Monday, July 30, 2012

Dumped in the Wilderness

Since we moved to Utah, 2 1/2 years ago, I have been struggling with my faith.  I was raised in the Church of Christ, and I'm so comfortable and at home in that setting. I even went to a Church of Christ based private college.  But the closest CofC is almost an hour away.  I long for a church family close by. For the fellowship and kindred beliefs.  I've yearned so much for that that I have even considered attending the LDS church.  There is one about every 2-3 miles here.  Everyone assumes you are LDS, if you live here.  But I just can't believe the Mormon faith, although I envy the conviction of their faith and the unity amongst them. I can't bring myself to go to their services as though I bought into the Joseph Smith teachings. 

I tried a Baptist church and came home crying my eyes out. They had a woman speaker talking about her trips to heaven and what she saw there. Truly.  I mean, come on. Why does she get to see the face of God, when no one else does, and lives to tell about it.  John Wayne is in Heaven, you say?  Well, that's not so hard to believe.  But I'm having a little trouble with the fact that they make movies in heaven.  And that was just the tip of the iceberg of the garbage she was spouting. And I looked around and saw everyone enraptured by her "experiences".  I felt like I needed a shower when I left.  And I did leave early, by the way.  Thankfully, before the congregational dancing ensued.  Oi!

I tried a community church and couldn't get past the instrumental music. But at this point, I think I can get past it. I am dying inside for a church home. I love the CofC I found in SLC, but that's an hour away, and usually too unsafe to travel to in the winter. 

So for a short while I tried having a family devotional and met so much resistance that I gave up. I felt ridiculed by my own children, and that hurt.

One of my biggest regrets in life is not taking advantage of the church home that I had when I lived in Texas.  When I had one, then two, then three babies, I would get us all to Church on Sunday mornings. It was work, and sometimes my only motivation was that I would get some time to sit by myself while the kids were in Bible class or sitting with my parents.  Week after week, year after year, getting everyone ready and going by myself, without support of my spouse. I look back and think what conviction I had to shape and mold those precious hearts.  I guess when I started slacking off in attendance I thought a buffer had been built up inside the kids' hearts.  That they would remember what they learned about God, that their love for him would continue and grow.  My health the last few years there kept me home a lot.  But most of the time it was just laziness.  I always knew it would be there when I needed it. Stupid. That's what I am. 


Once again I was crying to Steve about my unhappiness here the other day. In response Steve struck my heart when he said, "Maybe this is your journey. Maybe you've been dumped in the wilderness. Now what do you do?" 

I immediately thought of Christ in the wilderness for 40 days. Steve didn't know what a deep chord he struck in me by saying that. I intend to study and see what I can glean from Christ's wilderness experience. 

What I have learned from this Utah experience is like what I learned when I had my second child. I didn't let my first child cry, I was always right there when he needed me. But when I had my second, I realized, it must be ok for them to cry because I can't physically be in two places at one time, or meet both needs immediately. So, I thought... if I am physically unable to attend church each Sunday, or be with the faith that I believe in. God's grace must cover those things I am unable to fulfill. I believe it is my heart, and my willingness he sees. If I am seeking, won't I find? Sometimes it doesn't feel like it. 

So here I am in the wilderness, ironically, full of people.  My faith isn't strong enough to be the leader. And Satan is around every corner tempting me to stray. I am praying for the strength to keep seeking.  For the example to my family to renew their faith and love of God. 

I have failed in so many ways, on so many levels.  God's grace is sufficient.  It has to be.


Charlton said...

praying for you. i think if that fellowship church you mentioned believes in baptism and still has most of our beliefs instilled in their congregation, then the instrumental music can be overlooked. Brandon will probably laugh if he reads my comments, knowing I had issues in the beginning with a praise and worship team at our old church. (they sat in the front rows with microphones). But, I'd like to say I've grown a little and realize that as long as you are praising God with your voice and heart, God is with you. Stay strong and faithful!

Polly Jones said...

Rhonda, dearest of friends, thank you for sharing what you're going through. I have to strongly disagree with the remark about being stupid. You are NOT stupid. Regret is not a very helpful emotion. I guess it only helps as far as spurring you on to an action that is more in keeping with your goals. But, are you being as kind to yourself as you would be to another friend? Haven't you done the best you could at the time. Someone said to me once when I was expressing regret, "We do better when we know better." I hope you find a church too and think Charlton has a great point about the fellowship church. I love you and am praying specifically that you find God's will in this wilderness experience. Let me know what you discover.

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