Wikipedia, in its article about the stages of grief gives the five commonly known stages that people go through while experiencing grief of all sorts. They are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
Today, while I had a few minutes to catch my breath in the middle of both my busy season at work and my father's decline in health I pondered those stages. Many of you are asking why we are not blogging about the church or our situations as much as we were last year at this time. I realized today that in a lot of ways, the stages of my blogging mirrored the stages in my grief over our church situation. I wonder if many of you are like me too.
In the beginning, there was the denial. I just did not want to believe these people would not turn around and be my friend again. I did not want to believe that they would simply turn away from our leaving without coming to reconcile the seeming dichotomy of what they knew of our lives and what was being said (or not said). I could not believe that if I could figure out the inconsistencies of the doctrine and practice that they would also soon figure it out. Denial was a large part of the beginning of my journey and then my blogging.
Anger. Oh how the anger phase fueled my fingers as they ranted and exposed and cried out for justice. I almost look back on that phase with a bit of longing. I was feeling, thinking, reacting and if nothing else, I felt alive. I tried to "tone it down" because some friends were reading, but trust me, it was born out of the anger I felt for being duped and then in turn duping others as I was their leader. I was just waiting for God to get a clue and straighten them all out and show everyone that we were right!!
I think for me, I skipped right over bargaining to depression. I remember posts that I would weep over. Nights where I would dream of former friends and then spend the next day in a fog. I did not want to do anything. All the pleasures of life were reduced to gray - no color. Even in this phase it fueled the mind to write. I needed to reach out of my pit and at least know that others were around who understood me. You all were great. You reached right back and loved me. I think the time of depression would have lasted much longer with graver consequences if it were not for the online community that I experienced.
The bargaining phase though did pop up here and there. I wanted to offer God something else that might work. I wanted community like I had before. I wanted to belong again. I wanted the "church" to change so that I could belong. I entered a period of wondering how the "church" could be structured so as to prevent any abuse of power. How would we all get together to pray and share and learn?
And then, somewhere in the past few weeks and months I think the last phase has descended. Acceptance. I have learned to accept the place where I am. I have learned to accept my kids, my husband and my friends just as they are. I accept the "church" and realize that while others may go and find a place of community, I will probably not ever be there again. Acceptance that the friends God places around me are the friends that I am to have - no more - no less. Acceptance that the times around my dinner table or out to eat are my church. Acceptance that my kids, their friends and their parents are here for me to love.
Most of all this acceptance phase has decided to accept the path that the Father has seemed to place us on. Maybe we are crazy. Maybe we are hard of heart or even more likely, hard of hearing. But, as much as I may not really love it all of the time, it is where we are.
The thing lately that has brought me peace in this place of acceptance is a memory. When Nathan, (now 14), was born, I distinctly felt that the Father told me that I was to give him a middle name of Dabar. Dabar is a Hebrew word for "a new thing." Of course, back in my old group we were always looking out for the next NEW THING!!! that was just around the corner. I thought maybe he was to be a great leader, prophet, evangelist. But just the other day I was reminded of his name and it made me laugh a bit. What if this "new thing" is the absence of all of the old stuff. What if the Father wants my kids brought up outside the confines of the institutional church? What if He wants to teach them about himself - all by himself - in an organic kind of existence?
I guess I'll never know really. All I know is that today as I look back and evaluate, I am at a place of acceptance like never before. I feel like I have finally sunk to the bottom of a warm ocean, I have sand beneath my feet and I am stable for the first time in a long time. I'm surrounded by the sea of His love. I breathe in the water and am amazed that I can exist in this place with such health.
Not much to write about down here. But it is nice.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
The other day I received a letter in my email account. It was from someone who had visited my blog and had a question. A friend of his had hired a firm/ministry, (W.I.S.E. - Workplace. Intercessory. Support. Empowerment - found @prayformybusiness.com)(videos here) to provide intercessory prayer and prophecy for his company.
The website does not specify fees for this "service" but the one who wrote to me thought it to be in the $1,500 range for a month. I did not verify this.
Now, those of you who know me here would expect me to rant. Truthfully, it would feel good. But again, I'm not sure anything good comes from a rant. Those who agree with you will agree and those who support this kind of thing will simply tune out.
May I talk to those who are considering this kind of arrangement? Will you give me a few minutes of your time? May I please bring up some issues for you to think about?
I could debate with you many points where this kind of ministry has bought into the latest rhetoric of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). 7 Mountains Mandate, Apostolic Alliances, Prayer Mapping, Covering and the whole 90 yards are touched upon as you browse their site. I have covered many of these in this blog already so I won't do it here. You can follow Labels to read more or just write to me directly.
I ask you to at least consider ONE thought. HOW WILL YOU KNOW IT IS WORKING?
In their own words, they do not promise a rise financially for your company (good thing in the market we are now in!) They state that they don't promise you to necessarily prosper financially but it is insinuated that they will pray for that. (This way they can take credit for it if it does happen but do not have to take credit for anything if it does not)
They say that you should expect other things to get better though. Atmosphere around the office, relationships to be better, more surety about decisions that need to be made and such are promised. BUT - and here is the kicker - IF it does NOT go well for your business, they again make a way out for themselves by claiming that as they begin to pray the enemy may actually come against your business and "stir things up." Things may get worse - not better. This is brilliant actually because they can look at both possibilities to show you that their prayer and prophecy is WORKING - kinda - sorta...sigh...
You will never know if it is working. Any good thing will be because they prayed, any bad thing will be because they prayed. And they get paid to do this. This is the sweetest gig ever!!!
But here is the heartbreaking thing. This is what I wrote to the "friend."
The bad part is that when your business has its normal ups and downs, or your kid gets sick, or an employee cheats you or you loose your health, you will begin to wonder if God loves you. Here you are doing everything you can to prosper (soul as well as financial) and you are failing. God is not keeping up his part of the bargain -that, or you have done something wrong. (Not given enough, not prayed enough, not come under covering enough.) It will be your fault or someone else close to you. It suddenly becomes witchcraft. Your future depends on fulfilling what the gods are asking for. The end result is that you are now mad at God. He let you down. The one Father that truly loves you, who wants to walk through this life with you in both good and bad times, is now your enemy.
How do I know this? I walked through this path myself. I watched my business - then under the Apostles "Covering," - go through it's normal ups and downs. I bought into the "testimonies" of other business men, men who only told the good stuff. (One day I was talking to one of these "blessed" business owners. He admitted to me that it had been a hard year and was now being sued by a client. I was shocked! I had been led to believe that he was having the most amazing year ever.) I just felt that somehow I was doing something wrong. Then I was mad that God was not holding up his part. I tried harder and harder to do everything right.
When I finally walked out I realized that I had been put into a prison of my own imagination. God was not like this. I did not have to do all the stuff to keep my business safe or prospering. He did not promise me a business where nothing went wrong. He promised to be my God in the midst of my business - nothing more. And you know what? It is more than enough. It is wonderful.
And one final thing.....doesn't it make you wonder that if Jesus were to clean the "Temple" of today, he might just smash a few computers for hawking their wares/services online?
Picture from here