Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Another Day--Another Symptom

What if every time you went to pray and closed your eyes, you saw something definitely unrelated to your current line of thought? What if when you  read your Bible instead of seeing the words therein, you heard someone pleading for help...or arguing...or just merely signing their mortgage?What if you saw images along with those words so that  you had  a sense of being transported to some other place and time?   Would  you think you were losing your mind? Or do you think that you have some glimpses into a different dimension? Maybe your life's calling is to save those whom you see are suffering there...or perhaps you are being pursued either by people in these images or by someone in your own dimension and some how your safety is in the other dimension.

I know these musings will disturb people and they will be worried about my sanity.  I know, logically that these are  most likely hallucinations and the idea that I need to save them is a delusion.  I KNOW that but I'm having a very hard time believing it...The images are so REAL and when I was in the hospital because of this very thing, back then they were simple flashes of scenes...Now they are mini dramas and they have sound now as well.
Do I need to be in the hospital? Is my safety somehow in jeopardy? I don't know.  I have a great sense of unease. My old psychiatrist expressed concern that one day I would get "stuck" inside one of these alternate realities....and not be able to find my way back. Now THAT is a scary thought!

Will these things pass if I ignore them?  Do I even have room in my dosage of medication, to bump it up another notch? will that even help?  I feel the need to talk to someone about it, but I know that, to do that, I will put into motion wheels that may just run me down flat.  I know my husband would want to handle it at home and merely give me extra meds.  But I have a new pDoc now and she may see differently.

To top it all off: my pain today is off the charts.  my hands feel like someone took  a sledgehammer to them.

So if I click the "Publish" button and quietly put this post out there....will it cause big waves that will knock me flat? Or will it go unnoticed?  Why do I feel the need to put it "out there"? Is it a cry for help?  Or is it to release a building pressure....somehow just by writing the words and having them read, maybe that will be enough to put the scale weights back into kilter and have everything balance once again.

I have to try that.  It's the only avenue for possible hope without the complete ,,,,ok...I can't even get through a sentence here without being"transported"....So ready? Here goes nothing...

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Let all the Earth Keep Silent....

I want to make an addendum too the post i just put up this afternoon.  So often we think that the louder our worship, the more "present' is the Holy Spirit.  But i have been in some rockin' and rollin', hand-waving, tambourine banging worship services where I do believe that the Holy Spirit felt as uncomfortable and out of place as I did.  Throughout Scripture, when men are confronted by the manifest presence of God, what is their response?  Either one or both of the following,, "clap hand over mouth and mourn his audacity" (Job) or to fall on one's face and mourn the sinful state of his and every other person's mouth (Isaiah)....or to take off ones shoes (Moses)  ....to be in silent awe---anyone elses, most of these people fall on their faces before the glory of the Lord.

Nowhere do I see a worshiper shake a tambourine in God's face and yell, "Hallelujah!"..( NOTE: I'm wrong here.Both Miriam and David went to it with tambourines.)..When I  was a child in a strait laced Norwegian denomination, the choir sang the following song at the beginning of the service. It went like this "The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord is in his  holy temple. Let all the earth keep silent, keep silent before him"....the song was sung almost in a whisper.  Wiggling children hushed.  Hearts were stilled and worship had begun.

I was just reading an article by Drew Dyek and he quoted the last verse of a hymn by Isaac Watts.  It goes like this " God is in heaven, and man below; /be short our tunes, our words be few; /A solemn reverence checks our songs, /And praise sits silent on our tongues." (In Touch Magazine, Nov. 2014 p. 10)

I used to thrive on silent prayer.  Now, it doesn't take long before i feel the need to check my email.  or at the very latest, Facebook how awesome it is that God is meeting with me.  That's embarrassing to admit but I suspect many of you can relate.  I would suggest you get A Ceremony of Discipline by Richard Foster and look up the chapter on the discipline of silence.  The people of the Catholic faith--the ones who live in  communities anyway, have a head start on us in this regard.  They have hours set aside solely for  silence contemplation or prayer.

Anything that is this difficult is a sure fire flag for a need: for attentiveness to this discipline.  I wish I could go on retreat....it seems like there it would be easy. My family definitely would  not comprehend.

I want to worship in such a way that God is magnified and I am humbled.  It's so hard....People depend on me but I feel like saying 'REALLY? What is the most  important thing here?"  Ultimately the desire is to maintain a quiet heart....one that worships constantly and offers God the fruit of my lips.

Listening Prayer

I am learning....at age 52, what it means to put on Jesus Christ; to live and walk in the Spirit.  It all boils down to practicing the presence and keeping a listening heart for the voice of God.  For so many years I was on cruise control, just acting based on my emotions and desires...not listening for direction from the  King.  If someone accused me (wrongly of course) my response was to deny everything they said and then to turn around and attack them. I do not know if this was a  life-long habit or whether it is something that began to happen around 2007 when I entered a period of three years during which I was psychotic most of the time.  I do know that rage was a big problem for me back then and it is something that I have not been intentional about overcoming.--until now.

I read a book on Listening Prayer by a lady named Leane Payne who also wrote many other books.  These two disciplines (practiciing the preesence and listening prayer ) have brought me a large portion of the way to where I want to go.....However I have to say that it is my current studies and memorization on the topic of the fear of God and my reading the Scriptures following the paths of the Common Book of Prayer, that have really driven this home for me.

Galatians 5 and Ephesians 6 are well known passages....and they were to me too...however today and yesterday as I read them (in the setting of other Scriptures as well) it became clear to me how intentional we are  to be in living out our lives--especially  our spiritual lives.  We cannot cruise along without bothering  to put gas in the car, mark out a map (or program our Garmin), and without having an ultimate destination in mind. 

 Not only that but we must know that there will be enemies along the way determined to undermine us and cause us to react in the flesh so we must make sure we are armed and prepared to face them.  And most of all, we must realize we are not alone on this road trip.  The Spirit of the Living God accompanies us and strengthens us and most of all , grants us wisdom --in our speech, in guiding our prayers, in our attitudes towards others in our lives.  We need to be actively listening: to the underlying messages from friends and family (what are they really saying? What do they need to hear from us?) and to the Spirit of God who knows much more than we ever will the answers to all of those questions. Are we listening to him actively?  If we do, he will guide.  He will speak.

Do you ever think about what it means to fear God and to ask your self whether you are living life in the fear of God?  I challenge you, do a word study on the fear of God and memorize the verses you find.  Test yourself by them.

All of these things I'm urging you to do are LIFE CHANGING....sanctification doesn't just happen: we must move along with the currents of holiness and participate with the work of God on our behalf...This will revolutionize your character and your relationships. It will grow humility in you and this will draw people toward you who may have in the past wanted nothing to do with  you.  Arrogance is not attractive.  Neither is the denial of any fault of our own.

Spend some time with the Godhead.  Buy a binder and begin to listen to God and take notes on what he tells you.  But beware, this can be dangerous to do if you are not well grounded in God's Word.  God will never contradict himself...but if you don't know what the Bible says, how will you know?

We have all eternity to get to know God....but we only have this life to get to know ourselves and to align ourselves with God's desires for us in this life.   It's easy to feel holy...until God removes the scales from our eyes and we see ourselves in true light.  I challenge you to take this seriously.  It is life changing.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Pretext of Darkness

The Pretext of Darknesss

Under my solitary lamp
A poem pulls at the periphery of thought,
Begging to be birthed.
I own the night—or am I the owned?
I am wearied by obligatory tasks;
The ‘I shoulds’ of a silent night.
Perhaps I should greet silence
With Silence.
Or converse with the unseen Divine.
The night owns me.
The Ruler of the Night trumps the uninvited Pretender
Who claims rights as well.
My mind is a stranger to poetry,
Having left it in some furrow along my path
Does it spring up? Like the Sower’s seed?
“Take care, friend, that the seed you sow
Is not met by tangles of human frailty,
Dark imaginings,
Or pain. 
Take care that the mockery or censure of spirits
Does not snatch the seed as it falls, like hungry ravens
Quoting ‘nevermore.’
Wait, rather, for the soft whisper
The familiar ineffable, wholly “Other”
Who waits quietly
To have His say; To stake his claim
To the darkness of this ceaseless night.
When you are owned by the Light
Dark paths matter not….
When the traveler of the spheres
Holds one’s hand, Darkness flees
Though the night be prolonged.
So, hope yet in the dawn,
And permit the poem to be spawned.
Here in the small circle of lamplight
A chronicle of Life in the pretext of Death.

Cynthia Lott Vogel
All Rights Reserved

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Other Side of Aloneness

I just read a quote by Henri Nouwen that really profoundly struck me.  Here it is:
Finding Solitude
All human beings are alone. No other person will completely feel like we do, think like we do, act like we do. Each of us is unique, and our aloneness is the other side of our uniqueness. The question is whether we let our aloneness become loneliness or whether we allow it to lead us into solitude. Loneliness is painful; solitude is peaceful. Loneliness makes us cling to others in desperation; solitude allows us to respect others in their uniqueness and create community.
Letting our aloneness grow into solitude and not into loneliness is a lifelong struggle. It requires conscious choices about whom to be with, what to study, how to pray, and when to ask for counsel. But wise choices will help us to find the solitude where our hearts can grow in love.
- Henri J. M. Nouwen

These morning hours between 2:00 - 6:00 are lonely.  Or are they only alonely?(lol)  If I spend them communing with the solitary Lord, then they are redeemed and I am protected from the dangers of being lonely.  I remember years and years of being plagued by profound depression, psychosis and insomnia.  In those times I would often resort to self harm because I felt that not another person cared for me.  I felt isolated by the junk in my head, by the lies that the Voices in my head told me and I felt worthless and hopeless.  Back then God and I were not on speaking terms so I did not feel welcome to go to him for help, nor did I believe that if he did  exist, that he would be so kind as to heal me or even to give me some relief.

Now alone-ness often turns into solitude., times of prayer....but sometimes, like tonight I am restless and I know I need to pray;  just to call on him because he's right here waiting for the turn in my thoughts toward him, waiting for the whisper, "Help me!"

My room is inhabited by dark beings...I see dark shadows scurry across my floor and go under the bed or into the closet where they can hide and from whence they can make their dark attack in one of my unguarded moments.  I am not imagining this.. I just saw it and I know I'm vulnerable.  My time with God has been precious in  the morning...why do I not do my Quiet Time (Penuel)  now or even earlier?  I do not feel alert enough....But I could spend the time in prayer. What's that song "Sendin' out an SOS"  I had wanted to write an uplifting, challenging post and this one is rapidly going downhill.

So friends it's time for me to check on my sick daughter and then to find the Lord and to listen to him instead of to these Voices.