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On Not Feeling Good Enough

I asked permission to share this experience with a friend who really reminded me of my brother when I met him. So much so that in the beginning I wasn’t sure I liked him.We became friends with him and his wife in the last year, and he had an edge to him. My charming older brother had that towards me. And it left me with huge scars its taken years of work to undo. (It took me 20 years to figure out where my attitudes came from.) But of course there was an affinity too, because he felt like family. The more I got to know him the better I liked him because I knew his heart–soft and generous but off-putting to everyone as self-protection. I loved his wife, one of the most loving people I know, and she seemed to love me. (You can see the disbelief scar there.)

So as we hung out more, I  understood him and liked him, but he could be very negative. Usually, I don’t analyze people unless you’re paying me to. But a certain amount is always on from 30 years experience as a therapist, and especially if I”m triggered by my own issues (from my brother).

He had shared a few times about the pain over his kids, his awful divorce and horrible x-wife. And by this time I knew that he had to find a way to let go of it, or it was going to ruin this marriage too. So one night they came over and he started his usual complaints and I went after him like a pit-bull. I think God set me up because I was tenacious. I knew his maneuvers by this time and I just hung on. He got angry, but controllably so. Our spouses got uncomfortable and still I hung on. Finally the breakthrough came with the healing, and he hasn’t wanted to hurt his ex-wife since. Then he opened up more. He shared his awful hopeless feeling because of a verse of scripture: Hebrews 10:26. He had asked me before what I thought it meant. And I told him. But it wasn’t satisfying to him and it kept coming up. Otherwise, I had found his knowledge of God and scripture to be better than most people’s. So I started praying for him.

One particular day when they were coming over, my husband and I prayed together, and that night God connected his negativity with what I had been learning about being disappointed in God. (It is a huge stumbling block. The hurt that comes from it can be crippling.) I was hesitant to share it, because usually people defend and back away from what you tell them about themselves. But his wife assured me he could hear it from me, and it would help; so I told him, and he shared with us it was how he had felt since he was one year old. His brother had been born when he was eleven months old. That explained it to me. He felt  pushed aside and didn’t get enough attention. His father was strict and no-nonsense. His disappointment in his mother had long since turned into anger, (even though he says she is a wonderful woman.) And it gradually turned into acting out and anger against God, and then hopelessness. And he had found a place to hang it: Hebrews 10:26.

This morning my husband and I were reading, and our daily chapters were Hebrews 9-10. We listen first to the Message Version by Peterson a very free paraphrase by a Hebrew and Greek scholar, and then we read it from the Tree of Life Version. A very close translation by the Messianic Jewish community. I rely on them to know idiom and cultural context etc. Today I didn’t like the perspective of Peterson and was eager to get to the TLV. And there it was clear as day (in my mind).

Paul explains the whole sacrificial and sanctuary service, and at 10:19 comes to his conclusion. This is my paraphrase of it: Therefore we have confidence to enter into the Presence of God by the life of Jesus (“the life is in the blood” Leviticus and Ruth ). He opened the way for us through the veil by his death. (He bought back the power over death on this planet–Hebrews 2:14 Satan had claimed it according to the Law of Sin and Death and his success here–Romans 7).  So let us gladly come, and draw near to God with a true heart, fully assured that we are welcome because our hearts are cleansed by him and our accusing conscience is too. (Hebrews 10:16-18 If we let Him, Ruach will write Their desires on our hearts.) Since we have given ourselves to God and believe that They are faithful, let us think about how we can stir each other up to loving God and doing good. And let us keep coming together (through technology!) to encourage one another–all the more as we see evil being given more power on earth.  (And here is the biggy–verse 26.) For if we keep running away and separating from God to do our own thing, or believing They don’t accept us, we will ruin our belief in God; and the only way They have to rescue us is our acceptance of Their love and goodness.  If we refuse to believe Their love and refuse to accept the gift They offer, there is nothing more They can do. We have made our choice, and eventually we will experience the same consuming fire (Heb. 12:29) that will cleanse the earth of evil when God comes. Because God is a consuming fire–pure love energy that causes combustion in everything unstable–all entropy.

That isn’t scary, is it? God does everything in us and for us. All They need is our permission. My friend’s problem is he has a negative filter that he acquired at one year old. It colors how he sees everything.

And as I said to him. “There is no way you could have figured this out by yourself. It’s been your normal, your way to look at life and yourself since you were one year old. If God doesn’t heal it, you probably won’t be able to change it now, it’s you. But if you can find the beliefs you created, and ask, He will heal them. It’s probably only one about you not being good enough.”

I think he will. And he will be amazed at the difference it will make in him and his life!

*end note–He was very receptive and grateful! Thank God!


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God’s Message to Us

I finally wrote again two months ago but didn’t get it posted. It needed editing, and I never got to it! Tonight I woke up three hours after going to sleep and felt God drawing me out to come be with Them! Yes! I did have the sense that both Ruach and Jesus were here! It was so sweet! I shouldn’t say was, They still are, but now my attention is on this. After talking for almost three hours, They took me to Isaiah 58 which I had been wanting to read again, it’s one of my favorites. And I’ve been so sad that I can’t take in a homeless woman and her two children who came to our church. (My husband won’t agree, and it is his home too. And he is at risk with this virus, being 78 and diabetic.)

So I went to said chapter, and it was richer than ever! I just asked that They will gift some billionaires with desires to search out ways to give to all the people who have no income during this public shutdown that could last for months. And They asked me to share Isaiah 58 with you. (To me God is one position made of of three beings: Abba, Jesus, and Ruach (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.)

So the chapter starts out with a call to Isaiah to “lift up your voice like a trumpet and show My people” our selfishness! And say that even though we seek God daily and delight to know Their ways, as if we are a nation that cares about God’s ways and take delight in coming to Them, we are pretending. And we ask, “Why? Haven’t you noticed that we fast and pray?”

Ruach answers, “When you fast you still seek out your pleasures and demand that everything gets done. You aren’t doing it to focus on Me or spend time with Me and find out what I would like to heal in you or do through you. Your fasts are to get My attention, to force My hand to do what you want, and not the way I would do it! You shall not fast to control Me or make Me listen to you. Is this what I asked for? This isn’t the fast I want–for you to make a show of fasting, or even to focus on all your wrongs. Do you think this is acceptable to Us? No! It isn’t!

“This is the fast We choose: to free people from injustice and oppression. To help them take off their burdens of hopelessness, to break every belief in evil’s control of them, to set them free from fear and and slavery, even break slavery to addictions. This is what We want! We want you to share your food with the hungry, to bring the poor who’ve lost their houses into your homes. When you see someone who doesn’t have warm clothes that you give him some, and that you don’t hide from your people when they need you.

“If you do this, then you will be blessed. Your light, your understanding of Me, will be like the sun rising, and your health will improve quickly. Your own right-doing will guide you and the goodness of God will protect you. Then you will call on God and We will answer. Ruach will talk to you and say, ‘I am here.’

“If you take away  slavery, controlling others, accusing others, and speaking lies or making excuses; if you draw out your heart to those you can help, then your knowledge of God will rise and you will be honored, and your questions will become clear. And Ruach will guide you continually, and satisfy you in hard times, and make you healthy, and you will be like a watered garden–beautiful and productive–and your water will not fail. And your children will catch your spirit and improve on your inheritance and make the next generations healthier. And you will be called the repairer of the separation and the restorer of true life. If you stop using My day your way, stop doing what you want on My special day, and call the sabbath a delight, the gift of God honorable, and will honor Us, not doing your own thing or pleasure, but finding Our wishes, Our pleasures, THEN will you delight in your Restorer! And We will cause you to ride high, and feed you as one who prevails with God, for the mouth of The Restorer has spoken it–you can count on it.”

There you go. That is the whole chapter of Isaiah 58. Your antidote for fear. Your guide to true success.

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Jesus Loves Children

The following is a post from God-in-a-Box–Your inbox. It is short devotionals on Jesus life, covering his birth to death in a year.

Jesus loves children, finding their pure openness and unaffected love refreshing. Little hearts are tender and impressionable, open to Spirit and strong to remember his stories–the kind of people he wants in his kingdom.

If parents give them every opportunity to learn of God’s love while they are young and their characters still adaptable, they won’t grow up hard-hearted.
Many regard true affection as weakness; their happiness is ruined because their better self was stifled in childhood. The expression of love toward God and each other wasn’t encouraged, but God’s love can still melt the hardness.
A mother teaching children to obey because they love her, is teaching them to obey God out of love.

Fathers, representing God’s authority, don’t need to be harsh or unkind. Jesus wasn’t discourteous or disrespectful, even cutting to the heart with the rudest men.

His graciousness causes parents to treat their children as intelligent beings, as they would want to be treated, correcting them gently as a gardener trains vines and flowers.

Take them outside and teach them how the God of nature made an awesome creation as an expression of His love for us–that all living things are governed by laws protecting happiness and joy–everything is designed to give.

Don’t keep your little ones from Jesus by being cold or hard. Don’t make them think he is joyless or negative if he is like you. Smile at them. God loves to give wisdom and tenderness to teach them, but you do have to ask for it.

Matthew 19:14-15, Mark 10:15-16, Luke 18:16-17

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Are You Afraid to be God’s Best Friend?

I love it when things come together from five different places and make a whole  clear picture. It happened this week.

I was writing about David, and marveling again that someone who seemed to know God so well could just lose it and go off the rails, steal someone’s wife and kill her husband!

Suddenly words from my journaling on John 15 this week came to mind, “I no longer call you servants, I’m calling you friends…” coupled with my own experience of God’s friendship plus a human best friend that I talk to most every day (a new work of God). Add the whole reason I am writing the Bible as the story of a good God–we need a better picture of the Bible’s God. Fit in a new book a client gave me last week, Saving Leonardo, about the insidious secularization of America. Plus the ending of the book I just finished again, One Thousand Gifts–celebrate living loved every moment by a God who reaches out continually but won’t force friendship.

A whole picture formed: David’s culture–the collective consciousness of that time–didn’t have a picture of God that afforded that kind of friendship. He may have been closer to it than anyone since Abraham, but ever since then everyone saw God as high, holy, powerful, scary and removed. Hence why he brought them out of Egypt, away from the culture steeped in angry gods, out into the desert where He could reveal Himself,  love on them, and live with them. But he had to be so careful that His glory (love energy) didn’t destroy them, that they couldn’t get over being afraid of God.

It was hard for God. It was hard for them. It took until Jesus, for humans to really get it. And even then he had to tell his followers. “You are my friends…” That same night just before he died, he prayed that we could see that They wanted us to be ONE with THEM! Atonement=at one ment–best friends!

No one can love you like God who knows you completely and still wants to be so intimate (safe) for you that He (They) are your closest, best love. MY Best Friend. Your Best Friend.

If David had had that concept of God, that best friend relationship with Him, he would have noticed that he wasn’t talking to Him! That he in fact, hadn’t been talking to him for days, weeks, months? Everything was going so well. He had gotten to the place where he had honor, recognition, power, no fear from any nation around. Things were good. And that is when God’s enemy came up with a tailor-made seduction that he couldn’t refuse. He was the king, he could have anything he wanted.

Had he been talking to his Best Friend every day, Adonai would have said, “Be careful. My enemy has asked to test you,” like he said to Peter much later. Peter failed too, suffered too, and repented too, but he didn’t suffer as long as David. He immediately remembered his best friend’s words and repented.

David wandered around in guilt for months rationalizing that he had made the best choice he could with the circumstances. Really David? Talk to your best friend! Finally God sent Nathan to wake him up out of his moral stupor. He had to tell him a story that helped him recognize when the guilt started! Then we see David’s true heart. God knew it all along. He just couldn’t get David to see clearly and come to Him. David needed God as his best friend!

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Split in the Middle

I love my Saturday morning Bible study. The questions go deep. You can ask anything, challenge anything. We will go back to the beginning if we need to. Nobody has to feel bad saying “I don’t get that,” or “Can you say that another way?” Or “This is the first time I’ve understood that!”

This morning my close friend and co-leader said, “I just don’t understand how we have a dual nature. Is there some other way you can describe it?”

I immediately went to Romans 7 so everyone would be on the same page. Everybody gets that good and evil live inside us together ever since the first choice to know evil, made by Eve. Most people can relate to the conflict between my way and God’s way.

We are in Leviticus and the laws given to Israel. Most of them make sense, some of them don’t to our culture. So we went back over the essence of sin being, “I don’t need you for this, God. I’m just fine on my own. I want to do things my way.” Big or tiny, overpowering or slight we all know that pull.

Addiction is a great example of that conflict. Once you’ve accepted you can’t stop on your own, you can get help. The desire is there in your mind, but the pathways in your body (literally physically) will always win.

But that isn’t where we went this morning. We went to my experience in graduate school and Luke 9:23-25. I always felt I had to give up me to be Jesus’ follower. That is what that passage said to me. But I told them how reading it in my little  brother’s Bible (NET) opened a door in my brain because of one different word. Actually it was two words: “True self” instead of “soul”. Profound.

Changing that one word changed my understanding of the whole Bible. I was in graduate school taking Family Systems Theory and we were studying the difference between pseudo self and the true self, and suddenly I saw that concept in scripture! Wow! What a game changer!

Jesus was saying, “If you want to find your true self it will cost you giving up your false self, but it will be totally worth it.” Suddenly everyone breathed a collective “ah ha” and seemed to understand that the true self and the false self represent our brokenness–our God-given nature and our acquired rebellious nature living in the same body, and we have to choose which one to feed and exercise. Thus the conflict inside. The one we empower grows.

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Eustress–Living in a Good Whirlwind

Eustress is good stress. The kind that makes you feel alive and alert–excited about life. I’ve been experiencing both kinds of stress lately, but recently have been reveling in the good kind. Aging is not fun, one of my friends recently said, “Aging is not for the faint-hearted,” and I agree, but I wouldn’t trade the time I’ve been having for anything.

I think when you say to God, “Make me know You,” like French renegade– turned devoted priest, Charles de Focauld said, life gets really interesting. And when you’ve told Them (God), “I’m available, use me.” it gets even more wild.

I didn’t say it gets easy. I’ve been through two of the hardest things in my life in the past two months, but what a ride! First was looking at my own deficits, and second was the sweetness of God in helping me face them by sending reinforcements. I wrote about that time before last, “The Sweetness of God” but at that time didn’t know what it was going to ask of me.

It turned into God showing me that what I really needed was to give up my position of insulation and safety with people. I saw that I had situated myself very conveniently to keep people at arms length. I keep so busy with still working a bit and volunteer positions at church and writing the Bible from a cosmic-war perspective that I have no time for real friendship. Or at least very little that doesn’t require much from me. Certainly doesn’t ask for much risk or vulnerability. Wow! And I always thought I was so vulnerable!

It’s easy to be vulnerable with clients, if they want it. There is very little risk, and it usually helps them open up. But God asked me to be a friend. To learn to be a real friend. To make myself available to another person. Whoa! When I thought about it, I panicked! What a shock! It went so deep, and the journaling was so revealing, I was amazed and hurt at what I learned about myself. It brought up twenty lies! False beliefs I held about myself and friendship–stuff that went way back to childhood. Basic, self-worth stuff.

I had nightmares for two nights, and woke up terrified three mornings at just the thought! Then I knew I needed healing–badly! And that is how I knew the friend request really came from God. But how rich and special it has been–all of it, the reality, even the pain of truth, the healing, the vulnerability, even admitting my fear and impoverishment has had a sweetness when received with the same vulnerability and honor in return. It has been one of the major gifts of my life. I am more than grateful.

Who knows what riches They want to give you? Take the risk and ask. I promise you will be delighted in the end. It will be worth it because they love you and are safe, truly. They can be trusted and life will go beyond fulfilling!

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Tribute to a Step-Father

Probably not a lot of step-fathers get honored for being great fathers, but some do and my son-in-law deserves it. I’m so glad he has taken on the task of fathering his three step-sons seriously.

And they respond.

Some of his notable acts have been taking the middle one to the hospital when he broke his arm clean off, and staying with him there all night long to make sure he was ok.

Another is selling his own ATV to put the money into the pickup truck and fix it up for the oldest so it is ready in two years when he can drive. The plan is to work on it together and teach Wade what he knows.

Even more important, was the help and guidance he has given the oldest (14) when he has gotten into trouble with friends. One of them posted a nude picture on Wade’s Instagram account as a prank and his step-dad helped him take it off and let his girl-friend know that he wouldn’t do that, and then track down who had done it. There have been even more serious infractions when his calm, steady, non-shaming guidance have been most helpful and invaluable.

He takes them with him to do service projects at the church and wherever they can help him, teaching them work skills. He doesn’t miss any of their parent-teacher conferences, ball-games, or band concerts. He is there for them–the strong steady modeling young boys becoming men desperately need.

He is definitely an asset; added value in their lives, and I am grateful. Of course I wish he would smile at them more and hug them more to cement his example into their hearts and  lives. He thinks they get enough of that from their other three parents, but I know it would feed their bond with him and feed their needy hearts. No boys get too much of that from dads!

No one is perfect, but he comes pretty close.

Happy Father’s Day, Jeremy!

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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.


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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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