Installment 57

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There are times that prayers have proven to be some of the most uncomfortable moments of my life. Thankfully my prayer life helped me gain clarity and understanding for things that seem to otherwise elude me, and that clarity and understanding outweighs the uneasiness experienced during some of my interactive prayer life.

Consider the following prayer from July 11, 2013. The prayer made me uneasy, but notice how important the concepts are.

I began by giving a blessing: blessed are you Jehovah God, Sovereign of the Cosmos, who provides comfort in distress and provides answers to questions. The Divine responded:

You may ask your question.

I continued by saying: Father, you are aware that I am tired tonight, but you are also aware that I am concerned about this situation and my understanding of it. As far as I know my… . The Divine interrupted my statement saying:

Please get to your question.

As uneasy as that was, I continued: Ok. Is it possible… ? Again, the Divine interrupted me saying:

No.

One interruption was bad enough. Twice though, it got me testy. So I responded by asking: May I finish my question? The Divine’s response was terse:

Yes, but the answer is no.

That answer did not deter me, I asked my question anyway: Is there any possible way that I could be incorrect about my understanding? Again, the Divine was abrupt:

I said the answer is no.

And then asked me a couple of questions:

Why do you keep asking me this? And why do you bring yourself to a state of anxiety?

So, I answered: I am desperate to make it certain to myself, even though I believe beyond reasonable doubt. Then the Divine responded with another question:

So why the anxiety?

Notice that the Divine focused on the anxiety. So, I responded saying: Your scripture seems to lend itself to being understood that folks like David were 100% convinced, not just ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.

How did the Divine respond to my statement? Here is the Divine’s response:

Reasonable doubt is an inventive thought of the judicial system. I am not a judicial system, Day of Judgment excluded. I am a living testament to trust. Trust does not always find itself accomplished with 100 percent, sometimes it is accomplished with much less, but that being true that faith is sufficient for the task at hand. Understand?

I want my reader to really contemplate what I just learned. So take a moment to read that response again:

Reasonable doubt is an inventive thought of the judicial system. I am not a judicial system, Day of Judgment excluded. I am a living testament to trust. Trust does not always find itself accomplished with 100 percent, sometimes it is accomplished with much less, but that being true that faith is sufficient for the task at hand. Understand?

I went to the Divine needing reassurance about the direction of my life. Concerned with questions like: Am I understanding correctly? Back in 2013, no matter what I experienced, I was full of doubt, nearing on disbelief. Unwittingly, those things made me anxious.

So notice, regarding my question “Is there any possible way that I could be incorrect about my understanding?” my “understanding” being the direction of two wives. The Divine addressed that question by abruptly and tersely informing me that there was no way I could be wrong.

And then the Divine took the initiative to address my anxiety.

In dialoguing about anxiety, I expressed “Your scripture seems to lend itself to being understood that folks like David were 100% convinced, not just ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.” I mean who hasn’t felt that way? It seems David was 100% convinced when he confronted Goliath. Abraham seems 100% convinced when being tested to put Isaac on the altar. Examples could be added, and I am certain my reader could add their own examples.

That perception has led me to believe that the “giants” of Scripture were 100% convinced in their faith. But if they were not totally convinced then they were convinced well “beyond reasonable doubt” which led me to believe that those people of faith where strongly convinced, to me, having greater than 75% faith.

That is how I used to view faith. That was until the Divine said:

Reasonable doubt is an inventive thought of the judicial system. I am not a judicial system, Day of Judgment excluded. I am a living testament to trust. Trust does not always find itself accomplished with 100 percent, sometimes it is accomplished with much less, but that being true that faith is sufficient for the task at hand. Understand?

So when the Divine addressed my anxiety, I learned something about faith that I don’t think I ever really understood.

The concept of “reasonable doubt” is an invention of human constructs. Necessarily so. When we hear a case in court, we need to be convinced beyond “reasonable doubt” otherwise there is some question about the integrity of the trial and the decision that must be made.

But the reality, at least for me, the understanding for the type of belief which humans have developed for our court systems is the understanding of belief I was applying to God. The Divine expressly conveyed that such a belief construct is not viable for faith.

The Divine said:

I am a living testament to trust. Trust does not always find itself accomplished with 100 percent, sometimes it is accomplished with much less, but that being true that faith is sufficient for the task at hand. Understand?

Think about that – “that faith is sufficient for the task at hand.”

That means that God can accomplish and will accomplish things with what we, as humans, as believers, would call a scant amount of trust, a slight amount of faith, a negligible amount of belief.

Yet, yet, for God that amount is enough to accomplish.

That, my reader, is an amazing concept. Truth told, sometimes, that is all the faith, trust, and belief we can muster. But it is sufficient for the task at hand.

 
On July 13, 2013, at worship service, during an interactive prayer, I asked the Divine for a parable. The Divine responded:

Why? If I may ask?

My response was: [Parables] are cool, and provide something unique and provide an opportunity to hear something new without seeming to focus solely on my situation. The Divine responded saying:

Fine then. Here is a parable. A man walks forward, looks around find emptiness, walks again and again looks around. What does he find? More emptiness. Emptiness all around, surrounds, abounds, emptiness, emptiness, emptiness. What is the remedy? Love. Look in. Look out. Look up. Look down. Look all around emptiness becomes wholeness, completeness, fabulous fulfillment.

A parable. A thought. Something for my reader to consider.

On July 24, 2013 as I was driving to work, there was an interesting moment. Recall that I have been learning to listen to what happens within my spirit, learning to listen for God’s leading. I wrote the following in my journal:

On my drive to work this morning, I was informed to take the left, I knew the left was [the Highway at the next road]. So I took the left onto [that] Road, drove up [to] the stop sign and saw an advertisement for a home community and the information “Up to 5400sqft” grabbed my attention. I replied, saying out loud, “Who needs 5400 square feet?” and I heard, “You might.”

Later in the day, I shared that experience with Mary. But think of it 5400 square feet. That is a large home.

The sign totally caught my eye. I live in an area where homes are not small. There are times that we, as people, buy more home than we need. That day, when I saw that sign, my cynicism proclaimed “Who needs 5400 square feet?” To me, it’s a viable question. I accept there are some who need that amount of space, but my skepticism is there.

I was led to understand that I might need that amount of space. That immediate reveal surprised me, otherwise I would not have recorded it in my journal. But that reveal did, at least, two things. One, it opened my imagination for myself. Two, in a way, it encouraged me to relax in my skeptical cynicism.

 
Later on that night, I watched a movie with my wife and daughter. After the film, privately, I was pleading with God to help me with my employment situation, and was led to engage in interactive prayer. I opened up my prayer with a blessing: Blessed are you Jehovah God, Sovereign of the Cosmos, who guides and directs, providing comfort and support, life and abundance.

The Divine’s response?

Another. This time focus on who you are.

So I offered another blessing. This time I said: blessed are you Jehovah God, Sovereign of the Cosmos, who has redeemed me from my perils, revealed that ministry is far more than preaching and teaching, showed me that beauty is so beautiful, that two wives are not just pleasing to you, but permissible and joyful in the here and now. Thank you for my new family.

There it is, an early acceptance of my new life. But it took me the next two and half years to come to terms with it and myself.

For now though, what was the Divine’s reaction to that blessing?

Ah. That’s much better. You are a gift, not just them, you are too.

Had the Divine’s guidance ended there, my prayer would have been much different. There have been many personal reasons why it has been difficult for me to accept two wives. One of them becomes understandable when one reads the next part of my prayer. The Divine continued:

Today is your anniversary with Mary, it will be your final time together, as husband and wife. Your new life is on the horizon. Share your day with her, rejoice in your accomplishments. Your future is near, much nearer than you may want, but nearer nonetheless. You and your wife have a beautiful family…. Redeem your time. Have no sorrow. Your work is complete. Drink wine. Rejoice. For a new day begins. Life is full, complete, my blessings are upon you.

That was very difficult news, more difficult than I care to express. However, in a moment I will share some thoughts I wrote into my journal. For now, consider what came next. The Divine continued:

Life is now and will be fresh, new, like a flower in the spring time. Your seasons will be many. Some winters will be very cold, but some summers will be really hot. Your family will astound you, and bring you much joy. Your wives will love each other. They have no choice. Not because they are forced, but because they will truly fall in love with each other. There will be bumps along the way, but you are there to help them smooth things out. Remember to tend, tend the garden, always, your hand is always, always needed.

That is insightful and powerful all in one paragraph. There are encouraging things and reassurances. There are responsibilities I have, yet the family will be peaceful. But that is not where the message ended, the Divine continued:

Celebrate today. You are graduating. Congratulations Mary, you have made it to the big leagues, everyone will be, is watching you. Not because you are in a fish bowl, but because of what you represent: joy, gladness, fulfillment, womanhood, motherhood, sisterhood, wifehood, the Sarah of your time. This does not make “Kitty” Hagar, so don’t be mistaken. “Kitty” is also now in the big leagues demonstrating the power of the grafted-in in this your new covenant. Learn how to help each other, serve one another, forgive one another, hug each other, love each other, and the two of you will be an unstoppable force of my grace and acceptance. Always be patient, kind, tolerant. Children will come, children will grow, new families born. Always love, be tender and your influence will be far reaching. I love you. Enjoy your final anniversary and be ready to begin afresh.

That is another insightful and powerful paragraph. This time it focused on each lady. Spoke about their achievements and their characteristics. Importantly, the Divine emphasized that each woman is equal as a wife. That part of the message closed with information about family and that things would begin afresh.

I can personally testify to the afresh. Since that moment, our days, months, and years have been different, different in a good, pleasant, and wholesome way. All we lack is “Kitty” to make our family whole.

There is a small part remaining of the message, the Divine concluded:

David, you are capable. You are willing. In this give every effort, due diligence. Failure, as in mistakes and shortcomings, will happen. Don’t beat yourself up. Breathe. Relax. It will be okay. Your life with your wives will be beautiful. Don’t rush. I love you. You will do well. You have my blessings my son.

Love Abba
Amen

I recognize that many around me have struggled with the direction that my life took. Truly, I can and do appreciate the personal struggles they have with what has happened. Life took a turn that was unexpected, for all involved. That unexpected turn rearranged my life, Mary’s, my family’s and affected the lives of those in direct relation and contact with me.

Today, I sit here and read this message, and it both comforts and encourages me. This new life is one that is going to be amazing. It might not be amazing like some achievement that will make it into some record book of human achievement. But it will be amazing for those directly involved, beginning with my two wives and me, then our family, then those who are directly associated with us.

I didn’t rush to understand the last five years. I don’t plan on rushing my wives or my family. Part of my joy is seeing what is on the horizon. The rest of my joy will be in participating in the daily events that make that life beautiful and wonderful.

 
As I work toward the close of this Installment, allow me to share some of my thoughts from that day. I wrote in my journal:

When I was receiving ““Today is your anniversary with Mary, it will be your final time together, as husband and wife.” my eyes filled with tears, blurred my vision and had to wipe them away to avoid smearing the ink on the page. It was very difficult to record those words, it seems so final, like death, but not death, yet a death anyway.

I cannot underscore the magnitude to which my heart was affected. The Divine revealed that Mary and I had arrived at the natural conclusion of our walk. It is not the conclusion that many assume closes out a marriage.

That thought directly opposes everything that we assume we know about marriage. We, as believers, believe that God puts individuals into marital union as husband and wife. We believe that he sanctions that union and guides that union. But we believe that death is the only natural means of terminating that union. From my personal experience, I now claim otherwise.

Years ago, Mary and I gave our vows to each other. Those were personal vows, commitments to each other. Within the last five years, she and I together chose to give God our marriage, giving God everything, letting God do with us and with our marriage whatever would be done.

Some will argue that we did the wrong thing. To that I retort: it is NEVER wrong to give God your everything. BUT God NEVER demanded that anyone give him their marriage. Doing so was our choice.

We had no idea what that decision and action meant. It took me the greater amount of the years that followed that moment, for me to understand that the things we were experiencing were directly related to our decision. It was not an easy process, and not everyone believes us.

But one thing is certain: the change in our marriage and our life directly revolves around our decision to give God our marriage.

So how did Mary and I celebrate that anniversary? I will close by sharing some of what I wrote in my journal.

[We] celebrated our Twenty-First anniversary. I thought we would end up at the San Antonio Riverwalk eating at [a certain restaurant that we had visited way early in our marriage], but that restaurant had closed. Also, and quite unfortunate, I had a massive headache most of the day, awoke with it, worked all day with some version of a headache, took a nap at work during my break, went back to work – headached, came home headache, took some medication and another nap, awoke to headache. So it put a slower pace to the whole evening, but it eventually subsided, for that I was grateful.

Prior to heading out, and while we were getting ready, I gave Mary an observation. I knew it would be difficult, but it felt right to bring it to our couplehood’s collective attention. This day, July 25, would be our last anniversary, meaning that July 25, 2014 will not be an anniversary of us [as] Mary and Ray. That day will come and go, and in so doing next year, in 2014, when July 25 rolls around it might be a difficult day, but it is my hopes and expectations that things will develop in such a way that we find ourselves on July 25, 2014 with no sorrow, no regrets. We hugged each other, softly kissed, and accepted the coming reality.

Weirdness of weirdness, we went [to] a local grocery market, to purchase her an anniversary card, I intended to do that during my break at work, but headache and fatigue took over. Found the card and we walked around the store for a bit, talking about dinner where to go, etc. and found ourselves having purchased picnic items, bread, meat, cheese and had a picnic-style dinner…. Totally unplanned and cool, and we had a great time talking about our twenty-one years.

We talked about the things we would do differently, the number one being birth control since it cost us two children. …

We talked about how even though there have been some very cold winters, the hot summers outweighed the cold by so much that experiencing and reliving the cold would be worth it. And that we really couldn’t change anything and be who we are, but we would definitely choose each other all over again, even though we both now accept that it was God who put us together.

We had dinner, talked about going to the Riverwalk and to a restaurant down there for dessert and drinks, but instead found ourselves wanting to see a movie, but found none that we really wanted to see. … We then went and ate some ice cream at [an ice cream shop], and then attempted to visit a jewelry store but it was closed….

After [that], we sat on an outside bench for a good while talking about us, our life, reliving moments and then found ourselves ready to give each other our cards. So we went back to the car, each of us writing inside the card we would give to the other, exchanged cards and wept, not tears of regret, but tears of recognition that this was the closing of us, which brought us to about 9.15pm CST.

After exchanging cards and sentiments, since the night before at approximately the same time I was informed that this July 25th would be our last anniversary, I lead us in communing with “Kitty”, welcoming her into our house. So approximately 25 hours later, on the morning of July 26 according to Genesis time (evening to evening), after also discussing that “Kitty” needs to be aware of the fulfillment our (Mary and Ray’s) old marriage, and help bring in the new marriage covenant, Mary and I welcomed “Kitty” into our lives.

Blessings and Shalom

2016.05.24

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