As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. -- Isaiah 55:10-11

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Through Shaded Glasses

Alright. I have to confess. As I write this, I am laughing.

I am back on my computer for the first time in a few hours, and I have read through the responses to "The Truth about Why." And I am laughing.

Wow. The responses run from people applauding my honesty, to folks who are thankful for someone who understands them, to others who have found hope in seeing that I have no given up, to folks who think I am writing from my pain to others' pain and think maybe it isn't constructive that way. By the way, this was the question I have been asking the Lord today. Is this useful? If so, I'll keep writing. If not, I need to close the laptop. It is a valid question.

Well, my responses are:
For those applauding my honesty, thank you. I appreciate your encouragement.
For those who are thankful for someone who understands, I understand that you don't need answers as much as a safe place. You are welcome here.
For those who have found hope, THAT is worth it all right there. Thank you.
As for writing from my pain to others' pain, yes, I do, but one simple question reverberates through me: "If you don't, who will?" These are people who keep quiet because they have been told what so many others have been told--"You need to get healed, then you can be useful."

My friend John only partially jokes when he asks how I am, and before I can answer, he says, "Remember, Jerri, you're fine, and if you aren't fine, you better get fine if you plan to come here because this is the church, and we don't want you ruining our fine-ness."

Yeah. Some took offense at that. Some totally understood what he meant. I'm obviously writing for the latter group. LOL

Am I writing out of my pain? Yes. I'm also writing about what is causing my pain, and that is something few folks talk about, especially Christians talking about the pain inflicted by the church. The fact is it far easier to simply walk out, let the gossip commence under the guise of well-meaning concerned souls, and never look back. If you think it is hard to look at a person and confront their painful behavior, try confronting the church sometime.

What seems to escape people is that God and I are sincerely fine, and Jesus had no problem confronting the religious leaders who were so busy living religiously that they forgot how to love righteously. People told Him to be quiet, too. In fact, it was suggested that He might be mentally or emotionally off and not exactly socially acceptable. He kept hanging out with the drunks and whores, and God was okay with it. In fact, Jesus said He only did what He saw the Father do. THAT is something to ponder. Think about that for a moment. God choosing the dregs of society--the obvious sinners--over the religious folks. God Himself hanging out with the folks most church goers try to avoid. Hmmm.....

Believe me. I have been pondering this. It is deep stuff.

I called a friend of mine one day and said, "Jesus said the drunks and prostitutes were going into heaven before the religious leaders. I like being at the front of the line. Just saying."

She paused for a moment and said, "Can I just suggest you give it 48 hours before implementing that plan?"

I told her not to worry. I hate the taste of liquor, so I would only be in the middle of the line anyway.

I'll give you a second to get it.....back with me now? At least those of you who were not wholly offended and just deleted me? :-)

I know. Some of y'all are thinking comments like that will keep me out of heaven altogether. If it makes you feel any better, no they won't. God has so many far bigger things to choose from that comments like that are like the teeny tiny fine print on the bottom of the contract's 81st page.

Believe it or not, I have a point. My point is this, people are going to see me through their filters. There are still people who read my blog who have read the good stuff about Christmas, which was obviously completely forgotten in the shadow of my last post, and still think we must just be putting on a brave front. I know because I get emails from them, and they are sweet, sincere emails. I think it is kind of those folks to pray for us and let us know they are praying for us and are concerned because you know what? Not many folks do that. Whether their perception is right or wrong, their hearts are in the right place, and Lord knows we need more of that in the world.

And, I know a few folks who ask how I am and if  I tell them I am struggling, they sort of lump that in the category of trying to figure out what to fix for supper. They have such an amazing view of me that they see this warrior who can take any giant that comes her way, and sometimes I wish they would see a kid in a big armor scared to death, but no. They see someone who can take anything that comes at her, and when I waiver, they are the first ones to say, "But, Jerri, we know who you are. You are..." It gets on my nerves sometimes, BUT when I get over my own want for someone to come to my rescue and getting annoyed because they aren't doing it, I am thankful...and humbled. Everyone should have fans like that.

Then there are the sweet folks who ride the roller coaster and see me with my hands up, screaming with excitement one minute and tossing my cookies the next. Somehow they handle it all. They handle the screaming, the crying, the explosive joy. They handle the questions, the anger, the doubts, and the hallelujahs. These people have got to be hand-picked by God for my life right now, and thank the Lord in Heaven they are. I couldn't do this journey without them. I don't think I would want to walk out my front door without them. These amazing people see this gifted writer who has a voice and who makes a difference, and of course, I'm supposed to write a book about this, and of course, it is going to change lives, and of course, I need to be writing in the midst of the maelstrom because who knows what life preservers are being thrown out among what looks like debris. That is what they see. This is what they know to be true.

My point being people will see with their personal vision. Some will see a heretic. Some will see a broken and bloody mess. Some will see a warrior. Some will see hope. Some will see a person on the path God set out for her knowing even when it is ugly, it is of Him and has purpose, and they know even a warrior gets weary.

Again, people saw Jesus as all of the above. How they saw Him wasn't His concern. His concern was when they saw Him, they saw the Father.

Not everyone is going to see me the way I want them to, but I am learning not to let that be my concern. My concern has to be whether people see the Father.

And if people are seeing a place of hope, a place of encouragement, a place of strength, or a place of belonging, they are seeing Him, and even if it is wrapped in ugly truth, that is the best I have to give.


mizzbrizz said...

This reminds me of an Amy Grant song where she talks about hoping that what people remember of her is how she reflects Her Daddy. Love that. Love you!

Cindy said...

Tried to you!!!

Anonymous said...

I've just come back for a catch-up and discover a whole hullaballoo has been going on in my absence!
So does this mean you are pulling the blog or you aren't?
And can I just say that shallow has always really annoyed me... and it sounds like you've been weeding out a few shallows-loving people lately. Good for you!
Then there's the 'Quick, forgive! Forgive! Because your pain and anger are making me uncomfortable and I won't feel better until you say you've forgiven them!'
Sometimes being real involves hurting and un-resolved situations and not forgiving people (GASP!!!) the instant they hurt/offend you and just sitting with the pain with Jesus for a while until you are ready to forgive.
Jerri, I have so appreciated being able to read your blog. I love your honesty and passion and power and weakness, and I think you are an amazing woman of God... and I'll really miss your blog if you do pull it. But I also know it's not about me, (lol!) it's about you and if you need to call it a day for a while, then may God bless you and keep you, and I'll keep checking in just in case one day there's a new post!

kyla said...

Thanks for continuing to write. It has helped me over the past year and I am grateful for you and the things you write.