You Should Know (Vol 2)

Grief is a beast. And it can sneak up on you anywhere, anytime, however it chooses. You can be driving along in your car and break out in uncontrollable sobs. The ugly cry. The deep soul groaning’s that only grief can give you. Or you can be sitting at your desk and have tears start falling down your face like a rushing waterfall. Not fun when you’re in the front office. Maybe you’re laughing and joking around with friends, and then out of nowhere the deep laughter turns into heart wrenching aches deep within that manifests itself again in unruly blubbering. It doesn’t help that I’m already a weeper and feeler. So when these moments happen, I’m finding, there is nothing you can do but lean in to it, embrace it, be in THE moment. Because the longer you shove them down, they just come back at you stronger, harder, and again at those most unfortunate times. Even still I’m learning that God is with me in those moments. He’s walking along with me because He knows the grief will end and bring new life. I used to be afraid of grief. I didn’t want to feel the pain. I didn’t want to deal with “the why” of the grief. I’m learning to not be so afraid. Grief will grow you, shape you, and make you a stronger person.

Fear. Oh fear. Such a tricky little bastard. Yeah, I said it. Fear has been prevalent in my life for so long. Keeping me from being me. Keeping me from my dreams. No, actually, keeping me from dreaming. Fear is always there, lurking, trying to tell me everything I’m not and what I can’t do. I’m not listening to fear anymore. Fear has no power over me. Oh, but he is there. Trying to trick me in to believing his lies so I will stay paralyzed. Fear knows that if I give myself over to it, then I will not move forward in my destiny, in the plans and purposes that God has for me. My God is bigger than any fear I have, so instead I’m choosing to remind myself that with God all things are possible. I’m learning to tune my ears to God’s whispers. Because God’s whispers are so much more powerful than fears shoutings.

The need to be silent is still with me. Trust me, there are many times I want to shout back and state my case. Defend my name. Stand up for me. Fight for you. But God has told me to hold my tongue. To remain silent. To remain in Him. Because in the silence, I am learning so much more about Him, His character, His love for me. I’m also learning about myself. What a concept?! It’s in the silence that you make room for growth because you aren’t filling up your mind with distractions. Truth prevails in silence. I’ve been following Him as He leads me to those still waters, so He can indeed restore my soul. But for that restoration to happen, I need to quit trying to distract myself with noise, and remain in silence. Only then can I hear Him. And be open to truth.

SIMPLE IS POWERFUL!!

Forgiveness is a mighty thing to give; but even mightier to receive. I’ve been pondering on forgiveness. Not to forgive only with my words, but also with my heart. It’s a work in progress. I’ll get there. Sometimes, the words are spoken because we do forgive in our minds and with our words; and then the heart part of forgiveness comes along and then it’s sealed. Done. Forgiven. As far as the east is from the west. Not just in our minds and words, but with every ounce of our being. FYI: I can forgive you, easily. However, I’m not so gracious and forgiving with myself. I am my own worst enemy. Forgiveness is key to my healing. I’m understanding that forgiveness is heavy, weighty, life giving, and so much bigger and broader than I understand. I’m excited to learn more about what true forgiveness is; and not just what I want it to be because it will make me feel better.

When things get all discolored, scarred, and scary, rest in knowing that GOD IS GOOD…all the time. And though you might not be able to see it, He is working on your behalf. And mine. I’m believing that more and more every day.

JESUS LOVES YOU!

Communion Sunday

My first recollections of communion are from going to church with my great grandmother. But before I go into that there are a couple things you should know. 1st, my great-grandma, aka MY granny or G-ma, was my world. There is no one on this earth that I believe loves me like she did. My grandmother was the most loving; awesome, coolest, wonderful, amazing…continue adding adjectives here about her wonderfulness. She was all of that, plus some. And y’all, I’m just going to say it…my grandmother was better than yours. And I’m certain I was her favorite. Yeah, I said that too. 2nd, my grandmother attended a small town 1st Baptist church where she was very influential and well respected. You know, a pillar in the community.

Now, let’s get into my recollections of communion. When I would visit my grandmother, I always attended church with her. I remember when the communion plate would pass I was always told to not take it. I would get a very assertive look from my grandmother and other churchgoers that I was to not take it. As a young kid, at first when this was happening, I was more concerned why I was being denied a snack when everyone else got one. The other kids got to. What’s up with that? I mean, really! It was never spoken of why, but I knew deep in my soul that it was serious. And in my young mind and heart, I even felt the weight that something was wrong with me. I must have done something wrong. Even more so, that I was wrong. Finally, after multiple communion denials, one day I asked my grandmother about it. She explained the importance of communion. She went through the process of explaining the elements.

  • Bread, or mini hexagon shaped cracker, was to represent His body and life given. We take it to remember.
  • Grape juice, not wine, as it was a small town Baptist church, was to represent Christ’s blood and sacrifice for our sins. We take it to represent the new covenant.
  • And overall, with communion, it’s an examining of oneself. Presenting yourself right before the Lord.

Okay, I get all of that. I can get behind that. I think. Maybe that “right” thing I got an eye twitch from because, again, I knew something was wrong with me. But overall, I agreed with the communion process. So, again, why was I denied? Now here’s the kicker of where my struggle with communion began. My grandmother and this church, and many other churches I attended, believed that you could not, and definitely should not take communion unless you were RIGHT with Him. Do you know what I mean by right? Yes, that…not just right, but perfect. It wasn’t stated, but most definitely implied. Only the “good people” without flaws and mistakes were able to take communion. Insert now…shame and an even greater building inside of me of the truth that I created in my little mind, I’m not good enough. So, here you have me, little Raelynn, who is a lover to the core of all that’s within me. Even then, before I fully gave my life to Him, I loved Jesus. And I wanted Him to love me too. And I learned in Sunday school that He, in fact, did love me. But with this communion issue, I understood, that even though He loved me, I wasn’t good enough. I quickly learned and knew I wasn’t good enough for a multiple of reasons that would take too long to explain in this post. But super short version is…being in small town Oklahoma where Native American’s were considered heathens and less; not to mention, my Father’s family name was associated with trouble and all manner of negativity. Plus, I never felt right. I always felt I was messing up. I was just a little shame bucket. I was far from RIGHT!

Fast forward to my adult life. Communion Sunday’s still make me anxious at times. Even though I’ve prayed, discovered, and explored my own thoughts on communion; I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t believe it’s that cut and dry. But honestly, at times, that need to be perfect still creeps in. Shame and fear rear their ugly little heads in my thoughts and remind me that I am not good enough to be standing before Him. They point out my flaws, sins, and those ugly things I don’t like about myself. And then I start thinking about His sacrifice and life and compare it to where my life is. And I want to run. I want to hide because I have made, and continue to make, doozies of mistakes. I am reckless with my life at times. I forget to remember Him in those times and I want the fleshy part of me to reign a little more because I want my own way. And this may come as a surprise, but I am not perfect. I know, weird, right? The only thing I feel perfect at is being perfectly flawed. So for me, it’s always been a bit of a struggle when it comes to communion. I feel like that little girl who was not good enough. Who understood because of the not so great circumstances of her life, is not allowed to stand before Him until she is perfect. This belief created a whirlwind of striving within me and I have yet to measure up. Because I know me. I know I’ll mess up again. I know i’ll make mistakes. I know I’m not perfect. I know, that even recently, I have been reckless and have made said mistakes. So how will I ever be able to stand before Him and commune with Him truly? It’s created quite a conundrum of sadness in my life through the years. How do I work this out?

The last couple of weeks I’ve been working through some hurts and mistakes. You know, those things that hurt deep in the soul. The ones you worry you can’t come back from. We all have them. But I always feel mine are greater and bigger and unredeemable. And I was laying in my bed thinking, okay over analyzing to death, the unbearable mess-up-ness that is Raelynn. And I heard God clearly say to me, “commune with my Son.” And I said, “What?” He said, again, “commune with my Son.” And I began to list off to Him all of my flaws, mistakes, sins, and why I shouldn’t really be communing with Jesus right now. Basically, I was like, can I get a rain check? And I was heartbroken. But God, being who He is…gracious and merciful, began speaking to me about the truth of Jesus life on the cross. And why it is important to remember; but more importantly why it’s important to have communion with Christ. Communion means to communicate. And then it happened, the Aha moment! Yes, Christ died on the cross for me; yes, He gave His body and shed His blood to cover all of those things I was listing off on why I couldn’t and shouldn’t come before Him. The enemy does that to us. Reminds us of our flesh and mistakes. He shames us. But the power of the cross is greater than that. More powerful than any of those mistakes or any shame that I am trying to get right before I can stand before Him. And then I realized if communion is a remembrance of His life on the cross, then at those desperate times of my flesh, I should be running to Him. I should be running to communicate with Him. I shouldn’t be shamed in staying away, but instead should be in His presence. I understood that it’s okay, actually more than okay and allowed, that I should be taking the elements as a symbolic act of remembrance of His life and work on the cross. It’s so that I can freely come before Him and commune with Him. To have an honest conversation of the good, the bad and at times, the even uglier moments I’m dealing with. Remembering that those things that I’m working through are just “stuff” and He’s bigger than the stuff. The work on the cross is more powerful than the stuff. I don’t need to be shamed. Again, I NEED to be running to communicate with Him. Because in that communication the enemy loses his hold, he can no longer keep me from my freedom that was freely given me because of Christ’s work on the cross. I no longer have to live under this cloak of “perfectness” in order to have a relationship with Him; because let’s be honest, it’s not going to happen.

It’s liberating. It’s freeing. It’s true communion.