February 28, 2008
I am unwilling to share what I wrote in my journal on this day, except to say (with Tim’s permission) that I prayed that Tim’s perception of his deceased earthly father would not cloud his perception of his Heavenly Father. I also prayed that God would help me to not store up a record of wrongs against Tim. My own attempts at this were clouded by some false ideas. You see, in 2008 I believed that if Tim were “saved,” God would not store up a record of wrongs against him, but unfortunately I also believed if he were not “saved,” then upon death, that record of wrongs would effectively erase any good will God had toward Tim. I thought he might cease to exist forever and ever, amen. So, the logical conclusion here is that I was asking God to help me be more loving and forgiving toward Tim than I actually believed God Himself might be.
God knows how to deconstruct misguided, ignorant prayers.
God sees Tim’s father as forgiven and reconciled to Himself, but Tim didn’t know this. Tim needed to see his earthly father through the eyes of his Heavenly Father. In time, God answered this prayer.
Similarly, God sees Tim as forgiven and reconciled to Himself, but I didn’t know this. I needed to see Tim through God’s eyes in order to stop storing up a record of wrongs against him. In time, God answered this prayer, as well.
February 29, 2008
This journal entry was a prayer to God, about half a page, prior to going to a marriage counseling session. I asked God to give Tim and me teachable, honest, open hearts. I wrote a second time the same day, after the session, based on a suggestion by the marriage counselor:
Note to self: Buy Search for Significance by Robert McGee and read Philippians 2.
During the counseling session I told the marriage counselor about something a previous marriage counselor had helped me to understand and admit to myself, that is, I didn’t trust God. I trusted Him for my own salvation, but beyond that, there were many ways I did not trust God. This new marriage counselor recommended a book called Search for Significance, which proved to be a book that God would use (in conjunction with an intense critical reexamination of traditional doctrines on eternal torment and annihilation) to help me discover precisely why I didn’t trust Him.
I wrote a little bit about the book in an old blog post called Change and Fear of Rejection:
The source of the fear of rejection is IGNORANCE about self-worth, which manifests itself in the way we think of (reject) ourselves and the way we treat (reject) one another. When we become aware of our inherent value in the eyes of God, Whose opinion trumps all others, when we understand and believe that we and each other are “deeply loved, completely forgiven, fully pleasing, totally accepted by God, and complete in Christ” (Robert S. McGee, Search for Significance), then the result of this TRUTH is that the fear of rejection is invalidated.
Philippians 2 is about demonstrating love through humility and obedience, which may require losing your status or privileges. Once Tim and I found healing in our marriage, we got a crash course in the real-life application of Philippians 2, when we tried to share how we found healing in our marriage with our church friends. But that’s another journal entry / blog for another day.
March 4, 2008
I sifted through page after page of fearful and repetitive prayers written over the course of several days, to find something worth keeping, but the thing worth keeping wasn’t actually written down. The prayers were mainly asking that God would keep me from believing things that were not true AND keep me from not believing things were true. There was so much social tension and many rumors, lies, and truths to sort through from people at NPF and FBCU (two churches in the small town where I lived).
As I poured my heart out to God in prayer, He was beginning to open my eyes, not about whether rumors were true or false, and not about whether someone was guilty or innocent, but that there might be something seriously wrong with this idea of the “authority” of pastors and deacons and elders, that the fruits of the hierarchy were power struggles, hidden agendas, deceit, callous words, hypocrisy, etc. I was told that I would be in spiritual rebellion if I did not submit to the authority God had put me under. It would be a while yet before I would simply walk away from that sham authority with the blessing of God Almighty, Himself.
In addition, I was doing some research and finding evidences of the systematic suppression of information in church history, information which was later deemed heretical. I wasn’t really sure what to do with that. The foundations of my faith were being shaken. As I learned about so-called heretics in church history, I wondered if I were becoming one of them.