Just this morning, I saw a small window of blue sky in the otherwise dreary grey overcast, a promise of the bright sun-lit day to come. God is always giving us signs of His love and faithfulness to us.......if we are looking. That is what this blog is all about. Are we looking? And what did we see, hear, smell, or feel that our loving Creator put in our path? Why does He do that? Do we really want to connect that close with His affection for us? So many questions. Let's exhange some of them, and share our own sightings!

Monday, October 7, 2019

Stressful times - what can we do?

As we look all around us we see chaos, plots, arguments, hatred, anger, riots, demonstrations....need I go on.  You can't really miss them.  However, occasionally, we see a display of compassion, real love, thoughtfulness, even self-sacrificing mercy to another.   It's like being jerked around on a rollercoaster, as it rises and then plummets, then rises, and plummets again jerking me over to one side, then another.  Will the seat belt hold, will the wheels stay on the track, will the somersaults in my stomach just please stop!

Recently, I read this September 19th entry from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young:
    "There is a mighty battle going on for control of your mind.  Heaven and earth intersect in your mind; the tugs of both spheres influence your thinking. I created you with the capacity to experience foretastes of heaven...heavenly realms....As you concentrate on Me, My Spirit fills your mind with Life and Peace.
"The world exerts a downward pull on your thoughts.....Stay in continual communication with Me whenever you walk thought the wastelands of this world....Refuse to worry...Stay alert.....Look forward to an eternity of strife-free living, reserved for you in heaven,"


          Ephesians 2:6  (NIV) And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.

            Romans 8:6  New (NIV)  For to set your mind on the Spirit is Life and Peace.

           1 John 2: 15 - 17 (NIV)  15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[a] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.


That is what I have been striving to do lately.

 In my quiet times, I find favorite scriptures and use them in my prayers.  Try Psalm 91. Your peace will be restored. I listen to Worship & Praise music and sing along, even dance to it. I imagine that I'm in the heavenlies with my Lord.

I've limited my TV news watching and turned on 90.3 FM for background noise.  Channel 8 (PBS) has a lot of wonderful, peaceful, things on it that are uplifting, educational, beautiful, interesting, and good watching....if you avoid the news and commentary.

When I teach my watercolor classes, I pray for the Holy Spirit to fill me and let His Light shine through me to each student, meeting their needs. A single student that is last to leave is often a field planted and growing, ready to be harvested. I talk to her and let the Holy Spirit lead the conversation.

As I finish up my daily prayers, I commit my way to the Lord, and ask him to direct my path. And I watch as opportunities and answers and small needs are filled throughout the day.

This is the way of peace, the cure for stress, the answer to all my questions.  God is faithful!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Dirty Work of Childhood Molestation

The Dirty Work of Childhood Molestation

A loved one within my own family is a victim of this tragic crime. In the last month I have heard friends who were speaking of their own painful journeys, and news abounds about the latest serial rapist who has destroyed numbers of children and teenagers with his orgy parties. I've heard the reports of the border crises...most especially the child trafficking and raping of children and women who have paid an exorbitant and lifelong price to cross into the US.

Then last Saturday night, I was looking for a good mystery on PBS or on my DVR. I first watched Law and Order SVU, then PBS' 4 week series, “Unforgotten”. Once again, with gripping reality, the heart wrenching victims of childhood molestation and rape, and young women and boys who are lured into sex parties where unspeakable atrocities are performed on them were told. But it's not just what happens to them in these dark torture chambers (which, thankfully were not shown). These two shows clearly spelled out the life changing effects for those who were now middle aged. How do these things change their lives? I vaguely knew, but now I was being shown.

What happens to them after the perpetrators have had their fun? These victims are then turned out into the pasture of their lives to try to make sense of it all, to smother the tortuous feelings of guilt and shame (for it must have been their fault that “I was afraid but I felt something good....well not really good, but like a hot pepper that burns, but you go back for another taste”). Or it may have been immensely painful and no one listened to their cries. Then came the anger....anger against those that allowed them to get themselves into these situations, or the anger at the pervert who disgusted them but may have been a family member, or the anger at themselves because they let it happen. Some may have physical pain in their most intimate parts...will it get better?

Next question they ask is “should I tell someone, Would they believe me? Would they blame me? Would they tell everyone else? “ Then how do they deal with the results of the stares, the quiet sneers, the gossip that would most certainly accrue. So most say NOTHING  for years, or decades, I mean NOTHING!

Children forced into these nightmares, especially when they live in fairly stable homes, may seem to recover, but not really. Often PTSD is just as real for them as for a marine coming off the battlefield... nightmares, sleeplessness, rage, anger, depression, withdrawal, insecurity, and rebellion are common mechanisms for coping with the pain of the memories... if they are not revisited by the same  relative, teacher, coach, or other sicko. However, if there is a chance of repeat performances, fear becomes a constant companion. How do you explain that you don't want to go stay at Aunt Nikki's house during summer vacation? How can you lock your bedroom door and keep him or her out?

There's another whole aspect that can also bring pain, or relief. That is how parents handle the thing their child has just tried to tell them, if indeed they ever do. Parents are all different and their reactions are all different. Going to the police is the obvious next step. But the anguish and the realities of infrequent convictions because nothing can be proved, the unwillingness of the victims to expose their already violated privacy, and the daunting aspect of confronting the monster in the room make this a difficult choice.

I'm sorry to expose you, my reader to these ghastly realities of the fruit of acts that at least 30% of our population experiences. These are only a fraction of details that describe the lives of victims of childhood molestation. We may have a friend or relative who has shared some of the nightmare with us, but most of us hear the stories, then, because we too, are pained by them, we go on to something else that will make us feel happier. But I implore you to keep reading and allow God to bring the Truth into your life. You may be able to pray more effectively for someone, or be a source of wisdom and help when most aren't comfortable to even talk about it.

For me, this was an answer to prayer. I wanted to understand more, I wanted to be honest with myself as to how I dealt with this in my own family. I wanted to enter into the reality of my loved one's sufferings. I wanted to understand more. I was seeing the devastation all around decades later. “God, help me understand”.

I'm not one to run from conviction. Conviction is a true sense of sorrow and regret and acknowledgment that I am at fault in some of my decisions even if I thought I was doing the best I could. I wanted to feel the extent of the pain and devastation that my loved one has borne for decades. I wanted healing, forgiveness for us all. Conviction should always lead to confession and God's forgiveness,,,,so that I can live without the pain of condemnation so that I, too, don't make things worse. I didn't want to live in condemnation.

Condemnation is NOT from God. It torments and twists its way into every part of these stories...the victims, the loved ones of the victims, and the perpetrators. Condemnation is a poison that weaves itself into our relationships, often those most important to us... parents, love relationships, siblings, and later our own children. It accuses, blames, fabricates, twists the knife deeper, then starts all over again.

Jesus came to us, as God's heartfelt gift, so that He could not only show us the Father, but that He could suffer and die for us. His sacrifice has purchased our forgiveness, miraculously bringing healing and restoration and reconciliation. This is the answer for everyone swept up in these horror stories. God cares, so much so that He's given us a way to recover, be healed, be free from pain, and be made new. That's why He gave us Himself, Jesus.

I believe and pray that many of you that read this will hear the heart of God in this writing and prayerfully ask Jesus to lead you through this process. I know of no other counseling, treatment, or book that will do what only our loving God can do.

Please share with me your thoughts about this.

Friday, April 19, 2019

The Blessings of Good Friday made real to me

Good I sit here late in the afternoon, I've been so aware of the meaning of Good Friday and wanting to do something to honor it (since my church has no service). I've been reading  The Divine Dance by Richard Rohr- a deeply intellectual description of what our relationship with The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit should be in order to fully take part in Their life in me.

So many things stood out to me and as I read  I had to stop and express, "Oh, Lord, that's what is happening in me", or "I saw/experienced this today!"

I had to get up early and  arrived just barely awake by nine at the downtown Senior Center for my watercolor class.  When I walked in, I first saw two new women sitting at the closest table.  As I passed by I invited them to come paint with us when I got it all set up.  The one nearest me,  I realized, was very large, and had a clearly masculine face, long hair, feminine dress, and a very deep man's voice when she responded, "Maybe...what're you going to paint?"  I said I'd show her a picture in a few minutes, but it would be easy and I would help her.

I realize now, that a rush of love washed over me, along with an acknowledgement of her identity choice, and  I can honestly say at that moment and even more so later in the morning, even though she decided not to paint, that LOVE won out, as apposed to judgement.

Revelation One.....that's the way that God's LOVE always is....automatic and without judgement.

Just before we started the painting, our director came over to give a ten minute lesson on the History of Good Friday. Barbara, my new friend, crossed her knees in a very masculine way, and frequently spoke up to add accurate details of the Passover, and it's relevance to Good Friday where Jesus' spilled blood was our sacrifice for freedom from our sins, just as God had the Israelites put the spilled blood of a lamb on their doorposts to protect them from the angel of death (the final plague announced by Moses before the Egyptians freed them).  Other student painters stepped up and added their own additions to the theological discussion of  Christ's crucifixion,  and were very open to the short, beautiful prayer of thanksgiving as our director thanked God for this LIFE-giving sacrifice from our Lord.  I had been to church!!

Revelation Two....God has wonderful gifts for us everywhere we go.  This one was sooo obvious though!

Now, as I continue reading The Divine Dance, I see so clearly that living in the midst of the Trinity and sharing Their LIFE fills me up with non-judgmental love, and allows me to spill it out on everyone without thought, and along with the  Good Friday Sermon, I'm filled  with wonder as The Father, Son and Spirit dance around, in and through me.