Alternate State of Being: the gods of our imaginations

Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them. ~ Deuteronomy 11:16 (nkjv)

IMG_9419The next week, I resigned from my commitments and walked away from my church. Worse even, I walked away from God. I stopped praying to a God I had come to believe only listened to a select few. I stopped believing that He even realized I existed. I believed that in His eyes, I was something to be given up on, tossed aside and forgotten. The next two years were spent in a fictitious world of God’s forgetfulness, studying religions and their beliefs continually asking myself the same question: How could so many people believe in a God they could not see, touch, feel or hear?  I read the Bible and I believed what it said, but it only reaffirmed what I already knew: God only chose certain people to commune with and I was not one of them. I was certainly no Abraham, Moses or Daniel nor was I a Mary, Esther or Ruth. It further instilled what I had always felt: I was nothing special. I was average and ordinary. Inside I seethed. I was unknown to God. So, I unwillingly accepted my view of the inevitable and refused to speak to Him.

IMG_9415In all that time, it never occurred to me that I had invented my own god, a god of my imagination who was a wish granting genie and someone who I could dismiss casually and at will.

I was so angry with God and had been for so long that when those double lines popped up on the pregnancy test in January of 2001, instead of hitting my knees and thanking God, I delivered the news to my family and began planning the nursery. And in the delivery room, after my second son was born, I committed a most heinous sin. Instead of thanking God for this gift He had fearfully and wonderfully made and given to me, I looked at my husband and pridefully said, “Look what we did.” As those words left my lips, I felt a shock to my spirit. I had not only taken credit for God’s work, but I also made what was holy, common. And I knew for the first time in years – He knew who I was and He heard what I said. I could have asked His forgiveness of it all – the whining and the petulance and my wretched snide behavior and for my arrogance and pride and contempt. And maybe the price would not have been quite so steep. The prideful, after all, have the furtherest to fall., but all I could do was sit in this ephemeral moment remembering a vow I had made to God one morning. In a shameful bribery attempt, I cried out, “I’ll do anything you want, endure anything for more children.” And for the next two years and into my third pregnancy, I feared what I might have to endure to make good on my word.

IMG_9414I am the Real Vine and my father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing, He prunes back so it will produce even more. When you are joined with Me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated you can’t produce a thing. This is how my Father shows who He is – when you produce grapes, when you mature as disciples. You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to Me, He gives you. ~ John 15:1-2,5,8,16 (the message)

Near the end of my third pregnancy, complacency in the chaos replaced my secret inner fear. I had become like Nebuchadnezzar flourishing in his palace and I was content in the chaos that ruled my life. I had what I wanted: my marriage was stable, I had children and I was writing for the neighborhood newspaper. As far as I was concerned, my requirements for my life had been met. It seemed like for the first time things were going my way. I had everything I wanted and yet, something was still missing for me. There was a loneliness I could not satisfy. All these years, I had convinced myself that God had paid me no attention because I was not important to Him. Since I was twelve, the most simple thing had escaped me: God wanted a relationship with me. I never understood I was one of His flock. I had spent my life trying to fit into this world and I was never going to fit here because I already belonged to Him. All He asked was that I bear fruit. But I was too busy trying to do the rights things spurred from the fear of my sin.  I capitalized on my perfected and honed skill of flying under the radar and kept myself far removed from His presence, but even when we make our bed in hell, God is there.

IMG_9417And sometimes in the middle of the night, my heart would race and I would think of Jephthah watching his daughter run out the front door to greet him. And I knew my moment would come and like a deer caught in the headlines of an on-coming truck, I had no idea what to do to rectify it.  Simply getting on my knees and repenting never even crossed my mind.

This is the second in a series of five blog posts housed under the Testimony category.

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