The voice from the Lupines

The voice from the Lupines.

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The voice from the Lupines

Brian and I rented a house from Jeff and Lisl Fuson up on Mosher hill back in 2006. We had the most incredible view from Mosher Hill of Mt. Blue. I will never forget the incredible sunsets…

I had many lessons up on that hill. Lessons about love  and family, about hardship and sweet connection with my Creator. I hope to go back there one day, and watch those sunsets again. It was a time of learning for me, and I was always aware of a very strong spiritual presence. My life was uncomplicated and full of purpose. Howard, Meda, my mom, and caring for them as their lives finished their time here,  was some of the most incredible worthwhile, meaningful work of my life!

I remember family, friends, my pups, walks on the mountain, and college classes a couple of times a week kept me busy and content. I remember feeling like I was working toward a worthy goal. 

 

I wish I had paid more attention to how worthy THAT time was. I wish I had realized what an incredible gift that time was. I wish I had not rushed it.

 

Now we’ve moved off the mountain, that drafty cold old farmhouse, and I find I miss it! 

 

This is one of the lessons I learned up on that mountain, If you have ears to hear…

 

I was walking amongst the lupines that Lisl had planted years before. Purple, lavender, pink, yellow, white, cream, some variegated in color, mixed with stripes and spots, thousands of blooms covered the landscape, and they were all so different! I was practicing theological reflection at the time, and 

 

I casually, maybe a bit flippant?  I Imagestated to God “You must have hired a couple of angels to design these assorted varieties and colors of lupines, as if you would have time to pay attention to a flower…”  

 

When I say I was aware of a strong spiritual presence, this is an example of what I mean. The next thought I had (which was not really my thought) stopped me in my tracks.  

 

“You underestimate me”  

 

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Can I tell you about the problem with public assistance?

First, It is a bummer that anyone has to access public assistance. But 20 years ago I did. I had three little girls, and was living in low income housing in Waterville, Maine, a single mom, after a failed marriage. Since I received no child support at all, I applied for the ASPIRE program, which was a great program! I went through school to be a dental assistant, and I loved every minute of it. The ASPIRE program encouraged me to finish my HS edu, and get my GED. The lady at Adult Ed took the time to tell me I was smart, something I had never heard! While I was in school, I obtained a 4.0 grade point average, and my family was funded completely by the government. They paid for my housing, my car, my groceries, my daycare, it was a really nice ride! Then I graduated and quickly found employment in the field, which was wonderful. I made 8.50 an hour, for 40 hours. Do the math. (I’m no good at math, but I was great at medical terminology thanks to Claire Celenza, whom I will never forget!)

Then, the government dropped me. I had been taking my 3 girls to daycare to the tune of 145 a week. 3 little girls who were still pre school. That left me 200 a week. I lost food stamps because I was working, that left me about 120 a week after food. I paid 80 dollars a month for housing before I worked, but since I got a job my rent went up to 320 a month. Then there was insurance for my car, clothes for the kids, gas, electricity, heat…You get it.

I’m not ungrateful, I know my education was paid for, and ASPIRE paid for my childcare while I was in school, as well as car expenses, and I’m grateful! But I couldn’t make it. The stress was overwhelming. And on top of all of that, I couldn’t be with my children during the day and be their mom, they were stuck in a daycare all day.

Then I came to my senses! With state aid, I had virtually free housing, I was eligible for foodstamps, I got a check for over 500.00 a month, AND I could stay home with my children and raise them myself rather than drop them off at a state funded daycare every day. I quit my job.

My girls are incredible. I was an awesome mom, and I was there for them because of the help the government supplied. I WAS PAID FOR BEING A GOOD MOTHER TO MY CHILDREN! I’m grateful for that!  I know that is not always the story, but it is my story, and so many others who feel guilty for not “working” outside the home. Why is it considered less than desirable to stay home with our kids? Why are our kids robbed of their mothers because our culture thinks money must be made? It’s a travesty.  HOW MUCH MONEY COULD HAVE BEEN SAVED IF THE GOVERNMENT HAD WAITED, supporting me as a mom instead? Why is it a better choice to let someone else raise my children? IT IS NOT.

8.50 an hour did not rescue me from the predicament I was in. Neither did paying to put me through a college program. IT LOOKS GOOD THOUGH! IT LOOKS ADMIRABLE! Why isn’t being a great mom admirable? Why isn’t supporting a mom with young children a heroic deed to the government? WHY DO YOU LOOK DOWN ON THAT YOUNG SINGLE MOM?

I’m so sick of the judgement and the generalizing. Not all people on welfare are slackers. It makes me so sad! It makes me so mad. If we want to change our world, teach the value of family. Teach parenting. Encourage education, yes, but encourage good parenting too! Our children ARE OUR FUTURE. It does not take a rocket scientist to see that things aren’t working. Children need to be raised by their moms, by people who love them, and not shuttled off to daycare every day to be influenced by a person who may or may not be invested in them.

Just a thought.

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The Big Old Institution

The Big Old Institution.

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The Big Old Institution

The Big Old Institution.

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The Big Old Institution

ImageThe next dream in this series of dreams is one I had during another year of change. I had recently been through two deaths in the family. My husbands grandmother, who I had cared for for the last 3 years and then only a few months later, my own mother. My mothers death was a rebirth for me, because through the intense pain and struggles of cancer, through horrible radiation and chemo and long travel to the hospital with my sweet mom struggling to breathe in the car beside me, I realized the total and complete provision of the Comforter. It was a desperate and dark time, but I grew more attached to God than I had ever been, and He healed me during that time from some false beliefs.  The true comfort and peace opened my eyes to the truth, the things that mattered, and I was empowered a short while later to walk away from what had never given true comfort. I became lighter emotionally and physically, strange as it sounds. I learned through more decisions and struggles that only Jesus satisfies me. Only the love of Christ is passionate enough for my hungry soul. Only Jesus… 

A faithful friend reminded me during that time that I had moved “mountains” before, and I could do it again. She was right, and her words were essential reminders for me. People who loved my family came from all around, a person really finds out who they can count on when things get dark! I remember Saturdays being times of gathering in my moms room, chatting and talking and singing…With great fondness I remember the hospice team that was so faithful and careful with my mom, as they had been with grammy just months before. It was an intense introduction to death and dying that my family and friends received that year, and not merely a survey course… 

Not long after this time, yet another struggle in the church. Those of us who were aware of problems were scorned for speaking out, and there were many. There is truly no one to blame as far as I’m concerned other than the district leadership. Those representing the institution had laid aside responsibility for what was happening, again. This is another example for me of the desperate need for mature, qualified, ethical, truly Christlike leadership in all areas of the institution. 

What an effective leader is NOT…(according to my experience) arrogant, boastful, defensive, selfish, harsh, rude, sarcastic, threatening, full of pride, and most of all full of unforgiveness. God can’t use ANY person effectively if these qualities prevail, let alone leaders! When will the Body of Christ learn this? The Body of Christ will lack effectiveness in this world and the signs and wonders promised to follow those who believe will not be evident until we truly believe. Truly believe. TRULY BELIEVE!

Jesus Christ came to help us believe. If we believe all that he taught, we act like it! It’s plain and simple.  I don’t just behave in ways that benefit me, I must behave in ways that benefit others! And when I fail, I must be quick to humbly ask for forgiveness. Power hungry people do not act in ways that benefit others, they refuse to acknowledge responsibility for the pain they cause, and remain proud, rendering themselves useless to God while remaining powerful in their own eyes. Signs and wonders, effective ministry, a growing learning, loving Body? No chance.

Behaviors that God blesses? The Christlike behaviors of course! Do you believe in LOVE? Some folks don’t believe, and It is revealed by their behavior. Until they learn LOVE they cannot lead others to it. They cannot lead the world to the truth, which is the work of God! The disciples asked how they could do Gods work, John 6:28-29… if I believe in LOVE this is how I act; 

28 They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”

29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”

So if we believe, it shows. This is what belief looks like;

1 Corinthians 13 says it like this… I may speak in the languages of humans and of angels. But if I don’t have love, I am a loud gong or a clashing cymbal. I may have the gift to speak what God has revealed, and I may understand all mysteries and have all knowledge. I may even have enough faith to move mountains. But if I don’t have love, I am nothing. I may even give away all that I have and give up my body to be burned.[a] But if I don’t have love, none of these things will help me.

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant. It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs. It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up. 

Love never comes to an end. There is the gift of speaking what God has revealed, but it will no longer be used. There is the gift of speaking in other languages, but it will stop by itself. There is the gift of knowledge, but it will no longer be used. Our knowledge is incomplete and our ability to speak what God has revealed is incomplete. 10 But when what is complete comes, then what is incomplete will no longer be used. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I no longer used childish ways. 12 Now we see a blurred image in a mirror. Then we will see very clearly. Now my knowledge is incomplete. Then I will have complete knowledge as God has complete knowledge of me.

13 So these three things remain: faith, hope, and love. But the best one of these is love.  {It’s so pure, so simple,and so beautiful} 

We will be incomplete until we believe! Lord help our unbelief!

NOW on to the dream 2010
I was walking up a long winding hill to a big dark institution with no lights in the windows. I walked into the entrance and into a very large room just beyond. I was in the middle of the room, andI heard a voice. I looked up to see a robed person with an arm pointing off toward a room, the being was hooded and the face was hidden. The words spoken were “What are you going to do about this?” I followed the pointing arm to a small room, and walked over to look into the room. As I went inside, I saw a bathtub. The authority that spoke to me was in there with me. I felt sad as I saw a child in the tub about the age of ten.  Immediately the words “what are you going to do about this?”brought guilt, but I was quickly corrected, “no, you didn’t cause this” I was relieved and felt such affirmation and love from this being that I felt my insecurities dissipate. My first impression was that it was a male child, but I don’t know for sure. The child was “disintegrating” in the tub, and there was no water. The body was dry and crumbling. I felt confident that God was calling me to do something, although I had no instructions. So I picked up the pieces, put them in bags, and turned and walked out of the institution.
Down at the bottom of the long curving driveway, I crossed a road and walked down a grassy slope to a dock. From the dock I stepped onto a large ship and immediately went down into the engine area. The authority that was with me in the institution followed me onto the ship. There were some storage cupboards there, and I leaned over and carefully placed the disintegrated child there. I didn’t know what to do with it. Then the voice spoke again. “you will come back and get this later”. I felt like I had done what I could, but that more would be shown to me. Then I awoke.
 
I started my Pastoral Counseling Masters education just shortly after this, and this dream is part of the “evidence of call” that I submitted with my application. It was only shortly after this dream that The Spirit led me to the PC program that was just beginning at Husson in collaboration with Bangor Theological Seminary. It’s very sad, but since the seminary is closing, the PC program may also be ending. Just as I am finishing.  God is faithful, and we shall see:)
 
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My visit to Heaven…

Back in 2005 I found myself in yet another crisis of faith. The “institution” (foreshadowing a later post…) I was involved in was crumbling again, and I found myself wanting to rescue everyone who was suffering around me. This was a common occurrence in my life, and probably one of the reasons God led me to go get a counseling education. I needed to learn I could not possibly rescue everyone, and God wanted me to be free from all of that worry and concern.

This was one of those experiences that I have difficulty saying it was a dream, but I’m quite sure if I call it anything else people will think I’m nuts. Actually I am a bit nutty, but that’s beside the point and I have very good reasons! I was laying in bed, similar to the dream/experience from an earlier post where I heard the two beings speaking over me. I had been praying, and was incredibly hurt by some lies told about me by one of the power monsters currently in a position of control. I have completely forgotten those lies now, imagine that:)

See, when you really truly love God and people, it is very easy to be caught off guard by the evil actions of others. I think the reason is because we tend to believe everyone thinks and believes like we do. So when true malicious intent becomes undeniable, it is shocking. I had been lied about by someone who had spoken words of wisdom over me, someone who had affirmed my calling in Christ more than once. Someone who I thought I could trust. Another institutional failure. Another idol cast down…man I keep digressing, sorry!

So, I was between wakefulness and sleep and had been praying and telling God about my fresh boo boo…and suddenly I saw this mountain. At the top was a source of light and I knew the throne of God was there. Scattered down the side of the hill were these beautiful places of residence. They were white, and looked like something from a photo of Greece. I was infatuated with photos of Greek hillsides for a long while after this experience, but have since been told that Turkey is more beautiful by some good friends who have a residence there:) I can’t tell you how many houses there were, or even of the size of each, my perspective was strange, and it seemed that what was far away was very close-I can’t describe the perspective-It was new to me. From the top of the mountain there was what looked like a road. It was smooth and glass-like, and it’s beginning was the throne where God was.

This was all observed on the back of my eyelids, and I was afraid to move my eyes because I was afraid it would disappear! I remember being aware of this and thinking, if it is real, it won’t disappear. So I started looking around, and it was still there! To my right there was a gate, and there were towers on either side of the gate that reminded me of the Twin Towers that had fallen a few years before. I followed the road down the mountain where it passed between all of the white residences. It went down into a valley where I saw people. They were standing on either side of the road. It was at this point, I realized that the road was not a road, but a river!

It was as smooth as glass, and without turbulence. It was completely smooth, and so I had assumed it was pavement. But there was something amazing about this river, and this is the highlight of my vision, if I should be so bold. The people who were by the river were very focused on it, and some were getting in it, some were jumping right in, although most were more tentative. There was something incredibly different about this river. Also about the people who were in it. They were most definitely people, but they moved with such grace and beauty that I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. I longed to move with such grace! The souls who jumped into the water would emerge with an emotion that I can only describe as EXCRUCIATING JOY! It was so amazing I could actually feel it a little as I watched, you know, how it feels to watch children playing and laughing and enjoying each other? Multiply that by 100,000,000,000!

The more timid souls watched, stuck a toe in, squealed with joy and jumped back overwhelmed! The joy available was limitless! Some of the people ran toward the water and cannonballed into it! The ones who were watching were laughing and enjoying the fun, and becoming more and more brave about stepping into the river. Each time someone came up from being completely submerged in the water, the joy expressed was UNSPEAKABLE AND UNDENIABLE!

I watched for what seemed like a long time, and was amazed by such happiness and joy and love! Totally unencumbered by worry! Even the timidity of the careful ones was shown to me to be their personality, as they savored the experience morsel by morsel, thoroughly enjoying observing the joy of their company!

Then I heard a voice behind me and it said these words, “YOU CAN HAVE THIS”. I turned around to see the voice, and my vision was gone. I sat up in bed full of questions! The first one was WHEN? Now,or when I’m in Heaven? I felt very sure that the statement was left open for a reason, and I still wonder exactly why.

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The Abandoned Child-A true story

Have you ever experienced abandonment? An all pervasive knowledge that you have been forever forgotten?Forsaken? I have, and it haunted me for years. God is healing me from it now, but it has taken lot’s and lot’s of convincing…

When I was 19, I had a beautiful baby girl. I lived in an old shabby apartment and drove an old shabby car that burned too much oil. My husband at that time worked for his brother at a local tire business, which meant even though I burned lots of oil, I could at least have decent tires. We were at the end of a huge snow storm, and my sister in law had come over to follow me to the tire mart to get some used snow tires put on our cars that the guys had set aside for us. 

As I pulled out of the driveway of our apartment,(she had pulled out ahead of me) I noticed the long haired guy from upstairs was shoveling out his parking spot. He was a quiet guy who smoked a lot of something…but nice. As I pulled out past the huge snowbank, and onto the street I saw my sis in laws car, running, in the middle of the road. I honked and waited. Eventually I got out and went to see what was holding her up but she was not in the car. It was sitting there, running in the middle of the road. Where was she? With terror, I thought what any good evangelical 19 year old girl would think when she had not been to church for two years…the Rapture. 

I ran back to my car convinced my baby would be gone, but there she was. Rather than feel relief that God could not possibly have left an innocent baby so there must be some other explanation, I was instead horrified that my lack of faithfulness had caused her to be left behind also. The knowledge was too much for me, and I started to pass out as my world turned gray.

Just then, the neighbor who had been shoveling out his spot came around the snowbank. He saw me fall and came over saying “are you alright? What’s wrong?” to which I replied “the rapture!” He said “your appendix ruptured? What?” I said no, the rapture! When Jesus comes back and takes all the Christians to Heaven, He didn’t take me, and my baby got left too! I was faint and having a hard time staying conscious. 

Then I saw his face, and I knew somewhere it was striking a memory with him. (which is probably why he  smoked so much stuff) He said, “Oh no, Oh man! How do you know?” I pointed to the car sitting in the middle of the road and said my sister in law was just right here! She pulled out ahead of me, but only a second before me! She disappeared from the car! I was beside myself, literally. And now he was not doing so well either.

Then He looked at me and said, So why was she in my car?

I suddenly realized, they both drove the same car. Same color, same year, same model. He had been shoveling out his parking spot. His car was in the road, running…

When you stop laughing, take a moment and think about this. Is it any wonder I still have stray PTSD symptoms? Why would a God of love treat His child this way? I now say He wouldn’t. He never leaves us or forsakes us. It was never His intention. 

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The Second Dream–the forgotten one

In this dream, I was living downtown in reality, but the dream was back at my former home. I had been grocery shopping with my baby grandaughter. At the time of this dream, she was about 9 months old. I got back to the house after getting groceries and she was sleeping, so I left the door open as I carried the groceries into the house. It was summertime. I got distracted with putting groceries away and throwing in a load of laundry and what ever other multiple tasks were always calling me away from my real responsibility…Before I had noticed, hours had gone by. I had forgotten her in the car! I remembered this and with horror headed toward the door. I became distracted by some unimportant task again however and ended up forgetting her for hours longer! In my horror I ran to the car and found her screaming and trapped in the car seat, half way hanging out with the shoulder strap under her chin, practically hanging her! I cannot explain the horrible awful incredible guilt I felt. I awoke to see the clock on midnight, which I thought was strange because I had heard that we never dream before midnight. I got up in such a state of unrest that I was crawling out of my skin. I paced around the living room until two am, unable to let go of the horrible sadness I felt that I had forgotten my beautiful granddaughter. I could only pray and ask God to tell me why I was so distressed, since it was just a dream! 

I heard a reply that night in my spirit. It was the echo of the Spirit of God, and He assured me that He would never forget his precious child, but others had, and His heart was breaking as mine was. I resolved that night to remember those who had been forgotten, to the best of my ability and with His help. 

 

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