Revisiting 2017 

Once again, I must let go of my OWN support beams to see clearly and bring light in darkness. What support beams are you clinging to in order to bring about judgement? Tear down the scaffolding YOU have built. Let go, so you can see through the eyes of Your Father once again and be the Isaiah 61 person you were meant to be.

Nothing But A Mist

Week 24 Seeing is Believing

This year I have learned that if my ‘vision’ is clear my earthly experience will be full of light, but if it is not clear I will see darkness. Viewed through the wrong lens, I will see brambles instead of blackberries, offense instead of grace, fear instead of love. And I will even defend my belief that I am indeed seeing properly.

I know this is Truth, yet why don’t I see clearly?

I am still seeing through the wrong eye, distorted by beams of offense and grievance. In Luke 6:41 the Greek word for plank, log or beam is dokos. Dokos does not mean any old piece of wood and it does not mean log. It means a supporting timber. If I judge anything when I am not perceiving through light, I will judge wrongly because I support my judgment without the light of…

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Chastisement that brings peace

There once was an adorable 6 year old girl. Beauty. Like most 6 year olds, Beauty played in her imaginary world. Usually, Mother liked to play with her in her world. But when mother called, “Supper!” And she answered, “I have to tie up my Pegasus first.” She ate cold dinner with a frustrated mother.
Soon, her imagination convinced Beauty that she could make simple stories to cover up her transgressions.
“Beauty, let me see what you have for homework,” Mother said. The girl answered confidently, “My teacher was sick and didn’t give us any today.”
These stories went on for a long time. But mother soon found out that they were lies. The lies broke her heart. She went to Father and they both talked to their daughter about lying, how it hurt their both their hearts. Finally, Beauty said the words they longed to hear, “I’m sorry Mother and Father.” But in the girl’s heart she knew that was a story too.
After many more stories and many times of chastisement, Beauty noticed her Mother didn’t play in her world anymore.
One day Beauty’s fists were balled up tight. Mother came to call her to supper and noticed. “Darling, what do you have in your hands?” She hid her fists behind her back, “Nothing mother.”
“Let me see your hands”
Beauty brought her fists forward and slowly opened them to reveal two pieces from the candy jar. “I don’t know how they got there Mother!” She cried, tears streaming down her cheeks.
Mother stood before her with a painful look on her face. “Why would you lie about this? You could have asked for some and I would have given it to you.”
Ashamed Beauty answered, “I don’t know, are you angry?”
“Yes, you have been lying so much I can’t trust you anymore. Wait until Father comes home.” And Mother, tears in her eyes, turned, forgetting about supper.
The girl hid in her room anxiously wondering what Father would do. She tried to think of a good story so he wouldn’t be too angry.
Father came home and heard the real story. He called his precious daughter into the room. When Beauty came in he was extra tall, red-faced and held a long wooden yard stick. Even Mother was frightened.
“Let’s talk,” he growled and pointed to the bedroom.
Beauty knew this was it. Head hung low and tears streaming she silently marched to the bedroom. The door clicked to a close. She turned to face her Father, hands covering her tail.
Father looked her in her tear stained eyes. “Why do you keep telling lies? There is no need to. We love you and would listen if you told us the truth.”
“I don’t know why, I’m sorry, I won’t do it again,” she choked.
“You’ve said that many times. The only way to solve this now is with a very painful punishment,” he said calmly while waving the large wooden stick. Beauty’s eyes widened as he continued, “I’ll take the punishment for you.” She flinched as he handed her the yardstick. He turned around and put his hands on the bed. “You have to spank me three times.”
Beauty, terrified with tears like rivers yelled, “No Daddy, no, I was wrong, not you.”
“Just do it.” He said calmly.
“No, I can’t. I’m so sorry Daddy, I’ll never do it again.” She ran to him and hugged him, knowing that she meant it this time.
After that day Beauty always tried to the truth and kept her imagination for playing and inventing. Mother and Father were not sad anymore. Their family was at peace once more.

This is a true story. This happened when my eldest was 6 years old. There was so much peace in our household when she wasn’t hiding something, after she accepted that someone had to pay for her sins.

This is still a true story, Jesus took our punishment so we could finally be reconciled to God. I’m so glad that there is peace between me and my heavenly Daddy now. Thank you Jesus!

Betrayed

spill wine2

In reading portions of the Gospels, particularly the journey to the cross, one word pricked my heart. Betray.  I couldn’t seem to stop thinking about it – the definition, even the sound as I spoke it aloud.  Be-tray… Be traded… Not that far from the definition of the word.  Judas traded Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.  Peter traded Him for his reputation and life. The thing about betrayal is that strangers can’t do it.  Only friends, family or countrymen can – people who have been and are assumed still loyal to the betrayed.

The pain of betrayal surprises and stings. That friend who suddenly won’t speak to you, talks behind your back, lies about you or grossly let’s you down.  That is betrayal. But check yourself, because the log of betrayal is probably in your own eye.  I’ve been yanking splinters out of mine for a while. We are all betrayers who have been betrayed.

The word betray means to hand over to another, to turn against someone.  Whenever I get so irritated with a loved one that I speak negative words about them (or to them), I have handed them over to the enemy. When I decide to withdraw love, respect, or communication I hand them over to others to meet those needs. And usually what happens is they become so hurt that they (or I) retaliate in kind. Then we all have a great big betrayal party – huzzah, poison drinks all around!

Honestly, Jesus was handed a series of the worst betrayals that could be imagined. One close friend betrayed him to death – with a kiss. Another denied him publicly – with curses added. The rest of His friends returned to their old lives – prefering hopeless stories. While the very Bride he came to woo shouted for his death and traded him in for a murderous convict. Even Pilate, who pronounced His innocence, betrayed him, not only ordering the deadly deed but handing him over to be mocked and flogged as well.  No one I know can say they have suffered such betrayal in the course of 24 hours.

But in that stinging place is where victory happened, in the midst of all the unjust handing over, Jesus made a choice to cry out to his Father, not for vengeance, but for forgiveness. That his Dad would understand that these people were broken. He asked His Daddy to forgive the betrayers because they didn’t understand the damage they were causing.  Can we, will we, be able to see what Jesus saw while being betrayed? …Rabid people who needed a healing vaccine, not those who need to be put down.

The vaccine is Jesus’ blood. And the only way to extract it is through His death. The only way to administer the blood is through forgiveness and trusting that His resurrection power lays in the vaccine.

Many moons ago, I became friends with the assistant pastor and his wife at the church we were attending.  They were new in town and had 8 children, too many cats, a tiny car, and they struggled to make ends meet. Our children played together, we studied the Word together and broke bread together regularly.

I introduced them to someone one who was going to do missions work, and he was willing to let my friends rent his van.  I introduced them to my dentist, who gave them a great rate for their whole family.  During a couple emergency hospital visits, our family was there for them.  And they were there for us too.

Unfortunately, something tragic happened to one of their children while in church.  They had been betrayed by the church leadership, and I was there to witness the pain.  I felt their anguish as they had to confront leadership concerning the issue.

One broken and bitter christian, broke my friends.  They became broken and bitter.  I became broken and bitter.  We were rabid people infecting other people.

My friend and I talked on the phone daily.  One day, I called and the phone had been disconnected. (This was before cell phones.)  I called the next day, and the next.  So I drove to their house and make sure all was okay.  When I got there,the house was empty, trashed, a broken tv was in their yard.  There was no sign of them.

I never heard from them.  To make it worse, a month later I did hear from my dentist and the friend renting them the van.  They had never been paid, did I know where they lived?   I was crushed and bitterness oozed out of me.  I couldn’t trust our church leaders and I couldn’t trust my friends.

Needless to say we left that church and went elsewhere.  It took a year of healing for me.  And a year later, out of the blue, the week my third child was born, I received a phone call.  It was my friend. She congratulated me on the birth of my baby girl and filled me in on what they had been doing.  No good explanation or apology for running away. Just like we were supposed to pick up where we left off.  She just kept talking about her new life and how wrong the pastor had been.  If I weren’t recovering from childbirth, I would have told her off.

As she continued, the Lord, just came over me and asked me how much longer I wanted to spend recovering from the bitter past?  Another year, a lifetime?  I had a choice to give Him the bitterness and forgive her, the old pastor and church leadership.  I had a choice, yes or no.

It’s not easy living when you are bitter, there is always some sewage that seeps out of that kind of heart.  The smell stays with you and no one wants to be around it, including you.  So as suddenly and out of the blue as she had called me, I gave God my heart and said to her, “– I forgive you.”  She hadn’t asked for it, but I meant it.  She had been broken and the only way for her to be fixed was to hear the words from me and feel the forgiveness of God.

Every year after that she would call on my birthday (she never gave me her new number) and I would smile as I could see her healing from the past. And best of all I had grown and healed and could see pain in others that I couldn’t see before.

I’m not saying I never partake of the bitterness that comes from betrayal, but I see the poison a lot quicker now and reach for the vaccine.  And if I am the betrayer?  I still reach for the vaccine to ask for forgiveness from the wounded as I also learn to forgive myself.
Sorry this is a long blog.

Nature taught me Forgiveness

Grey morning, quiet. Squirrel merrily prancing through fog on back deck – nothing else moving. Trying to find grace gifts when fog has also crept into my soul. A shadow over grace. One would think – prancing squirrel – how cute – joy in the haze, but no I can’t allow myself. The reason seems as grey as this day – unforgiveness. I know I need to forgive, but does that include squirrels?  Those precious parasites of my birdfeeder paradise. Barrels of seed bought for my birds and their feasting pleasure. Golds of finches, reds of cardinals and robins, blue-gray-browns of bluebirds, nuthatches, juncos, titmouses (titmice?), wrens – all the joy of color in my grey world – driven away by filthy, sneaky, tricksey little squirrels. My precious… I digress… So okay, that brown- gray fluff pouncing at God-knows-what on the deck is kind of cute, and My unforgiveness doesn’t seem to affect his joy at all. It does affect mine. So in this day of grey I can choose to see him as gift or garbage. My decision. .. today’s joy rides on my choice… I’ll choose forgiveness, joy and grace. Neways, he is kind of cute 🙂