Well, this will be a very open and honest post and I am not sure how it will come across. We went to church today with my in-laws, one of their son’s families (wife and four kids) and my wife and kiddo. Anyone who knows me knows how judgmental I can be when it comes to my perception of other people’s sincerity of faith. Today I found myself in this frame of mind again as I heard the “hallelujahs”, “amens”, “praise Gods”, “thank you Jesus”, etc… I was looking around at the people getting their praise on and wondering if any were pretending to praise a God that they themselves weren’t feeling or were even sure existed. The song choices weren’t my flavor but most folks seemed to like them. It is amazing how a song you grew up on that you haven’t heard in years can take on an entirely different feel to it in certain environments when your mindset is different.
I avoided the meet-and-greet time by going to the bathroom so I didn’t have to pretend that all is well in the world with a smile that says, “I am glad I am at church today” when I am not. Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing believers at this church, the pastor being one of them, and the sincerity of “I’m glad you are here” definitely exists, but I was just not in the mood to do surface level conversation of “how is the family” or “how is the weather in TN”.
Then it came time for the church to collect their tithes and offerings. This is done differently at this church. They don’t pass a collection plate. Instead they have boxes up front by the alter where people come up to put their money in. While the givers are there they are encouraged to spend time in prayer: prayer for themselves, prayer for others, prayers of praise, etc…
Since this is not my church I didn’t have money to bring to the front, but I was holding my little girl who is now 15 weeks old and I wanted to pray for her, and more importantly for me with regards to how I raise her, for how she sees me treat her mother, and how she sees her mom and I interact and treat one another. I have prayed off and on this past week but not like I enjoy doing (I really like spending about fifteen minutes or more in solitude to give myself time to empty all my worries and failures, to do some praise using the Psalms, and then to listen to see what God wants to say-if anything). But today I went to the alter to present my little girl and to commit to raising her in a manner that honors the God I believe in. The funny part is, that prayer didn’t last long because I found myself praying for the marriages and relationships of others I know who are either divorced and trying to reconcile, on the verge of divorce, or divorced with one of the former spouses hoping for a miracle to get back together. This has been a hard week for me to find out so many couples of men I respect are hurting and broken.
Anyone who knows my wife and I will tell you that we are passionate about seeing marriages succeed. We know that life is not easy, that bills pile up, that cars breakdown, kids don’t obey, and others see your spouse more than you do. But we also know that with proper communication techniques and understanding your spouse’s love language an entirely new dimension of marriage can be experienced (no we have not arrived, we simply no how to repair damage that has happened or to prevent damage from taking place if one of us is level headed enough to catch an argument brewing). This is not a marriage post though so I am simply trying to relate that I hate seeing marriages dissolve over failures in communication on various levels. It hurts my heart and soul.
Anyways, the service ended with a cardboard testimony where members of the church wrote on two sides of a piece of cardboard describing something in their life that was tough to go through or that they still struggle with, and the other side had a positive statement of how faith has helped them. For an example that came from another church check out this link: cardboard testimony Seeing how people have overcome various things such as child abuse, drug addictions, rejection, suicide attempts, depression, hepatitis C, etc… because of their faith in God and in His promises was very touching. The video is not the same as seeing something like this in person, especially when you know the people.
I don’t have much else to say. I am still the same Boris as I was before but I guess everything that you experience in life changes you in some capacity. I can’t say that I am going to be the awesome, Christ-centered, loving, and respectable dad or husband that I desire to be, but I pray that God doesn’t give up on me (and I know He won’t) when I have given up on myself from time to time. I am not saying “woe is me” but simply saying that I get tired just like everybody else and I don’t always have the faith that moves mountains (nor do I believe I have ever had mountain moving faith but you get the point).
Gotta go enjoy some great food. FYI: I will possibly be moving the blog site to wordpress.com but have not decided on it yet. If I do then I will change the name a little and maybe start using my real name since everyone who reads the site knows me for the most part.
Glad to be alive for a change,
Boris the Illusionist