Drawing the Spiritual Line


Photographed and developed by Sara M. Rice 
“’Holy Rollers’ that’s why my mom would call those people,” a dear friend of mine said when I was leaning on her shoulder and talking about what someone had said when I began talking about my mother’s illness at work one day. I have had some statements made to me regarding my mom that have caused me to laugh and shake my head (maybe only inside), but if I was not as strong of a woman as I am and in touch with God, I would be ruined. Listen, Jesus and I are really tight, we don’t talk as often as we should, but that is most certainly my fault and not His. So what was it that sparked this post, a sense of fear I suppose. I cringe inside when I hear some people speak so strongly about their beliefs without even considering where the other person is with his or her faith. I am really happy that people hold such gusto for God, and believe me, I do! What worries me is the individuals who speak without thinking first about who their audience is. I am speak about those who have told me that I shouldn’t even consider putting my mother in a nursing home because God said to “Honor thy Mother and Father” or the woman who told me that I can pray my mother’s dementia away only to seem less convinced when I told her that my mother’s was too far gone. As if God has a line that He draws with His auspicious power or that I simply have not been praying enough to cure my mother. I laugh slightly as I write this yet the fear is still alive in me, that someone could say this to a new Christian or a person who is not a Christian because they do not understand why God has forsaken them and they have been alone on a traumatic journey.

Look at the shed above, it looks sturdy enough, but is it? Perhaps if I take time to make sure it is structurally sound before adding stuff to it, the shed and myself would likely be better off. Instead of adding garden tools inside only to find that the structure has now collapsed around all my new good and useful stuff. God is great and I believe this, but when you are called by God to work with individuals from sexual traumatic backgrounds, low socioeconomic statuses, addiction and domestic violence records themselves or their spouse/parent you need to make sure someone is structurally sound first. I may look structurally sound, but you do not know this for sure. Sure, I believe that God has such a wonderfully beautiful power about Him that prayer does have healing powers. I do believe that children should honor their mothers and fathers. I do believe that God will never leave us but I also know that evil is abundant in this world because it is a fallen world. Again, what is my point? As a mental health professional who does get the privilege to work with those who are in Christian non-profits I am able to share the gospel. I love God, I believe that all things are for good. I know that my prayer is for peace for myself and my mother, I know the amount of my prayer was not the cause of my mother's illness and I know that my life has been touched by something divine. I wish I could fully explain why I am a Christian and why I chose to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, I wish the words matched my heart and life experiences, but I am at a loss.

God has not forsaken you even when you are in the woods alone with someone who has sexual thoughts about a young girl and acts upon them, God has not forsaken you even when you parents fought and your mother wears make up to cover bruises, God has not forsaken you when on the day you come home from giving birth and you sit on a bed being berated by your husband because he is drunk and something has angered him, God has not forsaken you when you marriage falls apart and you are so lonely you feel physically ill, God has not forsaken you as you hold you precious child in your arms preparing them for their spot in heaven. I WISH, I WISH I had better tangible proof that you are not alone.

PEOPLE please, just think who you are speaking to. If you are a pastor or not, if you have read the whole Bible or not, if you have a Christian College mental health background or not please just take a moment and consider the spiritual line you could be drawing for someone. You could be the determining factor and navigator to someone's life. Put yourself in their shoes, what would you want to hear and know?

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