Monday, March 10, 2014

Re-Churching Updates for March 2014


It has been a ridiculous year so far - but then again, I am The Embodiment of Ridiculosity. It’s been good, bad, surprising, frustrating, uncontrollable, and absolutely ridiculous. I have been beaten up by life - physically, spiritually, mentally, relationally (or… emotionally?), and whatever else I am forgetting.

And I am okay.

I’m feeling strong. It’s not me though; it is God sustaining me, as He has promised. I have an amazingly supportive family. I have a few great friends who enjoy my presence and give back even more. I have a roof over my head and food to eat. I have cats to annoy.

What more could I ask for?

Well….
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Lent

I am not doing Lent this year.

Last year was my first attempt at Lent. I gave up Facebook. I know that sounds lame, yet I think I needed to let it go at that time. I think I needed Lent last year. I was hurting. I couldn’t think well. The pain wasn’t from Facebook itself; Facebook was a part of the memories that were hurting. I needed to lay those memories down.

I thought about Lent this year. It’s not that I am “good” with God, so I decided not to do Lent; it just happened that … I missed starting. It’s going to be okay. Lent can be useful in one’s Christian journey but it is not a necessity to be a “good Christian.”

I am still intrigued by Lent. I found this an interesting video by Biola University, “An Introduction to Lent” [Video].

If you’re going through Lent, I am praying for you. I hope that it enriches your relationship with God.
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Re-Churching

I missed a Sunday due to illness. I went the following Sunday and took Communion. I enjoy Communion.

It’s still a little uncomfortable for me at times, but it is still okay. I’m moving through the discomfort, which is strange because it tends to be where I am comfortable, and this discomfort now is comfortable to me. I know, I said that I am ridiculous. I just don’t place a high value or even think in terms of comfort and ease so much. I can talk about comfort but I don’t tend to make decisions based on comfort. This is probably better for another post though.

Anyways, I’m having to navigate… what I’m to do for now. I’m not going to be serving any certain ministries for now, unless I’m moved to one, but I myself am not seeking it at this time. This isn’t to say that I’m unwilling to serve, but that I won’t be serving in a specific capacity.

I admit also that I am… wary of… finding a… peer group again. Or even just one friend. I didn’t really want to do it last time but I did it… and I don’t…. This is a recurring issue with me, about making “friends.” Sigh. It’s a little bit others and a lot bit me. I just have to fully trust that God will provide or at least sustain me until Rachel and I are together at church or… I don’t even know. My great friends have always been surprises, wonderful surprises, so. Sigh.

I will have missed another Sunday of church by the time this is posted though. I remain determined to keep going back.
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Working Out with the Weightlifting Ministry

The other Monday, I worked out with the guys and gals in the Weightlifting Ministry, stewarded by my friend Genesis. The guys call Genesis “Gen” and it confuses my ears - I don’t think I will get used to that, having been the only “Jenn” for awhile and now it’s contending with a male. I just have to remember that no one ever talks to me and problem solved. I have to say that from the time I met Genesis to watching him serve in church now, it is wonderful to witness.

I did what Krystle did for the most part, only without weight for most of it. High knees, calf raises, lunges, squats, leg curls (20#), and leg extensions (15#), 10 reps each for 4 sets each.

I was hurting the rest of the week. The exercises were fine and I should have been able to do them well enough, but my balance has been compromised for a long time now. Few years ago, I had what my doctor could only guess was nerve damage to one leg. I have been babying that leg in any single-leg exercise that required a lot of balance. I think the lunges shocked my legs; I couldn’t get my balance in the lunges.

Tuesday was the roughest day with the legs recovering. I cried because it hurt so much and I had a few moments of frustration. A couple other things with my body didn’t help the situation. The weather has been cold which didn’t help either. It was the most un-ideal conditions I could think of for the situation I was in.

However, I think the shock has actually been a blessing. It kept me from moments of temptation. My legs are recovering well and seem to be getting stronger than before. My upper body got a workout, with trying to move myself around. This too has humbled me. I spent a lot of time talking with God. So it has been rough and yet it has been good.

I’m walking okay. I am still working on regaining strength, stamina and balance but my legs are both fine.

A month ago, I wouldn’t have been able to workout there. Certain relationships had remained strained, for me. Nothing has really changed from a month ago to working out on Monday, between me and the strained relationships, except my relationship with God. Constantly focusing on Him, remembering how broken I am, and a refreshed faith has helped me move towards… better. There may come a time to directly aim to heal those relationships, but for now it’s okay that it is where it is.

One last thing about the leg fatigue. I think there is something interesting in that I had recently experienced a boost in healing in my spiritual condition, and then about two weeks after, experience this physical condition which echoed the spiritual experience in certain ways. It may take a little more time to reflect on this for me to explain this in more detail.
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I know, I didn’t do a great PR job for the Weightlifting Ministry, but I am The Ridiculosity. So, the real PR is that this is a great group of guys and ladies who have been themselves working out for a while now. They care about training well (my experience is NOT the rule) and they care about people, about establishing relationships (general term).

You will have to sign your life away, but the church recently did a gym renovation, including a weight room expansion. The renovations and expansion look good. So, that’s something. (I kid about signing your life away, mostly).

So if you’re local, looking for a basic and free place to workout, looking to make new friends, looking to connect with a church, any and all of these things, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with the ministry. Or, if you already know me or know the place, just go check it out for yourself.

All are welcome!
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Readings and Devotionals

So far, I have kept up with the daily Bible reading. The reading plan is a 6 month one, and I am into I Chronicles and Acts. It is going well.

I started the year with the devotional book Jesus Calling. I have since come across some concerns about the book and writer, some concerns which have illuminated some concerns of my own that I was having while reading the book. I may write about that later.

In mid-February, I decided to switch the devotional book to an oldie but a goodie, Experiencing God Day-By-Day by Henry Blackaby and Richard Blackaby. I have gone through it unsuccessfully in previous attempts, but so far this time, so good. It is a good one - I just wasn’t so disciplined before.

I missed one day of devotionals so far, but I went back to read it. I have missed the past few days of journaling it though, due to the pains in the legs ridiculosity episode! If it wasn’t in my reach, I gave up. I’m getting back to it.

I am also re-reading R.T. Kendall’s Total Forgiveness. It is a part of The Plan. After this, I plan on re-reading, and thoroughly this time, Ken Sande’s The Peacemaker. Then later, John Bevere’s The Bait of Satan, and maybe Ed Galisewski’s A Simpler Faith, though the last one is not so necessary to The Plan but is a good refresher book to read. I think these are the books I need to be reading at this time of Re-Churching.

I do have to keep moving with The Plan, but if you have a book or sermon or YouTube video suggestion having to do with forgiveness, reconciliation, healed relationships that were once broken, let me know in the comments below.
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So, things are moving along. I’m uncomfortable, but that is usually a good sign. Obedience is still difficult for me but it gets easier each time and trusting God knows what I need and will provide is the best comfort I could receive.


And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.



If you’ve been hurt by the church or a Christian, if you’ve been hurt or offended by me, whether you are a believer or not, I am sorry. It happens but it doesn’t make it right and I apologize. We Christians are meant to be broken healers and point others to Jesus, and I forget about that sometimes or I just don’t know how to do it well.

And you know I’ve been where you are, because I’ve been hurt by Christians and this whole Re-Churching thing has been a journey of me trying to find my way through that conflict and hurt. I know this isn’t how the Christian life is supposed to be, that I am not in the fullness of Joy that I am to experience, yet that is what I search for, one of the things, as I seek to follow Jesus.

None of this that I am going through in Re-Churching is easy. The easy part comes after trusting God and stepping out in that trust, for Jesus has said:
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
And then one keeps following Jesus. Step after step. I began to see areas in my life where God was present and I hadn’t realized then. Or I would see God’s sovereignty and the protection and freedom that comes from understanding that He is sovereign. How many of us are not tired, feeling burdened? His burden is light.

I think I’m rambling now. What I would hope is that sharing my experiences will encourage you or perhaps make you curious about this Christian God Whom I trust and follow so much, how imperfectly yet faithfully and still maturing. I’m in process.

Jesus welcomes all.

May you be blessed.