Identity and “Love Balloons”

God loves me.

Because I am loved, I can love myself; I can honor myself; I can have compassion on myself – freely, without guilt.

This love for myself can be represented as a balloon with my name on it tied to my wrist. It has always been there.

Sometimes it can be difficult to accept that I have always had that capacity to love myself. Sometimes my “Brenna balloon” gets deflated and needs more helium.images7

Because I am loved and because I love myself, I can love others; I can honor others; I can have compassion on others – freely, without guilt.

This love for others can be represented by other balloons tied to my wrist. imagesSome of them say “Hope,” others say “Joy,” and others say “Healing” or “Love.” I can give a colorful “love balloon” to each person I meet. I am free to love and free not to love.

This big bunch of colorful “love balloons” lifts me up out of the deep waters of pain and woundedness to clearness, to a bright blue sky.* I am flying high!



*This deep water can be a safe place too. I simply face the pain that is there, settling into it without fearing it. I acknowledge it, feel it, own it, and wrap myself in God’s safe arms while it surrounds me.

 

My Father, My King

Recently I left my part-time job as copy editor for a small Christian ministry and found myself homeless on the streets of Orlando.

It was time to close myself to the outside world, to cut myself off from all outside ties and support for a period of time, and to enter God’s heart through my pain and helplessness. I knew that as long as I ran from this duty, He could not fully heal me.

God was calling me to live out of a new place, a safe place. He was calling me to live away from mainstream society, away from friends and work. He was calling me toward a place of hiddenness, a place of solitude, a place of prayer and great simplicity.

I invite you to share my journey as you read – My Father My King

The Broken Butterfly

A little boy knelt on the path in a butterfly exhibit one day. At his

feet lay a butterfly with a broken wing.

“You can fly!” the boy encouraged the wounded

insect.

IMG_9903

The butterfly didn’t move.

“If you can’t fly,” the little boy assured the fragile creature, “I’ll take care of you!”

The butterfly still didn’t move.

The little boy was ready to see other butterflies with his mother, perhaps ones that were more exciting.

“I’ll walk around him so he won’t be scared,” the youngster said to his mother, tiptoeing carefully around the broken butterfly.

And God smiled.

My Salvation – Psalm 38

The word translated as salvation in Psalm 38:22 is teshû‛âh (tesh-oo-aw’) which, according to Strong’s Concordance means “rescue, deliverance, help, safety, salvation, victory.”

03ceae38420618b35a625295c8792c0c“LORD, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee,” Psalm 38:9, King James Version.

Y’hoshua [Jesus] says, “Precious one, I know all your desires. I hear your groaning.”

“For upon you, O LORD, I hoped. You will hear, O LORD my God,” Psalm 38:15, Apostolic Polyglot Bible.

He says, “I hear you, My bride!”

“Forsake me not, O LORD: O my God, be not far from me,” Psalm 38:21, King James Version.

Y’hoshua promises, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. I am near you.”

“Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation,” Psalm 38:22, King James Version, emphasis added.

He says, “I am here to help you, dear one. I am your Deliverer, your Savior, your Freedom-giver, your Rescuer, your Healer, your Victory-giver, your Health-giver, your Prosperity-giver, your Reviver, your Preserver, your Life-restorer, your Freedom-giver, your Repairer, your Defender.”

Will you let Him be all of those for you?

Healed – Past, Present, and Future

The word translated as healed and made whole in Luke 8:48,50 (see below) is the Greek word sōzō which, according to Strong’s Concordance means “to save, that is, deliver or protect; to heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole.” Now, I’m not a Greek scholar, but I do have a fairly good grasp of the English verb tenses and recently noticed something interesting.

hem-garmentIn the narration of the woman who was healed by touching the fringe on our Savior’s garment, Luke notes that her healing was complete at the very instant she touched Him:

“Jesus said to her, Have courage, my daughter; your faith has healed you; go in peace,” Luke 8:48, Lamsa New Testament, emphasis added.

This is the present perfect tense. Next, notice the future tense in verse 50 (verse 49 is quoted for context):

“While He is still speaking, someone comes from the synagogue leader saying to Him, ‘Your daughter has died. Stop troubling the Teacher,’” Luke 8:49, Analytical-Literal Translation.

“But when Jesus heard it, He answered him, saying, ‘Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole,’” Luke 8:50, King James Version, emphasis added.

Here, the “wholeness” will take place in the future. Even so, the man is instructed to “fear not: believe only.”

In the following verse, we see the healing in the present tense:

“After a while, Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, Behold, you are healed; do not sin again, for something worse might happen to you than the first,” John 5:14, Lamsa New Testament, emphasis added.

The Master Healer desires to make you whole – to heal your past, to save you at this very moment, and to deliver you in the future! Will you allow Him to do this in you and for you?

 

 

 

Growing in Our Master

Remember that the hand of our Master reaches over every one of His true followers. When someone you want to help tries to hurt you because you are following Y’hoshua (Jesus), this person wounds the hand of the One who covers you. Go to your Savior and pray, just as the Son of God fled to his Father and prayed.

003Much of the care and trouble we endure is caused by our own hearts not being in harmony with Y’hoshua. Study all of the Master Teacher’s words of counsel and advice. Make them a part of your life and character. Hold onto the Mediator, cling to Him, walk with Him, live with Him, grow in Him, until you gain heaven.

grow, Grow, GROW!

True Humility

Last week I went to the clinic to hear about the results of a recent blood test. After I had gotten the results, I told the student doctor assigned to my case about the lower back pain that has plagued me for the past two weeks. He and the two young men shadowing him gave me a very thorough back exam. However, their poking and prodding and various tests required that I lay down on the examining table, not as easy as it sounds when a person has a bad back. To make matters worse, to test my reflexes and muscle resistance, they had to take off my shoes.

After the tests, I sat up. Then I told the doctor, “I’m in so much pain – I know I won’t be able to put my shoes on again.”

Then this young doctor-in-training dfootwashingid the unthinkable. He knelt beside the table and put my sneakers on my feet! To top it off, he tied them up for me! Have you ever heard of a doctor putting shoes on the patient’s feet?

Needless to say, I was flabbergasted.

I pray that he will remain humble as he learns and practices. His patients will be blessed, as I was.

A Whole New World

“Am I dreaming or is this real?” I ask myself. In the space of one week, my whole world has been transformed…

Instead of being woken up in my tent at 2 a.m. by drunk people yelling obscenities at each other, I am woken up at a reasonable hour by a happy rooster crowing outside my bedroom window.

Instead of feeling the hard, damp ground beneath me, I feel a soft, dry bed.

There are no ants crawling in my clothes, no blood-thirsty mosquitoes buzzing in my ears, no roaches scurrying around for the cover of darkness, no scorpions seeking a place to attach, no ticks looking for a free ride.

Instead of smelling mold and mildew, I catch a whiff of fresh toast. Instead of pastries and doughnuts in the homeless shelter’s dining hall, there are fresh farm-grown persimmons for breakfast.

Instead of showering with a garden hose in public or taking a bus to shower at the shelter downtown, I shower in a clean, private bathroom.

And the joy of having meaningful work here on the farm – transplanting seedlings, watering in the greenhouse, endless hoeing, picking vegetables and then sorting and cleaning them for market.

I think of the movie Poor Little Rich Girl and how Shirley Temple wakes up one morning to find her attic world transformed from cold and dark to warm and bright. It can really happen!

But I can also testify that in the midst of the rainy, moldy, buggy world of homelessness and tents and shelters that God is with His children; He preserves, protects, and provides for His own. He can make even dark situations bright with the light of His presence.

I was thankful for His abundant blessings then; I am thankful now.

“Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness [mercies], and for his wonderful works [wonders, miracles] to the children of men!” Psalm 107:8. 

For Women Only: A Musing on the Mundane which May be Amusing

After spending the afternoon putting soil and manure through a mesh screen in preparation for use in the greenhouse, I was covered with dirt from head to foot. After a quick shower, I caught a glimpse of my almost-50-year-old face in the mirror over the bathroom sink. What was all that furry stuff on my face? It’s not that I hadn’t noticed it in prior months, but I was just too preoccupied to do anything about it.

I confess that I started shaving and plucking and primping and preening.

“What a joy to look like a lady again!” I thought to myself.

Then a thought crossed my mind: is it true that I am more feminine when I can pluck my eyebrows and shave my mustache?

Definitely not. In fact, just last weekend when I returned to the homeless camp for my little massage ministry, I heard a man remark to his buddies as I passed by, “Now, there goes a real lady.”

I smiled. He hadn’t noticed my thick eyebrows or little mustache hairs or nose hairs or absent make-up or dirty fingernails. He knew I was a lady from knowing my character, from the way I dress, the head covering, and how I conduct myself.

That, I believe, is the essence of womanhood and true femininity.

Steppingstones

The past several weeks have been full of trials and transitions, yet God continues to bless me abundantly.

Recently while I was waiting in line for the evening meal at the shelter, the man behind me (without even introducing himself) said, “Hi. Would you like to work on an organic farm?”

My mouth dropped open. Me? Work on an organic farm? I peppered him with questions…

Long story short, I began working part time on the farm last week and am now camping on the property. It is a small organic farm right in Gainesville!

images

The timing for this move couldn’t be more perfect as I have recently had several “close encounters” with various males at the shelter compound. I was feeling more and more insecure in the environment (while still recognizing that I am protected by bands of holy angels).

I plan to return to the homeless shelter on weekends to continue assisting with the Shabbat service conducted by a Jewish friend as well as to continue prison and massage ministries. The rest of the time I will be picking beans, transplanting and transplanting vegetables and flowers for winter (broccoli, cabbage, kale, carrots – the works!), sorting vegetables for the bi-weekly farmers’ markets, and other farm-related duties. And in my spare time (!) I would like to I edit my books, Shine for Me, Blue Butterfly! And Fullness of Joy: Living Where the Roses Bloom Forever” in preparation for presentations at shelters and churches.

It is such a joy and a blessing to work outdoors with God’s creation, to nurture life and growth, and to have meaningful work and flexible hours! I praise HaShem for His glorious gifts.