Monday, August 15, 2011

He is faithful

As many of you know, i turned 30 in July.  Let me tell you, leading up to it was hard.  And not just the "oh i just don't want to get old" (there was that too) but a whole lot more.  This past year was a crucial one for me.  I can honestly say that the last 8 months have been mentally hard. At the realization of another year come and gone, i kind of took everything I knew, know and think and totally overhauled it and re-evaluated ALOT of things.   I went into total panic mode.  Many of my close friends already know this, and of course my poor small group girls had no choice but to hear me go on and on about my fears and life questions. 

I don't know the exact day it happened, but i do remember it occurred shortly after i read the book 'Radical' and then got sick and was in bed throwing up and wanting to die (come on, we all want to when we are puking our guts out) i had finished that very heavy book and started reading a book by a Missionary from our church that had lost his daughter and that was the day my mind took a turn for the worst and didn't look back for almost a year.  I contemplated and questioned the how's and the why's of life and so many things. Let me clarify this though. i was not floundering in my faith, just needing to get a deeper understanding for a few questions i had. Never floundering, just very fearful.  For months i contemplated my life here on earth and in heaven. And that confused me. I got alot of  pat answers but i really wanted to know, truly know what was to come. But who would have those answers, but God?  Everyone tried to comfort, but i couldn't really put my fears in to words, i just felt this deep confusing, frustrating heaviness inside. Deep inside.  My dear friend Karee, got alot of my questions unloaded onto her.  I was sinking and i didn't even know how to describe it. Its not like it effected my daily routine of love for anybody, but my mind. Oh, it effected my mind.  The moment we talked about spiritual things(which i love doing) i would just feel fear grip me.  I don't know if the thought of turning 30  made me think of all the other mile stones in life that i would one day achieve. But that put me on a one way ticket to death and i didn't want to think about it, and yet i couldn't stop.  Not just death, but how it would happen and how my kids and husband and family would survive with out me and would i know them in heaven. That was my biggest fear. Was this going to be the end of my 'family' here on earth? Because if that is so, my human mind couldn' dream up anything enticing enough to make me want to leave them.  Nothing, not even streets of gold.

I am embarrassed to admit this.  But again, i was not floundering in faith, just digging deeper.  I talked to Jeromy about it alot and to friends.  But it wasn't until May (i think May) when Osama Bin Laden was killed that i really felt panic. I never felt at ease, i mean, i was picturing life like 'I am legend' and 'The Road' and if you haven't seen these movies just picture a lot of grey and solitude and protecting/preserving your own life.  It was NOT a great thought, but one i couldn't kick.

Jeromy (my freakishly tough and strong and unshakable husband) came home after work one day and just seemed distraught. I was doing laundry (shocker) and saw immediately that something was bugging him.  I asked what was wrong and he said he just couldn't shake this feeling.  We sat on the couches down stairs and talked.  He told me the fear he was feeling and just the concern for the possibility of end times and fear for us and being separated during it all.  Of course this hit me like a ton of bricks because i had been overwhelmed with the same thought for the past 8 months.  I have never experienced a moment like that.  It was a cloudy overcast day and we just sat talking and looking out the window and picturing this battle that we had created in our heads.  He said he could tolerate fighting alone and wouldn't be scared as long as he knew we (me and the kids) were all safe in heaven together.  It may sound like silly talk to some. And I obviously can not even put it into words, but its was a day that was overwhelmingly heavy.  We sat there talking, and praying and planning together. Planning, it was craziness.  I am not kidding, its like we walked through a battle field that day and survived. I played him a song that i had heard and to this day, it is a reminder of the presence of God and Gods hand on my journey.  I feel emotional and thankful every time i hear that it because, to me, it was a day that kept me from a very dark place. After that day, I was determined to dig so deep into revelations that i would find the truth. I wanted to know everything and i didn't want it to be fed to me, i wanted to discover and interpret it all alone.  So night after nights, Jeromy and i would be sitting across from each other in the silence reading Revelations.  I would say, "Have you read this chapter yet? You're NOT gonna want to!" We dissected and talked about and thought and prayed.  It was scary, but i felt like it was getting better.

It wasn't until we had dinner one night with my parents and two brothers at Chili's that, through all the arguing and disagreeing (that's just what happens when we all get together sometimes) that i quietly asked across to my Dad what he thought the end times were going to be like.  The only other person who had heard and was listening was Jeromy.  Everyone else was talking about other things across the table.  My Dad just answered for me, so beautifully and calmly and confidently what he interpreted Revelations to mean and mapped out the end times for us.  Though that night is probably remembered to everyone else as a night where we all left a little annoyed at each other.  I remember it for being the night that started my journey out of great fear and despair.  Now i mentioned earlier that i had talked to everyone about my fears, but the ones who didn't know about them were my parents.  So my Dad didn't even have the slightest clue as to what a monumental moment that was for me.  The tide had changed. And i was going to be alright. I clung tightly to what i believed and continued on my quest to learn and follow all that was laid out for me.  Over and over in Revelations it talks about God pouring out his judgement through plagues and again and again it says "but they refused to repent and glorify him." (Rev. 16:9) As i read that over and over i found it strikingly clear that as Christians living on this earth, that is what we are called to do. Its sounded so easy and yet so many of us want to chose otherwise. Repent and glorify him.  I loved it.  i mean, i knew it, but if i only had Revelations to go by, it is so clear as to what our calling is. That's all God asks of us. Glorify his name.

I was nervous to post this. First its really personal, but secondly I want to encourage, and in no way discourage anyone.  I went through a battle. As a (what i felt like) pretty strong Christian I had such a time of trial and searching. But when i finally did come through it (and believe me, there was times i thought this was never going to end)  It was life altering and so powerful.  I know God had his hand on me the whole way through it. Through tears, through sorrow, i now look back and see how He was making me stronger.  I have to believe it, because i feel it.

There are a handful of verses that were very pivotal in helping me turn the tide.  1 John 2:16 "God is love" That is beautiful and comforting and easy enough, but when paired with this, it was like God absolutely reminded me of my disobedient feelings that i had allowed to take over. 1 John 2:18 "There is no fear in Love"  I read that over and over. If God is love and there is no fear in love then what was i so darn afraid of?   I put my hope in him and i needed to believe this. 1 Peter 1:4 says "In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade-kept in heaven for you..."  I knew this, but when i read this verse after it, it had a profound impact on me. Not that i didn't already know this, but when you are in the water sinking and someone throws you a life preserver, you remember. And you are thankful.  I don't even know if i had ever read this verse, but when i read it that day, my heart healed and soul sored. This is the verse that is applicable in every situation and every day that we are blessed enough to go through. Hebrews 10:23 "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope that we profess, for HE WHO PROMISED IS FAITHFUL"   He is faithful! Over and over we read God's promises and i trusted and believed them, but to see and feel the depths of these words, has forever changed my life. He who promised is faithful.  That is so beautiful.  So comforting.

As much as we don't ever want to admit it, sometimes it feels like the words we read are so distant and for "other people". Like God is up there just taking care of everyone else and not really "real", palpable if you will.  But its time like that were i remind myself of the depths of that valley and i remember what it felt like to walk through it.  But i do know this, I wasn't doing it alone. God was with me.  It is palpable.

I wanted to share that.  Maybe just to get it out and finally acknowledge it to myself. Who knows.

I am 30, and its going to be a great year.