Living the Mystery

Gift of lavender from my romantic husband

Tonight the creekfrogs and nightsounds are serenading me along with Riley Lee's sleep songs. I've lit a candle and said a prayer and this is how you'll find me most nights, incense drifting slow, me holding words, holding space in the holy hush. 

I grew up in a large family, most of whom were born at home. One thing I remember so clearly is when my mother went into labor and the feeling that settled over the house after dark. After the younger children were asleep, and preparations were made for birth, and conversations centered around when to call the midwife, that aura of expectancy, the anticipation, the emotion, the quiet intensity of it all....I could taste it; I held it in my body and it felt alive, smoldering, like presence. Even as I wandered around wide-eyed, it felt like almost swimming through a new atmosphere of expectancy and the unknown.

That same sense is what I feel now during these times we live in and my own personal spiritual revolution. In some ways the wild urgency I've written about has become a bit quieter, more like a rhythm or undulating sense of imminent birth. Night has awakened to me. Like a secret time for keeping watch and holding vigil for what is to come. 

As this new focus on spirituality & faith continues to unwind I am inviting curiosity along, too. I'm still me, under it all. A soft and tender me. The artist. The creative and spiritual doula for deep and soulful women. The writer who loses her words half the time, but who loves beauty so much she weeps over the fragrance of incense. Who gets overwhelmed, who gained back all the weight she lost last summer, and is behind on emails and so many other real-life things. How do I stay real? How do I balance the urgency and the expectancy and my core value of sharing what matters, of being *real*...not glammed-up for the Internet but someone who is human and soft and longing and believes deeply and loves God and feels passionate and awkward and and and...

I read something recently that made me cry because...YES.

My anxiety comes in brain waves like questions:
Am I safe to be me?
Can I keep continuing in the way I am going?
Can I believe I’m not going to blow it?
If no one is on my side, can I keep being on my side?
Can I follow my vision?
Can I survive in the “Real World” even if I don’t play by its rules?
Can I stay vulnerable and soft and survive the blows?
Can I not hold back?
Can I enjoy myself?
— M. Steward

Oh my. Can I? That's a question I'm not sure I can answer right now but I feel all those things so intensely, like a quick inhale of sharp cold. How does one navigate all the things I'm sensing and believing and wondering and watching as I witness my own beautiful and terrifying journey? Yet I don't want to apologize for any of it, even as it creates new and sometimes incredibly uncomfortable dynamic shifts. It creates relational divides. It opens the potential for new fears. My fear of "being weird" would have stopped me in the past. My fear of saying the wrong thing would have kept me silent. My fear of making others hurt / angry / disappointed / triggered would have kept me hiding away in my work or endless daily tasks. My fear of being perceived as unloving and unkind would have held me back most of all. 

{What does this really mean? That I'm afraid of what people think? That I'm afraid of the truth? That I'm afraid of not being politically correct...or even more so, of being politically correct? That I'm afraid of stating an absolute? That I'm so afraid of offending one of the many "sides" I'm surrounded by so I say nothing at all? That I'm afraid I don't know enough about what I know to talk about it? —these are just a few of the questions I'm asking myself in the deep of the night.}

This I know: no matter where on the spectrum of political or spiritual "correctness" we find ourselves, shame knows exactly where and how to find us. This time asks for a whole new me. One I haven't seen before and don't know how to "present" in a graceful way. 

So what happens is that I just keep putting one foot in front of the other. In reality it's like I'm squeezing my eyes shut and praying that everything will be okay. I hold the awkwardness & uncertainty in one hand and my calling and commitment in the other, letting both dwell side by side and become part of the story.

I don't have to resolve them all today. I can let them be.

Because of the focus shift in this space, someone recently asked me what I've been thinking. I wanted to respond from my heart and also share here, since others have been curious, too. 

From an email:

Hi! Intrigued by your writing and wondering what's up? Would love to hear what you think. Friend to friend.

A portion of my response...

This is long and deep but I wanted to respond from my heart since you asked what I think.

I have been immersing myself more deeply than ever before into eschatology. Some consider the words and events in scripture to be myths, but I believe they are true. Something that has roused my curiosity recently, and therefore led to deeper study, is a prophetic celestial alignment given in scripture (Revelation 12:1-5) that is actually going to occur in September, according to astronomical data. (Similar alignments have happened, but not with this precision.) This is just one thing that has added to an already-intense sense of urgency I've been feeling regarding the times we live in. It's one thing to read things that happened thousands of years ago, or to read prophecies that seem to be for a time far off in the future, but to read things that are unique and seem to be happening now is sobering and eye-opening and also exciting. (And this sign is just one among other prophesied things that seem to be coming true now, too.)

To read more, click below.

Continue reading...

From a religious and biblical standpoint, the history of humankind has included what are considered "dispensations," or unique time periods where God deals with humanity in different ways. God designed that humans were to walk with communion with God. Since God is holy and pure and sacred, to enter into oneness with him meant that humans also needed to be holy and pure. Then humans sinned against God and so things changed. In a later time, God established the nation of Israel as a holy people and gave them strict laws and statutes so they would be holy and there could once again be communion between humanity and God. Part of this included rituals for atonement of sin so that when the people sinned, they could be restored and still have that intimate relationship with God. God gave great promises to Israel, and told them how he would bless them if they continued to follow his ways, and also what would happen if they did not. He gave them a "blessing" and a "cursing" and told them to choose which one they wanted.

Constantly, for thousands of years, Israel went back and forth between rejecting God and returning to God....between choosing the blessing or choosing the cursing. During this time, God also sent prophets to warn Israel about the end of days and also what would happen if they continued to choose the way of the curse. For thousands of years, God warned Israel about the end-of-days "day of wrath" that would come upon the earth against rebellion and all sin.

For me personally, I grew up with an image of God as being harsh and cruel. Part of my healing spiritual journey was becoming immersed in God being loving, tender and merciful and gracious. Over time I have grown to understand God's nature and the need also, along with that love and mercy, for justice and righteousness. This is a simple way to understand it, but I read somewhere the example that a loving police officer will still pull over someone speeding and give them a ticket, or a loving judge will still sentence someone who committed a crime to prison. My time as a mystic helped me to understand the "both / and" of how God is loving and merciful and also just, and that sin separates us from intimacy and oneness with God. So just as God created ways for ancient Israel to atone for sin through continual sacrifices, rituals, and other laws, so they could be reconciled to God, after they failed to continue in that way he created a new way—he sent his son as a one-time sacrifice to defeat sin and death so that people would trust in him and no longer have to follow the old laws, rituals, atonements, and statutes. So Jesus was born and came to Israel, and again Israel rejected God by crucifying his son—who then defeated death by coming alive, and after being with his disciples for several days, returned to heaven. 

After this last major rejection from Israel, God opened up a way for all people to be reconciled to God through belief in Jesus through the Spirit. In the timeline of God, this is where we are now. The last 2000 years since the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ has been considered the age of grace, where believers are not required to follow the laws and statutes given to ancient Israel in order to be with God. In this "time of grace" all that has been required for salvation is to believe in Jesus—that he, the only begotten son of God, died for our sins once for all, was buried, and resurrected and is alive today with God. Those who believe in the son of God are considered the "body of Christ." The spirit of God is given to those who believe. And there are no divisions between people except believers and those who do not believe.

This leads to what I'm studying and have been writing about. I believe that this "age of grace" is coming to a close. This time of mercy and God's patience with all the unrighteousness of the world—sin, rebellion, oppression, etc—because he loves humanity and wants us to choose life, will become the time of justice. According to scripture and prophecy, there is going to be a time of judgment and God will punish sin and ultimately create a new heaven and a new earth. I am still studying this, but this is how I believe that it will happen according to scripture: the age of grace will end when God removes the body of Christ through what is considered the rapture. (Until recently I did not believe in a rapture event so it feels unusual to write about. And I'm not a teacher & I encourage people to do their own research and study.) Then what is considered the time of tribulation begins, a 7 year time ending in the Day of the Lord, the day of wrath that was prophesied for thousands of years, to put an end to sin. When this is over, the "new earth" begins where God will once again fulfill his covenant and promises to Israel through what is considered the time of the millennial reign of a 1000-year kingdom on earth, where people are not separated from God. 

I feel urgency because once this 'time of grace' ends, nothing will be the same. This urgency is different than fear, but it is intense. Right now we are still in the age of belief, where humanity can believe in the death, burial and resurrection of the son of God and be reconciled to God, forgiven, receiving the spirit of God. Today is the day of salvation, of righteousness through faith, but I believe that very soon will be the day of justice and God's wrath against unrighteousness. Scripture is filled with prophecy and indicators of when these times are near, and I feel so strongly that they very near. People have been saying for 2000 years that the end will come soon, but there's something different about this time, these days. There are prophecies about the nation of Israel that are coming true now. There are prophecies about certain countries around Israel, alliances, earthquakes, faith-based persecution, famines, and more that are coming true in unparalleled numbers. 

This might not be part of it and I don't think it's necessarily a prophecy, but there is another interesting occurrence: on August 21, there is a solar eclipse that completely crosses the United States from Portland to the Carolinas one month before the September 23, 2017 celestial alignment (which IS part of prophecy). Solar eclipses are often seen as warning signs. And almost exactly 7 years later, on April 8, 2024, another solar eclipse crosses the United States from the South (Mexico into Texas) all the way up though New York, Montreal, etc. This 7-year time-span and the eclipses could be coincidence, but with all of the other events and the time of tribulation being 7 years (with the "great tribulation" being the last 3.5), I find it too compelling to not notice.

All of this said, I am not a prophet or teacher but simply someone who is passionate and who can't not say anything as this time unfolds. I could be wrong, and I say that with complete humility. All I know for sure is that it is important to trust God who does know what times these are and what is about to happen, and to believe in the son of God, to love & seek what is true and to live a life that is devoted to him in faith and trust. I am continuing to study and pray for understanding and since this is a passion of mine I will continue to write about it as I can. 

I'm sure this is way more than what you were asking for, but I speak from my heart with love and tenderness from one spiritual seeker to another.