Friday, October 7, 2016

The Pain of My Past

Our upcoming Fatherheart school ( is being held on a plantation in SC that was once owned by one of the largest slave owners in the state of South Carolina. While my heart isn't healed enough to actually PAY to stay at a place that once enslaved my ancestors and profited from their labor and their breeding, I have been praying in to being on the grounds each day for hours at a time and what that means for me, for my ancestors.

I have a HUGE burden in my heart for generational alignment and restoration. Honestly, I am not even sure what that entails but its brewing deep within. So many parts of our history are both brutal and beautiful. Things that seem so insignificant and minute affect us at a cellular level.

I think a lot about my ancestors hundreds of generations back. What would they want us to know today? What would they say about those times over a cup of shared chicory? How do I honor the atrocities they endured with my life today? ...I don't want to hate. I don't want to be bitter. But, I also don't want to be in denial of their fight or their pain. My pain.

During my morning meditation, I heard so clearly 2 Corinthians 5:9, "God(Father) was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them." At first, as I was releasing those held trespasses downstream into the river of forgiveness, I thought I was letting go of the past - what was horrifically done to my ancestors. Then Holy Spirit said very gently, "Free them too. Beloved this is not their fight. Let them go." And I realized, I was still holding blame and allegiance in my hand. My heart was still wanting to shake all the folk that just don't get it. So I slowly, with a LOT of effort, uncurled my fist and let all of these imaginary people that I really want to shake...go. I let them all float downstream. All my shadow figures I was carrying on my back from my past, my ancestor's past. All the people who ever committed an injustice against another human because of the color of their skin AND all of the people who see it and say nothing AND those who aren't even willing to acknowledge that there is just cause for being upset about the present narrative. All of the people I want so desperately to see what I see, but even more accurately, see it JUST like I see it.

We all have a fight. A cause. A passion. It's okay that the things we're fighting for are not the same. It really is okay.

Having said that, it is time for us to change the narrative. It is time for honest, brave conversations. And the first conversation must begin within. For me, when I was honest with myself, I realized that if I keep blaming someone in the present for something someone else did in the past, all I will ever see is blame. All I will ever feel is mad. I don't want to be dumb or numb. I don't want to sleepwalk through this crucial time in our history. I want to show up every day with my heart wide open to love.

At the end of my mindfulness meditation, this was my resolution: The worse possible take away from tragedy is to act like tragedy never happened. So, I will walk the grounds and halls of that plantation holding my ancestors in my heart, remembering their blood shed, the lashes on their backs, the ropes burning into their skin as they swung from those great trees. I'll remember their bloody fingers from picking cotton and their sore backs. I'll remember their robbed virtue and raped bodies. Eyes wide open to the pain and injustice of their existence from greed.

And, I'll embrace today willing to see it differently. I will embrace today with hope and love, believing the best about our future, humanity's future. With my heart wide open, I will pursue reconciliation not counting the trespasses of the past against my friends of today. If low expectations is our country's greatest wound, then believing the best about others is the way we heal. I'm going to a plantation where my ancestors once lived with my heart bearing love and my feet carrying healing.

Friday, August 19, 2016

He sees. I See.

When God created colors, He never asked of pink to deny the fact that it is pink or red to stop being red. The uniqueness of each individual color blends together to give us the beautiful rainbow we enjoy.

The same request was never made of the stars. No demand was placed on them to surrender their individuality or stature and when placed together, we get to view brilliant constellations.

So why then, do we ask of humans to deny their race? If God only wanted people to look one plain way, He would have never dispersed Noah's three sons into different regions of the world where they would establish distinct cultures and practices and the environment and surrounding conditions would affect the color of their skin and the shape of their noses. If He wanted us to all sound the same, He would not have stopped the building of the Tower of Babel. 

I have Hispanic friends, Indian friends, Chinese friends, Caucasian friends, African friends, Black friends, Polynesian friends, etc. I don't want to see through people. I want to really see them for who they are. Race is as much a part of who we are - our history, our culture, our experience - as our soul and spirit. 

In my opinion, to see all of who a person is and celebrate the totality of that person is to see through God's eyes. People say God can't or doesn't look on flesh and yet Jesus is fully man. So does God veil His eyes when He looks at His Son who is seated at His right hand? 

God sees all of you and He celebrates your uniqueness and individuality. Just as the individual colors blend together to make a rainbow and the stars join together to make constellations, all of who I am connects with all of who you are and together we make up the human race. 

It isn't denial of my skin tone that brings about this effect. It's the celebration of our diversity that does. 

"How good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity! For there the Lord commanded the blessing - life forever." Ps. 133:1,3

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Heart over Head

Judgment statements are thinking statements. They are statements of opinion birthed from what we think someone should do or say or how we think someone should act or interpret data and facts. 

Judgments and "shoulds" are largely formed from injured expectations, meaning we project onto others how we would react or respond in a certain situation and consciously (more often,  unconsciously) and demand that behavior from others. 

This is why we instinctively pursue agreement over connection. It's the place of homogeneous thinking, feeling and behaving. Agreement creates a cocoon of false safety. 

Unconditional acceptance says I'm not them,  they aren't me. It frees others from my expectation that they would handle life the way I would. People often refrain from sharing because they fear being judged. Perfect love displaces fear. 

Feeling statements are the language of the heart. While no one is responsible for how I feel, when I hand you my feelings in conversation,  I'm handing you a sacred part of my internal world. It's the place of how the things I'm processing are affecting me. Connection happens when you hear my heart, when you hold my heart with deep regard and I respond in like manner to you. 

Feelings don't require fixing. We share how we feel to create opportunities of being known. The most valuable gift a person can give to someone who says "I feel..." is compassionate listening.

Squeeze their hand. Hug their neck. Share their pain with your own tears. Look them in the eye, silently...and listen.

I see you. I hear you. I'm with you.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Peace Be With You

Nails tore through His flesh, anchoring Him to death. Religion feeling justified, "How dare you break our 613 rules and throw them back in our face as if they were a mockery." Can you hear the whisper of religion down through the ages? The cry for 613 rules to legislate morality.

 Lashes hurled. Whipping. Flogging. Gouging. "Crucify Him. Crucify Him." His response, "Father, forgive them. They know not what they do." 

Cultural society felt justified. "How dare you come on the scene eating with prostitutes,  tax collectors, Samaritans?" Can you hear the fear bated accusations of culture echoing in the land? "How dare you break bread with gays, Muslims?" 

 As he hung, the nails tore deeper into His flesh."Crucify Him. Crucify Him." With a ratty last, fluid filled half breath, the Christ proclaims, "It is finished." 

And from the darkest evil came the greatest victory. Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again. And He does...

Appearing to eight of His disciples, after the pain. After the evil. Fresh from the grave, he greets them, "Peace be with you."

Peace. The blessed state of fearing nothing from God and being content with your earthly lot, whatever that is. 

Peace. The exemption from the rage and havoc of war.

Peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord.

Peace. Security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous).

Peace, the blessed state after death. The thing you thought killed you has ushered you in to your greatest resurrection and led you to peace. 
Father, forgive them.... It is finished.... 

Jesus endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him. What was that joy? To transcend time and space, appearing through a locked door to 8 (the number of new beginning) and extend to humanity, peace. 

"Peace be with you." And for centuries now, peace beckons and calls to each one of, "And also with you."

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Comparison Kills

Paraphrasing from Baxter Kruger's, The Great Dance and my own heart's cry as I read it:

The logic of darkness begins with the whispering lie of the evil one. "I am not.." [I am not good, worthy, successful, smart, thin, likeable, capable, etc.] And we believe his lie. 

We dream a dream, invent a glory, create a legend in our own minds (to reinvent ourselves so we can overcome the lie). Then we work our fingers to the bone to attain our false self, to live out our masked existence for the approval of others. 

All the while not only missing our true glory, but unwittingly poisoning it, short circuiting the life of Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit within us, doing violence to our very beings. Creating the illusion of someone we are not, parading around in our own glory and it never crosses our mind that Almighty God, our Heavenly Father who knows our names and likes us has already given us His glory to be a display of His splendor in the earth.  

Comparison kills. The real you is altogether lovely. Let God arise and the evil one be scattered.

A Holy Week Reflection

I love the awe and reverence of Holy week. There's something in the intentional remembrance of Christ's fierce, forgiving,  non-violent expression of love that brings me face to face with the ugly places of my own humanity.  

This morning my heart is dancing with Father inside of the disciples' words in Matthew 26:22, "Surely,  not I, Lord? " None of them knew the true state of their own heart. None of us either...

Only when we allow Holy Spirit to illuminate the shadows and corners of our heart will we truly see. And there in that barren, desolate place, is the promise of John 14:18, "I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you." 

The beauty of remembering is rewarded in the celebration of its fulfillment.  Father's love has been and is being continuously poured out. We've been caught up in the great dance of love and fellowship with the Trinity. And there, in that union with the Divine, all of the places of our hearts that were once lost to even ourselves has been found. 

For truly, the wrath of men led the Divine to kiss our brokenness. Love released the guilty and in His mercy, redeemed and restored the damned. When the Incarnate One hung on the cross and kissed the depraved places of our being that are seemingly lost, even to us, peace on earth and goodwill toward all men found its expression in the beautiful words, "It is finished."

Never Alone

From the first "Not Good" decreed by Father - it is "not good" for man to be alone - Adam (humankind) has believed the lie of separation. You hear the depth of its torment reiterated in the cry of the psalmist in Ps. 22, "My God, my God. Why have you forsaken me?" And again we hear those very same words echoed in the ragged breath of Jesus has He becomes one with the depravity and evil of mankind's sins, lies and wretchedness.

Feasting on the depths of our darkness has He hung on the cross. His body broken for us that we might be made whole and holy by His Father's love.

The strength of these famous last words of Christ is not that they resonate so strongly with the human heart, though we all have indeed felt alone and forsaken in our pain and dark moments.  

No, the strength lies in the heart of that very same psalmist who later in verse 19 and 24 answered the plea of his own heart's cry with truth. "But You, O Lord, be not far off; O You my help, hasten to my assistance...For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from him; But when he cried to Him for help, He heard." A prophetic hope and encouragement that would live through the ages. A timeless truth that has sadly been veiled to many hearts.

On Good Friday, many sit in increased darkness hearing the seven last sayings of Christ. My prayer for all is that this truth come alive within you: Father God NEVER turned His back on His own Son and He's NEVER forsaken you. Father and Jesus are ONE and we are IN Christ. Father did NOT "separate" Himself from Jesus because of our sin.

No, Love joined Him there. 2 Cor. 5:19 says it best, " namely, that (Father)God was IN Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them...

Jesus Himself said in John 5:19, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner." 

There is another with nail scarred hands. The Father Himself loves you. The Incarnate One embodies the love and the presence of the Godhead entering our aloneness. The power of His incarnation, God with us is settled by the finality of His resurrection, God in us.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Dime A Dozen

In the past,  whenever someone mentioned the idea of me writing a book,  I would smirk and respond,  "Books are a dime a dozen. Everybody's writing a book these days, why on earth would I write a book?" Or I'd encourage them to read Wayne Jacobsen's book, He Loves Me. Because everything I would have ever written, he wrote in that book.

After I'd been sitting on the shell of a manuscipt for over a year, one day as I was walking in my former neighborhood,  I felt very clearly like Father said to me, "I need you to release your book in the earth. It's time."  I heard it and made some initial inquiries into what it would take to make that happen,  but really didn't do anything more. 

Months later,  a friend posted on fb that she dreamed she was reading my book. Another friend saw her post and private messaged me to say she wanted to sow into helping me get my book completed. These two ladies are the catalyst behind Truth Encounters. 

When I told my mom that I would be writing a book about the abortion I had at 16, she asked me what in the world I wanted to do that for and I responded that I thought my story could help other people break free of shame. Her reply,  "Hmph...well, you got a lot of guts."

You never know what is gonna happen when you write a book. You expect your friends and family to say nice things about it, at least you hope they will. What I never expected was to meet people in a small iconic town in Middle TN who read the book and have been greatly impacted by it. That was humbling for sure. 

Moral of the story - You, your story, your voice is not a dime a dozen. There's unique breakthrough in your life, in your story that is meant to touch the heart of another. You're an original,  not a copy. Tell your story. It needs to be released in the earth. If for no other reason than kicking shame and fear in the throat, tell your story.

Curious about my story?