Explaining the Trinity to Children

Explaining the Trinity to my children on the drive to church on Easter morning was not what I expected to be doing. But I found myself in a unique situation.

Earlier in the week we covered the meaning of Good Friday and Easter. Between grandparents and great grandparents, we’ve discussed death since they were 3. When I first told Emma that Jesus died on the cross, she burst in to tears. But the tears soon disappeared as we discussed the resurrection. So although we discussed it all before, it’s still a big concept for them to digest.

Sunday morning John was reviewing the meaning of Easter on the way to church and the kids were quite attentive. But somewhere in the process thoughts went astray and he started getting questions like: Did Jesus grow up to be God? But Jesus is in my heart and He’s also in heaven with God? Etc. John looked at me. I look at John. Hmmm…. I said, “Well, I hadn’t thought we’d be covering the Trinity this morning.”

I had wondered how to explain the Trinity to them before. How does a child grasp this concept? I wasn’t sure how it was explained to me and I haven’t heard anyone else explain it to their kids. So while I was at a loss for a moment, my ‘thinking-fast-on-your-feet’ mommy gene served me well. Here’s how it went.

ME: You know what water is right? It’s liquid.

THEM: Yes

ME: Ok, so what happens to what when it freezes? It turns in to what?

THEM: Ice!

(Side comment from John: Oh you’re good! It was the boost I needed to know I was on the right track.)

ME: Yes, ice. Very good! Ok and what happens to what when it’s heated? Like when it’s on the stove and it begins to boil. What does it turn in to?

THEM: Ummmm…. (a little prodding on my behalf… ssssttttt) Steam

ME: Yes, it turns in to steam. Ok, so water can be liquid, or ice, or steam. But it’s all still water just in different forms right?  THEM: Yes….

ME: Ok, that’s how God is. God is in three forms. Father God, who is in Heaven. Jesus, who came to Earth as a man. And the Holy Spirit, who lives inside our hearts. They are all God but in different forms. Does that make sense?

THEM: Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah……..

I won’t go in to the details of the variety of questions, cross-references and comparisons they made on their own, but suffice it to say it was a very interesting conversation in the next 5 minutes it took us to get to church. They surprised me with their ability to transfer knowledge and give me examples of things that are different but yet the same.

It’s still a very large concept to grasp, but I think we have good starting place.

How did you explain it to your children?

Who Is The Best Father?

Many of you have read my Tweets and my other Post on my daughter’s challenge to process the fact her father is not around. At times it has been more than heartbreaking for me. So I can’t imagine the hurt she feels. I’ve diligently relied on God to take the place of her biological father. It was a stretch for me to grasp this as an adult, let alone a child. But I’ve tried to be consistent in encouraging her in her time of need, sadness, or joy to look to God as her father.

Well…. It’s starting to pay off and I can not be more thrilled!!! Slowly, she has started talking about God more specifically, not just in general terms or on Sundays after church. Here’s what Emma’s shared with me in the last week:

  • While watching some movie on TV (clueless as to what now) she announces,

Mom, I love God for 4 reasons:
1. Because He loves me.
2. Because He sends angels to protect me.
3. Because He gives me hugs.
4. Because He’s always there for me.

  • John, Emma, and I were sitting at the table eating dinner. Jacob was in time out for yelling at me and semi-punching me in the arm. This is not typical behavior for him, but unacceptable nonetheless. John initiated the time out, also very unusual. But he wanted to talk to him about the respect and treatment of women, especially me. At the table I told John, this was an example of why he needed a father-figure in his life. Time out was different coming from John versus me in that particular situation. Surprisingly, Emma jumped in on the conversation.

“Do you guys know who the best father is? [long pause, as John & I stared at her, then each other] God is. He’s the best Father we have.”

  • In another conversation this week, Emma and John were discussing a visit we made to The Carter House. John was giving a tour, so Emma & Jacob walked up on the porch to get his attention. John told Emma he was so happy to see her that day. She leaned in and whispered in his ear,

“Did you see the angel on my shoulder?”

  • Each night when we pray, I ask God to send His angels to help comfort her when she wakes at night. It’s been a struggle for her to stay in her bed at night for a few months. She wakes up frightened and comes to me in the middle of the night wanting to sleep with me. It was happening even when she shared a bed with Jacob. We’ve tried several things to help her sleep through the night, including eating a bit later to make sure she has a full belly. Since praying for the angels, she has stayed in her bed more often than not.However, when I tucked her in last night I was caught off guard as she told me her angel was sitting on her side table. According to Emma, her angel is purple and small. But she is very powerful and can protect her against anything. She likes the same hand lotion as Emma and she goes to sleep when Emma goes to sleep, but she stays all night long. Even better, we all have an angel in our room to protect us. At the end of our prayers, she asked if we could pray to the angels. I said, “No, we don’t pray to angels Emma. We only pray to God.” Her reply….

“Oh right. I forgot. We don’t put anything in front of God.”

I was shocked and asked her where she learned that. Her reply….

“You taught me Mama.”

Wow! My sweet girl gets it!

Thank you Father.

When Missing Daddy, Call On Your Father

“I miss my daddy,” Emma cried.

I’ve heard this more and more over the last month. I guess it is a matter of timing. They haven’t seen him since our trip to Hungary in July. Well, except for about 10 minutes mid-October when he Skyped with them.

The last time he spoke to them was the 3rd week in November. He called mid-December, but the kids were with my dad. He said he would call there, but I’m not sure he did.

That has to weigh heavy on a little one’s heart. Most of the time, I’m sure they just go about their business of life – going to school, church, play dates, family movies, etc. But it’s in the quiet times or times when they get hurt that his absence seems to be more than apparent. This is when they cry out to a father that does not listen.

It’s especially rough during the holiday season. We get photo Christmas cards depicting bright, smiling families – complete with a daddy. They also know they are going to spend time with their daddy at Christmas. And I remind them so it will relieve some of the tension of ‘when’. Then you get questions like this:

“Is daddy coming back to marry us mommy?” Emma asks with such innocent hope in her eyes.

It burns me up! I flood with emotion: anger, frustration, resentment, sadness. I hurt for them. Still. You would think this gets easier over time. But it doesn’t. When your child is hurting it really doesn’t matter if they are 4 or 40, you hurt with them.

For a long time, I didn’t know what to say to the “missing daddy” statement. My standard answer was “I know”. What else is there to say?

“He was a crappy husband and is even a crappier father.”
“What else is to be expected from such a self-centered, ego maniac.”
“It sucks to be you!”
“You’ll be missing him the rest of your life, get used to it.”

There are no words.
At least I thought not.

Then I remember the wonderful book of Isaiah and some of the lessons I have learned this past year and a half. Painful but reassuring lessons that have given me a peace like I have never known. So now, I have a new reply.

“I know. I know you miss your daddy. And I know that sometimes you feel sad and confused. Sometimes the people we love make choices that we don’t understand. It is confusing and sometimes it hurts us. But I know your daddy loves you very much. And you know what else? God loves you even more. God is our Father in heaven. He is my Father and your Father. He is our Father because He created us and loves us more than anyone else ever, ever will. He will always take care of you and be there for you to talk to or ask for help anytime you need it. He is with you always in your heart.”

I often go on to talk about how Mommy loves her and is always here. We talk about Mr. John and Papa, my dad, being there for her too. But I guess that thing that I want her to get, that I never did as a child, is that she is not alone. God is our Father in heaven and He is with us always. She doesn’t have to long for the love of a father because she has it already. Maybe it’s not in the way other kids have it or that she expects it, but it is there.

Always Emmanuel

Loving Unconditionally

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UNCONDITIONAL – Not contingent upon ANY condition(s)

CONDITION – Circumstances that must exist or be realized before something else is possible or permitted.

*** No circumstance must exist or be realized before LOVE is possible***

Love, unconditional love. Real UNCONDITIONAL love. It’s such a hard concept to even wrap one’s mind around. Especially if the one you love is hurting you. I remember my dad telling me once that love is not a feeling, it is a choice.  And in my marriage I made a choice to love him and to stay. But in reality it was not a choice to love it was a calculated resolve just to endure. Even in the end I said I would not divorce him, but I made my love and my marriage contingent upon his willingness to get help for a problem he didn’t recognize. And he filed. Then one day about 8 months later, Gail Hyatt sent out a tweet about loving your enemy. See it’s easy to love someone who is loving you back. But what about those that don’t?

I attended Rolling Hills Community Church this past Sunday. Thanks to Chad Jarnagin‘s invite. And the message was the last in a series on love. The opening video is what got to me. It was of a girl who was speaking on how hard it was for her to love freely without hesitation, without reserve. To give from the heart not just to those who are asking for help but joyfully giving something that is precious to us at random. It is for all of us to do this isn’t it? But what would happen if we did? What would happen if we even just tried? A little bit.

See, we were created BY LOVE, WITH LOVE, TO LOVE. It is God’s intention for us to LOVE EXTRAVAGANTLY! (Borrowing from the sermon here! Thanks Pastor Jeff!) That’s it. Pure & simple. I love that idea so much, that I just have to repeat it.

WE ARE TO LOVE EXTRAVAGANTLY!

I’m such a word geek, so please bear with me. Words have meaning, they have power and influence and all too often they are taken too lightly. So I love (haha) to dive into a word’s meaning and synonyms to really get a feel for the power behind a word. And look at the word extravagantly and what it means and represents:

Extravagantly -freely, without restriction, at will, candidly, deliberately, fancy-free, intentionally, openly, plainly, purposely, spontaneously, voluntarily, without hindrance, without prompting, without reserve, without restraint, without urging.

Pure and simple, right. But it’s not simple because we are human and we have been taught by other humans.  It’s hard to let go of the unspoken values we were raised with and the baggage of the past that weighs our hearts down. But it is possible with Christ in our lives. Challenging but possible. I often say that my father was the best example of Christ’s love for us that I have ever known. That is because he loved me unconditionally. Even in the bad times. Even when I was making his life hell (there were a few of those). He rarely raised his voice. He knew how to see the difference between a rebellious daughter acting out and his little girl who was really hurting and confused by life and love. So even in the bad times that’s who he loved and who he reached out to hold.

I have never in my life loved like that. Truly, never loved like that. My love has always come with conditions, with limitations and with reserve. I will love you…

  • IF you love me back
  • IF you love me the way I want you to
  • IF you believe as I believe
  • IF you give me what I want
  • IF you constantly prove it to me, over and over and over again.

I have been loving the wrong way most of my life. There are exceptions to that of course, I love my parents and siblings and kids. Especially my kids. But there have been more times than not that I have not acted like I loved my parents and sisters unconditionally. And yes, I have always loved them. But I have not shown them that love. I have not acted on that love. What they have seen, as others have in my life, is my list of conditions. My demands. I’ve held my love hostage and negotiated it’s release based on what I would get out of it. Subconsciously of course. It was never with intentional selfishness or malice, yet it happened.

There has been one friend in my life that I have loved without condition. I’ve written about her before, my friend Michele. We actually talked about this tonight. She jokingly tells her daughters that we are the girlfriend version of soul mates. And that is based upon the fact that regardless of what the other one is doing or what they are dealing with, between us there is no judgment, there is only friendship and love. That’s hard to come by because even the best of girlfriends have it out at times.

This phenomena of unconditional love occurred for me a few weeks ago out of the blue with another friend, of the male variety. We were in a sensitive situation where I felt betrayed, hurt in some way. But in reality I wasn’t. He is one individual who has been nothing but straight up honest and transparent with me from day one. So after some consideration of the circumstances I realized that what I was feeling was mine. I owned it. It was all of that baggage and resentments that I had carried around for years, especially when it comes to men. All of my IFs, so to speak. And then came a pivotal moment, a moment that I had to chose to either hang on to my insecurity and fear or let them go and just love freely. Love Extravagantly.

And I did! I’m not sure how or why it came over me, but I finally got it. I made the choice to love without hesitation or restraint. Nor was with the rose-colored glasses of romantic love that skews all things. It was just love. And it was a choice. Can I tell you the weight of the world lifted off my heart in that one moment. And it was clear to me without question how insanely freeing it was to feel pure unconditional love. WOW! I can’t describe it. But I finally got it at age 40. This is what it means, this is what it feels like.

This is how Christ loves us! Unconditionally, without reservation or limits or conditions. He loves us with all of our flaws and mistakes and years of wrong doing. He loves us like this. And we are to love like this. It is hard. But it is possible. We are to love each other, friend or foe, like this. Not just the our friends and our families. Not just the people who are easy to love. Not just the ones that make us happy. Not just the ones who love us back. Not just the ones who believe as we believe. But everyone.

It is what we were created to do. This is what we all deserve to receive in life. To be loved like this. This is also what we all are responsible to give in life. To love like this. Everyone. Extravagantly.

Purpose Driven Atheist’s Issue with Obama

resident Elect Obama & Rick Warren

resident Elect Obama & Rick Warren


 

Obama’s ‘Purpose Driven’ Pastor Draws Heat

A little tweet by a friend @Wonderfalls, sent me to ABC News’s Blog – The Note to read an article on Obama’s choice of pastor for his inauguration. He choose Rick Warren, the pastor of Saddleback Church in The OC (that’s Orange County, California, for those of you not hip to the lingo). It was an expected hissy fit by some liberal group. I don’t remember who, nor do I care. What drew me to post on this was the slew of comments from what appeared to be liberals and conservatives alike. Many said, Yeah! Many said, Neigh! And there was a mix in the middle of who cares, who’s going to pray, it’s not like he’s setting policy for the next 4 years.

But here is the most disturbing comment left by a Mr. Vincent. 

Rick Warren represents the forces of ignorance and superstition. I find it appalling that people still need to invoke the “blessing” of the invisible man in the sky. Religion is nothing more than a collection of fairy tales designed to control people’s thinking. Why do you think they came up with the idea of “sin”? It was nothing more than thought control. The main religions denigrate people by denying our humanity. They try to make people feel guilty about not meeting an impossible standard of behavior or thought. Religion belongs in the 1st century, not the 21st. There was a poll in the UK recently and the majority felt that religion was the main cause of conflict in the world today. Gee, you think? The whole “my god is better than your god” crapola has got to stop. – R.J. Vincent 12/17/08

Wow! Ya know a few months ago, I would have had a different reaction to this kind of comment.  I would have been mad and disgusted and even felt the need to post something back to prove a point or make a statement.

But that wasn’t what hit me. It was not my gut reaction this time. Now. Post Spiritual Pilgrimage. What struck me the most was sadness. Not the feeling of lashing out in Christianity’s defense, but simply sadness.  

I’m sad that all he believes is that religion denies our humanity or that it is there to impose impossible standards. Because the God I know is the ONLY one who graciously accepts our humanity and loves us completely in spite of it. Humans certainly don’t. Thank goodness God actually does. And yes, the standards are high, but we are not expected to meet them all without flaw or failure. If that was the case, we would not need Christ. It is understood that we will fall short, but it does not mean God’s intention is for us to live in guilt and shame for failure to achieve perfection. 

Then I started wondering about him (could be a her, but we’re going to simplify with 1 pronoun). 

What do you think RJ’s life is like?

Do you think he is happy and full filled in the world view sense of things? Do you think he’s successful in his work and/or family life. Do you think he has healthy relationships? Do you think he is living a moral (in a Christian sense) life? Because not all atheist are unruly, murdering, thieving sex addicts. 

I wonder if he was raised with religion of any sort. I wonder if his parents support his view. I wonder if he had a bad experience with religion.  I wonder  who he thinks “they” are? (As in the ones who made up ‘sin’)

Do you think he had a bad childhood or was he spoiled and pampered? Do you think he has suffered a lot in this life or had it easy?  Do you think he’s a type A over-achiever or a type B laize-fare kind. 

I have to assume he’s somewhat educated because of the tone & structure of the comment. I also believe that he has some experience with religion or there wouldn’t be so much energy about it. Most people don’t fire of comments full of negative energy on things they care nothing about. I think there’s a real possibility that he was subjected to such a legalistic form of religion that failure is the only option, thus rejecting religion because he was rejected. Isn’t that sad?

My Spiritual Pilgrimage – Part 2

I am just now taking the time to write the second half of this story about my Spiritual Pilgrimage. You can read about the first half HERE

My goal was to eliminate the noise in my life for 4 days to face my fears and find God on a beach. That’s what led me to San Destin , FL. I made a commitment to myself to go without tv, radio, music or conversation other than a few calls to Emma & Jacob. I chose this path based on the book by Henri Nouwen, “The Way of the Heart”. It talks about connecting with God through Solitude, Silence and Prayer.  These 3 little words had me overwhelmed with emotion and terrified of what I might actually discover.  

It was a rough 3 hours after I turned off the music and Twitter. No outside noise allowed me to hear what was inside. There it was in the blinding light of day no less, all of my sin and shame and doubt. Things I had buried so deep that I was shocked to recall them. All the mistakes, the horrible decisions, one bad choice after another, time and again. It was like Clockwork Orange torture. A video in my head played years of men, lies, sex, suicidal thoughts, depression, anxieties and neediness. So much neediness wrapped up in despair. There was a reason I hated to be alone. I hated to be with myself. 

All of my denials and delusions were brought to light those hours. I was sick to my stomach as I cried until there was nothing left. I didn’t feel human. I felt robotic without the benefit of a human soul. That was gone. My soul was an emotional void, negative space. I was an empty, hollow shell functioning purely on rote skill. Performing functions just to get me to the next step. And the next step was to run. 

I ran that night on the sidewalk by the beach. It was dark, but I heard the water washing up on the shore. With very few streetlights and a lot of construction dumpsters it was eerie but oddly appropriate. I had to run to dispel some of the energy from the drive. On one hand I was spent and on the other I was wired. Thus, always the dichotomy in my life. 

The next 2 days I continued my ritual. Get dressed, go run, talk to God. Sit on beach, read, write, talk to God. But it was never what I was hoping for. I’m not sure what I expected. But there was no bolt of lightening; no overwhelming sense of God coming to my comfort or aide.

On the final day I made another trip to the beach for one more shot at finding some direction, a connection.  I wrote for a while feeling overwhelmed by life, past and present. As I did, the tears came as I apologized over and over for the mess I had made of my life. I didn’t ask for forgiveness. I wasn’t thinking in terms of what I needed from God. It was more about how poorly I treated Him and the life He gave me.

I studied the water and the sun. Soaking in how vast it was, how small I felt. How humbled I was that this great and incredible God who made all of this actually loved me. Me, with all of my sin and shame and doubt. There was no bolt of lightening. But instead, it was the faint sensation of a weight being lifted and replaced by peace and joy. I think it was during those moments that I realized that while I had been waiting for God, He had been there all along waiting for me. 

I walked to the edge of the water. As the tears rolled down my face, I was overwhelmed and terrified and thrilled all at the same time. Then I uttered the words out loud, “I am Yours. Whatever it means, whatever You want.”

Some how, by the grace of God, I was able to trust. For the first time ever, I was actually going to give up complete control and trust. Because when I said ‘whatever’ I really meant it. And a slew of wild thoughts flooded my head, like selling everything I own and moving to Africa with my kids.

Now before I start getting emails and panicked phone calls from my family, please understand, I have no plans to do that! But the point is I know if that is where God wants me, that is where He will have me and I’m ok with that. 

Does everyone understand how freeing that is? It’s a huge burden lifted. It’s incredibly relieving to just let go of the fear and embrace the unknown.

Some of you understand what I am saying.  I’m sure there are others who shake their head in doubt or those who wish they could understand, but don’t. I’ve been in all these positions. What I can’t explain is why it took me just 3 weeks shy of being 40 years old to get it.

I really have no idea how or why I ended up on the internet pouring out my life to a world of faceless people. This certainly isn’t why I started a blog or where I intended it to go.

But I do know one thing for sure. Every step I’ve taken along this cyber path has led to new people in my life that have inspired me, challenged me and opened doors for me to take the next step. For instance, out of this trip came a couple more big questions: How do I know what is truly God’s direction for my life vs. my own desires? How do I listen to Him and not let His calling for me become diluted with my own wants. The beauty is, I have been able to turn to two beautifully blessed Christian women to ask them how they know. Oddly enough they gave me just about the same exact answers – not just scripture, but input. They live 1,000 miles apart, have never met or interacted nor do they have the same background or careers. Two completely different women gave me the same answer. Women I met because of my blogging journey.  

Where am I now? Well, God may or may not intend for me to be huge blogger, but connecting with people who share their stories with me is enough of a reason to continue to share mine. I have started volunteering at church in the media team, which I have never done before but am very excited about. I’ve joined a study group to learn more and have people to do life with (that’s kind of their slogan – gotta love that!). I recently had a door open to do some work from home. It allows me to still be with the kids as they are so needing mama right now, so this is a huge blessing! I’m developing some new healthy relationships and letting go of some that are not.

More than anything I’m excited about the future now that I truly understand that God is enough. That’s about as simple as it gets.

Confession, Perseverance & Faith: My Full Circle Moment – PART 3

This blog is about my life. The new one I am creating moment by moment. This post is three in a series of four. It is intended to accomplish one thing and one thing only: It is about setting the record straight.  It is about me letting go of the fear that I have held on to for years and getting naked in front of the world. It is about drawing a line in the sand for myself. It is about confession and perseverance and faith.  Here’s what I figured out thus far and shared in my other posts:

Part 1 – Confessions

  • The Problem:  I make men my higher power.
  • The Result:  Emotional bondage and failed relationships.
  • The Root Cause:  (Here’s the kicker)  I have never fully believed or accepted that GOD IS ENOUGH. 

Part 2 – Perseverance

  • I’ve been working on physical perseverance successfully.
  • I’ve been working on spiritual perseverance with little to no results.
  • You can dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s you want, but until you let go of some of the things you know are not right and embrace some of the truths that are, you may just not get the results you are expecting.              

    Take me, I'm Yours!

    And that’s where FAITH comes in…

     

     

It’s taken me a long time to continue this series because I didn’t feel like I was far enough in my journey to write about it. Faith, that is. The last 6 months of my life have been as enlightening as they have demanding. Connecting to God in a real relationship was a challenge.  I kept doing all the “right” things. I prayed every day. Read my devotional every day. Went to church on Sundays and Wednesdays.  Yet the experience of having a real relationship with Christ was not happening. Why?

 

After attending Crosspoint Church  and hearing Pete Wilson’s series on SYNC (a series about what to do when you are out of sync with God) I began to understand that wanting Christ to form in my life completely had a lot more to do with my ability to trust than checking the boxes of “right” things. Where I was in my spiritual life was a direct reflection of my faith in Christ. 

 

 

 Definitions

Faith – Confidence or trust in a person or thing; Belief that is not based on proof.

Trust – Reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, etc. of a person or thing. 

 

As adults I believe we become jaded from the pain and suffering we experience growing up. Everyone has their heart broken. Everyone has lost someone special due to tragedy or illness. Everyone has experienced loss or failure in some form even when we have asked God for help. Those moments are critical in defining how we trust God. 

 

  

We have to choose to believe that although God can give us our desired outcome, He may choose not to. It is our active expression of faith when we choose to believe He is a sovereign, loving and capable God regardless of the outcome. I use the word active because it requires personal effort, engaged participation. This is the essence of trust and faith in God.

 

Knowing that God CAN ___, doesn’t mean He WILL ___, and I’m OK with it.

 

Doesn’t the bible say to come to Christ with child-like faith. Why? Obviously, we become disenchanted adults as this sinful, fallen world dishes up its ugliness to us on a platter and tells us to enjoy. But a child learning to walk will fall over and over and over again, but they keep getting up. What has happened in the past is irrelevant, whether it was last week or 2 minutes ago. They will continue trying to take those first few steps.  That is an active expression of faith. (personal effort, engaged participation)

 

When I realized I wanted to really establish a solid relationship with Christ in my life, I started completing my to do list of right things as well as asking God to take charge of my life. Yet I’m doing things that do not relinquish control. In essence what I was really saying was:  

 

  

“You can have ALL of me, EXCEPT this one little piece I still want to manage.”

 

Then it becomes easy to feel that God isn’t speaking to me or helping to guide my life choices. So stage two of denial sets in and I can say: “God, do with me what you will. In the meantime, I’ll be over here distracted by this little piece that I’m managing.” I was not only distracted by it, but I was also not willing to give it up and let God be enough.  Even if God was speaking to me, trying to guide me, I would have never heard it because my mind was elsewhere.

 

How can God do His God-thing with me in the way doing it for Him.

 

What was I so scared of?  The answer to that question didn’t really matter because there was only one thing I had to do. Give it up! All of it, just not the parts that were easy. It’s a bit like being an alcoholic. Drinking a glass of wine does not make you an alcoholic nor does it make wine bad. However, if you cant put the bottle down and walk away it means at a minimum you have a problem and most likely it’s bad for you.  Does that make sense?

 

Letting go of everything meant there was really no one else to rely on other than God, no where else to turn except to God. This was my active expression of faith in God. (personal effort, engaged participation) 

 

“God, YOU are enough, you really have ALL of me, I am Yours, and I am listening.”

 

What happened next was more than amazing.  Tune in for Part 4- My full circle moment.

This Just Broke Me!

This is a part of Positive Post Tuesday and Works for Me Wednesday. .  It may seem a bit odd, but I am honoring social media.  I received a tweet from CherylSmith999 on this video that she found on another blog.  Messages of hope, forgiveness, love are all stories we need to hear and share.  I would have never had this experience or a great moment of reflection & prayer were it not for social media. Thank you Mr. YouTube guy for inventing YouTube.  Thank you Mr. Twitter guy for inventing Twitter. And thank you Al Gore for inventing the internet. (haha! had to see if u were paying attention) But seriously, thank you to all those who participate and share positive stories of encouragement and faith.  Please do carry on!

Confession, Perseverance & Faith: My Full Circle Moment – PART 2

This blog is about my life. The new one I am creating moment by moment. This post is two in a series of four. It is intended to accomplish one thing and one thing only: It is about setting the record straight.  It is about me letting go of the fear that I have held on to for years and getting naked in front of the world. It is about drawing a line in the sand for myself. It is about confession and perseverance and faith.  Let me continue with Part 2.

One Foot In Front Of The Other

One Foot In Front Of The Other

PERSEVERANCE:  When my ex filed for divorce, I was not too surprised that it actually happened. I knew I had to put on my business hat and make a new life for the two precious children depending on me. This was not the time to break down. Besides my eyes were opened by a new christian friend that I was strong, smart and full of life. Most importantly, I had the opportunity to make a whole new life, a better life, for my children and me. 

Yes, for the first couple of months I had a new friend, a cheerleader, who encouraged me. Yes, it was a man and I was falling in to my old comfort zone. Yes, it was a bad idea, especially after surprising confessions of his feelings for me. Yes, that ended as we both realized it was wrong.  I already knew I had a problem with serial relationships. I didn’t know the root cause or what to do about it, but I knew without question I was in need of a man diet in the worst way.  Besides that, it was just plain wrong.

So there I was very alone and hurt. I had lost my husband, some of my old friends (his friends), my new friend and my self-esteem again. I was not getting a lot of emotional support from my close friends or family. They didn’t really understand the changes I was making in my life. While they helped logistically, etc.; it was tough for them to verbally affirm what I was doing.  How was I going to get through this? How was I going to build a new life when I didn’t know what I wanted? Who was going to be my cheerleader? 

I have tried to exercise perseverance in two key areas of my life to endure this journey.  The first being the physical perseverance. That is just getting up in the morning and putting one foot in front of the other. When you don’t feel like greeting the world with a smile or even greeting it. But Emma and Jacob often remind me that it’s just not about me. This part of perseverance can be tough. There is a reason for pharmaceutical ads claiming depression hurts. But I am not one to wallow. Oh, I have my moments, which I think are cathartic when the kids are not here. But I have also employed the aid of my marriage counselor turned personal therapist and most importantly, I run. And when I don’t run, I’m anxious and just plain bitchy. So I do try to run and follow my training plan for my physical as well as mental health.

Cheryl Smith shared a most excellent quote with me on this very topic a couple weeks ago. I think it exemplifies the idea that you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, literally.

When you are going through hell, keep going.  ~ Winston Churchill

While I went on about my days acting for the most part normal; it was also at this time that inside I felt utterly detached. Not just from people, but from God. I had the kids to look after and I could not spend that time dealing with their grief, as well as mine, so mine was pushed aside. Then came my moments alone. When the emotion would envelope me and I would cry out to God looking for answers, direction, anything… Why? I’m never going to be enough for them [twins]! Please make the hurt stop! I’m so sorry for making a disaster of this life I was given! I can’t do this any more!

It is those gut-wrenching times that tore my heart open and made me feel as it there was nothing left. I’d lay on the floor in a million little pieces and even though the tears would be gone, I was broken and spent. It was in these times, at least for me, when I felt a connection to God. I read a quote by Brock Gill on Auny Gill’s website that has stayed with me since I read it back in April.

“When you come to the end of yourself, that’s where God is.”  ~ Brock Gill

I understood that. It was always in my break downs that I felt like I was connecting in a very pure way. But during the regular stuff, normal days, even really good times, thankful times; I felt nothing. That I didn’t understand.  What was wrong with me?

I knew that I wanted to connect. I prayed to connect. Over and over again. Please God, come into my life and take me. I am Yours. I need you to take charge of my life and do with me what you will. Yet there was nothing. I prayed every day. Read my devotional every day. Went to church on Sundays and Wednesdays. Started listening to Christian Music. Stopped cursing (which was a nasty little habit I had).  Nothing. Nada. 

What am I doing wrong? Enter Pete Wilson & Crosspoint Church & this little series on SYNC.  Basically it’s all about what to do when you are out of sync with God, or stalled in your spiritual life.  OK, so I’m going to have to cheat on TPC again and head over to CP to check it out.  Because I’m dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s and coming up empty.  But this is something I have to achieve. I know He is here. I know He is with me. I have to persevere in my pursuit of Him. Something will give, eventually.  At least that’s what everyone keeps telling me. 

Let me fill you in on a little secret right now. You can dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s you want, but until you let go of some of the things you know are not right and embrace some of the truths that are, you may just not get the results you are expecting.   And that’s where faith comes in…

Til next time.

Speaking of Silence

Worship at The People‘s Church had a great message today. It was about noise and about silence. It wrapped up the last in a series on prayer. After Michael sang a bit, we were met with a video from Rob Bell about noise in our life. The noise all around us. Then the screen went blank. And the next few minutes the sanctuary was completely silent (except for the coughers – gee, sounded like cold & flu season). Then on the screen the video played – just words, no music, no talking, nothing but silence and words. It was awesome.

Why are we so uncomfortable in silence? It’s beyond just work and family and social time. Even when we are alone, are we really alone or do we talk on our cell phone or Twitter with someone about what we are eating for lunch?   (Sidenote: My Mother’s Day Lunch compliments of 2.5 yr old twins – hot dogs & bananas) 

I know when I get a moments peace to myself: I blog. If I can’t blog, I get on my cell phone and try to connect with someone I haven’t talked to in a while or turn on the tv or listen to my ipod.  I always thought I did this because it’s much easier to do it in the peace & quiet without the kids vs. with them in the room.  Then I thought about it some more. And I really came up with one conclusion: I am not comfortable in my own skin in complete solitude. 

To be alone with my thoughts really makes me nervous. I need distraction. So why is that? Right now I think it’s because of the stress in my life of going through the divorce and some of the relationship problems I’m having with friends and my apparent lack of employability.  See, just writing about it makes me depressed. I really need to distract myself and stay busy to avoid thinking about the things that have went wrong.

I would rather focus on putting to action a plan of what is going to happen in the future.  To do that takes noise. I’m an energy person. I need stuff going on to keep me going on.  But what about this plan am I leaving up to God? How am I engaging Him to help me? In prayer, of course. But what am I doing to listen to what he says to me to lead me? Ummm, basically nothing.  I’m like a 1 yr old on Baby Einstein crack videos. I need input. I need noise. There was one particular quote in the video that I loved. In summation it asked What would happen if we spent as much time in prayer and silence as we did discussing our problems with friends, family & shrinks.  That really spoke to me. Because I love me some good head-shrinking! (excuse me, therapists – I call mine, my shrink, he knows it & thinks it’s humourous)Mind you, Dr. F, started out as our marriage counselor and evolved into my therapist because he already had the history. Thanks goodness!  I would hate to have to recant that whole mess of a marriage to anyone. 

well, at the end of the service, when there was a bit more music and offering time. These words came to me…

The Voice inside

  Speaks through the noise

 

I do not listen

  I can not hear

 

  Unless I am silent

  Unless I am still

  Unless I am open

    To accept His will