A couple of items first. At the left is the cover to our newest edition of So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore. It has been printed in Russian. How fun is that? Also, I’ve been a bit overwhelmed with some medical emergencies in our extended family over the past few days that are slowing things down a bit around here. Please be patient as these things unfold.
I do want to share a letter with you that I got a few days ago. I love stories of how God sets people free and I know they encourage others as well. I got this from Tammy:
I have a stack of Christian books a mile high. To me, reading is a bit like breathing. But of all the wonderful books I’ve read none of them have touched me as much as He Loves Me. It was so bizarre reading it because it was as though you had somehow read my mind and quoted my thoughts in your book!
For along time I have felt so weary of “Christianity”. I don’t know how many times I must have told my husband “there has to be more to it than this…”. But I mistakenly thought that I wasn’t trying hard enough… not reading my Bible enough or attending church enough. What else could be making me feel so empty? It all came to a head when last spring I found myself fighting another battle with major depression. One Saturday my husband said he just couldn’t do it anymore. He just couldn’t give me what I needed and it had drained him of his very life and that maybe we shouldn’t be married any more.
I remember so clearly going into my bedroom and falling on my knees beside the bed. I literally began yelling at God. “Why? Why have you abandoned us when we have tried so hard? What more do you want us to do?”. And in my heart I heard Him say “Nothing. I want you to do nothing but give it all to me. My love for you has never depended on what you do. If I had fixed your problems in the midst of your best effort you would have believed that you had earned it. But now I will show you that my best gifts come when you know you don’t deserve them.”
Wayne, it all turned around that day. I began having revelations from God like I have NEVER experienced in my life. Not that I was hearing an audible voice, but His Spirit was communing with mine in such a way as I could hardly keep up! Moment be moment He began giving me bits and pieces that made every incomplete picture in my life make sense. When I prayed for Him to change my husband as much as I was changing, He asked me if I really wanted to be different or did I only want to change as much as could be used to guilt my husband into change? When I prayed in anger because my Christian “friends” had abandoned me He asked me if I wanted revenge or redemption? On and on it went. Sometimes many times a day these amazing truths came to me and all I could do was weep that He had reached out to me with His very “voice”. Finally one day I fell on my face on the floor and declared, “You are MY God”. And I haven’t looked back since.
I began to recognize the lies that I had been told about God. All of them in church I’m afraid. I began to see how much I had feared Him. I summed up what I imagined He thought of me in one word—”Disappointed”. Praise God for an amazing Christian counselor who began to set me straight about who I am to God. She’s a pastor’s wife yet she often says she doesn’t fit in church. It has gotten in the way of too many people and their Father.
So much has happened in the last 8 months I could write a book myself! My marriage is better than EVER! I have been so overwhelmed with Fathers love that even colors look brighter. Even on days that I face a struggle I am filled with joy like I have never known. I look around my church now at faces that look so sad. I listen for people to laugh and shout about God’s love (because thats all I want to do) and all I hear is silence. One day I asked God how Christians can be so silent about something that fills you to overflowing? He simply said “if they REALLY knew how much I loved them, they would not be able to keep it to themselves. Tell them.”
Only a few days ago I came across He Loves Me and have already finished it. I laughed out loud when you said that people who knew that God loved them would never be able to keep it to themselves. Amazing how Father is teaching us about love!
I am preparing to take a small group of ladies on a journey into this book. I pray they will discover the joy that I have found. Thank you for putting into words what so many of us have learned at the Father’s knee.
I was having coffee with a friend yesterday. She has been so hurt by religion and I want so much for her to be free. As I shared some of these things with her she asked quietly, “Why can’t they tell us this from the pulpit?”. I too pondered the question until God’s voice (that I’m learning to listen for and recognize) spoke again. “This lesson of love will not come from the pulpit right now. It will begin as a silent revolution. One heart to another, telling of my love, seeing people set free.”
Thank you again Wayne. Perhaps someday God will allow me to put my journey to paper as you have. God is using you to set His people free.
Well, I guess she has already put it to paper, or at least to html. When I wrote Tammy asking for permission to share her story, this is what Tammy wrote back:
Feel free to use my email and my name. I would be blessed to see it posted where it may help someone. In fact, I would love to correspond with anyone who would like to know more about how Fathers love has changed me as a woman, wife and mother. There is nothing that I have gone through that I am ashamed of. What God has done for me is His gift to me. I simply see sharing my story as a small gift to Him.
I am so overjoyed in my new found freedom that it is hard not to share it. I find myself asking strangers “Has anyone told today that God loves you?”. For the first time in my life the fear of rejection is overpowered by Love.”
I love it when God transforms people by his life and grace.