with my Pastor) for my marriage. After I was married, I continued to pray, but I wasn't growing in Faith. I was stagnant. I was frustrated that I didn't think God was listening to me anymore. Really I was frustrated that He wasn't allowing me to tell Him how it should be. My brother, sensing my frustration, invited me to church with him. I went for several weeks and then decided not to go back because while I loved the church, I knew my Catholic ex-hubby would never appreciate the contemporary atmosphere. Something happened in my first weeks of visiting my brother's little church, but I wasn't quite ready for what would later be revealed to me.

Enter Cole and after he was born I knew I would need to attend some church regularly.. it was time to grow up. I was going to need help with the task at hand. I took Cole only one time to the Lutheran church where I was a semi regular member. I brought him by myself... and I just felt something was off. I knew I didn't want to raise my son in this type of church/political environment. I never went back. I told my ex that I would be taking Cole to my brother's church. I felt welcome there and I felt finally like I was ready to hear the message I would receive. I knew I would be challenged to grow in Faith. I knew the message would be real. I started opening my heart to Jesus and His bride (the Church).

So far it's been a beautiful partnership. I've laid it all out there for Him. I confessed that I turned away and made some fairly serious mistakes when I did so. I landed flat on my face and He met me where I was and pointed me in the right direction-Towards the little Church that I now call home to help me with my journey. There I felt His presence, enough so, that I began to expect it and look for it daily in my personal journey. What amazed me was that when I started really praying, I began to find clarity and began asking questions of the people in my life that I had been too weak to ask questions of in the past. I began to ask questions of myself. A lot of self forgiveness happened and I think some growth occurred along the way. Then I asked forgiveness from Him.

Now when I feel lost and helpless I don't forget where to turn. I stop. I pray. I try to wait and listen. I am exactly where I am suppose to be and I know if I trust - I will be okay. It's terrifying to be tasked with raising a son on your own. To be a single working mom and feel the weight of being the provider, the nurturer, the everything by yourself- every day. If I allowed myself to see it that way, I don't know that I'd have the courage to get out of bed everyday.

But I'm so not alone.

1 comments:

Cathy H said...

I like our little church too!