Friday, April 21, 2017

The Room of Grace

August 11, 2012 Unpublished

I've noticed that this summer I just haven't been blogging as much as I normally do. I don't think it could be the stress or anxiety of the adoption process, because normally, stress or anxiety increases my need to write.

It must be that I'm having a hard time trying to articulate the lessons I've been learning. Each time I try, they fragment. At night, I compose wonderful blogs in my head and in the morning, they're gone.

Anyway, I will try to summarize. I will try to use this blog like a sounding board.

I can't yet move on from my experiences of God over the winter and spring. I'm still working through them.

I didn't understand what God was trying to do in my life until I fell at the pool.

It's so fascinating to me, looking back.

It offended me, that He was around me and not making me immediately perfect in every way. After I fell, during the long time I was healing, I saw my imperfections clearly, hourly.

Keith and I were driving on post, and I was feeling the personal presence of Christ near me, inviting me to rest in His love, as I had before.

And I wouldn't. I just refused. I thought, if God won't punish me for my bad attitude, my failures, I will punish myself.

"I am failing this test," I informed Jesus.

You are misunderstanding this whole experience, He replied.

I heard the words clearly in my spirit, but also, my entire understanding flipped, as though I had been attempting to look through the wong end of the telescope, and someone flipped it over for me, and voila! Clarity.

I had thought the point was to see how strong, how good, how loving I had become over the winter. I thought it was to test my mettle. It was not. It wasn't a test at all; it was an open door into a deeper intimacy with Him, an intimacy that arose from my trusting Him with my weakness, my wounds, with what I was.

Jesus had been saying this to me all along, but I hadn't been getting it. I couldn't really believe Him.

Later, I attempted to rest in Him like I had before, when I had felt reasonably good about myself. I told Him that little line that I had told Him so many times before: My Jesus, I love Thee; I know I am Thine.

But the words, even in my inner voice, came out so uncertain. It was as though it came out like a whisper.

I had been feeling His presence all around me, as though I were overshadowed and surrounded by Him, but when I heard my own voice, I felt His presence become much more distinct and immediate.

I felt very much as though Jesus were behind me, holding me against His chest. It felt very much as though He bent His head to whisper into my ear, just two words, and they were full of this grief.

Do you? He whispered.

A lot of things broke apart for me in that moment. I had been dropped into His grief, which was for me. It was an undefended and opened ended grief, that is, there was no element of guilt in it.

I saw clearly how I did not believe that I was His, how I rejected Him over and over again, refused to believe Jesus when He said that He loved me or that I was His.

So I began to let myself fall back into His love. It was like unclenching my fists. It was like swimming in a bottomless lake at night, and completely surrounded by the water and sky.

I saw how I had been growing into trusting His love and faithfulness more and more, and I saw how the only reason I had been, was because Jesus had been teaching it to me. It was like a light bulb went on over my head. I knew I would absolutely learn this lesson. There was no way I could not, because Jesus doesn't fail at what He undertakes.

"You will teach this to me," I said to Him.

I am responsible for you, Jesus assured me.

As you can imagine, this experience had a profound effect on me. All summer long, I've been growing into this lesson.

I'll be growing into this lesson all my life.

All summer long, I have been recognizing what I am truly feeling, without rejecting or condemning myself. This is very difficult to do.

Sometimes I feel as if I am in over my head, and I reach out to Jesus and He catches me, and He draws my heart back to that lesson.

August 12, 2012

I'm being a terrible blogger. Normally, I write so much more.

I feel quiet. That, and the things I do blog about, I don't publish.

I have written three different blog versions of something, I have rewritten them several times, and I have posted none of them.

Keith is away at class, so the house has been still and quiet. It's full of smells. It's amazing how the A/C kills any scents in the air. Now that I have turned it off, the house is swimming in scents: cut grass, chlorine, air freshener, wet dog.

I realized how much we are surrounded on all side by sensations- the feel of the air, and the taste of water and the scent of pine and all the sounds that pulse through the air. I was lying in bed last night listening to the trilling of the insects; how they wind up and up and up into this almost unbearable pitch and, abruptly, the sound stops. Then it winds up again.

In the evenings, I open the doors to the pool and read on the bed. Sometimes even the book can't keep my attention, I just watch the sky and the leaves rustling.

I miss Keith, but I don't feel lonely. I am at home. I am small; I am finite, and in knowing that, I am somehow dropped right into that one moment of time, with the moist warm air of late summer and the shrill of the insects. I am floating in the quiet heart of my finite, present life.

I feel the presence of God all around me in the quietness. I know Him. I call Him by name.

August 16, 2012 Unpublished

I wake up, and as much as I feel the comforter around me, and as much I feel the sun, as much as these things, I know am held by God.

I don't know Him as a faceless, impersonal presence, as only a feeling of well being or peace; I relate to Him as a person. I can't help it. I can't know Him in a way other than I know Him.

It's been a long, torturous summer. It's not over yet. I have been stretched way out of my comfort zone on so many levels.

Now I am reaping some of the rewards of all that risk taking. I have gone down deeper.

In my experience, it is true, the idea that the more honestly we can see ourselves, the greater the intimacy we can have with God. I remember hearing this before, and thinking that it made a lot of sense. But now I know how that works by experience.

You see, over the winter and spring, I assumed that God had come to instantly perfect me. I operated out of this assumption for a long time, but I was wrong.

God comes to us where we are, and then walks with us from that point, at the pace we can support. He doesn't give any of us more truth than we can take at any given time. Instead He lovingly and faithful guides us into it. He compassionately bends down to where we are.

August 22, 2012

When I see people still landing on my blog, even when I have not blogged, I feel this interesting mix of guilt and gratitude.

I think, what can I tell them, what interesting thing from my typically boring and routine life can I offer up to them? I have tried blogging about the things I have been pondering, and it does not come out right.

As a writer, this has been a frustrating summer. I can't articulate the things I've been thinking deeply about, and living in.

Here, let me try. I'll give it a go.

.....

Ha! See. I can't. I can't write about it. Okay, wait, I'll try again.

My concept of forgiveness has expanded outward.

My understanding of the parable of the good Samaritan has expanded outward from simply a commentary on how to be a good person in society, to include an illustration of one's inner life.

That is, I have been the wounded, and the priest walking past my own wounded self, and I have been the good Samaritan extending to compassion to myself, before I was able to do so to anyone else in any authentic manner.

And this guy who gets beaten up- who is he? We know nothing about him or her. But I'll bet that you, like me, assumed at one time that he is the perfect victim- a nice guy, a good girl, simply going about their business, whistling to themselves as they walked along on a summer day.

What if they weren't? What if that person lying there was cruel or selfish or bitter? The parable does not make this clear; Jesus doesn't say.

It makes me think about Jesus declaring that among us, it is He that is the hungry one, the sick one, in prison, naked, thirsty and a stranger.

There are many kinds of prisons, there are many kinds of sicknesses. I have lived in several.

Now, when I catch myself being the priest, I notice, and I grieve. I grieve my complicity in this tendency we have to pass by, to fail to see that the stranger is God lying there, naked and bruised, in the road.

Grieving is different from self-condemnation, which was what I used to do. It's not as hurtful, and it opens my heart up. It causes me to feel surrounded by the love of God. I am the one on the road, and He has picked me up in His arms. It's who He is.

I recognize that I am forgiven. It's humbling- because I recognize then that He has forgiven everyone. Freely I have been forgiven; freely I forgive.

This is what I began to understand this summer, when I stopped trying to stifle my emotions, when I allowed myself to feel.

I feel comfortably small now, human. I do not need to be anyone else, to pretend to be other than what I am.

August 23, 2012

If I were to write what I really wanted to write, I would write about how delicious Jesus is, and how much I am in love with Him.

I know the way others experience and know God is a sacred mystery, one that lies between their spirit and God's Spirit.

I've absorbed this lesson so well that sometimes I hesitate to talk about the way in which I know Him, because I wonder if it is of any use to others, who have their own deep and personal relationship to Him.

But I think we tell our stories, in the best sense, to be encouraged by another person's journey to go deeper into our own. That is what I have found to be true for myself, in any case.

So, if I were to tell my story right now, I would want to talk about how I wake up to Jesus and go to sleep to Him and I find Him with me all day long. And He is tender and loving and true.

I read His written words and I feel an awe that is close to fear, because of the authority with which He is speaking, and because I understand so little of what He is saying.

It must be something like being married to a royal person, and knowing them as a person in the house, and then hearing a bit of their official speech, and remembering all over again with a kind of fear and wonder, that they have the whole kingdom under their authority.

A couple days ago, I was skimming quickly through St. Bernard of Clairvaux's Commentary on the Song of Songs. In one chapter called In the Rooms of the King, St. Bernard talks about his contemplation of the verse, "the King has brought me into His rooms," Songs 1:4.

Bernard describes his vision of three specific rooms of the King that he feels he has been in, in a spiritual sense. He sums them up as discipline, nature and grace- the last one, grace, being a bedroom.

He talks about the bedroom being the place where God goes to find ease and intimate companionship, as opposed to the other rooms, where God is operating out of His place as Judge and Creator, which are solemn and unnerving places to find oneself.

I was fascinated by Bernard's description. I had a similar experience last fall, when I was reading the book of Revelations for the first time in years, which was a purely terrifying experience.

In fact, I was so terrified that I was understanding almost nothing of what I was reading. It was merely a moving jumble of violent, vivid images without sense or perspective. Not that I've ever really understood that book at all.

I had to stop reading. Jesus reminded me that my life was hidden in Him, so no matter what was happening or why, I was safely tucked away. I continued reading with half my mind on the book and the other half constantly holding on to the thought that I was hidden in Him.

I reached the part where it talks about the throne room, and it seemed to me that the room was full of sacred and important persons. The room was full.

My heart dropped as I realized this. This is a ridiculously childish thought, taking as it does this whole thing literally, and I am embarrassed to be admitting to it, but I had always this idea, in the corner of my mind, that I would find some small corner near Jesus and hide out there, as close and as inconspicuous as possible.

But at that time, when I was reading, I thought there was no place for me and that I would never be near Him at all. I felt there was no way I could even enter that room.

I thought to myself, "I'm never going to see Him! I'll be like Zacchaeus, trying to get a glimpse of Jesus merely as He passes by on other business. There's no place for me."

And then He spoke. He said, There is a place for you, and it is very close to Me.

And I saw a room. It was a lush, opulent room, dimly lit. I noticed right away that there were no windows. It was full of couches, cushions and hanging drapes. It was not at all decorated to my taste and I couldn't figure out why Jesus would put me in a room that had no windows.

I knew immediately, almost in the way one knows things in dreams, that the rooms were not actually mine at all; they were His.

It was His private room, but I would be or was living in them. So there would never be any actual separation between us at all. Jesus would never have to go out of His way to come to me. In the natural course of events, we would be running into each other all day long. He would have to go out of His way to avoid me.

A week or so later, I was reading in the Psalms. I was reading one of my favorite psalms, that has been my favorite since I was fifteen or sixteen, because of these verses:

"Hear, O daughter, consider, submit, and consent to my instruction: forget also your own people and your father’s house;

So will the King desire your beauty; because He is your Lord, be submissive and reverence and honor Him."

So I was reading the 45th psalm, and I came to this verse:

"The King’s daughter in the inner part [of the palace]..."

I got goosebumps. I just sat there, thinking over and over again about how she was in the inner part, the inner chamber- it was why the room Jesus had shown me had no windows.

Anyway, that's the sort of thing I would write, if I were simply to write.

August 24, 2012

Now I remember why I stopped blogging about all that; writing about it triggers so much anxiety that it makes that day and the next miserable.

For one thing, I think to myself, "Oh my goodness! That sort of thing only happens to extremely spiritual and pious people- like nuns and Franciscans- and I am not one of them! I must revert, and attempt to earn such an experience, even if in retrospect! Stop being imperfect and human! Stop it right now!"

And of course, I can't. I go on losing my temper at the dogs, when they argue over their food bowls, and I get exasperated at my husband when he invites guests over yet again without warning, and then, in an attempt to get my point across to him while he is on the phone, I glower and fuss at him like an angry goose.

And I don't want to cook dinner; I want to go on watching the fifth episode of my show on Netflix, and the floors are covered with dog hair and the counters are smeary because I was slouching around all day, writing about various things, including God.

And I get a growing suspicion that I have mixed up one of the absurd number of names in the Bible beginning with Z, and have chosen the wrong one for the parable I wrote about, but I'm too anxious even to reread my blog.

And then I feel so terrible. I think, I am such a terrible person. I should be hospitable at all times, neat, tidy, never anxious, never angry. I should always double check Z names, just to be sure. I'm selfish and self-centered, and I just blogged about Jesus! I've learned my lesson; I'm never blogging about God again.

Thus the day goes on.

When I was young, I used to think that people who had interesting or spiritual experiences with God must be extraordinary people. Maybe some of them are; I'm not.

From the first time I experienced the presence and person of God, I knew two things quite clearly. One was that my faith was no longer any of my business. It had nothing to do with my efforts and I couldn't take any credit for it.

It would be like a person who felt the sunlight on their face and said to themselves, "I feel the sun! I must have caused it rise! It must have been that I ate oatmeal for breakfast. I will now make a religion of eating oatmeal for breakfast in order to cause the sun to rise."

The second thing I knew was that I could no longer judge any other person's faith. If you can't take credit for having something, it's very difficult to judge other people for having or not having the same thing.

What I think is extraordinary are people like my father. Until this year, my father never had a personal experience of the presence or love or voice of God. That's six decades of praying, asking, seeking and not finding, through all kinds of suffering and pain.

And yet, my father persistently went on choosing to believe in God- a God of love, yearning for relationship! He lives this out in his life, by loving the people around him, no matter who they are or how they live their lives.

Of course I love God. How could I not love God? I would be a peculiar person indeed if I did not naturally love in return for having felt loved.

And anyway, the entire thing that I blogged about, Jesus described quite simply and in just a few sentences, when He said:

"There is plenty of room for you in my Father's home. If that weren't so, would I have told you that I'm on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I'm on my way to get your room ready, I'll come back and get you so you can live where I live."

John 14:2-3, The Message

*

"Being a child of grace does not merely mean being one who experiences the forbearance of God and who is forgiven by Him. All of the works of God in man's heart are works of grace. Grace means that it is done by God and not by man. A person who receives more grace is one who allows God to work on him more, while a person who receives less grace is one who allows God to work on him less. God has the grace, but man will not necessarily allow God to do all the works in him. Everything that is of the self belongs to the law, and everything that is of God belongs to grace."

-Watchman Nee, The Song of Songs, II. A Life Within the Veil, A. The Beloved's Praise (6:4-9)










Sunday, April 16, 2017

Risen With Christ


December 24, 2016

"Here I am," I confessed, opening the arms of my spirit, having no excuse for the jumble of annoying thoughts I'd just been caught up in, but remembering and then choosing Jesus. He caught me up in His arms of love, laughing.

"I cried in the car," I told Him, thinking of Jesus, with perfect wholeness of His innocence, and that innocence torn apart and ruined on the cross as He bore the weight of every heinous, horrible sin, became sin! Not just any sin, but my sin! Because He loved me.

Precious one!

"Look!" I exclaimed, opening my arms. "Look what You have done- You have made me whole, made me new, made me alive!"

Perfect, Jesus declared.

Jesus receives a new and innocent bride, His own perfect flesh and blood, through His Passion- He brought us up with Him in His resurrection. We see it in our spirit man now, but in the end, soul and body also will be renewed and transformed.

*
I saw massive interlocking gears being pulled by draft horses leaning hard into their harnesses, all of them pulling steady one step at a time, each in different places. The gears were extremely heavy, and loomed larger than the horses and were lying horizontal on the ground, stretching out beyond my sight, the size to cover continents.

I knew the horses were intercessors and workman in the Kingdom who'd given their lives in service to see breakthrough and revival. I knew there were generations of them who had spent their lives pulling. I knew the gears stretched out over years and years of time.

“They must be pulling that way because it's the plan of the Father to get each piece aligned,” I said to Jesus. I knew once the prearranged alignment was reached, the gears would release into a movement of power beyond my ability to comprehend, and even though it appeared to each person that they were barely achieving movement, each step was needed and in time and in synch with the larger picture.

December 30, 2016

“Here I am.”

Jenny, I love you.

“I see how my growing up in you is like You- as a sprout out of dry ground, alone, having no beauty...”

Yes, Jenny, He confirmed.

December 31, 2016

When I was with Him, was praying the Lord redeem His church from all her trouble, and as I prayed, I saw that to pray for this is the same as praying for right alignment from the vision I had seen. To pray that way is to pull in the harness.

I made bare my soul in confession and the expression on His face changed to something like sadness- because I had already done that, and now is the time to trust Him and be glad in Him, so immediately, I sang, “What can wash me white as snow? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!”

Jesus is one person, He is the same Person, He has the same personality each time. Jesus is tender and innocent as a lamb. “I love You, Lamb of God,” I whispered, putting my cheek to His- meaning exactly Jesus, exactly as He is.

*
"I love You, You One," I declared to Jesus. "You of the same smile, the same laughing glance of the eye, the same work worn hands, the same shoulders. It's You that I love, You Lamb of God- You are my Lord and my God, my only One, my everything- You and You alone."

Most precious heart, Jesus declared, catching me close in His arms.

*
Record that.

“How shall I?” I asked, because so much of my prayer had been an almost wordless outpouring, but I tried:

“Give me the desires of my heart, Lord Jesus, give me the desires of my heart and so give me strength to be Yours and only Yours always and to remain holy and chaste and to have only You and to glorify You and to love You as You are meant to be loved!”

Massive amounts of His power and life where pouring into me like ecstasy as I was praying this.

His eyes are gentle as doves and see everything.

Don't look away, Jesus whispered, when I dropped my eyes in wonder. Behold, your Friend.

Abide, Jesus commanded, when in overwhelmed prayer I reached out to Him.

“You are more than just my Friend, I whispered, when I could be with Him again, feeling quite shy. “You are my heart's deepest desire.”

January 1, 2017

“You set it up for Your glory to be shown,” I said to Jesus confidently, by faith, about the situation.

Immediately, into my mind came gentle the remembered scene of Jesus passing by the blind man and Him saying- that the glory of God might be revealed in him.

Had another vision while I was worshipping at His feet and saying, "Be satisfied, be satisfied, have to the fullest what You deserve," by which I meant, have the entire church in unity worshipping and glorifying Jesus, pouring out praise and love in many voices all worshiping Him in love.

And as I was saying this, I was seeing thin sheets of crystal clear water washing down a cream colored, smooth beach, the sheets of waters shining with light, overlapping, expanding, sheet after sheet sliding down in opening fan shapes and my vision lifted upward and outward, and I saw the sheets of water were going into the ocean and the ocean was full of waves of glistening shimmering light and above the ocean, a sky of massive white and gold clouds with the light streaming through, and it got brighter and the brightness almost had a sound, which seemed to be getting louder and I lifted my physical head in growing anticipation and the sky was taking up all my spiritual sight, and suddenly the vision was gone.

January 3, 2017

Caught up in prayer for healing for the Body, internal wounds and bruises and friendly fire, that His balm pour down over the Body, the oil of His love, the cleansing of His blood, that He bind up the broken hearted so there might be a healed and healthy unity in the Body.

Saw myself lumping along, rejected, sad- for one moment considered the attractive pull of self pity, then rejected it completely by nudge of Holy Spirit, lifted my eyes to Jesus, poured out praise for His perfect, good work in my life that leads to a perfect, good end. Whatever sad things happen is a set up for His glory to be displayed.

Caught up in a warm, strong tide of His love, clung to Jesus, clung with all my strength, letting His life and goodness soak into me, releasing all other things as I clung to His strong, familiar shoulders in loving relief. “Holy, holy, holy,” I breathed in worship.

Late in the night or early in the morning, had been pouring out love on His merciful heart- His heart aches, and His mercy is costly as the cross and the horrible things that He feels with us cause Him such pain, and yet His mercy still flows- its new every morning, so I lavish love and comfort and gratitude toward His heart, bathing His heart in love, and worshipping Jesus for His goodness and mercy most precious.

*
Worship is to freely give back to Jesus with gratitude everything that He gave to us, which is everything.

Held Jesus tightly, felt His peaceful breathing, the rise and fall of His solid chest. Holding on to Jesus is so satisfying, it's like eating.

Oh My Jenny, He whispered.

"You are the compassionate One," I declared to Jesus in faith, thinking of His tender, merciful heart, and handing Him all the pain and sadness of my past that I had been thinking about.

Jenny, My Jenny, He murmured, taking the burden away and gathering me up in His arms.

January 22, 2017

What did you see?

I had seen a glimpse of the new space. "But I don't feel worthy to be there."

Jenny, have you forgotten grace or the power of My blood, which washes you and is sufficient for you?

He said my name, the rest I understood without words, and the lyrics of the song Grace Wins were running through my mind: There's a war between guilt and grace, fighting over a sacred space. Grace wins every time. A sacred space, kept repeating in my mind. And I remembered how that shameful, insufficient feeling only goes away when I rest in Jesus' arms and breathe Him in and let His presence wash over and through me.

"Okay," I said, then wrote all this down.

Saw His face- again and again I rested my eyes on His face. Once, saw His eyes were closed and as I watched, He opened His eyes. Jesus was looking right at me with His gentle gaze, and I saw His eyes change shape slightly as He smiled, laugh lines appearing at the corners.

“And there will be no doubt, only You, You pure hearted holy Son of God, and there will be no break from Your presence, and when  I wake I am still with You! When I wake I am still with You!”

I love you so much, you precious girl!

"Who am I, that You would save me?"

My beloved.

"How is it that You let me be with You?"

I shed My blood for you.

January 23, 2017

Still going to Jesus in that new space, but it requires a greater leap, more trust in His grace, and a greater commitment to faith and His presence. I must be all in.

I went to the inner rooms, that little house build by the hills, and it did seem small but beloved. And there were all the things I loved and that He gave me, or that we made together- the couch, the fountain with the fish and frogs and lily pads, the furniture, the water.

"Here is where we used to be," I told Jesus, holding His hand tightly. His smile was full of tenderness. "I don't understand about where we are now- how it is connected to here, or where it is in relation to this," I admitted, hoping Jesus would explain, but He did not and my mind was coming up with solutions that were too cramped. I'm not even going to try and figure it out, I decided. "I don't need to know, I just need to accept and be there with You," I said to Jesus. He didn't say anything, but I knew it was right because of the peace that filled me and we went to the greater space, the room of light.

And that's the way it has been. I saw a glimpse of the landscape beyond the pillars where the light streams in, and it was like an English manner house in the country, only saturated with light, all the colors were seen through streams of light. Everything is luminous but solid. It's a gentle landscape, the lawn stretching away. The distances are too much to contemplate, and I haven't attempted to explore, because I already know I'm not ready to comprehend it.

"I in You and You in me and You in the Father," is what I have said to Jesus in that space.

So much with me! Jesus, when He is at home, when He is at ease and has no business to care for, in a manner of speaking, because of course He is always and constantly running things- He is all gentleness, and He is quiet, and His eyes are alive with feeling.

"Nothing but the pure air of heaven," I tell Jesus. No distortion of soul, no disturbances, no doubt- nothing but the untainted, pure air and seamless, endless, tangible Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. Jesus always, truly there. "And when I wake, I am still with a You," I tell Him.

Last night tears gathered at His eyes and spilled over. "Don't cry, beloved Jesus," I told Him, gathering them up in my fingers. They were like water held for a moment in my fingers and slipping through. I kissed His temple where the tears had yet to dry. Sometimes I am crying, though this does not happen physically. But sometimes it seems a river of tears pour from my eyes at the intense relief and joy of being with Jesus.

"Your own knows nothing but You, has no memory except of You, sees nothing but what You show her and trusts You with everything," I tell Jesus earnestly. "The soul is healed, my soul is whole and wholly innocent in Your presence, and I know only You. Take even the memories of anything else and seal any wounds and take for Yourself everything that is me and mine, because I was made for You. All that I am is made for You. Take from me even the memories of lesser things and let me have and know only You."

Jesus is wholly worthy to be loved and I cannot reach the absolute heights of love that are due Him, but Jesus is gracious, generous and loving that He does not hold this against me and it does not cause offense in Him, but He cherishes my love such as it is and pours out love in return, greater than what He is receiving.

"You need the whole loaf," I said to Him once. Jesus is worthy of the worship, love and adoration of the whole Body, the worship and thanks of every created thing, and the endless love and delight of the Father and the Spirit, Who have always delighted in Him.

Jesus' heart is pure, it's a pure channel of endless obedience, love and perfection toward His Father, and Jesus delights to give Himself away. He truly is the Bread of Heaven, given for the world, and the Tree of Life that we may eat from, and the fountain of Living Waters that we may drink from, and the true Vine that we may endlessly take life from. Jesus is constantly giving Himself, and one can go deeper and deeper into this through love. It must be love, holy, faithful, adoring love, because Jesus is sacred and precious and the treasure of Heaven.

"And You will have it (the whole thing.)"

Yes, Jenny.

February 9, 2017

And Jesus, knowing that He had come from God and was returning to God…"

"And now I am coming to You," Jesus also had prayed.

But Jesus was coming to the Father as a flesh and blood Son of Man! He had left the Father as the glorious only begotten Son, radiant, flawless, splendid and the Light, and became a tiny embryo in Mary’s womb and now Jesus was as fully human as He was divine, and it is in that way that He is now returning to His Father.

The poignancy of it strikes me every time! It seems like such a weakness.

Now I am coming to You,” says the Man from Galilea to His Abba, the Ancient of Days, the I Am that I Am, the Living God, enthroned on praises, seated in the heavens.

“Now I am coming to You,” Jesus says in a human voice, with an accent, with muscle and bone and breath.

But it is not a weakness. If it were possible for Abba to love His Son more, it would be so. When Jesus returns to the court of heaven in His resurrected, glorified humanity, fully the Son of God, fully and perfectly human, He has brought back to Abba everything His burning heart longed for all those ages and all those times before time when They thought of us. When Jesus returns carrying redeemed, resurrected and glorified humanity in Himself, the First begotten of a brand new race, He brings with Him glory untold, glory upon glory, because He has restored the human race in and through Himself, through the greatest sacrifice possible.

But it still seems poignant to me. What a beautiful weakness, that of humanity. They just refused to let us go, so They wove us right into Jesus forever.

Beautiful words, Jesus said, when I shyly returned to Him. I feel that way sometimes, after I have been writing about Him and then must go back to Him. What will He think?

“Safe,” I breathed, “safe,” as I clung to His heavy arms and shoulders, letting everything else go, having made it home.

The Second Adam, the fully realized Man, I realized, standing with Jesus on the polished stone floor of that upper place. Jesus was appearing particularly masculine to me, but I cannot describe in what way, because it was a perfect way. A perfectly solid, peaceful, established, immoveable way. Jesus is a Man without flaw- without insecurity, without ego, without pride, without the need to prove anything, because He has passed every test and won every battle and everything is His. In Heaven, Jesus has no weakness but His love and that is His greatest strength, because it was His love that led Him to the cross, and the cross was His victory. Jesus is warmly breathing, peacefully stable, firmly fixed on His feet, holding me in His arms, my head not even reaching to His shoulder, and all around Him is space, open, peaceful space.

“I in You and You in me and You in the Father,” I said thinking of this and Jesus glanced with love upward, and I realized that He was in the Father and so was I- my life was hid with Christ in God, and the space all around us was in some way the Father.

I felt His breath on my face and I said, without thinking, “I remember!” meaning, when They breathed the breath of life into us when They created us, but how could I remember such a thing? Only first Adam possibly could, and how could even he? But the breath of God stirred in me a memory that was not even a memory, for there were no images- nothing but the warmth of the breath of God, which woke us to life, even me.






Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday

(This is the next piece of the back story. This week, I am going to be posting the blog from my current journal on Sunday morning instead of waiting until next Friday.)

June 15, 2012 Unpublished

This is what I wrote yesterday:

Today, I don't want to adopt, I don't want to blog, I don't want to be so transparent about my relationship to Jesus, which alters back and forth between the adulation of a young child and the ardent passion of a woman, and either way, is neither acceptable nor sophisticated in any way, shape or form.

The home study interview really had a deep impact on me. The interview brought me face to face with a woman and a life completely different from mine, with whom I had to share a lot of the brokenness of my life before being passed forward on the adoption journey. She had absolutely no platform from which to understand me. She wished not even to begin to understand what went into making me this person. Who would? Who would want to go through that?

But I must be me. I must bear the burden of my own history, personality and trajectory. I can't go back and make it not have happened.

I could completely re-invent myself, I suppose, if I truly wished. I could give up all this about being authentic and genuine, all this about one's scars making oneself stronger or more beautiful or more insightful.

I could do or say or attempt anything to placate my starving ego, which cannot stand standing alone before the grace of God, and wants something, anything to hide behind, to add value to myself, because I, myself, surely cannot be enough.

Let me be a mother, let me be an activist, let me be a writer, just give me a label, any label, for the love of God, don't make me stand here alone and without disguise, because that is unacceptable.

It is almost impossible for me to believe that my life holds inherent value. That's what I've been facing for the last few months. Religious certainty and motherhood are two incredibly powerful shields behind which feelings of worthlessness can hide.

The things I used to hide behind, the things I long to hide behind, keep getting taken away, or not given. I must see that I am loved, loved because of Who God is, and I must see how much I struggle to accept this.

June 20, 2012

Our computer is on the blink as of today. It had been randomly crashing from time to time, but this morning it crashed a total of five times and I'm now writing this on the lap top. This is not good. This is not the time for us to be buying a new computer.

Adoption is expensive. The home study alone has cost us over a thousand dollars. In the meantime, life never leaves us alone. It keeps needing money, too.

Especially now, because our current renters move out in August and our property manager told us that there could be damage to the roof because of hail storms, and that there is a crack in the wall in the downstairs bedroom and that the deck needs repainting.

So, on top of paying for advertisement to get the place rented, as well as carrying two mortgages until it does, we may have to pay the insurance deductible of a thousand for any repairs to the roof, as well as any repairs to the foundation, as well as the work to the deck. That is some serious money, right at the same time we are going into adoption.

Until we get the house issues straightened out and rented again, I think we'll have to postpone going active with our placement agency. In the meantime, the computer decided to cave.

I seriously wonder, sometimes, why we are doing all this. I wonder why it's so important that we parent. If we decided that wasn't important, we'd suddenly have a great deal of disposable income. We could buy all the latest gadgets and go on vacation.

We wouldn't have to open our lives to the scrutiny of strangers, in order to secure their approval of us as parents. We wouldn't have to wait for weeks and months, not knowing how many times we've been looked at and tossed aside, our faces one of thousands of hopeful couples that pop up on adoption websites. We wouldn't have to risk emotional devastation at the hospital, if and when an adoption fails.

It was to avoid all this that I wanted to pursue an international adoption. It's more expensive, it takes longer, but the process is more cut and dry. Domestic adoption is upfront and personal, complicated and uncertain.

I keep trying to tell myself that somewhere out there is a woman I do not know. I don't know how old she is, or if she has children already, or if she has family that supports her or none at all. I don't know what race she comes from, what culture, what background.

I keep thinking she must be fighting her own awful battles, as she is being moved along in a course she wouldn't have chosen for herself either. She had only a few choices and they are full of grief and hardship. Not one of them is free of pain. I keep trying to believe that our lives are on these two tracks that are bound to intersect at some point. If I don't keep moving forward, then I won't be there to meet her.

I don't know who my child will be, but thinking about this makes me feel fiercely protective of him or her. I know exactly what to say to my child. I know all about wounds; I know all about their costs and their gifts.

I guess that's why Keith and I keep slogging on through this. I just wish the computer could have held out for six more months.

Keith is pretty clever with computer stuff, maybe he can get it up and running again, for a little while. Hopefully, the roof is fine. Hopefully, the crack is nothing but normal house settling, and hopefully we'll get the house rented in a month, and go active with our adoption profile in September, just like we planned.

In the meantime, hey, I have a laptop to blog on. It could be worse.

July 6, 2012

Still waiting.

Our property manager and her family are back in their house, which was untouched. (A massive wind fire came down through Colorado Springs where our house and hers were located. Many people lost their homes.) She said it was merely a matter of wind direction. If it had blown another way, their house would be gone.

Hopefully next week we'll start up the great document hunt and even more hopefully, maybe we'll be finished with all that by the end of this month.

If I were to look back and wonder what my life was like these days, it would be like living in slow motion with grainy texture and bad focus.

It's the feeling of being always on the edge of something that must be done, and then realizing that there is nothing one can do. It's waking up to that every morning. I get so I almost flinch, and then run down the list in my mind- this is waiting on that, that is waiting on this, and today- today is a great empty space.

I feel like one of those stones caught in the surf with that lovely, rough clattering and hissing of waves.

It's not that I'm actually doing nothing; I manage all my domestic duties as imperfectly as I ever did, and visitors are often coming and we are sometimes going out. It's just that my internal landscape is wide open, and pounded by waves. I can't help but think that this sort of pounding is on purpose, divine purpose. It's not to punish, but to deepen.

My understanding of God grows through these experiences- I understand Him to be greater than I had thought before. I see this best in the quiet, long stretches of waiting, the times when I am suspended in my own life.

Richard Rohr wrote that suffering can be defined as any time we are not in control. The more I consider that, the more true it becomes to me.

It makes me think of this phrase: Desist, and know that I am God, which is how Young's Literal Translation puts that verse in the 46th Psalm.

Desist is to cease doing something.

When I am suspended, when I must stop, that is when my understanding opens up to Him in a way which is beyond sensation or experience or even head knowledge.

I simply know that He is fully present and fully in control and full of His mysterious and good purposes, and that whole picture is absolutely beyond my grasp.

July 10, 2012

This morning, an inexplicable feeling of loneliness washed over me, right over my head, taking me by surprise and swamping me.

I stood there, leaning against the foot of the bed, trying to process the flood of emotion. It was like a popup book had been flung open, and a blur of images and sensations flickered past inside me.

Every day I have to try and manage my emotions of sorrow, anxiety, fear, longing, and grief that surround this adoption process, and everything else that is happening in our life.

Every lonely, anxious memory is evoked and then surpassed by this experience. I feel lost, worthless, unprepared, ridiculous, inept, sad and lonely- all the times I felt that as a child, as a young woman, this experience of infertility and adoption brings those emotions to a head.

Tears well up into my eyes at the most random commercials, at movie trailers. Each time I push them down, mercilessly. I won't cry; I won't.

It's easy to talk about suffering in a theoretical sort of way, about how valuable it is, how it leads to maturity, compassion, insight. I like talking about it in a theoretical way.

But it hurts.

It helps when I remember that God carries the same wounds; that He walked right into the heart of His suffering. He didn't medicate it or avoid it. He gave voice to His emotion.

July 13, 2012

Sometimes I look back at what happened to me over the winter and spring, and wonder at it.

I remember lying in bed, wrapped up in the personal love of God, just floating in it. When I turned over, the physical act of moving caused the emotional sensation of being loved to become even more acute.

That happened more than once. I think because moving around reminded me what physical sensation was, and that what I was feeling had nothing to do with that, even though it was so distinct and so present that I felt it had to be physical- until I moved, and knew it could not be.

Once I did this and even in the moment, the wonder flooded through me.

"Why do You love me so?" I asked Him.

It made no sense to me. Despite everything that I had said I believed, I did not think God could possibly be that interested or could love so completely His own creation. He could not be that attached, that gentle, that involved. Nothing in religion had prepared me for the actual love of God. Nothing that I sang or read or studied prepared me for it.

Because you're My daughter, He replied.

And for a moment, I remembered, in the deepest part of me, that I was born of Him. He was my Creator, the source of my life. He brought forth my life from Himself, out of His creative desire for me to exist.

Nothing else defined me, but Him. But I find that it's hard to see like this, from day to day. From day to day, everything but that defines me. I remember coming down out of one of those experiences, and feeling the loss of clear sight, of understanding.

Which is why, I can't help thinking, the best things are faith, hope and love. Another words, be good to one another. Be merciful.

Take hope in the extraordinary and sovereign love of God; He is absolutely and perfectly in charge. This is, I know, an absurd hope. It's a ridiculous faith.

What manner of God are You? I asked Him that night, suspended as I was in wonder and love.

The only One, He replied with His gentle humor.

The one and only God, the Living God. There is none beside Him. New wonder swept over me, as this sunk into me.

I understood then that the whole world is His; all of creation belongs to Him. He breathes through it, sustains it, loves it.

Everyone is His.

July 18, 2012 Unpublished

So, I got up this morning drenched in anxiety, as usual. I can feel the panic wash over me during the day. I can physically feel it wash through me.

Ever since something I read, and I took that as a comment on how I should stop talking about my experiences with Jesus, my anxiety, guilt and shame have been through the roof.  It very likely had nothing to do with me, but since then, I can't even read that article.

I've felt waves of guilt, extreme guilt- that I was showing off, that I was arrogant, that I was holier than thou, that I was telling the little people what it's like up above.

I'm not trying to be arrogant- I hate that. I wanted to remind people that they are entirely loved by God, that the love of God is what defines them. I wanted that to lessen their anxiety in the same way it lessened mine.

Also, I wanted them to know that it's okay that we don't have all the answers yet. It's okay not to know, because Jesus knows and He’s good.

Jesus reminded me of my father, who posted something glowing about the love of God- dynamic, mysterious, pervasive. And for a moment, I was comforted. But only for a moment. My guilt immediately returned.

Everything all came together and it's been horrible. Every time I stop thinking about anything else, I'm thinking about that. It's as though it physically hits me. I want to recoil. I want to always be doing something so I don't have to think.

This morning, I was thinking about how one person in particular has probably read my blog and knows that I have this intense experience with Jesus, and yet knows me in person, how stiff and formal I am as a person and I just felt so miserable. I felt like such a failure- a failure to demonstrate any of the character or person of Jesus in my outward, daily life. That’s always the source of my greatest guilt.

“I am doing just such a miserable job at this,” I told Jesus, in this choked thread of a whisper, thick with misery and guilt, as I got the coffee machine ready.

I felt Jesus come up behind me, immediately and protectively and He put His arms around me and whispered into my ear, You can't be all of Me as one person; that's why there is the body of Christ.

So, other people demonstrate or live out other aspects of Him- I am finite. I am not an extraverted, socially adept member of the Body of Christ. Others get to demonstrate that aspect of Him. That's why as a whole we make the body of Christ.

It's perfectly ordinary doctrine. That's what I love about Jesus. He never tells me anything radically strange, really.

So that's been my inner life lately. Purely miserable. Each time I reach out to Jesus, I remember there is a purpose behind this. Sometimes He says to me, as iron sharpens iron.

Sometimes Jesus reminds me that He feels it as I feel it- that's He not just watching on the sidelines, but He's feeling the misery as I do, which is so humbling. I don't know why Jesus would do that to Himself.

Jesus reminds me that I'm learning to be emotionally authentic with Him, and that this is a very difficult lesson for me to learn, but that I'm stepping out into it, and that it is messy and it doesn't fit into my old religious teachings, and that doing this is a profound act of trust on my part and that trust, the trust of my authentic self, just as I am, resting in Him, is precious to Him and of great value.

Jesus reminds me of how I am learning to take Him at His word when He insists that I am always His, no matter how I feel, or what my attitude is, or what I believe or think, and that's what He asked me to do.

Sometimes I reach out to Him like one would to a life line, as though I am drowning, which frequently, I feel as if I am, and I hear His voice strong, like a river of living water flowing through me, ceaseless, my source of life, infinite and always connected to Him, a living connection which holds all my true life, and Jesus says, You know that I am.

Sometimes Jesus says, You know. You know that I am. You know that it's true.

And I do know. I know that I know Him. Jesus is the first thing I ever knew and He will be the last thing I ever know.

In fact, it's almost homey. I get this strong impression that we are intimate friends, close, with this strong bond of attachment and knowledge and trust and love and comfort.

And I can't help but think it fact that everyone has known Him. They must. They can't have come from anywhere else. But they must have gotten blinded to the truth.

About that, I don't know much at all. I don't know much, if anything, about evil, except that it's all Jesus’ responsibility and He has all authority and that it will be completely resolved.

July 21, 2012

Ok, so here are some updates.

We have a contractor for the roof and according to their estimate, we should come in maybe two thousand under budget. Is it possible for any estimate to ever be accurate? But at least that gives us a cushion if and when they do go over budget. They should start in three weeks, or whenever the roof tiles come in.

Our property manager dumped us this month- the very month she is supposed to be showing the house for new renters. We have a new property manager, whom we've never met. She seems nice, but she has four weeks to get the house re-rented before we face double mortgage month.

We have all the proper forms for the adoption, but due to Keith's extremely challenging work schedule, we're still waiting to get FBI checks and notarizing done.

There are other things going on that I can't blog about, but there is just a lot. I feel intensely most of the time, and I am working hard on letting myself feel this. That's quite hard work, as usual, but I'm growing. I'm certain there must be something on the other side of emotional authenticity that is worth reaching.

I keep coming up against this religious idea that if I feel my emotions, then I'm not having faith- as if faith must mean being happy all the time.

That can't be it. That's just too brittle. I keep thinking that there is something about being human that is very important.

If I can get to the place where I feel everything fully, can recognize my scars, my limitations, and at the same time, know that I am the beloved of Christ, I think that would be extraordinary. I think I could extend that out to others around me, simply by living in the truth of it.

I would like to be in that place. So, when I feel overwhelmed or angry, or depressed or anxious, or shame, or guilt, I try to recognize where I am, and that right then, right exactly then, I am loved, wholly loved, perfectly loved and I can rest in that healing love.

In my sexual healing abuse, I learned to change my beliefs about myself, beliefs that had gotten wedged in my identity in an unhealthy way, and I focused a lot on being a survivor and I hardly let myself feel the hard emotions. It was right that I did that work. Otherwise, I would have been living in a victim mentality, and that would have been emotionally and spiritually crippling.

But now, it's almost as though I have come full circle. I have come back to the places of pain, but this time, I'm daring to trust Jesus to a much greater degree than I ever could before. There’s something else, something above this or beyond it.