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Monthly Archives: November 2013

God’s Name

God’s Name – November 20, 2013

I can not remember how the concept of God was first introduced to me. Sometimes….. I think I came into the world knowing and loving God. What I do remember is a teaching from the Baltimore Catechism that says, “God is everywhere, in everyone and in everything.” This principal has driven and guided my life in ways that sometimes is beyond words.

I’ve heard some people describe themselves as recovering Roman Catholics. Many say that they developed a guilt complex from the teachings but I personally don’t feel that way. Instead I am grateful for the foundation of faith and truth that was taught to me at a very young age. Not only was I born with a deep faith in God but I also was given the ability to take what I like and leave the rest. I learned that there is always more to learn and that in this life I will never have all the answers and neither does anyone else, including the Catholic Church. 

When I was led to and chose to practice my faith in the Presbyterian Church I did not feel guilty about my decision. I trusted that God knew best and I’ve never regretted my choice. I felt that God led me every step of the way. Likewise, later in life when I was ministering in an interfaith tradition, that  looked for the common tread of truth in each religion I did so confidently and without any guilt at all and in fact it warmed my heart because at some level I always knew and believed there was a common truth. 

During those many years I thrived and my faith grew and so did my relationship with God. In fact it was in this tradition that Christianity came alive for me with a deeper understanding that there is one God known by many names. I learned that God doesn’t care what we call Her, what we call Him. I like to think of God as Mother/Father God and often pray that way. I also discovered the concept of Christ Consciousness. Christ Consciousness was released when Jesus died on the cross and resurrected on the third day. He sent the Holy Spirit to live and thrive through each and every person on earth, Jesus for me lives today in me and in you and wants to use each one of us to work together to bring the realization of heaven here and now. 

I realized that…Christ Consciousness is in every person, place, thing, situation or circumstance, no matter what it looks like and that Christ Consciousness is there waiting for us to turn within and connect and work together for the good of all. The Holy Sprit does not force itself on us. Free will is ours forever, for good or not. I believe that Christ Consciousness can also be called Buddha Consciousness, Allah Consciousness, Krishna Consciousness. Remember there is only one God known by many names. Religion for me is a cultural thing. I believe that God meets each and every person right where they live in a way that speaks to their hearts if they are willing to stop, look and listen.

Now I did not start out with a strong prayer life in place as a young person but, I do remember talking with God when I was afraid, worried or anxious. These prayers help me to adjust to whatever was going on in my life and as time went by my prayer life grew and changed.

Today I still talk to God and pray in many different ways. Sometimes I  say formal prayers, Sometimes I pray the Rosary. I’ve also memorized prayers and scriptures such as the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi and the scripture from Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all ways acknowledge God and God will direct your path.” This practice helped me change my negative thinking and even kept me from acting on my food addiction. 

Over the years one of the most important disciplines, I learned and developed through my experiences in the interfaith tradition was meditation. This was not an easy discipline for me to practice. There was a time when I could not sit still for even five minutes without a lot of pain and uncomfortableness. With time, determination, a lot of support and regular practice I now crave that time alone in the quiet and do my best to practice every day. For me meditation is the highest form of prayer. In meditation I believe we are ministered to in a way that is not possible at any other time or in any other way. Learning to sit watching our thoughts go by and eventually subside and even stop briefly is what Deepak Chopra calls the gap. I believe that in this gap the Holy Spirit comes in and ministers to us. Sitting in the quiet waiting, watching and surrendering to process for me gives the Holy Spirit permission to transform me from the inside out.

I’ve learned that a spiritual life is not about keeping the rules and laws. In fact I just recently was delightfully shocked to see in I Corinthians 15:59 that St. Paul says that “The power of sin is the law.” WOW that makes sense to me. St. Paul also admits to how he has difficulty keeping the law boy I relate to that…..Here’s our challenge, Jesus said in Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” The law has a purpose and Jesus came to fulfill that purpose and now wants to fulfill those laws through us. These laws and truths are already within our heart of hearts… that place where we are one with God. Our work and God’s desire is for us to develop a relationship with God and let God guide us through all that we do. Prayer and Meditation is the only way I know to have a personal relationship with God. We must talk with God and we must listen for the still small voice within that is ready to guide and help us with everything we do, so that together we can fulfill Jesus’s purpose on earth. 

Today I know that without God I am nothing. Today I know that I live and breath and have my being in God. I know that God is closer to me than my breadth and I truly know that God loves me just the way I am. I’m grateful to say that I’ve experienced in all areas of my life that “With God all things are possible.” Matthew 15:26.

I ask God to help me do everything, and when I don’t ask it’s because this principal is so much a part of who I am it is a given for me that God will help me. I do my best to live my life from that place. I know today I am God’s hands and feet, God’s tongue, God’s life here on earth and I do my best to live my life in such a way that God’s purpose is fulfilled here on earth, one step at a time, one day at a time filled with grace, love and joy and I pray that all I do glorifies our Lord’s Name. Amen!!!

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Posted by on November 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Glimpses of Heaven….. 2004

November 14, 2013

I’m keeping my promise to myself to post once a week and even though what follows was written in 2004 it still applies to my life today.

I may add a postscript….

GLIMPSES OF HEAVEN

2004

Today I am more consciously aware of the world around me and my place in it, not because of anything I have done and because of everything I have done. When I say I’m more aware, not because of anything I’ve done I don’t mean that I passively sat back and let my life happen. Yet today, as I look back over the last 25 of my 71 years on earth, I know that one day at a time, my life unfolded.

Years of food addiction and people pleasing kept me asleep to who I was and all that I could be. During those years I unconsciously went through the motions of life, doing what I thought I should do rather than what I could do. Yes! Life happened to me while I actively participated in it. What I needed to do next was revealed to me and I acted. But I have a sense there was a Divine Plan and a purpose for all that occurred. I realize today that this process I call my awakening has been going on since the day I was born and maybe even before that, and I believe it will continue even after my body is gone. I can’t help but think about what Mohandas K. Ghandi said about his growth. “In my search after Truth, I have discarded many ideas and learned many new things. Old as I am in age, I have no feeling that I have ceased to grow inwardly, or that my growth will stop at the dissolution of the flesh. What I am concerned with is my readiness to obey the call of Truth, my God, from moment to moment.”

So…I cannot remember how the concept of God was first introduced to me. I also cannot remember a time when God, in varying degrees, has not been in my awareness. However, I do remember that as a little girl I was taught that God was everywhere, in everyone, and in everything and that there is no place, situation or circumstance where God is not. It was that basic belief that kept me searching and yearning to know God more deeply. That seed planted in my young mind was the force driving me along my spiritual path.

Over the years I have learned that “awakening” is not a destination. Awakening is a process of unveiling, of walking through one phase after another, one set of circumstances after another, trusting that what I need to know and do will be revealed. The awakening process, though simple in concept, such as “be in the present moment,” is difficult. Awakening requires courage and commitment. It also requires humility, that is, the ability to reach out for help in times of need. Most importantly, awakening takes the courage to be honest with ourselves and the people who are there to help us.  The deeper I go spiritually, the more challenging my life experiences become for me, the greater the opportunity to experience the Grace of God.

These challenges have taken many forms: being a mother of three children, the death of their father at a young age, ( he was 39 years old), a second marriage that included five children and the scary big “C” in my body to name a few. But the greatest growth for me comes from everyday living experiences with my relationships. Working on the relationships with my family of origin, my husband, children, stepchildren, friends and coworkers has provided me and will continue to provide me with many opportunities to look at myself and to change.

And that brings me to the most important relationship I’ve had to work on…the one with myself. I spent at least ten years learning how to become my own best friend. By working the 12 Steps of Overeater’s Anonymous and participating in an Al-Anon program, private counseling, prayer and meditation, I learned to tame the critic within and to love myself unconditionally as I was being transformed. The more I learned about myself, deepening my relationship with God, through working the 11th Step*, the more my relationship with others improved. My experience showed me that in order to live a life that is fully conscious and peace-filled, I had to have a good relationship with myself. Today I live a healthy lifestyle, I eat moderate amounts of healthy food most of the time, and I exercise several times a week. But most importantly I have strong, clear boundaries and am careful not to do for others what they can do for themselves. I ask for help when I need it and I am willing to look within to resolve conflict in a relationship, asking myself, “What is my part in this?” and “What can I do to make a difference?”

In recent years, experiencing the Divine has come from discovering and claiming my creative yearnings. My Soul’s sincere desire to be a public speaker and to write articles such as this has provided me with the opportunity to confront and walk through my greatest fear…the fear of failure. Public speaking is easy for me. Writing those speeches is torture. And now knowing that someone else will read them… well I’ll keep on taking one step at a time, trusting that I will grow and change while learning all I can about writing.

For years I have attempted to practice the presence of God in all that I do. I pray and meditate on a regular basis and feel close to God when I’m writing. My awakening has been a gradual one. As a result of taking responsibility for my thoughts and actions and living as best I can surrendered to the will of God, I have more peace, more joy, more satisfaction and more fulfillment in my life. This awakening was not a euphoric, one-time experience, but has been glimpses of Heaven in the here and now.

*11th Step…..Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.

P.S. Yep that me and my story in a nutshell….Glimpses of heaven still show up, Grace filled experiences deepen my faith and next

time I’ll write about trust. I had someone ask me, “Anne, What is the difference between faith and trust?”……..stay tuned.

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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FAITH….

November 7, 2013

I really want to get back into the habit of blogging on a regular basis. I am strongly led to commit to writing at least once a week or at least post something.  I know that this will challenge me especially with the holidays approaching but in a pinch, I have many things that I’ve written and can post so we can stay in touch on a regular basis. May God continue to bless each one of you and may God continue to grant me the willingness to write. AMEN!!!

Faith

What is faith? Yeah….. just what is faith and how do we become faith full or should I say full of faith. Well we don’t become full of faith we already are full of faith and we operate from that place in many ways with out thinking about it at all.

Every time we sit in a chair we have faith that that chair is safe to sit in. Every time we put a letter in the mail box or for that matter every time we send an e-mail we trust that our message will arrive where we sent it. Every time we put a key in the ignition of our car and turn that key, we trust and have faith in the cars ability to start and get us to where we are going. I’m sure if you stop and think about this you’ll find other areas of faith in your life.

Faith for me is a God given gift. I think we can agree that faith is a gift that we use all the time without thinking. But I also think that faith is a gift from God waiting to be opened more fully and consciously lived.

So how do we open this gift of faith more fully? We open this gift of faith with the act of surrender. I bet you are thinking WHAT??? SURRENDER!!!

Well what I mean by surrender is really very simple. Surrender as I understand it means to simply take our attention off of the challenges in our life and put our attention on God. Surrender for me is the key. With surrender every opportunity is filled with the possibility of experiencing the Grace of God. Grace requires we take the risk of Faith. I think about the movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and how Indiana Jones stepped out the window in faith that the help he needed would be there and low and behold there appears a beam of light that met his foot in time to provide him with what he needed to get away from the people chasing him. For me that’s an exaggerated example of taking a risk but sometimes the risks we need to take are as challenging. Surrender lifts us above, the appearances of our circumstances, and brings us peace. It gives us the light beam we need to move forward in our lives.

Unlike most gifts the more you use this gift the more you have available. It doesn’t fade, become tarnished or wear out. The more you exercise it the more you use it, the more it grows and matures.

Faith is the gift that keeps on giving. Out of faith comes the gifts of the spirit….the gifts of peace, love and joy.

There are many ways we can turn off the worry station in our heads. One is simply to talk to God. God is a good listener so tell God exactly what is on your mind. No holds barred. Just by talking to God you are opening up the gift of faith and before you know it the thoughts in your head have changed. Remember to feed your soul and I guarantee you that your faith will grow.

 

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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