Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Personal Bravery...

Very early in my childhood several things became apparent to me. The first was that secrets were the way that my family functioned and the second was that I had to protect myself because the world around me would not do so.

Because of the secrecy that existed in my family, there were traumas that I experienced that I didn't tell anyone about for eighteen years. I don't know if I was instructed not to tell my parents, but I knew that I shouldn't. The nature of this trauma led me to falsely believe that I was responsible for what had happened, and because I didn't talk about it to anyone, I carried the weight of that with me into my adulthood.

My mother, who loved me so much, spent most of my life altered by drugs and alcohol. She was a strong and charismatic woman; people loved her and relied on her in ways that I could not. I felt my voice was unheard, drowned out by her stupor or inability to cope. When I was a teenager, I realized that she would only talk about and only heard what she what she wanted. Desperate to be heard, isolated by secrets and lies, I would write her letters hoping that she would hear me and save me, only to have my words ignored. I knew then that I had only myself to survive, no one could truly protect me.

When I was very young I discovered that I could escape the pain and chaos by spending hours on end outside creating my own world in which I was the conqueror, the hero, the champion of the weak or immersing myself completely in books. In the safety of this disconnected bubble, my very own dream world, I was invincible.

Even into adulthood, my dreams were of me the indomitable warrior princess, knocking down my foes with strength and wisdom. I have lived through times in my life where I never felt safe, mentally or physically. My faith in people, men especially, had become fragile and polluted. Today, however, I am safe. There is no abuse, exploitation, no oppression. I am truly safe. So there is no need for me to cling to this illusion of me as the dragon slayer... its not really my job anyway. There is no enemy that I can defeat on my own. As I look back on the dreams of battles fought, it was the same fight ever time. Me fighting the same demons, over and over and over again. For my entire life. An unending battle. Because I had been fighting the evil since my childhood, before I knew God, it never occurred to me that I could simply hand the sword over to God.

God has never abandoned or abused me or exploited me. He has never taken anything away from me that I need to have. Perhaps it is time to hang up my sword and superhero cape, and allow God to fight this battle for me. I truly cannot be my own savior. And God can be my invincible army... who would dare stand up against that??

Laying down the sword, my survival skill, that has served me my whole life is a sacrifice. From the hands of a tiny child who had no savior to an adult who was lucky she found one. My, ME, was the only one I could ever count on. I clung to myself for my very survival. Except now, with no real battle at hand, I can see that it, ME, isn't working for... well, me. I am tired of saving myself. I am tired of battling the shadows of my past. In the quiet places, I see with full clarity, it is time to set aside my childhood hero, the ME of my own mythology.

It is time to embrace the God of my salvation, the invincible army that can fight my demons more effectively and thoroughly that I ever dreamed I could.

Habakkuk 3:16-19

16I heard and my [whole inner self] trembled; my lips quivered at the sound. Rottenness enters into my bones and under me [down to my feet]; I tremble. I will wait quietly for the day of trouble and distress when there shall come up against [my] people him who is about to invade and oppress them.

17Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, [though] the product of the olive fails and the fields yield no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls,

18Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the [victorious] God of my salvation!

19The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds' feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

surprising shifts

I had reread this blog a month ago and believed that the season of it had ended. I didn't close it or delete it... I just visited it and reread my life encounters from a perspective of great distance. My faith in God has never wavered, but my encounters with his divinity have diminished. I still feel him, yet I kept finding myself asking for MORE... where are my moments between miracles?! My divine epiphanies and insights that I know only come from Him?

Yet, I keep asking.. please God MORE... dreams, visions, encounters... Your will. Hello?

I believe, and I am busy with life, children, friends, self, whatever... I am living a half life in a bubble. I exist... I nurture my children, I play with my friends, yet when I am alone I am hiding from the world. I tuck myself away with distractions... yes, it is productive and frequently necessary, but it is becoming an excess. A self-created myth, my hermitage of the child-free weekends has become an excuse to remain isolated... insulated from interacting with people, risk free. Except, it has become too familiar. My weekends evaporate into nothingness, with nothing to show for 48 hours and then it is back to being mom. No spiritual quest, very little artistic growth, isolation pure and simple.

It helps me to forget that there is more to this life than me, that all that I want to be will never happen because I am too afraid to go out and fight for what I need. It is easier, this couch driven existence, I do not have to risk anything emotionally. However, there is His voice and it comes across the silence clearer than the fog in my heart... go, get up go... So I do. Sometimes it just takes a little whisper to get me to move, and it doesn't have to be specific... I always listen to that voice.

I ended up on my way to pick up pizza for a friend, and zipped into the parking lot of a fabric store. I have NO spending money, I didn't plan on going there... but I just knew I had to stop in. The whole time arguing with my inner voice... seriously? why am I stopping here? I don't even want to think about the money I don't have... sheesh, fine I am going in. So I go in... I wander. The whole store is ridiculous. I don't sew, the limited "art supplies" they offer are ridiculous... WHY am I in this store??

I turn a corner and there she is. Marina... my dear sweet wonderful Marina. Unexpectedly led into her personal space... I knew this is WHY I was in the store, the only reason. Such a small thing to run into an old friend, but it was divine, at least for me. It has been awhile since I have felt prodded by God to "do" anything. I choose His path, His church and people... but choosing isn't the same as feeling.

I know that we all have times where we just go through the motions and question the value of whether or not our struggles are in vain. I just say wait... wait it out and you will see His will revealed in the strands of time. We do not have the advantage of His farseeing vision, the completed tapestry will not be revealed to us all at once... just wait and believe. You will see it in time.

Romans 8: 24-27

24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.