Conversation With Grief

Emotions… Ugh. They can be hard and tricky at times. For as long as I can remember, I was groomed to shrug off the “negative” ones. They were seen as bad and unnecessary. They were also seemingly annoying and a huge bother to some, so I worked hard to stuff them and move on.

I have since changed dramatically. I now see emotions as tools, friends even, who come to visit, stay for a while and leave. They come to teach, hone, heal, bring pleasure and more. They aren’t necessarily good or bad, it just depends. I have learned to welcome them as friends and learn the lessons they come to teach me.

Now, I know there are people who are emotionally imbalanced. Some ruminate themselves into worse situations and inflate already horrible circumstances. Some create their own turmoil, completely unbeknownst to them.

I’m not talking about this type of person. I am thinking of one who has done inner work with God’s help, has a high level of (self) awareness and an understanding of who they are and how God created them. I’m talking about a relatively healthy individual, who is learning to process emotions in a healthy way and rid themselves of maladaptive patterns that helped them survive one point in their lives, but these patterns no longer serve them in any (good) way. I am referring to a person who is looking to change, grow and learn. I am talking about a person, much like myself. 🙂

I live in such a way that my mind is never too far from thinking about and/or talking to Holy Spirit. After a Zoom chat, I realized I began to experience grief. In lieu of being busy in order to ignore the uncomfortable feelings I was experiencing, I asked Holy Spirit how I should go about “welcoming Grief” as a friend this time around. Holy Spirit simply said, “Have a conversation with her.”

So, I did it. I got out my journal and wrote out the conversation as it unfolded. I hadn’t planned to share this with you but believe it is a good idea to do so. You know how it is, some things just feel private, sensitive and even silly.

So, with that, here’s my conversation with grief. I hope this blesses you,

With so much love, Patrice

A knock sounds at the door. I go to see who it is and come face to face with Grief. She’s back. Again.

Grief: Hello Patrice, can I come in and visit with you for a while?

Me- (Recognition, realization and acceptance dawning on my face all at once) Yes. Hello, Grief, please, come in. I suppose I’ll make us some tea.

Grief- Thank you for welcoming me in. I know I’m not your favorite guest.

Me- No, but I know you are sent when appropriate.

Grief- That’s right. You’ve come a long way. No, don’t try and mask that, “Then why are you here?” look. Let’s talk about it.

Me: You’re right. I am done with masks. So… I do understand you to be healthy for me. It’s just always painful when you arrive.

Grief: (Comes over to my seat, pulls out a set of chiseling tools and gets right to work.)

Me: Ow!! Why does this always have to hurt so much? Why now? Why can’t you just let me be happy?!

Grief: (Keeps chiseling) Happiness will return. Right now, you need me. I’m not here to hurt you. I am here to help you. See, you’d just as soon wear that filthy mask and slam the door in my face every time I come for a visit, and in doing so, you keep away not just me, but true happiness, freedom and love. Plus, you unintentionally invite others you’d enjoy far less than me, like disease and despair for instance.

Me: Ok, I get that. It’s just not fun when you come to visit.

Grief: I know Honey, but when you make room for me, I work very efficiently and leave you more beautifully healed than before. I won’t over stay my welcome and if you allow me to do what I came to do, I won’t call on Depression to join us. You know Depression doesn’t mind hanging about.

Me: Yes. I know… Grief?

Grief: Yes, Dear… (keeps chiseling different areas)

Me: Thank you. I know I don’t give you the easiest time of working with me, but I appreciate what you do for me. I know I need these visits.

Grief: It’s my pleasure to see you better off as I leave, than when I arrive, Dear. Almost done for this visit, ok?

Me: Ok

Grief: There. All done for now. (packs up and heads to the door)

We walk to the door together wordlessly, as words would simply add unnecessary clutter. At the door, I look up at her. She really is a dear friend to me . She stares back at me lovingly, unflinchingly, and slowly lowers her head until our foreheads touch. We both close our eyes as tears roll down my cheeks, and suddenly, she’s gone.

Me: See you later dear friend.

Drop The Rope

There are these people in the world… People who are hurting. Some are angry, and I don’t mean just a little mad. They are enraged on the inside, ready to erupt at a moments notice. Some are in despair. They don’t know what to do, where to turn, and surely, they don’t know how to heal. Some don’t even know they need to heal.

There are people, walking around seemingly fine. We see them every day. They smile at us and wish us well, but if you take just a second to really look, you’ll see that the smile doesn’t quite reach their eyes. Some people don’t bother with a mask of any sort. They are akin to the walking dead, blank, steady gaze and all.

There are people who walk around like burn victims with exposed wounds. Any little wind that blows by, any touch at all, not only stings furiously, but it seems to threaten their very existence. Some know and are well acquainted with their wounds, others have no idea about the gaping, oozing holes they carry all over their person.

One thing too many of these people seem to have in common is they carry a rope.

When one has pent up emotions of any sort, there is a need for release. For some, release comes easiest with the use of the rope they carry. They walk around, hauling it along, searching, waiting, hoping to get someone to take the other end of it so they can engage in a much needed release that comes from that old game, “Tug of War”.

One needn’t engage them directly. They only need to sense someone is against them in some way, it being true or not is of no consequence, they only need to feel it is so. Then, in their minds, it simply is so. They can, in good conscience, feeling fully justified, act.

The problem is, we are at one point or another, all playing this role. We all see things in part, and from a wide array of perspectives. We come from many different angles of thought and another thing we all seem to have in common is that we feel we are right. We leave no room for others with differing opinions to be right as well because- gasp, horror of horrors- that might very well make us, well, wrong. Some cannot stomach that.

So, perhaps, along your journey, you have reached a level of freedom that another has yet to obtain. It offends them and boom, they offer you the other end of the rope. (((rope is dropped at your feet))) Do you engage? Most of us do, at least initially.

See, many of us have a deep seated desire to be heard and understood. We don’t enjoy our words and ideas being twisted into something sinister when we know in our hearts that our intent is far from anything evil. We know where we are coming from and if we could just help them see… (((picks up the other end of the rope and pulls)))

The issue with this is that all too often, people are where they are, and your engaging in that tug of war with them will not only not change their view (or yours) but they don’t even want any change. They are simply here to be heard. They are here for the release that tug of war brings them. They don’t care about your viewpoint. They don’t want to know more or learn from you at all. Some are actually hellbent on misunderstanding you. For whatever reason, at this time in their lives, that is what they feel they need and frankly, it isn’t about you at all, you just happened to touch a tender wound they have open. This is where discernment is key. You don’t need to have every person understand you. It’s not for you to morph into Holy Spirit Jr, complete with cape and tights, to force them to see the light. Let them be where they are and pray for them. Don’t engage in fruitless battles that leave everyone just a little bit more damaged and settled further into only seeing from their limited perspective.

We all, at some point or another carry wounds. At times, we are the ones walking around with that heavy rope, offering it to anyone who’d take the other end and assist us in a much needed, albeit damaging exercise of release. We also play or have played the role of the one just wanting to blow off some steam with no intention of actually healing, but simply leaving behind collateral damage as we pick up our rope once again and tromp off to find someone else who is willing to engage in the exact same manner, smh.

My prayer is that with God’s help, we can begin to see. I pray that veils are lifted, blinders are removed, scales fall off eyes and we begin to see the real enemy clearly. Helpful hint- it’s not each other. We need to stop looking at issues from an “us versus them” perspective and when possible, shift to an “us versus the problem” standpoint. Just that alone could completely change how we “fight”. It could shift from fighting against one another, to fighting for one another. What could that look and be like?

My prayer is that we can stop and think, “If I am the one walking around with wounds, why don’t I seek healing for them instead of keeping and ignoring them and carrying this rope?” Perhaps instead of picking up the other end, we can refuse to engage in such destructive patterns of behavior, thereby refusing to be party to causing further damage to others and ourselves. We don’t have to engage in a tug of war.

My prayer is that we could each make a decision as many times as necessary, to just drop the rope.

Which Table Will You Choose?

I have been really going inward more, leaning in to the Lord’s arms and paying close attention to what is going on in the spirit. There’s so much activity. Sometimes it feels exciting, in a fun way, other times it just feels serious and grave.

A friend from high school posted something one day (on social media) that struck me and still does. He wrote something like, “Father please forgive me for the times I desired a seat at a table Jesus would have flipped over.” My goodness… If we’re honest, we have all been there at least once.

Part of what struck me about this was considering times where I have embodied this in my life. I thought I was justified and was totally fine with being seated at a table that Jesus might flip over as he did in the Temple where he said they used his Father’s house as a den of thieves.

Another thought hit me hard. I honestly believe many are about to find themselves happily seated at a table that God is going to flip over in a big way.

God gives wisdom freely to those who ask. There’s no need to meander about life with little to no direction or discernment. Again, these are freely given. All one has to do is ask.

I will be spending more time in prayer for us all. May none of us find ourselves happy to dine at a table that would make Jesus angry enough to flip it. Surely, that is not a table we should desire to sit and eat. I’d much rather sit at the table my Heavenly Father prepares for me. It’s far better.

God Wins

Man… We all have our assignments, don’t we? Love is a big part of my assignment. I am to be a safe haven for people. I have the ability to speak plainly and lovingly at the same time. I don’t mince words or sugarcoat, but I am not brutal and cutting in my delivery. My stature and disposition are such that I tend to be accepted by most. I can talk to just about anyone and get on just fine. Although I am a Christian, I am able to be an open, loving and safe person for literally anyone to come to for prayer, no matter what faith or lack thereof, they possess. I have people who are atheists, agnostic, witches and more, all of whom I love dearly, come to me for prayer, knowing full well it’s Jesus all day over here. I seem to get passes in places and spaces and hearts where others are irrevocably shut out, and God has blessed me to be able to do it while not compromising who I am at all, not even one iota. I love it. Well, I mostly love it.

Sometimes, I want to fly off the handle a bit. Sometimes, I want to just brutally state things that I know are true, but that is not my assignment. I seem to be a go between of sorts for people on their way to the Father who would never go to some others I know. I wish I could be as snarky as I feel in some moments, but I know that would destroy things in ways that frankly, I’m not willing to. My ability to be loving has to override my need to be right. It’s sometimes a difficult place to be in but God is faithful. He gives me words and more love than enough and even safe people of my own to rant and vent to when I have let Him have an earful.

I wrote another (probably cryptic) post on my Facebook wall today. It’s interesting- I’ve been doing it for a while now and while I can clearly see where some people’s hearts are, they don’t at all realize where they are in the moment.

There are things that are about to take place and I am praying. My latest post is as follows:

“I know I keep saying this, but I will be praying. Lotta hurt coming for some. Some will enjoy and have their popcorn and cake, while others will be scared, angry, confused and utterly shocked. For those who will find themselves in the latter group, I will be praying for you and sending you love. All will be OK even though it won’t feel that way.”

Inevitably, some who I know (in my heart) will fall into that latter, hurting group, show they don’t have any idea, nothing in them is stirred to see what’s right before us. It is for them I pray most, as it seems they will be the most hurt. What seems so obvious to some, just isn’t for others. It doesn’t make one better though. We can and have all been deceived at times.

Another post I wrote was about a brother who asked God why others didn’t see what to him is completely obvious. God told him that those who love the truth, see. How sad. Even more than ever, I believe 2020 was about exposure and clarity of vision. Either way, I will celebrate as God has placed in my heart some serious celebratory vibes, lol. And, I will also be praying for those who won’t enjoy the plot twist that is to come. It really is a great thing for us all. Simply because God wins.

Loving On My Abba

God is amazing. I am in such awe of Him. I love how He moves, blesses and protects us. I love how He uses any and everything to reach us, change us and elevate us. I love how merciful and gracious He is, how He cares about every little detail. I see how He plays with me and helps me practice hearing Him. Just the other day, as we looked for something we didn’t even end up needing, I closed my eyes and saw what looked like a picture of what we were looking for. I went to that location and found it there. I feel that was God practicing with me. Every interaction isn’t as obvious as neon lights, screaming a message. Sometimes, actually, a lot of the time for me, He speaks calmly, quietly, almost imperceptibly. I hear Him this way often. I wonder how many times I miss Him.

I love how good He was to me and my family in 2020, when so many collectively complained about the year. It was an amazing year in so many ways. I am now seeing that the last few years, while incredibly difficult and painful, were also not just great years, but pivotal years for me. I needed to deal with and go through it to come out the way God intended. I love how He is teaching me to look to Him and trust Him in deeper ways. I am far less concerned about how I am perceived by others now. I feel like a new person and at the same time, more of who I really am. I am ok with others’ disappointment. I’m ok that I won’t always be understood or accepted. I don’t need to break things down to people so that I am vindicated or justified in their eyes. It doesn’t matter. God has me covered. I am not so easily swayed or manipulated any longer. I have a much better understanding of where others end and I begin and I’m not confused about how, when and where to draw definitive lines. I’m no longer banging my head against a wall, trying to understand, make sense of, or participate in toxicity and chaos. I am free and at peace.

If there’s joy to be found, God will help me find it. We have fun with that. If there’s a reason to laugh, tickled, I will be. If there’s something to be done by me, I will do it. If I need to pull back and have a seat, I will do that too. I aim to keep my head to the chest of my sweet Abba. I aim to be ever aware of His rhythm and flow along, because with Him, I am safe. His love knows no bounds. How utterly beautiful He is.

I’m A Little Teacup (Apparently)

All my life, I have had what I now recognize as a prophetic gift. I would inexplicably know, hear or sense things. There weren’t many people I could openly talk to about any of it but it was there, showing up at various times in my life, over and over again. Sometimes, I’d blurt something out, other times, I’d just know. There were even times, I acted on what I knew and all would work out beautifully.

I don’t believe my gift is just for me, but I now see that it is not just for others either. I enjoy ministering prophetically, and I do so, not just in “appropriate”, church related areas and events, but wherever I am, whenever I feel I should. I feel compelled to do what God leads me to do, even if others don’t like it or agree. I just do, and I don’t apologize for that.

God gives us what we need as we are able to handle it. He is so good, He wouldn’t give us something good that we couldn’t handle, only to have it crush us. I got pretty good at ministering prophetically to others, it would get especially interesting and fun when I’d be paired with my oldest daughter. We have a sort of “Wonder Twin Power Activate!” kind of thing when paired together. We often see parts of the exact same message God has for people we minister to, and have been known to give really nice, more full pictures of things for people. It’s nice.

After some years of ministering to others, a group of friends and I began to focus on hearing God for ourselves more. We all agreed that hearing for others felt better, more accurate. When hearing something for ourselves, it got tricky. So many questions come to mind. Am I making it up? Is this me just telling myself what I want to hear, or is this really God? Lord, can you give me confirmation through something or someone else? Am I hearing you right? Can I trust that I am hearing from you, but for me this time?

I (low key) enjoy challenges, so along with my friends, I began a journey of getting to a point where I am more confident in hearing God for myself. I’m still on this journey and others, of course, but I am definitely not where I was and I believe it was all a massive set up, by God.

He began to tell me things for and about myself. He’d then confirm them in many ways, oftentimes, before I would think to ask for any confirmation. Without going into a long story, He has walked me through some unimaginable stuff, telling me exactly how to do it- and it didn’t always make even a little bit of natural sense- but it has been nothing short of glorious. The faith that I have in Him has grown exponentially. I’m pretty buff in the spirit, hahaha! With Him and because of Him, I am able to walk pathways not many can walk, and I am able to do it with my joy, peace and strength in tact. Perhaps these are stories I will tell someday. For now, let’s just say, I am one who looks nothing like all I’ve been through. When some hear my stories, they are shocked because again, you’d never know if I didn’t say anything. That’s how gracious God is though.

As long as I live, I will do what He wants me to do and say what He wants me to say to others. Right now, I’m just grateful that it isn’t just for others. It’s for me too.

I’ll end with a vision God showed me a few days ago. I eagerly sent a message to my Gary about it the next morning. He interprets dreams and visions… Here’s what I wrote:

“Good morning beloved Dad! I had a vision as I went to bed last night. I saw a white teacup. It was tilted over to pour and what was pouring out was crystal clear rivers of waters. It was an impossible amount pouring out of this small teacup, but it poured continuously and vigorously. Basically, a river pouring from a little white teacup, hahaha!”

Lol, I can still see the teacup. That water was not slowing or stopping. It was gushing forth with no end in sight.

Do you know what my dad said? His reply was simple. He said, “The teacup is you.” How sweet is God?!

Moments of Pause

Several years ago, I learned to pause. I would intentionally stop and do nothing, even if just for a minute or two. Over the years, this time has proven to be an amazing reset and reprieve as there’s always something to do in a house of 7.

During these moments, I rarely actually pray. I simply turn my heart and mind towards God and am open to hearing from Him in these moments. One of the things I have noticed is that it has caused me to be far more in tune with Him. At the busiest points of my day, in the midst of all the noise, I can still hear Him clearly. It’s as if, in the intentional moments, I am tuning in more pointedly and as I leave that moment, the tuning that I have gained remains, only to be improved with the following intentional pauses.

I love and appreciate that in the midst of anxiety ridden moments, I can still hear Him. I love it when He asks me, “What are you looking at?” in those moments, jarring me from sinking further into despair. I am able to shift my focus and look at Him because He is just so beautiful. It feels like such an amazing cheat to have in life. We never have to wallow in despair and anguish. What a gift!

My time of pausing typically includes me just listening to whatever sounds are around me. Right now, my children are asleep and I hear my cockatiel Birdie, singing and chirping beautifully. I hear planes flying overhead, cars whizzing by, birds outside, the hum of the refrigerator and the clicking of my fingers as I type this. I really enjoy the simple beauty in just being.

God is changing my pauses now in an interesting way (for me). My pause now includes worship music at times. Being a classically trained coloratura soprano who has sung in church for most of my life, one would surmise (incorrectly) that I listen to music all the time. Music is a sore spot for me. Oftentimes, it is very triggering, especially now. It takes me back to times that I had forgotten about, feelings I’d buried because I couldn’t deal with them at the time. It brings too much to the forefront, too fast and too intensely and I hate it. Most of the time, I don’t mind when my husband and children play music around me. We have fun singing during road trips and have frequent dance parties in our living room, but sometimes, depending on the type of music being played, I can’t handle it and seek to escape. On my own, I am far more prone to listen to books or lectures than music. Now, God has me actually wanting to hear music at times during my pauses and it is quite glorious.

I would like to share one of my current favorite pause songs by Rick Pino called Pour My Love On You. Click here for the link. I hope you enjoy it. It really blesses me every time I listen.

I’m still not listening to music in the car as I drive, though. Don’t want to. Love you…

Harmful Perceptions and Mindsets

In Disney’s Pocahontas, when they sang, “They’re different from us, which means they can’t be trusted”, it was easy to see how self-righteous they were. I believe it was easier for viewers to see because we got to see both sides.

We got a glimpse into how both sides lived and thought and had a picture that was more broad. From what I can see, the sentiment from that song has permeated a good deal of people in America.

On one hand, we say we love freedom and free speech, but the moment someone says something in opposition to the narrative we have chosen to believe, we damn them. They are wrong, we are right. We condemn what we don’t understand and label people accordingly. We call them hateful names, believe them to be deceived and worse, all while missing the venom spewing from our very pores. All this, because we don’t understand their point of view. How childish… How self-righteous… How, narcissistic.

Our thinking and comprehension is finite. We have little more than tunnel vision when it comes to many things. We need each other to see things more clearly. We need God. In some instances, we seem to be able to face this fact, but the idea that someone you don’t understand is suddenly deemed whatever horrible label you want to assign to them, is sheer lunacy. Just say you don’t understand! You know your side, how about you listen to another side? You just might learn something.

People’s hearts are so wounded. It grieves me to witness the horrific things that come out of those I previously thought were mature, balanced, and kind. I am even more amazed as I see that they are completely blinded to their hatred. It is true that when pressure is applied in one’s life, what’s inside comes out. For some, it is a shining moment, where obvious inner beauty shines forth as with diamonds that have endured tremendous pressure. For others, what comes forth is simply rancid and ugly.

My prayer today is that we can all learn to look inward. As I type, Michael Jackson’s Man In the Mirror plays in my mind. We truly need to be the change we wish to see. Many of us have heard that often, but how many of us actually live like that? If you have hatred and are holding grudges, spewing all forms of malice in anyone’s direction, you are bound and only hurting and deceiving yourself. Galations 5:1 in The Passion Translation reads, “Let me be clear, the Anointed One has set us free– not partially, but completely and wonderfully free! We must always cherish this truth and stubbornly refuse to go back into the bondage of our past.”

If you see yourself still bound, still as a victim, still being oppressed and depressed by some elusive other, you won’t experience the freedom Jesus died and paid for. As long as you see yourself this way, yeah, you are oppressed. You need little help from anyone else to keep you that way too. You do it yourself just by your thinking. You turn your back on what the Word of God says, in favor of… what? As my dad, Russ would say, “How’s that been working for ya?” We have to stop putting all the focus on some elusive other, look inward, get real with what’s there, and seek to heal. Famous Actor Denzel Washington said, “We can’t blame the system. It starts at home. By the time the system is involved, it’s already too late.”

Truly, it starts with that “Man In the Mirror”. As long as we are looking outward for others to fix our issues, we will only be as good as they are to us, moment by moment. I don’t know about you. You are free to do what you want, but I am not set up for that kind of bondage. I am free.

The God Cheat

There have been so many times I thought to write. There have been many things I thought to write about, but each time, I just didn’t. I have had so many different things on my mind. I have several new things I am already doing and a few others that want to get into, so, as usual, I’m all over the place.

I pray all is well with you and yours during this time. For many, it is fraught with fear, uncertainty, sadness and more. I pray often for us all, and especially those having a tough time as we wait out this pandemic.

I never want to appear callous or as if I take grave things lightly, especially when others around me are clearly suffering. I am sensitive to that as I have been told throughout my life that I didn’t take things seriously because I wasn’t perceived to be worried enough.

The fact is, I trust God. That doesn’t mean I don’t have bouts of fear and He doesn’t have to pull me back into sanity, but as I heard a doctor say on a video, (paraphrasing) “If I can’t trust God to protect me from this virus, how can I say I trust Him for salvation and an eternity with Him in Heaven?”

In the beginning of this, I remember a moment where I felt fear creeping in. It was because of false information being circulated. Thankfully, God set me straight and showed me where I was to get my information. Ever since then, I have felt hope and peace and even joy in the midst of it all.

In this moment, I sat to write because I suddenly turned my attention to Abba and said, “Are you serious? Am I really sitting here happy and making plans and enjoying this time? It seems like I am cheating. It seems kind of wrong.” I am enjoying time with my husband and our 5 children. I am planning and delving into new things and old things that I used to enjoy, like rollerskating. Numerous blessings have come about because of and in spite of all that is going on. Things just look, hopeful and bright. I won’t apologize for this, and I refuse to allow anything or anyone rob me of this.

A former pastor of mine used to say peace isn’t the absence of conflict. You know you have peace when all hell is breaking loose around you and you’re good. I am using wisdom when I have to go out, but I am grateful that I am not afraid. I see this as an opportunity to grow deeper in intimacy and trust in God. I remember when I felt that first bout of fear coming on, I asked God to help me to trust Him because I didn’t really know how. The really cool thing is, even with Him saying we are to trust Him, He is the one who helps us to do it. He does it all. I pray you are well.

Being Valued

I always thought that in order to be loved, I had to be really good. I was literally told that I wasn’t wanted so I translated that message into having to work hard to make everyone happy and proud and then, maybe, I would be loved and wanted in return. I did pretty good with it too, adapting a lot of perfectionistic behaviors to try and make it all work out. Thanks be to God, I am so done with that.

What I dismissed and ignored, God has shone a blazing light on. I am no longer normalizing the abnormal and harmful. I am facing what is, head on and with God’s help, healing and dealing with it all. It is HARD. I am worth it though. So I trudge through, sometimes laughing, playing and joking, other times sobbing and wailing, but I am moving, always moving along.

Just after Christmas, I had two sisters come to visit for 5 days. My children and I were sick most of their visit but we still managed to have a great time. One of my sisters prophesied over me that she could see many hands reaching for me, to give to me, to love me. Others in my life have said that this is a time of me really seeing my worth and how people value me, like never before. I am finding that I am far more valued than I ever imagined and it isn’t new. I just didn’t see it. I believed lies and behaved from that perspective but I am not doing that any more. What I am noticing is amazing.

My husband was face timing 3 friends when he came home from work one day. He passed the phone to me and when the 3 guys saw me, I was ready to cry. They all tilted their heads to the side, smiling and what I can only describe as pure love, shone on their faces. I was stunned. It was very overwhelming and I even laughed and told them they were gonna make me cry looking at me like that. Then they all laughed.

The truth is what my Mama Robin recently told me when I thanked her for loving me. She said, “Loving you is the easy part.” I am seeing now that it’s true. I am easy to love and oh so valued by so many. I am so grateful.