A JOYFUL SPIRIT DANCED … AND I LEARNED SOMETHING

Sometimes I love Dancing With The Stars, and sometimes it irritates me. And sometimes I’m caught by surprise. Last week, an unexpected thing happened: I learned something from watching Bindi Irwin dance.

At first, it was her spirit of joy and gentleness, in the face of her losing her father at such a young age, that was captivating. He seemed to have been such a loving father who bound his family together in strength and courage and excitement and wonder. The meaning of their loss could be deeply felt. Just a snippet of this is shown on DWTS, but it was enough to start a spark in me. I am in awe of this 17 year old lovely and her courage, wisdom, and spirit that seems to transcend this earth.

Watching her week after week started me contemplating my own spirit. She had gone through such a great loss, and yet her spirit flew. In examining my own spirit, I learned something about allowing anger to take over. I had given my spirit away to bitterness, anger, and resentment. But I could claim it back.

It was in contemplating Bindi Irwin’s joy through pain, that I saw it. God will heal that place when it is given to Him. T.D. Jakes says it another way: he calls it “reckoning” — in reckoning, or reconciling, the past with the future, there is a death to vulnerability, fear, and anger and a new life that rises out of the ashes. And dying to the past, he says, takes away its power.

A young, beautiful spirit danced on TV, causing me to wonder, through the tears, what was it she knew? Part of it seemed to be: allow the healing in, give away the pain, give healing room to grow, and know that God is greater than that which plans to destroy.

 

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…..