An Imperfect Journey towards Faith

because he listsn

I sat in church, amidst a sea of faces, some who knew me well, others who wouldn’t be able to pick me out in a lineup. I loved my church, I still do, though I’ve moved on. I loved the people, the leadership, the diversity, the energy. I love the constant run towards God, even if not always close to perfect. Our goal was finding God and helping others find what we already knew.

Except that I didn’t know what I believed any longer. Circumstances had hit me hard and I was dealing with rejection from a number of sources very close to me. Cloaked in confusion I couldn’t see beyond myself. I wore pain like rose covered glasses.

I wish that I could say it was the first time something like this happened. Only 4 years earlier I sat in the Royal Albert Hall, longing for answers. Screaming out to God, giving Him ultimatums.

As the service ended, like the weeks before and for weeks following, when given the chance, I, along with the countless others loudly and boldly prayed what we call the “Salvation prayer”. I didn’t even believe it at first, I didn’t know if I wanted to keep going on this path. I cried out, speaking those words, longing for a tangible feeling.

I prayed myself into belief again.

And like back into 2008, God showed up.

There were no grand overtures, miraculous signs or wonders. As I lay down my humanity, God took over.

It took my unbelief, my desire for answers to connect again.

And it continues today.

It’s super awesome being a believer in Christ. Until you wake up. Literally, each night you fall asleep and then you wake up and you’re just like anyone else in the entire world.

Until you call out.

Again and again.

God is like a gentleman caller, eagerly awaiting his beloved to allow Him into her presence. Stood across the room, he steals glances at her, longing to bring her close, but polite enough to understand that forced affection grows weary, but true love, tried, tested and endured will stand the test of time.

 
“The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the Lord appeared to him[a] from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”

C. S. Lewis so eloquently stated: “Merely to override a human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo.”

He is always there, but until we call to Him, seek Him, He is simply there loving us.

I don’t think my journey is over. I still have days where I wonder and question though those have changed all those years ago.

Instead of wondering if I believe, instead of questioning God, I ask myself why I question His love, what I am doing that makes me feel further away or left in silence. Instead of running away, I run towards.

Towards His Love.

Towards His Grace.

Towards His promises.

Dare to Dream Again

 

 

dream again

She stood in the storm and when the winds did not blow her away, she adjusted her sails.

Almost 6 years ago”A” bought me a ring with that quote inscribed inside. What neither of us realised then was how much those words would carry me through not only that season, but also again five years later.

July Twenty Sixteen my life changed once again, a storm would force me to make a choice, to once again adjust my sails. Admittedly life wasn’t bad nor was I particularly dreaming about a next step. I was happy. Apparently, God has other plans.

“God told me that he is asking you to step out of the boat. He says you need to trust him 110%. He is about to fulfill the desires of your heart. You weren’t doing what you loved–and he wants you to do what you love.”

(there’s more, but that’s all you get to hear).

It’s funny when God speaks through your friends. Over the next three months, God repeatedly told different people the same thing. One by one delivering the same message to me.

Adjust your sails. 

Step out of the boat. 

DREAM AGAIN. 

I wish I could have told you that God immediately showed me the next step. How to get out of the boat, the right way to step, the path to take. I wish I could tell you that the last nine months has been simple and straightforward.

It hasn’t.

It’s caused me to question my faith. It’s caused me to question my sanity. I even think it’s lost me a few relationships along the way. I’ve given up a lot, but at the same time, I have gained so much.

I’m 33 and I’m not starting over.

I’m dreaming again.

When a ship sails into a storm it doesn’t rebuild the ship. The captain doesn’t say to the crew “oh em gee you have failed and up until now forget everything you did and start over.” The captain orders the crew to change course, to adjust the sales.

In life, when a storm comes, we don’t forget what we know, what we have done, what we have accomplished. We take what we have learned in the past, the skills we have acquired and adjust our sails. We handle it.

So, here I am, adjusting my sales, changing course. Dreaming again.

It’s not easy. There are days I cry. There are days I want to throw some stuff or yell at God. There are days when I want to give in. Where I don’t feel understood, heard or even seen.

But mainly there are days where I am thankful. There are days of rest. There are days of small victories (yay!!) There are days where I write pages and pages in my journal, dreaming, looking forward, planning.

Looking forward to that day when those dreams that line the pages of my journal, the whispers of my heart come to full fruition.

“For what it’s worth, it is never too late to be who you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find you’re not, I hope you find the strength to start over”

 

 

 

He Speaks Into My heart, or thoughts on prayer

prayer

 

I remember in high school a friend of mine decided to pray through the fruit of the spirit, asking God to help her develop these traits.

 

Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3

Patience wasn’t a fun week. For any of us.

I know I’ve asked God for a lot of things in the past and so many of these prayers I’ve felt have gone unanswered, but in fact God answers them and I blatantly chose to ignore every.single.sign.

You see, God always answers. I’ve come to realize that whether we choose to hear the answer or selectively ignore his gentle whisper, He always answers…especially when he’s the one that put the prayer on your heart.

And those my friend, as you will come to see, from my recent experience, are sometimes the hardest.

I don’t have a truly spiritual or maybe theologically correct answer for prayers like this. Maybe it’s the Holy Spirit speaking? But sometimes I just jot random prayers down, not thinking about what I’m praying…unlike those moments on my knees where I’m often begging God for something I probably don’t even need, thinking a bit too much, because let’s be honest…we all do it.

And so what makes me stand in awe of these prayers is their simplicity and then, and probably the most important, the impact they end up having and the urgency with which God answers them. But back to that soon…

So, here I am, just two weeks ago, during another Sunday message I flipped over my notebook page and half heartedly scribbled the words “break my heart for what breaks yours”.

I closed that page and continued to take notes.

And I got on with my week.

Then BAM.

Right. Can I warn you not to pray “break my heart for what breaks yours”.

It was terrible. Seriously.

I mean, I spent MOST of the week feeling as though I was seeing the world through the eyes of Jesus. And seriously, not making this spiritual or like its a super cool thing. It’s not. In The Shack the author describes heaven as being full of colours we can’t even comprehend on earth, as if our eyes have been half shut. That’s kind of what it felt like…except I wasn’t seeing beautiful colours.

I was seeing pain in a way I had never imagined. It wasn’t on the news, on the faces of those whose plight is highlighted or even (wrongly) sensationalized all over the media. It was the pain of the lonely woman sitting in the corner of the train. It was the pain of a man whose problems weighed him down like stones, but no one seemed to take note. It was the pain of the couple, sat in front of me, so drunk that they had lost the ability to communicate on a level no more than a toddler. It was the pain of the girl who was violated and now the world felt like it was against her. It was the pain of the guy who has walked away from the church and no one seemed to notice he wasn’t there any longer.

I was seeing pain and it was humbling.

Break my heart for what breaks yours.

And in those words, in that prayer, is the lesson I’m learning…

I think about all the times where I was so inwardly focused I didn’t notice others pain…and I am daring to say I guess God was ready for me to what He sees…

We are so busy. So caught up in our own pain, our own paths to success, the music, the distractions, to see others. To see the people that, as Christians, we are called to love…to SEE.

I’m guilty of praying a lot of prayers half-heartedly. Or praying my selfish desires up into the heavens with more passion that I actually should.

It’s kind of despicable. It doesn’t take so much to pray. It’s simple and powerful and those prayers WILL lead to action because when God shows you what He sees, you’re driven to help.

And can I say I’m so thankful God doesn’t handle us like we would handle us if we were God. Let’s all take a moment to say a big AMEN.

Instead, I reckon he does exactly what He did with me recently.

He wakes us up.

Whether it’s in the middle of the night or in a random thought half way through a sermon. Maybe it’s while we are driving down the highway or on the train to school.

Bam. Suddenly you remember your old school friend that you haven’t thought of in years. Or maybe you notice the person begging in the street, who you pass by every day. Or perhaps it’s simply a tug on your heart about a cause you’ve recently been told of.

We have to wake up. Wake up to what is going on around us. Wake up, sit up, pray and take action.

We are his hands and feet and He needs us more than ever. We need to listen.