Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hearing and Following the will of God

It's funny. The more time I spend around Christians the more I hear the prayer, Lord show me your will. We are all running around with our heads cut off trying to follow a leader that is sometimes less than clear. It's like when you are a kid. When you are really young you get really clear direction from Mom and Dad. Please go get a kleenex. The kleenex box is on the table with your lego pirates and you can bring me the whole box. Which by the time they are teenagers...can you get me a snot rag,!

Maybe the Lord as our heavenly Father, as we are infants in our walk, he gives us pretty clear direction. During the time that Hubby came to the Lord, he would see bumper stickers that would give him the answers to things that were bothering him. Not so much anymore. I think now walking with the Lord requires a great deal of patience and a healthy dose of self-denial.

Just recently we were presented with a deal for investing in a vacation home in Florida. It was a sweet deal. We would be giving money to a charity, and paying for our use of this house with our tax money. Getting CRA to pay for vacations ... SWEET. The problem was that it required 10K up front and an on-going income of 100K. Well, John and I were undecided and so we decided that we would put out a fleece. If God made the 10k come in easily then we would go forward. Well, a wierd thing happened. The friend of ours who was trying to sell us this deal told us that he could get us the money. No prob...what a miracle. We were so thankful. Then the very next day he called and asked when we would be able to come up with the money...huh??? So, someone flipped our fleece on us. I do not blame this friend in the slightest he was very concerned and trying to help. But God made it clear that this investment wasn't his will. One of John's big mortgages was delayed and I was told that my disability was very tenuous. God has another person out there for this investment. He has plans for us that will prosper us:

10This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfil my gracious promise to bring you back to this place.
11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

The beginning of this quote is interesting. He says after I have punished you by sending you to Babylon, I will hug you and kiss you and prosper you. As Christians our time in Babylon was when we weren't saved. Now that we are saved we are regularly Hugged and Kissed and Called George (you have to watch Bugs Bunny to get that one). I can't wait to see what He plans for us. That black old cloud doesn't stand a chance when the Prince of Peace comes to call.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Feelings and God

I just read part of a post by David Pratte. The essence of the sermon was that feelings are mercurial and we are not to trust them. Here is his summary

We have learned in this study that we should avoid the abuse of emotions. At the same time, we should not overreact by concluding that all expression of emotion is bad and should be suppressed. The truth is that emotions can be good, but only when we are in control so that we are doing what is scriptural, understandable, and edifying.

It is only good and natural for Christians to feel and express emotions as they serve God. But we must not let emotions determine for us what we will believe or what we will do in worship, nor may we let them hinder people from understanding the meaning of what is done in worship.

What is the basis for your beliefs and your practices in worship?

I have lots of conflicting thoughts about this one. Oh so many. I am not an emotional person. I have emotions (a plenty) but my main way of thinking and reacting is logical. But, I so admire the person who can love Jesus so much that they actually jump for joy or sing in the rain or something. That is not me. I am the look in the Word and feel awe of it kind of girl. But I secretly want to be given over to

The thing that bothers me about this is that it seems that you are made to either lean one way or the other. I like the idea that thought should lead the way and emotions follow the path the bible has laid out. But God gave us all these beautiful emotions to worship Him with.

Are emotions feminine and is that why they have been given a bad rap? I look at a bible study with Beth Moore. She is such an amazing woman and so beautifully emotional. Through her bible studies she has cried and then praised in the rain, danced and sang around her office and absolutely gushed about how great God is. How can that be wrong. I don't imagine that Beth was in control of her emotions while crying in the rain, she was relating and making a bond with God.

I guess that is it. I am wondering whether the bible has any verses that our relationship with God is a personal one. I haven't found one. I don't know what websters describes as personal, but for me a personal relationship with someone is a relationship where we have met each other and have some sort of bond. I do have a relationship with my husband and my mother and my kids and my friends, I do not have a relationship with the neighbour next store that I see sporadically throughout the year. So from my definition the bond is what defines the relationship for me (it will no doubt be different for others), and Jesus and I we have one heck of a bond. He loves me and He died for me, that would make every other bond I have subordinate.

Something else occurs to me, this personal relationship I have with the maker of the universe. I don't expect anything out of it. Not that I am not getting anything out of it. Not that I don't plead for things, but I don't expect anything (beyond Him to fulfill the promises He has made). I love God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and it would seem presumptuous for me to think that God should heal me, because He loves me. I understand that God knows me down to the numbers of hairs on my head, I know that he loves me and wants to prosper me. But I am so okay with letting Him decide when to heal me (here or in heaven). Maybe that some people are trying to make, that God is a personal God in that we have a bond, but the idea that we have an "in" with Him and we can get what we want done if we only believe...not so much.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Whoo Boy lots has happened

Things that have happened:

  1. One of my old Nortel buddies is very sick and is having trouble paying for the meds
  2. Doctor recommended me for gastric bypass
  3. Sunlife LTD coordinator told me that Sunlife is NOT responsible for the LTD if Nortel goes into actual bankruptcy.
  4. The Florida investment with friends of seeming like a trap as opposed to an opportunity. (given #2)
I am still trying to work out my reaction to all this. John and I went out for date night last night. And there are so many decisions to be made that we are stuck in neutral.

The first problem is easily worked on...I am using my investigative talents to see if I can find a way for him to be covered. More than anything the situation makes me sad. He is a good guy and I know he suffers from guilt and fear of failure (much like me) and I ache for his pain (spiritual, mental, and physical). I guess what I have forgotten to do is specifically pray for his plight. Dear God, please grant my friend knowledge of you. Let him come close to You so that You can wipe his tears and hold his hand. Give him relief from his suffering, and grant him peace. Give his family new strength and give them the means to support themselves. In the mighty name of Jesus we pray.

The second problem is kind of a fear thing. I am afraid that I will be ridiculed because of a choice to do the bariatric surgery. I am also a little worried that I might die, actually that does not scare me, what scares me is that my family might think that I risked my life foolishly in order to lose weight. Oh look, it's that old thing...fear of failure and fear of having people think poorly of me. God you are the only one I should be aiming to please. Let me know if you would like me to do this surgery. Let me know that all my fears are for nothing because I am in your hand and you have mapped out my life from before I was a twinkle in my mom's eye. Give me the courage to do what you will set before me and let me have peace over the decision.

Number 3 just makes me shaky. I mean there is nothing I can do if Nortel has made a contract such that when they go under I am without my disability. I just realized that I would lose 75% of my pay but not all of it, because some of it comes from the government. Hmm, see it's better aready. I don't think this one causes worry or for me to be scared. I won't think I've failed if Nortel goes down for the count.

Number 4, is the one that keeps me up nights worrying. This deal is for a mansion in florida. We would be buying the house as a part of a group. We would have access to 4 weeks of the house as would the other 4 couples. The rest of the time the house would be rented out by a professional that already has a contract made up. I think the concept is a sound one. I think the house could be wonderful for our family. The deal is that you give the current owner 10K for lawyer fees and assorted other fees. The house is then transferred to all of our names. Then each of us would get a charitible donation receipt for some amount and then with the tax refund every year we would pay off a 100K note. Should be paid off in 5 years. Then there is another note that we are responsible for but we don't pay the loan payment. This is paid by the proceeds of the vacation rentals. I see how this makes sense if you have the income to support it. But now our income is in question. I do not see going forward with this as very smart. Please Please God give me the trust in you if this is what you want us to do or close the window if it is not what you want us to do...

Walking with God is more like walking the high wire than walking on the beach...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

1Cor10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

You know church people often say there is a quote in the bible that says that God will not give you any more than you can handle. In fact it is not in the bible. God will not give you any more temptation than you can handle (that is the quote above). I believe that it is not there because, God will and does give you more than you can handle, but I've yet to come across a situation where He cannot handle it. The most difficult times in your (and my) life is when we lean on God the hardest. The leaning from what I gather from the scriptures is what God wants. He wants to show us even in the good times he wants us to lean more. He is our DLP (designated leaning post). We used to joke about it in University, the person with the least clout in the group (socially) was the DLP and we would all lean against that person. God is willing to do that for us. Support us.

I don't think He wants to be thought of as the person with the least clout though...but from time to time we put Him in that place. Well if no one else will talk with me about this issue I guess I will have to work it out with God. EEEEEK. Been there done that, hopefully never will do it again.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Oh Lord it's hard to be humble...really

Oh Lord, it's hard to be humble but I'm doin' the best I can

I am a bit of a dichotomy, as I guess most of us are. In some ways I am incredibly vain (computer stuff, stretching the money, reading fast) and in some ways I am incredibly insecure (my looks, being tactful, whether I measure up). But I think the more I think about it, the more I think that insecurity and vanity are the two sides of a coin. They both have no business with God. If I am putting my efforts into overcoming insecurity or putting my efforts into supporting my ego, both ways I am not letting God do the heavy lifting.

Matt 6:19 says "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal."

Let say that you treasured your fleshy abilities. Say maybe computer stuff. You were excellent in computer stuff and you spent your time keeping up with technology (say). Not that you weren't following God but occasionally (for months at a time, He was in the back seat). Like when the router needed a new DD-wrt update or when the iphone needed to be jailbroke...

How would one keep God from being delegated to the back, never mind the fact that He isn't driving? It is all a matter of time, money and thoughts. Hmm, where do your time, money, and thoughts go...? For me, it is mostly about thoughts. I daydream...a lot. I imagine all sorts of things, I imagine winning money (and giving it to God...can't figure out if I started to feel guilty about winning money so I decided to give it to God to assuage my guilt or it was my true intention).

Oh Holy Spirit give me purity of thought, let me believe in your strength so that you flourish in me...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sunflowers and Daisies and Tulips

I'm not much of a gardener, really I was born with a black thumb. People would leave their kids and their pets with me but their prize petunia...never.

But I appreciate them. Oh how I love flowers. I especially love colourful ones. Sometimes John will bring me home a bouquet of brightly coloured flowers and I am so thrilled about it. I must admit I love them way more than the elegant roses that he sometimes brings. The roses bring the oohs and aahs of other women but the bright coloured flowers raise my spirits and feed my soul. So when I found a picture of a sunflower with scripture on it, I printed it out and put it on a pen/pencil cup. Here is the pic:

I love that we serve the God of Sunflowers and Daisies and Tulips.


I do not need to defend myself!!!

I have been having an amazing time with God lately. He has been my shield and protector (and believe you me, I never thought I needed protection---I can handle myself tyvm!!). But I have learned that I do not need to protect/defend myself.

I have always done a remarkable job of defending myself. No one ever worried about me. I remember when I worked at Nortel, someone said to John, that he couldn't understand how John could be married me. I am fierce protecting my territory. I am not the worrier kind of protector. I am the you mess with my kids and I will mess with you kind of protector. lol. And it has been useful in the past. But God is urging me to put down that particular "skill". He is urging me to let Him protect me. And it is surprizingly easy to stop protecting myself and family. I've had many opportunities to practice in the last little while.

Instance #1: A couple of people challenged me on how I applied the bible to my life. Their point was that God never asked us to seek Knowledge (not even knowledge of Him). I felt that I needed to fight this injustice with reasoned words (which is better than I would have done I wasn't getting through. So when one of the people pushed me on it, from the safety of my email (I think way better in front of a computer) I told her that I felt God was leading me this way and that I would let Him defend me. And then when the other person just left it open to talk about it. I said how about we do what Gamaliel did in Acts, he said that if this is of God it will flourish and if it is not it will wither (my own words). I did not have to have the final word. I did not need to defend me. God did in a very mighty way. One of the people that had challenged my application of the bible, emailed me to tell me that they read the paper that had laid out why I thought what I thought and they said that they were wrong. God showed me so clearly that if I abide in Him I do not need to protect myself. Note: what Gamaliel said is not to be used to either prove or disprove God theories...after all we are still fighting prostitution...but I thought it was appropriate in this place as we would be able to see the fruit of the endeaver after some time...and the fruit would indicate whether I was right with God

Instance #2: I have been worried about the Federal Disability Tax Credit. It is one of those things that always ties me in knots. According to the strictest definition you would have to be dead in order to get the disability credit for a mental problem. I have been trying to find out how to get my wonderful Dr. to fill in the form to get me the tax credit (not lying of case you thought I would do that). But I was talking to my hubby and he said why don't you let her decide. Ever since Stewie lay on that MRI table and I had to fight for him to live (maybe if I had let go, God would have done it with a lot less anguish), I have been in an a mode where I do not trust Dr's to do what is right. This one also falls under the ego problem that I have...if you want it done right do it yourself. So now I am just filling in my portion of the form and sending it to my wonderful Dr. The worst that could happen is that I lose biggie. And the best part is that I am turning more of myself over to Him Who Made Me.

Instance #3: I go to a wonderful frugal board and interact with many amazing people. I am very careful to not push the Christianity thing but always to sign with blessings. I also make it a point to give way more than I take. Well someone started a thread about Friday the 13 that we just had recently. Someone had posted that religion is a lot like superstitions and I said that I made my decision for Christ only once I had made sure it was logical. I made reference to the fact that believers have better sex, are happier, live longer and are nicer. Someone took exception to this list of things. They wrote a fairly typical post about how a certain Christian was not nice at all. I responded well but I could have done better if I had let God defend me. She responded as I was heading back to the thread to edit my response. So I was unable to change my original post. I did apologize for being defensive. And then I built her up. It felt way better.

Instance #4: The little things count too! My kids have had a friend who's family situation is ugly. He is with us as much as he is at home. I have insomnia and all sorts of sleep problems so I was sleeping at 12 noon yesterday and the gaggle of teens woke me up...they were loud!! I came into their room asking if God had smote them as I was considering asking Him to. He looked at me and asked why? I said cuz I hadn't got to sleep until 6. He said it's noon, don't yell at us. I just smiled and walked away.

Now if only I could get over my need to "help" John's business by questioning why pays were taking so long. Again, I have had a lot of success in getting payments earlier than we may have otherwise, but I don't need to. John has done the work, the pay will come in when it is meant to...praying for that Mighty Hand of God to still my concern. This is an ego/fear thing. When I don't know when the money is coming in I cannot plan how we will allocate it. I fear if I don't allocate it early, I will fritter it away on FastFood. Which might be valid but I think God can handle a little problem like Wendy's!!!


Acts 5:35-39 Then he addressed them: "Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God."

Friday, March 20, 2009

Why is this named The Pilgrimage Blog??

Well, in Mosaic law (exodus 23:17) God commanded the Israelites (just the men...maybe so the women would have some peace) to journey to the sacred spot where the arc of the covenant was located. I guess according to Indiana Jones they would all be visiting a warehouse somewhere in the States at the next feast. In King David's time this pilgramage was to Jerusalem. The location of the arc was known between 1220 BC (when Moses received the stone tablets) to 586 BC (where it was lost no one is quite sure how or why--possibly the Babylonian raid of the Temple). But during this period in time, the Israelites journeyed to Jerusalem during these 3 feasts. During this time they would sing the songs of ascent (Psalm 120 to 134) on the journey (or pilgrimage). Beth Moore has a bible study on this topic.

As Christians we are not required to pilgram to the ark (if it was found) but we are on a special pilgram to the New Jerusalem (heaven...). This is my pilgrimage to be closer to Christs example so that when Heaven comes I will get the most crowns and live in the biggest mansion and get to eat with Christ everyday... Sounds so silly. I have no idea what I would want for a lifetime spent trying follow God. I think I would be estatic just to dwell in His presence. Maybe it would be great to have energy and be healthy but I doubt I will even notice with the King of Kings in the house.

There is a completely different reason that I am calling this a pilgrimage. When I was in High School (Notre Dame College School was my alma mater), every year we would walk a pilgrimage for Jesus and aid of the developing world. It was for me a deeply spiritual time. I was very confused about what I believed (yep it took me until I was 37 before I let God into my life), but during that 20 km I felt something (not talking about the blisters). It always seemed to be the same, I had friends but I would get seperated from them and spend much of the time walking with my own thoughts, pretty uncomfortable for a teenage girl. I remember trying to walk with someone I knew slightly in order not to be alone with my thoughts. Anyway that pilgrimage started me seeking peace. I looked for years before I came upon it. The peace that passes all understanding. Jesus.

There are times that that immense peace is mine, but it seems to fade with time and the wash of the world. How do you hold onto the peace? I think if you hold too tightly to the peace, then it has lost it's significance. If we seek the fruits of the spirit but not Jesus then we will be able to do fruit...not even a shriveled up crab-apple.

John 15:5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
So this pilgrimage is as much about where I come from as where I am going. And on the Journey holding fast to the Prince of Peace.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Beginning the Journey

My mission should I choose to accept it

I'm unsure as how to start. But I know where I want to end up so how about I start with my goals in mind. I want to be God's girl. I want to follow Him where he would have me go. And I want to be alive with the Holy Spirit as I get there. Basically I want to trust Him so implicitly that He is well pleased.

That's the goal, the journey will be fraught with all sorts of difficulties. Most of these difficulties will be my ego and my self interfering with the plan God has laid out for me.

Where I am starting from

I have been a Christian since March 18, 2005. Wow I started this post on my 4th year anniversary of becoming a Christian...God is Good. It's kinda like a sign that this is the right thing to do in this season.

Before I was a New Creation

Before I became a Christian there were lots of things in my life that had got me down. For one, my son had flesh eating disease when he was 3 (April of 98). The doctors had taped his eyes shut for the MRI and I had thought he had died. I do not think I ever recovered from that day. For a couple of years he had severe itching at night and was awake a number of times. That ended when he had his plastic surgery in 2000 (I think it was the 3rd such surgery). When he started sleeping through the night and the throat infections stopped (with tonsillectomy), I finally gave myself permission to crash. It wasn't pretty. I spent 3 months in my bedroom staring at the ceiling. And then I started painting in the middle of the night (I was awake all the time). I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder II. Then at some point I started thinking there were bugs on me. It was like I was having this hallucination but there was a sane part of my brain saying "This is not real, don't panic". There were a few hospitalizations for suicide-ideation. I was a very sick puppy. Then in 2002 we took a Russ Whitney mentoring course with Jean L and he introduced us to the trio (Bob Primeau, Marc Jemus and Frank Roy). They had a building that we could invest in...problem was that the building was only worth 3/4 of what we paid (1.9 Mil). The building was said to be problem free (I guess they meant the roaches weren't complaining). So after 2.5 years we lost our shirts and ended up filing for a proposal. My Dad had alzheimers my brother in law had leukemia and I was searching for meaning. I had been searching for years for God to be real to me. I was raised Catholic and most of my sisters are strong Catholic Believers. I however, seemed to have been made cynical about the religion. I went to bible studies as a non-believer and was able to in my head accept the greatness of God, but I kind of didn't connect it to my heart.

The New Beginning

I took an Alpha course in the winter of 2004/2005 and on the Holy Spirit weekend gave my life to Christ. Two weeks later on April 1, 2005 my amazing hubby gave his life to The Creator of All. At the time I was tormented by horrible mind stuff. God gave me peace. The first peace I had had in years. Even in my depressions (after I gave my life to God) had a curious peace around them. I was joyful in my torment I guess. It was weird and I don't think anyone understood how I could say this. It was like all day long my mind would think every 5 seconds "I should kill myself" and it was agony, but I knew I had God in my corner and I was able to have peace and joy despite the onslaught. God gave me what I needed. I hid the torment from the kids. In fact, my youngest (who just turned 14) told me the other day that he didn't think I was disabled. I guess I hid it well. Thank you God for that, because you must have made both my boys completely

The Early Years of Faith

After I was a Christian for a couple of months, I lamented to my wonderful spiritual mentor that I couldn't stop sinning. I wasn't good enough and I wanted to know how to be better. She laughed and said, "You are only a sprout, you can't expect to have huge fruit yet". It was so true and so wise. Unfortunately, I have never been able to stop condemning myself for not being what God wants. More on this later. Here are some highlights from my bible (I write down when God does amazing stuff in my life)

-January 06. I always hated the singing parts in the Christian church. I love songs that I am familiar with and can sing and know the lyrics to, but there were just too many of them. I would seeth during the worship parts. I knew that it wasn't what God wanted me to do. I asked for His aid many times. And then I decided that if I was going to love God I needed to obey him. Even if I didn't like it. So during the song portions of the service, I would do my best to sing to Him and to raise my hands when I felt inspired. I no longer seeth but I can honestly say it is not my favorite part of the service.

-March 06. I have often been plagued with the notion that I am not sick enough to be on disability. I was put on disability not for the mood issues so much as the sleeping. I sleep regularly 14 hours a day. If I cut that down, I am angry and sarcastic all the time. I have tried to go back to work once with disasterous results. But I always want to become a productive member of society (condemnation I decided to search my bible and find what God wanted me to do with the work thing. The verse I found was 1Cor 12

14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
I was thinking that this verse said to me that God wanted me to be what I was. Apparently I decided that what I was was an engineer and darn it I better get back to it. Hubby asked me if I trusted him. I said "yes of course". He told me I wasn't ready to go back to work. A month or so later I had a huge depressive cycle. I let Hubby make all the major decisions about work and commitments for me. I tend to jump in with both feet and end up driving myself to a crash. Hubby knows me better than I know myself and is able to guide me on what I can handle.

- May 06 - I got baptized. I obeyed his command and I didn't say much of what I had been through but I didn't want to take up peoples time. (condemnation again) The verse that I talked about at my baptism was Phil 4:4-8. This verse means so much to me...the peace that transcends all understanding gets me every time. Hubby got baptized the same day!!

4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
-Feb 14, 07 - At the urging of my mentor, I went to see a naturopath, Dr Warren. He gave me a list of foods not to eat: wheat (which I have expanded to any gluten), soy, yeast, dairy, tomatoes and meat, potatoes and meat, spinach, turnip (yay), coffee, tea, chocolate and msg. I went on this diet as of Feb 15th. When July came around, John said that he noticed that I hadn't had a bipolar episode since the new diet. Before this I was having an episode monthly at least. I was amazed. I tapered my drugs down to 0. GOD ROCKS MY SOCKS!!! Again I wanted to go back to work but John again said lets wait and see. The bipolar has not come back but I still have the problems with sleep. I sometimes sleep for 14 hours. I am exhausted all the time.

Feb 08 - I was sleeping in one Sunday in February (it's extremely hard to get up for church sometimes) and John went to church. When he came home he said that the Head Elder was leaving the church and he noticed that my mentor wasn't there along with most of my friends. I was confused. And when it all shook out, I was incredibly hurt. It turns out that they were all unhappy with the church and it's decisions and that they all as a group decided to leave. Because John and I were happy, they didn't tell us. I felt incredibly abandoned and unloved and I condemned myself for failing yet again. I was so miserable that I decided to get away. I would have liked to go to a retreat...pamper myself and surround myself with God. We could not afford that. I left at 11:00 at night and went to a dive of a motel (it was really bad) and read a book by Max Lucado about the 23rd Psalm. As I paid my motel bill I noticed that the owner had a sign up proclaiming himself to be Christian. I came home at 4:00AM so refreshed and in love with God that I was able to move forward, bear no grudges and I changed churches. Not because I had problems with the old church but because I needed my mentors. I am still learning from the fall-out of that day. I'm sure I shall touch on the lessons learned as soon as I learn them.

Sept 08- Left my bible study because I felt the leader had been giving us untruth. Thank goodness I do not have a memory to remember why I felt this but I I'm sure it was a misunderstanding. My leader sends me an email to not bring up my concerns at bible study, John tells me that I am too advanced in my understanding of the bible to talk about openly in a group where there are young Christians. I leave the group. But I am feeling cast out (because of my condemnation thing) and it helps fuel the coming depression.

Sept 08- A new doctor told me that what I needed to do was to change my diet to be vegan and do the yeast elimination diet. He does diagnose me with Chronic Fatigue. 5 days after I started I noticed that I was depressed. It became more and more marked that I called the doctor and visited vegan sites to see why I would be feeling depressed. No one had an answer. I stayed on the diet for 2 months. I go back to the bible study group because I need my friends in this depression. I finally was rid of the depression in December.

Dec 08- I have been avoiding God. I don't read His word. I pray but not a lot. I don't seek Him. I am weary. The condemnation has finally come home to roost. I am feeling the weight of all the ways I am not pleasing God, and it's easier to avoid Him than to face that burden.

Feb 09- I have decided to give myself permission to be free of anything that causes condemnation in my relationship with God. I don't beat myself up if I do not read the bible. I do not get upset with myself if I do not do my bible study. I do not feel guilt at not praying my prayer list. I go to tea with my mentor and she cautions me that this is how people fall away from God. She suggests that I do some bible studies that are made for just this feeling. I tell her that that is the last thing I need. I don't need to prove that I love God, He knows I do. I need to let Him show His love for me so that I can be set free of the condemnation. She is not happy with this. I order a book called Better Off Than You Think: God's Astounding Opinion of You by Ralph Harris. It is outstanding. For me it has given me hope that God does not condemn me the way I condemn me. I read the bible way more. I do my bible studies. I pray more. By giving myself the freedom to not feel condemnation when I don't do what I am supposed to, I am back on the path. I believe that I will still struggle with condemnation and feelings of failure but it will no longer drive me from God. It will drive me to Him. Happy sigh.

Mar 09- My bible study leader asks me if I think seeking knowledge is what Jesus asks us to do. I say of course. We are to seek to understand the ways of God. We are to go deep into the scriptures to get insights into how he loves us and how we are to behave and think and feel. She is so greatly concerned for my ennui (cool word eh...look it up). She tells me that God doesn't give a hoot about what knowledge I have about Him. He is only interested in the heart. She and another lady keep at me hoping I will agree that my gift (knowledge and the ability to interpret scriptures) is not a gift and that it is bringing me to destruction. I think they fear that I am becoming a Knowledge for knowledge sake kind of girl. I tell them that right now I feel that God and I are in sync and that how I am using my "gift" is pleasing Him. John sends my bible leader an email saying that in my best interest he is suggesting I leave this bible study. I have learned so much in this encounter. There will be many revisits to God's wonder in all of this.

And Here We Are...