Category: Jesus


Dorienne vs. the devil

August 22nd, 2011 — 1:36am

Re-posted from my WordPress.com blog:

Every Sunday for the past three or four years, I’ve had a personal ritual that took me close to a year to recognize. Each Sunday following church, I require a three to five-hour nap. The nap by itself is nothing remarkable as many people take naps on weekends because the time is available, but I am not a nap person. The only time I end up sleeping during the day is when I’ve gone the last 28 hours without sleep and I have to go to sleep; I don’t nap. Every Sunday, however, I require a nap following church.

This Sunday nap only occurs on Sundays when I go to church. After going the entire month of July without setting foot in my church, I’ve tested this empirically and came to a conclusion I suspected long ago, but never had the opportunity to truly examine.

What’s fascinating is that I’m not doing anything that would require sleep on a Sunday afternoon. I usually get a full-night’s sleep Saturday evenings, the drive to the church doesn’t take any longer than the drive to first-job , I don’t wake any earlier than I do during the week and most weeks I don’t do much more than clap a little, sing with the choir a bit and take notes from the sermon. Logically, there’s no need for this Sunday nap, but when I sit down and really consider what is happening to me each Sunday morning, it makes perfect sense.

My current schedule with first-job makes it virtually impossible to visit my church throughout the week, so the only time when I have an opportunity to enter God’s house with the specific purpose of praise is Sunday morning. Every Sunday, however, I run into a gamut of emotions and “whisperings” in my ear that would prevent me from attending church.

First comes sheer laziness, as my bed is never as warm and comfortable as it is when I have to leave it to go to church in the morning. Adding onto that laziness comes procrastination which comes in the form of everything from checking all my e-mail accounts to perusing every single Facebook update from the past sixteen hours, even those I’d read the previous day, and on occasion even finding my way to StumbleUpon or Twitter to really waste the morning.

On Sundays when I make it to church, I must actually battle through all the negative, lazy thoughts and the onslaught of procrastination thrown in my direction just to get myself to the shower. Even after that, I’ve got the slow haul of getting dressed and putting on my makeup and, in that time, all these thoughts of “Wow, you’re already going to be late. You probably should just give up for now.” flow through my head. Some weeks, I give in to this line of thinking and don’t get to church, but when I pray about it the previous night and I set my mind to it, I can usually push through all of this and can get out the door.

Once out the door, a hunger, that I never usually meet so early in the morning, can often set in and all these desires to make pit stops along the way to church come to mind. Perhaps a stop at McDonald’s first? Maybe I’ll just stop at the Walgreen’s real quick to get something? Still, if I focus on the task at hand, I can get to the highway and finally get to the neighborhood where my church is.

My church’s neighborhood is not in the best of places, but that is where God put me and despite my best efforts to go elsewhere…that is where He put me. That said, when I come close to that neighborhood, thoughts of safety sometimes spark. “It’s really not safe for me to be out here” is most common, but even within three minutes of the church I can still get thoughts of all the million other things I’ve got to do that day and given that I’m already late…well, perhaps I can just get there next week when I’ll be on time?

After I push through all of this, I get to the church parking lot and on most days, I’m usually fine once I can see the finish line, but even there, I can still be tempted. Some weeks, I’m almost an hour late for service and the desire to not appear to be one of “those” Christians is deep and on one disastrous occasion, even caused me to just drive home, even though I was already there! With that memory in the back of my mind, thoughts of “You’ve done it before” and “You can always go next week” continually filter into my mind. God is good though and it is rare that I’ll turn away once I get within thirty seconds of the church doors, but still…it takes quite a bit of effort just to get out of the car.

Phew…

All I do on a Sunday morning is get up, get dressed and go to church, but the act of doing all of this is a battle. It’s a weekly battle that gets no easier as time continues; in fact, it gets more difficult the longer I try to walk in line with Christ and, after a morning of stepping around the mental boxing ring with the devil, by Sunday afternoon, I’m completely exhausted and I just need a nap.

I wrote 714 words today (window popped on the screen from “himebrit”) and, while I had to battle to write them, that fight is nothing compared to the one I’ll face next when it’s time to go to church again.

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The Potter’s House

March 20th, 2011 — 11:57pm

I wasn’t actually listening to the song tonight as I wrote but I thought the title fitting for this post. I’ve always adored the song because the lyrics just help me see that there’s always “someone” to help me in dire matters:

Verse 1:
In case you have fallen by the wayside of life;
dreams and visions shattered, You’re all broken inside.
You don’t have to stay in the shape that you’re in;
the potter wants to put you back together again,
oh, the potter wants to put you back together again.

Verse 2:
In case your situation has turned upside down,
and all that you’ve accomplished, is now on the ground.
You don’t have to stay in the shape that you’re in;
the potter wants to put you back together again,
oh, the potter wants to put you back together again.

Chorus:
You who are broken, stop by the potter’s house.
You who need mending, stop by the potter’s house;
give Him the fragments of your broken life,
my friend, the potter wants to put you back together again,
oh, the potter wants to put you back together again

Vamp:
Joy in the potter’s house.
Peace in the potter’s house.
Love in the potter’s house.
There is salvation in the potter’s house.
There is healing in the potter’s house.
There is deliverance in the potter’s house.
You’ll find everything you need in the potter’s house.

Ending:
The potter wants to put you back together again,
oh, the potter wants to put you back together again.

I went to church today and even got there a little earlier than I have in the past and I realized that when I’m struggling and depressed, for some reason the last thing I ever think of is turning to prayer to help “put me back together again.” I have my little prayers throughout the day or if I’m ever contemplating that one day, I’m going to die and transform into another state of energy and existence, but when I’m in most need of real, focused prayer, my mind is on everything else. I can never sit down and really think things through and have a full “conversation” with God to guide me through the frustration.

However, this is really just a personality flaw in that I hate asking for help…from anyone and this is the reason why it is important that I always attend church and make Sundays a day of rest. It’s only by going to “the potter’s house” that I feel complete again and can see everyone of my struggles and troubles in the proper light. I’m not sensible enough to pray the way I need to when I need to, so I need to go somewhere specific to forcibly give my thoughts the clarity needed to make strong decisions and still remain a child of God.

My struggles with first-job: totally insignificant. My priorities true priorities have not changed since before my career began to make these upward strides and I know I can’t allow first-job to deter me from them. I need to get back into the Word and read like I want to learn again and I need to shift my focus on being the writer I want to be. I’ve got too many distractions swimming around me and as hard as it is to say it, I’ve got too many “worldly” people in who I turn to instead of turning to prayer.

I wrote 305 words today (last words:then it’s one less thing you have to worry about) and every one of them was made only by the grace of God. I need to remember this every time I write and I need to renew my focus on not just getting through this era of my life as I march onward to my life goals, but to march onward as a Christian. So, I’m going to take the fragments of my broken life and hand them to the Potter because only He can put me back together again and make me Dorienne I’m meant to be.

1 comment » | Jesus, On Me, Writing

In vain

February 28th, 2011 — 2:29am

Pasted from my wordpress.com (since I’m not talented enough to create for two blogs right now):

One of the more fascinating things about writing a novel is crafting the personalities and voices of the many characters that appear on the page. What I find simultaneously enjoyable and frustrating is the physical act of creating dialogue that I could never even imagine myself saying.

In Damen, this comes about most often while writing Corey. Corey is crass, blunt and curses like the proverbial sailor, yet when I write dialogue, I often need to whisper the words back to myself to make sure they make sense, and when a character is so unlike myself that it’s rather sickening, I feel dirty even writing what he would say. That is to say, I used to feel dirty when writing Corey’s dialogue. I’ve now grown accustomed to it and can easily separate my own voice from Corey’s. Damen, however, is far different.

To make him a character all on his own, I gave him “life” by giving him small pieces of my own personality. Since Damen is not an autobiography, however, he is a completely different person with a voice and history all his own. I go to church often (not as often as I could and should, but we’re all Christ’s works-in-progress) and I try to thank God for all His gifts every day of my life. Damen, on the other hand, rests somewhere on the line between agnostic and plain atheist. So much has happened in his life that make him doubt that a creator could have any hand in the machinations of his world and the fact that he has had none of the religious reinforcement that many others his age would experience, has tainted him even further against God and all religion. And so, he when he swears (and when he’s still reeling in Corey’s influence, it’s very often), Damen will often use the Lord’s name in vain.

My mind and heart make great conflict over this. The mind says that words on a page are simply that and as long as I don’t go around screaming “Godd***t!” all the time, I remain clean. On the other hand, the heart that helped me walk out into the church aisle years ago, crying as I went to the altar to join the church, knows that it is wrong to use the Lord’s name in vain in any context. If I’m writing it, I’m saying it, even if I do skip over those words and phrases as I whisper dialogue back to myself and thus the battle continues.

This reminds of when my 16 century Brit-Lit class was studying “Faustus” and the effect of being an actor in the play during a time when folks were far more religious than they are now. The actor playing the titular character would have to call upon the devil to make Mephistophilis appear and whether one is acting or not, there is still that innate worry of “calling upon the devil.” While I have stopped blatantly swearing and using God’s name in vain years ago, the mere acting of writing such dialogue is difficult to the point that I go through four or five waves of typing and backspacing as I decide whether or not to have Damen think “Jesus Christ!” in a moment where he is clearly not praying. Even typing that last sentence used to get across my point gave me pause.

I can’t say that I’m completely indoctrinated as I have only come to the church in the last five years and had written off myself as an agnostic prior to that, but I must say, each time I’ve got a choice between staying true to my character and saying what I know to be wrong to say, I struggle…a lot.

I wrote 626 words tonight (his first extracurricular conversation about a novel since his father had passed) and when a moment called for Damen using God’s name in vain, somehow my heart took control and I’m glad I found a better way to say I wanted. That said, I’ve still a lot of Damen’s character to unleash and eventually, I’ll be pressed with the same battle again.

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A new year

January 1st, 2011 — 11:59pm

Pasted from my wordpress.com:

I made it to see another year! Go me!

I was just going to post something to have something entered, but then I thought, “Dorienne…you know you need to write something today.” so I did. I got through exactly 1200 words and decided to break my mid-point in Chapter 7 into Chapter 8 after all, especially how I ended the previous part. It just read like the end of a chapter.

I wasn’t able to finish the laundry or about half of the full cleaning that I wanted before I left for Watch Night service last night, but I at least got the laundry sorted and the house straightened to the point that it feels clean, even though there’s a ton of dusting, etc. that needs to be done. I would have done some work today, but after trying to fight the headache, shakes, slight hallucinations and nausea that come with trying to detox from caffeine, I pretty much got nothing accomplished except for my 1200 words. I also played Kinect last night with my little cousins and, given that I hadn’t done any real exercise in close to two months, every single muscle in my body is screaming. It took me half the day to figure out if the pain was just from running around the house or if it was a new piece of the caffeine withdrawal, but when I remember all the running and jumping I did with the Kinect, I got completely psyched to get mine on Monday.

The interesting thing about writing is how difficult it is to get started when I haven’t written in a while, which explains so many of my lulls in 2010. I only went about 3 1/2 days without writing and I had to listen to only instrumental music to help my mind focus before I was able to construct a sentence. Previously, I’d go three or four weeks without writing anything and would then be surprised that I couldn’t get motivated to write anything worthwhile. I suppose one of my main lessons of 2010 was that I have to write every day. Even if it’s just a quick 200-word blurb, I have to get those juices flowing.

Well, it’s a new year and a new opportunity to get things done. In 2011, my goals are God and writing. If I can keep those things in focus, I’ll do just fine.

A PS to myself: I’ve got waaay too many drafts sitting on this blog. 2011 will see far more posting at this blog. 🙂

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Why is there suffering?

October 29th, 2010 — 1:54pm

Everyday I get up and read about some new catastrophe that has befallen the world. Cholera, tsunamis, murder, rape, war…It gets to the point where I become apathetic about it. With all the evil that exists in this world, people (mostly Christians) get asked where God is amongst all this tragedy. A question long asked of me by agnostics and atheists is, if God is loving, merciful and just, why is there so much pain and suffering in the world?

I return this with a separate question: Where in the bible do you read that this world would not have suffering or pain?

God is merciful and loving, but He is also just.

This world is full of evil things and sinful people; as people are on the whole evil (think of what you would do if you knew you would never get caught and never had to deal with any comeuppance).

Since this world is evil and sinful, there will be pestilence and pain, suffering, heartache, rain. The strong will prey upon the weak and the rich ignore the poor. The unsaved will gallivant around in Porsche’s and limousines while the saved watch their children die because they cannot afford the health care needed to give them a simple shot. That is the nature of this world because this world is filled with sin.

So, if one were to look only about this Earth and try to find God’s goodness and greatness and mercy, one would be sorely displeased. That is not to say there is not grace and beauty in this world, but it is often overshadowed by the dark, dark sin.

God’s mercy and love, does not come from Earthly goods and desires. You are thinking and speaking of a being that exists outside the confines of space, time, matter and energy. How can you equate all of His wonder to that which you can see and touch? God’s mercy and love comes from the fact that, though we are sinful and evil creatures amongst whom even the holiest of holy are conceived in sin and bear the sins of Adam, God still loves us enough to allow us to come home into his heaven.

He loves us enough to allow His Son to bear the penalty of our sins (which is death), and allow us to be at peace. What we deserve is eternal damnation, but we have the opportunity to receive life everlasting.

He is merciful enough to leave us with a Comforter on this Earth. As we walk about and live in this sinful world, the catastrophes and the discord can leave us weak and weary and unwilling to go forward, but…

God leaves us with the Comforter, who gives us strength and keeps us calm throughout the stormy sins of ourselves and our brethren.

God is just. The sinful can and will flourish on this Earth, but everyone dies and at death begins the judgment. “For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

God is!

God is loving, merciful and just in more ways than we deserve…He simply is.

This is not to say that when you see catastrophe in the world that you should turn a blind eye and say everything will be sorted in the next life. Good people should still seek to do all the good they can do in the world. My point is that God’s existence should not be questioned simply because bad things happen in this world.

When you look at the blessings of the beautiful things that thrive despite the evil of this world: children laughing, dawn, births and weddings, smiles and hugs and love, you can find it fascinating that anyone could doubt that God not only exists, but that He touches each of our lives, regardless if we heed His word.

Fun reading: http://www.old-wizard.com/ten-dumb-things-people-say-about-religion

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Dorienne, age 26

September 15th, 2010 — 8:59am

Throughout most of 2009, I ran around in a frantic tizzy about getting old and turning 25. There were so many things I desired to do before getting “old” and, yet, it was happening nonetheless. Despite all the planning and scurrying, I managed to accomplish very little by my actual birthday and started to get depressed because of it.

For most of this year, I feel as if I have wandered around in a fog, reacting to life instead of progressively taking hold of it.

As this September brought another time of deep reflection, I began to once more grow sullen about what I presumed to be my lack of accomplishment throughout age 25, but in my hours of reflection, a thought occurred to me.

Instead of age 26 being another year of prospective failure, this past year has been the year when my career (backup as it is) has really taken the strides it should be taking.

Age 26 also marks 5 five years since I was saved.

Though I was baptized at age 7, I wasn’t really saved until I was 21, on the floor of my apartment, on my knees praying for Christ’s blessings and all that He could do for me. It was in that dark hour that I found Christ and that was five years ago.

So, instead of being upset about what I didn’t get accomplished, I will go into this time of reflection remembering how far I’ve come. I am not the person I was five years ago and I do not want to be that person again. I am stronger from what Jesus has sent my way and I know that ages 26-30 will bring more challenges to make me even stronger in Christ.

🙂

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I feel blessed

July 28th, 2010 — 10:14pm

I got promoted again today…that’s not why I feel blessed though.

Nine months ago, I found myself wallowing in a depression, the likes of which I had not experienced since before I was saved. In the passing weeks and months, He has blessed me time and time again, but…

I always found myself thinking back to that dark point in my life when I thought nothing would ever go right again and I thought I would simply sink lower and lower until the darkness consumed me. I often wondered why I had to go through all of that, why it had to be me, why I had to be brought so low before I was able to feel so high and, until recently, I had passed it off with the easy reason of knowing that one has to go down before going up, even though I never fully understood it. Today, however, it occurred to me why I had to go through my trial and why I will continue to go through trials as I travel through life.

To go through something is always worth telling or sympathizing, but to go through something, only to come out on top afterward is a testimony and this is what He wants. Not just someone to say, I’ve lived through X and survived, but a true light to the world who can I say I lived through X and triumphed!

Today, I was able to testify to someone, albeit in a more secular fashion than I would have preferred, and it was not until afterward that it occurred to me why I was made to suffer. Without my suffering, my doubt, my pain, I would have had nothing to tell this someone who so clearly was searching for guidance. With no hardship of my own, my advice would have been a lecture, not a testimony.

At nearly 26 years old, I have had a blessed life. I can’t remember ever going hungry a day in my life and, even though my mother tells me we were poor when I was a small child, I never once felt it. As yet, I have yet to miss a rent payment, even though I had gone four months without a job and, while my debt to income ratio is not where I would like it to be, I at least know it exists and can still make plans for the future without worrying about a seven-year black mark on name. I am an American who was raised during the 90s, who never saw life on welfare or drugs in my home or wanton acts by parental figures in my presence; I’ve lived a charmed life.

When I became saved, the first thing I wanted to do was bring someone else to Christ, anyone! But, few willing participants could be found. I won’t go so far as to say that I saved anyone today, but I love simply realizing why Jesus pushes us through trials and uncertainty: so that we can be lights to others wandering in the darkness.

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Well played, Old Man

July 19th, 2009 — 7:38pm

I didn’t make it to church today.

This time last year, such a statement would have initiated a barrage of texts, e-mails and phone calls regarding my whereabouts that I would have felt it necessary to release a public statement to let my family know that I was okay. Nowadays, however, things are different. No one calls because it’s not such a rare occurrence any longer.

I’ve been telling myself for months, “I’m not losing my faith. I’m just going through some things right now.” What these “things” are, I don’t know and, as much as I pray about it, these “things” aren’t revealing themselves to me. All I do know is that has been getting easier and easier to skip that which held such an importance to me less than eight months ago and, when I woke up this morning, I had wondered if it was even “necessary” to go to church again. We’ve had another death in our family and, today especially, I just didn’t see the point in going to church.

Some time in 2008, I’d made a “deal” of sorts with God after losing Edrith and also MawMaw in such quick succession; I just didn’t want to go to anymore funerals until I turned 25. This entire time, I’ve known that I can’t actually deal with God, since I’ve got nothing of any real value to offer except my submission, which I should be giving anyway, but I’d made my deal last year, praying that I could just live life for two years without going to yet another funeral; saying goodbye to yet another person. I’ve experienced loss in the past two years, but I hadn’t needed to attend any homegoings. My birthday is not until the end of September and yet, here I am.

When I’d heard what had happened, I immediately thought of my deal and prayed for a very long time about what I’d done so wrong that I couldn’t have until at least my 25th birthday without having to deal with another loss. It wasn’t until this morning, however, that it occurred to me (really occurred to me) that there never was any “deal.” People come and people go as He sees fit and He had seen to it that I had the time I needed to grow up a little more before having to deal with it once again. But, what truly got to me this morning was the growing depression and thoughts that “none of this mattered,” that eventually I’d lose everyone I loved and no amount of church was going to change the inevitable. And, that’s when I started to cry.

I’ve always classified tears into three categories: “small tears” that occur when I shed a few over the birth of a child or when friends marry, “pain tears” that occur when I’m in such physical pain that there doesn’t seem to be anything else I can do, and then there are “real tears” that follow overwhelming depression and sadness. My tears this morning fell into that latter group and it angered me because I hate when I cry “real tears.” Joy or pain can be expressed, but mourning depression is something that I try to hold in as much as possible out of sheer frustration that I can be reduced to tears over something that simply encompasses my own thoughts bouncing against one another until I hit a low and I cannot pull myself out of it.

So, this morning, I lay in my bed, crying these real tears and thinking aloud that there really wasn’t a point to any of “it” anymore and I had no reason to even give “it” anymore thought because God hadn’t cared about my deal and He wasn’t answering me in the time that I wanted Him to answer and, even if He did speak to me, I knew I wasn’t going to like the answer. I must say, looking back hours later, it was very dark moment for me; one I used to experience all the time before I had first come to the church and had hoped I would never see again.

As complete frustration over these nonsensical real tears willed me to stop crying altogether, I lay there half-listening to a CD I’d made a couple weeks ago and wondered if I’d ever feel like myself ever again after recognizing that God doesn’t make “deals” with people. And, that was when the sappiest of songs started to echo through my boombox…

Now, I’ve been listening to Michael Jackson songs non-stop for the past three weeks and I know that’s a subject worth prayer in itself, but for this song to come on when it did… I felt a smile pull at my lips and I had to shake my head at the simultaneous “on-timeness” of God and simple coincidence. MJ’s “Keep the Faith” had come up on the CD.

Again, I’d been listening to MJ songs for close to a month straight and I’d probably played that song twenty times since I’d dug out my Dangerous album, but…when I lay wondering what the point of all of “it” was, when I lay thinking that no path I could take was ever going to bring me fully into Christ’s light, when I lay crying about God not answering my questions, the title of the song spoke to me: Keep the Faith. It sounds almost laughable when I write it because it’s not even a Christian song, but simply hearing the beginning of it and remembering the title right when I did felt like something only He could do for me in a moment so dire.

And so, in hearing this song that had both saccharine sappiness and inspiration weaved within it, I let out a laugh and rose from my bed thinking, “Well played, Old Man.”

I didn’t make it to church today, but I have this renewed vigor in my approach towards it, nevertheless. I began studying my Sunday School lesson for next week tonight, a feat I hadn’t accomplished since I started teaching again and, regardless of the fact that I know I’ve got greater and more painful losses coming my way in the upcoming years, I feel strong. The logical side of my mind is saying, “Dorienne, it was just a coincidence. The song comes on after ‘Give Into Me’ on your ‘MJ-Sleep’ CD. It’s just a coincidence.” but whenever I think of coincidences in relation to religious matters, I consider my favorite The X-Files quote coming from Mulder: “If coincidences are just coincidences, why do they feel so contrived?”

I was in a very, very low place this morning and God spoke to me in a manner, in a way that only He could and He told me, quite clearly, that even though the road ahead looks rough, I need to keep the faith. I can only chuckle to myself when I think about it. Well played, Old Man…

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A three-year accomplishment

May 14th, 2009 — 10:27am

Today marks three years since I joined my church!

I sometimes mention this to some people and they either don’t care or just don’t find it terribly significant. For me, however, May 14th is like a birthday.

Three years ago, on a Mother’s Day Sunday, I decided to come to church with my mother because it seemed like the right thing to do; a gift, of sorts, for Mother’s Day. I had already been coming semi-regularly (because Christ always changes you before you realize it) and each Sunday I faced this inner battle when the pastor was inviting us to join the church. Part of it was my stubbornness saying, “No one is going to tell ME what to do.” Yet, another part, sounding far meeker and calmer, simply asked, “Why not?” It would feel like a burn in my stomach each time and the previous Sunday, it seemed like I had to grab hold of one of the chairs to keep from stepping out into the aisle and giving my life to Christ.

On May 14th, 2006, I didn’t have a response to the “Why not?” and so, I stepped out in the aisle and made my way to the front of the church, ready for a change in my life. I remember quite clearly Pastor saying, “I’ve been waiting for you, my sister.” as I approached and, as I sat down in the front row, I tried so hard not to cry. It wasn’t until I really “let go” that the tears started to come, not unlike they are now as I recall this event and, when I looked back into the congregation and saw my mother nearly sobbing over the fact that I had joined the church on my own free will, I really started to cry.

I can’t say that I changed from all my “evil” ways right there and then, but something was different in me from that day forward. Just reading back through the past entries of this blog can show anyone the difference in the person I was before and after May 14, 2006. Before I had joined the church, my friends and I would laugh at how ignorant all religious people were and how silly they all were to give 10% of their money to their churches and spend half their Sundays listening to “some sermon” every week. Before I had joined the church, Sundays were best spent lounging around, doing nothing and recovering from whatever I had poured down my throat the previous night. Before I had joined my church, Lincoln Park, the last time I had actively pursued a church, I left at the end of their service saying, “I don’t think I’m a Christian anymore.” Before I had joined the church, I was a floundering mess with no direction, no drive and, as sanctimonious and almost trite as it might sound, no future.

Like I said, the total change in myself didn’t come overnight. I still slipped up, but I was very aware of my slip-ups and desired to do more with my life instead. What stands out most to me, however, is what happened not even a full week after I had joined. My roommates were throwing a party that upcoming Saturday and, as I had an exam, for which I had not even cracked open a book, I told them that I would just go home to my parents’ house that Saturday so I could study and then get up for church the next morning. I remember quite clearly one of my friends looking at me quizzically and saying, “Well…you can miss one Sunday, can’t you?” Now, the friend who said this to me is not “evil” or someone who was trying to cause my downfall in any way, shape or form. In fact, we are still, in some sense, friends today, but the question she posed seemed simple and obvious. And, I had actually thought about it for a minute and let the words swirl in my head as I struggled with an answer. You can miss once. It’s just once.

The problem was it would not have been “just once.” Just once would have signified that the commitment I desired to make on May 14th meant nothing, that joining the church was no different than saying that I was going to go to the gym every day or put in three hours of studying every night or write more or call my relatives or try to reach out to old friends…when I never did. “Just once” was not just once. It was everything my life had been up to that point and I knew that if I was going to make a commitment to Christ, I did not want to face this particular “just once” on my judgment day. So, I told my friend that I really had to study (which I didn’t really do when I got home) and I didn’t want to be a downer for their party. They had their party and I went to church that Sunday and have felt like I was at least walking towards the path God had lain out for me ever since.

In many ways, May 14th really is like another birthday. I sometimes detest the term “born again” because I had known so many people who were “born again” and were the most mean-spirited, antagonistic and amoral people I had ever witnessed, but sometimes the term is fitting. On May 14th, I was born again in Christ. While I know I will still have struggles and countless slip-ups between now and the time my journey is over, my goal in this life is to never need to be “born again” again. My goal is to just stay on the path and to let May 14th be the only “born again” day I’ll ever need.

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Saved from my own harm

April 26th, 2009 — 8:40am

I experienced an incident yesterday that happened several months earlier in a similar fashion and, once again, found myself…for lack of a better word: pleased to find that Christ had delivered me from myself yet again.

I have a way of getting ahead of myself, allowing my emotions to take control of my tongue (or in this case, my typing fingers) to the point that I can no longer muster the common sense needed to interact with the rest of the world. To put it simply, when I hear or read something I don’t like, I sometimes respond before taking stock of what I’m saying and what the ramifications of saying could be.

Several months ago, I found myself in a situation where I thought I could not handle the people around me and was just about to say something abrupt and simply mean before exiting the scene, but Christ stifled my voice for just long enough for the situation to work out by itself and leave me looking and feeling like the person I’ve always been rather than the mean and embittered person who tries to come out every now and again. Yesterday, I once again was saved from myself.

Sarcasm is my preferred mode of interacting with others; people always seem to remember the witty, sarcastic girl they had met the previous day. While this can have it’s ups and downs, I know I can definitely “dish out” much more than I can take in return. When I allowed a series of witty snips to really get to me, instead of relying on my own sarcastic quips to take away the minor hurt, I prepared to retort with something that was downright arrogant and mean. In other words, I was prepared to be completely unlike myself in a minute of subdued rage over being incapable of bringing a “comeback” soon enough. The amazing thing is, I actually completed my rant and forwarded it for my quarry to see. It was only after the fact, when I didn’t receive an immediate response, that I took the time to re-read what I had written and realized that what I said could have been the very thing that ruined my friendship with this person. But, then God stepped in for me. 🙂

Even though I’d sent my message, it wasn’t read; we sarcastic run in the same circles and my recipient didn’t wait for a response, and so, my mean epithets were never even seen. The words I’d said were harsh and rude and make me feel ashamed, but it’s moments like these that help me realize that I have to work hard to keep that mean, embittered person from taking over my life again.

Christ has always shielded me, to the point of almost spoiling me. He spoils me with the people around me and He spoils me with gifts as well. I just find it rather amusing that God can find a moment out of infinite time to step in and save myself from augmenting or harming the blessings that lie in wait for me.

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