Oh gosh, finally a leisurely morning in a Starbucks to write and connect with y'all! First things first....my girl is *in* as far as I know. There was some quibbling over a dirty drug test which postponed her date to Tuesday....I never understand that rationale. She is entering a drug treatment facility. Why do they expect people to be clean when they enter? I understand not being in gut wrenching full blown withdrawal, but she was started on Suboxone again to manage that. Anyway....quickly before they took her phone, she texted me, "Love you mom, drive safe. I'm ok." I thought for sure I could drop her off this time, God knows I have done this enough times, and not cry. But my voice cracked as I told her that I love her and she is in God's hands and never ever alone. He is always with her.
Ok its a new day and I am going to attempt to share my spiritual journey here. It is a relationship that is so precious to me and I know I know....when I used to hear people say things like that, it would almost make me throw up. It literally made my skin crawl. But really, this is real! I am a changed person today. Not in the angels singing, halo wearing, never making any mistakes form that you might envision. Nope. I am changed in that I am real. I still have a few choice words that I like to use given the right circumstances, I like to gossip (gasp, not widespread...only with my bff) and I snap at my husband. I am not afraid (for the most part) to look at our/my mistakes and dare I say it, "sin," because I KNOW that I am loved and accepted by my God. He's not mad at me! Because of the grace I have been given, I am able to give grace and compassion to others. I don't need to figure out their stuff, whether or not they "deserve" it or not (none of us do if the truth be told....its a gift,) or be the one to set them straight. That is God's business. I get to love them and share my story when the door is opened.
Let me preface this whole thing with the statement that I am not a theologian, a well studied Bible scholar, a doctrinal expert or any such type of spiritual academic. I do not know the Bible backward and forward. I am just me. I can only share my own personal experience. In my past life....years prior to 40 years old, I was taught that any kind of experience needed to be backed up with scripture in order to confirm that it was indeed "from God." I can't do that. I mean, I probably could go through and hunt up various scriptures that would verify or officiate my experiences as real and meaningful...but I don't feel the need to defend or justify my experiences. My times of spiritual awakening changed me. I know where I once was, and I know where I am now. I don't need any further proof than that. This is just my story.
In order to share my spiritual journey I am going to have share a portion of my mom's also. When I was a little girl I followed her around from church to church and became this denomination or that denomination as she searched to find that peace that she so desperately craved.
I have written before about her struggles with her own addictions to alcohol and prescription pills. When I was a little girl she was desperate to find something that would fill her up. She was in a yukky marriage to "the son of a gun" and there was a lot of violence and substance abuse going on. I can remember her taking us to church but mostly I remember her teaching us about God and praying and that we were never alone. If we felt afraid we could always pray and God was with us. According to my mom He was powerful and could take care of anything that was going on.
My mom would take me with her to various churches, eventually settling on the Jehovah's Witnesses for a few years. We had several years of no birthdays, no Christmas, having to tell our teachers that we couldn't say The Pledge of Allegiance. I already felt different because of my home life....this only confirmed the idea that I didn't fit, that I was not like the other kids. I had big concerns in my life as a 3rd grader. I had big things to worry about and certainly couldn't or wouldn't tell anyone what was going on there. I loved my parents despite their faults and I couldn't have fathomed ever telling anything that made them look bad.
My mom began to read the Bible on her own. Some of the JW teachings weren't sitting well in her spirit. She read and went to Bible studies, eventually stopping her connection with the JW's.They came to the door one day and told her she was "disfellowshipped." Shunned, cast out. No one was allowed to talk to her or acknowledge her presence until she went through various steps to be reinstated. I remember feeling kind of hurt. They not only didn't want us, we weren't "allowed" to be in their group anymore. Again, this reinforced the message..."I don't fit, not even in the church." Let me add that I was young, I think in the 4th grade when this happened. So my understanding was limited.
My mom, one of the most gracious people I have known, explained that the JW's were living according to their principles, to their convictions and you can never fault someone for being true to their beliefs. (Unless they are Hitler or the Rwandan Hutus I suppose) We just don't share those same beliefs anymore and its ok. She wasn't mad or hurt and until the end of her life always spoke highly of the JW's passion for their faith and their actions that carry it out.
She had found something new, a relationship with Jesus. This was the mid-70's Jesus movement so that fit perfectly! lol Those days were a mix of hippie spirituality and Christian doctrine and structure....but many came away changed. Not me at that point, but something was planted in my soul.
Coming soon.....our church in the park and living in a commune.