Showing posts with label faith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label faith. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Someone Else Feels Like Me?

        As I read the Scripture readings for today, Psalm 69 really stayed with me.  When you feel down, you know how it seems like no one understands you, and no one has experienced the lows you are feeling?  You can find empathy and a kindred spirit from over 2000 years ago.  Just listen:

"I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched.  My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me." (Psalm 69: 3, NLT)

    What depths of sadness!  This seems like it would be about a close relative passing, a cancer diagnosis, or something equally catastrophic.  But is the next verse:

"Those who hate me without cause outnumber the hairs on my head.  Many enemies try to destroy me with lies.  O God, you know how foolish I am. My sins cannot be hidden from you." (Psalm 69:4-5, NLT)

    This could easily be spoken by a teenager or young adult:  "Everybody hates me.  They are spreading lies all over.  Yeah, I did some stupid things, I know, but geez..."  The point here is that even though the Psalmist was feeling so low, they turned to God in prayer.

"Rescue me from the mud; don't let me sink any deeper!  Save me from those who hate me, and pull me from these deep waters." (Psalm 69:14, NLT) 

    God can rescue us from any situation we are in, and we just need to trust Him and ask for help.  If you can't think of the words, turn to your Bible.  The book of Psalms is full of many examples of emotional outcries, from joyous to full of agony.  Websites like Bible Study Tools and  Bibles can help you find verses for just about any emotion you might be feeling.  Most importantly, know that you are not alone. 


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Faith of Our Fathers....and Mothers

My faith journey has covered many different trails, but through it all, I have recognized a need for God in my life.  I was baptized a Methodist and grew up attending church and Sunday School each week before going to Grandma's for dinner.  My dad was Sunday School superintendent and my mom was often in charge of summer Vacation Bible School. We sang wonderful hymns embellished by a wonderful pianist who I had the pleasure of taking lessons from, and the minister knew just how to modulate his voice to keep people from falling asleep.  

In fifth grade, we moved to a nearby town where my father had moved from owning a grocery and feed business to owning a grain elevator.  Based on his customers' suggestions, we attended the Lutheran church.  My sister and I went through confirmation and were active in the youth group.  Unfortunately, they asked for money a lot and made comments about how if people couldn't tithe, they should not be there.  That is the memory anyway.  This occurred after my father had a heart attack and money was tight.  Eventually, my family quit attending.    

This could have easily ended my faith journey, but I was involved in another youth group with several of my high school friends.  I have such great memories of the Cherry Box MYF--a Mennonite church youth group.  We sang, prayed, played games, and learned more about the Bible with great enthusiasm.  During church services, the congregation sang four-part acapella and the hymn sings with the two nearby Mennonite churches were some of my favorite times.  It didn't hurt that they also had the cutest boys...haha.  I dated one of the young men in high school, then again in college, so when I had a chance to join the church I was re-baptized to signify my conscious decision to follow Christ since my earlier baptism was as an infant.   

The youth group was very vocal about their disapproval of the Catholic faith, to the point that in college, several of us tried to convert another girl away from Catholicism because it was so "evil."  Her brother was a priest, and years later, I really regret the stress we must have put her through.  When I started teaching and met the man who is now my husband, I told him on our first date that the one thing he could never ask me to do was join the Catholic church.  I eventually asked to attend church with him so I could see him earlier on Saturdays.  This led to many questions, so he suggested I look into the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) at a local parish.  

The sponsors of the RCIA classes explained things in a way that I could understand and accept, so Easter 1989 I was confirmed, and marriage preparation classes followed.  Many of the mysteries of the Church still puzzle me, but the history and ritual are very centering and I am continuing to learn and grow in my faith.  That faith helps me understand that some things are just beyond our ability to comprehend.  Future posts will be more about recent readings, music, and experiences, but this varied background was important for me to share.