Tuesday, January 27, 2015

That time I asked Jesus into my heart...

I'm not even sure where to begin this post. If my words are jumbled, I am sorry. I'm just writing as fast as I can. So bear with me.

Since April 24, 2014, I've been in a wrestling match. If you don't know what April 24th is, it's not that big of a deal if you don't know, but that's pretty much when we found out that Lily was going to die.

I was very angry with God for the remainder of the pregnancy with her. When people asked what they could do for us, I just kept telling people, to pray for us. What I didn't tell them was why. I wanted other people to pray because I was mad at God. To be frank, I was madder than a hornet. I grew up in the church hearing that people will always fail you, but God won't. I can always count on him and trust him.

My entire pregnancy, I struggled with that. How could I trust Him when my daughter was given a death sentence.

Soon after her diagnosis, I knew that we needed our booties in church. I knew that God would get us through this situation. Even though, I just said a paragraph ago, that I was madder than a hornet and I felt betrayed by God, I knew we still needed to be near Him and near His people. Every sermon, I struggled during the altar call. Our pastor said we needed to know that we know that we know we are going to heaven. It caught me off guard the first time I heard it. It wouldn't be the last time it did either.

After she was born and when we were with her that day, I just couldn't get over how peaceful everything was. I can't explain it, but I knew that God was with us and that she was okay.

About a month afterwards, I had found out that I hadn't passed the bar again. I felt so lost and so confused. I had all these plans for my life and this was just one more thing that didn't go my way. A few days later, I started Beth Moore's, Children of the Day bible study. And it was no coincidence that I did that study first looking back now. I squirmed through I don't know how many lessons because she talked about the end times and the hope we should have for our loved ones that are asleep. Pastor Philip on Sunday mornings was talking about Revelations as well. During this time, God's word was so fresh to me in a way it had never been for me. I grew up in the church y'all.

When I say I grew up in the church, I mean, I walked forward when I was 9, thought I was saved then, went to Kiamichi, Falls Creek, Super Summer, (and if you haven't gone to church in the South, particularly, in a Southern Baptist church in Oklahoma, just know that I was basically doing all the things good little church goers do) was very active in my youth group, went to college and joined a Christian sorority, was an officer in that same sorority, and then thought I wasn't saved and went forward again when I was 21, I knew all the church words and things to say. I did things the way I was supposed to and kept up with appearances even though I struggled with various forms of sin throughout my life and still do.

And then, November 23rd happened. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that the church we joined, experienced a major revival that day. As in over 20 people went forward to ask Jesus in their heart and the sermon was a plane Jane sermon. It was not a scheduled revival time. That day, Pastor Philip asked again, if you don't know that you know that you know that Jesus died on the cross for your sins then come forward. It caught me off guard.

Now if you have read here any amount of time, you know that I am a very analytical person. I can get in my head like nobody's business. During that altar call and everyone since, I wrestled with God. I would say, but God, I grew up in your church, I did all these things. I have talked about you with Lily. I'm a deacon's daughter. I've done all the right things.

I could go on and on about the head fight I was having with myself, but I think you get the point. I would get in the car and talk about what a great service it was and then talk about how the altar call was hard for me because I felt like I was under spiritual attack  I would go back to my Bible study and feel comfort in it, but every Sunday when Pastor Philip would ask if I know that I know that I know that I'm saved, I would just about be ready to run from the sanctuary because I couldn't stand struggling through that wrestling match again.

At New Year's Eve, I saw the Committee and my second momma Karen, We had been talking about how we had felt like we were under spiritual attack. Jessika with a K then said, "Momma, have you ever told Sam how you came to know Jesus?" SHE THEN PROCEEDED TO TELL ME ABOUT HOW SHE CAME TO KNOW JESUS AS AN ADULT.  There was no way that she could have known that I was struggling with my salvation. I'm sure I had a look of panic on my face while she told me. I thought, how does she know this is what I'm struggling with? I never said a word, but my word, I tossed and turned that night.

And yet, I did nothing about it. 

If you didn't catch that the first time, let me say it again...AND YET, I DID NOTHING ABOUT IT.

A few weeks later, I was doing Beth Moore's Believing God and she spoke about God's word being alive and active in us. She shared Romans 10:9-10 which says, "If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you will believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved." She talked about how salvation was a simple matter. It was just like the verse said. I realized I could check off everything in the verses except the part when I admit it out loud. I was stuck on all that I had done.

You guessed it. I DID NOTHING ABOUT IT.

I couldn't wait for bible study at church to start back up again. I was craving the comfort of a Bible study. I sat for the last three weeks wrestling in the pew. Then this past Sunday, Brandon wanted to go forward to rededicate his life. I thought to myself, Greaaaaaat. Now I gotta go down front and deal with this up, close, and personal. I even asked Brandon if he needed me to go, that's how bad I didn't want to go down front.

While we were down there meeting with Pastor Randy, Pastor Philip asked again, "If you died, do you know that you know that you know that you're saved and that you would meet him today if you were to pass away tonight?" I was trying so hard to pay attention to what Pastor Randy was saying, but that question still jolted me like a lightening bolt. Pastor Randy asked why Brandon had come forward, and Brandon told him that he wanted to rededicate his life to Christ. Pastor Randy asked if I had come to support Brandon in that decision. I LIED and said yes...

Even though I knew that I needed to ask to be saved, I kept my mouth shut.
Even though I had never felt so lost in all my life the way I had this year.
Even though I knew that I Jesus' death on the cross had never been more real to me that it had been this year. I have cried I don't know how many times, about how God willingly let his son die on the cross for all of our sins. I know that I would have and still would do anything for my daughter to be healthy and whole and God's son was PERFECT and he gave up his Son willingly for me.

Even though I knew all of the above, I walked away.

After church, I ran into Pastor Randy and he said, "I have a book for Brandon. I think will be perfect for him. Make sure one of y'all come by to pick it up."

I went to Sunday School and didn't think twice about it.

After Bible study today, I went by to see if Pastor Randy was in so I could pick up the book for Brandon. He was and he came out and said, "We were just talking about y'all. I just grabbed that book for Brandon and you walked in and they buzzed in my office to tell me you were here. I started kind of sharing with him all that I had been thinking about and wrestling with in the past months. We talked again about Romans 10:9-10. He also brought his secretary with him because she lost a little girl named Shannon 42 years ago.

He then flat out asked me, "Are you saved?"

I started to answer, "Well when I was nine I went forward and then again when I was 21 because I wasn't sure." He said, "It's a simple yes or no." He went on to share some more scripture and then he said, "When you made a commitment to love Brandon however long ago, how do you know you made that commitment?" I said, "Well I was there, of course." He said, "That's how sure you need to be about your commitment with Christ, and..." Before he could finish, I said, "And I'm not."

He shared 1 John 5:14-15 with me, which says, ""This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him." He shared 1 Timothy 2:4 "[God our Savior ] ...who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." which is proof that it is God's will that he wants me to be saved, so 1 John 5:14-15 would be granted, I just had to ask.

God had been patient all this time with me. He allowed my little girl to be sick so that my attention might be awakened. Even when I struggled still time and time again, he was patient with me.

So as of today around 12:45 ish on January 27, 2015, I accepted Christ as my Savior. Pastor Randy offered to guide me through a prayer, but I told him that I needed to do it for myself, so that I would know that I know that I know I had been saved. I prayed that exact thing.

A few weeks ago, my former boss told me that he felt like Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." was still my verse for this time. He said that he was sure I was struggling with how God could make Lily's situation for the good and with how his ways could be better at a time like this. Today I got my answer.

I know that I know that I know when I die, I am going to heaven and I will see Jesus and I will see Lily. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Inside the Box.

When we found out that Lily was officially diagnosed, I knew that one of the things I wanted for her was a chest made of wood. Little Women is my favorite book and I remembered that the March girls each had a chest with their name on it. I knew that what we would have of Lily's would fit in there.

About two months after she had passed away, Brandon and I placed the blankets we used for her in the hospital inside the box. They were the last items. I think at the time, I thought that if we get rid of all that was a part of her and put it away, that I can move forward.

Then Halloween happened.

And well, the box just exploded. I tried to move forward. I remember sitting at football games and thinking, "Why do these people act like everything is okay? Don't they know my baby died?"

I didn't say anything though because I felt like people were tired of talking about her. I also desperately wanted to feel normal. I wanted the nightmare to just end. I wanted my old life back before my bubble had been popped. So I just walked around the mess. I pretty much pretended it wasn't there.

I still feel that way. I will have interactions with some of my dearest people and in the time we are together, not a word will be spoken about her, unless I bring my girl up. Then when she is brought up, people want to talk about how she's an angel. At some point, that will bring me comfort, but for now it doesn't. Or people want to shut down the conversation as quickly as possible because it makes them uncomfortable. If it makes them uncomfortable, imagine what it does to me. Finally, there are the people who think that our solution is to just have another baby. I don't want to have a child just to fix my problems. That poor kid would know that there would always be a hole he/she is trying to fill. That's no way to live. I want Jesus to bless us in his time for us, not for anyone else. Then I feel extremely self-conscious about being that girl. I'm not the only person with real live issues. I know that and I get that.

And so I'm quiet.

The problem is that my box has exploded and what has been raging and shouting in my head for months can't just be quiet anymore. The mess will not be ignored any longer.
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Hi y'all! The name's Samantha. You can call me Sam if you like. I am a lover to a boy I met at Falls Creek in the summer of 2005, that is a student of Jesus, a Sooner born and Sooner bred and when I die I'll be Sooner dead, Democrat by party, blonde to the core, and oldies but goodies kind of girl.
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