Understanding God?

I do not consider myself a religious person. There was a time when I was. I was converted 15 years ago and boy was I on fire. I read the bible, attended every church service I could and volunteered at Sunday School. I learned a great deal about the history of the church and could quote scripture from heart. I wanted to convert the whole world. I wanted everyone to know the grace and freedom found in my savior. Funny thing was, I still felt empty inside.

The void I felt was nothing more than a desire to be loved. I can sit here today and honestly tell you that growing up with an alcoholic father and a co-dependent mother, I had no idea what true and unconditional love was. It was confusing to here the words I love you Roxanne, but you are a burden to me. No matter how good I tried to be, I couldn’t make my father love me the way I needed him to. I suppose I projected those feelings when I became a Christian. NO matter how good I tried to be, I just didn’t feel I was enough.

I spent many years searching for God, trying to understand him or her or whatever God was. I read many books, listened to great spiritual leaders and still nothing ever seemed to fulfill me.

What’s crazy about this whole journey is how I have tried so hard to fulfill this void on my own- religion, sex, booze, hiding, depression, and so forth. With that, comes guilt, shame and brokenness. No wonder I was so lost- some days more than others.

God is hard to understand. So I gave up trying to understand. I will never understand the mystery that surrounds us all. The mystery of creation. The mystery of love. The mystery of evil and good. The mystery of the virgin birth. The mystery of the cross. The mystery of life after death. It’s all one big mystery and trying to find answers and understanding just makes me crazy.

Then I watched this movie called “The Shack.” I can’t explain the power it had when I allowed myself to watch with an open heart and mind. I sobbed when I started to realize that I was not alone in my doubts, anger and confusion. I loved that God was portrayed as an African-American female. I loved how real Jesus was. I loved that the Holy Spirit was also portrayed as a sweet and kind female. I can understand why some people would find it offensive to portray God in such a way, after all being a female is offensive in itself, right? God is hard to understand.

After watching this film, I realized that I was trying to understand God on an intellectual level. I was trying to use logic and reason. I wanted answers.

The only answer I have and will ever receive is- BELIEVE. HAVE FAITH. TRUST.

God is creator. God is good. God is love. God is showing me, beyond all else, that HOW I COME TO UNDERSTAND GOD IS NOT NEARLY AS IMPORTANT AS KNOWING THAT GOD UNDERSTANDS ME! God knows, understands and created me in love. That is all I need to know and understand.

Here is what God told me five years ago:

My Darling,

There is not enough space or time to adequately show you just how loved  you are! Imagine the stars in the heavens and the galaxies that lay among  the skies, you are far more glorious then they are. The birds that sing while the sun begins to peek over the Sandia Mountain, with all its magnificent colors and glorious peace, you my sweet child are more precious. Your smile makes my heart fill with surpassing joy. You, Roxanne, are my master piece. You are the the majestic crown of creation. When I created all that you see, it was incomplete until I created you. I made you unique and different and I am a master creator, I make no mistakes. I planned you. You are my special child I adore and cherish. Your beauty lies within your soul. Do not focus on your flaws. I am always creating a new heart in you. Do not be afraid to let your beauty shine, for when you do, I shine with you.  If you saw what I see in you, you would know why. I will not hurt you. I will not harm you. Believe in me and I will show you love. I am safe. My love will bring you healing. I love you my sweet child. 

~God

Nothing else matters. There is nothing in this world that matters more than knowing that God is real and God loves you. Full stop. No buts, no what ifs, no anything. God is too big and too wonderful for us to understand. All that matters is that God understands us, and loves us anyway.

Love Always.

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S’More Camping Adventures

When you grow up in a town that is surrounded by the beauty of the mountains, you go camping, fishing, hiking, and long rides in your ATV. I suppose skiing is another sport one does when snow comes along. I, on the other hand, have never been skiing. When I share this little bit of news I get a lot of flak and surprise. After all, Taos has one of the best ski spots in the whole country. It was too expensive for my family.  Camping, however, was something of a tradition for my family.

Every year on the fourth of July, for as long as I can remember, we would pack up our gear and head to the mountains for a long weekend of adventure. To be clear, it was an extended family tradition. My folks did not believe in camping. Hey, it’s not for everyone, I’ll never understand it, but I can respect that. Luckily, my Uncles and Aunts, who were into the adventure, were generous enough to invite my sister and I to come along.

The one aspect I love about camping is the breath-taking views of the wilderness. The tall erected pine trees, the long swaying grass, the sound of the rolling river and of course the warmth and light the camp fire brought. As a kid, the one thing to look forward to after a delicious meal is roasting marshmallows and telling stories around that fire.

The first time I tasted beer was when I was camping. My sister and I waited for our younger cousins to fall asleep that night, since we were sharing a tent, so we could sneak out and have a beer. It was my Aunt’s brother who suggested the idea to us, and being the wild nature girls we were are, we accepted the invitation.

We sat around the fire and drank our yellow colored carbonated drink- I think it was something called Bud Light. It only took one 12 ounce can of that shit to get me buzzed, or what I thought was drunk.  So naturally, as any drunk teenager would do, I made out with the guy that was camping next to us. I was 17 at the time. The boy I made out with, was 13.  NO JUDGING! I was drunk remember. And he was cute, for a little guy, or at least after drinking that beer he looked pretty darn cute. Anyway, that’s what’s so great about camping. Letting go of your inhibitions and enjoying life.

I hold a lot of fond and daring memories of those times in the mountains. I learned a lot about nature as well. I found out the hard way what Poison Ivy looks like and to avoid it after my first encounter. I learned how to use the bathroom when there was no bathroom available. I also learned that you can never have too many S’mores.  Mostly, camping gives you the opportunity to spend quality time with the people you love.

Today I get to pass some of that tradition to my own children. It is such a joy to teach them about the love and respect for nature. With our world becoming more and more disconnected with it, I find it imperative I show them the importance of preserving our land. Our children today are more likely to identify Corporate Logos over types of trees and flowers. Some children don’t know the difference between a tomato and potato. True story. By the time our children become adults, they would have spent most of their childhood surrounded by concrete and electronics rather than the greenery of the planet.

We live in such a beautiful world. It is in that beauty where we find ourselves- our creativity, our strength, our spirituality and our love. No matter what our beliefs, it is our responsibility to be good stewards to this precious and unique planet we call home.