Sunday, August 10, 2014

His Story ~ My Story

So I began sharing this story a couple weeks ago. It's the one that is asking to be told. It's been my jouney. It's changed my whole world. It's the story of me, of all of us, the story of now and of the future.

It's the story of who we are and Whose we are.

It's His Story.

Today I want to share the part of the story that tell where I am and how I got here.

How my faith and my family's faith has grown and changed.

How I humbly see that so many of us {myself very much included} have been so very wrong for so very long.

How the steps to unlearn and relearn have helped our roots grow deeper (and stronger).

I'll continue this story. His Story. This part is my tiny sliver of that story. My beginning, my now.

I think it was 2008. I was googling "written teen testimony". My stepson needed to write his before his baptism and confirmation. And like in many things in life, I went to see if a google search could give me ideas I could share with him.

A link to a page led me on an adventure. I stumbled on a page basically questioning things of the Faith. I saw things in print that had been on my mind. I didn't know other people, people who grew up in church, who knew God all their lives, could have questions the way I secretly did. But there it was: a pastors page, questioning traditions of men, asking if they really were what the bible really said.

I dove in and read my bible like never before.

But I can go back further than that.

I was little. I was in the back seat of our station wagon and my mom prayed with me. Asked the Holy Spirit to be with me, to teach me. There is no time in my life that I don't remember knowing God. I owe my mother for that. And I am so very thankful.

I had basic churched-kid church life. I attended different protestant churches, went to Sunday school and youth retreats. One of my first crushes was a boy from church. I did have some not so basic experiences too. My family was actually kicked out of one church just before it morphed into a cult. (Seriously). I encountered some truly God-loving people in my young walk. I had leukemia and depression and through both those storms I met people at perfect times who spoke God's truth into my life.

I was a teen who pushed all the limits. I never questioned God or what He wanted from me. I knew very well what His expectations were. I did my own thing though. I'd cut school and then debate the bible with people. I refused to go to church with my mom as a teen. It wasn't church in general. It was this specific church. I didn't like it. I had a bad feeling.

I met my husband. We got engaged. One night we stayed up way late, talking. We prayed together for the first time that night. He gave his life to God. We looked for a church to be married in. We found one and we've attended there ever since. well, until....

So back to reading my bible like never before. I was. And I was seeing something. A theme. A theme I don't remember being taught in church. It was a story. A Marriage. A people. God's people. One people. He loved them. They strayed. He brought them back. One people. He gave them a way to live. The questions led to more questions and it led to answers, not from tradition or creeds but from His word alone.

We read as a family.

When we left behind pre-conceived, we saw the emphasis doing something...It was more than belief. It was about faith but not as we define faith in English or Greek. No. It's not just a cognitive exercise. It's doing and living and looking very different than the world around us. Sure, we always knew we needed to have action in our faith. But why was there a vague notion of what that action is to be...We saw that when we set aside our bias that God's Word is actually quite clear.

And then our homeschool curriculum had us study history from the perspective of God's people. History through Israel's eyes. We saw their walk in relation to the time and place they lived. We celebrated the sabbath and the feasts outlined in the bible. We saw how they all pointed ahead, to what was to come and they helped us remember all He done. That did it. We were hooked. We saw that all those things we thought applied to someone else, people from another time, another place, actually was our story. This was us. We were God's people. Not some new group to replace the old. We were added in, grafted in. One people. We knew that we wanted to be people who followed after God and did what He said. We no longer wanted to follow a man made compilation of traditions. We saw that we have been guilty of what His people have been guilty of since the beginning of time: replacing the commands of God with the traditions of man.

So we stepped out and began making changes. It's a process. It's a beautiful, messy life changing process. The first real change, I think was just in our minds. We saw relevance where we were sure we were told wasn't there. We were confused. Why did God set aside days and call them holy and then somehow they became irrelevant? Who decided Christ followers wouldn't actually do what Christ did? Then we, bit by little bit, began to look at His commands as a whole to see what had we assumed didn't matter any more. We saw some commands that seemed silly to ignore like don't eat pork. (God said so and that's enough but there's also eye opening scientific reasons you can read about here and here) and then some we had to study out to understand the hows and whys behind them, like adding fringes to our garments (to remember), and not wearing wool and linen together (there's some cool emerging science on that one). And there are a few we don't understand exactly why, but that's ok. We don't have to know it all this very moment. We are happy to dig and pray and wait and try to understand.

We are beginning to see our children take seriously the commands of God. My youngest never forgets his tzitzit (fringes). My oldest loved bacon but is happy to not even think of eating it. Why? Simply because God said so. We've practiced doing concrete things that He has asked. So then when the abstract comes: love each other, give when it's hard, forgive-- the obedience has been practiced. It has more weight.

So this is where I am. I am learning more than I ever knew I could. I am carefully reading through all of God's Word. I am understanding things in a way I didn't know they could be understood. And all of this is only by His grace.

And this where my family is. We're learning together. We're attempting to do what He asked. We believe the time is growing short.

If you're interested, I'll share some of what I'm learning as I go. I tell His Story the way He's been telling it to me...

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Hello and Welcome. Just a note on comments. I leave them open but I ask that comments be respectful. To me, to God and to His word. I will remove anything that isn't.