By delving into the truth as it appears in the Bible, I learned very quickly that the truth would not affix itself to my soul through osmosis. Again, I was reluctant. On the one hand, I did not want to lose control of my mind to unproven theory or interpretation. On the other, I wanted to exercise my increasing knowledge of God, by applying it to my life.
I was on a slippery slope.
As I tried to wrap my mind around the written Word, there came an epiphany of sorts, again having to do with faith. My faith, though not fully developed or understood, told me in no uncertain terms, that I could not pick and choose what to believe—I either believed or I didn’t believe. Moreover, if I believed, I was to believe it all.
God had opened my eyes even further.
Faith led me to belief. By unconditionally accepting the authority of scripture as being the absolute truth with which to govern my life, God’s gift of faith was fast becoming the underpinnings of my relationship with him. My faith, over time, turned out to be an intimate and personal possession, not in the material sense, but within my spirit. God was the giver, and I was the recipient.
As I traveled down this path of awareness, a crevice developed between what my faith was telling me to be God’s truth and what the world was telling me. At the beginning, the crevice was more like a deep chasm. It was too deep and un-crossable. There was no way to the other side. I wanted to get to the other side—the right side. For me, getting to the right side meant I had to remove the temporal bridge precariously suspended from one side to the other, on which I could go back and forth. I was looking for a one-way permanent crossing held together by the ironclad girder of faith, impenetrable and dense, like a beam of steel.
Each day of study in the Word filled me with newly discovered truths that would bring gasps of joy, or torrents of shame. Still, I knew I could not allow myself to give up by looking in the rearview mirror.
God had embraced me in the past. His love would guide me to the future.
Still, the care of my elderly mother was overwhelming, and I had come to resent her. I dreaded every moment with her. I wanted her to be self-sufficient.
And, I was unforgiving of her decision to let my future, at fifteen years old, be in the hands of a stranger, a judge whom I had never met nor would ever see again in this life. She was an unrelenting albatross hovering over me like a five-hundred-pound shroud. I wanted to love her; I just could not see the way. I hated the way I felt about her.
Then, I took the Bible study, Breaking Free, a Beth Moore study. I was required to write down family behavior patterns I had observed or heard of about my ancestors going back two generations. As I looked at the truth of the Bible, and how it applied to my parents’ backgrounds, I was able to see how life had unraveled for each of them, in opposite ways. For the first time, I understood Mom’s inability to do life on her own. I prayed, mightily, each morning during my quiet time. Then, whenever I was in the car on my way to see her, and as I approached her door, I prayed. It took me at least two years to walk through the jaggedness of irritation, into the softness of love for my mom. By the time Mom passed away, I genuinely loved her. I forgave her, and I missed her as she slowly faded into old age.
At the moment Mom stopped breathing, her face and body contorted, as if she were in pain. A couple of minutes later we witnessed the passing of her soul into the arms of Jesus as everything about her softened, relaxed, and became peaceful. Her memorial service put her in the limelight for the first time in her life, as we showed pictures spanning nine decades from infancy to eye-catching good looks as a young adult, to unmatched beauty as a wife and mother, and finally into old age. The relief I thought would come after she was gone, became a wish for her to come back, so I could tell her, just one more time, how much I loved her.
My story does not end with the last pages, and it will go on for many years to come. In those years, I will continue to seek God in significant ways that will bring healing, peace, and a greater capacity to love others. I have come to understand that the residents of our planet are each an individual seeking what they consider to be the best path for their life, just as I have. I am sorry to admit that my respect for peoples’ differing choices has come slowly. Nevertheless, it has arrived. I have recently found myself more able to live without expectation from others. I’m learning how to live in this world on the fly, depending on God to direct my actions rather than pre-planning how I will act, or react, to the many circumstances that come up. I get it now; the former patterns short-circuit my desire for God to be the source in my life. God is quite capable, and does not need my help.
I keep reminding myself that God still has a lot of work to do in me and that I will never be finished, at least not on this side of heaven. I have hope in what lies ahead, but I still sometimes feel the need to recall the dark days, when God picked me up and carried me, in order to appreciate his light, which shines brighter and brighter every day.
God bless ….