Friday, July 21, 2023

The Paperwhite by Jen Hunt

An Evernote audio dictation journal, I think in 12/2018:

Paperwhite was what I left on the credenza at MVR on the 11/30 after Myrna had betrayed me (though not because of that, just same timing). I had purchased them at Walmart on the way there, to convey condolences for their recent loss of loved ones, also as a sort of white flag, to show that despite Myrna behaving unprofessionally in mentioning moot points in group meetings with others, I intended to treat them all warmly. Paperwhite also expresses the anxiety of blank page I have felt for many years as a writer, plus the calm of white space I am learning, and the beautify scent the flower carries once bloomed. Also, they bloom very quickly in just a vase of water, and shoot very tall. Just light and warmth and timing, which has parallels to my own life.


Thoughts on wounds from enemies can be trusted:

I used to think that the worst thing in the world would be someone to inadvertently be hurt by something that I said that I didn’t mean to hurt them. In the process I became afraid of sharing my true self out of fear their misunderstandings would not being able to be understood by others would hurt them. Now I am freer and I think that I am willing to take the risk to be vulnerable and be misunderstood than keep quiet and never feel like I’ve been connected with people at all.

I am a work in process and I am okay with that. Speaking about the proverbs where it says the wounds of a friend can be trusted and God showed me that even the wounds of an enemy can be trusted because God is God over the enemy too and nothing that comes to us doesn’t go through his fingers first. He is not the agent of evil, but he allows it because it does work good. It works good in my life. It refines me. Somebody intending evil can even be saying something true that I would miss, if they didn’t say it. And I am willing to take that risk to understand --to try to understand --another human being, even if that takes risk.

One thing I need to think through is… how in a fallen world, where everyone is a sinner, has been sinned against, and is capable of wounding, even us as victims, how can we ever get along? I don’t think there is a way apart from the power of an outside source and I know that that is God in Jesus Christ. He is showing me that so clearly through what happened that totally took me by surprise, but it didn’t take him by surprise. I cannot believe how carefully I notice every wound that was meant for evil was used for good. I am more aware of understanding certain passages such as it is when I am weak than I am strong. Because how can we understand God’s strength unless we know we are weak. And when I know I am weak, I don’t trust in myself and then I go to the better source, which is God for that strength as a Christian because the Holy Spirit prompts me to do that and I am seeing how any, I am understanding how …there is a third, I think we’ve talked about this before, about three births, I’ve heard this saying with when somebody becomes a Christian, they are born into love of God, and love of the church family and love of the Bible, or is it love of the self? I don’t remember love of self? I don’t remember exactly how that goes. But I also believe is true, that we are born to love and to love for …I don’t know…growth? Or pain, not to be masochistic, but…or do I mean self or truth? There is a lot of things we are born into. I think what God finally wants us is …to be born into (sigh), love of our imperfections in a way (?), to beauty, and beauty can be found in imperfections, as somebody was sharing in group today about the quilt.

Lord, there’s so much to be learning and right now I thank you for slowing me down. [pause] I thank you for slowing me down however you choose. It’s been in a way I didn’t want, through the wounds of a friend  [slight laugh]…no!...through the wounds of an enemy! I think it’s also true that the wounds of an enemy can be trusted because God made our enemies, too. And is bigger than them.


How I Have Been Blessed by the Triune God in the last 24 hours

I think I remembered what it was…it was the fourth or was it third love we are born into is love of the world, even unbelievers and I laugh because I don’t know if I could say when I was a new Christian that I loved unbelievers? I think I pitied them, felt sorry for them that maybe I would catch their unbelief, but I [long pause] I don’t feel that way anymore. I think today that prophet that people quote that had been scary to me that my sister and brother in law had included the reading from it in their wedding ceremony, the one about Kahlil Gibran? I can’t even say it right, I had to ask others to tell me it in group, [yeah]…it’s about love is a two-columned thing, and I am not afraid of that prophet or quote unquote prophet, I don’t believe he’s truly God’s messenger as others might, I don’t know much about that, but I do believe that there’s elements of truth in many people and I’m not saying that to equivocate or that Jesus is only on the same level as that, but that he made those people too, the ones that I used to be afraid of, the ones who are broken.

And I think I was afraid of them because I was afraid of my own brokenness. I knew Jesus forgave my sins, {and wants to keep me from sin—I am infinitely less offended/annoyed now, the Infinite one has started to show me how} but I didn’t really believe that he could take care of my brokenness, I guess, and now I do. Now I see that that is the only way to be before him, I don’t have a choice, because I am broken and I now know that my brokenness doesn’t scare God; God [light laugh] loves broken people. I went to the meeting today [ACA] without washing my face, putting my makeup on, brushing my…[short pause] I might have brushed my teeth. Did I? I might have had a little breakfast. I had my pajamas on. I put my boots on and a coat [sounding joyful and free] on, grabbed my purse and I went out the door. And you know I’m laughing now, because maybe somebody looking at me wouldn’t even know? Or maybe somebody else in the store might think “oh, there’s that kook!”; I had no idea. It didn’t even cross my mind to think about it [incredulous]! And I love that freedom, because when I’m not thinking about that, then I can notice the checkout person and make a little small talk *{look up what the announcer said}…talk with them about how much I liked the announcement that went over, like it was like something about welcome smart shoppers or savvy shoppers or frugal shoppers, it was something like that…that caught me off-guard that I didn’t expect to hear, that was as boring as “welcome shoppers” and in the state that I was in just delighted me.

And you know what I’m thinking is a blessing right now? Is a device that can record me talking in my talking in my truest self that I have and because it’s a device, I can play it back to myself.  I can also …it’s can be a better listener than family members, sometimes. And I don’t mean that to fault them, because I’m not a good listener either, a lot of the time [and I am often so hard to listen to and talk so much of the time; it must be hard to do that for me all the time.

Oh, my gosh, I feel like I’ve just all of a sudden become Mister Rogers in a female form/body [laughs quietly to myself].


[Cal: nobody loves me…Mom: son the electric throw will keep you warm down there in the basement until these poems are born. Son, turn that television quieter, this isn’t time to joke. If you do not I will write that you’re a naughty little bloke]. 


And there’s so many thoughts that God is showing me that are good and true and like making scripture come alive in my heart. It’s like he the breath prayer I am praying, “Rabboni , I am listening” is pause…it’s [oh there was something that is just about always at the…I’ll just leave it there for now. I, I’m not depressed, I’m amazingly…I’m.. Godstruck. I am shaken up but like it’s the right way, like the act of being shaken up has restored me [sounding surprised] to myself. I love God that he can do that. I think it’s so funny that I’m actually, [at least] to me I’m sounding sane right now, when normally with my medication I can be talking too fast when I…and the words don’t come out like as well as I want them to writing. But I feel God’s hand on my chest as if it’s a weighted blanket they sell now to calm people and the words are coming out like I mean them in my truest self with his help-- I’m not saying the smarts come from me—And I feel like God is listening because God, because I can’t talk, but now I feel like I totally could talk. I feel like I could be a radio show host [I think I meant guest speaker]. I’m not saying that to boast, but like it’s funny I never thought of myself as having any gift in speaking at all [and all my spoken words have seemed to make no expanding ring at all; seem to have been too soft and impact small] so now I’m learning that the gift of the wounds, but in Jesus hand healing me, I’m healing myself by God’s help, I’m letting him heal me and I’m also healing for others, I hope one day. I don’t have to just wait to write it, I may be able to sync it all so that it’s in real time, so that my words and my heart spot are in sync and my actions and how it comes across [at least that is a possibility now]

[I have been] like in those movies where the verbage isn’t coming with the actions, but today it is and for that I’m grateful. I haven’t slept well last night, or much today, or eaten much, except for the French toast [which I was so glad to remember I had frozen gluten free for me], but I don’t know what this all means, I just only know the next step. It’s not because I’m depressed and I can’t emotionally take the next step, it’s like my body physically has been slowed down [and I said that to Calvin] and that can really just mean it’s a grace. These are seasons of the soul or of emotions that are healthy in a normal person to have those fluctuations and I’m okay with that. I’m okay with being a little bit off schedule today because God doesn’t need me to be on a schedule to be [light laugh] healed. God isn’t thwarted by my upset schedule and what a blessing it is to be with other people in a group some of them who are believers and some of them who say they’re not or who may be one day (I don’t give up on people [someone else in group said that today]. Every one of them had some truth to share and it was like [pause]  a stained glass window [or one of those klitchy ceramic colored light Christmas trees you see on shelves this time of year]or a glittering jewel…so…if that’s the case with this motley crew, I can’t even imagine what it will look like in heaven when we are completely renewed, but I want everybody on earth to know that joy, completeness, beauty, love, acceptance, grace, belonging, thriving, and serving and it all goes together. I don’t have the energy and the time to share it all now, but I feel like a little pinhole --and that’s all God [ever or really] needs—of heaven has been opened for a moment for me to sense, I don’t even say I see it, but I can sense it in my heart and I’m grateful because it means I’m alive and I’m known and God knows my name. And he’s there and he hasn’t forgotten me. I [don’t really think really] I’ve ever thought God had forgotten me, I might not have understood him, but it’s impossible for me to think about the last 24 hours and not think an all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful, not just powerful, but a power that is in control, I guess the word would be sovereign, God is here.


Oh, Lord Jesus, I know you and that is all…I…need. That is enough [pause]. I want my Christmas season to be simple. [inner gasp or groan] as simple as a baby in a manger with straw, because a manger is where, where animals like sheep feed. And I am a sheep, but there’s one thing I know, and that is that Jesus leaves…would leave the ninety-nine—not that he’s negligent, he’s gonna leave them so that [or and then] they get lost, he would [only, of course], leave them at the right time. The sense is not that he’s left the ninety-nine, but that he is so in love with me, with each of us, that it would be inconceivable [voice breaking] for him and how much he loves us to die for us and wants to care for us, how much how impossible it would be for him to not want to go and find us when we are lost…from him.

I don’t think that when we are lost we [necessarily] know it. We can be thinking we are anything but lost and we can be lost. And it’s not that we are dumb, less righteous than others [although there’s truly none righteous in his eyes, no not one] but that we are—it is impossible for us to know our true condition apart from God revealing it to us. And the way I know God is that [besides when I was four or five him telling me to get the book off the cupboard shelf and open it on my bed so it could breathe…such a quaint and quiet way to meet a girl as young as me. And I truly think I thought that’s what it meant it was God-breathed—is that] there is nothing he would not do to make his love for us and our condition known and do so in the gentlest most tiny--most small, because small is big to him—one out of ninety-nine sheep? That’s [quite] a low percentage, but my Lord,  and my Savior is not about percentages, he is about people.  And because he is about people, especially people who are lost and don’t know it, he is able to come up with the most incredible, inconceivably brilliant plan lovingly planned from the beginning of time for saving the world. He, knowing it could not be done any other way, [here a ping from a text comes in and rings like a loud comet through my ear’s sky] allowed evil to crucify him for me and for you. And I know Christmas is often a sad time of year for me for the very reason that it is such a contrast, it is such a lie that it automatically brings me closer to Jesus. It usually does the opposite. But I also believe that however messy and rushed and distracted and empty and wasted and squandered Christmas days can be, despite best intentions, I believe that [gasp] my God is that much bigger that that even that is not even the smallest the big? [no] -the smallest problem for him, I should say…

He is not bounded in bondage other [or swaddled or gagged] other than any way he chooses to be wrapped for our sakes, to the problems of this world, he is that much bigger and yet he is that much bigger, he is able to be big in a small insignificant [gasp and broken-voiced] beautifully… backward… opposite… thumb-your-nose-at-the-world’s-economy…perfect way.

He entered imperfection perfectly. I can’t even be imperfect perfectly. Sometimes I do just good enough that I confuse myself and forget who I am and think that I might be possibly able to do something without God’s help. [though I’m not so much as good at that as kelp] That’s how messed up I am. I am so messed up that I can’t even mess up perfectly. I go all over the road. [I later learn my husband had a car spin around just in front of him from a ten car pile up, but did not so much as get a hair split on the road].

I have never been diagnosed with bipolar, II or I, or anything.* At times I’ve wondered, [laugh] times like these, like four times a year, when I feel God’s presence so clearly that it’s a clear space, but [laugh again] despite that, [uh where was I going with that?] Despite that, I’m not worried. I’m not worried because my security, my significance, my future, my inheritance, my even [exhale] even my fruit doesn’t at all depend on me. And I can promise you right now that Jen in her own strength could not say a single whisper of what I’ve said today. It is God who has enabled me to see this [this way]. He knows I have longed to grow in Christlikeness and I have been waiting, often impatiently, and for whatever reason he is allowing me to experience [breathing in through my partially blocked nose]…what’s the word? The Holy Spirit in a thinner space three in one God and I, I would not trade it for anything.

The person that hurt me, I don’t now know if they did mean it. I definitely know that they are not the enemy; I’ve always known that. And that is why I know this sounds impossible and boasting, but I have dug down in myself and really the best that I can try to see if I harbor bitterness against this person and I don’t, and that is only from Christ, because I persevere perfectly [well at least perfectly as anything else I do] that is a gift of mine. And I [know] I can persevere in bearing a grudge as well as loving. I don’t say that proudly, but I say that as I amend to my friend and my others that I know who aren’t yet friends. And I like what somebody said today, that we don’t give up on anybody. That’s the way I want to be. Not giving up on anybody.

I don’t say that to say I have to take the intentionally or accept all the pain that others bring my way, or that I can never protect myself. But what I’m saying is that the part of me that as a child maybe  didn’t , because my parents were really good parents. They were messed up, in so many ways, but they were so kind and I don’t mean spoiling kind, but just treasures. [beginning to cry]. They were a gift that I don’t think it would have been possible to realize as a kid, but I do see that now. And that gift had a defect, if you will, of they did not teach me, I guess, if my sister who was older, they protected me and who just seemed to have it out for me, I have never understood why, they…they protected me I guess in a sense, but I, I, did not learn the skills there, because it was a safe house maybe, I don’t know maybe, to protect myself when I am vulnerable…and I don’t need to take the blow, and actually Satan through them would be the only explanation, because I don’t believe anyone can…can…can believe as God made us, we are as responsible, I don’t mean to say we are not responsible, I believe that the part of us that is most true that God …wants to that God wants to restore[ redeem] [!] and bring into perfect love is a result of  us as much as satan, the forces of evil. And so when I look at someone that is hurting or has hurt me, I…think that it I think that it helps me to not believe that they…I guess, [helps me to] forgive them for whatever it is, because I believe that, I guess that I [tend to] believe the best about people to a fault and I am learning about phrases like, uh…glutton for punishment…or, oh the rest are escaping me. Well, in verses like well, like I shared before, when I am weak, then I am strong, and I am stronger. I’ve been trying to be careful so as not to mislead people that I’m being overly dramatic because the truth is this pain that I’ve gone through from an unexpected experience has been worked out for good. And what I’m feeling as I’m crying isn’t really sadness, no, well, it’s not despair in the least, it’s like the most  I can’t…the verse about struck down and not destroyed and all that passage…which I have a bad memory, so it’s not all coming to me, that whole…that whole passage is clearer to me. And so because of that, I’m unbelievably grateful for this. And I want to take whatever time I need to take so that I don’t forget this lesson. I don’t want to punish myself to say oh, I have to take so much time, must learn this lesson so bad. I don’t have to learn it so bad. I just thought of a word…I don’t know if it’s a word, sometimes we use the it’s opposite, ruthlessly, like when we say ruthlessly honest with myself, but then I thought I don’t [have to do that] but I want to be [heal] ruthfully [truthfully] honest with myself. I know I can drag myself ruthless through the mud more than I drag through anyone else.

Oh my goodness, Lord. I praise you. I bless you for your kindness and your goodness to me all the time. Especially in my darkest feelings about Christmas when it seems the furthest thing from Emmanuel, God with us. Yet, even then you are with us. You’ve used people. People that have hurt me. People that are just in or sharing their own stories and just being vulnerable enough to share, you’ve used the Jan Johnson study online. You’ve used books you’ve prompted me to read even before I knew what was coming. You gave me some sort of sense that I needed to prepare, even though I didn’t know what. Even with reducing the clutter in my house, reading a Cozy Minimalist book, seems like it’s been a prompting that you’ve given me for this time. And I want to take this time and honor it, God. Please allow me to value you enough …to not be afraid that if I take this time that I need somehow you won’t take care of me, or my family or my loved ones. Lord, you know I wouldn’t want to leave my job, and I don’t really think I’m in jeopardy of that, but all I can say is I don’t care if I don’t have to lay it down.

I can’t remember the last time I spent 34 minutes of being able to share [thank you for making room beside your chair] and feel accepted. And I’m not alone with myself.

O Lord, you are wise. You had me open Psalm 17 in The Message version when I was looking for Psalm 22. I’ve been listening to those as well as our passages on John in church, but it was that passage that version that most spoke to me in the middle of the night. You do that.

And David, when he was sad, or struck or blindsided, he wrote poetry. [!] And you helped me write a rough draft of a poem this morning and be able to share that at [ACA] group, even though I only had thirty minutes (I meant to take fifteen minutes, but I got in late and was wearing pajamas. [smiling to myself]. How amazing is that.

I love you, Lord.


* A couple years later, I was.