Thursday, May 25, 2006

do angels celebrate my salvation only once?

i'm just wondering that this morning, because i know the Bible says (my Daddy told me so) they had a party when I was 4 years old and I asked Jesus to come into my heart and let me go to Heaven with him. (my mother tells me i was quite miffed when i found out i had to wait to go, "I wanna go today!")

The reason i ask about the angels' celebration policy and procedure is because i think i got saved again on Tuesday -- in barnes and noble of all places.

here's what i told God in my prayer journal (while eating strawberries and lo-fat string cheese and hot vanilla tea)

"I am so sad about so many things today. I am sad that I have sinned so grievously and so foolishly so many times in my life. I have wasted so much love on other gods. I can barely stand up with the sorrow of it all. My idol shrines still tempt me, though -- they seem to have an audible voice into my mind -- calling me, tempting me with riches of comfort and friendship and numbness from pain and pity for my circumstances and a listening ear and no condemnation.

Intellectually, I realize their promises are all lies -- eventually. At first they do seem to provide what my heart is most longing for -- an instant gratification...comfort, pleasure, acceptance, pity, giddiness.

Intellectually, I realize these are counterfeits for what You, my Creator, has to offer. But many days - even many minutes of those days - You seem so remote, so hard to reach, (is that redundant?), so hard to feel & hear & touch.

I crave feedback, affirmation, acceptance, time and love and I know you offer that to me, but so often I feel like the cost You exact is too high -- too pricey. You seem to demand (i can actually envision a frowning face here) that I love people who are driving me crazy, and to die to my own rights and that I have to deny some of my favorite, familiar pleasures (pasta, even!)

Intellectually, I realize that You designed me and know what will truly bring me the greatest fulfillment and satisfaction but, God, I feel like we're playing a game. It goes like this:
1. I get burned by my other lovers
2. I seek You and Your truth and forgiveness
3. You reveal truth to me about who I really am and how You feel about me
4. I feel loved and strengthened and respond in worship
5. You ask me to step out in obedience in response to the Truth You revealed
6. I obey and get beat up in the battle, and I hate getting beat up!
7. I whine and lick my wounds and You seem quiet.
8. I get mad and go back to my old lovers
9. I get burned by my other lovers....
10. back to step 2

It's too painful.
It hurts too much.
It costs too much.

I have given up my ability to earn anything -- I've burned all of those bridges of self-performance. I am unable to exist by my own might. I am only any good by the power of Your Spirit, but I feel like Your Spirit is so hard to find, to hear, to recognize in the middle of all of the sh#@ around me.
Why can't you make yourself known to me? (can you hear the WHINE in my voice here???)

OOOOHHHH...I know why! Because every time You do I sin and build a golden calf.

I am a hopeless cause, Father. Please don't tease me with Your Glory. I want to KNOW your glory...please!

I have nothing to offer of any worth to anyone -- especially You, Father.

I ruin everything I touch with my arrogance
and unrealistic expectations
and inability to follow through on anything.
I am a plant with no roots
an ocean with no floor
an eagle with no nest
a girl with no lap to sit on.

(crank up the party mix -- here's where the salvation part starts)
Help me, God.
If You don't show up in my life soon and give me some legs to stand on I'm going to give up.
But I've got nothing to pay You back with, nothing to barter with, no assurances that I won't desert You again.
I can't seem to keep any promises or love anything more than my own sin or do anything of any lasting value without You.
God, I've got nothing.
God, are You there?? What do You think about this??

God: Tell me the sin you are feeling so guilty over

Tami: lack of love, lack of ability to discern good from evil, and, inability to lose weight or keep my house clean, or to stay in shape, or to spend quality time with my kids, or to provide refuge for my husband, or to earn money, or do anything of lasting value, or to take care of any details, or to be a good friend or to get over PMS, my inability to be a type "A" woman.

(the whining begins again) Why can't you fix that, God?? God?? (translation: Why can't you make an exception to Your rule and let me feel so good about myself that I don't feel like I need You for anything?!?!)

Oh, God, I'm sorry. Please have the last word.

God: No, Tami. The way this works is that you have to have the last word.
Do you trust me??

Tami: do I have a choice? (picture a sarcastic 16-year-old here)

God, the infinately patient: yes

Tami: alright, then, what's it going to cost me?

God, the not-swayed by my impunity: everything (you don't get specifics)

Tami, the whiner: That's so unfair!

God: Fair? May I remind you of Peter, Stephen, Paul, Mary, the nation of Israel, my own Son, Jesus? (now, gently) It's not about you, Tami -- it's about Me and My Name.

Tami, the trumped: I agree with you, God. I just stink at remembering that.

God: You're getting off point. Do you trust me?

Tami: (several hours later, driving home from B&N and other places, the answer comes in the form of a song I used to know years ago)
I will trust You, Lord, when I don't know why.
I will trust You, Lord, till the day I die.
You can see my heart, You can read my mind
and You've got to know that I'd rather die
than to lose the faith in the one I love.
I will trust You, Lord.

So I didn't walk an aisle or kneel at an altar or anything, but all of the ingredients seem to be in place:
*misery over (from?) my sin
*agreement that I can't heal myself and have nothing to offer
*agreement (though somewhat reluctant) that God is in charge and the only one able to bring wholeness
*repentance of trying to save myself (admittedly a little pouty, but still...)
*surrender of control from me to God no matter what...

Whaddya think? Celestial party or not??
anyway, it doesn't matter -- the peace of God restored in my heart is priceless.

Love to you!
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