Saturday, December 22, 2012

Nobody wants happiness

How deep & wonderfully complex is the human heart? I really meditate on this a lot. I sat this morning in my dining room, sipping my favorite coffee; enjoying the beauty of yet another day offered to me. I think back on my life when times were awful and when times were so sweet; I close my eyes and drift away to relive them again.  I used to do this, coffee-morning-meditation more often as a person passionate to love and enjoy life & find meaning in resting in the present moment. Although my life was falling apart, I trusted life's grand plan would work all things out for my good. I was a really happy person. I was also a terribly miserable person. 

If you are anything like me, there is something in you that comes alive and is blissfully, "Well with your soul" listening to Bach's Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 1. (as I write, I'm drowning in bits of Heaven pouring into my soul...) Your heart might skip an almost frightening amount of times when you see the sunrise in an Arizona sky. Maybe you've danced in the warm Costa Rican rain in the middle of a thunderstorm, Glee-ing your own joyous moments to yourself with that Nik Day song,

"Tell me how could life get any better,
I feel like I could live like this forever,

The sky is such an interesting shade of blue,
& there isnt a thing that we've got to do.
No it doesn't matter near or far,
Cause Love is the same no matter where you are
Oh life is such an interesting thing to do...."

In every joyous moment,there is something( some thing) desperately aching inside of me to settle in, get cozy and make a warm cup of coffee and live there for the rest of my life. Everybody knows what I'm talking about; every human heart is conditioned for it. Some call it Truth, some call it happiness or peace, reality, consciousness, awakening (as a former New Ager, I guess it's also referred to as Enlightenment). All religions are desperately aware of the human desire to cultivate, protect, chase, become aware of "it". If you disagree, you're lying. I don't believe anyone believes in atheism, because they'd have to believe in that too. Oxymoron much? Don't misunderstand me, I'm not proclaiming a war on happiness. I've just realized we're marvelously human beings & painfully aware of it. (Recently, with the school shootings, how evil we as a species can become too) Then how wonderful we can be too, when we gather in the midst of tragedy and heart wrenching times. 

When I started to believe the Truth, about this one True God in Christ; I was horribly deceived that I could no longer be a human. I can't touch, see, or feel. I'm bad, I'm a sinner. Prone to wander from a Perfect-Too-Good-To-Be-True-God... who is selfish for my affections. I thought "Denying myself" meant denying being everything I am. Every bit of goodness and every miserable thing. Robot much? My heart became numb to every sensation of life. As God has been drawing my heart towards the world again, in Today, I've opened my heart to being human again. To just being completely aware of my crazy humanness. To the joy, to the pain, to the anger, to the frustrations. When I am presently aware of how happy I am reading an elegant, breathtaking piece of literature with a delicious glass of pinot noir in my hand.... it means I have to be undeniably aware of the emptiness I feel when it's over. So on we go, searching for the next love affair of our hearts; disappointed and discontent at every turn. I'll say it again, we are painfully and wonderfully human.  

             As I drank my coffee this morning, as its something I deeply enjoy doing, God whispered suggestive words to my heart that as lovely and wonderful as life is; We are not looking for happiness. All the tastefulness of this life are the shouts of a God far more satisfying than anything in the world can ever offer. I've come to the terms that I am not one of those Christian that believes, "Everything is bad." I tried that . No trabajo. (Spanglish for," It didnt work")
I still believe we have a holy God, whom we were entirely made to enjoy Him, Love Him and be Loved by Him
I believe Jesus has invited us into the greatest love affair we will ever be offered; because when we confess, if you will by now, that we are aching for meaning and ultimately something more than our friends, spouses, good food or sex offers. We realize what we really want is complete  acceptance & we can only achieve this by means of being accepted for who we are. Dirty faces, & unclean hands. No one will ever perfectly accept us, we stand in the face of criticism & judgment every day. White/black/brown/tattoos/degree/CEO/Janitor/piercings/fat/skinny/disabilities/rich/poor. We don't want happiness. We want acceptance & freedom & we can't be accepted without needing to be forgiven for something. God is, in Him alone, big fat "Welcome" mat to settle into that cozy house we all dream about. I've heard some preachers say things like this about what, Jesus said when he said, " I am The Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
We all tend to think its all about Heaven and who goes to Hell. But Jesus didn't say that, He said, "No one comes to the Father" in essence, the Fathers house. The Fathers Love. The Fathers unfailing acceptance and forgiveness. God didn't just look down on us & leave us to our happily miserable selves content with fleeting pleasure, as C.S. Lewis said,

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

He came for us, confessing our discontentment, to be a God who can be all the God we need Him to be (and so much better than we could ever dream up). I am realizing the joy's in life, worthy to be grateful for and enjoyed,but they are infinitely unsatisfying in comparison to the Love of Jesus. It's all pointing to God. & He came to be our cozy days, our rainbow, the Bach of our hearts, the intoxicating wine of our souls; & exceedingly, abundantly, incomparably all our minds can conceive or imagine & by this Love, I am continuously humbled, grateful and offering my life up to the Hands of all Joy and Life.

In my Fathers House, (there's always room for more)


Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Saviors Way: Road to Redemption

"A lot of times we reach out to Him and beg for help. Pray our wounds to be healed.. What we sometimes don't realize is we reach with one hand expecting help and with the other conceal our wounds because they hurt too much. Don't do half of the work, reach out with open arms and Let him touch you."-My Facebook post Sept 6, 2010

Last night I had a dream, about my ex boyfriend. Oh you know the one, that I was with for half of my life? That one.
Generally, if I have a dream about him. I wake up psycho-analyzing every reason why, "Do I still love him? Do I miss him? Do I wish we were back together? Oh you must still love him, that is pathetic....".... by the time I pull the covers from my head  I've taken my own heart and stomped, kicked, hissed, and torn it to a million pieces. 

But today was a little different. 

I wrote that previous quote right when I was real jacked up, when I was total crazy dying on the inside....but drawing near to this beautiful, real, intimacy with God in the midst of my brokenness. I remember God kindly asking me to remove my hand from my wound, and let Him touch it. Talk about raw pain, I'd just gotten dumped by my boyfriend of 8 years while  calling venues we were deciding to get married at. My world had literally crumbled in one single day. So you wanna go there? Jesus doesn't want a little bit of the pain, the beauty of His wonderful intimacy demands it all. & how I was recklessly abandoned to give up anything He asked to feel more of His wonderful presence!  So, heart broken and wide open, I let Him into my pain. I let Him comfort me. I remember intimate first nights with my Dad, I would be in bed just crying and crying and have no more of a prayer than," Jesus, just give me the peace to sleep tonight." Because sleeping alone, in a joke of a "bedroom" I found on Craigslist after sleeping next to Daniel every night for 5 years was unbearable to do, which is why I mostly drank myself to sleep before I found the Lord. But in my nightmare, I would cry to him and there be waves of indescribable peace washing me until I fell asleep; & I loved Him for that.
I loved Him for not needing anything out of me than all the brokenness I had to give. 

Psalm 147:3" He heals up the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."

Psalm 51:17 " The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart, O Lord, You will not despise.."

I've had really wonderful friends and family as I've been walking on this road of healing. But sometimes, I feel (as I should) no one really understands the way Jesus does. 
"Have you broken soul ties?"" Yes, I think like 18 times. "Are you still in contact w/him?" No, only when his girlfriends mom (who I happen to work with) last mentioned their trip to Spain.  "Do you wish you were back together?" No. Most days no. No. Then the inevitable:" Have you forgiven him?" I've realized forgiveness isn't just a one time decision to forgive the abandonment,forgive all of the horrible things he said about me, how I never really got an explanation other than a paraphrased," I missed out on partying and all of the single life, so now instead I think I wanna do that." Forgiveness, for me, means letting my life be redeemed in Christ. I don't know how long that will take, but I know it's finished already. Because Gods Word says, I am more than a conqueror in ALL things because of Christ.
But for a long time now, I've been tiptoeing around facing how I feel and feeling guilt- so I flee into more church work-fellowship- even in my alone time...You see God & I have this thing, we're not supposed to talk about "it",  cause I should be over "it" by now. What I didn't realize was somewhere along the way I put my hand over the very thing I came to Jesus for initially: a broken heart.

Its been about 2 years since this surrender to God and as I woke up this morning from that dream, the Lord said to me," Valerie, take your hand off of it. You don't need to know why or try to figure out how to fix it. Let me in with you."  I wrestled with it initially, well, all day honestly; until I was driving home. I began crying as soon as I hit the onramp home and took my hand off for a minute & He gently wrapped His arms around me the whole way home. Jesus says, "My sheep know My voice.." and I found myself promising to not "do half the work" anymore and walk this way with Him till its finished; whenever that is. (Phil 1:6)

My prayer is that anyone reading this, who's gone through what I am or chances are you will know someone eventually is, not that: You would pity them. The world throws pity parties, Godly people throw comfort parties (love one another, yes, pray for each other) Not that you would allow him/her to  wallow in disappointment, but that you would remind the despite it, there is hope eternal. I even dare say, Don't tell them, " God has a husband/wife for you." its true and awesome but first remind them instead, "At His right Hand are pleasures forevermore.  (Jesus is seated here) There is comfort in Christ & let me tell you, this doesn't always look pretty. It's messy, but there is a beautiful powerful nearness in our need for Jesus to be our strength and light in the wilderness of grief. Because although, I know God is all powerful and can do ANYTHING. I also know there is a Peace that comes with praising God through the pain. There is a hope that emerges in the, shadows of His wings, and joy in the Lap of the Father.  

I heard this saying once, that walking with Jesus is walking 
the Road to Redemption. To deliverance,to being rescued. I like that. I like it because its trusting in the process, in the signposts marked," The Saviors Way--->Keep going!" So as I'm writing now, I'm encouraged in my heart. Because I know this road leads me to more of Jesus. 

Paul said it this way about some of Jesus' disciples felt, he said they were," Sorrowful...yet rejoicing." Yeah. I really like that.

.....Yet rejoicing