Sunday, April 16, 2017

Redemption and Resurrection Day

Today is Pascha if you are Greek Orthodox. If not, then it is Easter.
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the fundamental truth and absolute fact of the Christian faith. It is the central experience and essential kerygma of the Church. It confirms the authenticity of Christ's remarkable earthly life and vindicates the truth of His teaching. It seals all His redemptive work: His life, the model of a holy life; His compelling and unique teaching; His extraordinary works; and His awesome, life-creating death. Christ's Resurrection is the guarantee of our salvation. Together with His Ascension it brings to perfection God's union with us for all eternity.
If your are Christian, then you believe He came to sacrifice His life for us, because no matter how hard we may try, none of us are ever worthy of what He did for our sake. 

I am a Chaplain, but nothing like what I ever thought a Chaplain was. I drink alcohol, smoke, swear and consistently argue with God before I do what He wants me to do. I also spend my time with veterans and bikers. I am far from obedient and come close to crossing the line of the Orthodox Church rules of women in ministry. 
Things done in fulfillment of the laws are dead; those done in spirit are enlivening and vivifying. We must not build an Orthodoxy of prescriptions and proscriptions, but an Orthodoxy in which God expresses through us the Kingdom of Heaven and in which that which is worldly reaches up to its more heavenly image.
I could walk away from the faith I was born into, but it is as much as part of me as the air I breathe. And that is the point of this post. There are many things we do for the right reasons, that come with a price to pay. If we know it is the right thing, what God wants of us, then it is a price worth paying.

After a couple of decades working with veterans and PTSD and my own traumas, it finally dawned on me why I didn't have it. That led me to Crisis Intervention Training and I spent two years training to care for the other heroes I encountered in my life. Police Officers and Firefighters, the First Responders to others in need. They care for everyone else but somehow ended up on the bottom of the "to do list."

Last year I reached one of those times when I was being destroyed by what I do. It has been a battle to try to undo the wrong that has been done disguised as "raising awareness" when no one seems interested in doing the work to actually change lives. Anyway, I was ready to give up after over three decades of work. Was I supposed to stop? Had I done all He wanted me to do? I asked for prayers so that I would know what God wanted me to do. The answer came talking to a friend at work. When I talked about my own pain, I was crying with that soul crushing anguish taking over my whole body. When I started to talk about the veterans needing help, I stopped crying. Then when I started to talk about how much they have within them, that soul crushing feeling lifted.

Yep, that's how fast the answer came.
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
I am also sarcastic. One day my Mom asked me what I did that day. I told her I saved a life then cleaned the bathroom. She got a laugh out of it and then changed the subject grounding my feet back into the "normal" world of working for a living like everyone else and dealing with what everyone else deals with on a regular basis, reminding me I am just as human as everyone else.

As a human, no matter how much I know I am doing the right thing and helping those who come to me, there are times when I need help to continue to be able to do it. It is stressful and lonely because no one knows what I do or say unless the person talks about it. That is the way it has to be and the way Jesus said it should be done, in secret.

There are men and women all over the country doing exactly that. They put their lives on the line for the sake of others and never talk about it. They take care of those who come to them for help and never ask for anything in return.

They struggle with the price they pay as those who do for others, believing they should not need help from someone else. Where they got that idea from is based on a false notion they are supposed to be above asking for help. Even Jesus asked for help.
“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Matthew 26:38
If you are one of them, then it is time to take a good look at yourself and think of those you help. Do you think any less of them because they need your help? Do you think anything less of those you risk your life with if they tell you they need help? Would you lay down your life for them? Would they do it for you? Then why would you not ask them for help to help you heal?

Don't ask someone who does not know what you're going through for an answer. Ask someone who knows what it is, what caused it and knows why you do what you do. Ask God for direction as much as you ask Him for protection.
The Lord is my fort where I can enter and be safe; no one can follow me in and slay me. He is a rugged mountain where I hide; he is my Savior, a rock where none can reach me, and a tower of safety. He is my shield. He is like the strong horn of a mighty fighting bull. Psalm 18:2
He will answer you and guide you as much as He has done for me so that extra burden caused by doubt was vanquished from within me.

God put it within your spirit to serve others with your life and equipped you with everything you need to do it. Dedication and courage are obvious within you along with an abundance of love but so is the power to heal.
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. Psalm 91:9-13
Ask Him who sent you for what you need and let Him guide you toward redemption and start this day with a renewed spirit of hope for a better tomorrow.