The God Father

Papa

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By Stephanie Rochelle Redd

Several years ago, I seriously contemplated writing a book about having ‘daddy issues’ and how to overcome them. But Doreen Virtue beat me to it. Plus, in all honesty, I couldn’t write that book from a place of sincerity as my daddy issues remained firmly within my grasp. Since then, though, I have taken a considerable amount of time, conscious energy and continuous effort to loosen my grip and my gripes against my dad, namely, by learning to accept him and his – perceived – limitations as grounds for grooming me to love without limits.

Oh sure, it’s easy to love people when they fit within our ‘love-limits,’ i.e. our conditions of how love should appear. But loving those who smash our limited ideas of love into limitless pieces is where our real work lies and, moreover, testifies to what real love is: Unconditional.

Thank God for a God who loves us without conditions and can, therefore, teach us how to really love others–if we let Him. Although He is all-powerful, God will not force us beyond our limits to forgive. If we are committed to holding on to conditional love and grudges against those who fall outside of our conditions, then we cannot fully behold God’s unconditional love for us.

That’s not to say that we should force ourselves to suffer conditions that abuse our love. No. With God’s grace, we can bypass such abusive conditions – as well as our conditional love – by passing it all over to God for healing.

By passing over nearly 30 years of anger, bitterness and condemnation toward my earthly father to my heavenly Father, I am healing and I am free as a result–healing with the understanding that how people treat me is less about me and more a reflection of how they feel about themselves; free to receive God’s unadulterated and unconditional love, and pass that love on to others, including my dad. Just as important, me healing from my daddy issues frees me to replace that label with the mantle I secretly always wished I could wear: ‘Daddy’s Girl.’

You see, when I finally accepted my dad for all that he can and cannot give me, I was then able to accept God as my “Papa,” whose powerful love gives me what I need and more. Two years ago, Papa hand-delivered the following note to me – at Wal-Mart, of all places – as a testament to how He dotes on me. Now, I’m sharing His love note with you as a testament to how much He loves you too:

My Child, 
You may not know Me, but I know everything about you. (Psalm 139:1) I know when you sit down and when you rise up. (Psalm 139:2) I am familiar with all your ways. (Psalm 139:3) Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. (Matthew 10:28-31) For you were made in My image. (Genesis 1:27) In Me you live and move and have your being; for you are My offspring (Acts 17:28) I knew you even before you were conceived. (Jeremiah 1:4-5) I chose you when I planned creation. (Ephesians 1:11-12) You were not a mistake; for all your ways are written in My book. (Psalm 139:15-16) I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. (Acts 17:26) You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14) I knit you together in your mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13) And I brought you forth on the day you were born. (Psalm 71:6) I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know Me. (John 6:41-44) I am not distant and angry, but I am the complete expression of love. (1 John 4:16) And it is My desire to lavish My love on you, simply, because you are My child and I am your Father. (1 John 3:1) I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. (Matthew 7:11) For I am the perfect Father. (Matthew 5:16) Every good gift that you receive comes from My hand. (James 1:17) For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. (Matthew 6:31-33) My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) Because I love you with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3) My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. (Psalm 139:17-18) And I rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17) I will never stop doing good to you. (Jeremiah 32:40) For you are My treasured possession. (Exodus 19:5) I desire to establish you with all My heart and all My soul. (Jeremiah 32:41) And I want to show you great and marvelous things. (Jeremiah 33:3) If you seek Me with all your heart, you will find Me. (Deuteronomy 4:29) Delight in Me and I will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4) For it is I who gave you those desires. (Philippians 2:13) I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. (Ephesians 3:20) For I am your greatest encourager. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17) I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. (2 Corinthians 1:2-4) When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. (Psalm 34:18) As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to My heart. (Isaiah 40:11) One day I will wipe every tear from your eyes and take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. (Revelation 21:3-4) I am your Father and I love you even as I love My Son, Jesus. (John 17:23) For in Jesus, My love for you is revealed. (John 17:26) He is the exact representation of My being. (Hebrews 1:3) And He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. (Romans 8:31) And to tell you that I am not counting your sins; Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. (2 Corinthians 5:15-19) His death was the ultimate expression of My love for you. (1 John 4:19) I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. (Romans 6:22) If you receive the gift of My Son Jesus, you receive Me. (1 John 2:23) And nothing will separate you from My love again. (Romans 8:38-39) Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. (Luke 15:22-24) I have always been Father and will always be Father. (Ephesians 3:14-15) My question is: Will you be my child? (John 1:12-13) I am waiting for you. (Luke 15:11-32)

Love, Your Dad
Almighty God

 

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Reflections of Love

Love

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by Stephanie Rochelle Redd

A few weeks ago, I saw a bumper sticker that read, “Life is a class, love is the lesson.” Hmm. That being the case, I’ve been held back in life – more than a few times – by my repeated failure to master love. It’s a good thing then that I am (re-)reading Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, aptly titled, The Mastery of Love.

“To master a relationship is all about you.” (p. 70)

So far, so good. My ego likes where this is going.

“The first step is to become aware, to know that everyone dreams his own dream. Once you know this, you can be responsible for your half of the relationship, which is you. If you know that you are only responsible for half of the relationship, you can easily control your half. It is not up to us to control the other half.” (p. 70)

On second thought, my ego does NOT like where this is going.

“If we respect, we know that our partner, or friend, or son, or mother, is completely responsible for his or her own half. If we respect the other half, there is always going to be peace in that relationship. There is no war.” (p. 70)

Well, maybe there’s no war in the context outlined above, but my ego feels sorely defeated. Of course, that’s to be expected when we try to claim responsibility for circumstances that exist outside of our control. Still, I – aside from my repeatedly battered ego – feel richly blessed in Spirit. Why? Because whatever lies beyond our control is well within reach of God. (Amen, somebody.)

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” ~Matthew 11:29-30, NKJV

At the risk of adding more angst in the hearts and minds of hopeless romantics and 80’s music fans, love is – in truth – not a battlefield. (Sorry, Pat Benatar.) Love is simply love. Battles only ensue in love’s vicinity when we arm ourselves with fear about our worthiness to receive and reciprocate love, and when we fail to fully recognize the love that exists within us.

“If you open your heart, you already have all the love you need. There’s no need to go around the world begging for love…We have love right here inside us, but we don’t see this love.” (p. 95)

More specifically, we sometimes don’t see the love inside of us as enough, which can really be translated as: we don’t see ourselves as enough.

The truth is that other people’s love – or lack thereof – toward us does not determine our worth. Even our occasional lack of love toward ourselves doesn’t determine our true worth because no matter what we do, who we truly are remains in tact as a reflection of God – in whose love and likeness we were made – and His Holy Spirit, which lives within us. Nevertheless, what we do – and what we accept from others – can reveal what we perceive our worth to be.

“If you are starving for love, and you taste that love, you are going to do whatever you can for that love. You can even be so needy that you give your whole soul just for a little attention.” (p. 94)

The good news is that we don’t have to be Le Cordon Bleu-certified to whip up a tasty cuisine of love for ourselves because we are Divinely verified as offspring of love (i.e. God). Therefore, our ability to feed ourselves love is an innate part of who we are as actual beings of love.

So, the next time that we find ourselves on a war-torn rampage for love, may we quickly remember to look in the mirror to find that the love that we so desperately seek is not hiding from us but shining from within us right where we are, just as we are.

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Affirm Yo’ Self

Positivity
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Roar.

by Stephanie Rochelle Redd

As I was dreaming up this post, I could hear Parks and Recreation’s Donna and Tom exclaim, from within a luxury retailer dressing room, “Treat yo’ self…to an affirmation!” While I can hear and heed this imaginative advice today, prior to 2013, I couldn’t have imagined it nor did I have any idea what an affirmation was.

That year was a huge turning point in my life. I turned 30. I turned into an author and life coach. And I turned my Christian upbringing on its ear by turning my attention to a trio of celebrated New Thought teachers: Alan Cohen, Doreen Virtue, and Louise Hay.

Well, they weren’t celebrated by me – not at the beginning of that year, anyway – because I really didn’t know who they were. But honey, by year’s end, what I didn’t know was how I had made it that far in life without them.

Alan taught me the essence of God and the metaphysical quintessence of Jesus Christ. Doreen taught me that I wasn’t crazy for believing in signs, angels and other mystical and ‘mythical’ beings. And Louise, well, Louise taught me love.

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In the Bible, God the Father and God the Son are noted several times as commanding those who believe to “love your neighbor as you love yourself“. As one who believed church to be a second home – as I was there all the time – I heard this commandment all the time as well.

But that doesn’t mean I followed it, and I didn’t, to be honest. I went to church religiously and was just as spiteful and unforgiving as I wanted to be. I tried to be nice to people and, really, I was – and am – a nice person. Nevertheless, despite my nicest efforts along with those times when I didn’t give a flying effort, there were just some “neighbors” who I believed were just too hard for me to love.

And so, because I couldn’t locate the loophole to this ‘impossible’ command to love, I eventually left the idea of church at the open door in hopes of opening a window to a world where love was always on my side.

Ha!

What I actually walked into was a brick wall of self-loathing, which was illuminated by my lack of self-love. Enter Louise…

“If you have had experiences in your life that are not comfortable, on some level, they’re mirrors of you. We don’t always like to hear that, but everything in our life is a mirror of us. So if something’s happening out there that’s not comfortable, we have to look inside and say ‘How are we creating it?’ ‘What is it about me or what is it within me that believes that I deserve this experience?’ ‘Cause otherwise, we wouldn’t bring it to us. So, perhaps, I would say a little more loving yourself would help because when you get that flowing, you won’t bring in uncomfortable experiences.”

~Louise Hay on “Receiving Prosperity”

In my errant search for a loophole to Universal love, I stumbled upon the wisdom of Louise Hay and was thrown for a loop. When I finally came to, I saw that the bitterness I felt toward my ‘unloveable’ neighbors was really just a reflection of how bitterly I viewed myself. Moreover, I learned that my lack of love for others was in direct response to a lack of love within me for me.

Well, in the years since first stepping foot into Alan’s, Doreen’s, and Louise’s classrooms, I’ve had plenty of occasions to put this theory to the test. Upon concluding each experiment, I’ve confirmed that while it can be trippy, it’s always true: Only love for ourselves equals love for others, not vice versa.

This consistent result has since resulted in my constant use of affirmations–a domain in which many ‘New Thinkers’ deem Louise its queen. Though I, too, hold Louise in this high regard, I admittedly regard my paraphrased version of Alan’s definition of an affirmation as my favorite:

An affirmation is a statement about yourself that just reminds you of who you are.

In other words, an affirmation isn’t aspirational, it’s actual. Of course, an affirmation that states “I spend money wisely…I always have what I need” can seem a little far-fetched when we seem to have only a little amount of money to spend. But if we can suspend our belief in what we seem to see long enough to really remember that the Source of our abundance is infinite and owns “the cattle on a thousand hills“, then we will really start to see that abundance materialize in our lives. (Amen to that.)

And amen to the teachings of Alan, Doreen, and Louise, which have all had such profound impacts on my life. As good teachers do, their teachings have also taught me to prize the profundity within. So, I bring this post to a close with five of my personal affirmations that I use to remind me of who I am.

1. “I am a Divine sexual being. I fully embrace and express my sexuality in ways that are fully aligned with the Spirit of God. I am free from all sexual guilt and shame. My sexuality is a gift from God, and I love, cherish and enjoy my God-given sexuality. And so it is, in Jesus’s name, amen💖”

2. “I am abundant in all areas of my life. I trust God easily and follow where He leads me. I fully trust God to take care of me, my finances, my material needs and wants. I am rich in love, peace, beauty, and emotional strength. And so it is, in Jesus’s name, amen💖”

3. “I am healed. My mind and my body are at ease. I am free from all distressing thoughts and my body is free from all forms of distress. I love my body and my body loves me back. I love my mind and my mind loves me back. My mind and my body are united as one in love. And so it is, in Jesus’s name, amen💖”

4. “I am whole. I lack nothing. Everything that God says I am, I am. Everything that God has for me is mine. I am a child of the King. Only good is my inheritance. I walk in God’s goodness now and I see it everywhere I go. And so it is, in Jesus’s name, amen💖”

5. “I am pure and as innocent as the day I was born. My purity is not earned, it is already mine. I am light in the darkness. I am warmth in the coldness. I am love in the midst of fear. I am kindred with God. I bless others and receive others’ blessings. And so it is, in Jesus’s name, amen💖”

 

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Powered by love

Love
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Pexel

by Stephanie Rochelle Redd

“I was a victim of my foolish thinking/
Carelessly I’ve risked my love and my life/
There’s no self-pity, I admit I obliged/
Overpowered by love, I pretended to be blind…”
~ Stephanie Mills, I’ve Learned to Respect the Power of Love

A couple of months ago, a member of the Head-Smart/Heart-Dumb Girl Facebook page sent me a message with just one question:

“What is love?”

My eyeballs immediately rolled up toward the ceiling.

“Chiiiiiiiiiiiiiiile’…” I typed.

But after about the 10th “i”, I realized that neither the question nor its answer was as abstract – or as exasperating – as I first believed. So, after grudgingly deleting my initial response, I took a deep breath.

I then replied with a basic outline of the self-love tenets that I describe in my book. Yet, I was not satisfied with that response either.

Yes, acceptance, compassion, knowledge, approval, and respect are all aspects (i.e. powers) of love. And when all of these powers combine, yes, they do activate love to the highest power. But what, exactly, is this thing called “love” that is activated? Furthermore, if love is indeed the superpower, then who is its superhero? Who is the ‘Captain Planet‘ of love?

I took another deep breath. Per my M.O., I had multiplied one question into more questions. As I sat there, deep-breathing and staring deeply at the words on my screen, I waited.

Waited for what, you ask?

A thunderbolt, a light bulb, a pep talk from Wile E. Coyote, something that would give me peace of mind to soothe the inner conflict that my questions raised, and give me the frame of mind with which to solve the question that was originally posed to me. And then it happened.

If God is love, I thought, then love is God.

I sighed with relief. Not only had I solved the mystery of love in a matter of minutes, but I had also calmed my aching brain. However, my brain’s relief was short-lived as it eventually dawned on me that I had “solved” one mystery with another mystery.

Wait! Do I now have to explain God? (Oh my God, indeed.)

I was digging myself deeper into a hole of increasing ignorance, and I wanted out–fast. So, from my book I turned to another, known for its revelation of the mysterious nature of God and love: the Word.

“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:2, NKJV

Well then.

Coupled with my love analysis, I then added the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians to my answer, which gives a definitive look into what love is and what it is not. Ah, it feels good to have the answers to challenging questions at your fingertips.

But what about the questionable situations that we often find ourselves in that seem to challenge our very being? What about the consequences we face that result from our foolish thinking, careless risks, and willful pretenses? Where are the solutions to the mysteries that are us? Oh, there I go with more questions.

Thankfully, though my questions multiply, the answer to them remains undivided: the Word.

The Word not only provides a wealth of information, but it also serves as a platform for illumination. While there are other resources – *clears throat* – that can help us clarify our understanding of ourselves, only Source can give us answers about us straight from the One who created us.

So, when I feel undone by my own doing, I cry and mope, and read and meditate on the Word. When I feel victimized by the viciousness of others, I cry and cope, and read and meditate on the Word. When I feel overpowered by the very thing that is meant to empower me, I cry and hope, and read and meditate on the Word.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” ~ John 1:1, NKJV

As the Word was – and is – God, and God was – and is – love, then my reading of and meditation on the Word was – and is – my reading of and meditation on love.

Eureka!

No wonder I was able to point that Facebook group member’s inquiring mind in God’s direction. I have been so immersed in better loving myself that, by default, I have also immersed myself in better knowing God. After all, how can we embrace One without embracing the other? (Okay, that’s enough questions–for now.)

 

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