Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

 Happy New Year!

I am honored to be sharing this life with you.

As the new year moves in, I resolve to expand in all of my capacities... I resolve to build my endurance, to shoulder what the Lord has given me and submit to higher will. I resolve to be a better listener, a better thinker, and a better believer. I resolve to pray more, love more, and give more.

May this next year be blessed with revelation, fulfillment, and peace! God bless you!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Searching for Peace

When people long for an answer, what they really long for is peace.

There is no amount of logic that will bring peace to a searching heart. If you are seeking God, it is good to study what others have said... but the only true answer you will ever receive, the only thing that will stop your heart from questing, is communion with God. This is because God is not something that can be understood in the mind... it is not something that can be analyzed, broken down into endless pieces and rules, and then put into a safe category. God is that which exceeds all contradictions and explanations; in a sense, it is the ultimate paradox... and yet it is so very, very real. The reason why so many people have trouble seeing God is because we live so close to it, it's hard to pull back and see what's really in front of us... but just because we can't see it doesn't stop it from existing.

If you seek God, then pray. It is very simple. Pray through the heart, and you will be given God's peace... and eventually, you won't need to look anymore, because you'll see that God is right there inside of you.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

God Will Place You

Had an enlightening conversation with my aunt this holiday season....

She told me that whenever she is under stress, her first reaction is to "run away." When her mother died at 13 (similar to when my mother died), her response was to rebel and run away from home. Now that she is struggling with marital problems, she feels the urge to run away again, but she stays in her marriage because she wants to remain true to her faith and set an example for younger generations.

She said that she remembered when my mother died, that I came to her with a lot of soul searching. Every time I would come to her house, I either "believed in God" or I didn't. I would argue and discuss it with her until I returned home, sometimes over a period of three or more days. She said I was fighting an intense inner battle. This led all the way up to my revelation, and then all arguments of God stopped because I had found my faith.

She said that it appears that I am doing the same now with my father's death... yet instead of searching for God, I am searching for where I fit. She said that my conviction gave her chills, that it was clear I wasn't doubting God, but that I was looking for the place where God needed me. She told me "Don't worry about where you're going because God will place you where you fit...." In the meantime, it's good that I research all kinds of faith in order to understand where one is lacking and another is fulfilling. "Eventually," she said, "You'll find a peace in knowing that God has you exactly where He needs you."

When she said these things, I was surprised, because my aunt is in no way a perfect person and her judgment of other people and other faiths has often turned me off to Christianity. I was shocked that she actually encouraged me to search through other religions to find what felt right, and that this was a necessary part of growing in faith. She said that this way, I could lead others from all sorts of faith and help them to have a relationship with God. She also said that I needed to do this now while I am young, because if I ever was to be married or have a family, they would be looking to me for strength and conviction, and it isn't good for children to see a mother flip-flopping back and forth with her beliefs.

She also said not to think that I am doing this alone; she said that many people are watching me, my brother and friends and probably people I don't even realize, and that they are looking for God's truth in my life. It is not really about me... rather, it is up to me not to lead them astray....

Suddenly, my path to God and divinity took on a far more important role. No, this walk is not for me... it is for all those who witness it, and I have a responsibility not to lead them into false beliefs.

It made me wonder if God is making my life into an example of faith in order to wake them up....

"Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass ... Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him."
Psalm 37:4,7

"For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice, and He preserves the way of His godly ones. Then you will discern righteousness and justice and equity and every good course."
Proverbs 2:6-9

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Waiting, waiting, waiting....

I guess everything is in God's hands... but sometimes I get so impatient! I can't help it, I'm so enthusiastic about God's love, and I want to share it so badly... but I know I'm not ready yet, I don't know enough about religion to believably back up what I want to say. It's funny how God's truth happens in a second, while logical knowledge takes years of arduous study to build. It's very hard for me to study religion because I see so many things that are hurtful and needlessly misinterpreted... the attitudes in religion that move against God are like needles in my heart, they make me want to cry out, frustrated and helpless... and yet how, with so many beautiful religions to choose from, everyone is still so blind... and the people who aren't blind are busy saving orphans in Africa....

Also, there are many people saying what I want to say already... I think the only difference is they don't have God's words burning up their mouths (because if they did, why has no one claimed the title of messenger?)...

Christ knew He had a task for God, but He still had to be anointed by the Spirit in the River Jordan... how long did He have to be patient, with God's call burning up His heart?

Which brings me to a question -- what is the difference between a scholar spreading a message, or a servant of God spreading a message... even if the messages are the same? I think it is the same difference between one who hears a recording of Beethoven, and then one who sits in the middle of the orchestra. A recording is beautiful... but sitting in an orchestra will bring you to your knees. Truth must be brought alive by Spirit.... In the end, I don't think people listen to words... I think they listen to Spirit.

Doesn't matter how many times I update this blog, what people need is my presence so they can feel and see God work through my character. I tutor children for a living, ages 7-12, and I imagine that teaching faith will be much the same... you can't tutor a child over the internet, you have to engage them on their own level in a personal setting. Of all the things recorded of Christ, why did they not record his teaching? Why couldn't they describe how he sat with the ignorant and blind and turned their hearts?  That is what I am dying to know... Christ, how did you do it...

My father once said that if you can teach a child, you can teach anyone...

It feels so strange saying these things because there is no certainty that anything will come to pass... no certainty in myself, that is... yet I have great certainty in God, and this feeling hasn't passed in the 10 years that I've had it. It's been in me since before I even knew who Christ was... I can only trust and believe that God wouldn't plant a desire in my heart that He wouldn't fulfill....

Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God." - Mark 10:27

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Prayer: A Step Towards Enlightenment

The goal of praying is to reach a state where you are constantly in prayer.

You'll never grow spiritually if you don't pray... in fact, most spiritual growth takes place through prayer. So what is prayer, why should we do it, and what is our ultimate goal?

1) When I pray, who am I speaking to?

You are speaking to God... but what is God? God is consciousness. The flaw in human logic is that we think of consciousness as being separate from everything around us. We think consciousness is something confined to the brain, nervous system, etc. However, this is not true. Consciousness is energy. Energy is self aware. We are made of energy, are we not? And aren't we self aware?

When you pray, you initiate direct communication between you and all things. And believe me, They are listening. When you pray, pray through your heart. This is where you open your connection to God.

2) Will my prayers be answered?

Yes. Always. But not always how we imagine. God (just like the Heart) knows the true value of all things.

It is not a matter of faith that your prayers will be answered. Anyone who prays will have their prayers answered. However, the greater faith you have, the more you will see your prayers manifest in reality. Also, we must have patience when waiting for our prayers to be answered, because timing is very important.

3) What is the goal of prayer?

When we pray, we encourage grace. What is grace? Grace is God... grace is becoming more aware of the presence of God both in ourselves and our lives. Prayer is the only thing that can open the eyes of the heart and allow one to truly see God as He is: both inside of ourselves, and interconnected with the world. I encourage everyone to pray at least once a day. Pray how you are comfortable; you may use recited prayers like those found in Catholicism or types of Buddhism, or you can pray simply through your heart. However, pray often, and have faith. This will bring you to God.

Try to reach a point where you are in a constant state of prayer. What does this mean? It means that you are in constant dialogue with God. Imagine that you only pray once a year... and once a year, your prayers come true. Now imagine if you pray once a week... and once a week, your prayers come true. And now imagine if you pray once a day... and once a day, your prayers come true.

But when you are in a constant state of prayer, your entire life becomes a miracle, and you will see God manifest in everything around you. This is Enlightenment.
Those who do not understand I will need to leave behind. But that time is not now.

God says... don't say it, there will come a time and a place, but not yet.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Love Letters V

You are my treasure. I have made you delicate and powerful, small and mighty; in you, I have placed the passion of my brightest stars and the words of my clearest rivers. I took dust and light, shaped you with sound and water, and loved you into being. And even though I allowed you to have a life of your own, you gave it back to me and put yourself in my hands.

I see your eyes turned to me. The world is a busy place, rushing back and forth, made of blues and grays. I watch them, but it is rare that one turns to watch me... and for that, you are full of color. For that, I have come to you, to provide for you and shelter you. Walk, and I shall walk with you.

You may doubt me, and I know why; because the road to your heart's desire is a long one, and there is much to fear. But you need not fear. I carry you in my hands. Your heart is my greatest treasure... and I guard it with my own. Above all things, I will guard your beautiful little heart.
"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Matthew 6:21

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Travel

If I am going to eventually minister to those of all religions, then I must become an expert on all religions.

Whew, God, you weren't kidding when you said I had a task... and I'm going to have to travel the world too. I'll have to visit all of the holy sites, but that will come later.

I'm an "all or nothing" kind of person. I hold nothing back. When God threw me into this fire, I realized I had two choices: succeed or die trying. If I fail at uniting the world, it will be because I died trying.

Compassion

I do believe that in the spiritual realm, compassion rules all things.

I think compassion is the very essence of God. When I see kindness, generosity, and love that spills over the boarders of convention, love that overflows from the heart and extends to all of those in need, that is where I see God. That is where God comes from inside of me. When the pain of another brings tears to my eyes, and the suffering of another compels me to act, and when the burden of another invites my own arms, this is how I know I am truly of God... because selflessness is something that expands beyond the natural realm. Selflessness is against our baser nature. And yet compassion lives inside of me. Compassion is what drives my life, and compassion is the tool that God gave me.

To judge is human. To forgive is Godly. Christ did not come to judge, but to save all souls. I think this speaks mountains of what God is.

I do not see God in those who would judge the wicked. I see God in those who would die for them.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


"We have had many harbingers and forerunners; but of a purely spiritual life, history has afforded no example. I mean, we have yet no man who has leaned entirely on his character, and eaten angels' food; who, trusting to his sentiments, found life made of miracles; who, working for universal aims, found himself fed, he knew not how; clothed, sheltered, and weaponed, he knew not how, and yet it was done by his own hands. ... Shall we say, then, that transcendentalism is the excess of Faith; the presentiment of a faith proper to man in his integrity, excessive only when his imperfect obedience hinders the satisfaction of his wish."
-Ralph Walder Emerson, Nature

I disagree. Is this not the faith that we all live by? Do we not all live entirely by our character, however limited? Do we not all find ourselves clothed, fed, and sheltered by our own hands, yet we know not how?

Let's take the time today to dwell on the miracle of our own lives, and how we must appear in the eyes of God. God does not require that we all live by an excess of faith, but He certainly looks after those who do, and there are many.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

God's Wild Flower

As much as I am able to know, I am what I am, and I am willing to wait for what God has planned.

Lately I have been withdrawing from life and many of the people around me. I am taking longer breaks in solitude. It is strange to feel God call to us. It is a voice... like music, which moves through the whole body... and suddenly, I cannot choose anything else, I must go where I am drawn.

"For a long time I wondered why God showed partiality, why all souls don't receive the same amount of graces.
Jesus consented to teach me this mystery. He placed before my eyes the book of nature; I understood that all the flowers that He created are beautiful. The brilliance of the rose and the whiteness of the lily don't take away the perfume of the lowly violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy.... I understood that if all the little flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose its springtime adornment, and the fields would no longer be sprinkled with little flowers....
So it is in the world of souls, which is Jesus' [God's] garden. He wanted to create great Saints who could be compared to lilies and roses. But He also created little ones, and these ought to be content to be daisies or violets destined to gladden God's eyes. Perfection consists in doing His will, in being what He wants us to be.
I understood that Our Lord's love is revealed as well in the simplest soul who doesn't resist His grace in anything. In fact, since the essence of love is to bring oneself low, if every soul were like the Saints and Prophets who have shed light on the Church, it seems that God wouldn't come low enough by forming only their great hearts. But He created the child who doesn't know anything and only cries weakly, He created poor ignorant persons who only have natural law as a guide -- and it is to their hearts that he consents to come down: Here are wildflowers whose simplicity delights Him....
Just as the sun shines at the same time on the tall cedars and on each little flower as if it were the only one on earth, in the same way Our Lord is concerned particularly for every soul as if there were none other like it. And just as in nature all the seasons are arranged in such a way as to cause the humblest daisy to open on the appointed day, in the same way all things correspond to the good of each soul."
St. Therese of Lisieux, 1873-1897 
May I always be God's wildflower, in his deepest forest, blooming.

Knowing God

I've cracked open a book called Feeling Like God by Chris Tiegreen. Lots of good stuff... it talks about the emotions of God as outlined in the Bible and tries to help the reader understand God on a more human level. This is supposed to help us build a stronger relationship with Him, which is a good deal, since we are God's children, after all. Everything we are is a dim, dim, dim shadow of Him....

But something stood out to me in the first chapter of the book that bugs me. It mentions "knowing" God as in studying Him through a book. Chris Tiegreen then goes on to say that it's not enough to know Him through the Bible, we must feel like God as well. Feeling like God is what helps us build a deeper relationship with Him. This shocked me because since coming into my own faith, I have always thought it was obvious that to know God is to feel God, and it has nothing to do with the Bible at all.

Let me ask a question: can you claim to know someone just by reading a few letters they sent you in the mail? If Angelina Jolie sent you a letter telling you about what she bought when she went shopping yesterday, does that mean you know her?

Can you know someone if you have never met them in person but talk to them on the phone every day? Perhaps a bit better.

Can you know someone if you've never been involved in a deeply romantic relationship with them? Especially a long marriage, including sex, children, and the whole nine yards? After a lifetime together, you can claim to know someone much, much better....

But knowing God, when you really know God, is much deeper than all of these things, because God first and foremost resides inside of you.

Knowing God is what real salvation/revelation is. In this book, Chris Tiegreen starts out by speaking of "knowing God" as though it has to do with humanly study and knowledge, but that's impossible. We can never truly comprehend God in our minds... and for God's sake, don't base your "knowing God" on "knowing the Bible." The Bible is nothing like God, not when it is taken as a whole.That's where the essential flaw lies in studying the Bible. Everything that comes before Jesus' teachings should really be thrown out, because all that stuff about "jealousy" and "rage" is simply not true.

When you really know God and you know God's presence in all things, you also realize that religion has very little to do with it. Imagine for a moment that your brother walks into the room. You know it's your brother; you can see him, hear him talk, maybe even smell him if he hasn't showered. Now imagine that you can know God in just the same way. You sit down in a room and you are silent, and suddenly you can feel a love, connection, and consciousness humming through everything. Knowing is an emotion, but it's more real than that. The faith of the saints and prophets is a feeling, it's an experience and a "knowing" that is absolutely incorruptible because it cannot be challenged. God walks into a room and you see Him. You can't know God much more than that.

You can know God on earth. God isn't sitting somewhere out there on some Heavenly throne. Even Christ said "The Kingdom of Heaven is inside of you." God is here and now. You know God when you can see God here and now.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Where there is life...

Where there is life, there is God.

In Heaven, there is life in its purest form.

Those who know God know life in its purest form.

God, give me back to God. Give me back to the Spirit of Life. Give me back to that which I came, to that which made me, and remade, and shall make again. God, bring me back to You that we might continue our work. I am sorry for straying. I am sorry for thinking I am not what I am; for thinking I am less or more. I am sorry for that which is between us.

God says, You are everything to me.

And I, I am nothing, if alone.

It cannot be earned...

Prayer is powerful. Prayer is the only means to awaken a soul to God. If prayer can make one see God, what can't it do?

Gifts cannot be earned. They can only be given freely. This is how God gives His Gifts. You cannot earn a blessing from God; you will never be pure enough to match the divine will; God made us this way. It is better to be weak. God loves to lift you. God is waiting for you to be weak and crawl to Him, that you might see Him, that He might show you His highest Self. If you do not approach God helplessly, that which thinks it is strong[er than God] will make you blind. Why else do we suffer? That we might learn the sweetness in suffering, the absolute nothingness of our smaller selves, and absolute surrender to our Father.

I surrender again and again. It is a daily practice. We can never be strong. We can only be weak with God; only in our weakness can God work through us. Only by our humility can we follow His path.

It is dangerous to say "I am God." To be God is not to be powerful, but to be Love. To be beyond self. To be the wholeness in all things. To have God's wholeness, there must be endless sacrifice until the very word sacrifice becomes irrelevant, because all things bring joy.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Love Letters IV

It is my joy to bring you joy. And when I bring others joy, I feel your joy, and I am warmed.

Give to me that I might give to them. Love me that I might love them. Heal me that I might heal them. Teach me that I might teach them.

You are my only, my divine, my immortal moment. You are melody in sound, a breath in the silence, the core of each verse. You sing to me and I sing to you; we sing for each other.

Dear God, I pray to be your divine melody, to learn and to sustain it. I pray to be the fullness of each note, the silence of each rest, the crescendo and finale. Dear God, I pray to be the voice of your voice, the will of your will, the heart of your heart and a vessel of your unconquerable love. Dear Lord, anoint me. Bring me your burdens in rain, sun, and storm. Give me the brightest lamp, the longest road, the hardest path and the highest peak; give me the heaviest heart that the world might be lighter. Show me your strength, and dear God, give me your courage that I might cry out against the sickness that has poisoned our people, the worm that has rotted the fruit of your trees. Dear God, make me a falcon that I might fly towards daybreak and skim the skies, lifted by your endless wind.

I shall move fast for your pace is upon me, and I know that you drive me as surely as daybreak, you lead me as the Sun across the sky.

A Promise

First written October 7, 2009 © Theresa Shreffler

I do not believe that you are beyond potential.
I do not think that you are undeserving of love.
I will never look at you and criticize your faults,
nor will I ever love you any less because of them.

I do not believe that you are beyond suffering,
nor do I believe that your cruelties are your own,
nor will I ever believe that you are less than me
nor will I ever judge you for a lack of faith.

I will never pretend to listen to you, while you speak
your heart to me; I will thank you and bow, knowing
you have trusted and seen in me all that I want to give;
if I may, then let me fail a thousand times for you to succeed.

I will never falter, I will never waver in my belief
in you, nor in the path that brought us together;
I will value every brief second we spend, even in passing,
even if I did not make you smile, even if

I did not touch your heart. I will gladly suffer
your pain with you, and burden the greater
if I could, and forgive you for any doubt, and
when you leave, I will bless your feet that

you may walk on water, that you may not
falter nor tire, and that your road will lead you
only to fulfillment, satisfaction, and peace.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

An Orphan with God

I am a tiny sapling tree and every time we talk about God, I grow a little bit more. Thank you all for sharing your faith with me. :)

Since I became an orphan, an amazing transformation has happened in my life. I am now fearless. Psychologists say that our relationships with our parents form the majority of our identities, and wow, is that ever true. How many people's lives have been ruined by a bad relationship with a mother or father? Well, now my only parent is God, and I have been forced to become who I have always wanted to be.

Before my dad died, my greatest fear was that I would not be strong enough to carry out God's will. I was very emotionally dependent on my father. Everything in my life revolved around him because we had so much in common. We were both writers, both musicians, both deep thinkers in our different ways. His atheism was like a sliver in my side; it caused me to doubt my faith, to make me question what I believed, and whether or not I was strong enough to share my spiritual experiences with the world. Also, fear of his death held me back. I didn't want to travel or leave home because I was afraid of losing precious time with him. Perhaps very deep in my heart, I always knew that he was going to die.

I spoke to God a lot about it... I was encroaching on 20 and I still hadn't progressed enough on my spiritual path. I hadn't reached where I needed to be. I felt like I was floating in a stagnant pool; life was too comfortable and I didn't know how to take the next step. I thought... maybe I am too weak to serve the world. Maybe this is all just a wonderful, fantastical dream, and one day I will be on the other side of the hill and realize that I have lost my chance. When I thought of that, I felt a deep, wallowing despair.

And then my father died, my last surviving parent, and I realized that I had only two choices: sink or swim. I was faced with needing to live on my own and provide for myself, and at the time I didn't even have a job. My father was thousands and thousands of dollars in debt, and to be honest, I still don't know if we will lose this house or not. I had to drop out of school and I thought I would never be able to continue with my education. My vision of the future was erased. Everything changed.

But even as I was standing next to my father's death bed, there was joy in my heart... because I know God very well. Even though everything was ripped away from me, and my life had completely changed, I was finally back on my spiritual path. I knew that if I could handle this, I would be fearless. I would be able to conquer the world. If I could learn to swim by diving into a shark pool, then I could easily tread in the deepest waters. My father's death was God's greatest sign to me. God was saying that my prayers had been heard, and that yes, I was strong enough. My path was exactly what I thought it would be.

Everything since my father's death has been a trial of faith. The jobs I've been able to find in this harsh economy, the scholarship I received to finish college, the blatant signs from God that have shown up on my doorstep... my entire life is one long unfolding miracle. Every day my faith is stronger. I've always known God, and yet now I know God in a different way. Before, I knew the truth of unity, and God's presence in my heart. Now, I can see the power of prayer, and how God works through the hands and feet of other believers. Now I can experience it for myself. I don't say God is my Father because of what we learn in church. I say God is my Father because He is. Because he provides for me as a Father, guides me as a Father, pulls me from the fire and brings me peace. I gave up my parents that I might have this relationship with God, and it is worth it. It is so very, very worth it.

I was once reborn in God... and with my father's death, I am now made new again. I am a child, but I am unafraid of the world. God's passion lives inside of me. I wish I could live every day in silence, sitting in my back yard and listening to God. If I died tomorrow, I know it would be with peace in my heart, having lived a life full of meaning and revelation. We are all so blessed to be here. We are so blessed to be alive.