Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Message about Rainbows (at least for me)

I have always been fascinated with rainbows. Actually, the color spectrum seen through prisms, which can also be seen in rainbows, is the attraction, at least I thought, until I really gave some deeper thought into the significance of rainbows in my life. My perspective on both is now different, and I share it here with you.

Lately I have been dealing with a spirit of condemnation about a lot things and several sources said I needed to look to the scriptures to see what God says about each 'issue' I have. The scripture to one of those came to me even before I knew I would be searching it out, and it came to me through the beauty of a rainbow. A few days ago my therapist told me that all evil spirits have a weakness, there are none that can't be defeated through God, and he asked if I knew of a Godly strength within me to help defeat it. I gave that some thought and the only thing that came to mind at the time was ever since I was alive I have always felt God's light within me, and I take that to be my faith in him, but describe it as his light. Now pure light is white, when all the colors of the visible light spectrum merge, it is white, and no one color is reflected off of our eyes. (that's a simple way to put it), but each color exists within that light, so as I see it, God is in me, his light exists in me, so all those colors exist in me as well. And, the colors of the rainbow are not simply red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Rainbows contain EVERY color that exists on this planet, our eyes are just not simply made to register each one on its own. Now, what do you know about me? This is easy for those of you who really know me but for those online, I'll fill you in.

When people describe me, my personality, my art, they always choose to use color. If any one person could ooze color, per say, it would be me, always has been, and I can't explain it, it is what it is. So, in the context of what defense I have my answer was that God's light and faith, living within me, is my greatest defense against the spirits that fight against me.

Now, let's fast forward, to this past weekend. It was the pits, for many reasons I won't list here, but just believe me when I say it ranked in the top five of all time bad ones on my list. I recall saying, and asking God repeatedly, "Why aren't you throwing me a lifeline here when you see me drowning? I just don't get it, or if it's there, would you make it more obvious, please?" Meanwhile, I lay here recovering from a really fun stomach virus that I had driving 6 hours to and 6 hours from UAB and the thought of our grass dying outside because it is being baked by this record setting heat. So, I crawled out of bed, went outside and grabbed the hose to start watering the grass, feeling like weak puppy water, as my best friend says. What do you think I saw while I did this? Yep, a RAINBOW across my field of vision as I held the sprayer. It took a minute or two to let this sink in, and then I began to laugh, out loud, because I got it, my lifeline that I had not been seeing. Not only did he show it to me, he even showed me a double one, a double rainbow, which if you know anything about rainbows, you know how rare they are. I stood there amazed and mystified about seeing two gorgeous rainbows in front of me. I started playing with the water to figure out why I could see them in some spots but not the others, and then it occurred to me, the sunlight had to be behind me, and the raindrops in front of me. I wish I could have cried out and let the emotion I felt about this exist outwardly, but I didn't. I just knew this was no coincidence, this was God sending me a message. So, usually when I know that, I stop what I'm doing and pay close attention so I don't miss it.

I walked into my house, wet and all, and Googled double rainbows. I began to see gorgeous pics of them, but more importantly I wanted to know how they were created, what was their purpose. As I read, I began to understand the significance of the sun being behind you and the rain in front, both having to exist at a set specific point in time for the rainbow to be created. And as I read, I closed my eyes and asked God what this mean, and here is what he said to me, " Ardith, you have always carried my true light within you, and you reflect it through your many different colors you choose to paint life with. All of those experiences you have lived and suffered through are important, they are the tears required to have my light reflect through you in the way it was meant to, as a rainbow. I have your back through each one, but it took teardrops, sometimes lots of them, to be able to reflect my love through you, and by your own colors, others see me in you. That power within you is more powerful than any evil spirit that is within or around you, and it is meant to be shared. But more importantly, you must first trust me in this and believe me completely, this promise I give to you, that through any pain you walk through, I, your father will not bring any harm to you.

Whew, that was a lot, a big " I wouldn't want to miss it message" and then I stumbled onto a blog about rainbows where someone had commented this message about them:

God made a covenant with his people, a promise, that he would never harm the Earth by flooding it like that again, and God never lies. Don't ever believe there is only scientific phenomenon behind rainbows, it is God's promise to us.
I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between me and the Earth. Never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. Genesis 9:13, 15 (Anonymous)

And then I knew it, the point of the entire message, which led me back to my list of condemnations I feel and me having to look up scriptures about each one. Here is the one this answers, the first of many I feel I will share with you:I feel condemned to never know how to fully trust God.
There, I said it, but what do we know about this verse in the bible and why God said it? He made a covenant to his people that the Earth would NEVER be flooded again to end all of human life, and to my knowledge, that has never happened, which means when God makes a promise he keeps it, HE CAN BE TRUSTED! Now I know this trust thing is a daily walk, but for me in this day, this was a much appreciated message I needed, a lifeline I had been missing. And, as I walked to the car to get my laptop so I could come and write this, I opened the car door, and hanging from my rear view mirror is a large, crystal shaped teardrop I like to call my disco ball, and inside my car there where hundreds of tiny rainbows dancing all over my car. God's light, shining through my teardrop, showing me rainbows. Ahhh, what a moment that was. And this last part is the kicker, to the significance of it all, do you know what the letters of the rainbow stand for? (At least in my opinion)

May God send you a rainbow so you may know and believe that his love and trust for you are real with every breath you take. That is my prayer for each of you today.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Ten Year Perspective

I've been in therapy for a while. Shocking! Me, in therapy? LOL, I can't imagine life right now without a little help from the big guy upstairs and those he anoints down here, so for now, I am GRATEFUL for the opportunity to talk out my issues so they don't control me, oppress me, keep me from joy and it isn't always easy. Honestly there are days that I want to put on my happy face and run for the hills, there are days that I just hang my head and wish I was on any other planet but this one, and then there are days that I hear a familiar voice saying, " I know how you feel" or "I'm going through the same thing" and then I know I am right where I am supposed to be for now. There are even days I drop my crackberry, no, submerge it in a full glass of tea, kill it, and stop and lay hands on it and pray because I am willing to be "silly for God" as a friend said. (That phone was healed too, can't explain, but worked like a charm.) I won't spend this post bragging about my therapist, although he is the best I have ever seen, because it is God through him that helps him be so effective, so to God I say thank you, deeply. This post will be two poems, one from 1999 and one from now, to show myself how my perspective has changed, and honestly the second one isn't written yet, so its content is a mystery. I start here, 7-22-99

Hourglass of my Soul
Eyes closing, gentle
Images of my childhood
flash like billboards.
Each vision separate, yet distinct,
a world unto itself
united in the universe called "me."

Spliced fragments of my humanness
forming the essence of who I am today.
Echoing the passions of a misspent youth.
Incessant reruns of mistakes,
a young girl merely learning how to embrace life.

Triumphs and tragedies
frame each scene
leaving me to question
my choices and their
inevitable course on the
roadmap of my life.

I know where I've come from
I know where I'm going.
Save time and the hourglasses last grain
I may once again bask in the light of a new day
rejoicing in the gift of humanity.

Tears fell and will fall
reminding me of what once was
and will be.
Drawing from the wellspring of my spirit
to pen words to page
recording the fundamental truth
of what it means to be alive,
a soul within and without.

And here 10 years later, almost scared to write this one, but never call me a chicken!

Your Name

Days go by where strength is hard to come by
and I look upward to you, for the lifeline to hold on to
with frail hands, broken hearted pieces, and quietly
as if drifting on a moonflake, I hear it,
your name.

Your name fills my soul, and heals its brokenness.
Your name finds the darkest places in my heart
and with grace, gently forms bonds once broken
by choices and pain from external to inward wounds.

Curve after curve of difficult mountains to climb
seemed insurmountable, and days I knew my last
breath was near you sent your voice, once again,
floating softly in the wind, through the trees, your name
Your name, saying, "It is well, It is well with my soul"

Countless moments of doubt, of confusion blanket me
like a skin that won't scrub off and is part of me.
But for now, I no longer fight the parts of me that feel foreign
they are of me, part of me, and beautifully made.
And in them, in the likeness of my creator, I hear your name
I hear your name calling out to me, picking my face up
off the floor, and saying my child, every part of you,
is wonderfully made because I made you in my image.

Your brokenness I know,
for my son was broken and is now whole.
Your loss, I know,
for I lost my son, and then he was found.
Your pain I understand,
for in losing my son, my pain was heartbreaking.
Your sadness I know,
because in your free will choices are made.
In your confusion, I bring clarity,
because I know the spirit who confuses you.
I know your innermost thoughts, your desires, your hopes, your pain,
I know you, because You are of me.

And my eyes close, the tears flow,
and with my lips I say your name,
and know you are here, with me in all things, beside me,
carrying me, and in nothing will I be afraid.
And I close my eyes and say your name,
and I close my eyes, lift my head, and hear it,
the angels in heaven singing your name,
to my heart,
to my spirit,
to my strength
so that on this day, and all days forward,
I will know it like I am breathing, your name,
Jehovah, Abba, Father, Daddy!

And with that, I believe a lot has changed in ten years. I'll have to ponder this one a bit, but my first instinct is to say "Hallelujah!" If you physically can't paint, write, then paint with words, often your masterpieces come as a wordsmith, not as a painter.

1 Unto thee lift I up mine eyes,

O thou that dwellest in the heavens.
2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look
unto the
hand of their masters,

and as the eyes of a maiden unto the
hand of her mistress;
so our eyes wait upon the LORD
our God,
until that he have mercy upon us.

PSALMS 123:1-2

Saturday, June 6, 2009

What makes you laugh?

These are pics of the VBS at Christ Anglican Church in Mobile.

Well, after my last post I was blown away by the number of replies I got, because I also posted it on my Facebook page. What occurred to me, after reading them all, was that depression appears to be an epidemic in our life, for many different reasons, and the fight for our laughter, our joy, is of utmost importance. So, I began thinking about what makes me laugh, when were the times in my life that I was rolling on the floor laughing with pure joy, or when was I just chuckling to myself at my own clumsiness, fruticakeness, or accidental mess I walked into. As I thought about these an underlying theme began to surface, a lot of those moments had something to do with children.

My true calling from God was to be a teacher. For ten years I taught elementary school, and the laughter and joy I found in the faces of those kids was addicting. There was one little second grade girl, she had tiny freckles across her nose and the most gorgeous red hair. She walked up to me with almost a rage talking 90 to nothing. I got her to calm down and asked what was wrong, and she went into this litany of how Michael had called her the "E" word. I was perplexed, I had no idea what the E word was, but didn't want my lack of understanding to invalidate her feelings. So, I asked, what is the E word. Without hesitation she said, "Ediot!" I lost it, I just couldn't help it, she was so upset, and had no clue why I would laugh, so I quietly explained the spelling error, and she said to me, "I guess that makes me one too doesn't it?" She then turned around and hugged Michael. Now I have no clue how a 2nd grader could have comprehended the meaning so well, but she did, and the laughter made it bearable for all involved, and everyone ended up cracking up in that moment. Kids are instinctively joyful, full of laughter aren't they?

I have been talking to God a lot lately about my desire to be surrounded by kids, because they are close to my heart. A few weeks ago he placed the VBS at Christ Anglican Church in my mind and said he would give me the physical ability to help if I was willing. So, I volunteered and said simply how can I help? They were in need of someone to help with their decorations and set designs, so I knew that was right up my ally.
As we worked with ideas, drew crazy fish and horses, and termite mounds our days were filled with laughter, and I felt God's presence in every moment I spent working towards that goal. I realized that even though, for now, it wouldn't be safe for me to actively work and play around the kids because of my spine issues, the effort I could put into making their world magical would bring smiles on their faces and create memories in their lives, which to me, brings a smile on my face like no other. So for the past two weeks, and on some days thought the pain would really be too much to get through, God provided me with the ability to make it through, with joy.

I do have to share one oh so hilarious day because it simply puts into perspective the laughter part of this adventure.
We had been working and drawing and painting and I had been wearing a pair of hospital scrubs, because well, I kinda have a few if you know me. When I got out of the car in my driveway I bent over to grab my purse and realized my pants had been split in a way too obvious place. Horror filled my eyes because I had no idea how many people I had mooned all morning bending over. I started laughing, and laughing, and though my back was killing me, I just couldn't help realizing it was one of those crazy, Ardithian moments that just happen in my life. Later that day, after posting it on Facebook my friends promised they didn't notice so at some point between church and home I ripped my pants. So, for the poor folks at the gas station and Walmart that I may or may not have mooned I am so sorry, but I bet my life a few of them were cracking up, and in that, I brought a smile to their faces, and my rip was well worth it.

In our darkest hours I have found many, many of you tell me that what brings them out of it is to surround yourself with what brings you joy. For me, it's children, my husband and son, my friends and family, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, (the original one). I prayed for God to have a sense of humor, and he so has, he has also told me that as my emotional and mental spirit heal, I will find the key to a lifelong understanding of pure joy, and then be able to share it with others. I look forward to that journey. Though it may be difficult at first to muddle through, the goal is so worth the effort, and the opportunity to share it with you, is what motivates me to dive right in!
"The One whose throne is in heaven sits laughing. . . ." (Psalms 2:4)

(A compilation of actual Church Bulletin and Service bloopers)

* Our next song is "Angels We Have Heard Get High."

* Don't let worry kill you--let the church help.

* Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.

* For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

* Weight Watchers will meet a 7 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.

* Jean will be leading a weight-management series Wednesday nights. She's use the program herself and has been growing like crazy!

* The rosebud on the altar this morning is to announce the birth of David Alan Belzer, the sin of Rev. and Mrs. Julius Belzer.

* This afternoon there will be a meeting in the South and North ends of the church. Children will be baptized at both ends.

* Tuesday at 4:00 P.M. there will be an ice cream social. All ladies giving milk will please come early.