Changing Skin

It’s been two years since we ditched the bus to roam around the globe to learn, listen and encourage. We’ve been to nine countries in that time and written story after story about that season.

We detoured back the US in November of 2016 and when we left Australia in November, we arrived minus one Holland. Our daughter, Graciana, stayed back in Australia to navigating the world of “adulting.” We have watched from afar as she has learned some hard lessons. Good Night! What a paradox to go from being so engaged in the development of your child, catching them when they fall, to then having virtually no ability to reach out and soften the blows. And yet, she has rallied and it has been a joy to watch her begin to fly!

For the past six-month we’ve been in Phoenix, AZ. (our longest stop in six years!) and have been just soaking in good family time. While here we have been journeying alongside my parents as they both went through a sort of metamorphosis, getting their new skin as I like to call it. They have both been working through their difficult cancer diagnosis. My father, battling an aggressive Prostate cancer and my mother with a slow growing non-Hodgkins lymphoma.  It has been an absolute joy to participate in daily community with them, lending a helping hand and watching them both overcome the obstacles set before them.

I have always loved my parents but I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that this intense time with them has allowed me to fall in love with both of them in a new and fresh way. They are each so unique and fantastic in their own right and together they are team Price!

I have loved just sitting and listening to them reminisce and share stories of their lives. Some of them stories I have never heard before. If I could have kept a recorder going the whole six months, I would have. For now, those precious memories have been captured in my mind’s eye.

Over the months, we watched them go from about a three to an eight and as they continue to exercise, sharpen their minds and use food as a source of healing, they continue to excel. My dad has had a rebirth of creativity and over the time we’ve been with them, he has designed websites, written books for 2BRealMen and written curriculum for an online class for his Twisted Thinking Transformed material. It’s been a blast to watch him soar! Then, this past week we all pitched in and moved my parents into their awesome new apartment. They are happy and healthy, ready for a new adventure! And, as we leave them, we are expectant that it will be the richest chapter of their lives.

The season of backpacking/global travel, releasing our daughter into the big wide world, dovetailed by our current stop over with my parents, has been the most difficult and most engaging two years of our journey thus far. We have experienced a refining in ways that are still manifesting and will most likely be for the years to come. We have discovered that like the honey bee, we are built to pollinate. We launch, refueled and ready to ignite love, truth, and life…to any we meet along the way.

We’ll kick start our six-month journey in Phoenix, AZ and route north to CO then jog east to MI, loop back west through UT, then north to Calgary, Canada! Then west to Vancouver and south to LA, finally back to PHX!! That will take us approximately 8000 miles. Our hope then is to fly back to Australia for another trek around the globe. More info on our actually routing HERE…

Lastly, it’s been brought to my attention that I need to ask more often for help/support. So, if you feel led to give monthly, so as to spur us on practically but also build up our faith, you can do so at MODERNDAY.

Thanks for caring for us with your faithful prayers and encouraging words this past season. We look joyward to continuing to share the love and stories along the way.

 

The Collective Mother Bear

Drawing by Matthew Klaas de Witte

Even as a child, I had a natural bent towards the warrior role of “mother”. I find strength in compassion and I know I’m not the only one. In fact, when I began to dig into the folklore around mother figures, I found some fascinating stories, especially those revolving around the idea of the “Mother Bear”. Archaeological findings dating back to ancient times, suggest that in particular the Lion, the Bear and the Elk tend to be the symbols of “mother”.

Stories of the Great Bear Mother have been traced from the earliest times throughout the colder northern hemisphere, from Finland to Siberia to North America. She even has a constellation in the northern sky called Ursa Major. Moscow’s coat of arms also includes a She bear who carries a double axe. In Britain, based on this early veneration of the Great She Bear, we find the mythic hero-king Arthur, named from the Welsh Arth Vawr – Heavenly Bear. He was believed to be the spouse of the Celtic goddess, Artio – the Great She Bear. The Ainu of Japan, who are descendants of early Siberian migrations, still retain their veneration of the Bear in both legend and ritual. We see her roar fiercely in the ancient writings of Hosea and for Native Americans the Bear is one of the guardians of the Four Directions.

The stories go on and on as she continues to make her appearance with different names throughout history. The ultimate theme in all of these stories is that the Great She Bear, advocate and protector, whose animal fur, skins and body gave warmth and food was revered as an awesome Ancestor Mother of human beings.

Everyone has a mother, love them or hate them. Some have been abandoned by their mothers and some scorned. For those downtrodden baby bears, the Great She Bear roars. You know her, she’s the neighbor, the teacher, the grandmother, aunt, coach or older sister that stands in the gap, raising the standard and setting the example. It’s a beautiful gift. For many of us this instinctual compassion is a tender response to a broken world.

However, there is a very real temptation for all of us who feel this natural tendency towards Mother Bear, to take this very precious gift and distort it into something wholly unnatural and damaging. Where instead of understanding this role as a ‘collective’ we decide that our will is more important than that of any other Mother Bear. Believing that we are “THEE” Mother Bear, we manipulate and interject our will upon a baby bear irregardless of whether that child already has nurturing from their own mother.

In Twisted Thinking Transformed, Author Jerry Price, calls this an ownership attitude; where one person believes they have the right to take ownership of another person, place or thing that does not belong to them because they believe they deserve it. This sort of thinking creates endless examples of double standards and confusion. It’s the same attitude seen in the Hebrew story in which King Solomon of Israel ruled between two women both claiming to be the mother of a particular child.

The story recounts that the two mothers were living in the same house, each the mother of an infant son. One of the babies died. Each adamantly claimed the remaining boy as her own. In order to settle the dispute they went before the King. The King called for a sword and declared his judgment: the baby would be cut in two, each woman to receive half. One mother thought the ruling fair, but the other begged Solomon, “Give the baby to her, just don’t kill him!” The king declared the second woman the true mother, as the true mother would surely give up her baby if that was necessary to save its life.

We don’t know all of the back story as the scene really focuses in on the Kings ruling. However, we do see that these two women lived with each other, so they were in some sort of relationship, maybe even friends or relatives. The woman who had an ownership attitude was so distorted in her thirst to be “THEE” Mother Bear that she was even willing to sacrifice the child so that the other woman could not take her rightful place.

How many times have we seen this story replayed, where a mother bear who is actively trying to nurture her baby bear encounters another mother bear and finds out that the person she deemed an ally, someone who could support and uplift, was betraying that trust, maybe even with good intentions.

It is so important for each of us to honestly recognize the temptation to tether with another’s baby bear and God help us if we ever overstep our position in another child’s life and thus cast a shadow on that mother/child relationship! It’s true, many of us have been the victim of this sort of betrayal but it also true that many of us have been the betrayer. It is crucial to the collective whole that we all be bona-fide about our own missteps and seek a better way. It will take humility, a healthy active ability to really listen to one another and a promise to be for one another.

And so, from one Mama Bear to another, I propose a treaty.

This is a promise to all the She Bears out their nurturing their baby bears. It is written in first person perspective in hopes that you, as a reader, will identify yourself as the Mother Bear and make the pledge also. If you agree with this treaty, please sign in the comments. If you find that there is a heart-felt promise that you’d like to add to the treaty please feel free to add it in the comments.

Artio, Celtic Goddess of Wild Life, Transformation and Abundance by Judith Shaw

THE MOTHER BEAR TREATY

To all fellow Mother Bears, from every tongue, tribe and nation. I promise that I will be for you and not against you.

I promise that if I encounter opportunities to come alongside your baby bear that I will understand that position as supplemental, not primary.

I promise that, as a fellow mother bear, I will work to engage with you without judgement and will look for ways to encourage you in your primary role.

If I have no baby bear of my own, but resonate with the collective Mother Bear, I promise that any encounters I might have to come alongside your baby bear will be seen as supplemental, not primary.

Whether I agree with your parenting style or not I promise that I will not manipulate your baby bear with jabs that threaten the foundation of your relationship. Rather, I will try to find ways to build your relationship up.

If your baby bear comes to me with a complaint that involves you, I promise that I will listen without bias and will encourage your baby bear to make every effort to reconcile with you.

I promise that if my good intentions towards your baby bear falls short and you take offense, that I will be open to hearing your heart and to owning the pain I may have caused, making every effort to reconcile with you.

Likewise, if you, with good intentions towards my baby bear, fall short, I promise to communicate the impact of that pain openly and allow room for you to make amends. If you make amends, I promise to not harbor any bitterness.

If my baby bear hurts your baby bear I promise that I will hold my baby bear accountable and do everything within my power to bring my baby bear to a place of remorse and guide him/her towards reconciliation with your baby bear.

If your baby bear hurts my baby bear, I promise that I will hold your baby bear accountable and will make every effort to communicate the damage to you. If your baby bear approaches with humility to apologize, I promise I will also listen with an open mind and move our babies towards forgiveness.

It may be that we or our baby bears are just not going to get along, in that case, we will walk away graciously and hold no grudge.

I promise that I will not use my words to condemn or shame you. I promise that I will not speak about you to other Mother Bears with any sort of mallace or ill intent.

In conclusion,

I promise to uphold this treaty, to protect the sanctity of the collective Mother Bear, and once again, to be for you, not against you.

Signatures:

Jana Holland, just one Mama Bear in the collective whole.

Thoughts on Simon Sinek Explaination of the Millennial Paradox

maxresdefaultRecently, a video clip of Tom Bilyeu interviewing motivational speaker, Simon Sinek on his show Inside Quest was circulating around Facebook Land. I noticed it because it was titled  “Simon Sinek Explains the Millennial Paradox” I didn’t know who Tom Bilyeu or Simon Sinek were but I love millennials, so I clicked the play button and for 15 minutes I was educated about the Millennial plight. 

As I watched I was particular drawn to Simon’s genuine nature. He seemed passionate about what he was talking about and believable. Simon began by defining how millennials have been described by leadership in corporations as entitled, narcissistic, unfocused, and lazy. 

Then Simon went on to explain that millennials are the way they are because of poor parenting strategies, citing parents that gave their children what they wanted when they wanted it, creating an instant gratification generation and other parents that didn’t allow their child to fail, thus devaluing their achievements. Add to that poor coping mechanisms to deal with stress that Sinek attributed to addiction (to social media and cell phone) and finally he concludes that millennials have lower self-esteem than previous generation, through no fault of their own, that they were “dealt a bad hand.”

In his final admonishment he speaks to corporations, stating that “It’s a total lack of good leadership in our world today that is making them feel the way they do. They were dealt a bad hand. I hate to say it but it’s the companies responsibility, sucks to be you, like we have no choice, right? This is what we got, and I wish their parents and society would have done a better job. They didn’t, so we’re getting them in our companies and we now have to pick up the slack. We have to work extra hard to figure out the ways to build their confidence. We have to work extra hard to find ways to teach them the social skills they are missing out on.” 

I took serious his rebuke of poor parenting and the effects of technology. I thought, yes, my children have been bombarded with screen toxins and we, as parents, sensed it was dangerous but the cultural undertow drowned any efforts we might have made to try to protect our children.

Then his pinnacle conclusion that the reason millennials are the way they are is because they were “dealt a bad hand” and that their best case scenario, “as an entire generation, was growing up and going through life and never really finding joy. They’ll just waft through life but never find joy” just broke my heart. As a parent, I thought Oh no! I’ve failed them! The more I meditated on his talk the more l lamented.

My father, Jerry Price, author, counselor, consultant and one of the wisest souls I know, also watched the video and we had a lively discussion about it all. It is a discussion that we ended up moving over to email in order to capture our thoughts in writing so as to participate in the greater conversation. 

Jerry: My first thought as I watched this guy, Simon, give his ‘expert’ opinion, his ‘diagnosis’ on the problem was that he offered no hope. Where is the hope?

Jana: You’re right dad. Although I felt hopeful when I initially started watching his talk, I realized that what I actually felt was his excitement as he set a tone of confidence regarding his knowledge of the topic. In the end, there was no hope in his message. It was dire diagnosis and all Simon could prescribe ultimately, was for corporations to bear the load and try to repair this generation the best they can. 

Jerry: It’s interesting how perspective can expose issues. Much of what Simon said was funny and seemed to resonate an image of a millennial. Simon was very persuasive about identifying millennials but as I was listening my question was “Who is defining this?” 

Coming from an understanding of Marketing and Counseling (Twisted Thinking) combined, I know that anyone who is the definer of a problem gets to control the process. 

Jana: Yes, he seemed knowledgeable and I agree with much of what Simon said about screen addiction. I agree that millennials, as a whole, were even dealt a bad hand. However, if I’m playing poker and I’m dealt a bad hand, am I not still responsible for how I play it? 

Jerry: True, when he started to emphasize that a millennial is a millennial because they were dealt a bad hand, through no fault of their own, my ears perked up. Whether he meant to or not, he just promoted what I call Martyred Thinking. 

Out of Martyred Thinking develops a prearranged tactic that avoids responsibility so the person claiming they’ve been dealt a bad hand (whether its true or not) can go do what they want to do. It becomes a platform of pursuing anything that is forbidden.

How do I know this? I’ve been working with Criminal and Twisted Thinkers for years in clinical settings where individuals have perpetrated unconscionable acts on others as a result of taking this closed stance on being a victim. 

There is no hope for integrity, dignity, and living responsibly with people who insist they have been dealt a bad hand and use that belief to support why they become addicts of one sort or another. The blame game isn’t a new thing. It’s been repeated politically, religiously and socially throughout history.

The drug of choice or addiction of choice, at that point, is what I call the excitement of what is forbidden. This phenomenon leads to inflated views of self and not low self-esteem as Simon suggested in the video. It leads to a stubbornness, recklessness, impatience at not being instantly gratified and the result is that others will experience the brunt of it.

Jana: I was hoping Simon would give us something deeper, some of his optimism he’s famous for. I was hoping he would talk about the heart issue and empower the millennial to “play their hand well” but he seemed to make any hope for the Millennial everyone elses problem, thus paralyzing them. 

Jerry:  It’s definitely a heart or character issue. 

Much of what Simon taught was old hat. Baby Boomers (Eighty Million of us) weren’t using I Phones, I Pads, or technology to produce the chemical reactions we wanted to feel “okay” or superior physically/emotionally/spiritually.

In my day it was all out drugs and sex. Just think Woodstock and you’ll remember. People then weren’t good at relationships either. They tuned out, zoned out and dropped out in droves.

Experts or the definers of the process want to say it’s not the kids fault, that it’s a matter of parenting but the truth is that experts are scared of not being in control and the go to is that the “you were dealt a bad hand”, so billions of dollars can be spent on reorganizing the chaos or lethargy at hand.

There is no hope for those who would rather blame their environment or station in life by using Martyred Thinking to go and do whatever feels good and is forbidden. The arrogance that exudes from Martyred Thinking isn’t about low self-esteem but about being or thinking a person is entitled and if anyone gets in the way of their entitlement, a prearranged tactic to avoid accountability and responsibility is launched. 

As I watched the video I saw many faces that did not look hopeful but rather had a look in their eyes that said “how can I use what Simon is saying for my benefit.” 

Twisted thinking is very exciting and useful for people who default to “I’ve been dealt a bad hand” and that’s why a person who is practicing twisted thinking would have a core belief that says, “I’m self loathing or am having an identity crises thus I flounder and NEED technology to satisfy my thirst for well-being and want. Then I can BE and not have to worry about relationships which don’t work well. Give me my Xbox or Snap Chat and that’s living!”

Jana: This is familiar and as I look back on my teens and 20’s I know that I was a well-practiced Martyred thinker, blaming you and mom for not protecting me from abuse and from the pain of betrayal. 

It worked for me for a while. I felt a sense of freedom and lived a reckless and exciting life.  I did the drugs, redefined my sexuality and tried to distance myself from your religion. Think Footloose, The Breakfast Club and Trainspotting. I believed that I was dealt a bad hand and I spent a lot years playing that hand by operating in victim-stance, manipulating and lying to get my way. However, when I fell pregnant with my daughter my perspective was rocked to the core and for the first time I was able to see myself clearly in the mirror. What I saw was hopelessness, isolation and a great chasm between myself and others. It was then that I remember really having to work through a false belief that you and mom did not do all you could to give me a leg up. I knew it wasn’t the truth but it was very hard to let go of that belief for it had become so much apart of my identity. I was afraid of losing “myself” or more likely losing my sense of control. 

I believe that my plight was an indicator, a symptom, of the deep depravity of the human condition that we are ALL subject to. When I finally really looked at my hand and realized that the only good play was to fold, I found hope. 

I asked for a new hand and I found new life, real freedom and a deep reconnection with self, with you and mom, with my Creator and with others.

Jana: So is there any merit to what Simon is saying?  

Jerry: Simon really did have some sound things to say but in defining the problem like he did, he put himself in control of the process. What process?

The process that leaves the listener left empty unless they can agree that “Yeah, he’s right. Parenting is why I’m the way I am. Yeah, somebody is going to have to pay for this. I have a right to continue to live as a person who has learned helplessness and get away with it.” 

I’m not saying there aren’t environments that foster or influence this Martyred Thinking mindset for decision-making. But what I am saying, is like in a test tube, unless it’s proven right every time in the laboratory, it’s not really true science. Conscious or unconsciously, Simon just threw so many millennials out there into his beaker of Martyred Thinking who aren’t martyred thinkers. They don’t buy into what Simon has said because they’re out there creating, building, engaging and valuing relationships. 

Jana: Yes, I know many of them. They’re innovative, passionate and responsible but what about the others, where is the hope for the those listening to Simon’s talk and identify with his findings, those who believe they were dealt a bad hand and are functioning in the belief that it isn’t their fault. Where is the hope for them?  

Jerry: For me, hope for change would have been to have this expert call out their* responsibility for their laziness and to own how it hurts others.

Hope for change would have been for this expert to call out how their sense of entitlement hurts others deeply because others are treated as property that have no choice but to endure their selfishness. 

(by the way, *their represents us all, whether we’re talking about Millennials, Gen Xers, Baby Boomers or whoever) 

People who activate any Martyred Thinking have no empathy and where there is no empathy an individual is capable of doing unconscionable harm. That doesn’t look like HOPE to me.

Hope encourages self-respect and the respect of others.

The thought that Simon gave about the need to value and develop relationship was right on, but this need transcends to us all. Pointing the finger at parenting or other places of society as those who are the problem, those who dealt the bad hand, actually breaks down the relational concept he is promoting. 

As you have shown in your own story Jana, something happens that’s good on the inside of a person who has come to terms with their responsibility and accountability for who they decide to be.

Yes, it’s true we can be and are shaped by our personal history but we are not defined by it. There’s HOPE in that.

HOPE that pursues life! 

Unwittingly, that was what was missed in the talk this expert gave. 

millennials

“Since we’ve all compiled this long and sorry record of afflictions and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives Abba wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.” Romans 3

The heart that has been broken and mended in one breath is a heart that understands the power of forgiveness.

Jerry Price (jerryprice.net) Tom bilyeu (Facebook.com/tombilyeu) Inside Quest (Facebook.com/insidequest) Simon Sinek (Facebook.com/simonsinek).

Cutting To The Heart

And, you thought being cursed by the spirit of death and hades was bad… Let me tell you, the heart is deceitful above all things and will lie like a dog. Oh! Those stinking self protective and self promoting old habits of the heart that start out subtle and then scream like the wind.

The author of Hebrews writes that ‘What Abba is after is writing His word on our hearts!’ 

This cutting into our heart. Oh man, it hurts and I’m having a hard time sitting still. However, for the love of Yeshua to be authentic in us, it has got to cut to the heart.

Recently my father, Jerry Price, sent me these words of encouragement to keep swimming upstream and a nugget of wisdom regarding spiritual warfare. May you be encouraged and challenged as well.

“God is in charge, I know. There is one thing to consider. The spiritual battle is not about flesh and blood but about principalities and spiritual wickedness & rulers in high places. It’s everywhere & comes in different formats.

*Physical violence where others would do us harm;

*Social marginalizing where others try to isolate us (and Jesus) as something irrelevant;

*Psychological games people play to confuse the believer and create an emotional sense of danger but is nothing more than intimidation to control our hearts & minds;

*A spiritualism that promotes idolatry to replace God and give a person a false sense of hope through prostituting our souls for personal satisfaction;

*An intellectualism that promotes an arrogance that communicates others are less than the one who prides themselves in their ability to debate;

*And a shaming from religious practitioners who would condemn believers for being hypocrites that don’t measure up to standards – in their view – that promotes a twisted sense of perfectionism, which doesn’t need God.

Take all of that and stir things up with Jesus and an upright life, you have spiritual warfare. Because, you see, the motives of the heart are exposed and people will harm us in any way to keep Jesus from being the light of the world.

ALL of the above comes from the darkness of depravity. Thus, the spiritual battles we face can actually be in the recesses of our own minds which is why David prayed for God to ‘search my heart and see if there be any wicked way in me.’

And, this I know, we won’t be able to escape the war if we’re alive in Christ and swimming upstream…. Any old dead fish can float downstream.”

I am finally getting to the end of myself. There is hope in the air and the fog is lifting.

 img_0582Abba, forgive me for allowing my heart to be over taken by weeds of bitter discontent and ego driven victim-stance; for a thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. Give me your spirit of discernment to recognize when I am being deceived, thus trading away Your lifelong gift in order to satisfy my short-term appetite. Soften my heart as I reflect on your tender mercy. For in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light that shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. May the light of the world shine bright in my fragile soul. In Jesus name, Amen ‭‭(Hebrews‬ ‭12:14-17‬, John 1:1-5) ‭

Oh! That we would not rest until the heart is totally transformed!! May you be liberated today to investigate the depravity of your own heart. May you seek the great physician in healing areas that paralyze you in being the Kingdom come. And, may the amazing grace offered through Christ’s sacrifice transform you from the inside out.

 

Fatherly Wisdom

IMG_9327When I was young at my father’s knee, the pride and joy of my mother, He would sit me down and drill me: “Take this to heart. Do what I tell you—live! Sell everything and buy Wisdom! Forage for Understanding! Don’t forget one word! Don’t deviate an inch! Never walk away from Wisdom—she guards your life; love her—she keeps her eye on you. Above all and before all, do this: Get Wisdom! Write this at the top of your list: Get Understanding! Throw your arms around her—believe me, you won’t regret it; never let her go—she’ll make your life glorious. She’ll garland your life with grace, she’ll festoon your days with beauty…., take to heart what I’m telling you; collect my counsels and guard them with your life. Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom; set your heart on a life of Understanding. That’s right—if you make Insight your priority, and won’t take no for an answer, Searching for it like a prospector panning for gold, like an adventurer on a treasure hunt, Believe me, before you know it Fear-of-God will be yours; you’ll have come upon the Knowledge of God.

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Happy Fathers Day to the Wisest person I know. Thank you for teaching me and for leading me to the source of wisdom.

For those looking for encouragement, inspiration, and to glean wisdom from an elder, please visit www.jerryprice.net or www.2brealmen.com

 

 

 

Maybe This Is The Storm That We Won’t Make It Through

“Below the street,” is a term counselor, Jerry Price, uses in his teaching on “twisted thinking.” It represents going deeper, being more transparent, removing the mask. You have to go below the street if you want to find out what’s really going on, if you want real change.

Well, for the past two weeks I have had a bitter root taking hold of me. Fears about things that might happen to my children to harm their minds and faith. Fear of what our future holds, how we will sustain. Little thoughts of discord, here and there, about my husband. Anger brewing, to the point of tiny outbursts. Stupid little moments would arise where I would feel he was not protecting me or the kids and I would blow up at him. Things that were totally out of his control or things that I misunderstood.

For instance, a few days ago we stopped in at a local youth center. We got out of the car and my husband made his way a cross the street. I was still back at the car and shouted, asking if we could get a business card out of the trunk for the director. Looking back, I’m sure my tone was harsh, as I felt he was abandoning me by going ahead so quickly. He responded, with a slight shift of his head and plainly said, “no.” He then stated that the case was buried under all our luggage. I really didn’t hear his whole comment but everything in me went hard and I began to yell at him, scolding him for speaking to me that way, like I was a child. He was a bit taken back and begin to explain that he was just stating a fact but I read it so differently. We didn’t really take time to work it out then and there but rather kept walking into the building; greeting the director only moments after this outburst.

After our meeting with the youth director (which went fine, by the way. Amazing how we can put a mask on and just soldier on when we want to) we returned to the car and just carried on with life but deep down I knew something was going strangely wrong. Harmony was absent, but who’s fault was it?

I could feel a storm brewing, and remembered Jerry Price’s teaching in our  More Married sessions, where we learned about “storming” and how it’s a natural process in relationships. However, we learned that when we don’t enter into the storm we go back to a dysfunctional “norm,” and stunt our growth, keeping everything on the surface. However, if we engage the storm and allow it to clean house, so to speak, we come out in a new form; a form that allows deeper connection and harmony.

Investigative, I scoured through the gamut of reasons to why my heart was so hard. From dire straits “this is it, maybe this is the storm that we won’t make it through,” to the more rational, “this is definitely a storm, how do we make it through?”  I began to move from focusing on what my husband was doing wrong to what I was doing. I considered that maybe it was hormonal or maybe it was the change in my diet, maybe it was living out of a suitcase in a foreign country or the uncertainty of life and feeling out of control. What ever it was, self loathing crept in every time a little blow up would happen. I felt more and more insecure and I began to feel extremely isolated.

I’m practiced at “white knuckling” and was able to fend off some of the outbursts; keeping them at bay, specially when we were around others. And, I even choked out a few prayers. However, all I could get out was a whisper of “help me.” What in the world, I hadn’t felt this way in years. What was going on?!

 

Then the final straw broke. We were planning on going out to a local coffee shop to work on web stuff.  We had spent a comfortable morning, sharing breakfast and getting ready for the day. I was lingering and at a certain point in the morning, my husband announced that he was going to get in the car. That was it, just a simple announcement and I flipped out. His declaration seemed abrupt to me. I began to bark at him, “What? What about the computer… and the bag…and what about the kids…are the kids ready?” I panicked, trying to reel the words back in. He stood there looking at me like a deer in the head lights, asking what he was meant to do? He asked, what did I want him to do? No words came but rather I began scurrying around gathering the computer and bag, yelling at the kids and we all clumsily made our way to the car. Once inside the car, we all sat utterly stunned. My mind was racing, what is going on with me? Why am I so out of control? And, then I saw it plain as day, a manifestation of my past began to come forward.

My husband sat patiently, quietly, and then the vision became clear. Seems that when he announced that, “he’ll be in the car” it triggered a memory from my childhood and my dad saying this to my mom and then leaving the house. Then for the next 15 or 20 minutes my mom would hurriedly try to get all of us children out the door. I don’t really know what was going on between them but from my little person perspective, it seemed that my dad abandoned my mom to do all the heavy lifting. I made note of this at that young age and developed a belief system about men based on that belief.

I began to weep. I was paralyzed and didn’t know what to do next. Seriously, everything could have gone south at this point. He had every right to admonish me but he didn’t. Instead, he began to speak gentle words of truth over me. He declared harmony in our relationship and then he asked if he could pray for me and not is a sappy patronizing way, but in a genuine I care for you way. I wept even harder and said yes. What followed was an experience I can only describe as supernatural. His petition for Abba’s mercy, power, discernment and his declaration of Love began to envelop me to the point that the hard casing around my heart shattered. I felt immediate relief. I could see clearly now, all that had bound me up.

Look, working to get below the street was no easy task, as my ego was bruised and my natural tendency was to try to hold face. However,  the more his love covered me the more my pride was laid low. His was a true act of grace; the kind of grace that bleeds for another. The kind of grace that trusts the repentance process, that leads the recipient back towards Abba’s original intent for our lives. Not the cheap stuff, not the fabricated kind that says, “it’s OK, you’re just living your truth, you can be an ass and we’ll all get by” but the kind that says “this isn’t who you’re created to be and I will cover you in order that you might actually have a moment to reflect without the distraction of self-protection.”  It was in this moment that I could see my twisted thinking errors, my stubbornness, victim stance and manipulative thinking. I could see that my own ability to “fix” them was not enough. I began to pray silently along with my husband, weeping for forgiveness, thankful for this relief and new hope.

freedomLook, we don’t always get it right, but in this situation, my husbands humility and grace, is a beautiful example of how we are called to care for one another in the body. His faith carried me to the cross and in doing so, carried me into the presence of God. He fought for me, stepping out-of-the-way and allowed Abba to heal me. Had he allowed his pride to get in the way, we would probably be at ground zero, still storming. His willingness to fight for me and surrender his own pride set a wise tone that allowed me to surrender my own pride, see clearly and fight for us.

In the end, we stormed and can now get on to enjoying the new form. Everything is above the street. For now. 🙂

 

From the Inside Out

20130513-081732.jpgTaking a moment this morning to recognize the awesomeness of this journey we are on, specially as it relates to the interpersonal relationships of family.

There is a sweetness in the air and the sun is shining. I’m remembering a moment at the Mammoth Cave National park, two weeks ago. We signed up for the historical tour and were on our way to explore the caves. Our 11 yr old son was having a melt down because he didn’t want to hike. We had already paid for the tour and were dreading the next two hours of a whiny pre-teen. We had experienced these angsty, over the top episodes over the past months and they were wearing on us all. Each time the fits would come we would try to manage through them prayerfully, although not very eloquently. Then after they passed we would address him, sharing the impact that it was having on us all, including our son. We would bring to light the belief system in place that precipitated the fits and we would challenge him to identify the fear or twisted thinking patterns at the root. Then we would talk through the options and consequences. These conversations were long and tedious and often the timing was not ideal.

And so, as we walked towards the caves, the attitude started to seep in and we braced ourselves for the coming storm. However, this time it was different. Instead of the full blown episode, there was only rough blowing of the wind. And, after a moment of discord, our son turned back. Was this a new front? Was this a new tactic? We continued forward maintaing the joy and anticipation of experiencing the largest cave structure in the US, all the while our son followed and at a certain point must have had a conversation in his own head, the one that we’ve been having all along about root belief’s and decided to make a change. I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure it was a lasting change and wondered if there would be some sort of pay back in the caves or after the hike, but this time it really was different. This time the change went to the core. It wasn’t a white knuckling surrender but a real moment of clarity, of empathy. There really isn’t a formula for this stuff, only prayer, open conversation, vulnerability and belief that we are all connected. I don’t know what decision he’ll make next time around, but I do know that the more we replace lies with truth the more we walk in the light. The more we walk in the light the more we recognize the lies. I’m encouraged by the sacred text. “be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind.”

By the way, the Mammoth Cave’s were amazing and Kentucky was the greenest place we’ve ever been. Also, I would like to thank my dad for his wisdom and for authoring “Twisted Thinking Transformed.”  You’re a wise old soul dad!