Facing Death Through the Cross

I watched as other women, in our sisterhood in Christ, developed substantial ‘followings’ with their writing, music, and public speaking….and I’m in awe. Praise God that they get a chance to use their platform to encourage us all in our faith, but deep down inside there was still this passionate green eyed monster that waged a war against my soul. I have prayed that the Lord would slay that monster, because one must die before they can be reborn. I stood over that corpse and considered carrying that body on my back, all that dead weight and it plagued my soul. Living in denial of death while not living in the reality of resurrection. What a morbid place to be in my mind and heart. My soul plagued with the stench of the green toxic fumes of death, I gasped for life. I could taste the decaying flesh on my tongue, why do I torment myself? Did he slay that dragon or not? It all came down to me taking the road to reality with my faith. How will I recognize myself without those glowing green eyes? I stare at my soul in the reflection of the fountain of life and I’m almost unrecognizable. My eyes have the glimmer of green flecks in my iris and what purpose is there in this remnant of that old identity? The lie had deceived me through a twisted perception of what was really there all along.

It wasn’t that I needed to die, because Christ had died in my stead. It was that I needed to view life through the victory of the cross. My perception needed to die so I could see myself as God sees me. What he said surprised me, “Don’t look at them (referring to those sisters), look at what I planted in you…The Christ.” It was then that I realized that I wasn’t really wrestling with a green eyed serpent, I was wrestling with a false image of myself. I needed to see that I was truly created in His image and what my heart was passionate for was to come into the full completion of who he created me to be. I was suckered into thinking I needed to live up to the image of my sisters. Turning my eyes upward left me feeling trapped and unable to reach him, but what he revealed to me was that I needed to turn my eyes inward to see Him in me. He created me to be creative, to love and to be loved. He created me to be myself and to enjoy His presence in my soul.

So I can see my sisters in the glory God gave them and be truly happy for them, because I am truly happy with myself. I am whole.

rose by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

With love,

Sisterlisa

Wrestling with UnAsked Questions

Some might say, “Who am I to question God?” I’ve heard that many times before along with a stern command from Christians to never question God. I have a hard time with that. They don’t know what I’ve been through in my life. Just because some men in the bible questioned God doesn’t mean all the questions are over. I think their questioning and testing of God shows us that we can too. Could our questioning of God really be a questioning of ourselves? Do we need to know God’s limits or our own?

Memories of difficult days can sometimes haunt me and if I sit in silence then I feel like I’m drowning. During our most difficult years of marriage…when he suffered from drug addiction and we were apart from one another.. I cried out my question.. against all commands from my Christian friends to never question God.. “Why me?” Why did he allow me to marry an addict? Why did I have to suffer so? And I wrestled with myself, my pain, my pit of despair. And I felt better for asking. Asking those questions relieved my soul. Holding them in was killing me. It was torture to my soul to suffer in the silence of unasked questions.

Asking questions makes people uncomfortable. We’d rather put on a polyester Christian cloak to hide from ourselves. To hide ourselves from the world. Do we really think the Emperor’s clothes look better on us that they looked on him? And yet Adam and Eve were naked before the Lord and not ashamed.

Why are we ashamed of our questions? Our pain? What will we discover about ourselves in the process? That we are vulnerable? Is this any surprise to God?

Maybe we’re not really afraid of God…maybe we are afraid of ourselves.

Allowing ourselves to be naked and vulnerable opens us up to the criticism and laughter of those around us. We will discover who is a friend and who is a foe….and we open ourselves up to suffer more pain and the infliction of a betrayed friendship wounds us deeply.

Will they laugh at me, or scold me for being naked before the Lord?

Will I be rejected for my humanity?…oh yes we shall.

And we are afraid of this, because life long friendships can become betrayal at a moment’s notice and the loss of the facade means more nakedness and greater depths of vulnerability and there it is that we discover we are not alone.

Huntington Beach, Ca. - 10/30/2011 by brotherscott, on Pix-O-Sphere
{photo credit Scott at Pix-O-Sphere}

When the onslaught of anger reaches it’s boiling point and we see that friends were really foes of the vulnerability of the cross it is then that we find the fellowship of his sufferings. We receive lashings from all around us, belittling words, curses that nail our hands to that cross and we’re crowned with the heretic’s royal diadem. We’re utterly shamed by the crowd and our clothes are rent and lots are cast… we went down the slippery slope and we are laid bare. Accused of rejecting God, we embrace him on that cross and he embraces us back…’today you will be with me in paradise’.

Look up one more time and see that there are tears shed for you my friends…and there are those who eagerly await your rebirth, your resurrection from the dead and they look for that blessed hope in you.

And it wounds us deeply under the rib…the heart is punctured and we die.

Who were they that crucified me, but so called Christians who wagged their tongues as I died that day. Those religious zealots who didn’t understand this Christ…because they had their own idea of what a savior is and they don’t believe he has come yet. They still wait for what is already our reality…this Kingdom that was found within and we didn’t know, we didn’t realize that unless we would die.. we would not find the birth of that seed…it was there all along.

This resurrection came about in the nakedness of the cross, of our shame, and we wrestled with our unasked questions out of fear, but life burst forth from that death. But the pain of that death held me back…I sat in the darkness of my unasked questions and suffered in the silence that gagged me.

The freedom to ask was given to me by the One who set me free. And each day I can wrestle with the One who will not defeat me..he wrestles with me and we  enjoy the heart beating hard, His arms around me the whole time. The slippery slope doesn’t end in destruction, we slide and end up in a never ending sea of grace. And there is no end…His love is vast and He is the Alpha found within..this mystery revealed. And so it is with any mystery..the glorious enjoyment of asking questions…because he is not insulted by our questions. He welcomes them and show us great and mighty things each step of the way.