battlefield

Building a Mystery

I’ve started several posts over the last few weeks and have posted nothing. *sigh* I’ve entered into a period of growth and the growing pains have been…interesting. Do I share them? Do I enter into full vulnerability here where anyone can see? What is the point of blogging if I’m not willing to share my process?

So here I am with a deep breath, my heart beating rapidly in my chest and my palms sweaty as I toss all the posts I’ve started to write away and get down to brass tacks. This blog is about my journey, after all. All the bright and shiny moments along with the all the muck and mire and, well, shit.

God has been asking me to fast for some time. I’ve been blissfully avoiding his prodding until last month when I couldn’t really ignore it anymore. My life was stale and my spiritual journey felt none existent. I was sleepwalking, no longer fully participating in my life. So I prepared for a month-long modified Daniel fast. I wanted to hear the Holy Spirit. I wanted something big and spectacular to be revealed. Mostly, I wanted to move forward and I finally realized that I was getting in my way.

So I fasted. I didn’t have huge epiphanies, didn’t see visions from Heaven. I didn’t hear God’s voice in clear and certain ways. When I started I wanted this to be a time of deep revelation. I wanted to come out the other side different. Changed. Enlightened. I think God laughed at me because my motivation starting out was so very wrong. What I learned instead was to rest. I learned to pray simple prayers. I was given a picture of generational bondage in my family line, though I was not delivered of that bondage during my fast.

God wasn’t going to deliver and change me in one go. I see that now. This fast was a way of clearing the deck of the noise buzzing around in my mind and paving the way for this next leg of our journey together. It wasn’t a way to bypass all the work ahead of me. More a way to accelerate the growth process. Was I disappointed I wasn’t magically changed? Sure, if there is away out of doing the hard work and get the same end result, who wouldn’t choose that? Come on, you know you want to raise your hand along with me.

So no drastic change. In fact, very little work within me through the first three weeks of my fast. I didn’t sense any change, really, until the last week of my fast when I spent time at a conference where Graham Cooke conference. His words are so full, his message so pregnant with revelation and meaning, I left each session feeling like my mind had been through a blender. But something in me shifted. Something Claire and I had been discussing. A cloud I was living under called Acedia.

I’ve been praying for clarity for a couple of years now, but something always seemed to fog my mind. Acedia is a sneaky bitch, whispering little things in one’s ear, zapping energy and focus, eating away at motivation. Lulling a person into complacency. We are not dangerous warriors when we are complacent, when we are suffering deep ennui. This is not a mental disorder such as depression. It is not melancholy. It’s subtle and insidious and breaking away from acedia is very difficult. Especially if you don’t know the ennui and complacency in your life is the result of being preyed upon and agreeing with this lying spirit.

During the conference I prayed for the Holy Spirit to fill me so there would be no room for Acedia. So I would hear only his voice. I prayed I would see the agreements I had made so I could renounce them. I was done. I was tired of never gaining traction. Never moving forward.

My prayers were answered in a subtle but meaningful way. Wouldn’t it have been cool if the light of heaven had shone down around me in that moment? Or the Holy Spirit filled me so completely I collapsed on the floor? Hmm, in retrospect, no, that would not have been a good thing. I would have been mortified! God knows this and in His kind and knowing way he gave me something else. Instead of something dramatic occurring, I heard the ocean. I love the ocean. I am not a complete person if I am not able to be around large bodies of water. The ocean soothes me, the lapping and crashing of waves renews me.

And that night I heard the ocean. And I knew that God had agreed with my prayer. That life will never be the same.

I still have acedia clinging to me like a petulant child, and sometimes I listen to the whispers and I want to agree with them. I’m so tired, too tired to clean the kitchen. I’m too sore to get start my day so it’s best to stay in bed and sleep. My job doesn’t hold meaning. But I don’t. God is with me. God has given me so much, a kitchen I can use to cook healthy and tasty food. A home. A family. Friends. A way to earn money and expand my skill set. Thanksgiving is the enemy of acedia. Rejoicing is the foundation of life in Christ. So I’m learning to rejoice, to look at my life and circumstance with thanksgiving. I’m learning to be the woman God created me to be.

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Dream Until Your Dreams Comes True

I’ve been thinking a lot about my Jesus at the temple dream. What does it mean for me? What is God trying to tell me?

My world has spinning layers of complexity. My MIL is a borderline and the family dynamics are shifting. Some acknowledge her mental illness and others in her family do not. My husband acknowledges it but doesn’t always put me, his wife, ahead of her. Or ahead of the rest of his family for that matter.

My husband is likely depressed and is burning himself out. He is grumpy and prickly and not the laid back man I married. He hates his job, but chooses to remain where he is due to benefits that are allowing him to finish a very important degree necessary for his line for work. He does not engage easily in relational intimacy right now, which puts a strain on our relationship and on my desire to pursue intimacy with him.

Work doesn’t fulfill me. I have a chronic health condition that makes keeping up with everything challenging. In this moment I feel as though hope has been deferred and my heart is breaking. I hold things together because someone has to and I often feel I cannot be my true and authentic self. I’m not even sure who that is any more. I don’t speak of my prophetic gifting except with a very very small circle of friends. I am unlearning misinformation about the prophetic and being taught anew what the prophetic is to a new testament world.  These are not easy lessons because they strip away layers of my beliefs and understanding of who I am.

When I had this dream of Jesus watching the shenanigans of the temple money changers, I had had a particularly nasty fight with my husband about his mom and some boundaries I needed to put in place. I was called a shrew and accused of transferring some of my experiences with another borderline in my life onto his mom. This wouldn’t have hurt like it did if just a few weeks prior my husband hadn’t acknowledged some things about his mother’s behaviors and I had this sense I was no longer trying to cope alone.

In that one fight I felt as though our hard fought unity had been shattered and he was going to revert back to excusing her behaviors and leaving me out in the cold. I felt as though I would always be on the losing end of this battle for our marriage. Exhausted, alone and licking my wounds, I crawled into bed and cried. I think I told God I couldn’t fight any more. That I didn’t know what else to do. Then I had THE DREAM.

Claire had a similar dream around the same time. She has her own reasons to cry out to God. I thought at the time I was dreaming for her. Giving confirmation that Jesus had her back, was watching the money changers in her life and was going to turn the tables. Jesus is glorious that way, and I see that so clearly for other people. And he has turned tables for Claire in real and wonderful ways.

Little did I know that this dream was a message for me, as well.

Only recently do I see Jesus standing for me. I am letting go of low self esteem, inaccurate beliefs and false humility and my eyes and heart are beginning to open to the realization that Jesus has my back and that it his desire to help me. He has a plan. He sees my hurt and frustration and he wants me to know he stands before me. He will clear the temple just for me.

What does God want me to know? That I’m not alone. That He sees and acknowledges the truth of my situation. And that He will not let injustice stand. He has my back. I can trust Him to not only stand for me but to also give me what I need to rise up and over my challenges. That He is in the middle of my marriage, my relationships with my MIL.  He has always been and has never left.

I hope it doesn’t take me too long to learn from this new insight. I have a feeling this is just the leading edge of the storm.

Love is a Battlefield

I’ve been thinking about love and prophecy and marriage and people in general. As a follower of Christ, I believe Jesus gave us a new law and covenant. It’s easy to remember as it only has two parts. Love God with everything and love others as you love yourself.

As easy as this is to remember, it’s difficult to live by. Why? In all my study of human nature, I think it boils down to this: humans look out for themselves first. There is no judgement in that statement. We have this internal drive to survive, even thrive so we put our needs and wants first. It is part of the foundational way we are taught through experience and observation. We don’t want to be hurt in relationships, so we insulate ourselves somehow, holding something back from others. Or becoming cynical and expect to be hurt so when the big let down happens, we tell ourselves we weren’t surprised therefore we aren’t hurt that badly. Of build a wall between ourselves and others through shame and judgement.

This is a simplified explanation, mind you. It doesn’t explain how deep or repeated trauma impact a person’s ability to love and trust. And again, I’m not judging. I live with this subconscious mindset every day. I hold back parts of myself from people because I want to feel safe and to put myself out there, I feel unsafe. I lock onto views and impressions of people and hold those beliefs close to my heart because to bring them out and examine them in the light of true unconditional love, I may be wrong. And being wrong hurts.

To truly love someone else, to be unconditional, we need to step outside this propensity to put ourselves first. I want to get something straight here – I’m not talking about not taking care of ourselves. I’m not talking about not doing the work to be healthy so we can enter into healthy relationships. To be healthy people who are capable of loving others as we love ourselves, we need to do the work. And sometimes doing the work may mean we deliberately put our need for wholeness ahead of nurturing others. I’m also not talking about putting others ahead of ourselves. Though sometimes love shines through sacrifice, this is not where I’m going.

Where was I? Right, loving others as we love ourselves. Engaging in self-growth allows us to put others on the same playing field. As we grow we see others differently. We open up ourselves to others. We learn to see others without cynicism or the baggage of our past. We aren’t swayed by the opinions of others as we once were. We seek out the truth because we are finding the truth within and around us.

Love others as we love ourselves. I can’t love someone if I don’t love myself. I can’t give love if I don’t know what love looks like, feels like, tastes like, sounds like. I can’t be healthy in my relationships if I don’t have a true view of myself as beloved by God.

Without these things, I, we, judge. And we do it well. We compare. We resent. We open up ourselves to bitterness and anger and cynicism and capriciousness.

I can’t be a prophet if I don’t have a foundation of love. The visions I receive, the whispers from the Holy Spirit about others, they could easily lead me to feeling superior. Better than the person the Holy Spirit is giving me words for. I definitely wouldn’t be driven to pray and speak with humility and compassion. Mercy would not have a place in my vocabulary.

Love is so very key. I’m not there yet. I’m a work in progress. Take my feelings toward my MIL. I resent her. I find it difficult to think kind or loving thoughts about her. I want to clench my jaw and tell her all the things God is showing me, not to edify or build her up, but to show her just how awful she has been and to shame her. Yeah, not very loving.

God is using my MIL to help me see some of these very difficult things about myself. Oh, he’s patient. So very patient. And he has a sense of humor. Amidst the pain associated with lancing the poisonous bile of judgement from my spirit, God shows me the funniest pictures of my MIL. Not to shame her, but to help me understand her motivations. They make me laugh, but they also drive the point clearly home. My MIL is a hurting woman with a mental illness. She is responsible for the consequences of her actions, but she is also worthy of grace. She is beloved by God. Cherished. We have that in common. We have my husband, her son, in common as well. I can start here, with the Holy Spirit showing me just how loved she is. And reminding me of how loved I am.

Love is a battlefield. Not because love itself is war, but because there are so many things out there that want to kill or warp the perfect love of God.