Transformed by the Father’s Love

fatherchildSome people grew up in families where their parents were able to convey enough love, acceptance and wisdom that the children grew up to be relatively functional adults. Other families, like mine, came from a heritage of victimhood and rather than growing up empowered, we entered the world of adulthood feeling like orphans. From there on, we either spiralled down the path of being a chronic victim or chose the path of awakening to who we truly are in God.

Both options are painful. While the path of victimhood is destructively painful, the path of awakening is productively painful.

If it’s going to hurt anyway, why not make it count?

For many years now I’ve been on a journey of being re-parented by Abba (Father God). Having my biological, mentally ill father living with me has made this a very interesting process. We have both lived like orphans; believing that we will never really be taken care of. Often, when I start to make progress in my healing and create stronger boundaries, I trigger the orphan in my father and he quickly becomes extremely defensive and verbally lashes at me. He has no ability to empathize and the conversation always morphs into him spotlighting all the ways that he is a victim of me. This is followed by him literally listing off how I am financially indebted to him. It’s twisted, but it follows a rhythmic pattern we’ve shared since I was too young to remember. Not being entirely healed of my own victim, I often react to this rejection instantly.

My father and I went down this road again recently, but something was different this time. I still reacted inside. However, instead of firing right back at him, a new sense of self-awareness awoke in me and I just turned around and retreated to my room. I now know exactly how to enter into that place of complete abandon into Abba’s Love. It’s the place I’ve yearned for and worked a life time to find. It’s not that I didn’t find it when I was younger, it’s just that I never knew how I got there, so I couldn’t find my way back intentionally. Things have changed.

In the scriptures Jesus taught that to follow him we must be willing to ‘hate’ our mother and father. There’s a lot written about what that means exactly and whether it’s just symbolic language. For me, entering into the true Love of God has required me to release all attachments I have to needing the love of my parents. I used to project the deficiencies of my parents onto my relationship with Abba. In time, and with much inner healing, most of that has transformed for me. Just one thing remained…

I heard a teaching by Arthur Burk explaining that some people actually need to heal a wound of being abandoned by God. What?! No way. I’ve been abandoned by a lot of people in my life, but never by God!

That’s been my story and I stuck to it for many, many years. Then one day something triggered me deeply and I descended right down into the black hole of complete and utter despair that I felt way too often as a child. I was reminded how I cried out to Abba to pick me up and hold me…and sometimes He never came. If you’ve been there, you’ll know it’s one of the worst pains you’ll feel in this life.

Undeniably, I have felt abandoned by Abba.

It wasn’t until I could admit that this was true that I finally found (and remembered) my path straight to the Father’s heart. The Love of Abba is so radically different than anything I’ve ever know with my earthly parents that the comparison between the two has just stopped all together for me.

Now I know how to return to Love and it has completely empowered me to make some big changes that I never had the confidence to implement before.

Thank You Abba for Your complete and unending Love.

Rhythmic

Advertisements

Emptying: the Path to Fulfilment

refiners-fireMost mystical traditions teach an ascension path to oneness with God. The premise is to conserve the universal life force (prana, chi etc.) within oneself and engage in practices that enhance awareness of the Divine.

On the contrary, Jesus demonstrated a very counter-intuitive way of transcending the egoic trappings of this world. Rather than focusing on protecting and preserving his spiritual life force, he gave it away. Throughout the gospels we see him extravagantly pouring himself out. He loved. And he loved. And he loved.

Jesus consistently taught that the way to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven is through the letting go of earthly attachments and living in the Spirit. This approach to spiritual formation takes the flesh and spirit through different types of ’emptying’ experiences.

Accepting the Path

I once belonged to a community where everyone had their tidy little lives set up for plenty of peace, rest and an abundance of alone time to ensure that they were engaging in proper self-care. Most of them didn’t have kids.

After a while I began to seriously feel like I didn’t fit in. I meditated in my bedroom with the walls rattling as droves of children ran by, read enlightening books in the tub to ensure a valid excuse for non-response and practised deep breathing exercises in the 5 minutes of ‘alone time’ between dropping a kid off for an activity and arriving back at home.

Something about my life just didn’t mirror what my friends were experiencing in their tranquil, self-focused journeys. Instead of preserving my life force, I was constantly giving it away by caring for my family and others. My teachers criticized what I was doing, saying it was misguided.

Here’s the deal: you cannot be the sole support caregiver of 4 children plus attend to the needs of a sick parent and not give yourself away. God doesn’t put us on a path and then make it impossible to follow. No. I knew I was doing what was right for me, I just didn’t understand how it all fit together.

Letting Go

Often, I don’t realise how much I pour into others or how much they pour into me. It’s a lifestyle I embrace and most of the time it’s pure joy to love and serve. In giving,  I also receive. But sometimes my flesh gets caught in a downdraft and I crash.

For instance, lately I’ve been feeling increasingly weary and worn out. I thought I’d be real smart and responsible around that and finally book a weekend off for myself, a retreat where people would minister and pour into me a lot. The retreat I was to attend would be free, which was perfect. I made my plans. Got all my ducks in a row.

Just as I finally let my mind begin to anticipate what I perceived as much needed time away, I was sent an email that said, “sorry, we actually don’t have room for you this time.” And that was it…my flesh had a tantrum.

Letting go of egoic attachments has got to be the most agonising experience of emptying in this temporal existence. There always seems to be a reason why I’ll die or go insane without the person or thing I think I need. Nevertheless, it’s essential for the ego to feel abandoned before it will acquiesce to Holy Spirit.  It must be allowed to cry and argue and bargain and feel completely forsaken if healing is to occur. David demonstrated this masterfully throughout the Psalms.

Refining

Here’s where it gets good.

The scriptures talk about the Refiner’s Fire, a process where gold is repeatedly melted down to dispel its impurities. Modern processes use heat, acid and a variety of other harsh chemicals to achieve the same end. It apparently smells real bad too. The resultant product is pure, with enormous value and function.

My fleshly meltdowns are like that; ridiculously intense, ugly processes that unhinge me from my earthly attachments so that I can be free to enter into unity with the Father. When I let go of the illusion of egoic fulfilment, Abba opens his arms so wide that He swallows my little world up whole and for a transcendent holy instant there is nothing but pure Love. Its absolutely indescribable.

If you’ve experienced this, you’ll know it’s worth the existential crisis. If not, I dare you to let go…to allow your soul to purge itself in the sacred safety of Divine love.

It’s impossible to stay in a funk after an experience like that.

Criticize