Thursday, October 27, 2011

EVEN as a Christian....

I just recently celebrated two years of accepting Jesus. Early in my belief and commitment to Him I would say “If only I had found Jesus sooner, sooo much in my life could have gone better. I wouldn’t have had to go through ________________ fill in the blank. Or, I could have avoided that whole ________________ fill in another blank.”
But as you may or may or may not know…I haven’t written in a while; nearly two months to be exact. I loooove writing. I loooove reading. And I looooove the bible study on Paul that I was reading AND writing about; in rediscovering my faith I felt was wavering. So, why did I only make it to Day Twenty Two of a 90 Day walk with Paul? The answer is simple…
A giant pity party.
Yes; EVEN as a Christian, pity parties are common events. I used to think that being a Christian meant avoiding those things and that because I was a Christian everything would now fall into place. It doesn’t work that way. For me; being a Christian just means that I still go through “stuff”… I just don’t go through it alone. Well… not always.
Let me digress.
I moved to Nineveh; ahem…Owasso, Oklahoma. I wasn’t happy about it but within a month began to embrace all that Jesus had brought me to. I began taking the walk with Paul to find faith in Him all over again and just KNOW that this is where I was supposed to be BUT… EVEN as a Christian (ESPECIALLY as a Christian) that Satan was working his magic; he even used the women from my bible study to do his bidding.

Let me explain.
If you have ever been in the 8th grade and had the confidence level that comes with that age…you know what I mean. I was in the 8th grade in Plymouth, Michigan. I just KNEW that I was exactly where Jesus wanted me to be. I was comfortable in my neighborhood and my church and was writing and sewing for Him every day. I saw friendly faces when walking into church every Sunday and would see them again during bible study or in volunteering during the week. It didn’t matter that my church was home to 25,000 people; it was my house and I felt I knew all that walked through the doors.

When I moved to Owasso, it was like graduating from 8th grade and moving to 9th grade. I was now a part of a place that didn’t just have my 8th grade peers but ALL of the 8th graders and 9th – 12th graders from EVERY surrounding area. I didn’t know anyone. I had to start all over. I didn’t have smiling faces that were constant or that I knew and had formed relationships with already. I was the new kid on the block and it wasn’t a feeling I welcomed. Rather than focusing on the one common denominator we all had in Jesus; I put the focus all on me and stewed in it. It was no longer a matter of faith that Jesus would come through it was a matter of me fitting in and critiquing those new faces around me that had the audacity to have their own conversations while I sat there just waiting for someone to approach me. I was usually the one to do the approaching. I was the one that put myself out there being the spokesperson Jesus created me to be…. Until now.
I went the first week but didn’t go back the second week. Looking back; I have no idea what my excuse was for doing so…but there you have it. The third week came and I attended but didn’t participate; I may have smiled and said “Hello” but didn’t encourage further conversation. I am certain Jesus was just shaking his head as He sat beside me, asking “What was that about?” I now know that Satan was on the other side whispering as he did that first bible study at Northridge “These bible study women are going to judge you. You’re the new girl and they have been together for ages. Once they find out your story it will be even worse than it feels today. You don’t fit in here.”
I’m embarrassed to say that EVEN as a Christian, it was easier for me to listen to guy on the left than to KNOW that Jesus on the right was sitting there disappointed. Satan enabled me just as I let so many others before him; before being a Christian. It was easier for me to sit there and begin that pity party in a room full of those faces that were new to me than it was to put myself out there as Jesus created me to be. All the confidence that He had given me to that point seemed tucked away in the back of my bible where indexes and maps lay dormant….not in the middle of the books Paul had written where I had been living for nearly two years. What the heck happened?
Well… I’ll tell you what happened.
Shortly after the beginning of bible study we attended the first night of four to learn more about our new church. It was organized by the church as a newcomer informational meeting; question and answer time with the Pastor and others that were seeking more “new member” information. We went around the room introducing ourselves and there were people that had attended for a year or so, some…like us, that had attended just a few weeks, and others that hadn’t attended yet but their kids attended the school so they were checking it out.
During question and answer time we learned that our church was not a non-denominational church like we thought…or assumed, but a Free will Baptist church. One person asked what that meant and I liked the answer but was still taken aback that it was a Baptist church. Free will Baptist just means that any that have free will are able to make the choice to accept Christ as their personal savior and Baptist is to be baptized by full immersion; just as our last church was designed. (It was then I remembered that our non-denominational church had evolved from Baptist beginnings… free will Baptist or not, I wasn’t sure.) But what came next is when Satan’s mantra of “You don’t belong here” began droning in the background. I was forthcoming by saying “We didn’t know that this was a Free will Baptist church. It doesn’t say it on the sign out front and I didn’t notice it on the web page when doing research from Michigan before coming here. I honestly don’t know if we would have made the leap through the doors if we had known; simply out of ignorance and not knowing what it meant or just how closely it is related to our church back home.” Another woman from across the room said “We are just the opposite of Gidget. Simply put, it was the label of Free will Baptist that brought us through the doors since it is most closely related to our own of Mennonite faith and closer to home for us to attend, rather than our current church of nearly an hour away.” I asked…. “Is it possible for THIS church to be the common ground for both of us? It is amazing (if not crazy to imagine) that we BOTH can find this to be our church when we are coming from such different backgrounds and what we are looking for in a new place to call home.”
This is where my mental torment began…EVEN as a Christian.
We stopped going to our small group BUT, in our defense, they started a study that was just waaaay over our head so the timing seemed appropriate. We didn’t go to church the following week and I didn’t go to bible study the following TWO weeks. I stopped blogging and I didn’t start sewing for my ministry as I had vowed to do. Even as a Christian, I doubted Jesus and his ability to make up for all the things Satan was doing. Not only did I get invited to this pity party, I attended, became the Guest of Honor, and dragged my husband to it with me. I whined “I don’t fit in. Nothing about Nineveh is working like it’s supposed to. I feel like I am different no matter where we go and I even changed my hair color from red to brown JUST to fit in.” Little did I know that hair color was the least of the fitting in criteria….it is ALL about mindset; a little reminder from that dang bible study this week. Yep… I’m going again.
Baby moved to Wisconsin a couple of weeks ago but the day before she left she said “Mom why do you care if you fit in when Jesus made you to stand out?” I say that I am proud to be the spokesperson He created me to be; even my quote in the header of my blog says “Be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1Peter 3:15. I am a cheerleader and cheerleaders don’t try to blend in….they cheer others on, they’re excited about encouraging, and never host pity parties (not on Jesus’ team anyway).
So…. Where we are now; EVEN as Christians. Everything isn’t perfect but it is soooo much better than it was. I am no longer hosting my very own pity party; I am not even attending one. I am loooving and getting so much out of my bible study; even friends and field trips with women from the group. Satan is still trying to get involved but I am no longer giving him the attention he was so easily capturing just a few weeks ago. Even as Christians we are tempted and tried and I was reminded of that just this morning when reading (yes….even reading my Max Lucado again…. Ahhhhh). A quote from his new book “God’s Story, Your Story”…. “Times of testing are actually times of training, purification, and strength building. You can even “ – consider it pure joy…whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3
Max goes on to further remind me…EVEN as a Christian “Where are you empty? Are you hungry for attention, craving success, longing for intimacy? Be aware of your weaknesses. Bring them to God before Satan brings them to you. Satan will tell you to turn stones into bread (Matthew 4:3). In other words, meet your own needs, take matters into your own hands, leave God out of the picture. Whereas Jesus teaches us to pray for bread (Matthew 6:11), Satan says to work for bread”…… “If Satan convinces us to trust our works over God’s Word, he has us dangling from a broken limb. Our works will never hold us.”
EVEN as a Christian we are tried but Jesus helps us to overcome them and usually has a lesson in the end that we could ONLY learn by going through those trials. My life isn’t perfect since becoming a Christian; I still have insecurities and weaknesses….even ones I didn’t realize I had. The key now? Getting those insecurities and weaknesses to Jesus before Satan has any opportunity to use them for his bidding. EVEN as a Christian, Satan was able to get in and use those weaknesses against me but Jesus was able to use my own daughter’s words to remind me of the spokesperson I was created to be. My hair color may be the same as some of those in Nineveh. My personality is different. My relationship with Jesus is different. Even the way I dress may be different….BUT none of those things matter to Jesus or the work that He has called me to do. It isn’t about me and Satan somehow got me to forget that for a little while. I don’t need to blend in or be friends with “everyone in the class”…I just need to continue to show what Jesus has done in me and through me and show others that EVEN as Christians we are put through tests and trials, the difference is what we do in those trials and how we use it for His glory no matter what we face or how long we face it.
I am not perfect….EVEN as a Christian.
Not everything goes my way….EVEN as a Christian.
I don’t make more money or have better hair ….EVEN as a Christian.
But BECAUSE I am a Christian I GET to go through whatever is thrown my way and to prove that Jesus always prevails IF I just give him the opportunity to prove it.
THAT is what a Cheerleader does.


  1. Hey there sister,
    I want u to know that your words really helped me, I feel like I have been fighting to succeed, pushing, and constantly wondering why I'm not growing and why im not happy, why things arent happening RIGHT NOW DARN IT..I hear a soft still voice telling me to slow down, live more simply, quit trying to please everyone and to just b me and do the things I love...Dang satan keeps trying to make me work for bread instead of trusting that the Lord will provide for my needs, I think thats why we need to have sisters in Jesus(to remind us)! I feel like any time I miss church the next week is a struggle for me, I know that the Lord is my sheperd and my protection, He protects me from evil "But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one"2Thessalonians 3:3 I know the Lord wants me to be joyful, he made each one of us unique. So when I feel pressure from the world and like satan is throwing darts at me...I think of this verse.." I will be strong and coragous, I will not be terrified or discourged for the Lord is with me wherever I go" Joshua 1:9. This verse was on a dog tag my husband sent me from his tour of duty in Iraq, and then I think of his fear, how much faith a soldier must have in Jesus to go to war, how brave and corageous. I am fighting a battle that has already been won on calvary. And even I as a Christian I have my moments. It is definitly that faith and testimony that triumps each time through those trials! JESUS has already won the Victory!!!

  2. Loved the blog and I'm so happy God has brought you to our little corner of the world!

  3. I LOVE THIS!!!!!!! We need more transparent and REAL christians!!! Everybody has a past but God in His amazing love and mercy will use it to glorify HIS kingdom if we let Him!!! You are doing that sister, don't let the enemy stop you!!!!!!