Sometimes I think I should rename my blog “Tales of an Organic Church Girl in an Unorganic World”. As I discover my new home and new life I am coming across so many different viewpoints, lifestyles, and Bible-belt Christians. I feel like the last few years of my life have reshaped me forever.
A few days ago a met a new friend who stopped by when I was visiting with a Sister in Christ. She was in an awful place, her husband just took a new job in a different city and she was alone most of the time. Wow, Lord, You brought this woman across my path. That is exactly how I felt before we moved here. I often wondered and for a long time complained about the hardship. I wanted God to give Chris a job in Gainesville or move us back to Jacksonville. I preferred G-ville, but was truly fine with either one. But nothing new ever happened. There were times I even begged him to quit his job, and later begged him to move us into the same city in which he worked, but in my husband’s wisdom he kept us in Gainesville.
What I see now is that I was meant to be brought to a place where I could trust the Lord, by trusting others. I had so much of my pain that I held on to so tightly that I needed to feel and release. And I couldn’t do it alone. Once I could trust Christ enough to tell the people I loved who I really was, and trust that the Lord would love me anyway, through His people, we were free to go. I felt like a burden was lifted off my shoulders when I shared my life and my past, out loud. It took almost two years to do that, then a wonderful opportunity presented itself where Chris and I could live and work in the same city and he could be home for dinner and we even get to live in a big house with a big yard. I had no idea all that needed to die within me before I could go on.
When I suffer, I share in His suffering. There is no pain or suffering in which the perfect Son of God did not feel Himself. Man, that Life and that glory that is revealed when He shines after the suffering is over is more than worth any amount of pain. Looking back, every fabric of my being was resurrected with Christ when He placed in me His living heart.
As I listened to my new friend cry, I felt like sharing Christ with her. The only thing is that sometimes what’s coming out is not what’s received and somehow in sharing that this hardship she’s in is going to bring forth more of Him, it was translated into… pray for more grace. I know that the Lord wastes nothing. And I know that I may have to just be quiet even when I want to share Christ sometimes because those who are being taught in the institution are in a radically different place. I know this because I have been in both places. In absolutely no way am I condemning anyone’s choice of worship and life with Christ, we are all Brothers and Sisters, I am only expressing that difference I am running into when meeting those who attend a Sunday service.
Later that day I happened to be in a conversation in which I had to let some painful comments slide off my back. No one here has known me long enough to know about my past. I was a heroin addict. I began at 14 and quit cold turkey at 21. I have never looked back. I am not in “recovery”, I am no longer that person. I have been given a new life in Christ and it’s because of those experiences that I met Jesus Christ and I am able to help others in the same situation by pointing them to Christ. On the east coast it’s no big thing to meet people who have had an addiction, especially in the northeast. When I was a teenager my friends were dropping like flies due to the unusually pure heroin being dumped onto the streets in Philly. Since then it’s been cleaned up, but there were a few years there when it was everywhere. It was easier to get than cigarettes as a 15 year old. I was so lost. It was no surprise that I fell for the lie that is heroin. She is a wicked beast to serve. In leaving that life behind, due to the love and support of my family and the time I was given to get to know my Lord, I am grateful for the brokenness, pain, and humbleness it brought. I was never able to become conceited because I knew where I came from and the gift I was given at 21. Christ is not ashamed of me and He was known through that experience. And because of that experience, one day I will have a Home where women came come and meet Him while they kick that old life to the curb. I guess I have been lucky that I’ve never been met with judgement in that area. Until now.
I listened to this person go on about how people that used to do drugs are this and that and how once they get clean they are undeserving of specific good things. It began to tear at my heart that a Christian would feel this way. I shared with my husband and even let some tears go because it hurts that there are still those in the world who don’t know the awesome power of Christ in that way. The very thing that led me to Him, the way in which He showed His mighty mercy and grace, and the avenue in which He entered my heart, was through the suffering of addiction. It hurt that anyone would judge and person who had been an addict so harshly. Other people were then judged and so I realized that it was just a negative situation altogether.
I was afraid. When we moved here I was afraid that I would lose the Christ that lived in me. I was afraid that I would forget Him and He would forget me. I was nervous that if I attended a Sunday service I would begin to see buildings as churches again and not the Body of Christ as a Bride made of His people. We are His Beloved and I don’t want to go to a building where He is welcomed, I have already been welcomed into Him and He already lives in me. What I am finding though is just the opposite. We are meeting those who have spent time out of the institution, but love the Lord and love His church. We are also faced, more often, with those who don’t. And it’s making the Christ inside me stronger. A Brother once referred to the internal Christ like a muscle. My muscle is being strengthened with the experiences I was so afraid would weaken it. Christ can always be counted on.
Thank you for reading my life today.
I enjoy writing it.