Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Lot Can Happen At An Altar

A lot can happen at an altar.

You lay something down.

You pick something up.

You feel pressed down on every side.

You keep coming back.

And one day, that thing that drove you to your knees, it gets turned around.

You see it redeemed.

I have come to the altar many times.  Sometimes I just kneel at my seat, and sometimes, I've stood on my chair, hopped off the back (and tripped ever so elegantly) to run there.

There's no casualness at the altar.

You are all in.

When my son was an infant, I came to the altar, and laid down my pride.  I knew I wasn't up to the task if I had any doubts about my relationship to the One about whom I would be teaching my child.  After almost two decades of fear, I went up to the altar, and later that night, I was immersed again in the baptismal waters--not saved by them-- but freed, finally, from any niggling doubts about my obedience to the Lord. I was not saved that day-- I do believe it happened at age 10-- but I was free.  Absolutely assured. Done and done.

Once again, I came to God's altar, just a few carpeted stairs, when my second child was a few months old.  She was being dedicated that day and the extended family was gathered around to witness this happy day.  I smiled, posed for pictures, and even hosted a party.  On the inside, I was hanging on by a thin thread.  A very thin one.

Looking back now, I see that I was smack dab in the middle of my own personal sifting, which is church talk for going through a really, really hard time all the while believing/hoping/wondering if it is being used for a greater purpose. For your benefit even. And for God's glory.

 I was drowning in anxiety.

I said the right things, and I did the right things, but I was petrified.

Take postpartum anxiety, coupled with what I absolutely believe to be spiritual warfare; two children under two, plus your child's undiagnosed autism and increased work responsibilities for your spouse and you are well on you way to either a breakdown or a breakthrough.  But something's breaking.

I think I did both.

My pride broke, again.

Who I thought I was broke.

Who I hoped I could be, for a time, broke.

I daily questioned if my mind broke.

Even my joy broke.

The only thing that remained constant was my unshakable faith in a personal and constant God.


I talked to my doctor, and a Christian counselor.  That was probably the hardest and scariest thing I'd ever done.

I wasn't impervious to life, and I needed help.

Life is hard and everyone needs help.  Even and especially people who've had it pretty easy their whole life.  That'd be me.

Bit by bit, I came out of that hard time.  I sloughed it out. I wore out my little book of helpful bible verses.  I treated them like the lifeline they were. I prayed and prayed. And it got worse before if got better. But it did get better.

I emerged from the fog, stronger and with a faith and family intact.

That second child, and that hard time, continue to teach me.

God turned it around.


My daughter Sarah, who was dedicated at the altar on May 29, 2010 walked the aisle to it again and proudly announced her belief in Jesus and was baptized a few weeks later on Mother's Day, May 8, 2016.

God turned it around.  

This child that I fought for, did battle for, in my spirit and my mind, that I still worry I don't give a full and fair share of my attention to--- God chose her. He saved her. He called her little six year old heart to His.

Without any help from me. 

God turned it around.

Big time.

No comments: