Wednesday, January 28, 2009

FREEDOM!!!


I will start this post by saying that I grew up what I will call a "religious mutt". We went to many types of church's growing up-Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Pentecostel, Christian. We've been to almost all of them at one time or another. I don't think one religion is "better" than another.

With that being said, somehow I ended up quite legalistic. I remember being a little girl at the Baptist church and having these offering envelopes. You had to check off whether you read your Bible everyday, brought a friend, etc. I took that to be my holiness meter. I remember thinking if I didn't read my Bible one night and I died then surely I would go to Hell. Its almost funny now, but its really not. How many people are struggling like that now?? I know that God's word doesn't say that anywhere. I also know that the enemy{Satan} comes to kill, steal, and destroy. I struggled my whole life with my salvation. I know{I thought} I was saved when I was around 7. I was at a revival and walked down that aisle and I knew why. I have been baptized 3 times since that. Did it not "take" the first time?? I don't know about that thought process.

After we left the Baptist church we went to the Pentecostel church. I was going to be really spiritual then with my dresses and growing my hair out. Something still didn't totally jive with that, because I still wore my jewelry and pants on my "off days". I remember going there and this lady asking if I had the Holy Ghost. I told her yes and she said, "Then speak in tongues". I tried, I really did. Then the lady said that I did not have the Holy Ghost because I couldn't speak in tongues. I was in fifth grade, y'all. Now I cannot believe how that lady acted. And while I am on the subject, you wearing dresses or not cutting your hair, not watching tv or listening to certain types of music does not define your salvation or what degree of Christian you are. Simply having a relationship with Jesus is the important thing.

When I met my husband he was Pentecostel and we were back to Baptist after a few stops around the religious block. We were moving away from both of our churchs, which were far away from one another as well, we decided to find a happy medium. When I was pentecostel, I thought everyone who wasn't was going to Hell and thought Baptists were a bunch of hypocrites, and then when I was Baptist again, I couldn't believe that I thought that. Of course, I thought Baptists were perfect(as much as a human can be) and that everyone else was wrong.

Anyway, before we were married we found a great church that is non-denomination and its great. No lables=no judgement. Not always and God has worked on my heart and acceptance of other religions. Not one is the perfect one.

On my journey, I still felt like maybe I wasn't really saved. I thought I must be, but I didn't feel like I was. I now know feeling don't really matter, it is the facts that matter. The fact is I know Jesus is the son of God and he came to save my sins. How do I explain that to my children?? I tell them that he died so we can go to Heaven, but also he can take our mean hearts and make them sweet. Kind of like the Grinch. Speaking of the Grinch...I was reading this blog and she seemed so joyful and talked about Jesus and living in his love. I was like that is great but how. I emailed her and she was so kind to email me back. I remember times where I felt like I was losing it and how can I raise these children that God gave me and not totally screw them up like I was. I was in bed praying one August morning in 2007 that God would love them through me because I couldn't and I didn't feel like I had a lot of love to give. They were also waking me up very early and I don't do early. I prayed for God to fill me with his love, and I needed to FEEL it this time. I wanted to get my salvation issue solved once and for all. I am telling y'all once I prayed that I felt like the Grinch in his salvation moment. I felt my chest literally fill up with air, like it was a shriveled raisin into a balloon. Thank God he let me FEEL it because now I know. Its a wonderful feeling and while I know I am not perfect I am forgiven. I still yell at my kids every now and then, but I know I can ask forgiveness and I ask them as well. And you mother's out there, I would encourage you to ask your children to forgive you when you know you have wronged them. I don't feel like my parents did that, that what they did was okay because they were the grown-ups and its okay. They need to know that we need God just as they do, because he helps us all.

I hope y'all understood this okay. I am still learning and to not put other Christians on a pedestal. That came clear to me just around this Christmas season. It was another one of those times where I just thought either me or my children are out of control. I thought well I will just ask one of the children's leaders for advice on parenting. Then I remembered reading in Proverbs where God said anyone who asks for wisdom will be freely given wisdom. That was when I realized I didn't need another parenting book, I just needed to ask God. I think Bible studies are great but I also know that the Bible says not to add or take away and that the God who gave those authors wisdom will also give it to me.

I tell y'all, I am so glad the fog has lifted and God has given me clarity. I also know if you ask, God will give you the peace you need.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me athomeelise{at}yahoo{dot}com.

Hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday!!

Elise

7 comments:

Katy said...

Amen and Amen! Being a Christian doesn't come with a set of rules. It is knowing and loving Christ as our Savior! :) Isn't that wonderful?? :) I do feel Christianity is the only perfect religion...because it is truth...but the whole denominations thing is really annoying! :)

I am so glad and happy for you and how you feel. I, too, struggled with this in the past and isn't it such a wonderful feeling to know you are saved?

I have emailed with Jewels as well (isn't she so caring and thoughtful?) and she was very encouraging. :) I am so glad you were able to talk with her as well.

I love wearing skirts because they make me feel sooo feminine...but I totally hear ya...you CAN be Godly woman and wear pants too! :) I wear both skirts and pants...right now I have a skirt on....but not because I think I "have" to...but just cuz I want to...know what I mean?? :)

Anyhoo....my heart is glowing for you right now and I am so glad you feel such joy. The joy from the Holy Spirit is uncomparable to anything else, don't you think?

I hope you get your box of dishcloths soon! Also..I hope you like them! :) Have a wonderful Wednesday! xoxo

Jes said...

LOVED reading this...
I remember numerous times in school (I went to a private school) they'd ask when the exact time was that we were saved. I never really knew so I'd ask again right then and there. I still don't have a time to tell you about when it actually happened...other than every time I asked Him into my heart AGAIN. But I don't think that really matters. I'm saved and I KNOW it. Just cuz. And I know what you mean about...just ask Him. I wish I did that more than I go running to friends or family for advice. I wish it was second nature to ask God before I ask EVERYONE else.
And, yes, it feels so good to ask my kids for forgiveness...when I yell, am short with them...impatient...not a very graceful teacher....the list goes on, I tell ya! The point is God is good, and He'll meet you (and me and everyone else) right where we are. In the midst of our struggles and doubts.
Love you, friend. :)

Lipstick and Laundry ~Jen said...

WoW... deep.. I am glad you have discovered it is a SIMPLE as having a personal relationship with Jesus. You can talk with Him all day long and FEEL His love.

Joanna said...

You wrote that wonderfully! I am a Christian (Baptist) and I have been there and felt those feelings. I am now in a place where I know that I am Saved, I know that God is there for me and that asking for forgiveness (and meaning it) works. God's love is a feeling that you just can't describe. My kids love God because we were in church (hadn't been in several months), but they have an understanding of what God is and how Jesus died for us. Even my 3 year old understands in her own way.

Mark said...

Hey! Found you thru Jen in CA. (if my username is Mark, sorry---that's my son) I think I may have replied before, not sure. I'm a blonde that way! ;) Anyhoo...I loved what you wrote today. You certainly hit the nail on the head and it went thru me, as well. Being a Christian my whole life, I never had a "moment." It doesnt matter, as long as Jesus is the Lord of Life, freedom is ours! And what some (the "un-churched") may have a hard time believing is that even though we Christians are forgiven, we are not perfect, nor do most of claim to be. We serve a perfect God and He has shown great Mercy and Grace to we humans. PRAISE HIM! We are all hypocrites, that's part of being human. Ok, off my soap box. Just wanted you to know that you have a wonderful way of puting things, and I appreciate it!! Nice to meet you. TinaW

Sole said...

Hi, you have a lovely blog! I loved your post, it really spoke to me! I struggled with alot of that last year. Regardless of what denomination a person is, in the end it's all really about one thing...Jesus. Thank you!
~Sole

Hadley Coble said...

Elise, that is just the thing that I needed to hear today. You really have no idea.

Love,Hadley