That Damnable Closet!

23:00 what a day this has been. I started out this morning by seeing a number of visions concerning cleaning out my closets. I have to do this or I will not be able to finish my race well. In the last several days, I’ve seen God at work in the deepest of recesses in my life. He showed me a picture of me with him in my house:

We were talking and walking along a hallway. He stopped in front of a closet. He said we needed to clean out the closet. I suddenly got very agitated and animated. I told him I thought that was a great idea. “You clean it out and when you’re done, let me know. I will be in the other room. You are the one that wants to clean it out, I don’t. Just let me know when you’re done.”

Then the vision was gone. I knew what it meant. It was brutally clear to me. I’ve been praying for many years asking God to clean out that damnable closet. I’ve asked, begged and pleaded for him to clean out the closet. It never got cleaned out. I made the comment on more than one occasion that it must be ok with God to have a dirty closet because I can’t get it cleaned and He doesn’t seem to want to. But the vision explained all of that. In order to clean out the closet, I have to actually GO INTO THE CLOSET to clean it. I have done everything but go into the closet. The closet is full of things I don’t want to see or feel. That is the issue here, I don’t want to feel those things again. I have managed to separate myself from those feelings and I don’t want to experience them again. I want them to simply go away. But that’s not what is going to happen. They aren’t going away and I’ve known that for a long time but wouldn’t admit it, rather thinking if I ignored them they would disappear.

So the Lord said the time is now to clean this closet. I was sitting in my office in stunned silence. Job said it best “that which I have so greatly feared has come upon me!” I asked “How do I do this?” Almost immediately I saw a picture of guys in my home fellowship and the pastor, Shannon, Jimmy, David and Ralph. I saw them sitting at the kitchen table at Ralph’s home. I also knew what that meant and slowly nodded my head. It meant I needed to open the closet, go into it and have them help me stay on my feet as I start cleaning. I’ve walked through this many times since Sunday and there are buckets of un shed tears in there. The shame of this is almost unbearable. I’m 62 and I shouldn’t be dealing with this crap at my age. But that doesn’t matter, because I am. I’m dealing with it now because I haven’t dealt with it sooner. The anger that is bound up inside is in that closet. The source of addictions is in the closet. My failures and sins are all in that closet. I sat at my desk looking out the window at the things He has shown me about this accursed closet. Before I do this Lord, I want to talk to my counselor because I feel safe there. I called and the only opening she had between now and August 11 was today at 5:00. On the way to her office the Lord quickened to me I needed to expand my zone of safety and this process will do that by letting Godly men know what is tearing me up inside. I was good at burying this for the last 35 years. I can’t do that anymore. It won’t stay buried.

So I am letting you 4 guys that are involved with my home fellowship know I need some time with you at Ralph’s house so I can start the cleaning process. I might add that I am really scared about this. This is new to me. My stomach is about 2 Tums short of throwing up at any minute.

James 5:16 (AMP) Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].

The Wood Chips

It’s been too long since I posted anything. After surgery was over and a month of recovery time, I’ve had to go back to work. My boss has this ridiculous idea I need to be productive during work hours. Like DUH!

The last couple of weeks have been a blur. I fell on the way to the doctor’s office my knee cart hit a rock on the way to the ‘safe’ handicap ramp and flipped me over the handle bars landing squarely on my ribs. It wasn’t long before I realized the ability to breathe is important. The pain was so bad I laid down to “rest” and it took me a full 15 minutes to just roll over so I could sit up. Oh I wouldn’t wish rib damage on my worst enemy. So it’s taken me a couple of weeks to just recover from that. Blogging kind of fell off the radar screen if you know what I mean.

But this morning was special. I walked down the driveway to get the paper. I picked it up and as I was walking back up the driveway, I noticed the freshly spread wood chips to the right and the left of the house. This has been a concern of mine for some time. Most of the tree services in our area no longer cut and chip. They simply cut, stack and leave or take it with them. But they don’t bring chippers with them. But my wife found a company that chipped. We had to have some tree work done so she hired them.

Turns out they chip. After they were done, they had a load of chips and asked us where to put them. My lovely wife showed them. Since we need two loads of chips, I didn’t think much of it at the time. About a week later I was working and got a knock at the door. It was the driver of the chipper truck that did our work. “We are cutting in the area and need to dump this load of chips. Can you take another one?” Sure, so I showed him where to put it.

I thanked him and the Lord for the gift. But it wasn’t until this morning walking back up the driveway I connected the dots on the earlier concern I had about paying for the chips we would need. The Lord provided exactly what we needed when we needed it and I was so blind, I didn’t get that it was an answer to a ‘concern’ I had. I don’t remember if I prayed specifically for it or not, but The Lord did provide.

God is something special ain’t he?

Jekyll (Sometimes Hyde)

A long overdue cleaning

Background

I had foot surgery in the middle of May. I have great insurance with my company and part of the insurance is short term disability. Basically that is 30 days off with full pay. I was hoping during that time I would spend it deep in prayer with God and I working out the thorny details of my life. Well to quote radio personality and author Steve Brown, “WHAT WAS I THINKING!” What did happen during my time off was more sexual problems arose to the surface of my somewhat grubby flesh! The Lord has helped me work through the issues raised though and I have much more ‘task clarity’ concerning how I am to deal scripturally with the items that surfaced.

So, I am back at work for 2 days and I go to my family doctor to discuss my extremely low testosterone levels. My wife drops me off in the parking lot and using my medically prescribed knee cart to get from the parking lot to the handicap ramp, I hit a small rock with the right front wheel. In a flash I am over the handlebars and land on the pavement on the ribs on my right side and my right knee. Having played football, I knew I had at least badly bruised and at worst broken my ribs. Last night was ‘rib damage +3’. I could hardly breathe all night. So it will be off to get x-rays and see what type of damage I have incurred from this.

The cleaning begins

Meanwhile, back on the ranch … So yesterday I took my pain medicine and was able to at least breathe ok. I sat in my office and looked around. I felt motivated by the Lord to clean the place. So I pulled my iPad and Logitech wireless blu-tooth boom box and opened Amazon Prime and started listening to a documentary on mythology. It was brilliantly done and caused me to pause in my cleaning efforts to jot down some notes.

But here is the interesting part. As I pulled out the books to clean the shelves (found an entire colony of dust bunnies behind them) I sensed the Holy Spirit standing there with me and He was looking at the books with me. I started talking to Him about the books and realized some very important points I hadn’t considered before. These points were literally charged by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Here is what I found (besides the dust bunny colony):

  1. I have 425 books in my ‘library’ in my office and 85 e-books on Nook for a total of 510 books.
  2. I have fully read about 170 books.
  3. There are about 50 books that I have read nothing in, having purchased them because they are good books and something I either need to read or want to read later.
  4. There are 270 books I’ve read quite a bit in but never finished. I noticed a vast majority of these were heavily and annotated with muti-coloured highlight colours, pens and so forth.
  5. The 2 categories I have the most books in are leadership with 80 and military/history with 50.

 

 

I sat back to rest my suddenly screaming ribs and the Holy Spirit began to zero in on group 4. A close analysis of group 4 showed I was reading and looking for something when I stopped reading in the book. I began to realize I was reading these books (most of this category were God or healing oriented) as if I were looking for something, found it and moved on to something else. As I looked at the topics I read I began to get a much clearer picture of who I am.

What I learned is exciting (at least to me). I began to see my reading was simply an expression of my relationship with God. I will blog again and explore this in detail soon. For the time being though, it’s quite interesting to have the Holy Spirit show me things about myself that only He knows and He’s about to let me in on the secret!

Stay tuned …

A prayer of lament

Psalms 46:10 (AMP) Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!

Father: I need to keep this verse constantly in mind. I am weak and feeble when it comes to my flesh. I’m literally miserable about it. I’ve allowed it to run amok and I don’t know what to do. I can’t make it better. When people come to me and try to tell me that you are ‘pleased’ with me, I don’t believe them. I see you like a big ‘father’ that is always half put out with me because I fail so often and fail this task. I try to get past my limited view of you and I just don’t do it. I don’t know how to ask you for help. I just am so miserable internally about this. Help me to cease striving and let be and be still as this Psalm admonishes me to do.

I absolutely hate being ‘weak’. I’m not into weakness, I want to be strong. Yet I am weak in this area. I might try to project strength, but I’m not. I’m weak.

I’m also silent. When I get like this, I shut down. I don’t talk to people and I don’t communicate with people. I just shut up. David admonishes me to not do this as well!

Psalms 51:15 (AMP) O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise.

Thank you Father

Hyde (Sometimes Jekyll)    

Where are the tears?

20:17 Dear Lord: I am exhausted. I am ashamed again. I’m just tired Lord. I am whipped and I wish I had a chance to sit and cry. I wish I could, but I can’t. I can tell there is a need to, but I have no idea how to begin. I’m a guy. I’ve talked to you about this before. I have a sense there is a deep core of something that should have come out years ago, but didn’t. I do remember crying as boy because I was in some pretty bad situations. I look back at them now, and I don’t know why I was in the situations I was in. I don’t know why they refused to help me but I cried and cried to get my parents to get me the hell out of Dodge, but they wouldn’t do it. “You need to toughen up. Be a man!” My mom actually told that to me when I was 14.

After thinking about this, I understand why I don’t cry. I can actually go back to the day I made the decision that I was done with crying. It happened in a red phone booth in the middle of the boarding school I was sent to for an education. I got educated all right. I learned how to give blow jobs and how to get my ass beat. Yes I was educated all right. I called and begged to be taken home but that didn’t happen. So one night I said (and I quote) “Fuck this shit! I am done with begging them to do anything.” I went into the phone booth as a young scared little boy. I came out like the alien out of the chest of the guy in the 1979 movie ‘Alien’.

I developed the habit of not crying. When I should have cried, I got angry. Really angry! I often moved into combat mode and would fight at the drop of a hat. Then there were 2 failed engagements. One girl turned out to be banging the wrestling team while we were making plans to spend the rest of our life together. I didn’t figure that was going to work out so I moved on. Three years later I’m engaged again. We were 30 days from the wedding when her mother injected herself into the mix by insisting we have children. We had settled that question (no kids) BEFORE the engagement. As the conversation grew heated I turned to my bride to be for support and with one look realized if I went ahead with the wedding, I would soon be a father and that was not going to happen. So I broke this one off. So much for weddings.

I then met the most interesting date I’d ever been out with. Her name? Lysergic Acid Diethylamide. Most folks know her by her initials, LSD! She was a hot date for sure. We traveled all over the world together. We sure had a boatload of fun. She was an easy date. She would be there whenever I called and she was always ready to go on a trip with me. She was a very colorful date to say the least! I still smile when I think of her. We were together for several years. We were constant companions. I have very fond memories of her.

But then I met my wife and I quickly broke up with Ms Diethylamide. There was no room for her when my wife showed up. I was swept off my feet. Our relationship was hot and dynamic right out of the gate. We hit it off in every way.

It’s now forty years later and I find myself in a mess. Upon reflection of my situation with the Lord I understand very clearly the mess is of my doing and my responsibility and mine alone. Whatever issues I have with my wife, it is my responsibility to work it out with her and the Lord. I didn’t do that. It’s difficult to learn you’ve missed the first 5 stages of your relationship with your wife for 40 years. How utterly selfish. That is devastating to be honest. I capped this all off with my most recent caper.

I’ve thrown sand in my own transmission and my life has somewhat ground to a halt at this present time. But scriptures have a word of hope for folks like me. Joel 2:25 (HCSB) {25} I will repay you for the years that the swarming locust ate, the young locust, the destroying locust, and the devouring locust — My great army that I sent against you.

I’m very sad. But I can’t cry. There are no tears there. I wish there were, but there aren’t. I read in Psalms where the Psalmists spoke of the tears (Psalms 6:6 (HCSB) {6} I am weary from my groaning; with my tears I dampen my pillow and drench my bed every night. ) and (Psalms 42:3 (HCSB) {3} My tears have been my food day and night, while all day long people say to me, “Where is your God?”) as well as (Psalms 56:8 (HCSB) {8} You Yourself have recorded my wanderings. Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your records?)

I need to cry Lord, I really do need to! I’ve fucked this up royal and I have no clue what to do. I just don’t know. Please help me!

Looking honestly at my heart

Amon Goeth was a concentration camp kommendant in Poland during WWII. He was the man portrayed in Schindler’s List by actor Ralph Fiennes. Perhaps the most disturbing part of a disturbing movie for me, was when he ordered a guard to shoot a Jewish woman in the head. The scene of her death is haunting.

I found on Amazon Prime a documentary about the man entitled “Inheritance”. The story is about his daughter (Monika) and one of the Jewish girls he kept in his house for his own pleasure.

Monika was raised by her mother to believe her father was killed in the war as a soldier. She finds out this isn’t true. As she learns the truth she learns about this Jewish girl who lived with her parents. She arranges to make contact with her and they meet at the exact site of the camp. The house portrayed in the movie is still there and open to simply walk in. As the two women walked into the house the older woman began to cry as the pain and memories came flooding back. She even went to the balcony where Goeth would shoot people before breakfast. The woman who lived with Goeth made a striking statement where she indicated she didn’t want to face this, but felt like she had to.

I watched this because this is part of history I am most interested in. But also, because there are spiritual overtones to the entire story. Not one mention of God was made throughout the entire documentary. But I felt like I was looking at the book of Esther. Not one mention of God in the entire story, but you can see his hand all over the story. At one point Monika was asking how her father could have become like he was. “What horrible thing happened to him as a boy to have caused him to be like this. They showed a picture of him in 1912 as a young toddler in school looking like any other boy his age anywhere else in the world, carefree and innocent.

I locked in on the thought of how he developed like he did. Then it struck me that at a young age sitting next to each other, the Pope and Attila the Hun would look the same. It is in growing up, without the presence of the Holy Spirit, sin is free to roam and the human spirit in all of it’s ugliness will blossom into unspeakable horror. The Nazi’s and the Japanese in WWII are just some examples, but there are many others. No group of people are exempt from this type of wickedness. The Bible speaks of the human heart clearly when it says it is wicked! Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV) The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

As I have been working through my own heart, I find I am just as capable as any Nazi, Dahmer or Bundy out there of committing unspeakable evil. Thus I find myself not only capable but willing to do heretofore unimaginable evil and wickedness. Thus i find myself capable of sleeping with a woman not my wife.

What did I learn from this story? I learned that there is nothing I can do to correct a wicked heart. I can not say about anyone something along the lines of “Well at least I didn’t do _____!” That statement compares you with someone else and says “I am better than _____ because I don’t do ______.” To make that type of statement leads you to believe you have something inherently better than the other person because you at least didn’t kill someone, or rape someone, or rob a bank or molest a child.

Psalms 53:2-3 (NLT) God looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if there is even one with real understanding, one who seeks for God. But no, all have turned away from God; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not even one!

The 6th Stage

I was traveling a couple of weeks ago and while I was in my hotel watching a sporting event, the Lord interrupted me with a startling discussion about my sexual life (or lack thereof, depending on your angle!). I began seeing pictures of events in my life that have shaped my attitudes about sex. As I began relaxing and listening, I began to see some rather amazing things.

I have had a very specific sexual fantasy for at least 25 years and maybe longer. While I won’t elaborate on the fantasy, the Lord began to walk me through it. There were six definite stages to the story. Each step was distinct. As I saw these steps, I saw the woman in the dream was a composite of my wife. I saw that in each step, I was putting her needs first and foremost. I was not after a “quickie” but my goal was for her to relax and enjoy an evening of pleasure. After a period of time I was still sitting on the edge of the bed with my keys in my hand and simply listening. He showed me all of the steps were about communication. I nodded as I really concentrated on what I was seeing. The 6th step was a deeply engaging sexual encounter. That was what I said out loud as I viewed the 6th stage. The Lord then dropped a bombshell on me. He told me I had never used the term “making love” to describe stage 6, but I always use the term “having sex”. I was stunned, but He was right. I had never used the term “making love” in my life, not once. He then brought to light I usually skipped right through or over stages 1-5 to get to stage 6. All I could do was nod. He went into great detail to show me all the stages were about communication. It’s the “knew” in “Adam knew Eve”. I saw that there was nobody that has ever “known” me. My wife certainly doesn’t “know” me. No one does. If I am careful to walk through the stages with intent, stage 6 will take care of itself and even if I don’t get to stage 6, because I took the time to invest in the earlier stages, I will be in better shape all around.

I just sat there for a long time (it was now almost dark) thinking about what I just experienced. I just learned that on the most important part of marriage, I get a double F minus. No wonder she isn’t interested in me. Why should she be? I have missed giving her the one thing I’m really supposed to give her, and that’s MOI!

So being clueless about intimacy and “knowing” someone and being “known” I asked the Lord “What do I do now?” Instantly and I mean INSTANTLY I saw three pictures. One was my counselor, the next were the two empty chairs in her office and the third was my wife and I. Well even I can figure that one out.

I emailed my counselor and told her I needed to meet for 90 minutes with her. She quickly set it up for me in 6 days. As I approached the time I was to spend with her, I sensed the Lord wanted me to share the fantasy with her. Well, that wasn’t what I wanted to hear. The fantasy is charged with emotion and highly intense sexual content. I wasn’t sure how to deal with that. But the Lord showed me how to deal with it and as I told her what happened, the right words and descriptions just seemed to pop up.

She was quick to tell me it would not be wise to tell her all of the details of my “adventures”, either male or female. But I could use the communications issue as the reason for wanting to get counseling together. She gave me assurance the Lord would be there and would allow the moments and events that He wanted out in the open to come out and for me to not worry about it.

I told my bride about my idea and she was pleasantly surprised that I suggested it. We both have surgery coming up and there are some definite hard times coming down the road, but it is clear I’m not in this alone!