Sunday, June 22, 2008

How Would Love Respond?

Somewhere today I came upon a review for the book How Would Love Respond by Kurek Ashley.

I've been thinking about that all day. Things have been pretty bad lately.......with discord in all my relationships, in spite of my best efforts. My daughter looks at me as if I am the enemy...with disdain, with contempt. I heard "those" words out of her last Sunday...the "I hate you" words....seemingly heartfelt and sincere. It felt like a sucker punch. But more gut wrenching is the empty look in her eyes...and the "I don't give a crap" attitude. Sometimes I feel like Beth died and there is an angry, belligerent girl in her place. Where did my baby go? There is turmoil and conflict in so many of my dealings right now. I can't make heads or tails of anything...most of all I can't make heads or tails of what the hell God is doing!!! I knelt by my bed this morning crying, listening to my MP3 player....letting the words to some of my favorite songs speak for me.

Mighty To Save by Hillsong

You Never Let Go by Matt Redman

Your Name by Paul Baloche

And through it all...I keep asking myself "how would love respond?" My friend annie says the answers are within. Her response to my very short and to the point email this morning..."just keep praying....I need a miracle all the way around...." was long and caring, compassionate and understanding. I love annie. A snippet of what she had to say:

I AM in the midst of you will give you what to say, what to do IN THAT HOUR, in that moment. your miracle is in hearing the voice of God saying "this is the way, walk ye in it".

And so I strain my ear to hear...waiting for THAT HOUR. Listening for that voice. All the while asking myself in the course of each and every would love respond? Do I always hit the mark? Oh my, not by a long shot...but I am trying. Perhaps I will make that my mantra. How would love respond?

And the answer that scripture gives:

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves."
-- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

I Wish I Had Wings Like a Dove....

The words of Psalm 55 came to me distinctly yesterday. Life is overwhelming of late and I just want to run away. I can remember another time in my life when the words from Psalm 55 became especially relevant to me. A long time another situation I thought was intolerable.

6 I said, "I wish I had wings like a dove.
Then I would fly away and rest.
7 I would wander far away
and stay in the desert. Selah
8 I would hurry to my place of escape,
far away from the wind and storm."

I know I could tie this in somehow with Eckhart's teachings. We DO have "the wings like a dove" (christ in you /hope of glory/the mind of Christ) and if we realize that and learn to live in that reality we can find rest without "wandering far away." Keith pointed that out to me yesterday in a moment of goodwill and camaraderie. I'm trying to dwell "in the secret place of the most high"...but a vacation to Timbuktu seems like such a good idea right now. "I'm outa' here" could become my new mantra.

My friend annie likens this kind of reaction when in the midst of trouble to the thoughts a caterpillar might have while struggling to free himself from his cocoon...."this should not be happening to me," he cries" Never realizing that butterflyhood awaits just beyond the cocoon and the struggles he is enduring. At this point, staying a caterpillar does not seem like such a bad idea.

But alas, it is happening and I have heard fairly mainstream kingdom teachers say that we actually chose the situation of our life when we pre-existed with God. I read a post on The Father's Love forum yesterday in a thread called "Is This How it was SUPPOSED To Turn Out" that I thought expressed this thought very well.

sparrow said:

This is my view...
I think that it's supposed to be this way.
We came from a place (our real home) where love ruled supreme.
We are here in this place where love can be concealed from view...buried.. hidden.. (yet also uncovered and discovered...)
We're here because we are all the prodigal son...
We decided to leave our home.... we finally made our way to that tree and decided to eat the fruit.
and so we were born here on earth with the clock ticking down our stay, because we wanted to know something, we wanted to see something, we wanted to learn something. It's a very difficult lesson... but we will be all the better for having learned it.
The lesson is the same, but experienced in literally countless different ways.... because we are all unique.
And when we go back home...
We will understand what home really is...
and who God is... (love).

A difficult lesson indeed and truthfully, I would like to flip all these problems the finger and gleefully shout my new mantra (I'm outa' here) as I head for the door.

Eckhart says to act as if you chose the present moment you are in....

Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy.

I can't quite wrap my head around that...and in other parts of his writings he stresses that this does not mean that you wish it to remain the way it is...but rather in surrender to it, you become empowered to change it. Not an easy concept for this caterpillar to swallow.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Die Before You Die....

Physically death is necessary in order to obtain a spiritual body. CHB on Tentmaker Message Board

Death is the stripping away of all that is not you. Eckhart Tolle

Truthfully, as the problems and issues in our personal lives continue to pummel us, I haven't had the umph to post anything on this blog. I was reading on TM this morning and came upon the first quote. (I read there but rarely post because there are restrictions in place that ban many of the conversations I would be interested in participating in) As I read the first quote, it rang true...then the second quote from the Power of Now came to mind and I am not so sure. Eckhart goes on to say, and I think it can be supported Biblically as well,, that we can "die" while we are still alive. In fact, he says that "the secret to life is to die before you die.: Doesn't scripture say the same thing?

Romans 6:

{6} knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
{7} For he who has died has been freed from sin.
{8} Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
{9} knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.
{10} For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
{11} Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ephesians 4:

{24} and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Colossians 3:

{9} Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,
{10} and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him

Just musing...and no doubt there are profound physical changes when we leave these earthen vessels...and the treasure hidden within is released from its hiding place.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Hairdresser, the General Contractor and the Worried Mom......

I went to get a haircut last night at the same place I've been going since I moved to Williamsport. It is a really off the wall place called Elvira's. It is owned and run by a woman in her late forties....jet black dyed hair....very thin Italian woman....and very, very eccentric. The place is kind of haphazard...quite messy actually. They are none too particular about sweeping up the hair from the last customer....but, I've gone there since I moved here and I like her. Mary, her niece....a woman in her late thirties, works there too. They are the only two. They are friendly and warm and genuine. They know me by name and we've talked about all kinds of things while I've gotten my hair cut. They cut Matt's hair on a "regular" basis and on occasion they have cut and styled the girls hair. I forgot my glasses there last night and stopped today to pick them up. Beth's "MISSING" poster was on the front door. I gave it Mary last night....who was very concerned and teared up when I told her about Beth. That is the reaction I usually get from women who have children. Elvira wasn't there last night so when I went in today, I pointed to the poster and said, "She's mine"...and then a conversation ensued between me, and Elvira and a contractor who was in the shop and had just gotten his hair cut. He had a daughter who ran away to Philadelphia with a sleaze bag guy about 10 years ago....and we talked awhile. He told me about his daughter's story....and how he tried for months to find her, sneaking around houses, shining flashlights in windows. Finally, about 6 months after she went to Philly, she called him sobbing....asking him to please come and get her. His advice was not to wear ourselves out looking for Beth...but rather to pray for her. To pray for her protection and ask God to put a hedge of protection around her. Then he asked if he could pray for Beth. So the eccentric hairdresser, the worried mom and the general contractor joined hands and he prayed a heartfelt prayer for Beth. It was so very touching. It was very comforting. Just this impromptu moment standing with the hair from the previous few haircuts under our feet.

I don't know how prayer works....and I often wonder IF it works....but there are verses in scripture that assure us that it does. And Jesus prayed and taught us how to. Following is a quote from Preston Eby's Savior of the World series about prayer that seems to capture the gist of it.....

The prayers of the saints! Prayer is not a useless exercise, it is part of God's cosmic purpose. I don't pretend to understand it, but when Jesus was going away He said, "Up until now you have asked nothing in My name, from now on you will ask the Father in My name, and whatever you ask the Father I will do it." Ah, we have missed the importance of prayer in the redemptive and reconstructive and restorational purposes of God! Our prayers ARE important! Don't ask me to explain the mystery of the apparatus, but they are important. You'll find yourself praying, you'll find yourself desiring to pray, and that's the Holy Spirit urging you to do what is necessary to enable things to happen the way they are supposed to happen. There is a relationship between the decrees of God and the response of God's people! God created all things by a Word. God SAID, "Let there be ... and it was so." That's a CREATIVE WORD! Prayer is a participation in the creative Word of God, speaking the new creation into existence. It's a mystery I don't fully understand, but there are times when I have to pray, there are times when the altar of my soul is full of clouds of holy incense as I send up to God petitions, as I decree a Word, not for myself, but for others, and when I can't articulate them in English I send them up in an unknown tongue. And there is that deep inner consciousness that somehow I am participating in a great tableau and drama of history.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Prodigal Daughter.....

Although I include situations and anecdotes from my personal life in some of what I write here, the purpose of this blog has never been to put a record of my mundane daily life on the internet. You know what I mean..."I stopped at the grocery store today after work....think we'll have burgers on the grill....hope DH is not late so he can start the charcoal" kind of posts. The stuff from my life that I include is more to support or illustrate the point/story/idea I am expressing/pondering/musing about. But this post is going to be very personal.

My daughter ran away for the second time this week...and is missing right now. She ran away last Tuesday evening. We found her Thursday afternoon...and she left again yesterday (Saturday) evening. This is something I never thought I would have to live through...let alone twice in one week. I have no idea where she is. That is hard. I have always been the kind of mom who freaks out if I cannot find them for any length of time (I am thinking a half hour here) but when she left on Tuesday evening, after the initial "OH MY GOD" a certain peace took over. The one the Bible refers to as the peace that passeth all understanding. I've never experienced it before this situation.

I pretty much kept that peace for the whole two days she was gone, sapped a bit by the negative energy of some of those closest to me...and differences between the three deciding, my ex and his new wife. Keith stays out of the decision making process. He is very frustrated with the whole situation....and that could be a post in and of itself. There are not a lot of options for her at this point. I would be willing to send her to jail if I thought it would help but running away is not a crime and the police are largely uninterested. There are not a lot of residential schools etc. where I could send her and most of them are very expensive....hundreds of dollars a day. She is involved in drugs....mainly pot....but any kind of rehab requires a court order.

As I said, she has never done this before although her behavior has gotten progressively, exponentially worse over the course of the past year. The past few months have been a downhill plummet....while we looked on helplessly not knowing what to do. Counseling did not help. She started to take an antidepressant and it seemed to help somewhat....but she stopped without us knowing and refused to take them again once we found out. She found pot to be a much more effective antidepressant....or so it seemed to her. Anyone who has ever been caught in the substance abuse web knows that it only makes matters worse.

Beth3This picture was taken last July at Impact...a Christian retreat for teens. She went under duress....but supposedly had an encounter with the Lord there. It appeared to be a genuine encounter. The theme of Impact last year was "Let It Go"....let go of the hurt. She is thinner and harder looking. Drugs will do that. She doesn't smile much anymore.

My first words to her...after she was born were, "you precious baby." She is still my precious baby. And I want her to come home. And I want the Lord to make her whole and healthy...both physically and emotionally. Prayers requested....for my precious Beth......

I've sort of adopted a "theme song" for my Beth...and I will cling to the words of it today....resting in the assurance that he never lets go.......