Let me start by saying that I am NOT Church Lady. I drink beer. I cuss (though I'm trying to curb that habit!). I laugh at anything that's truly funny--even if it's a little raunchy. God is no prude (check out the Old Testament), and He has a sense of humor. I get mad, but I don't try to get even any more. I try to be a good Christian, but I'm afraid I'm no Mother Teresa--I make no claim to sainthood, at least of that variety.
That said, I will admit that I'm involved in a lot of church stuff, mostly things that revolve around the healing ministry and pastoral care.
My healing cohort and friend M started facilitating a bereavement support group last week. It's funny how things work out--the day before the group began I talked with a woman I've been praying for and with the past few years. She was in stage 4 cancer and had been given another year or so when I met her. Between prayerful support and her fierce determination to have every moment possible with her husband and young son, she's held on, and even had a huge improvement in her physical condition (her spiritual condition has been strong through it all).
Now, hospice is working with her and they don't give her much more time--another month or six weeks. She said she was a little numb, but she talked matter-of-factly. I asked her to come to the next healing service so we can all lay hands on her and pray. She needs this for her body, soul and spirit.
I know she had been avoiding me, among other people (I spot it 'cause I got it), laying low, licking her wounds, and afraid to face us -- she's afraid she has failed us in some way.
I called her from work--caught her off guard. After our conversation, I went into the bathroom and cried for a minute. I was so angry at that old enemy who comes to steal from us. He's stealing her life, not only from her, but from her family. Her young son will barely remember who she is. But at least he will be old enough to have memories of her.
Lately, I haven't felt that I should pray to keep her here, with us, anymore. There comes a point when continued living becomes a punishment. I've been just praying for God to heal her in the way He knows best.
She's been through all her body can take, yet she will be healed. This I know. She is safe in God's hands. Still, I cried.
A Christian co-worker tried valiantly to cheer me up by getting a Bible and quoting scripture. All good scriptures, but it was a reminder to me that we need to be allowed to experience our grief. (I love this person, though. She was so caring, so sincere in her desire to ease my grief.)
We need to cry when we need to cry. Pain and grief are real in this world. I carried this reminder with me to the bereavement support group the next night.
I have a lot to say (gripe and praise) on a lot of topics, including the church, but those will be for future blogs.
I've been thinking about blogging for months, almost did once before. I've been posting so many comments on other people's blogs I figured it's time to bite the bullet, get over my cowardice, and just do it.
I'll invite comments as soon as I figure out how to get them!
Here are my favorite bloggers (with a big 'thanks'), and there are lots of links to other great sites from theirs:
Real Live Preacher
Le Pretre Noir