Thursday, October 18, 2012

Jesus speaking to me

My church only has a Sunday night service once a month. It's always the first Sunday at which time worship music, baptisms, and corporate communion commences (that's a lot of c's in a row). This past Sunday was one to go down in the books.

First of all, participating in a full worship service was amazing because my Lovely One and I are usually with the greeting crew so we miss the first half of the worship. It was a super-charged emotional service with it being the night the founding pastor of the church stepped down from being senior pastor and passed the mantle onto another pastor. Musical worship - check. Now onto baptisms.  A mother renewed her commitment to walking with God and being sensitive to The Spirit. Cool. I love that at our church the entire congregation gets on their feet, claps, shouts, and yells for people when they come up out of the water. It makes me feel like I'm participating even a little bit like how the Father and those in Heaven rejoice when a sinner is saved. Now onto communion.

Let me interject for a second, please. Thank you. Okay, so "context is king" as a professor of not-mine once said. The past couple of weeks I have been having major issues with God. I'm in this personal phase where I'm becoming less numb and feeling more. It is kind of like waking up sleeping animals and I don't really know which type of animal I'm waking up when. Yeah, so, this past week had been chock-a-bok full of explatives at God and unleashing suppressed anger. In some ways I felt guilty and in others I felt apathetic. I had been having feelings questioning God's presence in my past and current chaos. Where was he when I was being sexually abused? Where was he when I was all alone? Where was he when I felt like everything was crashing in on me and he had abandoned me? That kind of stuff.

Okay, back to communion. First came the bread. As our old pastor (not as in age - well, yeah, I guess he's old that way too - but as in tenure at the church) prayed over and held up the bread and I saw a picture in my mind of God funnelling his wrath and fury onto Jesus for the sins of the world he was bearing. It was stirring to say the least to picture this ultimate sacrifice for the Father, for the world, and for me. me. I remained shaken by this reality while the bread was passed out and the worship band played The Revelation Song. Sorry Kari Jobe; no one does The Revelation Song like The Vineyard! Then came the "wine". I usually try to reflect on my sin and Christ's sacrifice in preparation for receiving this sacrament, but Jesus interrupted me. Sidenote: in my mind when I "hear" God speaking to me in the still, small voice I always imagine it's coming from God the Father though I really have no true basis for this. end sidenote. In my "holy imagination" as my pastor calls it, I heard Jesus ask God if it was okay for Him to speak; obviously it was! So Jesus then told me that he was sorry that I felt so sad, isolated, angry, and numb. He told me that He could relate; that he too experienced what I did as a man and was tempted in all things also. He told me that, "It's okay, I know. I've cried the tears that you cry." This wrecked me to say the least!!! (Yes, all three exclamation points are necessary.) Never before I have felt the closeness and personal-ness of the Holy Triune to me. Never. God always felt so ethereal and removed. I was weeping by this point as I saw something like a sheet of blood, like at the end of car wash is with rain washing the suds off, wash over me. God reminded me of how He had cleansed me of all sin through His love and sacrifice. All of my inner fight just fell flat in light of this. I still barely grasp what happened that night. I just know that I am now changed.

Pretty much all of my life I have loved God and have worked hard for Him even when He wasn't wishing that of me. I have always had the amazing gap between me and God though. I never knew why I couldn't approach Him and reach out to Him in times of need. I could to His Church, but not to Him. This has changed. I was struggling major time this morning getting stuck in my head about a dream I had last night and remembering love and pain from the past wondering what if... and when... Today I could reach out to Him. While I am scared as s#!$ to trust Him and rely on Him, somehow I am assured that He is there for me - personally there for me. Thank you God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit for this assurance.

This experience will be an ebenezer stone for me to reference back to from hence forward. The enemy can not steal this event from me, this Entity and Relationship from me rather. I am nervous as all get out and extremely excited to see what happens from here. I know it's not going to be what my domesticated, suburban self had in mind.

~Came to believe has never been so genuine. Thank you for accepting my reality and not just being the god of my imagination and composition, but the God of the scriptures you breathed into life. Thank you.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Just as anonymity is a cornerstone in the Alcoholics Anonymous program, I will value it highly here as well. I believe anonymity can allow for an environment where persons can more thoroughly express their thoughts and feelings that they may feel unsafe doing with "real" persons who could more easily harm them with their reactions and responses. In addition, I'm currently in a geographical culture and occupational position which would not readily receive the honesty I wish to display here. If you believe my anonymity in an of itself creates dishonesty, well, we'll just have to agree to disagree; and that's okay.

Those who do my personal information outside of this blog, please respect this wish by not identifying me within one's comments to posts. Thank you. I value you and your support incredibly.

Friday, October 5, 2012

a prelude to my future writings

Below are several PSAs I'd like to get out there to be used in reference to my future writings:

1. Some have difficulty believing the 12 Steps align with Christianity. I am not of this mindset and my writing will not reflect that mindset either. The Holy Bible was an integral part of the inspiration for the writings of Bill W. who authored much of the original Alcoholics Anonymous text; however, the Bible was not the only literature used for inspiration. I do not believe that all of Christianity fits within the 12 Steps, but I do believe that all of the 12 Steps can and do fit within Christianity. If you feel otherwise, that's okay. I don't at this time, that may or may not change. Until then, this will be part of my operational mindset.

2. Some in the Christian circle argue that a follower of Christ should continue to claim their identity as an alcoholic or addict. This seems to come from the idea of transformation and being a saint versus a sinner after belief in the basic tenets of salvation. I do not fully align with this ideology. When I self identify as a sex addict I think of the "now and not yet" ideology often refered to within the Vineyard denomination. In the "not yet" realm I understand that I am justified and faultless before God (I think), but this is not true in the "now" realm in which we live here on earth (I think). Thus, identifying as a sex addict is a direct reference to who I am in the "old man" and does not reflect who I am in the "new man" created by the Holy Spirit. I also need the reminder that this addictive cycle will likely be a lifelong temptation that I must be ready from which to flee and battle spiritually. Reminding myself of this helps me to stay on guard.

3. The reason I often place prayers at the bottom of posts is for a few reasons. One, I definitely have some pioty left in me - most of which I attribute to my Southern Baptist heritage of which I am partially appreciative. Second, I need these prayers to remember the hope in Jesus when I so often lose sight of that when staring so narcisistically at my own life. Finally, I need accountability to remain in prayer to battle my self-reliance and isolation.

4. I recognize that I am extremely comma happy. This, will, not, change. I, hope, this, will, be, tolerable, for, you.

came to believe

The second step of any of the Anonymous groups is "Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." This is pretty much where I am in both my recovery process in general as well as my recovery process in Sex Addicts Anonymous. Caveat: "My name is __________, and I'm a sex addict." I've been saying this for about a year now. Historically, this information has only been shared with a trusted few. I struggle at times with setting limits on how much to tell and to whom to tell; however, in this, I believe it is now time to be able to bring this part of myself fully into the light as this is not only my struggle, but many others' struggle both inside and outside of the Church. The more I reflect on my sexual history  - in addition to the thoughts, emotions, consequences, and overall process surrounding my sexual history - I clearly see the stamp of the addictive process/disease in my life. Thus, I am growing in awareness of my powerlessness and unmanageability (Step 1 of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous - the same steps for all Anonymous groups).

As I am venturing into the land of this second Step, I can't help but be thorough. Example: I know there is a Power greater than me that could restore me to sanity. But this Step isn't looking for knowledge; it's looking for belief. I find myself very conflicted lately when comparing what I think I know to be true of the Holy Bible versus what I believe to be true of the Holy Bible and its implications. I know God says He will never leave or forsake us, but I'm not sure I fully believe that. I know that God wants to father me in ways an earthly father never could, but I don't believe that this is possible or probable a lot of times. I know that I am supposed to rely fully on God and lean not on my own understanding, but I don't believe that God will be there to catch me if I let go of the control, hence leaving me clinging to my self-reliance.

I do believe that God is working in my heart and mind. I do know that He is right and my beliefs are not necessarily right (beliefs in general that is because I definitely know all the aforementioned beliefs are not right). I am trying to be much more emotionally honest and authentic with myself, others, and God. I don't believe this will be a quick fix for me, but I do believe it will result in truer intimacy and deeper relationships. I believe this will satisfy my soul more. I'm pretty sure God is okay with my unbelief though as I ask Him to help me in it. Otherwise, I'm super screwed I guess.

All of that to say I am coming to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity, but I'm not quite there in believing that God will restore me to sanity. I believe that He could, but I'm not sure I believe that He will if I'm honest with myself. This is gradually being reconciled with the Holy Spirit within me, but not quite yet. I'm honestly a little scared of that reconciliation because of how much trust and release that truth would require. I guess if I'm truly a slave to righteousness though those things are already required without my belief in that truth. Hmm.

~ Help me in my unbelief.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


It's been a while since I've been excited about my weekly schedule. Things have changed. It looks like I'll soon be meeting weekly or every other week in my sex addicts anonymous groups, a one-on-one bible study with a brother in recovery, a group of young men being discipled by leadership at church, and a small group for young, married couples with no children.

With all of this I can't help but be nervously excited about this new prospect of community while also being anxious and moderately scared. I have been isolated and cut of emotionally for so long now, community feels foreign. It's time to pick up a new language and customs.

~God, let me not look to your bride for only what you can give. Keep my eyes drawn to you, even if they be tear filled and laden with burdens.