Christian living, Class, Family, God encounters, Newsletter, Uncategorized

Here’s Why I’m Excited

The new monthly subscription Encounter classes are here!

I hope your excited like I am. Here’s why:

We are building on going community with each other while expanding in our relationship with God, others, and ourselves. 

We are experiencing the living God in our time together while exploring healing principles that will set us free as we encounter His amazing heart for us.

We are learning new skills, honing our current skills, and enjoying the artistic process together with no pressure to perform as we create a beautiful expression of what God did in our time together. 

We will be meeting the first Sat., of each month from 9:00 am est and usually run around an hour and a half to two hours. If the class needs to change for a given month, you will be notified.  Our first class will be Sat. May 7th. 

The class is only $15 a month (Intro. price) for the first 30 signed up. The price will be increased for future groups, so get in the first one, and get that price for as long as we do the class.

The class is in an online classroom setting on google meet. You will be able to interact with me and others in the group at different times. This gives us a better opportunity to connect with each other, ask questions, and build community.  I also am capping the class at a max. of 30 to begin with. I really want to be able to develop relationships with one another and that’s just not as easy to do in a large group.

You can join in at any time! Once you sign up, you will be sent an email with the class information, a list of supplies for the class (We keep that simple for you, but you are responsible to have your own.), and any any other info. you may need. So, when signing up, be sure to include your email address. You can always reach me at blossomingheartsstudio@gmail.com with any questions. If you need to pause or cancel your subscription at any time, you are free to do so, but you will miss out on the classes in those months. 

All classes will be recorded, and you will be given access to all classes for a life-time of the months you paid for. These will be available on Youtube through a private link. 

We will also be forming a secret facebook group, where only subscribers can see. Members only will be allowed to post in that group. I’ll be posting things throughout the month to encourage you in your creative, healing journey. 

So, if you are ready, just click the link here to sign up: 

SIGN UP FOR MONTHLY CLASS

Christian living, Family, God encounters, Uncategorized

Living the Free Life

Gal. 2:20. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” NKJV

Romans 6:4 “Therefore we were buried with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be in the likeness of his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be rendered powerless so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, since a person who has died is freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him, because we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over him.

 Eph. 2:6 “And He raised us up together with Him [when we believed], and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, [because we are] in Christ Jesus, [and He did this] so that in the ages to come He might [clearly] show the immeasurable and unsurpassed riches of His grace in [His] kindness toward us in Christ Jesus [by providing for our redemption].”AMP

Several months ago, the subject of crucified with Christ, buried with Christ, raised with Christ, and reign with Christ were in the airways.  In other words, when God is highlighting something to me, I often hear it from many directions in a short period of time through various means.  

In the past, the first two aspects of the process to living an overcoming life, crucified and buried with Christ, have made me squirm a bit.

Who wants to be crucified and buried?  I mean Jesus already did so, so what does that even mean?

My friend, Rebecca Davis, in her book series “Untwisting Scriptures”, is the expert on untangling things – a shameless plug for her, because her books are so helpful.  The concept she teaches about basically comes down to read scripture in the context of who it is written to and the time it is written, keeping it in context (not pulling out a scripture and manipulating it to say what you want it to say).  

Secondly, God wrote the Bible.  Not the other way around.  So, He is above it.  To me, this means that if a scripture is taken by a person and used to control someone else, like “submission” scriptures that don’t line up with the character and nature of God, who never manipulates us to control us, because He is love, then the person using the scripture wrongly is in error.  Not the victim.  

Just because you flap a Bible around quoting random verses doesn’t mean you are living the truth of it, which in essence is love.  

This particular concept of being crucified and buried with Christ has been very tangled up for me in the process of growing up in an extremely abusive church background.  Yet, even today, I’ve heard messages that have manipulated those concept to mean it’s a works thing of dying to myself, denying myself (Their be times I need to deny myself something – like that slice of Key lime pie yesterday.), crucifying my flesh, even so far as someone telling me to kill (murder) parts of me so that I could be dead to myself and alive to Christ.  Jesus wouldn’t murder me, so why would I do that to myself?    

The process of what Jesus did at the cross as far as our salvation and becoming a new creation was and is a completed work at the cross.  “It is finished.”  It is err to add anything of our efforts or works to earn our salvation.  It is complete.  Done.  Finished.  

And yet, we still have to receive that finish work into every area and part of our lives.  This is the  “working out our salvation”.  It is in the receiving of truth of what Jesus has done for us at the cross into every area, into ever layer of our lives, thereby rejecting the lies.   

So, recently as these concepts were swirling around in my head, and I was processing through discomfort, I believe the Holy Spirit began to explain a slightly different way of looking at this concept that I had been taught.  It actually is the process of any inner healing with Him.  The following is what I heard whispered in my heart.

Crucified with Christ – I allow Jesus to press into my pain, my junk, my hiding places where I have tried to self-protect.  I allow Him to bring truth, love, healing.  I submit myself to the finished work of the cross.  

He bore my sin, my shame, unforgiveness, all the wrongs done to me and others, my fears, my pain, my suffering, my anger, all it – He became sin, and took it on Himself there, so that I can now leave it there.  

I allow Him into those strongholds, each level, each layer, every place.  It is a process, which can take a lot of time, depending on the levels of abuse and pain. I press into His pain. I allow His suffering love to penetrate all of me.  This is a process.  

It may look like Him leading me to a very painful memory, and Him showing me where he was in that place with me – the real truth about what happened, how He saw me in it, where He was, what He was doing.  Then, me making the choice to release it all to Him, and believe the truth, allowing Him to heal me.

It may look like Him asking me to love someone who has deeply hurt me, by choosing to forgive them, and release them to Him.  

It may mean His Holy Spirit showing a place of pride that I acted in and choosing into asking forgiveness for hurt I caused someone else.  

I honestly don’t think we can truly become all Christ has called us to be, fully understanding who we are, if we are still hiding, if there are still hurts, wounds, lies, and pain lodged in our hearts. It’s all a continuing process, but this first step cannot be by-passed.

Buried with Christ – When I allow Jesus into those places of pain, He literally buries the pain, the shame, the fears, the hate, and all the lies I believed about myself, others, and Him in His great love. 

When I think of those memories, those places that were once horror to me, now I have complete peace.  They have no power over me anymore, no power to hurt me anymore.  Those lies, sins are literally buried.  They are dead.  They have no ability to affect me in anyway, anymore.  I am truly free to live in Him.  

Raised or resurrected with Christ  – Now, when He speaks identity over me of who I am it sticks more, because I’m a new creation.  I literally am.  

Now, I can fully begin to embrace the identity of Christ, because all the junk has been put to rest. RIP.  

Now, I am resurrected into all the fullness of my identity in Christ.  My Father is fully in me.  I am fully in Him.  Everything Jesus is now is in me, and I have all the power, authority, dominion that the resurrected Christ has, because I am His daughter, a daughter of the King of Kings.  

This is where He really begins speaking to you those “Who you are words”, and they can go deep, molding your identity of who you were created to be!  This will be unique to you, because child of God has different gifts, abilities, and destinies in Him.

I’ve included at the end some identity statements taken straight from God’s word.  Let Him make those words personal to you.  

Reign with Christ, Seated with Him in heavenly places – When we begin to truly understand who we are in Christ, who He has created us to be, then we begin to rule.  We begin to reign.  Not in the sweet by and by, but here and now.  We “are” already seated with Christ in heavenly realms.  We are a royal priesthood.  

 As we embrace fully what Jesus Christ finished for us, then we begin to walk out that identity, and take authority and action on who we are in Christ.  

Sometimes, this honestly can be a little scary, because your Father is relentless in you truly becoming who He created you to be, but He does it because He loves us with a relentless, all powerful love.  He won’t stop ever loving us into fully becoming mature children who are free to be all He created us to be.  

Crucified, buried, resurrected, and reigning is the process of stepping into the fullness of our identity in Christ.  It is both finished and a process of receiving.  

His empowering grace is sufficient to help to become that person who reigns with Him – the person He has already created us to be.  

Thank you Jesus for what you paid to give me.  

Happy Resurrection Day!!!

I am complete in Him Who is the head over all rule and authority—of every angelic and earthly power (Colossians 2:10).

I am alive with Christ (Ephesians 2:5).

I am free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).

I am far from oppression, and will not live in fear (Isaiah 54:14).

I am born of God, and the evil one does not touch me (1 John 5:18).

I am holy and without blame before Him in love (Ephesians 1:41 Peter 1:16).

I have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16Philippians 2:5).

I have the peace of God that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

The Spirit of God, who is greater than the enemy in the world, lives in me (1 John 4:4).

I have received abundant grace and the gift of righteousness and reign in life through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17).

I have received the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus, the eyes of my heart enlightened, so that I know the hope of having life in Christ (Ephesians 1:17-18).

I have received the power of the Holy Spirit and He can do miraculous things through me.I have authority and power over the enemy in this world (Mark 16:17-18Luke 10:17-19).

I am renewed in the knowledge of God and no longer want to live in my old ways or nature before I accepted Christ (Colossians 3:9-10).

I am merciful, I do not judge others, and I forgive quickly. As I do this by God’s grace, He blesses my life (Luke 6:36-38).

God supplies all of my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

In all circumstances I live by faith in God and extinguish all the flaming darts (attacks) of the enemy (Ephesians 6:16).

I can do whatever I need to do in life through Christ Jesus who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13).

I am chosen by God who called me out of the darkness of sin and into the light and life of Christ so I can proclaim the excellence and greatness of who He is (1 Peter 2:9).

I am born again—spiritually transformed, renewed and set apart for God’s purpose—through the living and everlasting word of God (1 Peter 1:23).

I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ to do good works that He has prepared for me to do (Ephesians 2:10).

I am a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

In Christ, I am dead to sin—my relationship to it is broken—and alive to God—living in unbroken fellowship with Him (Romans 6:11).

The light of God’s truth has shone in my heart and given me knowledge of salvation through Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6).

As I hear God’s Word, I do what it says and I am blessed in my actions (James 1:22, 25).

I am a joint-heir with Christ (Romans 8:17). I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me (Romans 8:37).

I overcome the enemy of my soul by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony (Revelation 12:11).

I have everything I need to live a godly life and am equipped to live in His divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4).

I am an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). I am part of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people (1 Peter 2:9).

I am the righteousness of God—I have right standing with Him—in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).

My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit; I belong to Him (1 Corinthians 6:19).

I am the head and not the tail, and I only go up and not down in life as I trust and obey God (Deuteronomy 28:13).

I am the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).

I am chosen by God, forgiven and justified through Christ. I have a compassionate heart, kindness, humility, meekness and patience (Romans 8:33Colossians 3:12).

I am redeemed—forgiven of all my sins and made clean—through the blood of Christ (Ephesians 1:7).

I have been rescued from the domain and the power of darkness and brought into God’s kingdom (Colossians 1:13).

I am redeemed from the curse of sin, sickness, and poverty (Deuteronomy 28:15-68Galatians 3:13).

My life is rooted in my faith in Christ and I overflow with thanksgiving for all He has done for me (Colossians 2:7).

I am called to live a holy life by the grace of God and to declare His praise in the world (Psalm 66:82 Timothy 1:9).

I am healed and whole in Jesus (Isaiah 53:51 Peter 2:24).

I am saved by God’s grace, raised up with Christ and seated with Him in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:5-6Colossians 2:12).

I am greatly loved by God (John 3:16Ephesians 2:4Colossians 3:121 Thessalonians 1:4).

I am strengthened with all power according to His glorious might (Colossians 1:11).

I humbly submit myself to God, and the devil flees from me because I resist him in the Name of Jesus (James 4:7).

I press on each day to fulfill God’s plan for my life because I live to please Him (Philippians 3:14).

I am not ruled by fear because the Holy Spirit lives in me and gives me His power, love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7).

Christ lives in me, and I live by faith in Him and His love for me (Galatians 2:20).  

– excerpt from “Knowing Who I Am in Christ” by Joyce Meyers

Christian living, Class, Newsletter, Seasonal, Uncategorized

Coming Up for Air: Updates and Other Fun News

Ever feel like you are coming up for air after holding your breath for a long time? Or like the buds pushing up through the cold, icy snow at the first beckoning of spring?

The last few weeks have felt like that for us.After a couple of family emergencies, which took some effort and time to work out, and several other things that came all at once, the snow seems to be melting, gradually.

Life can be like that sometimes. 

Yet, we watched as the Lord faithfully guarded, helped, and provided. Faith building times for sure.

Even today, I filed a police report due to a scam against our business. The officer I talked to just happened to be the husband of an old friend of mine. It was as if I could feel God smiling, “I’ve got this.” 

Like a treasure hunt, I’m learning to look for how God will show Himself faithful. I’m remembering to ask the question, “Lord, who do you want to be for me in this situation?”

I still forget in the moment. I still get caught up in the confusion and chaos when the storm rages at times. Yet, I’m learning to slow down, take the deep breath, ask the question, and trust God to come through. 

Sometimes seasons are hard. Sometimes those waves feel overwhelming. Jesus is in the boat though. Whether He calms the storm or rides it out with us, He will never leave us, nor forsake us.

So… What has been going on, besides police reports?  


In January and February, I was busy teaching two amazing “Encounter” classes. Again, these classes have far exceeding my expectations in how God has shown up to heal brokenness, encourage us, and speak identity to us in ways only He can. I’m super excited to see how these will expand out.

As a result of the success so far, we will be offering a monthly subscription for ongoing classes beginning with the first Saturday in May.

These classes will be the first Saturday of each month from 9:00 am to 11:00 am.

 You will have life-time access to all the monthly subscription classes, as well as access to an ongoing fb group where we can support each other on our journeys, and where I will be posting ongoing helps and resources. 

The cost will be $15 a month, and will be available for sign ups May 1st on our website.
  
You can jump in at any point.  So, though we will be learning and growing together, they will be more stand alone classes, where you won’t be lost from one month to the next.

I will also be doing a free fb live class around Easter, as well as I will be teaching an in person break out session at the upcoming Called to Peace Conference in Ridgecrest, NC.   They have a fantastic ministry to help domestic abuse survivors, so check them out at http://www.calledtopeace.org.

Guess what else is coming?

As far as The Encounter Class that is based on “The Invitation”, I will be teaching another six week session, beginning in June, and I’m starting the process of doing a prerecorded set that you will be able to purchase access by the beginning of June, if the online, interactive isn’t your jam.  I have to say though, we have had such beautiful encounters with each other and Jesus that I know I don’t want to miss out on that.
 
Guess what else is new?  Yes, there’s a little more!

I also have a new place for you to order prints, mugs, cards, and even shower curtains (yes, that’s what I said) of your favorite paintings from our studio.  We even have some logo gear now.  I’m in the process of getting more artwork up there, but The Tree of Life and the logo gear is ready to go.  So, check it out!    You can access this through our home page.

Well, that’s quite a lot for now.  😊. 

Have a beautiful Easter, Resurrection Day!   May you be filled with all the love of Jesus and every benefit He died and rose for you to enjoy!

Much Love,

Carolyn “Charismata” Weaver

Christian living, Family, Uncategorized

Paul’s Word for the New Year: ” Holy Amnesia” (a guest blog by Rebecca Davis)

Through the years, I’ve heard people use the scripture verse from Philippians 3:13 as a way to say that we should ”forget the past”, and that ”going back to painful memories” was wrong. That I was in fact disobeying the directive that Paul puts out in Philippians when the Lord would lead me to a painful memory in inner healing.

I would often feel condemned for ”looking back”.

Yet, I knew God was asking this of me. I do understand now that it can be gentler than the first approach I experienced, and there are certainly ways to lessen the trauma that memories can hold. Jesus is actually really good at protecting us when we let Him.

The Bible in essence is a history book in which God, Himself, makes a point to be sure to put all the good and bad details in. Think David and Bathsheba.

Why then would He want us to not remember our story?

Revelation 12:11 says our testimony, God in our story, is actually part of the way we overcome.

In Micah 7:19, it says God will cast our sin into the sea, and yes, He won’t remember our sin against us. Yet, there is no ”sea of forgetfulness” in the Bible.

God sees and values all of our story: the good, bad, and the ugly. He just wants to step into it with us and redeem it.

As I read this blog by Rebecca Davis, I truly appreciated the way she breaks down the context of this misused scripture by Paul, helping us to understand what kind of “holy amnesia” he was referring to. Enjoy.

Check out this blog and others at http://heresthejoy.com/

POSTED ON BY REBECCA DAVIS

Paul’s Word for the New Year: “Holy Amnesia”

It seems like the last ten years or so, having a word for the New Year has replaced making New Year’s resolutions or goals.

So if the apostle Paul had done this, I’m guessing one of the many years of his Christian life, “holy amnesia” may have been his word (okay, technically “words”).

I’m basing this idea of “holy amnesia” on Philippians 3:13b-14.

“. . . but this one thing I do: forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Paul wanted to forget what was behind him. (Of course what was in front of him couldn’t be forgotten because it hadn’t been experienced yet.)

So “what was behind”—wouldn’t that be . . . everything he had ever experienced?

Did Paul want to forget his entire life?

Hmmm . . . something seems a little fishy here. Maybe it’s because I lifted a few lines right out of the letter he was writing without looking at the rest of the letter.

But before I look at that, let’s look at some other things Paul didn’t forget, or want others to forget.

He didn’t forget past experiences, good and bad

Acts 22 and 26 recount how Paul told his life story, first to the Jews, and then to King Agrippa. His life experiences included very good and very bad things: he had persecuted Christians, and the Lord Jesus Christ had brought him to salvation. From the worst to the best.

Paul certainly didn’t want to forget that.

He called on other Christians to remember things

He obviously didn’t want them to forget everything in their lives.

1 Corinthians 11:2 — Remember me and the ordinances I taught you.

Galatians 2:10 — Remember the poor.Ephesians 2 — Remember that you used to be far from God and are no longer.

Colossians 4:18 — Remember me in my bonds.

1 Thessalonians 2:9 — Remember how we served you.

2 Thessalonians 2:5 — Remember I explained these things to you in person.

2 Timothy 2:8 — Remember that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, according to the gospel I taught you.

He didn’t forget those who were not trustworthy

Demas was a partner in the Great Work, as Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 1:24 both show. But at the very end of his life Paul lamented to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:10,

“For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.”

He didn’t forget the betrayal or the pain it caused him.

Only four verses later, here at the end of his life, Paul remembered and made mention of “Alexander the coppersmith, [who] did me great harm.” He warned Timothy, “Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message.

”Indeed, if we forget what untrustworthy people have done to us, then we will walk into the same traps again. If we ignore what untrustworthy people have done to others of the people of God (like Paul), then we ourselves can be harmed by them.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

No, that old maxim is not in the Bible. But it represents a truth. And the way it works is by remembering what was done.

So what did Paul forget? What was his “holy amnesia”?

In this chapter of the letter to the Philippians, chapter 3, Paul warned his readers to watch out for those who “mutilate the flesh” (circumcision), thinking it would make them more holy. He was talking there about the Judaizers: the ones who wanted to give Christians a list of rules to keep in “the flesh (our own ability) to make them more holy.

Sound familiar? (Today it’s called legalism.)

THEN
Paul said, “If anyone wants to boast in ‘the flesh,’ I can top that.” (That’s my loose paraphrase.)

Then he listed his earthly accomplishments, or status symbols:

~ He was a “Hebrew of the Hebrews,” top of his class, doing everything right, keeping the law with the best of them.
~ He even came from one of the “best” tribes.
~ He couldn’t be faulted for his adherence to the law. He was even a Pharisee (which didn’t have the negative connotation for most of the Jews then the way it does for us now).
~ His zeal was obvious through his desire to snuff out anything (that is, Christianity) that didn’t adhere to the religion of his fathers as he understood it.

BUT NOW
He said the ones who are the true circumcised people of God are the ones who live in the spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus.

Those status symbol physical fleshly sources of pride now were utterly worthless to him. All his accomplishments were worthless because the only treasure worth having was knowing Jesus Christ.

Paul had found, to his amazement, that he didn’t receive approval from God by Keeping the List. No, all the approval came through faith in Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ did it all!

Here’s something else important to notice.

In verse 12 of chapter 3, Paul began using a metaphor. He began comparing his life to running a marathon. God’s Word Translation renders it this way:

It’s not that I’ve already reached the goal or have already completed the course. But I run to win that which Jesus Christ has already won for me. Brothers and sisters, I can’t consider myself a winner yet. This is what I do: I don’t look back, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God’s heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus.

That “I don’t look back,” there, that’s how they rendered the “forgetting those things that are behind.

”Paul was running a marathon with his life, and he wanted to finish well. What did “finishing well” look like?He had accomplished great things “in the flesh” and had status among his fellow men. But he completely eschewed that exalted position that was meaningless in the big picture.

He even accomplished great things for the Kingdom of God in the power of the Holy Spirit! This isn’t mentioned here, so I might be extrapolating, but I believe I can say he wasn’t even going to look back on those accomplishments in order to simply rest on his laurels.

No, he was going to keep running toward Jesus. And as I mentioned in my “Obey Your Leaders and Submit to Their Authority” article (which is also a chapter of Untwisting Scriptures #2), he was pointing others to Jesus as he ran. In the same chapter of Philippians, he wrote (again, God’s Word Translation):

Whoever has a mature faith should think this way. And if you think differently, God will show you how to think. However, we should be guided by what we have learned so far.

The “holy amnesia” for us


It’s important to understand what the “this way” is that we’re supposed to think if we have a mature faith.

It’s not that we forget past grief or betrayal. Actually, one of the best ways to fully heal from it is to remember it and process it with the Lord’s presence.

It’s not that we should forget the experiences of our lives. They have played their part in shaping us as to who we are today. Wisdom learns from experience.

We certainly shouldn’t forget the great things the Lord has done for us or the truths He has taught us, or our obligation to the poor and needy.

And . . . Paul didn’t even “forget” his fleshly, earthly, legalistic accomplishments. After all, he was able to list them right there.

His “holy amnesia” was about focus. Where he was turning his eyes as he ran his marathon.

Was he going to look behind him and pat himself on the back for his accomplishments?

No. Doing that—in a race or in life—is one of the surest ways to stumble.

His “holy amnesia” turned him from past accomplishments and pointed him forward, toward the Lord and His righteousness.

I’ve never chosen a word for the year, but maybe if I did, I might also choose “holy amnesia.

”As we mature in our faith, let’s all be focused this way. And may 2022 be a year of the greatest blessing of all: seeing the Lord Jesus more clearly in our lives.

Happy New Year.

*****P.S. I also wrote briefly about Philippians 3:13 three years ago in “How to Handle Those ‘Forgive and Forget’ Scriptures.” You can read that article here.

Family, Newsletter, Seasonal, Uncategorized

Thankful for 2021

Thanking the Lord for all the new and wonderful things He did through our business in 2021.
Thank you so much for your support and being apart of the journey!

This is a quick run down of what we did in 2021. It was a year of growth and stepping into new things. Here you go!

This past year we have been able to continue art classes at Switch (local ministry that helps end sex trafficking), also had classes with Celebrate Recovery and Grace Church Recovery.

We have published two books, “The Invitation” (a devotional encounter) and “A Sheep’s Tale” (a children’s Kindle book). We also have published quotes and written works in two other books. (“You’ve Got the Wrong Guy” by Lisa Meister and “Untwisting Scriptures: Book 3” by Rebecca Davis.) Blogging also has remained an important way to reach out.I

I painted several prophetic art pieces and had a few commissioned pieces as well. So fun!!

The doors opened to speak several times on sharing my story on heart healing and encountering Jesus.

I developed and taught the first Encounter Class resulting in some choosing into a more in depth heart healing journey.

My daughter taught children’s art classes over the summer.

So grateful for all the opportunities for new growth!

Looking forward to the new in 2022!

And don’t forget sign ups for the new Encounter Class will end soon. We have a few more spots available and the sale for $100 is on through Jan. 2nd, and if you bring a friend with you, take an extra $25 off of the class for you and your friend. Hope you can join us.

Christian living, Family, God encounters, Newsletter, Uncategorized

Burial Plots to Rose Beds

Many years ago, I sat across from my pastor as he pulled out a sheet of paper.  “What is your goal in life, Carolyn?  What do you dream of becoming one day?”  As a young married woman with little clue, I stammered.  

“We want to help families be healthy,” I paused.  “I always dreamed of having a healthy family, but also to help others.  We want to have a place where families have resources to help them.”

Sincerely, he looked at me with tenderness as he picked a pen. He drew one dot.  “This is where you are.”  Across the page, he placed another dot.  “This is where you want to be.”  

Then, he did the unexpected.  

He drew a crazy, curving line all over the page, until one dot finally connected to the other.  

“You expect point A to be a straight line to point B.”  He raised his eyes to meet mine, smiling mischievously.  “Carolyn, God always has different plans.  He has to take you on a journey with him to reach point B, and it will curve, twisting and turning, doing loop de loops sometimes.  Yet, it is always His kindness in leading the way He does, because it’s what we learn on the journey from point A to point B that prepares you to walk in that new place.”

This has played out in my life so many times that I could never have imagined then all the many twists and turns there would be.  

This blog is about one of those journeys – a new bed of roses from a burial plot.  

Last summer, I published my new book, “The Invitation”.  It’s a compilation of some very hard twists and turns – life lessons learned from my healing journey – in a story form, with artwork that goes along with the stories, along with letters from the Lord.  It’s personal.  It’s vulnerable glimpses into my heart from various encounters with the Lord on my healing journey.  

The letters from the Lord included are very precious to me, because He gave them to me at an extremely tender turning point in my journey, a point when I was finally beginning to trust Him, finally able to begin to feel His love and experience His joy.  

At that time, several beautiful friends came along side me, and were Jesus to me.  Some of them held me, cried with me, were true sisters to me as I processed out the pain of broken family relationships, extreme trauma, and pain.  

Previous friends promised they’d be family, and never leave, but when the path had gotten rough, they left me and my husband to walk it alone.  Yet, this time… this time it felt different. For the first time, I had a family of sisters, of friends who would stay by my side.  They wouldn’t bolt.  They had shared my pain.  They knew my story.

Shortly after the writing of those letters out – after finally reaching a place of trust again, things changed.  Leadership became abusive.  Out of obedience to the Lord, I spoke out to the leadership about the things that were careening out of control.  Instead of being received, I and my family were ostracized from our “Christian family”.  

The very ones who I had trusted, now would not speak to me.  My phone number was blocked, and I was unfriended on social media. My family and I were “blessed” to leave.  Other close friends were hurting as well from the fall out, so they chose to run.  Only two friends stayed along side me.  (I’m not saying this to gossip.  You can check out my friend, Rebecca Davis’s new book for help with.  “Untwisting Scriptures: Book 3 – Your Words, Your Emotions”.)  Those are just facts of what happened.  It hurt deeply, like a knife digging at my heart.  

Shortly after God had given the letters to me, the Lord instructed me to publish them and the stories.  Though it was painful, and I didn’t understand why, I choose to trust that God knew what was best and obey despite how I felt.  Truly, all I saw was a freshly dug pile of dirt and a tombstone.  

The day came for the proof copy to arrive on my door step.  As I anxiously ripped open the yellow envelope and held the book in my hand, I felt the pang of gut wrenching grief again.  Hot tears welled up in my eyes.  “This isn’t the way this was supposed to be,” I lamented.  

“I’m proud of you for obeying me,” I heard the still small voice.  “Place it in my hands, child.  You’ll see why I asked this of you.”

 A few weeks later, I found myself chatting with a friend who had just read the book.  “Carolyn,” she said.  “I loved your book and the encounters you had with the Lord.  I really feel you should make this into a class.  Do a class combining art with the concepts in your book.”

My mind raced back to the beginning of this year when the Lord told me that I was transitioning out of what I had been doing with my painting classes into something new.  

My whole business is based on a dream and vision He gave me on combining the things I’ve learned on my own healing journey, encounters with Him, and art.  Yet, the classes I had done before fell short of what burned in me to do.

All of a sudden everything became crystal clear.  “Lord, is this what you’ve been trying to tell me?  Is this the new direction?”  

I decided to reread my own book, pouring through the pages with a new lens.  Sure enough, it made perfect sense.  Each chapter was a different heart healing principle that I had learned, and the length of the book was perfect for the length of the class.  I could even see each art project in conjunction with the healing encounter the Lord desired to do. 

He inspired me with a new logo, tag line, and brought together wonderful participants for a beta class to help me work out the details.  He even met each of them in our times together with significant, life changing encounters of His love and identity in Him.

Now, where there was once intense pain, there is a dawn of hope. Excitement is beginning to grow over what is to come as I step out into this new direction.  

The path has held twists, turns, some loop de loops, deep grief, tears, forgiveness, encounters of love, and moments of joy.  At each turn, I’ve learned to release the process into the hands of my loving Heavenly Father trusting Him to help to learn and growing through the journey.  

I don’t even think I care much about where point B is anymore.  I just want to learn to love well, and receive love daily.  Cheek to cheek.  Face to face.  Heart to heart.

Where just a few months ago all I saw was a burial plot, now I see the first signs of verdant, strong stems popping up from the fertile ground and tender, little rose buds forming on the tips.  

Jesus transforms burial plots into rose beds.  I’ve seen Him do it again and again.  He loves creating beautiful masterpieces out of broken pieces of our of lives, breathing resurrection life into dead bones.  Trust Him.

To find out more about “The Invitation” or my new class called “Encounter Art Classes”, check out our website at http://www.blossomingheartsstudio.com.

Christian living, Family, Uncategorized, Visions

Forgiveness Or Judgment

Sometimes, we need a paradigm shift because we have been looking at the same thing for most of our life, and then one day, our perspective shifts, and we see it in a different way. 

I was reading Luke 23:34.  “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.” In the TPT, it says while they were nailing Jesus to the cross, He said over and over again, “Father, forgive them.  They don’t know what they are doing.”  

Truly, they didn’t know they were crucifying the Son of God, or they never would have done it.  

Then, I went to the story of Stephen being stoned, and he lifted his head to heaven and saw Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father.   He too said with his dying breath, “Forgive them.  They don’t know what they are doing.”  Acts 7:58

As I read these, the Lord began speaking to me.  He wasn’t just talking to the Roman solider who nailed Him to the cross, and Stephen wasn’t just talking to the Jewish leaders who were hurling the stones at them. 

Some people insist that for forgiveness to be offered, the one needing it must ask for it.  Yet, in both of these very dramatic cases, forgiveness was not only offered to those who didn’t ask for it, but it was offered and even was a plead for the ones who were abusing, who were actively murdering them.  

When the US pulled out of Afghanistan and the Taliban rushed in, I was a mess.  I felt the abandonment and the extreme anger against our government for leaving people stranded and for the Taliban who have taken over.  I knew that it meant the massacre of thousands of believers. 

I was so upset that I was making myself sick.

The Lord drew me away to spend time with Him. As I did, I immediately, saw Jesus standing by a lake tossing rocks into it.  I thought to myself, “How can you calmly be doing that Lord, when your children are suffering and dying?”  

He turned to face me with that compassion flooding through His eyes, and said, “Daughter, I never abandon my children.”  

Then, he proceeded to motion me closer, “Come with me.”

For the next day and half, all I could see in my minds eye was the same thing. I saw myself standing in the middle of room with these precious Afghans as they huddled in corners.  I saw a glory light all around us with Jesus standing in the middle, and I saw each person with an angel in front of them that as holding them.  From the other side of the bubble, I could hear the door bust through, feet shuffle, the clicks of guns being cocked, and the sound of machine guns being fired into the room.  As each believer took their last breath, the angel flew them away.  It was intense.

Then I heard Jesus say, “Listen.” 

With their last breath, I heard, “Forgive them.  They don’t know what they are doing.”  

Could that have just been my overactive imagination? Maybe.  But at the end of the second day, I heard, “Enough,” and the vision lifted.  

What I believe the Lord was showing me regarding this is that when Jesus willingly laid His life down at the cross He made a way for forgiveness to be given.

Up until that time, mankind’s sins had been appeased.  That’s what the animal sacrificial system was all about – temporarily placing the sins or evil of mankind on an innocent animal to appease the just, righteous, holy God until Jesus could come to be that permanent sacrifice.  

When Jesus fulfilled that sacrifice, forgiveness is now already in a sense given for anyone who accepts the Son’s sacrifice.  We then also get to appropriate that forgiveness to others, making a way for them to come.  

Following Jesus’s resurrection, He said in John 20:22, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of anyone they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained.”

It’s still their choice whether they receive what the Lord has already done, but it is already a finished work, once and for all, we are forgiven.  

So, Stephen when he pronounced the same thing, I believe in a way he was acting like Christ, and making a way for Saul to become Paul.  

The Afghan believers in their suffering and spilling of their blood are also acting as Christ, being that same example.  I believe it will potentially make a difference in some of the Taliban receiving Christ. 

Here’s the thing though.  Jesus wasn’t just dismissing the evil being done to Him.  He wasn’t just looking the other way.  He acknowledged what was done.  But He chose to take our place and carry our sins, evils, and make the way for forgiveness to happen, or we would never be able to be reconciled to God.  

We also can partner with Jesus in this when are unjustly suffering and choose offer the gift of forgiveness just as we have accepted that gift, perhaps making a way for others as well to receive that forgiveness as well.  

We act as His agents on earth to bring the kingdom here.  We are His representatives, and we can forgive or not forgive others sins.  

If I love my enemies, then I want them to also be able to receive the free gift of salvation as well.  I want them also to receive forgiveness.

Do they have to ask for it, well, I believe for them to receive it, then yes, but I have already given it in my heart.  

Many times, when someone asks me to forgive them for something they have done wrong, my answer is “I forgave that a long time ago.”

When I come to the Lord asking for forgiveness of my sins or those that I have authority over, like my family line, He has always given it because I believe it is already given.  Yet, I still must appropriate it. 

Yes, when I receive salvation all my sins have been placed under the blood of Jesus once and for all.  That is true.  It is also true that His blood is enough for all the sins of the world, and yet, Jesus says, “Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” This is something I don’t fully understand, because it seems to be a both/and situation.

Just as Jesus came to step into that place for others, I believe we can also partner with Him interceding or stepping in the gap for others, just like He does.  

Having been a survivor of severe childhood abuse and trauma, I know very well all the emotions that seek to suck us down into a pit, and I’ve also suffered sorely from the results of others sins against me, and still suffer daily from them in some ways, but I’ve also learned that I can walk with an unoffended heart when I chose to allow God to take the offenses and be the final judge.  

But that doesn’t mean I don’t ever experience offense, nor is it wrong for me to be get offended at evil.  It’s totally right to be offended at evil, and it’s total right to take action against evil.   I just don’t hold on to it.  I turn it over to the Lord.  I offer forgiveness to the person in my heart, but I still may need to hold them accountable for the wrong done.  

For example, a couple of years ago, when my purse was stolen, I just didn’t say,  “Oh, I forgive them. Let’s just forget that ever happened.”    I called the police and filled a report against them.  It is right for the full authority of the law to be applied and the thief held accountable.

So…

Here’s where we can and have very much gone off in a wrong direction with this message of forgiveness.  

It doesn’t mean I don’t acknowledge evil and look the other way.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t hold accountable abusers.  If we have the ability to speak up, and hold people accountable for their evil actions, I totally believe we should.

The reason evil was able to flood back into Afghanistan is because the force of good that was holding it back suddenly left.  If we don’t act justly, and take action against those who are lawless and evil, then we are allowing that to come to our front door and to take us out.  

I know this may sound like a paradox, but just follow me a little longer.  

There is a big difference between having a forgiving, non-offended heart, which I think we should all have, while still holding people accountable for their evil actions verses carrying around a heart full of hatred and offense judging the hearts of others or passively sticking our head in the sand because we don’t want to offend anyone or get messy.  

The church has done the latter two far too many times, protecting the abusers, while throwing the abused under the bus in the name of God.  Many times, the abused are even told that they should just forgive and forget and bear their burden like a good Christian.  This is completely against the heart of God.

He tells us to protect those who unprotected, to care for the widows and the orphans which is what are called to do – to act in justice, but love mercy, and walk humbly with God. 

Instead in many cases, the church has covered up the nakedness of the abuser to protect their reputations, which have no character to back it up, while throwing the abused out the door.  

And we wonder why and how our government and culture has become so corrupt.  

We have pulled out the good that was keeping it back and not stood up for those who can’t.  

This not only breaks the heart of God, but brings His judgment.  And yes, He still judges, even though He has made the way for forgiveness.  It’s both/and.  Not one or the other.  

I’m pretty sure Ananias and Sapphira were judged because they lied to the Holy Spirit, and the holy fear of God fell on the early church.  Acts 5

The fierce justice and judgment of God is throughout the Bible.  I believe even His judgment is from a place of love. If He didn’t have consequences to the evil that humanity has perpetuated, our race would never have made it to the redemption. We would have destroyed ourselves long ago. Yet, because of Jesus, we now stand in front of the mercy seat.  Praise God. 

When we truly receive the free gift of forgiveness through Jesus, we can now not only live with a heart set free of our sin nature, we can also be the door for others to be set free as well, by stepping into the position of Jesus and acting as He did.  

Whether that is speaking up to the Pharisees to defend the defenseless, or if that’s caring for the wounded on the side of the road, or that’s offering forgiveness when we are suffering for someone else’s sins, we can follow the Holy Spirit’s leading and make a difference in this chaotic world by bringing His kingdom through us.  

Christian living, Family, Uncategorized

Not As Advertised

“So, how long is that canoe trip tomorrow?” I asked my husband.  

“Maybe an hour and a half,” he paused.  “They do this all the time.  It’ll be fun.”  I guess he sensed my hesitation.  

The only other time I’ve been on a river was in my twenties on a rafting trip with a guide and a group of college friends.  It never crossed my mind that I was signing up for that kind of adventure.  

In my mind’s eye, I pictured a relaxing ride winding back and forth on a cool autumn afternoon down the river.  Inviting.

Until…. I sat across from my friend who was not going on the trip, as she tried to mentally prepare me for the possibilities that were before me while we waited on the rest of the group who were running late.  

“Oh, no.  You’ll be on the water at least three hours,” she said.  Her eyes shifted back and forth, as she cleared her throat. “And there are some rapids.  Didn’t they tell you that?”

“Mmm.  No.  They forgot to tell me that part.”  The Pollyanna image I had was beginning to fade.

My friend’s daughter chimed in.  “Oh, they aren’t too bad.  Class one, probably.”

“Class one.  Not too bad.  In a canoe.”  My mind rationed back and forth with how I could get out of this commitment.  

Yet, I had already said yes to my husband and my kids.  I didn’t want them to go it alone.  

“Oh, and another thing,” my friend kindly added.  “It’s best if you don’t go down in the same canoe as your spouse.  It just hasn’t ended well for other couples in the past.”

I could feel my heart thumping in my chest.  

All the way to the river, I heard whispering in my head, “You will go in the same canoe as Paul.  I want to trust me and get in that boat.”

“Ugh.  Lord, please help me.”

I snapped the clips shut down the front of my life jacket and grabbed a paddle.

“You and Paul take that canoe over there,” the leader of the crew said.

“Of course, we will,” I sarcastically thought.

We grabbed the rope to pull the canoe around.  Gingerly, I crawled up to the front seat, while Paul hopped in the back to steer.

We weren’t on the river five minutes, when we all realized the water was about half a foot too low.  

After climbing over the first fallen tree and then running directly into low lying branches, I shouted again, “Watch out for that…. Oh never, mind,” as we skidded to another stop on the next rock or sandbar.  

Finally, we reached some open water to gently float in, and the small voice inside of me began to speak again.

“I created you to be a seer, to look ahead and see what’s coming, and then to communicate that to your husband.  You are also to help him carry the load by rowing and adding your strength to his.  In order for you to work together, you must stay in sync and communicate.  To get down this river together well, you must work in unity, not against each other.”

I paddled a bit more, trying to point out more clearly the hazards I saw ahead.  As we continued to make forward progress, the Lord continued.

“Paul’s position is just as important as yours, but different.  He is designed to steer the boat, to bear the load of the work, to hop out of the boat and push it when necessary.  Both of you are equipped and designed for you to be in these positions. Honor the position I’ve placed you both in.”

If I would not have been paying attention to the obnoxiously large rock in my left Keen, I would have heard the increasing sound of rushing water in front of us.  I slipped my shoe off to get rid of the menace at about the same time as I saw one of the teens standing on a rock in the middle of rushing water frantically waving their arms to motion for us to go the right of the jagged rocks like a plane landing on a runway.  

Quickly, I slipped my shoe half on, while pressing my knees against the side of the boat to brace myself.  My natural reaction was to hold the paddle firmly in front of me, partly from previous experience of rafting in my twenties (which was very different), and partly because we had spent the last thirty some minutes with my husband telling me to hold back, to let him paddle, so he could control the boat better.  But as we passed the guide on the rocks, I heard them screaming at me, “Paddle, paddle hard through the rapids.”  

Somehow, we traversed the dangerous rocks and water gushing to the bottom of the rapids, only to for me to yell, “There’s a tree…” Bang.  “branch,” as we in slow motion flipped the canoe over.  

“Catch my shoe.  Please grab my shoe,” I screamed as I watched it floating down the river.  One of the youthful guys swam to rescue my bobbing sandal.  Another grabbed our bag that was now soaked at the bottom of the boat, and secured it with a rope, so we wouldn’t loose it with the next tip over.  I’m pretty sure they expected us to get dunked again.  

“There aren’t any more rapids like that are there?” I half questioned, half begged the nearest teen.  

“Oh, I think this is hardest,” she said reassuringly.  

It wasn’t.  The next one no one in a canoe made it down without a flip.  

I was especially concerned when I saw my daughter standing in the middle of the falls in front of us as they held us back.  Her boat had flipped onto of her pinning her to a rock, which I found out after the fact.  Adrenaline had been her friend, as she had heaved the boat from her head tossing her glasses with it.  

We stopped at sand bar to grab some watermelon and relax.  Smiling with satisfaction that we had made it this far.  “We’re about halfway,” our guide announced as we climbed back in our canoe.  

After about four and half hours with the sun beginning to dip beneath the trees and my body beginning to tremble from exhaustion, I looked over to our guide in the kayak next to us.  

“How much longer?”  

“When we are done, I guess.”  

“Will we back before dark?”

“Hopefully, but if we’re not, then we’re not.”

“There aren’t anymore falls, are there?”  

“Oh, there are some at the very end that are really hard, but we are getting off before that because most people are tired by then.”

As I heard that sound of rushing water in front of us yet again, I knew he failed to tell me about the set that were between us and the exit point that weren’t quite as difficult.  

I was super tempted to jump out of the boat and walk down the rocks to the place we were getting out.  But then I thought of my dear husband in the back, and I knew we had to finish together.  

At the top, we suddenly began to flip around to go down backwards, but struggling again the current, we were able to turn it around, only to get stuck on the first rock down.  

“Dear Jesus, please don’t let us flip again.”  

I pushed with the little strength I had left against the rock, as Paul hung out the opposite side to keep us from going over.  The canoe finally began to break free of the rock, and I dug the paddle into the water as hard as I could adding my strength to the man in the back to create momentum in the raging water as we skidded over the last few falls.  Cheers went up as we crashed into the churning water at the bottom and floated to a halt.  

“We did it.  We finally finished.”  

Sometimes the things we go through in life are not as advertised.  

Yet, once you say yes to the adventure and hop in that boat, you are committed for the whole ride, whatever may come – trees in front of you, sand bars, rocks, rapids, slips and falls.  

We can’t control the river.  We can only control our reactions to it.  You can’t just jump out and say, “I’m done.”  No matter what comes, we are in this together.

And when we get to the rapids, that’s the time to really row.  

It’s also really important for me to honor the voice behind me and in most cases follow his lead, but there are times I need to make some decisions; yet in that, be clear and communicate what I’m doing.  It’s important for me to honor, encourage, and listen to the one steering the boat, and trust he is trying his best to steer us in the right direction.  

One of us is designed to be the one steering the boat.  It is his design to offer the most strength and make the final decisions on where this boat is going.  We both can’t do that.  It means disaster if we try.  

It’s not that one job is more important than the other, but the one steering has to make those final decisions for the trip to work.  

If the one steering will trust the one in the front and listen to what is seen ahead and accept the help, then we will avoid a lot more rocks, branches, and go down the falls easier, but if he doesn’t, we both will suffer.  

It only makes things harder if each criticizes the other because we are both just trying to help each other get down the river.  The only way to make it down through the hazards of the river in one piece is to value and honor our different design, celebrate it even, and encourage each other to do our best.  That’s loving each other well. 

When one gets tired, the other pulls more weight for a while and vice versa.  We must work together as a team to finish well, accomplishing what we are destined to do.  

Will we flip out of the boat?  Yes. Yes, we will.  Probably a few times.  We will hit rocks, get stuck, run into branches, beach on sandbars, slip and possibly fall, and traverse rapids. 

Yet we have on our life jackets, we have each other with a helping hand up, and we have a community of people who have been down this river many times before and know it much better than us who are there to offer their wisdom, advice, and help if we are willing to take it.  They will be there to cheer us on in the end.  We also have some big angels to give us a little push in the right direction.  

Obviously, there’s a lot of application to marriage here, but the truth is we live in some  very turbulent times.  I can hear the rushing water ahead, and I know there are some more rapids coming.  The Lord is the one who said to get in the boat, and He will help us get down this river in one piece.  Yet, we will make it much easier on ourselves if we work together in unity, honoring the different designs and functions we are made for, and help one another in love.  

We are going down this river one way or the other.

So grab that paddle and hop in that boat.  It’s the adventure of a lifetime.  

Christian living, Uncategorized, Visions

In My Messy Conversation…

I drove into my friend’s driveway.  A terrible storm had ripped through her yard, uprooting a large oak tree and laying the roots on their side.  Siding from surrounding buildings, glass, trash was strewn all over the yard.  

Now, this friend keeps her yard meticulous.  She could be a top interior and exterior designer.  

As I stepped out of the car, I saw her bent over, wiping sweat from her brow, as she thrust the next handful of trash into the almost full bag.  Her face – tight.  Her eyes – weary.   She had lost someone she loved dearly a few weeks prior.  I knew she was at the end of herself in many ways.  My heart ached with her. 

I smiled and waved hello, right as an elderly woman marched across the street and stood belligerent with her hands on her hips in front of my friend who had slowly reached down yet again to put trash into the bag.  

The woman began ranting at my friend, accusing her of never keeping her yard up to the community standards, of being a slob.  I saw my friend’s face grow red with embarrassment as she bowed her head.  

In defense, I stepped in-between the neighbor and my friend, shielding her from further attack.   I looked straight into the old woman’s condemning eyes as she glared back. 

“Either you get off this property, or I call the police.” I calmly, but firmly said.  

She started to rail at me. 

I held my ground.  “You are on private property.  You don’t have the right to be here.  Get out.”  I continued to speak, as I pulled my phone from my pocket and began dialing 911.   I was so mad, beyond mad.  

Then, I woke up.  It had all been a dream.  And I’ve been wrestling this out with the Lord every since. 

Even as I’m writing this out, I see it from so many angles, and I’m asking God to search my heart and show me my own stuff that needs to be dealt with.  

In our world right now, there are so many injustices being done.  So many people I love hurting who have lost loved ones, who have destructive storms that have ripped through their lives.  I’ve had a few of my own.  

And I’m angry.  I didn’t realize how much.

I’m angry seeing evil in our governmental and religious systems hurting people, allowing people to be massacred, forcing people into doing things they don’t believe are right for them or their families.  

I’m also angry and grieving for others with family members on vents, suffering, partly because of what appears to be a failed health care system, partly because of a bad virus.  Yet, also seeing their choices villianized and accusations flying against them for their choices.  

I’m angry watching a religious system many times eating their own – “spirit cannibalism” as Heidi Baker once called it.  Like the woman in the dream, coming to curse her neighbor who is hurting, instead reaching out a helping hand in her time of suffering.  Why are we so quick to condemn, judge and jury our neighbors, or maybe someone we have never even met?

On a very personal level, I’m mamma bear angry because someone dear to me is considering walking away from their faith because they never felt they could measure up to the religious yard stick.  

I cried out to God this morning, because if I’m honest, I’m really angry about a lot of things.  And growing up in an abusive home, being angry was not allowed.  I suffered if I showed anger, badly.  

So, I stuffed it.  I learned to stuff it very well.  I learned to live life looking good on the outside, yet falling apart with anger, helplessness, powerlessness, fear, terror, on the inside.   

And now in the middle of this chaotic world of a mess, Jesus is looking at me the way that undoes my heart, and is telling me it’s OK to be angry at evil.  

It’s right to be angry at the nasty neighbor who is tearing apart my friend’s heart, much like the storm did her yard.  It’s right to stand my ground and demand her leave, because she is trespassing.  He is actually angry too, and wants me to stand up for my friend’s rights.  He doesn’t want me to put up with the bully.  

Can I say here I know who the real bully is – the enemy?   “We don’t fight against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces, and darkness of the age.” Eph. 6:12  Yet, when a person has yielded to that darkness, it may mean I need to stand up to them too.  I may need to say, “That’s not allowed.  You are trespassing and you must get off.”   

When good withdraws, evil will rush in.  

Did I even realize that I could love and be angry at the same time?  Be angry and sin not.  Eph. 4:26  Don’t allow that anger to turn into cursing or condemning.  Don’t allow it to pull me off the course of love, and yet it was right to feel it.  

I saw Jesus hand me a punching bag this morning in the spirit.  “Here, let it all out here, and now sit down with me, and let’s talk.”  Does God do that?  Apparently.  

I’m not in a place of listing all the scriptures of times God got angry in the Bible and still was love, but I’d encourage you to maybe do that.  I know for certain Jesus got angry with the religious leaders and others a lot and yet still it was out of love, even to the point of making a whip and driving our moneychangers from the temple.  Yet, to those who were hurting, sick, in need and knew it, He was gentle, kind, loving, their healer and deliverer.  

What does it look like for us to allow ourselves that emotion and still love others well?  

I think this will be a topic I need to walk out with the Lord for a while, as I ‘m pretty sure we are meant to defend the defenseless, stand up for righteousness and justice, set people free.  There may be some emotions of anger at evil and the effects of it, as I walk that out.  I’m pretty sure God is OK with that. 

In my messy conversation with Him, I heard this in my heart.  Weigh it for yourself, but I believe it was the Lord speaking this to me. 

Child,

I understand the struggle with in you, but let love win.  

I understand the anger, the hatred even of sin, and it’s right to be angry, but don’t let it lead to sin in your own heart.   Let love win.

I understand the anger you feel at the religious system.  I have been angry with it too, the religious/business system that uses people and then spits them out when they don’t hit the mark.  I abhor that system.  It has nothing to do with love, life, or freedom, which is why it is failing. You have every right to be angry. 

I understand your anger of a government that just abandoned thousands of people and left their own weapons for them to be used against them to murder my kids. I’m angry too. 

I’m angry when any of my children are persecuted, held against their will, raped, manipulated, controlled, mouths taped up, body parts torn apart and then sold, children trafficked for sexual pleasure. Daughter, all of humanity’s evils are before my eyes and I see it all as one. And yes, I get livid – any loving Father would.  

Love gets angry, but it doesn’t lose its way or get off track in that anger. 

Don’t be overcome by evil. Overcome evil with good. 

The thing is I also have my son’s sacrifice before me, and His sacrifice was enough to cover all of those sins, those evils. It doesn’t dismiss them, like they don’t happen, but it makes a way for those who receive what He has done to become my children and to be truly free from that system. 

Sweetheart, love overcomes evil. Not anger. Love does. Patience does. Kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, truth, joy, goodness, self-control. Nothing is a more powerful offensive weapon than the power of love. That’s why I said love your enemies. Do good to those who persecute you. 

It doesn’t mean that you’ll never be angry, nor that I want you to be silent. I need you to speak truth in love. I need the whistleblowers. I need those who will stand up for justice, righteousness, and not be swayed in that. 

But even in the middle of the standing up, to do so in love, to do so with kindness. If you give into the spirit of offense, then you will become like the offender. That’s not who you are. 

Be angry, but don’t let that anger keep you from loving people right in the middle of it. Speak out, but when you do, point them to me.

Forgive people when they don’t deserve it, because they don’t know what they are doing. They don’t know they are puppets in a different master’s hands.  Release their ultimate judgment to me.  

Fight the good fight against the real enemy, the spiritual strongholds in the heavenly realms. And yet, sometimes that means holding people accountable to the just consequences of their behavior.

Let love win. In you. In the way you love others. In the way you love me. 

It’s right to grieve the effects of evil in this world. Blessed are they who mourn for they will be comforted.

I love you. Let live win.

Papa