The Renewing of My Mind, part II

....So, I picked up that little paperback Bible I had bought at the beginning of the year and started reading it, so I could show him how wrong it was.


But that wasn't the only reading I was doing.  I also read The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck and then his sequel to that one, Further Along the Road Less Traveled.  It was the second one that really made an impact on me.  I remember this one section of the book in particular.  He outlined different levels of spirituality, kind of like a ladder.  On the bottom you have the people who need to have the structure of formal religious meetings and texts, and as you work your way up the ladder you arrive at a place that most closely depicted new age philosophy.  So naturally I could see that I was at the top of the spiritual ladder. (very easy to accept that you are so wise and advanced compared to others!)


What this did though was allow my mind to relate to Christians.  Before I just thought they were all ignorant hypocrites.  Now I was able to see that I was just more advanced than those Christians that had to believe in the Bible and go to church.  Up until now I was taking the good I found in the world's religions and accepting it into my life - but not Christianity.  That night I realized that I could also accept the good in Christianity.  After all, I did believe that Jesus was the Son of God and that he had died on the cross and rose again.  That was the nuts and bolts of being a Christian.  So I decided to "reclaim Christianity" into my life.  That was December 18, 1997.  


I talked to a couple of my good friends that night about my decision and my other best girlfriends by the next night.  Not being very familiar with scripture, what I didn't realize is that I had literally fulfilled Romans 10:9 "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."  I had believed and confessed.


That night I had an amazing dream:


I was living in a house.  It was a big house and it was filled with many people.  The house belonged to the devil, and though we were not locked in, we could not leave.  It was our own fear that kept us trapped in the house.  I tried sneaking out a back door once, but I got out into the woods and thought, "This is useless.  He will find me - what's the point of trying?"  Dejectedly I headed around to the front of the house to go back in.  The devil was out front and just laughing at me - a horrid, sinister laugh.


Then I found myself in a group of people and we had escaped from the devil's house.  We were making our way down a very steep and rocky path, full of switchbacks.  At one point, I saw a witch coming up the path.  My first reaction was of fear, thinking "Oh no!  She belongs to the devil.  We'll be caught!"  Then I calmed down and thought, "No.  We have come too far.  We are safe."  Sure enough - she passed right on by us.


Our group made it down the path and found ourselves at the ocean.  To our east was a castle on a cliff and as we approached, trumpets sounded, the gates opened, and out came Jesus, wearing royal robes.  Everyone ran to see him, but not me.  I went and hid by an embankment and cried because I thought surely He had forgotten me while I was gone.


I quickly put aside my tears though.  There was a beautiful stream of fresh water flowing down from the mountains.  I had to go immerse myself in it, rolling around, reveling in it.  


Then I heard one of my group call my name.  I stood up, turned around, and there was Jesus.  I walked over to him with my head hung low as I was a mucky, wet mess.  Once I stood in front of him, He put a crown on my head and a ring on my finger, and asked me to marry him.  I threw my arms around his neck and hugged him, and the feeling of love was beyond description.  It was as if though everything was permeated with a love so strong that you could feel nothing else.  Even the air was thick with love.


What I didn't know then, but learned later as I started studying the Bible, is that the church is called the bride of Christ.  The Jewish marriage tradition is a symbol of our relationship to Jesus in scriptures.  So while it may have seemed strange to dream of Jesus proposing, it is actually quite scriptural.


Well, I spent the next two weeks reading through the entire New Testament.  I couldn't get enough.  It was amazing to me what I found in the Bible.  I would sometimes literally just shut the book, and look at it and wonder how I could not have read in there before what I was reading now.  I was reading some of the same verses that I read when I was wanting to find stuff to prove how wrong it was - only now those verses were, well.... alive.  There was depth and meaning and they touched my heart.  Before it was just black ink on paper, lifeless, practically meaningless.  Now, I could hardly read without my heart just bursting and my mind reeling.  


Then I remembered the words from the hymn we sang in the Baptist church I grew up in - Amazing Grace - "I once was blind, but now I see."  Boy, did I ever understand that now!  My intention had been to just incorporate Christianity into my hodge podge of beliefs.  But now that the Holy Spirit had opened my eyes to the truth of God's word, I also saw how everything else being offered to man was a lie.  I spent hours on my knees praying, thanking God for what He had done.  I literally couldn't help myself.  I would get overwhelmed by God's goodness and mercy and just have to drop to my knees and pray and worship.




This brings us to New Year's Eve.  I went to a church instead of a bar - ha!  There's a first time for everything! ;)  There was nowhere else I wanted to be that night, than in God's presence, worshiping him.  During the worship, at the end of some of the songs they would just carry on with some music to allow for a time of prayer.  After one song, I was silently praying while the music continued to play softly.  I suddenly was stricken with a thought that grieved me to the core.  I thought, "I want to do your will God, but I have been doing my own will for 30 years!  How am I going to be able to do your will???  I can't do this!"


Just then, a man in the front of the church began speaking in tongues. (and since I had plowed through the New Testament already, I fortunately knew about this phenomenon!)  I believe he was speaking in Hebrew, but I obviously will never know for sure.  But the first time I heard Hebrew I recognized it as sounding like what this man had spoken. 


Anyway, I digress.  


So the man starts speaking in tongues and the pastor interprets.  He says, "Prepare a place for me in your heart and do not worry about my will for you.  I will guide your feet upon the right path."  There was more after that, but I don't remember it.  You could have knocked me over with a feather.  I knew that was the answer to my hearts agony.  God answered the cry of my heart within seconds of its anguish.  I knew God could answer prayer, I just hadn't expected it to be so literal!


Well, I was a smitten kitten.  Who wouldn't be in love with a God who cares so much for one so insignificant and unworthy as myself?  His grace and mercy are truly unending.



My father baptizing me on my 31st birthday.


In writing this, I can recall other times that God has revealed himself to me in very undeniable ways.  And I think about how as an unbeliever I was so skeptical.  It was like I wanted the proof first and then I would believe.  This is of course the exact opposite way it usually works with God.  


First you step out in faith and believe.  
Then God will prove himself over and over and over to you.


"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2




1 comments:

  1. a jacuzzi is nice, too, but seems a waste not to use all that lovely lake in the background! (brrr! haha)

    what a sweet and wonderful memory of your dad. i never knew he baptised you; how very special that is!