Wednesday, April 2, 2008

From One Scarred Hand to the Other

There's this wonderful song by Casting Crowns called East to West. I've liked it from the first time I heard it but only a couple days ago did I realize this song applies to me. I've always been grateful to God for evangelizing me gently, through the conversion of my husband. I'm thankful also b/c my husband remains an incredible spiritual leader of the household, I cant express how much my journey has been influenced by his headlong rush to maturity. I know that if Jared hadnt responded, it would have taken some hard times before I would have on my own. As it was I came to Christ as a silly worry-filled near-woman. I cant say that I was all that grown-up for a twenty-two year old for all that I'd been out of the house and living w/ Jared (my husband) since I was eighteen. But I've always looked back and thought well, I never had to develope cancer or go through finacial difficulties for me to go looking for God. Lol, He came looking for me! That brings to mind John 15:16 where the Lord said "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit"
Anyway, I was listening to this song for the thousandth time and right there at the very beginning I was hit by these words.

"The chains of yesterday surround me
I yearn for peace and rest
I don't want to end up where You found me
And it echoes in my mind, keeps me awake tonight"

Like I said, I came gently to God, my life has been wonderful, no trama, no drama (at least none that wasnt other than self-caused), I've been w/ the same wonderful man for ten years, my parents are divorced but whose arent anymore (my husband's, lol, lucky for him!) and even thanks again to God, was raised fairly well off money wise. But before I found the truth, I was always plagued by a deep fear of death and a huge sense of worry about life. When I was twelve I reached out to God in fear, but b/c I didnt reach out through His Son it didnt stick. When I was thirteen I stupidly played around with being suicidal, it really was just a manifestation of my fear, but it landed me a couple stints at the shrinks office( well that and the divorce which occurred at the same time, poor mom). This fear stayed and became an extreme hyperchondria that to this day I think only my husband knows just how bad it was. I spent soooo much time panicing "do I have cancer? do I have a brain tumor? do I have this? is this a symptom of that?" Lol, my dad's a doctor, I'm amazed at how much self-control I had to not plague him every day. As it was I'd get the slightest sniffle and I would get him to call me in antibiotics. I also constantly kept worrying over how past conversations went, how I seemed to others, about paying bills, etc. So far I know this seems to be pretty standard for a lot of peoples lives, too, not just mine. Isn't that sad?
Then, wonderfully, my husband began listening to a friends Pastor over the Internet, a Pastor I'm eternally grateful to though our ideologies have begun to differ. Lol, that has to be a post in the future. My life was forever changed when God revealed how His Son died for me to be able to have eternity and I chose to believe and accept that gracious, awesome gift. The first change God wrought in my life was to give me control of my fears. I've spent the last five years without having to have my husband constantly reassure me that I'm ok. No more sleepless nights filled with worry over minor pains, sure that every cough was lung cancer from smoking, a habit that I enjoyed despite the risks. I now know what happens when I die. What's more I was saved from a place of torment, and can now look forward to being absent from the body, face to face with the Lord! I grow in the surity of my future the farther along I go with God. I also can focus more on how I appear to God rather than to people, I have an absolute truth I can model my life after, a perfect pattern I can follow.
What those words spoke to me about was how my worries and fear can still creep up and put me in chains, though its still better now by far since I can now cast those cares on the Lord. But now instead of my illness or death, I now fall into fear of something happening to my children. I no longer worry about how I am in comparison to others, but I start to worry how my kids are doing compared to their age bracket. Then there the stuff that's totally new because I was never a parent before. How do I raise my kids to be believers? How do I deal with others (family) disliking my parenting decisions when I mother them according to the Bible and not according to the 'wisdom' of the world? Lol, what if my son never potty-trains, a silly fear but one that was suprisingly consistant in its presence.
I can happily, gratefully say that I grow more capable of relying on God to take care of my kids. Lol, He is faithful in giving plenty of oppurtunities to do so, I get alot of practice, just like I'm sure every other Christian gets when they have toddlers. The next verse in that song says
"I know You've cast my sin as far as the east is from the west"
My old self is dead, my past fears and worries are as far away from who I can be now as the east is from the west. But sometimes that doesnt feel very far. And I hate that. I love what Christ has accomplished with in me, He's given me the strength to do things the old me never would have been able to do. Like being able to move all the way from South Carolina to Massachusetts while pregnant with twins, having a two year old and a six month old to take care of all by myself, no family up here to help besides my husband. Like being able to choose a vaginal birth for those twins, when the overly cautious and God-lacking doctors said I should have a C-section. For no medical reason other than fear of what could go wrong, by the way. Like being able to let God have his say in my daughter Hannah's life when he gave her a hemanglioma on her face (a red mark about the size of a dime), instead of getting plastic surgery done on something that God is fully capable of getting rid of. I never would have been able to do that before I became a Christian, I was a very weak person. Granted the last one is a choice I made because I became a Christian, but I can chose what God wants and not give into fear of how it could turn out.
My strength comes from God and not from me. The end to that song is this:
Jesus, You know just how far the east is from the west
I don't have to see the man I've been come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
'cause You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other
Jesus does know how far my old self has been cast from me. His sacrifice bought for me the ability to go to God, to call on Him when fears creep up. The last line, one that repeated throughout the song, reminds me of my death to self. Col 3:3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God." Hidden, protected, surrounded by that wall of fire, given armor to deflect the arrows. My new life is encompassed by Christ, by the leading ministry of the Spirit, by the love of my Eternal Father.