Have A Coke and a Smile

This title is a play on words for “A Cup Of Tea With Me”  which is our final assignment in the Blog With Pip  class. We have learned some wonderfully USEFUL things and also had lots of fun along the way. We have a private Facebook page where we can chat, ask questions, and support each other through this learning process. It has been invaluable to all of us, and I highly recommend it if you have an interest in starting or growing a blog. Since I usually drink Coca Cola, or Coke as we say here in Tennessee, it seemed more appropriate for me. BTW, in the south we say Coke as a generic form for all kinds of sodas. We would ask, “What kind of coke do you want? Sprite? Pepsi? Mountain Dew?”

Ok, now to the nitty gritty. How do I tell about myself in an interesting way? it’s hard, you know- writing about yourself. What things would be interesting to someone else? What is TMI- too much information. A balancing act between wanting to share things, but not coming off as bragging. My grandmother used to tell me on a daily basis, ” Be humble!” She thought that was just as important as loving the Lord, washing your hands, running a comb through your hair, and not being lazy. So instead of listing things about my life, which would surely put you to sleep, I want to share a little bit about me, the “inside” me, the “things that float around in my head and I’m never really sure how to say” me .

I will start by saying that I am a Christian. Already some of you are tuning out.  It’s really hard to talk about your faith- it’s so PERSONAL! There are deep feelings there. Everyone has an opinion, even if they think they don’t. Usually these feelings are based on our upbringing, personal experiences, traditions, or our wanting to run the other way when someone mentions God. I GET IT! I really do! We all know people who claim to follow Christ and then they go and do something hurtful, or selfish, or whatever. It’s so discouraging- I thought they said they were Christians.  Well as one myself, let me be the first to say I mess up, I hurt people, I am selfish… What I really want to say is that choosing to follow Christ isn’t some magic ticket to perfection. It isn’t magic at all. It’s just a choice. To me, it’s the most important choice.

The Beginning:

I was raised in a very religious home and I asked Jesus into my heart at age 7 in Sunday school. It was simple and childlike. At age 12 I was Baptized, and then I entered into the teen years. I was very active in my church’s youth group and was a real goody-goody (you know, the one that never got invited to those kind of parties). I remember going to several revivals and I ALWAYS went down front at the end to rededicate myself to God. I had to be sure I had my ticket to heaven… I covered all the bases. I was taught to believe that ONLY those who accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior would be in Heaven after they died. It was black and white.

The Crisis:

When I was in my late 20’s I had a Full Blown Crisis of Faith. It started to nag at me that by strict definition SO MANY people were going to hell. That nagging grew into a disbelief in what I had been raised to know as Truth. I started reading lots of books on other religions. I stopped going to church. I looked at my husband and thought, “Why did I marry HIM?”  I wanted a divorce. I cried and cried and cried.  I knew something had to change.

The Miracle:

I don’t really understand miracles. Some people claim to be healed from diseases and addictions. Sometime I’ll share with you about being diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at age 18, but I was not healed from my disease. I did, however have a miracle of THE HEART. After several months of unhappiness followed by two weeks of intense prayer and meditation my heart MELTED. I don’t know how else to describe it. I literally had a change of heart. There were no angels singing, no rays of light beaming down from heaven, literally  NOTHING changed, except me.

The Reconciliation:

I need to emphasize that all my problems didn’t disappear.  There were real changes in behavior that my husband and I had to work through. But the real difference came with my reconciliation with the Lord. He reminded me over and over, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Thankfully, it isn’t me who decides who gets that ticket to Heaven… it is God. I know the path I have chosen, and I believe with all my heart that Jesus is God’s best plan for our salvation. He is Lord, Comforter, Healer, Teacher, Friend, and Savior. I want people to understand who He is and what He can do for you, now, in this time. I also pray that when I get to Heaven there are people of all faiths there. I pray that God has a purpose for ALL people, but I don’t know…. “Be still, and know that I am God.” That I DO KNOW!

The Possibilities:

I hope this has been somehow inspirational to you. I hope you understand that Christians DON’T have it all figured out. I hope that you will read the Bible, ask questions, pray, meditate, go to church. Ask about Jesus. I don’t know if He is the only way, but I know without a doubt in the world that He is the BEST way.

I fumble my way through this, but if you want to read more from a gifted writer I would point you in the direction of Lark and Bloom. Elizabeth has a wonderful way of putting things. She makes me laugh. She makes me cry. But, most importantly, she makes me think. That’s what this blogging is all about.

Blessing to you,

Jeanette

 

6 comments

  1. Michelle says:

    I feel I know a lot more about you now Jeanette. Although our religious beliefs are different I respect the strength of your faith and the way you explained the positive impact it has on your life. I also didn’t realise that you used Coke as a generic term. Ha ha.

    • Jeanette says:

      Thank you Michelle. It’s very hard to write about your faith without coming off as judgemental. I just needed to get that down and this post seemed a good place. Thanks for stopping by and having a coke with me

  2. Carolyn Ryder says:

    Hi Jeanette, thanks for sharing such a personal post with us. I appreciate it can be hard to talk about faith these days and you have done so beautifully and bravely. It’s also brave to talk about your marriage and working through issues. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting, you are a very generous woman.

    • jjart66 says:

      Hi Carolyn. I was going back through my comments and I don’t think I acknowledged this comment. It is so wonderful for someone to take the time to say hello and I so appreciate it. It IS hard to talk about faith but it is so interconnected with me it would feel dishonest not to mention it. Like a 2 dimensional picture instead of the real 3d thing. What I also want readers to know is that I am a real person with real flaws. Thank you again for taking the time to comment.

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