Making God Real

I thought I might skip the confirmation of last week’s blog. It makes me feel so vulnerable, but I know vulnerability is a precious quality, and one I need. So at the risk of sounding crazy I’m sharing my journey–the experiment in making God real. Mother’s Day was a fabulous day.

I spent the day with Ruach (my name for the Holy Spirit if you are new to me). It may have been the best Mother’s Day ever–certainly the most different MD I’ve ever had. My husband and I were in an unresolved fight and so not speaking–so I am being quite literal! I had several MD wishes first thing in the morning and after that it was just Ruach and I.

It was a perfectly gorgeous day and I put on an experimental outfit of something comfortable and gauzey I wanted to wear because it was pretty. I took my laptop and water to the gazebo, one of my favorite hang-outs. On Sunday morning I usually post my blog going through Jesus’ life in a year,* but I hadn’t gotten it done with all the texts.

I was making the conscious effort of talking to God to be aware of His presence. So I would talk a little and read and post, and then we would go out and work in the yard for a bit together. There was no pressure, no plan other than posting the blogs (which usually takes a half hour to an hour.) It was so relaxed and leisurely, so fun because there was no self-pity, no regret, no loneliness, only the consciousness of His presence. He is  so sweet. I always say “No one can love you like Jesus” (or Ruach–They love with the same sweetness) and it is true!

We talked about everything, and joked and laughed and high-fived! He is so funny. At the first high five, He said, “I’m sure that surprised any of the dark side sent to watch! That made them run!” and laughed.

I responded, “They probably didn’t believe it!” I could hardly, but it just naturally happened. I was pulling tall grass behind the flowers and some of it I couldn’t reach. He said “Try again,” so I did, and for some reason I could that time! My arms hadn’t grown, nothing had changed except I reached it. I laughed and high-fived Him and then laughed at that!  And I said, “If anyone was watching they would think I am crazy.” That’s when he said the dark side ran away. That happened again and again.

Then we went back and I posted another blog and then we went out again. While we worked we talked about the story I’m writing now (David) and things I hadn’t thought of.  Then we would go back in the gazebo and post another blog and have some water and hang out. Then back out.

I remembered how my mother often told me stories of how sweet He was to her. She lived alone for years out in the country in Minnesota. She would need to do something she couldn’t do by herself and then she would ask for help, and He would give her an idea to use something for leverage and it would work. So of course I shared that she had told me. I could feel His smile–could almost see it in my mind, and His nod, and He would say, “I loved her too.”

It took all day to post a week of blogs–that was a first–and was an incredible day of warmth and sweet feelings and conversation and joy.  Just as Psalm 16:11 says, “In Your presence is fullness of joy…” At 6:10 my computer alerted me that the battery was low, I was amazed the day was over already, and a little sad as I went to the house. But He said, “I’m not going anywhere,”  and then I smiled and was grateful for the day. It was my unforgettable Mother’s Day.

*(http://Godhelps.net/God-in-a-Box)

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Mother’s Day Can be Beautiful No Matter What!

When your kids are far away or not in close relationship with you, Mother’s Day can be a hard day. Maybe even a day of regret and sadness. Today is one of those for me on all counts and I choose to be happy because I can. We can do that! We can choose happiness! It’s a gift God has given us–the choice to be happy and grateful when there seems to be no reason to be happy, or even evidence not to be happy!

 

This morning, this Mother’s Day choice is heightened for me because my husband got very angry when I tried to get him to look at his part in a confrontation we had previously had, and now he isn’t speaking to me.

 

This is going to be a silent day! But I am excited because it is a beautiful day and it means I have all the time to be alone with God soaking in His love–all Three of Them that fill that position of God! Wow! Three lovers who want to be with me! Three who love me wildly–even with my poor little crippled heart! I have everything I need to be joyful and have a great day! I even have the bonus of a gazebo and backyard in bloom!

 

But it is my choice.

 

In my time with God this morning, I suddenly realized how uncomfortable I am being loved! I never knew that before. It was shocking, but events  have stacked up evidence lately to bring it home to the inside. So clearly I need this retreat today. I need this respite. I need the practice of letting myself be loved and leaning into it. I need to receive and get comfortable receiving, and being grateful.

 

Learning that, I couldn’t wait to get started. And ever since then things have changed. They fill me with awe at Their love.

 

So if you are in that position too, choose with me, and see what happens. Watch God fill your heart. I bet we will be amazed at the end of the day. Our perception is so changed by a choice. Try it.

 

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The Sweetness of God

I often say to people, “No one will ever love you like Jesus.” (And Abba and Ruach.) And I mean it, but my experience of it waxes and wanes like all love relationships. There is always an ebb and flow. That’s how I know love is more than feelings. It is a commitment. But it does have wonderful feelings at times, and this week I got to experience the true sweetness of God’s love.

One of the sweetest things about God is that They know when you really need some encouragement.

I was at an all-time low. Feeling not-good-enough for my daughter and grand-kids. It reached a head just before I flew home and it was a tearful ride to the airport. I never cry unless it’s at something good, but this was not good, at least not good-feeling. At least she said “I love you and I do want you here,” when she dropped me off.

It had started the day before when shame came up somehow and she said I had raised her on it. I was shocked. I had been raised on it, but I was sure I hadn’t raised her the way I was raised–at least not to that extent. It got worse that night in a crazy misinterpretation of a humorous comment I made that got mis-repeated and hurt my grandson’s feelings. He and I talked it through, but I didn’t sleep much that night.

I was despairing of ever being truly accepted and liked for who I am and what I am. I would have to change and be someone different; that much was clear. I felt, hurt, rejected, and it wasn’t long until it turned into abandonment.

At home the next morning I had to work, and that helped. But the last client of the day was a returning client, who asked how I was doing and I was honest. She said “I wouldn’t want you for a mother–I’d always be afraid you were analyzing me.” Hmm! My daughter did apologize for being hard on me and text and say she loved me. That helped.

I gave into feelings of anger the next morning, in spite of the fact that an old client texted me gratitude out of the blue. He said he’d been praying and thanking God for me. I recognized God’s love, but I was going south fast–even while gardening! I knew I would end up hurting my relationships and my mind. And it wouldn’t help anything. So I chose to go back to reason and being the person I want to be. I asked God what to do next, and Ruach (Holy Spirit) immediately said, “Tell me three things you are grateful for. ” So I did, and felt better.

What would I do without God? Three powerful beings who know you inside out and still are in love with you–“crazy about you”–as my friend Barb says. They are so crazy about you that they want you with Them as your first love now through this life and forever.

A few minutes later a text came from a former client asking if I would see her son. I had worked with him ten years ago, and I said “Absolutely!” I love this kid. He had worked so hard in therapy. From what she said it sounded like it would be a difficult session. He’d been in a bad car accident two days earlier because he was drinking and she wasn’t sure if it was an attempt to take his life. She was sure he was sober now so I saw him later that day. It was a wonderful session, and I was very clear that this was God’s way of saying They knew my pain and were pleased with me. It was as though They brought us together because we both needed it. There was a foundational belief in him that still needed healing badly, and They healed it even before I asked. As soon as he said he wanted it, he had it. But the sweetest part for me was seeing how much he had grown in ten years. He had become an amazing young man, who was so different  from the broken, angry, suicidal kid I had first seen, I didn’t even recognize him! He had made so much progress, and has so much promise, I was overwhelmed with gratitude that I had been a part of the change. He had hit a low spot, gave into drinking and had a one-car accident going way too fast. He should have been killed but he wasn’t–only banged up with two broken ribs and a cracked pelvis. He was uncomfortable, but his attitude toward that and all the complications he had just created for himself was admirable. I had known he was gifted, but he has really applied himself and grown. It was delightful to see who he has become. 

That night he texted me how grateful he was for me. Two days later his mother texted something similar. I was floating with the realization of God’s loving presence and reality both in his life and mine. He had said he was learning that dark times teach you the most. I had already known this, just needed the reminder. This will all work out for good. God is never surprised and never baffled about guiding us and working things out. All we have to do is see Them in it, be teachable and allow Them to love us.

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What it’s like to be Under God’s Hand

I just wanted to share my week with you. It has been amazing! I now know what it is like to feel protected under God’s hand. I know I am, I feel it at times, but this was dramatic.

My pastor’s wife wanted to have a tea for the church ladies and asked if I would have it at my house and if I would speak for it. I love doing both, so of course I said yes. That was months ago and we have had great amounts of rain this year and the grass and flowers are beautiful!

But the reason I feel so protected and loved is this: the weather forecast for this week was horrendous for a flower garden! Our valley is normally the first to get wind and heat in our area. When I heard the forecast I gasped, and then I said “God, the dark side is trying to scare me, I’m just going to laugh at them, and trust You.” We were supposed to have hot weather on Sunday and Monday (90), and wind gusting up to 70 mph on Tuesday. Then it was supposed to cool way down and rain on Sunday (today) and only get up to 70.

My friend asked if I’d heard, and I said yes. “I know the dark side hates me, and this proves it. Every time I have an event they mess up the weather! But I’m choosing to laugh at them and trust God.”

The events turn out anyway. The first two neighborhood teas I had  on my patio were cool and cloudy. It poured rain at the end of the first one, which kind of heightened the effect actually. This third year it was planned for the lawn because the grass was green and the flowers surrounding us were beautiful. It was supposed to be 85 but only got up to 80, even then I worried that my guests were all sunburnt. But my neighbor assured me no one was burnt.

This time it was going to be 18 ladies instead of 8. And it was a production! So instead of stressing, I just told God, “I know you love me, and You can do anything if I trust You. I also know Satan has probably asked to test me again over this, so help me pass. I’m not going to get fearful or stressed. I choose not to get angry with my husband if he gets irritable. (My 40 day fast this year is to be more loving to him.) I trust we will have what You want to give us, and I know You are good.” (That is the whole focus of my Bible writing.)

So Sunday it was 85 for a short time. The flowers on the patio needed a little heat to really bloom. Monday was supposed to be 90 here but we had a big cloud during the hottest part and it only reached 85 again. I was so grateful. Tuesday there was no wind all day until I started writing in the gazebo. Then a strong breeze started. About an hour before sundown it raised a little, nothing huge, and went down again after sundown. Again I was so grateful, and thought God had just held it in check. The next day a client told me what it had been like just over the hill–20 minutes away–definitely 70 mph gusts of horrible wind–dust storms until you couldn’t even see! I was in awe and felt so loved and protected!

Wednesday I was going to take some irises to my friend with cancer. She loves them too, and had just gone through another round of chemo. Our schedules didn’t jive, so we decided on the next day. She is a 2o min. drive away, and it was a work day for me, so it was going to be a quick visit. She asked if I could bring smothered burritos (my favorite and hers too), and I couldn’t say no. I always ask what she needs or wants, and she hasn’t asked anything. And I know nothing tastes good to her now.

I was exhausted so I asked God for energy and made the sauce. Then I finished them at her house while we talked. Turned out that it was exactly what I needed at that point in a very busy week of yard work and more.  I had a very peaceful day.  I just trusted God that everything would get done, and  of course it did. Two clients canceled anyway, so I had time to write also. (I’ve managed to keep that up.)

The tea was this morning and what a beautiful day it was–sunny and 75!

The tea was unbelievable–all the attention to detail. Everything presented so beautifully and charmingly. I have never seen anything like it. (It was catered by Jamie who is starting a business doing such things. I highly recommend her.)

My talk was well-received and I wasn’t even nervous. I actually just enjoyed giving it. That is a great feeing, and a  gift.  I posted it here under Why Women are Special to God two weeks ago.

I yet again learned to trust God’s love, and just relax into it; He (They) are truly amazing! I want to live every week like this. But would I need to live under this kind of  pressure? Be stepping into this kind of action? This kind of war? Yep. But how exciting that would be! How fulfilling! How even relaxing! I even slept 7 hours last night.

I’ll share some pictures. They don’t do it justice, but you can get the idea.

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A New View of God

 

I learned that the best way to deal with anxiety is reframing it as excitement, then your mind stops looking for the threat your body is telling it about! Isn’t that great?

Who knew! Since I didn’t know it after 30 years as a family systems therapist, I thought you might not know it either. Mel Robbins, who suffered 20 years from anxiety, managed hers with meds and therapy, but when her children started having anxiety she got serious about understanding it!

Isn’t that a God story! Once God’s children became infected with the disease of sin, God came up with an antidote. But why would one of Them coming as Their human son and dying as a criminal be an antidote? How would that produce oneness again? Why didn’t they just take thousands of years like they did to win Lucifer back?

Because things had changed in God’s family. Lies about God were flying around the universe fast and furiously. Everything was confusion. Fear, that dark cloud, had entered the realm.

God has always had to protect us from Them. (I usually refer to God as Them because I write and think in terms of the Three of Them.) The problem became fear, and I think this was very real in Moses’ life. He had heard the warnings, experienced the preparation to be in God’s presence. He had seen Nadab and Abihu drop dead because they weren’t prepared. For him, the fear of the Lord wasn’t just reverence, but I don’t think he was really afraid. Moses is the one human, that got to spend 80 days in the glory of God. Jesus only got 40! Yet Moses unwittingly spread fear to me, and probably a lot of others, by what he wrote. Maybe he used fear to get these people to listen. It must have been the best way for them. But is it now?

One of my clients said to me recently, “You’ve helped me reconnect with God. I’ve always heard ‘fear God,’ and thought I don’t want that. I have too much fear as it is.” She is winning against anxiety.

In my 30’s I finally decided I had to deal with my fear of God. So my Master’s project looked at the parenting of God in each book of the Bible. That helped, and understanding God’s wrath helped in a huge way, but the only thing that has really made a difference  is knowing God intimately–getting to know Their sweet, tender  love for me personally, experientially. I prioritize time with Them every morning. I look for Their love messages every day. I crave Their intimacy.

Many of you hear intimacy and think sex, but sex is not intimacy. Intimacy is safety. Feeling completely safe with a person. Safety is the foundation of love.  Jesus on the cross showed the universe that God is safe, that God would take responsibility for creating a world where something could go wrong, and rescue us. God (all 3 of Them) in Their unselfishness would go through the unthinkable together to conquer death and evil and sin. Don’t think Abba and Ruach didn’t go through hell in Jesus’ death.

If you are a parent, you’d rather die than watch your child die! I don’t think God sent Jesus. I believe it was Jesus idea to come. I even believe Abba and Ruach had to be convinced. In my first episode of Love’s Playbook, Adonai presents the idea, describing how it would resolve Their problem, showing Them that it is the only way. But They, even seeing the wisdom of it, cannot readily agree to let Him do it. It took Them time, the idea was so awful, so risky.

But they did come around to it as the only way to restore us, bring us back into Their presence, and give us Eden back! What a God! You can see why it takes all three of Them to be One! They help each other do the hard things.

You get the story here. http://amazon.com/author/arlacaraboolad                         Love’s Playbook, episode 1

 

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A Lesson From Flowers

My flowers have taught me something this spring. We’ve had so much rain in Southern California this year, more than in a decade at least. Everything is green, and the flowers are blooming profusely, but I noticed something very interesting.

When I cut them and bring them in the house they aren’t lasting like they normally do–two days tops. I wondered at this. I haven’t noticed it before, but this year it happened over and over. At first I thought it was because it was warmer in the house–but that has been the same years before.

And then suddenly it hit me. It must be the difference in water. We haven’t used municipal water outside at all this spring, and if I have watered flowers here and there, it’s been collected rain water. But when I bring them in the house I put them in faucet water. Could that be the difference?

Of course you know what came to mind–living water. There is such a difference between the results of city water and rain water. It’s like they are saying, “What is this you’re putting me in? We’ve had the real thing!” My neighbor loves gardening too, and we have been talking about it this year. We can keep them alive by watering, but they don’t thrive. When it rains everything changes–it’s like the plants come alive. They know the difference! And this year we’ve had lightning too, which really helps. (Someone told me it gives nitrogen. I haven’t verified it.)

The difference is amazing–like Jesus saying to the woman in Samaria beside the well* “If you knew who was asking you for a drink, you would ask me and I would give you living water. Any one who drinks it will never thirst again.”

She has no idea what he is saying, but she is intrigued, and takes the bait. “Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and why are you talking to me? Jewish men don’t speak to Samaritan women,  Are you greater than Jacob who built this well?” She is astute and knows this is no ordinary conversation, no ordinary man. And her spirit is thirsty so she asks for his water.

He tells her to get her husband and they will talk. She says she doesn’t have one. And then he proceeds to show her he knows her whole life. This really gets her attention!

She diverts him to “I see you are a prophet, lets talk about worship–you Jews think we are wrong in our worship.” He gives her a four sentence definition of worship, and she tells him she knows Messiah is coming and will set them all straight. He tells her he is the Messiah! He’s never flat out told anyone that yet! And a woman! 

She forgets what she is doing, leaves her water jug and runs to the men of the city to tell them what just happened!

And she is an outcast of society! She doesn’t even have women friends–why she is at the well at noon. She wouldn’t have a Face book page. But she is open to God’s Spirit, and His impressions, and He blesses her.

It’s makes all the difference. Like the difference in flowers drinking city water or God’s gift of water in rain–recognizing God’s gift in who Jesus is and drinking in His presence, still communicated by the Spirit just as it was then to an outcast woman of Samaria, makes all the difference in if your spirit is thirsty or not. If you thrive or not. If you make time to hear him ask, “Give me an opportunity to give to you. Trust Me.”

*John 4:4-26

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How You Lose You

 

Writing about King Saul has been scary! He started out so well! He seemed so secure and teachable. But as he picked up his title and his power, things changed.

The trouble is he didn’t know it. It was a combination of parental modeling, not feeling good enough, and wanting to be what the people wanted and expected. He became addicted to approval and praise! By the time David comes along and people praise him, he becomes insanely jealous–literally.

Sometimes this happens because you don’t get approval, but more often now it is happening because you grow up on praise and become addicted to it!

Addiction to praise ruined his life. And I am concerned for our children today for this same reason. And yet, all of us somehow get initiated into reality, unless we have a psychotic break. Reality begins to register about seven–we aren’t the center of the universe–or even every relationship. By twelve we realize we aren’t all that we thought, and it continues to grow, unless a personality disorder keeps us stuck.

Life has many “correctors”–little things or big things that jolt self-image. One of Saul’s was God interrupting and stopping a murderous mission. He’d sent three groups of soldiers to kill his rival (only in his mind), and finally went himself because three times God had interfered with his plan. So he was going to do the job himself! Why didn’t he get a clue? David is with Samuel at his school of the prophets.

But guess what! God took over to protect David, AND to give Saul a chance to wake up and course correct. He had previously had his own experience of being taken over into bliss by God’s Spirit after he was anointed. So he remembered, and should have snapped to reality when it happened to his soldiers. But he didn’t. And then it happened to him again!

Wow! He got to see how loved he was! He thought God had rejected him, and God took the opportunity to show him that while he was rejected as king of Israel, he was not rejected as a person. He was still very much loved and valued. Imagine laying in God’s presence for 24 hours! What a trip that would be! Talk about blissed out! That would be over the top!

But not for him. He comes out of it and goes right back. David who was always trusting and forgiving, has come to the realization that he could count on Saul’s jealousy to make him lose his mind. So he takes the opportunity to run.

But what I want to know is how could Saul be that crazy? He had experienced God’s goodness, love and help. Why didn’t he connect the dots?

His mind was stuck in a well-worn track. It would have taken him choosing to think differently. He had done it once when Jonathan (his son) had confronted him over David’s innocence and his unfounded fear. But he didn’t continue to choose and deal with his need for approval or addiction to praise. He needed a good therapist! He had David’s music therapy which worked until Satan started setting up causes for jealousy and fear, then he’d lose his mind in emotion again.

The application for us? When God demotes you (or tests you) don’t take it personally, you are still loved. Lean in and learn what you need to learn. You could go crazy and lose your reason. If you lose a job, a house, or other stuff, you can always get stuff. If you lose God, you lose you, and everything else.

 

 

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Celebrating Women

I believe women were the best part of God’s creation. Think about it—He created us because something was missing, to meet Adam’s need, to be appealing and beautiful, the crowning finale of all creation.
When I say all of creation we need to take a moment to realize what that means. In Genesis 2:1-4 God says four times that he was finished with creation, not just ours but the vast array of the heavens and the earth.
When Hebrew writers wanted to emphasize a thought, they repeated it. God repeated that four times in four verses—suggesting They wanted us to understand we were the last world—the grand finale! We were special. Adam and Eve were a new order of beings who could procreate, we stirred some excitement!
According to Job 48, God says all of creation (the sons of God) rejoiced and cheered when we were created! And if women were the grand finale of the grand finale, I think God gave it everything—the final flourish, the finishing touch. I just feel that God was proud of Adam and Eve, and especially Eve! She must have been the best yet—gorgeous, gracious and grateful.
Wouldn’t we all love to have that said of us! I say that about my daughters (not often enough to them), and we are God’s daughters—and I’m sure when They look at us that is what They see! (Three of Them fill that position.)
What a great thing to be special to God! I believe we will be for eternity. I read that God plans to make us His celebrities—His ambassadors. In our Sabbath School class our “fandom” is often mentioned. The word was new to me, but not the concept. If those hundreds of billions of galaxies are inhabited and watching us, which there is a lot of Biblical evidence for, then I’m sure each of us has a following who tune in and cheer for us when we choose well, and are sad when we blow it. Think of the support that gives each of us! Besides Abba, Jesus, and Ruach, we have maybe billions of fans! All hoping we make the right choice!
And of course since we are the special object of God’s affection, we are the special object of Satan’s hatred. Some people, men especially, think that women were cursed by God. But I don’t think that is scriptural. Sin brought the curse, not God!
God described the results of Eve and Adam’s choice, the fall-out of it, and as They always do up till Jesus came, took full responsibility. But in an easy interpretation of the original language, this is what Adonai describes in Genesis 3:16 as the curse on women.
“Your greatest gift of having children will now be accompanied with pain. And your greatest desire will go to your husband and he will rule over you.”
What exactly is He saying? If we add the words that fit the emotion and context, it would sound like this, “Because you were given the best gift We have ever given anyone, bearing children, that is where the curse will rest heaviest. (That is always the case—it happened to Satan and the serpent—so he demands it for God’s closest friends when they blow it.)
Going on—God describes…”You were created so your first desire would be for Us, but now it will be for your husband, and he will rule over you because he now sees you as inferior to him, and it will be easy to blame you for everything. In brokenness one leader will be easier.”
Have any of you experienced that curse? We see in history the effects of sin on women ever since Eve’s choice. Now in our church—fighting over “Are we equal in God’s eyes?” I say, it is preposterous. God wants to take us back to respect in redemption. In Ruth Adonai became our Goel, our kinsman redeemer just as did Boaz in a beautiful love story.
God wants to take us back to the way it was in the garden before sin. Our first desire was for God, our husband came second. We were our husband’s equal.
I think part of the fall-out from sin is this idea terrifies men! And therefore it forces them to make God their first go-to—their first desire instead of women (sex) and hiding.
The path to healing for all of us is the same thing it has always been. Eve should have run from the serpent’s flattery, or at least said to the serpent, “I need to check this out with God.” (Do you see why Satan started by staging doubt against God!)
And then Adam’s first reaction should have been “We have to talk to God about this!”
The safety or the remedy hasn’t changed.
But our first thought is usually our husbands. Not our God. Maybe, just maybe, if we felt closer to God we would think of Him first, go to Him first.
And maybe if our husbands felt closer to God than anyone, they would protect us by going to God first. But I can tell you pushing them to God doesn’t work! It doesn’t work with kids or husbands.
Attraction is what God uses because it’s the only thing that works. And attraction is strongest in modeling. Attraction is what God made us good at. So let’s use it, make God our first love and be proud of our attraction to Him!

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Flunking Mothergood

If you haven’t read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voscamp, you should just for the beauty of her writing. But be prepared to slow way down and experience her story. I discovered reading her book why I’m writing the Bible. It’s in the slowing down to experience the story that the real ah-ha learning happens.

I was caught in it again this morning. I was experiencing the beauty she was describing when suddenly my heart ripped open, remembering the child face beaming up at me, open and trusting.  At seven it changed–the trust–not the same. She thought she was in the way. Thought I had sent her away.

I didn’t even know it until she was 14? 15? A migraine brought it out one night. And I held her as she cried and told me about seven. How she’d felt all that time. I didn’t know.  It breaks my heart again.

I had known something… My mother said she wasn’t the same child who got off the plane at almost seven. I made it worse three months later when I came and talked her out of coming home for another two months–I would be working overtime. I discovered my part in hurting her right after and shared how sorry I was. How could I not have known her pain? Did I ask then? I asked for forgiveness for me, but not how she felt.

Does she know now how much she was loved? Have I told her? Have I communicated it? I think so.

But does she?

She must know now having her own children–the experience of loving five of them and the last one a girl so much like her.

But she won’t even let any of her older boys get on an airplane alone to stay with Grandpa and Grandma! Maybe she will hold them too tightly?

I am proud of her–so proud. She is amazing and grounded and loved by God. It’s more important now that she knows that–and she does. I think.

Sometimes I feel and hear her anger. I call it, but she says she’s angry we  didn’t move there, didn’t follow like we promised. I get it, but it would have meant getting divorced.

She got divorced instead.  I told her she could move home with her boys. But she didn’t think it was what God wanted. And instead she chose to depend on Him (Them) completely.  And what a marvelous love experience with God it turned into for her!  She knows she is loved by Them–lives in it. I guess you can flunk mothering and still be ok if God is your back up.

I do wonder, though, if all the feeling and beliefs of “seven” are healed. She says they are. I’m sure I can depend on God to bring them up for healing if I ask. That stuff can get in your way. She will lean too far the other way. I’m so glad God is willing to get all mixed up in our details. What a good God! I’m so grateful for a loving faithful Father who doesn’t make mistakes! What relief!

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Community

Do you have a place to be yourself? A place where you feel accepted, like you are known and understood? Community is important to us as humans. Belonging is one of our basic needs right next to survival.

I feel so fortunate to be part of a group of women who are amazing, intelligent, committed and gracious. They share their stories, their struggles, their wins, their hopes, as it flows out of our book study.

There is nothing like people willing to be themselves, raw, tears in eyes, sharing the things that have been hard, the things that have stopped  them cold, knocked them down. They don’t even have to be asked. They feel safe.

It takes time to feel that safe. We’ve been together for a year and that is long enough to grow a bond of trust. Long enough to know people are safe to be known and share. A group has to be willing and safe.

I had another such group, a mixed group this one. The elders at my church agreed to try an experiment. We had been reading Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Scazzero, and he really stresses community. He goes so far as to say you won’t grow and become the person you were meant to be without it. So we met once a month for a year and shared out lives–literally our family trees–emotionally. It was a great experience. We always met at my house and I miss them on Wednesday nights.

Our idea was that leadership should be spiritually healthy.  At a church? Duh!True, the church is a hospital for broken and wounded people, but the leadership ought to be spiritually healthy, and I agree with Scazzero that if you aren’t emotionally healthy it’s impossible to be spiritually healthy. Not that you have to be done, you won’t ever be done growing here. And most of us are behind emotionally. But we have to be willing. That is all God ever asks of us. And you only grow in community.

You may have to start with just you and God. That is a community, and you may be too scared to start with people. If you are willing, Ruach (Holy Spirit) will lead you into a community of people. As long as you are willing to be real and share your own path, your own struggles, community will come. It develops from safety. And safety is intimacy. Trust grows in safety. You don’t have to be perfect, just willing to come out of hiding as your feeling of safety allows. Safety grows in coming and sharing the experience. Honest sharing is holy ground.

You won’t feel worthy; I don’t. That’s ok; you need it, and they need you. Just be that safe person, show up, and let yourself be loved. You don’t have to share until you want to. You will be scared, but take the risk; it’s worth it. You are worth it. God is worth it–He’s safe.

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