Thanks, Carol, and never be afraid to just jump in! Our conversations
here are always open to all. It's great that people share what they
feel. Love, Joicy
Carol Stephens wrote:
> Dear Joicy,
> Thank you so much for the inspiring message.
> I just had to interject that I agree with
> your beliefs and that you have explained
> them in a wonderful way.
> Love Carol
> PS Hope it is ok to squeeze in
> on this one just for the moment.
> Joicy Becker-Richards wrote:
> > 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 power...it'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,
> > Joicy
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