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...