Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Guest Posting

I am guest posting at Phather Phil today.  you can read that here. 

When someone askes you write a post for their blog, it can be a bit daunting, you hope they like what you wrote, you hope that you have represented them well, funny enough the post I wrote for Phil is about hope.  When I first started writing it I had no idea what I was going to write about but hope just seemed flow out onto the page. With the season of Christmas upon us, we will be celebrating the birth of Jesus, and the hope of what His birth would mean for the world.  

Thank you Phil.


Monday, November 28, 2011

no words

I know that there are people who don’t agree with the way I choose to honor God before others in my everyday life, and I know that there are people who are not going to agree with I have to say in this post, and that is fine, I am ok with that.  In my everyday life I don’t talk about Jesus, I don’t, because I know that someone who is not ready to hear about God is going to shut down the moment His name mentioned.  I accepted Christ four and half years ago, before that, if anyone even mentioned the word God in my presence, I would them to bleep bleep bleep out of my presence, I was at rock bottom back then and I desperately need me some Jesus, but I wanted absolutely nothing to do with Him.  I make no secret that I am a believer, I wear that badge loud and proud, but I don’t talk about it, unless someone asks.

Jesus was a sinless man who loved and obeyed the laws of God, but oh my He loved the sinners, and they loved Him, they flocked to Him, and He never rejected them but treated them with dignity.  Back in the day when Jesus walked this earth as a man in human flesh, if anyone ever needed to find Him all they had to was look in square in the middle of sin and they would find Jesus there, probably having lunch with all the sinners of the town He was in, but even then He never sinned. He never condemned, or judged even the most sinful of people, instead He brought them into His flock, He loved on them, it was in the presence of Jesus where they found peace, and when they found peace in the arms of Jesus, they ultimately began to love God and honor His laws.
In my early days, some of the loudest words ever spoken to me, were no words at all, those who had the greatest impact in my journey with Jesus, are the ones who spoke the least, because when we are filled with whole lotta Jesus the peace flows through us like a river, and unbeliever can’t help but see His light shine through you and they are going to want whatever it is you have.

You don’t have to agree with me, I know some people aren’t going to, I just don’t believe that I need to pull out my  holy slingshot loaded with the gospel and aim square at an unbeliever’s head, I  don’t need to use big words like salvation, redemption, and sanctification, I don’t even know what those words mean, they scare me, so I can imagine what they would do to an unbeliever, we speak loudly when nothing is spoken. 
I was going to post this Sunday night, and I heard the whisper on my heart, wait.  This morning I popped over to a blog that I visit regularly, My Daily Walk in Grace, Tracy talked about random acts of kindness, that is what I am talking about, speaking loudly through no words at all.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Train Station - A Thanksgiving Story

She had to admit the snow was beautiful, falling down quietly around her as she stepped out onto the platform of the train station, pulling her red wool scarf tightly around her neck and matching hat down closer around her ears. Emily Grayson held out a mittened hand and let the fresh white powder collect in her palm. Daylight was giving way to darkness, peacefulness falling down around her in white snowflakes from the nighttime sky.

It was only supposed to be a couple hour train ride to her family’s farm in Vermont, but they were forced to stop midway through the trip, with so much snow collecting on the tracks it was impossible to go any further. They were grounded at a tiny train station in the town of No Where, Unincorporated.

She wished that she were enjoying the scenery of the snowfall at her parent’s home tucked under one of the fluffy blankets her mom kept on hand for such a time as this. She wished she had her hands curled around a hot mug of her mother’s cocoa and breathing in the deep aroma of holiday pies baking in the oven, their sweet scent filling the air, not sitting in a train station in No Where, what kind of name was that for a town anyway? She thought to herself.

The large doors leading inside the station boasted an impressive shade of red, the hardwood floors creaked beneath her feet and the wooden benches stained in deep mahogany reminded her of the church she and her family used to attend when she was a child. Her journal clutched to her chest, her words only audible to God, “Really Father? You had to pick today for the first big snowfall of the season, You couldn’t have waited until tomorrow?”

 Going back inside and taking her place on the bench where she had stowed her overnight bag underneath, she felt the eyes on her, she was only able to look into them for a second, they were deep and dark with nothing but deadness behind them that seemed to go on forever, those eyes would forever be burned into her memory.  He was just a boy maybe eleven or twelve, his legs stretched out before him, his arms angrily folded across his chest, Emily wondered what a boy so young was doing sitting in a train station by himself on Thanksgiving during a snow storm.

10 Years Later

 Summer break was over and classes had been underway for a few weeks, Erica was sitting in the front row of the lecture hall during her college English class her focus on Professor Grayson, certain she was the one, it had to be her.  Erica had been praying for years that she would see her again, the girl from the train station, the only person to ever look at her, really look at her.  The girl was a woman now but Erica would never forgot her.

When class was dismissed Erica slowly walked up the large handsome cherry wood table Ms. Grayson often sat on while teaching her class.  Pulling the burgundy leather Bible with the black satin ribbon dangling from the pages from her book bag she held it out in Emily’s direction.  

“Ms. Grayson, I think this belongs to you.”

Emily took the Bible in her hands, not recognizing it at first but it looked strikingly similar to the one she used to have, but lost many years ago. Opening the front cover Emily immediately recognized the scripture written in her mother’s handwriting, looking at the young girl standing in front of her, Emily was silently searching, pleading for answers.

“I took this from your bag 10 years ago at the train station in No Where, during the snow storm.”

Not recognizing the girl standing before her Emily looked into Erica’s eyes, she remembered those eyes, hauntingly dark, sadness so deep it seemed to run on forever, she never forgot those eyes, they were the same eyes she was looking into now, except the deadness, the loneliness, the fear that she saw in them so long ago was gone and replaced with light, bright dancing light.

It was all coming back to her now, “I do remember” Emily’s voice a whisper and pleading confusion, “but it was a boy not a girl that night.”

"Ms. Grayson" saying it more like a question than a statement, “My father passed away before I was born and my mom never got over losing him so she dulled the pain with alcohol. She had just gone into rehab for the fifth time, I was staying with a foster family and I couldn’t live there with them anymore so I tucked my hair under a hat, put on some of my foster brothers clothes and ran away, I was going to jump in front of that train you were on, but it was snowing so hard and I was late getting there…” her voice trailing off.

“When you got up and walked outside onto the platform I went through your bag looking for money, I was just so hungry, but I pulled out this Bible instead and then you came back inside, I didn’t expect you to come back so soon, and I didn’t have time to put it back so I kept it. I didn’t really want anything to do with God or this Bible but I just kept reading the scripture written on the inside cover.  The next couple of years were rough and it took a long time but eventually I gave my life to Christ, and so did my mom, she has been sober for eight years now.”

Emily stood there silently, stunned not knowing how to respond to everything she just heard. Finally placing a hand on the girl’s shoulder, “I think you should keep it Erica, and pass it along to someone who needs it”, pressing the Bible back into the girl’s hands.

“Thank you Ms. Grayson I will make sure it finds a good home, oh and one more thing”, the excitement in her voice rising. “My mom goes to college here too, we are getting our education together, I would love for you to meet her sometime” late for her next class Erica gave Emily a quick wave as she bounced up the stairs two at a time.

Emily waved back a smile spread across her face.

Erica and her mom Natalie spent Thanksgiving at the Grayson farm that year, and every year after that, on their way passing through the same train station where Emily and Erica first met. A few years later the entire Grayson clan was on hand cheering and clapping as Erica and Natalie Montgomery walked across the stage to collect their diplomas.

The Train Station, No Where, Unincorporated - Present Day

The legend of the Bible is a closely guarded secret among those who know about it. No one knows the mystery of where it comes from and no one ever speaks of it outside the walls of the train station, but every year at Thanksgiving for as long as anyone can remember the Bible shows up on the same bench and every year visitors from Thanksgivings past come from all around to give Thanks, some preferring to stay in the shadows, while others come with picnic baskets in tow filled with turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes to share with old friends and new ones alike.

She walked through the door, very thin her eyes sunk deep into her face, gazing about the room as if she didn’t see anyone, Jane Emerson sunk her whole body into the wooden bench as if she were trying to disappear into it. They watched as tears slipped down her face while the snow outside slipped from the darkened night sky. Jane was replaying the events of that horrible day two months before in her head. It had been raining hard and her husband was late getting home from work. Jane was starting to worry when she heard the car pull up outside, running to the front door and swinging it open, it wasn’t her husband’s car, but a police car, with two policemen walking up to the front porch, rain gear protecting their uniforms, the words swirled around her, foggy, muffled, barely hearing them.

An accident

No survivors

Jane’s husband was gone and she spent the next two months crumpled on the floor, and finally unable to take the pain and loneliness anymore, Jane found herself in the train station in No Where, Unincorporated that Thanksgiving night  like so many others had before her, intent to step off the platform and into the path of a whistling locomotive.

She heard the cheerful laughter coming from the tables decorated with brightly colored table clothes and cornucopia’s that were set up throughout the station, what a dumb place to eat Thanksgiving dinner Jane thought to herself hearing the whistle blow alerting everyone that a train was coming.  Placing both hands on either side of her she pushed herself up off the bench and felt something underneath her hand, wrapping her fingers around it she picked it up and craddled the very well-worn burgundy leather cover and a black satin ribbon dangling from the pages in her hands, Jane opened the front cover and read the scripture handwritten on the inside cover, realizing it wasn’t just a book, it was a Bible.

Gus, a tall man somewhere is his thirties who had visited the train station just the year before after loosing his job, got up from his seat at the table and gently placed a blanket around Jane’s shoulders and a hand on her arm, Miss please come sit down we would love it if you would share this Thanksgiving meal with us, sweeping an arm in a wide circle across the table, with that everyone at the rose from their chairs and surrounded Jane, pulling her to the table and filling her a plate full with turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing, it was the first time Jane remembers eating in months.

One by one the visitors of Thanksgivings past that had been milling around in the shadows wrapped their heavy coats tightly around themselves, heads nodding to each other in acknowledgment and sly smiles exchanged between them knowing the blessing of the exchange they had just witnessed, and quietly they headed towards the door on their way to spend Thanksgiving with their families, remembering when it was them.

Isaiah 40:29-31
He give strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men will stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings on like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

This will be my last post until after the holiday

Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving.

Disclaimer:  This is not a true story, at least not to my knowledge, I totally made it up.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

happily ever after

It happened, when I wasn’t looking, when my head was turned and my attention distracted chasing my version of happily ever after.

Life happened, unfolding organically written through seemingly ordinary days filled with nothing much that looked remotely extraordinary.
I didn’t get my happily ever according to me, but happily ever after found me nonetheless, not by anything I did, but by everything I didn’t do.

It was through equal parts good and equal parts trial that were shaken and stirred together, that I found everything I wasn’t looking for, none of what I wanted, but everything I needed. 
I found my happily ever after, in Jesus and Jesus alone.  He is my lifeline, the source of my joy, the strength of my peace, my Savior, my everything, my happily ever after.

My days have already been written, the details mapped out, my tomorrow’s in His hands.
This life of mine is not about me making a name for myself, how many people I lead to Christ or how many service hours I log.

What matters is living a life that is pleasing to God and glorifying Him while I walk this earth.  How I love the people he places in my path and honoring Him on the roads I travel because of what He did at the Cross for me.
It is about knowing that there is a life after this one, my eternal life where I will see Jesus face, a place where there will be no more tears and no more pain, no more sickness disease or starvation, it is that place where it won’t matter if I ever sell a best-selling novel,  the size of my home or bank account, my job title, the car I drive or how many stadiums seats were filled with people who clamored to hear me speak,  which by the way I have no intentions of ever doing. 

None of it will matter, if I lose my happily ever after along the way.
Matthew 19:21
Jesus said to him. “if you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow Me.”

Matthew 19:29-30
And everyone who has left house or brothers or sisters or fathers or mother or wife or children or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.  But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

Mark 8:36
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?

linking up with Tracy for winsome wednesday.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

take it up with God

I grew up in fear, being afraid was my normal.  I was afraid of making my father angry, so I tried, we all tried, to keep him happy, but my father was a broken man with anger raging inside him. He called me ugly, he told me I was stupid, He told me I was fat, so I tried, as much as a little girl could, to not be those things so my father would not be angry anymore, but as valiantly as I tried I always fell short in his eyes, because he always found something that was wrong with me. 

Home was a uncertain, we never knew when my father would come through the doors swinging or ready to give hugs and kisses, rooms  at times were torn to pieces, bruises were covered under heavy makeup and holes were punched in walls during one of my father’s rages.  At times I would sit in the corner of my bedroom trying hard to be really quiet hoping he would forget I existed.
I grew into adulthood trying to please people the same way I tried to please my father as a child, but I still always epically fell short, because no matter what I did they always found something about me that needed to be fixed.

I am enough because I was created by God, crafted by His own hands, I don’t have to change to be the person someone else wants me to be, I am becoming the person God wants me to be.
Because the last I heard the planet’s population reached 7 billion people.

7 billion people created by God, perfectly crafted by His hands.
7 billion people and He knows each one by name, He know everyone hair on their head, every cell in their body every thought in their head.

He knows every trial and moment of triumph, He knows their past, their present and their future, He knows each of His 7 billion children by name and He loves every one of them because He wove them together uniquely and individually to carry out a purpose, no two people are the same, He intended for it to be that way.
And if that is hard to wrap your head around, He also knows every star by name, every mountain, every grain of sand and blade of grass.

He knows every tree, every leaf, every rock, every lake, stream and pond.

He knows every cub born on plains of Africa, and every minnow born in the depths of the ocean.

He knows His creation and what He created, and He knows it intimately.

He holds the universe in His hands

Because He is God, and we are not

I don’t want to live in fear as I did as a child, I want to be free, and it is in Christ that I am free, because I know the person I am and the person I am becoming in Him is more than enough.

And if there is anyone who doesn't like that, who thinks they can do a better job, can take it up with God.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

this one's Mine

I was swimming in circles around a swimming pool that took me nowhere.
I could see the sunlight from beneath the surface where I was frantically kicking my legs, my arms stretched out before me as my fingers clawed and scratched through the liquidy wetness that was suffocating me, I was reaching for the surface that seemed to be right before me, I could see it, just inches away, but I couldn’t quite get there, I kicked harder, frantic to reach to the top.  The sunlight was shining so bright that it was white, it looked so beautiful, so warm, so welcoming, so inviting.  But I was sinking deeper, further beneath the surface, it seemed to never end, I just kept floating down, deeper and deeper.

I finally felt it, the hard surface that was the edge of the pool, running my hand alongside it, it felt round, and colored in a deep shade of blue.  My fingers felt their way up the side, guiding me up to the top, I was getting closer, and I was reaching and feeling around for something to grab onto to pull myself up, and then violently I was pushed back down, back into the water.  I heard the voice but I didn’t know where it was coming, the words searing mercilessly through my head “people like you never get out of this pool”, I felt my head being pushed back into the water and I was sinking again, deeper down towards the bottom.  I gasped at the tiny bubbles floating by that offered little more than just enough air to keep me going, but never quite getting that deep full breath my body was screaming for, aching for.
My head felt light, my vision blurry, my words were barely audible as I gasped for air, this time reaching  up towards the sunlight that seemed to be guiding me to the top “help me, someone please help me.”

His arms were strong as they effortlessly plunged beneath the surface and scooped me up.  He held me close, my head resting against the softness of His robe as tears spilled down my face, I sputtered for air and then finally I was able draw in that long deep breath I was searching for, my eyes trying to focus through the brightness that was lit up around me.  It was Him… all along, the light I was reaching for, it was Him, reaching out His hand for me, waiting for me to reach back, to call out for Him, my words barely audible, “help me”, was all He needed to scoop me up in His arms, brush the sopping hair that was splayed across my face from my eyes, holding me close to His chest and turning and carrying me away safely in the protection of His arms.

This one’s Mine.

linking up with Tracy at Winsome Wednesday.