a beautiful affair

She really is beautiful. Sometimes I look her up to see if she’s still on Facebook. I wonder what she is doing, if she is well, what her life looks like now. I remember the day she said she just couldn’t bear to talk to me anymore. And, the surprise of the emotional response I had. Life is a funny thing.

So many years ago, her appearance in my world sent me down a trail of despair. I remember packing up my things, falling into a heap, and friends gently helping me stand and continue stuffing memories and every piece of life as I knew it, into small boxes.

I can still feel the weight of her voice the day she called to apologize. It was years after the fact. At that point I was remarried and far removed from that old life. That season of loss. I was standing in our sitting room in Snohomish when I answered the call. It was New Year’s Day, and she wanted to start the year off right. It was shocking how well we got along; how much we had in common. She became so human to me that day, and I felt a connection not easily defined.

There were several conversations before she said goodbye. The healing season was over, I knew, and I had to let go of things that I wasn’t quite certain I was ready to. Forgiveness can sometimes take time to fill the chasm that pain and anger create, and the emptiness can be a bit unsettling until the process is complete.

While it’s true that I would not be with the love of my youth, nor would I have all of the precious children I do now, there are thoughts that sometimes wander to another place. The “what if” factor is always there. If nothing else, I wonder who I would be without so many scars. Sometimes it feels as though the loss of my innocence is such a tragedy, and yet at other times I am not certain I could effectively be the person I am called to be without the strength that has risen up inside me.

God promises to bring ALL things to good for those who love Him.

I remember every prayer I said for her. For him. For us… Every tear. God remembers them, too. My deepest gratitude is knowing that He knew, and that He walked with me through every long day. And, that the forgiveness that I fought so very hard to walk in, has produced such a sentimental feeling when I see her face.

 

 

Wherever you are, my friend, I pray that you have forgiven yourself. I so very much hope you have found the love you long for. But most of all, it is my sincerest desire that you walk in the fullness of God’s grace, love, mercy and in your calling. You truly are beautiful.

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a new language

Over the course of my life, much of it was spent trying to overcome. Whether it be an emotional state, a crisis, or a challenge, I have lived out the majority of my days problem solving. I am not certain if it is due to my position in the birth order, personality, my upbringing, my calling, or just a general dysfunction, but picking myself up off the floor is something I am good at. It’s comfortable. It’s normal.

My faith in a living God has existed as long as I can remember, and even in my moments of doubt and fear I have trusted that somehow, some way, God would always come through. And yet, my words and thoughts, sometimes even my choices, have rarely (getting real, here) lined up with what I would say I believe. Let’s be honest, it’s hard to see the forest through the trees when chainsaws are cutting down all that is around you and the only One you believe capable to stopping the onslaught is seemingly invisible, on the other side of that forest…

For several years now, I have been blessed with the opportunity to be surrounded by people of similar belief and stance. Whether they have a more seasoned faith, or a little less practice, than myself, for the most part we are all on the same road. We are all pressing in to do this whole life (and faith) thing better; to its greatest potential.

Oftentimes, I feel so completely inadequate in this area, and struggle to find the balance between being authentic and choosing to speak words of life over my situations. The challenge has deepened over the last couple years as I have faced physical health situations that have brought a new dimension to my ability to really walk in a position of wholeness. The struggle is real.

Yesterday, however, I was sharing a particular situation with a friend, and, after I stated what was truly in my heart, she shook her head and said, “Wow, I just love the way you always speak life over your situations.” In that moment, it felt so confirming that there finally has been some growth; and that my first response has truly shifted from one of fear to that of faith.

They say it takes 30 days to learn a new habit, but I would submit to you that heart change, in its truest sense, will most likely take more time than that. While it’s true that the Lord can choose to change a heart overnight, break an addiction in a moment, or heal before one’s own eyes, I do solidly believe that it is often so much more blessed to see the long-term result of choice. The decision to walk out a restorative process not only develops a greater fortitude, but also reinforces that truest nature of a loving and far-reaching God who will never leave – no matter how long our personal process takes.

It’s never easy to learn something new. It can be daunting, it can seem difficult and possibly even impossible, but with God all things are possible. Even learning a new language…

windows

We are blessed enough to live in a house that overlooks a lake. Growing up in Seattle, where our bedroom window gave ample opportunity to hold hands with the neighbors if we so chose, I often marvel at what a blessing our view is. Subsequently, we have large picture windows across the back of our house.

In the early spring, when the rain lifts and clouds are bit more yielding, the sun will peek through, and give me a full understanding of exactly how long it has been since I actually washed my windows (and how very many little fingers reside here…). ┬áThis morning, the light burst forth like someone had set the high beams and it was glaringly obvious just how clouded my view really is.

Sometimes, I think we humans, in the light of Christ, or in the presence of His followers, can struggle with what the Light reveals. Life goes along, routine plays out, we find our own version of “normal,” but given the opportunity to see ourselves in the brightness, we can run in panic back to the dark. Comparison with where we are to where we feel we should be, can bring great conviction.

Friends, please remember that we ALL have a long way to go in our journey to spiritual maturity and self-actualization. It’s easy to become discouraged. However, it’s important to remember that religion tells us to “try harder,” and Jesus says, “I already paid that price for you.” If we were already perfect, or could do it on our own, Jesus never would have had to die on that cross.

We are not responsible for cleaning our own windows. (Wahoo!!!)

Oh sure, there are choices to be made, but the cool thing about a living, ongoing relationship with Christ is that it’s a process that unfolds as we let go of those things which the light begins to reveal no longer serve us. Things like pride and selfishness, guilt or shame, anger and unforgiveness, soon reveal themselves to be more of a hindrance than a help, and slowly, the more we learn to love Him and who He is, we begin to change. One smudge mark at a time…

Jesus said He came to bring “life, and life more abundant.” He never came to condemn or judge, but to turn the light on, break out the paper towels and say, “Hey, I got you! Let’s clean up this mess together.”

I can see so much more clearly now…

window-chandelier

the cancer of unforgiveness

Unforgiveness. Like a slow cancer, it weaves its way into our subconscious, eating at our organs, consuming thoughts and emotions. It robs our sleep. Drains our energy. Dips its talons into our joy and sucks the life from our face. And joints. Ever so subtle, unforgiveness will slowly etch away at our being until one day, we turn around and see that all we had wanted and strived for was made completely out of reach because of one, simple, area of disobedience.

God calls us to forgiveness.

I think it’s interesting that the Word says if we do not choose to forgive those who sin against us, He will in turn choose to not forgive us. Knowing what a great and loving God He is, I can only believe that there is something intrinsically damaging to our relationship with Him that comes as a natural consequence to our unwillingness to release others. Knowing what I do about my own heart, when I hold on to offense, my spiritual walk is challenged, and I struggle to walk in complete fulness of joy and harmony with those around me. With myself.

Forgiveness brings healing.

One of the greatest gifts in my life to date is my Judas. (Refer to yesterday’s post). Sometimes those who betray and hurt us the most are the ones with the greatest impact and influence in molding us into the people we are designed to be. Watching the slow decline in health and stature of those who live in the pit of unforgiveness, has given me a clear picture of where my life will take me, should I make the same decision to hold others in debt to me.

Forgiveness brings freedom.

There are some I still struggle to forgive – after 43 years of life on this planet, one is bound to have more than a few people to release. Some days, it would seem freedom has come, only to have feelings rise up unexpectedly from deep within. But, as with most things, forgiveness is a process as much as a choice. To actively forgive means to sometimes daily walk it out…

Who is your Judas? And how many times will you choose to let them rob you? Once? Twice? Or will you rehearse that offense daily until its consummation steals the very essence of who you are? Release, let go, let God heal, be renewed. It is in your gentle obedience you will find the peace your soul longs for.

Be well.

Forgive.

would the real judas please stand

With Easter just a few days behind us, reflection on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are still in the forefront of many minds, and continue as a topic of conversation and debate. Listening to the commentary of some, I often marvel at how extremely short-sighted we are, even as we criticize the apostles’ lack of vision.

Take for example, the hatred we have for Judas Iscariot. The ironic thing about that relationship is that Jesus still loved him as a brother. He knew Judas had never fully let himself enter in to a full relationship with Christ, and, he knew that Judas was one of the keys to ensuring that God’s plan for humanity came to fruition. I wonder sometimes what Judas was really like as a man; why he couldn’t open his heart in the light of all the miracles and grace he experienced firsthand? What was his childhood like? Was he truly an angry, evil person, or a man who could never get past his own pain? In the end, who Judas realized he had been, drove him to end his own life.

Sometimes, I wonder if I am a Judas.

Yet another key player in the story of the crucifixion of Jesus is Pontius Pilate. A man often described as weak in character, and villified tremendously, he too played an important role – had he stood up against the mob, not only would his city have possibly fallen into riot, but we would have no occasion for chocolate bunnies or Peeps. Ultimately, Pontius Pilate chose to sacrifice the one for the many. Undoubtedly (and scripture lends to such speculation), he was very torn between the crowds, the warnings of his wife’s dream, and own conscience. In the end, common sense had to take over for him as a ruler over many.

When practicality meets up with faith, I sometimes am a Pontius Pilate myself.

Or, take the disciples themselves. Pretty much everyone but the women fled. Driven by fear of death, doubt in belief, and questioning of their allegiance to what seemed like a much different end, they scattered like rats into hiding.

I don’t know about you, but I call myself a disciple…

When I read the scriptures, more often than not, I feel more tender-hearted and broken for these men than anything else. It’s so easy to judge someone else’s decisions, and even easier to choose sides, but ultimately, Jesus himself held no animosity for those who betrayed him because in the end, he DID see the big picture. If we were completely honest with ourselves, I am quite certain we can relate to each of these men at some point in our own spiritual journey. Hopefully, we’ve also allowed the gracious love of Christ to wash away any guilt we may have and usher in his great grace.

A moment in time over an eternity with God – seems like a pretty decent trade. If we want to be angry with someone, perhaps we should start looking a little closer to home. Would the real traitor please stand up…

cross

 

too late

There is a sign over my fireplace that reads, “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.” I believe that. To some extent. While I would love to say that it’s “never too late” for most things, reality sometimes reveals the painful truth.

Holidays over the past several years have brought with them ample opportunity for self-evaluation, reflection, and serious contemplation. Growing up, visions of large family gatherings, game nights, and close camaraderie occupied most of my childhood expectations, and did, in fact, manifest themselves in my mid-to-late 20’s. Over time, however, as life, circumstances and changed expectations began to emerge, my warm and fuzzy ideals popped like fragile bubbles, one by one.

I remember the counselor I went to following my divorce, warned me at our very first meeting that as we walked through the process of healing, and I changed the “rules,” I would experience pushback from those who weren’t comfortable with the change. At the time, it seemed an outlandish statement, but as tensions began to slowly creep into several of my familial relationships, I found myself torn between moving forward and pursuing who I felt I was designed to be, and meeting the expectations and honoring the values that my family of origin held so dearly to.

Ultimately, I decided that nearly 3 decades of co-dependency would no longer serve me as well as I had believed such tendencies would, and I began a journey of self-discovery, and relationship-severing, that in my wildest dreams I never could have anticipated.

It’s been such an adventure. Some days I can’t believe how far I’ve come; others I feel like I’ve barely begun to find the fullness and authentic freedom I long for. Still others it would seem that perhaps it might be simpler to go back to what I used to know. It is in those moments, however, when I find that I truly have changed, for I could no longer begin to stuff myself back into that small box again – my dreams, visions, passions and love for myself and authentic relationships, have grown too great in size and reality.

Every now and again I reach out a small olive branch – testing the waters, per se. As we are all on our own personal journeys, I often wonder where and how some of my loved ones are, and long for a fresh start. I wonder if time would prove each of us to be in a different place, a new season. I suppose there is a part of me that holds to those ideals, just a little bit. One can always hope that is’s never too late…