Lost and Found

2004-07-08
Today is a good day. Thursday. Had a three day week this week – which is good on several fronts – only now I am CRAZY busy. Actually, I am mercifully busy.

I must say that on Monday, when the “disaster” occurred (I suppose I will refer to it as such) that night in my bed, I had sort of an “experience” with God. Not anything weird or freakish – I just felt like God was with me – that he was calming me down.

A bit of backstory – I was raised in a “Christian” home. Actually quite a charismatic one. I was raised in the church – with the bible- and all of that good stuff. I was baptized and “saved” at seven. Then “rededicated” at 13. Then “rededicated” again at 19. Then when I hit 21 all hell broke loose – literally. I have tried, since then, several times to make a glorious comeback to my former life – to no avail. During that time I experimented with drugs and was relatively promiscuous (but nothing worse than an episode of Sex and the City – or so I thought) and just did whatever I wanted to. I also went through 2 years of therapy with a Christian therapist, which changed my life for the better and taught me more about myself – but the God problem was still there.

Then I got married. This seemed to calm me. Chad instilled some good habits in me – not drinking excessively, stopping drugs, smoking, and obviously no promiscuity. But – I still knew that when it comes to God – relationship is important. I still believed it – but I didn’t really know how to live it – or really if I wanted to live it.

Well – disaster struck of course. And there I was – hysterical. Crying. I found myself in prayer. (No such thing as an atheist in a foxhole, right?) And I don’t know – but instead of feeling my usual guilt and pity, I felt LOVED. Really loved. Not judged. Not condemned.

But God – I left your side for years. I knew better. I denied your name.

I love you – was all I felt from him.

But God – I really really knew better! I totally rejected you.

I love you.

And then things began to make sense for me. Suddenly I made the connection – this isn’t a punishment. This is for you! This is goodness and love and light. This isn’t a burden!

Just like the realizations I’ve been having with my weight loss. It was almost as if all of that mental work had prepared me for this moment. All of those times before- I felt as if I were being punished – as if a life centered around God was like being sentenced to “Time out” forever!

On Tuesday, as you know, I didn’t go in to work. I couldn’t. My head was still reeling and I didn’t think I could make it through the day without breaking down. And then – I felt something that I haven’t felt since the day after I was diagnosed with cancer almost 10 years ago. It was almost as if I had been wrapped in a warm blanket by him. I felt so much peace inside of me that I knew it had to be supernatural. There is no way that I could have felt this peace, considering the hell I had gone through the night before. I went about my day – and even found that I was smiling. I began to notice the simple things around me – sunshine, the grass, the blue of the sky. I don’t know how –but somehow I was grateful. How? How is it possible that I wasn’t angry? That I wasn’t somewhere crying? A part of me kept saying – you really shouldn’t be so content right now. But no.

I honestly think it was a miracle. I know it sounds corny, but there is no way I could have coped without spiritual help.

Chad and I have started praying together every night before bed. We officially invited God into our marriage the other day. It was neat. We will try a local church this Sunday. It’s one that we visited before but never went back to.

A small part of me fears that I will get hurt again by the church – as I was before. A small part of me is terrified of opening up myself to other people who are “Christians” and who could have their own agendas and whatnot.

Yet- I have to keep in mind that a big part of this is about trust. No matter what rules men make up- God is bigger than that. Even though I may not understand everything that happens from this point forward- God is bigger than that – and one day I will know. Even if it’s not until after I die and am with him. I heard something on the radio the other day – it was a Christian station and the man said – the three words that Christians need to start saying all the time are “I don’t know”. That you didn’t have to be afraid of not knowing because there are some things that we can’t know. I thought that was pretty cool.

I want to keep it simple. To love him. To know him more. To pray. To be in fellowship.

You know – even though I spent so many years doing my own thing- I could still see good in me. I didn’t understand that. I thought- “well, you stupid church people, I’m still good. I still want to help people and I can still love! My heart still aches when people hurt! So what do you have to say about that, stupid church people who say that nothing good can come from someone who isn’t a part of this group or that?”

Well – there’s a line in an Amy Grant song that says “And I realize the good in me is only there because of who You are.” And I believe that. I believe that he was always there with me. Still working on my heart. Preparing me for this time. And I just can’t believe that. I was under the impression that when you turn your back on him- well he turns his on you and that’s it. You can forget it! But it hasn’t been my experience.

Yesterday, the woman right under the president of our system called me into her office and told me that she wanted to offer me another position in our company – doing more work in PR and Marketing and making almost $10,000 more a year!!!!!! Was I interested, she wanted to know? HELLO!!! I told her I would discuss it with Chad- but knew there was no discussion. Of course I want this job.

And then I thought- you know – God is good. I had known a little earlier that she was interested in giving me a better job – before all of this happened – and I even think if I hadn’t had my experience with God – it still would have happened – because he loves me no matter what. But – I’m so thankful, still. And if something terrible happens tomorrow, I’m still thankful. Something terrible did happen. Something crushing and horrible. And yet- I’m okay.

And so – the little girl lost has been found. The one sheep.

Luke 15:3-7

So He (Jesus) told them this parable, saying,

”What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'

"I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”

1:08 p.m. ::
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