Have I ever mentioned I love Spring?! Well, just in case I’ve not done so, I am telling you today I do LOVE Spring! Yesterday was one of those days when time seemed to stop and every detail of spring work I wanted to get done was completed. On top of that, it was done with time to call my favorite sis and have a long talk with her. What could be finer!
As I concluded my devotional time yesterday morning and writing my daily blog entry, I finished the lesson for next Tuesday in Mending the Soul. The chapter’s title is Forgiveness. I think I’ve already written this. The lesson had participants defining where they are on a defined scale, working through the forgiveness process of those who have abused you. You were to then write out what this looks like today and what you’d want it to look like if its not complete. The defined scale I mention had a layer where the abused is able to see the abuser in their own humanness. I hated the humanness of my dad–I wanted him to be dad and to love me. Instead, I lived my entire life trying to be for him something I could never accomplish. In this processing I finally realized this was far more about my own humanness than it was my dads. I write this with new freedom today. It is amazing!
As our group meets this coming Tuesday we will likely finish the last of our lessons in this class. The following week we will wrap up and finish. Part of the finish will be to read a letter we wrote to ourselves the first week we met last fall. It contains what we hoped to glean from the class. I’m eager to read my own. I have all the sealed envelopes from our participants. It will be a nice time to celebrate our healing Father and His Team–Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit!
Yesterday in the early afternoon I received a call from the publishing company of my book: The Journey from Error to Heir. They wanted to know if I would like their assistance in promoting it? I have been wondering about this topic of late. I’ve had mixed feelings knowing that God seems to want me to write a new section called Living in Freedom. I’m not ready to do this as I feel as though I’m only beginning to step into this new reality. The odd thing is that later in the day when I had the TV on to watch the news there was an advertisement for publishing and promoting a book one has written. It is a christian publishing company. These could simply be coincidences but I need to wait for The Holy Spirit’s nudges in all of it.
The book I’m starting to read, The Spiritual Man, has some clarity I’ve been seeking in order to understand God’s Gift through His Son coming into my life–The Holy Spirit. Watchman Nee says if one is a believer we can recognize two elements of The Holy Spirit. One of these is the voice of conscience and the other is the teaching of intuition. He says there is also a communion which is our desire to worship God. These three are elements of our spirit given to us when we were created. These are what God uses to communicate with us and how we in turn thank God.
As I was journaling this morning regarding all of this, the old hymn, Trust and Obey came to mind. These two words are exactly what I know God is wanting me to respond to as I learn to live as a new creation. What a kind and tender-loving God we serve, yet Almighty and Powerful.
Yesterday my oldest grandson had knee surgery. As I waited during the surgery time I began to read the book by Watchman Nee: The Spiritual Man. I didn’t get very far but far enough to know this is exactly what God wants me reading. You know what’s amazing about it? Watchman wrote it in 1927. God’s purposes never change. This just goes to prove it once again to me.
This morning as I had my devotional time God was leading me into living as the new creation He made me to be. All of this desire to live as a spiritual being now is making much more sense. God never created us to be “human beings” managed by our own minds and thinking. Sin has overshadowed in so many ways God’s original intent for man (me). God’s Word is given to us to be our daily, living guide. However, it makes perfect sense when we read it with our spiritual eyes and listen with our spiritual ears. For example, James 5:16 tells us to: “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Man says to “suck it up” and “toughen up”. Man thinks he can do all of this on his own strength and when he fails, he needs to hide it so he doesn’t look weak. The spiritual man obeys just what the words says to do: “confess” and do it even ahead of sinning–confess when you are tempted. The outcome is amazing–you are healed!
I contacted my accountability partner this morning and told him I’m believing today I am the new creation God said He made me to be. If I butt up to temptation God and he will be the first to know. I want to say I am “working” on this. However, believing is my weakness so instead of saying I’m working on this, I’m saying, “I’m believing”. I’m wanting to be done with “working” on this. That’s what man does and I know that outcome well.
PS–The surgery was a big success!
The hole God opened yesterday morning during my devotional time wasn’t just a small one. As the day went on I began to see more and more the desires I’ve pushed aside all of my life. These desires are simple, yet huge. They are things like saying to someone, “I love you” and hearing back from them that they love me . Along with that, there’s the most important component and that is believing it to be genuine and true. Even if I thought someone did love me I would (in my mind) know they only did because they didn’t really know me.
Yesterday I was driving to a garden store to get seed potatoes to plant. A man from our Celebrate Recovery had called while I was brushing my teeth and but he hung up after 3-4 rings. On my way to the store I called him back. He had called to ask a question and then to tell me–“he loved me”. It was the first time I heard this line and didn’t squelch it immediately in my head. It resonated. Just like right now writing this, I feel loved. Yes, it is tender, but it is also powerfully strong.
As I started to pray this morning I saw at the top of my prayer list what I’ve written there: God is for me; Christ is with me; The Holy Spirit is in me. This time when I saw this and read it I felt LOVED. The amazing piece to this is that I was able to receive the love. The hole that God opened yesterday morning had been deflecting love my entire life. I am humbly amazed!
This isn’t intended to be trite as I write this next piece, but I couldn’t help but notice it as I’ve written today’s entry. When I typed “hole” in the previous paragraph I caught that if you change the “e” in hole to a “y”, you get HOLY. Holiness is the purity of God. This is what is so amazing about being able to accept love–I feel clean. I can’t thank God enough for this! God has made a home in me for His Holy Spirit. WOW!
Last night’s class was nothing less than a revelation in and of itself. As we were processing questions from the 9th chapter on “Wrestling with God,” one of the questions was, “What do you need to hear from God?” I had written, “I love you, son….” (This is raw for me but I need to get it out in the open). In my entire growing up years I never heard any man tell me I was loved, appreciated, or …. I never witnessed any affection from a man. What I do recall very well is all of the hurt and verbal abuse I heard over and over. The question above revealed a hole in my soul which had to be lanced so the poisonous lies could be released and replaced. This is exactly what took place this morning in my time with God.
40+ years ago I was working at a men’s clothing store in Caldwell as a second job to my teaching. At lunch time I was walking back to the store when I saw a man I knew well and his 8-10 year old son. They were crossing the street holding hands and laughing. I started to tear up as I saw this way back when. Today, I recall it vividly and I know why—my soul longed to be loved, nurtured like this father did his son. Tenderness is not often something a man talks about. It just isn’t thought to be manly. However, once one gets a step beyond this lie, I believe we all know tenderness is appropriate and needed by all men. The most mature men understand this and are not reticent to give tenderness.
I’m glad to have this out in the open. I doubt that God is done helping me work through all of this. I love God and now He can start filling this void left from my childhood.
It is so nice to be home and having devotions with my devotional tools. It is nice to know there are tools available on my phone accessible wherever I am, but to be home in the room where God and I meet each morning is very comforting.
As I got home yesterday afternoon I finished the part of tonight’s lesson. It is entitled, Forgiveness. It is the last lesson in the book too. We were to only do a couple pages into this lesson as there are some left from last week to finish tonight as well as stepping into this one. I was overwhelmed when I began to read the beginning of this particular lesson. It said something totally unexpected. The quote read, “Often when we share our stories of abuse with others, the first thing we’re told is that we must forgive our abusers. However, although forgiveness is essential, it must come at the end of our healing rather than at the beginning.” As I read this I stopped and reread it several times. In all of my years of counseling and working with recovery I’ve never heard this message in this manner. BUT, the message makes so much sense. Over and over and over throughout the months of working through the lessons I’ve fought to remain “loving” towards my dad, my mom and my brother as I’ve relived life through the lessons. Having all of the crud of childhood brought out into the open along with my life’s struggles to keep it hidden or to live as though it hadn’t done anything harmful to me, has been quite painful. Then yesterday I read that it is after all of this I can now forgive. What’s amazing is that I want to. I don’t want any of this past back inside festering as it has all of my life! I don’t want to have any of the past remaining either as the cancer it has been in me.
As I got my own Bible out this morning I reread James 1 from it. In verse 25 it identifies the “law of liberty”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read right over this message. Today, however, it makes sense. The law is to be self-controlled as the last “fruit of the Spirit” says for us to be. I’ve always worked hard to be self-controlled and now I know as I wrote a few days ago, the self is surrendered to The Holy Spirit so His nudges are what control me and not my impulses as often fed by the character defects from my past. In forgiving the abuse of my past once I’ve faced it squarely and not re-hidden it, I have the liberty James is talking about. How I love what this class is teaching me!
Today we will be heading home. It was a funny but not so funny moment yesterday when we all headed to the hot springs. Kathy had been there once before years ago. We made it ok but no one knew we’d need boots/galoshes to walk into the springs. The parking lot was 18″ or more of snow and deep slush and Angie’s rig got stuck so had to push it out with others helping. The kids had only brought flip flops for their feet thinking they’d use them in the water. Anyway, we chalked it up to a nice drive and headed home.
Sometimes I don’t know or understand why windows /timing works out the way it does. I know this is in God’s hand and when we pray for God to be in charge, I need to accept His timing as perfect. I am doing that too. What troubles me I know likely troubles God, but God sees all that I don’t and this is where I need to draw the line for trusting. Yesterday was a day for this and today will likely be another one. I choose to trust.
The day started great–waking up in McCall, Idaho. As I got the coffee made and the dishwasher emptied while the coffee brewed I went to start my devotions to find I’d left my devotional, Bible and journal at home. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before. So I started my devotions for the first time using my phone. I do have Bible Hub on it as an app. The odd thing to me is that I brought my laptop knowing I’d want to use it for posting the blog rather than using my phone. I guess its one more sign of aging!
As I started James this morning (by the way, I love this little book) I found myself engrossed by James 1:5&6. It reads, “If any of you lack wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” I’ve been needing wisdom in a particular area and yesterday asked The Holy Spirit to provide it as He drove the day. It didn’t come as I expected so I began to doubt. Reading these verses this morning was just what I needed. I do believe with all my soul, mind and spirit that God is in control. I needed this reminder so that I trust The Holy Spirit’s timing and setting.
Today will be a good day. I’m going to trust God and believe!
Today my dear sis Bonnie has a birthday. I wish you could see the picture she sent me yesterday. The employees where she works decorated her office to the hilt. She does this for them on their birthdays and they returned the favor for her. She is most worthy of the honor. God has richly blessed me with her in my life. When I was young I was embarrassed at times with her praise of me. But, now I look at it and know she believed in me when that wasn’t the case at least with what other said and did. I’m so thankful for her!
Yesterday God also did another thing I wasn’t expecting…. I had ordered a new trampoline mat replacing the old one. I had ordered the wrong size and needed to send it back for the next size. In so doing I took it to the store where the owner is a friend. Her shop is a mailing store but she also has a coffee/gift shop attached to it. In it she does book signings for local authors. Kathy had told me way back I should talk to her but the thought of promoting my own work just has never fit my thinking. Yesterday, however, God nudged me to take the step and I did. We are signed up for a book signing on May 4. For some reason, now it seems like the right thing to do. God and His Holy Spirit within are amazing.
Today Kathy and I are going to McCall with our youngest daughter and her 4 kids for a couple of days. It is the beginning of their spring break. It will be chaotic and fun all at the same time. God is good all the time!
The words yesterday saying: “God is for us, Christ is with us, and The Holy Spirit is in us” were hugely important but I was needing to reflect more on it. I’ve known this truth for years, but I haven’t lived as though I’ve known this. In reality, the gift of The Holy Spirit being within has remained as I’ve said before, somewhat of a mystery.
Today God is helping me unravel the mystery. As I was journaling to Him about present circumstances I was able to see my life as a vehicle for which I drive. The motivation for me to live my life for God has been primarily driven to prove that I could do this better than my dad did and that in so doing, I wouldn’t look like him. Today, God asked me to give the steering wheel to His Holy Spirit within me. I’ve come far enough now that I not only know my past is in the past, I can now let all the motivation of the past go too. I want the motivation for living out the life still before me to be in The Holy Spirit’s hands/control and not mine.
I’ve said all of this many time in my past. However, it has been a decision of the mind. Today God is showing me the difference between a decision of the mind and one of the spirit. I’m ready for my spirit to be in control of my mind through the surrender of my spirit to The Holy Spirit’s control. I’ve taken my hands off the steering wheel of my life and asked The Holy Spirit to now lead/drive. I can see this for the first time, not as a hope, but as a reality.