“For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
When I left off Chapter 12 I had intended to change the format of my writing so that I wasn’t going by life phases anymore. Then God spoke to me and said I had one more to go before I was okay to do that. I mentioned that I didn’t want to write “Demons”. If I’m being transparent, I haven’t written since then because I’m anxious about having that part of my story online for the world to see. I sent that chapter in for “editing” and I haven’t had to do that before. I was confident in all the other blogs that I was going where I was supposed to go. I was confident that God wanted me to tell those stories because people needed them. I am an advocate for children because of those stories. It never occurred to me to be an advocate for people who struggled with sexual abuse. I’m still not really sure that I am comfortable with even that thought, let alone spending hours talking to people about the most difficult subject there is. I don’t know that God is asking me to do that. This chapter isn’t about what I know. It’s about how I find the things I do know, the misconceptions I had that impeded my ability to hear God, and the thoughts that God keeps putting everywhere to let me know I am following what he says.
I must be a terrible person to walk with on this journey with though. God is fine, just trekking along admiring all of his creation and the beauty of his work. I trail behind, slowly, falling all over the place, and running off after poisonous “pretty” flowers. Or I run ahead and almost fall over cliffs and he has to place things in my path so that I slow down and wait for him. He’s been showing me that I need to SLOW down and dissect things. When I slow down and hold his hand, he shows me things I have seen before, but never paid any attention to.
I’m going to just talk like me here. I’m going to talk like I do in regular conversations. That’s how I talk to God and it’s how I am the most authentic version of myself. I can be a sarcastic goofball, but I can also be a walking thesaurus. I love words, their meanings and the context in which we are allowed to use them.
Instead of a misconception, this one is rather a missed direction. I completely missed the meaning of this even though I had heard it a billion times. If you have ever heard the Bible referred to as The Living Word and you understand it’s meaning, this might be too elementary for you. I am a bit slow on the uptake sometimes and I don’t always catch things that are obvious to other people. When I started reading Bible verses to go along with what Pastor Doctor, Pastor Michael Todd, Pastor Touré Roberts, Pastor Sarah Jakes Roberts, and Bishop T.D. Jakes were saying, I was granted the gift of understanding why the Bible is called The Living Word.
I was listening to someone (I apologize, I do not remember which one of these it was) talk about Sarah and Abraham. I’ll be fair and completely honest here. Most of my life I skipped the book of Genesis. Okay neat, God created the Earth and seas and sky and land and animals and then he created man and he liked what he made so he took a nap on the seventh day. Got it. Then Adam and Eve messed up and sinned and now it hurts when women have babies. Thanks a lot, EVE. Everything we do is their fault. Great job messing up the earth and all the generations after you. Then Cain kills his brother and runs away. What awful people these beginning Biblers are. The stories start to get worse until finally God just says, “Ugh, you guys can’t do anything right so I’m going to destroy the Earth with a flood.” (Side note here: I am wondering if with all that is going on the world right now if God isn’t regretting his promise to Noah that he would never again destroy the Earth that way. There is quite a few more of us on the planet now and if God thought there was too much hate then, I often wonder how sad he is about the way we have become. We don’t even like ourselves, let alone other people.)
I have a knack for stealing Bibles. Yes, I know how that sounds. When I was in my twenties and my kids were little, I was trying to find the meanings meant for me when I was reading the Bible. King James Versions are ridiculously hard to read. All that Thine, Thee, Thou mess was way too difficult to comprehend and as I’ve pointed out before, I am intelligent and I love to read. If I couldn’t even read it so it made sense, how on earth would I be able to figure out what God was trying to tell me?
At the time, Dad was coming over to do Bible study with us and I mentioned this to him. He “loaned” me his Ryrie Study Bible. After being used by him for however long and then poured over by me for about 5 or 6 years, Genesis just…fell out. I didn’t use it anyway, not that it mattered much. I never gave Dad back his Bible because I didn’t want to tell him that it was missing parts he gave it to me with. I have most of it, but I got a Bible cover and stuck the pages on the inside. I stuck the Bible in a drawer when I quit reading it and didn’t touch it again until it was time for us to pack things for a move and then back in the drawer it went. I still have it.
When I began reading Wholeness, I got to about the third chapter and I wasn’t sure about a verse that P.T. (Pastor Touré often refers to himself as P.T., so I can too) was using to try to explain something. I asked my daughter, Aja if I could borrow her Bible. She has 80. She handed me the one she uses all the time and said, “I like it because it has a bunch of explanations at the bottom and it helps you figure things out.” I am not a 16-year-old girl, so I didn’t figure I’d need the footnotes much. What can I say? I can be a little smug about my intelligence sometimes. I began reading my own Scriptures every time something came up in one of the books I was reading. All I was looking for was a clearer understanding of what God was trying to tell whatever Bibler he was teaching, and by proxy, me. What I found was something different when Aja started bugging me about getting her Bible back. Sarah Jakes Roberts uses a New Living Translation Bible so I bought one of those. Now I need both Bibles because I really found out that the words are different, but THEIR words don’t really matter. What matters is what God whispers while I read.
I started to see myself in the stories that I was reading. I started to hear God whisper my name in different ways when I sat down and tried to decipher what one of the pastors was talking about. I started seeing things that were only meant for me. I could hear MY experiences from the pages. The biggest revelation God gave me in this time was in the story of Abraham and Sarah. Now, if you know me personally or have heard about my reputation as a mother, you know that I have a “Mess with my kids if you want to. I don’t advise it. But go ahead and try and I will burn your life to the ground” attitude. That’s figurative, of course. I haven’t actually burned anyone’s life down. I just don’t let people mess with my kids. (I don’t take up for my kids when it’s their fault either, by the way, I require that they take responsibility for the way they treat people.) When someone, especially an adult, wrongs them and I hear about it, rest assured, if its you…I’m coming for you. I am not especially proud of some of the ways I’ve come for people. I’m not very forgiving when it comes to my kids. I mentioned a time or two I am a work in progress. I am working on my temper. I am justified in my anger, but the way I handle the situation can best be described as scary. I don’t love anything else as much as I love these kids. I also didn’t really trust God to protect them either, so I had that gearing my anger just as much as anything.
I think that is the reason why I looked at the story of Abraham and Sarah so closely. The story of Isaac is confusing to many people. Why would a God that loved Abraham and loved Isaac ask Abraham to kill his only son? I fully believe that God was using this story as a way to let us know that we are to give our kids to him, because like me, our love for them can inhibit our growth in him and the love he has for us. Being a mom can be a lonely place. Your kids constantly take from you and because it is your job and your desire to give them everything you can, it can be completely soul draining. Especially, if you and the dad have any sort of issue and he is not a supporter. If he is someone who is waiting in the wings to pounce on you if you make a mistake, it is even lonelier. (That is a whole different ball game and as God leads me, we will get into that topic at a different time.)
The focus of this story seems to be on Abraham and Isaac. But the mom heart in me wondered about Sarah. Seriously. Her husband knew that she had waited 90 years to have a baby. He didn’t have that problem because he had a son with Hagar. Abraham already knew the joy of being a parent, long before Sarah did. As I was wondering about how Sarah felt, I realized, things just couldn’t have been fine between the two of them afterwards, even though Isaac returned home alive. I put myself in Sarah’s flip flops.
The Bible doesn’t say much about this and I had never thought to look at Sarah’s side of things before. But, when I looked at it through my lens, I’d have left Abraham after I destroyed his life if he tried to kill my son. While I don’t think Sarah had my temper or my intensity when it came to her son, how did she ever forgive Abraham? He said God told him to take Isaac as an offering. I’d have had a problem with God then too. “You want to kill the only son I have and leave the son with the other woman to parade in front of me day after day to add salt to an already never closing wound?” *insert condemning laugh here* “How bout big fat NO.”
I came to see what God had really been asking and I realized how much work Sarah would have had to do to even be able to forgive her husband and her God for trying to harm her only son. I’ll be honest I don’t have Sarah’s strength. I also didn’t have a husband that walked with God, so maybe that was the difference. I protected my kids from evil, whether that was their father or not. Nobody would hurt them as long as it was my job to protect them. God gave me my five kids for a reason. I’d protect them from him too if I had to. What God was trying to show me is that no matter how hard I tried, I was never going to be able to protect them from the things that hurt them the most. I couldn’t protect them from the hurt their dad left on them by his inability to live life without drinking, or his complete refusal to take any responsibility for the pain he caused them. He put it all on me and I bore the weight of that for years. I loved my kids more because of that weight. I loved them until it broke me. I saw much of myself in Sarah and what she must have went through. Something weird happened. I also saw my mother.
Divorce is nasty. People are nasty. I was nasty and their father was nasty. My parents were nasty. However, what I learned about myself and about my mother is that even the strongest steel breaks when it holds too much weight on its own. You cannot pile the entire world onto one person and expect them not to crumble under the pressure. Some are stronger than others and that crack might take awhile to become a problem, but when it does the world around them will fall along with everything they have been holding up. Fighting in divorce is going to happen. You cannot tear your child’s other parent apart or refuse to help them and then open your mouth and condemn them when they fall. Sarah didn’t do that because she had God to help her heal.
God showed me something else I wasn’t expecting in Sarah’s story. God had promised Abraham that he would have descendants as numerous as the stars. That was his promise to Abraham. Sarah didn’t know that God had a promise for her too. It wasn’t his timing to reveal her future at the same time he revealed it to Abraham.
Abraham became the Father of Nations through Sarah. The crazy thing is that she was the mother of those nations and the promise she received was only that she would have a son when she was 90. What’s that got to do with me?
I told you in an earlier post that I became that lady, the one that had all kinds of kids living with us whenever they needed a home. I started to work in the schools and kids that looked nothing like me, acted nothing like me, and had basically nothing in common with me, began calling me Mom. My “extra” kids all call me Mom even though they all have mothers, some of their mothers are amazing people that I am super blessed to know. As of right now, I have roughly 500 children in this city that call me Mom…give or take a couple hundred. They don’t always call me that, and some will call me nothing else. I earned my spot as their “school” mom, their “extra” mom, and I even have some that I am “Mom by proxy” because their friends call me Mom and they just want to be able to do so as well.
God showed me that Abraham might be the Father of Nations, but that like Sarah I am the mother of a nation. I am the mother of a nation of lost kids that need something else. They need more love, more direction, more guidance, more of something that they get from me. God gave me that burden and for those of you who know me personally, you know that I take that burden with reverence and with a total commitment to help “my” kids live their lives, showing them that someone loves them in a way that they can feel. My kids have holes in their hearts that leak too much love out. God gave me the ability to love them so that some of those holes are plugged back up. God gave me the ability to lead them to love just a little bit. They can hold just a little bit of love because God gave me the road I traveled, alone. I know what unloved and forgotten looks like. I know what being a “bad” mom looks like. I know what guilt looks like because I haven’t been able to keep my kids from experiencing pain. What I also know is that we can heal. We can heal when someone cares enough to see us through their own pain and experience, and we can grow to love ourselves because of them.
It took all of these revelations to explain to me what the Living Word meant. I am nothing like Sarah. I don’t live in a tent surrounded by sheep and smelly men who try to kill my son. I was not 90 when I had my only son. I was 19 and God blessed me with 4 more children. I am not a plain woman and I don’t look like your “typical” Christian. I have tattoos and I make faces at people. I can’t see Sarah walking around with her eyebrow raised and flying off the handle. I don’t really know because it’s not about me. But, the Living Word is where God turned Sarah’s story into mine. Sarah’s story may do nothing for you like it did for me. It isn’t meant to. It’s meant to turn whatever story you are living into YOUR story. God will show you what he wants you to see, but you have to believe that he has the ability and the power to do that. God is a remarkable entity and can show you things you never though you’d see in the stories of the Biblers. Maybe you are Tamar, or Ruth, or Rahab, or Rachel, or Rebekah. Or maybe you are Esther, or Eve or Hannah. I don’t know what woman you are in the Bible and I definitely don’t know what man you are. But I promise you, if you are asking God anything, he will use his Living Word to show you. Its Living because he can change the meaning to show you what he wants you to see. The words don’t change, just their influence on your life and the way you understand things.
If you are reading this blog and any of this made sense to you, I encourage you to start keeping a journal. Now, I know that some people don’t like writing. Okay so don’t. Use apps that record your thoughts and keep them in files for you. If you don’t like reading the Bible fine. Plenty of apps will read it to you and google or Alexa or Siri will help you by voice. Do not let the excuse of not being a good reader or not being a good writer keep you from this important aspect of your walk with God to find healing. Even if you start with nothing about God, just start writing. Talk to him like you talk to yourself. I even noticed he still listens when I come to him and say “God, I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what I feel and I don’t know what to write.” He will give you direction. You just have to start.