Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Rest of the Story

Maribeth and others on stage with Beth Moore, illustrating "We, You & They" in Paul's 1st letter to the Thessalonians
Maribeth was surprised to be asked to go up on the stage Saturday morning. Though she has a background of performing on stage, this particular invitation was not to perform something she had rehearsed. This was live, unscripted participation in something big. It was absolutely lovely for me to be present with her as she got to meet a teacher who has meant so much to her over the years.

Saturday's session included prayer, music, worship and teaching. Again, I cried a great deal, with fresh sorrow and longing for Katie pouring out from deep inside of me. I felt broken open, my heart in God's hands. I could see that this kind of opening was taking place in other women, as well - there were many tears around the auditorium. A lot of emotion is generated when you get a group together and speak of the deepest relationships we have.

The awakening of deep emotion itself is not necessarily to be trusted as a sign of lasting conversion, yet it can be a way of opening - to start fresh, to feel or see anew, to allow, to "turn around." So I let go, and just experienced it. And I listened, as Beth Moore challenged me to wonder if my prayer life, and my relationship with God, are producing fruit...fruit that will feed and nourish not just myself, but others - including those who have not yet met God who is Love.

I have tried over the past five years to simply survive the cataclysmic events surrounding Katie's cancer diagnosis, treatment and death. To be frank, I have counted it success to still HAVE a relationship with God, after all that we went through. I have tried to rededicate my life to serving Him, as much as I am able. I try to do this daily, but I don't always accomplish it. I have not asked a great deal of myself in terms of growing in my faith, or in terms of sharing it with others; I have simply followed the road of gratitude and love, wherever it led, day by day. There is no shame or guilt in that; I did what I could do, and did it as faithfully as possible.

Over these five years, I have felt called to serve the hospital, the cancer community and the grieving community. My book and the video are definitely fruits of that labor, and they are good. In Kansas City, I was moved to wonder in what field God might be calling me to work and serve Him now. I am not finished sharing the book; I have a marketing plan to implement. But perhaps the seeds of the next book are being planted; perhaps my work will grow beyond this particular field.

I am reading Beth Moore's book, "Believing God;" it's not about believing IN God, but believing God's promises. I am listening, and doing my best to open my heart and mind to His message for me, NOW.

Latte, trying to absorb Beth Moore's book, "Believing God" by osmosis

These words of Father Rohr's resounded within me:
"The Gospel of Mark (and all of the other gospels) leads up to Jesus finally standing alone, without anyone really comprehending what He’s talking about when He teaches on the “Reign of God.” Jesus realizes that He has to do it in His flesh. He’s got to stop talking about it. He’s got to let it happen. Maybe you’ve had the experience that it’s not until someone dies that we ask the ultimate questions, and that’s what we mean when we say Jesus had to die for us. It’s not that He had to literally pay God some price (unfortunately, many Christians understand it that way, as if the Father is standing up there in heaven with a big bill, saying, 'Until I get some blood, I’m not going to change my mind about the human race.'). That puts us in a terrible position in relation to God, and it can’t be true. As if God could not forgive without payment. It pulled God into our way of loving and forgiving which is always mercenary and tit for tat.
"Quite simply, until someone dies, we don’t ask the big questions. We don’t understand in a new way. We don’t break through. The only price that Jesus was paying was to the human soul, so that we could break through to what is real and lasting." - Richard Rohr, Adapted from The Four Gospels (CD, MP3)

Someone has died, and I am asking the big questions. Not only has Katie died, but part of the old Karen has, as well. What will this mean? I do not know, but I do know that asking God to "have at me" as I traveled produced a lot of movement in my life. I pray to be led very clearly and gently to the work that God has for me now.
Latte, getting "all up in my bi-ness" at home


Anonymous said...

Karen, thank you for sharing this intimate story. Letting go to let God "have at you" must take a tremendous amount of courage. You are too modest in your description of how you've shared your faith in these last years. You share it constantly through your actions, which is often more powerful than mere words. May God continue to bless and lead you.

Karen B.

kell said...

Thank you for your beautiful words and for sharing what looks to be an amazing event Karen. I love the Richard quotes here on the last posts, and my heart aches for you in missing your Katie. Thinking of you.

Busy Bee Suz said...

The depth of your heart and your sharing never ceases to amaze me. I am SO happy that you were there with your good friend, and that this event was so moving for you.
I love that Latte reads like I do at times...if only it worked. :)
Cat's are always up in our bi-ness, aren't they?