Doubts in the Blueprint

Is the action of being truthful dishonorable to those in whom one is discussing if their actions are less than honorable? Before I can proceed in writing my story I feel I must abate this question that’s tugging at me and creating such doubt…

I am besides myself, I’m nervous yet absolutely ecstatic about getting my story out there and pointing people to the answer: Jesus! I am preparing myself on this journey by getting in the word every day at least a chapter a day, which doesn’t sound like much but it is something I can commit to. I’m still new to all of this, every time I’d read my bible I’d just flip around different areas and break it into fragments, discovering that (other than Jesus) my favorite person is Paul. He was so bold, so courageous, so humble, such a different man than who he used to be before Christ came into his life. He describes himself as “less than the least of all the saints” (Ephesians 3:8) and “the chief of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). Love this guy. He was such a bad man before, known then as ‘Saul’ who “made havoc of the church, entering every house and dragged men and women off to prison,” (Acts 8:3). A few months back I felt God lead me to read the book of Acts, and continued reading to see the transformation Paul made and learn from his teachings and discipleship. On a side note, how different the American church is from what scripture tells us in Acts 2:40-47! A building we choose to devote our time (usually an hour, once a week) based on the type of music that’s played, where the best childcare is, what preacher gives us the best message, with a dogged incessant demand for more money to spend on debts, lighting, building maintenance, hiring the best bands… and we hop around trying different one’s to fit our every need and expectation. Don’t even get me started on churches in the South! But I digress, more on that soon.

ANYWAYS, since I’ve been consistent in reading the word I landed today on Ephesians 6. Before I even opened my bible this morning I had the same doubt which has kept me from blogging (I will begin writing my book when I can afford a computer, estimated sometime this November) which is the whole “honor your father and your mother” commandment. The first description that pops up on Dictionary.com for “honor” is honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions. In my heart to honor is to respect someone, to show credit and hold them in a high regard. If I am honest and fair I am also truthful. If the person is not respectable, not good, and not fair how can I honor them? It now becomes an internal issue, there is nothing good I can say about my mother so I do not discuss her, and I do not discuss with her. I haven’t spoken to her in seven years (except a try-out or two on Facebook). I have been faced with the issues of forgiving and honoring her since I became a Christian. How can I forgive someone who isn’t sorry? How can I honor someone who is entirely dishonorable? I’ve been a follower of Christ since December of 2014. It wasn’t until March of 2016 this year that I made a list for God of all those I hadn’t forgiven, the reason I held the grudge, how they made me feel for what they did or didn’t do, then the reason I was choosing to forgive them. I wasn’t forgiving to accept or condone their behavior, I was forgiving to free myself from the pain and suffering attached to bitter unforgiveness. It was truly incredible what happened in my heart after I read each name aloud to God and told Him things like “I am not condoning their behavior, but I am choosing to forgive (person’s name) because I want to be free of the anger, bitterness and resentment I have in my heart. I trust You to deal with this person justly and fairly, something I cannot do. For you have said ‘Vengeance is Mine’ (Romans 12:19) and I leave that with You, God.” At the end of the list I had my name, the hardest one I had to forgive. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t pretty, but I have been free ever since of the anger and acrid hatred I had toward those on my list. Many and most I will never see or speak to again, but now they don’t have any power over me, for I am free.

Back to my mother… I have forgiven her but will likely never speak to her again. There are so many reasons, so many things that all added up to leave us sadly not on speaking terms. If I tell this to you, dear friend, am I committing sin? Am I dishonoring her by telling you stories of my past? My only intention is to reach others out there who have seen what I’ve seen, are going through what I’ve been through, are considering making mistakes that are bigger than life, mistakes that forbear one from  eternal life which can only be found in Jesus Christ. I’ve been praying and speculating on this for so long, but feel if I truly am purposed to lead others to Christ by sharing my story I cannot avoid it. I request that you, dear reader, pray for me, that I will abide in the Lord and be fearless and bold in sharing my past, for edification and not for deleterious influence. Let me know your thoughts! For God has given me a heart for the lost, I have such turmoil over women and girls out there who don’t have the Lord. If I am honest and my intentions are to make use of my sufferings to bring the lost to the Kingdom of God, surely the truth of my upbringing is not sin. And if I am to obey Him first I need to remember “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me” Matthew 10:37.

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The Point of Suffering

I’m learning that every trial I have endured is so that I may help others in turn who are suffering the same ways that I have. This may seem like common sense to the average Christian, but before I gave my life to Jesus I believed in such things as luck, fate, and destiny. I thought there was some sort of invisible spiritual sign on my forehead telling others to hurt me, mistreat me, use me. When I reached adulthood I learned how to play the game, how to hurt others, the sweet succulence of revenge.

It has taken the worse-half of my adulthood to realize life isn’t a game to win or lose, there is no such thing as luck, only God can bless us according to His divine will. The trials and tribulations we go through are governed by His sovereignty, He allows bad things to happen to us so that we may turn to Him for guidance and strength. When we grow closer to Him, I believe we still suffer and don’t always get our way so that we may learn to seek Him first, whether for good or for bad. How unsatisfying is a relationship with someone who only comes to you when they need something? I believe the more we build our relationship with the Lord the more we learn to seek Him first, before all things so that He can show us His love and faithfulness even as we suffer through the trials of this world.

As I learn and develop a loving and intimate bond with the Lord, I’m able to appreciate Him so much for the depths of His forgiveness. I have high hope now that beyond this new and exciting relationship I have with Him I will be able to encourage others through their trials and doubts by sharing my experiences. We were never meant to go at it alone, we will never succeed unless we depend on Him and learn to encourage each other. How awesome the Lord is! To know that all the pain and suffering I’ve endured was all for a divine purpose and not just because of bad luck is so astounding, so inspiring, so emboldening!

I pray the Lord will guide you in your walk, that He will teach you His ways and rain His blessings down on you and your family. I pray He will heal you of your pain and suffering, that He will work through you to glorify Himself and that you will be a wonderful instrument made pure and new by Him. May God place you within His perfect will and strengthen you to encourage and uplift everyone around you as a bright candle in the midst of darkness. May your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one (Colossians 4:6). Amen!

“Blessed be our God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ… Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.” -2 Corinthians 3-6

 

Repeat Lessons for the Stubborn Hearted

Doubt and regret will eat you alive if you let it. My past sickens me at times, I get on the memory train and can’t seem to get off. I have strung-out periods of thought, hours can go by and I’m trapped in a memory, tantalized and tortured by the details. My past choices grip me, holding me captive in a covert tryst, modern entertainment, my own personal show. My perceptive reality now convicts me of my unscrupulous past, and now I am gripped with fear of any contingency…

It’s not like I am infallible now, being a new creature in the Lord. The past two weeks have been lovely, my husband was on leave and it was our first anniversary yesterday 7/31/16. He surprised me with a trip up to Atlanta, GA for the weekend. It’s been months since I’ve had a drink, though not because I believe it is wrong but because my husband is sagaciously inclined concerning our low budget as of late and also my very serious issue with abuse. There is something deeply wrong with me, most people can have a few drinks socially, some champagne and wine for an anniversary. Most of the time I am okay, and by “most” I mean about 80% of the time. Every time I drink it’s like playing drunken roulette, it can go from fun, positive exuberance to disappearing down the middle of the streets of Atlanta during our anniversary dinner. It is a very good thing my husband is a Ranger in the Army and quite capable of tracking me down and rescuing me when I’ve lost all control.

I tell myself my memory walks have a purpose, the re-opening of old wounds will somehow make them less painful. It is easier to just forget but what was the point of it all then? Why do I stumble on the same roadblocks? I do believe there is a reason for all the suffering I have experienced in my life, and will continue to suffer if I don’t put God first. I’ve learned what happens when I drink, it’s the same as any drug I’ve abused, but somehow in my mind I justify it because it is legal and quite biblical to drink some wine. Though once I have some, I don’t have the judgement to leave it at that. It is certainly more disheartening for me to know the truth, and not abide in it. The messes I made in the past were before I knew God, before I tasted sweet salvation and before I learned what love really is. I am entirely dubious of my ability to restrain myself, only God can do that. Whenever I try to call up my so-called “willpower” I fall on my face and wake up in a bed of regret with an earthquake between my temples.

It’s a battle trying to overcome the shame of my past, I have to remind myself that I have already been forgiven and that God will never forsake me. Even though I screw up still, I make mistakes, I completely blow it, God is faithful and forgiving. No one can measure the depths of His love and understanding. And He really knew what he was doing when he gave me such an understanding and patient husband.

“Though He give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, He will be with you to teach you- with your own eyes you will see your Teacher.” -Isaiah 30:20

My dream is to share my story by writing a book, I truly feel this is God’s purpose for me and would be very pleased if you would hold me up in prayer, advice on these blogs or through donation. For more information about my story and how you can support please check out my site at Gofundme.com/ElizabethGudel