Lately, so many good things have occurred and I still debate if it was the chicken or the egg that came first. I have been on a deep and wondrous quest to know God on all levels. I have always loved Jesus but I have not known just who He really is. I have been riding the fence for decades. I have tried spirituality on so many levels.
I thought about going into Buddhism at one point in my life. This was only because it seemed to be more accepted. I knew my family had no issue with Buddhist. I knew that the difference between claiming to be ‘Christian’ and ‘Buddhist’ can be people scooting their chairs closer to you or farther away. Buddhism does not seem as controversial…at least in the circles I have gathered. But that is not what faith is about right? What is less controversial.
However, I never did get into Buddhism. I had a book on my shelf for years and I’ve read one page. And yet I have come back to the Bible again and again for at least 10 years. I find that when I read it I feel this comfort in my heart…and it also upsets me, confuses me, confounds me…
For years I detested the Old Testament. I didn’t know who wrote the Bible and I was taught that men wrote it to keep others down. It was all prefabricated by the power hungry royalty to keep the peasants down and paying taxes. That was my mother,s version. I have watched all the History Channel Documentaries on how Christ supposedly survived the crucifixion and went on to live out his life in India, how the Gospels weren’t written by his disciples or even in the first century. I have heard it all. Then I had my own debates as to how the Native American Indians got here and why aren’t the dinosaurs mentioned.
I have been raised an atheist but I hungered for a spiritual life. I was raised with a lot of pain and darkness, alcoholism, and abuse. I yearned for a life with joy, peace, and light.
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
One morning I discovered Joyce Meyer. She is described as a Christian speaker and author by Wikipedia. She travels and speaks all over the world and can be found on TV 7 days a week. She spoke to me at a time when I had no faith, a misconception of Christianity, and I was probably hung over that morning. I don’t remember what she said but I was hooked and started watching her as often as possible. That was the beginning. One of the beginnings but I can’t recant them all.
I recall one morning in my studio apartment watching her and at the end of her sermon, she said a prayer. “Lord Jesus, I repent of my sins. Come into my heart and I will make you my lord and savior. Amen!”
Now, it went against all my raising but because no one was there to witness me doing it, I said it out loud with Joyce. I then went into the bathroom to take a shower. As I stood in the stream of water I felt like my largest emotional burdens were being lifted from me. I cannot describe it any other way. I suddenly became aware that a supernatural energy of something unseen was now with me, that I was no longer alone, and my life was about to change. I can almost still remember that feeling of relief, how the shower looked, the way it was light with the morning sun.
And change it did! It was another jumble of messy and fumbling years. Six or seven more years to be exact. I continued to drink, get stoned every night, chain smoke every night. I moved another God knows how many times, changed jobs, changed boyfriends. I continued to run from my shadow. But the change was happening. One person after another was brought into my life to help me toward the next step. One book, one song, one Spiritual Center, one class on the Laws of the Universe, a Bible from a friend’s mother, a day at a Cross Roads church, more Joyce, the discovery of Christian Contemporary music and the KLOVE station, another person, book, a movie or two.
I was smoking and drinking less, I was thinking about God more.
At one point I got sick and had to change my diet and drinking. I walked into an AA meeting. I had done this hundreds of times with a friend because I actually liked them. Strange right? But this time I got myself a woman sponsor. I spent more time at the gym and less at home thinking about all the habits I missed. I was taking all sorts of classes at the Center for Spiritual Living.
Then my mother was dying. I know God prepared me for this journey. I had about 36 weeks of spiritual classes under my belt. I had learned how to do prayer treatments, to call on God, to meditate. I was also sober at last. I knew I was supposed to go and make amends. I went up to her cottage in the woods and sat with her, cooked for her, talked to her, cleaned for her, fed her one-eyed horse, tended to all her animals and bills, and made sure she was able to peacefully pass on in her home, her bed, and with her animals as she had wished. I didn’t ask her to apologize, we didn’t even talk about the past. But God showed his grace something mighty then. I was able to be kind and patient. I was able to create a space for my mother to feel safe as she was dying. It took two weeks and toward the end, she was in another realm so to speak. She would shake her fist at the ceiling and move her lips in a debate. She always had a one-sided war going with God. She was also an attorney and I’d say she was in court up to the last day.
This was my personal enemy. This woman had spoken unkind words over me my whole life. She had nearly snuffed out my spirit. It was only by God’s grace that I was able to sit with her and feel only compassion, to understand the importance of death. The task is that of a reverse midwife as you help the person begin the birthing process into another world. I was able to detach just enough to help her through this with out my own agenda.
I know without a doubt that I was called to go and be with her. No one else but a couple scraggly people showed up now and then but she and I were alone. I was given the peace and strength to do it and it was an incredible experience that I would do again strange as that may sound. When it was over I knew exactly who I was. I was not the nobody she had claimed. I was a very capable woman with a capacity to forgive, endure, and be compassionate beyond belief. I walked away healed. That was Gods doing.
From that day on my life only got better, richer, happier. I was blessed with beautiful places to live, surrounded by a new and wonderful community. I chose to stay in Willits even though the only job available was McDonald’s. I was blessed again with a great job at a Chiropractic office where the doctor got me involved with the local theater. I then was called to move to Fort Bragg and, against all logic, I moved there. I was blessed with a beautiful pink victorian house, then another great job, a husband, a son…
If I went into every story it would be clear that each moment was a gift from God. Each story has meaning and is a testament to having faith and blindly following when called…and being taken care of.
Today I sit here doing what I love, I’m writing and sipping my coffee. I have two loaves of bread baking in the oven and my cottage is filled with all kinds of human children and furry children. God also sent me two dogs and a cat and those are stories in themselves. I was blessed with two children when I didn’t expect to even have one child. I have a husband that I also prayed for and who is incredibly solid and good.
Lately, I have committed to making a choice, to get off the fence out of respect to The Creator. I had my doubts about the Bible and all things Christian. I have gone into this exploration for decades being suspicious and argumentative. I found The Case for Christ and ordered it at the library. I received The Case for the Real Jesus to my surprise. I was so convinced with his research by the end that I decided to order all the books from Lee Strobel. By the time I was done with The Case for the Real Jesus I felt pretty confident about the Bible. There is historic proof that most of it was written in the first century and two of the gospels are directly from James, Jesus’s brother, and Paul, a Roman intent on snuffing out Christians until he was confronted by the resurrected Jesus. There is so much more and I will write about that another time. The Case for Christ (just started today) seems to go in depth into the Bible and who wrote it and when.
Personally, since delving into my own research to deepen my understanding and grow my relationship with God and Jesus, I cannot begin to write about all the ways I feel surrounded, guided, and loved through this process, by unseen forces.
I don’t believe in luck or coincidence. I believe that we manifest with Gods grace and generosity. I believe that God gifts and blesses us. We don’t get everything we want, we get what is good for us in the long run. We also don’t get things for being positive about it. We earn our lives, our gifts. We have to work for everything and we have to respect that God has his plan for us.
My life is so good and happy, so filled with sanity and light today. I have been transformed and I continue to be healed and transform daily.
I now love reading the Bible in the mornings. I don’t get all of it and the New Testament is definitely a gentler section to digest. I do believe that science and spirituality or religion can mix, that it should mix. They actually go hand in hand.
It is evident that the world is billions of years old and there were dinosaurs…and not at the same time as humans. There are Christians that try to fit the dinosaurs into the bible and I still feel that is ridiculous. The Bible was written for us to understand Him, to grow in a relationship with Him and to find the Truth, the Light, the Life so that we might enjoy our lives and live fully. It is not there to tell all the stories of the world and Gods work. It is only and specifically for us as his children.
For any of you still questioning your faith or with one foot in atheism and one foot in religion and wondering what it is all about, I strongly suggest getting all Lee Strobel books. And then look into your own heart and ask yourself what feels true for you.
BOOKS FOR THOUGHT
All Lee Strobel’s books (he gives a ton of other books and places to research after each chapter so you will have many paths to go down for your own exploration).
The Case for Christ, The Case for the Real Jesus, The Case for the Creator, The Case for Faith.
The Everyday Life Bible with Joyce Meyers (or any Bible you feel good with)
I haven’t finished The Case for Christ, just got it last night. I have yet to delve into The Case for Faith. As for the online referrals, I have not had time to explore them thoroughly but other Christians seem to like the last two. I like the godandscience.org because it talks about the age of the earth, dinosaurs and how the Bible is only for us and our relationship with God and wasn’t meant to cover it all.
My advice is to enjoy this journey. I have become very emotional these days and I love it!