Less than a year after I was born again, after I was spiritually, miraculously delivered into new life, I was once again caught up by the Spirit and lifted to heaven. This time I could see. Unlike when as a newborn babe all I could see was light.
In the ascension upward was to watch the passing of floors from within what appeared to be a glass elevator, from within my prayer shaft. In the passing of floors going up were levels of spiritual growth and development. The higher the ascension the darker these floors, these levels, became. The first few floors from ground level were filled and occupied in light.
Once the elevator reached the top floor, I stepped out and over into heaven. The landscape was breath taking. Absolutely beautiful. Relaying my deepest heart-felt appreciation to God the Father for being back in the homeland. The plush, green hillside up to the Holy City was strangely familiar. Knowing right where I was and yet with an innocent child like consciousness to experience, to explore, to enjoy the wonders of everything anew.
Soft blades of grass tingled with life between my toes. ‘Oh Father,’ my heart openly expressed to Him in spirit, ‘What a pleasure it is to finally walk barefoot again. Without having to look out for any annoying stickers. Without having to watch out for any broken glass or earthly trash. Everything you make and do, everything about you, is always so clean and pure.”
I walked away from the main path through the grass to then kneel beside a bed of flowers. They were indeed the most beautiful flowers imaginable. A blended hybrid of sorts with both roses and snapdragons together in the most unique design possible. They reminded me of my mom. Roses and snapdragons were her favorites. She grew them both every year.
Despite my dad’s passing comments through the years, flowers are a woman’s weakness, I was brought to appreciate my mom’s appreciation for flowers. The very depth and richness of color within their velvety petals made me marvel. As with the blades of grass, the energy flow of life sensed from within the petals transmitted to and through my fingers. I welcomed the scent of their heavenly fragrance and looked down inside the stem at the endless life within.
As if absorbed with every living cell within, as if to penetrate the very essence of my being in oneness with the flower itself, I freely and openly expressed, ‘Oh Father! Everything you create is so beautiful! You are absolutely awesome! Your light and life is everywhere!’
My spirit was caught up in heavenly wonder with heart-felt gratitude for everything around me. Appreciation for the Father and His creation easily and freely flowed out from within me when suddenly, and quite unexpectantly He asked, “What do you think you are doing?”
Stunned and confused at what exactly He was referring to, I in turn answered back in childlike innocence, ‘What do YOU think I’m doing? For you alone know.’
Rather than answer me directly, He brought my own thoughts to mind when at church. Thoughts He knew I kept private. Thoughts like, ‘How boring!’ as compared to what others excitedly thought on how we will spend eternity forever praising God. The mere idea of spending my forever and ever before the throne of God only to say, Praise the Lord! Glory to God! over, and over again, didn’t exactly excite me.
I found the cookie cutter mold more than just a little stifling. A pre-programmed and conditioned robot mode from who I should be as a new creation in Christ to how to project myself out to others was silently tolerated. I just couldn’t imagine why God would keep us from the real freedom of enjoying the simple pleasures He made for us here on earth or in heaven. Let alone the liberty to express ourselves in the uniqueness God created us to be. Unique individual parts within Himself. Unlimited, unhindered, to be, to flow in the wholeness of Love.
The realization in that moment, in my own unlimited heart-felt appreciation and gratitude that so easily flowed from within and through my spirit to the Father compared to a preprogrammed, robot stealth mode in praise and worship made me laugh from the bottom of my toes to the top of my head. There simply was no comparing the two. The joy in knowing that consumed me.
Feeling completely free of any religious criticism and judgment in my mind was to then meet up with my big brother and best friend. Christ Jesus. We walked side by side up toward the Holy City. The first thing he said to me, relaying from within his spirit to mine was timeless.
“Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. No matter what anyone may say or even teach as holy doctrine in my name."
A year later I stood out in the desert at the far edge of the Canyonlands in Utah. Disappointed at how barren and ugly it all was, the Father by His Spirit softly interrupted my thoughts with a slight cough. “Uh-hum,” He politely injected. “Excuse me, but I created this, too.”
I immediately expressed my deepest apology. Oops!
As in heaven, He made me stop and consider what I was thinking and how I projected my own disappointment. How could I possibly, honestly, appreciate a beauty I didn’t see?
Looking out over the desert was truly a challenge. There were no familiar signs of life. No plush greenery as I had grown accustomed to in the Midwest. Though I naturally took to living in the mountains of Colorado and lived in Grand Junction at that moment, exploring the western slope, I still expected to find the same familiar beauty and touch of God everywhere I went.
My own limited expectations were just as conditional as those that others had placed on praise. Considering how different and unique each part of His creation was designed and meant to be, I thought of the pictures my newlywed husband had taken of desert flowers. He captured their beauty, the essence of life he saw within them, in a way I never noticed before.
While we stood together in a desert land, I couldn’t help but think it was still barren and ugly.
“Father,” I relayed within my spirit, “The desert flowers you created are indeed beautiful. They truly are. And the sunsets? The colors of life displayed within them are always amazing. You know that. But honestly, I’ll need some time with your help to work on the rest.”
Bobby L. Andrews
© copyright 2008
Photo courtesy by David Ramsey
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