Hurt people Hurt people

IndulgenceThe fairy tales I grew up with were the Disney animated version. I’ve read parts of the original fairy tales years ago. They are much more gruesome than what you see on the big screen.

The theme is the same, the damsel is in distress and prince charming rescues her from the evil Queen or step mother. In the end they fall in love and live happily ever after.

I’ve enjoyed the live action remakes of some of my favorite fairy tales. Most of the remakes still involve the damsel and prince like Cinderella (Ever After) and Snow White (Mirror Mirror) and my new favorite Sleeping Beauty (Maleficent).

In the animated version of Sleeping Beauty the evil queen is truly evil. Hard and bitter are two words that come to mind. She is wicked. What makes someone evil? Are they born that way? Or were they so deeply hurt that they chose hatred, anger and revenge over healing. I admit I hadn’t thought about the evil characters in my favorite fairy tales until I watched Maleficent.

Spoiler Alert ~ Go no further unless you’ve seen the movie.

Maleficent is a story of hurt, betrayal, anger, bitterness, revenge and in the end redemption. What began as a budding friendship develops into the bud of love. Until greed and power take over and Maleficent is betrayed by her true love. She allowed the hurt to fester and turn into anger and bitterness. Creating a wall around her kingdom no one could breach. She sought revenge on her betrayer by cursing his child. The cure for the curse is true loves kiss. She chose it because based on her experience it didn’t exist.

This isn’t the version I grew up with but it won my heart. Seeing how hurt and betrayal can destroy not only us but those around us.

The king sought revenge on Maleficent for the curse on his child. Instead of protecting his daughter, he sent her away. He began his journey of self-destruction by closing himself off and looking for ways to destroy Maleficent.

It’s a never ending cycle of revenge.

Hurt people hurt people. The first time someone said this to me I wanted to punch his lights out. I was so angry, it was as if he was making excuses for what my then husband did to me and our children. Over the last 10 years of healing I can see just how true it is. Even of myself.

As part of the healing process I had to look at how I hurt others because I was hurt. It was a hard reality to face. It broke me completely. Here I was the victim of another’s abuse yet I too caused pain to people around me.

The cycle splashes on the innocent.

Aurora was beauty and innocence. Her acceptance of Maleficent was pure. Over time Maleficent’s heart softened and she looked for ways to end the curse. The solution was a young prince. Or so she thought. It never occurred to her that she was the answer, that it was her love for Aurora that was true loves kiss.

So yes, hurt people hurt people. What’s more important is free people free people. This is the cycle which should never end.

Happy Anniversary!

Sand Castle2Anniversaries are meant to be a time of celebration, to remember an event with fondness. For me today is an anniversary of sorts. December 26, 2004, the day I found courage. 10 years ago today I walked out of an emotionally, verbally and physically violent marriage. A marriage built on intimidation, manipulation and control.

The week leading up to this day was filled with silence, anger, verbal punches and emotional rollercoasters. I battled indecision, should I leave, should I not? A never ending daisy. You’d think it would be a no brainer.

Filled with terror and panic with the quiet voice of my mom encouraging me, letting me know she would back whatever decision I made. Knowing this was one decision I had to make on my own.

Terror consumed me as I thought of his consequences. Knowing I would disappoint God, after all He hates divorce. Knowing deep in my heart He wanted me to leave. Yet I found it hard to trust His protection. The turmoil of lies waged war in my mind.

Christmas day sealed the deal as the worst Christmas ever. This man who 30 years prior pledged to love me didn’t know the meaning of love. Narcissistic to the core. He was only truly content when everyone orbited around his darkness. When we bowed our will to his. This is not marriage. This is slavery.

Stick a fork in me. I was done. This. He. Just wasn’t worth it anymore.

My decision was made.

After the family went to bed, he and I stayed up. Not to enjoy the quiet around the tree but for him to mete out punishment. For hours he barrage me with all my failings and the consequences if I ever cheated or left. It took everything in me to not laugh in his face, knowing in a few short hours I would be gone.

Finally by 3am his rage was spent. And off to sleep we went as if nothing ever happened.

I rose the next morning. Washed my face, brushed my teeth and grabbed my bags as my mom and I walked out the door. Fear mocked me as we loaded the luggage into the trunk. I was doing this. Really doing this. Leaving not on a jet plane but in a Monte Carlo. As we quietly shut the car doors, I turned the key and instead of the roar of an engine we were met with silence. Total and complete silence.

In a flash my hope was as dead as the engine. I jumped out of the car, crying, yanking luggage out of the trunk. There would be no escape today until the voice of my mom penetrated my fear, “Karen. Karen! We’ll call a tow truck.”

Finding a safe place to wait, my knight rode up in his shiny white tow truck to save the day. “I’m running away from home.” I said. “You must not wake him,” I warned. As my fairy god mother and knight drove off to recharge the Monte. I waited in anticipation and trepidation. The sight of seeing my fairy god mother drive up filled me with hope once again.

As we drove off hope soared. I was free!

Little did I know my freedom journey was just beginning. Like Marley in the Christmas Carol I was chained by the past. One by one over the years the chains broke off as layers of lies were broken.

Looking back without wallowing in the muck of emotions, without pain or the rise of bitterness and revenge is a sweet release.

In the last 10 years I’ve learned who God really is. Not vengeful or spiteful. Discovering He loves me more than He hates divorce. To realize He never intended for me or anyone to stay in such a marriage. It was my own fear that kept me in bondage. Looking back and realizing all the opportunities where I could have left but allowed fear to overrule my common sense.

For the last 10 years God has been restoring what was stolen. Enjoying my new life with a husband who loves me for me and whose words evoke my beauty. The past has faded and has lost its hold and is now a faint memory.

Are you ready to take back your past?

“But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway to hope. She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity…” Hosea 2:14 – 15 NLT

 

 

 

 

The Mystery of Christmas

nativity-291x300It was a night like any other night. Or was it? The evening sky glittered with tiny specks of light. Nighttime sounds are heard along with the baying of animals. Suddenly the darkness filled with the sounds of screams, first of a woman, then of a baby.

After 400 years God broke His silence. On this night God who was incapable of being seen could now be seen and touched in the form of a babe.

On this night there was a shift. The world changed with a cry of a baby and not just any baby but the fulfillment of the promise of the Messiah.

Heaven came to earth.

Did the great deceiver feel it? As the babe cried, did he also cry in agony? Did he sense his impending doom? Did he get a headache, feeling as though his skull was being crushed? Did he remember the curse placed upon him thousands of years before?

It didn’t take long to know something huge happened in the heavens. With the shout of the angels and the host of heaven singing it would be hard to miss. I imagine the great deceiver frantic trying to figure out just what happened and how he missed this day.

The great mystery began with the cry of an infant. One day this babe would sacrifice himself so he could live in us. No longer to visit and leave, no longer for a chosen few. For anyone who wanted they now could be inhabited by the creator of the universe. We would become the dwelling place of the Most High.

All because of a babe wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger. All the authority, power and glory of God wrapped into a sweet bundle of joy who needed to be fed, changed and cuddled.

Mary carried the glory of God for nine months and now she held him in her arms. She watched and listened when the shepherds came with their encounter with heaven. She hid every word in her heart. Any time she wanted she would remember every detail right down to the smell.

Now we too can carry the glory and have our own encounter with heaven.

I’m in awe of all that Jesus endured to bring heaven to earth.

After the sounds of Christmas fade and you sit in the quiet, take a moment to ponder how heaven came to earth in the form of a babe and made the invisible seen.

Originally posted on My Purpose Now 12/15/2014

You are so dead

PresenceIt was quite by accident I found Exodus 24:9 – 11. I was looking up another verse and transposed the numbers. Though I had read through Exodus many times for some reason these verses never made an impact.

Until this day and every day since. Read with me in the NLT version:

“Then, Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and the seventy elders of Israel climbed up the mountain. There they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there seemed to be a surface of brilliant blue lapis lazuli, as clear as the sky itself. And though these nobles of Israel gazed upon God, he did not destroy them. In fact, they ate a covenant meal, eating and drinking in his presence!”

I can’t even imagine what it must have been like to gaze upon God, to see what they saw and to dine in his presence. Any way you look at this it is just so completely cool. Even now I am attempting to picture what this must have looked like. My heart is pounding just thinking about it.

There were only a few men who were able to see God and not die. Isaiah and Ezekiel also describe their encounters seeing God. Only a chosen few were given the opportunity to gaze and live to tell about it. I’m not going to get into the theology of it all. I’ll save that for another time and venue.

So why am I bringing up the subject? Colossians 1:15a NLT “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.”

It happened yet again, my heart thudding in my chest. Words I’d read hundreds of times jump off the page at me. I was here because, in my quiet time I asked God where he wanted me to spend time in the Word. Colossians was the answer. As I read the words I remember John 14:9 when Jesus said to Philip, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”

The word invisible is made up of two Greek words Alpha the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, here is used as negative. Horatos is the other part of the word which means gazed at, capable of being seen, visible. Put the two words together and you get Aorathos which is incapable of being seen. Invisible.

Are your socks knocked off yet? Mine are. My heart, mind and soul are swirling with the impact of all this. I feel like Paul when God was revealing mysteries to him in Ephesians 3:14 – 19 NLT, he said,

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the creator of everything in heaven and on the earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you (me) with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your (my) heart as you (I) trust in him. Your (my) roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you (me) strong. And may you (I) have the power to understand as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you (I) experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you (I) will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”

The ‘all this’ is Christ in you. Me.

I am deviating from what you normally read on my blog. There is a purpose and the purpose is how much God the Father wants you to know him and see his heart. He sent Jesus to this earth for us. You. Me. So we can know God like Jesus knows Him.

In the Old Testament only a chosen few were able to gaze upon God and survive. Jesus is one with the Father and he wants to live IN you. At sixteen I invited Jesus into my life with no real concept of what that meant beyond going to heaven one day. Now 44 years later I am beginning to grasp what it means. At sixteen, the old Karen died. I became a new person only I didn’t realize it and lived most of my life as though the old Karen was still alive. Imagine the stench.

Out of my deadness I made choices which landed me in an abusive marriage and lived my life as a victim instead of living as more than a conqueror.

You are dead. Hear me. You are dead. “This means that anyone (yes that’s you) who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is GONE; a new life has begun” II Corinthians 5:17 NLT. Jesus lives in you and because of that you can dine in the presence of God. Anytime. All the time.

So live like it. Stop letting your old, nasty dead carcass of a life make your decisions. You, my beauty are a daughter of the Most High who wants you to gaze upon Him and not just live as a survivor but to overcome and live as more than a conqueror.

Father open the hearts of those who need this message, let it explode in their hearts.

 

 

 

 

Bad to the bone

BelovedWe all know how Jesus felt about the Pharisees. He was outspoken and seemed to enjoy frustrating them with questions they were afraid to answer. One day a Pharisee named Simon invited Jesus to dinner.

He accepted.

This ought to be interesting.

No sooner had Jesus sat down when in walks a woman carrying a beautiful alabaster jar. Suddenly, the room is silent as the stunned high and mighty religious leader’s mouths gapped open.

She ignored everyone but The One. Silently she knelt behind Jesus, washing his feet with her tears, using her hair to wash away the dirt, then she pour the perfume over his feet as she kissed his feet over and over.

This woman wasn’t just any woman, she is ‘that’ woman. We don’t know anything about her except she is identified as a ‘certain immoral woman’. The Greek word for immoral is Hamartolos which means devoted to sin, pre-eminently sinful, especially wicked, stained with certain definite vices or crimes and heathen.

She was bad to the bone.

She wasn’t just a prostitute. There was more. So much more. She had the audacity to walk into the home of a Pharisee. Gutsy.

When she heard Jesus was at Simon’s she didn’t hesitate, didn’t think, she just went knowing she had nothing to lose.    

Simon, I’m sure was shocked as he watched her walk in his house. I imagine the men looking at her then back to Jesus to see how He would react. Though he didn’t say the words out loud, Jesus knew what they were all thinking. “Wow. People say Jesus is a prophet. If he is, he would know what kind of woman is sobbing all over his feet.”

Jesus chose to focus on his host.

“Simon, I have something to say to you.” Startled, Simon looks at Jesus and says, “Ok”.

“A man loaned money to two men. To one he loaned $5000 and the other $500. Times became difficult and neither could pay their debt so he kindly forgave the debt. Which of the two do you think loved him more?”

Simon answered, “I suppose the one who owed who owed him $5000.” “You are right,” Jesus said.

Then Jesus turned to the woman, looking at her and never taking his eyes off her as he spoke to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I came into your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash my feet, yet she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t even greet me with a kiss yet she hasn’t stopped kissing my feet. You even neglected the courtesy of oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume.”

“I tell you, her sins―and they are many―have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who has been forgiven little shows only a little love.”

To the woman he says, “Your sins are forgiven, your faith has saved you; go in peace,” as the men grumbled amongst themselves questioning who Jesus thinks he is.

We have an advantage by knowing who Jesus is. Imagine with me how skeptical they were, just as we were at one time. We have all been the Pharisee, judgmental and looking down on ‘that’ woman.

What amazes me is how comfortable she was walking into the home of a Pharisee. And of course I wonder what she did that made her so bad. Even Jesus acknowledged her sins were many. I’ve read this story over many times, asking for insight and receiving none. God is not revealing the exact nature of her sins and really does it matter. We can all identify with her. Since we were all bad to the bone until Jesus looked at us and said, “Your sins are forgiven, go in peace.”

She risked it all, embarrassment, shame…stones to walk into the presence of God and discovered love and forgiveness. It’s the one thing the Pharisee’s were missing…love. Love was in their presence and they missed it.

She walked into the room bad to the bone and walked out whiter than snow. Isn’t that what we all want? You can have it. No matter where you are in your walk with God, come into His Presence…He’s been waiting for you.

Can you hear Him? “You are my beloved. Cherished and precious, the apple of my eye. You delight me and not only do I love you, I like you.”

 

   

 

Are you Dauntless?

LimitlessTrapped in a glass tank, no way out, water pours in, filling up faster than seems possible. Panic sets in as she frantically attempts to kick her way out. As the water rises she takes one last gasp of precious air and allows herself to drop, she calmly looks at the glass. Escape is impossible. Or is it? What she does next determines whether she survives or not.

With her finger placed gently against the glass she speaks, “this isn’t real.” Cracks spread like a spider web as she say’s again, “This. Isn’t real.” The cracks spread and suddenly the glass and water explode.

This scene from Divergent is a graphic reminder of how our fears trap us with no obvious way out.

The movie takes place in the future where every person must fit into a category. You either belong or are cast out as factionless, considered lazy, with no purpose. If you don’t belong, you have no value.

The character Beatrice joined Dauntless, a faction identified by bravery and risk, they are the protectors. Dauntless was the polar opposite of what she grew up in which was all about serving and denial of self.

As part of her training to become Dauntless she had to face her greatest fears to see how she would respond. It turns out she is divergent which means she doesn’t respond like everyone else and really doesn’t fit into any faction.

Each faction has its own restrictions. The word means to confine or keep within limits, confined, limited. Synonyms include bind, bottle up, chain, constrict, diminish, hem in, or keep within bounds. Add ‘ed’ to the word and the Synonyms become barred, blocked, chained, controlled, defined, deprived, frustrated prevented, narrowed, reined in, repressed, stopped and suppressed.

Wow!

Are you restricted by fear with no way to break free?

It isn’t real.

Freedom means living unrestricted. To know we are able, allowed, at liberty, free-spirited, liberated, open, relaxed and unbounded. Whoa.

I want to live an unrestricted life. I wondered if there was anyone in the Bible who broke free and began to live an unrestricted life.

Aww. Jabez. A man identified by his mother’s pain.  

“There was a man named Jabez who was more honorable than any of his brothers. His mother name him Jabez because his birth had been so painful.” I Chronicles 4:9 NLT

His mother saddled him with her pain, his very name was a reminder of his part in her pain. If it was not for him, she would not have suffered. Has anyone saddled you with their pain? Isn’t that the picture of an abuser? They want to others to suffer because of their pain. The cycle is when we then pass our pain onto others. At some point it must stop or it will continue through the generations.

Its clear Jabez decided enough was enough. He no longer wanted to be constrained by his mother’s pain so he called out to the God of Israel to break him free from the pain his mother placed on him.

“Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!” I Chronicles 4:10 NLT

Jabez wanted to choose his future and not live out what was chosen for him.

Jabez wanted to live an unrestricted life. The God of Israel granted his request.

For most of my life I allowed other’s to determine my future. I allowed their pain to become mine. Almost 10 years ago I said no more. Though I was free of the abuser, I lived as if I was trapped in the glass tank with no way out.

It’s not real.

The glass shattered.

I was free.

To live unrestricted.

Limitless.

To live undaunted.

To live out my freedom.

Jesus paid a high price for my freedom so why would I continue to walk as though I was chained? As if I didn’t have a choice.

The enemy. Our enemy would love to keep us trapped by fear, keeping us thinking there’s no way out. As long as he has us trapped by fear we will never know love.

Fear and love cannot co-exist. It’s one or other. Never both.

Such love has no fear, because perfect love (Jesus) expels all fear. (I John 4:18 NLT)

Are you ready to live unrestricted? If so, tell me what it looks like to you?

Indulgence

IndulgenceInteresting word. Conjures up images of spoiled children, sneaking the last bit of chocolate or in my case, a spoon and a pint of buttered pecan ice cream. The root word indulge means to yield to, satisfy or gratify desires, to yield to the wishes or whims of another. Indulgence is the act or practice of indulging, treating someone with special kindness when it’s not a good thing.

Well then.

Sounds like my previous marriage. I yielded who I was and attempted to gratify his desires at his whim. On top of that I showered him with kindness when I should have thrown his behind in jail instead of appeasing him.

Personally I think the word has gotten a bad rap. The definition assumes the one you are yielding to is not trustworthy. Even the bible in II Peter 2:10 NAS says, “…and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires…” The Greek word Poreuomai is also translated as following, go on their way, journey, or pursued a course. Which really doesn’t sound bad by itself.

What if we changed who or what we indulged in? What if we catered to someone who would reciprocate our kindness, someone trustworthy?

What if I found my fulfillment and gratification in the extravagant love of the Father? What if all along that was the root problem? That I sought satisfaction in a man instead of the Creator of man.

What if indulgence is a good thing and something I should be doing every day?

We are to be on a journey of pursuing The One who knows my deepest darkest secrets and still loves me extravagantly. The One who wants to indulge me by pouring out His favor by showering me with kindness, who wants to pamper me even when I am acting like a spoiled child. The One whose love accepts me where I am today but willing to nudge me towards who He created me to be.

I want to be an indulger. To be one who yields and finds gratification in the whims of The One who is trustworthy.

What about you? Ready to indulge?