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Welcome Friends.

My name is Bruxy (a.k.a., Boo - thanks to my sisters for that enduring family nickname), and I'm a mess. But I am also discovering that suffering, especially from self-inflicted wounds, can be a good teacher, and I am learning so much. 

I say "Welcome Friends" because this site is for friends, old and new. This is a gracious space for the encouragement of those of us who struggle with hardship, failure, and forgiveness, and who are aware of our own need for grace, mercy, and peace. This is not a place for judgement and divisiveness, but for those of us who want to learn and grow together in the compassionate way of Jesus. In short, this is where, along with the input of others, I share some of my processing on the gospel principles of repentance (literally "rethinking", leading to regret for past sins and a recommitment to a new direction in life), faith, forgiveness, grace, mercy, peace, reconciliation, and restoration. My hope is that you're here because you see how much we all need a little more of these gospel values in our lives.

Over this past couple of years, part of my therapy has been journaling on what I am learning from Jesus, specifically through his teachings in the Sermon on the Mount. Last year I began to share some of what I was learning with family and friends for feedback, correction, and conversation. And now that number is growing. I'm grateful you're here, but please know this site is still primarily my opportunity to process with people who are walking with me through my repentance and healing journey. 

Personally, I am low energy these days and I appreciate your prayers. As I say on my "How You Can Help" page, I am trying to rebuild what I have broken and repent of what I have done wrong, while also defending myself against accusations of things I have not done, and this all leaves my emotional energy quite low and my need of grace quite high. Every day is different - some are dark and defeating and others have some lightness to them. I often feel like I'm playing a game of emotional "Snakes & Ladders". Two steps forward, and sometimes a lot of steps back. 

We must bear patiently not being good, and not being thought good.

~ Saint Francis of Assisi

As I mentioned, this project began as a part of my therapy, alongside many months of actual therapy, spiritual direction, and soul searching accountable fellowship (all still ongoing). When the dark and defeating thoughts are all I hear, I have found that the mental and emotional discipline of really staring into the life and teachings of Jesus has become a powerful way to dispel the darkness. Meditating on the teachings of Jesus word-by-word has become for me life-saving and life-giving by helping my heavy heart and my darkened mind focus on the Light. And by getting to know Jesus better, I am able to bring who I have been and who I am becoming into that light of love. I don't have to hide any more. I not only see Jesus better, I see myself and everything else with more clarity and with more compassion. 

Whoever is willing to serenely bear the trial of being displeasing to herself, that person is a pleasant place of shelter for Jesus.  

~ Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

Some time ago on a different site, I posted my confession and repentance statement - and I meant every word of it.  Now on this site, I am getting to live out my repentance and renewing my mind as I go. I am often asked if/when I think I might return to pastoral ministry, and my answer is that I think it is far too early for me to even consider that issue. What I'm doing here I do as a lay person, blogging and hopefully helping others who are also feeling like a coal away from the fire. Although I am deeply broken and healing quite slowly (which is fine with me, I am in no rush), I also resonate with the prophet Jeremiah when he says:

But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,”
his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.
~ The Prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:9)


So, expressing what I'm learning helps me and, if you choose to read along, I do hope these writings might help you too.  And maybe together we can experience what the apostle Paul says about how staring into the personhood of Jesus changes us:

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
~ The apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 3:17-18)

The word for "contemplate" here means to stare into a mirror. It could mean to do some deep soul searching as we look at our own lives (check!), or it could mean to look at the reflection of something or someone else with the mirror on an angle. Paul makes the point that this is what Jesus does - when we look at him we see a clear vision of the glory of God (Matthew 11:17; John 1:18) AND a clear vision of the kind of glorious people we are becoming (Romans 8:29).

In the words of Jesus: "When you look at me, you're looking at the One who sent me" (John 12:45).  And this is what the Holy Spirit loves to do in our lives: help us see Jesus so Jesus can help us see God. And the result is, we also see ourselves as finally free of all the weight of our own shameful baggage, religious accusation, and satanic condemnation. We really can be FREE from it all!

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
~ JESUS (John 8:36)

Just before Jesus declares himself to be our Liberator in John 8:36, he says this freedom will happen when we get to know and follow the truth of his teaching (John 8:31-32). That is the journey I am on and what this site is all about, and what the Holy Spirit wants to help us all experience. (For more on who we are and who we are becoming in Christ, see John 14-15; Romans 6:2-14; 1 Corinthians 12:26; 2 Corinthians 5:14-21; Galatians 2:20; 3:27-28; Ephesians 2:6; 4:15; Colossians 2:9-10; 3:1-4; 1 John 3:1-2; 4:17 for starters.)

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Why "The Ghost of 1820"? In Matthew 18:20, Jesus tells his disciples: “Wherever two or three gather in my name, I am there in the middle with them.” In context, these groups of two or three are on mercy missions to help lost sheep return. I love that image. And Jesus says that when we gather together in gracious spaces to love the lost, he is spiritually and fully present with us. Jesus is the Ghost of 18:20. (For more on this verse, see our first devotional study. Also, the image on the home page is by Kathy Grimm.)

The "1820 Studies" are initially researched and written by me, then I submit them for discussion and discernment to a growing number of gracious, mature, and supportive sisters and brothers. I learn so much from these beautiful people, and their thoughts are then woven back into each study. So the end result is that the material on this site is a team effort and a family enterprise. I welcome your involvement too. Comment on posts or write me any time. 

After a couple of initial studies about mercy and warm fellowship (both of which I need so much), I began a thought-by-thought walkthrough of the Sermon on the Mount. I need to go back to the heart of it all and press the reset button on everything. These thoughts are for me first and foremost, but you are welcome to eavesdrop and offer input. Perhaps we can heal and grow together.

I wish you an abundance of faith, hope, & love. 

Grace, Mercy, & Peace,


Jesus in a mirror.webp
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