Hello friends! Well, even a week later, I'm still processing the stuff I learned at The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer's Conference. My brain was tired so I took time off to celebrate the fact that my kids passed their year-end tests (YAY!) and get caught up on all the souvenir laundry.
Before I went to BRMCWC though, I was thinking something, and I wondered if it were possibly blasphemous. I've talked with God about it for the past few weeks and I decided to write about it.
I'd been thinking....
...if I knew what the Christian life was really like, I'd probably never have become one.
Again, I've already been through this with God so it's not like He doesn't know. He knew before I knew.
I've seen many of my friends and family suffering lately; it's overwhelming. There's suffering in all areas, over all things and I feel helpless, although I know my prayers aren't weak.
At first, I worried about people's reactions to my thoughts, but then God reminded me.
I fell in love with Jesus first. I truly, truly, fell in love, and by then it was impossible for me to turn back. And even though I didn't know how hard it would be, I'd already been filled with his Spirit that enables me to walk with him, day by day.
I was pondering this at the writer's retreat when it came to life for me during a walk in the woods. Right before I entered the forest I came upon this sign:
I thought, Yes! I WILL meditate on His wonderful nature. Then I took about 5 steps into the woods and came upon this sign:
Well that's stupid. Didn't you just tell me to enjoy the nature? Way to try to ruin my walk. God created these woods and dang it, I plan to enjoy them! And I stomped into the forest.
About 10 steps later, I came across this sign:
Give me a break! Enjoy. Don't enjoy. What kind of fool.... and then I remembered. Bears! I'd heard earlier there were bears in the woods. At registration I'd seen a handout about bears behind the front desk, but since they didn't give me one I figured there was nothing to worry about. Was the stream filled with dirty water or did the bears pounce on you when you went to take a drink?
I decided to be brave, pray, and walk on. I began singing because I thought surely that would scare the bears away. And after all, God has control over bears - right? I got about 100 yards in the woods and thought, my mama didn't raise no fool! And I ran out of the woods, singing and hoping that someone who was actually meditating on his wonders wouldn't sit at my table during dinner.
It's just like those trail signs: back in the day, when people were literally following Jesus, He told them the truth. There's nothing safe about the Christian life. It requires sacrifice, discipline and hard work - every day. He didn't promise his followers easy, he said things like this:
"Whoever clings to this life will lose it, and whoever loses this life will save it." Luke 17:33
"If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine." Matt 10:38
"But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!" Matt 5:44
He also said things like this:
"...and I assure you, everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, as well as receiving eternal life in the world to come." Luke 18:29
"Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matt 28:20
I ran out of those woods, but Jesus was by my side singing along with me!