Restoration

Many people think that God’s purpose is to redeem. I disagree. Redemption is the means to make possible His real goal: restoration.

Jesus didn’t die to keep us out of hell. What a timid and tiny goal for an omnipotent God to set! Oh how we desperately underestimate the vastness of our Father. He exists without limits, is not taxed by what is to us “hard” or “bold”. It’s not that ‘nothing is too difficult’; it is that there is no such thing as difficult for I AM. He speaks and it’s done. How hard is it to speak?

As the Trinity exists eternally as Three People with one essence, God’s fervent prayer in the gospel of John was our oneness; oneness with Himself and oneness with each other as is was in the beginning!  Restored to oneness in the One in the goal of God’s efforts in our lives!

No, no, no, God is not timid or tiny! He is eagerly about the business of restoring people to fullness and joy! It matters not how shattered you are from life’s blows, how unloved you have been, how addicted you are, how weak or worn or weary… Our God is inexhaustible, and you are now entered into a Constant, an Eternally Effectual Person by the blood of the Lamb.

If you have asked God to cleanse you by the Blood of Jesus, and become the Lord of your life, then the restoring process will begin! You are entered into I AM, sealed by the unbreakable power of the Holy Spirit, and have become the object of God’s unwavering affection and favor.

But how? How does God restore us?

By being who He is… a Father whose wisdom is unsearchable. A nurturing Mother that dries our tears. A Friend that is closer than a brother. A Savior and Deliverer whose arm is mighty to save. In a word, the freedom that comes from trust, aka faith.

  • He responds to our needs with positive consistency, creating an emotional picture of a loving Caregiver in our hearts which enables us to trust Him more and more. (Bonding).
  • He sets us free from fears and bondage, encouraging us to explore and take risks as we enjoy relational permanence. As we practice our faith, who we are and what He has made us for becomes clearer! (individuation)
  • He strengthens and refines our personalities, by allowing failures, asking us to let go of some things that control us, and brings the natural consequences of our choices to teach us wisdom and maturity. (rapprochment)

This life isn’t all there is. In fact, it’s only the tiniest fragment of the Life we have entered into. There is so much more, and God is not in a hurry. He will take His time because time is in His hands. He will do it right, and do it in big, bold, breathtaking glory…  12417522_10154147362773793_745486324566486208_n

Constancy in Action

Last post I wrote about “object constancy”, and I want to touch on it again because there are so so many people suffering for want of it. Neither children nor adults lacking this foundation can grow and develop in confident and loving ways. Without security there is only fear motivated functioning; the only growth is in sophistication of self protective facades and superficial relationships that leave us starved and needy at our core.

God in His wisdom has designed us to NEED object constancy because there is no more constant an object than I AM. His mercy and goodness is this: we have relational permanence and emotional safety in Him, and Him alone, as our Father through Jesus’ redeeming blood. No human being can ever, ever be THAT unfailing.

“And may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.” 2 Thess 3:5

If you think God is mad at you, or God only tolerates you if you’re “good”, or God can’t fix how broken you are, or God is disappointed with you, or God won’t take you back after you walked away from Him, or God is going to hammer you for messing up…. you haven’t got your foundation solid yet.

Hear this and hold onto it for dear life:

  • God’s anger has already been poured out, and He held nothing back to lay on you. He never holds back. God doesn’t hedge His bets.
  • You cannot disappoint Someone who knew your flaws before He chose you. He comes into relationship with you with eyes wide open, knowing all things. Including that swearing fit you had in rush hour traffic yesterday.
  • You are now and permanently forgiven, of everything you have or ever will do. When we ask Him to forgive our mess ups, we are acknowledging our fault and failure, not acquiring forgiveness. We are repairing a breach in the relationship by owning our actions, not doing penance. Penance is self justification. Forgiveness comes by way of Jesus when we lay the justifications down.
  • You cannot earn your salvation so you cannot lose it either. This is a biggie, but of vital importance; God will not walk away from you no matter how many times you walk away from Him in hurt or having been lured by the deceitfulness of sin.
  • That includes willful sin. Rebellious refusals. Telling God to shove off. Anger. Resentment. I want it my way. Bitterness… He will wait out our “ugly toddler moments” without withdrawing emotionally because you hurt His feelings. He will not prevent the consequences of our rebellion (anxiety, loss, pain, fear etc). But He does not sever relationship with us.
  • God cannot and does not love you more or less based on your performance. God is not inconsistent, self-concerned, or performance oriented. Alcoholics are inconsistent. Abusive parents belittle and scorn for not being perfect enough to suit them. Selfish friends only have time for us when they want us to do something.

This is object constancy in action; neither His love nor His Parental commitment will wax and wane. He is a good Father!! You have relational permanence and emotional safety forever in God. No need for penance. No need for self-condemnation. No need for fig leaves. No need to dread.

“There is no therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” Rom 8:1

Let the Lord direct your heart into His Steadfastness! Bond with your Abba, and let go of your fears long enough for His Spirit show you He does not fluctuate with circumstances or imperfection. God is not afraid of our humanness.

May faith rise up in you, to receive His Word; speak it often and loud:

“And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us…There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” 1 John 4:16, 18

 

 

The Constancy of I AM

One of the things that fast became glaringly evident as a re-created child of God was there were two main targets of the enemy’s lies: my view of God and my understanding of identity in Him. A person’s functional world-view is determined by experiences, and that includes both enjoyable and painful experiences.

Child development experts tell us that there are stages of emotional growth. There is

  • bonding with a consistent caregiver to create emotional safety,
  • separation (via hatching and practicing) for a sense of identity, and
  • rapprochment where limits cause a child to learn how to deal constructively with frustration and anger.

BONDING is our primary requirement. As a baby experiences needs and the caregiver’s consistently positive response to those needs, they internalize an emotional picture of a loving parent (object constancy) and a sense of physical and emotional safety. If this foundation not in place, further development will be crippled!

If early childhood development is successful, a child should be able to do the following by by three years of age:

  • say no without fearing loss of loving relationship,
  • form attachments without abandoning their personality,
  • able to be told no or scolded without emotionally withdrawing.

None of these I could do at almost 45 yrs old… Having the background I’d had, my emotional picture of myself was a failing, stupid, inept little kid having to function perfectly as an adult without knowing how and without screwing up. I had “frozen” as an emotional infant yet was blamed for and coping in complete isolation with the adults’ behavior as if I was the adult. My view of God was shaded by those adults for more than 4 decades– an unforgiving, punishing, manipulative Person or at best an indifferent Person whose only real concern was my usefulness to His agenda.

I believe that God in His wisdom is the perfect Parent. His Word over and over uses the analogy of mother and father. He created us, and our developmental stages are His idea. So Abba takes a person like me who survived inconsistency and relational trauma, and becomes the Constant Provider, Comforter, and Encourager. He is I AM, after all. God is the One Who was, Who is, Who is to come. Constant from everlasting to everlasting.

This is how God intends for spiritual babies like me to be “rooted and established in love” (Eph 3:17). If we do not have an unshakable sense of relational safety with God we are wildly vulnerable to the enemy’s lies and unstable circumstances. He purposes to ‘direct our hearts into the steadfastness of Christ’ (2 Thess), beginning with convincing us via experiences that He will never leave us or forsake us. That is the constancy you and I NEED more than anything else.

Bonding is the reason His grace is so profoundly life changing…

 

 

Wounded No More

Welcome to my new blog, and my journey, as the LORD leads me into real life. Not the real life we think of as real life: bills, flat tires, managing chronic illness, eating healthier… I mean real Life. Living. Being alive. Really.

It’s hard to sum up the almost 45 years that you missed quickly–other than it went wrong from birth. Badly. And yet, it is being, has been, will be redeemed. I guess it’s important that you know I started out with diagnosis of all kinds, from chronic intractable illnesses like fibromyalgia, to DESNOS and generalized anxiety from 4 decades of abuse and neglect.

But God…

It started out as “But Jesus…” The most approachable of the Godhead, Jesus, who knows what it’s like to be exhausted and betrayed, is where I began. He broke through a cloud of demonically driven suicidal plans about a year ago. He does not give up! He hit me with a wave of acceptance and absolute devotion I have never known. I rarely have any feelings, other than fear or emptiness. It didn’t last long, but it was long enough. He was real and I needed Him.

The demons were real too. The growls at night, the sudden urges to self-harm I had never had before. They are real. But Jesus… I was led, driven actually by fear, to a church with a ministry for women who were sexually abused, and an annointed book called “Wounded Heart” by Dr. Dan Allender.

But God… is Three

Bit by bit, the word ‘father’ was changed. One day I sensed and knew that the Father was drawing close to me, and terror filled my heart. He’s the head honcho, the Great White Throne Judge, the Dad and that had a definition in my understanding. Something that had never happened before happened: He moved back a little and waited. This is the God of heaven and earth for Whom all things are at His will. He stepped back because I feared Him. He noticed what I felt, acknowledged it, but most of all, He respected it… I have a Daddy now.

My spirit is in contact 24/7 with the Holy Spirit, and I can’t say I could describe Him distinctly from the other two. How is that? Yet He is the One that empowers me, guides me, guards me. He is intense, in my experience. He is, God. I have soooooo much to learn from Him. So much. I don’t understand how He works. Maybe that’s who He is: the Mystery.

I know that during the first months, while plowing up the fractured memories and shattered soul that I had become, it was the Holy Spirit who was working in me. I have no idea what He did, or how. He is Mystery. But things began to release, to be bound, to be brought to light and relieved. I would lay on my bed (chronically ill is exhausting), and I knew God was doing something in my spirit but no idea what most of the time! It was His work.

But God…

God does not magically make it all better, milk and honey from here on out. There is work left. I am healed in many ways, not in others. There is walking to do. Life to learn. It’s as if I was a toddler now, to be raised right this time by God Himself. I got a bit of a do-over, having had childhood and all it’s life lessons sidetracked the first time around.

The bulk of the damage in me is healed but my body still has its’ multiple diagnosis. I still don’t know how to have real and healthy relationships. I believe it is Dr Michael Youssef that said God’s purpose is to grow us up. That’s the task, but true to the pattern of “I don’t know what He’s doing”, I don’t really know how the Holy Spirit is going about it.

I am a book fiend, that I know. “The Wounded Heart” book was manna. There are other essential books too. “The Sacred Romance” and “Waking the Dead” by John Eldridge. “The Attributes of God” by A.W. Tozer, “Bold Love” by Dan Allender…

But God…

If I had to sum up what I know, it’s this: It’s God’s work. It’s all His work. Grace, is His work. Atonement, is His work. Healing, is His work. Guiding, is His work. Loving, is His work. Keeping me, is His work. Forgiving, is His work. Everything I need and need to learn is His work. And yet, I can’t say I understand how He works! He is Mystery, and I need Him.