For the Bible Tells Me So

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It feels somewhat odd to be writing on the blog again.  It's been a couple months and I decided in January that since the year was up, I'd stop working on 52 Prayers and focus on the book that I have been writing about the project.  I'd also spend time brainstorming different areas for ministry, and get comfortable in my new church home. I had prayed fervently for God to grant me a book deal, a church home where I felt I belonged, and an obvious outlet for me to evangelize.  I knew what I wanted and this year was going to be my year to get just that.

First off, my book about walking into 52 places of worship to somehow stumble upon the absolute truth has drastically changed it's plot.  I have to admit, I have no idea what the truth is.  Sure, I know Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  I know he died and was resurrected.  I know that His love and grace stretches so far and wide that I can't even fathom it, put words on it, or begin to give it justice.  But that's about all I can be sure of.  There's a large part of me that's sad that all the doctrine I thought I knew is now being tested.  But there's another part of me that feels my asking more questions (or no questions at all and just being in love with Jesus) is giving me the best opportunity to grow in Christ.  I think after a year of dedicating all my time and energy into theology, I felt that I needed to have it all figured out in order to be a "true Christian".  And you know what?  i don't.  I have a very weak understanding of the doctrine of God.  Like, very weak. Other than Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so, I'm pretty much clueless.  And I may always be.  So my book is on hold.  I guess I feel like that's not a good ending to a year long journey. 

Oh, and the idea that I was going to belong to a church family, get incredibly involved in ministry has also ended up goose egg.  

I'm not sure how effective I can be in witnessing when someone asks me a question and I answer with, "Could be that.  Could not be though.  Could see it this way, but then again there's that way as well.  What do you think?"  That's like being involved in Catholicism and someone asking about communion and me answering with, "I mean, I can see why some believe it's the actual blood of Christ.  But there's plenty of proof in the other direction as well for it being symbolic."  Or being Pentecostal and getting a question about the gifts of the Spirit from someone who claims to speak tongues and answering with, "well, if you claim to have the gift, good for you, I mean, I believe you.  But there's plenty of proof in the Bible that says tongues was speaking in a foreign language, not utter babble."  You see, I don't know if this hypothetical guy can speak tongues.  I also will never know if Christs blood is in that little cup of wine.  I don't think it is.  But I don't really know like I claim to.  No one does but God.  It sounds like I'm just a wishy-washy politically correct luke warm Christian.  And maybe I am.  But God really did make that Book awfully interpretive, no? I can argue both sides of each of our denominational differences. 

With all of my doubts about doctrine, ministry, and book writing, I have also spend countless hours praying about whether or not my husband and I should have kids. I knew I wanted to be a famed writer.  I knew I wanted a succesful ministry.  I knew I wanted a church home that I loved.  But I didn't know if I wanted to give up my life for a child. I felt that it might not be for us.  I thought maybe God was calling me to spend my life focused on Him in the church instead of engaging in the self-sacrficing role motherhood.  Of course I wondered if I'd miss out on being a mom.  But there were things I wanted first and foremost. 

Then, I prayed "Lord what would you have me do?" It's worked before when I was at a crossroads.   So during my 10 days of prayer at my local church I prayed that God would make it clear to me what ministry to join, what church to settle in, what direction to take in my book, and whether he wanted me to have a child.  That NIGHT my husband and I conceived.  I'm 13 weeks pregnant and while pregnancy is no fun at all, I couldn't be more thrilled with God's choice for my life.  He really does know better than I do and that's so liberating.  I don't have to figured it all out.  He's quite happy taking the lead.

So I confess; I don't know if the world was made in a literal 6 days.  I don't know whether handling serpents really does show faith in Jesus, I don't know about predestination.  I have my suspicions, and my opinions, but with certainty I know NOTHING, but Jesus loves me. 

My desires for ministry and frustration with not having the clear call, my goal to write a book but the concept changing, my search for the perfect church and my disappointment when I didn't find it, all started to make sense when the doctor told us the news.  Well, not complete sense because I really don't understand the mind of God, but it all makes mystical magical strange God sense.  He knows better than me.  He knows that there will be no greater joy than a child.  No greater learning for me, growing, and experience of the real love of Christ than to bear a child.  He knew that success as a mother would bring me so much more joy than success as an author.  And that my church is where myself and others gather in his name. 

 

 

 

 

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6 Comments

  • JamesBrett

    JamesBrett March 22, 2011

    congratulations on the pregnancy, jess.  may God bless you and your child with health and comfort.  and may you enjoy your sleep now—because it’s not gonna’ get any better…

  • Jessica

    Jessica March 22, 2011

    Thanks!  Whenever I find myself complaining that I can’t get myself off the couch because I’m so sleepy I try and stop myself and think, “I better enjoy it now!”

  • Judy

    Judy March 22, 2011

    Jessica - Congratulations.  You’ll find that being a mother is one of the very best ways to witness and evangelize (your child/ren).  Ask Pastor Bob for a copy of The Adventist Home (book), and you’ll see that being a Christian mother is one of the most important jobs in the universe.  You can always write a book about your experiences later. Again, many blessings, Judy

  • Zee

    Zee March 22, 2011

    hey Jess - CONGRATS!!! smile Wow. Guess God decided that your ministry will be different from what you’ve expected (gotta love His sense of humor).

    as i’ve been reading your post, i couldn’t help but think of another friend of mine who got three kiddos (the latest one joined the world this saturday!) and her blog is filled with lessons that God’s teaching her… check it out - http://thegypsymama.com/

    regarding the questions: i have been feeling the same lately - too confused as to the doctrine and wondering who made such a mess - obviously not God. but you know… i think some questions are irrelevant - as long as we remember the basics like “Jesus loves us, so we know, ‘cuz the Bible tells us so.” we are not saved because we speak in tongues and our salvation doesn’t lie in taking Communion symbolically or it becomes real body and blood.

    anyway… yeah. that’s what i think.

    congrats again! (you need to start another blog called “40 weeks” about that lovely baby you’ll have:D))))

  • Paul Frazier

    Paul Frazier March 23, 2011

    A wonderful article.
    And after over 25 years in ministry, you have reached the point where you need to be. You see, the real things that we do in ordained ministry are very simple: 1) we try to preach faithfully, struggling with the Scriptures, our text; 2) we try to lead the worship services with integrity as part of a tradition; 3) we offer pastoral care to the members of the congregation, as the presence and representative of God and the people of God; 4) we seek to teach faithfully, as part of a tradition; 5) the real agenda of the Church is the Kingdom of God, and that is achieved by constantly repeating the commandments of Jesus which are love of God and love of neighbor; 6) we remind people that the Cross nowadays is wherever people are suffering for their discipleship; 7) we don’t have to defend the Bible or the Church. People have to make their own decisions whether or not to be embraced, engaged, struggle with the Text and the Church; 8) you do not have to justify your call other than exhibit and show that you have the gifts for ministry; 9) you can be a mother, wife, minister, and people will rejoice that you are who you are; 10) Ultimately, all is in the hands of God. You can rejoice in the fact that the Gospel unfolds in the world and the Kingdom of God is coming. Luther said, “While I sip this little glass of Wittenberg beer, the Gospel runs its course.”
    11) We are not saved by Doctrine, but by the love and power and grace of God, which we see best in Jesus Christ.
    12) There are some times when you won’t believe anything. But your task is to proclaim the teachings of the Church.
    On a personal note, I was totally afraid to be a father. I didn’t want children. Children came anyway and I learned to be a better husband, a father, and a better human being. That was God’s gift to me, but I also accepted it.
    I hope all the blessings of God and a good Life unfold for you. I have been blessed by your ministry in your blog and e-mails. Thank you.
    Paul Frazier

  • Jessica

    Jessica April 02, 2011

    Hi all!  thanks for the loving comments!  I just got back from Israel which is I’m writing with a delay.  It was an amazing experience.  I went with 43 other folks of all different denominations (Seventh Day Adventist, Presbyterian, Catholic, non-denom, Assemblies of God) and it really reaffirmed my feelings related to this post.  It was so great to see so many different people who were equally in love with Jesus as I am embracing one another the way I believe Christ intended.  We found ourselves taking communion together, embracing the Spirit of God with one another, and learning about our differences and similarities with openness of heart and mind.

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