Posted in Inspiration

God in Priest’s Clothing and other Miracles

In today’s blog I share with you the TRUTH of miracles and how many times they come when we least expect them and in the most unexpected packaging.

The Week in Miracles

This has been the week of miracles.  It all began with the meeting of my self-appointed Board of Directors and me getting out of my Catholic-agenda, ego-driven way to allow the Holy Spirit to breath universal life into my vision and my mission.  The next miracle came in the form of a BOOK – Alephby Paulo Coelho.  It is the story of an author who is stuck spiritually and professionally and his teacher “J” tells him to step out of his comfort zone and to take his show on the road.  BOING….right between the eyes I got that one.   The third miracle showed up as I was struggling to GET OUT of the COMPULSIVE grieving I was still being plagued with regarding the loss of love.  In swoops my angel and teacher, Julie Tallard Johnson with a link  to David Whyte’s upcoming release, When the Heart Breaks – a journey through requited and unrequited love.  When I read the liner notes, I started bawling and didn’t stop until I slept.  I wept, not only over the loss of love, but more so, over Julie’s gift of hearing the truth beyond my words and responding in generous compassion.  I felt humbled, grateful, held in love.  I love you Julie!  Then came the night of dreams……beautiful, magnificent, generous dreams of love.  I awakened with a HUGE layer of grief shed along with a newfound hope and the restoration of my belief that love is possible.

In Walks the Priest

Then came the priest.  I have not hidden the fact that my relationship with the Catholic Church has been troubling.  There are things I passionately adore about the tradition in which I was raised and there are things that tear at my heart and compel me to speak out in frustration and sometimes rage.  The greatest challenge since I left professional work in the Church has been to find my place in a Church that doesn’t seem to want me, but from which I can’t seem to leave.  (Yep, I see the pattern here!)   But, before I tell you the story of this priest, I have to share my history of how God, at major crossroads in my life always seems to send a priest.

God in Priest’s Clothing

I have had the fabulous experience of knowing many great and wonderful priests in my life.  Attending Catholic schools probably increased the probability of this…..but regardless, I am grateful for all the priests who have played a significant role in my life.  In particular – Fr. Jeff Vanden Heuvel for being the voice of God that called me into active ministry formation in the first place and the unknown priest who kept me on the path.  Back in 1990 something, upon Fr. Jeff’s invitation, I was attending training to become an RCIA facilitator for the Newman Center.  I was attending one of the lectures when one of those crossroads came up and slapped me in the face.  The lecturer began to tell us that if we had an RCIA candidate who was living with their boy/girl friend without being married, that we were to expel them from the program and deny them entrance into the Catholic Church.  Being the disobedient brat and sh…t disturber that I am, I immediately stood up and challenged the lecturer.  “Jesus said, ‘judge not lest ye be judged.  Who are we to judge another person’s behavior and therefore, who are we to deny them the sacraments?  Isn’t that God’s job…not ours?”  I was essentially told to sit down, shut up, and do what I was told.  I left the lecture certain that if this is what I was being asked to do, I could not continue this training and could not minister in a Church that insisted on denying the sacraments.  I was frightened, devastated and heart-broken.  “God, how can I do this with integrity when these rules go against every fiber of my being and against how I believe Jesus would respond?”  The answer came in the form of a priest.  As I was walking the path having my internal discussion with God, a man ran up to me on the path and tugged at my sleeve.  “Excuse me.  I was in that lecture with you and heard what you said.  I am a priest, so I could not respond in front of the group.  But I have to tell you, you are right and they are wrong.  It is not our place to judge and it certainly not our place to deny the sacraments.  We cannot know how God works in the hearts of people.  Honor what God has shown you in your heart and please don’t leave.  The Church needs more women like you.”  And then he ran off.  Needless to say, I continued my training and went on to lead the RCIA for eight years and used that formation to craft my own curriculum in Adult Spiritual Formation.

Yesterday’s Priest

Then came yesterday’s priest.  If this time in my life is not a crossroad, I don’t know what is!  It is not a secret the struggle the past two years have been between a divorce, trying to make a living in secular ministry, raising two kids through divorce, falling in love, having my heart-broken, and still trying to make a living in secular ministry.  Everyday I ask the question, “Is today the day I throw my hands up in surrender and get a ‘real’ job?”  This time,  the answer showed up in the form of a priest.  This priest shows up, sits down in my office and as soon as he sits down, I start to well up with tears.  I felt something BIG was about to happen.  For the next two hours we talked and shared and stumbled through our similar stories of adoration and frustration, trying to find our mutual places in a very human Church.  At the end of our time together, I felt as if we had both found affirmation, validation, support and a new companion on this strange journey of ministry.  I cannot say the graces that he received, but for me, I felt renewed, refreshed and strengthened enough to continue this ministerial journey in faith. I also received validation for a bold ministry step that has recently entered my bowl of discernment.  All in all, I felt gratitude and wonder at how God showed up today in priest’s clothing and I considered this to be nothing less than miraculous.

Who are the people who have been the voice of God for you in your own path?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Empowerment, Inspiration

We Are All Priest

I want to thank one of my readers for providing the content for today’s blog.  This post is written by Sylvia Gunter at http://www.thefathersbusiness.com, and inspirational newsletter of non-denominational Christian beliefs.  While the language might be a little more “he and him” than I might use, the point is well made – we are all called and blessed to be priest to one another. Thank you Lynn for sharing this! 

You Are A Priest  –  Isaiah 61:6

The Bible says you are a priest. The basic functions of priests were to represent God to man and man to God. One of the duties was to bless the people. Our culture doesn’t understand blessing as it was practiced in the Bible. The Bible was written in and to a culture that was steeped in blessing: the blessing of shalom, blessing the child with his name, the patriarchal blessing to sons, the blessing of God for his people, the blessing of Jesus, of the disciples, of the early church, of Peter, Paul, and James.
In the New Testament the priestly functions are transferred to all believers, and we are a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). We have authority and privileges as priests. Through Jesus our High Priest we have the right to come into the holiest place in worship. We are called to offer spiritual sacrifices of praise and prayer (1 Peter 2:5), abiding in his presence, drawing near to him and dwelling in him, and he in us.

In the Bible, blessing flows three ways: from God to people, from people to God, and from person to person. Because Jesus is in us, we can pass on to his people the blessings of his heart for acceptance, identity, meaning, affirmation, legitimization, and God’s good purposes.

Here’s a blessing for your spirit in your identity as priest.

Isaiah 61:6 promises,
“You will be called priests of the LORD and ministers of your
God.” And in Revelation 1:6. “[Jesus] has made us to be a kingdom and
priests to serve his God and Father. To him be glory and power for ever and
ever! Amen.”

When Jesus died on the cross, the veil of the holy of holies was torn from top to bottom. Now the awesome privilege of access to the inner court belongs to all believers. You may boldly come to praise, worship, adore, and glorify your Father. Be blessed with knowing your free access to him. Receive the words of 1 Peter 2:5 and 9. You are a priest and minister to God. That is your duty and your privilege as a member of the royal priesthood. Be blessed in drawing near to him, abiding in his presence, and dwelling in him, and he in you, as you offer spiritual sacrifices of praise and prayer.

Be blessed as you minister to God in the secret place where he releases his heart to you. Be blessed as you seek him intimately and experience all of who he is. Worship and adore him, being joyfully, willingly submitted to the One you love. Meet him in complete surrender of all you are. Draw near as the Spirit of the Lord abides in you, indwells you, rests on you, and anoints you.

Be blessed as you represent God to others by releasing his heart of blessing to your world. By standing in the gap in prayer, faith, intercessory living, and blessing, you open the door for restoration for yourself, your family, and others. You are an instrument of renewal and rebuilding of generations of desolation and ruin. As God moves you, you can bless and minister to others, so that God can convict, woo, love, and reconcile them. He will make all things new and glorify himself as he ministers through you, and the glory of the throneroom puts its stamp on all you are and do in his name.

You are blessed to be a blessing. Be blessed to speak deeply personal words of acceptance, identity, meaning, affirmation, and legitimacy. Be blessed to envision God’s special future for others as they come into the fullness of all he made them to be. Let God’s presence and blessing flow through you to his glory and praise. As you sow to the Spirit, and you will reap the things of the Spirit, for the one who sows to the Spirit reaps life. Be blessed in the Spirit of life (Rom. 8:2).

Be blessed in the name of Jesus, your High Priest (Heb 3:1; 9:11).

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Gratitude, Uncategorized

Humble Gratitude

This is another day of gratitude to YOU……my blog readers!  I have recently received some VERY GENEROUS donations to my ministry from readers of this blog.  These donations allow me to continue to offer this blog free of charge, but more importantly, it is donations such as these that allow me to continue to offer my programs and services (Spiritual Direction and Hands-on Healing) to my clients regardless of their ability to pay.

I believe so much in the work that I do, and have seen the results in my clients and students, that I did not want these benefits to be accessible only to those who have the means to pay.  I also believe that the gifts I have, as well as the call, have both been Divinely guided and that in the end, it is God doing the work….not me.  As such, it has always been my policy to ask people to pay only what they are able.  Some are able to pay my suggested fees, many are not.  As such, a lot of the work I do is either in trade, at a greatly discounted rate, or completely pro-bono.  I have trusted that in doing this God would provide and that my own financial needs would be met so that I could not only continue in this ministry, but continue to offer my programs and services to anyone and everyone who needs them.  Donations that I receive to this ministry allow me to continue my commitment to this ministry and to my current pricing arrangements.

So…..THANK YOU for your generous donations and know that I accept them in humble gratitude and wonder.

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com