I've had a little time to crawl off into my cave and lick my wounds from all this church group stuff, and I've come to a few conclusions:
1) My husband is right. From the beginning, he told me flat out - this wasn't about spanking or not spanking, this wasn't about them rejecting me, this was about God wanting to do amazing things with my life and Satan trying to stop Him. I imagine the scene so vividly...Lucifer saunters into God's presence as smoothly as one can when you cannot even look upon the glory of the Lord, and he points at me and says, "So, you think that girl is going to bring more people to You? That crazy girl with the pink hair? You must be kidding. I've seen her turn her back on You before. She holds a grudge, she gets angry and bitter. Some day, someone will cross her and she will take it out on You." And Jesus says, "No, she's grown. She's mine, and I'm changing her." And Satan says, "Allright, then. Let's just see if what you say is true." And so it started - round one, ring the bell. Ding, ding. Satan hit me with a nasty left hook.
2) I have a magic Bible. Okay, I know that's highly unlikely but I've truly come across words that spoke to my core when I really needed it. Specifically when I was bawling my eyes out over the whole mess (I'm an emotional one) and I prayed, "God, I need You to tell me how to fix this" and opened my Bible up totally randomly, and my eyes fell upon Micah 6:8. "He has showed you, O [Felicia] what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." It's not human nature to act justly all the time, to everyone. Loving mercy is hard. Loving mercy...all the time, even when I don't particularly feel like it. Walking humbly...that I could use a little help with. It's not even walking humbly that I struggle with, it's more like walking with balance. I spent a great deal of my life thinking so little of myself, I had such horrible self esteem. It took me a long time to grow to the point where I liked who I am simply because I am secure that Jesus does too. Gradually, He has made me a better person, and sadly we live in a world where if you are a good person it can quickly go to your head. So thank you, Magic Bible, for that giant pin you gave me to deflate my ego. Love mercy, walk humbly...got it. Walk with my God - I see. Not, you know, by myself. Round two...I'm still dizzy from that first hit, but I'm up and I'm swinging. Okay, I'll be honest. I may have been holding a bit at this point, too. I imagine Satan looking at me, grinning with evil delight like Mr. Burns from the Simpsons. He drools over my wooziness from his every blow to my gut.
3) I have some pretty amazing friends. So many of you helped me work through this. I am so blessed. I'd have to say, that was the one wildcard in this fight...when gambling on the tenacity of my soul, I doubt Satan had considered the support of my spiritual family. (I also doubt he considered my stubbornness...or maybe he did, and was hoping that would work to his advantage.) To those who lifted me up when I needed it, thank you. To those who needed me to be an example for you, thank you. To those who called and shared their thoughts with me...thank you. You were like a surgeon to my thoughts, you helped me cut out the bad stuff and focus on what I needed to. You were my Mickey in the corner, cheering me on and toughening me up. Maybe this is a bad analogy since Rocky lost in the first movie. Although, with my life story...I've already lived through "Rocky". This would be Rocky II for me. And we all know how that ended. At this point in my spiritual boxing match, I've come back swinging.
I'm a little disappointed in myself. I almost gave up my ministry with the homeless shelter. I was questioning everything. For a split second, I actually thought we may be making a mistake in moving. Obviously, Satan knows my weaknesses and he did everything he could to exploit them. Shocking, huh? I can just hear him now - standing before Jesus while I was at my lowest, saying "See? Nothing has changed. She's still the same flawed, stupid human." And Jesus growled back, "I said she's growing. I'm changing her. I'm not done with her yet."
It was right about then that I decided there was no way I could give up my ministry at the homeless shelter. And whatever emotional turmoil this situation caused me was just weathering to toughen me up for the challenges in front of us as we relocate. Because no matter what I've done with my life in the past, I've lived enough to know that I cannot be happy outside of God's plan for me. So even if it hurts (I'll miss my friends) and even if I'm scared (if I am this much of a wuss over this church group thing, how will I hold up under unknown pressures?) and even if I don't think I can do it, I have to. Because I've been hand chosen to do something with my life. I've been prepared by every heartache along the way to reach someone else with Christ's love.
Because I'm still growing.
Christ is changing me.
He's not done with me yet.