Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Gratitude

Not gonna lie. Today I was definitely sad. I had a moment this morning where I was downright depressed and close to tears.

Seeing as I was alone in the house, I finally just opened my mouth and said, "I'm really sad today."

And immediately, I heard God say in my heart, "Why are you sad?"

I said, "Because I miss my father."

He replied, "What would you be doing together right now if he was here?"

I thought about that for a moment. To be honest, I had no answer. I finally said, "I don't know. Just living my life with him, I suppose. Probably living in an apartment somewhere and working. I just miss him being around."

And God said, "Do you know why he had to die?"

I asked "Why?"

And He said, "Because he is Home now, and you will see him again, and this period of life is only a second. What about everything else? Do you not like your job?"

I thought of my wonderful job working for a creative magazine, my successful publishing career and the students I get to tutor, and I smiled and said, "No, I love my job."

And God said, "Do you love the man I sent you?"

And I thought of Robert, my boyfriend, and I smiled again and said, "No, I love Robert, he is loyal and kind, and we are so well matched, even in our flaws."

And God said, "What about the house I gave you? Do you like your house? Do you like your friends? Do you love your brother?"

And then I was smiling, and all I could do was kneel down on my knees in awe at all of the blessings God has showered on me. And I said, "Thank you, God. Thank you so much. I am grateful for everything and my life is perfect. Thank you for my wonderful, beautiful, perfect life."

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sometimes, I really don't understand friendships. If you say "sorry" over a minor offense, shouldn't it be okay? Don't we learn in Kindergarten that, if you give a sincere and honorable apology to someone, both in person and in writing, it means that everything is forgiven. Right? Well, I guess not. Sometimes you lose a friend anyway.
 Just goes to show that you really can't control how other people act or think. I am trying to make peace with it. It was an accident and I've done all I can to repair the situation, but if someone is set on holding a grudge, then I really can't force them to let it go. Sometimes I wish I could just cut my heart out and show it to another human being so they understand how honest-to-god sorry I am that I hurt their feelings.

 But that's what they don't teach you in Kindergarten. What happens when a friend doesn't accept your apology?

 I guess you move on and find new friends.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Plunging into darkness again....

Not an inner darkness. God knows I am happy and optimistic. But I'm launching a huge project and I honestly don't even know what I'm doing. Professionalism is like a mask people wear. Suddenly I'm surrounded by all of these big names and getting all sorts of inquiries, and I'm a tiny tiny fish in a big pond.

God, PLEASE be the light and grace inside of me. Exude strength and confidence. Let my warmth and positivity bleed through everything that I do. Be open. Be inviting. Move me with Your hand and show me how it's done, because You've done this before, and I trust that You can do it again.

I am the instrument. Let Him carry the tune.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It's funny how when things go bad and life takes a turn for the worse, we pray and pray and pray, and we feel like God is in every thought and corner. We speak to Him, look to Him, heal with Him and grow stronger.

And then, when our prayers are answered and we are delivered from the storm, we look around and think -- wait, where is God? Is He still here?

This is what I've been experiencing lately. For so long, my life was endless panic. Waking up was hell, sleeping was hell, I felt friendless and alone. It was so easy to rely on God, because He was all I had.

And now that I am through the fire, that I have been delivered into this new life that is far more stable, I suddenly feel bereft. I no longer have that desperate need of God. When we suffer, we are so close to Him. We pray so sincerely. We look for Him so closely... and then, when He delivers us from that dark place and we are able to stand on our own, we suddenly feel like something is missing. As though His presence is gone from our lives.

But He is never gone.

My lesson for this week: that when your life seems to have reached a plateau, don't think that you are suddenly away from God. He is still all around you. In fact, everything around you is there with His blessing. You are standing in the midst of His gifts.

Don't forget to thank the Giver.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Confessions V

And it all sneaks in again.

No matter how confident we grow in our faith, circumstances arise and the path fades, like a forest trail smothered in leaves. Do I still walk with God? Is he still present in my life? Or was all of that a dream, some marvelous possession of the Spirit, come and gone?

I do feel separated from God. I do not know why. This is my confession: that I am terrified of wandering. That I fear I have strayed. That perhaps my life makes even less sense now than it did two years ago. I thought things would become clearer, but I have crossed no finish line, reached no plateau, completed no task.

Are God's tasks ever complete?

I still await a change, a meteor from the sky or an earthquake, something to turn the world upside down. It happened once, and I keep thinking it will happen again. But perhaps God intends this current peace in my life, this period of immobility, paralyzed yet secure.

His thoughts still visit in my dreams. I know He is real. I still see it in the world. But where is He in my life? Where is His work?

God, I pray that you show me my divine purpose, and lead me back to that path.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Your love created life. 
What is a gift?
Your gift is everything.

* * *

I am a servant not because I am perfect. I am a servant because I truly care about the suffering of others -- because your suffering is God's suffering, and God's suffering is my suffering. Because God's love lives inside of us. Because we are temples. Shelters to one another. Walls. Palaces. Because we are the kingdom. 

I don't care about simple terms like "religious" or "nonreligious." Those words mean nothing to me. I am concerned with kindness -- with love -- with the state of the heart. The state of the heart is the same as your relationship with God. It needs to be pure. Clear. Like water.

And yes, it has to be God. It is not enough to simply be good. You need to know why you are being good -- that you are striving toward something -- that there is a goal, a plateau, a deeper understanding of life. 

There is a method to living. A method that will give you answers, that will let you see God. It is not a story, a fairytale, a metaphor -- something to be learned as children and then forgotten. There is Truth in the world. There is cohesion, synergism, totality. How do you find it? You follow Christ's path.

You follow it all the way. 

Prostrate yourself. Die on a cross -- live every day, every thought, in sacrifice.

Forgetting yourself allows you to experience a higher reality, a higher sense of unity. Forgetting yourself allows you to see God. He is in everything. If only the world knew -- He is real, He is real -- I promise you -- it is All Real.

Friday, February 3, 2012

I was asked the other day to list my answered prayers. It was an exercise of faith.

But honestly, it's hard to list the individual answered prayers. Looking back on my life, it feels like one answered prayer led to the next and to the next. Like everything has been a long chain of blessings. I think we need to have a certain amount of humility to realize that.

God's voice is Peace. God's presence is Love. My life is blessed and even when walking the darkest valleys, I have always seen that. How can I list one answered prayer when I see my entire life as an answered prayer?

When we know that God loves us unconditionally, we can accept that all things correspond to the good of the soul. It is God's plan that we become like Him. When we can accept that, we can forgive Him for our hardships and relish them instead, as they bring us closer to His kingdom, closer to the true nature of the heart.

Ask yourself -- what has made you more humble? What has made you more forgiving? What has taught you compassion? Surely, it has been loss after loss after loss. These are God's treasures -- these are God's blessings -- this is God's will.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

It is not to be sought in the world, but in the heart.

And when we listen with it, not to it -- we see God's message in everything.

You need to begin on the inside. The more we become like Christ, the more we see God. The outside will follow.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What you must know... as a Christian, as anything, as a human being with faith....

Is that God is right here with you and always has been. You do not need to try so hard. In just the same way that we share our lives with the trees and the moss and the birds, so we share our life with God. That He is, above all things, a Companion.

That there are knots tied inside of you; knots against faith, knots against the freedom of seeing God. Acts you have committed; things your parents taught you, whether they were Christian or not; worldviews and experiences that have shaped you, prejudices, bad tastes in your mouth, things that make you balk and worry and doubt....

And God has given me deft hands to untie the knots. It is what we do -- as pastors, counselors, students of faith -- we untie knots. God brings those to me who I can untie. This does not mean that I must force you to think what I think or know what I know. It means that I must learn your doctrine; what you believe, and what keeps you from seeing God in your life. And by listening, I can minister; I can give you peace. It is not your place to listen to me, but my place to listen to you. By hearing you, I can heal you.

You see... God gave me peace so that I can give it to you. I am not so much someone who talks about faith, but someone who listens with faith. I am always, in each second of the day, in service to God. It is not my job, but my vocation. I take it everywhere with me; into all houses, all churches and temples, all gatherings and all silence. It is not done for recognition; it is just what I am. And yes, I make mistakes. There is no guide book, no instruction manual to become a servant of God; every situation is uniquely its own; every trial is walked blindly, with the heart as a shepherd.

I believe God brings us only the souls that we can heal... and each of us has a different talent, a different method, a different healing voice....

And I know when God brings someone into my life for this purpose... I know because I understand that my duty is to untie knots. It is a humble and thankless task, but we do not work for reward. Save them, God said. Not condemn them. Not enslave them. Not buy them. Save them.The Bible speaks of rewards in Heaven, but honestly, I know nothing of Heaven except for that which I have experienced in my own life, and it has brought so much peace, so much joy, so much courage and patience and happiness.... How could I not give it to you?

And so I say, do not worry or fear judgment, because at your judgment you will have allies, you will have mercy. I will vouch for you as my brother or sister. Do not worry about God's plan for you. Do not think about the end of the world nor the salvation of your family. Worry about your heart and your walk with God, here and now. And if those come to you looking for faith and for God, show them compassion, give them a listening ear, give them love... show them where God fits into their lives... and you will save more souls and become a far greater service to the world.