Coded for Worship

“…all things were created through Him and for Him.” (Colossians 1:16)

Posts Tagged ‘Childhood

Rock [Me] Hard-Place

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I have a problem.

It’s one I’ve had since I was a young boy.  A problem I’ve always known about, yet have failed to fully explore.  There is really no one person or occurrence to which I can point the finger of blame.  No, this problem is a by-product of my life.

I was born to a couple who had very little in common.  She was 25, he was 50, and an age difference of 25 years were the least of the differences my parents had.  My mom wore her heart on her sleeve.  My dad was a man of little emotion, except for the times that alcohol took the proverbial wheel.  My mom wanted the best for me, as most any loving mother would.  My dad seemed as though he did not care about the future — he lived for the here and now.  My mom taught me to cook, to clean, to care, and to always stand up for myself.  My dad taught me nothing of value — at least not directly.

The relationships that I had with my parents were rather skewed.  Emotions that should have been shared were squelched instead.  Emotions that had no place being expressed to a child were exclaimed throughout the entire house.  With my dad, actions that should never take place were common place.

I just want to be loved…to be accepted.  I’m your son, you know.

Looking back, I see my dad, and I have no clear memory of him expressing fatherly love to me.  On occasion, the alcohol would take over and with his eyelids half shut, clouded by cigarette smoke, he would tell me he loved me.  Yet, my mind would go back to him holding a shotgun over my 5-year-old body as my mom held me tightly, screaming for help.  I would remember cleaning up both my dad and his vomit, only to be told that it never happened.  He would tell me he loved me, but I never saw it, never felt it … as though his “love” for me never existed.  Even in 2004  (the last time I saw him) he told me I was still the same fat “kid” I was when I lived at home and expressed his severe doubt that I would ever make anything of myself.  He died a year later.

Now, as I see my third decade of life on the horizon, I look back over my life and realize that I’m still trying to gain that love, that acceptance.  I tried throughout elementary school.  I tried throughout middle/junior-high school.  I tried through my high school years.

I’m still trying.

The problem that I have is that I try, either directly or covertly, to “help” people like me, to “help” people accept me, or to “give” people some sort of reason to love me.  This is a flaw.  This is not how love works, not true love, at least.  This would not be such a big deal normally — however, I’ve transposed it into a spiritual issue.  Yet, not in the way one might initially think.  I’m not trying to make God love me.  I know this to be futile.  God’s love for anyone is based on His grace and His grace alone.

Finally!  I’ve found the love and acceptance I’ve longed for all these years!

Not quite.  You see, I fully believe that God loves me.  I fully believe that I am acceptable to Him.  I believe all of these things based on the truth of His word — yet, I only believe them with my head.  My heart, my emotions, they refuse to let me fully embrace these truths.  It’s almost as though my heart is saying to my Creator, “No.  You don’t love me.  There’s no way,” and with that, I write-off the idea of God’s love — of my Father’s love for me.

A few years ago, my wife and I were working on growing closer, communicating better, and understanding each other more than we did at that time.  Angela asked me, “Do you know, fully know, that I will love you no matter what?” I answered her with honesty, not with what I knew she wanted to hear…

No.  I don’t know what it is to have that assurance.  I don’t know how that feels.

Years and years of a deep, aching yearning to have acceptance and love with no conditions.  Yet, when I finally am given these things, I refuse to believe that they are real.  It’s not my wife’s fault.  She has expressed and lived-out unconditional love on countless occasions.  It’s not my dad’s fault, as it was not his role to love me unconditionally — and if it was, he was a flawed human being who failed like so many others (including myself).

No, this is my problem.  It’s one I hope to, one day, see solved.  My heart still needs a lot of work, and while my gut tells me that the Holy Spirit is continually tending to that — my head, my flesh, screams obscene doubts and instills fear.

The truth is this, however: even if I live a full life and die an old age, my problem may never be solved.  Yet, even if it isn’t, it is my lot.  God’s nature does not change, He does not falter, and the love that flows from Him is true and firm.  No-matter-what.

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Written by Andy

September 21, 2008 at 4:24 am

Posted in Life and Living

Tagged with , , , ,

Adam Did What?!

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As a kid, I loved helping my mom cook. One of my favorite things that we made together was fried eggs. I would stand and watch with amazement as the clear liquid surrounding the egg yolk would turn white. It was an amazing transformation in the eyes of a five-year-old boy. Once I got “big enough” to help her cook the eggs, I would ask to help her “salt hay.” It was only years later that I learned that I was actually trying helping her “sauté” the eggs.

I was using a phrase that didn’t mean what it sounded like it should, but my mom knew just what I meant — she didn’t need me to say it the right way.

Aren’t we this way, sometimes? I know that, here in the southeastern U.S., you can say “get me a coke,” and most people will ask you what brand of soda you want without assuming that you want a Coca-Cola™. And as I sat down to begin my new Bible reading plan this morning, I was reminded of these things

I’ve decided to read through the Bible twice before the end of the year. Once for story’s sake with the TNIV. The second time to be a content-focused (more in-depth) reading using the ESV, the Bible version that I use 95% of the time. By the time I’d reached chapter 4 of Genesis, I began to think that I’d put the TNIV back on the shelf. I thought this because, as I took as sip of my coffee and started reading verse 1 of chapter 4, I stopped dead in my tracks.

Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.
-Genesis 4:1 (TNIV)

Adam did what?! I mean, I know what Adam did (he knew Eve), but do you really have to tell me that they made love? Does it really need to be correctly stated that they consummated the first marriage in history? I’m sure there are entire papers written on both the defense and criticism of this one verse in this particular translation. I’m not going to add to that collection. But I will say this: I’m wondering if the TNIV is going to be worth my time.

Then again — I suppose that for someone who didn’t grow up in an area so heavily influenced by the Christian sub-culture that exists here in “the south,” reading the phrase “Adam knew his wife” might make about as much sense as a hearing kid asking his mom if he can help her “salt hay” in front of a skillet full of fried eggs.

Written by Andy

August 24, 2007 at 8:01 pm