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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Expand (07/18/13)

TITLE: just me - snuggled in Him
By Judith Gayle Smith


I exist. Not as “The Self-Existent One”, the Great “I Am”- thankfully, as I would not be able to handle His schedule. But He formed me in the womb, He shaped me, He keeps me.

I have asked myself why I continue to exist, having hated myself throughout my life? Why did He take such interest in me? Never seeing that He wanted me to give Him my depression and find joy in Him.

He allowed me to informally, socially learn of Him in church edifices. I stopped attending when churches became so big I could only see the pastor on a screen. I hungered for close interaction with a pastor I couldn’t approach for the crowd mobbing him, and, thoroughly depressed and dismayed, thought best to study the Bible at home rather than watch him on television..

I had narrowed my perception of my Lord to what I could find in people’s ideas of successful churches. I joined an Independent Fundamentalist body that had their own narrow objective – and left as there was more talk of division than of Jesus.

I was compelled to bury myself in His Word. He is wherever two or more are gathered together in His Name.

Isn’t that remarkably beautiful? Imagine, the very Son of God – Jesus, the Christ, Messiah – sits in with us when we open His Word. I find church in city buses, senior centers, hospitals, gathered together with Him in His Name.

Joyful, impromptu singing of “Amazing Grace” at a center where people needing people gather to love each other opens our hearts to Him and one another. I’ve found kinship while riding a lift bus for the physically and mentally challenged who are lonely and hungry for friendship, understanding, and most desperately – Jesus.

We home church – we are available to anyone who wants to know more about Jesus. We enclose just the four of us for now. I tell people we will meet with them in their home so that I won’t have to worry about the cooking and cleaning.

We love God’s Holy Sabbath and jump into it most eagerly. When the sun goes down on Friday night through Saturday sundown, my feet go up. We devour “planned overs” and enjoy fresh sweet, juicy fruit. Moist tasty chicken sandwiches prepared early Friday makes terrific Sabbath meals.

The best part of His Sabbath is immersing, nay drowning ourselves in His Word, soaking His living water in to our very souls. We read, we eat and we sleep, in that order. He fills our hearts and minds with Himself. His Holy Spirit surrounds and joyfully instructs us.

Why does He do this to us? He created us and loves us silly hungry creatures. He waits for us to realize that life makes no sense without Him, that our narrow little existence has hope in Him and not ourselves.

He is the Bridge that surmounts the agonizing desperation, hateful and despicable floods churning underneath, seeking victims to drown.

His Word expands us and fills us beyond measure. Our hearts balloon with praises to Him in return. We love Him because He first loved us.

He died on the cross in our stead. He did not deserve to die. For many years I felt I did not deserve to live. He gathered this then hopeless wretch in His Loving Arms and comforted me as a mother hen nestles her chicks.

What can we give Him in return? Everything we are and will become in and through and because of Him. Jesus purchased us with His own Blood, holy and wholly because we are to be reunited to God, the Father, through Him and Him alone.

Did you ever play Monopoly? I used to love that game, especially when I discovered the computer version. I would play for hours, overheated computer balanced on my lap, and magnanimously offer the computer’s chosen challenger the railroads, utilities, even removed houses so my opponent would have a chance to win. I was rather self-inflated, smug, proud – and, surprisingly incredibly bored.

I imagine the arch-enemy, Satan, plays with us the same way – offering, then taking, cajoling, then stomping us. We don’t have to take this anymore. When we yield our broken hearts to Jesus in abject repentance, Satan loses his grip on our souls.

Jesus won the battle. He loves us in spite of us. What more could we hope for? We enter into a marriage contract with Him that would never threaten divorce, cruelty, loneliness and death.

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/26/13
I fully enjoyed this. Sometimes a piece like this can come across as too preachy, but I didn't feel that way at all. I could feel your love for Jesus and the desire to share that with others ooze off the screen. (In a good way of course.:))

The only red ink I might offer is to avoid lines like this: Did you ever play Monopoly? I used to love that game,
It could make it feel more intimate, but since I can't answer you, I think I could relate more if you just started out with something like: I became obsessed with playing games like Monopoly. That's just my opinion though.

I think you have a delightful, subtle sense of humor and you had me smiling, chuckling, and nodding as I read this. I love the title too. It creates such a perfect picture. You did a wonderful job with this difficult topic.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/26/13
Oh I also meant to mention how much I enjoyed the opener, "I exist." Simple, yet eloquent and immediately drew me in, curious to see what else you would say, considering how you powerfully executed those two simple words. :)
Brenda Rice 07/26/13
How interesting and as someone else said, your opening is amazing. I had to read on and you didn't disappoint me. Thanks for sharing this well written entry.
lynn gipson 07/29/13
What a wonderful testimony to your beautiful faith in God. Your life sounds similar to mine. This excellent piece gave me a warm feeling. Your humor is delightful and I love your style of writing.
Bea Edwards 07/31/13
You have a wonderful perspective about what 'church' is supposed to be. We are His church and your testimony reinforces that, thank you.
Linda Berg 07/31/13
Your opening drew me in. Your story line about depression and seeing the dis-functional parts about the organized church kept my attention.

I am so happy for the way you shared of your thoughts both in those times and in the triumph of coming to clear understanding about God's value of you and His church.