Friday, December 14, 2012

Faith, Skeptics and Baptisms

I really need to start making notes of my thoughts when I get them. For two weeks now I've put off writing this post and as a result, I've forgotten almost everything I wanted to say. I don't even know why I've tried to avoid it. Afraid to be transparent maybe?

Ah, there it is again...vulnerability... When will there be a crack in this wall?

The last few weeks have been eventful. With the Thanksgiving holiday behind us and Christmas right around the corner, lots of groups are doing end of semester meetings and parties. I'm so behind on posting pictures and writing about our homeschooling because of it, but I suppose this is a part of schooling. Anyhoo...lets get on with some stuff...

For months now, my husband had been talking about being water baptized. When he got word that another baptismal Sunday was coming up, he made plans to finally take the plunge (couldn't resist the cliche, sorry). I couldn't be more proud of him for being bold enough to take this step in his walk with the Lord. It took some courage but he wanted to follow the Lord's command and be an example to our boys and his nephew. I, of course, was there with my camera and our oldest took video with my phone. His spirit seemed to be refreshed and he had a new fervor about his faith.

The baptism was part of our church's "Cultivate" series of classes. The first lesson is on salvation, the second on water baptism and deliverance, and the third on Holy Spirit baptism. I'm not sure what the other classes are or if there even are any. Neither of us made the first class and to get my husband's baptism certificate, he had to return for the following Sunday night class.

That next weekend the boys and I made a trip to my parents' house. I had booked a few clients for Saturday to do some Christmas Mini Sessions. (And let me take the time to thank EACH and every one of you who came out - if you ever happen to grace my pages with your presence! You are so very much appreciated - my readers too. Another post on that will follow). Since I wasn't there on Sunday night, I wasn't sure if my husband would return to church to pick up his certificate and continue with the Sunday night classes. In fact, Saturday night we had a pretty heated argument over the phone which I even recognized as Satan's scheme to try to kill, steal or destroy what God is doing in my husband and our family.

But he did!

He later told me that he picked up his nephew and went to church for a free meal. Knowing the lesson was on the baptism of the Holy Spirit, I thought to myself, "I bet he gets filled tonight" and even anticipated a phone call from him confirming that. Sure enough, I get a phone call later that night, my husband on the other line crying and repeating Jesus over and over. At first I felt akward, but then I felt jealous, almost angry.

For a moment, try to understand these seemingly ridiculous emotions as i play out my thought process that night. I didnt like how I felt about it. I asked myself embarrassingly "why was it that I have such a hard time with this?" But I was in fact jealous. I wanted what he had just experienced. I've sought God and asked for more of Him. Do I not seek hard enough? Why can't I just ask to be baptised in the Holy Spirit and it just HAPPEN? Isn't that what's supposed to happen in theory? Do I have the wrong motives? I don't want power or supernatural gifts of the Spirit. I don't want excited emotion. I just want more of Jesus and to be bold enough again to spread the gospel. A wreckless faith. Passion.

I wrestled with these thoughts and relived all the times I've asked for prayer for this baptism of fire. And all the times nothing "happened." I relived my own salvation experience, one that didn't take place in a church with a set time and method for redemption. Why do I always get hungup on the method? It's the same scenario over and over. And when it comes to "proof" by speaking in tongues, it's lost. I don't trust myself to open my mouth and "say" whatever I might be supposed to say. What if its just me making up nonsense? Counterfeit gifts of the Spirit is not something I want to operate in.

Then it dawns on me, it sounds like I am quite the skeptic. Skeptics don't operate in faith. Skeptics want hard evidence. I want things to make sense. But faith doesn't need proof.

Where is my faith?! Do I really have ANY?!

I spend so much time doubtful, worried, negative, afraid of disappointment because when I'm disappointed, I'm devastated. Ironically enough, when I got back home my husband and I watched Sunday morning's church service which was on "Faith Killers," and our pastor mentioned some of those exact things.

Maybe it was so easy for my husband because he wasn't needing things to make sense. Maybe he didn't need all the pieces to fit together the way I need things to before I put my faith in it. God I know the scripture, "without faith it is impossible to please God" and that "all things are possible to him that believes." Lord please...I do believe but help my unbelief!!

Would you guys pray for me to receive this baptism?

Below is the video of last Sundays message. I pray God grows our faith.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Still Here! And a Prayer Request.

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27 NKJV)

I know I don't have an extensive amount of followers/readers, but for those of you that do stop by here, I apologize for the lack of posts. Since we started officially homeschooling this year my time has filled up pretty quickly. Especially now that Thanksgiving has come and gone and Christmas is steadily approaching. We've been busy almost every day and although I've meant to post on a million different things (okay, maybe I'm exaggerating) and share a bunch of photos, I have not found the time.

Until now...

I hate to sound so somber and I feel like I have been lately, maybe just introspective, but I just got some news about my dear neighbor who lives across the street from us. My next door neighbor sent me a Facebook message tonight (let me refrain from going off about how smartphones and social media have nearly killed off all trace of carrying on a face to face conversation these days) telling me that our neighbor across from us has to have her leg amputated. She's been having some difficulty with a foot wound that wouldn't heal and for the past 6-9 months she has been going back and forth to numerous doctors. When she went in for a regular checkup, she found out that she has some kind of bone disease that could be deadly if they don't amputate.

Now I can't imagine the horror you might feel from hearing this kind of news. But imagine having to go through this kind of surgery in your late 80's!! Now imagine that a few weeks ago, the Lord laid it on your heart to pray specifically for this ladies foot but because of your own insecurities and fear or maybe even lack of faith, you didn't.

This, is what has me laid awake tonight.

What if I prayed? What if? Would she be in this situation?

Not in any way do I think that God would throw away this woman's healing because of my lack of obedience; but what if I was His means of giving that gift to her? Whether or not that's true, all I can say is "Father forgive me. I'm so sorry."

My pastor spoke last Sunday on our faith being stretched. I swore I would never go to the church I attend now because of its enormous size, but I am so thankful to be there. Being vulnerable, praying for others, singing in front of a church (have I ever mentioned that story), and tonight, after learning of our neighbors predicament, we see on the 10 o'clock news that one of my husbands jobs could possibly close it's doors; God is definitely stretching my faith. After 6 years of feeling dry and aimless in my walk with the Lord it's both terrifying and refreshing.

I sometimes feel like I'm watching the world around me speed along a countdown to self destruction. It's frightening. And at 32 years old I feel like I've wasted so many years hiding behind a lot of walls. Some of them have been there for so long that I don't even recognize them as a barrier.

It's time to move forward.

I don't want to miss another opportunity to offer someone what Jesus can give them because I might feel uncomfortable. I should be willing to sacrifice my comfort for His Kingdom.

Please pray for my neighbor, Ms. Dean. Pray for her healing and for her to come out of this surgery 110% better than when she went in. Pray that God gives her more years to spend with her family and that she can make the transition from having two legs to only having one.

And that I can learn to be selfless and willing and available to those around me from now on.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone