I feel like a fraud.
I get to hang out with other bloggers/writer's and women of faith. They let me hang out with them despite the fact I'm nowhere near the plain they write upon. One friend today wrote of planting pansies as her goodbye to winter and somehow tied it all up in a tidy spiritual bow.
I can't do that.
I'm not criticizing my friends, I struggle with envying them. I wish I could think and understand everything I encounter. I don't. I suspect that is because my Father and I have years long experience of arm wrestling together.
Raised in faith that taught you to "perform" for God's favor, I still battle and struggle with my faith. Other bloggers talk about how they LOVE God, and I wrinkle my brow trying to understand. I feel like a swimmer caught in a riptide...trying to figure a way out of the turmoil
I know that God loves me...want me to quote scripture for you? But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! 9 Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath. Romans 5:8,9
I have the "book learning", I know that God loves me and I finally accepted that truth. But my truth is that I stand in amazement at His grace, mercy and love for me. I weep in worship as I consider the effort He expended to knock it into my head that He LOVED me because he created me. My "performance or holiness" has nothing to do with why He loves me.
But loving him? Is that the fear of the Lord, awe of his power, or amazement at his grace? Is that love? I struggle with this part. When friends gush on about how good God has been to them. I understand them in some way. I mean compared to what I deserve? God has been good to me. His grace extends to me regardless of my bad choices, willful disobedience and down right defiance. Is this how they what they mean "their love for God"? Should I feel all warm and fuzzy at the concept of loving God, much as I do when loving my husband or my children? I don't. I usually weep in gratitude that He did not forsake me and kept trying to reach me. But I'm not sure this is what everyone else is talking about.
I now try to live in the footsteps of Christ (and fall so short) simply because I found it to be a better life. I find joy. I am not trying to repay God for his grace to me, but rather live in gratitude for it.
The fact is that my life has been one stupid, traumatic event after another. Things that keep knocking me down, leaving me bewildered and confused wondering 'What is going on now?" And yes, I have asked "Why me?" When the doctor's told me on the cold exam table, "This is cancer." My response was an immediate prayer to God, "Come onnnnnnn, haven't I gone through enough?"
Even as I write now, recovered from that cancer experience, I am existing in another state of crisis that shakes my foundation. My most intense need is that of security, of knowing there's a roof over my head and food on my table. This crisis shakes that foundation and I'm struggling to hang on to my faith despite it.
I struggle. I doubt and I question. What I have discovered is that God is big enough and GREAT enough to handle my fears and insecurities. I don't have answers. I don't fold laundry and feel illuminated with some great spiritual truth to share and encourage others. I'm not struck with Biblical blessing as I carry out the trash.
I feel like a fraud to be part of group of Christian women who write of God's blessings in our lives. They have incredible stories and experiences they share and it's so inspiring. Perhaps my purpose is not to provide the spiritual truths, as they do such a good job.
Perhaps, my testimony is that raw hurts have shaped my life. Yet I still believe. In fact, some of this pain I have carries with it the reassurance that God loves me. When I feel sorry for myself and start to complain that every lousy thing that could happen....has happened. I am struck dumb with the blessings in my life. It is pointed out to me that not EVERY lousy thing has happened. I have been blessed with a faithful, loving husband at my side. I have children who are responsible adults, who honor and love me. These things are more than some others get to enjoy. And SHOULD be fears be realized and we one day find ourselves homeless, is it not true that I have said for 34 years...."as long as we are together, it's all good."
My life has not been a charmed life of blessings that flow from one day to the next. There has been real pain and real struggles here. Yet still I believe. Occasionally doubts creep into my thoughts and I stop them because I choose to believe. When things happen that I can't explain, when I can't see the way through, I will believe.
Then I can smile, and tie a pretty spiritual bow around my life because THAT is my story.