Yesterday I launched the Authentic Freedom Academy Sunday Service. Today, I am overflowing with gratitude for all who have supported me in the on-going evolution of Authentic Freedom Academy in all its manifestations! Yesterday, brought it all full circle and I feel that in many ways, the puzzle is finally complete. THANK YOU to my family, friends, clients, students, classmates, teachers, counselors, etc. etc. etc. etc. who have believed in this crazy dream and who have participated in all they ways you have! THANK YOU!
If I’d known twenty-some years ago when I first responded to the “brick to the head” homily that drew me into active ministry, I might have turned and run away! Back then, I would have been content to ride on the coat tails of our Pastor, Fr. Jeff, but when he left the priesthood to marry his soulmate, everything changed. I was quickly dragged into the pits of a grieving community while trying to tend to my own grief. The priest sex abuse scandal had just erupted and working on the inside, I soon became witness to the grievous sins of the institution. The Catholic Church that I had lived and loved plummeted to its death from the pedestal on which I had placed it. The election of Cardinal Ratzinger as pope only hastened its demise. I soon discovered that my home was no longer a home. Yes, I had a choice. I could stay, comply and die the slow death of strangulation and spiritual execution, or venture out into the wilderness to see if God would make me a way. God did, but mostly I felt like the Israelites in their 40 year journey through the desert, wondering where in the world I would find food and water and what the hell was I thinking leaving my slave drivers behind? At least I had food on my table and a roof over my head. In the desert, I quickly learned, you’d better be creative, learn to eat unfamiliar foods and expect to be paid in unexpected ways (or not at all!).
It’s been a slow and arduous journey, but what I also discovered is that the desert serves an important purpose – to teach us what really, really matters and how to rely on God. Because in the desert, there is really nothing else but God and your own ability to find God where God might not otherwise be found. I have found God in some of the most interesting places. Student loans and credit cards first come to mind. How else does one survive in the desert when there is no other nourishment to be found? Not unlike the Israelites who wondered, “what the heck is this stuff on the ground you are asking us to eat?????” (which may in fact been some sort of insect….ewwwww!) Won’t I die or at least get shunned by society for accumulating debt related to my time in the desert? Maybe. But it’s the choice God gave me. That and the lesson of how to receive donations and help from family, friends, and even strangers. “Get over your pride Lauri, and learn how to receive, and for God’s sake….quit judging. ‘Good girls’ DO take out loans to support their businesses and your loans are nothing compared to what others have asked to receive for themselves. Get over yourself and be grateful for the choices, however unconventional they might be!”
What else matters in the desert? Family, friends and strangers who bear the face of God. First of all – my children. My children mean more to me than anything else in the world and for them I have made many sacrificed while journeying through the desert. They too have made sacrifices and for their willingness to do so….I am grateful. They unconditionally believe in and support the work I do (perhaps because they know that my love for them absolutely comes first!) and if it means we still have fat TV’s….then so be it.
Family. There are no words to express my gratitude for my family for putting up with the path on which I’ve been led. My parents especially – for all the ways my path has challenged or confronted their own beliefs, attachments, familiar ways of knowing and understanding things. I’m sure it hasn’t always been easy….but love has always won out in the end. My parents are the best and I am so grateful for all their love and support!
Friends. I could not be where I am today without my community of friends and fellow world changers….in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, of all places. Many of us are not from here and wonder what the heck we are doing in Oshkosh and what brought us here of all places. Yet, here we are….and we all found each other. For those unfamiliar with Oshkosh, it is conservative, traditional, parochial and a smallish town of only 50,000 some people. And Oshkosh is very separated – by a river, by a highway, by a railroad track, by religion, by “East Side” and “West Side.” Oshkosh is a town full of contrasts and dualities – the last place in the world you might think to find all these “lightworkers.” But, here we are. Perhaps it is all this separation that drew us because the need for unification is so great? I don’t know. But, it’s been a great place to raise a family and my friends here just rock! The people are reserved, but friendly and if you are patient and wait long enough, the bonds here grow very deep such that those who let you in would literally give you the shirt off their back. And for those who have given “their shirts” to me, I am eternally grateful!
Special thanks to a hand full of friends who have the same kind of crazy dreams as I do and who have believed in and supported my crazy dreams (as I have supported theirs), especially when I have been tempted to stop believing myself! And thank you to my online family at TWYH! Your words and journeys have sometimes been the only thing keeping me afloat.
So, here I am looking out into the promised land. My journey has come full circle with the original vision still intact – the vision to bring forth a new/original way of being Priest(ess) and Church in the world. And the funny thing is that while the Institutional Church might not see it this way, what I am doing is One with the mission of the church. So while I thought I was leaving the Church behind, I find that I never left at all. (more on that later this week!) God is funny that way!
As we are on the brink of the full revelation of the Divine Feminine and ushering in the rebirth of the Divine Masculine, it is time for the feminine heroes of salvation history to speak. Today, let me introduce you to Miriam – prophetess, priestess, healer and midwife of the Hebrew people – Co-liberator with Moses in the journey from slavery to the discovery of the REAL Promised Land.
You know, I am sick to death of my brother Moses getting all the credit! It’s been five thousand years and I am done being silent. It is time for me to speak. It is not just because of Moses that the Hebrews found freedom…..I had a big role to play in the Exodus too, but sadly Moses is the one who has gotten all the recognition (and Aaron with him).
In case you don’t know who I am (because the men who wrote scripture simply glossed over my story…and I’m never preached about in the temple or Sunday morning at mass), I am Miriam. I am Moses’ older sister and a prophet in my own right. But of course, most have forgotten this about me (thank Goddess for the Talmud or my story would have been all but forgotten).
I am a prophet, a seer, a healer, a dowser and a midwife. It was I who saw the star foretelling Moses’ birth. It was I who interpreted the meaning of the star. It was I who helped my mother bring my brother forth from the womb. It was I who knew what to do to save Moses from death when Pharaoh ordered the slaughter of male infants. I had been to the rushes. I had heard the Pharaoh’s daughter and her longing for a child. It was I who had befriended her during my mother’s pregnancy knowing the fate that would befall my brother when even Pharaoh didn’t know himself (the Pharaoh’s seers were not near as gifted as I). It was I who brought Moses to her allowing her to “find” him on her own so she could fool her father. When Moses became a prince and a foreman over the Hebrews I was called by God to reintroduce Moses to our mother, informing him of his authentic heritage as a Hebrew. I was the one who delivered to Moses his (our) true calling as a liberator(s) of our people. When Moses fled to the desert I was there with him in prayer, supporting him in finding a family and eventually in finding the Mountain of God and his encounter with the one true God. Then, when Moses returned, I was his counselor, helping him to hear and discern the voice of God and ordaining him into the priesthood – with staff and serpent – symbols of the full integration of the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine, I ordained him. I can’t help he never fully embraced the Feminine, but that was the intention. I was there by his side when he spoke to Pharaoh and I wept with him when the Angel of Death passed over and slaughtered the first-born sons of those who did not believe. I was there with him when Pharaoh ordered our liberation and I was there beside him calling for the parting of the Reed Sea. With Moses’ staff of power and my power over the Feminine element of water, the waters gave way and with my singing and dancing (and that of my fellow priestesses) we held the water at bay. It was when we ceased our dancing that the waters fell upon the Pharaoh’s soldiers, insuring our escape.
I am a prophet, a healer, a midwife, a dowser and a priestess of the Hebrew people. In our forty-year journey through the desert, I was Moses’ constant companion. Using my intuition and my gift of sight, I was the column of fire and the pillar of cloud that led our people through the desert. With my feminine connection with water, I located the wells that would provide water to quench our thirst. I called forth the quail who nourished our hungry bodies and discerned that manna would be good to eat. When we arrived at the Mountain of God, I sensed the anger and frustration of the crowd and that Moses would be the likely target for their anger and sent him away from us to the heights of the mountain where he could discern for himself God’s guidance at this important crossroads in our journey. I held him in prayer and support while Aaron succumbed to the pressure of the people in creating a god for themselves. Then, when Moses came down with the law, I reveled in what God had revealed to him and then found myself heartbroken when in his anger over what our people had done in fashioning a golden idol, he delivered a law that was prohibitive instead of the vessel of support and affirmation that God had originally intended. I whispered the truth of God’s law into the hearts of those who would hear, but to those already in fear, it was Moses’ prohibitive rules that eventually stuck.
I was there when we first beheld the Promised Land and knew that it was not the land itself that God had promised but an inner freedom that secured our liberation regardless of the outward circumstance of our lives. In our journey through the desert, I had found this freedom time and time again in my own intimate connection with our God who was both male and female and yet beyond either of these. I found this freedom in my communion with God and in the nurturing and sharing of the ways in which God sought to be known in the world through me – as yielder of water, as pillar of cloud and column of fire, as serpent and seer, as healer and midwife, as priestess and prophet, as daughter, sister and mother. In our journey through the desert, I found the freedom that God had promised and sought to teach our people the same. Sadly, for the majority of our people – Moses included – this freedom was never truly found and I see that the same is true today as men are waging war after war after war over material control of whatever they currently believe to be the “Promised Land” – Israel, The Ukraine, Egypt, Tibet, oil, gold, diamonds, money, fame, power, and control. Humankind continues to build false idols and to seek outside of themselves for the “Promised Land” when as I have discovered, it has been within us all along.
copyright 2015 Lauri Ann Lumby
This week’s Authentic Freedom Virtual Church service is LIVE! Click here: http://yourspiritualtruth.com/virtual-church/weekly-service/ to find the 18 minute service. The theme this week is “grumbling” – all the ways we are tempted to lose our faith in God. We explore this theme through the experience of the Israelite’s journey through the desert in their search for the promised land.
The Lord God said, “I have witnessed your affliction my people and have heard your cries of complaint against your oppressors, so I know well what you are suffering. Therefore, I have initiated an extraordinary Divine intervention, to rescue you from your oppressors; leading you out of the land of slavery into a good and gracious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.
Exodus 3: 7-8
Our own Burning Bush
In the coming week, you will be invited to reflect on the story of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt and their journey into the desert, in search for the “promised land.” In this reflection, we are reminded of our own invitation to exodus. As much as God’s words to the Israelites invited them to leave behind a life of slavery, so too are these God’s words for us TODAY as we suffer under the oppression of our own inner slavery. In this case, the oppression God is inviting us to escape is the slavery of fear and the specific ways in which fear has come to rule our lives. Fear imprisons us in the constant worry about how our needs are going to be met, compelling us into a relentless search for “that thing” outside of us that will make us happy – money, power, sex, fame, material possessions, love, etc. Fear makes us question our value or place in this world. Fear causes us to believe we cannot be the person we want to be/ the person God made us to be. Fear causes us to believe ourselves unworthy of love. Fear compels us to silence our voice – afraid that we will not be heard. Fear tells us we can’t possibly know God’s desires for our lives. And fear tells us that we are alone – or that we have to do it alone.
Leaving Behind Our Slavery
If we truly want to be freed of the fears that currently rule our lives, if we want to experience the freedom that God intends for us, we first need to say yes to the call. Like the Israelites, we have to take that first LEAP OF FAITH, laying down the chains that bind us and take that first step toward the promised land. And, like the Israelites, we will be tested. Moving from slavery into freedom is NOT EASY. We have to confront our fears and find effective tools for helping us move through these fears so that we can truly be free. As we diligently tend to our fears, we eventually learn that there is nothing “out there” that will satisfy the inner restlessness, longing and anxiousness that we feel, but that God alone is the satisfaction to our fear. When we turn toward God, our anxieties are calmed, and we are freed from the chains that hold us bound to the perceived security of “what we know.”
As you work with this week’s meditation practices and participate in this week’s Virtual Church Service, reflect on the power that fear holds in your own life. What is the slavery you are being invited to escape? What is the promised land you are being invited to discover? How and in what way are you being invited to find your own inner freedom?
Traversing the Divinely revealed path to our highest truth can certainly look from the outside like madness. Were Moses, Abraham, Mother Mary insane or did they take that leap of faith….and now stand as examples and inspiration for the rest of us as we search for spiritual freedom in our lives.
This has been a week defined by Divine madness, miracles and dreams of Moses. This whole Moses thing started months (in fact years) ago as the truth became more and more evident that my husband and I were being called out of the familiarity of married life into the unknown desert of divorce. I could not even begin to attempt an explanation as to how this was revealed to us (not that it is anyone’s business), and even if I did attempt an explanation, from the outside it would quite simply look like madness.
Here is where Moses comes in…..poor Moses….he was living a delightfully contented life in the desert of Midian with his wife, her family and their children, quietly tending sheep. But then that darn burning bush had to show up and startle him out of the familiarity of his desert life and remind him that while he was enjoying a peaceful life in the desert, his people (the Hebrew people) were suffering under the harsh rule of the Pharoah in Egypt. Now here is the crazy part….God told Moses it was his job to go to Egypt and lead the Hebrews out of slavery into “a good and gracious land flowing with milk and honey.” Did Moses jump to it and run off the Egypt to rescue the Jews? NO WAY JOSE’! He whined, complained, bargained and came up with every excuse in the book as to why he could not go. In the end (as is usually the case), God won the argument and Moses went off on a journey through which he was required to leave behind everything familiar, place his blind trust in God and convince a nation that they should do the same…trudging through desert and plain with no map, no compass and absolutely no destination in mind. They eventually ended up in “the promised land”, but as history proves, the drama didn’t end there.
So, I’ve been feeling a little Moses-ish these days. Of course, I have no illusions about leading a nation or crossing the “Red Sea” of Lake Winnebago, but the message that I have received that invited me on this journey is no less insane than claiming that a burning bush talked to me. All I can do is trust, and hope that God is going to show me things along the way that tell me where to go, what to do and will provide for my needs along the way. I keep looking for the fiery column by night and the cloud of smoke by day….but alas, it seems the signs of God’s guidance are a little more subtle. This is where I feel compelled to share a few miracles that I am claiming as my own personal column of smoke. And this week in particular has been a week of miracles.
Here are the miracles in a nutshell: a house within a budget that I set for myself (the current “buyers market” has helped with this!), a newly ordained contractor who is generously allowing the house that I hope to purchase to be his portfolio project which includes a HUGE discount on labor costs, approval on my loan application (this quite frankly might be the most significant of miracles!), a house inspection at a very reasonable cost, a marketing consultant that is helping me to take my business to the next level, thus providing me with the means to obtain my current income goals, a publisher that is enthusiastically taking my book, Authentic Freedom to market. I could go on, but I won’t bore you with the details. In the end, I am completely in awe over the manifestation of these miracles…most of them completely unexpected and some of them so generously given that I can only sit back in stunned silence at the magnitude of the gifts being presented to me in this journey of entering into a new life.
I am fully aware that as I leap into the abyss of unknown, that this is not only my journey. Each and every one of us at some time is invited to step more fully into our most authentic truth and into a life that is in our highest good. Most frequently, this requires a leaving behind, a letting go and a LEAP OF FAITH. We are invited to trust the message whether it is presented in the tiny whisperings of our heart….or more dramatically through our own burning bush. The good news…is that when we allow ourselves to surrender to this path AND MOST IMPORTANTLY….let go of our compulsion to control the process…..miracles, signs and wonders come to us along the way. These signs and miracles are what give us affirmation of our truth and provide for us the resources, guidance and comfort we need along the way. God doesn’t simply throw us out into the desert to figure it out for ourselves…God is always right there, leading, comforting, guiding, strengthening and even carrying us when we think we could not possibly take one more step.
So today, I invite you to examine your life for your own messages of truth:
- Where are you being invited to step more fully into your highest truth?
- How are you being led to a life that is in your highest good?
- What are the things you will need to leave behind?
- How can you be open to your own column of fire or column of smoke?
Authentic Freedom Ministries/YourSpiritualTruth