Myles Munroe is one of the most phenomenal Bible teachers I’ve ever listened to and read. I came across him early in my studies, so I’m sure some of his explanations are embedded in my thinking. I’ve been listening to sermons this weekend and thought about him. He and his wife died in a plane crash in 2014, but thanks to technology, specifically #Youtube, he’s still easy to find. This sermon begins with how ideas outlive people. How wonderful that his teachings remain with us.
This is a teaching on God’s Kingdom – Heaven – and how the Kingdom of Heaven was Jesus’s reason, purpose and message on Earth.
God always gives us a word to perform. We may not always hear it, see it or know what we’re doing when we do get it, but as long as we are sure to put our trust in Him, He will get us to where He wants us to go.
One consistent element of my writing, most especially my journaling, is that my written words regarding my life are often either prophetic or revelatory. I don’t have a sense of which words are defining my life when I write them, but in moments like now, when I’m editing a collection of my writings for my next autobiographical book, Desert of Solitude: Refreshed by Grace, I can see the results clearly. There are dots to connect from when I first received an urge (word or vision) to do something to my becoming aware that I am preparing (being prepared) to take action to the action being completed.
Today, I was reminded of a forgotten dream I had nearly three years ago. Today is the first Saturday I’ve spent in my new home. The end of the first week as a full-time resident of my new town. The seventh day actually. Today I received confirmation of a word that has been completed in my life. I really had no idea that I was hearing correctly, performing accurately or moving in the right direction. I struggled long and hard with taking the final step – moving from New York City to Tucson. There was no struggle with the first steps or middle ones. Only eagerness, a sense of purpose and a need to follow-through. The final actions carried the most anxiety because of their finality, perhaps because of the level of commitment and trust required to let go of the life I had been building for over twelve years.
I’m quite certain I would not have understood this until I was on this side of the executed instructions. The dots weren’t connecting while I was still in NYC. I didn’t see the fullness of anything there.
This week, I’ve been doing a final review and edit of my book, Desert of Solitude: Refreshed by Grace. Aside from writing everything in the book, I’ve read and shuffled the material numerous times. At some point I may have connected the line “building a structure” to my new construction home, but certainly not like I did today. My granddad died at the end of the year I received this message. Around that time I assumed my mom’s visit in my dream was about his departure.
However, mom has never visited before a death. She has often visited to provide a sense of comfort and insight. She always represents a pivot or answers an unknown question. I can’t always decipher with certainty what her presence in my dreams means, but there is always a very strong sense of what the message intends to convey. [Let me clarify here that I don’t believe my mom’s ghost or spirit is visiting me. I have long believed that God speaks to me through her image because she has been the best representation of love in my life here on Earth. When I see her there is purity and trust. Never any ulterior motive. She always comes for my good or protection.]
On the morning of March 15, 2015 I wrote down what I remembered of a dream the night before. My note stated simply:
“I dreamed about building a structure…. I was building a structure next to my bed in my home. It reached eleven stories. Then it started falling down. Mom was in kitchen cooking and then she was in her room. At the end of the sequence she took shower.”
Eighteen months later I visited Tucson for the first time. Three months after that I went into contract to build a house in a place called Dove Mountain which sits in the Tortolita Mountains (my translation: Little Dove or Dove of Peace). Throughout the home construction in Tucson, I posted images on my New York City bedroom wall of my lot as the house went up. Some of the pictures I took myself, but the majority were sent monthly by the sales agent and my real estate agent. At some point during this process, I moved my bed to put my headboard up against the “vision board” wall.
Things I know: I tried hard to build a full life in New York City. After nearly two years living in the City, I began working for the company I stayed with until the day before I left NYC for Tucson, AZ. At the time of my relocation and job exit last week, I was in my eleventh year of employment. The last two years of my employment had been rife with resentment and bitterness due to the lack of advancement opportunities despite my tenure, experience and education. Refreshment came after that and so has a cleansing. Building. Collapse. Shelter. Nourishment. Cleansing. The message and vision was received in March 2015. Understanding arrived in February 2018, when I was supposed to get it. Just in time to sum up the encompassing lessons shared in Desert of Solitude: Refreshed by Grace.
“No doubt you are the people,
and wisdom will die with you.
But I have understanding as well as you;
I am not inferior to you.
Who does not know such things as these?
I am a laughingstock to my friends;
I, who called upon God and he answered me,
a just and blameless man, I am a laughingstock.
Those at ease have contempt for misfortune,[a]
but it is ready for those whose feet are unstable.
The tents of robbers are at peace,
and those who provoke God are secure,
who bring their god in their hands.[b]
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you;
the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
ask the plants of the earth,[c] and they will teach you;
and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every living thing
and the breath of every human being.
Does not the ear test words
as the palate tastes food?
Is wisdom with the aged,
and understanding in length of days?
“With God[d] are wisdom and strength;
he has counsel and understanding.
If he tears down, no one can rebuild;
if he shuts someone in, no one can open up.
If he withholds the waters, they dry up;
if he sends them out, they overwhelm the land.
With him are strength and wisdom;
the deceived and the deceiver are his.
He leads counselors away stripped,
and makes fools of judges.
He looses the sash of kings,
and binds a waistcloth on their loins.
He leads priests away stripped,
and overthrows the mighty.
He deprives of speech those who are trusted,
and takes away the discernment of the elders.
He pours contempt on princes,
and looses the belt of the strong.
He uncovers the deeps out of darkness,
and brings deep darkness to light.
He makes nations great, then destroys them;
he enlarges nations, then leads them away.
He strips understanding from the leaders[e] of the earth,
and makes them wander in a pathless waste.
They grope in the dark without light;
he makes them stagger like a drunkard.
Our capacity to understand suffering can bring forth our compassion, our love. Happiness is not possible without understanding, love and compassion. Understanding and compassion are born from suffering. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“Let your heart retain my words; keep my commands, and live. Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; Love her, and she will keep you. Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.” ~ Proverbs 4:4-7 KJV
The last few months have been emotionally difficult for me – for a number of reasons. As with all low points for God’s elect, Satan struggled for a toe-hold in his effort to keep me down. I thank God for His strength and discernment, for His guidance and teachings and most especially for the great measure of faith He has graced me with. Even with Satan circling me, trying to block my Light source, I was never in total darkness and was well able to see my way clear of his schemes. But the tests were needed. And they are greatly appreciated! I’ve emerged with a perspective and insight greater than ever before. My mirror is a little less foggy. My purpose is a bit clearer. And I realize the well of my hope is deeper than I knew. Indeed, hope does spring eternal!
In the last few months I’ve changed church homes (the separation from my first church was more difficult than I expected) and my dad died (I was less affected than I would have imagined). In both instances, I’ve been able to see the changes the Life of Christ and the Love of God has wrought on me, in my thoughts, my heart and my life. I understand more than ever that my relationship with God is the only thing in life that truly matters. And it is only through this primary relationship that all I can possibly desire will be added to me. That knowledge is humbling, yet so very empowering!
My friendships have pretty much gone up in smoke over the last few years. One by one, the women I used to call to talk through my problems and minor issues with have been removed from my life. Having no one to talk to over the last year – “talk to” as in, digging down to the minutest detail, exposing, exploring and pulling up roots – has been the most difficult part of my loneliness. I’m used to not having a life partner; not so used to not having a friend. The absence of those supportive friendships highlighted a deeper desire in me for a supportive mate.
For a number of years, I was emotionally “stuck” on the” ideal” person for me. In my imagination, he was a perfect match. He has a visible walk with the Lord and great conversation. We are both creative, independent, entrepreneurial, adventurous, and we both have a heart for people. The one glaring difference that I’ve finally been able to see is: I had a heart for him, but he didn’t have a heart for me.
When my dad died, I realized that I had been subconsciously waiting for him to want a relationship with me. With my hope turned on low, I still hoped he would one day reach out to me in response to all my pass efforts. He had the desire to rally his mother and siblings around his death bed, even his illegitimate son whom he didn’t raise, but he refused to send word to me, to request my presence, to offer reconciliation. That saddened me, but I realized he preferred to go to his grave before reconciling our relationship. Building a relationship was of no interest to him. And I’m okay with his preference. Understanding that about him put my interactions with men in a whole new light. My intolerance, my harshness. My hope, my repeated efforts. My exhaustion and frustration. My desire to build a relationship and lack of understanding of how to go about it. My ineffective communication and my inability to get what I want – a husband and family of my own.
I can see the parallels in the wished-for, but non-existent relationships.
Seeking and accepting help
The stress of it all overwhelmed me. Over the holidays I sought time with both a therapist and a spiritual counselor. The conversations that followed, has had me thinking from yet new perspectives.
I met with the therapist first and she suggested I hadn’t truly healed from the damage my dad did to me early in life. I told her that I had indeed healed. That through my friendships and my faith I had worked through all the main and related issues related to his abuse.
I walked out of her office asking God if I had missed something. If there was some remnant of fear or pain holding me back in life? I immediately followed that question with the pronouncement: I am healed in the name of Jesus! Absolutely! Completely!
The next day I met with the spiritual counselor and mentioned this portion of my conversation. I asked him if I had missed something. If I believe the Word and the Word says I am healed and I have worked on my recovery, am I not then completely healed?
He said something rather profound to me that has been rattling around my mind and spirit since: “You are completely healed to the best of your understanding.”
Pause and think about that….
Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:12
My whole life is a dedication to the quest to understand. To learn. To acquire knowledge. To experience and share love and compassion. I know my understanding isn’t complete, nor will it ever be in this life. But I hadn’t looked at my evolution as being limited by my understanding.
So, I am healed to the best of my understanding.
I love and am loved to the best of my understanding.
I repent and accept repentance to the best of my understanding.
I forgive and am forgiven to the best of my understanding.
I give and receive to the best of my understanding.
I need and want to the best of my understanding.
I communicate to the best of my understanding.
I am faithful to the best of my understanding.
I live to the best of my understanding.
I evolve to the best of my understanding.
This tells me there are other levels, other dimensions and consciousness that need attention in each area of my life.
Embracing the next phase of life
My primary project for this year is finding and securing a life partner – to the best of my ability and understanding. I’m going about achieving this goal in the same way I operate in all other areas of my life (including problem-solving or project planning):
Write down my needs and desires
Calculate costs and requirements to achieve each (this includes things I’m willing to compromise on)
Prioritize by either importance or ease of achievability
Organize a team and pool resources
Outline my needs and end-goal to my team
Manage the project with follow-up and progress reports
Attempting to be any less analytical or pragmatic does me no good. That’s the way I think. It’s the way I process and understand. It’s the way I take action. With every goal I have had in life, God has worked through others to help me achieve them. It hit me last month that I wasn’t doing what I know to do in my desire to evolve from a single woman to a married woman. I was being far too passive. Passivity caused me to be inactive (for far too long) rather than proactive. I wasn’t working with others on my goal, so God wasn’t working through others to help me achieve it.
Now that I’ve visualized and verbalized my goal, achievement is only a matter of time. That’s the process through which God has always worked in my life. So I call it done, in the name of the Lord – to the best of my understanding and more reliably, to the best of God’s ability!
Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done. Sing to Him; yes, sing His praises. Tell everyone about His wonderful deeds. Exult in His holy name; rejoice, you who worship the Lord. Search for the Lord and for His strength; continually seek Him. Remember the wonders He has performed, His miracles, and the rulings He has given, you children of His servant Abraham, you descendants of Jacob, His chosen ones. He is the Lord our God. His justice is seen throughout the land. He always stands by His covenant — the commitment he made to a thousand generations. ~ Psalm 105:1-8 NLT
Parting thought: Relationship is everything. Without it, even love does you no good.