I got a couple of chances to talk to my Granny this week, she and I get along better than anyone and she "gets" me. Her and I share a lot of the same personality traits and she has also been mama to damaged children like me (she became my daddy's mama when he was 13 and he credits her for turning his world around). I found myself telling her something that I was afraid would sound shocking, but of course she understood. I said "I'm not a Christian anymore, I'm something else." as she nodded in understanding.
Nobody knows this but I struggled with my salvation well into my twenties. I was a church kid that had done most things right. I had never done any drugs, drank, or had any run-ins with the law, but I often wondered if I was saved. I read my Bible and set aside "quiet times", and I would often see if I could lengthen my "prayer time" by a few minutes, went through periods where I only alloplljkpwed christian music in my car or home. I was very disciplined in things like that. I was compassionate and loving too but my compassion and love had borders that had code names like "tough love." I guess what I'm trying to say is that I followed all the rules, but friends, I was a Pharisee. My God ruled with an iron fist, He loved and prospered the people who followed His "ways" (that was a fancy word for rules). If someone was gay I said things like "well I love them but I hate their sin". If a girl got pregnant out of wedlock the proper course of action was to first, talk her out of an abortion and then, to drop her like she's hot before baby shower time lest the other girls in church feel that we were encouraging her evil ways. Believe me, something didn't feel right about these things, but I didn't know what else was to be done, that's what Pharisees did. Along comes the age of Facebook where the extent of your "taking a stand for Christ" can be hitting "like" or "Share" or eating at your favorite fast food joint on a specific day.
Now I'll admit that there were times where I thought I could be wrong, but I felt so elevated and if I started to question things it would be so embarrassing, because I'd have to admit to so much wrong. If I admit that the way I had loved others for years was wrong then my perfect track record would be gone! If I admitted that I still questioned my faith at this point then all my credibility was out the window. Then what would I be?! Broken. That's what I would be. A pile of rubble. Broken is what I am now.
Funny thing is, I'm almost positive that I found MY God in a crack house about two years ago. I was hunting someone, she was dear to me, I couldn't give up on this girl no matter how much she had done. I just couldn't. We searched and searched house after house until we found her and we wouldn't let her go back. She took our love and threw it back in our faces over and over but I couldn't stop loving her. I just couldn't. It was like she was my child, my flesh and blood, and I couldn't stop. Friends and family told me that I was being "walked on", they told me that I was becoming an "enabler", they told me that "tough love" was what she needed.
Tough love, that has a new definition to me. Lately, tough love means loving without end. Like He loves me. Love now means loving someone the way that God loved my stupid self all those years that I walked around with my head too big to walk through doorways. All those times that I turned the broken away and slapped the label "tough love" on it, I was throwing it all back in His face. I thought that I was earning celebrity status in His kingdom with all my long prayer times, expensive devotional books, and Facebook shares. What an idiot. What a silly broken mess of a girl I really am. You can't do enough in this LIFETIME to earn Him!
So what did I do?! What happened to change me into someone who knows that they will go to heaven?! I took off my "Royal Cloak" and admitted to being broken beyond repair. When I was finally broken I looked around and was suddenly not above ANYONE. We were all on a level playing field. The gay people and Samantha Caffee are the same amount of broken. The crack heads and Sam Caffee are the same amount of broken. The mothers that have lost their children to the system by making horrible choices and Sam Caffee are the same amount of broken. When I saw how He could love such a broken mess like me, that He was capable of such AMAZING love and Grace, my ability to love grew 1000%.
Who does get celebrity status in His kingdom then, if it's not reserved for saints like I once was?! It's simple. He tells us in Matthew 19:30 "But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then." And Who does He say is the last on earth? "The least of these." (Matthew 25:31-46) These children that I foster are royalty in His kingdom.
These days I'm in constant motion. I may wake up after three hours of sleep to a little one needing me immediately, my "quiet time" may be a few minutes in the bathroom (if I'm lucky), my prayer time is an almost constant flow of quiet petitions for grace, healing, discernment, rest, or gratefulness. My God now is a lover of souls, He is patient with me and others, He is kind when I don't deserve it, He is gentle with me when my words are too sharp, He is where the broken are, He always has hope when I feel like something is hopeless, He is my protector, and He is not easily angered by me. He doesn't care what I look like, how I smell, or what I'm dressed in, and friends, He is MINE!
I guess you could say that I found My God when I was face to face with a broken soul, just like mine, in that crack house. That's where I continue to learn more about Him, is in all the things/people that the world calls "too far gone". The more I get to know Him the more He breaks my heart for the things that break His, and friends now I can honestly say that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light, and one day soon I will be with Him! I KNOW THAT. And it feels good.
As always I pray that something in my words can encourage you today. I pray that you can see a glimpse of my sweet Jesus and Invite Him to be yours. I pray that if you are a Pharisee like I was that you can find the better/broken version of yourself and know God in a way you never though possible. xoxo, Sam
PS. So what am I if I'm not a "Christian"? I am a child of the ONE TRUE KING!!!! That's what I am!!
EDITED TO ADD: To clarify, I am most definitely still a Christian, but because of the associations that myself and others have with that title, I've decided to call myself something different. I'm a child of the One True King!!!