Remember how yesterday I said some things stick with you for all eternity?
Here's some other things that've been sticking with me ever since I heard them, four months ago.
They stick with me, and I am glad.
Last year was... stinky. I had some things going on, not good things, and wanted a fresh start somewhere else. I wanted to go to a land far, far away.
I was feeling like on Forrest Gump, "Ruuunnn, Sunay! Ruuuunnn!"
So the end of January, I went to Kalispell to talk to Pastor Nathan Bemis.
I had never met him before, but I was thinking Kalispell was the place for me to start over, and thought I should probably mention it to him... you know, give him a chance to meet his newest potential dysfunctional church member.
So I went over to Kalispell, and introduced myself.
The next morning he took me into his office and said, Sunny Jane... I'm gonna tell you some things.
I nodded and clutched my Starbucks silently.
Then he said, Sunny Jane, you're kinda dumb, and gullible, and can't make a decision.
I nodded some more, clutched my Starbucks tighter, and burst into tears, I know! But I don't know what to do about it. *sniff... wailing... sniff... wiping my nose on my sleeve... sniff... gasping for air... sniff*
So he said, Well, I'll tell you what to do.
And he did.
He told me so many things that I went home exhausted, and took lots of naps for the next week. I felt like I did when I took my finals in school... my head was on overload and spazzing out.
But I needed to hear every. single. thing. he said.
I don't know how he knew what all to say to me since he didn't know me from Adam, but he said what I needed to hear and it got my focus where it needed to be. I felt like he was the proverbial wise old owl.
1) Sin will silence God, but a mistake won't.
So don't be like a deer in the headlights when it comes to making a big decision... God will help you because He knows your heart. He knows whether or not you're trying to please Him, and if you make a mistake trying to please Him, He'll put the pieces back together.
I needed to hear that. I was scared of the silence of God. Sin in my life had caused that silence once before and I thought a mistake would void out my second chance. I thought I would be on my own again if I made the wrong move. So I was sitting, paralyzed, waiting for a bolt of lightening to come along and tell me what to do about things going on in my life. To tell me where to move and start over.
It was good to know God would hold my hand and help me get back on track if I made the wrong move.
It's good to know that when I'm unsure of what to do, unsure of God's will... if I feel my judgement is fuzzy... if I make the wrong decision... God is still there to talk me through it.
It took a load off my heart to know this.
2) There shouldn't be a third party in your relationship with God.
It's between me and God.
Not me, my family, and God.
Not me, my pastor, and God.
Not me, my friend, and God.
Just me and God.
3) Speaking of just me and God...
You shouldn't run to your pastor, or anyone else to make your decisions for you.
This doesn't eliminate good counsel, or advice. It doesn't mean that you should ignore guidance.
It just means that you should run to God with all your worries and decisions.
If you know for a fact that God wants you to do something, do it. If no one else likes it, they can lump it because it's between you and God.
When he first said that to me... I balked.
I was like, What??? Aren't I supposed to be submissive??? Am I not supposed to ask for help and advice at every crossroads in my life??? But you just said I'm kinda dumb... how am I supposed to make decisions on my own if I'm dumb??? Are you encouraging me to be a feminist???
So he explained and said I'm my own household, God is the head of it, I submit to Him.
4) Ask God daily for wisdom.
That should take care of the dumb and gullible factors.
Seek it out.
Ask and ye shall receive.
It's a miracle.
5) You can never get right until you've come completely clean. You'll just keep digging yourself deeper until you do. God doesn't deal in dirt.
6) God gives us things we love, skills, talents, whatever you wanna call it.
Don't waste 'em.
Master them. Take them, and run with them.
7) God is never finished with His child.
No matter what you've got on your slate.
8) The truth hurts sometimes, but a lie hurts much longer and harder.
9) God has a place for everyone.
And we have a responsibility for that place... a belonging.
Leaving that place is the wrong thing to do, it messes up God's plan.
10) A fresh start... starts in the heart.
Not in where you live, or where you go to church, or where you hang out.
It's all about the heart.
11) Stepping out on faith is saying, "Lord, I'm not sure about this, but if it's what you want... I'll do it. Lord, I'm scared of this, but if it's what you want... I'll do it. Lord, is this what you want? I'll do it."
... I stepped out on faith,
(That sounds so spiritual. Maybe I should write a book and call it, How To Be A Spiritual Giant 101)
... made a big, life-changing decision without asking anyone's permission but God's,
... didn't move to Kalispell or anywhere else,
... but stayed home, in my place of belonging.
... I told God it was just me and Him now, and God smiled at me.
... I ask God daily for wisdom... and am still waiting for the results to come in.
... I've gotten my fresh start... in my heart... where it belongs.
And in the process, all the stink of the last few years has rolled off my shoulders, and made me blink hard at a bright new morning.
Every day something comes up to remind me of the things Pastor Bemis said to me, and it. helps.
Sometimes I think of the things he said, and say to myself, Elementary, my dear Watson. Elementary. Everybody knows these things. Even baby Christians. They're so SIMPLE.
But I think what's made them so much clearer to me now is that although I might've known these things before, I hadn't experienced them.
It's made me realize, God is like an onion. He has layers. And all my life I've fiddled around on that first layer, never realizing there was more to it.
Now I'm on the second layer, finding a whole new side of God, and it's wonderful... just wonderful.
I can't even begin to imagine how spectacular the other layers are.
I mean, what will His millionth layer be like???
Do I have this all figured out?
Don't think that I'm sitting around reading my Bible 24/7, and praying over every little thing, and handing out tracts left and right, and writing my Spiritual Giant book.
Because I'm not.
It's more like I pray to not have the oppurtunity to hand out tracts... because I loathe handing out tracts.
And sometimes I leave the house without reading my Bible... because I forget about it.
And sometimes I call my friends or family about some little thing I'm freaking out over, and they're like, Did you pray about it? And I'm like, Weeeellll... does eating chocolate count as praying?
When I first started writing this, my point was going to be about things sticking with you, but... I've changed my mind. I'm allowed to do that. It's my blog.
So the thing is, the new moral to the story is, God has taken my messy life, and made it beautiful.
For which I am very grateful.