When I have nights like this, where sleep is all but possible, I usually grab my Bible, journal, and favorite pen and read and write until I feel my heart settle back into it's normal place and rhythm. Tonight I did the same only to feel like I had been slapped in the face.
When I grabbed my Bible out of my backpack where it lives, I saw that it was majorly water damaged. Pages were stuck together and there even seemed to be mold growing on the edges. Not jut dark spots, but actual, fuzzy, mold... What the hell did I do?!
A while back, while at work, I had gotten stuck in a torrential downpour at the Adventure Therapy camp we take our residents to. It was a super cool day, though incredibly stressful. We had hiked along a creek for over 2 miles, only to have the skies open up and dump rain on us. We were drenched to the bone, and still had to hike back to our van to go back to the unit. On our way back, one of our kids began to have an asthma attack. She couldn't seem to catch her breath, and the rescue inhaler she used wasn't helping as much as we had hoped. She was till having difficulty catching her breath, but was beginning to calm down when we all piled back into our van and started to head back to the unit. About 10 minutes into our drive, one of the other girls told my coworker and I that the girl who had been having issues breathing wasn't waking up. My coworker climbed into the back seat to check her, meanwhile I called 911. To make a long story short, the girl was taken by squad to the hospital and given breathing treatments, but was, in the end, fine.
After the chaos of that day, I never took my stuff out of my bag to dry. This lead to my Bible now being more of a science project than a sacred text.
But, here is the thing; if this had happened a year ago, my Bible would never have stayed in my bag untouched this long. It never would have had chance to grow anything. A rolling stone gathers no moss, and a used Bible grows no mold. So what does that say about my faith?
Is my faith moldy like my book it's based in? Or is it just different than back in the days where my ministry was easier to see? I'm leaning toward the later. I mean, no, based on the cliche american christianity, my faith looks pretty shitty. I don't go to church (I work Sundays), I rarely read my Bible (I just don't want to), I almost never listen to worship music, and I'm not really a part of your standard Christian fellowship.
I am, however, daily growing in the fruits of the spirit. I couldn't have stayed at my job as long as I have if I wasn't experiencing God's Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. I spend my days being threatened and cursed at by the kids I bend over backwards to love well. And yet, I find myself still honestly wanting the best for them. On my own, I'm an asshole... the only explanation for me keeping my cool over the last year and a half is Jesus.
Like I talked about in my last post, I find God to be an artist. Maybe I'm not listening to Contemporary Christian station on the radio much, but I am still worshiping him. I've been painting and drawing more recently. I will often get an image in my head and feel like there is something deeper there for me to learn from. I have loved drawing a lion head recently, and every time I think about how God has turned my from a lamb, into a lion; taking me from being a bit of a doormat who anyone can walk on, to someone who stands up for herself when it's appropriate.
I also think about how lions are pride driven, they do everything for their family. They hunt together, sleep together, raise cubs together. Right now, I'm in a period in my life where I am searching for my pride. I'm building into new relationships at work, and still loving my boyfriend with everything I've got. I've been spending time with family and friends, both new and old. As time goes on, my tribe/pride/fellowship/whatever you wanna call it grows.
While my Bible may be moldy my faith is not. Just like a rolling stone gathers no moss, it also has the imperfections knocked off it by the other rocks rolling down the same hill. The Bible explains it saying "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." (Proverbs 27:17) Bumping against the people in my life, the rough edges of my soul are honed and softened.
If I had to chose between a moldy Bible or a moldy faith, I will always pick a moldy Bible. I can always buy a new one.