Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Walking On Water

This has come up in topic a lot the last few days with various people.


I have a confession to make. I'm having some issues with the whole church thing. Hubby, the boys, and I have been having a lot of talks about it. Honestly, my kids' observation of church was actually alarming. Very insightful but also very sad.

I have never wanted religion. Saw a lot of religious people growing up. I want a relationship with my God, my Savior, my King - the one I read about in my Bible. Instead, my church experience can be boiled down to rules, regulations, and don't even think of praying for someone unless you have your act together.

I've been taught that don't smoke, don't chew, don't hang with those that do and playing by all the rules is what a good Christian is supposed to do. But I've found that no matter how many gold stars I earned, I still didn't feel that life giving relationship I've been reading about. A lot of times I walked away feeling condemned as well as feeling bad about myself.

So many times I left church thinking surely there has got to be more than this? And my hunger for God kept growing but I wasn't finding Him in all the areas I was told to look.

Yeah, I'm still rolling that book around in my head.

We've been pulling open our bibles and just talking about it with each other and with the boys. We're not talking at them - telling them what to think - but exploring what they feel that scripture was saying to them. The cool part is we have always been a tight family, but we've all said that we feel even closer to each other. I'm watching my boys pray for each other with different struggles and past hurts getting healed. I'm seeing grace where before it was just impatience on all fronts.

We're all doing different bible studies and it's all sort of coming together when we talk about what God has been showing each of us. It's been interesting. And I've never felt more closer to God!! Are we going through a hard time? Yes, but I can say we're all finding peace in the middle of it. It's been incredible!

A few people are freaking out about this. The argument is we'll backslide. I find that kind of funny. We're not saying we'll never go to church again but for now....we need a time of healing. Far from church. I've been burn, peeled, stabbed, BBQ and tossed overboard all from fellow Christians. Friends like that who needs enemies? And why would I want to continue exposing myself to that?

Case in point, I'm going to an evening bible study. I was informed my presence was making people uncomfortable. I felt bad as that wasn't my intention. Felt like God wants me to learn something from the study and/or the DVDs. But I clearly make some people upset and the vibe was very loudly telling me not to come back.

I was sitting there praying about it and asking why do we do this to each other, and got an ah-ha. It's like college football teams and their rivals. The body of Christ has taken church down to if you don't play for our team and wear our team's colors than you are a rival and therefore we won't associate with you.

It feels very much like a game. Play by our rules or we'll make you feel bad about yourself and pour tons of rejection on your head.

And I have God telling me to get out of that game and go walk with Him.

I will toss out there that I'm not saying down with church. I do know people that without it would go downhill very quickly. I'm just not one of those people. We're walking with Him. And oh my word is Hubs coming up with some good stuff too! I'm seeing an answer to prayer before my eyes as I watch how much he's been studying his bible and just walking close with God. I keep telling him to write it all down as it'll be a best seller some day.

I got this email on a new take of the Footprint story that is just fitting.

"Imagine you and the Lord Jesus are walking down the road together. For much of the way, the Lord's footprints go along steadily, consistently, rarely varying the pace. But your footprints are a disorganized stream of zigzags, starts, stops, turnarounds, circles, departures, and returns."

"For much of the way, it seems to go like this, but gradually your footprints come more in line with the Lord's, soon paralleling, His consistently. You and Jesus are walking as true friends!"

"This seems perfect, but then an interesting thing happens: Your footprints that once etched the sand next to Jesus' are now walking precisely in His steps. Inside His larger footprints are your smaller ones, you and Jesus are becoming one."

"This goes on for many miles, but gradually you notice another change. The footprints inside the large footprints seem to grow larger. Eventually they disappear altogether. There is only one set of footprints. They have become one."

"This goes on for a long time, but suddenly the second set of footprints is back. This time it seems even worse! Zigzags all over the place. Stops. Starts. Gashes in the sand. A variable mess of prints. You are amazed and shocked. Your dream ends."

Now you pray: "Lord, I understand the first scene, with zigzags and fits. I was a new Christian; I was just learning. But You walked on through the storm and helped me learn to walk with You."
"That is correct."
"And when the smaller footprints were inside of Yours, I was actually learning to walk in Your steps, following You very closely."
"Very good. You have understood everything so far."
"When the smaller footprints grew and filled in Yours, I suppose that I was becoming like You in every way."
"So, Lord, was there a regression or something? The footprints separated, and this time it was worse than at first."
There is a pause as the Lord answers, with a smile in His voice. "You didn't know? It was then that we danced!"

I'm off to go dance with Him - as I am, right now NOT when I have it all together or someone else's approval. Because then it would never happen.


grandmamargie said...

Very good post, Joanna. The analogy of the Footprints is awesome and just as it should be. Hubby has said many times that when he looks at his feet, he wants to see the feet of Jesus. That's what we should all apsire to and it's not always found inside the church doors. Follow what God is showing you in your hearts. Also, sounds like you're singing praises on the right side of the river. Praising the Lord before you see His mighty works, not like the Iraelites who only praised the Lord after the Egyptians were drowned. Keep that chin up, girl.

Kerri said...

{sniff} snort. Sob. Drip. Bawl.
Wow. Awesome post. I'm so jealous right now!!! How crazy must that sound to "outsiders??"
Can't WAIT for tonight!

Dianne said...

i read the book, too. maybe u should post the lonk...