Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A New Horizon in Sight

Reformed Fraidy Cat

I was a train wreck waiting to happen. Hah! Some of my friends are chuckling at that statement and dying to tell you I'm always a train wreck in progress. My train wrecks are now, perhaps, more complicated and sophisticated. That's about all that has changed. Look in the mirror. I'm not that different from you. Or someone you know. We'll pretend it's our little secret, Ok?

Up to now I've been comfortable telling my sorry tale. Much of it contains elements to which everyone can relate: marriage challenges, childhood abuse, financial strains, learning disabilities, health crises, etc. What's not to resonate about that stuff? You read and think of yourself or someone you know. Voila! I've gotcha snared in my crafty little writer's trap. Ta-DAH. It's magic when it works well.

Who YOU calling a Fraidy Cat?
Few of you grew up like I did or were close friends with someone who shares my experiences. You can't identify with the process of growing up in my kind of fishbowl – the preacher's house. Even those of you who did might not be able to relate to the unique way we navigated that lifestyle. I hesitate to give you the flavor for fear you'll shake your head wondering how it can be true. Alien girl, she is, you'll think.

Despite the divergence in our life experiences, the sum total is the same. We reach a point when we have to decide one way or the other what we are going to do with God. Will we accept the good Creator God who offered up his only son to reconcile us to himself? Or, will we decide that the universe began with a cataclysmic bang which launched us into an accidental universe without a grand plan for any of us? Are we, then the gods of our own destiny adrift in a sea of creative chaos? Distilled to purest form, those are the ultimate questions in life.

Wouldn't you follow her anywhere?
When I was about 30, I realized I had been so busy loving God for everyone else that I had no idea what it was to love him for myself. My relationship with God was wrapped up in priming the pump that would spur the saints and sinners in our flock to deeper communion with God. 

I had grown up hearing adults opine that Grandpa's religion and salvation would not be an automatic bus ticket into the gates of heaven. Faith is not passed down via a last will and testament and automatically transferred from one generation to the next. It is personal and individual. Made sense to me. Didn't apply to me. WHEW! Whew until age 30, and then G.U.L.P.

I was after all the good kid who had been in church since the 3rd day of my life. From early childhood, I was told that I was part of a 'ministering family'. In that family, we all had a job to do. I was proud as punch to do mine. Especially when I was promoted to the position of what I now consider 'pump primer'.

Little Shoulders. Big Job.
Did you ever see an evangelistic crusade sponsored by the Rev. Billy Graham? Remember how Dr. Graham would offer the audience an opportunity to express faith in Christ by coming to the front of his venue for a time of prayer and counseling? Sinners and saints alike were invited to come on down and let the prayer counselors know the need so that folks could pray together.

It may come as a surprise to you, but in lots of Christian churches all over the world, that same rite goes on week after week. The service ends with what is referred to as the 'altar call'. It is a time for those in need to share in a season of prayer. The proud day came when I was mature enough to be assigned my special job.

The organ would begin the soft strains of some heart-rending theme like Dr. Graham's oft used “Just As I Am”. The offer of a season of prayer would go out. Saint or sinner – the altar was there for those who wanted to share in the fellowship of corporate prayer. During those sensitive moments, it was my job to watch the podium like an eagle for 'the sign'. It was secret code.

The tip of my father's finger would extend just enough beyond the lectern that only one looking for it would see it. I was the only one looking. I knew that was my sign. Time for me to move out into the aisle and toward the prayer altar. I mean....even God's word says the little child shall lead them, so who in their right and prayerful mind would resist following a little child down to pray? 
Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Was it any wonder then that, at the ripe old age of around 30, I stumbled upon a confusing realization. I had learned to love God for everyone around me. In reality, I had no idea if he loved me or how to love him back. I had no idea if he was really real. In that moment, my soul-vision cleared to 20-20. True story.

What about you, fraidy cat? When you are all alone surrounded by nothing but quiet, do you find yourself wondering? What is my purpose in life? Is this all there is? Is there REALLY a loving God with a good plan? If there is, I am even on his radar? How can I tell anyone how confused I am because I'm supposed to have all the answers? What would people think if they knew all I had was questions?

Welcome home, fraidy cat. I'm in search of my good God with the good plan. All fraidy cats are welcome here. Spread the word. If you don't tell them, how in the world are the others gonna find us way out here in Cyberlandia? Love you long and strong. See you soon. 
Courtesy B. Creasy
As the Psalm 42: 1 
(Word English Bible)deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants after you, God. 
Psalm 84: 2 (American KJV)
My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh cries out for the living God.


  1. Sigh. Sometimes we preachers have no idea of what we are REALLY teaching our children.

  2. Take heart. Eventually, we children grow up and realize our parents did the best they could with the understanding they had at any given point in our formative years. We realize that we'd all take a do-over if we were granted one. Once we are parents....we get it. We do. Take heart.

  3. I can relate to the quiet, questioning part. Am I really apart of a plan? Is there really a God who cares? Sometimes I wonder. Thanks. I know I am not alone in this. Have way too many friends that are way to "good and normal" to share my struggles. :(