How to Thrive When Other Christians Test my Faith

No comments

Mama is very protective of me. Dad is too, but our relationship is different. Mama and I are a team. Our teamwork was born out of necessity first. Mama stayed home with me, after age four, and dad was the sole bread winner in our house. A lot of families don’t have that option. I know how blessed we are that mama and dad did. I’ll talk a lot about mama, in future posts, but for now here’s the story I want to share, today.

My first day, my Freshman year of undergrad, mama said, “Okay, you’re eighteen, now. You’re a college student. You’re driving your life.” My face must have looked as scared as I felt; because she touched me and continued talking. “Your dad and I love you very much. That’s never going to change. We’re here to support and back you up, always, but it’s your life. You’re gonna be just fine, my girl. I raised you to be strong and smart. You can do this. ” I love you, mama. “I know and I love you, too, so much.”

Both of us learning how to adjust took time, and we’re still learning, but we never give up. We don’t quit. We don’t stop loving each other. We don’t stop respecting each other. We’re not only mother and daughter. We’re friends. Christmas the year I turned 21: I got to go shopping, at the mall, for the first time…alone. Of course there were safety precautions: cell phone on and on ring, cross body purse, over my head, be aware (if someone gives you a bad vibe: walk away and alert security if needed), don’t ride elevators alone with just a male, check in regularly, if you need help with anything call me. The new freedom was wonderful! I could buy Christmas presents without mama seeing. It’s hard to surprise her. She could go where she wanted and so could I. We love each other like crazy, but we get on each other’s nerves because we spend so much time together. As much as we’re alike: we have different tastes and stores we like.

A few years after my first solo shopping trip: I was having, what my chosen family calls, a human day. A human day is their term for having a non-work day. Human days are rare and always needed, which they know well. I was window shopping, which is my preferred shopping technique. I don’t make a habit out of buying stuff, for the sake of buying stuff, or to be like anyone else. I was having a nice, quiet, recharging day until…these students from a church asked to pray for me.

I thought it sounded like a good idea. I’ve been prayed with and for a lot. I believe in the power of prayer. My faith is incredibly important to me. They, and I, bowed our heads. They prayed a prayer nothing like I’d ever heard before. They believed, earnestly, I’d be healed from this one prayer. I think it’s called “name it. claim it.” Needless to say: I wasn’t “healed.”

I knew better. I was expecting that outcome. They weren’t. After I thanked them for their prayer: one of them said, “You’re faith isn’t strong enough. You doubt God’s power. If you didn’t, you’d be healed right now.” I was stunned. I didn’t say one word because I felt tears coming. No one professing my faith had ever spoken to me in such a way before.

The experience left me shaken, anxious, and very upset I found a restroom and took deep breaths. I drew upon every pep talk my siblings have ever given me. It wasn’t working. Hot coffee and espresso have always helped my tone. The best we can figure is the heat relaxes my muscles. I knew it would, now.

While standing in line for espresso: I called my brother and journey partner, who was living in NYC at the time, he picked up: “Hey Stace! ” Hey, are you busy? “Uh oh, I know that tone. What’s wrong?” Hang on a second. It’s my turn to order. “Order what?” Espresso. “Oh, boy, this is going to be good.”

After I had my order: I found a secluded table. “Talk to me.” I started balling. He gave me all the time I needed. He’s good at that. Once I calmed down, a little, I told him what happened. He was angry. We both were. My anger comes out my tear ducts, mostly; his doesn’t. After we both calmed down some: I asked him what we should do now. “Pray.” Okay, when? “Right now.” So we did… Thousands of miles apart with only our cell phones connecting us. After we were finished: I said, it feels like you’re right here sipping espresso with me. “I am. I’m just in NYC.” You know what I mean, you goofball. “I do, but it got you to smile a little. I can tell.” Yeah, Thanks. “Anytime. You know that.” After that, we just caught up.

Later that evening, after we were home, my Aunt Judy (mama’s oldest sister) called. Sometimes, mama and I both talk to her at the same time. This was one of those. I figured mama was going to bring up my experience from earlier. She did. Aunt Judy asked how I felt about it. I got teary. Those of you who know my granny, will know exactly what I mean with this next statement.

She channeled Lois. Y’all, she kicked my butt the rest of the way back in gear. She reminded me, in no uncertain terms, exactly who I am. That’s Lois and Aunt Judy. It’s my mama, too. We developed responses for the next time something like that happened. They said, there would be more. They’re right. There are two options for response:

  1. Thank you for the prayers. I appreciate them. We all need more prayer.
  2. If the first doesn’t work: I am a literal miracle. I am the way God/my Father intends. He has a mission and plan, for me, I can’t see, yet. Do I always like my condition? No, of course, not. Do I think my Father’s capable of healing me? Absolutely. Do I think he’s going to in this life? No. Have a good day.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.