Well I awoke rather early today & have felt a stirring ever since. I don’t normally blog on the weekends but I am compelled & propelled to get this out. Coffee & lil brown buddy riding shotgun, here we goeth…
My first memory of being told about Jesus was on the banks of neighbor Dean’s pond when I was a little girl. My eldest brother Alan – who is now in what I believe to be Heaven – shared the good news with me. He was a master fisherman & lovingly & responsibly took quite a bit of time with me when I was a youngin’. I remember his tall 6’4 frame casting his line out across the water & telling me stories that I didn’t quite grasp but I knew they must be important. Because he was sharing them with me. He was a man of few words compared to many, so when he spoke it might be best you pay attention. When he would say the name Jesus something in me knew it was a very special name. I miss my brother. I think in some ways we were kindred spirits.
Fast forward to age 15 when my beautiful sister Gwen invited me to a revival. A fella by the name of Jeff Fenholt was sharing his story & man what a story it was. Witchcraft & rock-n-roll & drugs – I could relate to so much of what he said. At the end of it, when they gave the “call” – I remember walking down that aisle to the front to accept Christ as my savior. I remember the overwhelming feeling that my chest might explode right there in front of God & everybody. I knew that day something momentous happened & that I was forever changed.
It did not take long though for me to slip back to the familiar – the boys, the drugs & excessive drinking – the ugly of it all. But after that fateful day I always had this sense that God was with me. Overshadowing me, walking with me. Even in my darkest times, I was aware of Him.
This went on & off for many years – through the birth of my sweet son & my first marriage & divorce. And the buck-wild-newfound-freedom I discovered after. That eventually also led nowhere good. But if I said I didn’t have some fun during those times I’d be lying. It is what it is. And amidst the fun was also a lot of shame & pain & stupid, stupid decisions.
At age 26, I happenstancely ended up at a radical little Pentecostal church that turned my world upside down for the better. I went extreme, yes I did. And when I look back, I am grateful for that experience as it definitely-dang-straight played a big part in saving my life. I was a total train wreck. But I also learned to view almost everything as bad, sinful & wrong & became a horribly judgmental person. I hope I never see her again – that was a Bonnie I can’t even identify with now. Consequently, I have become a bit of a rebel today.
In a slow & painstaking process, I finally unlearned those old ideals and found Grace. What is to me the true meaning of Grace anyway.
Please do not take what I am about to say as a guide – be brave enough to find your own path independent of other human opinions, of which I am only one. I rarely attend church now. I’ve not found one in a number of years I felt comfortable in. I do feel one day I will again. It’s not that I think I am going to burst into flames when I darken the doors of one – it’s more of a rejection of some of what I hear & see in a lot of the ones I have visited.
Beyond all of the aforementioned – in wrapping this up, the greatest thing of all – the one thing I know through it all – & the one that is hindering my tapping this out because I can hardly see the laptop keys through the salty spillings- is that I am LOVED.
I am loved by Love Himself.
I said LOVED – in all of my stumblings, my faux pas, my griefs, the burdens that I lay down & snatch back up again & again, my dogged stubbornness to not let some things go – yet, my attempts to drown my sorrows, my attempts to comfort myself with things that never, ever truly will – my placing things before Him because they feel better than just sitting simply in faith because He embodied is invisible in the natural realm, (got that? I almost didn’t) I could go on & on. You may even be adding your own to this list as you read it. Hello fellow human -you are not alone.
But I am thankful for the days where there are moments – those moments that stand still – that stop you as stone in your tracks. Moments where I experience God with skin on. Where I see a stranger & all of a sudden I am filled & overwhelmed by their plight. I don’t know why but He has enabled me to feel other people’s stuff. Their burdens. Sometimes it’s so strong it almost takes my breath away. And to release it I pray for them, whatever I am feeling about them & sometimes I reach out & show kindness when I feel a prompting. It doesn’t matter what they look like or what they do or how they smell. Because I am so aware that could be me. Absolutely. The places I have walked & crawled through in my life could have & frankly should have taken me there. But they didn’t. I don’t think I will understand that till I’m on the other side. Regardless I am eternally grateful. Hallelujah.
I have by no means “arrived” – I am by no means “the” example to follow. But I know this – I am accepted, beloved, cherished & watched over by the One who sacrificed it all. And He would have done it just for me. I know this. Deep inside. And this morning sharing this with y’all who I am so appreciative have read it- I am more aware than ever before. I just inched my way a little further in this journey. I really needed it. Thank you God.
I just had church, right here at home. On my bed, while Otis slumbers nearby without an anxious care in the world. That’ll preach too.
Much LOVE y’all and worthy things to ponder,