Jealousy, Hatred, Envy, and Insecurity These evil fellows I’ve come to know. They slither and scheme Watching and waiting, Sensing the second My guard is down. Their attack is sharp And so deep It stings and bites Exposing my scars. They blindside And de-rail At moments Most vulnerable. They’re disguises Are cleaver Some days looking A little to much like Me and …you. They’re nasty basters Born in the pit of hell Claiming all As their victims. They’re weapons Are words For they know The pain they inflict To strangle, suffocate, trap, and confine. I’ve found But one escape From these evil gents, To dive deep into My well of love, And stay immersed Till every crack, crevice, And broken part filled. Their attack is quick My response quicker. Intended to wound I to heal. They desire engagement I desire peace - Which comes when I quietly … walk away!
Who Told You You Were Naked?
And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Genesis 3:11
In the beginning was a God, a man, and a woman. The two humans were secluded, protected, and cared for by their God. They had only to enjoy their lives. These three were in-sync. Best of all, Adam and Eve knew God’s voice, a voice of love, protection, and provision. And God knew theirs.
Enter a new voice. Up until this moment, there were no other voices. No outside influence – just these three. As the story goes, a serpent spoke to Eve. That in itself is weird and yet Eve doesn’t seem bothered by it. It’s a new voice, one that doesn’t to speak of love, protection, and acceptance. Instead, it speaks of achievement, lies, doubt, and fear.
And now, there are two voices…
When the voice of Love calls once again for His two friends, they do not respond. When they finally answer, they use new words – afraid, blame, fear, nakedness. Then the voice of Love asks, “Who told you that you were naked?”
God didn’t care about the act, He didn’t care who did what first. His concern was simply – who are you choosing to listen to?
The same applies to us, “Who told YOU that you are naked?”
Who told you that you are incapable? unacceptable? unwanted? stupid?
Who told you that you are ugly, fat, untalented, boring, unloveable?
Who told you that you are naked?
Is it possible that the real issue for Adam and Eve was who they chose to listen to? Who are you choosing to listen to? Who is telling you – you are naked?
There are many Faiths that speak with both voices. They tell of a God who loves and damns. They teach we can be forgiven but that we are also wretched sinners. They say God welcomes all but require certain ‘sins’ to be fixed to sit at their table. Love is always the filter in discerning a voice.
As we know, where there is love there is no fear, judgement, or condemnation.
This is an excerpt from, A Simple Faith in a Complicated World, expected to release in Summer of 2022.
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Our adventures with a 17 year-old has come to an end as abruptly as it began. A week that started with the old escape through the window ended with uncovering text messages from mom which provided the address of the AirB&B she had arranged, delivery of food and plans to drive to California to take her home. These empty promises combined with a week long Meth high ended with yet another arrest and orders to return to the courts in Colorado.
We are left with broken hearts, numbness, sadness and a very clear understanding of just how broken our system is.
It would be so easy to slide into anger, but I admit I’ve lived there and it’s not a place I’ll ever choose to go back to. It would be easy to fall into the pit of regrets, but I have non – truly. What I’ve learned in the past 13 months could never be regrettable.
I’ve learned what loving unconditionally feels like, and it’a pretty amazing.
I’ve discovered that Love is the core of all of us, some just haven’t discovered it yet. But that’s ok, because that’s what life is all about, discovering our true selves. Surprise, surprise – our true selves has nothing to do with our capabilities, it has everything to do with our ability to love.
Learning to love well may just be our soul purpose. I can’t imagine a higher calling or a more difficult one. Most of the time it challenges everything we know, everything we are and everything we do.
I’ve been stretched, challenged, and changed in the past 13 months, and all for the good.
Live, laugh and love well. Oh so simply – oh so complex – I’ll never live any other way.
Note to friends –
Many of you have been with us through the challenge to keep our Colorado Kids safe. After years of trying on our own, we felt the need to seek legal help. The results have been strong but the financial obligation is overwhelming. If you’d like to support financially, click here: Raun’s story
Learning to Dance
It was one year ago today that I walked out of a Colorado Courthouse hand in hand with my new sidekick. We had prayed for that day and on that afternoon she was coming home with me for safe keeping.
It had been 16 years since we had a 16 year-old in our home. But how hard could it be? You take a kid from a troubled home with an abusive pass, whose every move has been in self-preservation, add love and whala – you turn it all around.
Ha! It doesn’t work like that. Not in the least.
Tonight, our now 17 year-old young adult is embarking on the difficult journey of rehab. Drugs started out as her escape, then they took hold and now they are in control.
As this week has unfolded, I’ve done a lot of thinking about this past year. I’ve learned so much. I have a new understanding of what families deal with when drugs enter their home. I know first hand the frustration of a broken system. I’ve felt the loneliness of hearing the words, “there’s nothing we can do to help.”
But what I’ve really learned – is how to dance to the music that each day offers. Some days we get to choose the tempo and style. Most days we have no control over any of it.
The toughest days are when all you want to do is pass blame. When you wish someone would stand up and hold the world accountable, or at least the parent who abused or family member that turned a blind eye, or the social worker who was helpless.
Learning to dance isn’t easy, it requires learning to love – unconditionally.
I read recently that our true self is simply love. Isn’t that beautiful. The core of who we are is love. When we offer the world our true self, we are offering them love.
It is then that our souls take over and we can dance our way through each day. Some days begin with hip-hop, turning to country and ending with jazz. Some days we get to do a soft shoe or the Charleston. Rarely does life play a waltz.
Then there are the nights that a soft dirge fills the dark night and all you can do is keep loving.
You know those times that it feels as if a dark heavy cloud has fallen around you and nothing makes sense? Good seems to be losing ground and all the crazies are finding ways to infiltrate every open crevasse? It’s like a thick fog has fallen and clouded everyone’s vision.
I know those times. Unfortunately, I know them well. It’s was during one of those dark times I yell out to God, what do I do now?
I was quickly reminded of an Old Testament Bible story where the Israelite army was at war in a valley and Moses watched from a hilltop. In the story, the Israelite army grew stronger when Moses’s hands were raised and when they weren’t, they began to lose the battle.
I heard this story many times as a kid. And even as a kid there was something odd about it. First of all, why was Moses sitting on a hilltop when his army was in a battle? Secondly, what’s so important about raising his hands? Recently I began to ask, what was he doing?
I had always assumed Moses was pleading with God. Bagging for God to make it right, to fix it, to force someone to change. But when people are pleading they usually aren’t on their knees with hands raised. Pleaders stand with fists flailing in the air, or face down, spread-eagle pounding the ground.
Being on your knees with hands raised is typically done when you are in awe of the beauty of the world. It is the position of someone who is overcome with so much lovethat you can’t help but embrace it with open arms. When all one can do is look to the sky, overflowing with gratitude and thankfulness. It is a pose of surrender.
Is that what Moses was doing?
In the midst of a battle, he, the leader of the army (and nation) was filled with gratitude.
When I began writing what I thought was this light-hearted little blog, I felt I couldn’t help but be grateful for everything in my life. I had figured it out! I was the queen of gratitude. It only took one text message; a disappointing and unthinkable response and that thick dark fog fell. I wasn’t grateful. I wasn’t even going to pretend. I was disappointed. I was angry. I was heart-broken, and my raised hands turned into fists. How? God, why don’t you do something? Is that really who you are? Why is this OK? Why don’t you fix this? I was far from grateful and nowhere near thankful.
That fog hung around for a few days. Happy songs would pop into my head and I’d quickly turn them off. Thoughts that I could change my attitude would knock at the door but I wasn’t home. How can I be happy when others are suffering? Why should I carry the joyful banner when others are hurting?
Everything in our life is a choice. We choose to be happy or we choose to be angry. We choose to listen or ignore. We choose to love or to hate. It’s all us. It’s all within our power.
In the story of Moses we are told that Moses grew tired and couldn’t physically keep his arms raised, this is when his friends came along, help up his arms and supported him.
Maybe that’s the reason we need to always choose love, happiness, joy, gratefulness and forgiveness. Maybe those who are currently fighting the battles in the valley of life need our quiet support. Maybe our gratefulness offers them strength in ways we can’t see. Like a super power, we have the ability to burn through the heavy fog and bring clarity and strength from a distance.
Feeling or Fact
I heard him say, “I just can’t forgive myself. I feel so guilty…”
I’ve heard others say this very thing but on that day his words hit me in an odd way. What would cause someone to not accept forgiveness? Why would anyone want to hold on to the past that badly?
“I feel guilty…” I played it over and over. Then it dawned on me, maybe guilt isn’t an emotion. Maybe it’s just a simple fact.
There are two reason why we feel guilty. The first is that we are super sensitive, insecure, and feel like everything that goes wrong in the world, in our lives, and in the lives the people around us must be our fault. We have caused all the evil, bad luck, and devastation in the world and are resigned to carrying the guilt and responsibility until the day we die. To those I simply ask, “How’s that working for you?”
The second reason we feel guilty is that we are. We did something – that cause something – thus we are guilty. In this case, guilt isn’t an emotion, it’s a fact. We are guilty!
This should not be alarming to anyone since we are all guilty of something. Even God says we are all guilty. So why do we pretend we aren’t? Why do we prefer making this fact into a feeling and carry it through life with us?
Once we flip the switch from feeling guilty to admitting that our guilt as a fact, we are free to accept forgiveness. Whether that’s God’s forgiveness, the forgiveness of another, or forgiving ourselves. It can only be accepted when we admit we were wrong.
Guilt is a fact, not a feeling.
I’m quite sure a jury never came to the conclusion that the defendant felt guilty.
Check out my new project: Living Unstuck; finding your joy!