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Posts Tagged ‘confession’

In James 5, we’re told to confess our sins to one another and pray for each other so we may be healed. Here’s my confession.

Last night I went to the ancient worship service at my new church. It’s an acoustic, antiphonal service by candlelight. The first hour was lovely. After that, all 100 ish people were called around the table for an Upper Room feast of grape juice, bread, meat, cheese, olives, fruit for communion.

I stood in the back of that group and realized that there was no one I knew well enough to stand by. The Music Man stayed home with the kids because my Radiant One is teething and clingy and miserable, and he wanted me to enjoy the service and not worry about my little love. It was hard to see everyone go off in groups and pairs to chat, celebrate the eucharist, and love on each other. I sat in the back and watched.

If I’m being honest, I went this year as a yardstick. I don’t want to forget what this feels like, being an alien. I felt like the Lord spoke that next year at this service, I’ll be well attached, and I’ll be the one looking for new people who aren’t connected. Let it be so. And since I’m being honest already, I went into the service with a heart that’s bleeding because of the things going on in my life. That said, I wanted to worship because it’s the only thing that makes hard times better. God is still God, there is always a reason to worship Him.

But as I was leaving, I thought my heart was going to break right there in front of everyone. I actually pressed my palm to my chest to keep everything inside of my from shattering and tumbling out, to keep my own blood from pouring out right there in the lobby. It’s messy, this feelings business.

And so there’s the 300 word introduction to my confession. Here’s the good stuff. I came home and had a glass of wine. Then another. And half of another to finish the bottle of moscato. So I opened the shiraz and had another glass. Four full glasses of wine in under an hour. For the second time in my life, I drank enough to get pretty tipsy, and I liked it.

Now, for “normal” people, that might not be a problem. But when you’re in some pretty deep water, in intense counseling, working on FEELING (boo, hiss), and have alcoholism in the nearest branches of your family tree, drinking to get drunk and actually enjoying it is not ok. I confess that it’s not ok.

None of the therapizing, please. I know things are hard, and I was coping, and God is not a teetotaler, and what have you. I screwed up. I own it, and I don’t want to do it again.

After all, “confession is not saying ‘I did it and I was wrong,’ it’s saying, ‘God said it and He is right!'”

“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” –Eph 5:18, NASB

Updated to add: This was my devotional from Max Lucado today. Apples of gold in settings of silver…

“Before the nail was pounded, a drink was offered. Mark says the wine was mixed with myrrh. Matthew described it as wine mixed with gall. Both myrrh and gall contain sedative properties that numb the senses. But Jesus refused them. He refused to be stupefied by the drugs, opting instead to feel the full force of his suffering.

Why? Why did he endure all these feelings? Because he knew you would feel them too.

He knew you would be weary, disturbed, and angry. He knew you’d be sleepy, grief-stricken, and hungry. He knew you’d face pain. If not the pain of the body, the pain of the soul … pain too sharp for any drug. He knew you’d face thirst. If not a thirst for water, at least a thirst for truth, and the truth we glean from the image of a thirsty Christ is—he understands.

And because he understands, we can come to him.

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I’m not sure I’ve ever told the story of how I came to know Jesus, but it feels like a good day for spinning yarns. I was just another agnostic who’d gone to Catholic school and grew up going to a Brethren church with her grandparents. After I became a mother at age 25, I began to feel these questions in my heart swell and crescendo with regard to life, God, and the proverbial meaning of it all.

A precious girl named Laura, then only 18, was the impetus for my search into the validity of the claims of Jesus. I’d shared with her how I lost some friends due to a terrible choice I’d made, and she was the first Christian to say that she’d have stuck by me had she been my friend, no matter what I’d done, because that’s what Jesus would do.

I told her I didn’t believe Jesus was the son of God, and she said, “Really? Because I can’t imagine my life without Him.”

After a lifetime of rejection by parents and friends, this was unbelievable to me. That night, I was talking with another friend about the conversation with Laura. It played over and over in my mind, her certainty that this Jesus, who was to me a brilliant hero of a fictional tale, loved her more than anything in the world.

I think she must’ve heard my head explode when she said, “That’s how I feel, too. I couldn’t imagine my life without Him.” Say what? So now I have these two friends who are sure that Jesus is real, that He is true, and that He is for them. Bizarre. As the conversation went on, I had questions. My friend tried hard to answer them, but in the end, realized she didn’t know enough to satisfy my curiosity.

And this is where I need to sidebar, because I don’t know that I’d ever say, “I just don’t know enough to help you, but let me take you to someone who does.” Thank you, Stef, for confessing that you didn’t know it all. Had you tried to just argue or give me some pat answer, I’d have written you off, and your God too. Instead, you humbled yourself and, in turn, set my feet on the path toward Jesus.

The first time I went to what would become my home group, the first hour of group was an exchange between the Spur and myself; me asking (hurling?) questions, him not mincing words in response. After I had exhausted my arsenal, he went on to that night’s topic. In his lesson, he taught that “Confession is not saying I did it and I was wrong, but God said it and He is right!”

I love how confessing God’s truth helps change my heart. I need to do it more. I’ve lived the same lies for so long, and they prevail in large part because I’ve just heard them so much more and  for so much longer than the truth of the Kingdom of Heaven.

I always thought that changing my mind, my heart, my truth, would be a matter of wrestling with myself until one side was the clear victor, but that’s not at all how it’s turning out. Instead, I find that as I have courage to believe that Jesus is Truth, and that in Him there is no shadow or turning, He shows me that He has trampled all lies in the fullness of time.

Isn’t that beautiful? For someone who is performance oriented, it is. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Who knew that just being with Jesus would bring liberty? This slip of truth uncurls in my heart, and I feel my spirit expand.

Metanoia, the breaking down of lies to reveal the truth. It feels like the crazy sort of thing my crazy Jesus would choose to do. But it makes me smile.

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