I am exercising my freedom to break from the guidelines of The Thinking Blogger Award that Joy has honored me with. You can find her here. Along with saying the things I write make her think, she said that I had been instrumental in music being brought back into her life. That in and of itself in my book is something that brings me great joy. As you all know, music is important to me and to think Joy is listening and enjoying music again makes my spirit sing.
The reason I wanted to break from the guidelines is because I wanted to use this opportunity to mention a number of people that have been so instrumental in the challenging thinking that has been a part of a wonderful change in my life. Instead of having to just pick 5 of you to give the award to (not that there is anything wrong with that) I just wanted to put all the names out there and encourage you all to check them out. They have all been mentioned here before.
My blog friends: Rob, Sue, Rich, Rick, Joy, Cynthia, Trish, Tina, and Jennifer you all have been an important part of this past two years of major transition in my life. I'm truly just a shadow of who I was three years ago. 18 years after Father began the process of unraveling the performance/obligation/conformity/fear based religion I had known all my life, something happened in me. You all walked through that with me. Your encouragement I have so appreciated and you all have played a role in this transformation with father. Don't ever doubt that you all have the Spirit living and moving in you and the impact your love and grace has on people is huge.
As to some other brothers and a sister (authors) that have at times gently and sometimes not so gently (Brueggemann) pulled rugs out from under me, I am so humbled at their love for God and their desire to help others to see better. Maybe it is that they help clear things out of the way that stand in the way of us seeing God more clearly? I would have to say that is what they did for me.
and Anne Lamott
And I save these three for last.
and Paul Young
Wayne has been a friend for many years now and the role he played as he walked with me through the darkest most scary period of my life I am so grateful for. His help to me during that time when everything was coming undone in my life and no one else really understood, encouraged me to keep pressing through. His book He Loves Me and The Jake book were very instrumental in changing the way I approached God and seeing better how he desired to relate to me.
Paul came into my life through Wayne and an unpublished manuscript, at the time Jesus had begun to show me a way through the confusion and fear, to a place of freedom I had longed for. To say the shields were down and I was vulnerable when I sat down to read The Shack is the understatement of my life. I stood undone and exposed....with no defense....and at the same time was so acutely aware I didn't need one...I was being loved instead. I had never felt so loved and accepted and safe and I am still overwhelmed with that same feeling a year and a half later. This is all about grace and none of us can add anything to that. My email exchanges with Paul have been some of the most challenging and encouraging and paradigm shifting encounters I have ever had. He has so gently and lovingly pulled many rugs out from under me and in so doing, a new deeper, wider place of freedom would open up in front of me to wander into with Jesus. I look forward to sitting down with Paul soon. *of which I did in March of 08* I want to give him a big hug and sit and talk about Papa, Jesus and Sarayu....and let's not forget Sophia, and I want to hear more of Paul's life story and how the wastefulness of God's grace has been setting him free and healing his pain. Papa is doing amazing things through him and his story and The Shack, a book that was written for his children and is now spreading around the globe. His blog is one of the most thought provoking blogs out there...well, in my estimation. Thank you Paul
And Brad, who I get to listen in on every Friday chatting with Wayne on the God Journey Podcast. These two guys have had some wonderfully encouraging, challenging conversations since they began doing it back in '05'. I am going to California in January to spend a weekend with Wayne and Sara and I hope to get to meet Brad when I am out there. *of which I did in Feb. of 08* That could be a hoot hanging with Wayne and Brad for an afternoon. *of which it was* We will see.
So Joy, I know this isn't passing along The Thinking Blogger Award, but it is how I felt comfortable doing it. All of you that I have mentioned make me think and I am grateful to you all and thank Father for allowing me to get to know you all. One day we will raise a glass...all of us together...count on it.