Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Twenty-first of June

Usually, the word "anniversary" conjures up happy thoughts of something to celebrate.  But, what if, in reality, the anniversary date is not something to actually make merry about? 

It becomes a day that seems to slowly and creepily creep up on you; a day that draws you inward while duct-taping your soul in solitude; a day you must walk through if you want to get to the-day-after when life will return to normal.

Since last year, June 21st is now a double whammy.  Really, LORD?!  These two major life events on the same day?   Marriage.  Divorce.  I will always wonder if the judge signed the decree on the 21st of June, 2017 on purpose...

I've decided going forward - even though I don't understand the God-significance of this double whammy - to think of the doubleness of June 21st as a blessing.  Instead of two days out of the year when grief would shroud my heart, from here on in it will only be one day out of the year.  One day a year for duct tape and a shroud. Instead of two.  Only one day a year of withdrawing into a fetal position.  Instead of two.  Only one day a year to be introspective to the 10th degree.  One day a year of letting my heart's brokenness secrete its tears. 

Tomorrow - June 22nd - is the-day-after. Tomorrow I will be able to joke once again, "Thank you, Joe."  But, not today.  Not on the 21st.  I own this one day a year to feel as I need to feel; to be as I need to be. This day belongs to me and me alone.  And I do not feel guilty about it.

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Up Side of Upside Down

As one whose life has been turned upside down for a succession of almost five years now, I've questioned God about a lot of things.  Some things I've come to understand, some are still questions.  But, this I have learned:

And in midst of relying on God's Almightiness, I've also learned as a personal Truth, what Smith Wigglesworth has said:
Beloved, God wants us to be something more than ordinary people. Remember this: if you are ordinary, you have not reached the ideal Principles of God. The only thing that God has for a man is to be extraordinary. God has no room for an ordinary man. There are millions of ordinary people in the world. But when God takes hold of a man, He makes him extraordinary in personality, power, thought, and activity.
My upside down life is not something other women have not experienced before me.  It most certainly is not unique amongst womanhood. But, I do know that my walking through this valley of darkness is a call to rise above ordinary and to a level of extraordinariness; to walk according to God's Principles and RISE UP AND ABOVE to a place where His Almightiness has Its work in me.

And maybe when I can attain that, maybe...just maybe.. this season of upside-downness will finally be over. 

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Thursday, June 7, 2018

A Lesson Visualized

At the meet-and-greet room at Buckingham Correctional Center in Virginia, only wives, parents, or immediate family are allowed to sit next to the prisoner they are visiting.  Everyone else must sit across from them.  A few visits ago, there was a woman sitting across from another inmate.  Although her back was to me, his was not.  And I had to work hard at not staring at them. I was not very successful.  His facial expressions kept catching my eye and drawing me back.  Never once was he aware that I visually infiltrated their time together nor was he aware of the circumstances going on all around them.  As the song goes, he "only had eyes for her".

You could tell there was Love between them.  His countenance was nothing I had ever witnessed before on a man's face. His gaze never left hers.  Love exuded from his eyes.  Although it's a no-no, a few times he grabbed her hands, caressing them with his thumbs.  He had a Bible and he was sharing Scriptures with her.  

I snuck-a-peek again just as he gently cupped her face in his hands and was quietly speaking to her.  His eyes were filled with emotion as he slowly leaned in closer and gingerly kissed her forehead.  I had to look away.

I felt like I was an intruder on this deeply spiritual moment between them.  And I say spiritual because that kind of Love surely is spiritual.  And oh, so VERY rare. 

I know nothing of this man's story.  Nothing as to how he ended up incarcerated at Buckingham.  But, I could tell that this was a man who is sensitive and gentle. Possibly he never used to be. Possibly he once was completely the opposite.  Possibly, since he had a Bible with him, what I witnessed was a man whose heart had been touched by Love, Himself and transformed to be a vessel of sensitivity and gentleness in the hard, cold world he lives in.

His sensitive, gentle, and loving image is engraved in my mind.  Just this morning, he came to mind and I closed my eyes.  "Oh, Abba", I said in my heart, "In all my years, never has a man looked at me the way he looked at her.  I have never experienced that kind of adoration.  Does she know how blessed she is?  Does his love for her penetrate her being the way it did mine?"

Suddenly, I realized I HAVE experienced that kind of adoration.  My God, Who is my Husband and my faithful Companion looks at me that way.  And I believe He allowed me to witness that inmate's facial expressions so that I can close my eyes and know - really KNOW - that I, too, am deeply cherished and adored. By. The. One. Who. Matters. Most.

The LORD God Almighty Loves me. And you. He adores me. And you. And He adorns me with His Love.  As He does you. He sacrificially gave His Life for me.  For. Me.  And. For. You.  So that I would KNOW I'm cherished and adored. So that you, too, would know.

Abba, thank You for the gift of that visualization of Your tangible Love flowing through one human being to another.  I ask You to so fill me with Your Love so that It will be tangibly seen and experienced through me.  May it be a witness to the depth of our relationship.  May Your Love be personified through me to others, the way it was to me.

Because of Him and Unto Him, 

Monday, June 4, 2018

My Godsaid

Yesterday's message at Judah Church was incredible...I gleaned so much from Pastor Glenn's dynamic message about Noah and the altar he built to honor God.  One of my take away's was:  What has God said to you? Pastor Glenn repeatedly asked, "What is your Godsaid?"

When that question was posed to us yesterday, immediately The Holy Spirit brought to mind what God said to me when I went into "hiding" three years ago this month.  I was a mess.  The stress of Joe going "postal", the SWAT team, the need for and the process to get an Order of Protection, forced from my home, etc., etc. had me very traumatized. All. Over Again.  I was so alone all the way out on the East End of Long Island.  All I had was The LORD.

As I settled into my new life, My Abba lovingly and encouragingly spoke.  As He said, I journaled it down. Eventually, I printed it and framed it.  I hung it on my bedroom wall and read it every day.  Now, it adorns my living room wall.  I think it is pertinent to any life situation you may be in. So, I share my "Godsaid" with you:

I posted this Word on top of a piece
of art I was creating. There is
something "unknown" under it.
Hidden, yet still there, which is
"The Known In the Midst of the Unknown"
"Take heart, for I AM with you.  Yes, this journey is not of your choosing; not of My choosing for you.  However, I AM in the process of causing it all to be for the good in your life, My Diane.  Continue to trust Me.

"I know the unknown can be scary.  But, in the midst of the unknown is The Known: My Love for you will not be broken or defiled.  It is pure and will always remain so.

"In the midst of the unknown is The Known: I walk this journey with you.  Beside you, as a Friend would.  Friends and church have disappointed you.  But, have I?  I'm your Husband, your Friend, your Companion.  I will not disappoint you.

"In the midst of the unknown is The Known: You are righteous and therefore, My Promises are sure on your behalf.

"In the midst of the unknown is The Known: Regardless of how it looks and "seems like" Joe is winning, My Diane, you know My Provision is here.  Already in place.  Fear not!

"In the midst of the unknown is The Known:  Your voice will emerge stronger than ever because of your personal Truth.

"My Diane, thank you for coming and sitting with Me this morning.  Thank you for quieting your soul.  Thank you for having ears to hear what I whisper to you in secret.  I celebrate you, My Diane.  I celebrate you."

This rang true three years ago and it rings true today.  Thank You, My Abba!  Thank You. And thank you, Pastor Glenn, for ushering in a life-altering encounter at the "altar".  

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Oh, the Torment of Anxiety!

I think one of the most challenging Scripture verses for those of us who desire to be more like Christ is Phil. 4:6:
Be anxious for nothing
yet it carries with it one of the most awesome Promises of our God.
the Peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
You would think we would work hard at gaining mastery over it.  For who wouldn't want that kind of peace in our lives?

God Almighty even tells us the antidote for our anxieties:
but in everything, by prayer and supplication, let your requests be known to God
THEN the Peace of God will be a guard will be a guard around our hearts and minds.  The more we refuse to be anxious, the more protection we have from it reoccurring.  All we have to do is ask our Heavenly Father....that's it.  Done deal.

Sunday morning The Spirit of God told me to say specific things to say to my beloved 84-year-old friend, Rene when we go to the prison the next day.  Well...I was full of faith with a resolve of obedience.

Until we got to the prison yesterday morning.

Fear was staring me in the face and so began it's anxious thoughts:
Why do I have to tell him here, in this setting?  That makes no sense!  Why can't I tell him at home tomorrow?  We are all going to be crying so what if the guards come over and break us up?  What if Isabel gets mad at me?  I can't do this because this day isn't about Rene or me - it's about visiting Robert!  

And on and on and on and on. For almost one hour I allowed tormenting "anxious" thoughts.  Those thoughts stopped me dead in my tracks. The longer I procrastinated, the torment of anxiety continued.

My heart pounded out of my chest and my blood pressure sky-rocketed as soon as I allowed the second-guess thoughts.  I was absolutely miserable for one hour because I allowed Fear to speak to me.  So, what did I do?  I asked Abba for a specific sign that I was meant to do this.  Without hesitation, instantaneously, God complied.  Oh, man!  Really?

I am a firm believer in celebrating those in our lives and not waiting until we are at a funeral or memorial service to tell them what wonderful people they are and what they mean to us.  Well, it sure was a tear-jerker!  Robert, Isabel, and I cried through the whole thing.

And then God allowed me to see His Reasoning as to why NOW; why HERE at the prison meet and greet room: After I finished, Robert then shared his heart toward his step-father - the dad in his adult life who has shown such unconditional, Christ-like love to Robert, his sisters, and mother.  The man who faithfully drove his mother down to Virginia to visit him in prison.  Month-after-month for 24 years.  Oh, man. Who turned on the waterworks?  Did we cry!

All anxiety was gone the minute I started speaking. The words flowed from my heart like a Shakespearian sonnet.  It was all God!  And the blessing to me was that I got to witness the expression of love and gratitude of Robert toward Rene and to hear his words, "Even though I call you Rene, you are my dad".  It did my heart good. 

A few minutes later, a C.O. walked over and handed us our paperwork.  Time to leave.  Mission accomplished.  Robert and I were about our Father's business yesterday to honor this good, good Man of God.  Father's Day in May.

Did Abba not tell me to be anxious for nothing?!  Hello, Diane!  Lesson learned.  Or was it?  We shall see the next time Anxiety comes a-knockin'.

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The "O" Number

I'd like you to stop and think about this statement for a moment:
If you were ONLY known for the worst thing you have done in your life, think of the labels that would come with that, and the opportunities you may lose out on in your life, and the guilt and shame you would be covered in.
Heavy isn't it?

That question was poised to us at the beginning of an orientation class I participated in at Changed Choices -  a ministry to women in prison and after their release.  That statement pricked my heart.  

I know the labels that were put on me from childhood and the labels I used to put on myself in my BC (Before Christ) years. Oh, I thank God for Jesus Christ and that I'm now label-free.  
But, what If you were ONLY known for the worst thing you have done in your life? 
Those in prison live day in and day out under the weight of labels.  The politically correct term is no longer "prisoner" or "inmate".  It is now "offender".  "Offender #12345".  Day in and day out, year in and year out, those in prison are reminded of their worst moments, their worst choices, their worst offenses.  After release, they get a new label "Ex-con","Felon", "Sex Offender" so that society knows how awful a human being they once were.

But what about the men and woman in prison who have truly repented and have worked hard a making better choices in life?  Like you and I have done.

Some Christians do not have a past to be ashamed of or a past that could have ended with them becoming Offender #12345.  And they, I'm sure, cannot relate.  But, I do.  I know what God has forgiven me for.  I know how close I came to being just an "O" number - Offender #12345.   

God Almighty does not remember our worst offenses.  Our sins (offenses) are thrown into the deep and are remembered no more.  Our American society needs to be a little more Grace-oriented and forgiving. It can only happen society-wide if it begins with you and I as Followers of Christ.  If true Believers would forgive and extend Grace - as each of us have been forgiven and covered by God's Grace - then as a society we would see positive change.  Even within our prisons.  
Where sin abounded, Grace abounded much more. ~Words of the Apostle Paul, THE SERIAL MURDERER , as recorded in Romans 5:20b
Because of Him and Unto Him,
I'm not an "O" number,

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Celebrating Father's Day - Early

Love - real Love - truly is Divine in nature. It is pure, holy, chaste, gentle, unconditional, giving.  It loosens freedom, strength, forgiveness, encouragement, and joy to the soul.

Love Divine lifts us up. It embodies God to us, cocoons us in His protective embrace, and showers our soul with a joy that truly cannot be explained.

Love Divine affords us the ability to love the unlovable one, go the extra mile when needed, and to put another ahead of ourselves once in a while.

Love Divine gifts us with the ability to forgive the most unforgivable acts, to embrace other sinners until they change choices, or even release those we so desperately want to hold on to.

And as we know, Satan is the Perverter of everything God.  Hence, we have the passions of the body and mind that we are brainwashed into believing is love.  And that is so so far from true Love Divine, which is our Father's gift to all of us.

My Daddy holds my heart and soul ever so gently, tenderly cupping me within His Hand.  He provides companionship of the God-kind in the loneliest of times. He listens intently as if I were the only human child He has.  He speaks in controlled softness even when correcting me.  And since He knows me best (cause He created me), He and I are soulmates.  He fulfills every emotional need I may have. He walks with me - next to me. Not two steps ahead or with casual-uninvolvment behind me.  My Abba makes me feel cherished and adored, which is His Divine Goal.  I've had a few people in the last few years say to me, "You look like a woman in love."  I'm so happy it shows.  For I am.  With God.  And the best is, His Love Divine spills over onto others in my sphere of influence.

Thank You, Abba.  May I forever be adorned with the residue of your Divine Love.  And when all human, carnal "love" lets others down, may they choose to know You and Your Love Divine intimately.  May they desire what You and I have - for themselves. As I know that is Your Heart's Desire for all Your children.  

I love You, My Abba
YOUR Diane

Friday, May 11, 2018

Come and Be Filled

Some Sermons-In-a-Sentence (in the same theme) 
offered as nourishment:

~ If Agape Love (God Almighty's unconditional Love) were a bank, how much would be in your account?

~ Eph. 5:18 says, " filled with The Spirit...(The God of Love Who has no measure).  That word "filled" means "a continuous flow".  So, are you continually being filled to overflowing with God's Character and Attributes?

~ Do you know that the treasury of the Most High God is inexhaustible?  We can never deplete it for it is a continuous flow.  We can, however, choose to never withdraw from our account.

~ Do you look at "the treasury” of God as being His Blessings or His Character Traits?  

~ If unconditional love, compassion, or long-suffering were a bank
account, do you think you need to make a withdrawal or do you look at those attributes just like we do pennies (not worth much so why bother?)?

~ I believe one of the reasons why the American Body of Christ so kicks and wounds each other, judges, points fingers, and typically does not like each other is due to the fact that we are not filled (to overflowing) with The God of Love's attributes. 

~ The American Body of Christ, for the most part, wants God to “bless” us, not transform us into His image and likeness; not have our carnal, dysfunctional minds renewed to be One with the Mind of Christ. 

~ If God's Love is unconditional, how then do we - His Body - put conditions on who and how we will love?

~ For the most part, The American Body of Christ is selfish.  We desire to be a "bless me" club that subliminally says, "You are not good enough to enter here because your sins are an 'abomination'".

~ If all sin warranted God Almighty to send His Son to pay our penalty, why then do we classify degrees of sins?  So, we feel better about ourselves, that's why.  

~ We should desire to be filled (in a continuous flow) with The God of Love, Who has the ability to transform us into a conduit for His Agape Love to reach every human being in our circle of influence.  We dam up that flow because we judge who is worthy of wrapping our arms around and loving on no matter what their lifestyle choice may be at the moment. We forget that it was the unconditional Love of God which brought us to repentance and the unconditional love we extend will do the same.  Jesus never told Mary Magdalene that her sins were an "abomination".  No, He embraced her and loved her without judgment causing her to seek forgiveness and change choices. 

~ If we are filled with The God of Love, HIMSELF, rather than just the Love of God, we would be filled to capacity and be overflowing with love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, compassion, and a knowledge of right-standing with God to which no law can stand against. Why? Because we would be filled with God Himself (the FULLNESS of Who He is) not just one of His attributes.

~ Why settle for just the attribute of Love when we are offered the FULLNESS of God?  ALL of Him, not just a portion.  Why?

Have a grateful Mother's Day.  

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Soulmate One, Three, and Four: CHECK

I've been doing much thinking about soulmates lately. I've been writing, contemplating, and writing some more.

I've realized a few things:

1.  You can have a soulmate in a pet. Check.
2.  You can have a soulmate in a life partner.
3.  You can have a soulmate in a friend. Check.
4.  You can have a Soulmate in God.  Check.

I've been oh, so blessed by having a soulmate in 1,3, and 4.

"The LORD is my Soulmate God - the Essence of who I am", I wrote.  And how true that is.  Afterall Jesus prayed that I, Diane, would be One with The Father, as He was One with Him.
That they all may be One as You, Father, are in Me and I in You; that they also may be One in Us; that the world may believe that You have sent Me.  ~ Jesus, The Christ, as recorded in John 17:21
I know my relationship with God is rare (in the valuable kind).  It is deep and intimate, filled with Love Divine (as Seal calls it in his song, Love Divine).

My Divine Soulmate keeps encouraging me.  He keeps on loving on me.  He keeps on fulfilling me.  The Essence of His Being is Love.  And It has melded to me causing me to be One with Him - the greatest, most value Soulmate there could ever be.  I think Hallmark should come up with a Soulmate's Day.  For surely it is worth celebrating.

The one area I've not experienced is with my husband, so if you have experienced having your life's partner as your soulmate, please share so I can feel what it is like vicariously through you.

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Thursday, May 3, 2018

On My Way...Finally!

As you all know, I've been on a journey of healing and finding myself at the same time.  Finding out who I am separate from a spouse.  I came to realize that over the longevity of my marriage, I picked up some disturbing behavioral patterns - after all, we were one.  Patterns that I am consciously and diligently working on to nullify from my life. And so I share with you, my friends, a bit of who I found myself to be.

As I'm working on change, I've also come to realize, AND APPRECIATE, one of my greatest character traits over the longevity of my life has been a kindness. 

And I've also come to notice that it angers some people, causing them to judge me. I've even been berated for my kindness. It seems to cause people to "glitch" on the inside somehow.

It takes an inner strength to "be" what doesn't come natural in this world. That's why America needed a "Random Acts of Kindness" campaign. I believe that inner strength is the character of God within me. He and I are a "well-oiled machine" as the saying goes.  We flow together. As one.

And so as I come around to almost a year of being a retired wife, I'm finally at a place of starting to be able to CELEBRATE me - the me God created me to be; NOT the one I morphed into through childhood and from being one with who I was married to for so many years. I know that doesn't sound very humble, but I am most humbled.  For God is within me and it is He who I am one with.  One with Abba's behavioral patterns and character.  And since He is The Potentate of Kindness and I am my Father's Daughter, I can finally see His Kindness attribute in me.

And so with all that is within me, I thank You, Abba.  Thank You for the continual transformation of me back into the woman You knew before I was conceived in my mother's womb. I am eternally grateful that kindness is a part of my legacy. For kindness can only blossom from a heart that is overflowing with Love. Thank You, Abba, for filling me with Your Love.  My vocation, Dear LORD, is to make my life an act of worship unto You. And I'm finally on my way. May You alone be glorified and honored. 

Because of Him and Unto Him,