Re: [MOL] The Meaning of Serenity [02767] Medicine On Line

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Re: [MOL] The Meaning of Serenity

My dearest Vicci...and Liz, and Christine,

Boy, do I identify with where you are!! Been there, done that, got the
T-shirt, as they say...and I hope y'all don't feel like I'm telling you
what you "should" do -- I really don't mean it that way. But Vicci, you
asked an excellent question, and so I share from my heart what has
happened to me, something that has nothing to do with "church" or
"religion" per se, but about me simply saying directly to God, "Look, my
life is a mess, I've done everything I can to make things work, I've
failed, I'm angry, hurt and have lost all hope. If you're real, you need
to show me you are who you say you are." I was that honest, probably not
that nice (because I was majorly pissed and depressed at the time) and I
did put him to the test. I was a "welfare mom" with 2 small kids, no
job, no car, no friends, no prospects, living in hiding from a crazy man
who was trying to kill me. And that is only a tiny part of the personal
hell I've been through. 

Like you, I have a long list of church "horror stories." It's taken me
most of my life to separate out God from the so-called followers of God,
who mostly make me crazy! In college I had a born-again Christian
room-mate that nearly drove me nuts, like when I went to what I thought
was a party that turned out to be a prayer meeting for me, to help me
see my sin in dating a Jewish boy!! I can't tell you how many times I
have walked out of churches feeling angry! 

And like you, I was so disgusted with people acting holier-than-thou,
who didn't live what they said they believed. What I realized was that
the church is not sanctuary for saints, but a kind of hospital for the
lost, the broken, the struggling. Many are folks who have reached a
point of desperation, but are still trying so hard to find their way.
Sometimes they over-compensate, or try to hide hide their feelings of
not measuring up by pretending to have it all together. But big changes
don't happen overnight... transformation is a life-long process. In some
ways, the church at it's best is like the Mol line -- struggling people,
who are facing their brokenness, and trying to do their best, helping
each other along the way. 

Vicci, I agree with Lillian, that the fact that you are trying to live
your life in an honorable way shows God's hand in your life already. But
what I'm talking about is this...because of your bad experiences, etc.,
you're not able to take full advantage of God's's like living
in a big house with electrical outlets everywhere, and trying to live
off of one little outlet. The power is there, but you can't use it if
you don't plug into it. And it's a gradual process. Like any
relationship, it doesn't happen overnight. It takes time to build the
trust. It took me 13 years to build the kind of trust that gave me peace
during my cancer. But think of the people you know and trust -- hasn't
it taken time to trust them, too?

Vicci, I have absolutely nothing to gain or lose by what you choose to
do. My purpose is only to give you hope, and to be as someone once said,
"one beggar showing another where to find bread." Don't take my word for
it, and do not give any of this another thought if it makes no sense to
you. But if you are curious, if you are trying to figure out that
longing deep inside, put God to the test. Doubt is not anti-God, but the
beginning of faith. God doesn't ask for mindless submission or fakey
prayers -- he wants a relationship. He wants honesty, in all it's forms.
He want's you to say it like it is. Try the journal, Vicci. In it, give
God a piece of your mind, if that's how you're feeling. (Look at the
Psalms, and how many begin in distress, but all end in praise.) Write
letters to him with all that's on your heart. And then be sure to also
write what happens in response. You will be amazed.

Again, I hope I have not offended -- I can only speak my heart in
response to your confusion and struggle. Lots of love, your friend,

Vicci Ewen wrote:
> Dear Joicy,
> do I answer this?  First of all I would never take offense from
> a friend trying to help, especially you.  You wrote a very caring and
> inspirational letter and I thank you.  I guess I just don't know how to do
> what your asking.  As a child I went to a little Protestant church in our
> neighborhood and had fun and put my little quarter in the basket with my
> brothers.  Then I started going to the Mormon church with the two girls
> next door.  When I was old enough to stand up and give my testimonial I
> quit.  I learned scriptures and verses and went till about 15 years of age.
>  Got that far before I was being encouraged to testify.  I guess that
> scared me.  Not wanting to talk to a group of people.  I've heard the
> phrase, "Let go, Let God"  Most of the people I know that go to church
> preach the word but don't live the word.  And many others I don't know
> personally don't live up to what I assume they are being taught in the
> church.  I know it's not fair to pray only when you need something very
> badly but I find a comfort in living my life as best I can without hurting
> others.  I try to think before saying a hurtful thing.  I try to put myself
> in the other persons shoes before criticizing.  I'm not making excuses but
> I just haven't felt the thing you have felt about going with God.  I'm
> definetly open to it.  But what do I do, go to church and hope it happens?
> It makes me very uncomfortable when people start talking religion and I
> know how they lead their lives.  I've often thought I would take my
> granddaughter and go down the street to the little church.  Give it a try.
> Maybe I will.  How come it's so easy for some to just all of a sudden,
> believe?  Why is it so hard for some of us.  I do believe in a higher power
> but sometimes I just think about the karma of a situation and that's enough
> to make me change something.  Like not throwing my gum out the car window
> because I know gum will come into my life somehow.  I'll step in it or the
> car in front of me will sling it up on my car.  I'm not making light of
> this, I'm telling you exactly how I think about things.  I don't step on
> ants, intentionally.  I always let a driver pull in my lane.  Just stupid
> little things.  I'm probably not getting the drift of what you're trying to
> tell me but I swear I just don't understand.  I've often thought how easy
> it would be to have some why doesn't it come?  Why aren't I hit
> over the head, being I'm so hardheaded.  It sure would be easier than
> trying to handle all this myself.  Maybe I'm a control freak.  Sounds like
> it took some convincing on your part also.  Maybe I will get that book and
> write a few things down.  Just to see what happens.  Just don't give up on
> me, Joicy!  Where there's a will, there's a way, huh?  Love you!   Vicci
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