Discussion: Unconditional Love?
March 5, 2021
My childhood was the church. When you are a pastor’s kid, church becomes your life. Though this is not the direction I am going with this discussion, I would like to say something on our behalf. I don’t know what they say about pastor’s children now days, but in my day they labeled us as the worst. As I was growing up, the children of the pastor had to be perfect. We had to behave the way our parents wanted us to behave. We had to behave the way the church members wanted us to behave. You were to set the example for the other children to follow. And if they, not you, acted out, it was your fault for not setting a good example for them to follow…. hmmm!
By the time we were on our own, many of us did not know who we were as individuals. And in the words of my elders (seniors) “I went hog wild” or as they would say my “Hey days”. Honestly, I don’t know what hog wild mean, but believe it was an adequate description of me. After being out there for a while, I knew that the life I was living didn’t fit who I truly was inside. In those quiet moments in my life (which weren’t many), they let me know I had to change. Coming back to church and letting go of people and things that had been a part of my life wasn’t that hard for me to let go. I’ve heard so many say I just can’t let go, no matter how hard I try, I just can’t let go. For whatever reason, the inner me has always chosen to have a small circle of friends, even until now. What I remember about my circle of close friends, we were always searching for a better way of life, mostly peace.
When I told them I was going back to church, they were happy for me. Most said that this life you are living is not for you. As much as I hate to admit this, I never tried to get any of them to come back with me. What I realized when I went back to church that is exactly (in my mind, no fault of the church) what I did. I went back to the building of the church and not truly back to God. I believe if I had understood, I would have been able to bring my circle with me. Admittedly, I came back to the church the same way I had left. Trying to be aware of how people wanted me to behave. Unfortunately, not truly being able to initially reconcile the now two ME’s (church girl and heyday person) kept me on the altar.
It was many years before realizing the initial pain I carried growing up and always being labeled as having to be a people pleaser (parents/church). Then entering a world without acknowledging God left me empty. It wasn’t until I went to an ongoing prayer revival in Canada which had lasted months. There were many prayer rooms and I can’t remember which one I went into. A man who was praying walked over and put his hands on me. Looked me in my eye and he said, “the wall you have built around your heart is so thick that is has stopped God’s love from getting in.” It was hours before I could stop crying and gain my composure. What I had done was come back to a building.
I know I said this was not my discussion for this week, but it appears I was mistaken. My healing progress was long when I went back to church. Not only was I lost out there on my path, but the wounds had deepened within me. I had to learn to forgive, which was hard. Many times when we forgive, we forget we now need to heal. Meaning, when we see or hear of the person we know in our heart we have forgiven, there is a lingering pain we still feel. We question if we have truly forgiven. We stop or don’t know that healing must accompany forgiveness. It’s like having a scar which has healed on your body. You remember how it hurt when you first got the scar, but after it heals, you can touch it and feel no pain. For some the place hurt on your body may have disappeared and for other there may still be a scar. But the scar doesn’t hurt anymore, because it was healed. Also a scar may appear to have healed at the skin level but the flesh underneath takes longer to mend. Healing is the crucial process we need in order to move throughout life. Without it, we will keep tripping and holding onto old wounds.
I want to share with you what bought both of my worlds together (pastor’s kid and my heyday person). What I remember hearing was, “You needed to come back to church or you need to get back in church.” Which I did. I finally realized what I was missing (and I’m sure I was told this) was I needed to come to God. I believe the building is a major part, but for me it was coming back to God. Truthfully, God was always scary to me as a child. The rules and regulations were what it seems God mandated before you could have a relationship with him. And if you didn’t follow the rules by whatever religious denomination you were a part of you found yourself struggling for God’s love.
Last, it was understanding that God loves me unconditional with no strings attached that saved me. Unconditional means with no conditions. It appeared many of the foundations for God’s love aren’t displayed in the church’s handbook as a way of life. But realizing God's love is the foundation upon which we should stand. I believe we need to know the standards and how to become involved as a member of our church. Again, I believe in the church, but I know it’s God’s love that is going to keep me throughout my lifetime here. I have heard many people in church, crying from the alter saying “God, I just want you to love me.” Even at a time of confession, “I don’t know what to do to get God to love me”. Why don’t they know of God’s Unconditional Love? Grant it, there are things we do that God hates, but his love for us always remains.
I wish I knew this earlier in my life. I could have possibly bought some, if not all of my circle with me… to God’s love!
Romans 5:8 - But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Thank you for joining me for Friday at Sundown. Remember… Just Breathe!
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