Then He turns me around and says: “Look.”
I feel like lately I’ve been accumulating scars. Whether they have been emotional, physical, or spiritual, they are still scars. I realize these scars have been left on me, maybe even strategically placed all throughout my life. However, I’ve started thinking how unique they are. Each scar represents a time where I opened up a little more than I had planned. I mean, think about it… A physical scar is a place where your body has healed after being open up in a way that it is not accustom to. Something has dug its way deeper than anything ever had before. With that being said, when we have scars that are emotional or spiritual, doesn’t that represent the times we have been opened up a little deeper than usual? Scars are not always fun. And most of the time, the way we get a scar hurts. Later on, once the scar has had a chance to heal, isn’t that part of the skin stronger? Those scars, though they be sensitive, are stronger than they once were. Maybe the whole scar thing isn’t such a terrible thing after all.
Warning: this is the basics of my spiritual journey. I’m being completely honest, and in that, some content might seem harsh or blunt. Please, don’t mistake any of this to be a way of me condemning anyone’s practices. I have no right condemning anyone when I deserve to be condemned for all of my mistakes. This is just my story; I know that God is big enough that He can somehow use a crazy story like mine to reach out to someone to help them along in their journey.
I was raised in church; dedicated to the Lord in a white gown before I could even speak my first word. I was baptized at the age of 8 and received the infilling of the Holy Spirit at age of 11. Before I go into this let me say that while growing up I clung to rules; rules are one of the easiest ways to live life. With rules you don’t have to think, you simply follow the rules of those that you are around and it makes everyone around you happy. I clung to the rules that were mentioned with a fierce loyalty and thought that my way of life was the only right one. With all of that said, let me continue… I was raised in a conservative holiness church. Honestly, even though I know of many who have, I cannot think of one time that I was personally told “Do this, or spend eternity in a fiery pit.” However, there was a recommended way to live and being the way I am, I took to those recommendations like my life depended on it. I wore the right outfits; I fixed my hair just so; I said the right words; I answered the right answers; I memorized all of the right verses; I attended church on a regular basis. I remember one pastor that I was under saying: “Please, don’t take my word for gospel. I’m showing to you the conclusions that I have come to. I ask you to read the Word for yourself, and pray. Find out what God wants you to do, don’t live like I say. Live like God tells you to.” So, I did just that, I read the Bible. I’d take notes during the sermons; I would study them out when I got home; pulling apart each and every verse, I prayed that somehow the answer would come to me. Yet, instead of reading the Scriptures for what they are, I twisted and mangled the words I read to prove my thoughts. I read the Bible looking for rules. It felt good to be able to quote a verse when someone asked me why I believe the way I do. I could stand a little straighter, knowing that surely God was pleased with me for knowing His will. Through high school, even though I had some hard times of rebellion I stuck to everything I had been taught. I held to those rules and recommendations like a life line. Sadly, I thought these made me better than everyone else. I thought my friends that called themselves Christian were hypocrites if they didn’t do the same things I did. Did I mention I was very close-minded? During my senior year, God started opening my eyes ever so slowly. If you would have told me in my senior year of high school, that come my senior year(s) of college I would think the way I do, I would have laughed it off, making some silly comment suggesting that I wouldn’t change. I’m so thankful that I have changed though. I’m learning God’s grace. He didn’t make all of the rules that humans have. He’s teaching me that He doesn’t have expectations like humans do. He isn’t disappointed when I make a mistake, He knows it’s coming in the first place. Does that mean He agrees with everything I do? NO way! But, it does mean that He loves me, and His love for me never ever changes. He is my Father, my best friend, the one I can dance with when everything is going great, and the one I can cuddle up and cry with when life has thrown me a couple of lemons. When you read my devotionals and different ideas, realize I’m human. God is still working on me. I won’t claim to have any answers except one: God. And even that answer isn’t one that I fully understand all the time. The reason for me writing my devotionals and opinions is not a claim to know everything. When I’m studying something, I am always looking for other’s ideas. I like to read how people have thought on certain scriptures. Please don’t take my opinions and quickly make them your own. Study with an open-mind and pray! And ALWAYS, always, always, TAKE YOUR TIME! Don’t take on an opinion that you can’t stand behind. Please don’t take on a lifestyle that is just another fad to make you feel like a “good” follower of Christ. None of it will fill that hole in your heart crying for help. Only the grace of God can do that. I pray that my journey can help you throughout your journey!