Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Trembling Puddle

After last Thursday's blog post ("Perplexed...") I received a response that same night from a dear friend who is also marching along under Pastor McLaughlin's ministry out of Grace Bible Church in Somerset, MA. I thought her response was a great elaboration on the post itself, and expressed a lot of things I have felt or experienced. Because the concepts being taught right now are new and so against what we've always believed, I think it's edifying to "discuss" them in this way. So with her permission, I'm posting her words here today in the belief that other readers will find them as edifying and enriching as I did:

"I loved your blog tonight. Having listened to the same class, what you said about how it affected and encouraged you made great sense. I thought about you during class. It was a great lesson, one that makes me think about things differently than I'm used to.

"I almost hate to email lately, everything I go through is so embarrassing. It all seems like I'm chronicling failures, embarrassing doubts and fears. Yet, if I never talk about it then I wouldn't get to say what the Lord is showing me and I wouldn't have anything to talk about but the weather.

"Tonight's lesson makes me think that what I'm experiencing is part of God's love for me. He makes me face all the dark rooms in my soul that I'm trying to hide. A few years into doctrine I felt SO confident, I understood so many new things, I felt strong and assured. Now a few years later, I don't feel quite so confident in the same way. I had learned a lot of great things but not much had been tested. I didn't have to find out what I really think under pressure. Now, I'm usually shocked and dismayed to find out that I say I believe one thing but under pressure I don't really.

"I love what Pastor John said yesterday "Don't torment yourself because you don't FEEL like you've been trusting Him". I'm still here even if I'm not all I want to be. This is who I am. He's letting me see the instability of all my ways. I'm hoping that one day the confidence I'll have will be really and truly in Him and not false confidence. I thought that if I knew what I believed and why I believed what I believed and I had all the answers I wouldn't be insecure with people anymore or insecure within myself even and for a time I felt like that was accomplished. Well, that hasn't turned out to be true! lol.

"That wasn't the only reason why I wanted doctrine but it was high on the list. Doctrine as a system was going to solve all my problems without and within. Then I find that instead of better, I'm worse off than ever! All the old problems I've ever faced come screaming back into my life and I'm supposed to be handling it all exquisitely with the doctrine in my soul (that's what I want to happen) but I don't, usually the doctrine I've learned is the last thing I get to. I try what I've always tried and only after I'm a heap of rubble the Lord comes in and brings the doctrine I should have been thinking back to me.

"Then I go through the guilt and condemnation. Why can't I think right? Why don't I believe what I've learned? etc... I rebound a lot. I want to run everywhere for help except to Him. I want to be happy and He gives me sorrow. I want to be comforted and He wants me to be patient. I want to come out looking good and He doesn't care about that at all! I want to be strong and He is perfectly content if I'm just a trembling puddle on the floor. Sometimes I feel like I'm fighting with Him. He isn't doing what I want. Instead He's doing all this painful stuff that I can't even complain about because it would sound insignificant.

"So in tonight's lesson I learn that this is God loving me and it's sort of baffling. It wasn't MY idea of love. As a parent I sort of get it though. When I'm really loving my kids, it doesn't look all sweet and rosy. I've got a wooden spoon in my hand and I'm correcting. Still, I don't feel abandoned or hopeless or despairing. I'm often comforted by Him and He sends me lots of lessons that speak to my issues. He's always reminding me to rebound and He is correcting my thinking all the time. I know I'm loved. I suppose that by itself is worth it all."

Amen to all of that, Mary. Thanks for sharing. I am edified every time I reread your words and am reminded anew that God's thoughts are not our thoughts, His ways not our ways, and probably everything we thought the Christian way of life was supposed to be is not it at all. At least that's what He seems to be showing us lately. And it was cool the way Pastor, in his Friday night message, affirmed and amplified a lot of the thoughts you shared.