Friday, September 21, 2012

Running into Chaos

Our Pastor Jason Jordon has been encouraging everyone to share their "testimony" with others.  I have been pondering the fact that we have many different kinds of testimony.  You can share what God has done for you.  You can share how God moved a mountain for you.  You can share what God is teaching you...all these different things are still YOUR testimony of the presence of the Holy Spirit, of GOD in your life.  Each form of testimony touches someone else in ways that no one else can.

Jason has encouraged us to run TOWARD chaos rather AWAY from it.  This series of Chaos is of how I came to embrace and allow God to redeem the chaos within me. 


Despite my political views on war, this a pretty powerful concept.  It takes my breath away to apply it as Jason has...that it should be US the Righteous, running toward chaos.  Taking Christ to the chaos, the ugly places, to the streets and the hurting, we can change the world for good. By running into the chaos, we can change our past.  Perhaps not the events, but we can live unshackled by it.  It no longer controls our actions or our fears. 

We cannot address chaos without bringing it into the light and exposing it.  How could our world change is it was the CHURCH rising up united and running into chaos.  Instead of assuming someone is taking care of everybody's needs, we take up the banner and run into the mess ourselves.  Taking care of each other, loving each other, lifting each other, comforting, sharing and defending. No more are we surrounded by the hopeless, the helpless, the wounded. We face the chaos and create order.  Kind of amazing is it not?  

In my own life I have come to realize that to create order from chaos, you must first get into the middle of the mess, into the scary and ugly parts.  I grew up in a Christian home.  My parents loved us and they took care of us.  It can be argued with much conviction and evidence that they OVER protected us. There is no horror story hidden between the photo albums pages of my family.  My parents made mistakes but they were done with the best intentions.  They  were not aware of all the implications or long range effects of some of their parenting choices.  

My earliest memories of my family begin with my mother and church. I have memories of church when they met in a house.  My preschool class was in the attic separated from other classes by blankets strung on wire.  I would have been around the ages of 2 - 3 at the time.  I have VERY early memories of going to the living room couch and climbing over my mom sleeping there to watch Romper Room and Captain Kangaroo.  I LOVED Romper Room, and would eagerly wait for her to say "I see Tina"... she never did.  

The other early memory of my mom was that when I got up in the mornings, we could find her seated on the ugly blue/green sofa with the scratchy fabric.  She held in her lap that fake green leather Living Bible and a Come Ye Apart devotional lesson book.  I cherish that memory as she is now gone from us.  Mom modeled a Godly Woman's legacy to leave to me and my three sisters.

My mother.  She loved me.  I know she did.  She also knew that she made some mistakes.  Things she didn't understand, things she simply misunderstood that led her to take decisions that would affect my life.  A series of events that led me directly to chaos.

I prayed a sinners prayer at a very young age...I was 5 or 6 years old. Some people may dicker with me over these details.  One night at that young age, I was so sad.  My pet bird Tweetie had died.  I loved her and was grieving for her.  Weeping into my pillow that night, I had a realization.  When people go to the altar to "get saved" ...they cry.  Since I was already crying, I was ahead in the process.  I might as well ask Jesus into my heart...since I was already crying and all.

Some people will try to tell me that I did not really give my heart to Jesus at that moment.   I obviously did not understand what I was doing.  I argue that I did indeed know what I was praying.  My confusion would only be in my understanding of what tears had to do with repentance.  I understood I was born a sinner.  But at the age of 5 or 6, I had yet to commit any sin that would drive me to tears of shame, sorrow and grief.  My sins were that I was born a sinner...that I was sometimes disobedient to my mom.  That I sometimes lied to get out of trouble and that I was sometimes really, really mean to my little sister - the Brat.  One time I did something bad, and then lied so sincerely about it that my parents spanked the Brat instead of me.  I hang my head in shame. *snicker*  I did confess that I set her up...about 20 years later. 

But my biggest claim to the realness of that salvation experience was how I felt the next day.  I felt so CLEAN inside.  I felt JOY inside of me....not giddy happiness like the ice cream truck was coming.  But I recall riding my bike and feeling such a peace inside like all was right with the world.   That experience is how I know that conversion was just as real as some drug user who turns away from a life of bad choices and habits to start over.  Our experiences are different but our salvation is the same.   I have experienced that Spiritual Joy a number of times through my life.  I recognize it as the presence of God within me.  No one will convince me otherwise.

I did not become an instant little evangelist though.  I was not a spiritual phenom.  I was just a little girl, trying to be good and often failing.  Fortunately, I was raised in a denomination that believes you can be saved over and over and over.  Every time we committed some sin, intentional or not, as soon as we recognized what we did was against the laws of God....we had sinned and lost our salvation.  But we could confess that failure to God and He was faithful to forgive this sin too.  So we got our salvation back.  Sounds silly to write it out like that, but yes....that was how I was taught and raised.  Let's just say our denomination did not have a good grasp on the meaning of GRACE.

  • favor or goodwill.
  • manifestation of favor, especially by a superior: It was only through the dean's grace that I wasn't expelled from school. Synonyms: forgiveness, charity, mercifulness.
  • mercy; clemency; pardonHe was saved by an act of grace from the governor. Synonyms: lenity, leniency, reprieve.

Leniency/ Reprieve.  I was a little girl, but I understood the principals behind Grace.  I did not get what I deserved.

*Stay tuned for the coming installment of "Running into Chaos."

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful as always, Miss Tina! We had similar upbringings I think. I'm looking forward to the rest of your story!

    My world kind of whirled into chaos over the last few years with wayward adult children, financial and health crises, and our marriage dying a slow death. Starvation I suppose. God waded into the chaos with me and we are coming out the other side. I'm writing about it on my new blog "Masterpiece." The story starts here: