Welcome To My Testimony: Part 1
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal." Isaiah 26:3-4
We learn to trust not by a way of materialistic means but by a way of relationship.
Ten to twenty years ago, I couldn't even say the name "God,"
Nor look at a cross, neither did I know one lick of scripture.
Five years ago, I "warmed up" to the idea of a higher power
Though, I called Him anything but God;
I bargained with the "divine" or the "universe."
The "consciousness" or the "energy."
Yet, I called Zeus a God without a doubt,
I called Lilith a Goddess with confidence,
I even believed that I was a reincarnation of a well-known deity
(which is a story for another time),
& I spent most of those years worshipping the creation--the moon, the sun, the stars.
I gave thanks to the moon for her wisdom. I praised the sun for his glory.
I counted the stars for peace.
Yet, I neglected to thank, praise, and find peace in the One who created these very things I worshipped. In other words, I failed to give credit where credit was earned.
Have you ever felt like your labor has been neglected; like maybe your boss fails to mention your name at the meeting though you are the one who is carrying the weight of the business? Does your caring nature ever feel invisible; like maybe your spouse isn't giving you the credit you deserve for raising your child? Has someone ever taken ownership of something that you built, created, or nurtured? It doesn't feel good, does it?
God works through us in mysterious ways but God also works through us in straightforward ways. He is pretty straightforward throughout the whole Bible that He is the creator.
BUT even without the knowledge of the Bible or ever having read it, God is in our thoughts, infusing us with this message every day. I didn't need to read the Bible to know that God was personally sending me this message. I didn't need a church or discipleship. Some people do, and that's okay. I understood God's message because I desired a relationship with Him & relationships require your time and present nature--all of which I decided to give. So without further ado, how did I go from 'anything but God' to its ALL God?
Seven months ago, I was living on one of the most beautiful islands of Hawaii; the Big Island.
I had it all--the moon, the sun, the stars, the mountains, the valleys, the volcanoes, the forests, the ocean--all of it was there for me to put my 'trust' in, for me to pray to, for me to dwell in and most importantly, at that time, for me to heal in.
When I first arrived on the Big Island, someone described the island to me like this:
It's called the Big Island for a reason--everything is spread around the outer edges of the island but also, everything revolves around the mountain, Mauna Kea. So essentially, there's an outer circle and an inner circle and then, a center.
I managed to make it around the entire island. Each landscape and environment were entirely different--all with their own unique message. Yet, at the center--on Mauna Kea--I began to hear one distinct voice within them all.
I had to know whose voice that was.
Here's the thing; it isn't wrong to find healing in nature. That's not at all what I'm saying. By the design of God, I believe that it is correct: nature heals us. God created nature for a very specific and brilliant reason. He created nature first, before man.
He knew, by the way of his design, to build our bodies in a way that would respond to nature. Nature is an earthly home but it is also a spiritual tool. It is a pathway that connects us to God --though it is and it is not separate from God at the same time.
The voice that you hear in the wind has not been separated into two distinct voices. There is not "the voice of the wind' and then, "the voice of God."
There is just God's voice speaking through the wind.
The tree that tells you to "stand tall" is God's voice.
The ocean that tells you to "be at peace" is God's voice.
The moon's light that tells you "be the light in the dark" is God's voice.
The sun's Vitamin D that you worship is God's alchemy.
Nature is, however, separate from God in that it cannot give us the trust that God can give us in relationship to Him. It cannot lead us home, alone. In similar nature, we are not meant to "get enlightened" but rather work in co-labor with God and His enlightenment. His enlightenment is bigger than we are. We can't comprehend it all. It's kind of like being an assistant rather than a boss. The issue is that culture tried to tell me that I needed to be the boss. Before I knew that it was all God, I believed that my destiny was to meditate and go on journeys to gain some sort of 'secret knowledge.' I believed it was my "duty" to create "Heaven on Earth.' That God sent me as his 'lightworker.'
Now I know this;
God sent me as his creation.
I am continuously being molded by God.
It is my duty to believe that God knows what he is doing.
God is the lightworker.
When I was on the island, I kept receiving a continuous message for my personal healing. "You cannot carry the burden alone. You were never meant to."
I related this message to the many human relationships that were beginning to bloom in my life. At the time, I was in the beginning stages of partnership with my lover & I was working on establishing some sustainable business partners, friendships & more. The entire trip, I thought this message had to do with my human relationships and it honestly wasn't until the very moment that I hopped on the plane to travel back home to Wisconsin that I realized WHO I really needed...
Whom I also called by anything but His God-given name...
I called him Yeshua.
I told the story culture wanted me to believe--
He was an activist, a healer, a hippie, a regular dude like us...
And though he was ALL of those things,
I failed to acknowledge him in his wholeness & I denied his story.
I know what it feels like to have to defend your story. It's exhausting.
I was sexually abused when I was under the influence and young. For a long time, I felt like a fraud--I could only remember fragments of what happened to me & when I finally started to remember & accept that this had happened to me, I felt the fear of people not believing my story. Many survivors of sexual abuse feel like they have to continuously back their stories up.
When Jesus said, 'I AM WHAT I AM" --- he didn't mean, "I am a healer. I am an activist. I am these things I do."
He meant, "I am God's son."
I couldn't be more pleased to be given the task to defend Christ's story. I know that exhaustion of no one believing your story. But first, I had to know what his story really was.
So, three months ago,
I opened a Bible for the first time ever at the age of 32. I wanted to know Christ's story through the lens and interpretation of Jesus's disciples.
To say I've learned a lot is an understatement. However, I want to be very clear about my testimony. It is not the Bible or a church that is changing me. It is my personal relationship with Jesus, which I build through presence and silence with Him, that is shaping me.
To put it in another way, imagine getting to know your significant other for the first time only by what their friends or family say about them. Imagine how they would feel if you never took the time to hear them out without the noise and distraction of others' interpretations.
There are some man-made interpretations of the Bible that I still do not agree with.
I still believe that the church has been defiled and many do not have good intentions. I believe that the church has harmed a lot of innocent people. I believe that some well-intentioned people of the church let power get to them and have created shame cultures instead of Jesus's shame-free intentions.
But I also believe that God is ALL, that Jesus is his son and that he did die for our sins. I also believe that we have not moved the needle of change much from the guidance in the Old Testament which so clearly states not to make idols out of worldly matters. In the world, not of it.
I'm not an extremist--I never have been & I know that this bothers people who are so sure that I have to "pick a side and stick with it." I have always felt the pressure to satisfy that desire in people but I'm tired of it. I'm exhausted by the demand of "one-sidedness."
Do you want to know what I'm sure of? I'm sure that God created me for his pleasure. So if God created me to stand peacefully in the middle and say, "There's a little bit of truth on that side and there's a little bit of truth on that side AND they both contain lies and unjust thinking..." then I'm going to stand where he so rightfully placed me.
With that being said, my testimony is not a calling to force anyone one way or the other but what I will do is continue to defend Christ's story for it is Him who brought it to me--not a church, not a priest, and not even the Bible. He has been bringing me this message to me for a while now and this is where the story gets WAY deeper...
& for that, I shall wait until part two!
Thank you for reading my story and hanging in there with me. I have no idea where this is going but I know that God knows what he is doing so I'm going to step out of the way and let Him mold me. I wish to end this blog post with a prayer.
Lord, I pray that you infuse my writing with the love of your words. I pray that if I overstep or mistake the love of your words that I will notice, admit my false statement and move on with the trueness that you so gracefully give to me in return. Lord, I pray that the people reading my blog feel that is a safe space to rest in their own reflections and that if it is your will to reach them, lift them, or transform them in the way that you have done to me, then you will let it be done. In the name of God, the son & the holy spirit, Amen.