It is with a heavy heart that I write tonight. For the last 5 days I have been listening to news reports of a crazed gunman killing innocent people. First in Portland at Clackamas Town Center, which is less than 50 miles from my home and then yesterday in Newtown, Connecticut @ Sandy Hook Elementary School. My heart breaks for the families of the 20 children and the 6 women that were killed yesterday as well as the man and woman who died in Portland this week at the mall.
I think I’m bothered more by the fact that once the media coverage dies down that those of us who are far removed from these incidents will forget and go on with our lives while those parents and people who have lost someone will never be the same again. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t go on with our lives or that we should live in paralyzing fear but I wish there was some kind of change in people that would come from this. A heart change.
I wish that people would fall on their faces before God and repent of their wicked ways before this Country who was founded on FAITH IN GOD finds itself in much greater torment than it is already in.
America is on the brink of financial disaster, there are people going on killing sprees, children killing there parents and grandparents, parents killing their kids, husbands and wives killing each other not to mention other countries that are just waiting for us to destroy ourselves so they could take over. WAKE UP AMERICA! WAKE UP CHURCH! What is it going to take to bring us to the end of ourselves and on our knees before the Almighty God who rains on the just and the unjust?
I lift my eyes to you, O God, enthroned in Heaven. We keep looking to the Lord our God for his mercy, just as servants keep their eyes on their master, as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal. Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy, for we have had our fill of contempt. We have had more than our full of the scoffing of the proud and the contempt of the arrogant.
(Lord, comfort the families in Connecticut while they grieve the loss of their loved ones.)
But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. But the person who loves God is the one God recognizes.
Today I am struggling with a couple of different things. First, someone my husband and I care about has relapsed. He spent the last year living with us. Hind sight is always 20/20, this time is no different. We both saw the red flags and kept giving him the benefit of the doubt instead of calling him out on his stuff. So I’m mostly angry with myself for not doing what I should have done. Im hurt our friend is back out rippin’ and runnin’.
Second, a pastor who is very important in my life and has been a huge part of my walk with the Lord has chastised me for not being a part of a body (church). I am currently between churches. We left our church family (not this particular pastor’s church) about a year ago, maybe a little longer. We left on good terms, I have nothing bad to say about the church we left. We just felt our season there was done. We may have been premature in that decision. We have not found another church we feel at home in since we left.
I’m in school full time, I have a family and sometimes my life feels a little crazy. So finding a church home hasn’t been on the top of my priority list. I also was doing Hep C treatment up until the end of Dec. and I’m just now starting to feel somewhat normal again. I have RA and that takes up some of my energy as well. Sounds like a bunch of excuses… I’m just giving a little background on the situation. Trying to make some sense of this and process it at the same time.
I have a hard time meeting new people. I am guarded because I’ve been hurt but I’m also avoiding the responsibility of living up to others expectations of me. I don’t even know what they are but I know what mine are. I hate disappointing people. Obviously I can disappoint people without even being around them… that’s seems a little odd to me.
My relationship with Jesus is good. It could always be better but I don’t think my relationship with Him is dependent on my attendance at church. I seek Him daily, talk to Him all day long and He speaks to me as well. I love to worship. He speaks to me a lot through music. I love that!
Once my husband and I had made a stand against the enemy of our souls we also had to make a stand for a lifestyle change. This meant we had to quit doing everything we had been doing to survive on the streets. For instance, we stole pretty much all of our camping supplies we had in order to live out in the elements. We would also steal our food when we ran out of food stamps, which didn’t last very long because we didn’t have a way to refrigerate food so what we bought was mostly stuff that had to be eaten right away. We also stole to get money for our drugs.
Unlike most of the other homeless people that we lived around who would “fly” a sign (hold a sign asking for money), we got our money a little quicker with less humiliation unless we got busted for shop lifting. Then it was really humiliating.
I tried flying a sign a couple of times but I just couldn’t take the humiliation. I mean after all, who wants to stand there holding a sign while people drive by without even looking at you? Who wants to stand there and take verbal abuse from people yelling obscenities at you and sometimes even throwing things at you? It was awful! I would rather take my chances getting caught shop lifting than standing there like I’m invisible or feel like garbage as people just pass you by like your not even there.
Anyway, all these things took planning and time. I would spend most of the day planning my shop lifting sprees and then when we executed the plan usually without a hitch, then it would take time to hook up with the drug dealer and get the dope for the night. This went on day after day, night after night. So when we quit doing the dope and got right with God we had all kinds of time on our hands.
We had to fill that time with something positive or we would get bored. Being bored is not good for addicts of any kind. What we started doing was having Bible study at our camp. We invited some of our homeless family and a couple of them would come at first, but then pretty soon more and more kept coming.
We would end up having worship and Bible study for most of the morning. It was wonderful.
We kept hearing from different people how they loved the Lord but they could never step foot in a church because they felt they would be shunned or looked down upon and these broken people didn’t need that. Not long after the Bible studies began, we decided to start having church on Sundays for the homeless. We all enjoyed hearing God’s Word.
After we began going to a Church of our own (which is another story), our church family started coming out to our camp and meeting people that we lived around and loving on them. Essentially, this became the church’s outreach program. God used our homelessness to be a bridge to the body of Christ.
I shared all that to say this, God grace was abound in our life at that time (it still is) and it was so evident. I abused drugs for a good 20 years where I had grown up and went to school and learned how to party. I would have never been able to get clean and stay clean in this town without GOd’s grace. It (drugs & alcohol) was in our face everyday, but Jesus was even bigger and His presence surrounded and kept us for His glory. We continued to be homeless for about two months, then we were able to get our own place and we stayed clean that whole time.
2 Cor. 12:9 (AMP)
But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! (2 Corinthians 12:9 AMP)