There are a few things that have really been bringing me down lately - I don't always share them as faithfully as I share other things I struggle with, because of bluntly pride. I have a pride issue. I have a slavery issue as well. I've heard often that we are not to be slaves to our lusts and desires but rather, a slave to the Lord Jesus Christ. James, the half-brother of Jesus identifies himself not as the brother of Jesus, but a slave to Jesus.
I've been struggling with the process of sanctification as well - I understand it, it's not a lack of knowledge, I'm just not letting it penetrate my heart as deeply as it should. It's on my mind, I'm aware of it, I'll even ask myself throughout the day how the following action will help or hinder my walk with God - will I grow and mature or become less obedient and immature?
Aware of the problems in my daily routines and habits - yet not willing to submit them to God for surrender. And yet, I still have the gall to pray to my Father to heal me so that I might not be afraid of being my mother, to enable me to be a submissive wife and servant of a mother. I ask yet I do not act.
Tonight, the Lord used the people around me to remind me of the temporal and at times, eternal consequences of living in disobedience, the importance of acting, and most importantly - keeping my heart open and softened for Him. To always look to the cross and remember grace and keep a thankful heart.
My issue lies in the heart - the overflow of the heart is my lack of action and at times even the lack of control of my tongue. The rest of this blog will be (again) uncomfortably honest. Especially since some of you, attend Grace Point with me.
First, while I realize more and more that the LDS church is false - I want to go back. I don't believe any of the doctrine is true - I know it isn't, I don't believe the LDS church is even a Christian church, I do believe members can be bound in chains they'll never even know are there - and yet I miss the structure, the temple (for what it is not what it is claimed to be), the routine, even the legalism - I miss them terribly. I read conversion stories in some of my groups and I see how they are all grounded in the flesh and not the Spirit, I can spot them all so easily now - and the lack the Bible plays in the coming to Christ and yet I still yearn. Each week, I drive by at least two LDS chapels - for small group because our small group leader of course lives across the street from a chapel. There's been times I see people going into the building for some activity and am so jealous. I want to attend Relief Society events, I want to host Enrichment Activities again, heck I even want to attend Sacrament and block meetings to get more fellowship, more study, and to have back that comforting "oneness" that comes with so many rules and regulations - from what to wear, to how to talk, to how to pray, etc. I miss all that and in Grace Point while I love it there - I feel so insecure. I miss my legalism, my works, my rules, my organizations - working for my exaltation (ie salvation in the truest sense of the word). I miss having a calling and knowing where "God" wanted me to work so I didn't have to try so hard figuring out where He wanted me to be volunteering and serving. I miss the unity that came with being a Mormon. I miss all of that and even more! And what have I done to go forward in the Lord's will for me regardless of how uncomfortable it made me? I've stayed anchored in many LDS groups, with LDS friends, and still even look through my temple bag occasionally with a sense of longing for the structure, the ritual, the security of knowing I was in charge.
It's been seven going on eight months! My first step should have been to withdraw from most if not all of what I still engage in. Get myself rooted in the Word, the Gospel, and then if the Lord ever lead me back to evangelize LDS then do it. I was rudely awakened to what the Lord has been speaking to me when I was deleted from a LDS discussion group. I couldn't believe it - it was like a smack in the face, and the first thing that happened was the tongue in my head began shooting off. I began thinking so many negative things before the Lord simply quieted my mind and asked me, "Why do you insist in fellowshipping with falsehoods? Why do you insist on spending time with darkness, and not spend that time with Me?" That was the bigger slap to the face. So what else could I feel for the moderator who deleted me but sincere gratitude?Why do I still care what any Latter Day Saint may think of me? It doesn't matter if I lead a completely temple worthy life, healed the sick, raised the dead myself - they would still accredit anything and everything I did and said as the work and glory of Satan. Why do I still care? Pride. Security. Desiring sin.
I am desiring my old ways because they were comfortable - not because they were right, not because they were true, not because they were of God - but because they were comfortable and I'd rather be a slave to myself than a slave to God.
Whoa. No wonder I've battled with such a legalistic heart - I don't want to submit to God, I want to submit to myself. Me. At the same time, I want to earn my exaltation (ie - eternal life in the prescence of God - Biblically speaking, salvation) and not worry so much about the state of my heart. It's like a tail right? It'll follow my works. But this wasn't the case for the Pharisees. They became so engaged in being holy, in being righteous, in works that they didn't even recognize their Messiah. What is most shocking is what Jesus says to them:
43 Why do ye not understand my speech? [even] because ye cannot hear my word.
44 Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
45 And because I tell [you] the truth, ye believe me not.
46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?
47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear [them] not, because ye are not of God.
Move onto being a submissive wife. Justin recently separated from his wife - their relationship hit rock bottom and she involved the police having him sent to jail. Now, he lives separated from her and his infant daughter. It's killing him inside and he even admits he misses his wife terribly but he just can't be with her. Why? Because the bottom line is the only person she submits to is herself. She wants what she wants and she wants it when she wants it. And if it's not her way, there is hell to pay. This sounds extreme, but I began to think back to an early Christmas in our marriage. One neither Steve or I are probably proud of. I believed Steve was being selfish and that it was ruining our marriage, Steve believed I was being selfish and asking too much from him - and it lead down the road of some serious talk about our marriage. I began to think about how Christ had transformed Steve since then, how he has been this amazing husband, father, and servant to the Lord. And I began to compare my life right now to his actions back then - and heart wise, I didn't see a difference. I realized, that Justin's ex-wife could easily, in time, be me should I continue to submit to myself and not God.
The final one - motherhood. Sabrina works graveyard.She's been raising her granddaughter and this past week, the granddaughter returned to her mother. Sabrina began sharing the whole mess with me and even the stories of the children that were younger. As she began to speak, it was almost as if God rolled a film in my head and I could see that without immediate Biblical grounding and discipline, that my children would be no different. No self respect, fear of the Lord, self control - they would be a slave to themselves - like their mother.
I wanted to cry. I couldn't believe the example I am setting for my children, my inability to act properly upon it, and my selfishness. My children are my greatest joys - I love them so much.
As Sabrina began talking about the various children in their various ages, I could see Paul and Anya becoming just as self centered and the eternal consequences could be devastating. I read to Sabrina from "Shepherding a Child's Heart" and she asked me, "But what do I do when they are 12? When they are this old and becoming this far gone?" And I realized - I didn't know. I began asking myself - what would I do as the kids got bigger and more out of control? Did I even want to go down that road?
I've mentioned several times - in either blogs or discussion groups, God revealed what He has for a reason. We have His law, His guidance, His Word because it is salvation and wisdom. God didn't outline a certain way to live, marriage, or parenthood for kicks. He's not upstairs giggling about how He pulled a fast one on us Moms telling us to do it one way when He knows that it's a bad way. He outlined parenthood, marriage, and a way of living because He loves us and wants us to have His best.
There have been plenty of "game plans", plenty of good intentions, plenty of trying to make sense of everything through reading books. But there has not been enough of giving it to God - entreating His assistance and action. There has been plenty of excuses as to why things aren't changing or transforming - but not enough blunt honest truth. Why should I expect God to do all the work while I watch? He can. But is this His will? How are we sanctified if we ask and then wait but not act? The Lord doesn't need me to enable Him or allow Him to deliver me - He just wants me to. He teaches me this how many time and how many times do I forget?
The truth is simple - the question is who do I esteem more - God or myself? He has already made a promise to me.
Therefore, bringing my children under submission to me and to God is not impossible, leaving the LDS church behind and not mourning my sin is not impossible, becoming a submissive wife is not impossible. God has promised to supply all my need (not my desires - my need). And through God, nothing is impossible.
19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
26 But Jesus beheld [them], and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
I have to submit - it's not about me even though I live in a "me" centered town, culture, and society. We are aliens in a foreign world - I need to start remembering this and acting on eternal lines of sight, not temporal comfortable ones.
Two choices - I can continue to submit to myself and become who I "want" to be or I can submit to God and through Him, and be transformed. Either way, all I can think about is this overwhelming knowledge of my shortcomings and again, am brought back to the cross and cannot help, but be so eternally grateful for it.