Saturday, December 13, 2014

No Accidents

"Those things you call "accidents," or "surprises." or "discoveries" are actually revelations of God's love and constant concern for you." Moments of Peace in the Presence of God

Recently I listened to an author describe how her marriage was breaking-up while she was writing a novel on Unconditional Love. A complete contradiction. Yet she continued her research, her writing and ended up with a best-seller, fighting the urge to quit and growing even more deeper in compassion for those who experienced divorce and lost dreams.

And rising above the schemes of the enemy.

Recently a friend commented to me, "Lynn, I think the enemy has been right on you tail."

After a loss of my own, I found myself doing all the 'right' things the experts advise to overcome. I stayed busy through new adventures in travels and hobbies. I sought out counselling at my church and attended retreats. I was generous and compassionate, giving where I could.  And as I finally felt I turned a corner, I had the biggest test. And fell apart, the fruit of the spirit of self-control completely non-existent in those moments. And I am still reaping the consequences. I made a MISTAKE. I failed the test.

Or did I really fail?

Though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. Psalm 37:24

Since then God has placed me in surprise situations where I can only look up to Him say, "I don't understand why You have placed me here as it is painful. But I will Trust You."

And I found myself having to cling to Him like never before to get myself through.

My soul clings to You. Your right hand upholds me. Psalm 63:8

And he provided me all that I needed through compassion of friends who have been where I have been and through wise counsel of others who show me where I still need to grow.

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

And I am increasingly hearing His voice as I look upon Him for direction and hope, and acceptance.
         
Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and  hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3



And I know I have been in a battle for my mind.

 "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Ephesians 6:12

Recently I accidently came upon a situation that left me shaking. And I got a Jesus 'mind-nudge.' "Lynn, you asked a question this morning to me in your prayers and now is the time to find out." So I responded to the situation. And found out the answer. And discovered (with the help of three wise prayer partners) that my heart still has an idol that hooks me into the enemies grip.

He is transforming me through conviction.
    
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-21

Recently I was honoured by someone who shared a story of choices leading to destruction and now is beginning a healing journey. You see past me and into my heart, this person told me.

He is using me.

I know God will make a message out of my mistakes, and will strengthen me to pass the next test so I can be a testimony. In the meantime, I will not quit.  Even though my life is not perfect, even contradictory at times, I will continue using my gifts and talents. And take a step at a time, relinquishing control, and walking with Him in His love and concern for me.

You never know but I might just write a best-seller too.

Has God made a message out of your mistakes?

"When the hurting and the healing feel the same....
 
When my world comes crashing down around my head.
And I, I feel like I got nothing left. Oh, Oh, I'm not in control oh oh
But it is well with my soul,"  David Dunn, It is Well


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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Transforming

People will say things such as "I feel like my life is falling apart" or....I am coming apart at the seams." These are the cries of the soul that was made to be whole. As Parker Palmer puts it, "The divided life is a wounded life, and the soul keeps calling us to heal the wound." Soul Keeping, John Ortberg

"Do you have time to pray with me?" I asked, my hands heating up. He said yes he could, of course, after this session was over. Come find me, he directed. A couple of hours later I sat across from him in the large conference room, a flurry of activity going on around us as volunteers set up for a large celebration.

"What's going on?" he asked.

Suddenly my dry eyes started tearing, my hands gripped tighter the edge of my chair. "I'm falling apart." And then, "I feel like I'm coming out of my skin."  And I did. Every inch of me felt like it was on fire right down to my heels. I dug in my jeans pocket for a Kleenex. "I'm sorry. I was holding it so together."

And I had been. But it comes to a point where the soul is just grieving so much, it's got to let go.

For months I had been stuffing. Constantly my mind told me "Don't let them see you hurting. Suck it up and put a smile on your face. Stay busy. Really busy.  Don't let them see you cry. Be extra kind, generous and eventually you will feel all better. It is YOUR stuff. You need to change. If you were only different. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?"

Just keep smiling....

And keep trying, and trying, and trying, and trying, and trying to make myself better, to change.

But in that moment, with my prayer partner across from me and a flutter of people working around me, I couldn't hold it together anymore. The pain had started seeping out just before our meeting, in a moment of trying to fix, trying to get understanding, like that first drop of boiling water falling over the pot. Now it overflowed completely in boiling heat that I felt from the tip of my head to the bottom of my toes."

"Lynn, do you love who you are? Do you know how much God loves you just as you are?" He leaned towards me. "Maybe He wants to show you, wants you to be looking to Him, for His love instead of searching for love from others."

And Jesus nudged my mind. "Lynn, you have been conforming. Come to Me and be Transformed. Put off trying so hard, and put on My healing for you."

That was just over a month ago and He is healing me to wholeness. No longer do I feel like I am coming out of my skin. And there is peacefulness starting to embrace my heart as I surrender and not try so hard.

Is there anything you are 'stuffing' and have not let God in to heal and transform you? I pray You run to Him.  Or if you see someone smiling but sense a crying soul, may you have the courage to speak into them, assuring them of God's perfect love that HEALS.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2


Love,

Lynn




Friday, November 21, 2014

Oneness

Always be humble and gentle (gracious). Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.
There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
one God and Father of all,
who is over all, in all, and living through all.
Ephesian 4:2-6
 
"Do you have any issues with someone? Unresolved conflict or bitterness?" our pastor asked. I furiously scribbled his questions in my notebook, then twirled my pen between my fingers, wondering how God so perfectly plans His messages for me.
 
Just on the way to church that morning I was lamenting to God about how I always am the one taking the 'high road' and extending grace, and I don't even get a thank-you or an apology! Why God?? When will it be my turn for someone to extend grace to me? Why is it when I wrong someone, and even apologize, I seem to get blasted with a consequence? Poor, poor pitiful me...
 
Ughh...Still twirling my pen between my fingers, Jesus gives me a mind-nudge. "Lynn, what is grace? When I offered you grace and forgiveness on the cross, did I expect anything in return but your love?"
 
"Christians sacrifice oneness by the need to be self-righteous--the need to be right," our pastor continues. I squirm. Yup. Jesus does his mind-nudge to me again. "Lynn, you know that you cannot always see the BIG PICTURE like I do. Cling to me instead of needing to be 'right.' Just keep coming closer with humbleness and patience."
 
God calls us to make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit within the body of Christ and His church. Jesus is always about reconciliation and as Christians, we are to do all that we can to exist in that unity.
 
And that includes gentleness, or in other words, graciousness which is wrapped in forgiveness.
 
And to love unconditionally.
 
I placed my pen down on my note book, and bowed my head deeper in prayer, eyes closed.
 
"Jesus, help me to love as You call me to love and not to cause breaking of the unity of the oneness You call us for. For I know my heart longs for that unity, that oneness is how you made us. But my sinfulness, my un-forgiveness destroys that unity. Help me to extend graciousness because You call me to, not for my own expectations of what I think is 'right.' Help me be righteous as You call me to be, not self-righteous which only breaks the unity. And continue to heal my heart Lord as You are my healer and redeemer. Amen"
 
Is there anyone you have unresolved conflict, bitterness, or judgement toward?
Are you talking with others about someone instead of going directly to him/her causing gossip or exclusion within the body of Christ?
Is there someone you need to extend grace to by forgiving within your heart and loving on them as Christ calls us to keep the unity of oneness?
 
 
I love you.
 
Lynn
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Friday, November 14, 2014

Unravelling


"I have no husband," she replied
Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have said is quite true.'" John 4:17-18

"Oh, honey," my friend Judith said, leaning in toward me on her chair, elbows on knees and hands out stretched, palms up. I let out the breath I had been holding and my shoulders relaxed slightly. "I always wondered. Something just didn't connect with your story but I get it now. I am sorry."

"Wow. That is big stuff," Carmen said from the other side of the room, her voice of compassion, of empathy and acceptance, all I needed to continue.

I shared the details I keep to myself. Details that even sometimes I cannot believe are true. I don't want them to be maybe? I know there are times it is still best to keep these details 'secret' to protect others that I love. And it is in the past, something that does not need to be stirred up.

However, for those closest to me I start slowly to unravel, and not hold back to protect the possible judgements on others. And an understanding comes across me that when I share only a part of my story, it can seem false to ears. And how often do others stories that come to me feel false to my ears because something does not connect?

How often do I judge others before knowing the story behind the story behind the story?

I have written of this before. And God keeps reminding me. Being the sinner of one who judges, I could loose the possibility of a deep relationship due to misunderstandings. Being the recipient of false judgements, I know how much it can cut into the heart and I could close up on myself, guard against deep relationships. Or maybe even walk away from relationships altogether.

Maybe it is a matter of always coming from a place of trust first?  When I question someone's behaviour, instead of getting upset over how it is affecting me, I could come from a place of compassion and gentleness. A place trusting that his/her intention is good and I am misunderstanding because I do not know the full story. And I may never know.

But God knows his/her full story. 

And knows You.

If you feel misunderstood and judged unfairly, know God knows your story. And like Jesus shows when he met the woman at the well, He will always be gentle and accepting of the truth of you.

And may you have friends like Judith and Carmen who you can 'unravel' and connect with especially if you are like me on a healing journey to love and accept yourself as God already does.

Love you.

L




Saturday, November 8, 2014

Do Not Disturb

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power though his spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19

Right now, I stare at my notes from the Choices Conference I recently attended. In blue ink capital letters:
THEME-LEARN TO LOVE MYSELF
And under those words I have written, How to do this? Something I have to do. Until I love and accept myself, I will continue to seek (create) mother/father relationship of rejection (looking for acceptance)--this isn't my fault but I do need to be 100% accountable for my life.

Transference (from Wikipedia)
Transference is a phenomenon characterized by unconscious redirection of feelings from one person to another. One definition of transference is "the inappropriate repetition in the present of a relationship that was important in a person's childhood. Another definition is "the redirection of feelings and desires and especially of those unconsciously retained from childhood toward a new object."Still another definition is "a reproduction of emotions relating to repressed experiences, especially of childhood, and the substitution of another person ... for the original object of the repressed impulses."

I now understand more the why of the (romantic) relationship choices I made and the actions that followed. I have come to God many times, on my knees, first repenting for my actions. Hurting people hurt people. And then asking Him to fill my heart with love and compassion so I don't fall into actions of self-protection through judgement, victim mentality, and rejecting the love others want to give me by finding ways (unconsciously) to push the love away. All behaviours that HURT OTHERS I see more clearly now. Showing I value another, means accepting what they are offering me. And in return, shows that I love them. But I can only fully accept when I first love and value myself enough to receive.

So in the meantime, I put a Do Not Disturb sign on my heart as He works in me. I hear Him whisper, 'be patient' and 'It is going to be ok. Just hang on to me.'

So I hang on. I am one month into my year healing journey. And I must admit, sometimes it feels very lonely; sometimes it hurts so much I wish my life away and I question; and I fear my future. And then suddenly there is a beautiful girl friend with just the right encouraging words on the other side of the phone line, or gratitude texts from men friends I am allowing in during this journey, or Sarah Young's words from 40 days with Jesus:

LET MY LOVE ENFOLD YOU in the radiance of My Glory. Sit still in the Light of My Presence, and receive My Peace. These quiet moments  with Me transcend time, accomplishing far more than you can imagine. Bring Me the sacrifice of your time, and watch to see how abundantly I bless you and your loved ones.

You are a blessing.
If you are on a healing journey and would like prayer, please let me know. Together we can grasp how wide and long and deep is the love of Christ.

If you would like to follow my 365 days Photo Journal of Healing, you can find it HERE


Monday, November 3, 2014

Don't try so hard....

Therefore encourage on another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Thessalonians 5:11

Tuesday morning, September 30, 2014

My roommate, Joanne, at a Choices Conference awakes and tells me, God gave me a song for you last night. And she plays it. I weep.

Don't Try So Hard, by Amy Grant

Don't try so hard
God gives you grace and you can't earn it

Don't think that you're not worth it
Because you are
He gave you His love and He's not leaving
He gave you His son so you'd believe it
You're lovely even with your scars
Don't try so hard


A Sunday evening in May, 2013

(Have you ever felt the Holy Spirit whisper to you, "Stay 'cause there is something about to happen.")

I slipped my arms though my plaid jacket and reached down for my bible on the chair. Maybe I was wrong? I had felt a nudging, a whisper with no words, just a feeling that something was going to happen. The guest speaker this Sunday evening at this church I do not regularly attend, was dynamic and a healer. One hundred plus people followed each other through a human bridge built by the pastoral team while the worship band played a song of God's grace, however I cannot remember the words. I picked up my bible, ready to walk away. Maybe I had been wrong about the whisper on my heart.

Then from behind came the tap on my shoulder. I turned

I just had to come see you, she said. Shoulder length brown hair, black framed glasses, just slightly taller than me but about the same age, she asked if we could pray together. Yes, I said. And she sat beside me. She had been part of the human bridge, she said. And when I went through she felt this overwhelming sense of sadness and a prompting that God was calling her to find me after the service. So she searched for a blonde girl with a plaid jacket. And she spoke into my life words of confirmation that God did see me. She said I was like a coffee table that once shone, and had been used, and used, and beaten down, and now lies raw and exposed. "He wants to see you shine again," she said.

"And show yourself through your words to others."

"And bring relationships into your life where you can trust again."

November 2, 2014, 18 months later

I walked into the church, a heart full of gratitude. The evening before I was blessed with 15 friends in my home for a 'Thanksgiving' friendship dinner. During the evening I gave each guest a handmade card and they wrote their name on the front. Each of these cards were passed around and each of us wrote a gratitude, a loving message of encouragement to each other. I could feel hearts of love, of peace. But what brought tears to my eyes, and made my heart 'hurt' with love, was at the end of the evening. Passed to me was a package of notes. Notes of gratitude and encouragement from each friend to ME that had been written BEFORE the party.

In the quiet, after everyone had left, the smell of turkey lingering, I sat on my couch and read each note. Then bowed my head to God. I have no words, I prayed. I don't understand. I don't deserve..... Words of a few close friends came to mind, "You are amazing and loved Lynn. Receive this."

And then my heart whispered.

Receive My love. Trust Me with what words I want You to hear, what relationships I want you to have. Don't try so hard.

Just receive My love for you.

I bowed my head deeper in gratitude, tears flowing.

I see her now at the church, the pastor that spoke into my life 18 months earlier and I feel the Holy Spirit's prompting to go speak to her. I was thinking about you two weeks ago, she says. How are things? I have had a season of hurt and criticism, I say, and made mistakes, but feel so blessed. Yes, she affirms and tells me how she senses the 'people pleasing' tendencies that beat me down "like in the Fred Flinstone cartoon when Fred is hit on the head with a club and sinking into the ground." I get it. (And unbeknownst to her is that my nickname in my family was Fred after Fred Flinstone for many years.)

Don't try so hard, she tells me. You can't earn it. His grace just is...

She prays for me, for discernment on relationships, for protection, for a broken heart to be healed.

And share your journey, she instructs. Write. And show yourself through words to others. Your story is going to help heal another, she speaks into me, from God.

You are amazing.

God is Awesome.

Love you.

Don't Try So Hard, Amy Grant

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Penetrating

"When I think about courageous people, I am reminded of my friend Caroline, who for a solid year worked through painful memories to emerge victorious from the chains of rejection and low self-esteem.....now embraces life with renewed confidence and self-assurance....The truth is the road to wholeness is filled with bumps, hurdles, and unexpected trials. While I cannot guarantee a journey full of comfort and ease, I can promise you with the right attitude and God-centred plan it can be a successful one." Tracey Mitchell from Downside Up, Transform Rejection Into Your Golden Opportunity.

"I love my..." I stuttered, unable to finish and a sob escaping up from my throat. I can't do this. The eyes, my eyes that looked back at me blurred, then dashed away to look anywhere but at them, at me in the mirror. My hands tugged at the ends of my blonde hair that lay flat on my bare shoulders. It's going to be hard. I had been warned. Any words of love sit on my skin like dew drops on petals, un-penetrating, falling off.

"Stand in front of the mirror naked every morning and tell yourself what you love about you," she had instructed me recently. She who had witnessed a healing in me at a retreat only a week before, and now just heard my tale of sabotage. Sabotage to prove my deep belief true that 'I am bad.'

The most telling though, is that once the sabotage happens, the mistakes made, the hurt results, and the shame penetrating me, I feel peace for being punished, finally. Finally 'seen' that I deserve to be punished as 'I am bad.' And not deserving of love.

This is what needs to change.

Like Caroline, I now embark on a year of learning to love and respect myself to wholeness. Hurting people hurt people, and no longer do I want to hurt myself or others. And I know this road will be hard work, uncomfortable and not easy, but I know God does want to heal me. And in that, be a redeeming light of hope to others.

I took a deep breath and dared to look into my eyes again. "I love my long, painted nails (that not long ago were bitten and bleeding from a lifetime of nail biting). I love how I am a good listener. I love my blue eyes that shimmer with tears."

I stepped away from the mirror. Day one and a first step on the healing, successful journey of loving myself as God wants for me. And for you.

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.  ~ Augustine


L.