healing of the spirit

Who Needs Sleep?

I can’t sleep. I would love to blame this on my husband’s propensity to snore, but alas, this is not the case for tonight. My mind is full of other things. Not spinning out of control in a spiral of self-doubt as I am wont to do. No, I’m reflecting on my experiences over the last few weeks, encounters I have had with a woman who is called to spiritual warfare. Marji is a spiritual counselor, one whom I had heard of prior to last month, but not someone I thought I would ever see in a professional capacity.

Each of us is the product of two people joining their DNA. Within that genetic mapping are things such as eye color, bone structure, body type. Personality traits are in there somewhere, though personality is also molded by environment and experience. I believe we are also given familial curses and blessings of a spiritual nature. These can pass through to us from generations of ancestors past or from the very people who donated chromosomes for our own development. Ever wonder why tragedy befalls certain families generation after generation? Could it be that they are just unlucky? Perhaps. Or perhaps there is a curse on their family line, some agreement an ancestor made with a demon, wittingly or unwittingly. Legal ground is given and passes through the family for generations. A spiritual entailment, if you will.

Generational curses on a family line. I buy that. I struggled with this concept several years ago. Why would God punish me for something one of my great-great-great relative did so very long ago? But what if it isn’t God punishing us as proxies for another’s sin? What if generational curses are something else entirely?  What if one of those greats gave consent for evil and made agreements that allowed for legal access to all those who came after? What if God wants to do a good work in us but until we recognize the generational issues and break those agreements, we have reached a plateau in our growth?

I had reached a plateau. My mind knows so many truths about God, about my identity, about what a relationship with God can really look like. Yet I was stuck, unable to move past the knowing to the being. Nothing I tried worked. And I continued to feel as though I was living under a fog. Something wasn’t right. When somethings isn’t right with our bodies we see the doctor. When something is wrong with us spiritually, who do we call? I called Marji.

After two sessions with Marji I know something has shifted. I’m thankful for Marji’s part in starting me on the process. But I am in no way carrying around the illusion that after some prayers and renunciations I am finished the work. Life is a process. There are going to be seasons of growth and seasons of rest. I am in a season of growth.

I’m not sure how I feel about everything Marji said or did during our time together. I don’t think anyone person has an absolute picture of God and the grand scheme of His plans, so I try not to discount others when they say or do something that feels contrary to my experience of God. There is this one thing that is niggling at me, and it doesn’t feel quite right. I don’t know if it’s because Marji’s knowledge is a bit more expanded than my own, but when we spoke of chronic illness I was taken aback with her view.

If I understand Marji correctly, her view of illness chronic illness and disease is that it is a physical manifestation of a spiritual issue. Not necessarily sin per se, but oppression of our spiritual nature. I walked away from our sessions feeling like she believed that my chronic illness should now be healed because I have taken back legal ground in my spirituality and that part of my being is no longer being influenced by negative agreements.

I’m not sure where I stand on healing. I know people who have been healed of epilepsy, fibromyalgia, chronic pain. And not through medical intervention. So I believe there can be complete and total healing of the body. I also know people who have prayed for physical healing and their cancer was not put in remission, but their inner lives were strengthened and emotional wounding was healed in astonishing ways. Do I believe in healing? Yes, absolutely. Do I believe that illness in the body is a manifestation of what we believe or of our spiritual health? I’m not going to say no to this. I’ve seen too many things to say no. Read too much on epigenetics to say no. However, I do not believe that our physical afflictions are so easily addressed through spiritual means.

In a perfect world, in Eden, there would not be sickness, mental illness, relational dysfunction, poor self-esteem, abuse, greed…any of the things that impact and afflict us today. We do not live in a perfect world. Our bodies degrade as we age. Our genetic stew can predispose us to certain ailments and issues. And some of these may follow us to the grave. Does this mean we have done something wrong, made a misstep somewhere in our spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental journeys? I don’t think so. If that were the case, then the small child who has cerebral palsy has done something wrong to deserve such an affliction and God is a capricious God who doesn’t look at us with love and care, but with judgement.

I feel like I’m speaking out of both sides of my mouth with this. What I can say is I don’t have the answers and I am not comfortable with a world view where sickness and suffering is always because something is wrong in the spiritual. I feel like that world view doesn’t look at people as holistic beings, but wants to separate out the spiritual and the physical. Wants to always look for cause and effect.

I’m the first to admit it’s nice to be able to put things in neat little boxes, label them, tape them up, and put them on a shelf. I don’t know that life can be reasoned through this way. I wish it was that easy. Good and bad. Black and white. The world is full of shades of grey. Mystery. Unknown. It’s the human struggle to bring meaning to our world. To struggle through the unknown and explain it. Many good things have come from this. And I know in this period of growth that’s part of the process – the struggle. And admitting what I thought I knew and believed, well, maybe I didn’t have the full picture and need more information. And maybe I need to let some things go and have faith that if it’s really important for my salvation, for my health and wellbeing, the answers will be there. Eventually.

These are the thoughts that can keep me up at night.

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You’re F**kin’ Perfect To Me

Claire had a word for me earlier this week. A profound word that I received from her while I was at work. A word that drove me to my knees, figuratively cuz, you know, at work. But there in my cubicle I fought the need to cry until the desert within my soul was saturated with tears of release and longing. To rage at the sky at the hurts I have buried deep within my soul, at the things that have been said over me and done to me and agreed to by me that have done nothing but tear away at my sense of self. This word has ripped me apart inside and when the pieces are put back together I know I will never be the same.

[Y]ou are a talented, intelligent, beautiful, capable woman. You are gifted. The Lord has deposited His image in you. It’s a unique image. No one else on the planet, past, present, or future has this particular image. Your expression of this image is your own, and He is excited to continue revealing it to you and others day by day. You, therefore, have no need to compare yourself to others.
Comparisons are pointless. It’s like hummingbird comparing itself to an orchid. The hummingbird is iridescent and beautiful. One must look hard to see it. It is made with purpose. Everything about the hummingbird allows it to do exactly what it was purposed to do. The orchid, on the other hand, lives in rainforests. It’s not even a bird! Like the hummingbird, it’s a rare beauty, but it’s wildly different. The two cannot be compared. How are they alike? They are alike in that they are  magnificent. They are wonderfully made. They cause one to stop and stare.
When hummingbirds are in action, pollinating flowers, sipping nectar, people gather because the hummingbird in action is a wonder. When the orchid is at rest it seems to just be a collection of leaves. Nothing special. But when it blooms, it stuns. Each variety of orchid is different. In fact, one can’t even compare orchid blooms to each other because they are so different and beautiful.
To compare a moth orchid to a Lady Slipper seems almost like a crime. It denigrates their beauty. Each one is incomparably lovely.
For you to compare yourself to another person decreases your worth. It insults God. He thought you up before the foundations of the world were set in place. Everything about you; your laugh, your eyes, your spirit, your hair, even the way you walk. The name given you. The way you drink your tea. Your creativity. Your longings and secret desires….your desire for more. It’s all known by Him and to compare yourself others, to agree with anyone else, natural or supernatural, that you, as you are, in the eyes of God are somehow lesser or less beautiful or too much or not enough in comparison to someone else is wrong.
Come into agreement with who God says you are. On the day He thought you up, He declared to the Heavens–“I  made her. And she is. ‘She is fearfully and wonderfully made.” Agree with that. If you ever get confused go back to that. If you ever lose your way go back to that.
“I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am good.”
“I am as magnificent as a hummingbird and lovely as an orchid.”
“Incomparably beautiful. There is no one like me.”

This was the first part of the word. It went on from there to show me generational sin and agreements in my family line. In my own life. God used Claire to show me how God sees me and to let me know that in some of the deepest and darkest moments in my life God didn’t abandon me. Which I have always known on an intellectual level but truly believed? No. You see, there’s always been this voice in my head telling me I’m not worthy. I’m not worth God’s love. I’m never going to really be His daughter because I’m broken beyond repair. How could a good and perfect God love someone like me.

That voice sounds an awful lot like my grandmother. But it’s not her. Sure, she spoke words over me that were curses rather than blessings. And the spirit of victimization, the spirit of poverty, a spirit of jealousy started to become empowered in my life. It hurts to type this. I am looking back over events in my life, at social ostracization, at always being on the outside even within my own family and I see a girl who had no idea what was at work in her life. And I see a broken view of God. He wasn’t big enough or didn’t care enough to stop these things. He didn’t stop my grandmother from speaking curses over me time and time again. He didn’t stop the mean girls from making sure my life was a social hell. He didn’t stop the sexual abuse or my own choices that occurred after.

I’ve been harboring anger at God. As for how I feel about myself, I’ve been seeing myself as too much and not enough. Always reaching but never deserving.

God spoke to Claire and she imparted to me that God was with me through it all – the good and the bad. And God has never seen me as lacking. He was with me and He knew He would heal me. God is outside of time. Heal me then, heal me now, does it matter? There is healing. God is there, holding my head through the darkest memories and like a good parent, He is telling me that it will be okay. Telling me He knows it hurts, and hurts horribly to the point where I don’t know if I can stand through the pain. But He will heal these hurts and tend to my wounds. And He wants to do that now.

God also knows that like Thomas I have doubts. Prove it to me, Papa. Prove to me that you were there and that you have always planned to heal these wounds. Prove to me that you can. Prove to me that you loved me when I see myself at my worst. Prove to me that nothing I have done to dare Heaven has diminished your love for me. Prove it, Papa.

Since God knows this part of me, He had Claire tell me that it was okay to ask the hard questions and go into those dark and devastating memories and look. He will be there. He has always been there. Even when I raged at Him for not loving me enough, for playing favorites, for letting dreams fall to dust. For not saving me from myself. God basically dared me to bring Him any bad memory and He will show me where He was and what He was doing. He will show me His goodness.

Funny how well God knows us. Had He not dared me, I wouldn’t be writing this post. Had He not said, “bring it” I would have taken this word and I would have tucked it away. But I wouldn’t have done anything with it. I wouldn’t be sitting here telling God to show me exactly where His goodness was when in sixth grade all it took was one sick day for the head mean girl to turn my best friend of a year against me. When upon my return to class she was mocking me during lessons and ridiculing me at lunch. Where was HIs goodness when that same mean girl made it her mission to turn every new student our age against me to ensure that I was always on the outside and alone? Where was His goodness when I was abuse by babysitters, by a family member? Where was His goodness when my grandmother told me time and time again that I would never be enough. When she would destroy my mother in my presence and then turn to me, daring me to cross her, flaying me verbally when I did.

And God wouldn’t be patiently showing me exactly that. Or He would be, but I wouldn’t be listening. I would have my eyes closed and my fingers in my ears chanting, “la la la, I can’t hear you” like a stubborn strong-willed child.

I certainly wouldn’t be listening to Pink’s single F**kin’ Perfect over and over again, the words a love song to the child I remember and the adult I am becoming because seriously, I think God wrote part of that for me.

You’re so mean, when you talk
about yourself. You were wrong…
Pretty, pretty please, don’t you ever  ever feel
Like you’re less than, less than f**kin’ perfect
Pretty, pretty please, if you ever ever feel
Like you’re nothing, you’re f**kin’ perfect to me

There’s more to be done. More conversations to be had between God and I. There are old  agreements to abolish. There is bondage to work through. Legal rights to revoke. Exchanges to be made. And healing to be had.

This is an opportunity. An open door. And I have a choice to be made. Will I hesitate to walk through that door and enter into the work of healing and divine acceleration of growth that God has placed in my life? Or will I exchange poverty thinking, fear and judgement for compassion and knowing, really knowing my God-given worth and step through that door?

We all have these moments in our lives, moments of great opportunity that may seem like they carry great cost. And evangelical teachings tell us that the cost is to be weighed and never taken lightly. However, I am reminded that God gives us all we need in order to pay the cost, which in essence means we don’t really pay anything. God does. Why do we fear then? Why do we resist? Because we believe the lies and look at what we have and decide it’s comfortable enough here, where we are. And we miss out on so much.

I don’t want to be afraid anymore. I want to see myself as God sees me. I don’t want to be angry anymore or tired of fighting or lonely in a crowd of people. I want something more. Don’t you?