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…..

A Cupcake In A Tree

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One of my sisters, Jayne, has a friend whose husband, Tom, is in a nursing home. Jayne went to visit. Since Jayne, and her friend, Theresa, had not seen each other for awhile, there was much talk and chatting about this and that. At one point, Theresa, and her daughter, Lisa, asked Jayne if she had seen their “cupcake”. Replying no, that she hadn’t, they pointed to a metal pail hanging from the branches of a tree just outside Tom’s window, which overlooked the courtyard. As it had been snowing on and off, the snow had filled the pail, piling up and creating a pretty mound of snow-frosting on top. “Our cupcake”, they said. Jayne agreed. It was so pretty — being all by itself, just hanging from the tree right outside the window — leaving her to wonder who put the pail there and why. But some questions go unanswered and so Theresa, Tom, Lisa, and Jayne were content to see a cupcake, provided by nature, hanging all alone, in the courtyard of the nursing home, for their enjoyment and wonder.

As Jayne was preparing to leave, and was saying her goodbyes, Theresa’s son, Joe, stopped by to visit. Theresa asked him “have you seen our snow cupcake?” He is interested. Where? There. And he replies: “do you know that is what grandma used to call me? Her nickname for me was ‘cupcake’. In fact, I just got a cupcake tattoo the other day,” He remarked, pointing to the location on his shoulder. A second of a pause while this new information sinks in. And then the answer: a sign that grandma was with them — she was watching over Theresa’s husband, watching over Theresa, watching over the family. A sign of love — that no matter what, I am with you — always — you are not alone.

Moments like this make me wonder. I let myself contemplate the spiritual world that surrounds us, the world of our Father, who is in heaven, revealing to us a supernatural world that is more real, more attentive, more personal, more loving, and more everlasting, than the temporal world we know here on earth. Pausing for a moment, and thinking, about this cupcake-in-a-tree: yes, the snowy days filled a pail that was hanging from a tree. Snow does that. Nothing unusual or extraordinary there. And yes, when the bucket became filled, it overflowed and created a mound on top. And yes, if one paid attention, it would look like a cupcake. But … why a pail in a tree? And why that particular tree? If it had been on the other side of the courtyard, it wouldn’t have been noticed by Theresa’s  family, a family that had a connection to a cupcake in a tree —

I can’t help but imagine that the connection was just waiting to be discovered. And then Theresa’s son came, bringing the cupcake story to its wonderful conclusion: grandma sent a message from heaven, a blessing to them all, that she is here. Now, the world calls this type of thing “just a coincidence”. But what if a coincidence is really an encounter with the living, Father God? His calling card to us? Sending us messages through our loved ones? Wouldn’t that be a tasty morsel? Just maybe, if we keep our eyes open wide enough, we will see cupcakes, made out of snow, in the branches of trees, there just for us. May we each taste our own sweet “coincidences” today … sent for our hope, pleasure, delight, and joy.