Saturday, April 09, 2011

I Don’t Know the Half of It

Please read this post in its entirety. If read out of context you will miss important points and likely judge me severely.

I used to think I had it all figured out – this world, my life, God…but then life happened and I continue to realize that I don’t know the half of it.

When I was young, I was sure that I wanted the princess wedding to the perfect husband and the 2 kids – a boy and a girl – and a career working in an office where I made others happy. I came home to my cute, sparkling clean house and made a healthy meal every night. You can see where this kind of thinking is going… Don’t get me wrong, I have a good life, just not that level of perfection.

I was sure I had this world all figured out – you do good, good things result. You do bad, well, don’t even try it.

God – he was always there and predictable – black and white rules led my life. If you committed suicide, you went to hell. If you were gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, you might as well forget about God. If you were sick, God would heal. I was sure I knew it all – this dogmatic view of life. But I’m here to tell you – I got it all wrong – because THEN life happened.

THEN: My godfather’s wife committed suicide. I remember praying for her when she was fighting for her life in the hospital – in a coma. I saw darkness over her – pitch black, relentless. As I prayed (and I knew many others were too), I saw the darkness leave and light shine over her. I felt as though God told me it was OK to stop praying – that everything was going to be fine. She died on my birthday. I believe that the darkness of this life was too much for her – that she was deceived into thinking this was her only way out. But I believe she had faith. I believe that she is at peace and in heaven. I believe this because my mind is too small for this limitless God to truly believe that I even begin to comprehend what He is doing and can do to save us. BOTTOM LINE: God decides who has faith and who is in heaven. He knows our hearts. Who am I to judge otherwise?

THEN: I became friends with the most loving, positively joyful bisexual woman. She was in a great, supportive relationship with her transgendered partner. We talked about everything under the sun – religion / relationship with God, love, respect, community. We were more different than any other two people could be. I believe that Jesus taught me to love her because he would have too. She was brutally attacked about 4 months ago and died from her injuries a day later. She should have died immediately. I joined others in praying that God would reveal Himself to her and save her. My friend had a vision of her in heaven. I truly believe she is there. BOTTOM LINE: God has not called me to be judgmental, but to love all people. He has a plan for our lives that is best for us. We need to tune into that plan and follow Him.

THEN: I had chronic back pain. One day, family members prayed over me and I was miraculously healed. A few years later, my mom got breast cancer. Family members prayed over her and she was NOT healed. She had radical surgery and months of chemotherapy. I can’t imagine the physical, spiritual and emotional toll she endured. In my mind, she should have been healed immediately. BOTTOM LINE: Healing is decided by God and on His terms. We will never know what separates us from him that causes those parts of our lives to go awry.

THEN: The frailty of life is constantly in my view. I can’t even explain to you the number of people I am close to or are in my extended family that have died in the last few months. I’m reading a book called Crazy Love by Francis Chan. He reminds us in chapter 2 that our life is just vapor – here today and gone in an instant. And I’m reminded ever so clearly that I boldly and dogmatically go forward in this life – STILL – after all of these experiences that should tell me otherwise and STILL have the audacity to believe that I will never die. BOTTOM LINE: I need to love relentlessly, and make each moment count because death is all around me. We will never know when our lives will end.

So I come before all of you now realizing my brokenness – even more than yesterday. I am open to possibility – open to change – open to what God wants to do, but honestly – I’m not always listening. So I’m walking away from this screen and I’m going to be quiet for awhile. Maybe He has something to say, or maybe it is the quiet that will be the conversation today. No matter – because life will still happen and THEN I will learn more of how I can love. BOTTOM LINE: It’s all about love and even then – I still don’t know the half of it.


Aunt Cindy said...

While you may not know the half of it YET there will be a time when it will all be reveiled and make perfect, peaceful sense. I long for that day. Until then, I would say you've learned a lot.. for a beginner! Yes, life truly is just a vapor. How much can you learn in a vapor?

Daniel Longden said...

Really great and revealing blog post. I am constantly (lately) being bombarded with individuals who are dogmatic about how God is - like they put Him in a box (a box of their understanding) and say that's just how it is. I on the other hand have a hard time with any of that. It's good to see other confessional Christians saying that they don't have God all figured out. I've found, the more Biblical knowledge I acquire, the less I know about God (the Divine paradox). I am also encouraged at the transparency you've shown in how your faith has been strengthened, in opposition to the "story book" ideals that you grew up with. God is BIGGER than any of us can fathom. In fact, I dare say that if we got a "think tank" together of the smartest theologians, scientists, engineers, lawyers, politicians, oh and retail managers, they wouldn't even touch the tip of the iceberg of God's knowledge and wisdom. Anyway, good stuff Jenny! Keep it up...

Jennifer Powell said...

Aunt Cindy, true - how much can we learn in a vapor. I do feel like a beginner everyday. But maybe that is what faith is all about. Putting aside the preconceived notions.

Dan, thanks for the compliments. I think I agree that the more I go forward the less I believe I know about God's ways. But I think that just makes me view Him more and more as He truly is.

Share my post with people who challenge you. Who knows, maybe something will break through.