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My Granny was one of my greatest spiritual mentors. It was not until she had a stroke and could no longer walk or talk that many of the words that she had spoken to me over and over throughout my life finally really sunk into me. It was like all of her teaching time was over, and the lessons were finally transferred to me, and I began saying the words back to her….reminding her of her own lessons as she suffered greatly at the end of her life. It was beautiful and sad at the same time.

“I finally get it Granny, and now we cannot talk about it together. You can no longer speak, and I am speaking your words back into you.”

But the good news is that although she is no longer with us I did finally get it, and she has left a legacy of spiritual wisdom here on earth.

Granny had many flaws and issues. She was far from perfect, but she lived a long life of fearless faith. She showed me the power of the Holy Spirit in a surrendered and humble human being. She never made a spectacle of herself when the spirit moved her. It was not for show with her. It was reality.

She taught me far too many things to mention in one short post, but a few small examples come to mind.

She taught me about the power of spoken words to create in our lives through faith or in fear. It is our choice.

She taught me that prayer works.

Everyone used to call her and say, “Will you pray for me about such and such because your prayers work.” She would always firmly tell me, “Your prayers work too! But, yes, I will agree with you in prayer of course.”

I will never forget walking into her bedroom as a little child crying with unbearable pain in my feet…..an odd ailment that tormented me many a night in my childhood. She whisked me upon the bed with Papa and her, grabbed my feet and began praying out loud for healing. She even commanded the devil to leave my feet alone which I thought was very strange even as a child…..but to my astonishment it worked! My feet instantly stopped hurting, and that had never happened before. It was a lesson in faith that bewildered me but that I also never forgot.

I sometimes quietly told myself that she was really an angel in disguise on earth. She had learned over her long life the art of  keeping a gentle tone in her voice when dealing with us kids, and her hair was even snow-white which fit the angel persona in my childhood mind.

Although she was quite the Alpha woman, a leader, a mover and a shaker….she was also gentle and compassionate in her approach…..a delicate balance of power and humility.

Even her death seemed divinely orchestrated. She passed away quietly in her sleep early one Thanksgiving morning when the family was already gathered in from out of town for Thanksgiving Day. And it seems fitting that she would leave us with one last message just by passing on that day…..Be grateful for all of life, but do not fear death for it is also a part of life.

Last year when my family suffered two horrible losses…..the death of a baby and the sudden death of a beloved young uncle…..my mom found a copy of a prayer tucked away in my grandmother’s keepsakes. We read it at our private outdoor memorial. It seemed like Granny’s contribution to us during this difficult time. It must have been a prayer that she kept close to her heart, and it is a prayer that I hope to live by every day. I will close with the prayer:

Keep us O God from pettiness: let us be large in thought, in word, in deed.

     Let us be done with fault finding, and leave off self-seeking. May we put away all pretense and meet each other face to face without self-pity and without prejudice.

     May we never be hasty in judgment and always generous.

     Let us take time for all things: make us to grow calm, serene, gentle.

     Teach us to put into action our better impulses, straight forward, and unafraid. Grant that we realize it is the little things that create differences and that in the big things of life we are as one.

     And may we strive to touch and know the great common human heart of us all, and O God, let us forget not to be kind.                                                                                                                                                                 Amen

 

I think that the revelation of grace is one of the best kept secrets of all time. People hear about grace, read about grace, talk about grace, sing about grace and even extend grace to others all the time, but very few seem to really “get it.”

I was raised in church my entire childhood. We were there every week an hour early for “Sunday School” and then stayed for the actual church service. We went to weekday services between Sundays, and I always attended or worked at summer Bible schools and camps.  I was blessed not to be in a fear based “hell-fire” atmosphere. There was a lot of love there and focus on giving to the poor. We were taught the actual Bible and not watered down stories even as kids so I had a very good foundation in teachings about grace, and one would think that grace would be a no brainer for me.

But my own experience is that grace really is a revelation or an epiphany that takes place in the soul or spirit. It is hard to describe it in words because it is almost beyond words. The word is “grace” and that does not really explain it. I have found that when I try to explain it to people they either light up with recognition because they have had this epiphany themselves or they look at me with eyes of confusion because they either do not understand what I am saying or they think that I am saying something wrong…I don’t know.

It was not until later in my adulthood that I had the realization of grace. And when I did I honestly felt as if I had been born into a new life.

I walked around in awe telling people “I feel like I have been struggling to get through a very tight dark womb and have finally been born into the light of the free world.”

The experience for me was so intense that I worried that people might think that I was a little “crazy.” They probably did.

I  remember saying, “Oh! This must be what those people mean when they say “born again!” But do they even know it?”

So what is it? How do I find the words?

Well I used to think that I had to try really hard to be “good.” I had to struggle to “do the right thing” all the time. I had to work hard. I had to help everyone that needed anything. I had to “be there” for everyone all the time. I had to strive and strain to achieve perfection, and with all of this hard work I would one day “arrive” at this Christ like state of being.

I would drop everything in my own life and help others…friends, family…no matter what. I was doing many “good” things for others. I was ALWAYS there if they needed me and not just there as a friend or in comfort, but I was there doing everything ..being everything…..I was playing God!

I was the one that they came too for literally EVERYTHING. I was very co-dependent. I was being their Holy Spirit. With me around no one had any need to go to God for anything. I had all of the answers and all of the help available 24 hours a day…Haha!

I was getting my self worth from “helping” everyone else…from being needed…from trying so hard to be good…to be God.

I was also getting more and more drained, depleted, and resentful. People never gave as much to me as I did to them. My own life and all of my own problems and issues were conveniently being ignored by me, and my own life was not going so great. I even dropped out of college several times because there was ALWAYS a big crisis in my dysfunctional family during the semester, and I would turn all of my focus onto that drama instead of my own life. Co-dependence is just another form of escapism.

So the revelation of grace did not happen overnight. I guess it was a lifelong process that finally came to a head, but when it finally clicked it seemed like it happened all of a sudden.

I realized that all of this trying and struggling and being everything to everyone was wrong. This is not the way to grow into the Christ-like being of love that I was hoping to emulate.

I realized that Christ does indeed dwell within me (Ephesians 3:17)…that the Holy Spirit is inside me (1 John 4:13)…that God which is love is within my very heart, soul, spirit and body.

I, like every human, am a unique creation. I am created specifically a certain way in order to express a unique aspect of God (love) on this planet at this time. I am created “in the image of God.” I, like everyone, am a unique ray of God’s immense love. This is cliché, but there has never been nor will there ever be another expression of God’s love on earth that is exactly like me so if I am not my true self…the “self” that I was created to be… then the world will not experience this unique aspect of God’s image ever again. In being my true “child of God” self I am fulfilling my purpose.

Grace is not about how hard I try, how much I do, how good I am, how much I struggle to be something.

Grace is about surrender…letting go…allowing the spark of God that I carry within me which is without limits…without fear…eternal and infinite to come alive on this limited 3 dimensional earth in this limited 3 dimensional body that I live in for this finite time.

It is nothing that I have or can ever earn by working hard and following rules, but as I surrender to this gift which is given to me because of the love of God that is within me and around me I am then COMPELLED to do the good things…the loving things that I was uniquely created to do.

I am no longer struggling to prove myself to God or others in order to earn love, approval, or status. I no longer have to wear myself out to do everything right and to be everything to everyone in order to achieve a Christ-like state of being.

When I let go of all of the struggling and trying and working, and I release myself from my inner task master in order to surrender to the spirit of love (Christ) that is within me I almost naturally but also supernaturally begin to walk on the path of fulfilling the purpose and doing the good works that God has purposed for me and my life……And that does not include every good work that my poor body can possibly do.

Yes…sometimes I catch myself slipping back into my co-dependent ways. I do not have it all perfectly figured out. I have not “arrived”

But I can at least catch it now at some point before it gets out of control because of the revelation of the grace of God which is given to me by the grace of God.

*”Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”   Matthew 11: 28-30 (Jesus’ words) emphasis mine

* “What I’m saying is, If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face. But if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”   Luke 14:11 (Jesus’ words)(emphasis mine)

* “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”  Romans 8:1

* “If I was “trying to be good,” I would be rebuilding the same old barn that I tore down. I would be acting as a charlatan.

 What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.”   Galatians 2: 18-21

We are finally here…the anxiously awaited year of 2012. This is the year that many have thought about, talked about and written about….and here we are. And I feel a buzz of excitement in the air. There is spirit of change blowing through this time and space like a hurricane force wind.

There are uprisings of people around the globe. All over the world people are finding the courage to rise up against oppression, tyranny and lies. People are demanding truth, and they are revealing truth of all kinds. Things that have been kept in darkness are being brought out into the light for all to see. There is an awakening of sorts happening. I see it all over the world.

I have been connected to people around the planet through the internet in a way that was not possible just a few decades ago. I hear the same message and longing from them all. People are calling for hearts to be changed and opened. People of the world are crying out for the truth to be revealed and for truth to be heard. People are longing for human connection and divine connection. People are daring to believe that a better world is possible. People are looking for something much greater than themselves alone whether they realize it or not.

I see great fear in people of the world, but then I see them fighting that fear with great ferocity through the power of  faith, love, and connection.  I see courage in humanity…courage to speak the truth…courage to stand up for peace, freedom, and love…courage to be themselves.

There is an opening right now like a beautiful flower that is just beginning to bloom. Hearts, minds, and eyes are opening globally and this is being manifested in many different ways.

There is also great opposition to the spirit if these times. That is the way that it is on planet earth. There is always opposition…light and dark, yin and yang, good and evil….everything has an equal and opposite reaction.

I feel a burning in my soul and a vibration of a higher frequency that is becoming more harmonious with the song of the creator’s love….Agape…unconditional love.

No…I do not always act in harmony with it, but I feel it in my spirit. As I allow myself to open more and more to the heart of God… the spirit of this great love flows through me and it makes me dance to its music.

These are amazing times to be alive. My cells are singing with anticipation of the things to come. I do not imagine it all to be easy as great things rarely are, but I am working towards surrender to something beautiful and new. I hope that you can tune in and feel it too.

Just like a mighty Oak Tree receives the light of heaven freely through its branches,

As I reach toward heaven the love of God flows freely through me by grace.

Just as the tree is nourished all the way to its roots by the sun,

So am I nourished through and through with the light of God.

As the tree sways in harmony with the breeze while remaining firmly rooted to the dark womb of earth,

I remain solidly grounded as I am moved in a dance like flow by the breath of the Holy Creator.

Everywhere I look nature teaches me about the love of the one who created it.

And in looking at the tree I am reminded that I too am a conduit between heaven and earth.
As I gently walk the earth in this dense physical body totally open-hearted and surrendered in spirit,

The love of Christ flows to me and through me, and I humbly become a bringer of heaven to earth.

I caught a glimpse of the Holy One out of the corner of my eye.

I tried to grab Him and wrestle Him down. I wanted answers from Him.

I struggled to keep Him in my grasp, but like liquid He just slipped through my fingers.

I chased His river as it flowed before me until I was close enough to dive in.

But right at the moment that I began to jump He evaporated and rose to the sky.

I crashed to the ground all bloody and bruised, and I watched Him float by like a cloud.

With nothing left for me to do I just lay there exhausted and drained.

He was out of my reach, and my eyelids grew heavy as I  watched him drifting away.

My teary eyes finally gave in and closed as I began to rest.

The moment that I finally let go He rained down on me sweetly in my sleep.

What’s the part of your heart that you manifested in me?

What were your thoughts and words that created my flesh?

Which shiny facet of you am I to reflect?

What’s the dream of yours that I am to be?

What part of yourself were you hoping to display when you knit me together in the womb?

Merge my heart with the part of your heart that is me.

Let me be the part of you I was created to be.

There are certain gifts that people are just born with. Well, “gift” is not even the right word. It is who we are. It is not only part of our DNA, but it is somehow imprinted into our hearts and souls.

That is how dancing is for me. I am not saying that I am the world’s greatest dancer, but I was a born dancer. I was dancing before I could walk and begging to take classes by age three.

My parents saw this true desire and gifting in me and were good at supporting me by taking me to classes and coming to all of the performances. My mom even held my dancing as sacred for me because she stood up to my step father when he bitched about my loud dancing feet scratching up the wood floor of my bedroom on the second floor above his room. She said, “She’s a dancer! You cannot tell her not to dance!”

My dancing was the expression of my deepest soul. I danced for hours and hours in my room when I was not in the studio. I could free style and just allow the music to move me, and I also choreographed and performed daily for my family. My friends and I even spent our play time choreographing and performing for our parents during play dates.

I danced when I was sad or angry. I would passionately dance it out alone in my room. I danced when I was happy and celebratory as well. Dancing was my way of releasing everything, and it was my escape. It was my refuge. I could literally block out everything around me and enter another dimension when I was dancing whether shining like a star in front of an audience or all alone in secret solitude.

Dancing was also my way of connecting to God. I could feel a larger higher spirit pulsing through me when I danced, and I was even asked to dance in church as a young teenager. When I was finished and  “came back” to reality I saw everyone in tears in the congregation. Apparently they could feel it too. But usually this was something that I did alone with God.

When I went to college I immediately got into a dance company. At that time I was so depressed and still reeling from the things that I had been through before college that I no longer felt like dancing. I just didn’t care anymore. I could hardly dance, and that was my major red flag that something was horribly wrong in my very soul…….But that is not the story for today.

Saturday night I got the pleasure of dancing with my two-year old daughter in her very first dance recital. It was more than just a child’s recital for me because it was as if everything had come around full circle, and I was back on that dance stage. But this time I was with my baby…holding her hand….quietly whispering the next step in her ear….lifting her up….swaying and sashaying hand in hand….and experiencing her first performance with her.

What a magical and healing experience. I was taken back to all of my childhood performances. I was reliving them …not just through my daughter…..but actually with her.

Honestly I can hardly explain it, but if your soul is a dancer like mine you may understand. Or maybe if your soul is a singer or an artist of some sort you may understand too. But helping my baby as she danced for the very first time under the lights stirred my soul. It re-awakened something within me that is actually me, and I was teary eyed all weekend.

When she came outside after the show and saw her two grandmothers she gleefully said,  “I’m a dancer! I’m a dancer!”……

Wow!…… Me too!…… And forgetting that is forgetting who I am in my truest self.

I am thankful for the divine cycles that bring us back around to ourselves. And I will never forget the feeling of dancing with my baby girl in her very first performance. I will try to hang on to that feeling of life continuing…..renewing…..and healing. And I will try to dance again.

My older sister has defied death several times. The most recent time was the most miraculous, but the first time was the most mysterious.

About 12 years ago I lived in a tin roofed four room shack that stood on cinder blocks in the “hood.” When I say “hood”  I mean that the projects were basically in my back yard. This house looked a lot like a crack house, but when I moved in I noticed that instead of the normal gang related or obscene graffiti that you might expect to see in this house there was a verse from scripture written on the wall inside. It said,

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”     James 1:17

And even though I was not at all “living for the Lord” by all religious standards, I had a deep love for God. I was definitely living a worldly life because that is just where I was at the time, but I did have a relationship with God, and He had his hand on my life in spite of my hedonism. I know that whole idea may stump some people, but all I can say is that is just the way it was. Many supernatural things happened in my life while I lived in that crazy house, and my sister’s brush with death was just one of them.

My older sister and my younger sister came over one day to hang out with me and my boyfriend. My older sister did not seem to feel quite right, and she complained of a headache that made her feel like her head would explode. My boyfriend (now husband) got up to go to the bathroom and my older sister started babbling in a way that made no sense. I tried to make light of it at first, and I said to her, “Are you talking to little green men?” She then just continued to talk completely out of her mind. My little sister and I just looked at each other in a questioning and worried way. Then before we could even say anything my older sister just literally passed out.

I immediately jumped into action and ran to her. I felt her body, and yelled, “Oh my God! She’s burning up!” I started pulling her sweatshirt off of her limp body and barked at my boyfriend to grab an ice pack. We put the ice on her head, and my boyfriend picked up her lifeless body and threw her in the back seat of my little sister’s car.  I instructed my little sister to drive, and my boyfriend to drive his car in front of us because I was too stressed to even remember how to get to the hospital. I jumped into the back seat with my still unconscious older sister. I could see that she was breathing but not regularly. She was taking a breath every now and then.

I laid my hands on her and started yelling out prayers of protection and healing over her as well as commanding her to stay with us and wake up. I did this the whole way to the emergency room. When we got to the ER I told little sis to run in and get help, and my boyfriend was still trying to park. I tried to carry big sis in myself, but a limp body is very hard to pick up.

After what seemed like an eternity some help finally arrived. When the doctors got to her they went into action mode, and they were running with her down the hall and into a room where they shut the door. My little sis and I ran behind her until the door was shut in our faces. We sat against the wall in the hallway holding hands and speechless. Doctors were running in and out of the room, and we could see that this was the most serious thing going on in the ER.

The next thing that I remember is sitting in another room in the ER with my older sis, and she was still totally lifeless and unconscious, but she had machines breathing for her. The doctor told us that she had stopped breathing and that this was very serious, but they had no idea what was wrong. They were running many tests and spending much time looking things up on the computer. This was a mystery to everyone.

After about six hours I finally decided that it was time to call in the rest of the family. Things were not looking good at all. She looked dead honestly. The family showed up, and they moved my sister to a room in ICU. By this time my little sis, my boyfriend, and I had been there for about 12 hours. There was still no change, no movement, no responsiveness, no diagnosis, and no breathing on her own.

We (the original three) finally decided to leave the hospital and go home just for a quick break. It was around 10pm. Right when we got back to the little shack and sat down the phone rang, and it was a hospital phone number. I picked up the phone in horror, and to my astonishment I heard my big sis’s voice on the other end of the line saying “Hi, I just wanted to let you know that I am okay.”

I almost fell out of my chair, and so did little sis and my boyfriend when I told them who it was! Apparently she just suddenly woke up as quickly as she fell out, and she seemed as if nothing was wrong! To this day it is still a mystery as to what really happened to her that day.

Looking back I ask myself why we did not call an ambulance. I guess that it is just another case of me being so programmed to handle crisis on my own and not to ask for help. The doctors said that we saved her life by getting her there when we did though so….Thank God.

I have been fascinated by near death experiences for many years. I have read many books about them and watched many documentaries and accounts of these amazing experiences. Although none of them are exactly the same just as no one is exactly the same, they all have a few things in common unless they are one of the few “hell” experiences that I have heard about.

One of these commonalities is “the light.” They all include a light that provides love in it’s purest form…a love and acceptance that they have never experienced on earth. This light also contains knowledge of everything, and people are coming out of it and going into it.

I always thought that this sounded like such a beautiful experience, but I must admit that I was a little worried too. I would think, “Well, is God just a big light that people get absorbed into?” That seems kind of anticlimactic to me. But I recently saw a woman’s account of her NDE (Near Death Experience) that gave me the best “Aha!” moment.

She said that when she was in this marvelous light she asked one of the people that had come to greet her if this light was God. The person said, “No, the light is not God. The light is what happens when God breathes.”

Wow! Something just clicked when I heard this.  I do not know if I can explain it in words because it is something so beyond words, but something intuitive clicked for me. It felt like something was dropped into my heart, and a shift occured……The breath of God! breath of life…containing love in its highest form and knowledge of all things…..How amazing! How beautiful!

Since then I have been thinking about this breath and about how much I just want to align myself with it and sail in its wind. I want to flow where ever it carries me. I want to have it breathed into me more and more, and I want to be so full of it that I am radiating it out to others. I want to ride the waves in its tide.

I have been praying for this in my prayers every day. And I am being carried, but I know from past experiences that this kind of prayer leads to big things. Not big material things……big spiritual things.  I know that when something this strange and indescribable becomes my greatest desire and prayer that it is only a matter of time before things change in a big way. It is a little scary when I think about it too much, but there is no fear in the breath of God….”There is no fear in love.”