Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Okay, class.

If you don't want to hear about Jesus, step away from the blog! Here it comes, friends.

I was a wreck last Sunday morning at church! By the time the sermon started, I was fine, but I was practically bawling during the music after the greeting. I was so overwhelmed with joy and sorrow at the same time. I was thinking about how I feel so much joy for our soon-to-be adoption, but that the way has been paved with a lot of pain. The song was so pretty, and all about how Jesus died for us, and was so moving to me. I can't even remember how it went because I was so into it.

Then, I started thinking about all of the pain that I have seen in the past month, and how lost people are without Christ. Hurt, lonely, hopeless, afraid. A neighbor committed suicide last month, and another down the street (we live in a cul-de-sac) died of cancer last weekend. Did they die without knowing the salvation of Jesus Christ? I think they did. How do I process this?

I have also become even more acutely aware of the pain and sorrow surrounding pregnancy and childbirth among my peers who have suffered infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth, and loss of children through adoption. It was breaking my heart on Sunday! I wasn't even feeling sad for us, having gone through over 3 years of infertility, surgeries, tests, treatments, failed cycles, and dashed hopes. How could I feel this pain without the penetrating glory and joy of Jesus and His sacrifice for ME and for YOU! And I want you to know what He's done. I don't know how we would have gotten through the past few years without Christ. I haven't always been this way, but I was blind and now I see (can I get a witness!?!) ;o)

THEN, later in the service our music minister sang, and I totally lost it again. He wrote one of our letters of recommendation for our adoption, and it just reminded me how blessed we are with our church family. I did not have any tissues, and then DH started tearing up, and I'm sure everyone in the choir AND the choir director saw me crying like a baby. I had to use my hands to wipe away tears and tear-related facial fluids. I seriously almost used my shirt. Then I started laughing (not out loud), but it was one of those crazy, belly laughs you get sometimes. I was afraid someone was going to come down out of the choir loft and give me a sedative. I'm surprised I didn't snort.

This isn't meant to be depressing. I just really felt like God spoke to me in church last Sunday about how much pain there is in the world but that Jesus came so that we would know peace instead. Also, that it is my job to spread the gospel so that others would have the same hope as I do. I am shy about talking to others about Christ - I really wish that I weren't. Maybe experiences like Sunday's will add up to make me more outspoken about what our Lord has done for us.

If you didn't walk away, and you have questions, let me know! I tell you, I was not always this way - I was 26 when I accepted Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. It is never too late, and He wants to have you.

Love,
Amy

5 comments:

~e. said...

Hello,

i don't know if you are open to these types of comments or not. i wandered onto your blog because i am a birthparent, and have an interest in adoption stories.

i'm not trying to take away from your experience, but thought you might appreciate other perspectives as well. If not, i apologize for encroaching on your space, and i'm certain you have the capability to delete this, so please feel free.

i have had quite the opposite experience from you. i grew up in the Christian faith and spent a lot of years in torment. As i grew up and started asking my own questions and searching my heart for answers i decided i didn't believe in God after all.

Being freed from the guilt and dogma of the church has been momumental in my life. i am able to live now, grateful for the destiny i and my family are able to make for ourselves. i work hard for what i need and want, rather than pray for it. i live every day sucking the marrow out of life, because i know that this is all there is. i sense a connection to the Universe in a way that is wholly without God but also entirely real.

In going through with an adoption plan and 'losing' my child, i experienced pain. Beyond that, to live with passion IS to feel pain. It's inevitable. You love, you ache. You care, you hurt. But i need my pain. It makes me who i am. i don't seek to escape from it. i revel in it. Because feeling it means that i am living purposefully.

i don't believe in God. But my life is infused with the peace of understanding. i am glad that religion can bring so many people to that peace. But please be aware that it is not the way of everyone. And feeling sorry for those who don't have Christ is a little condescending.

After 20 years of faith and 6 years of non-faith, i can earnestly say that i have never been more at peace. Please don't pity me, or others who come to this place in their lives.

i wish you well, and hope that you find all the happiness you so obviously wish to foster in others.

Amy T. S. said...

e, (can't find the squiggly on my keyboard because all of the letters have rubbed off!)

Express yourself! I welcome it. I see your point. "Feeling sorry for," though, isn't exactly what I meant. I know that not believing in God works for some. Many of my close, close friends, too. I don't mean to be condescending at all. If we could talk face to face, you'd know that. It's hard to tell from typed words.

Thank you for the kind way you expressed your point. You're welcome to express yourself here any time.

For me, dogma and guilt is bad, too. I have very little of either, I think. Religion is not a set of rules to be followed, do this, don't do that, etc., it is a relationship with Jesus Christ. I know that sounds cliche to some, especially those who were raised in the church and heard it a lot, but to me, who came to my decision as an adult, it makes sense.

The last thing I want to do is alienate blog readers by expressing a view different from theirs. The main point of this blog is an adoption story, not a daily sermon.

Again, thank you for posting your point of view. I promise I don't see myself any better than you because I am a believer - I was not always, as I said. To me, that's what condescension is - looking down on another for being different.

e, I think in the real world we'd be friends. You got your point across without being contentious, and I appreciate that. I hope we can agree to disagree.

Sincerely,
Amy

cbrueggie said...

ah, amy, i love reading your writing. your sense of humor and joy for life always come shining through, even in the most seroius of situations. i miss you in ARTs, dear friend.

Judi said...

Amy and ~e.,

Thank you both for your honest and frank discussions about your path you've taken in life. I, too, grew up in the church and was alienated from the religion early in life. I found that I went through a very, very dark period when I started to believe that there was no God. For me, the lack of belief in God had the opposite effect that it had on you, ~e. I started to question why should I even bother living if there was no greater purpose. Instead of embracing each day as you did, I felt that on days when life was difficult, what was the use of even getting out of bed?

When I was 21 years old, I was living by myself and was terribly lonely. I had not yet met my husband and was in an abusive relationship. I am ashamed to admit that suicide did enter my mind. On one particularly difficult night, I cried out and said that life was too difficult and I could not handle it by myself. I remember saying in my mind "God, I don't believe in you, but if you are there, show me you care." I remember feeling in my heart an overwhelming sense of peace. The next morning, there was a red rose on my doorstep. I called everyone I knew to inquire where it came from and no one admitted to it. Weird, huh? I thought it was a coincidence. However, over the next several weeks, many, many more coincidences lead me to a church that didn't teach religion the way it was taught to me growing up. There was no dogma or ceremony. The teaching was verse by verse through the Bible in both the Old and the New Testament. It showed me that God loved me and cared deeply for me. It also showed me that there was overwhelming evidence that He is real and He simply wants a relationship with you. He wants you to know about Him and His plan for your life. That He was ultimately in control of my life. Yes, I have to make good choices and decisions, but He can fix my mess ups if I turn to Him. I had never felt such a peace and overwhelming sense of purpose in my life since I started a personal relationship with God.

Amy, thank you for sharing. You certainly have a gift for writing. Thank you for letting me share how the Lord has worked in my life. ~E, I also appreciate your response. Even thought I have also felt great pain, I did not revel in it, but it dragged me down. I praise God for lifting me up in my darkest hour.

It is interesting how two people can find two different paths in life. Thank you for letting me share as well.


Blessings to both of you,
Judi

Allison said...

Amy,

Your post hit home with me. I, too, have had those moments at church where I totally broke down for the realization that I was not the only one suffering - and that Christ suffered much more than I could ever fathom. I have had experiences where everyone was sitting and I stood in the front row and began to sob uncontrollably. It was freeing. It was mourning and rejoicing.

You're not alone.

And ~E. ... if you're reading these other comments... I will always admire your ability to stand up for what you believe in, and I will always adore you for your friendship.