Monday, July 8, 2013
A faith that kept me.
I am asked often, "How do you do it?" as in, make it through another day or don't just go crazy on someone after all I have been through.
My husband finds himself in wonder at how I STILL have an innocence about me after all of the hell I have endured.
I would love to brag about being strong.
I would LOVE to say I was actually that amazing.
I wish and dream about being able to have all the answers.
Truth is, I simply have a faith that has kept me.
Don't think I haven't shaken my fist cursing at and blamed God.
Don't think for a moment I have blindly chosen to just follow Him and the Christian faith because it was easy. It wasn't. I grew up around religion and faith professors and so called prophets.
Many of my hurts come from these very things feeding and accommodating the very hell I endured.
For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
As a child there were nights I laid in bed weeping and begging for God's forgiveness. I used to beg Him to take me away from life because I believed I was wicked, evil and doomed. I believed if He did not intervene and take me from Earth before I had a chance to sin again, I would wake up in Hell.
This was my flawed view of Christianity. I believed in an old testament wrathful God who rained down His judgment on whiney, sinful people. Like me... I was told I whined all the time and I was chastised for my "willful disobedience" and sin.
Around the age of fourteen I found this verse in Zephaniah after many nights of weeping in the dark. I had experienced a major loss in pets that year. My most recent was my dog, Scooby. A mutt mix who had been dumped with her litter mate at an old bridge less than half a mile from my home. She found me, ran to me and instantly my heart was hers. I had her for two (2) years and after a long battle with an unknown illness she died in my arms.
What had I done now that God was punishing me... taking away my heart?
Thinking like this was my ingrained victim mentality and I believed I somehow deserved it. Still I held on to faith that God's wrath would be satisfied with the loss of my Scooby, and at least I was safe one more day from hell... Hell in eternity anyway.. not hell on Earth.
Upon hearing the news of my dogs death, my father made some smart remark about how that was one less mutt. When he noticed the tears welling up in my eyes, he laughed at me.
His laugh was like salt on an already deep and infected wound.
I found this verse and started a change in my view of God.
This verse was one of the first I read on my own that showed a personal God. A God who rejoiced in ME. His love would calm my fears....for me, getting angry scared me so, I believed God would soothe my anger and fear of it.
I quickly put the verse aside in my mind with all of the other memorized verses and fell asleep clenching my pillow close. Later in the night I started having nightmares. I remember feeling paralyzing fear. This was not an unusual nightly routine up until I heard a male voice in the distance singing. I could not make out any lyrics but, I knew the song was a song over me. It was God rejoicing over me. He was calming my fears and I was resting in His love for me. Messed up ME!
This was the beginning of growing a faith all my own and not simply relying on religious rhetoric that had been taught to me.
This was the faith that kept me.