IF God Is Real Then I Have A Confession

Posted by on February 11, 2014 in Forgiveness, Grace, writing | 26 comments

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One of the first things I did in between catching planes home from IF:Gathering this weekend was write an apology letter to a woman who has become a dear friend over the last year.

IF God Is Real

Repentance.

This has been a running theme in my life, and in my prayers for the last 2 years.

I don’t know why, but I’ve often been threatened by the doubts of others. My entire life, I’ve believed in God, simply at face value. He exists, the end. I didn’t question Him. I didn’t doubt Him–perhaps because he existed as nothing more than an abstract figure to me. He was untouchable, distant. I had never asked if God is real–I didn’t know what it was like to fight for my faith.

But two years ago, I wrestled with God like never before. From that wrestling, my faith was birthed anew. Not only did I experience God in a palpable way for the first time,  but He had touched me deep and left me limping, but blessed.

I don’t know how I professed to be a Christian for 14 years before this experience. I had loved God, surely, but I had not known God, in the sense that I know Him now.

I lived my life content with the smallest version of Him I could fashion. My pocket-sized Jesus, who was quaint and quiet. My simple God who loved me, for the bible tells me so. He was little more than a children’s nursery song to me. I know that now.

But after He touched me, dislocating the only faith I’d ever known, I finally saw Him for who he is–YWHW. Creator. Aplpha, Omega, Jehova-Jireh. Abba.

I’d never experienced repentance like that. My pride had long fooled me into thinking I was right and good, upstanding in my own ability. 1 John 1:8 tells me otherwise:

 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

And so I came face to face with my sin, with my truest self in all it’s ugly honesty. The wrestling, the punches I hurled into God’s chest were met with a love and grace I still cannot fathom. I wanted Him to punch back. I deserved it didn’t I? Who was I to doubt the King? Who was I to lose faith and misunderstand the Almighty?

I thought doubt was a sin.

He said my doubt made Him that much more real to me. He welcomed my questions. He absorbed my angry rants, and tear-laden prayers–He loved me harder and His love healed holes that had long been filled with cheap substitutes and flimsy hope.

My entire life I’d lived ignoring the dark side of faith out of fear and misguided reverence. After all,  a pocket-sized God is not big enough to handle this sort of spiritual wrangling.

In Winn Collier’s ridiculous book, Restless Faith: Holding On to a God Just Out of Reach, (and by ridiculous, I do mean amazing) he writes:

To counteract this addiction for ignoring the dark side of human experience and to fight to preserve both our hearts and our integrity, the scriptures offer us the ancient practice of lament, complaining against God. The Scriptures, particularly many of the wisdom passages are scandalous in how they model the spiritual discipline of wrangling with God. The Hebrews nurtured the discipline of lament to an art form. They understood the God-honoring and humanity-requiring need to recognize the deep brokenness of the soul–and to muster the courage to embrace it before God. To declare it to Him. To shout or mumble it at him. Much of the language used in the complaints flung at God is unsettling, it isn’t how we suppose good, God-fearing should address the Almighty.

So as I followed the details of my friend’s wrestling faith journey, I shrank back in horror. My pride rebuked her for daring to challenge God in such a way. I harbored an ugly nest of judgmental thoughts and accusations. I worried for her salvation. These are ugly contemptuous thoughts I share here. Even as I write them I sway dizzy with nausea for the detestable ways I’ve idolized my own flat faith.

IFGathering

At IF:Gathering, I heard from women who’ve wrestled hard with Jesus. I’ve heard the message of repentance and known my own heart’s ache to be right with God. To be right WITH God–next to Him, me in Him and He in me.

I wrote her and apologized, I then received her swift forgiveness like an anointing oil poured over me. I stood in the warmth of her generous grace and felt that truly God IS with me. He has found His way from my pocket to me heart. I no longer fear the doubts of others. God has been good to let me wrestle. He’s been generous to allow me to practice and learn the art of lament and struggle with the Holy.

Doubt strains our ideals and sifts through all we say we believe. In this painful process, doubt is the sledgehammer that shatters what will not stand up to its ferocious assault. However, if truth is what we want–and God is true as He declares himself to be, then after we emerge from the dark night, what we have is more of God, more of what is real. Such destruction is apparently required. Falsehoods must be ripped away so truth can stand bold and clear. ~Winn Collier

The truth is, I owe many more apologies for the judgments I’ve made out of my small faith over the years. This is just the first of many letters I will need to write.

 

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  • http://jasonandkelliwoodford.blogspot.com/ kelli woodford

    Oh, Kris. How I DO love your heart.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Kelli, the feeling is so mutual. My heart is a messy place of regret and repentance, I’m learning the steps to live well, to live with grace.

  • Becky Daye

    Oh, Kris! Your heart for God and your passion for Him spurs me on further and deeper. As always, blessed by your words!

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Thanks for encouraging me, Becky. Thank you always for reading. I pray he stirs your heart more and more!!

  • Sarah

    “I don’t know how I professed to be a Christian for 14 years before this experience. I had loved God, surely, but I had not known God, in the sense that I know Him now.”

    This is the very thing that keeps me up at night. For once I tasted, once I saw….I realized I believed for so many years but I didn’t KNOW. I’m still clueless, I’m sure. But I’ve tasted. And now that I have, I want to know God more and more and more. And I want to make Him known.

    Love your transparency, Kris! xoxo

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Yes, Sarah, once we taste Him, there is no turning back. I crave Him always, he is the only thing that can fill me, the solution to my every need, the answer to my every prayer. thank you for your encouragement. This was not an easy one to share.

  • http://www.oakandoats.com/ Elizabeth Mayberry

    what a beautiful, encouraging, life giving post!

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Thank you, Elizabeth. You bless me for reading and taking the time to encourage.

      • http://www.oakandoats.com/ Elizabeth Mayberry

        You are so welcome! Thanks for letting the Lord use you!

        http://www.oakandoats.com

  • http://www.momsmustardseeds.com/ Rebecca Brandt

    Swift forgiveness when you confess and repent a sin is a beautiful gift of grace and mercy. It is also a beautiful testimony of the love of Christ in another Christian. I’ve confessed sins in the past and had doors slammed in my face. When that happens, I question my own faith, desires and feel an anger that is a sin. Through those, God has taught me to give grace – to share His love and to know that we are all on a different path.

    This my friend, is a beautiful post. I think it’s one every person can honestly say ‘I’ve done that’….. “I’ve been that person who judged”….it’s the ones who walk out on the other side who move closer to Christ and reflect His love.

    Love you and hope to see you soon!

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      I am sorry that your confessions have been met with hard heartedness. That is so unfortunate. It is not easy to admit our failings to others, but we can be confident that regardless of how others receive our hearts, God holds us tight, and never slams doors in our faces–praise Him.

  • Amy Hunt

    He loves us so much that He wants us to SEE. He keeps giving us sight even when we think we can see quite enough thankyouverymuch. Grace. True grace.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Yes, grace sees us through!

  • IfMeadowsSpeak

    “Dislocating my faith”, eureka! That is it. That’s exactly how it felt to me when He did that all those years ago.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Thanks, Tammy. So grateful for your kind encouragement!

  • Margo

    Brave and human with a willing spirit, that’s how I see you here. And, my dear, we have all either been there…or are on our way! Judgementalism is a nasty root in the lives of women. Nasty!!! He has been dealing with mine as well. Bless you!

    Margo @ A Beautiful Mess of Grace and Flesh

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Thank you, friend.

  • http://ashliewrites.com/ Ashlie

    Oh, friend. I seriously can’t believe the timeliness of this post. Only God. My heart leapt out in these words and felt room to beat. This:

    “But two years ago, I wrestled with God like never before. From that wrestling, my faith was birthed anew. Not only did I experience God in a palpable way for the first time, but He had touched me deep and left me limping, but blessed.

    I don’t know how I professed to be a Christian for 14 years before this experience. I had loved God, surely, but I had not known God, in the sense that I know Him now.”

    Limping, but blessed. <– That is why I don't want to back down from the struggle like I have before. Even if it hurts, I want to hang on, I want to know Him in the fellowship of suffering so that I can KNOW Him in the breathtaking power of resurrection. TRULY know Him, tht is my heart's cry. Honestly, I don't know if that is something I've always been willing to walk through. The wrangle, the questions, the hard parts. But I'm ready. I don't want to be at arm's length.

    Can't even tell you how much I love you. Amazed at the way He brought us to be friends, which is clearly His work. xoxoxo

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Ashlie, I have so many things to say to you…. expect a long rambling voxer message in due time. I am just so grateful your heart is encouraged! Love you so!!!

  • http://redemptionsbeauty.com/ Shelly Miller

    Your heart is so lovely Kris. I am so thankful for the way you lean in and listen. Thankful that IF was a marker of God’s faithful presence for you.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      I appreciate your words, Shelly. It doesn’t feel lovely, to know I’ve harbored so many ugly thoughts in my heart. But I am thankful for grace, for forgiveness and the gift that comes when we repent and seek redemption. So thankful for you, God is good to have blessed me with you!

  • Alia_Joy

    It’s so interesting how this faith journey works in each of us. The roads He leads us down to get to the heart of who He is not only in the world but in each of our lives. I came to faith railing against God, angry and full of doubt and have wrestled and struggled ever since but I’m learning a deeper faith from the questions, just as you are.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      It is funny how we each come in our own way, in our own struggle, or lack of. I believe that eventually, we will wrestle with God, weather our journey begins that way, or comes later down the road–I think we must, right? How else can we really get close to Him? His ways are not our ways… Love to you, sweet lady!

  • http://www.dianadenis.org/ Diana Denis

    I know all about “flat faith”. Don’t you just love that He swoops down, way down, to reach us, pull us up and allows us to experience the fullness of His love? Love your heart Kris.

  • http://www.christiepurifoy.com/ Christie Purifoy

    Excellent, excellent post! I can relate to Every Word. Thank you.

  • http://fruitinseason.blogspot.com Christine- Fruit in Season

    The death (over and over) of our pride builds steps upward to the place of loving as God does. I’ve learned this the hard way too. <3