Journey to His Table: Eating with a Kind God

Posted: November 10, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The “Normal” Christian Life 

Part of the reason I started this particular blog was to explore the gift of eating and drinking at the Lord’s table as I continue to shed the ugly scales of religion and embrace God’s unconditional love for me and every other human being that has been invited to feast with Jesus.  I began to rummage through suitcases of memories to help me see the unique story God’s given me in unlocking the treasures surrounding my place at His table. Memories can be very sweet and others painful, but all are important. In an earlier post Following Jesus I wrote about the experience of baptism. It was a happy day anointed by the Holy Spirit and forever engraved into my mind and soul as I was surrounded by friends and family in celebration of everything I was experiencing on the inside and one of my first awakenings to heaven on earth. Baptism was a time of rejoicing and commitment in setting aside my life to follow King Jesus. Forever in the fold! Sealed by the Spirit! Cleansed and set free! It seemed so simple when I was ten years old. But…after some life experiences as well as listening to religious teachers, I had confused the Lord’s gift of righteousness with my own brand of righteousness. By the time I was twenty, I was riddled with anxiety-fueled nights and digestive issues that were so severe that I spent several years in therapy and on medications to lessen the symptoms I had adopted as the “normal” Christian life.

When I was nineteen, I started going to church with some friends and decided that I wanted to place membership at their church. The only way I could become a member of the new congregation was to be re-baptized. I was sad that my first baptism was not affirmed by the leadership at the new church, but it seemed like a small “price” to pay to be accepted by their fellowship. They rejoiced when I was immersed. I cried. I felt like I had placed a portion of my heart’s story on a shelf.

I tried so hard to be a “good” Christian, but no matter how desperately I tried, I was a failure. At night I would pray for forgiveness and by the next day I already knew that I had missed the mark. I would go to sleep fearful that if Jesus returned or if I suddenly died I would burn in hell for eternity. This kind of thinking does not yield to sweet dreams but intense worry and fear. So I made a decision to be baptized again and try one more time to get the “Christian” life right.

I slept great for one week.

Even though I had what seemed to be a fresh start, I could not live up to the high standards of the Lord.  No matter how much I washed the outside, I could not stay clean.  Weekly communion at church was a reminder of my failure and my unworthiness. I prayed for my children and others, but I was too far gone.

Three tries. Three strikes. I was out.

I might as well have been in hell.

New Beginnings

God’s mercies are new everyday! I began to worship with a church of Christ who believes in grace and freedom. The leadership has given me space to cry and heal and even more importantly—grow. No one tried to change my mind about what I believed. They just loved me exactly how they found me.

Their teachings have been simple but powerful …

God is love and he is full of kindness, mercy, and goodness. 

God’s ways are higher than man’s ways.  Isaiah 55:8

We have been given the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16

I am the righteousness of God.  Romans 3:22

For years I had been trying to change God’s mind about me, but what I had not realized was that His mind was already made up about His creation. The Message beautifully states “Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you” 2 Cor. 5:20. And like a top that was wound too tight, I began to experience a release; healing, forgiveness, liberty, and joy, just to name a few. Over the next few years I began to change my mind about God.  I quit reading the bible as a rule book and began to experience scripture as humanity’s love story. I would stumble across sweet verses like Romans 2:4 , “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”

Baptized One More Time

There was such a change in my life that I wanted to do something to celebrate. So, I asked my husband, Chris, if he would baptize me to celebrate my commitment to trusting in the Lord’s gift of grace and righteousness.  We found some time during a couple’s retreat to hike to a beautiful waterfall. We were surrounded with the majesty of the Lord’s creation as we worshiped and celebrated our complete rest in His accomplishments, His righteousness, and His victory.  Chris poured water over my head as he reminded me of my kingdom identity and inheritance.

Rock Island State Park

Rock Island State Park

“Do you remember the first time you knew that God loved you?” Chris asked.

“I do.” I recalled the little girl that was baptized thirty years ago.

“Remember that love,” Chris said.

The moment was perfect.

It didn’t take away from anything else I had experienced. It was a moment that just said, this is where I am right now.

No pieces of the past needed to be shelved. I didn’t have to sort through events as right or wrong.

They just were.

***

***

And that’s what happened …

The Lord’s kindness wooed me, pursued me, and convinced me that I am forever a daughter at His table. 🙂

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s