Moving forward, letting go

I have spoken often on this blog about walking the path. The path that God has for our lives. I think that more than anything that is an appropriate way to explain how I see this journey I am on. That we are all on.

Somehow though, I noticed that while time always continues to progress, spiritually I did not seem to be moving forward. I stagnated, I just seemed to be moving in circles. What finally was revealed to me though, was that was in a large part because of what I was doing, or not doing actually.

Like most people, I had filled myself with baggage. Items I was holding inside that brought me nothing but grief. A divorce, losses of friends, the list went on. I purposely allowed these things to remain, where they weighed me down like a boat anchor.

We all do that I think, to some extent or other, but I don’t think we realize the damage we do to ourselves by keeping hold on the things of the past that hurt us so much. You know what it is for you, just as I knew what it was for me.

With Gods help, finally I see that the only way forward sometimes is to let go. Yes, sounds very simple, but it can be the most difficult thing you have ever done. We want to hold onto these things. These memories, they have so much power over us. We have let them control us, for so long, they become apart of who we are, and we feel like if we let go, we will no longer be he same person. In some ways, that’s the point.

Now, I’m not saying stop thinking about Gramma, who might have passed. You know what deep inside is keeping you from growing into the person God needs to fulfill His will. You’ll know because whenever He speaks to you, it’s the things you’ll think about that stop you. Stop you from living like you should. Stop you from developing that deeper relationship with Him, because these things are in the way.

Sometimes to move forward, you have to let go.

And it doesn’t happen over night, or in a week, and might take a long time, depending on how deeply rooted into your spirit these things have become. Luckily for me, our God is patient. Through his word, and through a lot of prayer. With a lot of understanding, He showed me that I needed to stop torturing myself because of things that shouldn’t have power over me anymore. He showed me that the past is a history lesson, something to give me better judgment moving forward, but it’s not someplace I should be living.

Because that’s not living. That’s not what God has planned for me. He has so many good things, so many blessings, for me and for you. I just needed to finally drop the load of regrets off my back and step forward.

You can’t change the past, whatever happened, it’s over. If you have wronged someone, you can only ask forgiveness, if someone has wronged you, then you can forgive. Whatever it was, you can’t allow it to define you anymore.

This is the thing God has revealed to me, and I am very thankful to Him for opening my eyes, and my spirit to it! He has turned tears of pain into tears of joy as I finally let the shackles off of my spirit, and finally move forward in the way I was meant to.

Finally an update.

It’s been over 1 year since my last post. A lot has happened, a lot has changed, but God is still revealing His plan for my life.

Early last year, I had been working through some stuff. Just trying to make sense of some things that had been bothering me. Trying to explore my relationship with God. Trying to gain some understanding. Little did I know what God would have in store for me.

In June of 2016, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I feel blessed that a problem with my gall bladder; which led to its removal actually; set the stage up to find the cancer while it was relatively early in stage IIB, before it had progressed further.

I am still far from cancer free, I am still Stage IIb, but I am alive. I have been through much treatment. Chemo, radiation, even an attempt at what is called a Whipple procedure which unfortunately found my cancer to be nonresectible, which means it cannot at least for now be removed. 

I have watched through the last year as I have lost my livelihood, watched my body deteriorate in ways I could not imagine. I watched as I lost my independence and now live with a permanent caregiver. 

As always in these situations, we tend to always look at what we have lost. We hardly ever think of what we have gained.

Yes, gained. 

If I have learned anything from this experience, it is that God is a loving and wonderful creator. Many would be upset, possibly angry, that God would allow such a thing to happen to one of His children. Some might succumb to bitterness, maybe even hate? 

I reject all of that.

I won’t lie. There are days when I despair. I’m only human. Days when grief has overwhelmed me, when all the luster of living has seemingly faded. 

That is not my story though. I don’t blame God for anything. Throughout this entire ordeal, His blessings have been abundant. He has put a solid foundation of people around me that have taken care of me during my entire illness. When I was on the verge of being completely broke, unable to pay my rent, He provided a way to keep me in my home. He has provided me with everything I have needed as I travel along this journey.

And that’s exactly what I think of this as. While I can’t say ultimately where this journey will end, only He knows that answer, I know that I have learned more than I ever could healthy about His love, His providence, and so many more things.

In a lot of ways, He has taught me the value of family. The true value of people in our lives. So often, we take people for granted. We get used to them. We just assume they will always be there. It’s when things go very bad, and the people we care about respond in support of you, even at their own expense, that’s when you really begin to understand the depths of what is really important.

I see now that before my illness, I was too preoccupied with the wrong things. I cultivated nice items. Things that were expensive, but ultimately empty. I realized my vision was not set on God, but on making myself comfortable. I learned that it is the people in our lives. The people we care about. The people we call family, that is important. It’s not things. It’s not even comfort. My Jesus died on a cross to save the sinner known as Drew. He didn’t have comfort, He had nothing! It was the people that mattered. I learned that my love should be for God, for the people in my life to the exclusion of everything else. I’m not saying it’s bad to have nice things, I’m saying take care of who you love, and worry about the other stuff later. God does provide.

I see know that I used God as a crutch often for when I was feeling bad, but I didn’t lean on Him when things were good and I was feeling all right. I learned God is not just for Sunday, He is for everyday! What I mean is, I obviously believed. I thought I was closer to God everyday, but I realized I wasn’t! God was what I turned to when I needed to make myself feel better when I was feeling down, but where was He when I was feeling good? Did I pray thanks for His blessings? Sometimes, but I did it with a shallowness in my heart that made it meaningless. That’s the point, my mind might have been right, but my heart was in the wrong place. My heart was in the world, not on God. You can’t follow after Jesus on Sunday, then give Him lip service Monday through Saturday, you have to mean it everyday! 

Every prayer should be heartfelt, every song sung in His name should come from the deepest secret place inside you, where the real you resides. I should not have waited until my body was dying to finally have the hardest, deepest discussions with God. Those should have happened right away. He is our Heavenly Father. Why do we wait to talk with Him until it’s almost too late? How many of us only pray when we are in trouble? How many times I have experienced the very real power of the living God in my life, but I refused to see it or acknowledg it, except with a pat thank you prayer that I didn’t really mean the way I should have meant it? You learn real quickly when it seems like your life could be over how to pray, and the difference is startling. 

I learned that Gods grace is everlasting. His patience is unlike anything I can describe. That’s powerful. He has been so patient with me, as I learn a little bit at a time. As His will is revealed to me. I’ve learned to have more patience, and forgiveness for others. I’ve learned that the outward appearance of people is no marker to what they are as a person inside. So I guess in a way I have learned acceptance. I accept people. Just as they are, nothing more, nothing less. This one is harder for me to describe. It’s like when you go to church, and you see some people that maybe don’t wear the nicest clothing, and so some people in the church might look down on them because of a preconceived notion that they are not giving God their best. Most of us would not tolerate that attitude in church, but somehow we have no problem doing that elsewhere. I’ve learned that the lowliest person is just as important to God as the richest.

I think I’ve rambled on enough right now though, I hope to fill in more at a later time, for now I just pray everyone is blessed, and may God show you His will in your life! 

Update

I have not been posting. Instead I have been working out a lot of things.

As time progresses, and I finally get that glimpse of daylight ahead, I am amazed at the work God has wrought within me.

Broken, alone, lost. That was how this journey began so long ago. Some days are better than others, some days I feel like life maybe isn’t so special, it’s not worth the pain of waking up and feeling so empty.

But God has ways of making life have meaning when you least expect it, and He has a way of giving you just what you need at the right time. 

Death felt so close to me in the winter of 2013. I didn’t want to go on anymore. Why bother? I had learned that life was pain, and that good was just an idea. Or so I thought.

It was around that time Misa came into my life. She is my cat. 

She was like me. Lost and broken. Left to die on the street. With no one to love her, no one to home her, I took her with me to stay.

Such a small thing. So totally unexpected. To the point I could not help but see Gods loving providence in this act when I looked back on it.

Sometimes a person just needs to feel that they are needed. That they have a reason to live beyond themselves but because they can give something to someone else. In taking care of this unloved broken creature, I learned that God loves all of us that are broken too. That He loves us in a way that can be difficult to understand or comprehend at times. 

Truth be told my beautiful Misa saves my life, as I couldn’t have made it through that time without her I think. My spirit was too weak, and the thought of death was too soothing.

She is a happy kitty, today. She still is somewhat anti social, a mark of previous cruelties she experienced before. 

But that’s ok. Because we were both broken, and God put us back together.

The God of healing still lives.

This week is about one year since my wife walked out. I won’t get into the details, but suffice it to say there were things that both of us probably should have done, or said then.

For a long time after I was dead. In my soul, in my mind. I walked through life like a zombie just existing because my body refused to stop living. I think I really wanted to die in those days to tell you the truth. Anything to make the pain stop, seemingly was preferable than the shuffling through my days in a state of almost catatonia.

I would buy the same food every day. Eat like a machine. Go to work, and pretend to be alive still, but the dead husk of my soul dragged on me constantly.

In my youth, I had known Jesus, I had known God. Somehow I found a way to walk off though, forget about my relationship with Him. I didn’t turn to God when I needed Him in my marriage, and I didn’t turn to Him after. I was ashamed, I didn’t want to be one of those people that only calls on God when they need Him, but forget about Him the rest of the time.

And yet, I started to pray. Slowly, just here and there. Talking to God, but not filled with arrogance, or false pride. I came to Him broken. Destroyed beyond anything I had ever experienced before.
And as time progressed, I spoke to Him more. I opened up my heart to Him, fully exposed. And there He was waiting for me. It was as if He were saying, “Where have you been? I have been looking for you.”

The God of Creation embraced me, and slowly over time He has healed my soul. Taking the broken pieces and put them back together. You don’t realize how broken you really are until He fills you with His healing power.

A year has passed, and honestly in some ways I still hurt. With God in my life, I can get by. I can find healing from the God that still heals even today. Even if you don’t deserve it, because I asked, and let Him into my heart.

I thank you my Father, for remembering me when I was lost.

Is God important to you?

I don’t care what you have or don’t have. if you are the CEO of a fortune 500 company or the guy that just sweeps the floor inside the building. God loves you. I have previously spoken of this, and how His powerful love can change us. Inside where people can’t see, but God can see.

And God doesn’t care about that.

He doesn’t care what car you drive, what clothes you wear, or what job you have. Thats not important. 

“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.” Acts 10:34 KJV

No matter what we have, or who we are, God does not care about that. He is the creator of the universe, and everything in it. What does he care if you own a Mercedes or a Pinto?

The reason I bring this up is because I see this disturbing trend, even amongst Christians, where they want to play the me too game. They want to have the nice house, the nice cars, the nice clothes and all the other “nice” things in the world. And that in and of itself is not a problem.

If you have been blessed with these things, then who am I to say anything? Thats not what I am talking about. What I am talking about is when your desire for material goods, and money, becomes stronger than your love and faith in the Lord God. When Jesus died on the cross, HE HAD NOTHING! Nothing on this earth. And I don’t think His sacrifice on the cross was so I can buy a BMW. 

If you have been so exceedingly blessed, as I have in my life, then I would imagine God has a plan for you that will include those blessings. How can they help serve God? How can they help spread the message of Christ crucified for our sins? How can they help in the trenches where we are fighting for souls? 

I don’t know. And thats the hard truth because I can’t tell you. Only God can speak into your heart and let  you know what your path is. I am just musing as to where has all of this love of money, love of the material is coming from.

I like nice things just like anyone else, but I appreciate people more. I appreciate the little things the Lord has given me more. Because they hold meaning, they have value beyond this world, and I want to have my riches in Heaven. I don’t care about what happens here. The Lord God has seen fit to give me a decent place to live, where I can be comfortable. So I have to ask myself the same question, what have I done to help the Lord, to spread the message of salvation to those that need it? Probably not enough, so I can only try my best, and listen to my heart for where God speaks to me to tell me what I need to do. 

And to be clear, this is not in any way meant to “shame” anyone, for having a lot. I am not talking about that, and thats not what I am about, and what this post is about. I am saying that we should put everything into serving God. To listening for his voice to let us know what path we are meant to travel. I believe that wherever we are it’s because God has put us there for a reason, and it might be one we don’t readily understand, but its important to keep Him first, and not worry about the other things. 

Wherever I go, God is with me.

I have been contemplating of late, several different things. What comes to the surface first is that no matter what happens in the world, no matter what the world does, my God will be with me always.

I have had so many failed relationships in my life. My marriage fell apart, family fell apart, people I considered close, ended up being lost to me. I am not blaming God for these things, as most of it can only be laid at my feet for blame.

The point is, that only God stays. Only He knows you so well, to your very soul. We often attempt to hide who we really are from other people, but from Him we cannot hide. He knows us. Sees us for who we really are, inside where we fear others will see. Because that is where we are vulnerable, weak, we are soft and crying inside from the pain we inflict on one another.

God sees all that. Everything we hide and are so afraid of, but still He stays with us, even when the dearest people we love abandon us. How powerful is that love for us that such broken people can turn to Him and find comfort?

I was so reluctant for so long to seek such comfort. I had made myself believe that my unworthiness made me unlovable even to God. I refused to believe.

Thankfully, Gods love is stronger than even the most stubborn of hearts, and only with His spirit filling me did I finally find the succor for my ragged, bleeding soul. Like soothing rain, enveloping me in His love restored me to… What? I had been so long away from Him and anything else that was good, I thought I was living on a new planet I had not seen before. Every day seemed like a miracle, every ray of sunlight bringing warmth to such a cold existence.

And that’s why I know, no matter where I go, God is with me.

The reality of God

I continue to see all over the internet posts on various websites that try to either prove or disprove the existence of God.

They put out persuasive arguments on both sides, but they never really get to the real point.

It is not up to me to tell you if God is real. If you look long enough He will reveal Himself to you in ways that you will believe. You can choose to reject His existence if you want and you will not get any argument from me about it.

That’s not the point. The point is that one persons disbelief does not invalidate another persons belief. When people tell me how silly I am to believe in “an old man in the sky.” I don’t try to argue with them. There disbelief, even hatred of God says more about them than I ever could.

I pray for them, that they will see God for who He is, but again, that is not up to me either. People that have rejected Gods existence will have to pay for their disbelief, I won’t. I have chosen to believe, I have chosen to put my faith in Christ, and instead of arguing with people that have hardened their hearts against God, I am trying to strengthen my relationship with Him.

I am a terrible follower of Christ. I don’t often do the things I should, and I often have a bad attitude. I find that the only remedy is to seek His attention. To commune with God as often as I can so He can speak into my heart. That’s the only way I have been able to overcome my human nature, and begin down this path, this journey towards.. What?

What is the end game? That has not been revealed to me yet, but I believe that attaining salvation through Christ is not the end, but the beginning. We all have our mission from God, the reason we exist and for which we are made. Something that only I can do, just as there is something only you can do.

I might not know what that is just yet, but I know I won’t find it arguing with people over wether or not God is real. That’s for others to do I suppose.