When God Just Isn’t Enough

I suppose a little catch-up is in order. Two weeks ago I went to ARME Bible Camp and it was an amazing experience. I hadn’t really prepared mentally or spiritually for it, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from it, or what I hoped to gain by going. I’m so glad went, despite it being exam season. Not only were the sermons convicting, but I was shown an interesting way to study my Bible. We were given practical tips for having effective morning devotions, how to engage in a spirit-filled Bible study and the Bible itself proved to be a very interesting book. It really strengthened my faith in it; I was able to see that from the very first chapter in Genesis to the last in Revelation, everything written is interconnected and was put there for a purpose.

I know a lot of people went to the camp to hear Ivor Myers, and whilst I found his sermons interesting, it was a sermon by Pastor Phillip Sizemore that got to me…

He told the story of his parents. Neither were Christians but they acted truly Christlike. They helped people, they housed a couple of homeless kids and brought them up as their own. And they disliked Christians with a passion. To them, Christians were bad people and all the Christians they came across were hypocritical. When Pastor Sizemore became a Christian, it disappointed his parents; they were worried he would turn out like “the rest”.

In the end, the hypocrisy of the Christians in their lives had devastating effects. It tore his family apart. It reminded me of my own family, and the impact a pair of hypocritical Christians has had on it.

My mum’s parents, Brother and Sister ‘B’, were well known in the Adventist church. They went to one of the founding churches in London, during the time when people from the Caribbean flocked to England for work. Brother and Sister B seemed like well-to-do Christians at church, but their home was a war zone. Adultery, child abuse and neglect were some of the things that took place in that house, and there was so much hatred that today, none of their children attend church, with two of them identifying as atheist. They gave my mum a distorted view of God, religion and the Adventist church in general. I’ll give you an example. When my older brother died, and my mum went to her parents for counsel, Sister B said to her:

See? This wouldn’t have happened if you had stayed in church.

Despite my own conversion to the Adventist church a few years ago, my sisters have little care for my beliefs, after all, the church didn’t help my mum in anyway, so what good could it do for anyone else?

When Pastor Sizemore spoke about his parents, the pain in his voice was so evident that I couldn’t help but think about just how much work I have to do. My family is dysfunctional, it’s not perfect and it has its problems. I would love it if we could all attend church together, be a spiritual support for one another, have family devotions (it would be nice if my parents could reconcile), but Brother and Sister B, my grandparents, left their mark. They’re both dead now, but I know my mum still hurts from how she was treated as a child. What can I do? How can I be a good enough witness to show her that the church isn’t like that anymore?

I spoke to her about it the other day. She told me that she made the decision that she would never belong to the same organisation as that of her parents. But she also said that maybe one day, before it’s not too late, she would come to the church. She hasn’t ruled it out completely.

And that gives me hope. The Spirit can soften any heart, after all.

xXx

Starting Again.

I’m so glad for another week.

Last week really was a nightmare. It started off by a wrong decision which meant I was in a situation that had me reprimanded by my friends. I ended up feeling really disappointed with myself and I couldn’t pray for a couple days because I had the burden of what I’d done just playing on my mind.

I also had university work that needed doing (which I still haven’t done) and the memory of my poor performance during my French Oral kept playing over in my head. Being Christmas Week meant a lot of rushing around and doing last-minute shopping and errands for people that had left it too late to get the presents themselves. It was a struggle from the start, but Wednesday was the worst. In fact, it was bloody awful.

I told a close friend that I had feelings for them. And even though I knew I was going to get turned down, it still hurt me more than I admitted—not just to him, but to myself. I moped around on Thursday like an idiot and I felt angry at him for not being clear enough about his own intentions. I wasn’t the only one who found his ignorance surrounding basic male-female interaction a little odd. Bottom line: he led me on. Overtly. And had no idea.

It wasn’t his fault, though. To be fair, I should have been thinking more clearly. I think we’ve all seen through my posts on this blog that I have very confusing and conflicting opinions about men and relationships and marriage and this is something that has caused me stress for a good three years. At 17-18 I actually had NO trust for the opposite sex; church was worse, because I saw a lot of old-fashioned gender stereotypes and borderline misogyny amongst the older men. These sentiments were passed down to their sons and it made me despair for young Christians. Because of these feelings, the few times I’ve had romantic feelings for a guy, it’s left me in a state of self-defeat. I felt this way VERY strongly with this friend of mine because I just couldn’t read him and I couldn’t really describe how I felt about him. I just knew that he was on my mind a lot. And it made me feel vulnerable.

So anyway, I got it out there. I was rejected in a round-a-bout way, but the message was clear anyway. It came with an apology as well. Ugh. We ended the phonecall like we always did, chatting nonsense and whatnot, and I thought I felt better once it was off my chest, but by the next morning I felt awful, as if I was nursing a hangover.

I’m really grateful for my sister, who gave me good advice about it. And two friends who are very dear to me. One of them knows how odd I feel about relaying my feelings to others so he waited patiently while I sat around his table and fiddled with my fingers. He gave me a big hug afterwards. My other friend made me feel a little better; opened my eyes a bit to the major differences between me and this guy—differences that would have caused problems. As in, my ‘radicalness’ 😀

So yeah, not a good week. I’m not going to give a Bible text here. I should, but it’s been a long day and I think it’s time for bed soon. I’ll just say this:

The most important relationship you’ll ever have is with God. Concentrate on that one before anything else, and He’ll provide you with everything else.

xXx