In this season of my life, I have learned two things. All we have to do is wait when things aren’t adding up, and the truth will become self-evident. We don’t have to make a fool of ourselves in the process. The real answers to what we have always wanted will be so simple when they are found, that we will wonder why people have chosen to overcomplicate what never was.
Once the lid is blown off of the truth, it will take years for us to process it all. Sometimes, we need others to give us context in that. And sometimes, we have the ability to see visions and dreams of what we are unable to verbalize in an understandable way. Some things will be so heavy in our spirits, we will feel like we can’t breathe, and that it has drained us of the life we have known. It will be undefinable when it is buried underneath layers upon layers of deception. We will feel like we are going to bleed to death from the inside out when the reality of it all starts to emerge. This is why we will need a whole lot of grace. It is like the buffer, that keeps us from being killed on impact, much like an airbag, during a car crash.
If there is anything I have learned from a life of faith, in my adult years, is that when we sincerely ask for something, we need to prepare for how it is going to be made manifest in our lives. Most people have such a ridiculously false concept of this, that they shut everything down, and walk away the minute it gets hard, and requires any level of adjustment and sacrifice on their part. You can always tell, because they are either full of worthless platitudes, to avoid having to take a direct hit with reality, they didn’t agree with. Or, they are cynical, bitter, and self-entitled to whatever they believe they should have the right to take from others. Another place of defeat I have seen in others is when they feel the gravity of the carnal knowledge of what they believe is detached from them, and is always about what someone else is doing, that they just need to walk away from. I would say that is the thinking person’s way of avoiding accountability in things, they are refusing to own the responsibility of. They know what they do, but fear facing the same consequences they have created in those places. Far too much of our experience is made a point of destruction, because we have condemned ourselves in it, first and foremost. When people try to publicly humiliate you for the truth you carry, they are really just stripping your conviction of its glory. I have learned this the hard way. They are basically reacting to what is broken in their world, which is being triggered by what they see as whole in yours.
Sometimes, I wonder whose prayer God is hearing and providing an answer to when all hell seems to be breaking loose, and things are being put on the line, as well as, on trial. Anyone that is serious about prayer knows how quickly we can become our own judgment, when we don’t listen and wait for the answer that God intends, in any given situation. I well remember the first time I really caught the spiritual reality of this. I was being sued for custody by an ex, that really wanted the child, but also wanted revenge, and was also trying to cause as much suffering as possible, as the ultimate punishment, for not letting him have his way in marriage. It’s amazing what we will learn from seasons like that, if we won’t take anything personally, and will take a step back, and ask for guidance, through it all. There is far too much at stake, to ever believe that we know best, simply because of our own knowledge of details. When it was all said and done, he was begging me to settle, because he had gotten himself into more trouble, than he could get out of. AND, he was having to sell his own personal property to pay my legal fees. They released me from all charges, brought against me. I shudder to think what would have been the final judgment in that case, if I had just filed my own charges, and tried to punish him, in return, for the years he had stolen from me. Even after he dragged me through that fire for 18 months, and had spent thousands trying to manipulate the system, it was what I did that he never expected, that broke him. I gave him primary, physical custody, and did what I could to provide since I wasn’t ordered to pay any child support. This is what mercy does. It doesn’t let people off the hook. It gives the opportunity for relationships to thrive. That doesn’t mean they will. It just means that access has been given to the possibility. What we do with that, is our choice, to some degree. This is just my own story. There are situations that this is not feasible in.
During that whole season, I was being given dreams and visions, to help me to understand what to do, and to see what was going on in the hearts of those that were being caught in the middle. I am not going to share the whole dream, because it is vividly traumatic to me, to this day, but I remember having a dream, where I was rescuing my son from a metal tower, with no windows. He was too weak to fight for himself because his heart was bleeding to death. When I found him in a prison cell at the very top of the tower, all I had to do to keep further damage from being done, was lift his head, and hold him up, beside me. Life is hard enough, without being forgotten, and left to die in places we don’t belong in. Hope is the lifeline when we have been lost in the echo of a future, we can’t see clearly. It is not as pretentious as some might think, when it becomes the expectation of what can become possible, through desperate circumstances.
Three years later, I was given a vision of a lighthouse in stormy seas. And it was revealed to me, that I was going to be a light in dark places. Within a couple of weeks, I became so deathly sick, that I didn’t even have the strength to lift even my own head, to eat, or even move much. I lost 14 pounds, just from that, alone. I truly wanted to die, just to escape the abject misery I was in. My husband was doing all he could. So it was definitely a welcome visit, when a good friend showed up at our door, with his favorite soup, that he would bring his family when they were sick. That definitely made me feel that I was being raised up, out of the pit I was in. He could have just have brought us some chicken soup from the store. But, no, he brought it fresh from a restaurant he enjoys. I never forgot how deeply that affected me.
That was January of 2013. Within weeks, I felt a fire rising in my soul, that was absolutely consuming every part of my being. I was in the process of planting a Children’s Ministry, in a church plant, that our friend, was the pastor of. I was not a rookie, on any level, in Children’s Ministry. I had been a teacher for years. And I had always struggled with feeling inadequate, even though I had been told by other teachers and leaders, that I have a gift for it. I didn’t realize at the time, that what had just fallen on me was an anointing for ministry, that was going to blaze a new trail, that had not been created before. The name of the church is Canvas, and at the time, the Children’s Ministry was called, “Kaleidoscope.” I was inspired by that, because I knew that, even though I had been trained by some amazing leaders, I could do what I wanted with my own vision, within reason, of course. I expected some opposition in this, but I was not prepared for the level of spiritual warfare that was unleashed when I decided that I wanted to establish something, that would be remembered for years to come. At the end of that year, I had a complete mental breakdown. I became suicidal, from the pressure that was being exerted by the religious, that were so deeply offended by my approach, that they were giving me, nothing but grief for what was actually Biblically based teaching. That when I really started to understand everything that had happened in my own childhood.
A few weeks before I chose to step down, I had a dream that I was just given context to, a few days ago. I will share the details of this dream, even though it got me in trouble the last time I shared it. What makes people reactive is usually a level of reality they won’t confront in themselves. In my dream, I was feeling so desperate to escape from the truth that had been revealed through my visions, that I just wanted to “wash my hair” of it all. I walked into my son’s bathroom and turned on the bathtub faucet. As soon as I put my head underneath the flow of water, my head started violently hemorrhaging, and I became paralyzed in silence. I was quite literally drowning in my own blood, and couldn’t do anything, but consciously witness my own death, in what had gone dark. Suddenly, I felt a hand grab a handful of my hair, and abruptly pull my head up, which allowed me to gasp for air, and start breathing again. When I turned to see who had saved me, it was my husband. That’s when the dream ended. And that’s when I started a journey of discovery, that proved to me, on every level imaginable, that sometimes, we need to be rescued from desperate circumstances, and that we need to adjust our perspective, to gain any kind of understanding of what we just feel bound to the pain of.
Here’s an example of how I do this, instead of just trying to act like I am ok.
So I am sitting under this overpass in the woods of a public park, meditating on what I needed to make peace with, to write. I don’t have writer’s block. I have neurological problems that create real challenges for me. So I have to run away, sometimes, to a temporary escape, to clear my head of the clutter. That’s when I had a flashback of all the times I had been reprimanded for looking up at what fascinates me. You actually cannot have flashbacks of what has triggered and/or traumatized you, until you are emotionally ready to deal with it. You will just dissociate if you are still disconnected from that reality. That’s why we deflect and deny so much. We see the truth but aren’t ready to accept the reality or the responsibility of it yet. I love modern architecture, and all that it’s makes possible, like highways that can bridge chasms, like the one I was in, at that moment. As a child, I was, either being ridiculed for being easily entertained, or I was being snapped at about what was going to be my fault when it happened. I was just given dirty looks and informed that I needed to get my head out of the clouds when I didn’t answer, or do what was expected when someone felt entitled to control, even my emotions. I was told what to think, how to feel, and was quickly shamed if I noticed anything, that would lead to an inconvenient truth. I wasn’t allowed to gaze at the stars, watch airplanes, or be intrigued by the engineering of an overpass, that could hold traffic, running across it. I was told that if I looked up, that something would fall out of the sky, and put my eyes out, and that it would my fault, when something happened, outside of their control. That was on top of being constantly berated for having an active imagination. This may all sound ridiculous, but this is what displaced any kind of real education about life. I was just isolated into the fear, pain, and denial of those that just wanted me to be afraid of it all so that I would never embarrass them with a mistake. I was never allowed to just be a kid. Mistakes were unacceptable, for any reason. I was expected to do it right the first time, without error so that I wouldn’t be a burden to whoever had to fix my messes. I was treated like an embarrassment, anyway, for trying to get things right, in the lack of any kind of real support. It wasn’t until today, that I realized that, while I was being threatened with the possibility of physical blindness for looking up, I had already been robbed of my vision. What is unsettling is that the fallen doesn’t have to know your future, to have the knowledge of what it needs to destroy the potential of in their present. No wonder everything erupted into a war zone, when it was discovered that my vision was just getting stronger, the more it was denied, punished, and invalidated. I get it, and I understand why it took so long, for it all to come into focus.
This never changed, but I chose to because I saw their regret in everything they had ruined for themselves. As an adult, the abuse just escalated to a point that I had to walk away and go no contact. I know very well that the life I know now would never have been able to develop under that kind of pressure to perform. It didn’t just break my spirit and crush my soul, it prevented any kind of perspective from entering into a world, that was driven by the desires of self-preservation. Once I did start to understand how life really works, I realized that it is a form of ministry. Too many times, people strip everything bare of what is good and holy, by being driven by too much ego, in places they make profane. This is what I wanted to overcome the influence of. So I started doing the opposite of what my anxiety was telling me, as well as, what others expected when they knew I had a right to be angry with them. All hell broke loose the first time I did this. I wasn’t just breaking through my own fog, but also giving strength to others, that had been wounded, and made to feel weak in the same places that I was. As I move forward into the future, that I am creating for myself, because of how I respond to truth, I have learned something very profoundly. Truth is kind of different than reality. Sometimes, we get a reality check in things, that are not necessarily the truth. What you may be feeling the energy of is deception. And what you desire may not always be reality. And last, but not least, I have learned something that I so wish I had known when I was younger. We have a choice, when we feel confused, frustrated, unworthy, defeated, whatever it may be. We can, either choose not to forget or give up. Or, we can choose to not forgive and get up. After we become aware of how many times our heads have been lifted in places, that we didn’t have the strength or the ability to save ourselves from, we will know our own power. Power is not the ability to take what we want, or even need, from others. Power is the ability to provide resources, that we have been given access to. Abusing the power of access is what limits our influence in places we could make beautiful. And, ultimately, for every time we provide for someone else, in any given season, we have raised them up, breathed some life back into them, and have lifted their head, so that they may breathe on their own. This is what inspiration really is. I will end my thoughts with the quote of a leader I respect the insight of.
“Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise.” (Andy Stanley) This makes any and all forms of abuse irrelevant and inexcusable. Don’t be that person that becomes their own judgment.