Love doesn’t go it alone

by Craig on January 12, 2012

the reason why we blog is so we know we're not alonesource

“We write so others don’t feel alone”.

That was told to me by a book editor. It doesn’t apply sufficiently to blogging.

But is that why we blog?

It is…in part…

because blogging is about community and connecting…
but we blog so that we can all know we’re not alone.

Reading a book is like a movie…
no commitment other than sitting there.
Reading a blog?

That’s more like a friendship.

And Christian blogging…
our blogging…
it involves a third partner.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (ECC 4:7)

when we blog, it's God, us, and others - a cord of threesource

We have me – and you – and God.
I connect with him, we both do…

and then we connect with each other.

As I’ve ended the year I named “connect” and I’ve begun the year I’ve named “see”, I can “see” how important it was for me to have the year named “connect”. I heart the year named “connect”. I wouldn’t give it back for…well…a lot.

Of course, there some parts for which I’d request a do-over.

Here’s a little bit of me…

I spent the first seven years of my life with Our Lord totally bereft of Christian community. It was just me, and God, and the Bible. I only became a member of a church a few months before I started seminary, and only because I needed a letter of recommendation from a pastor.

(I know!)

I was only a member of that church for seven years – and never another one.

A seminary graduate…
a relationship with Our Lord for 27 years…
but I’m not very “churched”.

If I'm not in a church, I'm both missing a piece, and BEING a missing piece. source

I think I may have missed a piece.

And then there’s this…
from Ignatius of Antioch…
who sat at the feet of John the apostle…

“It is dangerous to imagine that one could offer God suitable service on one’s own.”

I had Christianity wrong from the very beginning. One reason was that I’d never learned how to connect – thus last year’s name. Another reason was because, at the start, everyone kept telling me that it was all about a “personal” relationship with the Savior. So I had a “personal” one-to-one relationship – and it. stopped. there.

I wonder now if God allowed me to have this misunderstanding of faith, thinking it was only an individual thing, so that I wouldn’t reject the Gospel…and thus reject…

an irreplaceable relationship with God.

If I knew it was about connecting and community, I might have done just that.

Oh, how the Creator and Sustainer of the universe makes such sacrifices for his creations. It astounds me. He would’ve known of course that I would name last year “connect” and I would learn about dropping masks and reaching beyond surface and connecting heart to heart.

I heart that I’m connected to you…

and because of the year named connect…

I connected to a lot of people…

and connected – then disconnected with others.

But…

and maybe I’m wrong here…

It’s probably time…

for church.

No?

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel January 12, 2012 at 10:13 am

lots of power in your words, craig.

i love the way you write for love, for community, and for Him. you live three strands daily.

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Craig January 12, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Rachel, I wish I could live the three strands daily – I, we, only strive for doing that perfectly – we, all of the, just need so, so, so much grace. But thank you, and thank you for your kind words – about my words. God bless you Rachel!

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Cora January 12, 2012 at 10:22 am

Oh, Craig!!!!! Why does this amuse me???? I’m sitting here sort of giggling. Maybe because I see so much of myself here, only I traveled the road from a different direction. I was raised in the church from the nursery department on up. I almost lived there. My jobs through high school were at Christian book stores, Christian camps and conferences, etc. And I moved right on to Bible School. And then. . . . I threw it all out for about 15 years and never darkened the doors of a church. That was a very dark time for me as I tried so hard to figure out what was mine, what I truly believed, and what was just “brain-washed” into me. Then, I decided to give it a try. A small church, but with a pastor who consistently and methodically taught the Scriptures in a way that made me start growing little by little. I also began to “connect.” But it was the “disconnect” that hurt a lot and I left. I left in a way that only hurt me. . . I told no one, not even my family, where I was going, and I hid away for 4 years. It has only been in the recent years of my life that I risked connecting again and walked into a church just to “try it out.” My criteria for this one???? I checked out the “dress code” before going to see if I had to dress up or not. Little did I know God had made the plan long before I even thought about how I looked: It was a biker’s church! And I have connected. And I’m HOME. Follow your heart, Craig. Take it from one who’s heart has wandered far and long. Only remember that churches are full of imperfect, hungry people who are all looking to connect and to be fed. They all come with their stampede of horses behind them, their armor on, their weapons drawn, and hearts guarded — just like us.
But they come, because they are drawn — just like us. Draw near, connect, but give space.
I’ll be praying you find just the right place. . . even just the right pew!!!!

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Craig January 12, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Cora, you and I got to the same point in our faith by such drastically different paths – I heart that! And about church – find one that fits me – got it. Understand everybody’s imperfect and broken just like me – got it. Draw near – got it. Thank you Cora – you’re a tiny bit more churched than I am ツ God bless you my friend.

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Nacole@sixinthesticks January 12, 2012 at 10:39 am

yes, it is time…i think because you feel the leading of the Spirit…or you wouldnt be writing about it…thinking about it…you are making some brave moves! being one who has been out of church off and on due to hurts and such, and being out of my church body this past year for about 5 months, i understand the need and the struggle to belong in community–how necessary and how hard it is at the same time. i am back now in my church body and God is using it to break the chains free that bind me. i have nothing more to add…except…what Cora said. shes always right!

blessings on your brave journey,

Nacole

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Craig January 12, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Nacole, I don’t struggle at all with not belonging to a church – I like it this way – just kind of connected to all believers – but not part of a church – so I won’t be doing it because I want to – I’ll be doing it because of what Ignatius wrote – there’s a missing piece to my faith. And yes – Cora is always right ツ God bless you my friend.

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Nacole@sixinthesticks January 12, 2012 at 3:02 pm

oh no…i didnt mean it that way…i understand a lot of what you feel because i have had the same “not wanting to be apart” feelings…sometimes it is just too complicated and too hard. i get that. but at the same time, it is very necessary in our christian walk to leave the four walls of our homes and get out there amongst people and rub shoulders, chisel and sharpen one another, build one another’s faith and help one another to be the hands and feet of Jesus. we cant do it alone. thats where the belonging part comes in that im talking about. i may want to run and hide and never come out or jump in a fox hole head first as Cora so cleverly penned, but deep inside all of us, God created us–God created me and God created you– with a need for communion–true communion–not just the communion that i have while I hide behind my computer screen. i am in the process of doing this now…and its taxing, its taking everything i have in me, and i literally feel sick after church but i know i have to keep persevering. all of that to say, i get it. :)

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Craig January 13, 2012 at 9:05 am

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Nacole@sixinthesticks January 13, 2012 at 5:00 pm

good to see you arent mad at me! ha ha. im so thankful for this place this week, Craig. you have some amazing readers and have created such a safe place for people of all shapes and sizes to gather and commune. it is just my opinion, but i think the people that come here are some of the best around. this is a pretty special sandbox…matter of fact, i think i like it best. does my opinion count for anything?

i came by to see if you had a new post up for today and i see you dont–i must have worn you out with my questions this week!!! i hope you catch up on rest, because i cant wait for next week–but i promise–no more detailed questions.

here is my post–finally!
blessings on your weekend
http://sixinthehickorysticks.blogspot.com/2012/01/4-ways-to-radically-change-your-life-in.html

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A. January 12, 2012 at 11:57 am

Craig, your post makes me chuckle, but I also understand. In praying, for myself, finally, two dark days ago, I felt I should come up with a list of things I would do/try though I felt little or no enthusiasm for them. One was church. Again. You know I have not been to one except for a rare visit here and there-about 4 times a year-for the past four years since I left the ‘bunny’ church. It made me shake and get faint just going into one, and I had been in churches for years prior to this bad experience. So, yesterday, I googled yet again in the area of my small town, and this time read the site of a church that had always been touted as ‘bad’ in my protestant circles. I read their beliefs and didn’t see huge, red-flag kinds of ‘bad’. I had only a couple of criterion including that the pastor and main church stance had to be completely egalitarian-in the context of church and marriage both. I went to a bible study yesterday morning, turned out to be led by the pastor (good chance to get his ‘flavor’) and talked with him afterwards. Some things about the church a stretch for me, but I am going to continue to go. There may be a gem of class (from the sound of it) for me and my particulars, that may be a real blessing. Time will tell. I am not holding my breath. I know there won’t be perfection, but I am curious-if this is the place for now-what I will learn. I know I will learn things that aren’t ‘on the menu’.

The interesting thing about the ‘flavor’ is that the pastor didn’t try to be definite about things. he did use and teach the ‘bible’ but he wasn’t fist-pounding, black-and-white about it. he trusted the people present to come to their own conclusions. Coming from the hideous experience of ‘it is this way and only this way and you are DAMNED if you don’t agree’, this was both unsettling and refreshing., in that order. I was like, “what, you mean you aren’t going to TELL us all what conclusions we have to draw after reading these passages and examining context??!!! I know that can sound very ‘the bible is whatever you want it to be’ but that is not how I took it. Anyway, I will be following your church journey as I venture out on my own…

I smiled at Cora’s biker church in light of her one condition-dress ‘code’. :) If I end up settling to some degree in the church I am visiting, it will be just as surprising to me as the biker discovery must have been to Cora.

I liked what Nacole, said, also, about it being the time for you because you feel the leading or prompting of the Holy Spirit. I have had many folk tell me I ‘should be in a church’ for the past four years, but I don’t agree nor do I regret that I haven’t been. I had other wounds that needed tending and it wouldn’t have happened in any of the churches I visited. In fact, more wounding happened just visiting those places.

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Cora January 12, 2012 at 12:13 pm

A. I understand the nerves and the shaking all over just at the thought of church. I’m so envious of those who just “LOVE” their church, and find all their fulfillment and ministry through those doors. EVERY.SINGLE.DAY I fight those fears, and those feelings of not wanting to go, wanting to quit, hoping no one calls me. . . yet wanting to go. It’s like there’s two of me —- the one wanting to be fully involved, the other wanting to run for my life and find the nearest fox hole and jump into it. I can’t explain why or what I’m afraid of. I guess I just don’t want to be hurt or disappointed. . . again! Yet, I wonder how many people I hurt and disappoint because of these feelings???? I was thumbing through an old Bible and found the word commitment underlined somewhere. In the margin, I had writtin the definition of commitment —- God being able to count on me whenever He needs me. Did that ever hit me. A quick survey of the course of my life and I came to the conclusion I am NOT a committed person. I don’t think even I would count on me for anything. I’ll be praying for you, A., as you try this new church .

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A. January 12, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Cora, somehow it helps me to hear that you STILL have those ‘jump ship’ feelings, even after your going for a while to your biker church. That helps me to know that a good place and those feelings may have to coincide for a while…maybe even a long while. I could picture you taking a flying leap into a foxhole and that made me smile, even laugh. Cora, you are so real. I love that about you. And I smiled again when you said YOU wouldn’t even count on yourself! I have shied away from almost all commitments these past four years. It has felt overwhelming in the midst of my other ‘out of my control’ circumstances. So I can understand being skittish about commitment. Commitment can definitely be the handmaiden to hurt and pain. Thank you for sharing these things.

Thank you Craig for letting us have a side conversation in your ‘living room’. You have a very healing way-station here. One never knows who will show up with which kinds of wisdom, insight, prayers, and so on. I am glad your door is always open and the light is always on, even when you are grasping for snatches of sleep and Laska is off twitching in her own sleep in the corner somewhere. Coming here, and visiting the sites of some of your friends, here, has been my fresh well of encouragement today. I will face into the rest of the day with things to think about, encouragement, and inspiration.

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Craig January 12, 2012 at 1:08 pm

A. wow – I get it all. And just one more thing.

What Cora said.

because like Nacole said so well – Cora IS always right ツ God bless.

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Nacole@sixinthesticks January 12, 2012 at 3:06 pm

A.,

i get you. prayers for you going up, my friend. and i laughed at all the same things you laughed at. Cora is hilarious. i think Craig knows that i enjoy reading her comments here just about as much as reading his post! and i am so glad, too, that he always leaves the light on for us to carry on conversation.

Nacole

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A. January 13, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Thank you for your prayers, and for getting it, Nacole, and, I loved what you had to say on your blog about 4 ways to approach broken relationships. I chewed on pieces of that for the rest of the day, and it changed a response I would have otherwise made.

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Nacole@sixinthesticks January 13, 2012 at 4:53 pm

A.

thanks for letting me know. that cheers my little week up. here i am thinking, debating, wondering if i should even add those parts, because im not after all, a teacher of any kind. i still have lots to learn. but for some reason i felt (led) to write that part. its nice to know it helped someone–even a little. maybe i should continue trudging ahead and keep writing after all. everyone has been a blessing to me here this week, including you, A. you are more than welcome to drop by my place anytime.

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kelli- AdventurezInChildRearing January 12, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Craig, I’ve walked a similar yet diff path, grew up churched – Christian home, church, school – and was hurt A LOT by some mean people sporting the name of our Savior – fortunately for me, I did have a good foundation, God has brought me a long way to be able to walk back into that “group” and He has shown me it is important – follow His heart and you’ll do fine! :) the people will let you down, but He never will!!!!! hugs- (btw, didn’t know you were a minister- I am as well, but no one knows it- I’ve only told like 3 people ever – you are #4)

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Craig January 13, 2012 at 6:23 am

that’s one of the things that scares me about being in a church – when it’s just me and God – I know the person on the other side can always be trusted and will never fail. But during those years that I was a church member – I saw politics – competition – the squabbling – masks – all that imperfect stuff I guess we’re prone to. And I noticed that sometimes I brought my problems to people first before God – when if there is only God – you ALWAYS bring EVERYTHING to him – and I did. But I can’t leave that missing piece out of the puzzle – fellowshipping – more than just online – that’s important. No? And I’m going to hold onto your advice as I step back into a church. So thank you. And I’m not a minister – never have been – I just have a little Masters degree in theology – a long story – maybe I’ll tell it sometime. thank you Kelly – and God bless and keep you my friend.

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Craig January 13, 2012 at 6:25 am

PS – sorry K-E-L-L-I ツ

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Ruthiey January 12, 2012 at 8:12 pm

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve connected to what another blogger says – just did! It’s a beautiful thing to be part of this community.

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Craig January 13, 2012 at 6:29 am

Ruthiey – it made me smile. As one who really was never part of community – always the lone Christian out there slaying dragons – but never part of the community – it’s probably about time. This blogging community of ours is not perfect – it’s made up of us – and we’re all imperfect – and there has been hurt in this community as well as blessing for me – my guess is that church may be the same way. But that first century comment from Ignatius just rings in my ears – I think I need to listen. God bless you Ruthiey!

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Carrie January 12, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Craig, as usual your posts give me a lot to think about, and share. Church is a difficult subject for me. I grew up in a strict household – I could never.miss.a.mass.ever. Yet my family was simply going through the motions. We’d paste smiley faces on, drive to church together, sit in the front pew in the choir section where my step-dad played guitar and then we’d drive home. To the anger, rage, alcoholism, abuse, fear…etc…Sigh. What hurts me to this day is nobody offered a hand to my mother. Nobody offered refuge despite his drinking. Nobody offered safety or shelter. Granted it was in the 70s where everything was shoved under the rug and not discussed, but it would’ve been nice to hear one person confronting my mother and asking if she was okay. If we were okay. I left the denomination as an adult and desperately tried to “fit” someplace else. Long, long story short, I still flounder. We found a small church community but a piece of me obviously hasn’t healed. I actually must convince myself to go and even tell myself I must for my husband’s sake. Praying that you find a church home….and me too :)

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Lisa Maria January 13, 2012 at 5:20 am

Hello Carrie…forgive me for butting in.

I can somewhat relate to what you are saying…when you say Mass I’m guessing which denomination you speak of and there has been much dysfunction within the Church. Why? Because church is not God, church is the community of imperfect people coming together to worship Him. Even the Holy Father himself has acknowledged the imperfection and mistakes made by his predecessors and other church leaders. Even today, one encounters prejudice and alienation within church communities.

The one thing I’d like to say to everyone who have had bad experiences in church and are ‘disconnected’ is that I, personally, am not going to let the imperfections of any person…priest or pastor or group leader keep me from attending Mass. I go there for Him…for healing and restoration, for the spiritual food that He feeds me and, though there have been times that I might feel hurt by the actions of others, I keep my focus on Him and filter out the rest because there is nothing that can compare to what I take home with me when I go before Him. I hope that you and Craig and others find a ‘church home’, I pray that you will all find healing of the old wounds.

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Craig January 13, 2012 at 6:34 am

Lisa Maria, THAT was a beautiful reply – better than I could have written – and I thank you for it – and butting in here is always welcome – everybody appreciates it – because I have so many readers like you are so nice – and so nice to each other – and me – always gracious – so full of truth. So thank you. And all that advice that you wrote for Carrie – I’m going to take it to heart as well. God bless you Lisa Maria.

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Carrie January 13, 2012 at 9:14 am

Oh how I wish I were as strong as Lisa Maria!! Perhaps one day I can overlook all the imperfections and disappointments and attend only for HIM!

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Craig January 13, 2012 at 9:27 am

Carrie – you and me both – a big ME TOO – God bless.

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Lisa Maria January 17, 2012 at 6:00 am

Just now checking back with this and Carrie..I’m not strong at all! But I know my strength is in Him. If I focus on Him alone I can do anything! That’s His promise to all of us. I pray you will be able to do this too.

Craig, thank you for the sweet words…God gets all the credit for anything good that comes out of me…His Spirit at work! More of Him and less of me…let it be so!Thank you for making me feel welcome here…I’m just a small fish swimming around and I’m glad there are so many warm ponds out there.

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Craig January 13, 2012 at 6:37 am

Carrie, it is good to know that I’m not alone with this difficulty – yours is a different version – but I sense, a little the same – and you know – I had a monster in my house as well – and other people HAD to notice it – like yours – but no one ever said anything – or did anything. I just said a prayer – for you – and you fitting in a church – finding a place – accepting the imperfect nature of it – but finding a church home to fit and – said it for me too. God bless you Carrie. And what Lisa Maria said to you – I couldn’t have said it any better.

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Carrie January 13, 2012 at 9:15 am

Thank you both, Craig! I feel the love…and it’s wonderful here!

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Craig January 13, 2012 at 9:26 am

ツ ツ

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Mari January 12, 2012 at 10:22 pm

Yes! What Cora and what A and everyone else said, lol! I am so happy to read your words because I can see the footprints of God…sounds like He has been doing a work in you leading you to this decision.
I have been in the same church since I was 7 y.o. And though I love being a part of church and find it necessary for my faith, I have seen a fair share of ugly in the church. But I always remind myself that churches are made up of a whole bunch of messed up, needy, wounded people (and I’m the first one on the list!) so it shouldn’t come as a shock when feelings are hurt or sin pops up.

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Craig January 13, 2012 at 6:42 am

maybe the lessons – even the recent hard ones from being in this community – maybe it’s been a step to getting me back into the local community of Christians. I’ve been disobedient in being this “individual” Christian – that’s a big missing piece in my puzzle. Knowing that you have seen your “fair share of ugly in the church” – that prepares me in a way – to know that I’ll see my fair share as well – hopefully not be a part of it – and hopefully not judge it – but keep my eyes on HIM. Mari – thank you – what you wrote is useful, wise, loving, and I hearted it – thank you – and God bless and keep you!

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Katie January 12, 2012 at 10:27 pm

I am amazed by reading your post and the comments how much many of us relate… God has brought connection here. I have been in church and a Christian for a long time, but it took me becoming “real” and coming out of hiding my own heart (even from myself) before I began connecting with God, and others in ways I never imagined. A person can be surrounded by community but if that person does not open up their heart, there is no true community. You have opened up your heart and your blog has become a safe haven for others to open up their hearts. You have helped create community here — yes THREE STRANDS indeed!!!

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Craig January 13, 2012 at 6:45 am

I’m kind of amazed too Katie – I thought it was only me – I really did. And this – so true, “A person can be surrounded by community but if that person does not open up their heart, there is no true community.” thank you for that. And thank you for your kind words about my blog – they mean the world to me. And you know me – I have a hard time accepting the kind words – but I’m gonna work really hard at it – I trust you. Thank you. God bless and keep you Katie!

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Elke January 13, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Hello Craig and everyone.“

I came here on Jan 5th from Ann’s blog.
Having recently gone through a really really bad hurt by in -law family,
I was searching for an answer as my heart was bleeding and angry.
I hadn’t read Ann’s blog in awhile. Had been following the more “teaching”g type devotionals.
But I needed more.God knew I needed more. He brought me here. And it fit.the pieces of my broken heart puzzle right there on the pages and the comments and the pictures and the connecting and the seeing and the old fears of rejection relived.Laid bare, real, raw,oh so familiar.
And then the healing words came.
Patches in little drawers hidden in the heart. Sometimes a heart has to withdraw for awhile so it can mend itself.(That’s what I told him anyway.)
People are imperfect, they will let us down.(I know that, too.) I used to joke and say if you ever find a perfect Church don’t tell me, cuz I’ll go there and mess it all up.

But then just yesterday
God shows me something straight from His word.Don’t you just love when He does that.
so I’m reading this book right now,sure you know it, the Confident Heart one.And you know how we like to take a verse, a promise from the Bible and hold it and treasure it.
Well, you know how we also search above and below the verse to make sure it really ,really fits.
K. So the promise verse was Jeremiah 17 :7 (here it is in the NLT)
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.

Then God had me look right above and here’s what He showed me:
Wisdom from the Lord
5 This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans,
who rely on human strength
and turn their hearts away from the Lord.
6 They are like stunted shrubs in the desert,
with no hope for the future.
They will live in the barren wilderness,
in an uninhabited salty land.

Sooo. He says to me ,When I look for acceptance, and approval and self worth and wholeness from others (mere humans)
I’ll be a stunted shrub in the desert.
Wow. What a picture!
stunted in a lonely , dry desert.
Hopeless, barren. and in a salty land, where like even the air is salty, leaving me continually thirsty for the approval and acceptance.

Then there’s this other part of the promise though, the Happy Ending

They that made Him their confidence
8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit.

sharing with a trembling , humble heart
cuz I just don’t do this commenting thing.
A fellow traveller

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Craig January 15, 2012 at 5:09 am

first, I’m really sorry for your hurt. Hurt, no matter what variation of it, it’s still the same, maybe just differs in degree – but it has the same nature – it hurts. And I’m sorry for that. Second, I’m sorry for being so late to reply to your comment – I always reply to my comments – even if sometimes I’m late like this. I learn so much from the comments – a post is never finished until every comment is read, and replied to. I heart comments! I hearted your comment Elke. And I SO get fear, and rejection, and hurt – I get it Elke. And there is a lot of healing in what gets shared here in community. Nobody judges. I have the best people who read me – the best. Thank you, for now being included in the number. it’s a safe place – and as I learn from comments – I’ve learned from yours today. Thank you Elke – and really, it’s a safe place – a place of faith – a place of love – understanding – hope – even when it’s dark. Thank you for leaving a comment, even though I know you don’t normally do it – I appreciate that. God bless you and keep you Elke.

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Nacole@sixinthesticks January 16, 2012 at 6:38 pm

hi Elke,

just wanted to let you know since you sharing with a trembling, humble heart, that i enjoyed reading what you had to say, and it adds to this discussion in a needful way. the part about leaving me continually thirsty for the approval and acceptance–that was an awesome revelation…i needed to read that because i have my own trust and insecurity issues. thanks. and as Craig says, it is safe here. none of us will bite. thanks for sharing your heart.

blessings in His grace,

Nacole

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Michelle January 16, 2012 at 3:53 am

Craig, I fully agree with everyone – remember that churches are full of people. and people can hurt other people because they hurt also. but God, seek God and He will show you where to go.

I have been in two churches, three if you count the one my family went to when I was born until 4yo, then the one my father was a member and then myself until I married, and the one I am in now. Churches all different – the first was up the road from us in the corner of a paddock (about 40 farmers), and one member prayed for every child who went through the Sunday School every day of his life (I learned that at his funeral a few years ago), so I was prayed for every day until he died. The second, was full of people I knew in our local town and community (a small town of about 200 at the time, smaller now – about 30 people, though only about 12 when I married). With the best Sunday School teachers who taught us the Scriptures and loved us and lived what they believed. And the one I am in now with about 350 members. I also belong to a very ‘fluid’ Bible Study group – with about 16 people in it if we all turned up on the one day, but there is generally an average of 6 each week depending on who is doing what. I love the ladies in the group dearly, but…..I will admit here (and have done there to my ‘accountability mum’) that there are weeks when I just don’t want to face them and their ‘caring’ and will hide. Not go. And not feel bad about it. BUT, I do know that that is the group God wants me to be a part of, that He has me speak into the lives of the others, and them speak into me. That can be hard. I would rather go to church, which is bigger, and spend close time with God and casual time with others than be in a small group and under the gaze of caring friends. I find it easier to worship, pray, sit in silence with others worshipping around me, than to be open in a small group with people asking questions while I’m trying to figure it out myself. Too much pressure.

That said, both are important. And both can hurt, and both can heal. God requires that we be in fellowship, and He goes with us.

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Craig January 16, 2012 at 1:43 pm

And the big takeaway at the very end, “That said, both are important. And both can hurt, and both can heal. God requires that we be in fellowship, and He goes with us.” I get it – and I’m listening especially close right now. Thank you. And I thank you for all those details – I hearted reading them! God bless you Michelle!

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Michelle January 16, 2012 at 2:54 pm

I’m glad you enjoyed reading them. I hit ‘Submit’ then thought, “Gee, I waffled on a bit there.” :)

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Craig January 16, 2012 at 3:41 pm

“waffled on” – Australian words…..heh ツ

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Jennifer January 16, 2012 at 11:07 pm

There are Sunday mornings when we don’t get out of bed. Church, where we don’t quite fit in with those in our small community whose lives have been woven together since before birth. But we go, sometimes, because we know we should. “Forsake not the assembly of the saints.” We aren’t saints. But we don’t want to forsake God or His commands. Our pastor shared Sunday of two men contemplating this. One said why can’t I worship by a stream, while I fish, on my own? They sat by a fire together and the friend pulled out a burning ember, setting it apart from the others. It slowly went out, alone. Point made. We need fellowship with other Christians. Why church? Because the Bible says so. After that lesson, God spoke to me through the pastor. His Words shared spoke to my heart.

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Craig January 18, 2012 at 9:36 am

Helow…
Helow Jennifer – u mite not no me but i am laska th luv kitee. Kreg NOT iz feeling wel. Is soree he kant reply. I am havingz reeply foor u tu hav helpingz foor him. Kreg wantz me to be havingz of telling to u that he red coment but iz feelingz of tu much bad to reeply. Not onlee am I havingz of reeply but I am havingz of writingz BOTH blogz tuday – come! REED! Kreg an laska wil reeply tu all comentz.

Luv laska

ps he sez WOW to yoor ember storee – and sez tu mayk theez !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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BrandeeShafer January 17, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Yes. It’s time. Hebrews 10:24-25 and all. I’ll be praying that you find the right place.

Also, I have an awesome story about Ecc 4:7 from just yesterday, which makes your post (which I just now read) an amazing confirmation. I’ll save my story for Valentine’s day.

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Craig January 18, 2012 at 9:37 am

Helow…
Iz laska th luv kitee. Kreg NOT iz feeling wel. Is soree he kant reply. I am havingz reeply foor u tu hav helpingz foor him. Kreg wantz me to be havingz of telling to u that he red coment but iz feelingz of tu much bad to reeply. Not onlee am I havingz of reeply but I am havingz of writingz BOTH blogz tuday – come! REED! Kreg an laska wil reeply tu all comentz.

Luv laska

ps kreg sez mayk shoor hav tellingz tu him wen u post – he duz NOT want to hav missingz of it

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Caddo Veil January 17, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Oh WOW! This is too much, too GOOD–that you put the “3 cord strand” verse and talk about the blog connections (‘specially between believers) for me to see today! Brother Craig, you’re wonderful–I just fought my way through a 2-day enemy attack–successfully, I might add. But as I wrote an email about it to one of our blog sisters here, I mentioned the 3-cord strand deal, and that I felt the attack was not just on me–but was an effort by the enemy to attack the fellowship and strong anointing between the sisters and brothers in blog land–Can you believe that??!! So, thanks for the great confirmation–We ARE VICTORIOUS in HIM!!!!

I absolutely think you should sell the devotional, and Valentine’s Day would be a perfect time–And having said that, I confess I would not be able to purchase one. Not looking for sympathy, but I’m scraping by–way glad I can tithe, but there’s nothing left over. Still my Heart supports you! Is this okay? God bless you “richly”.

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Craig January 18, 2012 at 9:40 am

Kreg iz still having of sik – so I am havingz of reeply agen – he iz having of soreez. Luv laska.

ps hee haz free luv booklit hee uzed foor givaway – hee sez – do u want wun?

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