Pornographic Love

As a young girl, Christmas was sheer magic.  One year, a very long time ago, a few months before the holidays, I saw a commercial.  We did not have a television in our home.  I must have been at a relative or a friend’s house, but I vividly remember seeing a commercial of the very thing that would fill the hole in my heart and that would make me forever happy and perfect.  A Poppel.  A plush little toy that would instantly transform into a ball…or so they did on the commercial.  With a fun little song, this thing transformed from a stuffed animal into a plush ball back and forth, back and forth and the world was just as it should be.  And I wanted one.

I dreamed of it day after day and I counted down the days until Christmas…until it was Christmas morning and I just couldn’t stand it anymore.  My life was about to be completely meaningful and perfect and I would never want anything else ever again.

Well, something happened that was not a habit growing up in a household with eight children.  I FINALLY opened a package that contained all my hopes and my dreams in that one Christmas present.  Not only did I get one Poppel, I GOT TWO!

But because you have a very similar story to mine, you already know the ending.  That thing just didn’t work like it had on the commercial.  It took every muscle in my little girl body to transform that animal into a plush ball …and it was still never perfectly round.  And it just didn’t pop out quite like it had on the television to that fun little song.  And I never told my parents (until they are probably reading it here) but that thing just did not fulfill me like it had promised to.

“Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exist.  A baby feels hunger.   Well, there is such a thing as food.  A duckling wants to swim.  Well, there is such a thing as water.  Men feel sexual desire.  Well, there is such a thing as sex.  If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.  If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud.  Probably, earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.”  – CS Lewis

Daily, hourly, by the minute, I have these desires.  I want my world to be perfectly clean.  I want my husband to walk through the door with fresh flowers and a surprise date.  I long to look strikingly gorgeous every single time I peek into the mirror.  I want my daughter to always be polite and over succeed at every single thing she attempts.  I want to turn on the nightly news and hear the report that ISIS is forever gone and there are too many wonderful things happening to ever report.  I WANT ME AND ALL THINGS AROUND ME TO BE PERFECT!

Here.  It never can be.  But I do believe that perfect does exist.

According to covenanteyes.com, 68% of men view porn at least once a week.  A desire being fed by an empty substitute with detrimental consequences.  There is a real body to love.  Caroline, there is a place that is perfect.  We were not made for this world.  It is a desperate and empty search to try and find that completeness here on earth.  We were made with desires and longings that only a perfect God can fill and one day, those that turn to him, will experience all our desires met in complete perfection.

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The Time Has Come

The house is quiet. I awake before the rest. There are words I read:

The time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the Good News!

These are the words of Jesus. 

I take one more sip of coffee and stare out the window. There is a light mist that falls outside. 

There is a light mist that falls inside me. My coping mechanism has been to shut it out. Save it for another time. I am not ready. 

But here, I sit alone and I must face that it is there. That is all I will do. I will know that it is there. 

But I turn back to my Bible and read his words, “Good News.”  Jesus, who had lived eternity past in perfection, knew the brokenness of this world like no one else, looked at those he loved, in their suffering and their pain, and proclaimed, “There is Good News.”  He knew of something far better. 

And I will read his words and I will feel my hurt and I will believe. 

Hymns of Nature

Tall grass.  Mountain tops.  Sunshine.  I spread my arms and circle around.  The sun kisses my cheeks and the wind happily plays my game.  “HE LIVES!”  My voice screams out.

Booming through the peaks, singing from the trees, nature sings out her response, “Oh, we know.  He made us.”

Running down the hills, hiking through the woods, my travel leads to me to seclusion.  The smell of pine, the babbling of the brook, and the chatter of the birds.  Gazing on a line of ants, distracted by a playful squirrel, interrupted by the spying of a buck.  “BEAUTIFUL ANIMALS, THERE IS A GOD.”

Preparations do not end.  The play continues on.  Silly giggles reply, “Dear woman, look around you.  We have always known he made us.”

Praise God!  They know!  All of creation worships their Creator.  He shines in the sun, whispers in the wind, and directs the ant in its work.  At ease, I continue home.

Driving through the city, passing the masses of the humans.  Little girls dance in circles.  Mommies shop for deals.  Young men running in the gym.  Teachers leading their classes.  I join them and I share, “Praise God, he made us all!”

The human world comes to a screeching halt.  They turn and stare.  They all yell out, “No!  We will have no God here!”

Oh dear flowers, sweet bunnies, and swimming fish, you all know and praise what we all deny.

I AM in me

In this world. There is a ticking time bomb in the center of my chest. The blood flows through my body, pumping this throbbing bomb, reminding me that my day will come. 

In this world. I am a blemished offering. Men determine my value and find me lacking. They pass me up and give me no notice. 

In this world. The tasks are endless. There is no relief from the monotony of stress. I can not hide from the burden of the suffering. War plagues the land. Contention and hate are the rulers of our time. 

In this world you will have trouble, but take heart!  I have overcome the world!  He does the impossible, he reaches out to me. Truth takes my hand and leads me to the cross. Perfection paid the price for the sinner that was me. 

Living with cancer, I am ridiculed for claiming the name of Jesus, but one thing I know, “I was blind but now I see.” 

I do not seek answers. I will not debate. I was a useless beggar on the street when Jesus found me. There is no offer in all this world that can compete with the I AM that lives in me. 

Awareness of the Road, Cancer Awareness Month

To walk the road alone.  The road is paved, others go before me, but a cold wind blows and I pull my thick sweater around my body.  I have a sweater.  I stare into the sky, my mind wandering.  I do not know where I travel and I question where I came from.  The season is early Fall and there are sprinkles of changes.  Oh yes, change will come.  It always has and always will.  The only thing to stay the same is change.

And I have things to do that will not be done and things I’ve done that I should not have bothered with.  It is these moments of great wondering and wonderment that I see it all so clearly.  For in my confusion of meaning, there are those that are all that matter.  They are the ones I love and want and those that will always be because they are part of what makes me me.

Was I what I was made to be?  I ask the one who did make me.  It all came and is going so very quickly down this road that I do not know where it leads, but it leads so ever quickly.  When I started, there was no thought but now it is all that consumes me.  The virtues that are of another world, to what lives on.  Now I see.  Did I love for love or did I serve just me?

All or Nothing

If you are hungry, gather at the table.  The meal is just out of the oven and it is plentiful.  If you are full, there is no reason to answer to the call.  Jesus Christ has come to heal the sick, to find the lost, to seek and to save.  He calls those that are sinners, those that are hurting, and those in need.  If you do not find yourself lacking, faithless generation, then do not respond when he calls your name.

He watched his son, thrown to the ground and his body sent into convulsions.  There was nothing he could do.  Helpless is the worst place to be.  And to watch your son in pain, there is no greater torture for a parent.  But there was hope, something that was his last resort, he brought his son to the man he heard stories about.

“Jesus, IF you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”

Jesus turned to the man.  He saw his pain, he saw his hurt, and he did something that is in his nature.  It is who he is.  He loved him.  Jesus is all consuming love.  But he did not stop there, he addressed something beyond physical needs, he addressed the heart, “IF you can!  ALL things are possible for the one who believes.”  Jesus made the heavens that are so vast that all our technology can not even count the stars or the galaxies.  He knows our bodies down to the smallest atom.  He made it all, he controls it all, there is no IF when God is involved.

We all make mistakes!  Each and every one of us.  The only thing that matters is if we learn from them.  And this man did.  He was at a point where Jesus was his only hope.  When Jesus is all you have, you see at last that Jesus is all you need.  The father of the suffering child called out, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

And here I live.  I BELIEVE; HELP MY UNBELIEF!  I want nothing more than Jesus!  HE IS EVERYTHING!  When I lose my life, I find it.  When I give myself, I get all of Jesus in return.  When I abandon my plan, the God of the universe steps in and says, “Watch what I can do!”

Too often I pray for God to speak to me, but what I really want is for him to confirm the comfort of my plans.  Lord, I give it all!  I give you my marriage, it will fall apart without you.  I give you my daughter, you are the perfect parent!  You are all she needs!  I give you my plans, my resources, my health, my very life, I count it all as NOTHING before the throne of your grace and mercy.  And you take me in your loving arms and you give me an inheritance of heaven!

And he is faithful!  THE ONE WHO CALL YOU IS FAITHFUL, HE WILL DO IT!  1 Thessalonians 5:24

If you are not ready for miracles, do not bother to show up.

The Culture of Negative Comments

Some of my greatest insights into her day come when I snuggle up beside her right before bedtime.  This is where she gained her nickname, “Chatty Maddie.”  Last night, as I cuddled up beside her, she taught me a great lesson, as goes much of parenting.

My eight year old daughter is training in a group of six girls (3rd and 4th graders) for a 5K race.  Madison begins to tell me about a new 4th grade friend she has in this group of girls and then she tells me something that stuck with me.  (I hope it will forever.)

“Mom, yesterday, we ran so much!  I was getting so tired and I said to my friend, ‘This is so hard.  I don’t think I can do it.’  And she said to me, ‘You can do this Madison!  You’ve got this!’  And know what?  It made me run faster when she said that.”

Drop the mic and walk away.  What more do we need to know?!  What a precious gem that my grown up culture needs to learn from that precious fourth grader!

Living in the year that I do, I get much of my news from the internet.  Call it positive or negative, one of our modern features is that the general public can comment on ANYTHING…and they do.  Aaaaaand I have pretty much stopped reading the comments.  Know why?  Because comment after comment, down to the one thousandth comment, they are mostly all negative.  And here is the thing, here is what gets me.  It is people that agree with the article (usually that is why they read it in the first place) but they feel the need to give negative feedback.  It usually goes something like this:

I agree with this but you should have also said this…

There was a mistake in your fourth paragraph.

I agree with what you wrote, but your outfit looks horrible in your profile pic.

If this insane impossibility happened, this would cause me to disagree with this whole thing.

“I could have written it better.”  And everything inside me screams, “THEN DO IT!  Stop talking and do it!”  We have become the culture of tearing each other apart!  When someone is tired, we just push them out of the way thinking it will make us look all the better when someone else fails.  Our culture is tearing itself apart from the inside out.

I adore the quote from Ben Carson that, “When the jihadists get here, they’re not going to ask you if you’re a Republican or Democrat before they cut your head off.”

Are we so worried with proving ourselves right that we tear each other down, weakening our world for the true enemy to invade?!  AND THEY WILL!  We need to learn to get along sooner than later before it is too late!

Speaking to myself first, I want to be more like my daughter’s fourth grade friend that sees people that are tired, that sees people that are about to drop out of the race and I want to encourage them, “YOU’VE GOT THIS!  COME ON, YOU CAN DO IT!”  I want to be someone that builds people up, rather than tearing them down!  I want to be part of the solution, rather than adding to the problem.

Let’s all remember the lessons of our childhood.  Stop tattling!  When is the time to speak up? When someone else is getting hurt.  Are babies being murdered?  This is the time to yell at the top of our lungs and do everything we can to stop it.  “Disagree comment” away!  And then there is a time to say:  Is this just a mistake the person made?  Keep my mouth shut.  Is this something that I should address with only the person and not all of public?  Go to them privately.

Or is this a time that I need to help this person?  Do I need to run alongside of them and encourage them, YOU’VE GOT THIS!  YOU CAN DO IT!