Sunday I attended church in Oregon.  I’ve been to this particular church with my daughter and (soon-to-be) son-in-law before and have enjoyed the music and the messages.  It’s been familiar and comfortable because it’s so similar to my church at home.  We’ve all heard the saying “nothing is a coincidence.”  Well, Sunday’s message proved this to be very true.  It was time to get uncomfortable.  I think it also helped to be worshipping somewhere I’m not known.  It allowed me to loosen up a bit and focus more on the message and not who might be judging me.

I honestly don’t even remember the songs they sang, but by the third one I was quite teary and becoming snotty to boot.  All this and no Kleenex in sight either.  That should definitely be in every church budget – Kleenex for the weepy woman in row fifteen!  Of course as soon as the song ended it was time to “Say Hi to Your Neighbor”.  No doubt the three women I said hello to were wishing they’d made better choices in seats due to my extensive sniffling and nose-to-sleeve action.  (Classy, huh?)

My daughter asked me “Allergies or Crying?”  I had to admit I was crying.  They were good tears, healing tears in fact, but regardless I worry endlessly about embarrassing her.

The message hooked me right away.  Jesus cursing a fig tree?  I didn’t know this story but was intrigued.  The pastor moved through the verses and lingered on Mark 11:15-18.  Aha, now this part of the story I knew well!  Jesus was A-N-G-R-Y.  I am oh too familiar with anger!  He turned over the tables of the money changers and accused the vendors of turning a house of worship into a den of robbers.

Depraved people concealing their evil with the appearance of good makes my blood boil, too.  I could really relate to this stuff.  The pastor remarked on Jesus literally turning the tables on these robbers and I was reminded that justice is for Him to fulfill.  That is not my job.  We will all be accountable for our choices one day.

Consequences..

Then, the part that grabbed me straight in the gut.  “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.  And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”  Ouch.  Another reminder I must do my own part and leave everyone else to do their part.  And…God will do the justice part.

But, because this was the Reader’s Digest version of my week of forgiveness last month the tears began anew.  My anger is slowly being replaced with forgiveness.  God is overturning my heart.  I was so filled with gratitude and hope I simply lost it.  My beautiful and loving daughter saw my need for comfort and she embraced me.  I temporarily stopped worrying about embarrasing her (or myself) and let loose fat crocodile tears and matching snot.  It took a long while before I was cried out.  She just let me cry because no words were necessary between us.  She has been on this journey with me, by default.

Near the end, the pastor described the Human Condition well when he said “People don’t change unless the pain of staying the same outweighs the pain of change.”

Change is Hard

I will forever be grateful that God put on my heart it was time to change -to let go of of my armor of anger.  He has walked with me during hard times, carried me through despairing times and rejoiced with me during triumphant times.  I am living proof that modern day miracles happen -not because I’m extraordinary, but because He is.

I’d love to hear your stories about how getting uncomfortable helped you grow and change…

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