God Is

Years ago when I was going through a rough time, a dear friend of mine told me a story that helped me a lot. I hope it helps you, too.

There was a seven year old girl playing on the porch in her backyard. She was playing with a beautiful, porcelain doll that her grandfather had given her. As she was playing with her doll, she dropped it and the doll broke in many pieces.

She fell to her knees, picked up all of the broken pieces, and in despair she wept uncontrollably. She looked up at the sky and cried out, “Why, God? Why did you let this happen? Fix this. Please, God, fix this.”

From behind the clouds, the girl heard God’s voice. “I know you’re hurting, my darling daughter.”

“God, of course I’m hurting. You know how much this doll means to me.”

“Of course I know. I Am God.”

“And You know it’s the only thing in my life that makes sense. My grandfather, who was my world and passed away last year, gave me this doll.”

“Of course I know that, my darling daughter. I Am God.”

“And You know how much I need You to fix this because it hurts so bad. It hurts so bad, God. Please fix this.”

“I know you’re hurting. And yes, I can fix this. I know all and can do all things. I Am God.”

The girl became furious. “You just keep letting me know You’re here! You keep telling me that You know how I feel, and that You can do all things, but You’re not fixing anything!”

“My darling daughter, I Am God. I love you more than you know. I can do all things. I Am here with you. And I can fix this, but you have to give Me the pieces.” 

Why Do You Do It?

After more than a few injuries and too many 15-20 hour work days to count facilitating interventions in my full time job as street outreach crisis counselor, someone asked me why I put all of myself into the full time work we do with the youth and young adults we serve. Well …

Because it’s not work or a job, it’s a calling. Truly a calling from God. There were many situations that called me to this work, most of them were extremely challenging situations that God used to cultivate deeper love, respect, honor and compassion. One of many experiences was when I was homeless and walking through a neighborhood during the Christmas holidays in Michigan. 

I was wandering around with no particular destination other than wanting to get to a 24 hour store or restaurant where I could warm up and take a nap. It was snowing and as I was walking through a neighborhood I looked across the street and saw a house with a huge window, and through that window I saw a family eating dinner. They were passing food around the table, eating, laughing and talking. I remember sitting down by a tree in the snow just staring across the street, watching the family enjoying life and each other’s company. I don’t know how long I was there, but I remember what I was thinking. I was thinking, how the fuck did I wind up in this situation? I’m not stupid. I have talents and abilities. I know my life is supposed to be more than this. I feel so lonely. So lonely. 

That feeling of loneliness was so intense that for a little while I forgot about the cold. Loneliness can make us numb. When our needs are frozen, literally frozen, we become numb to so many things. And when God sends someone into our lives to bring God’s warm light to thaw our needs, meet our needs, and show us a better way to think and live, it is a miracle so intense that all you want to do is be a vessel through which that miracle is delivered to others. 

If it’s partial or conditional, it’s not love. And if it’s not love, then I wouldn’t dare refer to it as a calling.

Transforming Poisons to Healing Medicines

There was three different groups of travelers walking along the same path at different times. Each of the groups of travelers carried offerings with them.

The first group of travelers came upon a tree that they recognized as poisonous. Because they recognized that the tree contained some poisonous elements, they motioned for everyone to go far around the tree, which they did. The first group of travelers offered avoidance

Days later, the second group of travelers encountered the tree, and they too, recognized that the tree contained some poisons elements. This group saw the tracks of the first group that went far around the tree. The second group of travelers decided to tie a blue cloth to the tree to warn future travelers that the tree is poisonous. The second group of travelers offered labels.

A little over a week passed when the third group of travelers came into the vicinity of the tree. From a distance, the third group of travelers saw the tracks that went far around the tree, as well as the blue cloth warning them that the tree is poisonous. The third group recognized that the tree contained poisonous elements, but after much prayer and contemplation, the third group of travelers decided to make camp around the tree. The tree became the center of their camp, and they shared an entire season with the tree. They learned that the poisons the tree contains can be transformed to healing medicines when cultivated with the care, patience, and the courage only love can provide. The medicine this tree produces cures sicknesses that there was once no cure for. With honor they approached the tree, and with equal honor they parted ways with the tree. Before they left, the group sang a thank you song and tied a red cloth under the blue cloth, marking the tree as whole and Holy – a significant reminder of the truth that Heaven and Earth are forever connected by the sacredness within all living beings. The third group of travelers offered relationship

And so it is with our youth and young adults: We can avoid them. We can label them. Or we can spend a season with them and cultivate relationships in love, compassion, truth and honor that will transform any poisons that have been imposed upon them back to the healing medicines they’ve been endowed with by the Creator God.

Picture1

Gather Your Thoughts

Take a moment
to gather your thoughts
And to do that
you have to let go
of the thoughts
fear has given you

Thoughts of hate,
suspicion, jealousy,
greed, violence,
and separation
are not your thoughts,
beloved

Lay down thoughts
that are not yours
and take a moment
to gather
your thoughts
in one holy breath,
one holy prayer,
one holy instant,
this holy instant
you can gather
your thoughts,
or rather,
allow God
to bring
His thoughts
which are your thoughts,
back to you

I promise you,
beloved,
this holy instant
of trust in Whom
you come from,
will result in
you being gently
ushered back to
the love you are
The Great Love
that created you
exactly like itself

Gather your thoughts
They’ll lead you
back to the One
Who created you
in one holy, miraculous
thought of love,
and tell you
of the sacred blessing,
miracle and gift
you are

Gather your thoughts

Gather Your Thoughts

Reclaiming Who and What We Are: The Power of Symbols

A few hours ago in my full time work as a street outreach crisis counselor I had the opportunity to facilitate a gang intervention with a young person. There were many positive seeds planted in this young person’s life before what occurred this evening, and for that I am grateful. There was also a lot of weeding out negative seeds that were planted in this young person’s life before what happened this evening, and for that I am even more grateful.

Life, for each of us, is about tending to our personal garden. Weeding out that which hinders and chokes the life, dreams, truth and beauty of who and what we truly are. Tilling the soil. Planting wholesome, loving seeds. Allowing the sunshine of laughter and bliss, as well as the cleansing water from tears of both sadness and joy to work in their beautiful unison to grow the love that’s been planted. It’s work. A beautiful work. A labor of love. When we’re children we lovingly tend to our garden and help others do the same. For some, over time, we begin to pull away from tending to our garden because of the voices of lies that come through some people. Lies told through people like, “You’re not good enough.” “You’re not pretty enough.” “You’re not handsome enough.” “You’re not smart enough.” The list of lies pointing out all that we’re not goes on and on, and it’s sad that it does. Remember: fear always lies within lies, and lies always lie within fear. Only the fearful tell themselves and others what they’re not. Only the courageous tell themselves and others what they are. And the truth of who and what you are is beyond words, however the best words I know to remind you of who and what you are, are the same four words that every youth and young adult I’ve had the honor to serve in my twenty-six year career are: sacred, blessing, miracle, gift. Yes, you’re a sacred blessing, miracle, and gift. We all are.

There is no script for interventions, whether the intervention is for sex trafficking, drugs, alcohol, gangs, violence, homelessness, or suicide. An intervention is truly walking the razor’s edge, simply because interventions are life or death situations for the person you are serving, as well as for you, the interventionist. In situations where you have minutes, sometimes seconds, to get a person to put down a loaded gun, drop a knife or box cutter, not jump into traffic, or make an exodus from a lifestyle that is certain to end in early death or incarceration, but is the only lifestyle the person thinks can meet their basic needs, a life they’ve become used to, and sadly, is often something that isn’t any less dangerous or painful as what the person experienced behind the walls within the house they lived in as a child. 

There are only two things that are a must for me whenever I facilitate an intervention. The first thing is that I need to make sure I am not the one who is facilitating the intervention. I get out of the way and pray, “God, You know what this person needs, not me, so please, You do this through me. Use me, Lord.” The second thing is that the first words the person hears from me is, “You are a sacred blessing, miracle and gift.” And these are not mere words, it is as close as words can get to describe who and what that person truly is. And in a world where we are bombarded with all the things we are not, when someone hears a sincere reminder of who and what they are, it penetrates deeply, beyond the mental, it’s a connection that is felt and not just cognitive, that interrupts someone’s pattern of crisis and opens the door of dialogue, pacing, leading, and de-escalation. Like being funny or knowing how to fight, an intervention cannot be faked. The words you are a sacred blessing, miracle and gift, have to be from such a deep, heartfelt, Spirit-led place of sincerity that they penetrate the lies and instantly remind the person of their truth and worth of greatness and beauty. For me, if someone cannot see you as a sacred blessing, miracle and gift, they cannot see you. Again today, by the grace and guidance of God, I witnessed this transformation happen with a young person who was on the fence about leaving gang life. I was called in, so I called God in, and it happened.

When that young person heard the words you’re a sacred blessing, miracle and gift. You’re not a gangster, you’re a Godster. You’re a child of God, she shook and tears welled up in her eyes. She instantly remembered when and why she stopped believing that about herself, and because she was being seen as the sacred blessing, miracle and gift she is, she was willing to see, hear and believe that about herself again and reclaimed her truth. She made the internal transformation and wanted the internal change to be matched with an external change, so she gave me all her items that were gang affiliated. One of the items she gave me was a rosary she wore only because its color matched that of the gang she was previously affiliated with. In exchange I gave her a tree of life necklace, so that she now has a symbol to wear that represents healing, positive growth, beauty, and positive transformation. She’s also going to get a new rosary, not to wear, but to use to pray and remind her of what she is whenever she’s bombarded the lies of what she’s not.

Symbols bypass the conscious mind and go straight to the subconscious mind, creating a strong current of direction within a person’s life. Are the symbols you’ve allowed in your life, be they words, items or thoughts, reflecting the truth that you’re a sacred blessing, miracle and gift? If not, then it may be time to weed your garden of any lies and anything that represents lies, and take that seventeen inch walk from your head back to your heart.

17634452_605341096323627_1933853843535245074_n