It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Faithful Follower or Pharisee

This week has been a week of inner turmoil. A week in which I was digging deep and mulling through my story. The story of why I believe what I believe and how my story has been written over the course of my life. There were two things that kept revealing themselves to me. I was not sure how they were connected or which paragraph of my story they were but I felt compelled to think and write and write and listen and mull and churn and this is what was spoken to my heart. You see I like you have a story. A story of how God won my heart. How He revealed his mighty power to me. How he went before me and how He showed me His Grace.

I was not "churched" growing up. My parents did not dress us in our Sunday best each week and take us to church. My dad was connected to a church but did not attend. It was 3 very distinct early years experiences that are burned in my memory. These memories are what I recall as the events that won my heart.

*The very first memory of church for me is of a white stereo typical church on the corner. It was just down from my uncles home (brother to my dad). I remember going there for Sunday school if we were at my uncles and sometimes going to my uncles just to go to Sunday school. I don't remember the adults taking us I remember them sending us....It was only two houses away so certainly we would not get lost.

It was through this church that I met Melanie and Martha. This was the church where my middle brother would memorize and recite the books of the Bible. To this very day I am proud that he could do that. I can not tell you that he is a believer or follower but I can say...God has resonated his heart and so the seed is still there.

Melanie and Martha would be my first people to influence me. I still have that very King James thou shalt Bible Martha, Martha Flamingo gave me in 1982. (I don't have it here with me so it may have been 1984)

These people would be ones whom I grew to look up to and who started my hunger. They were kind and gentle and loving and you could feel the Lords love radiating off of them.

*The second person to influence my journey was my uncle. Yep the one that lived right next to the church. You see...him and my aunt were born again. The sinful life they lived as teens was now thrown to the wayside and they had arrived. They knew (and still do) the Bible inside and out and for anyone that didn't well...I am sure you can decided what happened to those people. I was one of those people that did not know the Bible like they did. Unfortunately as a child I did not understand what shame was and so these people who were lovers of the Lord or at least the law would be my major influences in knowing Christ for the next long years of my life. It was here that I began to believe God was a God of meanness and shame. My uncle that claimed to be of the Lord would stand over me and use power and force to make me feel lesser and comply. Yes you got it....I did not want any part of feeling this way and if he represented thank you!!!

*The third person to influence my life was my aunt. I will share her name with you because it is now as the Lord has spoken to me that I can see the beauty in the ashes.
My auntie Ro'Blane (my dads sister) was a believer. See her beautiful smile in this picture. There was no mistaking this. Everyone in our small town knew this. She attended church on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday evening and was always involved in events with and through the church.
You see this family was broken. Broken relationships broken marriages broken spirits. But my auntie Ro as we called her had a sweetness about her.
Many complained she spent to much time at church. This did not stop her. She humbly went about serving the Lord. She was a woman who worked hard for her children as if she was working for the Lord. She was a faithful servant, a loyal friend and mother.
This is what it was about my aunt Ro that fills my heart. She was not a Pharisee. Yes she knew the Word. She hid it in her heart. She met Yahweh in the most intimate places. Her relationship with God was hers and it was a heart thing. She was not one to Bible beat or enforce "rules". She lived her life humbly while fulfilling the calling placed on her life by her True Love.
I must tell you that I was not close to her. I did not share me with her. Remember I was not wanting to know this God that was mean and shaming.

There are two things I remember about her other than the green chair in her living room that I loved....

I remember that in her bedroom always beside her bed was her Bible and her study "stuff". She loved HIM and she desired to know HIM more and...
I remember her blue tambourine. You see we attended (for me later in life) a charismatic church and she loved to worship Him. She sang out and praised Him while shaking that tambourine in a way that made you want to dance. Aunt Ro actually should have been singing next to Travis Cottrell or Paul Brandt or even singing in a quartet next to her brothers. They all love to and can sing....
Even as I sit here and write I can only feel and see a humble woman in love with the Lord...never for her glory...always for HIS.
My auntie Ro'Blane died of cancer. Through her battle she always believed if God wanted her to live, life He would give. If He wanted to take her home she would dress in the best wedding gown of white and look forward to the day she would meet her Bridegroom and go home with HIM. And she did...dressed in white with her blue tambourine she met her Bridegroom.
I can not wait to see her. I know she will be singing and praising the Lord shaking that tambourine. When I see her I will thank her for unknowingly showing me what
John 5:37-40 means.....
And the father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
Aunt Ro'Blane had nothing false in her. The pharisee was not in her. It was through her humbleness that I was attracted to my LORD and SAVIOR Jesus Christ. She painted a true picture of Him. She had a heart felt love for Him...and she did not even have to tell radiated off of her. She was a faithful follower.
Who are you? Are you a Faithful follower or a Pharisee? What are you communicating to people about Gods love for us?
Lord I Pray that I am a faithful follower and that through me others can see your love and beauty and promises of abundant life.

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