I don't know where you are on your journey. Maybe you think the whole Jesus thing is ridiculous or a crutch for people. Maybe you think it "sounds nice, but it just doesn't all add up." I mean, let's face it. The Bible has some pretty outrageous claims...Jonah and the whale, Noah's ark, Jesus rising from the dead. You wouldn't believe how many times I've read these same stories and thought "really, people? We REALLY believe all this to be true?" I am not an expert theologian, but I have read and investigated. Some days I barely have any faith at all. And I don't want to sound preachy...but, it's worth investigating and figuring it out, right? Jesus is not about rules and regulations like you have probably been led to believe. (If you are not a believer, I highly recommend you read "The Case for Christ" by Lee Strobel. In fact, I will buy it for you if you are not a believer, but really want to know more! And no, I am not paid to say that. But after reading, you also have to read the Bible as well.)
There is this big misunderstanding amongst both believers and non believers. We get very focused on our fruits and seeing "less sin" when someone proclaims Christianity. We are so focused on the whole sin thing, that we forget that we are forgiven. I don't mean that as a reason to continue to sin...but, here is the thing. You cannot stop sinning. You will always sin. Hear my heart: accepting Jesus means you become right with Him. You do not right yourself and then Jesus takes you. If there is one word I desperately want the world to understand it is GRACE. and GRACE is free. You do nothing to deserve it. It is a gift.
So, in 2008, I was this new mommy. I had everything I ever wanted. I finally had a baby. I had an amazing husband (you would agree if you met him...he is one in a million), a nice home (hello 3500 square feet of barely used space!) and car (good grief, I drove a Lexus)...everything...I was living the dream you could say. I worked part time as a Pediatric Nurse and actually loved what I did...I worked with AWESOME people who treated me well. But, I still sort of felt unsatisfied...like there was something missing.
As I mentioned in my previous post, there is something about becoming a mother that God uses to show you all your sins. You start to realize just how self absorbed, selfish, impatient, etc. you are. And I hated what I saw of myself. And even though I knew God was doing great things by letting me experience this brokenness, I felt like I was "too selfish, etc." to ever be fixed. If you met me in real life, you would probably not use those words to describe me. But, I hid well behind my mask. We all do! I just knew this woman that I was was not the woman I wanted my daughter to imitate. I needed to be a role model, and this was not the model I wanted. Oh sure, I could talk the big talk about all the wonderful things I was doing as Ella's mother...but deep down, my heart was not connecting with my actions. Yes, I was a good mother. But, it was always about "how do I look as the mother" instead of "am I allowing my child to see Jesus in me? Am I being a vessel for Him?
So, I prayed a lot to be free from these things. And I started to see a little transformation. Or at least, I knew that I was headed in the right direction. You know, I had these few certain woman who, in a sense, I idolized their walk with the Lord. I wanted to have that joy that they did. So, I would ask them about how and when they spend time with God. How does all that work? I'm sure you can see where I am going with this. Once again, I find myself working to feel close to God. I thought I had to work to have joy. I mean, these ladies did lots of volunteering and studying their bibles, surely if I did the same, I would find that love for Jesus I was searching for.
I turned God into a checklist. Read bible in morning for 15 minutes...check! pray for 5 minutes...check!! Thank god before every meal...check, check, check. Then at night, I'd pray until I fell asleep. Check, check...good day! No, not a good day. Nothing became of deepening my intimacy with Christ by setting a timer for each time I'd spend time with Him. Can you imagine if a friend sat down to have lunch with you and brought one of those kitchen timers with them and said "ok. we can talk, but the clock is ticking!" This method may work for some, but it was doing nothing for my relationship with Christ. If anything it was making it worse because once again I am crying out to God "I did what you said. I feel nothing." Oh how we get so caught up in this whole "feeling" thing.
So, I continued this into 2009. We were desperate for another baby. And in the Fall of 2009, I became pregnant. And then I had a miscarriage. And I felt completely forsaken by God. Any miscarriage is hard on a woman, but it is especially hard when you are infertile and have a hard time conceiving to begin with. You can read that raw story by clicking here. So my heart was broken. "Jesus", I would say, "I have been faithful to reading your word. I have worshiped like you ask. Why have you forsaken me?"
It was painful. Yet, I ran into His arms in a completely new way. The way a young girl would run into her papa's arms when she is heart broken and has no one else. I fell into his arms begging for an answer. And all I heard from Him was(and not in an audible way...in a supernatural sort of way you could say...a feeling I supposed) "Why don't you believe that I LOVE you, Sarah? You still don't believe that I love you Sarah!"
(to be continued)