Saturday, January 24, 2015

Uncharted Territory

I grew up around a lot of Christian people for most of my life and I can only name a few handfuls of people that were joyful - out of thousands.

I had heard so much.  I had went to church for so long - for every service.  I didn't miss many- Sunday morning, Sunday night, visitation, Wednesday night, revival - we were always at church.

I continued this into adulthood but then I started going do a different denomination but in all honesty it was a lot the same.  There was a few years when I went to a non denominational church that was actually quite wonderful.  There was some inner turmoil in the church and it ended with the pastor retiring and a new pastor coming in. 

My epiphany came when I sat in Sunday school as a mother and as an adult and the teacher asked what we would do if we only had a week to live.  There, of course, were the standard answers - tell as many people as I could about Jesus.

You know what?  I sat in my chair and my first thought was - "I would stop doing laundry and take my family to the beach."

I didn't think at all about Jesus or about eternity.  I came home and knew I had lost something.  It was a slow epiphany in my case because I kept going through the motions.  I kept reading my Bible daily, doing the accountability thing, going to church but I was pretty much spiritually dead inside because I just didn't believe that what I was taught was it.

I saw such a huge disconnect between what the Bible said and what I saw in churches.  And there was no joy and not a lot of hope.  But condemnation - now that was a plenty.  I was officially over it all.

I had lost my first love as the Bible said.  Manipulation and guilt just stopped working with me.  I could no longer go through the motions because of the guilt I felt.  It wasn't in me.  I did not want to.  I was done.  But I did not know anything else.  How else could one go to God without guilt?  How were you to fill the church pews if not for guilt for not knowing enough and not doing enough?

I didn't know if there was anyone out there that preached the Word but dropped the guilt.  Could there be?  I didn't think so.

So I just kept going to church but I stopped listening when I was there.  Tuning things out or literally walking out to sit in the cafe with my baby.  It is an odd place to be - spiritually desperate and hungry but not knowing what to do about it.

Christians are failing.  To preach the gospel, to love people, to show grace.  I feel like I am in a very odd place because I still 100% believe in Jesus.  I still believe what He says is true.  But I didn't believe in church anymore and I had a hard time going.  Its hard to say that because it was all I ever knew.

But I found that broken people didn't really belong in church.  You can't be broken and let people know about it.  Because if you do you aren't really having faith.  You aren't really changed. 

I finally found a church that fit what I needed.  I call it the soul healing church.   And I fear if we have to move or it disbands that I will stop going to church.

I love the Lord.  I do.  I know the Bible well having studied it all my life and memorizing many verses and chapters.  But legalism scares me.  It makes me run away.  It gives me hives - seriously.  I can't handle it.

So here I am forging ahead despite my fear and despite going into uncharted territory because with grace you don't have the checklist of things I should do or should not do.  With grace you just feel like you are free falling - literally and it is terrifying and wonderful at the same time.

And I'm still on this journey and I'm still trying to figure things out.  In the meantime I pray.  I really pray a lot. 

This was probably the book that gave me the most hope.  It changed my perspective and I love it!  I recommend everyone read it.

One Way Love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


1 comment:

  1. Interesting post Gretchen. You seem to me to be one who really tries to dig in and the disconnect between what Chrisitianity is supposed to be and what it really looks like in church is something only one who digs deeper cannot help but notice.

    I hope all is well and best wishes on your search.


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