I was hesitating whether or not to blog this.
Really as much as I love writing. And have come to enjoy rambling or ranting on a blog. I am a firm believer that airing all of your emotions on some public forum is just a bit weird. And not necessary. We long for real community and I think that it should come from real persons in the flesh next to you having a conversation. Not some social network or forum. So I don’t like the mopey, slit-your-wrists facebook status’s that are asking for sympathy. Me to my 1524 closest friends?
This also spills over into other area of communication conviction for me. To think that people make up, break up, and have fights over text messages makes me want to yell. So ridiculous. I had an old landlord that tried getting me to pass on his “fight” messages to my old housemate via text message and I told him something to the effect that if he wanted to have an argument he could call her himself and grow up. Not much patience in that realm I will admit. Communication is a passion of mine and though I love the ability to communicate with the masses via media I am a firm believer that “real” communication is done one way only and that is in person. To the appropriate audience. Old fashioned letter writing on paper with pen and ink and a seal is an acceptable second alternative. Only because it is wonderful and romantic (I mean in the loveliness sense and not just in the wooing guy/girl concept of romance). So because I feel real emotions should be saved for real people you are close with… or at least ones you see in person and can have some sort of eye contact when you are being real, this is a funny blog I find myself writing. But I think it needs said. And maybe will be helpful for all to hear. I won’t say everything, clearly. Some things are for the real friends.
Tonight was such a mixed service at my church. The amazingness was we had a gospel choir instructor come and teach us for 6 hours yesterday and about 75 of us – from JPC and some not from there, sang gospel through the service this evening. My little heart was happy. 🙂 I love gospel choirs. It reminded me of the days I went to The House of the Lord with the Case boys for a year. Or my gospel choir Miraculous at Miami University. Amazing days. Such fun. Yes I was the token white girl and yes I had terrible rhythm and bumped into people whilst swaying because I was not on the right beat constantly, but my friends were lovely and looked after me and the music was just wonderful. I have come a long way since then! So to think my Anglican church was jamming out to gospel music! It just made me happy. I enjoyed it thoroughly and loved praising Jesus in three part gospel harmony. Just makes my soul sing to dance a bit as well as wail before the Lord. 🙂
Then the sermon came.
Don’t get me wrong. It was a good sermon. A really good sermon. The kind you really need to hear. The ones that stand out from the crowd.
The sermon also just happened to touch on about 15 things that have been difficult in my heart and life lately. It was all about service. Serving Jesus. The bottom line.
The cost of following Jesus is difficult.
Tonight I wept.
I got to point two in the sermon (which was really only sub-point two of the first point: there were only two major points) about “resentment kills service to Jesus” and pretty much from then on was a goner in terms of any ability to pull myself together. I sobbed for the entirety of the sermon and had to leave the last song because I was crying so much. I sobbed in the toilet for another half an hour with thankfully, my housemate who was hot on my heels at the end of the service (love love being known.. Jo said she knew this one would hit me hard even without looking at me) and another friend who is also an expat.
Now the gritty details will be reserved for those people who are real in my life and not just a randomer on a computer screen but the simplest way to say it was I wrestled. I have been wrestling. I have found life very very difficult lately. I left my family 8 years ago to move approximately 5000 miles away because God told me to go. I have been home for one year of that time period. I have missed countless birthdays, Christmas’s (I will miss a second in a row this year), Thanksgivings (I counted I have been to one American Thanksgiving with my fam since 2002.) and other holidays. My nephews will grow up with me living on a webcam. I didn’t pursue a lot of other things I could have pursued in life because one year turned into two turned into 8 that I was convinced God wanted me in the UK to tell people about Jesus. I talk to students about what it means to know God’s love and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
That is my life.
And sometimes it feels ridiculous and seems so hard and the cost seems so big and I think.. what all have I given up?
Now I have a lot of other painful questions and fights with God going on at the moment. I am out of my depth in so many areas that will go unmentioned. I have so many friends yet feel lonely often. I have always been single and see no end in sight ever. I wonder if the cost of following Jesus is worth it sometimes. Sometimes it seems the path I have taken means I look after a lot of people and will never be looked after. And back to the family stuff.. my family is very very close. There are hard questions throughout my life that I won’t post on a public domain because well.. back to paragraph one.. some things are just kept for your real friends.
And tonight’s sermon… hit on a lot of those and more. I don’t like suffering. I don’t like the cost of following Jesus. Yet I know it’s what it means to follow him and it is what life is about. Jesus is worth all. And I fight with God because of the painfulness of this.
“the Man (Jesus) we follow serves and it cost Him His life. What Jesus wants is people like him.. people with servants hearts” (how much do I not have a servants heart sometimes! I just want it easy and don’t want to serve anymore!)
“The disciples were reluctant to serve.. and we have that same tendency” (yep)
“wholehearted service to Christ costs us… ” (more than you know..)
“Jesus suffered but was raised to life.. and that is the promise of his servants.. we’ll suffer but He’ll raise us”
“God always out-gives us. He has already given us everything in Christ.”
“Jesus doesn’t just out-give us.. he out-serves us”
“Jesus gave his life in our service. Jesus died for our debts. We serve as a very small way to say ‘thank you’ Lord.
And then he had to quote the verses that are in either Matthew 19
|“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” – Jesus
I positively cried.
There was just nothing else to do. I have so many questions for God.
I have so many frustrations.
I am so little and so weak.
And yet here I am.
Praying that He reminds me that the cost is worth it. Is it worth it Lord I ask so often?
And what is more… I am sure some of my tears were because I know it is worth it yet have become dulled to the Lord. Where I forget how He has called me. What He has done in my life. Why following him to the ends of the earth and dying in obscurity is worth it if he calls me to go. Jesus did big things in my life when I was a student. He turned my world upside down. I was ruined for living an average life and yet that is what I crave so often. And the wrestling match gets harder and harder some days.
And so.. that is it.
I am not sure where else to go with this bit of writing.
Other than. The 40 minutes of sobbing didn’t solve all my problems. I am not out of my wrestling matches with the Lord. But I know I need to press into him more. Because I remember what Peter said when Jesus turned to him and the other disciples and asked whether they would abandon Jesus too.. He said something to the effect “where would we go Lord? You have the words of eternal life!” Somewhere there is where I need to land..
After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:66-69