Thursday, December 31, 2015

Not Your Classic Christmas Letter

  There is much fear in posting this letter, yet today it was heavy on my heart to share.  Maybe someone else could relate and maybe, just maybe, it will bring a comfort.  God is good, God is great, and God comforts, builds, grows and protects.  I love Him with all my heart, mind, soul and strength.  Here are my thoughts on this past Christmas morning:

 Here it is Christmas Day.  A time that most (not all certainly) find peace, love, and fellowship with family and friends.  My heart is broken due to severed relationships, the worst part is that the "why" is lost or unknown.  How does a family fall apart?  

     My earliest memories are of Christmas at Nane and Pop-pops.  The early morning sitting on the top step of our home on Ridgeway  and the anticipation of heading downstairs to open gifts.  It was a selfish yet joyous time.  Little thought-- but a complete overtaking of "what did Santa bring".  The next hour would bring a trip to Earl Street and the aunts, uncles and other kids sharing in a meal and laughter.  Pop-pop telling us that "there is no laughter at the table."  The family gathered in the living room and presents were exchanged and Uncle Dave would start throwing paper balls around the room.  I can almost smell the tree and the see the bubble lights aside of the tinsel.  

     Now almost 50 years have gone by and what a contrast.   No contact with that family, no laughter, and no joy.  Time has not provided a cure or even a salve to the hurt and apparently anger that exists.   Evil seems to have triumph in this family world.  Thoughts of the damage, thoughts of bad things are a barrier to the world that are around us this day.  Peace, Love, Joy, and Blessing were is this in my natural family.

     God called me almost three years ago into ministry.  How or Why isn't clear to me.  There isn't any apparent qualification.  There wasn't a worthiness or even a seeking of this calling in my life.  Yet all that has transpired in my life, is able to be used for Him.   2 Cor 1, tells us that God comforts us, so that we are able to comfort others.  Well, if the breaking of my heart for my family is able to give others peace and hope then it has a purpose.   Hours a week are spent counseling others in time of brokenness, and, yes, in times of joy and the desire to help grow them closer to God' providence in their life.  

     My heart is heavy this morning.  The sun rises over a beautiful mountain that is fully visible from my window.  God is active in my life through the Holy Spirit.   There is less of me and more of Him every day.   2 Cor 12:9 tells us that "His grace is sufficient", and furthermore that "His power manifests itself in my weakness."  Days come that little of me seems to be left and then the anger is felt, the hurt attacks, and my realization becomes awareness;  I am nothing.  My life is changed. My forgiveness needs to be real, and once that all is tried to reconcile that is it time to just leave it all go.

     You see God has given me direction and yet it is me that resists----- My life is full of love and forgiveness; of hope and peace with who I am now and where I am heading.  There is a purpose that was unknown previously, a passion for others that was hidden behind my selfish ways.   I am a sinner.  I am unworthy.  Yet He loves me and calls me to His purpose.  He desires for me to lean on Him, to become like Him, and to live one day at a time doing His work through my hands.  The wounds of my past are now tools for His kingdom.  It is I and I alone that limit that usefulness, due to holding on to hope of past relationships to be healed.

     My desire would and always will be to reconnect.  If only to send and receive a card or text with a neutral sentence.   The damage is done, and the pain exists only because I cannot put it behind me.    God and I have talked and His Word didn't change at all for me.  1 John 1:9, "if we confess or sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness."  The Word of God comes alive in our life.  Roman 8:28, grants us the peace of knowing that "all things work for the good of those who love Him, and are called according to His purpose."   

     God has blessed me, though I don't deserve it.  I have asked for your forgiveness for all that exists between us.  My earthly self wishes for reconciliation, but I realize that it always possible, if only by His grace and His timing.  I am truly sorry for all my part in this relationship.  There was a part of me that always tried to please you and to live a life that would make you proud.  In this I failed and again am sorry.  God has taken me through many valleys, and in the end brought peace and victory for His kingdom.  In my brokenness, it is He that exists in those cracks and wounds.

     It would be my understanding that you wish to have no contact and in my truth that you wish to erase me from your mind.  The pain of even typing that is severe, yet the reality may agree with the perception.  My heart cries...How can a mother and father not speak to their only son....   I will always pray for you all.   Your peace, and joy and your presence in God's eternal paradise is extremely important to me.  I realize the need to forgive, lest I not be forgiven.  You are forgiven for all the harm that was real or perceived by me; forgiven for all the hurt and pain; forgiven for ugly words spoken... You are forgiven.  You are free from the bondage that I applied....  I pray someday that you will forgive me. There is a deep want that if reconciliation doesn't happen in this world, than may it occur in the next.

   The the peace and love of God be with you all.  May He make His face shine upon you and grant you everlasting peace.  May His love overflow in your heart, mind and soul, and may this life be lived for Him.


Friday, December 4, 2015

Needing an I-Exam

     On Wednesday of this week, it was time for an eye exam.  The room was set up with all types of great instruments to look deeply into my eyes and after thirty questions, like 1 or 2, 3 or 4, they determined my prescription.   There was an assessment reached that my eyes were short of perfect and that assistance would be needed in order to see 20/20 and read more comfortably.

     As the exam was being administered my mind wandered to the things of God.  Maybe we should have an I-exam regularly.  Are we seeing things 20/20 in God's view or do we need some assistance?  There is a Spirit inside of every believer that directs our paths, yet there can be a failure to see properly.  Proverb 3:5-6 teaches that we are to trust in God, and not lean on our own understanding.  I problem.  Do you see it?

     As a young man, far younger than I am now, there really wasn't an I-problem in my mind.  Understand that my whole life existed completely for me and my happiness; there wasn't much I worried about but myself. No problem, that was who and what I was at the time.

     I wanted to improve myself, self-examine myself, please myself, grow myself, and tell others how great myself was in all things in all ways.  Unfortunately, that also included a time factor most, if not all, of the time.   I, I , I all the time.

    At about 25 years old, the I was not producing the happiness factor to the degree that I, myself, desired and in fact there was disappointment and a feeling of being lost.   A mentor lead me to accept Christ.  Please understand there wasn't much room in my heart for Christ at this time.  There was a lot of self-love and it was seeking to starve the new found Holy Spirit in me.

     Hebrews 12:2 states, "... fixing our eyes on Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith."(NIV)  If we are honest with ourselves we all have I-problems, our I's are usually fixated on self.  We all need to accept the corrective lens of the Holy Spirit and submit our pride to Jesus.

     The simple fact is that once we accept the lack of focus, and move the I out of our heart and mind, the Spirit is able to grow and change us.   Ephesians 4:30 tells us "do not grieve the Holy Spirit, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." (NIV)  We need to focus on Him alone.  Seek His ways and die to the I's.

    My prayer for you (for me) is that we are able to see better the work of Christ.  To see that we all have an I-problem, and need to go to another and have it evaluated regularly.  Then we can accept the prescription and improve our God view and allow it to be our only view.

   So get the I out of your eye, and let your heart fully and completely belong to God.