I have a friend who writes the best posts and I call them Poetic laughingly.
As I stated in my previous blog- Depressed Mom Confessions I have struggled with my faith at times due to circumstances and been jealous of my good friends relationship and understanding with God.
I feel the push and support and KNOW I am not doing this without GOD even though I still have much to learn.
We found a church Twelve Oaks Baptist Church after years of not feeling any of the others we were attending occasionally.
It was sort of the 3 Bears syndrome for us:
This Church is Too Big
This Church is Too Small (and I cant hide in the pew and get away without awkward handshakes lol)
This Church is too Fancy
This Church is Too full of Cliques or people who seem so bonded that I feel like an outsider
This Church makes me feel like I don't belong because I'm not a Bible Scholar
This Church makes my teenager feel uncomfortable or not accepted
and the list goes on.
Something woke me last fall when I attended the Fall Festival at Twelve Oaks.
I had attended other events they had and never left with any negative thoughts or feelings which is odd for me as anyone who knows me knows- Me = Negative Nancy.
I decided that's the church. I had been attending here and there over 2 years with a friends family and the kids seem to like it. Even my teenager was not opposed to going as he was everywhere else.
I did try to go after that several Sundays as I wanted to find a spiritual home before my Missionary friends left us for Guatemala. I just could not get past my anxiety and Sunday mornings were notorious for family fights. "I can't find anything to wear", "I'm too tired", "I'm too busy", etc.
I still have yet to set an alarm for Church but wake up in time EVERY SUNDAY.
One week I turned it off and my TEENAGE SON WOKE ME UP- all decked out to go to church.
Can I deny that God is with me in this? N- O-!
Maybe it was my friends prayers as I know they prayed I would find comfort somewhere when they left.
Maybe it was just time for me to "Get It" and hear God.
This is my first Sunday in about 10 Sundays that I did not go to Church. But I got less than 3 hours of sleep last night and I decided I needed to be prepared for the Bible Study tonight and finish my lessons. So I guess I #homeschool churched lol.
Things I like about this church:
I am spoken too sincerely by both pastors EVERYTIME I am in the building.
This church seems to really focus on Learning and Living it. But BOY I was impressed by the Youth pastors sermon on Lust. His honesty in his convictions with this blew me away. He admitted in front of the WHOLE church on Sunday morning his problem walking past the Victoria Secrets GINORMOUS window pictures of girls in lingere. Thats Big! I know ministers are not perfect but most when caught up in the world and affairs, etc... do not stand in front of their church and preach from their own sin and repent right there. It was life changing.
I just wish my teenage son and husband (yall know what thats about if you have read my blog) had been able to attend that day. Work and Work dang it!
Its A pretty good mix of casual and average Sunday attire. (I don't have to stress too much about my jeans and tshirt.)
I feel good and excited to go back EVERYTIME I go.
I'm staying awake during sermons. Don't laugh. I'm an insomniac but it seems when I sit still and listen to a sermon I can not control my sleepiness.
My son is trying to fit in finally when other times he just did not want to try. He is still struggling as he gets his anxious behaviors from me I am sure.
KIDS LEARN from their Main Environment- Its Proven.
You rock out in the car with them from infancy or have other habits- Guess what your kids will do it too. I know of a lady who is very atheist and listens to some hardcore music (not judging) yet she will post or say "my little girl loves rocking out to this or that, isn't that amazing for a kid that age?" But really its not. They do what they see day after day. Same goes for kids who listen to classical and other types of music that seems not typical for their age. Its not a contest. Just think about it this way. If they can be influenced to love Metal music, rap, classical, etc... by just listening to it on a regular basis with their parents, IMAGINE if we were more selective in what we listened to in front of our kids and even without them what impact that would have on their lives as Christians or soon to be Christians. You don't have to let your kids watch anything they want or listen to anything they want. You can set limits for your family as a whole and IMPACT your spiritual awareness by not getting sucked in by the WORLD. The world that is ever changing and limits are being pushed more and more everyday. Wow! Just typing it makes me excited to change my life in that way. Did you know Music can be fun, uplifting, hype, and GOOD CLEAN MUSIC with a message? It can. You can Sing along to "I want to Sex You UP" or a Rap about the father. There is so much out there that can be beneficial and not confuse our kids and keep them looking in the direction of the heavenly father. If they are not at a young age, I'm sorry but that's on us as parents.
Sorry for that interruption.... back to my son..... Standing out is not his thing so it takes the right group of people who will actively pull him in to help him and he is finding it there.
My girls LOVE going to church and they are learning.
Did we attend other great churches? YES, for other people.
It just wasn't for us or it was the wrong mindset at the wrong time.
I have been battling with the World lately ALOT.
I have tons of questions but I am still holding my faith when in the past I would say "maybe I don't believe".
The church is doing a Bible Study on Sunday nights called Experiencing God.
I bought the book and showed up last week. I studied my lessons this week (still have #5 to do before tonight). Every time I open it up I feel like someone else is in my mind.
Its like "WOW I AM GETTING IT" and I can see how this refers to my life and others around me. I actually got into a Spiritual Facebook battle or 2 or 3, about an issue I won't name as I am actually mentally exhausted from it and don't want to lose faith because I can't find or understand the answers the Bible offers.
Baby Christians - I highly encourage you to STEP BACK when you see these controversial social media posts till you are more comfortable with listening to God and understanding his word.
It will only stall your Spiritual Journey.
OH MY GOSH, did I write those words lol?
So while driving my nephew home after doing 3 of my lessons this morning this blog popped into my heard and I had to write it down.
Sin is EVERYWHERE but people are debating what is or what is not sin.
Its an endless battle it seems and while your in the world and not surrendering your worldly ways you wont be able to debate and will be possibly taking steps back in your journey.
My prayer today is: Lord Please help me through this journey. Help me hear you and take my convictions and guilt and move on it. Move towards you and not back into the world. I read "To be God's servant you must be moldable and remain in the hand of the master".
I pray my kids are not 40 before they STOP and Listen and Adjust their lives so they can see your works done through them. I want them to have this peace before they are too taken in by the confusion of this world and become desensitized to whats right and wrong because I allow them and the world makes us accept things that we know is wrong even if we can't fully explain to the non believers."
I pray they are MATURE in their spiritual beliefs before they come forward in Saving Grace and Baptism as it will only add to their bumps along the way to do it before they are truly mature enough to understand your words and will. Many kids I see coming forward and even being baptized when they aren't ready and then they bounce back and forth between the world and the church and its hard to turn away from the world when its EVERYWHERE- in our music, in our schools, in our movies, in our homes, etc... I want to make better choices in the future not only so I can be more worthy to be used by God but so my kids aren't middle aged before they truly stop and make those hard adjustments so they can then be molded by the Potter.
I feel many of us are CHOOSING to not admit sin and I'm talking about even the tiny things that may not jump out at you in the Bible. Things you KNOW ARE WRONG. This includes Lying, cheating, not being good stewards of our money, not taking care of our bodies, being impatient, and even the big ones like hurting others intentionally, jealousy, immorality, etc... I couldn't be molded till I was moldable if that makes sense.
"He has to get you from where you are to where HE is".
"YOU CANNOT STAY THE WAY YOU ARE AND GO WITH GOD"
(from the Experiencing God workbook Lesson 3.
Those two really say alot if your looking for peace and listening.
"God's invitation for you to work with Him always leads you to a CRISIS of BELIEF that requires faith and action". Most of us are too lazy or busy or just not willing to give up the things that keep us from seeing and hearing GOD.
"YOU MUST MAKE MAJOR ADJUSTMENTS IN YOUR LIFE TO JOIN GOD IN WHAT HE IS DOING".
WOW, did that one get to you?
What adjustments have you made.
For me I am trying to hold my tongue, keep the things I watch and listen too (especially with my children) free of things that distract me from him, be less anxious as my anxiety really determines my moods and ability to focus and feel safe and trusting. This includes Sexual music lyrics, violent shows, movies and TV that will tempt me or make me have bad thoughts. It could even mean me not going to Zumba because the sexual nature of the music and moves. I'm still convicted on that one a bit.
(From first week lesson 4)
God speaks through Circumstances.
I truly believe this more now.
Death- its hard to see loved ones die and not cry our "WHY GOD" or to have health issues or immoral thoughts and urges that you feel guilt for having but are not strong enough to turn away from. My kids and I have have seen a LOT of death in the past 5 years. Its been hard for someone like me who is mistrusting so being emotional and admitting weakness is very hard.
I am trying to think about it more as "Its how you respond to these circumstances" than why they occur or a dealt to you.
Your mistakes will give you powerful testimony for others to hear along their struggling journey.
How do I deal with them? Do I doubt God, blame others, say NO, I am not changing?
Or do I just be still,breathe, look to him for direction, find comfort in others who are knowledgeable with Gods word, pray, etc???
One path will only lead you to something better. The other will just keep circling around like Groundhog day. Until you really say I am willing to stop, not act on, and participate in sin and sinful situations you wont find the peace you need in this world.
Is it worth it to be an example for the children you brought into this world to be an example of what God can do? Do you want your kids to make mistake after mistake until their 40 or older and then they are so damaged they may never find salvation. Not that one day salvation where your fed in church but on the weekend your getting down in the club, getting turnt, and acting out in ways you know you wouldn't do if you really wanted God with you for eternity. I've been there and I see it so many great young people. They most likely are Christians who just have not made that hard choice to Make MAJOR adjustments to really be led by him.
That's another point. Don't let your journey be influenced by others on a different path.
Kids and even I have said- "Look, they are at church every time its open, being fake, but at school or on other days they are not what I think a Christian is". You then stay away from church, and that will not get any results for your soul.
I have also been known to say "You don't have to go to church to be a Christian" because I have trust issues and hate being touched or close to people, and no you don't but to grow and be accountable I think I do now.
Its your journey!
Its your choice!
Also, don't think your not ready to be with experienced believers.
I am not a Bible scholar and in the past I have done Bible studies and tried to read through my Bible and it was like a foreign language to me.
I'm not just saying this because its what I have heard as when I heard it I was like "Really, why is it not that way for me".
I feel so led by something bigger than me when Studying now. The words make sense (well most of the time lol). I can see how this will work in my life if I follow the right path and MAKE REAL ADJUSTMENTS. I know it wont happen overnight. I know people will criticize me because they feel I was one way yesterday and now I am suddenly Poetic. Sometimes honestly words are coming out when I am typing and I cant believe I knew that or wrote that.
Its truly amazing and all the fun WORLDY things will NEVER GIVE YOU THAT FEELING.
I hope this is not too jumbled. Lately my mind is going 90 miles and hour and after studying I am mentally and physically exhausted.
God can work in ANYONE at ANYTIME and it will be a different response for everyone.
I unfortunately have a 17 year old, a 9 year old, and a 6 year old who have already been influenced by my selfishness and bad responses and decisions for all the years they have been on earth.
I pray seeing my transformation (that will take a while) will help them EXPERIENCE GOD SOONER!
Find a Church that fits you even if you have to visit 100.
That community is important I feel now that I found the one.
Go to events, play on their sports leagues, really get in there and see God working in everyday people and make a decision.
Dive in- You will never be Sinless. God wants to mold you!
EB- update. So was excited to go to church last night and wrap up week one studies but..... the girls were distracting as there is nothing in place for them ( but not a biggie if they could just sit still for any amount of time without arguing or making noise). Then the DVD show was well presented by the author of the Experiencing God study, his voice was pleasant and he seemed touched by his own study. However, when giving examples of how you "experience god". He started off good with business owners and doctors. When they start becoming Christ centered their businesses and offices tend to sway with them. Great. Then his examples of "crisis of faith" and " making major adjustments" so that God may work through you were all mission based. Y'all know I love me some missionary peeps! But that's not a realistic calling for the masses and it's a great powerful example because the $$$$ involved in traveling to other countries and the sacrifice some make to go permanently. It's seriously a big undertaking. But I think making major adjustments could be something much smaller to many. Could be that your wrapped up in the media by watching lustful or sinful shows, not being good stewards of your money, being unfaithful to spouse, having sex out of marriage, lying, gossiping, being jealous, etc... For many there are things we have a very hard time turning away from. It's a a REAL ADJUSTMENT to start to give those things up so we may become more moldable to God. He can't work though us if we are unwilling to change. Change does not always mean leaving your family and home to go to another country or something so loud. PRIDE could be something hard to turn away from. The battle will look different to everyone and I wished he had really touched base on other examples but I'm holding steadfast to what I got from the 5 lessons and not getting discouraged. Then "small groups" time came. YIKES my worst fear. Being with a group of basically strangers. My spidery senses are my downfall. I read people's faces, tones, and body language. It's a curse to always be analyzing those around you. Unfortunately most times my analysis is correct. I however, stayed optimistic as small groups means I would be getting to know people in the church better. Well, in the hurried attempt to separate somehow it was 10 over 70++++ and one couple that possibly might have been 59 or so. I wanted to run. But I stayed thinking these are the experienced christians of the church. Yes, they were but they were not excited about this study. Must sounded pessimistic and they didn't really feel touched by the lessons. I couldn't believe the way I felt after doing 4 lessons and the way they seemed. I did not give in to my flight anxiety and stayed but there was a huge generation gap for me. I wished I could have been in a group with others excited about what God was doing through their studies. If this is my permanent group for 11 more weeks I might die lol. It's amazing how one person can feel so touched by the words and study and others are just like " just trying it out and I'll see if I like it". I was like are you kidding guys??? I might have to get my preach on to these senior citizens lol. Maybe God had a plan for putting me in a group where " should we sit during singing since we sing so long" was a big part of the discussion lol.
I just honestly think we get wrapped up with thinking going on a mission trip is the best example of following God and it discourages me as I see need in me, and everywhere around us. I see people that could be reached for far less of a financial burden or sacrifice. If you look at the numbers the amount of christians here that are not called to missions is much much greater the the ones that are. I'm not sure God intends for us to all jump ship and leave our own neighbors, kids In Need, fellow broken christians, our homeless and drug addicted, etc. I feel there is so much to do here and I hope more feel called to work through him here. I may never leave the country but I think the states could sway more to him if we are considering ministering to our own neighborhoods and communities as a mission in itself. These people understand us and there is no language barrier. No need to scrape up thousands to travel. Yes, these people have had a chance to hear the word and may have just turned away from it. Does that mean you say forget them. I'm going where they haven't heard it so I can do more and accomplish more? People here may have heard it but most likely were not ready, didn't understand it, or didn't hear what they needed at that time. Your mission could be right here. Your major adjustment could be to turn off the tv and other worldly distractions. Sounds simple but try giving it up for a day or two and see what a major adjustment that could be. Replace your music with some Christian rap or other sounds. That change could be very hard and the impact could be so great. I'm hoping the other small groups got more of what I did from the study in a more relevant way as I did so each week we can all grow and Experience God.
|My babies are worth it!|