Lately, I have been...empty. I have been running around, keeping busy with chores, sewing projects, grocery lists and often meaningless tasks. I've been pouring this hurt in small and large amounts to my friends Michelle and Katie, and of course my husband.
This emptiness is temporarily satisfied in my Wednesday morning small group, but fades through the afternoon. But the past two days have stretched me so thin in my heart, I couldn't take it. After reading my friend Aaron's blog, I was overcome with jealousy- as I often am truthfully. As usual, when I should be encouraged with Our Father's movement, I am filled with jealousness, bitterness, and strife over what is going on in his life that is NOT going on in mine. I often start to play The Devil's Advocate with him in my head to try and figure out WHY is this working for him...and never for me...
but that is not what we're talking about tonight.
Tonight, I turned to my good friend, Matt Carter.
[Ok, so maybe we've met once or twice, but if he were to reach Sainthood, and I were to pick a Patron Saint, I would pick him. His aparent gift of Prophecey pushes me to find a mentor to mold my own gift, and his passion is overwhelmingly welcome any day I hear his sermons.]
One [of the many] of podcasts that I have not listened to is a series called "And You Will Be Healed." Tonight, out of pure exhaustion of what I just went through- I will go over part one.
Matt Carter on Paul, The Prodigals Son, and Confession
"'I am the foremost of sinners'
What Paul is saying is this: 'I am acutely aware of my own sinful nature..I get that the propensity of my flesh to wanna sin and to live out the stuff that I don't wanna do. Paul basically says that 'I am the foremost of sinners and the only reason that I'm aware of that is not because I'M good but because God has done a work of Grace in my life That's what that means
Now I wanna ask you guys a question-'Are you there?' Especially for those of you in the room who have been in church forever were virgins when you got married, never gotten drunk and all the hanis sins that we talk about in the church all the time, you've never done that [oh! oh! oh! I'll raise my hand-guilty on this!], are you there? are you so acutely aware of your own sin that your able to say, 'I am the foremost of sinners'? [craaap...no] or do you still think you're husband is worse than you, honestly?...Or the couple living together down the street that's already had an abortion, do you think, 'ah, their worse than me, they're higher up on the list.' Or you look at the guy in the church who's had seven affairs on his wife, and it came out. and you think, 'at least i..i did this but at least i didn't do that.' Or the pastor up the street who stole money from the church. 'How could HE do THAT?'
Or are you like Paul? You're so aware of your own brokenness,before God that your like me- like Paul, I'm sorry I thought I WAS the worst of sinners?"
I could continue to go, but I think you got it. I HIGHLY encourage you to listen to the full sermon here.
HOW AWESOME IS OUR GOD?!?! I have been talking to Katie about how desperately we need confession. I have seen communities, friendships, marriages, religions! fall to unmendable pieces because of lack of confession. I asked that when we get together, we have a time of confession, no matter how difficult or awkward it may be. That we are able and willing to come to each other with our sins without judgement in order to be able to do the same for others.
How convicting is that passage alone? How often do I, me personally, gossip, put another down, forget to pray out of hurt, not damnation for someone who is close [or not!] who is sinning, and worst of all- pray to gossip! "Oh Lord, I lift up my friend Joe who is wicked in his perverse homosexuality" in front of a group of friends who did not know Joe was gay. How often do I say to a friend "Oh and please pray for [insert name of a mutual friend] she is really struggling with finding community. She reffuses to talk to anyone, and its just hard for me to do this by myself." And I know I am NOT alone in this, as heartbreaking as that is.
Later on Matt mentions that in every culture that has fallen, the women are the last to go. That once the morals in women have become demolished, the nation soon falls...and man are the facts that us women in America letting our nation come to ruins stacking up against us.
Matt leaves us with four applications for Confession:
Confess to God; Before anyone, bring your sin to God, immediately and with a deep passion for forgiveness. If you run to someone you know and confess to them before Our Saviour, little is going to happen to keep you from doing that again. His forgiveness of Sin is essential.
Confess to someone who will actually keep you accountable; Have someone in your life-that it is the hardest to bring your sins to- keep you accountable. Telling your best friend that you lied to your mom is not that hard, Confessing to God that you lied to your mother, repenting, and then telling your mom you lied to her, then telling your friend who will keep you accountable is the scriptual way to go about it.
Confess with detail; Matt gives the example of a man telling his friend "Hey man, I struggled with Lust today" as he leaves the room as if his simple admission will be enough. He did not say- to his wife- "Today at work, I struggled with Lust and Adultry by..."
Create a gospel culture; This is for the person receiving the confession. Forgive them the way Christ forgave you for their sin. In that moment Christ is working in you just as much as he is working in them.
I'm asking you to join me in this new discipline that myself and my family are about to undertake with a fierce determination- to satisfy Our King! I pray that as I make it through this series some of this emptiness [which is now realized to be burden] will be vanished, filled with Grace and understanding, and a heart that is lifted much closer to Jesus.
I know I have a lot of prayers to say, phone calls to make and a heart to prepare for my husband to come home to tonight.