Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Set Free to Live Again, A Spiritual Reflection

HEALING STREAMS, A New Day is Here                                  #When a Woman Finds Her Voice
Oh, the joy of the healing streams.
I was thinking about the joys of the present. I delight in life. The days bring me much happiness and inner contentment. Many of my blog writings have mentioned the pains of the past that marred my inner self, unpleasant times in the desert place. This time I will share the joys of the present by way of the healing streams that refreshed during my journey in the desert dry! It was a process rich, full of grace and goodness, healing and hope. I am eager to share these with you. God doesn't waste anything. He doesn't.

"See, I am doing a new thing!
It springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness 
and streams in the wasteland."  
                                                                             Isaiah 43:19
There were many roads that led me out of my desert dry. They came in increments of help and belief. I was never alone even though I felt alone. There were people who joined me in my fight for survival, and there was God. Without God, I would still be a wounded woman on the inside pretending through a spiritual facade (and not realizing it!), wearing the mantle that says  I am Okay...(but not really). It had nothing to do with a lack of faith, I was a strong woman of faith, no, that wasn't it. It had everything to do with being wounded, those areas deep within me that I couldn't see or understand, and God. Then, it became an active desire on my part, to let God reveal the internalized messages so He could change me in those hidden places. It took time and willingness, both were required. It is so absolutely wonderful to be free. Amen.

~I wrote out a short-list to show what was used to heal my soul with its hurting, wounded places.~


BEING LOVED
A bouquet. Being loved can be a balm for the wound during times of heartache and stress. My family has walked with me through some hard moments in my life. One in particular stands out, and there are many that could be shared. On the day my divorce was finalized my siblings sent me a bouquet to comfort me during my sadness. They knew how hard the day was for me and how much I didn’t want the divorce. The bouquet made me cry, it was a comfort to me, a small healing stream in the torrid water of life. That night, I lit some candles and watched a movie with my children and spent some time writing. My identity had changed from married to divorced and I didn't even believe in divorce. It hurt. Every time I looked at the flowers in the bouquet, I found myself surrounded by the care that whispered, we can't be with you in person but we are with you in spirit. It is so wonderful to be loved. It means all the more when your world is upset.  
Thank you, Mom & Dad, Juanita, Marilyn, and Paul

BEING ENCOURAGED
A phone call. Though-out the years there has been one person who has kept me in balance spiritually. He seems to call me just when I need it. His advice always ministers to me. He always has something to give. It starts like this. “Hello, Norma, How are you doing?” We talk awhile and then he asks about each one of my children. He is my pastor. I’ve been under his teaching for twenty-one years. His advice is sound, practical, something I can use. Every conversation has given me something to chew on, to think about that I can apply to my circumstances. Most of these phone conversations last thirty minutes or so. Then he will pray for me and also my children. I have learned, been validated, and encouraged in my spiritual walk by his ministering grace to me.
Thank you, Pastor Peterson.

BEING CONSOLED
A time of silence. Reading my Bible has been a practice of mine over the years. Praying is a main-stay. However, meditating on scripture has been a deepening discipline for the last decade in my life. Times of silence and listening with a journal and pen in hand, the Word open to a passage that talks to me, tools to record the fleeting thought, are a pool of streams in the desert. This has become my practice, the most meaningful of all. There are many days when a large chunk of time is devoted to this practice. I almost always light a candle and keep the room silent as I seek God with my heart, mind, and soul. Much goes into this time of meditation. Confession, repentance, surrender, openness, singing, deep concentration, dissecting chapter and verse, meditative focus, blend together with an active asking and seeking--listening.  Thoughts of consolation enter. I write them down. They are warm in tone, rich in expression. Being quiet before God and listening for His still small voice is what makes me feel close with my Beloved, in a friendship relationship which speaks to my inner self.
Thank you, Father God.


BEING HEALED
Forgiveness and healing. Seeking God for my healing came when I was ready to take the next step forward. I asked God to heal me of the wounds in my heart, if that was possible. I didn't know if it could be done and I didn't really know what they were. I wasn't harboring bitterness, resentment or unforgiveness. I didn't know what it was and just asked him to show me. That simple. Scary. I wasn't sure what would happen, if anything. I asked God to show me the lies I had believed and internalized. I asked God to remove the pain that had seemed to wrap around my heart and stifled my ability to experience life. I asked for joy and truth, over and over. 
First, it was the forgiveness that came, in a deeper way than ever before. 
      Next, it was the sorrow for my part in causing pain to others, in a deep cleansing tide.
               Last, it was a process of my emotions being healed through spiritual interventions. 
An intense few sessions it took, revisiting the old wounds so God through Christ could set me free. By His stripes and by His wounds I was healed.  I was set free. I am whole.
Thank you, Christ of the cross, God the Father, and Holy Spirit, my helper.
 
Easter Sunday: I'm sharing about the cross using a folded palm frond.

BEING COMFORTED
A family place. You loved on me. You carried me in your hearts. You lifted me up when the burden grew greater. You prayed for me, over and over, day after day, year after year. You accepted me when I was feeling lower than a snake’s belly. The day you all gathered around me and prayed for every member of my family, that God would work a miracle and keep the enemy at bay and from destroying what God had blessed, was a day I will remember forever. The healing streams you sent my way were a warmth of love that cascaded down my shoulders and into my heart. It meant so much to be prayed for by my sisters and brother in Christ, my loving church family. We've been through a lot together, your stuff and mine, and you've always held me up and prayed as faithful friends. You are one big heart of love.   
Thank you, Vina Community Church.


BEING TAUGHT
At the table.  What would I do without the ability to learn? I’d die. I’ve learned and learned and learned some more. How precious is the ability to learn. The things I have learned are the things of life. From my pastor I’ve learned what it is to live out the Keys of the Kingdom found in Matthew 18. 
Bind my thoughts to the mind of Christ.  
     Bind my emotions to the Holy Spirit.
            Bind my will to the will of the Father. 
                Loose that which is not of God, my wrong thinking. 
                          the lies I’ve believed, the Enemy’s strongholds in my life 
                     Bind me to You, dear God, loose what is not of you.
Learning to differentiate between a thought and a feeling. To know what is a thought and what is a feeling. To discern what is true and what is not true about me, circumstances, and the past. To be able to discern what is best, not just better. To determine what is “best interest” and what is self-serving. Learning the parts of my soul that need remedial interventions that I might become healthy and whole in my personhood and as a spiritual child of God. There is so much more, this is a drop in the bucket of truths learned. Surrender to God must be all encompassing.
Reading and reading, thinking and applying. I've learned so much, been exposed to variant writings of Christian thought, absorbed truth with an eager longing for more. I read people who are inflamed with a desire for God that shouts to the glory of God, writings so rich that they make me weep, so deep that I have to wade into their depths. How blessed I have been by people, both past and present, who dared to live authentic lives of faith.
Thank you, Christian-thought writers and teachers
Yes, I am blessed. Praises to God for His abundant mercies and healing grace.  I don’t know if I would have made it on my own without these many helps. I
am blessed and fortunate.
It is wonderful to be free. It is a joy to be full. It is humbling to be loved so much. Praises to God. Healing Streams in the desert wasteland. But! God doesn't waste anything. He needs us to trust Him and then surrender ... everything. Joy comes in. It replaces the sadness and sorrow. New life in the inner places can be had. Don't give up too soon. Seek and seek, then seek some more. Open up to God and He will open up to you. I believe this with my whole heart, and it is why I write my streams in the desert.

* * * * *
Written in connection with JoAnn Fore's "When a Woman Finds Her Voice."  
To purchase this book:  AMAZON LINK
#When a Woman Finds Her Voice
All Rights Reserved

13 comments:

  1. Norma - this post is so amazing! All you thanked, and why. How encouraging! And what a great testimony to community. I think if we all did this we would find we are not nearly as alone as we sometimes feel, and I think if we shared it we could see a transformation in our communities. Bless you. Love your voice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Adding my "ditto" to MysticMom's. Thank you for sharing your "steps" to healing and wholeness as well.

      Delete
    2. I am glad this writing was a blessing. It seems rather lightweight when I read it compared to how meaningful the experiences are to me. I love the word "wholeness" as a descriptor. How apt! Thank you. Blessings ...

      Delete
  2. This is beautiful. I love the specific examples you gave for each tool. Thank you for sharing this hope!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Norma,
    this is absolutely, beautiful, wonderful and so uplifting and encouraging.
    Thank you for sharing so much of your journey and those who God has used so beautifully to shine his grace and glory with you.
    I am deeply ministered to by your words, your example and those around you.
    Bless you Norma,
    Susan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Mandy. I am glad you find it encouraging. We must uplift each other when we can. God bless you. Thank you so much. Blessings ...

      Delete
    2. Thank you, Susan, What a joy to share this blog with you. We are on this interesting thing called "journey", the healing times bless us with rejuvenation. I'm so glad for the reply. Thank you. Blessings ...

      Delete
  4. Mystic Mom, I have appreciated your comments on different ones of my blogs. I read your blogs too. My first comment includes you in its reply. Glad it was meaningful. Thank you. Blessings ...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Norma, indeed this is so inspirational and truly a 'Thanksgiving' post. Bless you Friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a joy to look back while also looking forward. Thank you for your kind thoughts. Blessings ...

      Delete
  6. I love how you share the ways others have encouraged you. Thank you for this post!!
    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is also an encouragement whiten someone says something appreciative. Thank you, Sarah. Blessings ...

      Delete