Friday, October 28, 2011

The Encounter

I finished reading the Encounter at 3 a.m.  It is now 3:38. I’ve written my review, and a heartfelt letter to my birth mother.

The book reminded me of the Shack. He called it a parable. This one, however, based on the combination of two true stories. The fictional parable itself was compelling. I read the book during a very busy day in less than 12 hours. Carried it with me. Read a page at a stop light. I just couldn’t put it down.

I was reading parts of it this wee morning, and it finally internalized to my story. Andy Andrews says of it, “you’ll learn things about yourself that you never knew were there.”  It didn’t even dawn on me throughout the book, that the man was seeking out a meeting with his birth mother, whom abandoned him at 4 in Alaska, and that much of the anger in his life was from not being able to sort out his value  - the resentment and lack of forgiveness – of that day. It wasn’t until he looked through a scrapbook, and saw the pictures in print, that were also in his memory, of their last day spent together, that it all focused in my mind.

You see, when I was little, my mother, a native Alaskan, also abandoned me.  I remember the day quite clearly. It is a movie that plays through my mind. When I think of her, I remember that day. The emotions, the place, the kitchen, the bedroom, the words spoken, and then the lack. I remember that feeling of complete and utter void. My father had left my mother, and then my mother had left me.  My turning point in my story, was that we were sent to live with my Grandparents for a time – and then back with my Dad and a new step mom. Their love for the Lord, their guidance and love and grace, their simple life style (all four of them), kept me from internalizing the whole story as something that was done TO me, and just as something that happened. I think that’s why it took me so long to see myself in this book. I don’t feel like anything was done in my past was specific to ME. I was just a  participant. Without realizing it, by the end of the book, watching this father and mother painfully reunite, hearing how all of their perceptions of what they thought the other was feeling were wrong – and they began the road to reconciliation – acceptance – I realized I was wiping tears away. I think for me – it always boils down to the not knowing. Not understanding how a mother, any mother, could abandon a child. I do assume, that they think that being out of the child’s life will make it better. I wish they knew how untrue that is. 

I already have sent an email to my birth mother. We recently caught up on email and a tiny bit on Facebook, although she only logs on about once in six months. My life is there for her to read about, my feelings, but I have none of hers.  I wanted to write to her and tell her all the things that stirred in my heart for her because of this book. Personal thoughts. Not for the wandering eye.

Page 47 says, “you have to go beyond the entitlement of resentment so you can have the freedom found in acceptance.” I find this to be true to any situation. From waiting in a long line and having someone cut ahead, lane changers in traffic, to things happening today, expectations not met by other people, broken possessions, to the past. It seems I hear a lot about the word Forgiveness. But there isn’t a lot of how that gets walked out. The Forgive and Forget, I think should be changed to Forgive and Accept, and then apply real grace and mercy. Do your best to find the truth, hear the perspective of both sides, find empathy. Even though he was looking for truth, he wasn’t looking to be sympathetic or empathetic until they faced a situation of death. Then he found it in himself to demonstrate grace.

I too, with my birth mom, stand on the brink of death. She is in the final stages of cancer. Her health, our lack of income and a vehicle, have prevented our meeting. I never saw her after she left our home when I was little, until a brief meeting when I was 18, and then a summer spent together a year later in Seattle while I was in the Coast Guard. Even though we’ve lived 4 hours apart, I’ve seldom known where her location was or had a phone number. For many years, I only had her first name. It’s been over 22 years now since I’ve seen her. I would like to talk with her in person. Not as the confused 18 year old, full of life and passion and self confidence, ready to prove myself to the world, but as the 40 year old, full of mercy, grace, humbleness. Willing to hear her real story. Listen. Sip tea. Hear what these years have been to her. From the beginning. I may never have the chance that he did, to read through his mother’s scrapbook of his life. I do see, that I do not harbor resentment – I have come to acceptance long ago – that this is just part of me.

It’s funny. I was just having a conversation with friends, over tea this week, and we were opening up our lives, talking about our childhoods. One badly neglected and abused as a child, one badly abused physically and mentally.  I felt sort of bad. My real memories start at age 5, with a  Beaver Cleaver life. A near perfect childhood. That has gone into marriage and motherhood. Hard knocks yes. American Poverty and physical hardships of illnesses yes. I do know pain and hurt. Hurt is hurt. But my childhood with my grandparents and parents are filled with love, peace, joy, and strawberries. I had mentioned as such, how grateful I was for such a wonderful childhood, when I hear of other children who have gone through similar family rips, who did not come out the other side so well.

I am sure, and as reading this book I kept seeing visions, of my grandmother, both of them actually, who breathed into me what I did have, what I could cling on to – my Mother Pat – the Lord – the New family. I knew how hard my Father was working to make the family work. I knew that my life was sort of a make up of what went on before. My grandmother Ruth breathed it into me. Centered me on the Cross and not myself. It is a trait that has carried with me through adult years. Circumstances and Events, although not fun to go through, are mean to be lived through, and then walked away from. Learn, grow, and then walk forward. I was never given a choice to feel entitled to resentment. Entitled to anger. Entitled to fear.

I hope to pass these same character traits onto my own children.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Women of Faith–What spoke to me?

Looking through my notes – I thought I’d share a few of the highlights that were written on scraps of paper at this weekend’s 2011 Portland Women of Faith Over the Top conference.

It was dark – for the whole first day, scribbles without names – you may assume that either Patsy Clairmont, Andy Andrews, Lisa Whelchel or Marilyn Meberg spoke these words -

Fear is the misuse of a creative imagination. How can I turn that part of me off?  Logic.

God doesn’t ask us to understand, he asks us to obey, sometimes, when we obey, He allows us to understand.

I was reading today, in Daniel 10:12 – The Lord is talking to Daniel, in a time – a 3 week period – that he was waiting for an answer – “Then he said unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before they God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.”  Daniel had a problem, and he had to choose to set his heart to understand. The verse is pretty cool as it goes on in the rest of the chapter to explain why the answer was slow incoming.  I am ever amazed at how may scriptures start with Fear Not. Do Not Be Afraid. Have Courage. And this one – paired with the knowledge that Daniel had been seeking understanding for weeks – I dunno. It’s comforting.

`I have pondered the “Refuse / Replace / Repeat” urging from Patsy.  Of how to get those thoughts out of your mind. As I sit here and type, Pandora is blaring from the TV in the front room. I realized, I had not been listening to the Praise Music, so it wasn’t in my heart, and I haven’t been memorizing scripture, so it wasn’t on my tongue.  Setting those things straight this week. I want Healthy Wholesome Thoughts. I may have to set emotional boundaries with some of my friends. 

Speaking of emotions, I think Patsy said – “ We make ourselves desperate by these wide expanses of up and down emotions.  Find Balance!”

“Have you become a person other people want to be around?”

“When you spot the enemy – Do Good!”

On Restoring Relationship - “Starting points usually start with Humility.”

On Practicing Emotional Balance- “Pick a time that was difficult – do not whine or exaggerate giving yourself unnecessary stress reliving the wrong that has happened to us.”

“Please make me sensitive to how I act – It reflects you.”

“Mistake or Choice – I’m sorry never works for a choice – you did it on purpose and got caught – the words and heart need to say – ‘Will you forgive me’.” Andy Andrews

“Don’t place expectations on a friend to fill your need” Lisa Whelchel

“Identify safe friends – perfect doesn’t bring connection, imperfection does. Immanuel – God With Us – With Me, Accpetance and Understanding” Lisa Whelchel

Lisa – with laughing with a good friend, “It’s the kind of laughter, nothing is really that funny, I’ll laugh or I’ll cry”

“Transparent or vulnerable? Transparent lays it out there, vulnerable brings it close enough to touch or hurt you. The desire for connection outweighs the fear of rejection.” Lisa Whelchel

“Don’t force an answer where an answer doesn’t exist – Perspective – Calm, Calm, Ideas – Lead to God” Broken quote from Andy Andrews.

“Your Will is stranger than your emotions.” Andy Andrews. Careful Purposeful Parenting!

“He didn’t say no to a dream, he said yes to a dream he has for me that I don’t know about yet.” Sandi Patty

Exodus 14:14

The Lord shall fight for you and you shall hold your peace.

“Watch what happens when you over react. It is almost always a matter of perspective.” Patsy Clairmont

There ya go – so if you hear me talk in person – you’ve heard me bring these up a few times. A few of them are going into my memory banks. There are a few more quotes from Andy that we are working with through the boys’ lives.  I had a really great weekend.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hearing through Church Leaders

In God’s Perfect Timing – our men at church have been teaching/sharing about Planning – through the book of Luke. I thought I’d type out some of the random quotes that I wrote in my journal – I don’t always write down who was speaking – so – consider them all from the Vineyard at Coast Vineyard Church.. . . spoken through the Spirit – straight into my ears to my heart!

We were in Luke 15 talking about Value. Do we value Jesus’s authority? How does He pour His values into our hearts? Where our treasure is – there our heart will be also – in order for our values to change – I need to see what God Values – If I really value it – I’ll do it.  What do I do? What do I value?

And I am in the season of planning – for a new learning year. The responsibility placed on the Homeschool Mom –the fingers pointed at all of the Character, Attitude, Aptitude, and Ability – no such finger is pointed at any one teacher in a child’s life at public school. Children just get to be children at the local elementary. The Child is some sort of Watched Product in a homeschooling home. So – funny – this day – our speaker mentions – “Murmuring blinds us – takes away our vision – blinds us – so we can not see what Jesus sees.” I can find my self murmuring under breath of the worry of this great task.

Jeremy quoted C.S. Lewis while speaking about Luke 16 -

“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”

In Luke 17 – The Kingdom of God is not with observation -  You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you. And now, with the Holy Spirit in us – The Kingdom of God – In In Us.

Jeremy gave a heart felt sharing of his life – urging us to also live a transparent life. My blog is part of that. My speech is part of that. I have prayed for it so much – that I have found myself unable to play the games of say this – to mean that – with hold this information – to be secretive of that – My life – is Life. Shared. Openly. I have nothing to hide.

And the theme wove itself together of the last few weeks – of our need for that Cornerstone in Luke 20 – the need to build ourselves upon that rock. The Need in 1 Cor 7 – Let every man wherein he is called abide with God – those that are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.

And as I plan for the year – Why is it that my mind gets heavy on the academic – and not as heavy on Christ’s teachings? Like it is a given, an aside, an assumption that we will be in the word each day. Should I not just also assume that we will be in Math and Reading each day was well?

My brain is full, my heart is heavy on other things – I’ll post this crazy bit into my ponderings blog – and be back later for a “Part 2”.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


episynagōgē - Epee-Synago-Kay – Is it Synagogue? Our words – Assembling Together comes from this word – or Gathering together.  A Gathering together in one place. Which has become known as the Religious Assembly of Christians.

I woke this morning with the love of The Body in my heart. A note from a friend, visits from family and friends, neighbors and relatives. I eagerly wake to find messages and notes tucked in various spots in cyberland – ready to spread a smile on my face. I eagerly devour the word – and I stop to ponder -

On this drizzly grey May morning – as my family is in slumber, waiting for the wake up call to assemble together with other believers in the area -

I think on the – Do not forsake the gathering of yourselves together verse. And my mind connects all of The Body that I have gathered with this week. And yet – most of it was one on one. Or in 3’s the most 4’s.

This morning I look up the verse in Hebrews 10:25 - Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

The word assembling there- is not meant as a one on one experience. It was meant as An Intentional Gathering In One Place.

What if?  This month we have had National Day of Prayer.  How many attended? We have had online chats, blog swaps, Facebook Page Parties. Twitter. But What If?

Only once a month – each follower of Christ – no matter the denomination – or title – gathered themselves together in one place? 

Once a Quarter?

Once a Year? On the same day? The pull from the businesses, radio, tv and internet. The void that would be in the world – because the saints have dropped their doings – and spent an hour – gathering together. In worship – of the Risen Savior – collectively – to hear from His Word. Simple. No agenda. No “Training”. Just provoking each other to Love and Good Works.

People fail to talk about the rest of Hebrews 10. Sin. Covenant Breaking. Or vs 31 - [It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

I urge you – to read chapter 10 – read anything – and see if your heart isn’t stirred to gather together. To see the faces of the saints. Not for a coop. or a Tupperware party. Or a Beach BBQ – or a Barn Raising. Not for anything. Other than to worship the King. Without focus on the sinful man to your left, or the harlot woman to your right, or the sinner behind the podium – trying his hardest to gather the saints – sinners themselves – judgemental above all – to focus – intently – on Christ alone. Drums, versions, rules, Let them wash away. Hymns, concerts, speed, noise,  - let them be washed away.

Be filled with the Word. The Love of the Savior – hug a friend. Gather together. Join with a completely strange fellowship this morning – expect nothing. Give everything.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mornings in the Word

So in this age of electronics – I must confess that over the last few weeks – I have not spent time – in the paper confines of the Bound Word.  Oh – on line and in devotionals – in pieces of the Word – and through worship songs rejoicing on Pandora, my CD’s and on the Digital Channel on TV. Not far from The Word – But not IN, swimming among the paper pages of the Word in Print.

There is something mighty about a Sword that one can hold in the hand.

Which Brings me to my pondering of today -

During the cleaning of the flooding of the basement I found my Grandmother’s Bible – an old black leather King James. It was covered in a mossy green, like a little moldy cocoon. With careful cleaning, it has been restored, and laid open in the house by the wood fire and in front of windows, I love the smell of the wood fire that permeates each page.

And this morning, as I sat in my new reading place by the window – It is her volume that I chose to read. Her scribbles and exclamation points and marks of My Favorite fill the margins.  What greater gift to leave a Granddaughter than your  underlined bible?

And I was praying for the unity of the Body. Of the followers of Christ – who have each dug their heels in to the experiences that effect them – that raise this point over that – who feel pain over different areas – and to this new generation of electronic users – who can spew partial sentences – and for those who read them and inflict their own experiences into what the meaning must be – and judgment is cast – and lines are drawn – and people are separated- by the spewing of typed words. . .  and My heart has been sad – watching through this second wave of the sifting of people.

My eyes have been drawn this morning to a remembrance of a verse shared – this Sunday in church – something he said was from Psalm 133.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

It is like the precious ointment upon the head,
that ran down upon the beard,
even Aaron’s beard: that went down the skirts of this garments;

As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.

As I see effects of the sun, peeking over the eastern hillside, slowly appearing over the lake, bright rays of light start to sparkle – and the dew is on the deck – and the dew has moistened, cleaned the debris of yesterday -

That I pray for my brothers and sisters – mostly today – focused on the ones who proclaim Christ Crucified  - Who proclaim that the Word is True -  I pray that as the dew descends upon the mountains today – that the Lord’s Blessing – Of Life for Evermore – of unity of the brethren – to be poured out.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Deliverance at Purim


Spring opens up – color, scents, growth, beauty, newness and growth from what seemed to be dead. And so it is with my heart!

I am feeling the growth and newness ( and the loss of midsection ) as my chemical levels even out with my thyroid and vitamins.  And yet, as I spoke in the last post – I know that there is something that is still lacking.


Sunday came – and the choice of where to worship – The boys and I had a long discussion in the morning of the why’s of our choices – and we settled on being submissive – even though Hubby is at work most Sundays – we are going to choose his choice. (Of which, he said later in the day, thrilled his socks off).

One of the details we discussed was the music. Although, for a concert I really love the music – the musicians are amazing and passionate, their hearts are full and they joy is abundant. The congregation really rocks out! For me, being new,  I don’t know most of their songs, or the arrangements of the words that I do know, being played to their writings.  I have spent most praise sessions enjoying the worship of those around me, while I am glad to be sitting in the Presence.

Yet, as we walked in a bit late – they were playing a song that I knew. Followed by a whole set of “songs that Angie would have chosen”.  And I felt the Father’s arms of comfort around me.

And then – the leader stopped. He urged us to think about the words. If we didn’t know the songs, or if they didn’t apply to us, or if we weren’t quite where the songs words said – to speak them as a prayer, of what we would want for our lives, or pray for a friend that comes to mind that the song does apply to – praying for those around us – instead of just singing out – words that may not be true to us.

And he started on – a familiar hymn -

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Yes, He has taught me to say – It is well, It is Well With my Soul.  I can say that. I do say that. I even trick myself into believing it sometimes.

But Sunday – when we sang the chorus – a couple times repeated – the silent wet drops of tears started to run down my face – as I knew – should I sing it to the choral standards of loveliness – that it would be a lie.

As the instruments melted together – beautifully, and the congregation sang, over and over, It is well. With my Soul. It is Well, It is Well, With My Soul. I knew – there was something unspeakable – that my own understanding could not comprehend – that was not well.

And so I prayed.  With my whole heart. Without words. HEAL ME! Fix this damaged heart! Wipe away the stress and pain! Or give it a Name! Give me A way to detach from whatever is pulling me under! Make It Well With My Soul!

And we continued to sing, and I felt as if the Lord himself were standing by me, arm on my shoulder as we continued -

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

And Christ seemed to look right at me – and assurance flooded in – that He has regarded my helpless estate – he knows, and I felt the healing. Flow through my entire body, badly cut bangs to sand clogged toe nails. And as we continued through the verses and chorus, I could feel the healing roll over me. The Strength filling my inner body.


( I warn ya, this is a long post – cause – it was a long Sunday!)

And then the service started – And we were in Luke – at the Lord’s Prayer – I’ll save everything I learned during our exercise for another post – We prayed through each section of the Lord’s prayer, pausing for 2 minutes (monitored by the iPhone) for personal prayer. We were at the section of Give US this day our daily bread – and saving all that was revealed in that phrase for another day – the personal prayer that was pouring out of me came in jumbled words.  Mourning. Sorrow. Pour laughter in. Replace the mourning. Trade in my sorrows. Fill US with the presence of the Show Bread, fill US with You! I couldn’t quite get the words out that was filling my mind, but I felt healing. I felt the mourning and sorrow being physically replaced.


That evening – we read Esther chapter 9 as a family – and I almost fainted when I read verse 22 -

As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.

And suddenly, the flash back to the time of prayer.  When I was feeling rest and release – the assurance that Christ would turn my days into good, and that feasting and Joy were possible.

And I was able to share with the hubby and the boys, all of my words for the day – (even more than written here) – and we were comforted for the days ahead. We watched A Night With the King in honor of the 13-15th Days of Adar, 2011 – the time of Purim – to remember when the Jews were delivered from evil, and they were turned from sorrow to joy, mourning into a good day.

I leave you with the last verse -


And Lord, haste the day
when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound,
and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul

It IS well With my Soul. I love a Savior
who loves me so intimately and deeply!

Freedom to Wrench a Gut Laughing


Do you see that little boy up there? Joy. Laughter. It is in the 30’s temperature wise, with rain that light and freezing. The wind – over on the right hand side of the screen there is blowing the dry particles of sand into our flesh like a sand blaster. The birds are attacking, and pulling the bread from his hands.

And he thinks it is the greatest day ever. Because he is with his dad on the beach. The laughter cuts high above the wind and rain. Fills the entire area. We are the only crazies on the beach.

It is times like this – when I can see growth of healing in me.  It has been about 5 weeks since my doctors appointment – and I can physically and emotionally feel – the growth, healing, change, increase. And yet, the freedom of laughter under attack – is not quite there.

I used to have a friend say that she liked it that I could laugh through anything. Now I smile on the inside more than gut wrenching laughter. I am glad that I am healing – that He is healing me – and I am glad that I am finally awake enough to want more.  Freedom. Freedom from the remaining heaviness that hovers over the day. It is not enough to be able to physically, prayerfully, emotionally rise above the heaviness – I want it gone.  And that’s powerful.