Happy New Year! 2019

I woke up wide awake and feeling great one hour after going to sleep! Was it because in an hour it would be my birthday? (I have the distinct honor of sharing birthdays with Martin Luther King Jr. and my first grandson!) And I don’t get serious about a new year until the 15th; that’s when mine starts ūüôā

When you are turning 69 weird things happen. And I’m learning it’s better to treat them with humor and creativity rather than worrying or get upset! So after thinking of all the neat things we could do to celebrate, I got up to spend some time with my Best Friend. His name is Ruach. You know him as Holy Spirit, or Jesus, because he brings Jesus to us constantly. Many times I have apologized for ignoring Him or calling Him Jesus. He just smiles that great warm endearing smile and says, “It’s totally ok, I love him too.”

Spending time in His lap has been such a grand thing. I feel so loved, and I never know what can happen! Sometimes I get so charged with love and joy! Other times I see myself too clearly, and He holds me, providing comfort while I cry. Sometimes He’s just sweet, as a month ago, telling me that I need to be kinder to myself.

Kindness and love is something I ask for a lot. But for my birthday present, I’ve asked for Joy and more awareness of Him. I want to experience Them as much as I can all the time–to live in Their presence. I’ve been so honored by Them to be trusted to write Their story from a new perspective.

I know most people get the perspective of love from the Bible as it is, but being overly sensitive, the dark shadows in there stalked me. Even though I was committed to God as a child, I was always nervous about Him. Too many things I didn’t understand. Finally, I felt I had to face them and deal with my fears. That is what I teach everyone else!

Now it is amazing to me how God has been setting me up for this my whole life. Me, poor little Much Afraid! (I gave one of my grandson’s Hind’s Feet on High Places for Christmas, and reading it to him¬† was so fun–it’s been 40+years since I have–and I see how that was a catalyst to understanding “perspective” itself.) I was never comfortable with “He’s God, He can do whatever He wants.” He has to make sense; now “They” have to and have to come from a place of love. And you know what! They always do–and They help me see it! Sometimes the picture really expands! Once, while writing book 6, I said, “I can’t make You look good when You don’t.” And in a day they opened my mind to Their perspective by saying, “Do you think I wanted that?” And suddenly everything begin to look different.

I’m talking about my series Love’s Playbook,¬†the Bible with its backstory, or the Bible from a cosmic perspective, or most simply the story of a good God. I’ve just published book 8, which goes through Samuel’s story, and¬† I am now writing about King Saul. I have learned so much, and will keep learning! Part of the joy has been sharing it with a group at church, and seeing the ah-ha’s that happen. I remember the morning three of them had one at once! Very cool. My goal is to have people enjoy reading the Bible and fall in¬† love with God–deep, confident, joyful love.

My books are on Amazon–easiest is the link below because, of course, the dark side made sure to have a porn book published with the same title, and unfortunately it gets more hits than the Bible. (Not to be confused with Sex is Better with Men Over 50 which is mine and not pornographic.) It will be so great when we don’t have to continually deal with those jerks anymore. Especially the lies they have gotten us to believe! And the constant attempts to derail us, with “feel-goods” that make us lose our appetite for good, or thoughts and situations to distract and discourage us. But don’t focus on them–they will be gone soon. Just remember that choosing and praise are your best weapons in this war. God will win and we with Them! They are worth it.

Won’t heaven be amazing! And all about relationships. I’m going to have a logia (outdoor house) with grapevines growing up pillars and over the top, set in a beautiful garden, and people coming and going.¬† And the literal presence of all Three of our Best Friends! It will be so worth whatever you are dealing with here! If you are suffering, ask Them for help and listen, you have a Resident Genius who is on your side. You are Their favorite and Their love is worth the pain of this place.

Happy New Year!

http://amazon.com/author/arlacaraboolad

 

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New Things

I did something last Thursday I’ve never done before. I was waiting for my early-morning flight in North Carolina and as I walked to a venue to get something to eat I noticed an older woman walking slowly, obviously in pain. It made me wish I could do something to help her, and started a thought thread. I realized even if I had a pill that could take away her pain and heal it, who would take that from a complete stranger? No one with wisdom.

I went back to my seat and saw that she was sitting in a wheelchair across the walkway cattycorner¬† from me. I had the thought that I could pray for her. Never in my life have I gone up to a perfect stranger and asked to pray for them! I’ve had the thought, but never the follow through.

But I did. I thought¬† nobody notices old people, and I am now only one year from qualifying as old! So I got up and walked over and bent down to her. Her husband was standing a few feet away. “I can see that you are in pain, would you mind if I pray for you?” I asked her. She said she wouldn’t mind, so I asked her name and it was Alice. I told her that was my mother’s name and we smiled. I prayed that Jesus would take her pain and show her how much He loves her because it’s hard to fly in pain. Then I went back and sat down.

I didn’t feel foolish or like a hero. It was no big deal. I just felt good that I had been obedient to a nudge from God and had done something I’ve always been too scared to do before. I couldn’t see that her pain had gone, but I decided that I wasn’t going to worry about results. Maybe it wouldn’t go till the flight started. That was what I had asked for.

Afterwards I realized that she looked just like the pictures I had seen of my husband’s mother (she was dead when we met) whose name was also Alice. So of course I had to tell him about it. But I didn’t even remember to do that until the next day. He was completely surprised at my action too, and that she looked like his mother with the same name. His mother was Lebanese and had very distinctive looks.

I’m not big on new year’s resolutions but it started me thinking that maybe it was time to start thinking and doing new things. Why should I live in fear of what other people think? Why should I worry if God answers my prayers for others? That’s His problem.

As a mental health therapist I know that it helps to write down the things you want to change or just things you want to do. It uses different parts of the brain. Maybe I will write down some things.

I want to live finding good in others, to be in joy, to focus on God’s presence where is fullness of joy (Ps. 16:11)¬† And to not care what other people think of me. But I think it works better if they are handwritten.

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The Present of Presence

Presence usually refers to where someone is. We hear a lot, “Be present where you are.” “Live in the present.” Sometimes it refers to the energy of someone. “They have so much presence.”¬† Put “the” in front of presence, and it goes to a whole other level. The Presence refers to the divine. I’ve often wondered what it felt like to be in Jesus’ presence. I can barely imagine it. Drawn by a love he exuded. But at times I get to feel it.

Have you ever felt the divine presence? This week I went to a Christmas concert–Kim Walker Smith and Big Daddy Weave. It was great and¬† towards the end it was all worship–The Presence. I was still smiling when I woke up the next morning, lying there listening to the rain.

My husband hadn’t wanted to go to the concert, so I took my friend. Her dad died a few weeks ago and she just found out last week that her mom has leukemia. I didn’t know if she would want to go, but she did.

Big Daddy lead shared that his dad died last year on Christmas Day, and six months later they learned that their mom had cancer. I glanced at my friend who was crying. He shared his earliest memory of his dad–he was very little and couldn’t sleep and his dad was holding him, his head on his chest listening to him sing. Then he shared that the night before his dad died he was having trouble breathing and was very weak.¬† The son was sitting in front of his dad who fell forward on his chest and his son held him and sang. He described the holy moment–touching for all of us, but especially for my friend.

On the drive home I said I thought God had set it up for her to go. She agreed and shared how good it had felt to know that someone else had just been through what she was going through.

Knowing we are not alone, that someone else understands, is presence. It often feels like God’s presence, and it is something we can give. Sharing our suffering connects us at a deep level of presence. It is vulnerability and what Jesus gave when he came here as a human. He could only take suffering away by taking it on himself. He takes the pain out of suffering with His presence. Knowing he understands our suffering makes ours bearable, and lets us feel The Presence. It’s a beautiful thing that takes away the sting of suffering and makes it a rich, expanding experience. I hope you get this present.

 

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Breakthrough

“Surprise!”

That’s what if felt like God said to me on Tuesday.

My husband came downstairs and told me I didn’t need to water.

I looked up from watering and saw he had a haircut, and my spirit dived. “Fortunately, you don’t get to have input,” I answered as sweetly as I could manage, and left and went to a meeting, fighting discouragement. In our history when he gets a haircut it’s a declaration of independence–I’ve cut it for 30 years. And I thought he’d been warming up. So much for that.

I came back two hours later,¬† and he turned off his show and came to me and asked why I was so angry. I was surprised–this isn’t normal for him. I assured him I wasn’t angry. He said yes I was–angry about his haircut.

I told him it was discouragement and why.

Then he said, “Ok let’s talk. You can ask any of the questions you want right now.”

I breathed a prayer. I was so caught by surprise I didn’t even know what to ask. But out of my mouth came, “Do you want to be married to me?”

A short delay and then, “Yes. Next?”

“Do you want to learn to be kind in a relationship? And I admit I need to learn it as much as you do.”

“Yes.”

“Is there room in this relationship for my needs and wants?”

“Yes.”

We talked about what happened for him when he was so angry after my surprise surgery. He said it was traumatic for him and I said I could relate. It was traumatic when I spent a week with him in the hospital two years ago, hearing the doctor say he might not make it, and waiting seven hours.

So he’s back. And I am grateful for restored relationship, that I didn’t force it, and that he led. And out of the blue in time for Christmas!

God is good because I learned to back off and not control him–even though that is my love language–taking care of people. I’m a verbal person but not when it comes to love and affirmation. So we both have to monitor tones and control, and just learn to be kind. And the best evidence of God’s goodness is that I had peace. And I really did. I also did see my part and have a three-month tutorial on backing off and monitoring my responses.

We will be learning as long as we are alive and open to it. And I think that is what it means to be called to suffer. To admit we don’t have all the answers, we also are wrong and need forgiveness. Thank God we can make good, even scary choices.

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Suffering–Bad or Good?

You read the title and thought that’s a no-brainer, right?

This morning my devotional thought was “called to suffer,” (1Peter 2:21) And my instant reaction was yuck!

I think I understand a lot about suffering–the good, the bad, and the ugly, and still my reaction is bad–certainly not what Peter and James talk about. If you’ve never read them, they say “count it all joy.”¬† Oh sure!

Seriously? Consider suffering as joy? Why?

Because it brings good. Brings the true you out. Can you suffer gracefully? Do you run from it? And what happens when you can’t? Do you go into self-pity? Whine? Cry? Become the martyr? Blame God? Others? Or all of it?

Pain is hard. It can really mess up your head. I’ve seen the lies that get spun from it–all bad things about us, and many times others. Sometimes they deserve it, and times they don’t. And God gets a bad rap too, usually.

So what is good about hurting? It shows what is truly valuable to you. Do you know who you are–your worth? your value? Do you know what is important to you? What you really believe? Is there anything or anyone you will suffer for? Or are you just a storefront? A fa√ßade? A pretend person? In psychology we call it a “persona,” the mask we wear for the public; and we all have them, but hopefully they don’t have us. In other words, we don’t completely believe that is who we are–we are aware that we have a dark and a light side. If you don’t know that, you will be suffering at some point.

That is the good in suffering.

Also this morning I am leading out in a study on chapter 5 of book 5 in Love’s Playbook. It is still following Moses through his dark night of the soul experience where he is questioning everything, especially God and himself. He thought he knew who he was and what he was doing, and then in an instant it all went south. So much so that it was like starting with a pile of ashes. A lot of people in California can relate to that. Only worse. He had nothing, but he wasn’t sure if he believed anything either. His literal and faith-based world had been turned upside-down.

I’ve decided to go back to the introduction in Job, because his story is all about suffering and what we can learn about it and from it. Seven life questions are listed there and I even came up with another one or two–mainly making sense of where we are and what we live with. It provides a framework for understanding many things–especially why we believe crazy things about God. Why we suffer, who is responsible (besides our poor choices), and what we can do about it.

People who suffer graciously bring good out of it, and often will tell you they would never give up the experience. I heard that again this week on the news: from a girl who lost her legs to save her life because she kept having heart problems. It was a radicle solution, but it worked, and she is now a nurse working in the same hospital that saved her life. She said if she could give up her prostheses and have her legs back but would miss that three years experience, she would never do it. The suffering was that valuable to her.

I’m sure Jesus would say the same thing about his three and a half years of suffering here–more like 33 years. (Can you even imagine not having a dark side and yet being stalked by the dark side continually? Horrific!) And he didn’t even need character development. But “he was perfected through suffering,” meaning he values the experience so much because it helped him (and the watching universe) understand us and relate to us, and understand the heinous character of evil and its ruinous effects.

Isn’t it interesting that suffering is the means to the end of good. That something God won’t allow in the hereafter is used as the purifier. Hmmm.

What does that mean? Could we say the doorway to character is how we relate to suffering? It shows if you can be trusted. Do you really want good? Really want love? Or does it grow hate and anger in you? It separates the phonies from the solid. Are you willing to trust God even when He allows you to suffer?

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Choosing Good and Grief

Going through something horrific brings out the good or the bad. We either get stuck in everything is bad. Or we choose to see grace and good in our lives in spite of what we are experiencing. There is always reason to see both. And sometimes people not sharing the experience can’t see any reason for good, but that is because they aren’t inside it. They don’t see what Ruach (Holy Spirit) is showing you. It’s as if you have new eyes.

The past week in California was horrendous, and especially so for people who lost their children and homes (in my area). Further north people lost not only homes but people, community and their city. It is traumatic and disorienting. And feels like a repeat of last year. Hundreds of homes a half hour away were lost then too.

Horrific happenings are going to happen to everyone. (I heard on the news yesterday that more people lost their lives in the blizzard back east than lost their lives in our fire!) Evil is going to be given more and more power so we are all given clear choices. How will you relate? How will you deal with evil?

That can be scary if you are a person who believes the negative. If you see the bad before the good. Such is my particular personality and I’m afraid I fostered it. Trying to turn it around takes lots of thought and choices.

First it takes seeing and admitting it. I can tell you, if you are like me and have allowed yourself to lean that way, you are going to need help undoing it. The good news is God is ready. He’s been waiting to help you change to seeing the good in your life. Don’t be ashamed that you need help. Be grateful it is readily available.

No matter how bad things are, you can ask God to give you eyes to see it as He does. There is always something good. And seeing that one thing lifts you up into seeing another good thing. After practicing for years it gets easier to see everything differently. It is a choice. It is looking at things through God’s eyes.

And it’s not all good. But there is always something good that can come from it. Something good in it. Or at least the seeds of good that faith will cause to sprout. You may not even be able to imagine any good in the beginning–that’s where faith takes hold. You choose to believe in God’s goodness. Then in His goodness towards you (I like to say Their goodness because there are Three mighty ones who fill this good-God position.) You are never alone if you latch on to this belief and choose it. You aren’t alone anyway, because He (They) are always there hoping you choose Them.

As you’ve read here before, this is the most important part of life. We live in a war zone. It’s not safe to live here unless you make good choices–choices for good–choices for God. If you do that you are safe no matter what happens. It may look like He has (They have) abandoned you, but they never will. They are just letting you have experiences that show you what you need–the next choice to make. As Graham Cook says, the site of your next miracle! And if you don’t know what the next choice is, choose Them. God and goodness are always the right choice.

A powerful example was aired by the media this past week. They showed a mom and her kids going through the rubble of their burned home. There wasn’t even a structure left. They were finding little things that they were delighted to find. The reporter asked, how they could be so positive, and she said, “It was a great home. There was a lot of love here, but its just a house. The memories and love are still here.”

That is choosing love–choosing God. It doesn’t focus on loss or self-pity; it doesn’t blame. It looks for good. Grief is real and very necessary to do, if you don’t it will get you later, but don’t get stuck in blaming or negativity there. Good grief processing feels it and goes through the sadness for sometimes a month, sometimes a year, or five years for children, then turns toward hope, believing in good, finding God is there for you. He (They) can bring good out of anything, but not without our permission.

Grief is important to honor for yourself and others, understanding that it is different for everyone. But holding onto anger will make you bitter and keep you from moving forward. It really is healthy to let go. And please know that your loved one who is gone wouldn’t want you to go on mourning or being angry–they would want you to make something good out of it. Also know that grief comes in waves for years. Let it be ok, accept it, feel it, ride the wave, and then go back to living in the present. Graciousness is there for you.

My clients tell me that the best strategy I’ve given them is managing grief. Give yourself an hour or two to just grieve every day and later every week. Look at pictures listen to the music, work it. Then put it on the shelf and live your life.

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How We Grow

I was at a high school reunion a last month. Fifty years later almost all of us were recognizable–the women more than the men! It was crazy. We all had added wrinkles but for the most part we all looked the same as we had. We went to a small school so we had known each other fairly well.

What I noticed was that eyes were different. One set told of allergies, but the look was the same, just more confident and secure. Most eyes told of more security, more sense of self, less needing to hide. One set showed new peace, one, bitterness, coming out of similar situations. Almost all of us had been through a divorce. All of us through death of at least one parent. I think all of us have children.

It was so interesting to see the choices of how we had related to life happenings. We had all suffered, and come through different, but I was so grateful to see that for most of us, our faith and self was in tact.

The five who still had intact marriages (two of them married to each other) had suffered too, but seemed more settled, more secure, and they hadn’t let their looks go either. That was good to see.

When people asked if I was married, I said “presently.” And they all were understanding. Most of them were eager to hear about my writing, and eager to share things that were exciting to their understanding of God, It was a great time, especially enhanced by getting to be with my three sisters too, and a close friend on her birthday!

It was a great reminder of how we grow. Not grow up as in age, but grow in attitude. You’ve probably heard you just get more like you are, so when you are old if you were self-centered or angry, you are more self-centered and angry as an old person. Time doesn’t necessarily modify that. However, experience can. It depends on our choices.

The past two days we’ve been dealing with fires here again. On either end of our city, and the wind has been in our favor. We feel so cared for, so blessed, but I wonder. What if we had been one whose home had burned? Would we feel cared for and blessed then? Would we choose to feel unloved? abandoned? bitter? It’s so easy.

Or would we choose to feel honored because God trusts us to go through something so hard? When we choose to go through something hard gracefully, trusting in the goodness of God, we grow.

We also have parents who lost college-age children this week in a random mass shooting here. That has to be the hardest experience of all. I don’t know if you can go through it with grace. I hope I don’t have to find out, but I know God can carry you at really difficult times–They have done it for me. I experienced it when my little brother died at 22. And my parents did well, as far as I could tell.

All of us will go through pain here. It is the nature of the turf. But if you know God is filtering your experiences because He knows what you can and can’t handle, it makes it so much better. Pain is pain, no matter, but how do you choose to see it? How do you choose to understand it?

Victor Frankel wrote about surviving concentration camps and said the people who got through it are the ones who can assign meaning to it. They can come through without bitterness. He did, and made a great contribution to psychology in Man’s Search for Meaning- a very readable book.

I watch my daughter and am amazed at her resilience! The things she goes through with a great attitude! It isn’t just her personality. I know her. It definitely comes by choice.¬† It’s how we grow.

I know we are caught in a war between good and evil. I also know good is going to win. (I read the end of the book.) God, let me be one of those people who takes what comes as You trusting me to speak well of You no matter what. I want to take the honor and give it back to You. You’ve honored us with vindicating Your character–claiming we are capable of knowing You, of suffering and still loving. And You will win. I want to choose love.

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Tribute to My Daughter

My daughter’s birthday is today. So this is for her. She has blessed my life so much. Her life hasn’t been easy but she shows that easy isn’t a requirement for goodness.

All of my children had a rough beginning. Two of them were given up at birth and their adopted mother died of cancer. That is hard.

And another kind of hard is thirty-nine years ago today I was in labor all night. She was born at 5:03 a.m. My daughter’s hard beginning was her father being in and out of her life from six months old, finally leaving when she was four.

I made sure she saw him every summer from 7 on, and don’t think I would do that again, but at least she knew him. So when I told her later, “It’s not you, it’s him,” she had some frame of reference to believe me. He was never good at being constant, and has left her with a huge daddy-sized hole in her heart. But she has done well to fill it with God, who heard my constant prayer and has done a lot of fathering with her.

Yes, she had a rough adolescence in places, she made her mistakes as we all do, but I tried to stay emotionally connected (even though I’m not good at that) and I did model a relationship with God. I am so grateful she caught it. So grateful she knew where true help comes from and went after it. Her first marriage wasn’t easy, but she tried hard. When it came apart she did her utmost to keep life as stable as she could for her three boys. She depended on God and He carried them–she saw many miracles of provision.

And you can see they caught God from her–a year later they were praying for six months that their friend and neighbor would become their dad and he did! It’s a great story, but it hasn’t been easy, blended families never are.

Our relationship hasn’t always been easy either, but as she said not long ago we definitely have a bond between us. I am so grateful for her love and what I have learned from her. She models a true walk with God. She consults Him continually, and she listens! No, she isn’t perfect, but as she says the pain and mistakes keep us real.

From the time I took her home from the hospital, I loved her in a way that I didn’t even know was possible. And for the first time I really “got” God’s love. She couldn’t do a thing and yet I loved her wildly. I had thought love and performance went together. I knew better, intellectually, but it was in my DNA. This is all fresh again because she just had a daughter this year who looked just like her mother when she was born. It was almost shocking!

Among the best gifts she has given me are her love, trust, and truth. Sometimes that last one hurts, as when she told me I wasn’t sweet. I had a visceral reaction. Her response to it, “Mom, you know you aren’t sweet. You are a lot of great things, but that isn’t one of them.” That one took me a few days, maybe weeks, to process. And there have been others since.

I value her friendship, clarity, honesty, ability, and her love. There isn’t a lot of sweetness between us, as she says I’m not good at fluff. I’ve never had much use for it. So I wanted to write this for her as a bit of fluff, because I don’t say things like this often, obviously not often enough. I thought I did, because it was more than I got. But I’m getting a picture of the kind of mother I really was. (As opposed to the sweet one I was in my head.) There is pain and salvation in truth.

I am grateful for you, Babe, so grateful for you. I pray the bond¬† between us continues to grow with warmth and sweetness. I am so proud of the beautiful woman you have become–beautiful inside and¬† out. And I still love you wildly.

 

 

 

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You Aren’t That Important

(Started writing this over a week ago.)

Yes, I’ve been stalling giving you an update by posting about my writing. But I do have thoughts and feelings, just don’t know if I can make a coherent flow. Everything seems to be intensifying. I just learned last night that my grand daughter is being dedicated and I won’t be there. And I was supposed to buy her dress for the occasion. Of course I felt you aren’t that important. I couldn’t even respond to it.

My husband is unflinching in his intention to get divorced, and yet when I suggested we separate finances, yesterday, to keep things civil, he acted like it was an affront to him and said he might as well get divorced. “I said isn’t that where we are headed? You are the one who wants it. I’ve tried to talk about it.”

I told him I couldn’t believe how he could be so into me before I left (he had done a lot of little things to please me while I was gone) and when we came home he wants a divorce because of something someone said to him. Someone he doesn’t even know all that well. How does one switch off 34 years that easily? I don’t get it. He didn’t even respond. I’m feeling insecure.

Everywhere I turn my focus from God, I’m feeling not that important. I am so thankful that God’s love is constant, that They are unchanging, that Their goodness can be counted on. I read John 1 this morning. I only got half way through it because it was so filling, so rich. I am so blessed! And yesterday was a beautiful day to work outside and just be in Ruach’s presence! If you don’t have that relationship, ask for it. You may need it down the road!

So here it is a week later, today is my husband’s birthday. Nothing has really changed. But normally this would be driving me crazy, and it’s not! I know God loves me, and I believe Richard loves me, he just doesn’t know it now. Maybe he does. He has looked liked he wanted to say something a couple of times but hasn’t. Anyway, I have a plan to celebrate his birthday in a low-key, Richard way. But if he doesn’t want it, I will roll with it and not allow hurt to take me to a negative place.

I did talk to my daughter to find out if she thought I was rude and ungrateful and she confirmed that she did not. I had said thank you to her many times. Whew! That helped. She knows I’m not good at fluff. She had also helped me see I was not good at letting my husband lead.

I was surprised to read in my journal for this time last year that I prayed to let him lead. I thought that was new. Nope, I just lost it. Here we go, another lap around this track. Make me teachable, Lord.

He did let me take him out for breakfast to a place he likes, but after that just wanted to relax at home. It certainly took pressure off of me. I went shopping for a couple hours–a rarity. And then made some healthy treats he would like. It was a good day. But that night he had a headache in the back of his head and didn’t sleep well. I woke up at 2:30, and suddenly felt terrified about a stroke– losing him and our marriage. Fear in the middle of the night will do that.

I got up and asked God if it was from Him, and He said They don’t give fear, but They are not opposed to using the enemies moves when it helps. I went back to bed and snuggled up to him. He was asleep and I fell asleep. It must have surprised him when he woke,¬† but he didn’t say anything.

I woke up more normal, but I haven’t gotten a clear go-ahead yet to say “I started this nonsense can I stop it?” I know the time has to be right for him.

He thinks his neck is a spasm in the muscle, but he has declined help with it. And yes, I have offered. I’ve learned that’s my love language. I’ll let you know what happens.

 

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Perspective is Everything–Especially with You and God

The hardest story in the Bible to see God’s gracious tender love is the cross unless your perspective is right. If you see God killing Jesus instead of you, you haven’t gotten it.

The second hardest is God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son. (But then there is the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, Israel’s 40 years in the wilderness.) Honestly, I think I read the Bible too young without an interpreter who really knew God. I grew up scared of God. Growing up in my family helped a little. But besides the love God gives naturally for your children, and my mother’s love for God, my parents didn’t know how to love.

Consequently, I grew up not knowing how to love, and didn’t trust anyone. Not even God. But I was determined to. I just didn’t realize how paralyzed, how frozen and crippled I was. It has taken years to see and admit this. God’s tender love shown in the intimacy of how well he knows me is healing my heart. From time to time They have allowed me to experience Their amazingly personal love in exactly what I needed when I gave Them time, and made space for Them. They have carried me through hard things like death and divorce. Now I prioritize time with Them. I look for Their messages. I crave Their intimacy.

As I began to realize, to heal, to feel Their love, I wanted to write the Bible as a good-God story from a cosmic point of view, with the backstory of the war in the universe between good and evil. In doing this I have discovered that most of the Bible characters didn’t trust God either. I mean, couldn’t Moses have focused on fear a little less? And Abraham! He set himself up for a terrible test because he didn’t trust God!

Abraham’s story is an amazing parallel of Jesus story. Abraham didn’t want to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. Neither did God want to offer Adonai.

Abraham’s promised son had a miraculous birth. So did God’s. Abraham wanted to do it a different way. So did God. Abraham learned to trust through suffering. Jesus learned to trust through suffering.

Abraham became sure of who he was in God–a beloved son. Jesus became sure of who he was–the beloved son, Messiah, and then God.

Satan said Abraham wasn’t good enough to be the “father of the faithful” and called for a test of his love and God allowed it. Satan had also said God wasn’t good enough to rule the universe and called for a test of Their love and God allowed it. I believe Abraham’s test was a microcosm, a vignette for us, of God’s test in front of the universe.

Abraham was in agony on the trip up to Moriah, and couldn’t tell Isaac he was the sacrifice until the last minute. Jesus was in agony in Gethsemane with no support, because he couldn’t get his disciples to believe he was the sacrifice until the last minute.

Abraham finally was willing to let Isaac die, and told Isaac God’s idea; Isaac was willing to die. Adonai told Abba and Ruach His idea, and after a while they were willing to let Him die.

Abraham couldn’t feel God’s presence, but God rescued Isaac from death. On the cross Jesus couldn’t feel God’s presence but God rescued Jesus by coming to shorten the agony. It normally took up to two weeks to die by crucifixion. So Abba and Ruach came in a dark cloud to hasten his death to three hours. Their presence is consuming to sin, evil and entropy. Jesus had taken on sin, evil and entropy. If Abba and Ruach hadn’t come wrapped in a dark cloud, everyone standing around the cross would have been killed, and Jesus could have come down. That would have been an amazing rescue, but the universe still would have thought God caused death!

Abraham’s life was a testament to God’s love, goodness and faithfulness. Jesus’ life was a testament to God’s love, goodness and faithfulness.

God’s problem has been demonstrating that death comes in separation from Them, not from Them. BUT Satan was saying, “If you don’t do what They say, They’ll kill you!” And it looked true at the flood. It looked true with Job. It looked true with Nadab and Abihu and the plagues God allowed Satan to inflict on Israel when they lost God’s protection through disobedience.

The trouble is God’s pure, stable, love energy causes death to unstable atoms like ours. They had to figure out a way to be with us and not consume (kill) us. So They gave directions, also called commands or laws, but if people didn’t follow them, they sometimes died. It was hard for people to understand that Adonai didn’t kill Nadab and Abihu, for example. It surely looked like He did!

I am so blessed that someone came to my mother selling The Desire of Ages. She recognized it as a book she had loved as a child but was forbidden to read.¬† I am blessed that she loved Ellen White’s books, and that I was drawn to The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets. Her books made Jesus real and¬† opened up to me more and more about the cosmic conflict we were born into. For years I thought if people just understood this. But it wasn’t long before I realized no one would take the time to read their long difficult sentences now.

So I wrote Jesus life as a blog that runs on-line from Easter to Easter. Then came the idea of writing the Bible as God’s story from female, family-systems perspective. Make it fun and easy to read filling in the backstory as Ruach gave me the ideas. Love’s Playbook is the result. I can tell you I didn’t feel able or worthy. I had to think about it for a year or two.¬† And if I hadn’t remembered two or three prophecies spoken over me 30 years earlier, I probably wouldn’t have thought I could do it. Who did I think I was to rewrite the Bible?

Just God’s beloved.

And so are you. Do the good ideas They give you to do.

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