Friday, October 29, 2010

The Necessary Element of Prayer

Monday night of this week, Darin Hufford’s daughter Emma was rushed to the hospital after she fell off the monkey bars onto her back. She broke her arm in two places and there was concern that she might also have spinal injuries. It was stressful for the family as they waited. The doctors finally decided to do an MRI but she reacted badly to the medicine they gave her so the MRI had to be cancelled. Darin later reported that she was fine and was being released.
While I waited, all I could think of was sweet little Emma lying on a hospital bed with possible major injuries. What was going on with my friends was difficult for me since I was so far away plus I had just seen them the week before. (To read my post regarding the wonderful weekend I spent with Darin and his family, follow this link.)

On this journey that I’m on, I’ve struggled with knowing what prayer should look like. As I worried about Emma and her family, I thought about putting this need on a prayer list. Instead, I ended up asking only one friend to pray. When the good report came that Emma was fine and that she was home, I told my friend, Linda, and the joy and relief on her face was obvious. I told her that I knew she would pray and it was obvious to me that she had.

I thought about why she was the only one I had asked to pray even though there were other friends I could have asked and the answer that came to me was love. I knew that even though she didn’t know Darin or Emma, she knew me and loved me. Because she loved me, I was confident that she would care about and pray for what was important to me.

We hear so much about faith being the secret to effective prayer. Although faith is important, there’s another element that I believe is just as important and maybe even more important than faith and that element is love. Without love, we won’t pray and, if we do pray, it’ll be a half hearted prayer that we do to get over our feelings of guilt and then we quickly forget to pray again. The bottom line is we don’t pray because we don’t love.

Love will compel us to pray and to continue to pray even when we don’t see the results we want. We can’t work up love but, as we’re set free by God’s love and acceptance, love will become who we are.

As I look at this friend who prayed for Emma, I see love personified in her. Linda is love and, even though she struggles with issues in her own life, she doesn’t hesitate to talk to our Daddy because love compels her.

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's Good to Be Seen

As a followup to the first podcast I did with Darin Hufford and Aimee Dassele while I was in Arizona last weekend, we also did one entitled "It's Good to Be Seen."  That has now been posted and, in it, we talked about how many people who suffer abuse have learned to cope with it by rationalizing the abuser's actions away until they've convinced themselves that they're really not being abused.  It was a great conversation which I think you'll enjoy.

To listen to it, go here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Discussing Spiritual Abuse

I recorded a couple of podcasts with Darin Hufford during my recent visit with him and his family. How exciting it was to be in the recording room and to see what goes on behind the scene of the “Into the Wild” podcast. I had never realized how much prep work is necessary even before the actual recording starts so I now have a greater appreciation for all of the time and effort that Darin puts into recording and posting two podcasts a week.

Darin has just posted the first of these podcasts, “Spiritual Abuse – An Interview with Aida Calder.” I hope you enjoy the conversation.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Impressions of an Amazing Family

I’m writing this while sitting on an airplane headed home from Phoenix, Arizona after having spent the weekend with Darin Hufford and his family. Darin and I have been friends for a number of years and I have spoken to him and his wife on many occasions. I had finally gotten to meet him earlier this year when he was in Alabama. That weekend in Alabama was absolutely wonderful!  My life was radically changed and I’m still living in the freedom that I experienced while there. I wrote a post about that amazing weekend and, if you’d like to read it, follow this link.

I arrived in Phoenix Friday night and Darin picked me up at the airport. He was accompanied by his two youngest daughters, Emma and Eva, two absolutely gorgeous little dolls. When we got to his home, I was greeted by Angie his wife. Angie and I are also good friends but this was my first time actually meeting her in person. I also met Darin’s other three children as well as their dog, Snowball. Actually, I had already met his oldest daughter Landin while in Alabama and fallen in love with her so it was great to see her again. However, it was my first time meeting their second daughter Sidney and their son Jude so I was excited to be able to see the entire family together.

Although Darin and I have been friends for quite some time, by spending time in his home with him and his family, I was able to see him in a totally different light.

Darin is an amazingly gifted person and, because he’s an author and speaker who travels throughout the world, people tend to look at him with starry eyes and fail to see the real man. I’ve heard people say that he’s arrogant but the Darin that I know is a man of great humility who is passionately driven by his love for people and his desire to see them set free. Since I met him a number of years ago, my life has been transformed in a major way and I know that has also been the experience of thousands who have heard him teach or have read what he has written.

Darin and his family live simply and enjoy life together. I was immediately put at ease and I was able to just kick back and be myself. Knowing that I’m loved and accepted unconditionally caused me to feel like I didn’t have to pretend. I could just be myself. What I discovered about the Hufford household is that there’s no pretense there. What you see is what you get. How refreshing that is in a world where people are always wearing masks.

While there, I also had the privilege of meeting Aimee Dassele and Amy Ramos who both help Darin with the "Into the Wild" podcasts. It was great putting a face to a voice and to spend time getting to know them as well.  Because of his work schedule, I was unable to meet Robert Ramos and that was  a disappointment.  Maybe it'll work out next time.

And now about . . . Angie! What a gift she is to Darin and the Free Believers Network. I was immediately struck by her gentle nature but I also saw that she’s a woman of great strength. She’s a support for Darin and the two of them work together as one to take care of their family and to share the message of God’s love and grace. Darin told me that she’s the perfect wife for him and I could immediately see that was true.

Their children are typical children with a lot of squabbling but, in spite of that, it was obvious that there was a lot of love among them all. The level of love in the Hufford household is unique and I was immediately surrounded by it and it felt good.

Darin is founder of the Free Believers Network, a website devoted to sharing the message that God is love and that he loves you. He’s also author of the bestselling book, “The Misunderstood God.” His ministry has been life changing for me and, if you haven’t read his book, I suggest getting a copy, making yourself comfortable and start getting to know the God that religion has hidden from us. And, I’m sure you’ll discover the God that you’ve always known in your heart.

To order a copy of “The Misunderstood God,” follow this link.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Love: The Foundation of Patience

We’re often told about the dangers of asking for patience. We’re warned that if we do, God will answer our prayers by zapping us with a string of terrible problems because patience comes as we learn how to endure problems without blowing up. However, the truth is we don’t have to ask for patience because we already have it. We don’t have to pray for it nor do we have to try to work it up.

Patience doesn’t come through standing tough in the middle of problems because patience is a fruit of the spirit. It’s an aspect of God’s nature and it was placed in us when he came to live in us. As children of God, we now have his nature so patience is now an aspect of our nature. Our new hearts are now filled with patience so all we have to do is let patience have its perfect work.

I believe the reason so many of us struggle with a lack of patience is because we’ve lost connection with our hearts. Our hearts are the seat of God’s life in us and, when we lose connection with our hearts, we block the flow of his life in and through us. So, even though we have patience, we’re not always patient.

Darin Hufford does a fantastic teaching that he calls “Consulting the Flame.” I love how he compares God’s love with a flame that burns in our hearts and , as we examine that flame, we can see what’s in the hearts of others. In his book, “The Misunderstood God,” Darin said, “Perhaps the most exciting revelation I came to understand when I fell in love with people was that patience comes through understanding. Understanding comes through love. When you truly love someone, whether a spouse, a child, or a friend, you understand his or her heart. And when you understand someone’s heart, you have patience.” (page 30)

When we see what’s in the hearts of others, we’ll understand why they behave the way they do and, when we understand, patience is produced as a by-product of that understanding but it all begins with love.

He also said, “Love is the same way. When you love someone, you will see the injured child in everything they do. Love’s eyes look beyond the flesh and into the heart. People who lack patience are blind to the heart. Love sees a person’s heart because love both originates in the heart and is directed toward the heart. When looking for patience, we must turn to love to find it.” (page 31)

I think Darin has said it well. Patience comes through understanding and understanding comes from love and love comes as we learn to see with our hearts. It is a process, however, so learning how to see with our hearts is not always automatic. It takes time to develop and even then, it’s a choice. I suppose while we’re in these earth suits, patience will never be fully developed but I believe we can grow in it as we learn to see with our hearts.