When Holy Spirit leads us into truth - the hope of our hearts
My dear friends, dear women of God,
A few days ago, events came thick and fast.
I have to laugh heartily, but it is mixed with regret, with a sense of inadequacy in my way of communicating, of sharing myself.
The last three years have been years of superlatives. No, not in the sense of "like never before!", although that phrase fell at my feet so often that at one point I waved it away with an annoyed expression on my face.
But those were years when I realized what it meant when God intervened.
I was tossed around, confronted with everything the Christian scene has to offer when it comes to beliefs, extreme positions and opinions. I was confronted with wacky spiritual warfare concepts, rotten eggs, and an awful lot of arguing. While this was going on, while I was spending days between prayer, research, self-confrontation and Bible-sometimes for hours-I would emerge from my prayer room, so precious to me, for dinner and confront my husband with tossed out statements like, "God showed me that...God said that...I finally understood what God meant! Oh no I don't, there's more...."
A few days ago, during one such conversation, I casually said to my husband, "and then God directed my thoughts to this subject. And my thinking changed in such a way that-and then I understood the analogy." Somewhere between abysmal relief, tears in his eyes, and laughter, my husband looked at me and exclaimed, "You stupid cow! Couldn't you have said that earlier? That He changes your thinking? I understand THAT, I was afraid you were hearing voices!"
Oha, I'm sorry from the bottom of my heart that my husband thought I was cracking up.
I had just chosen the wrong words, I had assumed that he reliably knows how the Holy Spirit guides, explains and teaches. And basically he does, but it shows once again how careful we need to be when we say we are "talking" to God. In fact, we all know these inner dialogues, this being led in truth, these flashes of thought that suddenly reveal like truth everything that seems to us like an impenetrable ball of wool, and no Christian will ever doubt this guidance. But what we communicate often sounds different, superlative and somehow- crazy, elitist, unbelievable.
To be honest, a little blushing, I still giggle.
Not to giggle, however, is that because of these different ways of communicating about inner experience and because of the knowledge of God actually sought in the outside of the more New Age leaning extreme charismatic scene, a dispute is sparking that threatens to seriously divide the church of Christ.
And because of this, I would like to make a small contribution to "God's Speak" today, which I hope will bring a little peace to some troubled hearts, a little understanding to those who wonder what is actually going on with these people, and a little grounding and discernment to those who believe they are dependent on false prophets and external experience of God:
It's Advent, and our Advent season started out quite stressful and frankly a bit sobering.
Besides massive water damage that will cost us our floors, my husband works a lot and has little availability. I run this site, my group, am available for talks and am doing a degree on the side. Somewhere in between- because it is precious and sacred to us- cookies are baked and Advent wreaths are tied, Advent calendars are made and the house is decorated. And then- there are the other areas- prayer, friends, family. In short, it's a lot. It's crowded. It's chaotic.
And so it came to pass that one afternoon, because of leftover egg yolks, I made a virtue out of necessity and a second cookie dough out of virtue. Because one egg was still missing, I carelessly reached into the shelf where we keep them and added what I thought was a missing yolk to the dough, then kneaded it well and kept it in the refrigerator overnight.
Only later did I follow the impulse to look at the expiration date on the eggs.
And lo and behold, the carton had slipped down the stack and the eggs were well past their expiration date. Well, you Google it, and the Internet community agreed - it doesn't matter, it's all good - just bake well done. The next day, my son and I happily started cutting out the cookies, and when we took the first tray out of the oven, we held our noses gleefully over the cookies, as one does.
Alone- they stank terribly- kind of sour. Kind of ...bad. The one egg, added out of good intention- it had ruined the dough, it just wasn't baking well. I had no choice but to dispose of the whole mess with a regretful look on my face- annoying, because my gut told me beforehand that maybe this wasn't such a good idea.
Since I am a loving mother, I gathered the remaining reserves and mixed a second cookie dough, to grant my son the joy of cutting.
You guessed it: Here, too, everything went wrong.
Quite unnerved, I realized that when I doubled the original recipe, I had not doubled the butter, but quadrupled it, and spent more time than I should have on making the right measurements. "More flour, much more flour! Oh, now sugar is missing. Doesn't it need salt, a little bit? Oh man, still not enough flour, they're getting away from me!" Finally it succeeded - and they are really delicious. But a moment of carelessness had produced more work than necessary, and to be honest: I was plenty served, because baking is actually really easy and routine for me. And because of that, precisely because of that, I became bright-eyed.
A few days later, I was tying my Advent wreath, a tradition I look forward to every year. And again:
Only after some time did I notice that something- was wrong. "There's no way!" - somewhere between despair and being unnerved, I was about to capitulate. I thought about what it was, and then it occurred to me that I had tied "the wrong way around". So: everything away, everything to zero- and again from the beginning. It turned out to be the most beautiful Advent wreath I've tied so far after I changed directions.
It did not let me go. Three situations, each with different reasons for failure.
A failure that resulted in me having to throw everything away because it would have literally given us salmonella instead of anticipation due to a rotten egg.
A failure because the units of measurement were not right. Too much soft butter, too little flour, too little sweetness. But that- had still been salvageable, I could build on it.
A failure that didn't take long to be noticed. It was obviously wrong. So it had to be undone, to become something better with a complete reboot, to become what it was meant to be.
Throw it away- fix it- turn it around and start over.
I continued to reflect.
"Lord, what are you showing me here?" By now there was no doubt that there was an analogy, a parable flowing through my own hands there. Natural-supernatural, down-to-earth spiritual.
Well, it shows ways, in a beautiful way, with wisdom and kind insight:
When we fail, we need to ask ourselves questions:
Was there something rotten in the state of Denmark in the first place? Did we, perhaps with perfectly good intentions, throw a rotten egg into the dough? Then, and only then, must we turn away. Because if something is so rotten that it permeates the whole dough, then nothing can save it. Wrong decisions, wrong motives, lazy compromises- they never lead us to our goal. It must be disposed of what hinders our way. We have to face the fact that if we ignore it, it will take revenge later.
However, if the ingredients we used to make something, to achieve something, are good- and we simply lost the measure, put together wrongly, or, to put it another way, if we simply fell off the horse in our effort to quickly produce something good and enjoyable, then it can be saved. Maybe it takes more time than we thought. Maybe we have to improvise. But in the end, the pleasurable aroma we've been looking forward to will be in our nostrils. Losing the measure is not bad. It's annoying, but it's not bad. There is hope, and there is success.
If we find that we have taken the wrong path, it is a bad idea to continue on it. Yes, maybe something will come of it, maybe at first glance it will look like it's "all right after all." But the truth is, the more precious something is to us, the better it is to hit the reset button, turn around, and then do it right. Anything else only leads to frustration and disappointment, resignation and sadness-because you know you could have done better.
A message of the cross, of orientation, of wisdom- buried in cookie dough and Advent branches.
I will smile when I eat the cookies, not remember the spoiled dough, and be more touched every time another candle lights on the Advent wreath. More touched by the reality of the Holy Spirit, touched by the love and gentleness with which he guides us and the hope of the light in the darkness that shines for all of us- no matter if we have just really screwed up, no matter if we have just lost all measure or if we are startled to realize that the path we chose was the one that was not right. That the direction in which we thought we had to build was the wrong one.
Above all, there is Advent. A promise, a hope, a prophecy.
He is coming again. One day our King will come again.
And just as the centuries passed and seemingly nothing happened until finally a virgin from Nazareth received incredible news, so it will be this time. That centuries have passed-oh, this is not unusual! It has happened before. And so let us, all together, hold fast to the promise and look to what our King has assured us.
Jesus is coming again. And with him, hope, redemption, deliverance from all failure, stumbling and losing our way. Immanuel is coming. For all of us. For the price he paid for us is far too high for him to lose sight of even one of us.
Be blessed, happy first advent!!!
Sibyl/Daughter of Zion.