A Journey – From Isolation to Intimacy: Communing with God
by Judy Hicks
Forming Me – How’d That Happen?
Regardless of where we are born, those who first touch us, ultimately teach, lead, guide and shape us. We learn through words, tones, gestures, facial expressions, and body postures how to exist and to defend. We learn to defend opinions and viewpoints of those with influence over us. We conclude from what we see and hear, who is right and who is wrong, who is smart and who is stupid, who is strong and who is weak. We learn how to bully and how to be a victim. We learn how to manipulate and how to lie. We learn how to blame and how to argue. We learn whether there is ‘enough’ for us or not. We learn if grown- ups are trustworthy and if they are not. We learn how to keep our mouths shut and keep secrets when we or someone we care about is threatened. We learn to run our mouths because we can. Then we create messes. We continue to go round and around that mountain and call it life.
We decide if we are good enough or not. We decide if others are good or bad. We use these opinions to make decisions that shape every area of our lives.
Each of these decisions has millions of sensory reactions connected to them. Each of these sensory reactions become a memory and because there are so many and they come at us so quickly, most of the thoughts and emotions just mesh and become, ‘Me’ or ‘You’. We are unaware of how consistently these memories replay and determine outcomes. Through this process we become – ‘Me’.
We make the decisions that frame our self-image before we reach age five. We live and act them out moment by moment.
When challenged by others, we defend our early-made decisions. It is often much later in life that we become aware of and examine these decisions.
As we reflect on our life we discover that many of our early decisions were not based on truth and certainly didn’t make things good in our lives. Most of the decisions were man made, not God.
Failures in relationships are often a result of reacting from the influence of these early decisions with no conscious awareness. Yet, this is the process shaping us and what was shaped becomes ‘Me’. What we call ‘our life’ is this unfolding process.
We repeat our original shaping or we decide to see ourselves as God intends for us to be and allow Him to remake and remold us.
This book offers many opportunities to engage in your personal process to know God intimately. Throughout each chapter Prayoems or ContePrayoems are included. They are a God inspired tool that helped me to uncover, discover and experience God’s intimacy and presence in new and greater measures. I pray they speak to your life and you are able to allow something from each one to open doors in your heart. They contain the keys to a peace that passes all understanding.
I found when I read them out loud and really listen; they touch my spirit and are stored in my heart rather than just downloaded into a file in my brain. Try it. You may be surprised at what your heart hears. And what Holy Spirit leads you to understand.
Who and What Defines Me?
Who defines me?
Who gets to say who I am?
Who gets to point the direction I go?
Who gets to determine the things that I know? Yes, who?
That day I began, so tiny, so small That day I was planted against that wall The day Mom became my source That day of this world, became my course That day!
And during that time my brain did form Little did I know it would become my norm. Little did I know the patterns and paths Little did I know those ways would last And become ‘Me’
My first glimpse outside, they spanked me, I cried. Fear and panic, that – then defined me. Strange place, all alone, not at all like I’d known Cold, naked and fighting to be.
The pathway of life to which I soon found Depended a lot on who was around Were they receptive to the needs I had? Did I please them enough or was I just bad? Searching!
Points to Ponder: (Reflect on the message of “Who and what defines you”)
Who from your past has shaped you?
What early decisions are you still living out each day?
What are the situations or circumstances that are currently defining you?
Life Story –
Life Till Ten and Its Chaos
I grew up in a small community of only 2000 people and in a house of hard working parents. During the 1950’s my father built our house. He had little experience in construction but had a strong determination to provide for his family of seven. My mom married at 17 and had five kids before she was 23. She had little training or example on how to cook or how to raise and nurture her kids. She, as did my dad, had a commitment to do the best they could.
This was the time before credit cards, fast food restaurants, and laundromats.
We learned how to garden, clean, preserve foods, and wait till there was a way to get what we needed. The underlying lesson was that you had to work if you wanted anything in life. We learned how to work hard. There was little down time for play, in our family. Our home environment was continually loud, strained, and stressed. Sometimes my dad worked three jobs just to keep food on the table while my mom struggled to make ends meet.
We had lots of kids in the neighborhood and continual games going on. It was a time where all were included. Looking from the outside, it seemed a safe place to live. However, at age 5 some things so terrifying happened to me and changed my perception and experience of safety and trust forever. Through those experiences with people I thought I could trust, I remember deciding that I would never trust again. I would never ask anyone to help me again. I would learn to depend on me. This early decision shaped my life for decades. This decision is not uncommon and often hidden in our hearts.
Those incidences and the threats following, formed a wall of terror in me. I believed it was safer to keep that all a secret forever, until, one summer when I was 10. That summer I attended Bible school near my home. There was a large picture of Jesus on the wall. All the people in charge seemed to know much about Him. At some point, they asked if I wanted to take Him into my heart. Well, in my mind, I wondered how He would fit into this little broken heart and if he could fix what was wrong with me. I wondered if there was a way to replace the pain and hopelessness and desperation I felt.
I figured I had nothing to lose, so I said yes. I knew anything had to be better than the pain and secrets with which I was living.
During the next few moments as I closed my eyes, I felt something I had never experienced before. It flowed deep in my mind and heart. I knew at that moment I experienced a peace and a comfort that I had never known. I felt consumed by an unfamiliar feeling. I knew I belonged, I knew I wasn’t broken. I didn’t know at that time what to call that emotion but I just knew it was real and full of peace and kindness.
Though I had no way to understand what was happening, I had a hope, a glimmer that maybe my ‘normal’ was not meant to always be that way Could I hold on to this experience forever?
That glimmer of hope turned out to be short lived. I couldn’t find it in my home. My parents mimicked their parents. They merely survived through whatever was before them.
I also noticed that many who had said they knew Jesus had limited ability to interact consistently with kindness and love. Yet, I could not forget the quality of Love I knew the moment Jesus embraced me.
It was almost 40 years of searching before I reconnected with that Love and peace that passes all understanding.
During that long time there were many occasions where I doubted whether my experience was real.
But the day came when I reconnected with the One whom I had met in that precious moment at age 10.
I now know I can recognize the One, be embraced by the One, trust the One, be nurtured by the One, be guided by the One and abide in the One who never changes.
He never rejects, never forsakes but always loves in ways man can’t figure out. It is the only unconditional love of guidance, wisdom, and continual hope.
What I have learned is there is a place, a moment of Salvation. There is a desire that God has to show us His Love. There is a place where we can surrender and share it all. There is a place where there is no need for secrets. There is a place of comfort and assurance. That place is in His presence, in His love, and in His care. His desire is to show and teach us about Love that never gives up, no matter how long it takes us.
Sometimes we surrender only to get away from the pain and agony in life. Regardless of when we surrender, or why we surrender, His arms are open, always. He really will save and heal us from all that is not like Him and His Love.
There is a pathway to transform and grow into His Love. He continually shows me how to find that way. He connects us with people who can show us the way.
I now know there is a plan, a unique plan and purpose for my life and He does as He says He will do. He will order my steps as He will order yours. I know this because His Word tells us that He does not love me any more than He loves you. He has a unique plan for each of us.
So when you search, find others who are also seriously searching. And remember, if they have skin and bones, they will know only part of the picture. At times, they too will stumble and fall. God will open and close doors for you so you can learn to grow up, mature and connect with the only real savior of mankind. Then and only then will you find and live in a peace, love, joy, and power unfamiliar man.
Points to Ponder:
Can you start to recognize the story of your life? What is the story that shaped you and what decisions did you make that set the trajectory for your life?
Scripture – Declarations and Affirmations of Faith
Jeremiah 1:5 – The Message (MSG) -“Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you…
What questions come to mind as you read this Scripture?
Points to Ponder – (Reflect on the message of Jeremiah 1:5)
What do you know about the plans He has for you?
Prayer of Integration and Application:
God, we thank You for Your Love and Wisdom. We’re grateful we can call to You and lean into Your arms. We thank You for being real and tangible. We thank You that You make a way where there seems to be no way. We thank You that even when we don’t know You, You are watching for the opportunity to make Yourself known to us. We thank You for Your patience, mercy and Your grace.
We now ask You to forgive any willing resistance to Your drawing power. Show us, in ways only You can, how to take those things in our pasts that have harmed and hindered us and help us learn from them. Help us to draw close, to know intimately and walk daily in Your Love.
Help us to learn to get quiet before You and allow You to touch and heal our hearts, transform our minds, and help us to walk out each day aware of and guided by Your hand. We come gratefully in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.
Points to Ponder – What do you sense God saying as you listen for Him?
Table of Contents
Part 1: Uncovering God; You are not what they said 21
- 1 Forming ‘Me’ – How’d That happen? 25
- 2 Repeating ‘Me’ – Copy After Copy? 37
- 3 Defending ‘Me’ – Keeping ‘Me’ familiar? 51
- 4 Patterns of ‘Me’ – Unconscious Repetitions? 63
- 5 More to ‘Me’ – Asking – Is This All There Is? 73
Part 2: Discovering God; Not what you thought 83
- 6 Opening to Prayer and Connecting – More Than Talking 87
- 7 Your Mind or His Heart and Voice? – Listening to What? 99
- 8 Forgiving from More Than the Head – Not Lip Service 109
- 9 Responding and Abiding – Impulsive No More. 119
- 10 Opening to Trust – More Than You 131
Part 3: Experiencing God: You are not alone! 143
- 11 Love – Not Man’s Version 153
- 12 He is ever present and discernable – He’s There 163
- 13 He is the Great I AM – Everything Needed 177
- 14 He Transforms Lives – No Job Too Big 185
- 15 He Fills and Satisfies – Purpose Identified and Fulfilled. 199