I don’t know if you have ever started out with one plan, intention, or destination, and then found yourself someplace totally different, someplace you could never have imagined you be? Well, that is what happened to me. The place I am currently at is not the place I imagined myself being years ago. In fact, I originally would have thought that a person who is where I am is crazy. But I want you to know that that I am not crazy. Really. At least, I don’t think so.
Before I tell you where I am at and where I MIGHT be headed, I think I ought to tell you a little of where I have been. This presents a difficulty because I don’t want to end up writing a book, and yet you can’t understand who and where I am today, or what I am writing about, without the context of the past. Experiences and choices (both mine and other’s) have shaped me. What do I leave out? Do I write chronologically or topically? Hmmmm. I think I’ll write some of the defining moments of my life–the moments, not always recognized at the time, that have changed the course of my life. Just realize that there is a LOT left out. I’m sure that some of the details will be eventually filled in as I write this blog.
Truth: From the time I was a child, I prayed that God would teach me me the truth–the truth about Him, the truth about myself, and the truth about life. I have longed for, thirsted for, hungered for, and pursued truth. I have been willing to let go of pet beliefs if God showed me that it was wrong. I think this prayer and pursue of truth has absolutely shaped the course of my life.
The Choice: When I was in my mid-twenties, my life seemed to be going nowhere and I felt very discouraged. I was driving home from work on day, talking to God, when everything faded away, and I “saw” Jesus standing before. He gave me a choice of either (1) having “all my dreams come true” and a shallow relationship with Him, or (2) letting Him direct my life. I’d know suffering, but I’d also know Him deeply. After thinking it through for several days, I decided that “all my dreams come true” would be nightmares if God wasn’t in my life, so I chose Him. For years I wondered if this “vision” had been merely my imagination or had really happened–because I grew up in a church that taught that God no longer speaks in visions and dreams. I think it happened–but whether it did or not doesn’t matter. We pursue what is most important to us. If I had chosen my “dreams” at the expense of my relationship with Christ, I would have pursued that as my goal. If I chose Christ at the expense of my dreams, then I’d pursue Him wherever He led, no matter what the cost. I have never forgotten this Choice, and when confronted with the choice of pursuing dreams or Christ, I have chosen Christ.
Family: I grew up as the fifth of six kids. I deeply loved my family. I thought we were like the Waltons or something. In reality, my family had serious dysfunctions. My mother was manipulative and deceptive, had favorites, and rejected those kids who did not comply. I was a “second” favorite until I got engaged and married in my late 20s to a sweet, loving man who loves me and God. Because my Mom couldn’t/wouldn’t let me go, our relationship fell apart. She turned most of my family against me. I have tried for more than 20 years to reconcile with her without giving her complete control over my life; however, she will never believe I love her and will never forgive me for choosing my husband over submission to her. This is not what I wanted or expected, and it has caused me a lot of heartbreak, but it also has taught me a lot about dysfunctions, forgiveness, reconciliation, love, humility, freedom, choices, boundaries, faith…and a lot of other things.
Church: I started going to country church when I was 2 years old, when a dear elderly neighbor lady–a widow–invited me to church. To make it easier on us all, I spent every Saturday night with her and all day Sunday. A few years later my younger sister did the same. We stayed with Mrs. King every weekend throughout my childhood until Mrs. King died during my senior year of high school. I was “officially” saved when I was about 8, but I don’t remember a time when I did not love Jesus and want to serve Him with all my heart. I expected that I would spend my life in the church, but life didn’t turn out as I expected. Long story short, the last church my husband, son, and I caused me to struggle, pray and seek to understand what the Biblical role of pastors/leaders are in the church, what “church” means, what “church ministry” really is, what the Bible teaches about women, and what true Biblical submission to authority is. This experience was difficult and painful, but it has absolutely taken me on an unexpected road, and I will probably write about some of these things in the future.
Hebrew Roots: Several years ago, I was reading Brock and Bodie Thoene’s historical fiction series about the life of Christ. They included the meaning of Hebrew words in their books. Their description of the deep meaning of the Hebrew words sounded so unlikely that I thought they had to be making it all up. It awoke in me a desire to see if what they were writing was true, and to learn the Hebrew language for myself. I also realized that there is a lot of the Bible that I didn’t understand because I didn’t understand it’s Jewish context. One day I said to my husband, “I want to learn Hebrew.” He said we had a book about Yiddish in our library, but I said I want to learn HEBREW, not Yiddish. When I went to the computer after he left for work, I saw that he had left a Wikipedia article about Yiddish on the computer for me. I mumbled, “I don’t WANT to learn Yiddish. I want to learn HEBREW–I want to learn Hebrew for Christians. Then my eye fell on a link to a website called–would you believe it?– hebrew4christians.com!!! The website has been an absolute blessing to us, not only teaching us the Hebrew language, but also the Hebrew/Jewish customs, background, history, and understanding of Scripture. We have learned an incredible amount of truth. Our understanding of Scripture has deepened and I am filled with . increasing awe at the breathtaking depth and beauty of the Bible. Scriptures that made no sense to me before are now clear. This has completely changed my life.
There are more defining moments in my life, but these will suffice for now.