Already Included #56 – Give Me My Mountain

By Sarah Nyhan

If I trust Trinity for anything then why don’t I trust Trinity for everything? Do we get as much of Trinity as we settle for?

I think about where it was written that Jesus did not do many miracles for a certain group because of their unbelief. If that translation and interpretation is correct, I don’t want to be in that group.

I don’t want to be the Israelites who saw Trinity move in their lives and then assigned their fears and weaknesses more power than God. Always no condemnation, but I want to be like Caleb who believed God to be stronger than any challenge.

Isn’t that the whole issue? We believe we are abandoned. We believe Trinity spun us out, left us alone, and expects us to do our part. Like I’ll believe God to bless my efforts, but to trust Trinity into and beyond my failures? Not anymore than for eternal safety and reconciliation.

But what about here? What if God is in the healing and redeeming business right now?

Do we throw the baby out with the bath water if we totally distance ourselves from what is commonly referred to as “name it and claim it” or “prosperity preaching”?

I don’t know. I just think about my own life. I think about the stories I’ve heard in the recorded testimonies. And I wonder. I don’t want to miss out.

There is this fine line between trust and witchcraft. One involves rest. The other is very much about the illusion of control.

Witchcraft still says I have to do something. Witchcraft says it depends on me. Witchcraft reduces the uncontainable love of Trinity down to a formula to manipulate God. And I think that might be one of the main things being worked out of me. Because the old way of religion versus relationship was most certainly about a formula.

It’s almost blasphemous if you think about it: that I, this little speck on earth not even visible from a plane, have the power to flip a certain switch to make Creator God behave towards me a certain way. And then of course it is my job to keep that switch flipped. Totally ridiculous! I’m just a kid. I was thrown into a body on this earth without a clue about what is going on. How can I possibly have that much power and responsibility?

Maybe earthly parents expect their children to do for them, instead of the other way around. But I think Trinity is teaching me that They are different. They lay up an inheritance for Their children. As quoted in Isaiah, even a nursing mother may neglect their child – but the eyes of God’s heart never wavers; we are continually before Them.

I have been thinking on Psalm 127:
“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep. Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.”

In times past I interpreted Scripture from a perspective of God telling me what to do. Versus the way I now have been leaning: where all Scripture points to Jesus. So from that different viewpoint I look at Psalm 127 and I wonder if Trinity is saying: “I love My children. I take great joy in My children. I take care of them. I protect them. It’s useless for you to scrounge about like an orphan. You were lied to. Focus on Me and My heart instead of your fears and weaknesses.”

I mean that’s the whole story of so many starting with Adam and Eve. David and Goliath also comes to mind. If that scenario repeated itself today, David would be chastised endlessly up until he knocked Goliath out.

Heck, it was those that saw Jesus based only on physical appearances that sought to murder Him.

Who or what is the Goliath in our lives? Where are we limiting God? Again, such a fine line between resting and turning this concept into yet another “spell” to get what we want.

I think the healing of our inward brokenness may be the first versus the final frontiers in all of this. I don’t know, that’s just where I am today. But in that, I was thinking about Joseph. How he endured so much in the physical and yet we know in hindsight those experiences were not an indication that God was unhappy with him. Same as with Jesus.

But how beautiful is it that Joseph’s dream played a part in getting him rejected by his family and ending up in prison and yet God redeemed the whole dream thing by using that as his ticket out of jail.

I mean can you picture yourself young and excited because you feel like God is working in your life? And then something major happens like ultimate betrayals. But you’re still fresh off time with Jesus so you roll with it.

But then a little while turns into a long while. And it seems like God left you or put you on the sidelines and picked someone else in maybe what felt like a place you saw yourself fitting into.

You sit there wondering whether you went wrong. Replaying all the decisions. I mean surely you messed up. “But THIS badly, Lord?! I mean, I don’t want to compare, but how can I not when you look at so-and-so?!”

And at some point you just give up and try to forget about all those dreams. You try to learn to live a simple life in the prision you feel like you’ve failed to break out of no matter how hard you’ve tried. You feel like at best you can muster up the motivation to go through the motions some days. But it’s too painful to hope anymore.

And then one day, even in this state, God says it is time for Trinity to redeem even those private points of pain that are too raw to share with anyone anymore. Maybe you’ve even minimized them in your efforts to move on. But Holy Spirit sees. Holy Spirit knows. Holy Spirit is not content leaving any part of your heart broken. Holy Spirit takes whatever time is needed to get close to our great sadnesses. To delicately place them in Their hand. To not only help us move on but to redeem that which was lost along the way.

That’s what happened with Joseph. He probably doubted himself so much. He was probably done for the most part. I imagine. And God says, ‘Not only am I going to get you out of this prison, but I am going to restore all that was lost to you. Publicly! Your shame will be no more. You will not have all these people looking down on you ever again. And I’m going to redeem dreams – the very thing that seemed to lead you into this.”

Now that’s a God I can trust!

What is God redeeming in our lives? We want deliverance and relief, but what deep healing could Trinity also be up to? What is that Achilles heel in us that we’ve lived with so long that we have considered it something that will never leave us? That place where our best intellectual efforts haven’t been able to speak to our wounded hearts? Maybe the place where deep down we can’t see anything other than God failed us. Or that we failed ourselves or others beyond repair? I don’t think Trinity is content with leaving us alone with any of that darkness. All of you, all of us, will be redeemed, is being redeemed.

Now therefore, give me my mountain. As Peter said, wash all of me, Lord. I don’t want to let go until You bless me.

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Already Included #54 – In the Waiting

By Sarah Nyhan

There is a difference in how I approached patience before versus now.

Before I hoped for a specific outcome. I thought that if I believed enough and didn’t give up then that outcome would manifest.

Now I am learning to approach patience a lot differently. I still desire certain outcomes – after all, I am 100% human. However, now I am learning to detach myself more and more from specific outcomes. I am learning to trust God’s heart more.

My mind has been opened to realize that God works within our logic to bring us to whatever healing is next. I always think back to the story of the rich young ruler in that regard. The rich young ruler couldn’t see the open door. The rich young ruler was hung up on his own perspective. Jesus never expected the rich young ruler to be perfect. That directive was funny enough a form of playing devil’s advocate per se. It was climbing inside the logic of the rich young ruler. Working with what was. Basically getting to the point the hard way, at the insistance of the rich young ruler versus the insistance of God. After all They long to embrace us as a mother embraces her young, but we are often not willing.

The tax collector, the blind men, the woman with the issue of blood, and many others – they were ready for the easy way. Some of us take a bit longer. That may be why it is more difficult for the rich, talented, intelligent , etc people to see themselves running to the safety of the Trinity. If I’ve mostly been able to hopscotch around and over vulnerability my whole life then it may be a long stretch to see weakness as welcome versus a burden, shameful, dangerous, etc. I pray to God that I will not need some even more horrible tragedy to put me in a place where I am completely dependent and then can finally see beyond my own strength.

The old me kinda resents the process sometimes, honestly. But I try to remember the Israelites. Their minds had been so warped that they could only see the crumbs of what they resorted to seeing as comfort in their Egyptian slavery versus understanding that our eyes and ears haven’t ever even imagined what good things God is more than ready to give us in exchange for our dysfunctions.

Sometimes people hold on so tightly to what is hurting them. The idea of really trusting has been proven to be that dangerous to them in the past. But God is always and ever patient. Trinity doesn’t operate out of ego. They can use anything and everything we give Them and turn it for good. Our crucifixion of Jesus being the prime example.

And so I am learning to let go. To open my eyes. To be honest at least with God. To trust in Their heart versus my strength. To ask where we are going next versus demanding my way. When I ask, wisdom and comfort beyond myself floods my heart and real peace dissipates my fears. In this moment. And then again the next time I need God to be bigger than any boxes I can imagine. I am continually amazed. And that builds real trust. Versus saying I believe in hopes it will guarantee or rush along some desired outcome.

I may have told the story before, but it bears repeating again as I think about it almost daily. Such a seemingly benign moment that really changed my life. I was sitting in the lobby of the Business building on campus. There was an incredibly long hallway in front of me. I watched as this father walked behind his toddler. The toddler was just learning to walk and his little engines were on go. The toddler was not steady on his feet but you could see he was loving his newfound power. I felt Holy Spirit nudge me with, “Pay attention.”

As the toddler fumbled down the hallway, probably having no real understanding of where he was or where he was going, the father stood behind him smiling a big smile. Super proud of his child. Enjoying watching his son exercise his given strengths. He stood just behind, letting the toddler find his legs but also ready in an instant to catch the child if he stumbled.

Then the toddler turned to go down a hallway for faculty. The father jumped in front of the son. He didn’t touch the son. He wasn’t angry at all. He just stood in the way so the toddler couldn’t go down the faculty hallway.

The toddler had no frame of reference to understand why the father didn’t want him to go down the faculty hallway. And the toddler wouldn’t have understood at that time even if the reason was given to him. He might have been young enough to just barely be understanding and acquiring language.

But nonetheless, the child was unhappy that the father was blocking him and tried a few times to scoot around the father in order to continue down the faculty hallway. The father never was upset. The father never touched the child and never said anything. He only moved his body in order to block the toddler if he tried to go around him.

The child finally surrendered and turned around and went another direction. The father followed him and stood behind him, ready to catch him as he continued on his new way. The father continued to smile and his pride in his boy was still apparent.

God used that to show me how Trinity sees us. That sometimes the rejections and obstacles we experience are forms of protection. Sometimes we don’t have the ability yet to understand why our seemingly harmless desires have not been fulfilled or our ways are being frustrated.

I’m not saying there is never a time to fight for what we want. What I am saying is the attitude I have found most helpful is to slow down, look to my Creator, and ask for understanding and direction beyond my strength. And in doing so, I find God honors my desires so much. I find Trinity wants more for me than I am willing to settle for. And as I experience God, my patience organically grows.

But what to do in the meantime, in the waiting? I feel repeatedly encouraged to do the work I want to do. That God works within my desires, that following my heart in trust versus orchestrating my own salvation out of fear will be what often may lead me to experience the most healing and joy.

In other words, what is the right now? What work do I want to do right now? If I really trusted God’s heart for me, what would I do right now? If I really believed that the Creater of the entire universe loves me so much that even if I was the only child, Jesus would still have gone to the greatest lengths to prove that my strength is not needed, what would I spend my right now doing?

And there is where color comes back to my life. There is where I find my emotional, spiritual, mental, and sometimes even physical “legs” again.

I share in hopes that if your ways are frustrated, or as you are waiting, I encourage you to seek understanding and direction from Trinity versus repeatedly requesting and persuing a specific outcome. Picture The Father smiling, proud of you, excited to see where you want to go and what you want to do. Would that Father not want the best for us? Ask to see. Ask to hear. Ask for comfort. This is about relationship. You are a child that is so welcome. Let’s not only know that, but live it also.

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Already Included #51 – Saving Ourselves

By Sarah Nyhan

I was thinking about how Jesus says this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting (as recorded in Mark 9 and Matthew 17). I feel like God comforted me with the revelation that what it means for me is that the disciples were relying on themselves to be able to deliver this person they wanted to save. Even with good intentions. And yet the point was that in doing good they had even veered off the path.

Mercies are new every morning. What happened to the manna that was collected in fear? I haven’t trusted God to show off for me tomorrow in greater ways than today. I have projected my own self-image on Trinity. I haven’t fully loved myself and I have put that on God. Even after all Trinity has done for me. Over and over and over.

And it will be ok. But some healing, this healing, won’t happen without my heart. Won’t happen just in my mind. Won’t be some routine thing done because it worked before.

I think of Moses. God keeps reminding me of Moses. What was the big deal about the rock and the water?

I picture Moses being so tired. Going round and round all these years. Not understanding how safe he was in The Father’s heart. Incorrectly feeling like he carried all these people he loved on HIS back.

“Yet again here we are in need, God. Yet again these people don’t believe Your love for them.”

But what was the issue all along? “It doesn’t depend on you, Moses.”

“And it doesn’t depend on you, Sarah.”

“It doesn’t depend on you.”

It doesn’t depend on us. In returning and REST will be our salvation.

But just like me, Moses didn’t want to “fall” that far. I mean look at all these people that were depending on him. Or so it seemed.

God gave him a new way. But he was scared. Understandably. So at the last minute he chickened out and hit the rock instead of just speaking to it. His strength again. Sure, not murdering an Egyptian this time. But still his strength. Versus God’s heart.

Did God really lead Moses out into the desert and then leave him there and expect him to be responsible for all those people? Any of those people?

What did Jesus do when He was led out into the desert (not at all as punishment)?

Our prayers are answered. Just not always in the way we expect. We are not being punished. That thinking is one of the things being healed. Our total healing is only ever the aim. FOR us. If God was in the using business, which I don’t believe Trinity is, then there are plenty of others. But I think there are things especially FOR us. Joys especially FOR us. That God is so excited for us to get to and enjoy. Through all this.

God does new things. And the fasting and prayer don’t make them happen. The fasting and prayer just helps us be in better alignment.

And so we can face these wrestlings head on without fear. Easier said than done. 🙂

“Ok, God – what am I not seeing? What am I not hearing? What are You doing differently this time? Who is this for? What Word do I need? What Word do they need? Help me hear. Help me see. Help me see Your heart. Help me see myself and them through Your heart.”

Prayer like that. Fasting is simply removing my distractions to that end. Not me moving mountains in my own strength.

Different rocks, different fears possess me and others in that and this future. There isn’t some formula I can run to apart from running to Trinity. New. Fresh.

Yesterday They might have me hitting the rock. Today They might have me speaking to the rock. It’s not torture or some sick game. My healing comes not from a formula I can fall back on. Not some witchcraft. But in knowing I don’t need to know. 😊 In coming to experience the unlimitedness of my Father’s heart for us all.

I think our gifts are greater than we know and God wants us to be totally free to use them without worrying that all of Israel depends on us, so to speak. We are this loved, beloved child. Just as we are. We are exactly where it was always known we would be. Who we are was always factored in.

God keeps telling me that we’re not late. But also that we can stop circling the deserts of our self-sufficiency whenever we like. We can choose. We are already fully healed. We can experience that as much as we want.

The only thing God ever depended on was our fear and failure. 😊 Our betrayal. Our sacrificing Him on the cross.

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Already Included #48 – Pivot

By Sarah Nyhan

Is my relationship with God? Or is my trust in the incorporated church? Is it me who has God? Or is it God who has me?

If anything depends on me then I have no hope. I need God to make up the difference. Trinity reached out to me as I raised my fist and turned my back in angry sadness and frustration. Will They not meet me now? Will They not meet me whenever and wherever I am?

Is God so impotent that He cannot open any door? Will we not trust Him in this time?

Is Jesus only present in a typical physical church building? Or could we be where He already resides? Christ in us. Revealing what already is; what we have been blind to despite countless hours of staring at the invitation. Jesus said it is finished.

Why might He have us in this space at this time? What good, what healing could be at work right now? I have spent an inordinate amount of time pleading for things to go back to what feels most familiar to me. What if God wants to take me somewhere new?

He is not a God of 2,000 years ago. He is a God for today. For this moment.

How many times did God reach out to individuals through means other than reading a book? How many times did God speak to people outside of the traditional temple? Is God not able to speak to you right now? Is this a relationship as we say it is? Or just a religious performance? What spells do I have to cast today in order to speak to my Father? Does He really require such blasphemous incantations? What hurdles do you require your children to jump through before they can speak with you? Even in our brokenness we do not do the things to our children that we accuse God of doing to His children.

Could God be all that our hearts dream love to be? And more? He does not only have patience; He defines patience. He does not only have love; He is love defined. Will He not give us all that we need?

Maybe we are not asking the right questions. Maybe our ideas of God are too small. Maybe we need to pivot. Maybe we need to start by asking God what questions we should be asking. Will He refuse us? Is He and His wisdom not given freely to all who ask?

I need to leave room for new beginnings. I need to make more space for uncertainty and God to show off in ways that I am not capable of imagining. I need to be held. I need to receive and rest.

We are welcome.

Maybe the whole world is being given a big collective breath.

The Message Bible translates Isaiah 30:15-17 as:
“God, the Master, The Holy of Israel, has this solemn counsel: ‘Your salvation requires you to turn back to me and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves. Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me— The very thing you’ve been unwilling to do.”

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Already Included #46 – Will I Limit God?

By Sarah Nyhan

How do I navigate this new world? By my knowledge? By my intelligence? By my experience? By my resources? By what other strength?

How well have those things works for me in the past?

How many years will I keep trying to march back across this desert towards what seemed like self-sufficiency? How long will I return to the vomit of the deceiving security I knew in the hard work of Egypt?

Sure, it was rough and there were bad times, but I seemed to have friends and family there. I seemed to have community.

Do we sit in church on Sunday and sing songs to a God whose last thought for us was only when people say He bailed us out of an eternal BBQ pit 2,000 years ago?

Is this Father so impotent that His chief concern is advancing some global agenda at the expense of our hearts? In spite of our concerns?

Will I worship fear? Will I give fear more power than God?

It’s hard to imagine what I have never experienced.

Do dreams come true only for the youth?

Are all our fine words, all our praise simply empty hope?

Does our God still move? Does He still care? Is Holy Spirit not always in the process of healing our hearts? Not for God’s ego, but so that we will not miss out on all that we have been Created to enjoy and experience during this human experience.

Will I limit God? Will I define the boundaries of His power? Will I insist on taking control?

And even if I scramble to keep myself afloat in my own ways, will He ever give up on me? Is this a Father who leaves me to myself? Who waits for me to find my way back to Him?

Is this a Father who only provides the bare minimum out of a sense of duty?

Is this a Father who is only reactive? Who is off solving other people’s problems until I am good enough? Until I have stolen a moment of His attention?

Will this God pick us up off the floor or are we abandoned, neglected children expected to bear and navigate the unknown all on our own?

Can Holy Spirit not give us insight and wisdom beyond our awareness?

What if it is simply a matter of turning off the noise and having a conversation?

What if we are not a bother to God?

What if we always have God’s attention?

What if we are a joy even in our mess?

What if we are already safe and already included?

What if we are mostly ignorant to all that is already ours to enjoy?

I am a child who is wanted.

I am a child who is very loved.

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