Woman

There is something about womanhood that has been so tamed, restricted to debates about roles, work, and tips on how to deal with the pressures of life. Woman-hearts have been scattered into boxes of emotional and mental survival tactics, guilt-handling, pressure management, hurdle jumping, relationship negotiation, doing more, and striving for goodness in a land of confusion.

There is more.

There is a radical womanliness that flows with an awareness of a reality that glows with the Divine pulse of our Creator. It’s aroma is freedom, and it’s expression is the presence of a rested, trusting Love, absent of fear.

We lift our eyes off of the grids and patterns of the world, and no longer orient our hearts, our vision, our dreams, or plans to the illusions presented there.

Our eyes remain on the power and presence of God alone.

As we secure the eyes of our heart on the True Reality of God’s power and goodness, we begin to live from a place of security, love and peace. When we enter this rest, we begin to explore the expansiveness of who we are: those who bear the DNA of a mighty, unfathomable, remarkable God.

“How can an infinite power, a creative Intelligence, have an image and a likeness? How can an invisible nonquantifiable force be imaged and reflected and manifested through individuals?” -Thomas Hora

Imagine! In some supernatural, indescribable way, the Creator has funnelled His formless magnificence into this form we call our body.

Yet, we often choose to live constrained to the laws of this world; the mini-mindsets, the unceasing waves of thought that endorse division, judgement, lifestyle burden, duality, the agreement with pain and fear… the very places where Jesus broke through the mesmerism with True Reality.

When we become aware of the illumined nature of our source, we begin to see that we too, are blessed. We are no longer a list of symptoms, a catalogue of interests or giftings, a bundle of earth-bound contradictions, or an assortment of various limitations.

We are glorious.

We are vessels of vitality, we are co-participators in the bliss-life of God. We have these bodies to act as channels between heavenly dimensions and this earth-space. As women, we seed life in our wombs, we take on the grand invitation to create, we engage the journey with ecstasy and delight, because we are so much more than the limited laws, promises and lies of this reality.  

This is the faith life.

It takes a walking away; a transformation, and a willingness to disempower the systems of this world in our minds before we can ‘see’ the upside-down glory of spiritual freedom that is ours.  All that needs to happen is for it to be realized.  Not made, not willed, not strived for, but simply realized.  

Then, you will find out the woman that you are.  {This is the woman that religion, a law-bound life of obligation, a sin-awareness, and a focus on ‘best practices’ has been hiding from you.}

You will dive deep into the expressions and beauty of your true nature, disregarding what ‘appears as true’ for that which is eternal and real.  And you will begin to radiate with courage and boldness and beauty, as you risk leaving the tameness of this world for the wild glory of life with an infinite God who made you better than this temporal illusion ever wants you to realize.

The nature of this world is to protect and endorse it’s hypnotism at all costs, through limitation, burdens, judgement and fear.

Yet, when we begin to live from freedom, it threatens the security of the grid of this world… creating cracks for the light to shine through.

We are the light of the world, simply be the instrument for the light to get  through!

Relief

Does your soul ever snag on the badgering thought that maybe there’s more?

Even in the midst of the whirlwind of a good life, great friendships, meaningful spirituality, and purposeful momentum, you collide in your deepest, most honest moments with a restless shadow that will not let you be?

{And, I’m not talking about a demon.}

I’m suggesting an honest, genuine soul-wrestle that remains unsatisfied by the incongruity of this current reality and the ache in your heart for heaven, for a place of pure rest, and real peace, that you know in your gut shouldn’t just be for when you die?

The mental plane can get so cluttered with the useless repetition of old narratives, replaying of conversations gone wrong, and scattered strategies to set things right. We allow our minds to drag our thought life through the mud of perpetual inner conflict and fear, in an effort to iron out this pesky soul-feeling, somehow assuming that this will release us into the joy we crave.

We can apply our will, too, to this exercise in attempting greater relief – by trying something new, or doing more stuff, or following these ‘three easy steps’, or getting deeper into a religious practice, or colour-coding our sock drawer.

But these things rarely draw us into the restful soul-space that feeds the life of faith and the reality of deep hope that is our true and genuine inheritance.

“Ask yourself: How many times a day, normally, does my thought even touch upon such words/ideas as ‘loveliness, beauty, ecstasy, joy,’ the ‘extravagant importance’ of ‘every living thing’ and so on? Most of us, I think would find that such qualities, values, and images rarely register in the midst of the repetitive thought and fantasy patterns with which our minds are normally filled.

Consciousness is where God is; God’s kingdom is a consciousness kingdom. Allowing our thinking to be fogged up with images from the ‘sea of mental garbage’ makes no sense. A devoted Christian friend recently confessed her anger at the fact that God reveals Himself so rarely, when our need for His revelations is so great. But God’s revelation is continuous. What is rare is an ability and willingness to look beyond the captivating, self-centred dramas of personal sense. We must honour quality Life or we will not see it. We honour it by loving to to notice the good that is already in our experience and by longing to see more evidence of its presence.” – Ann Tremaine Linthorst

A piece of the path to the freedom we crave is through cultivating our awareness.  It is establishing what is good and pure and beautiful in our hearts and in our minds, and engaging an entire transformation of where we lend our mental energies.

Noticing beauty, becoming aware of the pulse of the Divine heart of God within the life of every person, seeing the finger of God in all of creation… this begins to crack open the door to that place that we hunger for, that place we know is possible.

A Place Called Home

Imagine an island where school had never been heard of before, and families live life together within the natural flow of work, interests, passions, and relationships, all the while manifesting joy and purpose as needs and dreams intersect authentically.

Imagine a place where adults listen deeply to children, and children are guided by adults down interesting paths, through mighty dreams, and into big ideas, while exposed to practical life skills, and the deep issues of the heart.

Imagine if there was just ‘life’; simply the reality of living together in the midst of daily discipleship, learning, and work – the rhythms of daily reality naturally and beautifully intertwined – reading, working, singing, laughing, conversation, writing, building, making food together, managing the home, honing skills, trying stuff, failing, trying again.

Home can be a place where the compass of each heart is honoured without measuring, quantifying, or qualifying each other’s efforts, or pressing those little hearts through cookie-cutter-grids so they match the neighbours.  Our eyes are not on outcomes, but are firmly planted in the present: today, it is enough to live with my child and be, and learn, and grow, and work, and love, and laugh.

There need not be academic check lists, rigid pressure systems, and giant tomes of knowledge engaged to coerce select family members into some culturally valued rank or position; there need not be fear-induced panics about hypothetical future successes (or lack of); there need not be a commitment to some strategic ramp-up to adulthood that bypasses the texture and intimacy of a live lived in the wild spaces of grace found outside of world-systems.

Another way is possible: a reality without school, without it’s tiresome residue clogging the veins of an already pulsing and vibrant life.

There is a seed of radical new life that is waiting under the soil of every family home: and that seed is called freedom. When freedom is watered and nurtured, new possibilities are born that could never compute in the old paradigms of this tired material world.

In freedom’s home, the father and the mother engage in good, meaningful and passion-driven pursuits, even as they engage with, and equip their children in their own God-given delights and purpose.

Learning who God made each person to be is the divine art and privilege of the family home.  

As we dwell together and clear space for each other, our visibility increases, our vision clarifies, and our souls taste a different kind of life.

It is a life where simply being is enough.  {No proving, no hoops, no tests, no forced curriculum.}

We learn stillness, and strength, and contour, and risk – all within the sacred rituals of life together.  This is how to build a human, this is how to launch a life. 

The Blessing is Hidden in the Courage

Let this day be your full realitylet the power of this moment penetrate the attention of your heart.

Untangle from the race of expectations, anxieties, and fears that drive the MainStage reality surrounding you, and step into the timeless space of here/now.

Like the Titanic – unwittingly peeling towards icebergs in the mist – our preoccupation with future destinations often prevents us from being aware in the moment, the one we are breathing right now – the only life we actually ever have.

Un-board the ship.

Just. Jump.

Settle into life and all it’s vigorous intensity.  Resolve to find the beauty in all of it, even while determining to follow the trail of promise that often remains so hidden under lies; there is tension between rest now and the pursuit of promise.  However, as you begin to embrace the tension (rather than resist it), you will find more of everything your heart is longing for.

Step away from the world’s way of doing things; don’t settle for the same old grooves that you’ve grown up in… a new world awaits you that cannot be reached by the old trails.  Every time a question arises in your mind, work with it, don’t shove it away:

{Why is this the way it is?  Why do I do this every day?  Is there another way?}

In every way that you can embrace courage on this course, you will be refilled double for your tenacity.

The blessing is hidden in the courage; the courage is hidden in your heart, inside the presence of God.

Cultivate a rhythm of life that flows with the joy and delight of being present in God’s Spirit here and now.  Leave ample time for the rhythms of grace to woo you and teach you.  Lay idle at times, reflect, let the children be bored, lay down the maps of your worldly plans, and just be awhile.  Be together with your spouse, with your children more than you ever thought you could be.  Take more time-off from the grid, risk everything once-in-a-while, dump your reputation at the alter of humility and try something bold.  Move in your inspiration, drop the “shoulds” from your vocabulary. Entertain possibilities that scare you.  Run out in the snow with your bare feet.  Laugh at the days to come, and get away from every method or strategy that promises anything less than the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God is within you.  {If all we did was meditate on this mystery for a year in would not be wasted time; we would be unrecognizable to our current selves.  Come, enter in!}

Today, it is time to be alive!

Eden Inside

There is a peace that passes all understanding.

It is not found on the plane of polarizing opposites that claw for ground daily on the religious, political, and cultural terrain before us. Our rage, fear, conviction, and guilt do nothing to move us into this greater freedom that Jesus spoke of.

There is a realm outside of the verbal and physical battles of this world that is solidly grounded in the soil of Eden where all power, all peace, and all love is perfectly expressed.

As I am learning to enter the sanctuary of rest within myself, I am finding a peace, a freedom, and a confidence that is the very nature of the Kingdom, entirely different from the “kingdom of this world”.

As I meditate on God’s omnipotence, at home inside of me, sustaining and upholding every cell, every pulse, a peace begins to emerge that is the seed of greater faith.

Something is stirring.

What was impossible through my mental might, concentrated will, zealous activism, religious intensity, and physical or spiritual disciplines has become possible as I have found a radical new kind of rest in God alone.

This is where radical provision is, where healing and wholeness, joy and safety are found, this is where eternal life is the ever present reality.

There is no fear in this place.  None.

And that changes everything.

There are layers and dimensions to this growing awareness that are changing my view of much that I’ve ‘known’, and I am amazed to be finding freedom in places where I didn’t even know I was in bondage.

Just beginning to explore Eden on the inside is turning my life upside down… in the best way possible! This has nothing to do with religious expression, tiresome doctrines, endless debates about what is right and what is wrong, whose church is better, or whose lifestyle is more sanctified; it has everything to do with freedom and life abundantly, in the power of God’s most Holy Spirit that has called us His dwelling place!  

Life and Passion

Out of ten births (each one a miracle), two have stood out as my favourite; the two where Ben delivered the baby before the midwife arrived. One of them was my easiest labour, and the other, one of my most difficult.

But, each time, it was just the two of us, together, in our dimly lit bedroom, communicating, making eye contact, touching, knowing, committed, crying, laughing, completing a work of Divine mystery together.

They were my favourite births because Ben and I were alone, consummating a masterpiece that began in privacy and intimacy and love nine months earlier in the same space… just the two of us, now three, Divinely connected by the spark of the Holy Spirit that breathes through passion and power, and makes us into more.

In reflecting on children, life and fertility, it has become increasingly clear that the culture has separated the vehicle of sexual intimacy from it’s ultimate intention: procreation. The world strains for physical pleasure/connectivity, while divorcing the naturally designed outcome of that passion: life, and life abundantly!

Only recently, I realized that the opposite is also true.  Gone is the small bubble of intimacy at birth – a la Adam and Eve.  The world has made pregnancy, delivery and birth a mechanical, medicalized, spectator-sport-for-experts, and gone is the natural intimacy that is inherent in the whole birthing process.

When a labouring woman is constantly observed, prodded, checked, and talked to, during a time where she needs privacy and focus and peace, fear is increasingly invited into the labour room. The whole process that began so intimately and beautifully at conception, without the help of a coach (!), seems it must end in exposure and a sort of floundering victimhood.

“…labour is an incredible opportunity for couples to connect with one another…. It is time to honour the true continuum of sexuality and sensuality that actually conceived your child to begin with… [it is possible to] experience birth as pleasurable and sensual. Ina May Gaskin says, ‘The energy that gets the baby in, gets the baby out.’” (-Dayna Martin)

New life is intrinsically connected to passion. God’s passion created us, and our passion continues the work!  What a mighty invitation to expect more and enjoy more of what was intended to be beautiful and intimate from beginning to end.

{There is not a hint of condemnation in these words… for all sorts of reasons, women experience a spectrum of birthing realities.  This is merely a reflection on a direction I believe that we can hope for, even if our own experiences haven’t played out this way.  This is the way of faith, after all: always moving deeper into awareness of God’s eternal goodness!}