Tag Archive | Jesus

Who Are You Really?

On one of my self-excavating pilgrimages, I asked myself this question.Magnifying Glass

First I will tell you, that on these pilgrimages, of which there have been many, my travelling companions have been God the Father, His son Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

My strong belief is that through this trinity, the truth and life can be found.

The excavation can be lengthy, and often times raw, but well worth the treasure found in the end. Quitting came to mind many times, but I had to remember to keep my eyes on the prize; Freedom.

That being said, I began my journey with the old soundtrack running in my mind. You may even share the same soundtrack. It is the old song that tells you that you are ordinary, rejected, overlooked and insignificant.

In order for me to be able to show up, to tell my story, to use my voice, I needed to know exactly what God thought of me.

The first thing I did, was locate what my mentor and teacher Graham Cooke called “Inheritance scriptures”. If you are familiar with the Bible, then you should have no problem here. If you are not, let me just say that I believe it is the complete and totally true Word of God, a map and guide to how we should live our lives.

Just so you know, there is no judgement here if you believe it, or even if you don’t, but that is the direction I am coming from.

So. Inheritance verses. Life verses. Verses that come to life every time you read them. At times, even though you may know them, believe them, trust them, the old soundtrack still tries to take over. This is where it is important to keep your verses close at hand.

I enjoy the Psalms, many of my inheritance words were first uttered by the subject David. He was so real. Happy, sad, powerful, weak, joyful, angry, courageous, fearful. Full range of emotions. Many of his words fit me, and most likely you too, here are some, my inheritance words, I claim them for myself, you can claim them too;

Psalms 18:19 (Speaking of God) He brought me into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.

Psalms 57:1b I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.

Psalms 119:65 Great peace have they that love your law. Nothing cause them to stumble.

Psalms 4:8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Psalms 131;1-2 My heart is not proud, Lordmy eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with things great matters or things too difficult for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.

All of these verses give me rest. I call them to memory when times are hard. They buoy my spirit, and keep my heart strong.

But none does that for me like this last one though; I share it with you, to make you strong;

Psalm 139

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

 

He knows us. He tells us what He thinks of us. He tells us who we are.

We are not ordinary, rejected, overlooked or insignificant.

Join me again here again as I share more of my “Excavation of my soul”.

 

 

 

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Books That Changed My Life #6

For any of you who may be familiar with my blog, my Facebook page or my YouTube channel, you know that I place a high value on quiet time. Quiescence. Quietude I call it.Whitespace

There was so much trauma and drama in my previous life. So much feeling guilty and selfish about spending so much time on myself. So much wondering WHY I was the way I was.

In one book. In one space. By one author. Stepping out of her hiding place, and being real, Bonnie helped me to see not only that it was a healthy thing, my self examination, but also that I was really not alone. One voice, can help multitudes.

Bonnie talks about her trauma, and how trauma can be trapped in time, and how “A person, an event, stress, or a change – even a hope or a dream – can unravel that trauma.” This unraveling can take us to places we didn’t remember, places we need to re-visit, and places we never wanted to go again.

It is a tedious journey, but for our health, and to be able to become that voice for others, it is a journey that must be taken.

When we choose to take this journey with Jesus, then we truly do not travel alone.

I used my copy of Bonnie’s book like a manual, like a workbook. Notes all the way through. The questions she asked, for me at least, demanded to be answered. (In my next and final book post, I’ll talk to you more about questions.)

This book helped to make those quiet times in my over-stuffed chair by the window, much more productive. Making freedom from my past more real as the time went by.

 

 

Processing Memories

Of all the things that can be a part of ones memories,

Rape has to be near the top of the list of atrocities.

The enemy of our soul, who hates us with vicious malaise,

uses this and more to destroy any possibility of reaching

the heights that God has for us.

This story made me realize that even though the processing

has been done, it my never be finished.

Like shards of glasses embedded deep inside,

the remnants work their way to the surface.

http://goodwomenproject.com/rape/when-no-one-believes-you

This is all so doom and gloom, right?

Let me tell you about the light.

The Year of the Lord’s Favor  (NIV1984)

61: 1-3, 7.  The Spirit  of the Sovereign Lord  is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.   He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,  to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown  of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

7 Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit  a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy  will be theirs.

Jesus truly is the only answer to the pain.

He will never leave you or forsake you.  (Joshua 1:5)

Then you will know the truth, and the truth (He) will set you free.  (John 8:32)

He knows the truth.

He IS the Truth.

You are not alone.

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So Much Love

I received so much love from the ones I love today.

I am truly blessed.

My heart and mind are turned to my own Mom.

Although she has been gone ten years,

The love she had for me,

goes on well past her life and death. 

You see, back in the day, the late fifties, being an unwed mom was to to wear the scorn of every person you came in contact with. 

Mom’s early story was one of loneliness and despair.  She was for all intents and purposes looking for love in all the wrong places.  The unwed part was hidden from me for my entire life.  I only found out after her death in 2001.

What love did she have for me when she could have ended my life, or she could have decided to give me to another?  Either would certainly have made her life easier. 

The fact remains.  She chose life.  She chose life for me and a more difficult life for herself.  Through the pain and loneliness and scorn, she raised me the best she could.  Through a need for love from a human or just because she felt it the right thing to do, she chose life.

I am who I am because of the courage of this woman. 

Not all the choices made were the right ones, naturally, but she did make the choices. 

One of those choices was to be married again, hopefully giving more stability to her life. 

What it gave her were three more children, with whom she shared her great love, and even more heartbreak than choices she had made before.

It is my belief that one choice that she made later in her life, was the life-giving choice to follow Jesus Christ. 

Knowing full well that she required more help than any mortal man could give to her.  She found that the decisions she made would have a great effect on me and my siblings.   

She chose Jesus. 

Her life and ours were never the same. 

His sacrificial love for her and us,

brought us through to today where we bless His name,

and where – Her children arise and call her blessed – Proverbs 31:28

I love you Mom.

I’ll see you when I get there.

Until then,

I still choose Life.

I still choose Jesus.

I still choose Joy.

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If you have not yet chosen Him~

Please refer to the Resucue tab at the top of this page.

A life-giving choice awaits.

Stained Glass Windows

Staring at the stained glass windows was actually an act of worship.

The very doing of it must have wrapped my heart in His love.          

(And safety)

Not even, did I know about it.

Not then.

I am beginning to know it only now.

How sweet and beautiful is the protection of the Lord.

Saved for a PURPOSE!

 

This is what was spoken into my heart during worship at a recent conference.

There were two main topics; one of which was human trafficking.

The speaker had a list on her power point with three columns.

If one or more items were chosen from each column, then a circumstance would be considered human trafficking.

I didn’t take notes like I usually do, but without being all that specific;  I can tell you I was shocked when I identified with many things on this list.

Never had I thought of my life as being trafficked, and I don’t think you could call it that, but I could sure relate.

I was never taken away from my family, but for almost as long I can remember, I had been forced to do things against my will.

Things I knew didn’t feel right; things that made me feel shame.

What a deficit to begin a life with.

Where does the stained glass come in?

Before I remember even going to church, I remember lying in my bed and looking out at the night sky.

The leaves were gone on the tree, and I “imagined” the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus, right up there in the tree.

I don’t even recall church because I was so young.

I don’t think I knew “Jesus loves me this I know” or how I even knew about Mary and her baby, but I do recall that seeing them there gave me a great peace. 

When I mentioned it to my mom she must have poo-pooed me, because I never spoke of it again, only tried to re-create it for the sense of calm it gave me.

Trauma and loneliness came again and again and I tried to re-create it even more times. 

Although I didn’t see it with my eyes again, I found I could, if I concentrated enough, experience that peace and calm.

Then, when I was around 7 or 8, the drama in our home life became even more intense.

I remember lying in the bed and looking out at the trees again. 

It was a different house, with a much bigger tree, and there, in the night sky, was Jesus, holding a rod in one hand and a lamb in the other.  His robes went to the ground.  His face was serene.

I didn’t dare tell anyone, but I knew that He was there to watch over me. 

I slept in peace that night.

We moved one more time, and we began going to a Lutheran church.

There, to my surprise, were enormous stained glass windows, and there, right above me and to my left, was Jesus, holding a rod in one hand and a lamb in the other.  His robes went to the ground.  His face was serene.

I never listened much to the sermons, I was just too squirmy, but I did at times, stare at those stained glass windows until I felt at peace.

I did that until I was in high school and we changed churches to one with plain blue glass.

The peace I felt during those times didn’t make the things in my life any easier; there was always drama and trauma.  Always.

But there, dotted at strategic times, there were little places of peace.

What I can recognize now, is the peace that was scattered throughout my years of seeking solace from the trauma, was actually protecting my heart.  Keeping it safe from irrevocable harm, until a later time.

Now I know that what I sought was peace, but not as the world gives, but peace that only Jesus can give.

“The world didn’t give it to me, and the world can’t take it away”

So what was spoken in my heart during worship in that recent conference, suddenly, amazingly, sounds like truth.

An act of worship.

Worship of a God who knew what I needed, before I did.

Worship of a God who wrapped my heart in His love, and protected me from the world.

He so desires to do the same for you.

For a purpose.

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The Last Day of April

The last week of April is “Big trash” pick up in our city.

What can be found curbside during this time runs the gamut from trash to treasure. 

Some stuff is really trash, and other stuff is there because the owner doesn’t want to deal with selling it or hauling it away themselves.  They just want it out of their space.

I have been known to partake in helping the folks to remove some of these things from their own personal space, and the land fill, since my youth.

The fact of the matter is that, as my Mom told me once, that I was a sheeny.  That it was in my blood.  That I came by it honestly and therefore could not help it.

The only definition I could find for the word was that it was a highly offensive term for a Jew.  I assure you, that is not what it means to me or what she meant when she said it.

What she was referring to, was seeing something discarded, retrieving it, fixing it, and either keeping it for yourself, or selling it to another.  In the most basic of terms, a trash picker.

A man rummaging through a skip at the back of ...

A man rummaging through a skip at the back of an office building in Central London. See also: Dumpster diving. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some of my earliest memories were not of purchases made in fancy stores, but of dumpster diving in the dumpster behind the school that we lived across the street from. 

It could be smelly, to be sure, but what a coup to bypass the apple cores and banana peels from someone’s lunch to find half used pads of fat ruled paper with dotted lines for beginning writers and pencil stubs and broken crayons.  Maybe even a partially used sheet of stickers tossed away by a teacher who had grown tired of using them.

This began my love affair with paper and pencils and crayons, but that is for another story.

The point of this story is twofold.

First, to announce to the world that I was a curb side entrepreneur before it was cool to be that.  If it could not be used for it’s original purpose, I would find something else to do with it!

Second, and of so much more importance, is this;

The things that other people consider trash can be of use to someone else.  They can be cleaned up and used for their original purpose, or they can be transformed into something totally different than what the eye can see.

I have seen this happen over and over.

An old mirror becomes a center piece for a dining room, complete with candles and cloches and flowers.

An old dresser, with a fresh coat of paint and a little new hardware can become a place to hide all of the things you use daily, but want to keep close, but out of sight.

An old pair of boots becomes a planter in the side yard for hens and chickens or strawberries. 

The most striking transformations I have ever seen though have not been with goods “purchased” at the curb.

The most striking transformations I have ever seen have been lives “purchased” at the cross.

I have seen this happen over and over again.

When Jesus reached down through the yuck and the muck, the apple cores and the banana peels, with His palms stained with blood, He redeemed so much more than paper and crayons.

He redeemed a life.  A life that others could only see as trash.

Jesus saw past the demolished life visible only to the eye.  He saw past the uselessness of a life in ruin.  He saw what a life could be.

Jesus sees what He paid for on that cross.  He sees the one who is fearfully and wonderfully made.

Jesus sees the one who is made in the image of God, the one who has been led to believe that he is all alone.

Jesus is there reaching down with that blood stained hand, to pull that one up, and to give a new coat of paint, a different set of hardware.  He wants to show the “New” purpose for that life, and discard the one that was old and decrepit.

The enemy of that soul has “sold” a bill of goods to almost the entire world. 

Trash.  Ruined.  Damaged.  No value.  Fragmented. Un-fixable.

The death of Christ on the cross and His resurrection has paid the price for the reversal. 

Trash to treasure.  Ruination to pristine.  Damaged to usefulness.  

No value to priceless.  Fragmented to whole.  Un-fixable to show room new.

The very thing that holds us prisoner is probably the very thing that was given to us as a gift from our Heavenly Father.

Stolen from us by the one who hates our souls!

Won’t you reach up from the rubble and take His hand today?

Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

Psalm 40:2 (NKJV) He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.

Jeremiah 29:11  (NIV) For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Psalm 139:14  (NIV) I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Crayon Lineup

Crayon Lineup (Photo credit: laffy4k)

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