Matthew 16:15-16: “Then he asked them, ‘But who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’”

Who am I? It’s an important question to ask. We spend time getting to know the people in our lives, parents, relatives, classmates, work colleagues, and the list goes on and on. Besides getting to know a village of people throughout our lifetime, there’s also that person called “Me, Myself & I” whom we run into. We learn about ourselves as we interact with the people in our lives.

Jesus asks the “Who am I” question, discussing this topic not with the people on the street but with His circle of friends. His twelve followers have been around Him day in, day out for three consecutive years – three summers, three winters, three falls, and three springs. Twelve seasons for twelve followers to interact with Jesus and see Him interacting with strangers and family members! That’s a good amount of time to come to a few conclusions.

Who is Jesus? To find the answer to this question we need to spend time with Him. Only time will tell us who we are, who are friends are, and who God is. The powerful thing about spending time with the Lord is twofold: We get to know the Eternal One and we get to know ourselves.

Simon Peter blurted out the answer to Jesus’s question. Here is what He said: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” Jesus turned to Peter and looked Him in the eye as He said two things about him: “Peter you are the rock, and Peter you will betray me.”

It’s very hard to see ourselves realistically. We have the tendency to either overestimate or underestimate ourselves. God doesn’t. It’s a beautiful thing to get a glimpse of ourselves through God’s eyes. While it’s sobering to recognize our vulnerability, it is heartwarming to slowly realize how much we are loved by the Godhead.

Who is God? God is love. Who am I? I am loved by God. Only time can tell how true these words are.

Luke 11:13: “Look, all of you are flawed in so many ways, yet in spite of all your faults, you know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to all who ask!”

God knows how to give. Here is one of His finest gifts: His Spirit.

The Holy Spirit was given to the world so that every person on this planet could get connected to God. In a worldwide movement, the Spirit of God was poured out everywhere to introduce God to people estranged from Heaven. It’s the most far reaching and long lasting ad campaign in the history of humankind.

Our hearts have inbuilt sensors to notice God, albeit in bad need of repair. The human condition is such that we commonly won’t recognize God’s voice. This is where the Holy Spirit steps in – so that we can tune into God’s wavelength and receive what He is saying. He is an ear- and eye–opener, healer of broken hearts, and stimulator of the human spirit.

God is extremely familiar with the multi-layered, complex human heart. He patiently waits for the slightest signal, a green light, a “go ahead” from you and me. He won’t break into the door to our heart. Instead, He knocks. He waits. And if we open the door His Spirit enters in.

God is Trinity, which remains a mystery. The Holy Spirit is a distinct eternal being and Creator just as the Father and the Son. We can offend the Holy Spirit. He will withdraw if we so insist. Nevertheless, if we welcome Him, He will keep the communication lines open between us and God. The Holy Spirit is like the Rainbow in the clouds connecting Heaven and Earth. Thanks to His work, God’s kingdom has already arrived.

God is with us in our day-to-day affairs. If you believe that, then the Holy Spirit has opened the eyes of your heart.

Ephesians 5:22: “Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. But, remember, this means that the husband must give his wife the same sort of love that Christ gave to the Church, when he sacrificed himself for her.”

Sacrificial love meets supportive love – the husband and wife team in a nutshell! Successful marriages are built that way. It’s interesting how the same words read by different people can evoke different interpretations where sacrificial love goes out the window and makes way for conditional love: “I only love you if you do what I say” and then on the other side of the spectrum comes the enabler saying: “Whatever you’re doing, whichever way you’re going, I’m going to support you.” That marriage would be a toxic cocktail and couldn’t be further from the intentions of the author of this letter to the Ephesians.

Relationships are challenged where self-interest gets in the way. A marriage partnership is unequally yoked if one partner keeps on giving and the other partner keeps on receiving, a classic example of marital dysfunction.

I believe there’s no better training ground teaching us how to love well than that of a marriage relationship. I got married late in life, so I missed out on the fun for the better part of my life. I learned more about love in 13 years of marriage than in the preceding single years of my adult life. Of course this is not to underestimate the effects of friendships or partnerships, however, according to my experience there is only so much commitment we have in friendships. At the end of the day I go home and do what I please. Not so in marriage relationships. When I come home from work and close the door my spouse is still there, which means marriage forces us to work things out. If we can’t work things out, we stop being married. That’s why marriage is a force to be reckoned with. If marriage works it rocks. If it doesn’t work it sucks.

When we learn the ABCs of sacrificing and supporting on a team we can bring that experience into our marriage, and the success rate of this marriage will go up. Bottom line is: we need to learn how to sacrifice ourselves and how to support one another since this goes against the grain of human nature. As with many other things in life, the lifestyle of love boils down to learning by doing. In Christ we see a Teacher who does what He says. We can learn from Him. Awareness is our first step. Our second step: do it – learn the lifestyle of love!

Psalm 103:13: The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.”

God invented fatherhood. He is the Father of fathers.

In my soul-searching teenage years He introduced Himself to me. Because of the absence of a father during my own upbringing I struggled with fatherhood in general. I had not the slightest idea what role a father would play in a family. So, what does it mean to have a Father in Heaven?

Getting to know God, I have been on a road to discovery. He taught me that wounds will heal, they only needed my attention. I used to be the kind of person that liked to ignore pain thinking: “If I ignore it long enough it will go away.” Well, that ain’t the case! A little scratch can develop into a sore. A festering wound ends up poisoning our life. One thing leading to another, we can get so caught up in our own hurt that we are unable to pay attention to anybody else but ourselves. It’s a chain reaction leading up to complete isolation. The way out of this mess is honesty. Say it as it is, don’t sweep issues under the carpet, and don’t act like nothing happened. God taught me to be honest to myself and to others.

To me, God is a relationship giant. He knows people. He knows me. Over the years we’ve developed a special father/daughter bond that makes me happy to think about. As I’m writing about it I become more and more aware what an excellent Father God is.

Every relationship starts somewhere. Mine started with God when I accepted His help. I let Him into my life, and the rest is history. I can highly recommend to any person on this planet to give God a shot. He has His way with people. He will have a way with you.

Exodus 39:2-3: “He [Bezalel, a craftsman] made gold thread by hammering out thin sheets of gold and cutting it into fine strands. With great skill and care, he worked it into the fine linen with the blue, purple, and scarlet thread.”

During Israel’s formation as a nation, the people gathered at Mount Sinai to receive the Law of Moses, which included instructions how to set up their first tabernacle. Craftsmen were working on beautiful garments of blue, purple, and scarlet cloth, interwoven with gold; these garments meant for the priesthood were touching on the entire color spectrum visible to the human eye: from purple (violet), blue, gold, all the way to red. Apparently, priesthood wore a coat of many colors!

We associate the color “red” most often with love; and red has the farthest reaching wavelength still visible to the human eye, about 650 nm. Incidentally, love always reaches out, so the color “red” suits the love-theme very well.

Radio waves are about 100 meters in length, extremely long, and completely invisible to the human eye; radio waves are able to reach around the world and far into space. So is God’s love – invisible but far-reaching. His innate being reaches out, day and night. His love is an ongoing flow overcoming short and long distances. God will always find a way to reach out to His creation. That’s just who He is.

Blue has the shortest wavelength visible to the human eye: The visible blue light has a wavelength of about 475 nm. Because the blue wavelengths are shorter in the visible spectrum, they are scattered more efficiently by the molecules in the atmosphere. This causes the sky to appear blue during the main part of the day, no matter which direction we look. Similarly, God is both near and everywhere; He is scattered throughout the entire universe – so much so that we have the opportunity to meet Him anywhere we go.

We have a God of many colors! God’s spectrum of His being is wide, from red, to blue, to invisible. He is able to tune into any wavelength and get in touch with all of His creation. That is why He understands our hearts so well. Even when we feel a million miles away from Heaven, God is still near. We might not feel Him, but He is closer to us than our best friend.

John 8:36: “A slave is a transient, who can’t come and go at will. The Son, though, has an established position, the run of the house. So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through.”

Freedom doesn’t fall in our laps. Unfortunately, freedom is a precarious gift. It can be taken from us if we’re not careful.

Here is my freedom story:

We were a family of five with no Dad around. Every child reacts differently to an absentee father. For some reason it tricked me into thinking that I was inconsequential. Well, to make matters worse I faced sexual abuse in my teenage years, unbeknownst to my mother. I became more and more withdrawn.

When God emerged on the horizon of my awareness, I felt this was my ticket away from a life that seemed mostly scary. I was the perfect candidate for a cult. Barely 20 years old, I joined the community who lived in an old castle in Rheinbreitbach, Germany. I stayed there until I was in my thirties.

The cult was toxic to say the least. Used as a rule book, the Bible was abused to infringe on every aspect of freedom, especially freedom of thought. Our brains were washed. I honestly believed I would go to hell if I ever thought of breaking up with them. However, after twelve years of being at a place I secretly hated, the stress began to wear on me. I got sick, lost weight and sunk into a deep depression.

My reaction was that of escape – into the world of music. Thanks to music I held on to this community as long as I did. Composing felt like a window in a cage. A melody emerges out of nowhere and evolves and you just roll with it. Music became my little freedom corner. However, a melody is wordless, and I had yet to learn to put my pain into words, rise out of the ashes and move on.

That day arrived when my brother came to see me. I had little to no contact to my family, so he had to jump through hoops to get through to me. I asked him one question: Would my mother be able to forgive my crudeness for pushing her away all this time I’ve been in the cult? The answer was yes. So I jumped ship. I broke away from a community that claimed to be my true family but had hurt me badly. It was ironic because I tried to escape hurt and pain and by doing so I got more hurt and pain.

I was set free from false religion, but to maintain my freedom I had to learn to find my voice. I had to start believing in me. Believing in God is a two-way street. If we believe in Him we need to start believing in us also, because God believes in us. And who are we to question Him on His beliefs?

Our identity is tied with Him. Essentially, we will begin to appreciate who we are as we walk with Him through highs and lows, day after day. We don’t go into hiding. We don’t try to escape. We learn how to live fully. God frees us for good, and He knows what He is doing!

Isaiah 49:15: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!”

Inspired by my singing experience for Memory Care patients, I wrote a poem this morning. Here goes:

Brain     
I forgot my brain today
I must have left it in the kitchen sink
From there it went through the strainer
And continued into the City sewage
I think this must be why
The language coming out of my mouth
Smells suspiciously
And I guess that’s why
I feel so miserable
Just like a piece of shit.

Lord help me
Where did my brain go?
Tell me, where did my brain go?

I don’t remember your name
Please don’t take that the wrong way
There are talking heads around me
They feel like misplaced keys
Everything seems out of place these days
What day is today?
And who is the President of the United States?
Who cares?
I don’t even remember how I got here. 

Lord help me
Where did my brain go?
Tell me, where did my brain go?

I can see it in their eyes
When I sing my song
They hate what I have become
With my memory gone
Let me tell you
Without words and rhyme
Even if you don’t recognize me anymore
It’s still me
I’m still here
I’m not that far gone
You can still hold me
You can still touch me
My brain left me
Don’t leave me too.

Lord help me
Where did my brain go?
Tell me, where did my brain go?

I’m placed with the lost and found
Aimlessly wandering around
Our frail bodies bear precious cargo
When our bodies fail
Where does the cargo go?
My soul needs a place to stay
How do I get there if I forgot how to pray?
God scoops me up at the end of the day
Even if I don’t remember
Thank God – He remembers me anyway.

When our brain function deteriorates we may forget who we are. But does that really mean we cease to exist? I believe the essence of us is not tied to our brains, and by the way, it’s not tied to our physical appearance either. The essence of who we are is tied to our Creator, and let me tell you: He does not think poorly of you and me. He thinks of us like a parent, like a mother and father combined.

We are always on God’s mind. Yes, we are always on His mind! And even if we forget God, He never forgets us.