Monday, January 07, 2013


I am very familiar with the question "Why?"
In case you didn't know, I have four children, ages practically-seven, five, four, and one.  They love to ask that question.
Particularly, the Beast enjoys asking "Why?" as many times as possible throughout the day.  A typical exchange between me and him might go as follows:
"David, get your coat on, please."
"Why do I need to put on a coat?"
"Because, baby, we are going to the store. Now go get it and put it on."
"Why?  Why are we going to the store?"
"Because I need to pick up a few things from the grocery store, that's why."
"But why?  What things do you need from the store, Momma?"
"Just some milk and things like that.  Come on now, get your coat on!"
"Why do I have to wear a coat?"
As you might imagine, it gets a little tiring at times.  No doubt, if you're a parent, you have experienced the same thing. 
And now it's my turn to ask why.
No, I don't need to know why I wear a coat to the store in the wintertime.  I figured that one out a long time ago.
This time, I'm asking why do I believe what I believe.
I know, I should have figured that one out a long time ago too.  After all, I grew up in a Christian home where God and His Word were daily talked about.  I went to church all the time - Sunday school, Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and all those special services in between.  I attended a Christian school.  I went to a Christian college, where not only did we have Sunday school, Sunday morning service, Sunday evening service, and Wednesday evening service, but we also had chapel services every day.  On Saturdays, I ran a Bible club in the neighborhood and told kids about Jesus.  I've been in church my whole life.
When I came to Oregon several years ago, naturally I fell into the pattern of "be at church as much as possible."  I worked with the teenagers for a while.  I visited a bus route.  I worked in the nursery. I taught kids in children's church.  If anyone asked, I could spout off a list of reasons why I dressed the way I did, listened to the music I did, participated in the activities I did, read the Bible like I did, and so on. 
But I didn't believe it.  I was so busy "playing church" that I didn't take the time to examine myself and really own my faith. 
Don't get me wrong.  I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, sent to be born of a virgin, live on earth, suffer death on the cross for all mankind, and then rise in victory from the grave, conquering death and providing a lifeline to anyone who will accept it.
I believe that I am a sinner, doomed to Hell.  I believe that long ago, in my young, earnest faith, when I prayed to God, confessing my sins and asking Him to save me, He did! 
I believe that someday I will get to spend eternity with Him in Heaven.
However, I also believe that I was a "Pharisee" of sorts.  I did a lot of "good things" for the sake of looking good and fitting in.  I felt as if I were better than a lot of people because of the dress standards, music standards, and other ridiculous rules I held myself to.  I didn't have a solid Bible verse or vision from God to stand upon in these matters.  Yet, I followed the scores of "do's" and "do not's" imposed by the churches I was in because they gave me security.  As long as I was doing all those things "right," I didn't have to really examine myself.  I could ignore the false motives and self-righteousness that permeated my heart.
When we left our IFB church a few months ago, I made the decision to also leave all those rules and works behind.  Doing that forced me to see myself for who I really was, and it left me raw and feeling extremely ashamed and vulnerable.  Praise God He has forgiven me and is healing me daily.
And now I realize that besides the most basic tenets of my faith, I don't really know what I believe or why I believe it.  What should church be like?  What version of the Bible is right?  Why does all of this matter anyway?  And so I am searching the answers for myself.  I am not relying on anyone else anymore to tell me how to think, what to wear, or what to do. 
It's just God and me on this journey together.  And somehow, I know He doesn't mind me asking all these "why" questions as I seek to make my faith my own. 


  1. I believe all of the introspection and diving in to answer these questions for yourself are important I am continually working on them myself as a way to stay on top of my relationship with The Lord. One thing I have learned that I hope will help you IF you ever find yourself at a point where you may see that some of this can be a slippery slope. Some questioning is good but some Satan will use to confuse you and affect your relationship with The Lord. I hope that doesn't happen for you my friend cause it took me a long time and a lot of work to get out from under the thoughts Satan used to confuse me. Things that in the beginning I never thought could ever be possible. I pray God will be close and guide you through this journey.

    1. thank you for your encouragement. I know that it is not an easy quest that I have set out upon. I am trying to put up safeguards along the way so that I don't fall off the path completely. My husband has been a great help in this - he is there when I want to ask him something, but he has really been encouraging me to search it out in the Scriptures for myself. Thank you also for your prayers - I appreciate it!

  2. I remember when God started me on that journey myself. I totally agree with knowing why I do what I do! Go for it, girl! God is going to reveal himself so mightily to you! I can't wait to hear the follow ups on how God is showing Himself to you!

    1. I am very excited ( and a little nervous) about the whole thing! I will definitely share the wonderful things God has for me on this journey. Thanks for the encouraging words!

  3. Ask. Seek. Knock. :) Three of my favorite words.

    1. Yes. So much seeking and knocking. And the passion and desire to accompany those things. :)

  4. Anonymous9:39 PM

    It's interesting that you write this. I was 26 years old when I went through this journey. You talk about rules and standards and man's expectations...I lived it, for example, no makeup, no cut hair, black hosiery, black shoes, no radio, no TV, head covering, cape dress, no jean, no culottes, no belts that tied, no jewelry not even wedding rings, dress 9 5/8 in from the floor, sleeves must be worn below the elbow at all time even on our babies, no chrome on our cars, no mag wheels, no two toned cars, no red colors in cars or dress....I could go on and on. I went through a lengthy 2 year search for truth; trying to discover what matters to God and what doesn't. I feel liberated in the IFB church. :)

    I discovered that when one follows all the rules so one can be saved, then it is a sin and the yoke is hard and the burden is heavy. But when one follows all the rules because they are safeguards from a world filled with evil, then the rules became something I can embrace. They are there to help me to live a called out and a separate life. They are a fence between us and the world. In the home rules and boundaries need to be concrete so our children know exactly what is expected of them. The same is true in the church. Rules and boundaries help us know when we are crossing the fence into the danger zone. With rules in place there is a firm line to cross, verses blurred boundaries, that can easily be moved with what feels good that day.

    No, rules and religious hoops we jump through do not save us, but they are not a bad thing if one embraces them for the right reasons. At the office and in every business there are rules. In every home there are rules. In the land there are laws and rules. In every church there should be rules.

    Be careful that in your searching you don't throw the baby out with the bath water. You are at a vulnerable crossroads. Travel with care and lots of prayer. Remember the old Sunday school song? "I met Jesus at the crossroads, where the two ways meet, Satan too was standing there and he said come this way, lots and lots of treasures I will give to you today...."
    Just remember Jeanette, God sees you where you are and He loves you. He will not let you go down the wrong road if you are searching with a pure heart. Examine yourself that there is nothing reactionary in your decision.

    I don't envy the position you are in right now. I remember being there and it was tough to know what was the right thing to do. I leave you with this old familiar verse, "In all thy ways acknowledge Him and he shall direct your path." Let the Shepherd lead you by quiet waters. Listen to what He is saying. Get out of the fray and be still and know that He is God. You will come through this time a stronger person.

    In the desert a rose will bloom. Love you and pray for you.
    Your friend forever,
    Tammy Jata

    1. I do realize the importance of rules/laws. I have certainly not abandoned them. Personally, I discovered that I had wrong motives and a lot of self-righteousness in adhering to a lot of the rules and in doing copious amounts of service. Once I made that very painful realization, I knew that I had to "be still" for a while and find out how to change that. not being involved in dozens of ministries has afforded me the opportunity to really lay myself open and finally make my faith and my beliefs my own. It was heart-rending to find out how many people that i had been trying to witness to or trying to "be a good influence on" thought I was self-righteous and hypocritical.

      There was nothing reactionary in our decision to leave our church. We had been praying and avoiding doing it for a very long time. It was a very carefully thought-out and prayed-about decision. With all my future decisions on this journey, my method will be the same.

      thanks for the verses you shared. I have been more in His Word in the last two months than I ever have in my entire life. It feels like something new and exciting, and I can't wait to read it every day.

      You are right in saying to get out of the chaos and busyness and just get close to Him. Thank you so much for your support and prayers. I know that you are a good friend and advisor. :)

  5. Anonymous9:40 PM

    Um, it appears I wrote my own blog entry. Sorry about that.


  6. Love and prayers for you on this journey! SO exciting...


    1. thanks Heather! It is exciting, and I covet your prayers so much. :)


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