Friday, June 23, 2017

The Word of Perseverance

These next sections are going to be both unexpected and challenging. They certainly were for me, when I first re-read them. But this is what came next, so I have been and am trusting the guidance of the Holy Spirit in both the Scriptures that are linked, and the timing.

March 9, 2013 Published blog

I don’t know what to feel about the difficulty of this adoption journey and my helplessness to fix it on my own.

Should I be furious at Jesus? Sometimes I think I am, deep down, but I’m not letting myself express it, because it feels too dangerous.

Then I feel that I am a miserable, sinful creature who is not praying enough, doesn’t have enough faith.

Perhaps I should be able to try and force Jesus to do what I want Him to do, if only I have enough faith- willing Him by unrelenting, focused faith that I will have what I want to have

Then I think that this is not so much faith as it is anger. And I am angry at Jesus, because He seems never to be done with me, always holding me up to the grinding wheel.

Jesus said that to me once. He said, you and I will never be finished.

And at the time, I thought that was a delicious thing for Jesus to say. He said it with such love. I understood Him to mean that we would always be bound together, in love, growing into and enjoying one another, because He is infinite and I will always live in Him.

But right now, I feel as if this is a burden, like a yoke that constrains me every time I try to take a step.

And Jesus won’t give me the answer; He doesn’t tell me what to do. Or, more exactly, He gives me the same answer as always, which is to remain, to wait. To abide, as it were. Which is a very Jesus sort of thing to say.

When I step back from these sharp edges of myself, I feel pity and compassion for myself, torn between these human responses to pain, and I think that He is greater than these smaller answers that I have now, and that I must rest in the mystery of Him, with all these ragged edges, the anger and the doubt and the guilt and the hope just as they are- which are all mixed up, and give them over to Him, and they are soothed in the great depth of His love, but still without answers.

Also, it is difficult to be angry at someone who is embracing you with love. If Jesus gave me some space, maybe I would. But I feel Him there all the time, not just beside me, but holding me.

I feel His constant presence, not only looking on as it were outside myself, but within me, in such I way that I know Jesus is not feeling this beside me, but actually with me- we feel together what happens. He doesn’t have to feel this with me. Because He does, I can bear it more easily.

March 10, 2013, Unpublished blog

So, I had a strange dream last night.

I dreamed that I stumbled across this little civilization. There were perhaps a dozen or so different individuals living each in their own little box home but part of one community, each person unique and quirky.

In the course of talking with them, I learned that Jesus had settled each one of them in their place, that He actually came down to be with them, to get them established and that He came down, from time to time, to visit with them.

Of course I immediately wanted to know how and when He came down and they were very helpful. One or two of them agreed to let me live with them, so that I could meet Jesus in person at the time when He came down.

They explained that I should go to a certain spot, at two in the afternoon, and call out to Him with all my heart, and He would come down the next day.

I thought this was incredible, unbelievable, but I waited, a guest in one of their homes, for the right time to try this.

At the right time, I walked along this short, paved path to the top of a slope and stopped near where the path ended, and waited for it to be exactly two o'clock, in order to pour my heart.

I was not at all nervous about this; I knew pouring my heart out was something I could do with hardly any effort all at, and I had a great deal to pour out.

But before I had even begun, a platform began to descend out of the sky. I saw the platform and then bare feet and the rough hem of a white robe and this indescribable feeling swept over me. I was seized by this extraordinary feeling.

There was some sort of dark robe thrown over the white robe, and then I saw his shoulders and then I saw his mouth and immediately I knew something was wrong. The mouth was weak and sensual and as the rest of the face came into view, I saw that it was also weak. There was something shifting and needy in his eyes.

I knew it wasn't Jesus, but it was taking a little time for this crushing disappointment to sink in, and as I stood there, he reached out with his arms for me and the wrongness of it was glaring, hurtful.

I twisted angrily away from the reaching arms and glared at him.  I was not at all afraid because I was so angry. "You're not Jesus!" I cried out, my voice shaking with outrage and disappointment.

"I know, I know," he said, trying to reach out to grasp my hands. "But I just wanted a little bit, a little something. I just wanted to try..."

I wasn't even paying attention anymore. My disappointment and longing was so great that I had sunk down to the ground.

It was as if I was crying out, but without sound, or as if my voice wasn't calling out through the air, or my heart was speaking for me, because the feeling was so much that it wasn't fitting through my physical voice, and I was pounding the ground with my fists, and I would have been sobbing, but there wasn't enough air, and the words that were pulsing out of me, too deep and too huge for my voice were, "I want Jesus! I want Jesus! I want Jesus!"

And I woke. The dull, throbbing ache of disappointment was still through me, like a bruise, or like a dry mouth, as well as the jarring disconnect of meeting that other person. I was still holding on, a little bit, to the extraordinary idea that somewhere, somehow, there was a way to physically call Jesus down, here and now, as He is, but now that I was awake, I knew that was impossible.

Jesus was with me, of course, spiritually speaking, and I did not have to speak. He knew. His Holy Spirit washed over me like water, refreshing after the dryness of the dream, but without sight and I settled myself back into the traces, into the long haul.

I remembered another dream I'd had, when I was a young girl.

I had dreamed I was in my grandparent's living room and my abuser was there. The room was sort of dingy and depressing, full of people but I was terrified of some kind of violence or evil, as if at any time, my abuser might pounce on me. I think in the dream, he had a knife.

So I started to cry out for Jesus, and astonishingly, he came up the basement steps, but when I saw his vapid, placid face, I knew it wasn't Him, so I threw myself on the carpet and started to cry out with desperate fear that I wanted the real Jesus.

And Jesus came. I knew immediately it was Him because of the sorrow in His face, which was worn but full of grace. Even in the dream, I was shaken right to the core that He had actually come. I ran across the room and woke as soon as I reached Him.

(This is extremely strong meat, and if it is unsettling, please peacefully place the whole of it in the hands of Jesus, and remember that no one can take us out of His hand. Read the Word of God and especially the Gospels, so that one grows in knowledge of God. Walk honestly and openly with God, confessing sins, surrendering one's will to Him, trusting that the Holy Spirit will help us to grow in obedience. Bring to mind with grateful peace the communion we are given through our church community, where we are kept under the spiritual authority of those who pastor Christ's flock, and take the hand of our Good Shepherd and continue to walk with Him, knowing that He will certainly guide us in the path of righteousness for His name's sake.)

March 15 Published blog

I was thinking this quote I read about someone who was preparing to leave this life. They were doing this by sowing love, doing this deliberately ahead of time. I want to do the same thing, so that when the time comes I might have a great deal of love to pass on, like a light. But when I compared myself to this person, I felt like my life was ridiculous and small, and my harvest would be laughably meager compared to this person.

Immediately Jesus was there, very strongly, very authoritative in His love and He took me in His arms and He said, I did not create you to be that person, and then Jesus reminded me, without words, that I was right where He wanted me and doing those things He was leading me into- that I had my own purpose.

And for a moment, I thought, wow, it’s okay to be myself, I’m enough, just as I am, in Him. And it was extraordinary, like a huge weight came off me.

But then I was terrified, suddenly, that if I really gave myself over to this feeling of freedom, of completeness as I was, that I would become stagnant and loveless, because I wouldn’t have any further reason to grow.

And it was like two concepts were at war in my mind: the idea that to strive for greater love, greater purpose, greater works was a good and right thing, with good and right consequences, and the contrasting idea that striving and goals distracted one from the completeness and wholeness that is always defines me, in Jesus, and how resting in that must be the best thing.

Then I gave it up, because I couldn’t work it out. I couldn’t figure out what was best. It seemed they were both excellent in their own way. How could I not want to be more loving? And yet, how could I contradict Jesus, when He says that I am exactly as He wants me to be, as myself?

Maybe they’re not contradictory, maybe the one- growing greater and deeper, is the natural consequence of the other, which is to rest in Him. So resting in Jesus must be the first thing, the human striving must be given up, before growth can come through Him, in the way He directs, through the freedom of living my life in love.

The other day, Keith called and told me to check our bank balance, and when I did, I saw the whole of our adoption funds waiting there. Our loan had been approved and the money deposited. When I hung up the phone, there was this uncanny moment where I thought, I moved God.

He was listening when I was pouring out my heart and moreover, He was orchestrating things in direct, if not immediate, response.

I'll confess, I don't understand faith. This might sound strange, coming from me, but my relationship with God has very little to do with faith, as I understand faith.

That is, I don't believe that He's there, I observe that He's there, in a way that I can't describe very well. But I've felt it almost all my life, so it seems natural to me. I haven't really had to exercise faith, in the way I've understood it.

I've been learning about surrender. That's been my almost continual lesson, each time at deeper levels. Jesus has taught me how to give in to Him, how rest in Him, how to surrender everything.

But about faith, I do not know. I follow other blogs where people are wrestling with faith and God, and I read along and feel admiration for them, for the courage it must take for them to go out on a limb with God the way that they do.

"Thank goodness You're not teaching me those lessons," I told Jesus once, after reading one of those blogs. "I'm not ready for that particular school."

Lately, I've had to realize I have matriculated into that difficult school of whatever is faith and how does it operate and what is it for and what does it mean?

When it's my husband's health and life and my future children on the line, I really need to know.

How does faith work?

If the adoption fails, is it because I didn't have enough faith?

Is the slow, rocky path toward adoption already happening because I haven't had enough faith?

I can't ignore these questions. Not getting the answers makes me angry and anxious. Jesus set it up, the whole faith thing! Why won't He explain it?

But if I was to be perfectly honest, Jesus does reply to me, and His answer is: you already know this.

That's what Jesus has said, whispered into my heart late at night, when I'm pouring all this agony and confusion out to Him.

I didn't understand how I could know it already, so Jesus encouraged me to think it through.

It's not the first time Jesus has said that, and it always makes me think of the times when He said to people: What do you think? How do you read the law? Who do you say I am?

Jesus seems to be interested in the process of thinking it through. He wants our own sincere answer.

And trust me, I have been thinking it through, but I still don't know what He's talking about. So that's where I am, lately: without answers, as usual, which, of course, only reinforces the lesson He's always given me, which is to surrender as I am, and learn to trust Him.

Maybe that's what Jesus means. If faith is about resting completely in Him no matter what comes up, then, yes. I do already know that.

This whole process stirs up a lot of emotion, all the emotion that I was taught negatively impacts faith, with makes me feel guilty and miserable and then I feel resentful and round I go again, so in desperation, yesterday, I said to myself, I'm going to call my dad.

My dad, I said to myself, will be compassionate and insightful. He'll let me pour out all my emotion and validate it. I'll feel heard, safe and relieved.

And immediately, it was as though Jesus nudged me, strongly, into this sudden, good humored but perfectly clear spiritual insight. He did it without words, but if I were to paraphrase what He was communicating to me, with such humor and love, it would this:

Oh I see! I get it! Right! Your human father, he's the one that will have the more compassion and insight into who you are that I would, more patience and love for you, in the struggle. But Me, no! No, I couldn't possibly offer you those things, being God and all, being the One that created you in love, with loving intention, in perfect understanding of you. I see how it is.

And I just burst out laughing, because it was too funny, when He pointed it out like that. I mean, He had no problem with me calling my dad. He is my dad for a very good reason and God set it up that way.

But there's just no way that any human could possibly love better or with more patience or with more authenticity than God. God is far, far more loving than the most loving person I've ever met. It's beyond understanding, in fact.

Then Jesus said, pass it on. Which He does often say. He says, Comfort ye My people, My poor people all worn out and caught in anxious knots of worry. Tell them I already won those battles for them.

So I am, just in case one of my readers out there might also be struggling with these questions about faith that seem almost forbidden, exhausted by it, by the lack of answers, by the hugeness of what's on the line- I'm sharing these things He said with you.

(I know much more about faith now than I did then, and I ask Jesus for some very large things, but this is because I learned one can ask Jesus with perfect security and passionate persistence for those things that He wants as well. What He doesn’t want isn’t worth asking for, and I don’t want it anyway. I find that it is peaceful to focus on and seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then one doesn’t have to ask for anything else, because every other good and perfect gift is added on in His time.)

I don't have all answers myself, but what I do know is that God is more than loving enough to hold any of us in the entire struggle, no matter what is coming up, no matter what seems to be breaking apart.

Every time that I have allowed myself to be emotionally authentic with God, I have felt a rush of affirming, strong and personal love from Jesus, no matter how mixed up or negative or intense my emotions were.

It has taught me, over and over again, just how much He values authenticity- our ability to be completely vulnerable with Him. In the Gospels, Jesus is frequently intensely frustrated with those that He calls "play actors."

It is safe and, in the end, richly valuable, to be real with God, even if that means sharing intense emotions that feel like such a risk to show Jesus- all the worst emotions, or asking Him questions that are difficult, or confessing doubt, confessing the whole thing.

(I didn't realize it at the time, but what Jesus was teaching me to do was confession. I associated confession with feelings of crushing shame and failure and so I avoided it at all costs. However, confession is an act of great trust in a loving God and swiftly leads freedom and release. When we confess our sins, failures, and weaknesses to God, He never turns away from us; He forgives us, cleanses us and embraces us with love and joy.)

I didn't grow into my relationship with Jesus by being strong and self-willed, I didn't learn this through success and a better attitude and five steps to more effective prayer.

My relationship with Jesus did not become as it is by hiding behind rigid, borrowed, religious beliefs, like a cut out poster board image of myself, behind which I am cowering, ashamed and afraid, as if I am saying, look, God, at all these wonderful, correct things that I am saying, doing, thinking! Isn't it lovely, isn't it correct, isn't it acceptable!

I used to do that, and I knew God from a great and often frightening distance.

I learned to be intimate with God by tossing the poster board image away, spreading my arms open, fingers trembling, heart pounding with the terror of it, the hope of it, and saying, here I am. This is me, nothing more, nothing less. This is all I am in this moment.

(That is still true. If a person were to ask me, “Jenny, how did you come to be so close to Jesus?” I would answer the question in this way, because this is the answer. I became close to Jesus by learning to trust Him with all of myself, just as He asked me to do that time when I saw that I was looking through the wrong end of the telescope when I was insisted proving to Him that I was being strong and right and impervious, and what Jesus wanted was for me to be vulnerable, honest and trusting.)















Friday, June 16, 2017

June 16th

January 12, 2017

“Jesus, here I am. I know You have been with me all the time, but now is for focusing on You alone. Is there anything....?” Saw His hands reaching out for me, His laughing face.

Saw glimpses of inner countryside fly by my inner gaze, saw the front room of the house with a set of stairs from one side, the side toward the upward sloping hill. Saw the front step of rough field stone, saw with great clarity and beauty the water pouring from the sluice gate, which was mostly closed. But the overflow was running over, water burbling and gurgling over the edge, crystal clear and cold and rapid, rippled with texture. The inside of the stone pond set into the floor was filled with half seen fish and green growing plants. It was pleasing to see and pleasant to be near.

Saw the sunlight on the rough field stone, saw Jesus sitting there, smiling. Went into His arms, smelled the good smell of His robes in the sun- like clean cotton.

Saw the dock, vivid color of green bobbing in the ocean waves.

“Do You want to go there?” I asked.

In response I saw my feet on the deck, felt the rough texture of the green matting, the refreshing ocean air, the open space of sea and sky, the movement of the dock in the bustling waves.

“Oh, it's so pleasing!” I had forgotten how it was.

Saw the shaded brook that runs under the woods growing at the top of the sea cliffs, the water brown, translucent, burbling quickly and then slow and deep, cut into the banks overhung with dangling green branches, vines and grasses.

I saw all this while on the dock; I looked up and saw Jesus' face, His eyelashes glistening and thick with water, eyebrows and beard and face wet and full of light from the warm sunlight. He lifted an arm to shade me, and I saw His face in the shade, everything about Jesus vivid, beautiful, full of peace and contentment while the dock moved in the waves and the spray of them, and the creaking of the wood.

January 13, 2017

“I love You.”

I love being with you.

“That is the most gracious thing to say!”

Because sight has been only in pieces and it has almost been by faith alone that I've been with Jesus, and by will alone that I've stayed. Having miserable time trying to stay awake.

January 15, 2017

Last night, worshipped and adored Jesus only by faith, but the faith was compelling and it opened up a massive living channel of His love and presence. It was intoxicating and absorbing, and yet I was hardly able to see anything at all.

This morning, I saw a delicate lady in a printed 1950's dress, that I took to be myself, step through a doorway to the outside and put her hand up and look up, but it was raining and there was a sense of danger, so she stepped back inside. As I saw this, I heard myself say to Jesus, “I love to tentatively love You.” Realized it came out that way- “I must have fallen asleep,” I said to Jesus apologetically.

“Lord, I know I am with You right now, so I rest my cheek against Yours, and I nestle down in Your arms like a little homing pigeon or a chick under Your wings,” I said, in order to bring myself back to focus on Him. In response, I felt the warmth of His embrace, the security, and I settled into it, but I was so tired that my soul was sluggish to worship.

“Lord Jesus, help me to love You as You ought to be loved…” I thought about how to do this, and tried one way- “I lift up my soul, I lift up my soul to You,” I sang to Jesus, determined to stir myself up to love and worship. “I praise Your holy name!”

But those phrases, although true, were too impersonal, so I switched to what I knew of Him. “I love the words You spoke in a human voice,” I confessed to Jesus. “I love Your shoulders that carried the beam as far as You could. I love the hands that held the carpenters tools, the arms that were stretched out upon that cross beam…”

That worked, so I went on.

“I love the hands the cup my face, I love Your face that I know this way. I love Your scarred back that forms the barricade, I love Your beating heart!” I know I am safe in the arms of Jesus- He hedges me in and I am hidden in Him.

“Lord, Lord!” I cried, overwhelmed by His presence. “I was hungry for You before, just two minutes ago!” Now He pours out His love and presence.

“Most merciful Lord Jesus,” I said in relief, clinging to Him, remembering that all judgement and the whole business of judgement has been given to Him, that all might honor the Son as they honor the Father. The time on my phone was 5:55 am when I went to record this.

“Lord, continue to renew my mind and restore my soul that I might be able to receive You in ever increasing capacity,” I whispered, and Jesus drew my head toward Him gently and breathed on my forehead.

*

“I yield to Your love,” I was repeating to Jesus. This is because the Lord is a jealous God and He is God, and when He pours out His heart, surrender is an immediate response that is borne of adoration and of reverence for Who He is. I was speaking this in His presence, my spirit following suit and we were sinking down through the water to the stone floor which under the water, the image that I was seeing illustrating the spiritual movement of submission and worship. I was breathing the water of the spring fed pool within the house, which had a smooth texture, thick as oil, crystal clear but not cold. I reached my hand up in wonder toward the shimmering surface and my fingertips touched it.

I knew where you were, Jesus had said to me, so very long ago. He never loses us, no one can take us out of His hand and all things work together for good- glory to God! Glory to God for right now, these things now that are working in His hands toward a perfect work, a culmination towards which He is bringing us.

January 17, 2017

"The building blocks of Your Kingdom," I said to Jesus as I came to His arms, remembering again that we are His living stones, and He moves through us on the earth.

"Thank You for all the saints who are welcoming You, seeking You and making room in their hearts for You all over the earth. Also I welcome You," I said, opening my arms to Jesus.

Practiced the quiet gaze of my spirit on His face, through the hindrances of soul. Rested with Jesus as though at the end- because His true now and He is true then, I realized. "You are with me, You are doing all things well and Your plans are perfect and have the last word," I said to Him.

Just so, Jesus affirmed.

Jesus was given to the world through a people prepared for that purpose, and the same is true now.

January 20, 2017

There is one path down which I must go.

Saw Jesus stand before the closed paths and point to the open one that was narrow and streaming with light, the path was like a beam of light stretching out, and resolutely and peacefully I headed down it.

Saw Jesus carrying His tools, walking down the hillsides to work outside of Nazareth and saw below Him, further down the hillside, a troop of Romans pass by, breaking the peace with their harsh language and metallic, militant tread and knew they could do terrible things, and who could stop them? And I remembered Herod, who was doing terrible things, and who could stop him? There was no justice, no earthly safety. They were an occupied, oppressed people and the only shelter was God, but their leaders were merciless and exacting and lovers of money.

Into this swirling maelstrom of forces, Yeshua launched His ministry.

Then I saw Him sitting on the hill in the tall grass, looking down to the far water, thinking of this. I went and curled up in His lap and all this understanding went surging through me like the pounding of a heartbeat, and that was how I knew about His focus and His courage in the face of all this. There was in Jesus a fierce, steadfast desire to fulfill His Father's will- to look to His face and no where else and to accomplish all His work; even at the darkest, sweating blood in Gethsemane, knowing that His Father could do all things, He laid down His will and finished the work.

Jesus knew He would be killed; there would have been no doubt. Everything He did once He came out of the wilderness, Yeshua did as one who had only so much time, but He wasn't afraid, only completely focused, abandoned to the mission.

I recorded this, went back to Jesus on the hillside, went down and down and down through the Holy Spirit, Who is very kind to me, to reach the deep center of Jesus' memories, of Himself, living at that time and went back to Him. Because He is not a different Jesus, He is the same Jesus who is with me and I with Him.

I was curled up in His arms, and resting the back of my hand in His palm, and I realized again that Jesus was never afraid. He moved in a deep, unshakable peace of trust in His Father. The disciples, especially the Twelve, must have been sheltered in this peace, too- which is maybe why He left it with them before He was taken, so they could still have it.

January 21, 2017

“By Your grace, I am awake and I receive You. It is only by Your grace, but I am awake, so come and rest here with me.” He came and I bundled Jesus in a blanket.

“Go on with Your renewing work in me, I want to be Your perfectly pure, innocent, adoring, yielding beloved.”

Oh my Jenny.

“Never to leave, never to leave, never to leave,” I was singing out with joy, clinging to Jesus' shoulders- tasting a taste of that unspeakable joy that awaits and standing with Him in this wide open, stone paved place of great distance, light and stillness.

It's that space, the space I had a glimpse of months earlier, when I knew I was in the presence of Jesus, and fell at His feet to beg for forgiveness and to intercede, and the room seemed to be different.

I made my whole self a confession, because His presence was greater than I have yet known, and the greater His presence, the heavier the fear of God grows, and the fear of God is clean, enduring forever. Before the cleansing fear, everything must bow and confess. This is not a painful ordeal, but it has a kind of absoluteness to it.

What this does, it that the fear clears out a wider space of understanding, because the light of His presence reveals and heals places of doubt and unbelief that remain, and in that understanding, faith grows deeper and stronger. It becomes a stronger foundation to rest upon, because of Who Jesus is. One sees and knows the Lord Jesus as greater than one has known before, submits in reverence and adoration to Him, and then afterward, has even greater confidence upon Him.

All is known, Jesus said, His voice rich with peace and authority, the final authority, the Prince of peace, and my whole self collapsed into relief and gratitude, I went limp and almost disoriented from the extent of the relief.

Jenny, you please Me, you please Me so much.

“Can I come here?”

At any time.

“I won't bother you?”

Have faith to believe that I want to be with you.

January 28, 2017

Perfect love casts out fear- the unhealthy dread that is not trusting in Him to finish His work. I have to do just what Jesus told me and believe that He always wants me with Him, and that He made me.

Saw Jesus bend down and pick me up in His arms. Took a long look at His face, full of tender mercies, so known to me, threw my arms around His shoulders and poured out my heart.

“May it move forward, Lord, may it move forward- Your plan for this earth! May it be as You will, only as You will- bring forward Your plans for this time... Am I bothering You with these...” I couldn’t think of the word, but I am intense about these requests, and the word, supplications, dropped into my mind.

The Spirit of supplication, I remembered praying for, and wondered what it meant.

Look it up, Jesus said.

It means to plead humbly or earnestly.

“Sometimes I'm not humble, I'm demanding,” I confessed.

I gave you that, too, Jesus replied, with good humor.

These last few days have been some of the most drunken, intoxicating times with Jesus that I have ever known. Fear and doubt is falling away in layers, replaced by great depths of faith and trust in His faithfulness- to be Who He says He is, and where He says He is, and that I am what the Lord Jesus says I am.

January 29, 2017

And lo, I am with you always are His words that have been taking me to Him again and again these days.

Remembered that I pray with Jesus, so I leaned against His heart and became still and listened, and I felt His aching and then burning longing to bring His plans forth, to glorify His Church, to finish His works in her and through her, to bring glory to the Father through her, and to establish, to make beautiful, to feed and to pour out living waters upon His thirsty, longing Church and that His own prayer that hangs like words of fire in His heart- that we might all be one- that this prayer be answered, come into sight, become visible, become seen.

During the prayer service at church, I smelled incense, a strong, holy scent that lingered for a long time- I had my eyes closed at the time and a woman was walking by. I assumed she was carrying a vessel of incense with her. The anointing was on her so strong that it washed over me like a wave and all I could say for a long time was, “Halleluiah, halleluiah!” I thought it was such a good idea that they were carried incense with them sometimes when they prayed, but when I asked them about it, they said they didn’t ever do that. After church, I had the final interviews for joining the intercessory prayer team, and I am now a member.

“I'm just going to come to You!” I declared with joy, after coming home.

Jesus was full of laughter, the laughter of joy, when I saw Him. The hallelujah chorus was bursting from me every time I was with Him, until we both burst out laughing.

January 30, 2017

With me always! This Scripture again brought me right to Jesus.

“I love You, Jesus.”

I know you do, you say it to Me so often!

“Do I love You well?”

You know you do.

“Help me truly to love You by having and keeping Your words! Your word are honey from the honeycomb, they are silver refined seven times, Your word is truth. Thank You for helping me more and more to actually keep Your word so that I might truly love You.”

“I apologize for my flesh, that cannot give You even one hour! Because I love You, Lord Jesus, I put the flesh down and I turn to You again. It is all that is due You, it is my most basic service, it is the least I can do, to put the flesh down and worship You! My flesh does not understand Your value, but I know! You are worth everything, You Lamb of God, darling of Heaven, champion of Heaven!”

I taught you to pray, Jesus assured me when I worried how it came out- so demanding of Him, almost.

The cross stands in the way! That’s how I have been praying. Yes, mankind on their own has earned death through sin, death being the fruit of sin, but the cross stands in the way! The cross stands in the way, and therefore there is mercy! Scandalous mercy and grace! There is the open door of mercy, it is left open, they may pass through it. Who can move the cross? It is planted there.

Kneeling down to pray, Jesus knelt in front of me and held out His hands in loving invitation, knew He physically wanted me to lift my hands and place them on His which I was seeing spiritually, so I did and joy flowed through me like a river. He is leading me right along.

June 3, 2017

Been resting in His arms and I saw again a long trail of glory- the train of a wedding dress- it’s the train of the whole Bride altogether. I cannot describe how glorious this train is, because it is made up of all the works of faith and selfless love that every believer has ever done for the Lord since the beginning of His church, including the martyrs then, and the martyrs now, and every desperate, suffering Christian who has put their faith in Him, given Him something, put their faith in Him, served Him, from every age, and the suffering of some of those ages of history is so great it is almost past wrapping one’s mind around, and to put one’s trust in the name of Jesus at that time- the glory of that is dense, thick and heavy, gorgeous and scintillating with light.

Every act of love, every bit of suffering transformed, every bit of hope, every thanksgiving- This fabric is thick, ornate with pearls and everything most precious. Every priceless thing is sewn into it; it's so heavy I don't know how it is moving, but it's being pulled forward by the Church walking toward the Lord- I cannot see Him, but I know that's where the Church must be going- both toward Him in time that is ordained and in some other way that I cannot articulate well- a kind of longing, steady and sublime faith that is drawing His Church, one step at a time, trusting entirely upon the Lord.

The length is past description and continues to grow, because who can say how long all those acts of love and faith and hope and obedience and sacrifice and thanksgiving and suffering for the Lord should go out toward, in the light of His cross and resurrection? The Lamb is worthy of all the glory.

“All I must be is obedient to You, all I must be is obedient to You,” I was saying in a rush of relief, humility and rightness, my head nestled against His chest. My part of this train is so very small- if I were not myself, I'd have no way of even seeing it amid all the rest, but all I must be is be just what He made me to be, and to fulfill just that which He ordained for me, and there will be no shame at the smallness, because I am the work of His hands and Jesus knows what He is doing.

June 4, 2017

“Jesus…”

Come here.

Briefly went to Him, but when in His arms, was pondering for some time, my thoughts wandering away to consider this and that, realized I wanted to return my attention to Jesus to be with Him, remembered what He said, come here, and went to Him.

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,” I whispered to Him in awe, wrapped warmly up in His arms on the threshold of forever. He had lifted His face and I had seen His eyes soft with peace and gentleness, looking at me with love. I thought of how I had prayed to Him so often while kneeling on the carpet, sending the prayer up to Him on the throne. On the throne, Jesus is still known; He is not a stranger, but in some sense, He is far away and formal at that time, but now I was so close to Him that I was aware of the beating of His pulse in the hollow of His throat.

All your prayers rose up, Jesus whispered to me.

“It is because of Your most precious Holy Spirit,” I said to Him, showing Him my empty, open hands to remind Him that nothing on my part could cause a prayer to go up, but the Holy Spirit fills those prayers with life in the way that only He can, and takes them and does with them what He will.

*

Sweet Jesus
-Selah

Friday, June 9, 2017

Draw Me After You

February 23, 2013 Journal

I woke up in the middle of the night last night, and couldn’t sleep, and Jesus was beside me and I fell into the knowledge that I’m not so much there in the physical room, as I am with Jesus in a larger spiritual realty, in the way that He taught me in different ways before- the room that He showed me when He said there was a place for me, and the time that He held me in His arms and then I fell from there to the bed and I could feel both at the same time- both the physical bed and His embrace, knowing that He still held me, that He always did.

I was tired. I wanted to go back to sleep, and I remembered Jesus sleeping in the fishing boat and how deeply that has always moved me, and my heart leapt up because, now of course, I am with Him and I can go to Him.

And I knew His pleasure also at my freedom be with Him there in the boat, in the sun, on the quiet water, and but the intensity of being with Jesus, even in that way which is outside of or beyond history, was so great that it was overwhelming, and I could not remain with Him. It was too much to accept.

So I fell back into the moment, where I was physically. I just let myself be where I am, which is on several levels at once, because even when I remind myself of where I am physically, and bring it deliberately to mind, I still know that Jesus is with me, and this perception is a sense of great space which is focused at the same time, because it’s all in Him or He is all in it.

Then I remembered the room Jesus showed me, so I went there, and that, that was better, because that’s our room and I did not feel as if I were disturbing anything or anyone by being there, because He gave it to me, and I can be at home with Him in that room.

There was a couch there and we curled up on it. I kept letting myself be- that is, I kept resting my whole spirit in what was being given, which was Jesus’s presence. I had to choose this trust deliberately, moment by moment, by saying, Yes, I will accept this, yes, I will accept this gift.

Then I became shy and found myself on the side of the room. This is hard to describe, because what I’m seeing is something that is participatory- sometimes I’m receiving the image that Jesus is giving me of Himself, and sometimes I’m giving. That is, sometimes Jesus is giving me an image, and I receive it, and in receiving it, give back to Him the response of my heart.

In any case, I had been seeing Jesus on the couch and had been curled up in the curve of His arm, but His face I could hardly see at all, and then suddenly I wasn’t seeing that, I was seeing the whole room from the vantage point of the far wall and I was kneeling down there, as if overwhelmed and trying to make myself as small as possible, which I was, because it had suddenly hit me that I was with the Lord Jesus Christ, and I had no idea how that was possible and the fear of doing something wrong or offending Him, or maybe I wasn't supposed to be there at all- all this was almost crippling, because I didn't know what would be the right thing to do.

Then I saw Jesus walk toward me, only He wasn’t walking, it was a still picture of Him coming toward me. It was very interesting, this image, because it did not change, but I knew what it meant. Jesus was showing me that He was coming to comfort and retrieve me because He loves me. I saw it for a long time- these are almost like dream images, in the way that they either hold still for a long time, or suddenly transition. I waited for Jesus to come, and then this image changed and I saw He was bending down to me, holding out His hand. I couldn’t see Him, just His hand. I saw this for a long time- until I could accept it, and then I was with Him on the couch again.

Despite this choppiness and the sudden moments of doubt and fear, I enjoyed so much being with Jesus and being able to pour out love and joy and adoration and all this that is without words- being able to pour this out to Him, and to know His love.

Yesterday, I was thinking about my insight into using faith, hope and love as guiding principles for my choices of how to express my unique personhood in life and then I suddenly wondered if that wasn’t the absolute best way, if maybe there was an even deeper, better way.

Then I was confused, because if there’s a better, deeper way, I don’t know it yet. So then I saw in my mind like a giant curve of a constellation of stars or a map of stars, with points all along, and I put my finger on the point where I was, and I said firmly, “This is where I am right now, and it’s okay to be where I am. Everyone must be where they are at until they learn a new way.”

And as I was thinking this, I felt Jesus come rushing down and pull me into His arms and right into the rushing heart of His outpouring love- He was overjoyed because I had chosen trust over anxiety. I remember this sort of intense spiritual experience from before, at times so intense and personal that my first, unthinking reaction was to reject His love. It was a difficult struggle to believe that Jesus might feel that much for me.

I remember that first time, perceiving His presence not as a cloud above me, but how Jesus seemed to be right beside me, His head close to mine. I went rigid and still with shock and disbelief; like, this cannot be happening, this cannot be right, what is going on with me?

But I knew Jesus so well! All my life I’ve felt His presence, so I knew who it was, I just had never, ever felt Him so up close and personal like that before.

Even then, I questioned it, and that is when I felt the deep scarring that lay along His back. I have never since felt that. But I remember how, the first time I dared to throw my (spiritual) arms around Him, I felt, even through the fabric of His robe, something that felt like some awful and frightening gouges and ridges.

I got dropped into terror, just absolutely terrified at what could possibly be happening; it was like free fall for one moment or maybe two until suddenly it clicked, that this texture was on His back, that I’d seen scarring like that, in a movie, granted, or in pictures- but it was scar tissue left from being scourged and then I remembered with this click of understanding, of awe, that of course that Jesus had been flogged. And that after resurrection, He had the scars in His hands and His sides, because Thomas felt them. So He would have the scars in His back too.

So boom. Immediately- extraordinary awe.

Still though, learning to trust Jesus to this degree was quite agonizing, actually. I never wrote about this, anywhere, at any time, until now, but last spring, I was walking around the park and Jesus began a healing work that was so intense and required such trust that I was in tears.

(From what I know, the only way to heal shame is to first find the courage to bring it into the light. That part can be indescribably difficult, because the fear and the shame seem to become amplified right before reaching the light. Once illuminated, the lie is shown for what it is. It loses its power and there is freedom and wholeness. This can be some of the most difficult work one ever does in life.

(Once, when I was young girl, my cousins and I attempted to pry open the lid of an old paint can that had been sitting in the sun at my grandparent's house.  The cousins gave up, but for some reason, I was determined to get that paint can open.

(The paint in the can had expanded in the heat, so the very moment the lid came free, the paint exploded up into my face. I don't remember very much except the pain and terror and screaming and not being able to see. I was taken to the emergency room where the doctors held my eyes open while they washed my eyes out, which was a terrible ordeal, but of course, they were healing me, not torturing me. If I remember correctly, the doctors were amazed that I hadn't permanently damaged my eyesight.)

It was exhausting. It was one of the most exhausting, emotionally demanding experiences I’ve even been through, but the fact of the matter is, afterward, at the end of the experience, the shame subsided and I felt whole for the first time in a long time. I felt like I’d come out on the other side of the emotional rapids, having gained my whole self.

And of course, in the last few days, I’ve remembered that experience, and understood, in a whole new way, how Jesus was restoring me as His own creation; the way He made me from the beginning.

February 25, 2013 Journal

I feel almost as if I have to enter some kind of sacred space before writing here, but that’s not the way it is. Last night, I felt that way too; I wanted to go to Jesus, but I felt hindered by unworthiness.

Then I remembered that I can’t earn it, so I shed the bad feelings. I was saying, “I have nothing to barter with, I have nothing to give You. I am a beggar in Your presence, and I cannot hide this. This is who and what I am.”

And at the same time that I let all such pretense go, I saw Jesus in the room. I went to Him and He wrapped us up in the throw blanket and there was no more fear or anxiety, only mercy, comfort and love, and I rested and sank into His love like water, still waters.

Sometimes I remember that I can go to Jesus at any time, and love on Him, and so I do, I do, I do. Other times I feel shy.

Last night, I was wondering what would happen. Would I see Him? Would He come in a way I could perceive? Would I see the room? Would it be the same as before? What did Jesus expect from me?

I remembered first getting used to knowing Jesus in a spiritual sense, when that was new back during that first autumn, and how I never knew what to expect then or what was normal, until I learned it over time just by experience.

It’s the same for you now, Jesus said to me gently.

And it was so true. How often will I be seeing Him? Where will I be seeing Him? What does Jesus want from me, what is the end result? I don’t know. Yet.

So I rested there and waited quietly, with quiet, calm expectation for Jesus to come or to show me whatever was His will- this is like opening one’s hands when one’s eyes are still shut and one never knows what will be placed in the palm of the hand, but trusting the other person so much that one can wait there, hands upheld, for whatever will come.

You were made for this, Jesus told me, more than once. Another words, it’s inherent to myself. In abandoning myself to His love, in trusting Him with all that I am, I am claiming my deepest self, my created self. This is my inherent shape.

And I do wonder, very much, what it will be like to be with Jesus in Heaven. I know I am not seeing this or Jesus as He truly is, in all His glory, and what that will look like is a great mystery to me. But, since I can’t know, I will remain in trust and be grateful for all that I am given now.

I keep thinking back, how did this all happen, how did this depth of trust and joy and abandonment to Him begin? And the answer is, it was Jesus. I felt my longing for Him rise up, as usual, and Jesus insisted, again and again, that I pour that longing out to Him and to trust Him with it. It’s like that line of buoys that are sometimes drawn up over the swimming beach at lakes to show where is the swimming section. But it’s all one lake, it’s all one body of water, and strong swimmers go out beyond it, for the joy and the exercise.

Jesus kept saying, the whole lake is ours and I won't let you drown. Come out here to Me.

So there was less and less reason to hide from what was clearly true. I was already in the water and swimming around for some time, and since I could not deny His leading, and since I knew Jesus and knew His voice, and since in the last month or so, I’d been swimming up to that line of buoys and looking beyond it shyly, I decided to trust Him after all, and so swim right out into the depths.

There was no outside factor. Jesus simply stepped in with a much more clear invitation than usual. And I took it. I stopped pretending that I wasn’t already in the lake.

February 25, 2013, Unpublished blog

Apparently, all I want to do anymore is write poetry, which is unfortunate because... well, that's hard to do and I am an amateur.

But every once in a while, I reach a kind of intensity in my need for creative expression that doesn't allow for the nice, measured pace of narration- it wants short bursts of emotion! Impact! Metaphor!

(This is not the first version of this poem, which was shared here. Later on, I added to it and edited it, using material that was inspired by the experiences I was being given at that later time.)

Sometimes I wish I was an artist,
and I could draw instead of write.

I would shade in the language like a landscape
The line of the hills would disappear into distance
valleys sequestered by the sweep of a charcoal pencil.

But it’s not a landscape I’m thinking of, it’s me.
It’s me that’s lifting up into the paling sky
Easily, as if I had never been clay.

No distance to reach through
Nothing to reach but You.

When I was a girl
I barely knew You.

Too shy to rest in the boat,
rocked by the sea,
under the glassy sky
made still before the storm.

But that veil had worn so thin,
I had to let it loose.

The horizon shows at sunrise,
all along those hills and sky,
even at the zenith, the light
replaces all the distance.

I asked You for a bower and You gave me

loose red soil,
tilled up clean and getting everywhere
between the raised beds for vegetables.

I wanted You to take me home and You!
You took me right back here.

Here's something hard to learn-

that I must let You go
for You to return again
newly mine and presently real,
however You will be,
in that moment unlike the last.

In this way I am constantly beginning
again to find myself further along
and in this way, You are taking me somewhere,

probably right here,
where I live with You

in each passing moment dying to the next
always falling into distance which
is not there, after all.

Instead, it's a kitchen garden growing fruits and vegetables.

February 26, 2013 Journal

I woke up this morning and Jesus was warmly there. To be in His presence is like warm sunlight, the peace of grass on an August afternoon, like the feeling of comforting, solid earth.

And I suddenly remembered what prayer used to be like- so stiff, so far away.

I was thinking about this last night, because of the intense anxiety and pain around the adoption, which is up in the air again, due to an unexpected event, and it hurt badly and there was nothing I could do- just, the loss, again of the adoption, of having to wait yet again, just when I thought we were clear to move forward.

I grabbed up fistfuls of His robe and stuffed them in my mouth and bit down on them, as if to keep from crying out in pain. And I could feel Jesus holding me, and I could see His face in profile, as He was looking away into the distance, and there was so much sadness but also peace on His face, as He was with me, holding me.

It was beautiful; I have never seen Jesus that way before. And the funny thing about that, is that He looked like He does in so many of the pictures I have seen. That look of gentleness, of long suffering, of peace, is the same. Perhaps He really does look like that, or maybe that image of Him is stuck in my mind.

Anyway, last night I was thinking that if I had to move through that kind of pain, while believing that Jesus was above me- stiff, unreachable, only an authority figure, even if a benign one, and not my Beloved Lord, who is committed for life to me through covenant love and as given to me as I to Him, who holds me in His arms and Whose heart hurts in every way that mine did, I would not be able to bear this.

I was uncertain as usual, about would Jesus come and how would I see Him and where would we be, and I tried to simply rest and let that just be what it was; which is natural, and to enjoy this, which is a precious, early time- the learning time.

I did not see Jesus in the inner room, but His presence was close and loving around me, and I was obedient to accept this, but I just don’t know what to expect.

It’s like learning to dance and often I am stepping on His feet and sometimes He is leading me in one direction just as I am pulling in another, because I didn’t know, and so it must look terribly awkward sometimes, but Jesus’ patience and tenderness is past describing. He is constantly reassuring. But when I am able to let go of the anxiety and abandon myself to the joy of being with Jesus, of knowing that He is with me and that He loves me and that my love means such a great deal to Him, and that my love moves Him deeply, than the joy is close to ecstasy.

I told Jesus, He has to teach me how to be with Him- please to tell me how I should behave and what to expect. Jesus told me that He was already teaching me, and that I should be patient with myself.

What I am beginning to learn is that this is quite simple, it is nothing more and nothing less than being with Jesus and giving Him space- that is, to give Him space to move or to speak, and He is giving me space to move also. It’s not complicated, really, but in one sense it is because it’s learning to make conversation and when to speak without interrupting the other person.

It’s face to face, watching the person’s expression and listening intently, and thinking about what that means once one has heard it, and thinking about what to say in response and saying it. In this depth of conversation, there can be no small talk, in the sense of passing time or hiding what is really going on. It’s only what’s real that can be said in this kind of conversation.

*

“O my dove, [here] in the clefts in the rock,
In the sheltered and secret place of the steep pathway,
Let me see your face,
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet,
And your face is lovely.”


-Song of Songs 2:14, AMP












Friday, June 2, 2017

My Heart Waketh


We have reached the point where I wrote both published and unpublished blogs, as well as a private on-line journal. I will be pulling from all of these as we go forward. I will be sharing pieces and sections of the original journal entries. They will be much edited from their first writing. This is to bring clarity to what was frequently a long jumbled mess.

Before moving on to that, I must pause to give a framework of what will be unfolding. When it was happening to me, I did not have this; I had to work this understanding out over time, as Jesus made it clear to me. He did not do this at the beginning because as will become clear, He wanted me to trust Him first and understand it all later.

The first and main Scripture that Jesus pointed to was one from Ephesians: “And He raised us up together with Him [when we believed], and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, [because we are] in Christ Jesus…” (Ephesians 2:6, AMP)

Because of this, I assumed that Jesus was giving me a spiritual glimpse into this reality when I began to see Him. I had to learn by doing, as it were, and I learned that the more I trusted Jesus, the better I was able to receive the images. I use the word “receive” because it is just like that. It’s not like looking at something and seeing it immediately. It’s like being given a gift, only it’s a visual gift and the giver is Jesus, and He is offering it and He is saying, will you receive this from Me and will you trust Me?

It requires a lot of trust to receive a spiritual, visual gift, because I can’t control how it unfolds and I have to open my hands to receive it, only that’s a metaphor, because I don’t take in visions with my hands, it’s with my spirit. It was especially hard to trust when the vision wavered so much.


I don’t usually receive the type of visions that are absolutely clear and still, or that appear as a movie unfolding, imprinted absolutely over the physical world, and I have never been in the Lord's physical presence. I have never seen Him physically standing before me, nor have I ever been physically caught up to Heaven.

This was as true then as it is now, only at first, it caused me continually to stumble in my faith because I thought visions should be absolutely static and firm, and not like reflections of things on moving water that won’t stay still but is frequently being broken up or wavering with the current.

A higher level of visions is static and absolute, but Jesus rarely ever shows me something in that way. Jesus kept telling me that He was with me and that was the main thing and I should trust that no matter what I see. It took me months to even begin to get settled into that faith.

I am frequently writing that I am seeing things, and often times clearly, but I don’t record the hundreds of other times when I either see nothing or nothing clearly, because there is no point in writing that down.


The reason that I persevered was that the vision Jesus gave me was not a vision that was severed from all relationship with Him, but exactly the opposite. In the quiet months of wilderness humbling that preceded this point in time, I had learned to trust Jesus at a much deeper level, and when the longing for Him returned to life, this longing made me willing to follow Jesus like a deer panting after water. As I poured this longing out to Him, I began to see Jesus. There was a change in my relationship with Jesus, where He asked me to surrender to Him at a greater degree, and I was able to do so, and in doing so, my love and worship redoubled from before, and this led to seeing Him.

I was able to see Him in two different ways. One was as though Jesus were beside me in person, only He was spiritually there and not physically there. Before, I had been able to perceive where He was in the room; now I was able to know that and sometimes to see Him. In the other way, I was able to see Jesus and myself removed entirely from the physical world at all, and in another setting. The setting was the room that He had first shown me when I had been reading the book of Revelation and Jesus had told me, there is a place for you and it is very close to Me.

I was able to persist in trying to receive the vision with trust because I desperately wanted to be with Jesus and I was willing to learn to trust Him with it. I began to assume that I was in some quiet part of heaven, but only spiritually, and that I had to learn to see by faith. This was a frustrating process and I always wanted more than what I was being given.

Sometimes the image would be so broken up that I could see nothing at all. I began to call that, “static down the line,” as a little inside joke with Jesus, comparing my sight to a telephone cord that is not functioning well. I don’t know why I named it that, it just fit. (This was when there were still land line telephones, such a long time ago!)

When this happened, I learned the best thing to do was to open my hands completely to Jesus and trust Him with an open heart and to wait and to not be afraid. If I tried to control the static myself, it was just frustrating, because I can’t make the vision appear, but if I trusted Jesus, often the vision would become stable and I could receive it, and respond with faith and love and gratitude to what I was being given, and then wait to receive again.

When I asked Jesus for a higher level of spiritual sight, Jesus told me that He would not be giving that to me. He told me that it was His will that I should come to Him because I loved and longed for Him, and by faith, so that my faith should be ever growing. Jesus told me that it was His will that my whole life should be spent in doing that.

Later, when I asked Jesus why He was with me so much, He told me that He had created me to have such a burden of longing for Him that my soul, on its own, would not be able to bear up under it. At a later point, Jesus reiterated this, when I returned to being with Him after a break of a few months after my daughter was born. Jesus told me that He had created me with this longing, that He woke the longing at the right time, and then brought me to Himself or Himself to me- Jesus doesn’t always speak to me in exact word phrases, sometimes He just drops the idea or concept into my mind, and what He said held both those things.

In recording what I was seeing, I did not write in all the times in between receiving the vision and responding, so when you read it, it will appear seamless, but it was that way only rarely. It’s the same now, only my faith and trust are much greater and so there is hardly any hesitation, but the image still wavers or ripples. When I get way down deep into the presence of Jesus, then what I am seeing becomes beautifully clear and something more than sight, which is something almost impossible to describe, but I drink that in when it happens, because it is delicious.

When I first began learning to see, His face would come in and out of focus in an annoying way, and I would sometimes put my face inches from His and peer at Him, trying to get my eyes to work properly. Often, the appearance of His face would change; my journal records this and I remember it. When I would implore Him please to let me see Him as He is, Jesus told me that I could not see Him that way yet. I always had to recognize Jesus by faith first- that is, I had to believe that Jesus was telling me the truth that I was, in some spiritual way, with Him and that was the main thing.

One of the best descriptions of this way of seeing and being with Jesus that I have yet read was in “Practice of the Presence of God,’ by Brother Lawrence:

“The first benefit which the soul receives from the Presence of God is that faith grows more alive and active in all the events of life, particularly when we feel our need, since it obtains for us the succor of His grace when we are tempted and in every trial. Accustomed by this practice to take faith as guide, the soul, by a simple remembrance, sees and feels God present, and calls upon Him freely and with assurance of response, receiving the supply of all its needs. By faith, it would seem, the soul draws very near to the state of the Blessed, -the higher it advances, the more living does faith grow, until at last so piercing does the eye of faith become, that the soul can almost say- faith is swallowed up in sight, I see and I experience."

From the beginning, the way Jesus taught me to relate to Him was through love, and He made it clear that this love was as committed as marriage. This was and is a foundational aspect of how I relate to the Lord and how He relates to me.

The Lord gave me a few ways to understand this, when I finally asked Him outright about this, and what Jesus said was that I was a type. That was the word that He used, type. I didn’t understand what that meant, and so Jesus explained that I was like a symbol, in a similar way that Boaz was like a symbol of Himself, for example. Boaz or David or Solomon are like shadows or types of the coming Christ and they show forth, in a spiritual ways, aspects of His full and perfect character.

I’m not a type of the Lord, but I’m a type of the full and corporate Bride. I’m like a symbol which is illustrating certain spiritual realities that are far beyond myself as an individual. Jesus is showing through my life His love for His whole church in a sort of a small, living illustration. Certain things that the Lord said or did will be very strong meat unless understood in this framework.

Jesus said there were many others in the Body of Christ who also had this calling or were created with that intent- that of being an illustration of the Bride, but that He didn’t love these persons more than others with a different calling or way of being with Him. Jesus delights in each person that He created, and He made each heart with a particular way of relating to Him that is unique to them, and all of us together make up the corporate Bride.

If His explanations do not seem adequate or lacking in something, you must remember to whom Jesus was talking, and my level of spiritual understanding. He gave me simple concepts and simple pictures, because my faith was weak and wobbly, and almost any piece of “strong meat” caused me almost immediately to stumble and to doubt Him.

Jesus told me that He wants His grace to show through my testimony. I am the perfect framework for grace, because the writing shows that I was untaught, doubting, unready and needy. This is, of course, embarrassing, but looking back now, I can’t help but see that Jesus was brilliant in planning it this way, because it is the perfect failsafe to keep me from being hurt by spiritual pride.

This blog picks up a few days after the last one, where I described my grief and the presence of the Lord.

February 18, 2013 Published

I think I am improving; I did not suffer agony after posting the last blog, and by all rights, I should have. It was a rather revealing blog. But I'm learning that I am free to be myself.

I wrestled with this a long time. I thought freedom must, eventually, equal chaos. That's because I was discounting love as a force capable of informing decisions. It was too wishy-washy, I thought. It's too easily a guise for selfishness.

Now I am beginning to see how I am completely free and yet freely choose to behave in love.

I choose this because I have been loved. I have received mercy and grace and I have been on the receiving end of delight and deep, soul shaking empathy. It becomes more and more natural to simply live in it.

You're a gift, Jesus said, as I was thinking about this.

“That's a very sweet thing for You to say, thank you,” I replied.

Before, I would have been very uncomfortable, hearing Him state such a thing. I would have contradicted Him and then worried that if I actually took Him at His word, I'd become conceited.

Anyway, I knew what Jesus meant. It's humility to recognize that everything one is, is a gift- a gift that is constantly being given away into the mystery of the rest of the world.

This is only tedious if one is convinced that their true self isn't up to the job, and so offer up something else instead. Then it ceases to be a joyful falling into life, full of faith, hope and love, and becomes instead a chore and a role, full of rules, regulations and measurements.

Anyway, those are some things I have been living into, lately. It's surprises me, how simple it is, but I don't always manage to remember it. Lots of times I still choose fear.

As usual, after I post something like that, I remember how delicious the experience was, despite the grief. Writing about Jesus generally makes me want more of Him.

I felt that way last night, so called Him out by name.

“Jesus!” I cried in happy, urgent expectation, and waited.

I waited for that light, ineffable touch, the caress of spirit that so often lands on me, grounds me, lifts me.

One moment, two, and nothing. But this is old hat to me now, how sometimes He is coming toward me and sometimes I am seeking Him out and sometimes I'm just right where I am and that's just fine.

“I want sensation,” I requested firmly.

You want Me, Jesus replied, with His loving good humor.

“Yes,” I replied. “I want You.”

I'm here, He said simply.

Then I got distracted from Him simply by the wonder of what He'd just said, and I wanted more- no more of this shadowy veil, no more of this story book set up, where my Beloved comes to me and I never see His face.

I felt the longing that lives always just behind my heart awake and thump, like a louder heartbeat, a thunderous one, but I tucked it away. It's too painful to let that longing pour through me, tossing me out like spray into something too bright to see yet.

Instead, I turned the longing into the present moment, into my daily life and my writing, like folding batter, like kneading dough.

He's there, too.

February 19, 2013 Journal

I had an experience last night that required almost more trust that I had available, and required everything, and was more intoxicating than anything that I have ever known in my life. I know Jesus is asking me to love Him like an outpouring, like some intolerably sweet, precious nectar which is given without reserve.

I knew He had been asking for this for a long time, but I kept going back and forth. But Jesus kept coaxing me out.

I kept seeing that passage from the Song of Songs, where the Beloved is knocking and pleading at the door.

And I kept remembering how the woman says she doesn’t want to get out of bed, because she has taken her shoes off and she is ready to sleep. It was as if I was saying, I don’t want to risk this, to cross over to take the hand and open the door. I want to stay at this distance. This is a safe distance.

But when I did cross over to Him, in fact, my hands did seem to be dripping with fragrant, sweet myrrh. But that is where the metaphor ends, because Jesus was there when I opened the door. Maybe because I risked getting out of bed.

And I can’t lie, I find this entire thing just blind-blowingly incredibly delicious, absolutely irresistible and at the very heart of everything that I am and wish to experience- to be God’s beloved, to be His and He to be mine.

Jesus kept reminding me that I’ve known this a long time; that when I was a young woman, for example, how vivid the metaphor was to me and how shyly I pledged myself to Him. I remember that moment, and the innocence of it, the spontaneity and generosity of it.

Anyway, this has all been very astonishing and He kept telling me to write it out, and so I have.

Also, there is this whole little group of people like me, across the ages. They have written things, books and poetry. They have heard the same message of love and longing from God that I have heard; I hear it in their poetry. I am one of that way of relating to God. It helps incredibly to know that I am not alone in relating to God this way, that He has poured Himself out in the same way, saying similar things.

Okay! And Jesus keeps insisting that I read that particular passage of the Song of Songs, so my goodness, I guess I will do that! I’m just afraid that I will feel ashamed.

“A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard, spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices: A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.”

“Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.”

“I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.”

“I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.

“I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?”

“My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.

“I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.”

-Song of Songs 4:12-16, 5:1-5

February 21, 2013

“You’re talking to me an awful lot lately,” I told Him.

You need the reassurance, He said simply.

And it is true, and Jesus is very much there, all the time. I stood at the window and watched the sunrise and He was there. I leaned back into Him. I don’t know how to describe these things, but I’ve mostly given up trying to explain them. I don’t understand what they are, but I know what it feels like, and what it feels like is that I’m being cherished and enjoyed, with the ease of long relationship or trust.

If I reach out to Jesus, He is right there.

This used to make me anxious.

I would accept this rush of spiritual ecstasy and wonder, because how could I not? I couldn’t- I was drawn right up into the presence of Jesus, right into His heart in this one heart stopping moment, swept up into it.

And then later, I would think- what on earth did I just feel? There’s no one in the room! I’m not seeing this with my eyes; I’m not physically feeling this, but this kind of fire or energy is washing over me in a way I can’t escape.

And I would be thrown into this dizziness of fear and shame, and Jesus would speak to me very firmly, as though taking my face between His hands and looking me straight in the eye.

I make you fit for Me, He said.

Like, phew!

And I think about how when I’ll be old- that’ll be quite the journey, won’t it? I asked Jesus, thinking of how much more full His love will shine out.

And Jesus put His arms around my shoulders and agreed that it will be, that we will be together and that it will be good.

And then I go back to writing. This all happened in a moment.

It amazes me now, looking back, that I didn’t see this trajectory in the way He was leading me. He couldn’t have made it more clear, really. All these memories have been coming back to me.

Did you think that was just coincidence? Jesus asked me, so tenderly, when I remembered this. And I knew then that Jesus meant that it was always true for me; I always knew what I was to Him, my heart and my ideas and my longing were quite naturally going toward Him, because it’s a part of who I am.

But of course, this whole thing is by invitation. Everyone is invited; everyone accepts on their own time and have their own hidden relationship with Him. Who knows that their relationship will look like? That’s something I’ll never know, just as they will never know what is between Himself and I.

February 22, 2013, Published

I have all these words fluttering around inside me, like a flock of blue birds.

They won't come to order.

They won't wrap the mystery around; they won't shape it into being seen.

I want the words to do this.

I want to say, "This! This is to love and be loved! This is my Beloved, this is my Friend."

But where can I point? And how can I describe what I haven't seen?

He moves over and through me like wind turning up the leaves,
my spirit turns splintered silver like the surface of water,
mist dancing up at dawn, dissolving into colored sky.

I am so much myself; I am altogether His own work.
I could not learn this until I let Him wrap me up warmly in flesh and blood,
waiting to lift up into breath.

If He wanted the void, He would still be moving there,
flowing only to and from Himself,
through the shapeless earth.

When He said to me,
I made you for Myself,
I denied Him the gift.

I drowned out His voice with a litany of my many offenses.
He stood corrected in a court of my own making.

It didn't matter that He waited still, outside the door and wet with dew.

But how can you make God go home when He insists that He lives with you?

I couldn't.

I told Him,
very patiently,
what it was He really wanted.

He listened,
very lovingly,
to everything I had say,
and simply disagreed.

So I gave into Him.

Yesterday, I drove up the hill in the clear winter sunshine and across the sky were two jet trails and on the radio I heard:

"So now I come to you with open arms, nothing to hide..."

And my joy in that mundane moment was so great that it was as though my whole spirit lifted up into everything at once,

the light and the sky and the trails of white and the glitter of the windscreen,

and so much loved and in love that I would live my whole life just to be there.

Because I know that's what He says to me, and for once, I believe it.

For once and always, I say it right back to Him, in one long, revealing breath before the next.

And I don't care that He's speaking to me through a Journey song; I'm not too proud.

He could speak to me through the Price is Right and I would not be astonished, not anymore.