The Kingdom of God is like…

I’ve become fascinated by a new television program my son John recently introduced me to called Fringe. It’s a Sci-fi series about a female FBI agent assigned to investigate weird crimes that are seemingly part of a larger pattern. She teams up with a formerly-institutionalized scientist and his son who perform experiments on the fringe of real science.

You, like me prior to watching Fringe, may not be familiar with the idea of fringe science. According to Wikipedia fringe science is a scientific inquiry that departs significantly from mainstream theories. Mainstream scientists typically regard fringe concepts as highly speculative as opposed to frontier science which is plausible science. In other words, fringe science is on the edge, out of the ordinary, unexplainable, goes against the grain of the norm. What I find interesting about this program is many of the concepts and theories have spiritual undertones giving way to incredible biblical analogies.

One specific concept is that of a parallel universe; or as some call it multiverse. This concept implies that along side the world as we know it, there is another invisible world like ours but slightly different. It may mirror what we see, but there are variable changes. Unlike the natural world, in the parallel universe you may have control over the natural laws of physics, space and time.

In a recent Fringe episode Agent Olivia Dunham was able to travel through a portal that took her to a parallel universe. In this universe she was able to see much of the world as it is in her ‘regular’ universe but some things were different. For example, in the parallel universe, The World Trade Center was still standing because in that universe it had not been destroyed.

As usual, after watching this episode, I spent time meditating on the possible spiritual implications of a parallel universe. It dawned on me that as Believers, we do in fact, live in a parallel universe — The Kingdom of God. What is our portal that takes us to this parallel universe? How do we know if we’re in that parallel universe or in the natural universe that we see everyday with our eyes?

Before I became born again, I lived most of my life as a walking dead person, empty with no real purpose, unaware of the anger that drove me day to day. From early adolescent days to recent adulthood, I hid myself from others in the fear that once they knew the real me they would hate me as much as I hated myself. I was riddled with childhood wounds of abandonment; constantly searching for my father’s love and approval. Heavily burdened with guilt from the destruction I had brought to myself and my family; I sought constant escape in nearly every form of addiction possible. I was a textbook narcissist. Life was all about me. No matter how much it hurt those around me I was going to get my needs met.

On Sunday December 26, 2004 at Second Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, I was born again. It wasn’t an overnight transformation that took place but has been a continual work in progress. However, while Bill and I were living in Louisiana in 2006, a life changing thing occurred. God literally removed a veil from my eyes.

I was in Wal-Mart, of all places, when all of a sudden I could see the people. It was as if they had come out of nowhere. It was like the day I got my first pair of glasses at age 13. When I walked out of the doctors office I looked up and saw the trees. No longer were they just a blob of green, I could see the individual leaves!

That Autumn day in Covington, LA, I seemingly walked through a portal. God allowed me to see what He sees. It was like having X-Ray vision. I could see the people. They were no longer just a blur going by in my life. I could see them individually. I could see their pain, their hurts, their need for healing, their need for a Savior. Feeling their pain I was overcome with emotion. With urgency I was convicted to help them. With inadequacy I was overwhelmed by the task. With the thought of being a chosen vessel, I was humbled and awestruck.

In that moment God delivered me from the bondage of narcissism.

I see myself today living in a parallel universe. The world is as it was when I was walking in darkness, but now I see it through different eyes. To live a life in the Kingdom of God it’s critical that I keep God’s perspective at all times. I must keep Christ first and foremost in my life; His Words in my heart and on my lips.

Like watching a 3-D movie we must put on our glasses and see the world through eyes of Faith. When we have the mind of Christ we can see what God sees, not just pain but potential, for ourselves and the world. We can impact those around us. Defy the laws of physics with our mouth by calling things that are not as though they were until they are!

When we receive the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding our eyes will be enlightened!

A Fruitful Seed… Cracked not Cracked Up!

In keeping with the theme of my last blog, I want to talk about being a seed used for and by God to help grow The Kingdom. As children of The King, we not only have the opportunity for our own internal growth by The Holy Spirit and The Word of God; but we have a responsibility to spread ourselves as seed to a hurt and dying world. We must be able to plant The Love of God in the hearts of those we come in contact with.

When we are born again, The Holy Spirit comes to live in our spirit giving us access to The Fruit of The Spirit. Notice it is fruit, not fruits. In other words, as Galatians 5:23 states – Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control are The Fruit of the Holy Spirit, collectively. They work in conjunction with each other. I heard Joyce Meyer say that Love and Self-Control are the book ends that hold the rest in place. If we can just walk in love and self-control the others will naturally come along.

When we are walking in The Spirit we have the ability to tap into The Fruit, as we go about life. We also have the ability to grieve, stifle or put a damper on The Holy Spirit by letting our Soul rule. Because our Soul is made up of our Mind, Will and Emotions, it’s very easy to let this happen.

As we are growing, changing and maturing; learning how to walk in the love and forgiveness that God has shown us in spite of our own sinful humanity; we must be able to show The Fruit of The Spirit in our lives each and every day. The challenge is being a fruitful seed that cracks open to bear the fruit inside without cracking up mentally, emotionally and physically! How do we handle the pressure that causes us to crack without cracking up?

I will be a seed that will crack only to the point of dying to self. What’s left behind will be the empty shell from which the plant’s roots grow. This plant can’t be just a beautiful flower, looking for popularity or demanding the spotlight. It must be a humble fruit tree, modest yet serious; developing quietly away from the public view, waiting for it’s role to be revealed. It’s roots must stand solid on The Rock fed only by The Living Water!

If you’ve been following my blog you know I’ve had numerous opportunities to crack up these last several months. But I’m determined The Holy Spirit will rule me, not my Soul! I’ve been down that road too many times and I’m not going around that mountain again! I will walk expecting the favor of the Lord. I will keep praise and thanksgiving on my lips. I will put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness! I am an Overcomer!

Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.— Galatians 5:25

How Does Your Garden Grow?

For some weeks now God has been prompting me to write this blog. I don’t know if it’s the pressures of a recent full time job, the waiting for our new business venture to be funded, living in a one room hotel with my husband, son, two dogs and a snake or just plain fatigue that has squelched my creative writing juices… but I’m trying to get back in the groove today. Apologies in advance…. I’m a little rusty; it’s been too long since I’ve written anything but a simple email or a Facebook post. Sad really.

In 2007, as a supporter of Richard Foster’s ministry – Renovare, I was introduced to a most excellent book – Deep-Rooted in CHRIST, The Way of Transformation by Joshua Choonmin Kang. Foster suggested reading it as a weekly devotional for the next year beginning in January 2008. I read as suggested and because of it’s depth have continued this year as well. In his book, Kang talks about many things, but what has been speaking to me lately are the sections on caring for the soul, the comparison of our soul to soil and its fruitfulness.

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells the Parable of the Four Soils:

While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town he told this parable: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” – Luke 8:4-8

When growing things: flowers, trees, fruit, etc… the soil is often overlooked and not seen as important, after all it is just dirt. It’s not as glamorous or interesting as choosing the flowers and plants. But as any gardener knows, to grow a healthy plant, first you must have healthy soil. In fact, the soil is literally the foundation of the garden. Good soil must have proper texture, structure and fertility to grow strong, healthy plants. If the texture is sandy with loose particles, the air and water move too freely and the plant doesn’t get any. If the texture is tight, like clay, the plant will get no air or water at all. The structure must be loose and crumbly but not too dry. The soil must be fertile, fed with essential nutrients so that it can in turn feed the plants. It should be tender, free of rocks and weeds, ready for potential growth.

It’s the same with our souls. How can we make sure that the soil of or soul is healthy and fertile ground? We can’t let the soil of our soul be hard like clay; trampled down with past hurts and wounds; breeding only bitterness and unforgiveness. We can’t be a rock garden; sandy and shallow, hearing the Word on Sunday morning but not allowing it to change us during the rest of the week. We mustn’t allow the worries of this world, the riches and pleasures to consume us, becoming overgrown with weeds. The seed of the Word won’t grow unless it can get down in our soul deep enough to make a root. It must have room to grow not being choked out because there are too many other things there.

In the verse above Jesus says, “the birds of the air” steal the word. Later in the chapter when he explains the parable to the disciples he interprets the birds as “the devil who comes and steals the word from their hearts.” In Ephesians 2:2 the Apostle Paul describes Satan as “the ruler of the kingdom of the air.” I find this quite intriguing. What is ruling our airways today? Are we allowing the things in the air to steal the Word from our hearts and our souls?

Let’s examine ourselves today. I personally ask God today, to keep my soil tilled. I want more than anything to be learning and growing daily from what I hear and read in God’s Word. I determine not to let the things of this world distract me and take priority in my life.

An Instrument in God’s Hands

Those of you who know me or have been following my blog also know that my family has been in one transition after another for the last few years. Job changes with moves from city to city, state to state with the last move taking us across the country from the Gulf Coast to the Pacific Coast. From employers who made bad investments causing layoffs, to employers committing fraud and bringing the whole company down with them, we’ve seen it all in recent years. Today we find ourselves again waiting on another job change. Yet through all the drama, uncertainty, sorting, packing, moving, storing and waiting, there can be peace. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t necessarily feel the peace every day or even walk in that peace but it is there for me if I choose to have it.

Not too many days ago, my teenage nephew Blaine, was giving me some encouragement on Facebook. (Isn’t it wonderful, God can even use Facebook to speak to us!) But seriously, Blaine responded to my comments about our next ‘faith adventure’ — the uncertainty of where we are going and the aching back that goes along with moving. Then something sweet just came up from inside him… He wrote, “God is only tuning the harp, sometimes things need to get tight to make music.” His comment literally struck a chord in me! I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind for days.

At the age of five I started taking piano lessons. In my elementary years I continued with piano but also joined the orchestra and began playing the cello. By Jr. High I had learned the viola, and eventually played the string bass. So there’s no wonder Blaine’s comment spoke so strongly to me. Even though I don’t play an instrument on a regular basis these days, I still see myself as a musician because that was formed so solidly in me at a very young age.

Every kind of musical instrument: percussion, woodwind or stringed, all have to be tuned in some fashion. Whether stretched, blown or tightened, change must take place for the instrument to be tuned. OK, some instruments can be played and even make music out of tune, but it won’t be pretty. Tuning an instrument requires that you adjust the tuning mechanisms on it to an accepted standard. If a guitar string is not tightened enough the string will be too loose and produces a dull flat sound; too tight and the string may snap. A drum not tightened enough will be loose and have a flat sound; too tight will cause a broken head.

As instruments in God’s hands we are constantly being fine tuned — changed, stretched or tightened– brought to the place of acceptance as we participate in God’s Great Symphony. In these last few weeks I feel like I have been stretched clearly to the point of having a broken head. But alas, my head did not break! Of course, God knew He had not reached my breaking point, but this drum must surely be ready to play!

In what is commonly believed to be his last letter, the Apostle Paul writes to his protégé Timothy:

“… Be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.” – II Timothy 2:21

And in the book of Romans, Paul again encourages us:

“Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.” –Romans 6:13

I want more than anything to be used by God, to bring glory to Him with my life. It helps me to know I am in the Master’s hands. He’s gently holding me, carefully polishing and tightening so that I will be a beautiful instrument. It’s by nothing I do except continue to walk in obedience, with humility and a reverential fear for The Lord; staying available and willing to be tuned. Making every effort to endure all circumstances with a good temper; pressing on to the prize that waits ahead; fighting the good fight holding on to faith and a clear conscience.

You may be saying, ” Tamara what does that look like? How does that translate into everyday life?” Well, for me it comes down to one thing really and that is keeping God’s Word in my head and in my heart almost every minute of every day if at all possible. At my job, I have my bible open on my desk. In between calls to customers throughout the day, I will glance over and quietly read out loud a verse that spoke to me that morning in my meditation time. Keeping 3×5 cards handy with scriptures rewritten in first person as a confession to speak over myself and my family through the day. This keeps my focus on God and His promises and not what’s going on in the natural world around me.

My family may be living in a temporary uncertain situation today, but you know what, we are happy and have such peace because we know that we are children of The Most High God and that with God ALL things are possible to them that believe and we are believers not doubters. We are expecting something good to happen any minute. As we continue to walk in that expectancy we keep a grateful heart which will make way for the next blessing just around the corner.

I want to encourage you today, put your focus on God and in His Word. Call out to Him. Let Him be your Master. Allow Him to take you gently and lovingly in His hands. Before you know it you will be in tune and ready to make beautiful music in God’s Symphony.

Be a Prisoner of Hope!

Hope seems to come easier some days than others; I don’t know if it’s a function of hormones, lack of faith or both. To be completely honest, today, I’m struggling to have hope. Considering the state of our country, the government, the economy, the world, joblessness, sickness and disease… With all these and other uncertainties one can easily find themselves feeling completely hopeless!

What is hope? How can any normal person have hope? Where can we go today to find even a glimmer of hope? As I write this, I pray God will give you and me the hope we need to walk out His purpose in our lives today.

Hope… it’s a simple word, that appears to have a simple meaning. Like many things in life they look simple from a distance but are difficult to put into practice. You hear the word hope used a lot in conversations so much that it has lost some of its true meaning. Google the word hope and you get 541,000,000 results ranging from the Wikipedia definition to charity organizations, college names, celebrities, hotels, etc, ad infinitum…

According to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary hope is: desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment. I’ve heard others define it simply as — the happy anticipation of something good. I really like that definition because it puts some responsibility back on us ‘to be happy’ while in the process of anticipating something good.

Bible hope is closely related to faith. In fact, according to Scripture we cannot have faith unless we first have hope. Hope is the foundation that faith stands on. One of the most quoted verses on faith and hope is Hebrews 11:1. Let’s look at it in my three favorite translations…

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. – New International Version

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. – New Living Translation

Now Faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. – Amplified

To break it down, faith is the certainty, the proof of ownership-the title deed, of that thing for which we have hoped; even things we cannot see or feel. Just by having faith for something, we already own it! Alright, that tells us what faith is, but what about hope? Remember, we can’t have faith unless we have hope as a foundation. How can we hope for that thing we cannot see if we don’t have any hope. Where does hope come from? Where can I get some hope today?!

Let’s look again to the book of Hebrews for more answers. The author writes in Chapter 6 of God’s promise to Abraham. God was going to bless Abraham with a huge family, with so many descendants he wouldn’t be able to count them. When making that promise God swore an oath in His own name, since there was no name greater to swear by. Abraham believed God and waited patiently for many years until he finally received the promise of a son. In fact, he was 100 years old when Isaac was born. This chapter goes on to tell us that because it is impossible for God to lie, and because of what Jesus has done for us on the cross we too have access to the promises of Abraham. That is where our confidence and our hope is… in the great refuge of God’s promises. This is the hope, the strong anchor for our soul. The key now is to find the promises in God’s Word on which we can stand. God has given me clarification on this in Romans 5:1-5:

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. -NLT

In other words, if we believe Christ died for us we can stand confidently and look forward to God’s glory. Even though we go through times of trial and adversity, those times can grow us through endurance and patience which will build our character. With strong character we can stand in confidence of the hope that fills our heart with the love of the Holy Spirit.

I see it like this…

I have been made right in God’s eyes because I believe Jesus died for me on the cross. My faith gives me full access into God’s grace and His favor. Now I can come to God with something to hope for: a healthy marriage, family restoration, job stability, bills that are paid, etc…

  • Hope forms the image in my mind. I see my family restored. I have the vision according to God’s Word; it is something I know lines up with God’s promises. Once I have Hope as a foundation…
  • Faith rises up in my heart; strong, armed with the confidence that I can stand on God’s promises. Giving substance to the image; faith is the energy force that brings the Hope of my family being restored to reality in the physical realm.
  • Glory goes to God when we see the manifestation of God’s goodness in our living reality. When we thank Him for His goodness and share what He has done with others around us.

Because we have access by faith into God’s grace, we can now stand & rejoice in the Hope of God’s Glory!

STAND AND REJOICE!

STAND AND REJOICE!

STAND AND REJOICE

In the Hope of God’s Glory!

I lived most of my life as a prisoner, in bondage to low self-worth and people pleasing; to evil thoughts and fleshly desires; to guilt and condemnation; to depression and desperation; to discouragement and despondency. In the very early days of my sobriety in 2005, God began to give me scripture after scripture full of hope to keep me pressing in to Him. Now I have a collection of 3×5 index cards in a little ring binder that I carry with me wherever I go.

For the last four years as my family and I press through our own life transitions, God continues to put the message of Hope in my path and on my heart. It is God’s Word that is my only source of true hope. I’m determined to surround myself with messages of Hope and to soak on God’s Word continually. The walls around me are Hope. I am now a prisoner of Hope!

If you too, want to be a prisoner of Hope, I encourage you to get a bible concordance or go online to www.biblegateway.com and look up the word — hope. Start reading, studying, meditating and memorizing…before you know it you will be full of Hope!



Focus on Delight

Most people I know today are going through some sort of struggle; whether it is financial difficulties brought on by the sagging economy or disharmony with family or loved ones. My family is no different. Like many others we are pressing through yet another job transition; depending on the Lord everyday to provide our basic needs.

I recently attended a women’s retreat where the speaker quoted Psalm 37:4: “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” She went on to explain that delight in the original Hebrew means “to be soft or pliable.” I was struck by that definition; not what we normally think of when we hear the word delight. This got me pondering…

I remembered in February I posted a column titled Moldable Clay where I asked the question, “How do we stay moldable in our Father’s hands?” I can honestly say now I have the answer — We stay moldable when we delight ourselves in Him. But how can we actually do that? How do we delight ourselves in the Lord?

Noah Webster’s New International Dictionary defines delight: A high degree of gratification of mind; a state of pleasurable feeling; lively pleasure; extreme satisfaction; joy; to have or take great delight or pleasure; to be greatly pleased or rejoiced.

To delight in someone means to experience great pleasure and joy in their presence. This only happens when we know that person well and to do that we must spend time with them. To find delight in the Lord, we must spend time with Him, purposely, actively seeking Him and the pleasure that can only be found in His presence.

For me that also means even in hard times, looking past the circumstances to see God’s hand and to rest there knowing He loves me so much that He will take care of me no matter what. Like a little child who giggles as their mommy or daddy holds them. They’re just so happy to be in their arms, safe and secure, needing nothing.

What’s interesting for me is the round about circle this process has taken me… It started with a deep desire to keep my heart from getting hardened again, which caused me to ask God to help me to stay moldable… then I find the answer to staying moldable is to find delight in His presence which will in turn keep me soft and pliable in His hands. God is so good! He truly knows our hearts desire and will help us find the way to bring it about.

Let’s take our focus off all the problems and find that childlike delight in our Father’s arms today. Put on some peaceful worship music… sit back or lie on the floor… experience the joy of His presence… rest… be content to just be with Him. He will meet you there.

Transitions

I’m not sure exactly where to start after my long silence. Since I last wrote, circumstances around our house have changed and we find ourselves in yet another transition. I know life is a series of transitions, but it would be nice if we had a longer stretch of stability in between. Well, Praise God, here we are in California! I don’t know exactly why… but we’re here.

It seems we are drawn to businesses that call themselves Christians but underneath are cheaters and liars. What’s with that?? I know we’re not alone in the unemployed boat, and we are certainly grateful to not be living on the street. Opportunities are presenting themselves everyday and soon things will be on the upswing again.

I’ve been in a little slump, doubting my call to women’s ministry these last few weeks. (Hence the silence) But after attending a Women’s Retreat this last weekend at Lake Tahoe, I have a renewed vision for what God wants me to do. I hope to start writing regularly again each week and return to my reading and studies. I continue to be encouraged by the Lord in His Word daily, that He will never leave us.

The Lord says, “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” – Isaiah 42:16

So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. – Hebrews 10:35-36

Finding Balance Yet Again

As with most addicts, I’ve always lived my life from one extreme to another. Changing from a liberal lifestyle to ultra conservative and to anything goes and now finally back to a healthy life walking with Jesus as my Lord and Savior. My challenge now is not so much about balance in lifestyle as it is in managing my time and energy.

Since my 2 sons, daughter-in-law and precious grand baby arrived three weeks ago to live with us, my energy level has dropped day by day. I was getting grouchy and almost unable to function at all. I finally realized I wasn’t taking care of myself by putting boundaries on my own time and space. If I kept it up I would be no good for myself of anyone else.

I’ve always been a people pleaser, doing and doing for others to make them like me or appreciate me. It’s an old habit that’s easy to fall back into and I’ve been guilty of doing it again. Maybe not so much for the same reasons, but still doing and doing for everybody around the house until I’m exhausted. I’ve been too tired to do my studies, too tired to read and too tired to write. Not good.

I’ve taken these few days to regroup in solitude and I’m starting to find peace and feel rested again. With the changes in our family and house schedule, it may take me a while to get in the new groove, but I’m confident God will help me as I press on to the things He has called me to do.

Moldable Clay

I was raised in a dysfunctional home, with an alcoholic, womanizing father and a mother who seemingly stood by and let it all happen. I grew into a rebellious, promiscuous teenager moving from one sexual relationship to another searching for something, I didn’t know what. Having not dealt with the issues of my childhood, I unknowingly brought to adulthood a lot of anger and resentment. I was always a chameleon of sorts, trying to be all things to all people, to make everyone like me, to be the person I thought they wanted me to be. On the outside I appeared to have it together; I was pretty, successful and independent. Inside I had a determination that I was never going to let people take advantage of me like my mother had let others run over her. I had an I’ll get them before they get me mentality. Over the years my heart became so hardened, it’s a wonder I didn’t fall over from a heart attack. Through a series of events a few years ago, God allowed circumstances to take place that literally brought me to my knees; broke me and my hard heart into pieces. Shortly after, in December 2004, I turned my life and my crumbled heart over to Jesus Christ.

In recent years I’ve taken up Yoga. I’ve found it to be an excellent time of meditation with the Lord early in the morning before I start my day. Not long ago, during my yoga/meditation time, I was reflecting on my hard hearted days. I cried out to the Lord, to please not let my heart become hardened again; to keep me moldable in His hands. Later, I was thinking…

How do we keep our selves from becoming hardened? Can we prevent it in anyway? Once our hearts are softened, how do we stay moldable in our Father’s Hands? Can we keep ourselves from being tossed to the ground, broken, possibly reusable?

I don’t know that I have the answers to all these questions. Certainly, I welcome any comments from my readers. I can only speak from my own life experience, where I look back and find I became a dry, brittle piece of nothing the further I walked away from God. Sure that way of life may seem comfortable for a time, but eventually reality will set in and with it unexpected consequences. The Source of true love is a warm, welcoming place, but if we continue in our own way we can expect nothing but a cold, darkness that will only lead to death and destruction.

The way a piece of clay stays moldable is to be in the potter’s hands constantly being moistened, stretched and shaped. As human vessels of clay we must stay close to our Heavenly Father’s hands; regularly submersed in The Bible and in prayer. As we look into the mirror of God’s Word it reflects back to us the areas where we need change. Not that we can change ourselves, mind you, but once we are aware of the need for change, it becomes much easier and a little less painful as The Holy Spirit does the work in our hearts. Like a baby in the arms of her father, we will find unconditional love and acceptance, warmth and protection, guidance and security. When we step away from that security, we set ourselves up for the bitter winds of the world to dry our spirit into a hard, unchangeable rock.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve lived far too many years like that to take any chances again. Today, as most days, in my yoga/meditation time, I asked the Lord yet again…”Please keep me soft, pliable and moldable in your hands.” Whatever it takes, I don’t ever want to get far enough away that I even have a hint of dryness coming over me. It so much easier to make a correction during the molding process than it is after the clay has hardened. With our heart it’s the same way. I encourage you, if you don’t already, get into God’s Word. He has so many wonderful things to tell you and show you. You will be amazed. You will find Life!

I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). — John 10:10

Whose face is that on my Facebook?

A few months ago, a long time girlfriend from high school invited me to join her on Facebook. Since then, I’ve had the incredible experience of catching up with friends I haven’t seen or talked to in 20+ years! The interesting thing I’ve noticed while looking at everyone’s photos… we’re all old now! If I look closely I can see the old, I should say young, friend in the photo, but not really. Like in Hook with Robin Williams, when one of the Lost Boys touches Jack’s face, stretching the skin to make it look tight and young…”Are you in there Jack?” What happened???! Sure, in my mind I know lots of time has passed, but for some reason on the inside, I think I should look the same as I did back then. You know? It’s strange — this aging process. Yet another thing in life no one can prepare you for.

I remember in 1980, when I announced to my girlfriend that I was pregnant with my first child, she said something that has stuck with me all these years… “Get ready to watch yourself grow old before your eyes.” Few words have been spoken that were so profoundly true. We get so busy with life, raising our children like they were our little vegetable garden or something, when all of a sudden—TIME passes by. We can’t see it, we can’t feel it, we don’t even really notice it happening, but somehow it touches us. This strange invisible force that changes us, others and our world, moment by moment.

Today I look in the mirror and see I’ve turned into my mother! Some mornings when I’m on the floor doing yoga, I look like my grandmother doing her exercises with Jack Lalanne. But yet, other days, inside, I’m still that hurting little 6 year old girl who just wants to be loved and accepted. Who am I? Really?

Growing up in the 60’s & 70’s there was this thing said that people over the age of 30 couldn’t be trusted. But what about people over the age of 50; they were just ancient; antiquities, many born in another millennium! Sound familiar! Golly, not only am I now my grandmother, I’m my great-grandmother! I’m from the past century?????? Whoa! Now that’s heavy.

What can we make of this? What can we learn about ourselves and others?

Really no matter how old we are, all of us are just little children inside, still hurting from old wounds yet to heal fully. I look back at my parents and grandparents, they too were just children in an older body, walking through life trying to live with their own childhood wounds. They may not have done the best job, but that’s who they were.

A few years ago I used to watch a TV show called Cold Case. I liked how they would morph the people, victims and perpetrators alike, between their past and present person. We would be able to imagine they are still that hurting person from the past, the abused child, the rebellious teenager or strung out adult.

Sometimes we who come from an abused past seem to stop maturing at the age of our abuse. We get stuck in that place of trauma, in an invisible cage of hurt and confusion. We continue to grow and age physically, but mentally and emotionally we are stuck in a time warp from the past, relating to the world through the eyes and mind of our hurting inner child.

I’ve lived most of my 51 years just that way… stuck… searching for love in all the wrong places, trying to find real, true, unconditional love that would take away that awful pain inside. It was not until after abusing and destroying my own family, when I saw no place else to turn, that I was able to reach out and receive God’s saving grace that only comes in the form of Jesus Christ.

Today, I can honestly say, I may not always recognize the face on my Facebook page or the body in my mirror; but I know she is loved and accepted by the One that matters most. Praise God, He makes all things new!