What God Says to Me

What God Says to Me

This is part 2 of a blog about two-way journaling. If you missed last week’s, go to greenandpurplepublishing.com and find the blog titled “Will God Write Back?”

Putting my fears and doubts aside, I have been having a great time hearing from God through two-way journaling. I started off using the guided meditation called “A Stroll along the Sea of Galilee” that Virkler provides with his workshop. I didn’t like the details in the script. I thought they were too dictatorial, not allowing me to see the scene as my imagination guided. For example, a “warm breeze on my back” is not pleasant to me. I know that the Sea of Galilee is in a hot, desert climate, and I do not enjoy hot desert breezes. I want to picture walking with Jesus along a beach in California or under the shade of trees. So, sometimes I use the music without the narration, and sometimes I journal in silence.

At first, I struggled, thinking it was all me. I must be making up these answers out of my own mind. Then I thought, “Of course. How else will God speak to you? Do you expect clouds to part and a big, booming voice to say STOP GROVELLING?” Now I just let the words come, and they often surprise me and make things clear. For example, I have been told again and again to stop worrying, to stop berating myself, and to use my talents without fear. That sounds like God to me: loving, correcting, and encouraging.

I have also broken through daddy-trust issues, sin-fear issues, and parental-anger issues with the help of the straightforward but kind messages I have accessed by opening my journal to God’s voice. A verse in scripture says, “Be still and know that I am God.” So I stopped whining so much in my journal and silently let God speak. It has strengthened my belief that God is real and that God wants to have a relationship with me. So goes another step on the spiritual journey.

Will God Write Back?

Will God Write Back?

I have been using journaling for several years as part of my spiritual journey. Usually I vent to God about things that make me doubt, make me angry, or confuse me. It is helpful, getting these things off my chest, and occasionally I come to see something I had not seen before.

The problem is that when I take time to read back over, say, a year or two of journals, I keep seeing the same complaints, the same questions, the same whining repeated over and over. I am a broken record, going round and round in the same spot, hitting the same cracks over and over, making no progress.

For a time, I gave up on journaling since it didn’t seem to be getting me anywhere. I was sharing my pains with the page but not moving on from them significantly. Then I learned a new method of journaling from an online workshop led by Mark Virkler. He calls the method Two-Way Journaling because it leaves room for God to write back in answer to all those whiny questions.

Here’s how it works: You get quiet and centered, tuned into God (this is easier for contemplatives and those with an established meditation practice). You ask God a question like, “God, how do you see me?” or “Lord, what do you want to tell me today?” I write my question in the journal. Then, you open your mind and heart to the flow of the Holy Spirit, and freely write down the answer that comes.

I know. I was skeptical, too. It felt like I was making it up. Like it was all my imagination. But I silenced those voices of intellectual doubt and went with the method. The results were life-changing.

More detail coming next week. For now, check out the Mark Virkler free online courses:
https://www.cwgministries.org/media

Colorado Crucible

Colorado Crucible

I just got back from a three-day retreat for writers at a beautiful log-built chalet in Buena Vista, Colorado. I went there hoping to get encouragement to finish writing the first draft of my book about labyrinth weddings. I had intensive periods of writing and actually got done a rough first draft. That was good. The food, view, weather, and company were also good. But God had bigger ideas.

A crucible is a little ceramic pot we used in chemistry class to heat substances over a Bunsen burner. The heat melted and refined the substance, burning off any dross that might be clinging to the specimen. It can also be a situation where a person is subjected to forces that cause change. That’s what happened at the retreat.

I am sure we all arrived with expectations, but I was willing myself to remain open to whatever came. We all had our burdens and our wounds when we arrived, but some of us (like me) hoped to keep them hidden—just relax and have a nice time. Little did we know that God would subject us to the pressure of confession, tears, honesty, and challenge in the guise of prayer, sharing, laughter, and discussion.

Some of us got clear messages that were contrary to what we thought. Others had breakthroughs and made big life decisions. Others got a “kick in the butt” to embark on a scary project they had held back from before. We all had a great time and bonded with the others.

We had been told that God would “show up” at our retreat. He did, and being so close to him transformed each of us in some way. One had a glowing face. One had a shoulder wrenched out of place. One was pregnant with a project in gestation. One heard the call to Nineveh. No one remained the same. Now that’s what I call a good retreat! Thanks, God.

Why Two Ells?

Why Two Ells?

 

My first name, Pamella, is spelled with two l’s. The normal spelling, Pamela, is where my mom started when planning to name me, her first child. She liked the name for its romantic connotations, she said. She thought it was a name in a novel. But why did she decide to misspell it and cause me trouble for the rest of my life?

In our family, we tended to call close family friends “Aunt so-and-so” or “Uncle so-and-so.” Three of these “aunts” were named “Ella,” a popular name around the turn of the 20th century, and making a resurgence today. They were Aunt Ella Jenkins, who owned a bank; Aunt Ella McLeod, who had grandkids we played with; and Aunt Ella Richardson, who let us play in the back yard with her corset stays. (Bend those suckers back and let them go—BOINNNGG!—across the yard).

I am not sure how all three aunts felt about this tribute, but Aunt Ella Jenkins left me enough money to go to college. If the spelling triggered her generosity, then it is worth it to go on spelling out my name for folks. God bless you, Aunt Ellas, all. And thanks for the weird spelling, Mama.

Nature and Light

Nature and Light

On the wall of our garage, 8 to 10 little frogs circle the light, waiting to feast on the bugs the glow attracts. On this hot August night there are plenty of tiny moths and even one huge mantis, bigger than the frogs. At least one frog perches on top of the light fixture, peering out over the edge like a ship’s figurehead. The others cling to the stucco with their splayed fingers, lunging forward now and then to gulp a morsel.

Meanwhile, behind the front door of the house, two humans huddle by the flat-screen TV, watching “Master of None,” on Netflix. They enjoy the ceiling fan circulating the air conditioned air. Now and then they lunge forward to sip their wine from glasses that rest on the coffee table. They are silent, like the frogs, until roused to laughter by the witty writing of the comedy. Then they subside again into comfortable calm until the next joke emerges.

Circling the light feeds the frogs and ensures their survival. Circling the TV is less essential to the humans, and they could survive just fine without it. But all three creatures, humans, frogs and insects, are drawn magnetically to light and the wonders it can work. Witness the crowds that flocked to watch the Great Light, the sun, be obscured by the Lesser Light, the moon, during the recent solar eclipse.

Meet Thomas Bomortino

Meet Thomas Bomortino

Thomas Bomortino has been drawing as long as he can remember.  Born in 1959, a native of Southern California, he has done tons of freelance art work, including the creation of a series of promotional Coloring books with his brother Joe.  Thomas grew up not far from Disneyland, loving all things Disney. At the age of 57, he got his dream job working at Disney California Adventure where, among other things, he teaches guests how to draw Disney characters.  Thomas lives with the love of his life, Peggy, in Rancho Cucamonga, California.

Thomas has taken on the task of illustrating our new children’s series about Faith and Grace, two sister pigs with differing personalities. Faith is the active type, Grace a contemplative. Despite their differences, they love each other. We think this message is needed in our times. The first title, coming soon, is Faith and Grace Say Their Prayers.

Meet Faith and Grace!

Meet Faith and Grace!

 

Our first children’s series, Faith and Grace, will be appearing soon. Faith and Grace are adorable sisters, drawn as pigs by gifted artist, Thomas Bomortino. The two have contrasting personalities but never let that get in the way of their sisterly love. In each story a conflict appears to highlight their differing world views, but love wins in the end.

The sisters go birding, say their prayers, and research about dog breeds in the first three titles in the series. We hope to announce the launch of at least one book in time for Christmas. Subscribe to our website if you want to be informed of all the latest news.

Here is a preview portrait of Faith and Grace:

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