We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. – 1 John 4:16
In 2014, I spent a little bit of time with a man who believed in Jesus. I mean, he was a full on Christian. That was new to me. Most of the people I’d spent romantic time with were either “spiritual,” didn’t know what they believed in or didn’t believe in anything at all.
Although our encounters were short lived, the fact that he was openly religious, reading the bible and wearing a cross, gave me the courage to begin opening my heart to Jesus/God again.
You see, I was raised as a Catholic, with parents who were very devout. Even though I know now that my parents meant well, the religious and spiritual language, lessons and doctrine I was taught did not resonate with me. The teachings and behaviors passed on to me actually scared me and made me feel bad about who I was. In addition, even at a young age I could see a huge gap between what Jesus and God taught and how humans acted in real life. They just didn’t add up.
So, I turned away from the church for many years, though I still felt guilty all the time about everything. I prayed constantly asking God to forgive me for the “bad” thoughts I was thinking and to protect myself and those I loved for fear something “bad” might happen to one of us. It was a torturous way to live.
After a wild and traumatic time in my early teens, I started to open up spiritually around age 16. There are many hypotheses I have about why this happened at that particular age. However, one thing that interested me was that no one in particular taught me how to do this, per se, it just came naturally after some experimentation with marijuana and LSD. Although I came to realize years later that my parents did actually teach and show me how to be spiritual and have faith in God, “spirituality,” which I took as a deeper connection to what was actually running this show of Life, resonated way more than going to church every Sunday and worshiping Jesus.
For 21 years, or so, I opened up more to spirituality and different spiritual beliefs, learning how to meditate, learning about being with myself, adopting certain Buddhist and Taoist philosophies and chanting Kirtan. But, through all of these practices and everything I learned, something still felt like it was missing.
Insert Easter Sunday, 2014. The main fine arts painter for Young Audiences was out of town for the holiday and a local church, True Bethel Baptist, was looking for a painter to paint on stage during their huge Easter service at Kleinhans music hall. Just a few weeks before, I’d told one of the Young Audiences staff that I’d graduated with a degree in fine art painting. So, when the other painter wasn’t available, she called me instead.
It was a Godsend.
Working on this painting on stage and everything that led up to that experience changed my life.
The end of 2013 and the first half of 2014 were challenging. I was going through another growth spurt that would stretch my limits and prove to feel uncomfortable, discouraging and frustrating. And, right in the middle of it, I was led back to God.
It was the day before Easter Sunday and I’d brought all the painting supplies to Kleinhans Music Hall to set up for the next day. It had already been at least a month or more since the Christan man I’d spent time with and I had stopped seeing each other. Feelings of regret, discouragement and angst filled me about him, but, years later, I would realize that he was a part of my heart opening to God again. This helped me find peace and even gratitude for our time together.
The church director and I walked through Kleinhans, as she showed me where I could store my things. Then, we walked out into the concert hall to hear the praise team rehearsing the two songs I would paint during, while on stage, the next day.
Walking into the gloriously cacophonous Kleinhans Concert Hall, The Spirit was palpable and filled the room to the brim. The mood struck me and I felt almost overwhelmed, in awe of how people could bring this strong spirit and energy to a non-religious place like Kleinhans.
The lead singer of the first song began. He looked up towards the ceiling, as the heartfelt music began to play, and said, “God, we know you love us,” pointing his finger straight upward. “We know we’re loved.”
Instantly, it was as if his words pierced the center of my chest, straight into my heart, and I was moved to tears. I mean, I’m a crier. I’ve cried in public before, while speaking, etc. I can cry in front of others. However, on that day, at that time, I thought, “Oh my gosh, I can’t cry in front of this woman (the church director) who’s showing me around. I don’t even know her!” But, the emotion swelled up in me regardless.
After I left Kleinhans, I drove away that afternoon with thoughts swirling around my head, emotions swelling up in my chest, thinking, “Oh my gosh, I still don’t know that I’m loved. Holy crap! How could I not know this with all the healing work I’ve done so far in my life? I thought I’d dealt with these issues and feelings years ago!”
Thoughts were racing through my head as I imagined myself at my parents house the next day, during Easter brunch, tearfully confessing to them all about my experience that day and that a part of me still didn’t know I was loved, even by them.
That was the beginning of my journey back to Jesus and God, the bible, which I had never read before, and healing in a deeper way, on a deeper level, than ever before.
Through this journey, I would learn that I am loved by God and that truly this is what IS and will always be. And, that we are all loved by God, whatever you perceive “God” to be. That’s the truth!
Although it wouldn’t be the only thing I’d need to heal further (the EMDR trauma therapy, Internal Family Systems Therapy Model and Attachment Theory, along with working with a spiritual coaching, Dante Washington, have been indelible supports for further healing over the past three and a half years), my journey back to God was a huge piece of the puzzle inserted back into my Life! Hallelujah! Praise God!
As I got older and further along my personal healing journey, I could feel that being “spiritual” wasn’t enough. Something felt like it was missing. Then, when I started attending church again, reading the bible, talking to different people about God, listening to religious and spiritual pop music and connecting with God, as I see it, in a more conscious and consistent way, I began to mature in my spirituality.
Do I believe everything in the bible? No. Do I believe and agree with everything preachers and pastors and priests say? No. Do I have a personal relationship with God now? Yes. Is it consistently evolving and growing? Yes. Do I believe and know that God is Love? Absolutely!
The Wrap Up
Although I can’t say that I know exactly what God is, for me, this exploration is a journey. I hope this inspires you to inquire about your own beliefs in a Higher Power. And, at least know, you are loved and nothing or no one will EVER change that! It is true and it is the most real thing ever!
Now, you might be wondering, “If I’m loved, then why do shitty things happen to me and others? What’s up with that?” My answer: because I’m not God and I don’t see the bigger picture. What I can do is have faith that whatever is happening is an opportunity for healing, growth, clarity and coming closer to the Source of Life, whatever this may be. And, this gives me and all of us an opportunity to be a part of the uplift in life, to make positive changes by healing personally, staying open to growing and learning as much as possible and truly “being the change we wish to see in the world.”
One of my favorite quotes from Feminine Power was, “We are the manifestation of the greater goodness of Life (to me, God).” It’s up to us, you and me and everyone else to make Life greater for us all! We’re literally the ones we’ve been waiting for! So, wait no longer and be God’s greater goodness in Life now!
How will you show up as God’s or Life’s greater goodness right now? Is it in taking care of yourself better, healing old wounds so you’re friendlier and kinder to your family and friends?
What do you think about God? Who do you believe God is or what God is?
Who or what is God to you?
And, how does this belief help you through your daily life?
Share your comments below in the comments section. I’d love to hear from you about this important topic.
With Love and Aloha Nui Loa,