Category Archives: What is God like?

Lessons from a Lovestory

As promised, the message of the story of Ruth: the last chapter of book 7.

Ruth’s double-layered love story is truly about Messiah being our Goel, our kinsmen redeemer, who will do whatever it takes to rescue us and marry us in an everlasting bond of vowed love. God doesn’t waste stories.

Just as Ruth and Naomi need rescue from poverty, and their family inheritance needs restoring, so all of humanity requires rescue from Satan and restoration from the Law of Sin and Death. (That story is in Love’s Playbook episode one.)

Why do we need rescue? Because Adam gave up his dominion and sold all of us into slavery. And ever since then we are all born broken. Jesus’ stories would make it seem that we are the only ones in the universe who are broken and under Satan’s rule.

We want desperately to believe we are good. And half of each of us is good, but we have dual natures. However, it can take a lifetime to see your dark side clearly. Hiding our brokenness is the greatest temptation for Christians and people wanting independence.

The effect of sin on humans—all humans—is ruin and death, and sin is nothing more than separation from God and Their way. As J. Vernon Magee says, in his book, In a Barley Field, “The practice of sin is fatal to man.” But why?

Our brokenness gives us two natures—as Paul says in Romans 7—and   our evil nature likes being independent. It comes naturally to us. We like doing it our way, and taking the best for ourselves. We love ourselves to death. Except it isn’t really love.

True love is God’s love and it sets me free from slavery to me.

We don’t even realize that we actually became slaves of Satan.

We didn’t sell ourselves. Adam sold us. But God, in the Garden of Eden, didn’t give us over fully to evil. They made sure we still retained Their nature as we acquired Satan’s evil one, (see Genesis 3:15). So we are self-focused, but we are also conflicted. God guaranteed we would still long for love and goodness.

We need to be restored to wholeness and brought back into the presence of God in a loving relationship. With respect to the universe, we need a goel, a kinsman redeemer to redeem us from slavery and death; give us back our property—our true hearts and our lives.

And God provided one: “You shall know that Adonai is your Savior and your Goel, the Mighty One of Jacob.” (Isaiah 60:16) I learned from Magee that Isaiah uses “Goel” more times than the whole rest of the Bible. (No wonder I love that book!) Add to that Hosea 13:14 “I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be your plagues; O grave I will be your destruction.”

The first requirement for the goel is he must be blood relation. If he isn’t he can’t redeem the person from slavery or buy back his property.

Adam’s property went to Satan as the new owner of our earth because of Adam’s forfeiture and must be redeemed, same as Naomi’s field. We came under the law of sin and death and our family line was finished. But under God’s law the rental price until Jubilee could be paid to the present owner to redeem the property and the family-line could be re-instated by the next of kin. He wasn’t compelled to do it, but he was allowed to.

Adonai chose to become our Boaz, our goel, out of love for us. I think there was a closer kinsman in this story just so we would see that Adonai wasn’t compelled to come. He wasn’t “sent” to redeem us. He chose to come because He wanted to. In fact, I believe, as shown in episode one, that it was His idea to become Jesus our Kinsman Redeemer. Abba and Ruach painfully agreed to allow him to come.

And since that meant He had to become our blood relation, he had to be born human, under the law of sin and death, just like us, one of Adam’s sons, to raise up his family line. That is truly how They gave us his blood, because “the life is in the blood,” so he became a blood relative and gave us life.

It is in Genesis 3:15 where Adonai says to Satan, in serpent form, “I will put enmity (Hatred) between you and the woman and between your children and her children. It (their hatred of evil/their choice against evil) shall bruise your head (destroy you) and you will bruise his heal.” (Jesus will forever maintain his  glorified humanity. “He is not ashamed to call us brothers.” Hebrews 2:12) He promised to be our Goel in Exodus 6:6 “I will be your Goel with My stretched out arm.”

God gives us His name, life, and blood as Boaz gave Ruth his name and his life and blood to have a child and raise up her husband’s family name. In this story the goel, as a near kinsman, had to marry the widow of the deceased to raise up the family name. In our world God’s Law is the deceased and God’s church is the bride who marries the Goel to raise up His name (His law, reputation, character). If there was a widow (us), there could be no separation of person and property. You had to marry the woman to get the property. (Isn’t this cool!)

Satan’s power over us was in claiming the power of death (Hebrews 2:14). So Jesus went through death as a son of Adam, and gave us his life and blood to raise up humanity as whole again (no evil—no conflict, no brokenness.) And “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:11-12, Hebrews 2:10-14)

And two more things this story explains: atonement and redemption. As Magee explains, God redeemed Israel from Egypt, but at the Red Sea they were only freed slaves. It was after He showed his power in opening the water and bringing them into the presence of God walking through the sea, that they were “baptized” and given new hearts to worship.

This story also explains the temple tax that was the price of redemption in Leviticus. Whenever Israel was numbered, Satan must have claimed it signified that they were depending on themselves, and claimed the right to them—to send a plague. So whenever Israel ignored God’s way and did their own thing, depending on their own strength or numbers, Satan would send a plague, or at least he tried to.

To protect them, God had each individual pay a half-shekel to redeem himself because each person must cast his own vote for Adonai, and that was the way they did it. It made atonement for them—or showed they chose Adonai as king.

I never understood the temple tax making atonement before this story! Atonement is at-one-ment—oneness with God (Jesus’ prayer for us in John 17). It wasn’t much money and was the same for everyone, but it showed each individual’s choice for Adonai as king—a poll tax.

Redemption gives us restored sight to see God as good or worthy of love. (Redeemed beings sing “He is worthy” all through the book of Revelation.) Redemption is restoration.

My favorite quote shows redemption in contrast to our slavery, “Subjection to God is restoration to oneself; to the true glory and dignity of man.”

It’s good to be God’s because that makes me truly me—unbroken and restored to wholeness. That gives me true freedom. His laws keep us safe, protect our freedom, and keep our true selves intact.

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Filed under A God perspective, a perspective on evil, Living well, Love ed, Loved, Uncategorized, What is God like?

A Tribute to Father-Love

I haven’t known many good fathers. It’s a difficult position to fill. It may be partly due to the way we’ve raised boys for the last 50 years–mothers tend to do too much for them and be too soft on one hand, or be disengaged on the other. Fathers tend to be either disengaged or harsh and controlling–not having good fathering themselves, they don’t have a healthy blueprint.

I’ve said before parenting is hard! You may have a picture of who you want to be, but being it feels so foreign. We have to concentrate and be purposeful if we want to change much from how we were parented. However, it is important and worth the effort. There is nothing more important than raising emotionally and spiritually healthy children. They grow into adults who can care and serve, improve the lives of others and society, be strong enough to make change for good.

I love it when I see people putting in the effort and time to be present with their children–being intentional, engaging them in conversation, holding boundaries, having clear and stated expectations, and showing affection. Such parents are my daughter and her husband. Yes, the one I called out here. I also said he was a good man. He treated me well when I met him, he included me in their plans, and opened up and shared his heart. God knew I would need that information for the potholes on the road ahead.

He seems to be always thinking about how he can grow his four sons into good men. He models service and takes them with him to keep the lawns and flowerbeds around their church looking good. He engages their help on projects so they can learn how to handle tools and themselves. And he usually takes them one at a time either to help him or run errands. They love being with him. And that speaks of his respect for them.

I remember before they got married asking the two oldest if they wanted them to get married. (It was pretty obvious–they had been praying for him to come over for six months before he did, but I wanted to hear what they would say.)

They both said a feeling yes, so I said, “You like the way he treats your mother?”

And the younger said, “We like the way he treats us!” I was so impressed to hear a 7 year old say that!

Their step-dad sold his beloved motorcycle because “it wasn’t the time of life” for one. He got a motorhome so they can all go camping. He’s a busy man but he has gotten an old truck so he and the oldest can fix it up together for when he is ready to drive–about two years from now. He is capable like my daughter’s father, and can do most anything. He will be a great teacher for her boys. But the best part is that he wants to be. And even better than that, I know he prays for help and direction daily.

There isn’t a more influential position, no more powerful job than parenting. And fathering is so important that Jesus was purposely planned to be born in a stable, most likely a cave, so he could be birth-bonded to Joseph, his stepfather. The father-love of God would be his favorite topic, and he needed to have a good earthly experience of that from birth. Joseph obviously died before Jesus was 30, but by that time, Jesus had formed such a powerful, real connection with God, his biological father, that he transitioned that loss well.

He modeled for us the relationship we can have with God as our own father. So don’t despair if your father was less than good. Satan has worked very hard with his forces to distract fathers and discourage them from filling their roles well, because he knows how important it is to our maturity.

Consequently, many of us didn’t have great fathers. But we do have one in God. And He is just as available to us as He was to Jesus while he grew up here as a human man. Abba pursues you more ardently than any human father would or could. You can talk to Him at any time, in any place no matter what. All you have to do is want to. No, you don’t even have to want to. You can choose to even without the feeling. He honors any tiny step toward him no matter how feeble, any tiny choice for Him no matter how flimsy, and takes a huge compensating step toward you.

He will give you what you need, what you want in a father, the approval and structure you crave, even to a sense of his personal presence holding you. You never have to feel rejected or alone again because He loves you as if you are His only and His own. Make a special time to be with Him and He will be there for you; you will feel His smile.

In the words of Kristine D’Marco’s song, “He is my father; I never wonder if His plans for me are good, if He’ll come through as He should; for He is provision, and enough wisdom, to usher in my brightest days, to turn my mourning into praise. I am who He says I am. He is who he says He is. I’m defined by all His promises, shaped by every word He says. I am no victim. I’m not a poor man. With the King I have a home, the kingdom’s now become my own. He is my father. He is provision.”

If you want to get a good look at the father-love of God read episode one of Love’s Playbook! 

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Filed under fathering, Fathers' Day, Love ed, Loved, Parenting, parenting and divorce, Uncategorized, What is God like?

The Power of Love Warriors

After the past month I’m wondering should I write about weekly massacres, or natural catastrophes or the unraveling of Hollywood?

I feel so bad for Puerto Rico. I don’t care if they’ve had mismanagement, I don’t understand why there aren’t motorcycles or helicopters or something that can distribute food and water. I was so disappointed at President Trump’s calloused response. Does he want to make an example of inside corruption? Even so…to me it is unacceptable to treat the people so differently than another catastrophe.

And this business of people just taking out their anger in mass shootings! A steady diet of violence exacerbating! I know evil is going to be given more and more power in order to expose it and create choice points, but it is so frequent, and so painful for so many families. And it raises so many questions. Remember, God protects people’s freedom to choose.

And finally the exposing of sexual bullying going on in the movie industry. I’m not surprised, and I think it will get bigger. I’m glad it’s coming out–a lot of pain and shame is hidden there, which can now be healed. And I’m glad men are beginning to take it seriously and look at their own behavior!

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by negativity–or just shut down feelings because it hasn’t touched you. But it will. I just learned that a dear friend has brain cancer. It was his goal to live to 100, and he is only 12 years short of it. He is so active and has a great attitude; and has lived a healthy lifestyle. Why this? We live in a broken world, diseased by evil.

We can keep our balance and help fight evil by choosing to be friends with God, no matter what our questions. There is no darkness in God at all. That is important to remember. None of this evil comes from Them–our mighty band of Three; it’s happening because everyone must make a choice between evil and good. But it’s easy to get drawn into fear and doubt when it is everywhere. That’s where choosing becomes important–so important.

I’m always saying ,”Your choice is the strongest power in the universe, because God won’t force you to be Their friend. And they won’t let evil overcome the weakest person who wants Them, but you will have to choose. The good news is that God’s love is always drawing you. Unless you resist, you will be drawn to Him (Them). And then you can become a love warrior, fighting evil by living in God’s love and delight.

The most important thing I’ve learned in life is God is all good, all love, and to choose to let Them love me. Unless I spend time alone with God just being loved, I forget that and get derailed by negativity. If you are like me, you may have to choose over and over and over. sometimes one right after the other until your mind gets untwisted. It’s ok. Just don’t get discouraged. There are times when Satan asks for permission to test us over a particular weakness. Don’t forget the power of your choice. Use it. It totally works, but it may take an hour and 20 choices.

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Filed under A God perspective, a perspective on evil, Loved, suffering, Uncategorized, What is God like?

When God doesn’t make Sense

Once again, why is it bad things happen to good people?

Because suffering shows what we are really like–what we are made of–our characters. And character is simply the accumulation of many choices. How will I look at this situation? What perception will I choose?

And as previously mentioned, I believe, based on several instances in scripture, that Satan asks to test each of us. He knows where we are weak, our Achilles’ heal, our tragic flaw; and that is what he excoriates. He attacks us because we want to be with God, because we are His followers, and want to become authentic lovers. He wants to expose us as posers, phonies, pretenders. So I have imagined several of these counsels in heaven where he gets permission to test based on some “truth” he is presenting about us that makes us unfit to be used, unsafe to have around for eternity.

It’s been interesting and engaging, but if I thought Leviticus was difficult, it was easy compared to Numbers.

I understand there are rules of engagement in every war–the agreements to boundaries that are supposed to be adhered to, i.e. no attacks on civilians. What makes it difficult is that God takes responsibility for everything They allow, as well as what They decide and execute. So some of what looks like it’s coming from God isn’t Their ideas or actions; it’s just allowed. Sometimes it’s pretty clear. Other times, not. For instance, why 40 years in the wilderness?

I admit. I’m stumped. Ordinarily, I would say this is Satan’s engineering. And it could be, but it seems to be a theme that becomes the day for a year theory in prophecy after that. Would God go by something Satan demanded once? It seems unlikely. But as of yet, it doesn’t seem to make sense to me; and if you know me, God has to make sense: that is one of my tenants: Everything God does makes sense if you know Them and understand the big picture. That represents the revealed things, the actions in our world, the things we can understand–not the mystery that is beyond us. I’m good with that, but not good with being too lazy to try to understand.

But based on the first 5 episodes, even God’s strange acts make sense, if you think cosmically. That may not be a word yet, but I’m referring to thinking from a cosmic perspective. Knowing Him (Them) and knowing the people, I can’t figure out even from the big-picture, universal-war perspective,  why He would give them, in this situation, a year for a day. It doesn’t make any sense yet. So back to more time with God. I’ve been to this place several times, and He has always shown me something I’ve overlooked or didn’t understand. I’m sure Ruach will do it again!

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Filed under A God perspective, a perspective on evil, Love ed, Loved, Respect and disrespect, suffering, Uncategorized, What is God like?, When religion gets it wrong...

A Perspective Excerpt from Love’s Playbook 5

I’ve decided to share a couple of pages from the book I’m working on. It’s book five in the series: Exodus and the plagues. This is a break in the story for a new perspective.

“Whether or not Satan can create brings up an interesting question. Does God create destructive elements—in this case flies? Egypt has historically had the dog fly. It is large and venomous with a painful bite. And this one God instructed Moses to tell Pharaoh would not come on the Hebrews because God would make a distinction between Egypt and His special people.

It’s possible the first three hadn’t affected them either, but this is the first time God specifically tells Pharaoh it won’t, to make sure he is aware of it. Does God protect his own people from God? Or from enemies?

Back to the original question. It is true Satan doesn’t have ability to create life from nothing. But we have all seen how he can twist God’s gifts to create aberrations. Look at the suffering and disease he has created from sex. Or just the diseases he creates in us from ignorance and from taste, let alone viruses he creates. Remember in this series how Lucifer was given the chance to study the laws of nature and see what he could create. No doubt, he learned a lot about nature and its laws.

At that time he was still under God’s influence, and getting to fulfil his dream. He had not yet defected and activated the law of sin and death. But imagine what he must have done in the lab after he had activated entropy. He is called “the destroyer” in Exodus 12:23 and also in the book of Hebrews (2:14). He would destroy all of us (or have us destroy each other) if God allowed. It’s who he has become.

This is the first plague where it says the land was corrupted—literally the Hebrew is “the land was destroyed.” Would God have done this? Or would he have allowed the dark side to do their thing? I think it is the latter. I don’t believe God is the creator of evil. I think it is the absence of good as death is the absence of life.

Yes, They allow it to exist for choices, but They are winning the “right” now to banish evil, keeping it only as a personal choice forever, because it brings death. God has allowed Satan to have the power of death as long as he is kept alive. When God stops shielding him, he and all of his will cease to exist. Evil can’t exist in God’s presence. Revelation 20 says death and hell will be thrown into the lake of fire which is simply a metaphor for the dark side rushing into God’s unbridled energy to take his new city. (See Rev. 20:7-10.)

So why haven’t we questioned this before? We didn’t have the perspective. Our collective consciousness thought God does what He wants to because He is God, and thought the fear of God was literal along with other metaphors. Most people served God from fear—not what God wants! Now we know that another translation is more accurate: fear is best translated reverence or respect.

So why did God allow this? Because to protect our freedom there has to be hooks to hang doubt on. God can’t make everything completely plain until someone asks. Some things had to be shrouded in mystery until we started questioning and searching for a better understanding.

I don’t suppose I am the first one to question or understand this, just one who dares to interpret scripture this way, write it down and publish it.”

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Filed under A God perspective, a perspective on evil, Becoming real, Living well, Love ed, Respect and disrespect, Separation, suffering, Uncategorized, What is God like?, When religion gets it wrong...

Sometimes Silliness turns Profound

This will undoubtedly be the silliest example of perspective you’ve ever heard, but for me it is profound because of  the truth that comes from the obvious. My husband bought a new shower squeegee because the old one had never worked well and I’d finally had it with it. I asked him to get a good one. So he did and came back and assured me he had spent the extra money for a good one.

The first time I used it, I was intrigued, it didn’t even work as well as the old one! And he paid a lot more for this? So I thought it must be the angle. I must not be holding it up enough. I was puzzled after a few uses, and then one day in a hurry, grabbed it and used it backwards–so I thought. And it worked perfectly! Now that’s odd, I thought.

The next time I looked at it, I discovered that I was what was odd. The squeegee was designed differently than any I had used so I thought it was backwards, I had only used ones where the handle curved down, but on this one the handle curved up when you held it right, and then it did work much better than any we’d had! It actually made more sense when I thought about it. I’d just never seen one like that before–had no mental map for it–no experience to validate that reality.

This morning God helped me walk through some reality of my own. Reality that wasn’t lovely but necessary. It seems most of my life I have been unnecessarily harsh as a protective mechanism. I didn’t even realize it. I actually think that somehow I had made a virtue of it in my own mind. Something like a “shooting straight from the hip” perspective. It was quite painful, but when I saw that fear was behind it, I was more than glad to embrace it as a means to letting it go. Crazy, but that is how it works. See it, own it, release it.

As I looked at it squarely, no excuses or quick switching to someone else’s responsibility, I saw how long God had been trying to get my attention on this–20 years? Maybe longer. It had to get in my face to see the pattern and ramifications of it.

The good news is, now I can expect to be different. Healing is like that. So why are we so afraid to look at our ugly places? It’s because we don’t want to have them. Don’t want to admit we are ugly.

I’ve written before about how crazy it is that we would rather be in denial when most everyone else already knows what we don’t. But we hate to be seen as bad, wrong, or broken. It is painful to admit.

Yesterday we had a whole broken, distant day because it was painful for my husband to admit he had made a spot on the carpet and made it worse by trying to clean it. We both already knew it, but when I referenced that I would clean it because he had already tried, he got defensive. Why was that painful? You’d rather ruin a day over it?

Yet we ruin our lives rather than look at ourselves honestly. Maybe it’s because we don’t think we can do anything about it. We feel hopeless to change. I do understand that! That is scary. It isn’t really that we don’t want to change; we think we can’t. We desperately feel the need to be loved just the way we are.

The best news is that we are loved just the way we are, and that Love makes it possible for us to discard the things we hate so badly that we can’t even look at them. Yes, we have to be willing to look, it’s a little painful–always is to look at yourself without your blinders firmly in place. But you can be free. And God is kind when it hurts. It’s good to come into the light. Everybody else already knows and celebrates! We’re usually last to see it.

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Filed under Becoming real, Living well, Mental Health, suffering, Uncategorized, What is God like?

Only a Big Man can Admit He’s Been Wrong

I have to give kudos to my new son-in-law. I am so proud of him for being open to Spirit and being teachable. He has been drinking green juice that I would have a hard time drinking and I’ve been at this health thing almost 40 years. A few months ago all he liked was meat, white pasta and white breads, and that’s pretty much all he ate, besides desserts. But his pastor went on a Daniel Fast (Daniel 1 and 9) and he was impressed to do the same.

My daughter was astonished–what would he eat? But he was resolute. She is amazing with food–like a magician almost; and she was so grateful that she decided to make it as easy on him as she could. He ate things he had no idea he was eating. They did it for 60 days, and she said he began to look different after even one week.

We visited not long after their fast was over, and I asked him if he had felt a difference?

“Oh yeah!” was his immediate response.

I resisted any desire to comment further. That was enough. 🙂 I was so proud of him for even that. Because he had always given me such a hard time about being vegan. He had called me “the veggie prophet,” which I assumed meant I was calling for eating vegetables? (I had never asked for explanation.)

But I was thrilled that three little boys heard it–we were all sitting at the dinner table, and they don’t miss a thing–especially when he speaks. They had heard the teasing, so I was glad they could hear the admission.

It takes a big man to admit he’s been wrong. He is a big man, but he just grew in my eyes, and I think in the eyes of three little men.

This morning Richard and I read Psalm 23-25, and in  25:9 was, “The meek (teachable) will He guide in judgment (discernment), and the meek will He teach His way.” God’s ways make us happy (and healthy). And He is happy to teach us because when you feel better, life looks better, it improves your perspective by 100%. Verse 12 is a companion saying, “What man fears (reverences) the Lord? him shall He teach in the way that He shall choose.” The way of God’s choosing or ours? It is also translated “He shall teach him in the way he should choose.” (guidance) The NIV says, “…in the way chosen for him.”

I couldn’t find a translation to support this but I think it is true, that even in the way of our own choosing God will teach us if we reverence Him and realize that He knows better than we do–and really that is what being teachable is. Who doesn’t believe that the Creator of a universe 15 billion light years across might know more than me? That isn’t really the issue, is it? It’s whether I believe God created me, loves me personally, has my best interests at heart. Does He care? Can I know Him? Can I trust Him?

This makes a dilemma for Memorial Day. It’s a day to be grateful for so many men who died and underwent horrible trauma for our freedom.

I hate war.  I have seven grandsons. Need I say more? But we live with it, and it scares me to think what they might have to go through. So I ask God to make them strong men who always have a relationship with Him and a heart to listen to Him. Men who can admit when they are wrong, men who will ask for guidance, men He can teach His ways.

Have to add this–the message in church was from Leviticus 25–God’s ways bring rest and space and trust and plenty into our lives. We need that rest–Shabbat rest–even the land rested. You can rest because you trust. You can trust because you know Him.

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Filed under A God perspective, Becoming real, fathering, Health, Living well, Love ed, Mental Health, Parenting, Uncategorized, What is God like?

Vulnerability is Strength

Nobody likes being needy. I wrote last week about vulnerability–was going to title it Vulnerability is a Good Thing–but my husband said it was a terrible title–he wouldn’t read anything with that title. I guess guys especially don’t like being vulnerable, but why? Why do we think there is a clash between vulnerability and strength? I think only those who are truly strong can be vulnerable. They are the only ones who aren’t afraid.

I suppose men see the vulnerable as those who can’t protect themselves physically, those who are over-powered by brute strength. The old “might makes right” idea. Men are built with protective instinct, and that’s a good thing. The worst abuse, called sanctuary betrayal, is when those who are supposed to protect us are the ones hurting us. So I’m glad they are programmed that way. God did it, so He wanted protectors in society, just in case something went wrong, which it did, and we were physically vulnerable. (Remember He created it perfect–no evil.)

But there is another kind of vulnerability that is good. Emotional vulnerability. The willingness to be vulnerable–to make yourself open–transparent–nothing to hide. Most of us can’t quite get there–not with everyone and not all the time. Life has given us experiences we are afraid to share for fear of judgment, some of it warranted, but everyone’s experience is different, so it’s good to really know the person you are telling before you share all. God is the only one brave enough and good enough to be totally vulnerable, and even He has taken time, and considered who, when, and how he shares.

A great example of this happened this morning with my husband. We were both tired this week, and hit a high point of crabbiness yesterday. I was sure I must be hormonal, but this morning he was sitting in the sun on the patio, and he got vulnerable (!) and motioned for me to sit in his lap. Then he said, “No matter what we might do or say to each other, know that I love you.” This is rare sharing for him, and it brings reciprocation (almost always for anyone).

Later we were in the car and I shared that I had thought my irritability had been from hormones, but maybe, since he had felt the same, it was our week long empty-carb binge beginning with some decadent pancakes we had on Mothers’ Day. He had blamed me that he didn’t feel good and we had been distant for days. We had also had pizza three times, instead of our usual “clean eating.” (For some reason he was in search of the perfect frozen pizza. And since he cooks three nights a week, I just try to be grateful.) So we talked about getting back to our nutrient-rich diet, and I told him, “I’m so glad you shared how you felt and we talked about this. It was very helpful to me.”

Vulnerability is scary, I know, but it is what makes therapy work. It’s also what makes relationships work.

And it is the way God has chosen to secure His universe in freedom forever! He has made all of His actions transparent, full disclosure for the whole watching universe! He wasn’t afraid of being hurt or misunderstood. Now that is vulnerability! And don’t miss that it is also coming from tremendous strength.

 

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Filed under A God perspective, Becoming real, Love ed, Marriage, Mental Health, Uncategorized, What is God like?

Perspective on Parents and Parenting

I think I’ve said before that vacations are always an education. This one was no different, except that I am understanding more clearly than ever how little power I have to influence change. That’s good. Someday I may even be able to visit my kids without making them uncomfortable.

They all have their struggles. Thank God I am down the road a piece. In one household I tiptoe around for fear I’ll get dirty. In the other two I tiptoe around for fear I’ll get something dirty.

It makes me thankful that my husband and I have grown together, and at least are in synch about how to keep house. It’s not a pig-sty, but I don’t feel bad if the baseboards aren’t dusted or the windows haven’t been cleaned…Uh oh, now I’ve caught myself–I just felt bad a couple of weeks ago that my windows didn’t get cleaned before I had company. But it had been a while and I didn’t feel too bad.

I couldn’t comfortably live with either of my daughters. But how can they be so different when I raised both of them? Different genetics? One is biological, one is adopted. The crazy part is I keep seeing more of myself in both of them. And it’s usually the things I want to “correct” in them!

I am getting better about telling them what they should do. I guess I thought mothers were supposed to do that. That was my modeling. But they don’t like it any more than I did at 30! Imagine that!

At least I’m closer to them than I was to my mother. I never doubted her love, I just never felt her approval. She still corrected the way I dusted her furniture when I was in my 40’s. No wonder I’ve never liked dusting!

And yes, there are still some things I can’t keep my mouth shut about. Mostly about parenting and relationships. I’m supposed to be an expert so I feel a little less like it’s coming across just as my opinionated interference. And I am trying to be more loving in the way I express it. But two things, at least, will always pop my cork, one of them being a parent, and the other not being a victim.

Making wise decisions for your children instead of expecting them to raise themselves and know what’s good for them, really sets me off. If they were born knowing, why would they need us? Yet so many people don’t want to fight with their kids, or make boundaries and hold them with consequences! So many want to make their kids happy instead of making them wise, respectful, and responsible. And it is SO wrong! They don’t want to hurt them so they do nothing. But it does hurt.

The kids are the ones who suffer from poor parenting. And many times they don’t even know it. They don’t learn how to eat, they don’t learn how to treat others, they don’t learn how to work or take care of things or themselves because no one taught them. They suffer. Society suffers.

And of course there’s the other side where all the parents ever do is yell and the kids don’t learn anything except fear and victimization. There’s no expressed love, no education, no time spent. Parents are wrapped up in trying to be happy. Very often the parents were victimized and are in such a bad relationship that they are consumed by it because they never learned how to be close and communicate from their parents.

After 25 years as a family therapist, and 35 years as a parent, and 30 as a step parent, I have to be amazed and simply thank God that He can somehow love us, and accept us, and parent us, and make us whole, even as wretched and ignorant and fearful and miserable and unparented and un-insightful and unaware and un-self-aware and different (and opinionated) as we are. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.

 

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Filed under Living well, Loved, Parenting, suffering, Uncategorized, What is God like?

Ten Seconds to Happiness

This isn’t just a hook or a catchy title to get you to read it, it’s the truth about why we live in the lowlands of negativity. I may have written about it before but it bears repeating. Joy is a choice, largely. Fasting for joy has brought this front and center. I call it the 10-second rule. You can use it to change your life.

We have so much good in our lives that mostly we let it go by without notice. A beautiful sunset usually gets a notice but sometimes not even ten seconds. A beautiful flower, a gentle breeze, the sent of orange blossoms or honeysuckle might get two seconds. The way the sun feels on your face or back, or the way it looks coming through leaves or lighting up green hills–all or any gets a nod, maybe two, even three seconds, but not much more. Yet it takes 10-30 seconds to anchor something for keeping in our unconscious mind. (Yes, that’s the same as the subconscious.)

Now think about something bad that happens. A stranger takes out their stress by snapping at you. Your spouse lets his/her irritation show. Does it get ten seconds? Almost always. In fact, it is hard to dismiss any negative thought or experience in under ten seconds. We usually give it much more than that. So we end up with all this stored negativity in our unconscious mind. And when we aren’t focused on something, that’s what floats up.

It is who we become.

It takes thought and awareness and choice to change it. But what a simple, lovely exercise–choosing to enjoy  the good for 10 seconds or more. Holding on to it, savoring it for at least 30 seconds. Go ahead, try it. See if it’s as easy as it sounds.

To be continued…

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Filed under Joy, Living well, Love ed, Mental Health, Uncategorized, What is God like?