Hello blog friends

I’ve missed you.  And, I’ve missed blogging.  I’ve done some book writing (I thought I had three chapters, but now I think I need to start over), but that is not at all as therapeutic as spilling my guts here.

So much has happened in the last two weeks, and so much is unresolved.  I have dreamed almost every night and have faithfully recorded each one (at least the ones I remember).  I have guessed at their implications and yet have not experienced the fulfillment of their purposes.  My introverted personality has lately been exposed to much stimulus, and I am feeling exhausted, battered and discombobulated (what a great word).  In short, I am starting to bump along the surface of life without making time to visit those deep places that are so important to me.  The solution?  I think I may need to start posting again to work through the things God is digging up and bringing out into the light.  What good is it to have half-finished thoughts purposelessly floating around in your mind?  They need to be connected with truth and planted in your soul in order to bear their intended fruit.  So, I am back.  Now the million dollar question is (and no, if you answer it, you will not receive your reward) can I blog and write a book at the same time?  We shall see.  Only God knows…and guess what?  I am going to find out.

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A dream

Little did I know how quickly the future would come. 

In my last post, I stated positively that I knew there would be more battles to be fought and changes to be made, but no matter what the future held my God would work it for my good….so onward and upward, I declared, into whatever God had for me!  The day after I did my first edit of that post, a new fight began, following only a week of R & R.  Sigh.  But, I have given God permission to do what is necessary to shape me into wholeness, so who am I to complain?  (Even though I did…)

I had a dream.  I was in a house; its outside was exactly like the second home we lived in after my mother returned from her final stint in the mental institution.  Unlike the exterior, the inside was very dissimilar in its physical appearance, although what was there represented well the chaos of our family patterns.  The right side of the interior was like a vertical maze of floors and walls placed at haphazard heights and positions; there was no back wall, so light shone through from back to front.  The left side had no walls, floors or ceilings, as if a bomb had exploded or a natural disaster had swept through and left emptiness in its wake.  The house’s rear section seemed to be completely open to the back yard, but closer examination revealed a clear plastic casing stretching all the way to the back fence, similar to a tall rectangular green house.  Inside this structure there were hanging ropes which were used as zip lines by aliens who were rapidly sliding into the house to attack and annihilate.  My energy and time were given to counter attacks, vaporizing, demolishing and casting out those beings which were bent on destroying me and ending my freedom.  I was in my element, enjoying the fight; periodically I was joined by friends when the battle became too complex and reinforcements were needed.  Like characters in Hidden Dragon Crouching Tiger we leaped, swooped, soared, and fought with deep satisfaction and focused strength.

I was a different person outside that environment, as shown by the second half of this dream.  In it, a new neighbor came to our backyard with a battalion of her friends to “help” plant flowers.  She was over bearing, controlling, very effusive and looked remarkably like Kim Kardashian.  (Since I barely know who she is and couldn’t even remember her name, I really don’t know how her image came to be part of this story…dreams are strange entities.)  Her idea of “help” was to do things her way without any consideration for others’ thoughts and desires.  I immediately abandoned my station inside and dashed to intervene.  She was deeply offended by my objections and began to stalk off in a huff, indignantly proclaiming she thought we had an agreement to help each other with our outdoor work.  (Of course, assisting in her yard also meant doing things only as she wished.)  Following and attempting to smooth her ruffled feathers, I entreated her to try to understand that we just had a break down in communication about what it meant to “help each other”.  Somewhat mollified, she and her friends left.

I watched as she crossed the street to her home, and I realized I should have been firm about who I was and what I wanted when we first met.  Doing so would have avoided that conflict and the turmoil tumbling about inside me.  Truthfully, I wouldn’t have wanted such a friend, yet my behavior exhibited the opposite.

Upon waking the next morning, I asked myself and God what the dream meant.  Some questions which ran through my mind were:  Can I perceive truth inside the house but not outside?  Can I exercise discernment for my family of origin but not for myself?  Am I still trapped within my old family structure and have difficulty functioning outside their mode of operation?  Do I lose my ability to discern and be myself outside of their sphere of influence?           

As the day progressed, clarity came with an answer somewhat different from what my enquiries implied but pertained to elements within each.  I have learned confidence and discernment when warring against the forces of evil emanating from within my family of origin, yet I lack those same attributes when life takes me away from that venue.  Allowing myself to be snowballed and steamrolled by external forces, people, and cultures, I don’t express my internal personality or stand firm in who I am or what I believe.  (This is somewhat relative and depends on the situations in which I find myself.)  Thus, I conform in subtle ways and allow myself to be carried along by the culture or personality dominating the moment.  (Not so much compromising standard moral truths, but compromising my very essence.)

Reflection has verified this truth.  Throughout the years, there are many times when I have jeopardized my integrity.  These vary from blatant lies when I was much younger (the words seemed to be powered by forces beyond my control) to more recent, less obvious, but still internally damaging, denials of who I am created to be.

I’m sure there are numerous reasons for this behavior, such as old patterns engrained in my psyche, the human drive for self preservation and everyone’s desire to be accepted and loved.  Most likely my introversion has also played a part in this equation.  But, no matter what the cause, I do not want to continue to relate to the outside world in such a subservient way.  And, I know my God longs for me to be whole, complete and strong, so I may live in the truth of who I am no matter what the circumstance.  That is why He gave me this dream…to show the reason for and to open the door to the next leg of my healing journey.

The board

One final nighttime revelation woke me following the one I described in Continuing on….  This picture came to me as I rose to the surface of sleep: I saw a plywood board slowly moving over my prone position, starting above my head and traveling down my chest to cover my heart and lungs.  Even though it was pressing hard against me, scraping my skin with its sharp edge, I braced myself against the pain, accepted it and absorbed the suffering into my being.  There the board remained, claustrophobically suffocating me with its size and weight, cutting off the wide open spaces of life giving oxygen which previously existed before its appearance and causing my breath to become shallow and forced as I labored to inhale and exhale.  Wondering if this plank represented my child’s defense mechanism against the constant distress, both within and without, in which she lived, I sank back into slumber.

That happened weeks ago, and its implication and meaning have still not become clear.  I have turned it over and over again in my mind and sought answers in prayer, yet God’s timing has not yet come for release and healing.  Last week I felt I could bear the stress and pressure no longer, for even during the daytime my lungs continued to rise and fall in a slight, short breaths and the stiffness and discomfort in my neck and shoulders relentlessly continued.  Some relief came when I realized that I had been taught to live life by pretending, to act and believe in ways inconsistent with the truth of my family’s extreme dysfunction, and that this deep seated pattern continued to affect me today.  As I tried to translate this realization into the functional reality of my life, I saw the board beginning to move upward, and though the distance it moved was small, there was a welcome alleviation of oppression in my lower chest and such a sense of freedom and relaxation beginning to unfold that I begged God to remove it all the way…preferably at that moment!  In my mind I frantically sought other ways in which I could release this truth in my life, thinking that I perhaps could make happen what God was waiting to do.  But, the plywood refused to move further, and the next day it returned to its original position. 

Then I was reminded that the board’s removal would not happen because of my attempts to convince God to move quickly or because of my efforts to lift it when God has said “not yet”.  That would be God’s job, and it would have to be done in His timing.  Experience has taught me He has good reasons for the pace of His healing process, and even though I may rebelliously balk at His seemingly inexplicable slowness, I will reluctantly admit His final outcome is always better than I can imagine….and His one-step-at-a-time pace is necessary to achieve the final product of full release and freedom.

So I wait.

Darkness to light – onward in victory – part 8

I have often felt like a kid locked out of the candy store of life; hands and face pressed to the glass I longingly gaze through the window at those who are enjoying the treats inside.  The colors are bright and welcoming under the warmly glowing lights, but I am denied access and must always be on the outside.  This feeling comes and goes, but recently it came again in full force bringing with it intense emotional pain.  Grateful for my friendship with a deeply godly woman, I looked forward to meeting with her one evening to see if God would give us insight into the source of my distress.

As we shared our lives with each other, I began to go on and on and on about my sense of exclusion and lack of acceptance in a particular situation I was experiencing.  Perhaps perceiving I was dancing around the heart of the issue, she gently interrupted me by asking, “And, what is your question?”  After a moment’s thought I responded, “How long does one stay in a situation that is painful?  When do you know God is saying it is time to leave?”  (This has nothing to do with my husband or family.)  Her answer was to turn to God in prayer, and we began to worship and seek Him for His wisdom and guidance.

Little did I know my question went far beyond the circumstances of the present, reaching beneath the surface to a time I had not yet faced.  As we prayed, I began to weep.  Weeping grew to deep sobbing, wave upon wave welling up from a lost place inside.  Crying opened the floodgates to a dried riverbed that had been blocked by pain; the torrent of tears carried me deep into my soul to its beginning.  When the anguish gradually subsided, I found myself with inner eyes wide open gazing at one source of a lifetime of rejection…the reality of my young life at my grandmother’s house.

Oh, I already knew about my dad’s sexual abuse (which took place there) and my mother’s mental illness, but I had romanticized growing up with Granny.  Placing her on a pedestal, I believed she was the only one in my family who truly loved and accepted me.  I loved Granny…I loved that she cared for us to the best of her ability, but I needed to come to terms with the fact that her ability didn’t reach very far.  Indeed, she and Grandpa supplied our physical needs when our mother committed herself to the mental hospital, taking in my Dad, my sister and me, giving us food on the table and a roof over our heads.  For that I am thankful.  But, in the realm of emotional needs, she lacked the capacity to give the soul nourishment necessary for my sister and me to thrive and grow.  In fact, each adult in that house had their own agenda and their own enormous personal deficits of unfilled needs and unresolved hurts which blocked all ability to love another person unconditionally.  The truth had at last become clear.  There was never a time in my growing up years when the person I was created to be was accepted.  Everyone tried to shape and mold me into the person they wanted me to be, to satisfy their desires and to comply with their ulterior motives…even my Granny.  (Years ago, God had even brought healing to me from rejection in my mother’s womb.)  As much as I had tried to deny their existence, God knew the facts needed to be uncovered and acknowledged.  By bringing to my consciousness that which I tried to avoid, He answered the question I had asked my friend…He let me know the time was right to emotionally leave the painful situation of being raised in part by my grandmother.  This was the time He wanted to release the chains which continued to hold me captive to my family of origin to enable me to move further into the new life He had given me. 

Once again I forgave.  Once again I took another step further into freedom.  Once again God had used the pain of the present to unlock the suffering of the past for His purpose of wholeness and healing in my life.  Thank you Lord that your ways are higher than my ways (Isaiah 55:9) and that in Your wisdom You have brought out into the light that which I longed to hide in darkness.  Thank You that You listened to my groanings and transformed your answer into so much more than I could have asked.  Thank You that Your word is true and we can believe it when it says, “Then you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

Onward in victory – part 2

Materializing before me in the darkness was a glass cage.  Floating inside was a fetal position curled figure, cringing, hands and arms covering its face and head.   Without hesitation and without question, I knew I had discovered my inner child and the place in which she lived.  Slow motion troubled figures of my Mom and Dad were circling around her.  With only fragile, transparent panes separating her from them, she was able to view their haunting movements, hear their taunts and accusations, sense their animosity and feel their instability.  Taken aback, I was puzzled.   I had thought my dwelling place was my God…my shelter, my refuge and my fortress (Psalm 91:1).  This was certainly a far cry from the strong tower in which I had sought sanctuary many years ago (Psalm 61:3).

How did she come to be in this place?  What had transpired to encase her in such a vulnerable position?  Experience told me the answers to these questions would be found further into my tunnel journey.  Now I was called to move on, led by the One to whom darkness is as light (Psalm 139:11-12); shown the way by my Counselor who has promised to guide me into all truth (John 16:13).  “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

Sealed

Ephesians 1:13b-14 has been a passage in the Bible that goes right over my head.  It says, “Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”  Right or wrong, verses like these I tend to skim over.  There are others that speak more deeply to me; I figure the ones I don’t understand, God will reveal their meanings to me when I need to know it and when I am ready to receive it.  Much to my delight, He gave me an epiphany regarding what it means to be “sealed” while studying last week’s lesson for Bible Study Fellowship (a weekly, international Bible study I attend…it is quite in depth and thought provoking) which helped bring those words to life.

Here is the question:  Look up the verb “to seal” in the dictionary.  How does this definition encourage you concerning the Holy Spirit’s work?  I like looking up words in the dictionary that have spiritual connotations because  it often opens up new ways of thinking regarding their definitions, so with anticipation I googled “seal”.   This is what I found:  A device or substance that is used to join two things together so as to prevent them from coming apart or to prevent anything from passing between them.  Being a fan of HGTV, immediately a picture came to mind of plumbing pipes being joined and sealed together correctly on a show like Holmes on Homes or Holmes Inspection.  Since the show’s host always makes it right (fellow viewers will know what I mean), we know those pipes will not come apart and nothing will be able to pass between them.  Aha, I thought!  Here is something that speaks to me!  The Holy Spirit seals our connection with God so it will not come apart and so nothing can pass between us.  And, significantly, that seal is different from joined pipes here on earth which will eventually fall apart due to the eroding caused by time (in spite of the best efforts of Mike Holmes); our seal in the Holy Spirit is for eternity.

Oh, joy!  I am safe!  I am everlastingly sealed to my God and nothing can pass between us and nothing can cause us to be torn apart.  Romans 8:38-39 is indeed true, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Having never known love that was unconditional and guaranteed, there has been an underlying current of fear deep in my heart of losing love, losing my position in my family, losing what attention I could glean from the troubled lives of my parents.  This has translated into all relationships including mine with God, so that whatever is said to the contrary I tend not to believe because my experience has told me otherwise.  But, now I can rest assured in God’s relationship with me, because my spiritual eyes have been opened and the mystery of the Holy Spirit sealing me to the Lover of My Soul forever and ever has become reality.