Posted by: mbpoole | July 2, 2008

Where in my World Is Immanuel?

Oh my! Maybe the question should be “Where am I not spotting Him?”

For some reason today (could it be God?) I seemed to spot Him In each person I passed. Intrigued by the reality of His image stamped in them, regardless of how marred, gnarled or polished! Curious mystery, wouldn’t you say?

His creativity is everywhere my eyes glance. How spectacular the colors of flowers and the differing shades of greens in the leaves.  Bold as well as pastels.  And the color schemes on the dogs and cats and skunks and fish… Isn’t it wonderful that Immanuel did not create in black and white? And is not color blind?

In the smell of cut grass and roses and a meal cooking in the crockpot. In the sweet whiff of honeysuckle as I pass by.  And the buzz of the fan on this hot day.

In the tinkling chimes as the breeze blows on them. And the buzz of the bee.

In His remarkable Book. And His generosity in helping me get past theology to see more of Him.

In the pages of great authors who have become mentors in their own ways. ‘Encouraging me towards love and good deeds’ as a result of intimacy with my Personal God.

In the kindness, generosity loving words and smiles of friends towards me.    And in my kind interactions with others.

In the innocence of my beautiful 4 month niece.  In her smiling eyes as she beams non-judgmentally at people she does not know.  And those she does know.

In the tender looks and timely care of mommy for her child.  In the strong arms of daddy as he tosses her giggling into the air.  And as he wraps his little girl securely as she sleeps.

In the wounded one who tearfully voices how she is wanting to live kindly rather than reactively.

In my brother’s passionate love for each of his family members.  Immanuel’s heart is poured out through his prayers and also as he exclaims the workings of God.  In his compassion for those who have hurt him the deepest and maligned his reputation. As he lives out the verse “Bless those who curse you. Do good to those who spitefully use you.” As he is the answer to our prayer “May Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth…”

In the story line of history that only He could write.  ‘Happenstance’ meetings with people who are passionate to bring help to Nigeria, working in the same city that my parents were in when I was born. People who are investing into the Bible college my dad was headmaster of.  And into the hospital that was begun by missionary friends and parents of our classmate.  In the opening of an orphanage and their desire for my help in offering training to the staff.  In the likelihood that both my brother and I might end up where we started life together- following in the footsteps of our parents!

So sweetly placed are His thumbprints in the worlds of pain of the people I love.

In prayer sessions as He comes into the evil done rather than distancing Himself.  As He tenderly paces the speed of processing so as to not overwhelm the one He loves. As He declares His anger at the abuse, and  loves the ‘unlovely’. As He gently brings truth to the false misperceptions of realities. As He gives guidance,

As He guides my thoughts as I think in His presence… bringing me towards loving Him more.

Posted by: mbpoole | June 14, 2008

ongoing life

Time has whirled by- at times being aware that life is tentative.  Here is a summary update.

But currently- my uncle Bud is back home.  I am happy to report that he is even grouchy with having to be in ‘down’ and taking it easy.   A sign of movement towards health.

And the adoption of the little boy is still looking like it is going to happen.  There have been 4 big disappointments, so the excitement is pregnant with joy!   Family is growing!

My life is enriched.

It is not time for me to disclose details, but life has also included a grenade exploding resulting in horrid devastation to those I love.

As I walk around with a pit in my gut, I am aware of an inner steadiness and gratitude.   How remarkable that our God has already worked out details in life that provided an environment for me to grow personally as well as in my ‘counseling’ field – preparing me to be able to walk through the valley of this shadow of death with family.   I have a confidence that our Good Shepherd is also with us and His goodness and mercy are following closely on our heels, leading in ways that direct all of us to live increasingly in the sustaining intimacy He offers.

Posted by: mbpoole | May 27, 2008

The Presence of Eternity

My site would not open up so I did not get to write yesterday. But…

Yesterday was the 1st aniversary of my mom’s homegoing.  Yep. She has been on the other side of life’s dimension a full year!   With our incomprehensible God!  With my dad and so many others who are special to her.   Including dear Zachi, her grandson who would was born 7 years ago this past  Sat.

Eternity has also been grabbing attention through the near death of an uncle who is very special to me.  Uncle Bud.

My brother, Jim, traveled to South Carolina with 5 year old Lucas to visit Uncle Bud, Aunt Ann, and cousins Jan and Leroy last week-end.  Uncle Bud seemed to be doing just fine other than signs of becoming elderly.  He taught Lucas how to ‘cast a line’ fishing and took him on tractor rides around the big yard.  The video clips show a boy who is ‘in heaven’.   Lucas gladly accepts uncle Bud’s claims on him as a grandson.  Yay for Papa Bud!

Then life took a sharp turn and Uncle Bud is hospitalized with internal bleeding.  Without going into the ups and downs, Fri. night the drs. predicted he had only a couple hours to live.

For certain, there were many of us who were asking our Father for the favor of more time with Bud.  For there to be a turnaround.   And to all our amazement- our Father answered this request with an ‘OK’ and I’m sure a big smile.

Bud is still in intensive care with some complications, but the bleeding has disappeared (?!) and there are encouraging signs from the perspectives of the doctors.  Only God!

Yes, LIFE is in the air.   Another reason we were asking God for the favor of more time on this side of eternity is that Uncle Bud is going to become a grandfather the end of next month!  Jan and Leroy are adopting a little bundle of Boy-Joy!

More life is being displayed on this dimension of eternity- that will go on   forever!

Posted by: mbpoole | May 7, 2008

Being Missed by a Loving Father

My client is angrily in distress.
Her family is a ‘poster child’ of dysfunction, cruelty towards each other and the ‘cruel ones’ being the ones that ‘get the good stuff’ in life. What is it with this? Where is justice?
She is the one who picked up the pieces, stayed responsible, cared for the others, acted generously… and didn’t even get the ‘short end of the stick’. She got injustice!
And she is angry. Makes sense to me!
I so appreciate her authenticity! She has been shot down and judged by expressing her struggles. Yet she risked voicing it again!

Then… She brought up the parable of the ‘prodigal son’. “It would have been just fine if it ended with the return of the prodigal. With his being welcomed back into the love of the Father! But nothing is fair about how the elder son was treated! The Father didn’t even take time to call the elder son from the field to the party! How is that ok in how the Father treated this son?
So what if everything the Father had was already his? What about being recognized and appreciated for how hard he had worked and how responsible he had been all these years?! What good did it do him to be so responsible?!”

I felt myself ‘jarred’ with these statements being voiced. My initial reaction was a desire to give her some answer to keep her from feeling so outraged at the Father. We are not ‘suppose’ to be angry at the Loving Father! We are ‘suppose’ to be humbled by the younger son’s self-righteousness.
I’m glad that I was able to keep my mouth shut!

It certainly would have done her no good. She knows all the ‘right answers’.
And if I set aside my urgency to ‘set her right’, I must admit that these sentiments sneak into my own perspective. I just have not voiced it so clearly. But don’t I believe that my ‘being responsible and ‘good’ should result in my being appreciated by God as well as others? ‘Shouldn’t’ my good works get me some kind of credit?

I was able to stay connected with her in this turmoil. I was aware that my words would not only be impotent in bringing her out of her distress, but only shame her for feeling what she does. I was aware that I did not need to ‘stand up in defense of God’. I was aware that her struggle was in actuality mine to some degree.
Both of us would need to hear from God!

As I soaked in the tub this evening I brought this ‘complaint’ to God. As I took myself into the position of the elder son and voiced the unfairness of being ‘taken for granted’ and unappreciated- I sensed the Father sadly say to me “Why were you out in the field working so hard? I was sad you were not here with me to know what was happening. I did not send you there or expect you to be there. I have been wanting you to be here at home with me. I HAVE BEEN MISSING YOU as much as I have been missing my other child who had run far from home. Please come be with me and enjoy the gifts of my love!”

Wow! God misses me when I am focused on being responsible and ‘good’ more than relaxing in His infinite love. His love which does not shift whether I am out ‘sinning’ or ‘living responsibly’.

I have the freedom to take a break from ‘working’ and be in the Father’s love, as well as the freedom to come to the Father when I have screwed up and gotten myself into a desperate mess!
God wants me close to Him!

Posted by: mbpoole | April 23, 2008

More Powerful- Fear or Love?

DUE TO CONFIDENTIALITY ISSUES,  I DECIDED TO DELETE THE BEGINNING OF THIS BLOG.   BUT BELOW IS MY PROCESSING DUE TO AN INTERACTION WITH A CLIENT…

I am grateful that I do not live out of such toment, confusion and disorientation!

And yet, to what degree do I live out of a place of fear? I can talk the talk of God’s great unconditional love. Yet lurking within are my doubts as to how He is disappointed in me. And that ‘low grade fever’ of belief that He does not love me as much as others- or He would prove it by (my list could be lengthy). I have a soul-infection that leads me towards some degree of death.

I do not live with the overwhelming certainty that NOTHING can seperate me from His love. That if He was willing to give up His own life in ways that my mind has not begun to truly grasp, that He is willing to give me all I need for life and godliness.

That if I am unable to keep somone from misunderstanding me and taking something personally- that I am not diminished in His enjoyment of me.

That if I do not have the energy to clean my house, fix healthy meals, write more blogs… that He still is very pleased to be with me.

That if my mind is too tired to concentrate on important tasks I want to get done, He is not less delighted in me.

If I make mistakes in figuring out finances, He is not looking at me with disdain for ‘being irresponsible’.

If I am unable to get my mind to ‘be still and know that He is God’, that He is still a God who claims me as His friend.

So I continue in my feeble attempts to live well. I do get a few more things accomplished than I would if I didn’t care how I am recieved in relationships, including His.

And yet, in the big scheme of things- I am still living ‘substandard’. I am disappointed in myself, so ‘of course He is too’. He knows even better than I do of my screw-ups.

Oh God, it will be in your love that I am refreshed. It will be in an increased awareness of your delight in me that I will experience strengthening joy. It will be in your joy over me that I will experience your ‘wind beneath my wings’. It will be as I come to you that I will find rest.

The process may be slower and less dramatic, but the change more integrated into my being. More substantial. Move life giving.

Please, Lord, have mercy. Help me to break through the inner ‘walls’ I have up – to enter into your love. To know the heights, depths, length and breadth of your love.

Posted by: mbpoole | April 17, 2008

Wednesday night ‘cooking class’

I’m the one ‘being cooked’. In the heat. Grilled and simmered. I wonder what the flavor will be as well as ‘how well done’ I’ll get.

DUE TO CONFIDENTIALITY ISSUES,  I AM DELETING MOST OF THIS BLOG.

BUT THE HEAT STAYS ON IN MY LIFE. HOPEFULLY I AM BECOMING MORE APPROPRIATELY SEASONED.

Sigh! That is the yelling out of MY fear of conflict, awkwardness, powerlessness … Yep, I am in a hot spot.

It amazes me how our Jesus was so capable of staying grounded in truth and kindness while he had so many around him who were disgruntled and challenging of him… How did he do that? How did he grow the capacity and skill to be such a man?

There needs to be some more ‘cooking’ done to get me more purified and ‘well done’ . I need to grow in my own sense of security. In my own capacity to be in conflict and live in ways that I am pleased with myself. To be able to live out more of what i so greatly admire and appreciate in Jesus. To develop an even greater spontaneous depth so that I will fully welcome the ‘strangers, wounded, and ‘unloveable’ even when it will be messy.

Other vital issues are heating up and simmering within me. But it is time for me to take this lady to bed, so that story will have to wait for another time. I do hope I find/ make time to capture it soon.

Posted by: mbpoole | April 17, 2008

WELCOME! PLEASE COME ON IN!

WELCOME! ( It is now a week or more since I wrote and thought I had posted this. But I stumbled upon it in my draft box. ??? Oh to be technically capable! So- now rather than never- here you have it…)

I am finding my mind drifting often by things I read in the books I mentioned, so decided to include the titles here again in my first blog.

Hope some of you read them and find them to be better than soaking in a spa!

(By the way, I’ve been told that you can download the books by Wayne Jacobsen off his website.)

I just finished listening to a ‘video’ of Wayne Jacobsen that I think you might enjoy. My friend, Jackie, sent me the link this morning. It’s on www.lifestream.org. – called Sharing the Father’s Affection.
What a refreshing way to end my day! With the God I am getting to know… in contrast to the ‘one’ that I was introduced to at boarding school as a child!

Some books that I have read/ am reading/ am pondering are
The Shack– by William Young. A refreshing entrance into the incomprehensible relationship with our Immanuel and the other two Persons of the Threesome.

So You Don’t Want to Go To Church Anymore– by Wayne Jacobsen. It resonated with my desire to relate with our God rather than to live out ‘rules and expectations’ that we so often are guided by in our ‘christian’ world.

He Loves Me- by Wayne Jacobsen. Yep! He does. And circumstances are not the determining factor of proof! Wayne does a great job of leading us to grasping the reality of God’s love – not based on our interpretations of life circumstances or how much we are living in the ‘favor factor’ of God. You’ll have to read it to ‘see’.

All from here and now.
See you there
Maribeth

Posted by: mbpoole | April 11, 2008

Lord, Save Us From Your Followers

This morning as I was getting ready for my day, I had the Today Show playing in the living room. Matt Lauer was interviewing someone by the name of Dan Merchant about his book, Lord, Save Us From Your Followers.

He made the statement, “ People are more comfortable being ‘right’ than in doing the hard thing of loving others.”

I have found this to be tragically true! A cause of so much dissension, broken hearts, broken relationships…

Recalling my life’s history, I am sad to say that I see it as true in my own life more than I want to admit.

Lord, have mercy!

And please help me grow up more and more into the likeness of my Eternal Father and Brother and Spirit!

ps. anyone know of this book that can give me a review?

Posted by: mbpoole | March 13, 2008

More than a big brother. My friend.

It’s my brother’s birthday on the 14th.  A few minutes from now.

I never felt close to him growing up.  For many reasons.  We grew up in a ‘dismissive’ family and environment.  Living at a boarding school, with the boys in one dorm and the gilrs in another didn’t help. 
In some ways it didn’t bother me.  It was all I knew. 
Yet at a deeper level I was longing for closeness.  For a big brother.   It was probably about 20 years ago I got in touch with this longing and began voicing it to God.  Not quite believing we would ever become good friends.
God took the longing of my heart seriously and has been interacting in our histories in ways that has resulted in our connecting at levels of our hearts and souls. More than what I imagined or hoped for.

As I stated in yesterday’s entry, he is a man whom I can look up to. Respect.   Someone whose life  automatically inspires me to reach towards living in manner that is loving, gracious, generous and compassionate…

I’m still puzzled as to how he has a grown into the man he is.  I cannot recollect anyone in our childhood that displayed an example of how he is resonding now to life.  To a difficult (that is putting it blandly!) life situation!   
Jim’s marriage is coming to an end.  Not in an amiacable way!  To put some of it into words would leave you stunned and inwardly demanding justice and righteousness!   But I am going to resist breaking confidence and telling his story which is not mine to tell.

So, how do I share some of what I am experiencing as to how his responses in life are ‘nudges’ pushing me towards more love and good deeds?

Not wanting to paint a picture that is overly slanted,  I must state that he is able to voice his hurt, frustration, confusion, grief…   He is appropriately dissatisfied with the messy and cruel destruction of his hopes and dreams.  He is in touch with the emotions that come with the deceit, betrayal, loss…   He voices how he wishes he could manage his anger in more calm interactions.  Although I am aware of how amazingly well he is doing in the context of all the ‘shit’ flying into his face,  he is not able to be completely pleased with himself in that he is relating in a ‘business’ manner and from a braced/guarded place.  He desires being a kind and generous and loving man-  regardless of the situation.

Jim is a wonderful ‘case study’ of what it is like to live out of the heart that Jesus designed in him.  It flys contrary to a typical reaction that most of us would have.   That I do have.
I think the verse of ‘bless your enemies.  do good to those who despitefully use you’. is a great ideal to shoot towards.   I have been pleased with myself when I have been able to authentically ask God to bless a person whom I feel wronged by.   I can’t say that I have been the answer to that prayer very often though.   
And now I get the example of what it could look like when one lives out that kind of blessing and really does walk the extra mile!

Like there are the times after an ugly, escalated interaction with his wife- and his 5 year old son being present.   After being horridly shamed,  falsely accused…    he comforts his son with an explanation that  ‘mommy  is upset now since Zachi has died, and she needs extra hugs and kisses’. (Their 6 year old son has been energetically alive in heaven since the end of last year.)  Rather than using her outburst as a justification to put her down,  he takes the little guy out to buy flowers for his mommy!

While being bad-mouthed to others,  Jim consistently voices respect, appreciation for what a great mother she has been for over 6 years to their special needs son.  He holds her up with honor! 

When most of us would encourage him to fight for his rights,  he is more concerned with his character and with the best interest of his 5 year old.

Those who know me know how understanding the brain is a passion of mine.   In my times of teaching and with clients, we look at how the back parts of our brains manage the 6 big negative emotions. When we have been pushed to the limits, we typically react defensively with a focus to keep ourselves safe and protect our rights.  If we are able to regulate these intense emotions well, then we are able to use the front part of our brains and live out the values that we find most important to us.   
We are able to be kind, gracious, generous, voice truth in a relational manner, stand firm for justice and righteousness … All in a manner that continues to enhance relationships.  Or at least create an environment that is conducive to a healthy relationship regardless of whether or not the other person responds. 

Jim, my brother, is doing remarkably well in displaying who he truly is -even in the situations that  generate anger, pain, fear, powerlessness, despair, hopelessness…

What a refreshingly remarkable blend of characteristics that are part of our God!  Interwoven into the heart  fabric of Jim.  He is growing up into the fullnes of his true design and identity – designed before the beginning of time.  He is bringing life into places of destruction.

Our Creator God did a remarkable job in putting together the person of James W. Poole!  God deserves to get lots of credit.   Jim is certainly worth being celebrated!   

And I am doing just that!   

Posted by: mbpoole | March 12, 2008

God gave me the gift of a wonderful brother and friend!

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jims_52nd_sendoutcard.jpg

My Brother, Jim

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