Too Many Lives I Have Lived (Part 1)

I have been called many things in my life, but one that rings truest to me is the one a client spoke to me one day during our session. As I put her through her moves at the gym where I was working at the time, she turned to me thoughtfully and said  “You are an ‘old soul’. “
I asked her what she meant and she thought about how she wanted to articulate clearly this description before she continued.
Old Soul...hmmm, to me it meant I had lived too many lives.
My conclusion lately is indeed I have, lived too many lives, and I am self-admittedly in agreement with this lovely woman’s observation, which actually took place many years ago.

I have seen too much, experienced too much,
 loved too freely and lived beyond the reach of my years.

I have spent myself in too many directions and have found the wisdom of Solomon to be true:

“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the teacher.
 “Everything is meaningless!”

I remember sitting in my East Side apartment high in the trees, gazing out the window over the city and pondering the words in Ecclesiastes for months as God began doing a deep surgery on the inner being of my heart. I was so immersed in the world around me at the time and in danger of drowning in my own existence. Really, things were looking good from a worldly perspective. I was working with some of the most affluential people in our state. Money, came and went and came again. I enjoyed the people I worked with and had success. I dealt with those who were jealous as well as those who seemed to want to put me on a pedestal I had no desire to be on.

  But things were being stirred up 
just beneath the surface. 


Then there were those things I experienced earlier in my life…some that were beyond my control. As a child – sexual abuse, divorce, many moves, rejection, abandonment, ADHD intervention and fatherlessness. By the time I headed into my teen years I was a prime candidate for most likely to not live beyond 20. As a teen- running away from home, abortion, quitting school, and generally rebelling and rejecting every authority and establishment possible was added to my list of “accomplishments”.
Did I mention drugs & alcohol?  They were in the mix, but I was always a thinker and they could not hold me, as I was drawn to thinking deeply and I enjoyed engaging others in philosophical conversations…when I wasn’t being completely wild, wacky or under the influence myself.
I did not like how people focused (myself as well) on certain drugs/alcohol and I saw so how they consumed those who became intrigued by them.
  A hatred grew within me toward anything that would seek mastery of me.
This, in itself, would become my biggest obstacle to overcome in my life of faith. It still is.
Wasted years?
In many ways, yes.
But in the hands of a Redeeming God, no way.
Too many lives I have lived- yes indeed.
Sometimes I cannot keep the facts straight, in all honesty.
But living out the years I have now, available to Him in compassion, humility, joy, peace and power, by his grace for his glory by the means he chooses is Wisdom of The Ages.
It is knowledge beyond me.
How He gives beauty for ashes is my story.
And no man, or woman, can ever mess with that.
Take it to the bank. The Eternal bank, that is!

Verses to Ponder: Colossians 1:13-14 & 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ; 2:14,15
I am still reflecting and thinking of my friend, Steve (last post). Remembering him is what prompted my writing today.
He is one of the most significant people in my life that I have lost. I just have not had many people yet go from this life. He has taken  piece of my heart with him…and I am not the same. That is just the way it is. I did not even realize it until now.
More to come, as I continue to level the land and dig Beneath the Surface,
Thank you for stopping by,
In His Amazing Grace,
Dawn

A Grief Observed – With Hope

I am a bit stunned tonight. 
At a loss.
 I am pulled into memories of teen years and a special friend.
 A very rare, real and special friend.
 We remained friends throughout our lives although we did not stay in continuous contact as our lives led us in different directions. My mind is racing as I am trying to remember our last conversations.
 I am at a loss as I try to piece together the meaning of the timing of his death as well as our chance meeting once again just prior. I have been scrambling through my journals, e-mails and call history and replaying in my head the last time I saw him, one year ago. It was at the Stop and Shop right down the street from my house. I was not sure it was him as he looked heavier and was a bit of a distance away. As I fumbled for my cell phone and called him, for some reason the phone did not make the connection- but when I finally spoke with him, he said he wished we could have talked, he was feeling down on that particular afternoon. I am humbled as I contemplate these things, my friend has left this life. 
He has entered eternity. 
My heart longs for the assurance of Heaven for him. 
We met as teenagers. We had many great times together and my memories are filled with laughter, smalltown fun and drama as well as youthful rebellions. We dated on and off but our friendship remained the most consistent. He proved himself a loyal friend, although we both had not come to know the Lord yet. He was one of the kindest, gentlest souls I have known. 
I remember one time he let me borrow his car and I was having so much fun driving, while listening to “The Police” (the band- not being pursued by them!) I sideswiped something, badly damaging his car, and he took it all in stride, never wanting me to feel badly! Through the years we would come and go in and out of each other’s lives knowing we had a friend and welcome place for our hearts to visit. 
A drop by on Thanksgiving, getting together and going out, and occasionally seeing him play out with his band. He was a much better friend to me than I to him.  I am grateful to have known him.
 It saddens me to think I won’t see him…it is difficult, even though I have rarely seen him over these past years. Just knowing some friends are around, and doing ok is enough.
 Knowing he had children and remembering his family breaks my heart. 
What is saddest, is I found out now-1 year from the date of his death! My mom saw a one year anniversary of his death in a local paper- and asked me. I immediately searched and found to my sadness his obituary for June 25th 2010. 

I wish I had a chance to say good-bye for now. 
I wish I had a chance to say one more thing.

 To hug him as we always did with that warm, hug of friendship and acceptance. Our last correspondence had been on again as the Lord crossed our paths once more. He shared with me he was going through difficult times and was really down on himself. I can’t remember everything we said but I do have our last e-mails. I let him know how God was able to redeem me and I was certain He could do the same for Him by relationship with Jesus and through His Word. He expressed he was happy how my life was turning out and I was hopeful for him and hoped we would get together to talk about all God was doing in our lives and also to encourage him in what seemed to be new life in Christ. I wanted to I invite him to our church as he was feeling isolated. I am really finding it hard to believe, my friend is gone. Images and memories are going through my head. Tears now. I so want to see this friend in Heaven. I so want to rejoice with him. I so want to know he made that one defining decision. I am trying so hard to remember. I believe he did. As I look back at my journals so far I found his name under my evening prayer list for the date: June 27th 2010- apparently he had been on my heart to pray for at that time. Usually if someone is brought to my mind by the Holy Spirit, out of the blue, I write it down. This was one of those times. It was also a busy time so although I did not write it until that time it is obvious the Spirit was moving. 
Oh, Lord may I not ever miss that.
“There is a place I long to be,
It is a place I cannot yet see.”
In memory of my friend Steve, I want to share these words by William Penn:
“I shall pass through this world only once.
If therefore there’s any kindness I can show
or any good thing I can do let me do it now.
Let me not defer or neglect it,
for I shall not pass this way again.”
Dear Steve,
I am hoping to see you in Heaven and trusting you are already in the arms of our Savior.
I look forward to seeing you then,
I will miss knowing you are here in the meantime.
I will pray for your children and family.
I will hold you in my heart, until we meet again.
Lord, I trust and hope in you alone.
Let me not defer or neglect that which you call me to,
for I too shall not pass this way again.

Some Build Empires, Some Build Lives

I have been thinking a lot lately about what is really important to me with regard to choices. I mean like why I do the things I do and considering why other’s may do what they do. Since I am not going to presume that I know what is in the heart of another- I believe to do so is a bit arrogant for anyone to attempt. There is only one who knows the motives of men (and women) and I can speculate all I want, but seeing as I am not God there is always the chance I may not know the “one thing” that would shed light on a situation, person or circumstance and that is reason enough for me to direct my magnifying lens on myself and no-one else as intensely. Besides if one seeks to understand another, one must consider possibly changing a perspective they are holding onto which they may not want to let go of…case in point: when I seek to understand another – I have to be open to be changed, to forgive and be forgiven, to accept them even though I may not agree with what they believe. To compartmentalize is to trivialize another. It is to say: I don’t want to be touched by you. I am separate and superior. To say I am one way professionally and another personally is hypocrisy. A lie. This theme keeps coming to me these days: You are who you are all the time. I refuse to buy the lies that tell me my work, personal, community and spirituality are separate. If you are a compassionate person, it is reflected in ALL areas. It may vary how it is brought into each realm BUT you will be consistent. If you are gracious, it will be evident for all to see in each realm, in varying ways but there will be evidence. But if you are full of selfish ambition, willing to compromise your values, use people for your own gain and see them only in light of how they can benefit you…then that is who you are. Maybe you can see that is who you were as you learn to walk in the ways of truth, I know it has been my way many years ago and I have done many things with wrong motives before learning to walk in the way of the Master. I am still learning. I don’t care whether someone is a “Christian” or not, as I have met many who walk in integrity and believe me (sorry to say) they were not Christian. You know some Christians aren’t even available to be used because they are so sidetracked by any number of things that hold them entranced in this life. Sometimes the way they think is so completely detrimental to their availability to the Holy Spirit. Now don’t get me wrong I am not here to bash my Brethren. I am for the Body, not against it. But the fact is we have to “stay awake”, friends to the leading of the Lord in the common details of life. Anyway this is getting me off track because my real focus is not about Christians being available (that’s a blog for another day) but for those who spend their time building something for today while neglecting that which will be truly significant in eternity. I wonder, are you busy building your own empire (everybody serves you) or are you busy building a life? Are you available to those in your life who God has placed there? Or are you so busy building your empire that you don’t have time to build into the life God has given you as well as the others He desires you “build life” into. I know that at different times God has brought specific people into my life that He has wanted me to be available to serve, love and know. I have to be willing. I have to be available. I have to set aside my own “building plans” and ask if God wants me to serve this one right before me. I have found that it is often not the person I would choose but maybe someone it is going to take a God- sized stretch to embrace. But I will also tell you I see miracles on a regular basis. I see amazing things and live in the realm of the super-natural where every day holds the possibility of divine intervention and power! Why would I want to settle for an empire when I can live forever in a Kingdom that was and is and is to come? I can think of many examples of prominent people spending the majority of time building that which they thought would bring them security, happiness, freedom. Instead in the pursuit they lost that which was the most valuable. Choices are hard when we are unsure about what is most important to us. Sometimes we forget what is most important because we allow so many other influences to taint our ability to hear clearly our conscience and the small voice within. I am grateful that when I can’t see or hear clearly I have a God that “has my back” and front and sides. I feel like I have said this before but it is true and it so resonates with me. Sometimes he has to pull something from my tightly clenched fist just so he can replace my tiny little empire with the life he has for me. Oh, did I mention, it is an abundant life? He is not scrimpy. You would think the way I cling and refuse to let go, that the King I serve is stingy. But it is not so! It is the daughter of the King who is need of change. So I let go. I enjoy the beauty of the flowers and take in the salty, sea air. I let go of the tiny little empire I was clinging to and trust the one that said, “I am The Way, The Truth and The Life”. After all He is the King! We do not know the length of our days…consider your choices. Live for your King and serve Him well, friends and in doing so you will build something more magnificent than an empire…and something of everlasting value.
In the meantime I myself am digging beneath the surface and enjoying the journey! I pray you are, too!

Enthusiastically In His Grace,
Dawn

Open Note to Visitors of Beneath The Surface: Breath of Faith

Hello Friends, Fellow Bloggers and Random Visitors!
If you have dropped by and taken the time to read or comment on my Posts I want to welcome and thank you! I know it is a busy world out there and we all are being pulled in 90 different directions at once from every angle imaginable. I am blessed and encouraged to share my “ramblings” on the internet in this very open forum. However I want to let those who may not know me personally at this time, know that I am just figuring out the details and have been bumbling around, clicking and figuring as I go. Please extend me some grace as I had know idea there were so many blogs in existance! I am amazed and overwhelmed. So if you have stumbled upon my little blog and I have not responded to your comment- it’s not because I don’t care it’s because the last two times I tried to comment, my own comment would not be accepted! I can’t comment on my own blog! Go figure! Apparently this is not uncommon with the Google Blogs so I am looking into that. In the meantime, thank you for “Following” me on Google, “Liking” the page on Facebook and signing up for e-mails. I also appreciate the encouragement and direction I have received from a couple of fellow bloggers who have helped me greatly with some of the details of this crazy, wonderful ride! I pray that my writing is a blessing, and hope you feel free to comment and forgive me in the meantime as I get my blogging act together!
Until next time Keep digging Beneath The Surface! In His Grace, Dawn

Bloom: The Only Way Out Is Through

                                            

Trust. One little word with such huge meaning. Fragile at times but key to our future.
Where we place our trust, for better or worse, will lead us to peace, joy and growth. It will also lead us to painful places. I have been thinking lately about those I have trusted. Some worthy, some not so. I myself strive to see things in a broader perspective. I don’t really care to be politically correct. I really don’t aspire to impress a denomination. I think it is foolishness to believe that there is a difference between who you are personally, spiritually and  professionally. You are who you are all the time. Trust. Once broken, so hard to repair. A loyalty disregarded. A boundary crossed. Integrity questioned. Insensitivity to specific circumstances beyond one’s control. Disappointment, disillusion set in. Trust is so easily betrayed and oh, so difficult to regain. A child suffers a breach in that trust and carries that into adulthood. The Lord heals but there is the smallest scar that remains. The child inside knows what the adult tries to forgets…people are untrustworthy. It only takes the right circumstance to bring to the mind of the child the forgotten pain and truth. The child tugs at the memory of the adult. Remember? The child brings up the string of events which have resonated within the pain that seems familiar. Every loss, heartache, injustice, abuse, neglect connect in an open-ended timeline that leads to today. Bitterness threatens to settle within the soul. Yet still the child also recalls hope. The child recalls faithfulness. And most of all the child remembers love. Because God has planted that love deep within the heart of this child. And that hope will not die. That hope will grow eternally and yield crops of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control. There is no stopping what God has done. As Joseph said when his brothers returned to Egypt and had fully recognized him and acknowledged what they had done was wrong- what you meant for evil, God meant for good. This child can rest in this reality.

God is not mocked. Do you think when He says ‘I have summoned You by name and called you my own’, He lies? He is for us, who seek to know Him and live according to His will. He knows the heart, but you cannot trust your own heart… (Jeremiah 17: 5, 7-9) leave that to Him who knows how desperately wicked the heart is and take hold of Him alone who is able to guide you through every darkness and evil that may come upon you. Do you fear the days ahead? Do you think God has not seen? (2 Chronicles 16:9)

This year the Lilies in our yard seemed to be incredibly reluctant to bloom. I would walk out every morning and they looked like they were going to stay tight in their buds forever completely content in that mode. This really bothered me as I longed to see their beauty bursting forth. Instead I saw tight green buds, day in and day out. I wonder if I am this way to the Lord at times. Resistant to His leading, longing to stay myself, tight in a bud, due to fear, pain…lack of trust. I can’t help but think of Anais Nin’s quote,

“And the day came when the risk it took to stay tight
in a bud was more painful than it took to blossom. “

Well the Lilies finally did bloom and they are magnificent!
 Sometimes pain from the past can cause us to close- up tight. We don’t want to trust that God could allow anything bad into our lives – at least not this: add your own perception of the one thing you believe that God allowed that has caused you to lose your trust in Him. Maybe it wasn’t in the past. Maybe it is right now. Maybe your pain is so buried beneath the surface that you can’t even recognize it anymore. It feels like if you stay in that bud you will suffocate. But a flower must surely bloom or it will wither away and die. This is not so for we who believe. Our way is the way of Life. Our Glorious King desires to see our beauty (Psalm 45:11)! He calls us forth to bloom. There is no way out of this. We bloom or wither away. That bud cannot sustain us forever. Trust. A word used to describe that which we rely on. Such a small word with such a big meaning. Bloom. Such a beautiful word that brings forth the promise and hope of new life. So take the risk. Bloom, trust, grow…hope. The only way out of this current circumstance is through it. But the one who is faithful to care for all the lilies in His fields is faithful.
Be encouraged, for you are worth much more than these to the King.
John 14:1
In the meantime, Keep digging beneath the surface-
With Enthusiasm and Grace,
Dawn

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