Tuesday, January 28, 2014

a few words from my friend

One of the greatest truths I think we could all bear to understand, is how much God our Creator loves us, and how we don't need to be a certain way or clean up our act before we can come to Him.

He desires for us to draw near to Him and will 'clean up our act' as we go, naturally. The old will fall away and so we never have to feel as though we are not good enough. He just desires to have a friendship of love with us and desires that we love ourselves and do not feel ashamed.

This is one of the hardest concepts for us to grasp as humans, but the most beautiful acceptance and demonstration of grace, that God (Source) loves us, the Divine is pleased with us, and whatever needs to be shaped and transformed or refined within, will be accomplished.

So therefore, we can relax in His presence because it is the safest place to be. He knows it already and is not concerned. He says, "Be still."

Danielle Edwards


Sunday, January 26, 2014

emotions & yadda yadda

Yesterday was joy, tears, melancholy, anxiety, and probably some other emotions, too.  When we got back from our family outing I began to feel more and more out-of-sorts, dealing with shortness of breath and stress along with a sense of impending doom.

I didn't recognize what was at the root of it, so I tried to walk it out of my system.  I paced briskly along the sidewalk, noticing the sweet skunky smell of marijuana wafting into my nostrils.  It helped a little.  The exercise, not the marijuana.  Or maybe it was both.

I got back in and let some tears roll because I was remembering stuff, like how the church I grew up in welcomed Kevin warmly and supported us as we embarked on our marriage journey.  And then a couple years later we switched to a smaller church because I was overwhelmed and panicky and feeling oppressed.  I mistook where the oppression was coming from.  I thought it was the church secretary and her requests for me to play music and serve at events.  It felt like harassment to me.

The truth, however, is that the spiritual abuse knocked me into a different frequency.  The words of loving and kind church friends became somehow harsh to me.  It was like bad lip reading, except not at all funny.  The secretary wasn't doing anything especially wrong.  It just would've been great if I could have clearly expressed to her what was going on with me.

When the pastor and his wife met with us to ask us why we wanted to switch churches, I could only say I was struggling with my emotions and there was a lot of gray area.  They graciously accepted our departure with hope that perhaps we would return after a break.

We like the little crappy church we attend now.  It's got mostly elderly people in it, but they're lovely and we find that the small community is beneficial and relaxing for us—a place that honors our freedom.

I'm ready, though, to link up again with my original church family.  So maybe we can kind of, sort of, belong to two churches.  Or something.

I feel great today, by the way.  My emotions are behaving themselves for now.

Friday, January 17, 2014

there's love in truthfulness

Lately I've been reflecting on what it means to have integrity.  I've heard it said that integrity means doing the right thing even when nobody's looking.  This begs the question, what IS the right thing?

It is to love.

A cashier accidentally gives a guy too much change.  If the guy has integrity, he'll go back into the store and return the extra to her.  If he decides to pocket the money instead, the cashier's till will be out at the end of the day, affecting whether or not she can keep her job.  Pocketing the money is a selfish and unloving action.

Integrity is all about honesty.

Pocketing the money involves lying to himself and not taking responsibility.  'I don't need to give this back because she's the one who made the mistake.  She should just learn how to do her job properly.  I'm not really stealing."  This is to blame the other person instead of looking at himself to see what he can do for the sake of another human being.

If reflecting love and grace and forgiveness is important to him, he will be truthful and give the money back.

I see honesty, then, as a way of loving oneself as well as loving others.  It involves keeping a clear conscience but also shows great care and respect for other people.


Monday, January 6, 2014

relationship talk

When I interact with people, my overall goal is to build up rather than tear down.  This is a great idea, of course, but if I want to stay on route it's helpful to learn how to move through the storms.

Each relationship is unique, and they all have their weather.  Sometimes storms come in heavy and hard as if it's raining ice daggers.

It royally sucks when I'm the one who has damaged another person because it means she's got to navigate through gusts of negativity and anger, feelings of inadequacy and so on.  It sucks even more when I've slipped into an actual pattern of destructive communication with her.

As soon as I recognize I have hurt her, here's my best option.  Seek reconciliation.

Three steps come to mind:

1.) Admit what I've done to hurt that person.

2.) Apologize to her.

3.) Reassure her I don't want to hurt her anymore.

It seems to me that once I enter into that first step, the other two naturally follow.  Or sometimes the three sort of meld together.  The third step can be carried out in a variety of ways depending on the relationship and levels of sensitivity.  For instance, I have found that a friendly greeting, black socks filled with toys, and a kid dressed in a football shirt can be encouraging.  Others might need a more direct approach.  The third step is a continual one that helps build a sense of trust.

Reconciliation isn't just a matter of stopping.  It's an actual change of direction into all that is gracious and beautiful.  This is the magic that happens when I rely on the Crux of the universe (which is to say the Christ).