Silence

It really hit me the other day when I was reminded that the Israelites waited over 400 years for a word from God before The Word was sent to them in flesh.

How long did Abraham and Sarah wait in silence for Isaac?

How long did Joseph wait in the prison in silence?

How long did Moses wait in the desert in silence?

And then our Jesus. Silent for three long days.

Then the biggest things. Stories that are told now for how many years? All over. Probably multiple times a day for thousands of years. Pretty incredible if you think about it that way. Going from nothing to something so big that people are still talking about it thousands of years later.

Will we trust that God still loves us that much? Is still very much alive and still very much cares? That we are not abandoned, but truly beloved children?

What if God still wanted to show off for us today? Collectively and individually. For us. For me. For you. Is God still that big? Still that personal?

Self-Love

It really messed me up in a good way the other day when I heard that some people try to outsource self-love. Desperately. Holding everyone else accountable for loving them, but not holding themselves accountable for self-love. That hit deep.

The more I think about it, the more important I think it is to prioritize taking care of your business. I mean one of the greatest commandments is love your neighbor as you love yourself. The order of the words seems to kinda put the neighbor first. But really, loving yourself is the first action.

If I treat myself like crap, then it’s no wonder that I will not treat others well. If I don’t value myself, how can I really value another? If I put myself down and don’t have patience with myself, how long can I really be patient with another?

Think of it like a gas tank. Even if I give away everything I have to others in the name of love, eventually I’ll run out. That’s what happened to me. I didn’t even know it until I hit empty. I have been recovering ever since.

Cheerful giver. Giving from a place of abundance. Not putting myself in a place of poverty just to lift another up – like I used to do before. Does God give from a place of abundance or a place of lack?

I think in general the problem is learned helplessness. If you were never encouraged or were even actively discouraged from loving yourself, and you had to survive on the crumbs of affection that were given to you by others, or crumbs you had to earn through performance – then is it no wonder that it never even occurs to you that you have the ability to love yourself period – much less when others don’t.

How and where do you start when you’ve never done a thing before? I am learning to start wherever the pain rears up. You get that moment of looking outside of yourself. Upset about someone not being there for you in some way. Or unhappy with yourself. And you start there. Acknowledge the disappointment. But then ask yourself what YOU want to do about it. Keep crying and complaining about it for how long? You can do that. Or you can make changes. Little by little.

I’ve seen people sit and wait for decades. Sitting in rooms, distracting themselves with various forms of mind-numbing entertainment. Stewing in resentment. In my experience, these are some of the ugliest people. So desperate for control that they push everyone away. Ungrateful. And unwilling to do much of anything, especially if it will require long periods of discomfort, to change their situation.

Do you want to be well? Get up and walk.

Of course it won’t feel that easy. Any muscle that has been atrophied for so long will take a lot of work to get into any shape. But would you rather the alternative?

You can do it.

I asked God for a vision today. For new vision for the future since what I thought would happen crashed dramatically to the ground. No putting the spilled milk back where it came from. Gone. Finished. Unless God performs a miracle; which may not even be best.

I felt like God said to me that there is no grand vision. There is no master plan. There is no perfect path. That this is all about relationship and healing. That I am a co-creator of sorts. That Trinity will work with whatever I give God. So I get to choose.

Which brings up a whole huge litany of thoughts you don’t consider when you are simply looking at rules and figuring out boundaries. Let’s start with: why? Why will I choose what I choose? What am I aiming for? Temporarily pacifying myself? No condemnation, but what if there was more?

This is where it requires less work to sit back and ask for less freedom. To go back to Egypt. What we’ve always known. Just to ease the anxiety of not knowing. Just to have a sense of security. Even if they are bars in a prison cell.

What will you do? What if you can’t mess up so much because very little of what you think is this life matters once you are on the other side? Once this human experience is over? I’m reminded yet again that the only one who was corrected was the one who did nothing out of fear. The others planted seeds and were tangibly rewarded.

Someone Asked

There are so many different ways relationships can express themselves. I was laughing with a friend the other day when we were talking about how it might be nice to be married but not live in the same house as our spouses; just live right next door. And share space when times flow well, but have somewhere close to go when time apart is also good.

When I was younger, I could see only one way. My friend, Dr. Jonathan, told me back in the day, “Sarah, you are so damn black and white.” I didn’t get it then, but now I do. Over the past few years.

And why wouldn’t there be more than one way? Look at all the diversity in Creation! Is this a black and white world? No, not even halfway. So, why not our God?

I’m talking about love. Who we love. How we love.

I wish I knew this before. Back when I needed to define everything. When I didn’t leave any room for mystery, for God to surprise me. When I tried to boil everything down to what I could understand and control.

And although I think the limits of love are vastly beyond what we are accustomed to in at least this culture, I think love itself is way less complicated than we make it.

For me it is now just time spent and respect. I value you as a person. I want to spend time with you. I want to hopefully have the opportunity to express how I feel about you. And then respect how far you want to go with any and all of that. That’s it.

No labels. No contracts. You know, like it used to be back when love was fun. Back when life was fun.

Maybe we lost it along the way. When we were chasing value, worth, and identity that we didn’t realize we already had. Because we were lied to.

Maybe real Love is not and never was complicated.

Someone asked me about someone I used to share a bed, a home, pets, a life, good times, and lots of laughs with. A female.

It was a long time before I arrived where I am now. Years I was tortured. Years I hurt those I loved by my back and forth leavings. So tied up inside. So sure about what was in my mind. And yet, life and love would undeniably call to my heart. More real than anything I’ve experienced in a “sanctuary”. They were my home – these ones I loved.

I was so scared. So un-used-to this. If I liked it, it must be wrong, right?

That’s what I was told by others through actions, words, and whatnot. Turning me into twice the child of hell that they clung to so dearly.

Fear.

There was very little life in those pews. Sadly.

This satan. The one who steals a hug from a child. Who makes one afraid of touch that she, or he, needs so much. That is evil.

There are a million different arguments. I am sure there is value in many of the points. But I’m not interested in defending myself to anyone else’s standards. Because I am not on trial. I am free to love – and that is what I intend on spending my good time doing. Not going to war with people who so badly need to see me as wrong. That’s not what I want my legacy to be.

This is after I lived there for a long time. After I gave up God briefly. Regrettably traded Love for religion for a time.

She was in the hospital bed, for God’s sake. And still managed to get me my strawberry birthday cake with sprinkles. She cared about my art more than anyone else. She setup the sweetest little desk. The perfect light. For God’s sake. She hauled that massive bed to me. The one she made. My Saint Francis of Assisi.

That damn devil religion blinded me. I traded mystery for security. I traded loving for knowing. Foolishly.

I left.

I needed to go through a hell to get it all out of me. I’m only thankful for that – finally now being free. But I wish it didn’t happen so painfully. Those were not wasted years but I could have experienced them sooo differently. So much more pleasantly. If only I had believed. Who I really was and how much we are all safe and Loved!

It wasn’t until so much later when I asked God why.

Because I left her for only one reason – a night where I had a dream. Where we were in bed side by side. And then the “rapture” happened – as commonly depicted. All the people flying up into the sky. But not me. And after I looked over to her, I heard God say, “Is she worth it?” Then I woke up. And fear gripped me so hard, so terrified, that I started packing and left her right away. “You know if you leave, you can never come back.” I cried for weeks.

Still not over it. Over her.

But this is where we are at. So I was very confused when after I heard the best news, God brought me to people that challenged my views.

First at least two that used to be part of an organization that sounds like it could be categorized as based on supporting conversion “therapy” (I shudder to even speak of it like that). I met them after their journey of leaving that group and repenting.

Then I learned one of them was in a relationship with a married man. And the married man’s spouse knew and was ok. This married man who was still actively involved in a religious organization. Not out.

That one was more difficult for me. Because of my hurts.

Then the leader of a different organization that advocated for people who loved God but also who had chosen to create a safe space where they would not be talked down to for decisions about which other adults they choose to share their bodies with.

That one broke me. I, even I who had just experienced the most powerful spiritual revelation of my life, even I couldn’t go there then. Because it was too much at the time. To think I threw away years I could have had with someone I never quit missing.

That’s why I understand now when people come against me. They say it’s based on intellectual theology. But no, the deepest issues of their heart are being called. And those wounds are very scary. To look at all you didn’t have to lose. Believe me, that is hell. That is weeping and gnashing of teeth. I know that all too well. It very nearly kills you.

That’s why I have to give my Dr. Jonathan my peace, my blessing. Although I tried, I now understand why in many ways he couldn’t go further. It would have killed him maybe sooner. To see and know all that could have been had he and others he loved known differently.

Maybe sometimes we really don’t want to take it. We’d rather have the “security” of lies than to risk everything for real life that offers no formula or guarantees beyond “Jesus Loves Me”.

I almost didn’t make it. I almost turned to walk back to just the outside edges of Egypt for a little bit of a sense of “security”. But thankfully, ironically, I had already lost so much that losing a little more wasn’t as scary.

That’s what I think it means when Jesus said it’s more difficult for those who feel comfortably cocooned in their choice of safety. And I really might have traded all of the true goodness I’ve since experienced if I ever had the opportunity. Honestly; I hate how painful this journey has been. Even as I am eternally thankful for what it has brought me.

But even that I know I can’t take credit for – any crowns belong at His feet for sure because I have fought every revelation almost all the way. This is not about how great I am. Definitely. This is only about always new Mercies and Love without end. Amen. But God. That’s it.

I finally asked. After being led to that place. After finally being assured it was okay to look. I finally asked.

“Why did you let me believe I was going to hell if I didn’t leave her, God?”

“Because she would have broken your heart and I didn’t want that for either of you. I didn’t want you to live with her breaking your heart. I didn’t want her to live with breaking your heart. So I got you out of there the only way you would have gone – your fear of a hell. Otherwise you loved her so much that you never would have left. Even if it was best for both of you to be apart for a time. For healing. Not for hurting.”

Blew. My. Mind.

I never expected that answer in a million religious years. Changed everything for me. Just like the previous big revelation. Where you know something on a level in your soul and spirit that no one can argue with you. Well, they can try. But just like our brother long ago said, “Once I was blind, but now I see.”

That’s why I have no interest in arguing. I know what I experienced as much as I know I need water and oxygen. I only share to encourage people to ask for themselves. Whatever they are dealing or wrestling with. I can’t say anything close to what Spirit is able to reveal. To your heart and even deeper. Where it matters most.

And so everything changed. Slowly but surely. As much as I could handle at a time. First that question. Me with a woman. So much more to say on that.

By the way, two women in the field. And two men in a bed. I don’t know, but interesting, no? Those examples. That Jesus chose. I always wonder if He did that purposefully. Probably so. I mean, He Is God. And He knows. How we’d still be talking about these things two thousand years later. Still wrestling.

That IS my God. The Master of what we refer to as the chiastic structure. Teaching us either way. Wherever we are. With whatever we give Him. Like a prism. Reflecting back to us. Refracting. Dispersing. No matter what.

I always go back to the parable of the rich young ruler. Jesus was trying to help him see the audacity. I don’t believe He was ever communicating that we need to give away all our money.

Same with me. With my situation. God loved me the same. As I turned and walked away. As I incorrectly but understandably felt I had to rely on my strength. Disguised as well-meaning religiosity.

I was free that day. I could have stayed. But I didn’t know it. And that was the point all along. That was what needed to get out of me. In order for me to really and fully love as I always wanted and intended.

It is funny to me now. That we only ever had one true argument. It was because she told me that she thought it was okay to kiss other people.

Even in the beginning, the very beginning, she asked and thereby suggested that this could just be a weekend thing. I was incredulous at the time! Extremely offended.

How like God that I wish she would give me the time to let me tell her how I now see it so differently.

Not even by choice. The solution presented itself as an “unsolvable” “problem”. Where I loved and wanted more than one person. And I could never choose between them for very long. So different. Each brought something completely different to the relationship. And I couldn’t ever make peace in my mind with choosing one at the expense of losing the other.

I even asked God about it for years. Over and over. When it suddenly occurred to me that maybe He mercifully wasn’t confirming anything for me because I was asking the wrong question. Maybe I didn’t have to choose. Maybe I even had God’s blessing to love both.

Whoa!

Again, my mind blown.

And then the unfolding of all that could possibly mean. Even now still fitting those ideas on for size. To see how they measure up. Because as always, it seems the only answer I ever get is, “What do you want?”

That’s where the rubber hits the road. Not what can I get? But, what do I want? Radical responsibility in one sense. The utmost respect for the people involved. No longer tools. No longer means to an end. But no, everything.

I now see the Bible as a collection of stories about how people see God. It starts and ends similarly. With Jesus in the middle telling us the truth.

What if the only real adultery is trading how God sees us for how others see us? Or even how we see ourselves?

What if marrying and having children is mainly an exercise intended to teach us about how much God loves us in spite of all our screw-ups?

We even say these little defenseless babies that do nothing but take from us and shit, piss, and throw up – we call them perfect. And I do believe they are. But what if that is more a picture to help us see how God loves us? What we mean to Trinity? Than a social construct to be worshipped and idolized for what it proposes to offer on its own and of itself.

What if some people can learn those lessons without getting married? Without having kids?

What if that’s what Jesus was getting at when He talked about us being like the angels – where no one is married or given away in marriage. Because they don’t need that in order to know as they are known.

So then maybe we can see how single people are not failures at life. My dear Jonathan when I knew him, myself, and many others. Because this life and these experiences are setup just to help us see and know one thing: how much God loves us. They are not an end in themselves.

So I can relax. I can enjoy the time someone chooses to spend with me. I can decide how much of myself I want to share with them. And I can let people come and go. As they need and want to.

And none of it means I am a bad person just because others don’t understand or my freedom makes them think and feel too much; threatens the comfort they’ve settled for in terms of the chokehold they’ve established through control in order to avoid their fear of feeling any vulnerability. Because they don’t yet fully understand who and Whose they are. Completely eternally safe. Already included. ALL IN.

Hungry

The lion and the lamb.

“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”

Yes, Lord – I believe You have a healing mindset. Yes, Father. Yes, Papa. Yes, Holy Spirit. Yes, Jesus.

You heal me. Yes. You love me. Yes.

But point blank, I don’t want to crawl up on a cross like You did. I don’t want to get murdered in the name of Love. Shattered. Haven’t You already asked enough of that from me?

The lion and the lamb. The little children in the dens of the cobras.

Fear everywhere.

What if it is because we are all so hungry?

What if the lion could lay by the lamb because the lion is already full. Already filled. So he isn’t desperate. He isn’t hungry. He doesn’t really want to fight or kill. He wants love the same way too. It’s exhausting never being able to lay down.

Ok, but what if that is available now? Even now.

We see this. People will take in animals. They call it a sanctuary. Hmmm. Where else do we maybe more commonly hear that word? In church. We, the church. Shelter.

The animals, the odd couples, form in the sanctuary. Maybe sometimes in the wild. When one has compassion for another. The wild cat mother feeling empathy for the baby beast. A bond forms. We see this. When the mother has enough.

Even in ourselves. It both saddens and amazes me the extremes people will go to in order to protect and care for animals. As we should, I imagine. But to the exclusion of the care of our own kind.

I understand the reasons why this is not so. But isn’t it crazy, from a high level, that we humans can get it together to adopt out millions of animals while any, even one, child remains in an orphanage. That bothers me as much as I understand it. Where is our heart?

We are so afraid. We are so hungry.

I am terrified. That You will ask me to do like You, Jesus. That You have asked me. I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to take their wrath. To not fight back. At a minimum to not protect myself. When I am able to do so.

That’s why they killed You. They wanted You to deliver them from the Romans. From all their oppressors. Fine, we’ll love each other. But Love the people who hurt us?! God, aren’t You asking too much?

We can’t see because we are so hungry. We incorrectly think the solution is to eat each other.

“I AM the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe.”

We don’t believe Trinity is enough. Jesus taught us. Where to go for what we need. But we don’t believe.

We don’t believe that although He despised the shame, He did it for the joy set before Him. There was something good, very good, that gave Jesus joy. That got Him through. That could get us through. If we weren’t so hungry that we’d even ask.

This maybe is prayer. Something in going to Trinity constantly. Not in prostration as we tend to think of it. Not with our faces hanging low. But as children that are completely safe – more so than we can think.

What if that is the only way? Do we dare contemplate how great things could be? Abundantly more than we could ask or imagine.

Greater than these. How, God? How, Jesus? How can we do greater things than You?

Maybe Love. Maybe it’s Love.

“he who believes in Me”

What, Jesus? Not that you’ll kill my Romans. My oppressors. The people who abuse me. Not that You’ll kill them for me. Punish them. Like we punished and killed You. No; but that I’ll believe that somehow I can come to You and You can heal my hunger so much, to the point that I can feed them – those who have hurt me, those who would kill me. I can feed the lions, the wolves, so they won’t want to eat the lambs.

I believe it is possible. Even as I know it is clearly impossible in my own strength. But God.

Are we so hungry that we don’t even want to hear this?! I can certainly relate.

We say, two thousand years, Lord. Jesus. Two thousand years. And then some. Millennia before. And You want ME to try to make a dent, Father? What is the point? After all I’ve been through? Why can’t someone Love me first? Why does it have to be me? I don’t even want to say the words, but I know we feel it, so only in the interest of being honest – “Why don’t You pick someone else, God?”

As if this is a burden too difficult to bear. And to be sure, a dying. A laying down. Of our own teeth, our own fangs, our own claws. Otherwise called ego. Understandable. But who are we? Children of God? Or not? Who are we?

We… No, let me be clear where it counts – I believe, Lord; but please help my unbelief.

So much more. But what if the point is that the joy before Jesus was that He knew that when we really, really got it – we would feed each other and no one would go hungry. All the way down to the Creation that cries out for us to rise up in that way. To feed the lions so that the lambs will not be in danger.

We can barely even begin to think about all of this. But God. Only God. So, help me, God. Amen.