All posts by Jenn Beiswenger

About Jenn Beiswenger

I'm generally a pretty content person, always growing and loving the journey most of the time. My passion was babies for so long, now I'm recalibrating to figure out what else I want to do with my life. It turns out that I enjoy preparing healthy food for my family, creating Zentangle®-inspired artwork, traveling, learning about the Lord's amazing kingdom, connecting with & helping others. My husband, 13-year-old son and I live in Sydney, Australia, where we happily serve the Hurstville New Church congregation. I'm enormously grateful for the modern technology which helps me stay connected with family & friends around the world!

Rebekah

Last August, a group of women gathered for our first Australian New Church Women’s Weekend together. That was such a success that, in early March this year, we did it again! Both times we shared delicious home-made meals, fun ice-breaker games, insightful instruction on a woman from the Bible and other spiritual topics, relaxing & enlightening meditations, a charitable project, fresh air & sunshine and down-time to develop relationships with old friends and new acquaintances. The woman from the Bible whom we studied this March was Rebekah. Below is the essence of what was presented; it’s kind of heavy, but hopefully informative. It might be helpful to read Genesis chapters 24-27 to familiarise yourself with the different parts of the story as it is presented in the Bible.

The internal sense of this story is about the process of conjunction of good and truth in the Lord’s Divine Human. Rebekah represents the Divine truth that was to be conjoined with Divine good (Isaac) of His rational. Rebekah, before they were betrothed, stands for the love of truth from doctrinal things, in other words in thought but not yet in action.

Rebekah’s drawing water for Abraham’s servant’s camels and giving them to drink has to do with enlightenment in a person’s natural level, i.e. gaining factual knowledge. Her being sent away from her family (going with the servant) is about truth being elevated and separated from the natural, which happens when a person doesn’t look from truth to good any more (knowing what is right and doing it), but from good to truth (doing it because she loves it, and recognises it as true). Here’s a concrete example: ‘don’t hate’: first we do it because we know we shouldn’t, and eventually we truly love and believe and live it, not because we’re told but because we love it; it’s lifted out of the natural.

After marrying, Rebekah was at first barren; this is about Divine good and Divine truth existing in the Lord, but their not yet being conjoined. On our level, when we’re being regenerated, we have good will to our neighbour, but not from love, only from truth (not because we love doing it, only because we know it’s the right thing to do; it’s in our heads, not in our hearts). The internal and external parts of ourselves fight, which is why we aren’t yet regenerate; our rational is barren as to truth. Isaac entreated Jehovah and she conceived twins, Jacob & Esau, who struggled within her. These two are about the conception and birth of the Divine natural, which is good (represented by Esau) and truth (Jacob).

Isaac lied to King Abimelech about Rebekah, saying that she was his sister, not his wife. This is about it being impossible to disclose Divine truths to people because, basically, it would blow their minds! Consequently the truths are hidden, sort of ‘dumbed down’. For example, regarding space & distance in heaven: there is no space or distance in heaven, it’s about states, but we’re given the impression that these do exist – the appearance of truth – because we wouldn’t be able to make sense of it, otherwise. Rebekah was described as ‘good to look upon’ because we like, we can grasp, the appearance of truths.

Fast-forwarding to the part of the story in which Rebekah got Jacob to trick his father into giving him Esau’s blessing, this is because intellectual things (Jacob) need to be first, in order for us to learn what real good is. It is the inverse of how it ultimately ought to be, but it’s the way it needs to be, initially. She helped Jacob because she loved Jacob more, because the truth of the rational, which she represents, loves the truth of the natural, which Jacob represents, whereas the good of the rational (Isaac) loves the good of the natural (Esau).

This is the last we read of Rebekah in the Bible – her death isn’t recorded, except to say that she was buried in the Cave of Machpelah together with Isaac, Abraham, Sarah and Leah. Her ‘gathering with the fathers’ represents putting things in order, which is the process and end-goal of regeneration.

This women’s weekend received good reviews, once again – so much so that we’re already looking ahead to another wonderful women’s weekend in September! Please let Jenn know if you’d like to be on the email list for that one. (jenn@beiswenger.net)

‘Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them!’

Nothing

When I was little, I told my mom, “Mom, when I grow up, I want to be just like you: nothing.” Some people scoff at these words, but I think moms get it, I think moms understand. Those simple words didn’t mean that my mom was a nobody, that I didn’t respect her or that I wanted to grow up just to stay home and watch soaps and eat bonbons all day (goodness knows, my mom didn’t!). I was expressing the desires of my heart: not be be a career woman, but to be a MOM, just like her.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to bear children and be a mom. I’ve always loved babies. I’ve had other career goals along the way – archeologist, architect, nurse (baby nurse!), doctor (baby doctor!), graphic designer, midwife – but what it all ever came down to was that I wanted to be a mom. You can imagine my EXCITEMENT when my husband and I decided we were ready to start trying to conceive!!!…..

…..Then you can perhaps imagine my utter devastation when my period came, month after month after bloomin’ month. [Who ever expects to deal with infertility, growing up?! I sure didn’t.] We were fortunate to have the means to eventually attempt IVF, and we were gloriously blessed with success on the very first try!! Our son is now 13 years old, and I try to remind myself how so very, very blessed we are to have him.

Continue reading Nothing

Invisible Prisoners

I recently visited Cuba for the first time, with a few extended family members. We were there for my cousin’s graduation from med school, and we took some time to see a few sights too, in and around Havana. It was my first visit to a communist country. It was eye-opening.

Having grown up in Canada, Cuba has figured very low on my ‘awareness radar’. Everything I knew about the country, prior to my trip, I’d gleaned from my right-winged American husband. I gathered that Fidel Castro was ‘bad’ and America was ‘good’. I didn’t come across much about Fidel in my first few hours on the island, but during the medical school graduation ceremony I was introduced, albeit in a foreign language (of which I could only eke out a few words and implications!), to what looked to be the Cuban perspective on former president Fidel Castro. “Viva Fidel!” Long live Fidel! (or his ideology, as the case may be, as the man himself is deceased.)

Speakers venerated the man in their addresses, we saluted and chanted “Viva!” in response to their prompts. Wow, what a benevolent leader he was, creating this tertiary institution to benefit the people – which students attend and from which they earn their bona fide title of ‘doctora’ or ‘doctor’ free of charge! In that moment I realised that the image I’d formed in my mind of the oppressive Mr. Castro was incomplete: I’d only gotten half the story, up to that point, the other side, the American side. “Ok, Cubans really do love their leader. I was naïvely fooled into thinking that he was the enemy!” I felt some shame at having developed an opinion without learning the whole story. The rest of that day was spent rejoicing with the graduates and feeling good about their unique opportunity, and about Mr. Castro.

Continue reading Invisible Prisoners

Blessings In Disguise

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? It enables us to see and understand so much more about our lives than we might otherwise! It is through hindsight – perhaps much further down the road, but eventually – that we can appreciate that the ‘curses’ in our lives really did have resulting good come out of them. The Lord teaches us that He’s got our backs: His Providence, although invisible to our eyes, surrounds everything we do in order to protect us from ourselves, to help us through our lives and onward to heaven. 

We are allowed to see Divine Providence from behind but not face to face, and when we are in a spiritual state, not in a materialistic state. Seeing Divine Providence from behind but not face to face is seeing it after the fact but not before; and seeing it when we are in a spiritual state and not in a materialistic state is seeing it from heaven and not from this world. Everyone who accepts inflow from heaven and recognizes Divine Providence (and especially people who have become spiritual by virtue of their reformation), on seeing events in their amazing kind of sequence, virtually sees Providence from a deep recognition and confesses it. Such people do not want to see it face to face, that is, before things happen, because they are afraid their own volition would interfere with some element of its orderly sequence. (Divine Providence 187.4)

Continue reading Blessings In Disguise