A Quest for Self-Truth

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About September, 2003 the pastor of my church, Pastor Peter Scazzaro, wrote a wonderfully powerful book entitled “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality”. Opening up those pages began a journey for me that I had no idea I would go on. Many times, over the years, I closed the book, putting it away for long periods of time, and then finding it and picking it up again. As a church, and in our women’s small group, we would read and learn and explore the paths together. But, I was blind. I couldn’t see and I couldn’t learn. I was in a darkness that was clouded over by anger over my life’s choices.  Eventually, this book would become my second bible, leading me to a path of self-truth.

In January, 2015, the last bits I was trying to hold together unraveled and was, unexpectedly, amazingly, put back together again, seemingly over-night … well, actually it took three days. Every so often, at different places in my life, I had the realization of there being a distinct difference between how it is when the world breaks me, and how it is when God breaks me; There is a universe of difference between the two. I know that when the world breaks me, the pieces are scattered, do not easily fit back together. Scars are formed. Some hurts do not heal. But when God allows me to be broken, under His watch, and by His hand, He knits me back together beautifully and wonderfully — all hurts are healed. He is the Potter and I am the clay.

I was given the gift of being broken by God, this past January, that allowed my husband and I to start over again from square one — a rare thing, I think. To actually begin again from a new place emotionally. To wash away pain, hurt, and anger of the past 39 years and 11 months, from the year we met to the present, of our own brokenness, together (“Broken Together” by Casting Crowns — a beautiful song!). It was three days of struggling for the purpose of clearing emotional space and verbally cleaning out; done in brokenness … so that, very unexpectedly, yet so much of the way God is: a fresh new married life came into creation for us.  I can honestly say we never were the way we are today. There really is something to the promises of God spoken of in Isaiah 61.

Sometimes I go back to “if only” — if only we had begun this way 39 years and 11 months ago…. If only. But its not about that — its about now and what we do with it. I have learned that I am responsible for what I do and decisions I make. I am responsible for bringing my sin before God and confessing it. And to receive the gift of the Lord that I am forgiven. I am not responsible for the decisions of others, nor their responses and reactions to me (as the saying goes: “what you think about me is none of my business”), nor am I responsible to their journey for their own self-truth.

Realizing this has been so up-lifting, freeing. I can breathe. And I do — I take deep, cleansing breaths and appreciate every day what God has done for me and my husband. He brought us through a wilderness journey that was just short of 40 years and gave us new life.

I am amazed, and grateful to God, for the husband I married — his stability, how he wakes up everyday happy and joyful! I am thankful that he was able, and willing, to go through the wilderness journey with me and come out on the other side, together.

And in my gratitude, I place one golden brick down at my feet at a time, step upon it and ask the questions: is this my truth? Is this who I am? Is this who I want to be? I look around for a good long while, and enjoy the view from this new vantage point. I have found that living in my authenticity, my own self-truth, has brought me peace, love, and joy … and is priceless to me.

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This is about my Lord and Savior and what He has done for me — and what He does for one, we can take comfort in knowing He will do for another. It is He who has restored, renewed me. and so as a testimony to Him — these are my stories…..

In Truth, I Am More Than A Conqueror

DSCN0133This is a truth I’ve learned: our lives are like a house built upon a foundation. And as the foundation is, so is our house. This foundation holds all our beliefs; all that we deem to be true. And as such, out of this truth comes our behavior; we act upon that which we believe to be true.

This foundation of ours is powerful for that reason. There are beliefs and truths here that bring us goodness, health, and solidify our faith. And there are things here that bring us self-injury, harm, and fear. The good news is that we get to choose what is in our foundation; we get to re-examine and throw out some old beliefs and truths that actually turned out to be lies, and replace them with some new thoughts, beliefs, and truths that we know to be valid, every single day.   So the question remains: What truths have we built our houses upon?

I have had some pretty damaging truths in my foundation: I have believed that I was the super-hero in my own story and that I could save my own little world. I have found out, through the years, that this is a lie. I am no super-hero; I cannot save anyone. In fact, I can barely take care of my own little problems in my own little corner of the world. When discovering this truth, I found I could breathe!  I could turn it all over —  it was ok to fail and make mistakes and not have the answers to every little thing. It was ok to just say: I don’t know. The world didn’t fall apart — it kept right on spinning! What a relief. My new truth: its ok to fall down. Its even ok to stop for awhile.

Recently, I did just that: in my mind’s eye I saw myself sitting down in the middle of the road of my life’s journey. I told a friend how concerned I was about this. I had never seen myself sitting down in the middle of the road of my journey before. I was always on the front lines of my battlefield, armed to the teeth and fighting — with sling-shot and rocks ready to take off heads. But God had been prompting me, over the last couple of years, to examine this behavior. And now, here I was, last winter, sitting down in the middle of the road on my life’s journey. I told this friend: “I don’t think I’ve taken off my boots though”. That was good. Because that worried me; if my boots were off on the long road of my journey then I was in trouble. That probably would mean I’d given up, or was in a depression. So I studied myself in my mind’s eye to see if my boots were still on …

This sitting in the middle of the road and taking a pause was actually the best thing I’ve done for myself in a long, long time. It was a form of surrender, a form of “giving-up” my old beliefs, my old truths. Talking it out with friends, I discovered that I was sitting and waiting because I really didn’t know what the next step should be, in what direction I should go in. It reminded me, in a way, of Dorothy when she asks the Scarecrow about directions and he points in opposite ways; it was like that. So I sat down and waited.

It was at this point that I sensed there were more things in my foundation that needed to be cleaned out, but I didn’t know what they were yet. I had paused my life, and was waiting in the middle of my dusty road, knees pulled up to my chest, for God to show up. This was one of the scariest moments in my life because it was so out-of-character for me. So I continuously checked in with myself, with family, and with friends. No, I wasn’t depressed; I didn’t feel depressed, but I definitely felt different. Waiting, pausing my life, without being depressed. This was new.

As it turns out, this sitting in the road only lasted a few short weeks. Enough to give me a breather. A new pathway did open up — one that I didn’t push or make happen; one that just emerged, not all at once, but one step at a time. It’s still emerging that way — I cannot see the whole thing; God is only giving it to me one step at a time. My job is to walk it out; and so, eventually, I stood up and took a step … and found my boots were still on my feet.