Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How God Ruined (and Keeps Ruining) My Life

Sometimes, I inadvertently make good Southern Baptists really nervous.  It's because I'm not a good Southern Baptist, or really a Southern Baptist at all, though I've always gone to Southern Baptist churches.  I'm a Christian, and I hope to be a good one, but that's as far as I like to be labeled about such things.  People have argued with me that if I don't have a denominational label, like "Southern Baptist," then people aren't going to know what I believe.  Well, I argue back that if I call myself a "Southern Baptist," people STILL won't know what I believe.  I do believe most of the things that good Southern Baptists would claim to believe, but I'm a Christian.  If you want to know more about what I believe, a label isn't going to tell you.  I could call myself a "Southern Baptist" and believe that pink monkeys in sailor suits grant my wishes every time I pray.  The only thing that will help you know what I believe is asking me questions and getting to know me--or reading my blog, since I explain myself better in writing than I do in speech.

One thing I don't think I've ever really liked about good Southern Baptists is that most of them stress the importance of having a "personal testimony."  I understand what the point and purpose is, and I know that a lot of people will respond to a personal experience more easily than they would respond to Scripture.  My problem isn't that I don't think "personal testimonies" are important, but I never really understood what they were supposed to be. 

Some people have really awesome "personal testimonies" that are easy to tell.  "I was a drug addict for seventeen years, lost my job and custody of my four kids, was at the end of my rope and ready to just give up on life...BUT THEN I FOUND JESUS!  Now I have an awesome job, contact with my kids, and I haven't touched drugs or alcohol in years.  But most importantly, Jesus has saved my soul and I have hope of living with Him forever!"

I'm not making light of those testimonies.  They're amazing.  I've heard of so many wonderful stories of how God has changed lives, and God is using those changed lives to change the lives of others.  It's a beautiful thing.

Far too often, though, I hear a testimony that is a lot like I think mine is supposed to sound.  "I was raised in church every time the doors were open.  I was 'saved' as a child.  I fell away in my teenage years, but God got a hold of me.  Now I'm living every day for Him."

There's also nothing wrong with those testimonies.  God uses them, too.  I just think they're boring.  And they kind of make me feel like salvation is a thing of the past.

You wanna know something that will make good Southern Baptists shudder?  I don't know when I became a Christian.  I "walked forward" the day after my ninth birthday and told a minister that I'd accepted Christ.  I was baptized a week later, on Easter Sunday.

I didn't become a Christian at the age of nine.  It was before then, though I'm not exactly sure when.  I remember being afraid of hell and of demons.  I remember lying awake in bed at night and knowing I wasn't alone.  I remember wanting with all my heart to believe in God.  And I don't think there was some kind of "sinner's prayer" or grand change in my life.  I think that my salvation was something as simple as slipping my hand into the Hand that was extended towards me.  The action was so simple that I don't remember when it happened.

God had been pursuing me all my life, in a way I couldn't ignore.  Though I was a little hellion as a toddler (okay, and after I was a toddler, too...and okay, when I was a teenager...and right now), I can't remember my life without Christ.  He's always been a major part of it.  So, as uncomfortable as it makes good Southern Baptists to hear this, I kind of believe that, in a way, I've always been a Christian.  I wasn't born free of the curse of sin.  I wasn't sinless.  I didn't come out of the womb professing my faith in Christ.  But God has had His hand on me all my life.  I can't ignore that fact, or what it means...but more about that in just a bit.

What I just wrote is not my "personal testimony."  See, I've learned that my testimony isn't so much about how I've become a Christian.  I can't remember that.  I can't remember the moment when I slipped my hand into God's Hand.  All I know is that He's never let go.

Did I fall away from faith?  I don't know.  I guess so, but not really.  In my early teenage years, I certainly worried more about my own image than I did about representing Christ.  I was slightly more solid in my faith in my middle teenage years.  But then, when I was nineteen, I became an atheist for 10 minutes.

I couldn't feel God.  I was suffering from my first real bout of seasonal depression (but I didn't know what it was then--I just thought I was literally going crazy).  My friends at the time were not the best influences or encouragers, though I'm not blaming them.  It was a season God wanted me to walk through, but He didn't leave me there. 

I was in the tree house in my backyard, praying.  And I had just had enough of everything.  So I told God, "I just can't believe in You anymore."  And I sat there, wondering what to do in my new found lack of faith.  The funny thing was, I wanted to pray about it, and I had to remind myself that I didn't believe I had anyone to pray to.  I had no idea how not to believe in God.  After a few minutes, my eyes fell upon one of my journals.  I opened it up to a random page.  There was a poem I'd written while watching the sunset a few nights before.  I recognized my handwriting.  I remembered the occasion when I wrote down the words.  But I didn't recognize a single word from the poem.  And the Holy Spirit said, "I wrote this.  Read the words, because I wrote them through you."  It was a simple poem of praise.  I hadn't written it.  The One who wrote it was the God whose Hand was still heavy upon me.

Having God's Hand upon me is a curious thing.  It means I'm protected.  It means I'm guided.  It means I belong to God.

It also means that my life doesn't belong to me, anymore.  Not that it ever really did....

I was such a horrid little toddler because I always wanted my way.  I was a horrid child because I wanted my way.  I was a horrid teenager because I wanted my way.  And sometimes I really am a horrid adult because all I really want is to have my own way.

But I can't.  I can't because God isn't really all that interested in giving me what I want--especially not right when I want it.  God fulfills my needs.  God gives me more than I deserve.  But God doesn't cater to me and my demands, but He demands that I regard Him as holy.  And sometimes that's really hard to do, but I have to--because His hand is upon me.

And because His hand is upon me, because I'm dependent upon His guidance, I'm in a fearful place.  I have all the blessings of Christ, but it as C. S. Lewis wrote "...He's not a tame lion..."  It's hard to trust in God's provision and strength in the darkness.  Because even if God is able, that doesn't mean He has to give me what I want.  Because even if God is good, that doesn't mean He won't lead me to something that is incredibly difficult.  Because even if God is merciful, that doesn't mean He won't lead me to something that hurts me immensely.  Because even if God is strong, that doesn't mean He won't lead me to something that might even cost me my life. 

...not that my life was ever mine anyway.  That's such a hard lesson to learn.  Thankfully, I have a patient, loving Teacher who has experienced all the beauty and strife of humanity (yet was without sin).

But that's my testimony, isn't it?  It's not that "one big moment" where I chose to give my life over to Christ.  It's the thousands of little moments where I still choose to give my life over to Christ.  It's when I'm still the child in the darkness, afraid of demons, afraid of the unknown, but still knowing I'm not alone.  It's when I have all the things I want to do and I want to have and I want to be, but I hear the still small Voice telling me that I belong to Him.  It's when I still make the choice and reach up to take the Hand that's been extended to me--and walk, one step at a time, into whatever He leads me to.

God loves me, but He's not interested in my way.  And I'm pretty sure that my way leads to destruction anyway.  His way, the only way, leads to life.  I might have to lose my life in order to find it in Him, I might have to lose the world in order to gain my soul.  It's not a bad trade off, in theory, though it hurts like crazy in practice. 

But at the end of the day, all I can do is be thankful that God wants my ruined life for His glory.  All I can do is be in awe and wonder of a God who can take someone as selfish and simple as me and give me a purpose beyond anything I could ask or imagine.  All I can do is worship the God whose grace is so complete that it not only provides a way out of the monotony of working on things that I think will bring me glory, but allows me to come alongside God in the work that He is doing to bring Himself glory.  All I can do is be amazed that the Creator of the universe loves and wants me.  It's unbelievable.

Yet I am not able to not believe it.
I've never been not able to believe it.

And the One who reached His hand to me in my childhood--He's still holding on. 

That's where my true, my only Hope rests.  My ruined life?  It belongs to the One who has redeemed it.

That's my testimony.

23 comments:

  1. God is a piece of shit. I too was a young christian, but after a decade of pysical and mental abuse from the faget known as God, I have turned my back of the bastarf, and vow to exterminate every brainwashed christian slave.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Not many people know this, but God predestined the fall of man for His glory, causing rapes, murders, and abuse, and so on to exist. Why else do you think God put The Tree of Knowledge in the garden to tempt them, didn't put Satan in Hell after he rebelled, and didn't tell Adam and Eve the whole truth.That IS betrayal of Adam, Eve, and all humanity.God even has vessels of wrath (people predestined to hell). Why? Because God gets glory in putting His wrath on people and sending them to Hell.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can you clarify what "whole truth " God kept from Adam and Eve that "betrayed " them? I doubt arguing will do much good here, but I don't understand your idea that sin (things that God hates, things that go against His will) can bring Him glory. I honestly don't know exactly where I stand on predestination, except as far as where I am concerned -I can't NOT believe, but I am still responsible for my choices.

      Delete
  3. God sent demons to RAPE my friend for almost two years (God told my friend that he was chastening her). She was in pain. Then God told her she deserved it. You want to know what she did? Watch porn. That's all she did. She did not hurt anyone. Then God reprobated her for hurting his feelings. But you know what, God hurt her feelings by sending demons to rape her first. My friend, now she is starting to hate God. God even sent demons to rape her out of hate when she was a reprobate. Your god is an abusive fuck. You wanna know the sick thing about your disgusting god? He abandoned and hid himself when she needed him most. God tried to hurt my friend on purpose. God even told my frined that he cares more about his glory thaan her circumstances. Your God is sadistic. He sends rape on her, for what? Watching porn? I am glad I am not a Christian!And The Holy Spirit don't care about nobody but himself. The Holy Spirit won't even comfort my friend. Your GOd is a pervert. He took advantage of that girl, then abandoned her. This is a bad testimony about your sick ass, bitch ass, glory seeking God.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm not sure if you're just trying to cause trouble or not (forgive the assumption-this is the internet), but if you're serious, then what your friend experienced was not God. What you have described isn't something God would do. I believe there are demons and Spiritual Warfare, but if your friend is experiencing that level of demonic activity, there's something really wrong in her Spiritual life. That's not from God. That's from Satan. God does care for His glory, but how would sending demons to rape someone bring Him glory?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sorry. I'm not trying to cause trouble. But God did do this to my friend. God even told her He was the one sending rapes. And again, no trouble intended. I'm just so angry at God, because he is so mean to my friend. I have been trying to comfort my friend. She wanted a close relationship with God and did things for Him,and this is how He treats her? I am sorry.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Well, sorry for that assumption. I got a couple of comments on this post at practically the same time and thought maybe people were just "trolling" or whatever.

    As for what you have said, I have two questions: How does your friend know it was God who was telling her this? What things did she do for God? You don't have to answer those for me as much as you and your friend should think about them. While God desires us to serve Him and others, He doesn't need us to do anything for Him. He wants us, loves us, but He doesn't need us. Being loved is better than being needed. And I'm not sure what things your friend was doing for God, and I don't need to know. But if your friend was under the impression that she had to do things for God to earn His favor or love, then that's not truth. There is nothing we can do to earn God's love. We already have it. The problem is that sin, and we all sin, creates division between us and God. But God made a way for us to come back to Him through Jesus. Jesus lived a sinless life, died becoming the sacrifice for our sins, and rose from the dead, making a way for us to come back to God.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The only thing we have to do is agree with God that we've sinned and need Him, accept what Jesus has done for us, and believe and trust in Jesus.

    Maybe I read way too much into what you said about your friend doing things for God, but God doesn't need us to do anything for Him. When I serve God, it's not to earn anything from Him, but it's an expression of my love and gratitude for what He's done for me. If your friend is under the impression she has to do things just so God will accept her, then that's just not the case. I'm sorry all of this has happened to your friend, but I think she's believing some well-crafted lies.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Well, I asked her. She told me God sent a prophet telling her his judgement was righteous and just and God kept giving her the verse "a man reapeth what he sows," whatever that means. Also, God kept giving her sermons on God's "justice." My friend said she made him gave him gifts and stuff like that.

    ReplyDelete
  9. My friend told me she planned on keeping her virginity, that she never wanted to have sex. All she did was watch porn. I personally think God gave her an unjust penalty. He acts like my friend is a child molester. My friend did nothing sexually to anyone. In fact, I have met worse who God probably won't give that penalty to. Thanks for hearing me out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i was a diseased person sick person from birth. i never did sex and i am infertile chronic infertile from many years. www.godishate.blogspot.com

      Delete
  10. My friend gave God gifts out of pure love and appreciation. I think the worst my friend deserved was probably sickness. If God does not want to treat my friend like his daughter, then He had no business chastening my friend as if she was His daughter. My frind was in severe pain, and God still was not there for my friend. I swear God plays favorites. My friend only wanted to have a close relationship with God, but God acted like He did not want to be close to her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. god creates suffering so that you can remember him. the more you suffer the more you remember him, so better to put our ass in a frying pan. so that we can remember him forever, speciallly when we sit.

      Delete
  11. I'm so happy for those God never let go of. Unfortunately for some of us poor slobs who said a prayer they didn't quite understand...and consequently didn't understand ANYTHING that was going on inside of them...we got left when things fell apart!
    I was on my face crying out in pain...even though I did everything I felt convicted to do such as giving up a relationship. ..certain music...constantly asked myself if I had sinned.
    Well...I actually thought I was in good standing til many many yrs later when I realized I got blindsided somehow. How is that fair? How did I actually choose when I was blinded? That's crap! I needed Jesus and I thought He actually loved me. I needed someone in my life that wouldn't leave me. I've hurt since I was young and I actually thought Jesus was the answer and He wouldn't leave me. And yeah I do believe people are blind and stupid. I know I was. And I realize how sinful I was...but where was His mercy and guiding hand when I needed Him??
    I gave my ALL...whatever He wanted! I left it all for Him and I trusted He'd take care of me! And then to find out years later I must of missed a step somewhere! That hurts me to the core of my inner being. I actually begged Him to let me die. I needed Him. I needed His comfort. I'm sorry but I don't find it fair if I got tricked or blinded. It's not right to play with someone's heart.

    ReplyDelete
  12. And how is it He saw fit to forgive His chosen disciples for sins of doubt...fear...unbelief...etc etc and He didn't leave them? These sinners were not perfected overnight and He saw fit to ask God for them to be forgiven. It's all in the New Testament.

    ReplyDelete
  13. For instance Peter denied Him 3 times and He prayed for Peter to be restored. That's just one example.

    ReplyDelete
  14. How can He punish me when I followed what I felt in my spirit to be right....left my sin as I was convicted and did my personal best to understand what He was telling me. How does one punish a newborn for still messing their selves when they are trying their best not to?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Actually I think some of us are deceived into not understanding the true gospel and the love of God and what it really means. And what Jesus really meant. You're right Anna...The true Gospel is not that He needs us...but that He chose to endure for us as a means to bring us to God.
    Unfortunately for some of us we still try to do better cause we still feel guilt and shame.
    In all actuality the moment we believe is the moment we should be able to feel free to have that relationship with God...like the torn curtain at the cross. But no one tells us as after we confess Christ that shame should be gone and we can freely go to Him will EVERYTHING....every fear...every worry..every sin..every temptation. So some of us bottle it up and TRY to move forward.
    False teaching televangelist don't help in that they use people.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Well for many of us good single men out there that had really hoped to find a good woman to settle down with a family which makes it very extremely difficult for us now that many women today that are very high maintenance, independent, selfish, spoiled, and very greedy which really has a lot to do with it why many of us are still Single which we really Can't Blame ourselves at all. It is just too bad that God really Ruined many of us men that way since Most of the women in the good old days were Never like that at all which Both men and women back then had to really Struggle to make ends meat and Accepted one another for who they were which made many Marriages work out too, and today many Marriages are failing which i can see why. Then again, nice guys like us do finish last especially with the kind of women that are out there these days.

    ReplyDelete
  17. god completely ruined my life...gotta fucked up die hard.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. God is a cruel and hateful being. He created US for his perverted pleasure.

      Delete
    2. i would like to kill him very brutally...brutally.

      Delete
  18. anyone who wants to know something more about god can click here
    http://godishate.blogspot.in

    ReplyDelete