Get your head out the gutter… ok maybe it’s just my mind in the flesh lol but in case you went there too, shame on both of us. But I digress. I got spanked this weekend. Had a lovely time with girlfriends shopping and even got dolled up for the ballet. But on Sunday morning in church,… I got spanked.
Now by point of background, I grew up in a traditional African American home that lived and breathed “Spare the rod, spoil the child”. And though no stranger to the threat of discipline, my people pleasing pathology afforded me fewer meetings with “the rod” then my cousins and friends. I will admit though I didn’t fully understand the scripture until I became a parent. (Put down that phone, I don’t beat my son lol ) But I learned early on, to get my bluff in and require boundaries through consistent discipline in many forms.
But on Sunday, I found myself licking my own wounds. Daddy God got all up in my grill. After a lovely, semi late evening on Saturday, Sunday morning didn’t see me springing out of bed. In fact my tail was positively dragging as I willed myself into the House of God. Only to be greeted by a sermon on tithing. Yes Girl! I could have put that good Baptist finger up and tipped out the back door. I instead squirmed uncomfortably in my seat and willed my eyes to resist the sleep that circled around my edges.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love the Lord. Love church and adore my Pastor, I can usually be found leading the Amen corner or enthralled in my own praise and worship. But Sunday y’all I was not feeling it. Then if I’m honest, a little irritated I had pushed my way into the “house” only to get fussed-out about money.
Cue the weighty sigh and side eye. But God…
As the Pastor (despite my hostility) drew parallels between Adam and Eve in the Garden and tithing, my interest was piqued. You can eat from EVERY tree, but this one. Much like you can have ALLLLLL the blessings I give you, but the tithe I require of you. Hmmmm. He went on to explain how we are often not living to our fullest potential because we’ve allowed an opening for the enemy. And frankly that’s all he needs. My Pastor proffered that perhaps our lives are in the condition they are in because we haven’t passed the test. Ouch. Can God do kingdom work without my tithe, certainly? But maybe my tithes isn’t so much about helping the kingdom but really about trusting God. – Double Ouch
That’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks. I’ve been going through a season of transformation and change, learning to surrender to Gods will and trust him recklessly. It’s been amazing and scary, inspiring and exhilarating. But if I’m honest almost every area of my life is changing… except my finances. Triple Ouch…
I’ve been trusting God…. To a point. I’ve been surrendering,… almost everything. It’s so close,.. Yet so very far away. Now before you dip out on me, (put your finger down) this is not a post about paying more money to the church ( kind of not) But it’s actually about taking a really deep dive within and finding that “stuff” that you’re keeping to yourself, even holding back from God. My background is filled with trauma, and through prayer and counseling and the grace of God I’ve managed to surrender the shame of my past. And guess what, He gave me beauty for ashes. But sitting in church Sunday weary –eyed, my heart was convicted. I was still holding out on God. My icy glare toward the pulpit wouldn’t will him to stop talking. He just kept on raising the rod, till I could hide no more.
My stomach churned as I looked over my life and honestly acknowledged that I didn’t trust God as completely as I wished my heart did. WOOOO! Darn the ouch, MEDIC!!!
And just as I was about to resort to my old familiar negative self-talk… tearing at my spirit about another failure. I remembered a scripture that I didn’t get the first time I’d heard it but over the years has summed my life up nicely. A father is talking to Jesus about his son who is possessed by an evil spirit.
21 So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?”And he said, “From childhood.
22 And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears,
“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:21-25
Isn’t that good? And aren’t we all just like this father from time to time?
Lord I believe, but can you help the parts that doubt.
Lord I surrender, please help me release the stuff I want to hide even from you.
Lord I love you, can you help me with my unlovable days and ways.
Lord I’m ready, but can you help the places that are afraid to move.
Lord I trust you, help me to trust you with ALL my stuff.
And you know what? Jesus honored this man’s faith and honesty and healed his son. I think maybe God is waiting on us to “get real” with Him. To trust him completely and honestly own the places within where that is super tough. He actually requires our honesty. And until we can be real with God, I guess we’re just playing church.
But I’m ready for my blessing. I’m ready for my miracle, but more than anything I’m ready to step into the phase of my life where I know the peace that comes from trusting my Father with everything. He’s such a kind Father, he waits for us to surrender it willingly. Although its true that there is no testimony without a test, there is also no growth without agitation. Maybe my struggles were always intended to bring me closer to my creator. But he wants it all.
So I’m cleaning house, giving it all to God. Every piece of me. I’m sure the desire to hide will return, but I now know that the rod comes not to destroy me but rather to remind me that I don’t have the power alone. And that my father has me firmly in hand.
I’m still sore,… but I know a balm in Gilead 😉
Be blessed my Blog Family