Today it feels our political figures and activist revolutionaries are making every attempt to make spirituality appear ridiculous. If government is convinced you would be safer without your guns, wait until they can convince you your religion is more dangerous to your health. Convincing people God is exclusive while Government is inclusive is purposely done.
I would share with you my experience of the my spirituality and what a difference it has made in my life.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. [Hebrews 11:1]
I think I have always felt spiritual even when I did not know how to define or identify it. The definition of living spiritually means different things to different people. It is as individual as the Spiritual Experience itself.
When I was about four years old, I stood outside watching my father work on one of his prized antique jalopies. My job was fetching Pepsi Colas and assorted tools. Being useful was very important to me even at such a young age. Standing with a crescent wrench in one little hand and a daisy in the other anticipating my duties as gopher, I heard a burst of angels sing out from the heavens.
The sound was what one would expect while being presented before God. I distinctly recall observing my father to see if he too heard the music. It was my hope I was not alone in perceiving the cosmic symphony. His behavior had not altered as he continued applying putty to a wounded door panel so he was either ignoring the angelic sound or I was simply imagining it.
I asked my father very gently if he could hear ‘people singing’ in fear the voices would suddenly disappear if I acknowledged the manifestation out load. The sound continued on. He looked at me strangely misunderstanding the question and remarked with slight agitation a functional car radio was the last thing on his list of priorities. Well, that was a definite No. And, with a sense of disappointment, the sounds of heaven faded away.
My family lived in the middle of nowhere Virginia. Our neighbors were miles apart. My older siblings called it the boondocks. Even at four, I tried to rationalize the celestial melody that seemed to come out of nowhere, that was everywhere all at once and no one but me heard it. I never contemplated my sanity. Who does that at such a young age?
I just assumed I was blessed and angels and God were watching over me.
Aside from the poignant angelic experience, my memory recalls the backwoods as a rather dark and tragic place. My father worked night shift while roving bands of youths terrorized my family with their drunkenness and adolescent antics. One night some thug took a knife to Satan; our sweet tempered Labrador, scraping a long bloody line down the center of her back. She soon became aggressive toward anyone wearing a red baseball cap.
Not long after, my father came home from work late one evening with his uniform covered in blood. I thought he was a cop from the badge on his sleeve, but later found out he was a corrections officer at a state penitentiary. I remember my mother being hysterical. He was wounded during an attempted prison break and it was his practice of Tai Chi and Marshal Arts that saved his life. We soon packed up and moved away from the backwoods and celestial voices.
When I was nine my parents sent my twin sister and I to a Christian Camp called Treasure Island. It was a wet and smelly week I care never to relive again. Except for the last night when my sister and I were both saved by asking Jesus into our hearts and confessing our sins. It was an emotional day.
We cried for a good hour when we confessed to stealing Juicy Fruit gum from our mother’s purse. She started buying peppermint gum because she knew we hated it. Smart woman. I had to also come clean about a Cadbury Egg had I stolen from our local Revco which seemed really damning to the Christian Counselor since the theft happened to be on Easter Eve.
At Eleven I became very partial to a tree in our front yard. I love trees and this one in particular was very special. I later found out it was a Dogwood and has a special connection to Christ. Look it up, it is a fascinating story. I called it my confession tree and it was comforting to me at times. We all need something else when human beings are too disappointing in their effort to give solace. We were between pets and I will admit I am a bit of a tree hugger at heart.
A year later my father left my mother, my sister, my brother, and me and life became a little more complicated.
At 16 I grew a little defiant. My mother, whose stares could frighten the Reaper, did not believe in physical punishment of any kind. So it came as a complete surprise when she lost it one evening and proceeded to beat me over the head with her two tiny fists. Thank God she threw like a girl. I admit she was only reacting badly to a rather disrespectful display of rebellion on my part.
Needless to say, we went to bed not speaking to one another which never happened. You, at least, always say, “have a good night”. At 2:00am that morning, my mother awoke me to tell me to get dressed that we were going to the hospital. Somehow, while beating me over the head in a rare screaming fit of rage, she suffered what turned out to be a slipped disk in her back.
I realize now that telling my mother, ‘see what happens when you mess with an angel’ was probably not the most sympathetic response I could have provided at the time.
My mother was a God fearing women and pushed Church. One preacher – Rev. Dean Scott, I disliked immensely. I had no problem reading the bible and reciting verses during Bible School, but there was no way in hell I was taking down my posters of Menudo and Rob Lowe. This preacher had me so confused and depressed even the Dogwood was no comfort.
But, I prayed. I prayed every night that I was doing the right thing, that God loved me still and he wouldn’t strike me dead for my defiance. It never made sense to me how spiritualists will tell you to fear the very thing you want them to embrace.
One warm August afternoon while I was walking down the hallway of our little ranch home still questioning my relationship with God and the Savior, I heard a voice say to me – “I Know Your Heart”. In that instant I knew the voice was Jesus telling me that I did not have to prove myself to anyone, especially to a fat Reverend who thought fearing God was equivalent to loving God.
Comfort, Acceptance, Understanding and a deep sense of Peace washed over me. To this day, it remains one of the most freeing moments of my life.
I was 19 years old working in a Pizza joint in Belleview, Florida when a young man decided that harassing me would be a fun thing to do during some down time. I did not like the guy and it was apparent he did not like me. I was picked on by most of the men there, but they were all pretty harmless and Thank God – honorable.
One day, bored and still stupid, the young man came back to the kitchen to bully me like ususal. I generally tried to ignore him, but that day he was being a larger ass than usual. I became so flustered I blurted out without even thinking, “do not mess with an angel’.
As I watched him walk arrogantly away – past a row of tall industrial refidgerators piled long and high with pre-folded pizza boxes -there was a small shutter beneath my feet. What soon followed can only be discribed as a miracle. Approximately twenty or so boxes came tumbling down from above bouncing off the bully’s soft little noggin like 16 x 16 x 2 ping pong balls.
He turned back to look at me in shock after the attack. Without hesitation I said, “I told you.” Directing my eyes toward heaven, I thanked my spirit guides with a nod of my head for their protection and went back to washing dishes. He never messed with me again and left the pizza business soon after.
At 23, a deep bout of insomnia had a grip on me. For some reason I could not reconcile the idea of eternity. What if heaven was like church and there were people singing off key forever – without end and Rev. Dean Scott ran the show and there was no fried chicken because every Southern Baptist knows food comes at the end, and there is no end in heaven which means no fried chicken.
I would stay awake out of fear of dying in my sleep.
One night after falling asleep from pure exhaustion, Jesus took pity on me and came to me in a dream. He approached me calmly and said, “Do not be afraid of eternity”. Thinking he would disappear before he explained himself, like when you dream of a chocolate lava cheese cake prepared especially for you, but wake up just before you take your first bite (true story) I quickly asked why I should not be afraid of ‘eternity’.
Have you ever met someone who knew and understood everything about everything and was completely unpretentious and comfortable with the knowledge? Someone without judgement, only love and acceptance. Have you ever felt comforted and at peace in the presence of another being? That is Jesus and he replied with such assurance, ‘Do not fear eternity’ he said, – ‘there is no AWARENESS of time or space in heaven – do not fear time – it does not exist here.” Later,
I would come to understand this concept as Quantum Physics. That was the last night I lost sleep contemplating eternity’s measurements. Thank you, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
We were two strangers in a strange church. One of my favorite courses in college was a Religion class taught by an admirer of Buddhism. He was a fascinating guy and I loved the class. I had never experienced any religion outside Southern Baptist revivals and was eager to learn the Spirituality of others. A class project required I be invited and attend a ‘church’ unfamiliar to my spiritual background. I do not recall the name of the little church, but they praised Jesus (amen) and read from the King James Bible.
There were major differences which qualified it as unfamiliar to me and an acceptable assignment . One exception was the minister and congregation were mostly female. There were a few men, but women defiantly dominated this holy sanctuary. I thought that was pretty awesome.
Second, they would ask you if they could come to you to convey messages from spirit guides, ancestors, relatives and angels. I thought that was quite extraordinary. Who wouldn’t want to hear messages from their guardian angel?
I am a skeptic at heart, so seeing is believing. Before attending, I was not wholly convinced invisible forces could channel themselves through these people, but I loved the idea of it, so I was all in. I dragged my Socialist boyfriend with me who struggled with God many times during our relationship.
I remember one evening I watched him scream out in emotional agony, “Where is my God?” I felt quite helpless. Who doesn’t ask that every now and then? ‘Gabriel’ confessed to me once that he had always dreamed of being a monk. That didn’t do much for my ego, but reluctantly found his sense self-comprehension appropriate.
Back to the church, ‘Gabriel’ sat on the very last pew trying to make himself seem invisible to these strangers. He did not receive a reading. Toward the end, the minister turned my way and asked if she ‘could come to me?’. That was the que I was getting a reading.
I was so excited that I missed half of what she said, but I do recall my guardian angel was named Maria who wore a Spanish dress with much ‘Latin’ charm and appeal. The message has blurred over the years. I could make up something really interesting, but that would be dishonest.
No, I do not remember what Maria had to say. Who listens to good advice at 25 anyway? But, I do remember what happened at the end of the sermon. When ‘Gabriel’ and I were leaving the small church, we were approached by one of the two men in attendance. He held two small separate pieces of paper. In one hand was a pencil drawing of a woman with coal black hair and dark eyes. “Your spirit guide”, he stated as he handed the small picture of Maria to me.
I stared a few moments at the image and thanked the stranger for his gift. She was pretty and he was a damned good artist. He handed another small drawing to ‘Gabriel’. “Your spirit guide”, he said with a smile and walked away. Both of us stared down at the drawing, speechless for a few long moments. The young artist had sketched the very likeness of a Gregorian Monk – ‘Gabriel’s’ Spirit Guide.
Have you ever stared evil in the face? I have and it still remains the most frightening moments of my life. I lived in sin the majority of my twenties with my Socialist boyfriend ‘Gabriel’. You met him already. He introduced me to Ayn Rand in a fit of frustration when he could not convince me of the merits of Marxism.
One night, I awoke suddenly from a deep sleep with a complete sense of doom. A feeling of absolute dread and misery overwhelmed me. Desolation, fear, and darkness took my breath away. As I became accustomed to the darkness, my surroundings lightened a bit, except for three glob-like forms that hovered nearby.
I could not rationalize it. The shapeless figures were completely void of any light like three hovering blackholes. I can only describe the figures as being ‘without light’. I learned later it may have been what is called Sleep Paralysis or Shadow People.
I could not move. I could hardly breathe. I remember my heart pounding. Sweat poured from my body. I stared onward still trying to rationalize the forms now moving toward me. I finally realized as fear gripped me even tighter I could only fight evil with goodness so I threw the covers over my head and repeated over and over, “God is Stronger. God is Stronger. God is Stronger.
Within only a few moments, a deep sense of peace overcame me and I fell fast to sleep. Morning came suddenly with golden rays of Florida sunlight beaming through my window. I am convinced God went to war with Desolation and won. When you have faith, God does things like that.
To this day when I am feeling overwhelmed and overcome I repeat these three words “God is Stronger. God is Stronger. God is Stronger”. Faith and Trust in God and in our selves becomes evident. In which God repeats back. “You can handle it. You can handle it. You can handle it.”
There is generally a good rational explanation for everything. God. Angels. Shadow People. The Lock Ness Monster. UFO’s. Big Foot. We are the most creative and amusing creatures with expansive mental powers. The average American spent $2,504 on entertainment in 2010 as witness to human inventiveness and creativity.
Do we create God from a vivid imagination acting in sync with collective consciousness? Or, perhaps, God’s imagination and creative accomplishments are one hundred million billion times greater than a humans. Are we HiS canvas?
God is Truth and holds all life as sacred. Man is still trying to figure out how to explain Truth without God.
There is a wonderful saying that goes, “Calmness is the way we show we are trusting in God”, and I take those words with me whenever I go white water canoeing with my husband in order to see him happy.
I absolutely hate being in the middle of fast flowing water paddling my ass off in order to stay dry. To him, there is nothing better in life than paddling down a swift moving current. To me, there is nothing better than seeing him happy. And, although he is an atheist, I love him with every breath I breathe.
In the end, we are all given free will to choose our life path and a spirituality that authenticates us as freedom loving individuals.
I feel I have been blessed for all the Spiritual connections in my life.
At 71 my mother still prays. She is disappointed she can no longer kneel, but she prays out loud every night before she goes to bed. She asks God to look over her children and grandchildren. She prays for her family and friends. She thanks God for his love and Jesus for his sacrifice. There are no sounds more beautiful than words of love and thankfulness.
Some of us chose to find peace without God and that is OK, too. Whatever makes you vibrate Love and Joy rather than Hate and Bitterness is optimal. But, in my world I have come to understand and know that God is Stronger. Feel comforted God is with you always and believe – “You Are Loved”.