Wednesday, February 13, 2008

More Than One Voice

I am the daughter of a diligent Bible-studying atheist father and two devout haters of the church. My mother was mistreated by church doctrine most of her life, and my step-mother was abused by an over-bearing minister for a father.

I know I am, by no means, alone. However, I often feel like an outsider in religion. Maybe that's not a bad thing.

Exactly seven years ago I was born again. My conversion was an act of consciousness as well as divine inspiration. I received the gift of the Holy Spirit the moment I accepted that Jesus was the promised Messiah, and that he fulfilled all the prophesies of the Old Testament. I did not (and still do not) yet know all those prophesies - but I became convinced of enough that I accepted as whole what I had heard in part. One week later I was baptized at the hands of my also newly-baptized husband. Losing him was a cost I had counted, but fortunately had not paid. I was joyful and content with my experience. It made sense to me and gave me much assurance.

Yet, from the moment of my baptism, godly men and women began to assuage me with doubt. They were certain that I was to receive the Holy Spirit at baptism, and it was not possible I had received it before. When I shared my testimony, God's use of the men and women of the church to intervene in my life and the "coincidences" of time and place that led to my conversion were praised as truth, while the spiritual and emotional interventions of God working alone in my heart were cautiously accepted with warnings to test the spirits with scripture.

For many years, I studied the Bible hours on end trying to find the conclusions and convictions of others in the scripture. Had the Lord abandoned my spirit? I could not find these convictions with the same source of enlightenment that had found the Lord. Mind you this enlightenment was not an emotional response - it was simply clarity of the knowledge set before me. As the speech of man began to clutter my heart I felt a loss for all clarity beyond the first.

The second half of my journey has been learning not to allow man to nullify my experience with God. Yes, I know that I still must test the spirits with scripture, and that many advisors make wise council, but I also know the voice of my Shepherd.

In the past two years, the Lord has added another dimension to my walk - blogging as a Christian. I call it my "stalk." I have been compiling information in my mind regarding other Christian's experiences with finding and holding on to God. My mind can only hold so much and make any sense of it. Hence, you have my voice right here - in your head, as it is in mine.

One of my goals is to find the common experiences. Is it common to all or some? Another goal is to learn not to dismiss someone's experience because it is not like mine. We are told in scripture that there is nothing new under the sun - so I suspect that there will be no truly unique experiences, that statistically I will always find two or more of a kind. I also suspect that I will find these common experiences are what gather us together into theological denominations - because it is safer. If your experience is the same as mine, you won't make me doubt what I have come to know. However, I also find it very dangerous. I will often defend my experience as the only way - attempting to create in you the very doubt I fear you will create in me. It is very ugly, and I pray daily I do not succumb to this close-mindedness. I think having more than one voice in my head will help.

I hope you find my voice is reasonable and compassionate, but loud. And when you respond with your voice in my head, I hope I find it just as reasonable, compassionate and loud.

There is no reason to listen if I cannot hear.
Just Another Voice,

9 comments:

Rose~ said...

How interesting, Missy.
THanks for that and God bless.
(I had no idea that was you)

Kc said...

You wascal! So it's voices in your head now, eh????!!!

Love ya Sis! Great blog! Great post!!!

(I wish I had thought of this hehe)

Another Voice said...

Thanks, Rose for the encouragement. If we all try to have "reasonable" blogs, what a world this would be!

Another Voice said...

Oh, KC, it's always been voices in MY head! I was accidentally anonymous for a moment, and I couldn't take the temptation, so I had to come clean. I love you, too and thanks for stopping by!

dorsey said...

Wow, Missy, thanks for inviting me over. I love this blog. I love this post. The longer I live, the more I understand how differently God deals with each of us, how differently he draws each of us, and how differently he grows each of us.

I think of my children. I love them both equally, but if I dealt with them each the same, I think it would screw up both of them.

I love common ground, but observing the diversity of experience across the body of Christ helps me to take God out of the box my training has put Him in and understand that He is bigger than even my imagination.

I appreciate your sharing this. Be blessed.

Another Voice said...

Thanks, Dorsey. I'm glad you visited. I agree. :)

Sanctification said...

Missy-

Neat concept. Certainly there are those among us who feel left out, or out of place. Maybe one day you will be so connected and encouraged, that you'll change the concept of the blog!

:)

Michele

Another Voice said...

Thanks, Michele! I do find myself a the moment incredibly connected and encouraged - but I may or may not be unique in the fact that I will always require more than just my own voice rattling around in my head. Self-deception is a trap I often fall into and I count on others, like you, to pull me out!

Sanctification said...

I resonate with your account of being told that your previous experiences with God should be considered un"truth"ful.

Good material.

Michele