I’ve Not Disappeared, Well Maybe I Have

It’s been a very long time since I’ve written anything.  I’m writing now to simply say that I don’t really know what to say besides saying that I am on a very hard journey to healing childhood wounds.

I implore you, if you have any of your own, seek help.  It is unreasonable to think you can just go on and not pass on some or a lot of your own pain to someone you care for. Something I saw on Facebook from Christine Caine said it best, “If you never heal from what hurt you, you’ll bleed on people who didn’t cut you.” This makes me angry, actually.  I find it difficult to fathom being so unaware of oneself, that one leaves a path of destruction in their wake, completely and utterly oblivious.  I especially have a hard time when it’s children who catch the brunt of that destruction.  It isn’t fair.  I am intent on ending abusive cycles.  The buck stops here.  What I find even more disturbing is the covert nature of it.  When it comes to people, I have an easier time taking those blatant, in your face types.  Covert behavior bugs me because there’s such an insidious nature to it. It’s so ugly and despicable. Also, when one displays covert tendencies, it makes me feel that they have more control than they’re willing to admit, being able to behave one way here and another way there.  I don’t handle that well.

So, I pray you are well while I’m going through all the emotions and what comes with healing.  It’s hard, but it’s great and so very necessary.  I am already a very different, healthier, more alert me than ever before. I am happier too, actually.  As I said, it’s difficult at times, but this is a good thing.  God is with me and I know it.  He started me on this journey, after all.  I will aim to write again soon.  With love, Patrice.

To Share, Or Not

I have written several blog posts, only to put them aside.  I am not sure what to share or how much to share these days.  I understand all the reasons why I should be quiet right now and just deal in secrecy, but, what if keeping quiet is harmful?  What about the opportunity to have my issues be a source of comfort, relief, validation or joy for others?  What if my opening up could help more than my being quiet? My friend Juli recently told me that my super power is my transparency.  I agree.  I enjoy being honest and open.  I love the idea that simply sharing my journey can help others in ways I haven’t considered.

I have been on yet another life altering journey of self discovery and healing.  The Lord seems to be moving through all areas of my life, cleaning, pruning and making changes.  It makes me think of a time when my oldest daughter unknowingly gave me a word from God.

We were in a prophecy 101 type of class, and had chosen one number from a cup, twice.  The first number was to be our number, the second was the number of the person we would be prophesying over.  When it was her turn, my daughter said something along the lines of, “I see a person being molded and shaped, like bread.  They are very uncomfortable and want to fight against the molding taking place but God is saying to stop fighting against the molding and shaping, because it’s Him.”  I could only smile in awe when she announced the number and it was mine.  I haven’t forgotten that word she gave me.  It is very true of the process I am in right now.

God has brought to light things that weren’t exactly done in the dark per se, but they were done in ways and at a time where the truth of it all escaped me because I was a child, conditioned to think and believe in very specific ways.  I have learned that because of this, I am what the world of psychology calls, co-dependent.  I have empathy for everyone except myself and tend to be overly concerned about caring for the needs and wishes of others, even to my own detriment.  I have believed so much about myself and my personality that simply aren’t true.  He is teaching me who I truly am and healing me of past wounds so that I don’t continue the cycle of abuse with my children or anyone else for that matter.

I am working through a lot of rage that I have carried since childhood.  I used to fight, and when I did, it was pretty awful.  Looking back, I am surprised that no adult picked up on the obvious rage in an otherwise mild mannered, kind hearted little girl.  I am especially surprised this didn’t happen when I was suspended in 5th grade, for fighting after school, off school grounds.  I will just say, that poor girl has evidence of that fight today and what I did to her wasn’t at all warranted.  Let me explain…

As I walked home from school with friends, two of them suddenly began fighting.  One friend, got in a good hit on the other and without thinking, something inside of me snapped, and I was suddenly fighting the first girl.  I later went to her home and apologized to her and her mother.  I didn’t know what happened or why I did what I did. I messed her face up badly enough that when we went to school the following day, teacher after teacher was outraged at the sight of her face and, learning I was at fault, I was sent to the principal, who, also outraged, suspended me for 10 days.

Every single fight I had, I remember one common theme.  I would seem to leave my body, fight viciously, and suddenly come to myself, wondering how I got there.  Sadly, there were several people who were left with permanent scars, all undeserved.

The Lord is helping me sort through all this and more, and it’s not fun or comfortable. It’s very hard, actually. I see and understand the reason for it all and am grateful, nonetheless.  I know that, on the other side of this, I will be a better, stronger, truer version of myself. I will set boundaries and have consequences in place if those boundaries aren’t adhered to.  I will no longer quietly assume any roles  God Himself hasn’t designated for me to play.  I am done with it all, and I feel more free having just stated that.

With love, Patrice

 

Flowing With the Unforced Rhythms of Grace

Changing my hair has been a catalyst for some serious transformation and major insight in my life.  I decided back in February, at the start of an extended vacation, that at the end of it, I’d start the process of loc’ing my hair (dreadlocks).  I remember how I kept thinking and saying, “It’s time (for change).”  I had no idea what I was in for.

It’s funny how something as seemingly simple as hair, can affect such major change in one’s life but it does (ask Sampson, lol), and with locs, I hear many, many people echo the same sentiments. Not to sound all exclusive, but starting this journey, I feel I have joined the ranks of a group of people who are in touch with themselves in a very different way.  It’s a new level of inner knowing.

I think, in part, it has something to do with going off the beaten path, especially against others wishes, and coming out stronger than ever.  I experienced this when I started unschooling my then, only child.  I literally had the unflinching support and cheerleading of one person, my grandfather, and he passed a month before I officially took my daughter out of daycare 16 years ago, and began our journey.  Setting off on a new and different path that I’d never seen modeled, changed my life in many extraordinary ways.

When I decided to embark upon my first birth without medication, I caught the same flack.  When I decided to give birth at a freestanding birth center with a midwife for my second birth, then at home with a midwife for my third, I learned something about myself.  I learned how very powerful and capable and strong my body is and I went on to give birth twice more, at home with no midwife, doctor or doula, just my body, baby and family present.  My husband learned how capable and strong he is, as his hands were the very first to touch his sons as they were born.  My children, all present at each other’s births, all learned how beautifully boring but also magically amazing birth can be; they aren’t afraid of it at all.  Lol, people like to say, “Why give birth naturally, you don’t get a medal for it.” Those people have no idea what one gets from such a birth.  No “medal” can compare.  I got so much more.  I gained something that no one could begin to try and take away.  Even with having earned medals from running races, I am not certain where those medals are as I type this, what I gained from doing it is far more valuable to me than the “bling” I gained and still gain from running.

My hair looks wild right now.  It looks rough and “unkempt” and unruly and not only do I wear it proudly and boldly, I absolutely, unequivocally love it.  It mirrors the part of the journey I am on right now. Some days have been hard, filled with tears, anger, and even guilt and shame as God reminds me of things past. He is teaching me through so many entities, to face the ugly truth about things I was once confused or deceived about. He is walking me along a path that I must travel to subjectively realize complete healing, wholeness, and forgiveness. On the harder days this week and last, He gave me my beautiful friends, Evelin, Julissa and Lissandra whose support and love I can’t imagine doing without.  He gave me frequent “kiss attacks” from my 4 year old son and the beautiful closeness that comes with breastfeeding my 1 year old.  He gave me the beauty of having a cousin over for a few weeks and her laughter joined with my other children is so stinkin’ cute.  He gave me my doting husband, who insisted on taking me on dates, surprised me with flowers and a massively loud dance party on a Tuesday night, starting after 11pm. He and our children danced, screamed and had a blast until we were all drenched in sweat.  I would have called the police on us, lol, but Abba knew it was so needed, and no one did.

This journey I am on is very hard but I see so much beauty and freedom in it. I am choosing to flow with it unapologetically. In the past, I’d fought hard against it when the Lord was doing something new in me, for my growth. Not this time. I am done fighting against Him, I can’t win anyway, lol. I will flow with the unforced rhythms of grace and come out more glorious than ever. Many blessings to you, dear reader.

What’s On Your Plate?

It’s been a little while since I wrote last.  At least it feels that way.  I haven’t really known how to say what I want to say at times.  Other times, I simply haven’t had much to say, and I won’t write if I have nothing to say.

I am on a journey to greater awareness of myself.  I am learning what makes me tick.  I am learning what triggers me to emotions like anxiety, anger, fear, sadness and my favorite, happiness.  I am good some days, and some days I am not doing well at all, but, God is here, taking me along this path that I must travel in order to get to a place where I see myself not as my parents have taught me to see myself, but as He sees me. He knows me best and His view of me is what will ultimately help me to be the best Patrice I can be.

A group of friends and I do prophetic assignments together every now and then.  One assignment had us envision a plate on a table.  The plate was filled with many things and so was the table.  We were to ask the Lord what, if anything on our plates, should be removed, decreased or increased, and what on the table that perhaps wasn’t on our plate, should be added.  I got a one word answer and then a moving picture.  My answer to what needed to be removed from my plate was simply, “People”.  Then, I saw the Lord remove the people from my plate and He got on my plate, arms outstretched, smiling, until He filled my plate with Himself.  Then, as He filled my plate, I saw all kinds of things go back on my plate but through Him, because as I said, He covered the plate.

I don’t consider myself a people pleaser, but I do love people and am very much an empath who has no problem at all feeling compassion for others.  My issue is that I lack compassion for myself.  I very easily leave myself out of the equation and that must change.  I need balance.  One dear friend, Jackie, has been pretty much saying this for a few years now.  Mothering and nurturing others is a skill at which I am a natural.  I love it.  I am learning to turn some of that mothering and nurturing onto myself and see myself as worthy of the time, attention and care I so easily give others.

He is to be the lens through which I see and do everything. I believe wholeheartedly that He is all in all anyway.  Nothing is changing on His end with this.  It’s my perspective that’s changing.  My subjective reality is matching up with what is and always was, because of Christ’s finished work.  I am healed and whole and waking up to that realization more and more.

I encourage you to do the assignment my friends and I have done.  Ask the Lord.  What’s on your plate that needs to be removed, increased or decreased?  What’s on the table that isn’t on your plate at this time but should be added?  Take time to dialog with the Lord about this and journal what you get out of it.  I’d love to hear about it too.  This exercise started a very serious and deep look at my life, like how my past affects my present.  It has highlighted different traits about my personality, habits and more.  Do this for yourself and see what God does with it.  It could very well change your life as it has mine.  I love you dear reader, Patrice.

Psalm 22

All my life, I have been told that the word Gospel translates “good news”, when a lot of what I was taught afterwards was anything but good news.  I am having my world rocked nowadays and I am honestly loving it.  I am blissfully and truly seeing the Gospel as scandalously, amazingly too good but true, news.  I feel a very different but remarkable sense of freedom as I now read the Bible through this new lens of God truly being good.  Even the tough parts, I am able to see differently and what I don’t understand, I ask Abba to help me with that, and I believe He will.

I am reading one of my required books for seminary called Cosmos Reborn by John Crowder. It is amazing.  I had to stop reading it to write this post because I am so excited about what I am learning.  Bare with me as I share my excitement and tell you things you may already know.  I have actually gone back and forth, tempering my feelings about my theological journey as I am now seeing things in ways that are at times in opposition with the beliefs of my loved ones.  It is important to me to keep connections strong, but as an old song that comes to mind implies, I can’t keep it all to myself! 🙂

One thing among so much that I see differently, is the idea that God turned His back on Jesus while he was on the cross because of what Jesus said in Matthew 27:46 (My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”)  I was taught that it was at this point that God, who cannot even look upon sin, turned His back on His son Jesus who became sin for us.  A side note from this idea- if we are so awful and filled with sin, such that God can’t look at us, how is it that we come to Him at all? How would we be able to even face Him enough to accept Jesus’ sacrifice if He couldn’t look upon us? How could we even survive without His constant gaze upon us?  So many thoughts and questions come to mind… Ok, back to the topic at hand.

Not only do I now believe that Jesus, in that moment was identifying with what we feel and experience when we sin, (I mean really, who sins and wants to run straight to God without feeling crazy?) but it was so much more than just his identifying with us in that moment.  Jesus, in that moment was making a big statement, a statement that every Messianic person watching him hang on the cross understood clearly in that moment.

It is my understanding that during that time, they often sang the Psalms of David in synagogue.  Not too many years back, I heard and was surprised to learn that King David is counted among the prophets of the Old Testament. I totally see why, now.

If anyone was to recite the start of the lyrics of a popular song, you’d likely pick up on it and end up singing it too.  That happens often. That’s what Jesus did.  He recited the start of a Psalm they all likely knew, and it very likely blew some minds as he did, because the Psalm was about him and described very accurately (and probably eerily) what he was experiencing right there in that moment, on the cross.

Read Psalm 22  here. I can only imagine how floored they were in that moment of realization.  The song mentioned his thirst, his dislocated bones, his blood poured out, how he didn’t even look like a man anymore.  It mentioned the mocking, the gambling of his clothes and then, in verse 24, it says the Father did not look away, but was there all the time! Wow!!!  Can you imagine?  It reminds me of how Jesus went to synagogue, stood before them and quoted Isaiah 61:1 and then said, “This Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing today.” Boom!!! (Mic drop) He was essentially and effectively doing that again, on the cross!!! Amazing!

It was always said that the Gospel was offensive.  I see this from a different perspective now too.  It is most certainly offensive, but not quite in the way that I first thought of it.  Think about it, who in the Bible seemed to stay mad  and offended at Jesus? The religious folk.  It was the Pharisee’s who were often angered because Jesus chose to hang out with tax collectors and prostitutes. Forgive my silliness, but the reality is, them hoes loved Jesus. They loved him so much, and he them, that they didn’t want to whore no more. It was the ones who looked down on others that were offended.  The very ones who just knew they were right and everyone else was wrong and should follow them.  They felt Jesus should act like and hang with them.  He should have been the first to sock that prostitute in the head with a rock when she was caught in the act of adultery. How dare Jesus let her go?  They were the ones who were mad, offended and wanted to kill him. The Good News irked their religious nerves. Jesus was there for them too but they didn’t believe it. They were too entrenched in law to see Love.

This all just blows my mind and screams, “Good News”! I love it!!!  The Gospel is changing me in the very best way.  I look forward to seeing my Abba more and more clearly and correctly.  Jesus embodied the Father. He is good.  That, my friends, is the Gospel.

On the Subject of Perfection

I am a heretic.  I embody the definition of a heretic.  I am a nonconformist, a freethinker.  I am a person holding an opinion at odds with what is generally accepted (on many fronts in life) and,  I believe you are perfect.

Once, while at a conference with John Crowder, he said to look at your neighbor and say something “scandalous”.  I turned to my gorgeous neighbor and without thinking, I gave her the biggest smile I could, and blurted out, “You are perfect!”  She smiled and we moved on.  On one hand, I don’t tend to take myself too seriously.  There are times though, when I blurt things out without thinking, I know it’s not just me talking, it’s a God breathed Word.  Those moments of foreshadowing are put on a shelf for later review and that “reviewing” is always amazing and transformative.

As usual, the Lord soon highlighted His Word to me in Colossians 1:21-22.  In the Mirror Translation it says in verse 21, “Your indifferent mindset alienated you from God into a lifestyle of annoyances, hardships, and labors.  Yet he has now fully reconciled and restored you to your original design. 22 He accomplished this in dying our death in a human body; he fully represented us in order to fully present us again in blameless innocence, face-to-face with God; with no sense of guilt, suspicion, regret, or accusation; all charges against us are officially canceled.”

Let’s look at these same verses in The Passion Translation, 21, “Even though you were once distant from him, living in the shadows of your evil thoughts and actions, he reconnected you back to himself.  He released his supernatural peace to you through the sacrifice of his own body as the sin-payment on your behalf so that you would dwell in his presence.  And now there is nothing between you and Father God, for he sees you as holy, flawless, and restored.”

There is a prevailing thought process (that I don’t understand) within the Body, that is in conflict with itself.  You are imperfect, struggling daily with a sin nature whether that sin is yours or some ancestors, but somehow, you are to not only run into His courts with thanksgiving and praise, but you are to also do greater works than Jesus himself did.  How does this work when we see ourselves far beneath how our Heavenly Father sees us?  Why do we make this all so difficult?

I looked up that “problem word” ‘perfect’.  It means having all the required, or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be. It means absolute, complete, faultless, flawless, etc. Sounds like you to me.  It also sounds a whole lot like Colossians 1:22 .  What part of you was left out of the equation when Jesus sacrificed his life and declared, “It is finished!”?  In Revelation 13:8, The Complete Jewish translation speaks about the Lamb who was slaughtered before the world was founded.  If Jesus came to take away the sin of the world as John the Baptist stated, and he did so before the world was even founded, in that sense, did you even come here with a sin nature to begin with or is there a greater Truth (Jesus)?  Where were you before the world was founded? Now, I am not saying that I am a Universalist who believes all are automatically saved. I just know I was taught that until I invited Jesus into my heart, I indeed had a sin nature that needed to be taken care of, and I could take care of it myself, by accepting Jesus.  All I had to do was invite him in because Jesus was far, far away from me and my sin.  I was taught that until one invited Jesus in, they had no semblance of God in them at all.

I now understand that Jesus was already in my heart, he is all, in all.  I can’t even take a breath without his input.  He was already in my heart, wooing me to wake up to the realization of all he already accomplished for me.  He was and still is awakening me to all that I am, have and can do, because of what he did.  I couldn’t “invite” someone in that I didn’t know was even there.  He had to help me with that too.  It’s all a gift that I accept.  He didn’t suddenly take up residence in my heart and life when I walked down an aisle or filled out a slip of paper or said a prayer.  He was always there. I just didn’t know it.  He did it all.

In considering what the problem could be, I can only point to “the flesh” and our free will as what trips many up.  The flesh is often seen as problematic in Christian circles when, not only is the flesh itself not bad, but just to drive the point home, Jesus came in the flesh and died in the flesh to make sure we knew our flesh is in good standing with him too.  He is so genius that he used our free will in his ultimate plan to die for us, showing us just how far he was willing to go to show us that we are included, loved, wanted and accepted.  He knew we’d use our free will to literally kill him and he walked into that willingly, and powerfully.

Our free will wasn’t a problem for Abba. He isn’t afraid of our ability to choose. It’s only a problem for us.  He wasn’t kidding when He said He’d work all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  You are amazing.  You are magnificent.  You are loved.  You are perfect.  It’s time to start to see yourself as He does, beloved.  Be free.

 

Random Cohesive (Maybe not) Thoughts

So much is happening. I am processing several things at once and I find it’s not always easy to write or even speak in a cohesive manner.   Typically, when I think of my thoughts as random, lacking any semblance of cohesion, they actually make sense, so, it is with this possibility in mind, that I push onward and write.

When people find out that I have 5 homeschooled children, they are often astonished and make remarks about me being super busy or some other, (weird) comment is stated.  I don’t feel any busier than anyone else honestly, and up until now, I have not had many real issues that had to do with my children.  The issue I have now, I know is temporary and it has to do with helping my son not flip out to the point of crying and not breathing until he passes out.  He’s only a year old, so reasoning with him isn’t an option.  It’s pretty much, try to distract him and if that doesn’t work, just hold him so that he doesn’t hurt himself when he passes out.  Not the most fun.  Thankfully, this, as most other things, will pass.  In the meantime, it is sometimes rough.

I am seeing an unnerving trend in the Body of Christ that sets my teeth on edge and has all my discernment receptors blaring warning signals.  In a nutshell, it is a trend of facing and focusing on problems, instead of simply asking Abba, what’s going on in those moments of confusion.  There’s a place for asking questions, wanting and getting answers, but there’s also a place for mystery.  Holy Spirit can help us know the difference.  Sometimes our prayers can even be so fear and lack based, it’s disheartening.  It implies that we are better moral agents than God, because we’d never allow certain things with our own children.  It’s so subtle, this deception…

Sometimes, I think we are so afraid of the free will God insisted on giving us, that we make up doctrine to support our religious do this, and do that. Proverbs 23:7 (As a man thinks in his heart, so is he) keeps replaying in my heart and mind.  We really do become our own self fulfilling prophecy because we are believing stupid things.

There are a few other things on my mind these days, like the deaths of people who were clearly not wanting to be here any longer.  Death is never easy. By the time I was 37 years old, I had experienced the deaths of two grandparents, my step father, my father and 3 siblings, with the closest of them passing on my birthday.  I have seen enough death up close, to last me a lifetime.  I have held the hands of loved ones as they passed. I’ve held babies who left their bodies prior to or right after being born.  I could go on but I won’t.  I have seen those who seemed to be taken before they finished what they were here to do, and while I do believe people can and do go before their time, I also believe free will can be a factor, and so can mystery.  Sometimes, things just don’t make sense (to me).  I am learning to be ok with that.

I was thinking yesterday how many die with this or that unfulfilled prophecy over their lives, but then, I started to consider why we are here to begin with.  God didn’t want workers, he has angels for that.  He wanted a family to love.  At its core, this is all about relationship.  It’s a family affair.  If the main goal is to be loved by Him and love others, I can’t think of any of my loved ones who did not fulfill that purpose, no matter when they died.  Every single person I can think of, especially those who have passed within the last year, loved so very many people.  They truly left beautiful legacies and they still live!!!  I am re-thinking so many things.  We get so caught up with the do-do’s.  We must do this for the Kingdom, we must do that for the Kingdom, when God simply wanted a family. It all reminds me of Jesus telling Martha, “One thing is needed…” (see Luke 10:38-42).

I heard a story once that I don’t fully remember and will add to.  A man invited his son to come work with him in his wood shop.  His son worked very hard, trying to replicate the quality of  his dad’s work.  He loved his father and wanted to make him proud.  Try as he might, he just couldn’t get his work to the quality that his dad so easily seemed to produce.  The son quickly became frustrated and angry.  What the son didn’t realize was that his father had him there because he simply wanted to spend time with him.  He didn’t need his son’s help, he really just wanted his company.  He was already proud of him and just wanted to be together making memories.  This is what I believe the Gospel really is, the good news that we have all, already been included.  We start out loved, wanted, accepted, celebrated, etc.  Anything we do from there, comes from a place of resting in that love, acceptance, celebration with our Heavenly Father.  That’s it.

The type of things I have been witnessing, if I were a new  prospective convert, I’d want to run the other way.  What I am seeing is not good news. I can strive without awareness of God and all He has done, I don’t need to do it with Him.  It’s unnecessary.

Rob Coscia summed up my feelings about so much of this beautifully. Why focus on the problem when you have The Answer?

I’ll end with Rob’s quote, “When you pay more attention to what could go wrong rather than to what could go right, failure becomes your unconscious goal.

When you study more of what the enemy has done instead of looking for what God is doing, fear becomes your internal theology.”

 

 

 

Who’s Speaking?

This blog post comes in response to one of my dear readers, Selah Vita. Both Selah Vita and God have recently brought up the conundrum many of us find ourselves in when we “hear” something. We wonder, “Is it me? Is it God, or is it the devil?” I thought I’d share my thought process on this confusion, in hopes of helping someone.

The easiest one for me to knock out quickly is the enemy speaking. In John 10:10, Jesus said that the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. So, if what I am hearing goes along those lines in some way, or makes me feel guilt ridden, condemned or some other horrible emotion, that’s very likely not God and is most likely inspired by the enemy. Romans 8:1 says there is no therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. There’s so many verses that speak to the character of the enemy that once you have that knowledge, it isn’t so difficult to discern the tricks of the enemy.

The same is true for Abba. When you know His character, it’s easier to discern when He is the one speaking to you or even through you. One cliche that rings true is that God is good all the time. He truly is good. He is all, in all. He is good. He is love. He is peace. He is life. You get the picture. One habit I picked up several years back, is that I literally blame every good thing that happens on God. This one habit ends up having a ripple effect that is amazing. Something good happens, I give Him the credit for it which makes me more grateful, joyful, happy, etc. Then, it causes me to be on the lookout for more evidence of Him, which makes me more tuned into Him, which makes me see even more of Him, and on and on. He is literally all over the place, in all the details.

While away on vacation, we visited a Trader Joe’s store. A clerk with a gorgeously wild, red, curly mane gave my children a bag filled with lollipops and me a free reusable Florida bag. I blamed God. Like most children, I have 2 in particular, who are crazy about Trader Joe’s lollipops and I happen to be just as crazy about reusable bags. The man didn’t know this, but God does, and, that man offered himself to God (whether he knew it or not) to be used to love on us with things we enjoy while away. It’s like kisses and hugs from God, reminding us of His everlasting presence.

So again, I blame every good thing that happens on God. That gets me to the “suddenlies” that occur. When I am looking for something and suddenly envision where I last put it and find it. When I suddenly have a thought or idea that follows no logical thought pattern that I had going- it’s typically God. When I, a staunch believer in not just homeschooling, but unschooling, got a thought about a nearby trade school and my middle daughter, no question, that was God, lol. I even said to Him aloud, “Ok. I will check it out.” Only He could have orchestrated that and known that my girl, who has never attended school, would be excited to go, even if it’s only 2 hours a day.

Sometimes, there’s a feeling that goes along with Him speaking. There are times I hear Him and feel compelled to do or say something. Other times, I feel a sense of excitement, joy, or even negative emotions another person feels. This is the way He has me relate and open conversations with others at times. I have felt the impact of accidents I wasn’t involved in- not with the pain included, just the shock of it all and the knowledge of the vehicles involved, things like that. This has happened several times and each time, I would begin to pray in tongues and would eventually find out exactly who I was praying for and how they miraculously came through the accident unscathed. I like to call that, Holy Intel. There’s so much I could say!! God is so creative and exciting. He speaks in so many ways and uses literally anything. We have but to be tuned in.

The last one, “Is it just me?” can be easy at times and tricky at other times but because God is good, I trust Him to give me a good old stop sign if I am heading in the wrong direction. One such time was when my husband and I felt it was time to move from New Jersey, back down to Florida, where we married and started our family. We were so excited to head back down there, we prayed, and had it on our family vision board. We marveled at how often we saw Florida tags while driving along in New York and New Jersey. My husband put in for transfers to several locations in the state of Florida. We just knew it was time to go. We even packed some things in boxes in our garage as evidence of our faith to move back to Florida. Basically, God said, “Not yet.” Because of the connections my husband has and more, the move should have been super easy and smooth. We should have had the “problem” of having to choose which location we wanted to accept in Florida, but God closed every single door and you know what? We are eternally grateful. We needed to remain here and make the connections we now have which are so vitally important to us and even in the Kingdom of God. We may still head to Florida someday, but we are quite happy to be here at this time, because we know it’s where we belong. It’s where God wants us.

In this example, where it clearly was not God’s idea for us to move, we lost nothing. We operated out of faith and did many things that are very positive and hope building and more. I say that to say, don’t let fear of “Is it just me?” stop you from stepping out in faith. Move forward knowing God is with you and will help you. We learned a lot of things that God would use later, so even in getting it “wrong”, a lot of good came out of it.

There’s also times when it’s obvious that a thought is so not God. Thoughts that are selfish, rude, mean, etc. Again, there’s so much that can be said, but I don’t want to write too much here. As always, you can also simply ask the Lord to help you to better discern where thoughts are coming from. He is more than happy to help because as stated before, He is good!

Oh! Before I forget! To my dear Selah Vita, this is your year honey. I know the New Year has come and gone but this is a new beginning for you. I believe you have lots of surprises in store for you this year. Some things that you have thought about and wanted, and others that weren’t even on your radar, all coming your way, this year. I also believe this year you are receiving what I can only reference as a tune up to tune in, to Him. You will find that by the end of this year, you have less and less of an issue discerning exactly where thoughts, ideas and phrases are coming from. Write, Selah Vita! Write down those thoughts and dreams and visions you are getting. They all mean something. In fact, some of the guessing will be addressed and answered in dreams, so write these things down. You are building a log book of faith, lol. You will have all these instances and situations that you can look back on and see how very much our Abba loves and speaks to you and through you. Have fun with this and pass on what you learn!! You have so much to teach and offer others. Love you!

Holy Spirit Led Learning

We are an unschooling family. Although I grew up traditionally schooled,  I can look back and see that, even when I didn’t know anything about the term or that it even existed, I was always an unschooler at heart. If I had an interest, I explored it until my heart was content.  I have always loved learning, but I did not love school.

Before my oldest was 2 years old, I met a homeschool mom who I know God sent my way to set ablaze the path we were to take concerning my child(ren)’s education. Frankly, at that point, I dreaded the day I would have to officially send my child off to school.  We had so much fun learning together. I didn’t want to miss anything.

Unschooling was and is very natural for us.  After having lived it for almost 20 years now, I am definitely a believer.  A quick definition is that unschooling is simply child led learning.  It is gaining an education for a child that is fully centered around each child’s individual interests. I enjoy following and facilitating activities centered around what each of my children are interested in.  It makes for quite an adventurous life that one would be hard pressed to plan or duplicate.  For us, it is very much Holy Spirit centered and led as I know Holy Spirit is the one who keeps me abreast of what’s next for us.

This way of life is not for the faint of heart. It’s not for everyone, and certainly not for those who feel more comfortable following “the crowd”, doing what most everyone else is doing.  Child led learning can freak out such personality types, “How in the world will they ever learn to ______________!!!” There’s so many things one can insert in that blank, lol.  We are never without options for freaking out, I suppose.

Anyway, something interesting happened to us within the last week.  As I stopped to get water, not thinking of anything in particular, the Lord dropped 2 things in my spirit, my 2nd daughter Jenai (pronounced jen-ay) and a vocational-technical school nearby.

Here’s the thing.  My children have never attended school and I don’t know very much about schools here in Jersey as I grew up in DC.  When I received this download from my Abba, I said, “Ok, I’ll check it out.”  Jenai, like both of her parents, is all over the place with regards to interests and talents.  She sings, she draws, She makes video movies with dolls.  She is very handy around the house and loves to put together whatever comes in the house. She makes doll furniture and accessories and designs the set for her doll videos.  She builds things with cardboard boxes, like atm machines and vending machines that actually work.  She cooks, she does animation, dabbles in contortionism, loves doing nails, writes penpals making them pocket letters… You get the picture.  All over the place.

I talked with her about the school and explained that they offer a wide range of programs including green construction, animation, cosmetology, culinary arts and so much more.  She would be able to go for  2 hours each day, for whatever program she is interested in as a share time student and still be technically homeschooled.  I explained this to her, shared the website with her and let her know that she does not have to go if she isn’t interested.  I just felt led to check it out as I told Abba I would.

What was interesting for us, was that the school was having an orientation for students interested in attending in September and it turns out that Jenai is the exact age that they are ideally searching for.  Of course, Abba knew all this. I hurried and signed up for the orientation which was to be held days later. Interestingly enough, it was held on a day and at a time when we are typically not available, but that week, we were available.  God was up to something.  I told Jenai that we’d go and check it out.  At the very least, I told her that she would get resources to help her further her education outside of the school (impromptu prophesy, lol).  That happened and more.

While there, we did a 30 minute general information session, after which, we were given a folder that included a map of the building.  Each program was listed with classrooms where students and parents could go and get more information about as many programs as they chose.  I told Jenai to lead the way.  I wanted her to check out every area that was of interest to her.  I enjoyed following her lead and was happy that it was just the two of us. After attending 2 of them, we made our way to see the graphic design teacher.  My heart jumped with excitement as the teacher spoke. I knew this particular program would speak to Jenai’s heart more than the others had.

Not only did Jenai get information about the program there, but after telling the teacher a little about Jenai, she told us that industrial design is something that sounds right up Jenai’s alley.  She said that graphic design is a great foundation for industrial design.  She also told us about a nearby college that would accept credits from Jenai’s time at the school and those credits could go towards a degree in industrial design if she chooses to attend college.  She went on to invite Jenai to spend a day at the school next week to see what a day is like.

Between you and me, I am super excited.  My spirit is really excited for Jenai about it all.  I drove home to her that the Lord loves her so much that He would speak to me about her in this way.  She seems to be really excited too but whether she goes in the end or not, I am very happy that she knows God singled her out like this.  I am happy to have taken her somewhere, to look into things solely for her.

She’s funny, she said to me, “Man, the only drawback is that this is gonna mean I am no longer an unschooler, because I will technically go to school.”  I laughed and said, “Girl, this will make you an unschooler times two!! You will be going to school 2 hours a day, yes, but, you will be going to do something that is of interest to you, only because you choose to.”  That’s unschooling.

It’s the Thought That Counts

I hope this blog post finds you doing well, basking in the Christmas afterglow.  I just wanted to share a little of how mine went.
My husband is an air traffic controller, so he had to work late on Christmas day. In the morning, we had a wonderful time exchanging and opening gifts with our 5 children. This year felt particularly special as my girls are all older and did their own shopping.  They were all very thoughtful in what they gave everyone.  All of my gifts were very thoughtful. Each was something that I truly wanted but probably wouldn’t have gotten for myself. Each were things I hadn’t even mentioned, so for me, that made it all the more special knowing they really considered me and what I like. I won’t bore you with all that I received, but I will tell you about one gift in particular.
We recently de-cluttered our entire home. One item I intended to part with ended up being one that was too difficult to let go. It was a pink suitcase box that was a record player. My aunt bought it for me and she died when I was 10. It had reusable stickers of a home and furniture. I loved it and still have a few old records.
My 14 year old daughter, upon seeing how difficult it was for me to part with my now broken record player, decided to recreate the whole thing for me. She got me a new pink record player and some reusable Melissa & Doug stickers. I thought it was so thoughtful.
We played my old albums, starting with my Christmas With the Smurfs one and more. They all love the record player now and want more records.
I feel so enormously blessed to have such thoughtful children.  Each of them really touched my heart with their gift choices for myself and everyone else.  They make me so very proud to be their mother.  I am enjoying this time we have together, relaxing and not having to run anywhere.  I’m excited to continue on this way for a few more days.
Another blessing that I have received has to do with what recently happened to my youngest son. See the blog post about that here. The taunting images that kept replaying over and over have faded.  I can no longer see it as I did before and the whole event isn’t affecting me as it had before, thank God!  My baby is fine and we can move on happily, trauma free.
So, that’s it for now.  I pray that you and yours are blessed beyond measure and that this new year is your best yet!