Mothers and Daughters: History Lessons in DNA

There is a teaching that says, “You are your mother’s daughter” meaning that mother and daughter act alike, respond to people just like each other and thus history repeats itself through them from one generation to the next. It’s like your blood is teaching you at a cellular level. Behavioral patterns are reproduced by virtue of generational DNA memory quite like the exercise of typing becomes a muscle memory activity.

I like that a lot when I think of my two girls out roaming around living life. I enjoy that I am “a vine in their blood” so they take me with them everywhere. In fact, as long as we’re talking about all my good qualities and all the good things I want for them, I love it! On the flip side, I really don’t want them to carry around all – or any of – of my negative traits.

The curious truth is that they get some of both, those I am proud of and those I’m not so proud of. Even the quirky ones play out before my eyes like a tragic comedy on the operatic stage of an amphitheater with incredible acoustics. For better or worse that’s just the plain truth. It’s how things work.

For example, I have a tendency not to ask the right questions at the right time. My husband is frequently saying, “But did you ask about ….?” “You never ask the questions I would ask”, he says. I find myself need his help in this area.  Not asking questions is something that my mother did that damaged her life and mine. And I still struggle with the timing and phrasing of questions!!! This struggle has impacted my work life, family life and church life. I super duper appreciate those times when I am allowed to think for myself but am helped to verbally phrase things like questions appropriately.

Praise be to God who is merciful beyond measure, I also do things my daddy did. The traits I acquired from him work to balance out a few of my mother’s negative traits. For example, Daddy was a thinker who took time away from everything and everyone to process life and ponder questions or find solutions.

Not everyone saw this as a positive trait during his lifetime but I for one am very grateful now that he possessed it and that I am like him in this way. I may not ask the right questions either correctly or immediately but I will process what I hear, see and experience. By the grace of God, that processing shapes my choices instead of the turbulent waves and sub-currents of reactionary, misinformed, conjecture making, silent mistakes. I can boast in my weaknesses and praise God for His help.

Now regarding the womanly inheritance I received, when my thoughts go backward in time one generation, I don’t like inheriting family traits so much. Even three generations back on my mother’s side there are some traits in our family line I want absolutely nothing to do with, some that are annoying but other traits that are good things. For all the wanting in the world, for all the hardest, deepest, longest wishing that the women in my family were different, simple childlike wanting will not change them nor will it change the truth of inherited behaviors.

An old Cherokee told his grandson, My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all.

One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies and ego. The other is good. It is joy peace, love, hope humility, kindness, empathy, and truth.

The boy thought about it and asked, “ Which wolf wins?”

The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”

The Cherokee people have a good proverb. In my own culture, this proverb imagery is all about the vine.

 

Thy mother is like a vine in thy blood, planted by the waters: she was fruitful and full of branches by reason of many waters. Ezekiel 19:10 (KJV)

While this verse may be a positive picture of growth, reading through to verse 14 the story is not a happy one. A transplant situation nearly killed her. While she was watered she was strong. When she lived without water she was weak. So in Ezekiel, we see the same concept as the Cherokee teaching. The wolf you feed is victorious; the vine you water thrives.

Wordpress banner compassInheritance and choice collide in the totality of who we are. I inherited both the vigorous vine and the weak one, a mixture of traits that God aligned as he knit me together in the womb. But I am offered a choice. A Redeemer who loves me has given me everything I need. He allows me to do whatever I want with his provision for me. There is no better picture of such a relationship than in Ezekiel 16. 

Ezekiel 16:44 (KJV)

Behold, everyone that useth proverbs shall use this proverb against thee, saying, As is the mother, so is her daughter.

This chapter is an epic tale of love and “loathing”.

The daughter had an opportunity to be better than her mother because of the loving actions and rescue efforts of one who cared. Instead of appreciating her new situation in life, she showed contempt for her benefactor and his gifts. Her deeds canceled the offer; she reverted back to her mother’s nasty ways. He was angry in a devastated kind of way but called her to face the truth.

Even though the daughter acted like the mother, the daughter bore the shame of her own choices not those of any of her female family members.

With a great intensity I do not want to end up like that woman in Ezekiel. So I look at what mattered to her Prince Charming with the goal of realigning my personal choices to become a better version of myself:

  • remember my beginnings honestly,
  • love my husband,
  • love, nurture and claim my children,
  • extend my hand to the poor and needy,
  • don’t use my fame to worship anyone other than the LORD
  • don’t trust in my own beauty
  • Be choosy about who I lavish favor on
  • do not comfort those that act on their evil inclinations nor make them appear righteous simply because they are “less evil” than I am.
  • worship the LORD and no other

Truth does not change because I want it to. Yes daughters do what their mothers do. And when some people hear my story they might quote this proverb against me. God knows.

Personal choices are personal choices. Each choice comes with its own consequence. (In this chapter of Ezekiel the consequence was bearing the shame and disgrace even though the rest of life was restored.)

Abandoned women rescued to a better situation, a caring situation, have a choice to behave differently. By the love and power of God we can walk away from the circumstances of our abandonment to be a better version of ourselves. Though the scars of the past remain etched in our memory, we can teach the reality of our history without repeating it in our own lives nor causing our daughters to repeat it.

Thank you God!

Friendships

Back to school times are times when parents and children alike are thinking about friendships. Who goes with who? What will happen if….?

I knew a young man who turned his back on a gaming friend of his.  He confessed his choice to me saying, “Well, **** has a temper.”

On the surface this is a Biblical choice.

24 
Do not even associate with a man given to angry outbursts;
Or go [along] with a hot-tempered man, Proverbs 22:24 (AMP)

This passage is better translated in the King James.

24 Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Proverbs 22:24 (KJV)

As to the gaming, aren’t those activities jerking every player’s emotions around by design? Those who make them are intending to engage your emotions, prompt your choices, and manipulate your pleasures are they not?

Learning to master those manipulations instead of letting them master you is the better choice. It might take some work and some accountability but it’s worth the effort. Nobody functions well when trying to master life/recreation  balance all alone. Not that I care very much about gaming but good friends should shepherd you through it.

As to the passage, doing the word (making it a part of our real lives) correctly demands we understand three words: 1) friendship, 2) angry and 3) furious. So here they are.

Friendship [Strong’s Number 7462] rā ‘â :- to be a companion, to be a friend; to be a shepherd, to care for flocks, graze; by extension: to rule with a focus on care and concern; to be an attendant of the groom (of a wedding)

Angry [Strong’s Number 639] ‘ap :- nose (representing the face or some part of the face); “hot of nose” signifies anger; “long of nose” signifies patience; “high of nose” signifies arrogance.

Furious [ Strong’s Number 2534] hēmâ:- anger, fury, wrath, rage from the base meaning of heat (as in “hot-headed”); by extension venom (poison that causes a burning sensation)

Those are not American definitions. They are NOT Disney definitions. If that were so, “long of nose” would be descriptive of a pathological boyhood liar.

 

Getting back to our fellowship of two real young men, theirs is a tragic brotherhood based on the misunderstanding of a good principle. A misinterpretation of a good word. What it was taken to mean: Don’t be friends with someone who shows anger. What it really means: don’t mentor (shepherd, rule over) people given to habits of explosive anger (who keep it in until the face turns red … i.e. they are ill equipped to handle emotionally charged situations).

It would be wiser to either wait until that person matured a little or totally change your approach and teach the gospel of peace first. Amen?

The first man walked away from a friendship with one of the most loyal, insightful, caring young men I know. Both men are great guys. Both men lost wonderful life-time relationships. Sad.

After years of hardly any contact, the first man was getting married. He asked me to ask the second young man to be there. I encouraged him to do his own communicating to which he replied, “Well, we used to be friends.”

The whole thing made me upset but I can’t say I was either a 639 or a 2534 on the Richter scale of angry. No body parts were turning red. No sensations ravaged my mind or skin.  Upset and “angry” are different. They are both OK responses. (Romans 12:19 ; Ephesians 4:26) This  kind of made me think.

Wordpress banner compassSometimes we choose to walk away from people for the wrong reasons. So I got to thinking about what might cause a person to be angry or to express anger (those conditions are not always the same). Here is my list:

  • Being in a hurry
  • Not having what I need
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Nutrient deficient (selenium absorption difficulties are linked to anger behaviors)
  • Hearing problems
  • My sense of justice is engaged
  • Insults
  • Misrepresentation
  • A family bent towards anger

Yes, anger can be a family affair. Jacob “blessed” his son Levi with it. Not just his son but his son’s descendants.  Jacob chose to break his association with his son. HIS SON!!!

Can you just imagine those Levite teens being told not to be angry? Not wanting to be angry yet those pesky emotions just won’t go away.

Where did it come from?

You inherited it. Grandpa spoke it into your life forever.

NICE! What do I do with it?

Ask God.

They were a clan with emotional expression issues escalated  and promoted by their family  yet God blessed them.  They had friends. They got married … and stayed married. They had sons and daughters. In fact, the book of numbers records the Levites as having concluded the exodus journey up one thousand in population.

It remains for them and for all of God’s people that the only place to take care of family anger is in the presence of God. In place of anger God gives laws, routine, authority, opportunity to serve, diligence, leadership, and provision. In His presence the angry person learns loving and being loved, belonging and how to belong appropriately, proper justice, mercy and peace.

Lest you think this is all about one small clan in a Jewish Nation, Daniel prayed about his family issues and you can too. You can find his prayer here 

If anger has divided you from friends or family, be encouraged with this chapter of scripture. 

Isaiah 61 (AMP)

Exaltation of the Afflicted

61 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed 
and commissioned me
To bring good news to the humble 
and afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up [the wounds of] the brokenhearted,
To proclaim release [from confinement and condemnation] to the [physical and spiritual] captives
And freedom to prisoners,

To proclaim [a]the favorable year of the Lord,
[
b]And the day of vengeance and retribution of our God,
To comfort all who mourn,


To grant to those who mourn in Zion the following:
To give them a [
c]turban instead of dust [on their heads, a sign of mourning],
The oil of joy instead of mourning,
The garment [expressive] of praise instead of a disheartened spirit.
So they will be called the trees of righteousness [strong and magnificent, distinguished for integrity, justice, and right standing with God],
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.


Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins,
They will raise up 
and restore the former desolations;
And they will renew the ruined cities,
The desolations (deserted settlements) of many generations.


Strangers will stand and feed your flocks,
And foreigners will be your farmers and your vinedressers.


But you shall be called the priests of the Lord;
People will speak of you as the ministers of our God.
You will eat the wealth of nations,
And you will boast of their riches.


Instead of your [former] shame you will have a [d]double portion;
And 
instead of humiliation your people will shout for joy over their portion.
Therefore in their land they will possess double [what they had forfeited];
Everlasting joy will be theirs.


For I, the Lord, love justice;
I hate robbery with [
e]a burnt offering.
And I will faithfully reward them,
And make an everlasting covenant with them.


Then their offspring will be known among the nations,
And their descendants among the peoples.
All who see them [in their prosperity] will recognize 
andacknowledge them
That they are the people whom the Lord has blessed.

10 
I will rejoice greatly in the Lord,
My soul will exult in my God;
For He has clothed me with garments of salvation,
He has covered me with a robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom puts on a [
f]turban,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

11 
For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
And as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
So the Lord God will [most certainly] cause righteousness 
and justice and praise
To spring up before all the nations [through the power of His word].

When you are choosing first time friends, or deciding to un-friend a person, or making play dates for your little ones, choose to align your ‘ships with the Truth. There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.  His Name is Imannuel, God with us. 

Back to school times are times when parents and children alike are thinking about friendships, alignments and all manner of social interaction. Add God to the mix. He sorts things out and can bring blessings from curses. He turns friendships around. And boys parted over misunderstandings can be friends again as men with a little effort.

Attachment

I was struck recently with the thought of inheritance. Inheritance means you have a part… you belonged to something or someone who wants to honor you either by duty or by love. In a legal sense, the inheritance creates an attachment to the deceased. It is more than a benefit, it is a remembrance.

What if your inheritance is taken away? Do you belong anymore? Are you detached, adrift, alone?

The Levites had no inheritance among the people of Israel. One day they did and the next day they didn’t.  In a sense they no longer belonged to the community while at the same time they still belonged to it.

The Levite clan is a picture of  the paradox of attachment; They belonged and they didn’t belong.

Ever since the deliverance from Egypt the Levite clans were longing for that New Land promised to all the Israelites where they would have plenty to eat, they would have their own fields and enjoy their own families.

It was difficult for them to be OK with not belonging with their community. It all started with an anger issue long before their slavery came to an end.

Back when Levi was a young man, and recently removed from half his family (Jacob’s separation from Laban) he had one sister named Dinah. She went out for a walk to talk with the girls of the area and got snagged by the prince. The prince got way to attached to her and took her into his house without asking her father or brothers if he could marry her. We would call that kidnapping but the boy said he loved her and Shechem’s family wanted to support the union only because they thought all that Dinah’s dad had would become theirs eventually.

Levi and his brothers crafted a deal with Shechem; Become like us and you can have her.

This didn’t set well with Levi’s sense of right and wrong. It doesn’t set well with mine either. To be perfectly honest it sounds a lot like a TV show…

Levi knew what was right; Young ladies should never be treated like prostitutes. He felt so strongly about this breach of honor, this defiling of his sister, that he crafted another plan. While the agreement of the first plan was still being accomplished, he and his brother Simeon killed every male in town. You can find the whole story here.

Jacob was not pleased with his sons and when it came time to bless them on his death bed, instead of blessing them, he cursed their anger and separated his soul and his honor from them and from their generations to come. Ouch!

“Simeon and Levi are brothers;
Their swords are implements of violence.
“Let my soul not enter into their council;
Let not my glory be united with their assembly;
Because in their anger they slew [e]men,
And in their self-will they lamed [f]oxen.
“Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce;
And their wrath, for it is cruel.
I will [g]disperse them in Jacob,
And scatter them in Israel.

Genesis 49:5-7 NASB

Why was this important? Levi means “Attachment” Strong’s number 3867 – to accompany, to borrow, to be joined, to be attached, to be bound to; to lend

Levi’s mother named him Levi for a reason. Genesis 29:34. She was the first wife of Jacob but she was the unloved wife. She thought that perhaps bearing three sons (Levi was the third born) would attach her husband to her with love — at least appreciation. It didn’t quite work out that way.

“The emotional bond that typically forms between infant and caregiver is the means by which the helpless infant gets primary needs met. It then becomes the engine of subsequent social, emotional, and cognitive development. The early experience of the infant stimulates growth of the brain and shapes emerging mental processes. It establishes in the infant’s brain the neural pathways that will sculpt what are likely to be lifelong patterns of response to many things.” All About Attachment

Attachment was very important to Levi throughout his life. Family honor was paramount. Justice was the plumb line of who connected with whom. After his dad’s rejection over the Dinah incident, all his family attachments were blown apart. (I wonder if this had anything to do with his willingness to toss his annoying brother Joseph into a pit.) Dad had more cause to alienate himself from Levi’s unloved mother. Everything was going wrong when all Levi wanted in the beginning was to do the right thing.

I can just imagine him asking God if He punished people for doing what is right and just…

For years their clan lived outside the council of the people of Israel until one baby boy was set adrift into the Nile and picked up by a princess. As a man, that son of Levi chose to live apart from the pleasures of Egypt, to be attached to the people of his birth, the slaves called Israelites.

24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,26 considering the reproach of [a]Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen. 28 By faith he [b]kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them. Hebrews 11:24-28 (NASB)

This sounds incredibly like something Moses’ granddaddy, Levi might do, doesn’t it? Decide with whom to align, go get attached, do whatever it takes to protect the family. Yep! They’re related and we know that not just because of the genealogy but because their actions were similar.

Their family traits (anger issues and battle readiness) seemed out of place and were despised. Jacob’s take on their clan was totally accurate. Yet the anger that they used inappropriately was used by God to effect a good thing in Israel…the service of the temple. God wanted them attached to Himself in a very special way. Doing that required separation from the larger community.

Jacob scattered them with words but God scattered them among Israel by rule of law. It became their job to teach the Israelites what it looked like to live near to God. They got this honor because of anger once again. This time Moses was incensed at the people for turning away from God to the golden calf of Egypt…the symbol of vile, self-indulgent Hathor …of violence, peace that is not peace and the trappings of the dead from which they had just been delivered.

25 Now when Moses saw that the people were [a]out of control—for Aaron had let them [b]get out of control to be a derision among [c]their enemies— 26 then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered together to him. 27 He said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Every man of you put his sword upon his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate in the camp, and kill every man his brother, and every man his friend, and every man his [d]neighbor.’” 28 So the sons of Levi did [e]as Moses instructed, and about three thousand men of the people fell that day. 29 Then Moses said, “[f]Dedicate yourselves today to the Lord—for every man has been against his son and against his brother—in order that He may bestow a blessing upon you today.” Exodus 32:25-29 (NASB)

Three thousand calf worshipers died that day at the hands of the house of Levi. Unlike Jacob, God was pleased with Levi’s  attachment of choice and with what they did about it.

God used the family anger and the family alignment to bring about a course of correction for the whole community.

Levi was no longer attached to the community. Instead their whole clan were attached to God for the salvation of the community. It was a real honor and a real blessing. It just didn’t look or feel like the blessing they craved… that ever elusive attachment to their larger family network.

Being rejected is painful. Living with people you should love and who should love you but don’t is a heavy burden. God turned these relationships around through Moses and the qualities he designed inside each Levite. It all brought God much glory.Wordpress banner compass

You see, as a part of their attachment to God, they would be scattered (detached) among His people. Their inheritance was no longer a piece of the promised land but the tithe, a small share of the bounty of the promised land. Their inheritance was dependent on their teaching the people of God to love their Redeemer.

God turned Jacob’s curse of separation into a most holy attachment. What could be a better blessing than being attached to a God who cares for family and has the power to protect his own?

Remember You’re Redeemed

Remembrance is a catalyst for obedience to God’s word that brings us to a new life. Redeemed how I love to proclaim it! Well, I’m learning to consider it, to accept it, and to love it.

In doing the Word of God, I am called to use my mind in regards to my relationship with God. So as I’m reading through Scripture during time set aside each day, words meant to engage my mind pop off the page and say hello.

Here’s one:

30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul (life), and with all your mind (thought, understanding), and with all your strength.’ Mark 12:30 (AMP)

Here’s another tucked away in Deuteronomy:

18 But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing. Deuteronomy 24:18 (AMP)

The culture … the habit … of remembrance is a habit of using our mind. We can call to mind past experiences. What happened? How did people respond? What was the cumulative effect? Why? This then makes a difference in our daily life.

In Deuteronomy, the word for “Remember” is 2142 – zākar:- to remember, consider, commemorate; to be remembered, to be mentioned; to be born male (as this relates to the family line not being forgotten, Deuteronomy 25:5-10); bring to remembrance, remind, record.

As an aside, we commemorate the 4th of July in America because we commemorate a national battle victory and the founding of our nation as a nation with a part to play in the world as we know it. We commemorate various holidays because they meant something to someone at some time. But here is a question to ponder: What events or milestones in my own life do I call to remembrance by some sort of commemorative act?

Americans are particularly over the top about birthdays. Ok. If that’s what you want to do, do it. I confess I’m not so over the top about birthdays. In fact my own birth story is a bit dark and I don’t tell it very often. Is there anything else in life to mark as worthy of a remembering, a sort of impressing-the-mind-with-it activity?

God thinks so.

In Deuteronomy 24, the call to remember is given three times.

  1. V9Remember what the LORD your God did to Miriam along the way after you came out of Egypt
      1. The remembrance: skin disease.
      2. The issue: who speaks for God? (Divisive prophets vs. Chosen prophets ) You can read the story here 
  2. V18 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this.
      1. The remembrance: Obedience to the commands not to deprive the alien or fatherless of justice; Do not take the cloak of a widow as a pledge
      2. The issue: Injustice transformed into Deeds of Justice
  3. V22- Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.
      1. The remembrance: Obedience to the harvest command not to go over your fields twice
      2. The issue: Impoverished People transformed into Providers 

Remember

you were slaves

in Egypt

Who wants to commemorate the bad times?

Can you imagine Miriam? Go on a rant, God covers you in leprosy, you get put out of the camp for seven days and now anyone who gets a skin disease is supposed to remember just how badly you screwed up?! …Forever and always!!! How could she ever be social again?

Or slavery? Yeah, let’s remember that shall we… that’s when I got beat. I couldn’t keep my own schedule. Had enough food but they took our children and killed them. I was angry most days and despairing the rest. Oh how my body ached. My people tried to remind ourselves about the LORD but who had the time? We thought the LORD didn’t even care about us anymore. Everything we did was for Egyptian wealth, Egyptian worship; some of our children were caught up in the worship of Egyptian idols because of it. Nothing we possessed was our own; it could be taken away at any minute. It’s over now. Can I just forget about it please?

God’s answer is a clear and resounding, “No.”

I have heard it said that we should forget our past; “Throw it away.”, “Don’t hang on to it.”, “Put it behind you.”, “Get over it already!”, “Just don’t think about it.”. Deuteronomy is directly opposed to that ideology. Instead of wallowing in our past and being overcome by it, God tells His people to remember their past and by doing so, live differently in this new chapter of their journey.

God redeemed you

from there.

Redeemed 6299- pādâ:- redeem, ransom, deliver, rescue, buy; to be brought to ransomed; this can mean to purchase a devoted animal from sacrifice or to purchase a person from slavery to freedom or new ownership; by extension: divine salvation from oppression, death or sin.

On my journey to the New Land, I am learning to live the new way. I am no longer caught up in the oppression of abandonment because Jesus is not ashamed to call me sister. Abandonment is only a piece of my story… a dark piece. But if I don’t tell you the dark parts, I might forget to live in the light parts and you would most certainly not be able to share in my happy I-Live-In-The-Light dances. :) 

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Instead of hiding my weaknesses I boast about them because God’s strength is made perfect in weakness.  Instead of hiding who God made me to be behind a curtain of lies, I aim to tell the truth and bring Him glory by doing so. Instead of being self absorbed, I begin to cultivate a genuine concern for the welfare of others and gather the wisdom from God to do so with skill. Colossians 1:20-22; Colossians 3

You see, God redeemed me from those dark places, those bad times. God is bringing me to a much better place by setting remembrances in place that I cannot avoid…that I am commanded to obey.

39 Therefore know and understand today, and take it to your heart, that the Lord is God in the heavens above and on the earth below; there is no other. 40 So you shall keep His statutes and His commandments which I am commanding you today, so that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and so that you may live long on the land which the Lord your God is giving you for all time.”  Deuteronomy 4:39-40 (AMP) 

Redemption is the reason for God’s commands

Remembrance is why we choose to obey those commands.

Obedience to God’s laws brings new living in the New Land and promotes our prosperity.

Live long and prosper. Live blessed.

What events in life do you call to remembrance by some sort of commemorative act?

Abandoning Imagination

Identity and imagination cannot walk together except maybe in a home for the mentally impaired.  For those suffering the effects of abandonment who want to be mentally healthy, we have to look reality in the face and give it a hug.  Not everybody does.

Consider John Lennon’s “Imagine”. It sold 1.6 million copies after his death and the Guinness World Records British Hit Singles Book calls it the second best selling single of all time.

I agree with Lennon, “It’s easy to imagine if you try.” The thing is that imagination didn’t change reality then and it still doesn’t… not now, not ever.

Everyone imagines something. When we use imagination to solve relationships, we get into trouble. Imagination will never change who people really are.  Pretending otherwise might  make you feel better for a very short while. Then you wake up.

I have to ask, what is the fruit of such mental shenanigans?

Did the Lennon peace campaign work? Obviously no peace came from it.

Niels and Carol in one of their happy off-the-grid places
Niels and his wife, Carol in one of their happy off-the-grid places complete with composting toilet the size of a washing machine.

I used to imagine where my estranged Dad was, what he looked like, and what he did. Because Dad was gone, my imagination came up with a popular, feel-good recipe. Inside my mind a curious blend began to bake.

  • One third what others thought the proper Dad should be
  • One third of my inner longings for an incredible person
  • One third  powerful, special person to care about me.

This produced a concoction that became “Dad”. Most, if not all of that imagining only created a phantasm. My wistful daydreaming character only had a slight resemblance to the real person. His off-the-grid life was certainly a  far cry from the tycoon my mother imagined her ex-husband to be.

John Lennon calls us to imagine a utopia of sorts with a level playing field traversing several hot topics in his time. Though your utopia might vary in its construction from Lennon’s, why wouldn’t one want the “Nothing bad ever happens” place or the “We all get along” place?

I can’t help but think of someone else who persuaded others using that same lure of utopia to facilitate his own agenda. Listen in:

“But the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die, for God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil and blessing and calamity. And when the woman saw that the tree was good (suitable, pleasant) for food and that it was delightful to look at, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she gave some also to her husband, and he ate.”(Genesis 3:4-6).

Fearful about loosing his kingdom Jeroboam, son of Nebat engaged this tool as well. His story is in 1 Kings 12:25-33. Both results were ugly bad and changed the lives of the known world. Ugly bad is worse than plain “bad” and cartloads messier for generations to come.

People can manipulate themselves and/or others into believing something that is not true by tweaking the facts ever so slightly and by appealing to a person’s inner desires.

I had a choice to do the same thing; to continue living in my pretend utopia or face reality.

Accepting my Dad for who God made him to be was the right thing to do. In hindsight, building a relationship on reality is the most beneficial option. Doing so necessitates letting go of anything false. It is like cutting off the rough ugly stuff and finding a diamond inside.

Bluntly stated, that means looking uncomfortable truths about him square in the face and refusing to flinch. Alcoholic, Absentee Parent — the man who walked away from parenting me, the social “player” and workplace concierge were just a few of the labels my Dad racked up. None of these traits made me want to build a new relationship with him… and yet….

I could not continue in my imaginings.

Nor could I demand he be who I wanted him to be. That would be mentally unstable as well as false, creating a whole new subset of problem issues instead. If we were going to have a relationship at all, it needed to be honest. …based on the truth. This “new” relationship needed to possess a core of real substance. I could take Niels for who Niels was but would I?

He was a little better at this new relationship building than I was. One moment that stands out very clearly is the time when he just bold as day said, “None of this kissy-face stuff. You are a grown up now.” I liked this new person who validated the reality of our situation. Dad left when I was five and yes,a long time had gone by; we were both different people.

In each moment of processing, God’s recipe for success filled the rooms of my heart with yummy aromas of Scripture like this one, “Love must be sincere: hate what is evil. Cling to what is good (Romans 12:9). I was willing to discover the real things about him that were admirable and the real things that were quite a bit less than admirable. God gave me the freedom to hate the evil and at the same time cling to the good. 

I didn’t have to throw away the good things!

Shortly after deciding to accept Dad for who he was, various people tried to convince me just how un-saintly Niels was…even Dad. My response; acknowledge reality, be able to prove or disprove the point. Look at both good and bad but hold only to the good. In my book, Lucky Lady’s Cargo:What You Carry With You IS Important, I get to describe a few of those wonderful traits Dad really had.

 Just like Satan and Jeroboam got their just desserts, believing something unreal or untrue and calling it true is a gut-buster. Just ask Judas.  Ultimately imagination can be lethal to mind, body and spirit.  It’s seductive lure can be used against those who have been abandoned in a way that maims our personalities. At the very least it is crippling.

In a culture where imagination is practically worshiped, that is an odd perspective but the danger remains real.

We even cripple ourselves many times with our concept of who God is. Can we get rid of our own imaginings and cling to who the real God is?

I am training myself to do that and in the process I’m learning some fantastic things about God I never knew before. Perhaps we will get a chance to talk about them here in the Brought About Blog.

The ability of the mind to be creative and resourceful is good not evil. BUT, if my imagination runs away with itself (about family members, other people, or the LORD, if it serves up a conceptual, psychological GMO, then with the LORD’s help, imagination will be denied access to my heart and mind. 

Know your real identity. Know who the real “them” is. Abandon imagination and build a relationship of substance.

Care To Be Refreshed

Summertime brings thoughts of refreshment to mind, doesn’t it?

What causes the abandoned person to be refreshed?

Recently a sister in Christ made the comment, “But how do you know someone is hurting? What do you do?” It was great to hear that she cared to know.

People hurt for all kinds of different reasons. Abandoned people hurt over long periods of time and deal with recurrent issues.  They may be able to experience restoration and refreshment but guard against ever going back. Good indicators of an abandoned person is a compulsion to make things happen on one’s own, totally giving up half way through something or the ever present need for validation. These traits can be awkward or even annoying. When you see a needy or annoying person, stop to investigate further. Perhaps they need some reviving. Perhaps God has given you the opportunity to refresh them.

There are many practical ways to refresh the abandoned person. As I write this, I am reminded of Matthew 25:31-46. Abandoned people count these things as precious because they are well acquainted with their own neediness.

  • feed the hungry
  • give drink to the thirsty
  • invite them over
  • provide clothes to those who need them (ones that make them look and feel good about being themselves)
  • visit the sick (without the “ewwww. Gross!” look on your face)
  • visit people in prison (or outcasts, oppressed, poor, confined to a wheelchair or prosthetic device, etc.)

In my own experience, some in that list are easier than others as far as giving refreshment. In regards to being refreshed, there are many blessings in my memory.

I have been refreshed when I was sick and people visited me. I was refreshed when people spoke truth into my life and my thinking was turned around in such a way that I became closer in relationship with the LORD, maker of my soul. Even such a little – and free– thing as a genuine smile at one time or another cheered and refreshed me. Recalling the good things because someone took the time to point them out was refreshing. Spending time with trustworthy and like minded people is very refreshing. People who listened without solving my problem but instead helped me to think through issues so I could make good choices refreshed me. People who took the time to find out my story instead of dictating to me what they thought my story should be, refreshed me.

Here are some passages that reflect what the Bible says about refreshing people who have been estranged:

  • Being with like minded people – Philippians 2:1-2 
    • Example: King David (Living in exile as his son took his throne without permission) 2 Samuel 16:15-18 
  • Not being ashamed to spend time with them (Life in a roman prison for a preacher) 2 timothy 1
  • Rescue and acceptance –
    • Paul – (the misunderstood do-gooder) Romans 15 
    • Naaman (the leper who commanded the enemy army)– 2 Kings 5 

(note: all of these people mentioned above have been abandoned but not all the passages use the same language, they are added because of the relation to the topic.)

The strong’s numbers for “refreshed” are  H5314, H7304, G4875, G373, G404. There is not much to differentiate the Biblical words from the English one. In the Greek and Hebrew words we find these nuances: refreshing oneself, to feel relief, to be in a spacious place, to find rest together, association, to cease from labor, to finish, to revive.

Compare these Strong’s definitions with the English definition for the word “refresh”.

refresh 

verb (used with object)

1.to provide new vigor and energy by rest, food, etc. (often used reflexively).

2.to stimulate (the memory).

3.to make fresh again; reinvigorate or cheer (a person, the mind, spirits,etc.).

4.to freshen in appearance, color, etc., as by a restorative.

5.Computers.

to access (the most recent version of a Web page) from the Internetinstead of from the cache:I refreshed the page to see the current stock price before executingmy online trade.

to display (an image) repeatedly, as on a CRT, in order to preventfading.

to read and write (the contents of dynamic storage) at intervals inorder to avoid loss of data.

verb (used without object)

6.to take refreshment, especially food or drink.

7.to become fresh or vigorous again; revive.

Why should any of us care about refreshing others?

25 The [a]generous man will be [b]prosperous,
And he who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11:25 (NASB)

Someday you might need a bit of refreshment too. Wordpress banner compass

May God give you the wisdom to care about true refreshment and may your refreshing skills ever increase. Amen.

Parenting: A Lesson in Obedience

We had a lesson in obedience this morning. #Parenting  and #Grandparenting require obedience; a child’s obedience to us and our obedience to God. 


He who withholds the rod [of discipline] hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines and trains him diligently and appropriately [with wisdom and love]. Proverbs 13:24 (AMP)

While gently holding a resistant child’s hands, out of my mouth came Biblical wisdom. “I love you. I am teaching you to obey because you need to learn to obey God. And that’s a really big deal.”

 

Of all the things I could have said — it’s a safety thing… it’s a health and hygiene thing… it’s a manner thing… — I chose instead to say, “this is a God thing.” I didn’t strategize or plan it, it just popped out. Moments like these are when I’m eternally grateful that God guides those who guide His children. 

What was needed before obedience was realized? A healthy dose of “Why should I?” blended with equal parts of , “Because this is one important step in a bigger picture…God’s picture.” It provided what the lesser phrase, “Because I said so” just couldn’t accomplish; An answer to the “why?”

As a grandparent taking care of little ones, the chain of command is …well…complex. I find that I always need an anchor and that it always works out best when God is that anchor.

God’s wisdom is much better than mine.

God’s authority trumps everybody’s delusions of grandeur…even mine.

The way God parents

is second to none.

Teaching obedience is important on God’s agenda. Our daily agendas pale in comparison.

We often need help to obey God but sometimes we also need a reason. God’s OK with that. He takes the time to tell us. He takes the time to teach and to correct us.

The answer to why God parents the way He does and expects the things He does are located in the history of His people. Steve and I were reading one event in that history and both of us laughed. The way God voiced this disciplinary choice was fantabulous. The actual 30 day event was kind of gross.

Why do we teach children to obey? Convenience? Certainly not. Not in the short term anyway. We are looking for exponential returns on our investment. We want to make an impact, a lasting impression.

Whom do we teach children to obey? Parents? Care givers? Government? Teachers? All of those are problematic choices.

Why? People are not perfect. People are not good.  People are not trustworthy. It’s a part of being human. I confess this applies to me too; I forget things, loose my balance, get my tongue twisted, miss the obvious at times… There is always something not quite right with people but not so with God. God is totally good and all His ways are just.

Why don’t we just let children raise themselves? Moms and dads are both working in most homes today. Time and agenda become more important. But parents in a hurry always get the ROI the child deems acceptable … or interesting. Most of the time that does not work out well for either the parent or the child. 

You see, abandonment goes both ways. Parents can choose to abandon relationship but so can children. 

Choosing not to take the time needed is one form of abandonment. This type of abandonment opens the door for anyone willing to take the time. Who do you want your children to emulate? It remains a fact that they will certainly emulate those that care about them and take the time to be with them.

Those words of Ghandi are scary because they are right; change (or consistency) begins with the children. It’s scary because friends and enemies use this concept.

Those that abandon children teach children to avoid relationships. A stubborn old man will teach children his stubbornness. A radical will teach his extremism to children. A fool will perpetuate his folly if his target is a child. Oh the mold-ability of children!

God knew this. God knows this. God warned parents about it long ago.

Compare Deuteronomy 6 – Reasons to obey God – to Judges 2:10-15 – The high price of disobedience. (Please read the links when you have time. They are great chapters to study! If you skip them you will miss a lot.)

The parents abandoned  teaching their children to obey the LORD. The next generation of children abandoned the LORD because the fathers did not take the time to teach them. Enemies got the upper hand. Everyone was miserable – the Lord, the fathers, and the children. I bet you the moms were not happy either.

The word “abandoned” really stood out to me in the two passages above – Deuteronomy and Judges. Strongs # 5800 – ‘āzab – to leave, abandon, reject, desert; to restore, help; be left, be abandoned, be freed; be abandoned, be forsaken, be neglected; be deserted

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We abandon God when we disobey Him. The effects of that abandonment coupled with the abdicating of our parental duty to teach our children the wonders of God ripples outward to our descendants like a dark tidal wave destroying the blessings they could otherwise have enjoyed.

Obedience is not caught. There is no lazy or convenient way to teach obedience. Obedience is both exampled and taught. Obedience should be expected. Obedience gets tested. Most of the time correction hurts. Those are good things.

Trust and Obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey. We sang that one, among others, last night to the children as they voiced their disapproval of bedtime🙂 They loved our hymn sing and fell asleep. You can enjoy it with us here.

Today we had a lesson in obedience. Today was a good day. #Parenting #Grandparenting lesson: Take the time to teach obedience. It’s so worth it!

Presentation with a Purpose

Blessing is a presentation with a purpose.

Purpose  (noun)

1. the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.

2. an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal.

3. determination; resoluteness.

4. the subject in hand; the point at issue.

5. practical result, effect, or advantage: to act to good purpose.

God blesses you on purpose … for a reason. He expects to do something with that blessing… but that’s the end of the equation. So if we work backwards through Psalm 67 we figure out what God’s end game for blessing is.

Education.

Not the making of a choice but the presentation of the choice. What you do with the education He gives you is entirely up to you. God makes His case through his children then asks to those watching, “ What do you think about me now?” (Kind of sounds like a country song, doesn’t it?)

And His presentation begins with a blessing…a blessing we, His children need to be accepting and sharing. The sharing or telling of our blessings we call “giving our testimony”. It’s a story of bad things turned to good… bad relationships resolved, good relationships made, bad health restored to optimum health and all other kinds of comfort and good course correction adventures.

We accept His blessing with joy because we come to a place where we realize we so desperately need His blessing. In Psalm 67, the Psalmist pleads for God to bless the people of God and God does just that. We will look at this passage in the King James version and in pieces so get ready. Here we go.

Psalm 67King James Version (KJV)

God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.

Selah means “think about it” so we shall stop here and do that.

Can you picture God kneeling down to speak words like, “Atta Boy!” or “Great Job, Kiddo!” or “We of the Trinity have heard what a good job you’re doing and want to thank you for your attention to excellence.” ?

That word for “bless”, bārak, defines blessing as something I usually think of rendering to God or to others. [H1288 – to kneel down; to bless, pronounce blessing, give praise, give thanks, extol; to be blessed, be praised; this can mean to speak words invoking Divine favor (bless) or speak of the excellence of someone (praise) ; to make kneel]

Here God blesses me. God kneels down to face you and me (us) and speaks well of us and to us. That is so awesome!

Picture God bending down to His child with words of encouragement much like we parents and grandparents do with the children in our lives.

  • You smiled! Joy! Let’s all watch the baby smile.
  • You walked! Hold my hand, let’s dance.
  • You used Kleenex to wipe your own nose! Now you’re doing it just like Mommy and Daddy.🙂
  • You pooped in the potty… Yeah!! You’re such a big girl!! What color big girl pants would you like to wear now?!
  • You graduated!  Dad and I are so very proud of you.” That happens faster than you ever imagined, right?

All this consistent blessing has a purpose; Repeated good behavior. It works.

The purpose of God’s blessing us is also goal oriented; He wants to educate all nations about what life with Him is really like and the rewards  He gives His children… He wants them to know that the gifts He gives them are really good gifts. 
In particular, God’s purpose includes His way and His Saving Health among all nations so don’t feel left out.

2 That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health [3444 – salvation deliverance, help rescue from a dangerous circumstance or harmful state by a savior; divine salvation usually has its focus on rescue from earthly enemies, …] among all nations.

 

Notice that giving and receiving blessing in this passage is both manward and Godward. In verse one, God is blessing us. In verses three through five the people are praising or blessing God.

Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.

O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah.

Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.

Did you notice that call to think about it again?

Praise and blessing are very similar here except for one thing – the hands. [H3034 – primitive root; used only as a denominative  from 3027 ; literally – to use (that is – to hold out) the hand – physically to throw (a stone or arrow) at or away; especially to revere or worship (with extended hands); intensively to bemoan (by wringing the hands) – casting out, confession, praise, thankfulness…]  In case you were wondering, raising hands in church to praise God is very appropriate. Special blessings happen when we do.

6 Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us.

On a side note, please allow me a bit of praise with arms and hands lifted high.

This year has been crazy for Weaver’s Hill. Our Vineyard is one of many effected by the fungal triumvirate of death called “Black Goo” that turns the sap within the vine into a poison killing the vine from the inside out. We have also been hit by a nasty herbicide called 2-4D that attacks the primary growth hormone of the vine and the meristem tips of roots as well as shoot growth, deforms leaves, and impairs fruit growth.

We are dry farmed (no irrigation) so I prayed for rain. We got it. And I prayed that when we did get rain, we would not get warm rain because that would increase disease pressure among vines that were already struggling. God said yes to that too so our June rain came with chilly days or nights. He also led me to information that will organically aid the suffering vines with essential nutrients aimed directly at their point of suffering…boron applied with eggshells once a year or more. I’m so excited to see how adding boron to the calcium rich eggshells brings about greater fruitfulness and vine health. With only the simple application of eggshells we are already seeing more fruit clusters this year than last. Yeah God. Thank You God for allowing me to view blessings in process!!

This same boron is responsible for healing people too … inexpensively. Some of the things it heals are things my family and friends suffer with. Now that bit of health knowledge is a blessing. Amen?

Count your blessings. Name them one by one. Count your many blessings. See what God has done.” The words to this old hymn have a new meaning for me. After reading through Psalm 67 they bring to mind so much more than personal comfort and welfare.

God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.  (KJV)

 

This fear – yārē – is a special two sided coin. [3372 – to be afraid, be frightened; to revere, respect; to be awesome, dreadful, be feared; to frighten, terrify, intimidate; in some contexts fear relates to terror and fright;, in others fear relates to honor, respect, and awe, as in “the fear of the LORD”]

When God blesses me it’s not for my benefit … totally. Though I confess that I enjoy God’s blessing, you are the purpose, the reason,  that I have been blessed. Yet, I’m not sure I want to deal with other people’s reactions to God’s blessing in my life. Fear makes people do and say crazy things. Despite my personal feelings, it remains… you are His target.

As review, let’s put these in order

  1. Prayer
  2. Mercy + God’s Blessing Us
  3. God’s ways are known 
  4. God’s Saving Health is known
  5. God’s people Praise (Bless) Him
  6. The earth yields its harvests
  7. God blesses us
  8. The ends of the earth will fear him.

I have to get over personal wrestling and accept the truth. So I will pray again, “May your knowledge of God give you understanding and may your fear of Him cause awe and respect. Amen.”

My testimony is this: God listens to me and says yes to me quite a bit when I pray. The Psalmist and I have something in common on that score.🙂

Blessing is a presentation with a purpose that involves using the hands of his children to get a response from those around them … harvest, knowledge, and fear. Choose wisely what you will do with the education. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wounds, Grief, and Comfort Exposed

Through wounds we get to know what pain feels like and we become familiar with the process of recovery. 

Wounds heal. Most of the time, wounds heal with a fair amount of scar tissue. Scars don’t hurt even though they may look nasty and feel out of place.

Grief is something you experience every time you look at the scar…. every time you touch it and know it really shouldn’t be there. Every time you look, you remember the wound because it is the same size and shape of the original wounding.

Scars are forever reminders. Scars ensure we do not forget painful events; scars fade but they don’t go away. As we heal, pain goes away giving place to some measure of grief. Pain and grief are not synonymous.

I can grieve over a past scar-causing event without feeling again the pain of the wound or needing again the same surgery or recovery time required by the original wound.

All these things are true of both the physical body and the spiritual body.

ankle scar 2My biggest physical scar is a reminder not to run through plate glass windows in search of answers. Every time I look at it, my mind sees pictures of a sunshiny California day when mom went shopping, the TV lost power, and I ran through the living room window to go check on the antenna. I ended up on my butt looking through a broken door at a deep heart shaped gouge in my ankle fascinated by the “chicken skin” hanging off of it. I can see the faces of the Jr. High druggies who were looking over our fence through the bright red bottle brush bushes to see what happened. I recall Dr. Ott who sewed my ankle and my face back together being so happy with himself because he saved my kissing muscle…. and his nurse whose dark purple eye shadow was the last thing I saw before he operated on me. Those eyelids really scarred me for life!🙂

I have several internal scars the biggest of which is parental abandonment during childhood; a reminder everyday that I belong to a loving Heavenly Father and His family. You can’t see those scars unless I tell you about them. Every time I share the realities of my childhood, I experience grief but I can honestly say that today I live in freedom from the pain…not the consequences or scars but totally free of the searing, mind-blowing, crippling initial wounding.

When you see a person’s scar and they get emotional, do not assume the scar is an open wound. Go ahead and look though. God intends for us to tell our scar stories, remember our lessons, and comfort each other in fellowship, pointing each other to Jesus.

One evening, in trying to implement 2 Corinthians 1:1-5, at a recent dinner party I responded to a man’s personal narrative with, “I know what that feels like.” Whereupon I was conversationally called upon to tell why. Parts of that story are confidential but I tried to give qualifying information without going into certain realms of the particulars. As I did, emotions surfaced. Everyone at the table thought I still had an open wound. In reality I was trying to genuinely grieve with a fellow believer who’d been hurt in a similar way to my own hurt within a church context…genuinely from personal experience to grieve with him over past events and not just blithely acknowledge his discomfort and relational grief then blow him off moving on to other more “appropriate” conversational topics. I believe in caring for people in truth… in being real.

I know what it’s like to force yourself to walk through the doors of church on Sunday morning.” I said as I looked in his direction. For some elusive reason I thought my gift of sympathy would be accepted as such.

Ooops. Being real came with a price.

The conversation turned to the happy faces we “put on” or force when we enter the church building on Sunday. I was dumbfounded. In TRYING TO BE REAL and OBEDIENT to God’s word,  my comment was associated with being an expert at fakery!!!

Years ago I would have let that go and quietly borne the misunderstanding but not today. Perceptions are important but this was more important. This was serious. …Is serious.

If you accuse anyone of being fake then you are effectively saying that person loves and practices falsehood. Why are those words such a big deal? Because Revelation 22 says those who love and practice falsehood will not be allowed into the New Jerusalem (God’s ark for entrance into the new heaven and new earth). The people outside this special city are counted with the wicked who are burned up. (You can find a list of those folks here in Revelation 22:14-15.) Don’t want to die a fiery death? Then cultivate reality and truthfulness. 

I heard a voice say, “ Can we pray for you?”

Sure. I’m not going to turn down prayers but power seemed to be missing. The words sounded vague, and the general manner spoken in approach to the matter seemed to fall flat.

Probably one reason for sensing the situation this way was that my scar was misunderstood for a wound simply because my voice was filled with emotion and my eyes teared up.

Wordpress banner compassInvestigate. Don’t assume. Antiseptic poured over healed flesh is wasted product and wasted effort just like praying for healing the already healed. I came away from that evening with this truth – Sympathy misunderstood as an open wound renders subsequent “comfort” useless. I am convinced God does not want his children to be useless.

My analytic mind came away with social questions. How could I have achieved the intended comfort without painting a target on my back? How could I explain my word choices and cry with the grieving without taking all that truly heart-felt compassion away from the one I’d gifted it to? If you have any practical advice or lessons learned about this, please share them in the comment section below. If you can point someone to Jesus by sharing what you’ve been through, please share that too.

God knows everyone’s situations and needs…yesterday, today, and forever. It is God’s understanding that is powerful; It is His understanding that should be used. That would be effective because He possesses both a power and an understanding we do not have; But praise God He has given us access to the power of the resurrection through Jesus Christ.🙂

Now logic (and your comments) return us to the 2 Corinthians passage; we comfort each other with the comfort we have received from God through Christ for others.

For just as Christ’s [[a]own] sufferings fall to our lot [b][as they overflow upon His disciples, and we share and experience them] abundantly, so through Christ comfort (consolation and encouragement) is also [shared and experienced] abundantly by us.

But if we are troubled (afflicted and distressed), it is for your comfort (consolation and encouragement) and [for your] salvation; and if we are comforted (consoled and encouraged), it is for your comfort (consolation and encouragement), which works [in you] when you patiently endure the same evils (misfortunes and calamities) that we also suffer and undergo.

And our hope for you [our joyful and confident expectation of good for you] is ever unwavering (assured and unshaken); for we know that just as you share and are partners in [our] sufferings and calamities, you also share and are partners in [our] comfort (consolation and encouragement). 2 Corinthians 1:5-7 (AMPC)

God of all creation,
Please help these dear brothers and sisters to distinguish between pain, and grief, wounds, and scars. Please inject their sharing of comfort with your healing power, your understanding, your effective comfort. Amen.

A Dad and A Father

Happy Father’s Day! …Happy Father’s Day all month long.🙂

As a celebration of three years of WordPress Blogging, I am editing and re-posting Brought About’s first post. It was titled, Daddy’s Letter Revealed and was published on June 15, 2013.

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To fathers abandoned by their children and fathers who have forsaken their own flesh and blood … to those whose fathers have tossed them aside, I have good news! There is a Heavenly Father who cares about the details and really does love His children.

Listen in as I share with you one way Yahweh, the Captain of our Souls, revealed that it is He who is in control…even of the little things.

Christine’s Dad left the family when she was five. Neither of them connected with each other or had any contact with each other for the next five years. “Why should that stay the same?” She wondered. So she wrote to her Dad when she was ten years old. Practicing what she thought was her best letter writing learned in school and finally satisfied with the words, she depended on her mother to send it. Mom had other plans.

Her mother spoke to Christine in that fateful moment like she was indeed going to send this letter out as soon as possible. Instead, after taking it from the trusting child, she hid it away. Her reasoning held that Christine’s birth father did not deserve Christine’s love. The lie was so artfully deceptive and the deed so well carried out . Nobody who would do anything to counteract the deed would ever know.

Certainly Christine never knew. Years passed while Daddy’s youngest girl continued on oblivious to anything but that Daddy chose never to answer. Never to call…Never to visit…

Fast forward 38 years. Christine lives two states away but calls her mother once a week to keep in touch and to let her mom know that she is cared about. One such Sunday the LORD had convicted Christine’s mother of wrongdoing. 

Christine, I am so sorry. I never sent that that letter you wrote to your Dad. Do you remember that letter? You addressed it in pencil and it didn’t have a stamp on it.”

I think I have that letter, Mom.”

What!?!” Oh, she was so mad. “How did you get that?”

I got it when Carol [Dad‘s wife] gave me his scrap book after he died.”

How did he get it!?! Who could have given that to him?” After a pause, she blurted, “You must hate me!”

What she did was awful. It was hateful and selfish but there was no hate in Christine’s heart for her mother. Neither was there any pity. Christine didn’t feel anything.

Her insides responded, ‘Wow, that’s interesting.‘ The cliche’ nature of the situation had Christine in shock. Here two real live characters filled the slots of evil step mother and hated little girl. As reality sunk in it was overpowering. Suddenly a bunch of other situations started to make sense. This conversation unlocked the truth of several other events in Christine’s life. Her perspective veered away from “oblivious” to “understanding” with God’s help.

Out loud came the practiced, ‘Mom, I’m going to have to process that.’ 

She processed some of it quickly. Some of her processing still remains.

She remembered that God says we must forgive  It rang out again and again in her mind more like the clear chime of a boat’s warning bell than the blaring of its fog horn. 

Experiencing something like brain freeze and realizing nothing she could ever say would make a difference, she quietly decided God would have to sort this mess out. In reality, handing the whole situation and everyone involved over to his power and his verdict is a very real way of aligning our souls with God’s healing will for our lives. Once that is accomplished, our hearts are clean, free, released to be joyful again.

You see, God always knew. Apparently the whole thing bothered Him because God did something remarkable for Christine; God delivered a letter without her mother ever knowing what He was up to. 

The beautiful thing is that people in this kind of trial can say with Joseph, ‘You meant it for evil but God meant it for good.’ We can also say with the apostles, ‘God triumphed over evil” because only He could have orchestrated the letter’s proper delivery and the exact moment of its revelation.

Love won when Christine was a trusting, oblivious little girl. Love wins now because the love of God practiced always wins.

Wordpress banner compassNothing can thwart the will of God. (Job 42:2; Isaiah 14:27) God loves his children and cares about the details. Her Heavenly Father made sure her birth father knew that his little girl loved him regardless of efforts to keep that information from him. He measured out love to a guilt ravaged and stubborn elderly  woman, realigning her perceptions about life and about God. When the storms of life roared and threatened He used others to turn a forlorn little life around and save a grown child’s soul from the darkness hate carries, bringing her into the light Love provides.

This is the good news: Today Truth brings about positive change.

The process involves pain…and healing.

The progress is real.

The results are worthy of the hope (our anchor) we have. That hope is safety, belonging and peace in the care of our loving Heavenly Father. With your Anchor Hitched to Him, this hope does not disappoint.