Saturday, November 21, 2009

Maybe you can relate?

I almost didn't post this, because it's not about arts, or crafts, or home decor, or beautiful children. I don't normally discuss personal issues a lot here, but after sleeping on it, I decided I wanted to share. Maybe you can relate?
I think I'm having some sort of a mid-life crisis.
Let me start sort of from the beginning...
I'm pretty much what you would consider a "new" Christian. I was raised in a Presbyterian church but after losing a friend in a drunk driving accident at age 13 I decided if there was a God then bad things wouldn't happen.
I searched for something else for a long time. Mostly dabbling in some Buddhism practices.

I've made some serious mistakes in my life. I won't go into personal details, but I was pretty good at sinning. Hurt some people, made some bad decisions, wasn't very responsible. I started going back to church about six or seven years. While our family was growing, I started to feel like God needed to be at the center of our lives. But it wasn't until almost two years ago that I accepted Jesus into my heart.

Is anyone else out there a "new" Christian? Sometimes I feel like a phony. A fraud. Or that I've changed so much that I don't know the person I used to be. Some of my oldest and dearest friendships are a little akward sometimes. I have a few guilt issues for my old ways. I struggle daily with spending more time with God. I have a lot of idols: the computer and work for instance.

I remember one weekend our pastor was telling us that being a Christian wasn't easy. That people think that when they find God that their lives will get easier, but that sometimes it may even get harder!

I love my life. I am blessed beyond words. I love that God lives in our house and that our children know him. But I am struggling a little right now. Have any of you been through something similar to this? Did you pray your way through?


Lanie said...

Yes, I can relate. I am relatively new too. Just a couple of things that stood out for me in this post.

Guilt over old ways (and new sometimes). When we became new Christians, God forgave us for what we have done in the past. We need to let go of the guilt and forgive ourselves. He already has.

This year we lost 2 cats, my grandmother, father-in-law and most recently my mom. It was a trying year. But, I have never felt so close to God as I did when I leaned on him throughout the year. Now that the dust has settled, I am feeling somewhat similar to how you are feeling now. I think you are right, the trick is to pray through it, trust Him with EVERYTHING. He already knows it all anyway. :)

While I was close to Him during the hard times. I feel a little lost now. I think it is also because of the things you mentioned. The computer is one. It takes more of a center stage in this household than I like.

Prayer is a great first step, maybe do a devotional and journal time each day to draw you back.

Now I need to go and take my own advice.

I just found your blog this week and absolutely LOVE your work. I am in the process of trying to find my artistic mojo. Sort of to carry on my Mother's legacy. I craft, but I do things I feel anyone can do. I would rather find my niche like you have and have something that stands out from what everyone else is doing. I pray that God will guide me to use my talents wisely. My Mother regretted not painting more in her lifetime and letting her self esteem hold her back.

Okay, I digress and have written a book. I think I might be back for Make Some Art Monday.

Keep the faith and have a blessed weekend. ~Lanie

Mary said...

Hi Chrissie, I found your blog by way of Martha. I believe I was meant to read your post today. You have begun a wonderful journey. And you will still struggle, if we are honest as believers we all struggle. With all the stuff that is still inside of us. And we should. But in that struggle we are loved and accepted totally!!! When we become a Christian the journey begins. God begins the process of changing us from the inside out. The change does not happen all at once, oh how I wish it would sometimes. But I believe it is through the struggle that we grow.
But remember it is safe to look into your heart, to see the why behind what we do, and when we fall short we are not loved and accepted any less. Because the love and acceptance is based on what Jesus did for you. You cannot do or not do anything to make God love you less. Yes, you can grieve him, but that is different. The Christian life is not about being perfect, it is about a love relationship with our most amazing wonderful God. Learning to know him more, which will cause us to love him more, which will cause us to serve him more. Serve out of love, not because we are afraid that if we do not we will get zapped!!! And in that relationship and our sitting at his feet he begins to show us our hearts. As we take all the junk to him HE begins to change us. No amount of trying harder to change ourselves last for long. It's all him.

I know you do not know me, you can as Martha about me if you want, but may I send you a book?? Leave me a message on my blog if you would like me to.



luci said...

Hi Chrissie
I am not a new Christian, but it doesn't mean that I don't struggle with all that life throws at me. I've been through some pretty tough storms and they have always taught me so much and have been times when He has taken me deeper into Himself and proved Himself faithful. Hang on in there and see what God does in and through you in this season. Stay open to him speaking to you and keep being like soft clay, as pneumatic drills on hard clay is very noisy!
love Luci x

Teresa Tysinger said...

What an honest and important post. Thanks for sharing with all of us. I've been a Christian since I was a little girl, but even those of us long-timers struggle with the same feelings. I'm not very good at being a disciple who studies and prays diligently. It's easy to beat myself up over what I did or didn't do from time to time. We're ALL sinners. But the greatest gift God gave us, other than His son of course, is GRACE. The bible tells us it's by grace alone that saves us. Not by our being perfect, saying all the right things, making all the right choices. He loves us all enough to save us despite all of our insecurities and imperfections. I guess when you're feeling the way you do now, think about this: Love yourself the way God loves you. He knows all your deep dark secrets and still died just for YOU. You're worth it - God says so. :) Love to you, sister!

the undomesticated wife said...

Being a Christian isn't easy because Satan is always trying to take us away from God. So there's always going to be something out there trying to steer us in the wrong direction, and we have to be vigilant. But I also know that God is loving and understanding and knows we make mistakes. Try not to feel guilty. We all sin. But God has grace!

I've been a life long Christian, but I've been struggling lately because of my current situation. I feel like God isn't answering my prayers or his timing isn't fast enough ;) but in my heart I know things will be ok because God is always on our side.

Amy Kinser said...

I am sorry you are struggling right now. I will pray for God to give you peace through your circumstances. Even if these circumstances are things we do in our minds.

Remember that God's grace is so abundant and His mercies are new every morning. I cling to that when I mess up with my words, actions, thoughts...whatever.

Also remember that you are a princess and that your Father is the King of Kings and that He loves you with an unconditional, everlsating love. There is no end to His love for you.

God bless you, my friend.

Salinda said...

I accepted Christ at 8 and I have done my best to live for Him ever since. During these past 25 years, I've grown up and I've faced all the struggles that come along with that. The worst for me was post partum depression and the daily blahs. I find it so easy to get wrapped up in my head and negative thoughts that I will just spiral downward. That's why I have this verse posted all over my house:

"Finally brethen, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lively, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things." Philippians 4:8

For me, simply focusing on something lovely (praise music, crafting, snuggling up with cocoa with my kids) has to be a part of every day.

Hang in there. Slow down if you need too, and catch your breath. And think on His wonderful things.

Diva Kreszl said...

I have to tell you that your post today has been my favorite out of all of your posts...I think because when you open yourself up like you have here you are being so genuine that it draws people in.

I am a Christian, raised Catholic but currently a member of a Presbyterian Church. There were a number of years when I pushed my faith aside, I thank God each day that while I was not paying attention to Him he was still present in my life. Looking back now over that time I can see God's hand gently leading me through the dark periods. He never left me...when God seems distant it is us who has turned our faces away from Him, He is still right there! Times in my life when I have felt closet to God have been the most rewarding and the most peaceful, we all go through periods in our lives when the gap between us and God seems to widen, 'new' Christian or not. I believe that being a Christian means your faith is ever changing and growing, you never really 'arrive', it's a journey.

Guilt over our past actions can be difficult to let go of, if you have asked for forgiveness the God has indeed forgiven you. I tell the teens in my youth group that while you may ask for be given forgiveness you can expect that you may always sense a 'scar' where that wound was. Let it serve as a reminder to where you don't wish to return.

God is with you sweet one, and as long as you continue to inviite Him in you and your family will be blessed. That is not to say hardship and pain will be absent in your life, only that God will use these times to help you to grow into the preson He knows you are capable of becoming. When things seem difficult remember to 'Let go & Let God'. It isn't enough to ask Him to be your co-pilot, you have to let Him drive!!!

Hopeful Housewife said...

I am a new Christian myself. I was raised in Church but as a young adult began to explore other paths. Sometimes I think there are people who need to do this to REALLY understand our father's amzing grace. Sometimes when things are always there we take it for granted and have to live without it a while to truley appreciate and understand it. I struggle daily, my husband doesn't understand my recent changes and I constantly get negative comments from him. I try not to get angry at him but instead pray for him to be touched and changed as well. If things were easy along our path, there would be no need for faith. We would all believe easily. The biggest struggle for me to completely accept Christ was my guilt. "I am not worthy" was my mantra. How could I accept his precious gift when I had turned away from him so long. My pastor led me to Romans:3, which paraphrased says there are none worthy, no not one. That whole Chapter made a huge impact!!! I also seached my bible for people who had been forgiven of similar sins. I have a divine written testament that I am also forgiven! When I am struggling & it feels like I am on the loosing end of things, I seeks God in all things. I look for him in places I have never sought him before. Putting your mind on Christ helps a ton! Sometimes its hard to find Christ in the woman who just cut you off it traffic but I make myself and then pray for her. I also pray for his guidence but I don't always know what to ask for. So I affirm that he knows my every need and knows what is in my heart and ask that he give me a christ heart to walk through the day and that all of my actions reflect his will for my life. I hope this helps dear. You are in my prayers!

Tara said...

Girl...I can so relate. That is why I named my blog what I did and I painted the picture that is now my blog header. Every day is a new day and a new season. I too have been in the same walk as you. It does seem that some days are harder than others as a Christian and I am not a new one. But, I continue to start over every day and know that I wouldn't want to live my life any other way...especially without Christ at the center of it!
Hugs to you from Texas. Tara

Tammy said...

Just keep praying. If it was easy, it wouldn't be worth it. Thanks for sharing.

sara's art house said...

I have been saved forever- but really feel like I haven;t grown very close to God until I started having kids..

But I do have a friend who just got saved- like 2 months ago. She is going through all of this.

Thanks for sharing this. I love it when people are transparent about how they feel about God and what is going on in their life. I think I have more to share too- but I don't have time to type it all out now....

Awesome post, Chrissie! Even tho I've been saved for 30 years I still struggle every single day with having the right thoughts- judging others, getting angry at the kids...etc. BUT God is teaching me so much and I am taking baby steps forward and even tho it is hard it is so PEACEFUL. I know that He forgives and will give grace for me when I get up tomorrow and start over.....

marion said...

'when there is no way out, there is still always a way through.'

(eckhart tolle, the power of now)

warm regards,

Jen said...

Praise God that you posted this. I am not a new Christian, but we all have struggles, you are NOT alone. Today I read a blog post that I think will really help you, it did me. It contains a little video from Casting Crowns. It is AWESOME. Here is the link. I highly recommend you checking this out. Here is the link, this is an amazing blog.

Prayers to you! I am not even sure how I stumbled upon your blog, oh, God had me. :)

lori vliegen said...

yes, i struggle every day to not live in the flesh....and then God reminds me that He doesn't want me to do it alone, but to depend on Him to guide me through it all! i used to feel badly because i struggle and ask so many questions....and then i realized that i only ask because i want to know Him better. keep asking, keep praying......and i'll be praying for you, too. hugs, :))

Mary said...

Good morning Chrissie Grace,
If you would email me your address I'll send you the book. :)

Susi said...

Hi Chrissie. I just found your blog when I was looking for a forum called something with grace.
Yes, I can relate. I have been a Christian since I was 16, but still consider myself a new Christian. I've been through a lot of things and been very disappointed with and hurt by Christians, and it still happens. I often have to go back to the basics just to get proof that I'm a Christian and that noone and nothing can take that away from me. At the moment I'm into some kind of crisis..... maybe for the good, because it forces me to search the Bible for the truth about salvation and other things. I'm not usually good at reading the Bible.
Please feel free to contact me if you're up to it, I'd love to hear from you.

Chantile said...

I know how you feel, and can relate very well to what you've written.

I am LDS, and in The Book of Mormon (another testament of Jesus Christ), it tells the story of Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah. It describes them as being “the very vilest of sinners,” but “the Lord saw fit in his infinite mercy to spare them” (Mosiah 28:4) after they had a change of heart, repented and came back to Christ. Later in the book, it talks about a great general, Moroni, and says:

“If all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever” (Alma 48:17).

In the next verse, it says:

"Behold, he [Moroni] was a man like unto Ammon, the son of Mosiah, yea, and even the other sons of Mosiah, yea, and also Alma and his sons, for they were all men of God. [Alma 48:18]

This has always given me hope--knowing that these men were once the most vile of sinners, and then changed their lives, and great men were compared to them. Whenever I start to get down and feel bad about my life, after I've stopped to see what I need to do to change, I remember these men, and remind myself that the past is past, and that as long as the things I am doing now reflect the person I am trying to be, and I remind myself that because of Christ's Atonement, I can be saved and do not have to carry the guilt of sin around anymore. "For my yoke is aeasy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:30

Sorry, that was a bit of a ramble! I hope it made sense! :)

chantilita at gmail dot com

PS: A good little read about the subject:

Debra @ Common Ground said...

Hi Chrissie, I just found you thru Angelique at Six in One Hand. We all struggle new or old Christian. I'd like to personally invite you to stop by my Bible Study Blog. God is working there and I'd like you to join us.

Jolee said...

Wow, what a great post. I find that the times I feel closest to God is when I am in His Word. I don't mean just a daily devotional, but really reading, reading, and more reading. You mentioned in a past post that you wanted to do a Beth Moore Study. Maybe now is a good time. I have done three of hers and they are absolutely wonderful and she will be such an inspiration to you. If your church doesn't offer one I am pretty sure you can do one online. Thank you for sharing your testimony.

carissa... brown eyed fox said...

absolutely positively.
we are human... we're not perfect... we are tested... tested again...
but HE is THERE... knows ALL... and HE will catch us.

i have daily struggles... things that i pray HE helps me change... get a handle on... i have a lot of growing to do... i am just so thankful that HE is there to listen... help me grow...
and love me still.

Anonymous said...

God Bless you for this post Chrissie! The following Bible verse is one that I refer to daily.

"Live well, live wisely, live humbly, it's the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts." James 3:13

Tamara said...

I have honestly never blogged, but I can relate to what you are going through. I don't consider myself a new christian, but I have found it is never easy. Yes, I absolutely pray my way through everything. I take comfort in knowing that I am not in control, God is. I am 37 years old, and I think when we are raising our kids, and so much is going on, we lose sight of what is important. I find the world seems so competetive, that it is hard to find good friends who are supportive and dependable. That is probably what hurts me the most right now. I think that is why I like to look at blogs, and read what others are going through, to know I am not alone. Neither are you. What would we do without our faith in God? There are compassionate people out here who care, and who know how you feel. Just keep praying!!