Monday, May 5, 2008

May Synchroblog - One Year Checkup

Glenn's Synchroblog comes at a good time for me. It is a good time for an evaluation. It was a year ago this week that we left our group here. I mostly face this week with an extreme gratefulness to those of you that read this blog for your encouragement to me this year. Honestly, I’m not sure what I would have done without your love, encouragement, the transparency of your own stories and the ability to be myself among you.

Glenn askes us 4 questions of which I have answered below.

How am I doing?

I think I am doing fine. (of course an outside opinion is always appreciated!) I am looking forward to the next year with anticipation. I have no idea what it will hold but I am at peace that my Father loves me and wants to walk through this year with me. Here are the biggest 3 that I could think of that play into this question:

I still miss belonging to a group. It is a heady experience to have a group of people around you who believe the same things, are committed to the same goal and who don’t disagree on most any point. I have found that this was not a healthy place but it met needs of belonging that I still struggle with today.

I am wary of much of the groupthink of Charismatic Christianity. I will have a post about this in the coming week of what Father has impressed on me as I deal with groups that may be similar to my old group.

I am still concerned about fellowship for my kids. It is easy for us to make the time and get out with friends and encourage each other in our lives. But to take away the physical structure of a body of believers where my 13 year old son can meet other Christians is to limit him from having that fellowship. I told him last night that if he wants to visit a group and get involved with them that his dad and I would totally support him. I get the whole letting God direct our involvement with other believers that people like Wayne Jacobsen teaches about….I just wonder how it works for our kids. Actually if it were not for my kids and worrying about them I would be totally at peace with where we are right now.

What are you doing?

Mostly, I am continuing in immersing myself in the gospel of Grace. I am living a simple and quiet life and trying to love those that come into my house. I run a small business out of my home that keeps me working on a part to full time basis. I have three boys in school, one daughter that is in college and another who is working part time from home and still healing from adrenal fatigue and other complications. My parents in their mid 80’s live just a few steps from my back door and need minimal care at this point in their lives. Another daughter lives in town and pops in from time to time. And the last daughter is with her husband in Philly. I am totally in love with Husband and we have gotten to know each other so much more this year. We have not joined any formal group or church at this time and spend our weekends mostly with each other our kids and a few dear friends.

What are you learning?

As I look back over the past year’s posts I am amazed at not what I have learned but what the Father has been able to teach me. Mostly it has been a year of deconstruction and self evaluation. Simply put, and to quote The Shack, I have learned that Father is very fond of me. I can’t explain in a thousand words all that this little sentence means to me. It deals with themes of forgiveness, acceptance, delight, joy, hope, peace, awareness and on and on. It truly embodies what I have been learning this year.

What are you dreaming about?

This is the hardest question on Glenn’s list. It is hard because in so many ways it makes me feel guilty. We are supposed to dream about things right? Dreams are visions of what makes us have hope. But I am not at the point yet where I have any dream. It is still too hard. The dreams that others instilled in me were not even reality. As Heather said the other day we had dreams of moving to the next level with God, taking our city for God and walking in more and more power with Him. All of those were debunked as I realized that they were just buzz words used to make people think that they were doing something important for God. And so the whole area of dreams has been dashed on the rocks of reality and I’m not sure of myself enough to dream again. In many ways, I’m afraid to dream again. I don’t want to be disappointed. I live with the hope that Father walks through today with me and for me.....right now….that is enough.


Anonymous said...

I get the whole letting God direct our involvement with other believers that people like Wayne Jacobsen teaches about….I just wonder how it works for our kids. Actually if it were not for my kids and worrying about them I would be totally at peace with where we are right now.

It's funny you mention Wayne because I just finally finished "So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore". It reinforced a lot of what I have learned over the last 4 years outside the institution, but also challenged me in some areas about fully trusting our Father.

In relation to what I quoted from your post above, I would like to encourage you to look at it this way:

1. Father gave you your children.
2. Father has you in a place where he wants you and where you need to be.
3. Your children are really his children, so you can trust that they are also where they need to be while in your care.

Does that make sense? In other words, not only can we trust God with our finances, our desire for fellowship, our own spiritual growth, etc., but we can also trust him with our children.

Be at peace :)

Erin said...

I would say the same thing Steve said about your kids. My boys are 12 and 8, and I do worry (well my husband worries) about the lack of church structure in their lives. But in many ways this has opened up a dialog between us, because we are no longer leaving the spiritual education to the church (which we did before, bad parents :-) .

I have learned to talk with them on a very real level, rather than giving pat feltboard answers to them. So when my 12 year old asks me "Mom, why did KJ die" we have real conversation about it, instead of just "God works in mysterious ways" or whatever.

Barb said...

Steve, thanks. I'm glad you liked
SYDWTGTCA. It kept us sane this year in many ways.

Erin and Steve, It isn't that I'm fearful that they won't know something or miss out on much. In fact I'm afraid of what the 'church' will try to teach them about relating to God. I just know how important friends are in walking with God and how very valuable they are to me. I want my sons to have that too. It strictly is for fellowship only that I long for something more for them.

I know what you mean though Erin. I take EVERY opportunity now to talk to my kids about God and what they are going through. It has made me really aware that this may be all they are getting from anyone other than the Holy Spirit directly.

Anonymous said...

Barb ~

I think your life sounds pretty cool. You are finding God's grace and presence on a day-by-day basis.

There is a type of dreaming that can turn negative in which one wraps himself up in pinning all of his hopes on something or thinking that he has to be a part of some grandiose "dream from God." Maybe the greatest dream is being able to enjoy today as a gift.

Anonymous said...

"I have learned that Father is very fond of me. I can’t explain in a thousand words all that this little sentence means to me. It deals with themes of forgiveness, acceptance, delight, joy, hope, peace, awareness . . . It truly embodies what I have been learning this year."

Beautifully put. Our dada's fondness of us is truly breathtaking, no?

I hope you are able to find a "physical" group of people who are walking where you are walking and asking the questions you are asking.

Wayward Son said...

Barb, thanks for your continued honesty and transparency in this blog.

The whole post was good, but the part that struck me the most is the struggles you are having with dreaming right now. I can understand this because you are only a year out-of-the-box (not very long), and as you and I have discussed before, so much of what we have dreamed about in the past has been within the constructs and paradigms of a system we no longer feel part of.

I think God is dreaming some dreams for you and your family, and as you continue to de-construct and de-tox from the old paradigms, I feel confident you will at some point have a grid for Him to reveal them to you. All that to say...don't feel bad if you're drawing blanks on this one right now. The story isn't finished yet.

In the meantime, as you keep chronicling your journey here, you are encouraging many of us. Thanks for that.

Anonymous said...

thanks so much for continuing to share your journey. i went over and checked out heather's post, too, oh that was so good & so sad but true. i am so mad at "the church" for killing off our ability to dream real dreams for ourselves that had nothing to do with "advancing the ministry." would we ever in a million years want that for our children? no, we want them to dream and hope and try and have it all be part of the beauty of their life, their journey. for now, may you enjoy what's right in front of you--so much good, real life, simplicity.

Anonymous said...

You are doing fine. Don't worry, I'd tell you if you weren't.
I know Destiny can be considered a dirty church word but you haven't lost yours. You haven't lost your way, you are finding it. You are finding the real you, as God sees you, not as "the Apostle" sees you. You know what I mean, Barbie. It takes time for the journey to the real you. I am only now starting to enjoy the journey. I am only now starting to find out who I really am. By the way, you know all that about bitterness. When I see you, I see a woman who is more and more at peace with herself and her Father. What a good thing. Once again, thanks for the last 18 plus years. May we see so much more of our real Father, in the next 18 plus. And may we be greatful for the real Band of Brothers.
Love you my friend

Mike said...

Barb ~ It is very very sad that the "church" has come to a point that it kills the dreams of those it attracts. Kinda reminds me of a venus fly trap in a way.

I am glad to be along to share your journey with you.

Heidi W said...

Wow. Thanks. And it is SO amazing to think that God is especially fond of 'me'. I remind myself of that phrase often, lately.

Love ya,

Tera Rose said...

well, first- I love the lilacs.

I think you are doing more than fine. There is more written here in your blog for only one year....I still have to write and I have been out of my church for 4. Some things are still so very painful to say outloud- to admit that we allowed that kind of subjugation for ourselves and our children.

so I think you are doing more than fine since you asked.

I also miss the belonging to a group. I know in my head that things are healthier for myself and children this way....

but if I were to be honest; I miss the connectedness to a vision even if that vision was not from God....I miss the worship, the rituals, the everything that gave me a feeling of belonging to a family.

I worry about my daughter who has not been in a church since she was 1 years old....she turns 5 next week.

I could tell her about God. The truth is, I don't know what to say. Most of what I believed I don't know if I believe it anymore...and yet telling her nothing is telling her something by omission.

I fear that if I teach my children about God- the bible etc...that they could fall prey to spiritual abuse later in life because some of the words in the bible are the way they speak in abusive churches- christianese.....

I do talk about God to them but I tell them when I don't know.....and that seems to be more often the case.

Being wary of the groupthink of Charismatic Christianity is a good thing if you ask me.....

Of course, I am VERY WARY of it- so my opinion may simply be nothing more than the insane leading the insane LOL.

and the sad irony is that while I am very wary of it; there is a part of me that longs for the time when I bought into it blindly-

in my innocence; I felt secure.

Curious, why do you and others here say the Father??

Is this a phrase that comes from the church you were in ? Or from the group of people that are writing here ?

When I read it, my first reaction is that there is a lingo that other's are speaking that I am not part of.

so I am wondering.....

about dreaming.

I think we were sold a bill of goods..... I think we were taught some very capitolistic almost imperialistic things about what growing in God more, build more, be more.......

I have come to understand that I was loved just the way that I was.......that HE paid the price for me to LIVE. Living isn't doing more spiritually minded things....

living is laughing, crying, yelling, sleeping...spending time with those you love, getting up and going to work.. living.

Christ died that I might live.

If that is a truth- why did I stop living to serve that old ministry?

seems like works that will be burned up now that I look back.

oh well.

Dreams will come again- and may very well be there but you don't recognize them as such.

I struggle the area of dreams.....

Barb said...

Glenn, thanks for your comments about dreaming. Right now to enjoy today as a gift is the one dream that truly is precious to me.

Jeromy, Thanks. After living with a "god" who was not fond of me at all, it is breathtaking.

Jeff, I think you are right. We were taught to dream a certain way and that is no longer possible. It is an interesting thought that my dreams may look different as I move away. I may not even recognize them as dreams because they don't look the same. hmmm

Kathy, It is funny. while in the system I felt I could not really dream because it was my "job" to help those in leadership have their dreams fulfilled, their ministry advanced. It was supposed to be dreaming...but somehow I never felt it was mine. In so many ways it was like trying to write 5 year goals. My goals were their goals so why try to write my own.

Ruthie - you are so my favorite! Meet Best Friend everyone! And see why she is that to me by just reading what she writes.

Mike, Yep!

Heidi, It is one of my favorite phrases.

Tera Rose. What a thoughtful response. It was in the writing out of so much of this that some of the pain and confusion went away. Yes, the belonging to a family was so important to me.

It is hard for me to talk about God with my kids because I want to tell them 'where not to go' as much as I want to tell them about Him. I think that is why I have found the message of Grace so helpful. It is a God that loves them so much that they don't have to preform for that I want to tell them about.

Ok, about the word 'Father' coming up so much. I'm not sure about everyone else but for me, after we came out of so much works religion I realized that the god I served was not the true God of Grace. But to call them the same name was somehow offensive to me. My daughter said after reading The Shack that she wanted to divorce her first god and marry the new one. She has an incredibly hard time calling God anything. For me, I never had called God anything but that. So to change his name to Father was healing to me. I noticed in reading some books by Wayne Jacobsen that so often he refered to God as simply Father - not The Father or anything else. It rang true with me and so I picked it up. To me it embodies all of the Grace of the father in the prodigal story. I can't mess up enough for his love to be waiting for me to show up and have a real relationship with him.

Thanks for taking the time to write and ask what I mean.