2010 Brought Praise
I don’t consider myself a Christian. I haven’t labeled myself with that term since I found out that it was associated with many things that weren’t quite Biblical. I’ve since become a “Bible Believer”, or rather-one who believes the whole Bible. This doesn’t mean just the New Testament; mind you, but the WHOLE BIBLE-word for word, syllable for syllable, and flood for giant.
It’s especially difficult to fill out bubble sheets. The “religious affiliation” question always gets me. What if you don’t believe in religion because religion doesn’t follow Scripture? How do you explain to somebody that you not only follow God’s Torah, but you also believe in the Messiah who died for your sins? How do you explain that you don’t believe He died to “save” us from His perfect Law, but rather to save us from ourselves? Things like this can be brought up in conversation while enduring incredulous looks from self-proclaimed “wise” Biblical scholars…but when filling in bubbles, it sometimes takes a bit of thought, a few musings, and some well-intended chuckles before finally selecting the “other” bubble and wondering which out-of-whack religion the person processing your answers will associate you with.
This is never a good feeling.
I have been asked if I am “Jewish now”. I have had to tell the world that I will no longer celebrate Christmas, Easter, and Halloween. I have lost the closeness I once shared with many members of my family. I have told those I know that I will not go out with them on the Sabbath. I have been told I am in a cult. I have been called crazy, I have lost my friends, I have been ridiculed, and I have been ignored. I have been asked if I still believe Jesus is my savior. I have been told that I am tearing my family apart, that I am a liar, that I am trying to earn my salvation. I have been told that I am going to burn in Hell, that I am a heretic, that I’m dangerous. I have had to humble myself, swallow my pride, and apologize to my loved ones for who I used to be. I have had my heart broken, and my feelings trampled upon. Many people I know have had similiar experiences.
Through it all, I have been so blessed that it has brought me to tears on numerous occasions.
I have danced.
I am 25 years old. Some might consider that very young, and while it is-the amount of obstacles it has taken me to get here has been almost overwhelming. Most of my friends are married with children by now, whilst I am living in my brother’s basement, working forty hours a week, and wondering if Prince Charming will EVER show up. Meanwhile, the availability of suitable men to marry shrinks in relation to the narrowness of my path. I spend way more time than what should be considered healthy delving into a bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
It took many mistakes to get me here.
I have loved more strongly and more often than I should have in the only way that I knew how….yet I have only just found out what real love is. Love isn’t a feeling, and it’s not fleeting. It isn’t something you look back on upon fondly, and reminisce about. It isn’t one-sided, and it isn’t a contract that can be broken. Love, REAL love is to be acted out, every day, in everything that you do. It’s in every word that you say, and behind every motive that you have. It is IMPOSSIBLE to do perfectly (for us humans), but REAL love gives their all, gives their effort, and REAL love perceives that the effort is there.
Today was the first day of 2011. Tonight I looked back at some pictures that I took one year ago….and I was stunned by how much younger I looked. One year is all that has passed, and it seems as if a lifetime has elapsed in the last twelve months. A close friend said to me the other day that they feel as if they’ve literally lived two lives. It struck me then how true that is. I have lived two lives. And they were two lives that were so vastly different from each other that I wouldn’t recognize the girl that I was a year ago. Those that knew me then wouldn’t recognize me either. They don’t.
I started to write this because I wanted to tell my testimony, my story. It’s a pretty interesting tale, actually, and it most certainly gives glory to the Father. But I keep stopping, because telling that tale dwells on those things that aren’t important. I have spent much of my life speaking things with my lips, words that I denied with my actions. I’ve spent much of my time regretting my hypocritical ways, and wondering what would have happened if I had been less contradictory. What if I would have listened sooner to what He was telling me? What if, instead of a backward glance and a whispered,”Sorry”, I would have stopped in my tracks and turned around? I debate about writing letters to the ones that I quite possibly have ruined for life when it comes to Him, and I wonder what in the world I could even say to defend my actions. I wish I could talk to them now, because everything I once knew, and all of the contradictions that they saw through, were wrong. I wish I could have been different.
But I can be different now.
Somebody I’ve known for four years was recently deployed. She was gone for about 6 months, and she left when I had been walking in Torah for 6 months. I had been following Yah’s commandment’s for about a year when she returned, and I was standing in her office talking to her. About two minutes into the conversation, she suddenly stopped and asked me what in the world was wrong with me. I was confused and asked her what she meant. To this she replied, “You’re different. You’re HOLY now or something. I don’t like it. Change back.”
I was floored. How could this person see that I was different? I had been doing the same things when she had left….I didn’t realize I had done ANYTHING different.
It is amazing to me, awesome to me, how much walking in His ways changes our lives. My light was dim, and after a year of following Him, I was changed enough that somebody could see it in a two minute conversation….The power that His perfect way has over my life is astounding. I am truly a different person because He has made into a new creation. I have lived two lives. Living out His light strengthened mine.
If you knew me a year ago, or longer, then this is what is true: I live my life for my God because I love Him. My actions will say that I love Him. My decisions will be based upon His Word. My ways will be His ways. I feel uncomfortable in this world, and I praise Him that I do. I will be set apart, I will be holy, I will be kadosh. When I say I will not do something, I will not do it. And it is NOT because I don’t love you, it is because I love Him more. I can speak with a conviction that is stronger and deeper and more infinite than can be grasped by the world, because I am part of something that is bigger than me, or you. I am a member of Israel, of His chosen people. He has called me out, and I will follow.
THAT is my New Year's Resolution.
I write this to give thanks to my God, to my Elohim, to my Yahweh. Father, if You can do so much to me in a year, without me even realizing it…how much can you do in an eternity? Who will You mold me into? The girl that I look back upon isn’t me. I had no strength. I would give myself over to the ways of this world so easily, but now….I am free.
Your way is narrow, but your burden is light. My burden is light because I love You. I want to follow You. Please change me this year a hundred times more than you changed me last year. More of You.
Less of me.
“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”-Psalm 119:105