For weeks I’ve felt a tug at this prodigal heart to return to church. And not just any church but the church family I knew and loved in the past. The one that has prayed for me and my ex husband since we walked away years ago. The same loving faith family that welcomed me back almost 2 years ago, before I ran away again. That same family that once again welcomes me with open arms and tears, and prayers. Oh how they have been praying and waiting for God to bring me back on track. Thankfully they never seem to give up.
I had started a Kay Arthur study a few weeks back, Lord, Only You Can Change Me, and also started reading again the book Dan gave me last time, The Way Back To God, Psalm 51 by Clarence Sexton. Awesome stuff, both of them. I actually considered working through 3 of Kay’s studies, the other two are Lord, Heal My Hurts and Lord, Give Me A Heart For You but I’m one woman with a limited amount of hours in a day. 24, just like you. So I figured it best to stick to those and get in them in depth and take my time chewing on each lesson. I’m so glad I did, it’s been life changing stuff all over again. These helped me to open my heart again to focus on my faith.
Wednesday evening I went to the midweek service, which was the home groups that meet once a month. They are starting a new book, Walking Like Jesus Did; Studies In The Character Of Christ. I also attended the women’s bible study Friday, and they are just kicking off, this time in Unit 3 of a great study called Gospel Transformation.
Interesting to me how many new things are starting just as I return. And all are things I NEED more than I ever realized. God’s timing is so perfect.
During the past few weeks I’ve really struggled with ME. My “it’s all about ME” attitude, the idea that my world revolves around me and “if you don’t like it take a hike” line of thinking. PRIDE much? Yes, I know. And then my prayer of late, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief”. I heard that many times over in bible study Friday, and it is nice to know that while I was away from being fed, my sisters in Christ all struggle daily with many of the same things I do. When the ladies were doing a quick review of the last unit and what had touched them in it and unit 1, something stuck out to me regarding the whole “ME” complex I have had. Idolatry.
The book says, “An idol is anything we believe we need, apart from Jesus, to make us happy, satisfied, or fulfilled. An idol arises when we desire something more than we desire Jesus; when we fear things rather than God; when we worship ourselves rather than Christ; when we put our trust in anything other than God; when we serve anything other than Jesus.” The book provides some areas of fear, trust and desire that may be idols to us. All I can say is wow. SO many areas that I could check off either in a direct or indirect way. It is suffice to say that ME has to get bumped aside. I know this, knew it weeks ago, and I have to do away with my self centered thinking. But first comes the root of this ME idol. That root would be pain. The pain I still carry around and even cling too, of my divorce. I am not so sure that I wanted to hurt, as that it is just familiar, like my teddy bear, so I can hold it. Do I still feel I was wronged? Certainly. But what does it matter? It is done, over and I needed to let it go. Forgiveness didn’t come easy, but in the past few weeks I truly was able to just let it go and accept the healing that comes from God and not anything of myself.
Before I made the journey back last week, I knew it was not about me anymore. It was about Christ and my walk with Him. This time when I went it didn’t just feel like ‘home’, this time it felt like I had never left. I realized at one point that I had to remind myself I had been away a long time, because it felt as if I had never left there and had just been there last week. And while kids have grown up and there are been changes to people, so much still felt the same, as if there had been no absence for me. That was when I realized that I am right where I belong. And as I sat there, taking it all in, wearing my Harley Davidson long sleeved, v-neck shirt and jeans, with my wild, bleached blond hair, I knew that I can still be me, who I am. I don’t need to lose the person God created, that Marti is who she is because she was fearfully and wonderfully made. God doesn’t want me to not be an individual, He wants me to be HIS individual.