13 November, 2010

Hello, Blogger!

Last post was June 20th? Wow. Almost 5 months ago. Pardon the interruption...


I haven't been blogging because my thoughts this Summer have revolved around one thing (well, person) in particular, and I really didn't know how to phrase my thoughts for public consumption. Rather than risk offending some, or injuring anyone involved, I kept my thoughts away from the internet. But I think (hope) it might be helpful to publish my struggles about this. I know I'm not the only one struggling with this, but I found little help from online resources when I looked. Maybe others will be encouraged by my fight, which is ongoing and will probably inspire more writings.

I fell in love with someone I don't know--a stranger. By that, I mean someone whose heart is void of the Holy Spirit. He can tell me the Gospel story, and quotes the Bible, but our experiences of God cannot be more different. When I say "fall in love," I mean just that. I didn't plan to love him this way--I planned to care for his soul in the best way I could discern. I earnestly prayed for the salvation and protection of his soul, on my knees, in tears, without falling into the snares that so easily encompass us, for weeks.

But there was a moment (I remember it exactly) when my emotions became compromised, and it was no longer just his soul that I cared for, but my own satisfaction. The pull in this direction was irresistible for me. The Bible says that God will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear, and this Summer I doubted the validity of that verse. How can I resist the most natural thing in the world? Is it wrong for Pavlov's dogs to salivate when they are trained to recognize the proximity of food? How, then, can I be expected to resist what Paul calls a "profound mystery" regarding the relationship between a man and a woman?

Romans 7 has been a rock to which I've clung countless times this Summer. "WHO will deliver me from this body of death?" I've screamed at the cosmos. Fatalistic attitudes were tempting. "God, if you want me to marry a Christian, why did you allow me to be in this situation?" Even my friend encouraged me to think along those lines, "Would God really put us in our lives only to force us apart because of our beliefs in him? Would someone who loves you like he does do that to you?" But I KNOW there's more to this than that. I just don't know what it is.

Song of Solomon became a source of strength to me. I've read that book before as one who was curious, looking for wisdom and understanding none of it. It is now ABUNDANTLY clear to me why the daughters of Jerusalem are charged not to awaken love until it so desires. But what about me, who didn't desire to awaken love, and yet...it awoke? I still do not understand fully this book, but Song of Solomon 8:6-7 have become to me a lifeline. It's reassured me that what I feel, is, in fact, a taste of divine pleasures, and therefore cannot be ignored or suppressed as a mere inconvenience. For years, I've wrestled with lust and desire and guilt, and managed to keep much of it "under control," but this is beyond my control. This is no longer just me wanting something out of reach, it is a man who desperately needs love, and wants to offer what love he can give in return. No man has ever offered me such love.

Except One, the one whose name is Love. The one who lived and loved perfectly, that I may be redeemed and return his affection. It was my hope at the beginning of the Summer to show this love to my friend, but slowly and painfully am I realizing that I am incapable of such love. I cannot set my self aside to be Christ to others, and yet, somehow, they see him in me. This is the profoundest mystery of all, and merely acknowledging it effectuates tears. To love is to die. To become a lover, one must give up individuality and a sense of self for the sake of creating a new being, a new person, if you will.

Am I giving up myself for the sake of loving Christ? People ask all the time if I'm ready to "live for Christ," or "sacrifice for the sake of the Gospel," etc. etc. etc. I've misunderstood it all until now. Jesus doesn't want my best efforts, he wants ME. I must deny myself. Not of pleasures or needs, but I must deny my SELF. Facing this truth is to look into Terror. How do I deny myself? Consider myself as dead to the world, but alive in Christ? How do I so totally separate myself from "me" (circumstances, habits, personality) and instead identify solely in Him? I don't know.

What I do know is that I am grateful that God brought this man and this relationship into my life. I have never fought so hard or lost so much to sin, and yet am emerging victorious. The victory is mine, and the battle is the Lord's. Hosanna! No enemy can stand when his praise goes forth! And this, THIS is what kept me from total depravity. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God deserves praise, and oh! He blessed me so much this Summer through praise. I've rejected God again and again this Summer, yet when I give him the praise he deserves he accepts it and welcomes me back to him. His presence has been my constant companion.

I pity my own humanity. Because of it, I am bound to the flesh, yet taste immortality.

Usually, when I write about struggles like this, I write as if it were a story, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. This isn't a story. I'm unable to detach myself from it, because it is ongoing. When will it end? I don't know...I suspect it has something to do with Christ's return. It is the deepest desire of my heart that my friend will be one of the sheep in the fold of Jesus when (if) this story ends. I have this strange peace and assurance (some would call it faith) that he will be, but for now, I am called to patience. Please pray for us.

7 comments:

Madam MidKnight said...

um... you dont know me but i was looking for a blog to follow a while back and i found yours. i understand your delima very much. I myself am a penticostal, i believe i am a christian and i hope you can exspet my advise. i myself have fallen in love with a person who is not my religon and i feel conflicted about it as well. i understand the scriptures and was raised to believe the same things and i might have chossen the wrong path. i am with, as a couple, with my boyfriend who does not know the truth. i would say talk to your paster exsept his advise and the advise of others. but i also say fallow your heart. if you believe you can not live without this person try being friends if that doesnt work try to live by your standerds a godly relationship with him. thats all i can really say if you want to contact me later for something my blog is midknight city and my url is http://madammidknight.blogspot.com/
thanks for listening.

dscapes said...

Well...

That explains quite a bit.

"I must deny myself. Not of pleasures or needs, but I must deny my SELF. Facing this truth is to look into Terror. How do I deny myself? Consider myself as dead to the world, but alive in Christ? How do I so totally separate myself from "me" (circumstances, habits, personality) and instead identify solely in Him?"

Honestly, look around you. Do you see anyone who, though you know them well, actually lives this way? Even the men who are held up as pinnacles of holiness and God-centeredness, upon closer inspection, are merely insignificant practitioners of selfishness, insecurity and arrogance.

Sorry to be a downer, but go ahead and try. See where it leaves you--continually debasing yourself until you are left empty and bitter? I hope not.

"Would God really put us in our lives only to force us apart because of our beliefs in him? Would someone who loves you like he does do that to you?" But I KNOW there's more to this than that. I just don't know what it is."

Your "friend" makes a hard point, however uncomfortable it may be. Is God not completely, sovereignly orchestrating events in your life, making this a random coincidence, or is he deliberately bringing a man who inspires feelings of desperate love into your life to tempt you and cause you (more)pain?

This is probably not what you expected to hear. All I can say is, it may just be the way things are.

Laedelas Greenleaf said...

Madam M, thanks for your sympathy. I will be praying for the salvation of your boyfriend, and that you both grow in your understanding of God our Father.

D, so good to hear from you again. We don't communicate often enough, and I take full blame for that. Please forgive me! In response to your comment, I'd like to point out that I am not called to live according to men or their lifestyles, therefore comparing myself to them is frivolous. I want to be like Christ. I hope this quest does leave me empty, for "I must decrease, and He must increase" (John 3:30). However, I don't expect bitterness at the end; I am hopeful that the journey and its end will be full of joy. You're right about God's sovereignty, and I'm hoping he's orchestrating my friend's life in order to bring my friend closer to himself.

samurai said...

Hi Laedelas - While i never had the dilemma of desiring an unsaved person (my Beloved was saved by the time we met), i have felt and fought the struggles over other worldly things. I have also felt and fought the pains of my diminishing remorse of my own sins (in reference to your more recent post). I do not know if this is encouraging to share, but these issues are lifelong.

Ultimately we are unable to fight them in and of ourselves. His Word is clear that if we could, we would not have a need of a Savior. Also, when one area of our lives seems mastered, one temptation overcome, our hearts are proficient idol factories and easily conjures up yet another obstacle to over come.

I have enjoyed eighteen wonderful years with my beloved. There is not one period of time that i can honestly say i have not struggled with sin, some temptation.

Do not begrudge yourself having fought (and by your perspective stumbled), for being tempted as such. Until we fall prostrate before the throne and proclaim our trust and dependence upon the Savior we will not be without temptation, we will not be without struggle - even against ourselves.

Even after we have accepted what Christ has done on our behalf, His substitution is still desperately needed. We never get past the need of His propitiation. We never earn the rewards of our good works, pre or post salvation.

I pray that you continue to lean upon His chest, to sit at His feet. Your position before the throne is not determined by your works, your emotions. It is only based upon His work upon the cross. I pray that your relationship with this young man is resolved in a manner that brings you peace and glory to the Savior.

your brother, and fellow Eldar, by His grace, and for his glory,

~ john

dscapes said...

Laedelas,
It's my fault as well--I have withdrawn deep into myself these past several months in your absence, staring into the deep darkness of my soul.

My point was not that you are called to live according to other men. But consider this: in the Bible, you clearly interpret it's injunction to mean that God demands that His disciples to "deny your SELF", i.e. abandon your identity separate from God, I presume. Now if God commanded us to do it and actually expects us to, then it stands to reason that someone actually would be alive today who can exemplifies. Is there anyone you know deeply enough to say with satisfaction that they are successfully living this way? I do not think I can.

"I'm hoping he's orchestrating my friend's life in order to bring my friend closer to himself"

At the expense of you, his precious daughter?

Laedelas Greenleaf said...

Samurai, profound thanks for speaking so much grace into my situation. Also, I love the term "Eldar!" Never heard it before.

D, one man has, and it's because of him that I have the audacity to even speak the name "God." The humanity of Christ is something I've been meditating on recently, and this experience has quickened my heart to empathize with my Savior and yet fear him more. I hope my pains are the purging kind; indicating God's grace in my Christlike growth. If not, then I am squandering my efforts. Do you think I should move on?

samurai said...

You are most welcome My Lady *bows, but not as before a throne ;)*.

Another perspective that has helped me when i feel furthest from the Throne of Grace... when Christ died on the cross, he not only saw through eternity (which He did even before creation) to save me. He saw ALL of me. Not just in the present either... past me / present me / future me. This gave me the realization that the sin i am struggling with now, in the present, are not a surprise to the Savior.

While i struggle with them now, He saw them in eternity past, and has not already paid for those transgressions, but has provided for my on-going sanctification in the process as well. For me, that has been very helpful when ever i am struggling... with pretty much anything.

In regards to moving on. That is something you really need to go before the Throne with. I am sure you have heard/read all of the arguments about not being un-equally yoked, etc. so i shan't repeat it here. 8) God gives you the grace to endure...

Praying for you.

~ john