A reading for my grand children, and for you as well.
A reading for my grand children, and for you as well.
During the introduction, we were each asked to answer a couple of questions around our table.
These questions were meant as kind of an ice breaker, and a lead right in to the topic we are studying.
Well they were ice breakers to be sure, but to me one of these questions was so much more. It sent me on another journey, into the background that makes me who I am.
All of the time I have spent on introspection, I would like to think that it is all finished.
As we have spoken of in a previous post, it will not be finished as long as we are here on this earth.
However, our Merciful Father in Heaven will allow no more than we can handle at any one time.
Each journey into our background and back out again, carries with it another piece of healing, filling in the puzzle that is us.
Have you ever been putting a puzzle together and many pieces go together quickly?
Have you noted that in the very same puzzle, some can take a long time to place?
Each of these remaining pieces needs to be inspected.
They perhaps need to be held in your hand, and placed and replaced until the proper
place is found.
If you do not enjoy the process, you probably will never finish the puzzle.
The question we were asked, seemed very innocuous at the time it was asked, but the more I reflected on it, the more I could sense that this would not be over, just because the class was.
This piece would have to be investigated closely.
Here are the questions;
* How many lived in your home when you were seven?
* Who was the warmest person in your life at that time?
Harmless questions right?
Well as the others spoke their answers, I sought my own answer to the question “Who was the warmest person in your life at that time?”
What I soon realized, was that I could not remember even one “warm” person in my life.
Were people supposed to be warm?
The only thing that came to my mind was that during my very young life, we used to travel every Sunday to my Grampas house in the country.
While there, I would climb the apple trees in his orchard and visit the hay mow in the barn.
Life was peaceful if only for a short time.
After dinner, I can recall clearly, sitting on my Grampas lap in his big comfy chair, eating popcorn out of an enamel roasting pan and watching Lawrence Welk.
I believe that was the safest, coziest, warmest spot I ever knew.
When the show was over, it was time to load up and go home.
My heart longed for our return the following week.
Those visits came to an abrupt end, when there was a misunderstanding between my Father and my Grandpa that got me a beating that today would have landed me in the hospital and my Father in jail.
Father never apologized and Grandpa would not let him return until he did.
I never got over the fact that it was my fault that we could not visit any more.
My warm person/spot was gone.
Grampa came to town to live with us several years later, after my Grandma died, and my Mother and Father divorced, but our relationship was never the same.
I knew it was my fault.
I didn’t find out until much later why it had changed so drastically, and that was that I had grown up, and he didn’t feel that hugging or snuggling with a girl my age was proper.
So NOT my fault.
But the damage was already done.
So. After class, I was compelled to come and go through the family photos left here by my Mom.
There I found snapshots of brief moments of family life. Brief shots. Brief smiles.
I also, sadly, noticed that in nearly all of the photos of that time period, the smile never went to the eyes.
That sounds strange maybe, but it was there. I saw it.
Here are two photos I found of myself. In one of them, my favorite one, I was four. See the light in the eyes? They twinkled.
I think this may have been before I found out I was defective.
See the second photo? Age seven. Sad smile. No twinkle.
I’m still processing what I see.
I’m still examining every piece.
With God’s help, and His alone, I will be able to fully place the truth, and go on to another piece.
Ladies and Gentlemen; here is the truth;
YOU ARE NOT DEFECTIVE!
AND NEITHER WAS I!
Psalm 139:13-16 (NIV1984)
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.
Do not be afraid of the process.
Join me in placing the pieces where they rightly fit.
Let us hold God’s hands together,
And believe the truth.
John 8:32 (KJV)
32 And ye shall know the truth, and (He) the truth shall make you free.
Bridges come in many shapes and sizes.
Each built to withstand the elements surrounding it.
Simple beam bridges, may only cross a stream or a gully too difficult to traverse, and are seldom longer than 250 feet.
A truss bridge is a superstructure meant to carry heavy loads.
A cantilever bridge stretches over the obstacle, is only attached on the ends, and raises in the middle to allow for larger loads to go UNDER.
An arch bridge carries the weight of traffic through the abutments on either side. These bridges are strong enough to carry trains.
Tied arch bridges, or bow string bridges are constructed a bit differently, and the weight is carried through tension in the bottom cord of the bridge.
Suspension bridges are suspended from cables. The earliest ones being ropes and vines. The cables hang from towers that are built deep into the ground below the bridge.
Cable-stayed bridges, like suspension bridges, are held up by cables, but have less cables, and taller towers.
But my very favorite bridge of all is the Gospel bridge. It’s the one that God provided for us. It is built with eternity in mind. It bridges a gap that I can’t jump. I’m thankful to have a path to choose. One that is strong enough to carry a load that I could never bare.
On one of my self-excavating pilgrimages, I asked myself this question.
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, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with things great matters or things too difficult for me. 2 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;
1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 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”.
Honestly – Getting back to writing was a bit difficult.
I thought the best way to begin again, would be by doing the 5 for 5 Brain Dump.
Quite simply, it works.
Our small group is studying a book by Louie Giglio called “Goliath Must Fall”.
Today in our small group, we talked about the fact that the world is constantly looking for conflict. It always seems to want to stir things up.
When all our hearts desire, is to have a little piece of peaceful real estate to call our own. A place where we can rest.
What causes the notion to keep things stirred up? I don’t know, but can it be fear? Fear of what? Maybe fear of what we will find there in that quiet space? Fear that what we find there will be too much? Too much grief? Too much sickness? Too much pain? Too much sorrow? Too much unforgiveness? Too much lack of hope? Any or all of these things we may find in the quiet.
When we find that “Whatever” there, we have to make a choice. We can either bury it back up again or, we can choose to face it. Toe to toe. Face to face. Head to head. That, my loves, is a fearful thing. But I can tell you that in my experience, the more difficult choice, is by far the better choice. This choice, to face the fear, leads to freedom.
If you remember back in the days of cameras with film, then you know that once the film is exposed, it is ruined for further use. It cannot be rewound and used again.
Facing the fear of what is holding on to your soul, and seeing it for what it is, is like that film. It can’t be used against you again. (Unless you let it!)
Fear is like a mouse with a megaphone. It shouts and shouts, but only has the power you give to it.
I know I’m mixing my metaphors here, but I want you to understand.
Re-using the film, is an illusion, and the mouse? Well he holds no power whatsoever. We only need see his real size, and ignore his rants.
I’m so grateful for the time I get to spend in quiet solitude, having a chance to expose the film, and recognize the the size of that mouse, for it has made me truly free.
“The Ultimate Journey” is not a book as in , sitting down and reading a book. I was going to do that, but found in the very first chapter, that this would be a deep dig.
What I thought I would need a teaspoon for, needed a back hoe instead!
A little of the back story;
When I was growing up, some phrases were used with/to/about me consistently. The ones that go with THIS story, were as follows;
See the conflict?
Well as a result, I just stopped asking questions. To my young brain, I got the same if I asked or if I didn’t. It was less painful not to ask.
Back story #2;
As an adult, I discovered my love for learning. The curiosity that was stifled as a child, began to come alive after I married and had children.
Questions arose, but no one slammed me for wanting to know.
Google did not exist, but the public library was a glorious place! All of my learning came for free, the only cost was the time it took to learn.
I had mentioned my learning, from reading the previously mentioned books to a friend, one who actually paid big bucks for her education, and she instantly recognized the next step I needed to take.
She loaned me a book from one of her classes. The book I was going to read and give back, turned out taking me three months and over 75 pages in my journal. Hours in my quiet chair with my thoughts. Digging. Digging. Excavating old wounds and hurts that until then, I had no vocabulary for.
Unpacking Self Deception. The title on the first page will either make you run, or cause you to dig in your heals and get to work. Inventorying your beliefs, behaviors, your wounds. Things you needed growing up, and things you didn’t need. Why are you stuck? Why are you suffering?
I could go on, but I will just tell you that between all the questions, charts, assignments and other items in this work, the healing began to flow along with the understanding and the clarity.
Even with the help of the book, I had to decide over and over again that I indeed wanted to be healed.
It was long and arduous, but was well worth the steps I took. Alone. In my chair. With my God. Sorting, sorting, sorting questions I never knew to ask.
I did not go on to Phase 2 when I was finished with Phase 1. I had a sense of what was needed next, and have been progressing steadily ever since.
In closing, I will tell you the most important statement in this entire post;
Worth it all?
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.
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.