Pondering today on transition. It’s only natural that I would have transition on the brain since the youngest of my five children graduated from high school yesterday. My husband and I are about to transition to “empty nesters”. The human story is full of these transitions. We transition from childhood to adulthood, student to employee, single to married, child to parent. In some cases we even transition back again. Each transition requires learning, growing, compromising and a flexibility to bend and stretch.
This pondering led me to look at some of the big transitions in my own life. To take an honest look at how I adjusted to those transitions. Some I did with ease but most were a battle.
My pondering has been especially reflective of my transition from “religious zealot” to “passionately loved”. At one time, I even thought those two were the same.
Religion is a man made system. This system is fed entirely from “The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil”. It is a system that is fueled by law. With my limited knowledge, I see that the major religions of the world have 3 common foundations.
1. SEPARATION. Divinity from Humanity. Humanity from Humanity.
2. JUDGEMENT. Right and Wrong. Good and Bad. Blessing and Punishment.
3. WALLS. Us and Them. Believers and Non-Believers. Chosen and Damned. Found and Lost. Accepted and Rejected. Loved and Hated. Included and Excluded.
The heart of religion is law and judgement, and the god of religion is far away and hard to please. This god requires constant attention, sacrifice and fear. This god only loves a few. I WAS a “religious zealot”. I WAS full or judgment and arrogance. I WAS eating from the tree that leads to death.
But then…TRANSITION occurred.
Today, I AM “passionately loved”. Love is the opposite of religion.
Love is a God made system. This system is fed entirely by “The Tree of Life”. It is a system fueled by grace. Its foundation is diametrically opposed to that of religion.
1. ONENESS. Divinity with Humanity. Humanity with Humanity.
2. GRACE. For every person. For every background. For every culture. For every ignorance. For every mistake. For every misunderstanding. For every unknown. At every step of the human journey.
3. ACCEPTANCE. Of ALL His creation.
The heart of love is God. A God that requires nothing but gives everything. A God that loves all of His creation, especially humanity that He created in His image. A God who removes all fear and replaces it with love. I AM “passionately loved”. I AM free from judgement, of myself and others. I AM eating from the tree that gives life.
Transition. Will you fight it? Hanging on to the past for dear life? Or will you welcome the new with open arms? Surrendering to the possibility that transition can be beautiful.
Happy Sunday my friends! Love well ❤️
Pondering today on a quote by the 9th century Celtic teacher, John Scotus Eriugena. “Grace is NOT opposed to what is deepest in us BUT to what is false in us”.
I love this because it reminds us that, at our core, the deepest part of us, we are created in God’s image and likeness. That we are created BY Him and FOR Him. The grace of God doesn’t come to “change” you but to remind you of truth, to remove all the lies you believe about God and you, to RESTORE what has been taken from you.
I’m about to kill some sacred cows here, especially my own. You are not a “wretch” as the song, Amazing Grace, proclaims but instead, you are a “masterpiece”, formed and sculpted by an Artist Father. It’s time to see yourself as He does and let grace expose and destroy all that is false. You are loved, accepted and His…today, just as you are, no changes or requirements necessary.
When you get a glimpse of His perfect love for you, restoration will flow and overtake all the lies. Go dive in the waters of grace and come up out of the waters with a clear vision of the masterpiece that you are!
Happy Sunday my friends! Love well…especially yourself. ❤️️
Pondering today on praying “to” God or praying “with” God.
There is much confusion about prayer and for many, especially those in the church community, prayer can become a “work”, a “task”, an “event”. After being the prayer leader of a major world wide ministry, teaching on prayer and praying with hundreds of people at alters, bible studies and grocery stores…I still have so many questions about prayer. Now, I know, that Jesus taught us how to pray The Lord’s Prayer but my guess is that most people just recite the words and have never delved deeply into the original language, the historical and cultural backgrounds of the Jews he was talking to or the inaccuracies that the translation process included. All of that “knowledge” is not at the heart of this pondering.
My question is this…Do we pray TO God or WITH God? I would say that for about 45 of my 50 years in this body, I prayed TO God. In my minds eye, my imagination, I envisioned God in a physical place called heaven, while I was in a physical place called earth. My hope in prayer was that He would hear me and answer me. Sometimes I determined that He heard and answered because I would see proof. At other times, I determined that He did not hear me, or care, because I would not see proof. This led to a “Prayer Performance Treadmill”. If I pray consistently, diligently, correctly….God will listen and work on my behalf. And similarly, if I don’t pray consistently, diligently and correctly…He will not answer.
This week has been a roller coaster. I’ll spare you the details but our home is on the market and this week has held quite the spectrum of emotions from excitement to frustration to hope to anger and on I could go. All that to say…I see prayer differently now. This difference has been a long time coming and a process of many questions with an unfolding of answers. I realized this week that my prayer life had substantially shifted. I shifted from praying TO God to praying WITH God. The deep abiding presence of GOD IN ME has been so comforting and so powerful. The shift from asking something from this far off, “separated from” deity had become a “know in my knower”, woven into every fiber of my being, deeply intimate communion.. And it wasn’t just lip service. I knew that as I experienced and processed all the week had delivered to me, that WE were experiencing and processing it together. I didn’t have to have a magic formula to get God to help or intervene because He had been a participant the whole time. He knew what I was feeling, what I was thinking, what I was concerned about and He cared. I guess what I’m trying to communicate is that prayer looks so different to me now. It’s not a thing I do but an awareness of what is. It is that deep knowing that no matter what comes my way….God is with me.
My friends, if prayer has become just one more thing to do, an obligation, a duty of a good Christian, a way to make sure that God intervenes on your behalf….maybe a shift is needed in your understanding. Prayer is oneness, intimacy, awareness and most of all…it is rest. It’s a knowing that you don’t have to say a word because He is woven into every part of your mind, body and soul. It is an understanding that He is with you and there is no separation. It is a trust in His unfailingly love that will cover you like a warm blanket in all the storms of this life. It is true and lasting rest.
So go into this day, this week, this life with this awareness…God is ALWAYS with you, God is ALWAYS hearing you and God is always loving you. Happy Sunday my friends! Love well!