Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Come Alive

  It's been a long long time since I've posted in my blog.  As you can see, someone's taken up alot of my focus in the last 2 years.

  Being a father has been one of the primary joys of my life in the last 2 years, raising Cassidy is such a joy.  There are days when she exhausts all patience, but even in spite of those trying moments - as I'm putting her down at night and cuddling her for a little bit, it is difficult to think of anything I would rather be doing.

  Last night I was playing Final Fantasy XI, which I usually do after Cassidy goes down and someone said, "Having a kid sucks eh?" We were talking about how little time I have for gaming anymore.  I enjoy my 1 hour a night on FFXI.  So I responded, "I can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing.  I would rather spend my time raising someone I hope to have as one of my closest friends, as opposed to spending it all on a game which will one day go in a garbage pile anyways."

  It's true.  Our greatest investments in this life is not in our hobbies, or our toys and personal pleasures.  The greatest investments we can ever make is in the lives of others.  I'm just so lucky to invest in this beautiful child who is growing up so quickly before our eyes.

   That is not to say I do not delight in my wife.  In the last few years, our friendship has grown deeper and more real as time goes by.  I'm deeply grateful, that in spite of the hell I went through in the Church, God brought great, massive blessings upon my life through it.  Jana is definitely one of them.

  This is also is another great change I have been experiencing.  As many of you know I left Church completely in 2008.  I've been to baptist churches, I've been in a cult, I have been to charismatic churches, and I have been to non-denominational churches.  By the time I left, I was completely disillusioned.  There is very little difference, no matter what Church you go to, to the fundamental things that make up a Church.  I could spend pages detailing the things that bothered me, but I won't.  At least not today.  Let's just say I was fed up with the traditions of men and longed to know God.

  I don't know how many of you have ever seen Equilibrium.  There's a point in this movie, where the main character stops taking a particular drug that is nationally enforced.  The purpose of the drug was to deaden the senses.  To remove all passion and emotion from the human person so that they would no longer have war in their society.

  Unfortunately as good as those intentions were, it removed all purpose for life as well.

  Our hero in this movie missed his dose... and then chose to keep missing his dose.  What happened as the drug finally left his system is moving and enlightening at the same time.  Suddenly even a sunrise had meaning, a painting could be fathomed, music could  move, life could be embraced.

  I have found the same thing since leaving Church.  No longer surrounded by doctrine and tradition, and reaching out desperately to find God, he took hold of my hand.  Slowly, little by little, I've been drawn into his truth.  I could not take hell seriously any longer.  Not knowing the God I know to be who he is.  It made no sense.  I once felt tormented by fear of condemnation and never knowing where I stood after I died.  The fear literally filled me with great dread.  I called out often "God, how can I be sure that you will not damn me?"

  This is the poison of religion.  And like the drug of Equilibrium, it takes time to leave the body until the sunrise of grace embraces you.  Trust me friends, Grace is not just a religious word.  Once you apprehend it, it sweeps you away to the depths of your being and is deeper than you can ever know.

   That's what has been happening to me lately as I'm discovering God all over again and falling madly in love with him.  I know that sounds crazy, but it's SO true.

That's my coffee break for today.  More to come.

Travis Penner

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