Category Archives: Healing

peace in portland

Peace in Portland: Create your own sunshine

Today is a beautiful day in Portland, Oregon. I am finding peace in Portland. I am so happy that we moved back to the Pacific Northwest, escaping the cold, heartache, and cruelty we experienced in Minnesota. We met a few friends in Minnesota, but we also met many people who hurt us.

Minnesota, like much of the Midwest, is majority conservative Protestant Christian. We met Minnesotans with cold, cold hearts who went to church on Sunday, thanking God for all their blessings. They then cursed me and my family during the week, honking their car horns and mocking us as we struggled to push our stroller in the snow. They laughed as the snowflakes fell around us, holy tears from heaven. The brutal cold in weather and spirit crushed my body and soul.

I love Jesus, and I can’t ever see him laughing at a young family trying their hardest to make it in the snow, to raise a child in cold society. Jesus will not crush a bruised reed, but his conservative “followers” are often quick to do so.

Now we are back in Oregon, place of our son’s birth, and place I have adopted as home. I will never have to brave the face-ripping, heart-crushing cold again. The trees, the mountains, the ocean, all speak healing over me. The people are less Christian here, and much more accepting of the poor. Portlanders care more about people, and are less motivated by money than the Twin Cities retail culture. Portland culture is laid back, live-and-let-live.

Portland has also grown far more diverse since we left three years ago. This is a welcome change because Oregon has its own ghosts of racism.

Right now it is a gorgeous, peaceful Portland weekend afternoon. The sun is shining, and the weather is warm, a peek into the coming summer months. I am playing at the park with my son. I daydream in his imagination, and in the joy of all the children playing under the gaze of ancient pine trees. I feel happy and at peace. For this moment, life is good.

Create your own Sunshine

This week is supposed to be rainy and cool, typical Portland. The Pacific Northwest is a temperate rainforest, full of cloudy, misty days. I love the rain, the introspective, cloudy yin balancing the bold, sunny yang. Some people in Portland, especially those who have moved north here from California, find it hard to deal with all the rain.

I saw a little girl at the park wearing a shirt that said,”Create your own sunshine.” What a message. When the rain keeps falling, and life seems too hard, create your own sunshine. Find your peace in the Spirit. Let the Son’s light shine over your pain.

It has rained so much in my life over the last five years. Christian persecution. Unemployment. Employed, then laid off. Poverty. Disability. Loss.

All these experiences created a storm that felt like it would never end. Each experience stretched my heart to the breaking and the blessing. My heart for the oppressed has grown with God’s heart.

God’s heart is on the oppressed, Jesus guides the poor with tenderness and love. Spiritual protection is all we have to cling onto amidst the hurricane of human greed and selfishness.

I am learning to create my own sunshine. The Holy Spirit is teaching me the wisdom of patience in persecution. She is teaching me to love my body as a vehicle for my spirit to enjoy life. I play in the park, splash in the water, take walks in the woods, run with my son in this body.

People may judge me, but God created me in beauty and light. I am a daughter of heaven. This body struggles with pain, war wounds from the journey on earth, but, someday, I will be completely whole. I create sunshine through the rain. How would I know the meaning of joy if I didn’t also know the meaning of pain?

I have found a new season of peace in Portland.

salvation when all seems lost

Salvation When All Seems Lost

Frequently salvation comes precisely when it appears as though all is lost.
Leo Tolstoy

I am staring at the face of fear once more. I fell and injured my ankle, and I am having a hard time healing. The pain interferes with my job, but I need to work. It is tempting to fall into the fear that all my hard work since moving to Minnesota seems lost.

The fear is a growling bear, hungry, wanting power over his cave. The fear is a prowling tiger, cunning, plotting evil against those she sees as weak. I feel the fear, but I know that the bear’s cave and the tiger’s lair will be overcome. Light always vanquishes darkness, good always overcomes evil. It is written in all our fairy tales, the Book of Life, our deep human psyche.

Fear is uncomfortable, but fear will never win. Salvation when all seems lost.

When it rains, it pours

Things were finally going smoothly in our life. I found a stable job with stable hours that paid our bills. We were treading water, even seeing dry land, overcoming our drowning unemployment over the last few years.

Then, three weeks ago, I fell and hurt my ankle. I have written more about my accident and my running shoes and ankle pain. On top of this, our apartment just unexpectedly raised the rent beginning in November. When it rains, it pours.

My boss is letting me work on crutches, which is a big relief. Still, she cut back some on my hours, and November will be a short hour month to begin with. Fear of low hours means the fear of homelessness and hunger rears its ugly head once more in our life. I am praying to Jesus and waiting for salvation when all seems lost.

In the Rain, There Is Healing

The holidays seem to be a hard time for us every year. I’m sure it is the same for all my brothers and sisters struggling in poverty. I think it is a spiritual transaction, the power and lies of Thanksgiving and oppression, the celebration of white middle class retail culture at Christmas. The holidays are merriment for the rich, hardship for the poor. This influences my view on Santa Claus.

The holidays are also a time of rain and snow, a change in seasons from the colors of fall to the repose of winter. There is healing in the change, in the rest, in the rain. The older trees understand this, and I am sure they patiently explain the winter season to the fearful young trees, salvation when all seems lost.

The healing comes in the midst of hardship. god used a flood to cleanse the world of wickedness, and he can use rain in our life to cleanse our souls, wash out the wounds left by fear and doubt, and grow us in beautiful Holy Spirit wisdom.

Salvation When All Seems Lost

Tolstoy was wise when he said that salvation comes when all seems lost. God always provides. Sometimes he waits to see if people will help before he intervenes supernaturally. Sometimes the salvation gets caught up in heavenly battles, like in the Book of Daniel. But the salvation always comes.

Father God,

I trust you in this time of fear. I trust you to heal my ankle and guide my doctors in caring for me. I trust that I will get the hours I need at work, and I trust that we will have all our basic needs met.

I pray your promises over our life, promises for a future of hope and riches of wisdom. I know you are guiding me, preparing me for greatness and redemption of my hardships and story.

Jesus, I patiently and boldly await your salvation when all seems lost.

Amen

uninsured in america

Uninsured in America: Broken Bone Morality

Two years ago, I was uninsured in America. All my efforts to find work had failed, so medical care was closed to me. One afternoon I tripped on a porch step and broke my ankle. The pain was overwhelming, but even worse was the realization that I would have to treat it myself.

A Visit to My Parent’s House

When we left Oregon, homeless and financially broken after years of trying to find work, we began the journey that eventually brought us to Minnesota. We made a stop at my parent’s house in Missouri.

They asked us to pray for my sister who was in the hospital with a mysterious illness. She had a good job, good insurance, and good doctors, but she was getting worse. We went to her bedside and prayed. Yahweh said he would heal her. She was released two days later.

“Praise God she has insurance,” my dad said. “If she hadn’t, the hospital might have turned her away.”

In a short while, I wouldn’t be so lucky.

Broken Leg No Insurance

Two days after my sister was released, the pleasant early summer weather beckoned me outside. I decided to visit the park with my husband and son.

We didn’t make it far. I stepped into a hidden hole at the bottom of the porch step. The violent twist of my ankle shot lightning bolts of pain up my leg that left me sobbing in the grass. The cloudless sky spun in dizzying flashes around me as the pain nauseated me, overwhelmed my senses. I have sprained my ankles many times, and I have broken several bones.

I knew that pain.

I knew my ankle was broken.

My mom and dad came outside because of the commotion. My husband was kneeling down to help me. My dad stepped over and talked sharply. “Get up and walk inside. It’s probably only a little sprain.”

Frightened by his tone, and my body pumping adrenaline from pain, I clutched the strong arm of my husband and somehow found the strength to hobble inside. My parents brought me ice and pain medicine.

Uninsured in America

I thought about going to the emergency room, but the injury was not life threatening, and without insurance or a cash deposit, I knew there was little chance they would treat me.

American law only requires hospitals to stabilize life threatening conditions of the uninsured, not to treat them. This is almost certainly why Thomas Eric Duncan (ABC News) was sent home from a Dallas emergency room, stable but seriously ill. He spent two days at home, in excruciating pain, shedding infectious Ebola virus to his family and community, before being admitted to the hospital two days later where he died of his condition. Duncan was also, tragically, uninsured in America. Broken medical system, broken morality. I have written more about him here. Eric Duncan, Ebola, and lack of insurance.

I knew the hospital most likely would not treat me, and I could never pay the thousand-dollar-plus bill if they did, so I begged to go to the far more accessible urgent care. My dad said there was no need to seek medical care for a “little sprain.” My mom laughed. She said it was my fault for not having a job, for not having any money for the urgent care $150 fee.

She laughed at me for being uninsured in America. Her broken morality crushed my spirit.

Self-rehabilitating My Broken Ankle

Past walking into the house, I couldn’t bear any weight on my ankle. The slightest brush of my toe against the ground sent mind-numbing pain through my leg. Fortunately, I had crutches and a walking boot from a surgery on my other ankle several years before (when I did have insurance). I used those to immobilize my ankle and settled in for the daunting process of rehabilitating my broken leg without the help of a doctor or modern medicine.

After a couple of days on the couch, I got into a religious argument with my parents. My husband called a televangelist phone number on a television program and told the call center to stop swindling people’s money. I thought it was funny, but my parents were not amused. We argued about works versus faith and the “cheap” American gospel. They kicked us out of the house.

For the next several weeks we slept on friend’s couches and in the car, our two-year-old in his car seat, my ankle throbbing from the cramped space. After about six weeks I was able to stretch my ankle and start walking again, painfully.

We moved to Minnesota and found housing and work. We got health insurance and I had x-rays showing the (healed) fracture line. Physical therapy helped some, but even now, over two years later, I limp and have pain in that ankle. The doctor thinks I have torn ligaments or tendons and I need surgery.

Surgery that would never have been necessary if I had not been a victim of society’s broken morality to refuse to take care of the poor, the weak, the sick, the uninsured in America.

Sprained Ankle and the Affordable Care Act

This week I fell over a pothole I didn’t see in a parking lot. I sprained my ankle, again, badly enough to have to take a week off work. Doctor visit, ankle brace, crutches. Maybe physical therapy again, I’ll find out in the next few weeks of healing again.

At least this time I have medical insurance, partially thanks to the Affordable Care Act, which made my family eligible for Medicaid. This legislation is imperfect, but it has helped millions (but not all) of the uninsured in America to access treatment from broken legs to cancer.

This legislation is constantly under attack. We need more Americans with the courage and morality to stand up for the pool, the uninsured. Medical care is a human right.

I share my story of pain in hopes of change.

America, repent, seek the kingdom of holy justice, heal the broken legs and broken hearts of the oppressed. Provide medical access for the uninsured. That is exactly what Jesus did. Seek God’s face, pray for holy justice, and heal the broken morality in America.

patience for the better, spring feather

Patience for the Better

Be patient, things will change for the better.

Good things come to those who Believe, better things come to those who are Patient, and the best Things come to those who Don’t Give Up. -Zig Ziglar

A Dramatic Job Loss

My life is a little topsy-turvy right now. I wrote a poem about this in my last blog post. I just experienced a dramatic job loss from my toddler teacher position at KinderCare. This feels like a fire, a sudden burning of all that I had built over the past year. This loss came at the hands of a boss who gave up compassion and care for her employees to focus on greed and concern only for The Bottom Line.

Her betrayal takes the breath from my emotions and my body. But she cannot touch the breath of God, the Holy Spirit who sustains my spirit body. I am learning to exhale through my fear and leave it to the hands of my all-wise Creator. He tells me to practice patience for the better.

The Better is Coming

I had two job interviews in the last week. Both invited me back to second interviews, so my chances of getting a new job are strong.

The Better is coming.

I am just waiting for the confirming phone call. But the waiting can be so torturous.

Two quotes came to me today to help me on the journey of uncertainty.

Be patient, things will change for the better.

This is a cell phone wallpaper I found, reminding me to practice patience as I embrace the unknown Better. Even as the last Minnesota winter storms dump snow on us, I feel the trees releasing energy, their buds eager, but patient, to break open at the ends of young twigs. I need to learn wisdom from the patience of the trees, as the spiritual season in my life changes from winter to spring.

There may be one last snow storm yet, but the Father, my loving provider, is plowing a path for me through the deep white. The pastel colors and golden life of spring will always come. No matter how black and deep the winter, the Better will always come.

Patience for the Better

Good things come to those who Believe, better things come to those who are Patient, and the best Things come to those who Don’t Give Up.

This quote, by author and motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, also talks about patience in waiting for the the Better. But Believe is another key word here.

I have taken a prophetic journey of belief over the last five years. I have hurled my body off the cliff and waited for the angels to catch me in a faith-dance with the Creator. It strikes me that this is the second temptation with which the devil tortured Jesus, but I think there is a secret lesson; during his hidden and lonely learning years, Jesus mastered this how to let go and be caught by the hands of blind faith. The devil was mocking him and mocking the provision of God.

And so the great tempter tempts me. He tempts me to give into worry and crawl back to the slavery of Egypt. God is my provider, but the tempter tells me that the job is my provider, and I am a fool. I will resist the tempter, I will believe. I won’t give up, and I will wait for God’s best things to come for me.

I leave winter behind me, and I turn my face toward the spring.

A Spring of Healing

It will be a spring of healing. I have walked through a valley, a winter of my soul, and I am emerging on the other side with a more developed, more profound understanding of holy justice and holy provision.  A band-aid can never replace surgery for cancer, and holiness will never take root in a soul that has not been plowed and planted by trials. I have learned patience for the better.

If you are experiencing hardships, a dark winter, my friend, look deep inside. Find the love of the Holy Spirit, the care of the Father who loves you more than many sparrows. Practice patience as you wait for the Divine healing and the Better.

Image credit: [Pixabay] BenKerckx Licensed under CC0 Public Domain
Image credit: [Pixabay] BenKerckx Licensed under CC0 Public Domain
visit a cemetery, cemetery with surise colors and clouds

A Visit to a Cemetery

I went to visit a cemetery yesterday for a class project. It was mystical and beautiful experience. He is the story I wrote while I was there.

A Visit to a Cemetery

I walked slow on my way to visit a cemetery. This is always a surreal experience, even for those who move in dreams and visions and the prophetic, who think constantly about the afterlife.

As I entered the gates, the sun emerged from the clouds, dancing light beams on the grass, and painting rainbows on the tombstone. The iridescent colors reminded me of the spirit realm, a place of peace and joy, a place of my dreams.

As a child, I had a recurring dream of sitting by a pool of water, watching my reflection in the ripples. It was night time, and the moon cast a pale light on the water. Trees waved overhead, their branches reaching down to tickle my hair. Their leaves shown with an internal light, royal blue, velvet purple, emerald green. The colors even now are hard to describe, much richer than those on earth. I felt so loved in this place, so wanted. My life had meaning. Even as a child, I would wake and struggle with the existential questions, and I would long for that beautiful netherworld.

A tear fell down my face as I imagined that place. Or perhaps I don’t imagine. Maybe I remember. Maybe I was there before. Maybe I danced with the trees, and rode unicorns, and made music on a silver flute, before I made that long journey down the birth canal to this planet.

This planet. I looked at the trees around me, back in this physical world. They too had so much beauty, the soft green leaves of the oak, the sharp green leaves of the conifer. I saw a fern growing near the tombstone, its feathery leaves brushing the worn words.

Marjorie Thomson. 1925-1999.

So. I was going to meet Marjorie on my visit to a cemetery.

So she was 74 when she died. I wonder what her life was like. Did she have regrets? Did she have joy? Did a family surround her at her dying breath, or did she die alone, unknown? Apparently somebody loved her because they set up this gravestone, this marker of a life lived on the earth.

What is a life here? Why is it so short? The Bible says that we are but a breath and then we are gone. Gone where? Where is Marjorie now? Is she in that beautiful realm of iridescent peace? Is her spirit free, free to explore the universe, free like a child on a summer playground?

The joy of a child. I dwell on this. I have a two-year-old son, and I love to watch him play. I struggle so much to provide for him. My husband and I have both been out of work for years. I have a master’s degree in music, but right now it seems only a worthless piece of paper. So many dreams, so much hope unfulfilled.

Yet, my son knows nothing of this pain. He just plays and loves and laughs. He is carefree. I long so much to be like him.

Just to be.

Is this what death is like? Even Jesus said, “Let the little children come onto me.” I imagine so. I think the child’s wonder, the child’s imagination, the child’s dream, is our truest state of existence. But somehow we all learn to grow up, shape up, become “something.”

But what is that something?

What was it for Marjorie? What job did she have?

A job is so important in this world, or so everyone tells me. I must work, I must “make something of myself.” As if I am not good enough without that. Did Marjorie struggle with being someone? Did she think well of herself? Did she wonder about the meaning of it all?

Maybe she only thought about meaning at the time of her death. I wonder how she died. Was it after a long illness, or was it a tragic accident? Perhaps she died of cancer, and she spent long hours in bed, thinking about this world, thinking about the next. Was she afraid to die?

I am not afraid to die. I believe that I will go to that world of which I dream. No more struggling with meaning, no more struggling with money, or a place to live or food, no more struggling at all. Carefree. I long for that. Did Marjorie?

The sun has retreated back to the clouds, and a raindrop wakes me from my reverie. I turn my face toward the sky, breathe a prayer, and turn to leave from the visit to a cemetery. Perhaps I will visit again. Goodbye, Marjorie. I hope you have found peace. Maybe you are looking at the emerald leaves and smiling.

angel art flower

Angel Art

Angel art is always created before Yahweh’s throne. Heaven is a place of imagination, love, beauty, and art.

Angels Dance

Angel art dances before Yahweh’s throne. Angels twirl and circle, their graceful bodies sweeping the air, kissing the branches of the trees. They land on butterfly toes and skate the surface of the glass sea. Walking on water is no miracle in that land. Dancing on water is the miracle and the joy. Joy shown in a smile that stretches from the dancers’ faces to their outstretched arms. Joy shone in the twinkling of their eyes and the sparkling of their white gowns. Their joy flickers in the earthly realm for humans with open hearts. Angels lead the mating dance of the crane, or the early morning sky-dance of the stars. Humans rarely notice this dance of joy, but the joy is mirrored on the face of the Father.

Angels paint

Angel art paints before Yahweh’s throne. Angel brushes twirl and circle, gliding across iridescent paper. They paint the sky, the trees, the sunset. They create new worlds and recreate the glory of the old world, the forgotten world, the world before the fall of humans and angels. They create and they remember. Their art is glimpsed in the earthly realm for humans with open eyes. Angels paint the dew drop on a summer morning leaf, the last drip of blue in the dusk sky, the circles and whirls of a dragonfly wing. Humans rarely notice the paintings, but the Father sees, and He smiles.

Angels Make Music

Angel art sings before Yahweh’s throne. Angel notes twirl and circle, rising high above their silver and ebony instruments, joining with golden voices. Their songs move the spheres and keep the planets in orbit. Their music commands chaos into order. Their music brings the universe in tune. Their music is whispered in the earthly realm for humans with open ears. Maybe it is caught in a cool breeze windchime, or a far-off thunderstorm. But the music has faded over the centuries of the physical realm, and human hearts are dark. Humans rarely hear the music, but the Father hears, and He is pleased.

Angel Art Calls to Humans to Create

Angels spend their days creating beauty. Heaven is beauty, and creation. Yahweh is the author of all beauty, lover of all art. Every one of his creatures is also a creator. Human hearts are dark, and forgetting. Humans forget about beauty and only run after money. Endless running, endless money, more, more, more. Hamsters on a treadmill. Rush around, go to work, go shopping, go to sleep, repeat. Humans talk about creating money, but money is a harsh taskmaster, a cold idol, something that can never be completely grasped, or created. Humans strive after an idol they can never satisfy.

Yahweh is saying, “Come to me and rest. Come to me and learn the true meaning of your life, the meaning of beauty. Life is not found in money. Life is not in found getting ahead of everyone else. Life is found in creating beauty in the love and joy of the Father.”

So go. Dance, paint, sing. Learn once again how to be a child of Yahweh. You were born to create and love. Go, join the angels in making art and enjoy the splendor of the kingdom on earth.