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Author Topic: Finding God When You've Failed  (Read 11977 times)
vernecarty
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« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2005, 01:28:27 am »


Amen, the Word of God is not a responsibilty! 

Amen, Al?!

You should be more careful what you throw your amens at my friend.

I guess if you have absolutely no interest in being a workman that needs not be ashamed...of course it is no responsibility.


Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Someone better instructed may correct me, but I think the mood is imperative!
Verne

p.s it is hard to believe that such a fundamental of the faith could ever be a matter of dispute. Am I missing something...??!!  Huh
« Last Edit: May 01, 2005, 01:42:35 am by VerneCarty » Logged
al Hartman
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« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2005, 06:44:23 am »



Amen, Al?!

You should be more careful what you throw your amens at my friend.

I guess if you have absolutely no interest in being a workman that needs not be ashamed...of course it is no responsibility.


Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Someone better instructed may correct me, but I think the mood is imperative!
Verne

p.s it is hard to believe that such a fundamental of the faith could ever be a matter of dispute. Am I missing something...??!!  Huh

Um, perhaps the rest of the post!!!  I continued by saying that "responsibilty" doesn't even begin to define God's Word.  I also referenced the scripture you quoted and numerous others. 

Is that hasty complaint really all you got out of a two-page post?  Slow down and smell the context... Smiley

Admittedly, I considered saying "The Word of God is not merely a responsibility, but I opted not to, thinking my point would be obvious.  (There I go-- thinking again!!! Roll Eyes)

al
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tkarey
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« Reply #17 on: October 25, 2005, 01:04:47 pm »

I have been reading the book "Wild at Heart". Even though it is written to men it has a compelling message to women as well. Augh! I can tell already that I won't be able to write exactly what I want to say, so I want to emphasize --- please read the book. It says everything better than I can.

That being said, I'll give it a shot.

Margaret has encouraged me to tell "my story". Everyone has one, right? I responded to her that I didn't know if mine had any value to anyone else, but would be willing to share if it would be helpful. I still don't know if there is any value in repeating a story that could come from "lost Christian 101". I mean, I'm textbook material! Some of this has already been related here in other posts, so I apologize ahead of time for any repeats.

I was born the youngest and 3rd daughter of a Southern Baptist preacher. I was saved at the age of 10, but God-language was an intimate part of my life from the time I came home from the hospital. I was born in West Texas but grew up in CA after moving there at the age of 5. Although I was in a "heathen state" (per our relatives and friends), I was still surrounded by the culture I came from. The places we lived were mostly populated by farmers whose families had migrated during the dust bowl. I grew up around cotton, football, segregation, double standards and unwritten rules. Good girls were pretty, sweet, took care of others and never, ever rocked the boat. Rocking the boat could mean asking too many questions, being too smart, not being submissive to men, having an opinion or wanting an independent life (aka not getting married relatively young). I was considered old when I married at 21. It was also the 70's (& early 80's), so this scenario was pretty common anywhere, I believe.

My husband and I became involved with the assembly through Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA. I began going to the campus Bible studies and we were impressed with how serious these Christians were. They really wanted to walk with God! We were sooooo burned out. We were active in a local Baptist church but often fantasized about spending Sundays on the lake or getting a life that had SOME sort of adventure away from dry, dull, boring sermons we'd heard a million times. We were very idealistic and hopeful about everything. The assembly saved us from boredom. It also gave us a strong identity and an instantly family - a belonging and purpose we didn't have before.

We weren't the perfect couple, really. My husband struggled with the schedule demands. He wanted to be "on fire for the Lord", sure, but he also wanted to fish. I was ready to sell my grandmother to be the good assembly girl. For the first ever my entire heart and soul were completely engaged. I'd spent much of my life just waiting and it seemed this MUST be what I was waiting for. I was frustrated at my husband for his "lack of committment". I also was frustrated at myself because his "laziness" tempted me to want to be lazy, too, and I wanted to be 100 percent, 200 percent, whatever it took!

We did make the committment enough that we were considered one of the couples of Arcata. All was going well. I was working but we were trying for children and looking forward to the day I'd be home with them. Everyone rejoiced when we were finally expecting. I was thrilled to be home with my little boy. The Lord had even given us a name for him - Samuel. It was very appropriate because we'd wanted a baby so long (a year and a half - an eternity in assembly time) before I got pregnant. The first six months of Sam's life were like Assembly Nirvana. I did cheat - I rocked my baby a lot. I sang Wee Sing songs to him, listened to Second Chapter of Acts, read The Hiding Place and Chronicles of Narnia a million times until the pages fell out, washed those cloth diapers (why did it seem a sin to use disposable?), and got a real thrill out of vacuuming my carpet just so. I was sick, sick sick!  Grin Just kidding on the sick part. We took our son camping, to the beach, to the park, and generally kept the film company in business.

Our marriage did have issues - huge ones, now that we look back on it, but they were never addressed. I think we believed that as we continued in assembly ways these issues would take care of themselves. We were incredibly naive. At least I was. I was already beginning to be jealous of my non-assembly Christian friends who also had little ones. They didn't have to train their babies to be quiet and keep their heads down. They didn't have to arrange their schedules around mat times. It was a sacrifice but I believed if I could just be better at it - and practice would make me better - then all would be well. That began a theme of my existence from then on - "if I could just be better then all will be well."

My husband's work was very demanding - he was trying to establish himself in his career and felt the triple pressure of the normal family life, assembly schedule and demands, and his own worries, fears and doubts. In Oct. of 1990, when Sam was six months old, Dave (my husband) went AWOL. He didn't just quit the assembly, his exited emotionally from the family as well. The next three years were very dark. In fact, darkness became the norm from that point on - a darkness we are JUST NOW coming out of.

More in the next post...

Karey
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tkarey
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« Reply #18 on: October 25, 2005, 01:07:01 pm »

Ok, part two, if I haven't lost you yet, saints (snort, I couldn't help that one):

During those first three years I became the target of my husbands pent-up anger and frustration. I didn't know what to do. My thoughts and emotions went from compassion, to anger, to frustration, and ended up in depression. I began cutting myself. It gave me a tangible pain to deal with and helped me feel better for punishing myself for being bad. I must've been bad. Even the bible said that faithful women received their husbands back from the dead by not speaking a word. My husband's continued rebellion MUST be a reflection on me. All my mistakes were amplified - by me, by my husband, by well-meaning but ignorant Christians. In the assembly atmosphere, where intensity was magnified 1000 times, these feelings were that much stronger. I smiled and smiled and smiled until I thought my lips would break. It wasn't fake - I was sooo glad to be 'at the house of the Lord'. It was a relief, but it also reminded me of how different my life was than most of the other couples. So I'd be glad, but jealous, self-pitying, and incredibly hard on myself. My son was NOT a perfect assembly child, but I loved him so! It was easy to wear long-sleeve shirts due to the weather, but one time a LB's son saw a fresh scar on my arm and asked about it. I still feel badly about the lie I told him. My sister - not in the assembly at all - told me to stop 'letting my husband be my savior' and not get so upset because my life wasn't perfect. She didn't say - but didn't need to - "It isn't like he's hitting you". (My other sister WAS being hit - put in the hospital, etc -  and had stayed in a 20-year marriage to her abusive husband because my dad told her she "made her bed, now lie in it". Finally, he did say, maybe you should leave and she finally left.)

God did get a breakthrough during this time, though. I asked my husband one night "are you going to leave me?" and he said "I don't know". After the mind-numbing shock of that answer wore off, I just let go. I thought, well, if he's going to leave, he's a big boy, I can't make him stay. But I can let him know how much I love him before he goes. That released me to just give because I wanted to, not because I was trying to be good enough or trying to get a certain response. For the next...I don't know...I enjoyed a deep, conscious bond with the Lord. I felt misunderstood by my husband, my family, alienated from the inner circle of the assembly (you feel that way when you know your family is the one always being prayed for, even if you go all the time and are trying your best), misunderstood by newcomers to the assembly - in short, I had no one. It was just me and (now) my two children...which by the way started yet another unhealthy thing, right there - but at the time I didn't see it. I am so grateful for that time of experiencing the Lord in such an intimate way. I also quit cutting myself, so I didn't have to worry about hiding my arms anymore. I felt so free...

Hmm...this is pretty long. I'm going to quit here. If it seems profitable, I'll come back and finish later.

Thanks for listening.

 ;)Karey
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tkarey
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« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2005, 01:11:01 pm »

P.S. I probably misquoted that paraphrase about women receiving their dead back. It HAS been several years since I've opened the Bible, several more since I was in the assembly. I hope you understand what I meant.

Karey
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GDG
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« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2005, 06:05:31 pm »





Karey,
Thank you for sharing your story.  I believe that it is profitable every time someone posts what they went through, not only for the poster to finally say some of these things " out loud", but for those who read here and find out, through stories like yours, that they are not alone in their feelings or experiences.  It took courage for you to write your story and I appreciate it.  I hope you will write the conclusion soon.
Blessings,
Gay
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vernecarty
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« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2005, 09:31:37 pm »

The next three years were very dark. In fact, darkness became the norm from that point on - a darkness we are JUST NOW coming out of.

More in the next post...

Karey

It took courage to post this.
The record is valuable because of some who still contend that we ought to view the assemblies in a primarily positive light because of the fact that the Word was preached, strong freindships were formed etc. etc.
These things notwithstanding, your story illustrates that it is only as we understood that they were a place of darkness, that we find grace and liberty to truly walk in the light of God's glory and grace.
Oh, I know some will disagree but that's quite O.K. Please give the details of the Lord's recovery in your life..it's that important.
Verne
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Elizabeth H
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« Reply #22 on: October 26, 2005, 12:54:44 am »

Karey,

Thank you for your remarkable courage in sharing your story. There is, as Verne commented, a revisionist's history taking place and your story proves yet again how oppressive and evil the Assembly system was.

We must never forget.

E.
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al Hartman
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« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2005, 06:35:32 am »


Karey,

Hi.  I was late getting in line to say thanks for opening up here.  I agree with those who have posted before me that your contribution is of great value to us who are still getting free of the deep-seeded effects of assembly life (death).

One thing you said especially drew my attention:
Quote
I was sooo glad to be 'at the house of the Lord'. It was a relief, but it also reminded me of how different my life was than most of the other couples. So I'd be glad, but jealous, self-pitying, and incredibly hard on myself.

Sooner or later, most of us are surprised to discover how very many others there were who experienced the same feelings of isolation, deceptiveness, despair as we did ourselves.  That is part of the mystique of the workings of assembly mentality:  We all lied to keep up the pretense that we met the requirements, that we were as "spiritual" as we were supposed to be, as joyful and triumphant as our creed demanded.  When we looked around us, all we saw were the facades of everyone else's self-protective lies, the sight of which condemned us for our own lies and isolated us from ever confessing our needs to anyone else so that we might be helped (not that there was help to be found in those surroundings).

What I am very wordily trying to say is that we were all in the same boat together, while all the time each of us thought it was a one-person kayak.

God bless,
al

P.S.-- Don't feel obligated to bring your story to its "conclusion."  None of us has got that far yet.  "Up to date" will be just fine Wink!

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marden
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« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2005, 06:47:24 am »

Karey,

Hi.  I was late getting in line to say thanks for opening up here.  I agree with those who have posted before me that your contribution is of great value to us who are still getting free of the deep-seeded effects of assembly life (death).

One thing you said especially drew my attention:
Sooner or later, most of us are surprised to discover how very many others there were who experienced the same feelings of isolation, deceptiveness, despair as we did ourselves.  That is part of the mystique of the workings of assembly mentality:  We all lied to keep up the pretense that we met the requirements, that we were as "spiritual" as we were supposed to be, as joyful and triumphant as our creed demanded.  When we looked around us, all we saw were the facades of everyone else's self-protective lies, the sight of which condemned us for our own lies and isolated us from ever confessing our needs to anyone else so that we might be helped (not that there was help to be found in those surroundings).

What I am very wordily trying to say is that we were all in the same boat together, while all the time each of us thought it was a one-person kayak.

God bless,
al

P.S.-- Don't feel obligated to bring your story to its "conclusion."  None of us has got that far yet.  "Up to date" will be just fine Wink!



I think you said it pretty well
Thanks
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tkarey
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« Reply #25 on: October 26, 2005, 08:01:26 pm »

Thanks for your encouragements. I have very limited time this morning so I will type what I can and come back later.

Three years after Dave went AWOL he came back. He'd just experienced a harrowing flight into the tiny Eureka airport on a stormy night. On the way home, he said "I don't want to do this anymore," I thought "wow, he's finally leaving." But what he meant was he wanted to get his life 'back together'. A year later I was still stunned that that was what he wanted instead of the other - I was so convinced otherwise.

We started going to the Assembly as a family again. All the pieces of my life's puzzle - the ones I thought I needed - started to fall back into place, little by little. We both tried so hard to do what we felt was right, for the Lord, for our marriage, for our family. I had deep-seated anger, though, that would not completely show it's face for a several years.

One other event had happened in the prior three years. My abused sister had a particularly bad event where she ended up in the hospital. No one came for her there except my mom. The police had told her (I heard this myself) that maybe if she just didn't make her husbad so mad he wouldn't hit her. This time, though, it was another family member that put her in the hospital. No one did anything. She'd had her head beaten against a concrete floor, her ribs were messed up but life went on with hardly a blip. I was furious with God for the first time in my life. The stuff with my own life didn't make me mad at God, I thought it was me. But this seemed so completely unfair. It really upset the balance of how I saw life. How could God allow this? What kind of God was He? Even my family seemed to shrug their shoulders (except my mom who is as intense as I am). After several weeks, a startling thought came into my head. "Sin isn't my fault, Karey. The answer to sin my fault. I'm here to change things. Sin grows through generations, that thought of evil in your head (pick one, any one!), if it were full-grown would look something like this. Sin kills the person and everyone around them. I'm here to bring life." That was enough for me. Those thoughts may seem like nice Sunday-school thoughts, but when you're in the midst of it and they come quietly, tenderly - it is a revelation. God had comforted me and I was satisfied. Little did I know how this accusation against God wasn't done in my heart, but that was years down the road.

So our little family began to thrive for a short time. Wounds weren't healed but, again, we didn't know the importance of that. I am harping on a theme, here, aren't I? It's just that all of these events come back later to motivate some deep evil that nearly do us in - my husband, myself, and it grows then to include my children and other people as well. So, I've seen how sin grows in my very own life.

For the next year or two my husband came and went in the assembly. I learned not to depend on him and he felt my withdrawal. He was facing the loss of himself, who he'd wanted to be. I understood that but my empathy only went so far. We had life that needed tending to. I was torn between multiple empathies - for him, for myself, for a dream of what we'd wanted, for 'serving the Lord'. Life just seemed to be drawing us down. The darkness grew with each downward spiral. Patterns of living had been developed and were becoming established. Up, down, up a little, down a little more. I was lamely going to the assembly alone the last year but had lost most motivation. I was an outsider, even I knew it.

See next post...

Karey
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tkarey
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« Reply #26 on: October 26, 2005, 08:04:41 pm »

The last event I attended was a mother's meeting with Betty. My third child was 5 months old and I kept having to leave to tend to him in the other room. Somehow, he didn't understand that he was suppose to stay on that blanket in a room by himself (it was the family room that let off the living room we were in, so it wasn't completely separate). I'd put him there so he wouldn't be a distraction with his noise because the little guy just didn't get it that he was suppose to be absolutely quiet for two solid hours. Silly boy. Afterward, I hugged Betty and told her thank you. I clearly remember my impression from her was complete coldness. I figured she was put out with me and understood that - after all, I was an assembly joke. Ok, I could accept that. But I kept wondering - if she really is truly spiritual, wouldn't she have a different response? That question kept niggling at me. Not long after that meeting Dave said "why don't you just leave that place?" I could have kissed him I was so relieved. I probably didn't though. My assembly experience ended in Oct. 1995. A year later we moved up here to Washington.

I changed my focus to rebuild a relationship with my husband. I'd been gone so much before, and there was all that pious "I'm trying but your not" farce from before. I'd often thought in the last year that I may need to put the assembly behind to save my marriage. It seemed like a horrible choice. Save my family, lose my soul. Well, I didn't feel that strongly, but I did KNOW that I'd miss out on God's best. When I left, I was reconciled to the fact that God's best and I would never meet. I didn't care so much then, I was just tired. I kept having ideas that something was wrong, somewhere. I didn't follow those ideas through to any conclusion, though. It's just that things didn't add up for this assembly stuff, it was all so confusing. I was convinced beyond a shadow of any doubt that it was just me, just my kids, just my husband - just our inability to really get it. Our friends there had never stopped being our friends. I miss them and would love to see them. I think.

So, now I didn't have God's best, but I had my family. That was huge. I was excited about where we could go from here. Ha, ha, ha. Funny thing those patterns we'd established, hurts never healed. They were still out there waiting for us.

Gotta go. Thanks again.

Karey


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al Hartman
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« Reply #27 on: October 27, 2005, 07:10:43 am »



   ...I am harping on a theme, here, aren't I?


harp vi  1 : to play on a harp    2 : to dwell on a subject tiresomely or monotonously

Yes, Karey, you are harping, but only in the sense of definition #1.  To those who suffer, the voice of a fellow sufferer can be like music, playing a theme that reminds us that we are not alone...  Take, for example, the following:


Quote

   ...I'd often thought in the last year that I may need to put the assembly behind... It seemed like a horrible choice. Save my family, lose my soul. Well, I didn't feel that strongly, but I did KNOW that I'd miss out on God's best. When I left, I was reconciled to the fact that God's best and I would never meet. I didn't care so much then, I was just tired. I kept having ideas that something was wrong, somewhere. I didn't follow those ideas through to any conclusion, though. It's just that things didn't add up for this assembly stuff, it was all so confusing. I was convinced beyond a shadow of any doubt that it was just me...


You could have been quoting me, or any number of others on this board, above.  Many of us need to be reminded, again and again, that we aren't crazy, we aren't lost in outer darkness, the pains of our lives aren't death-pangs.

I really hope that your posting your story helps you work through your issues.  I can guarantee you that your story is helping others work through our issues.

Thank you,
al
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al Hartman
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« Reply #28 on: November 03, 2005, 07:47:03 am »



Thinking about the title of this thread brought this to mind:  Our failures are the very medium which should press us toward God in desperation (and will do so, if we let them function as they should).  When we fail, at anything, the awareness we need is that we are incapable of doing anything to God's satisfaction; that we need His intervention in our life to bridge the gap between His standard (perfect holiness and righteousness) and our shortfall.  Humbling ourselves to seek His help, enlightenment, guidance, etc. will open our hearts to His Holy Spirit's working and our understanding of Him through His Word.

Contrarily, it is our supposed "successes" that may be the greater danger to us.  If we suppose that we have succeeded, at anything, we find ourselves sufficient for the task; self-made; not needing God.  Therefore we take Him for granted, ignore His claim upon our life, and continue living in the fantasy of self-sufficiency.

If we desperately need to find God when we have failed, our need is equally great, possibly greater, to find God when we think we have succeeded on our own...

al
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