Spiritual Flesh and Blood 9

(A continuation of a story. If you want to start at the beginning, scroll to Spiritual Flesh and Blood 1)

In high school, Wayne got the highest grades.  His teachers praised him and his peers idolized him.  But Wayne wanted more.

People are told we are animals.  In school across America, kids are taught they are evolved from a monkey.  In many ways this is true.  Wayne was highly educated, highly talented, and dressed and equipped with the finest of what money could buy, but he was just like a more evolved animal.  He was like a pure breed at a dog show that would obediently perform for treats, but he was still an animal.  He did not think for himself; his world was cause and effect.

But something was torturing him.  Something, somewhere was beginning to cause him to think bigger.  What was his purpose?  What was beyond this dog and pony show?  He was at the top of society and his future was bright but there was a nagging hole inside him.

At his high school graduation, Wayne was valedictorian and received honor after honor.  Why was this not enough to satisfy him?  Maybe, although it was expected, he was disappointed after his father was not there.

Wayne did not know what he wanted out of life but he did know one thing:  he did not want to be like his father.  But what did that even mean?  That fact was that he did not know his father at all.  His father was just not there.

Not attending his graduation was one of many times he was absent from big events in Wayne’s life.  He had come to expect it.  He was disappointed at five when he was not there to see him get a baseball trophy.  He was disappointed when he was the only ten year old without a father at the school father-son camping trip.  He was disappointed when his best friend asked if his parents were divorced and even when one friend asked if his dad had died, simply because after years of being friends, they had never met him.

To be continued…

 

 

Spiritual Flesh and Blood 7

(A continuation of a story. If you want to start at the beginning, scroll to Spiritual Flesh and Blood 1)

Satan’s greatest mission is to conceal the mystery and greatness of love from the human race.  He seeks to pollute it in many forms.  Love leads to marriage.  He slowly demolishes that definition.  Love leads to family.  He plans its ruin.  Love gives to sacrifice.  He leads the heart toward selfishness.  Love leads to forgiveness.  He whispers the offense again and again into the ear of the offended.  The power of love reaches far and wide.  It is the greatest weapon that the demonic army must battle.  The greatest opponent to the God of Love is the god of lies.
Satan has been whispering lies into the ears of humans for all of history.  He whispered that same thing into my ear.  He told me, “Ha!  God does not love you!  Insignificant little Claire.  God is ashamed of you, little motherless child, if there even is a God at all.  He does not want you.  He does not love you.”  But like many, even though I struggled, God had a bigger plan for me.  God showed me what a deep, personal love he has for me.

When I was seven years old, Angel Life won the greatest battle of my life.  I was young and innocent by the world’s standards.  I had not been so polluted by sin and the world as much as someone that has lived more of their life.  It is easier for the angelic army to win the battle in a young child.

To be continued…

Spiritual Flesh and Blood 6

He was raised by a nanny and then sent off to boarding school at the age of ten.  He had one older half-sister, Sarah.  She was ten years older and not a part of his childhood at all. She was his father’s child from a past marriage and lived with her mother in another state on the other side of the country.  He also had seven other half-siblings, but he never knew of their existence and his father never claimed them.  They lived with their mothers in poverty, children of prostitutes.  

His childhood contained a workaholic father who traveled more than he was at home and a needy mother who succumbed to the cravings of this world.  He had no rules. He was told to follow his desires and he was given the resources to do so.  His name was Wayne.  

Deep, deep evil and the purest goodness fought for these two lives.  They battled for my life and for the life of Wayne.  Our lives were connected from birth but we did not know it.  We were meant to be and we were prepared for each other.  Not by our parents, not by our teachers, not by ourselves, but by God.  He always has a bigger plan than we see.  He has a plan of love for each of us.  Satan does not believe in love and he does not understand but he is terrorized by its power.  He shrieks and wriggles at the very mention of the word.

To be continued…

Spiritual Flesh and Blood 5

There was another life that affected my own as much as anything that happened during my childhood.  He was formed out of the dust of the ground and I was made from the ribs of his body.  I was completely oblivious to the life of a little boy who was as much me as I was myself.

He was not loved by his parents, but he was provided for.  Concurrent to the day of my mother’s funeral, his father called him into his office.  The little boy wore a designer baby blue suit tailored to fit him, made of shorts at the bottom to show his knee socks and leather two toned shoes.  His bowl haircut and chubby cheeks showed his youth more than his dress or his serious expression. He walked with fear, wishing he had not carried his airplane into his father’s presence.  His father leaned forward from behind his large desk.  The sun shone in from the large window behind him so that the little boy could only see his large silhouette.

Invisible demons stroked his father, “Yes.  Yes.  You are powerful.  What is this thing that lingers in your presence.  Make him leave.”  His father listened to this inner conversation as he stared down at him.  He thought about his personal power and accomplishments.  Who was this person that was not respectful of what he had accomplished?

The little boy paused, not knowing that the silence was awkward, knowing only that it was fearful.  His heart was beating quickly.

A beautiful woman wearing a dress suit and her hair tied up in a bun walked over and leaned down and whispered into his father’s ear.  His father did not change his expression or even seem to notice, except that he gave her a single nod.

Then his father addressed him.  He spoke for the first time since the boy had entered the room.  It was two words but it turned all the mystery and awe the little boy had concerning this man into one thing:  hate.

Go away.” These two words his father coldly addressed toward him.  He gave no reason for having called him there.  What he felt now was what he had always felt about his son.  His father felt he had never wanted him.

To be continued…

Spiritual Flesh and Blood 4

Her death was an emptiness that would haunt my life and I did not know how to fill that void.  My father shut himself off inside his church.  He was a pastor who was closed off to his children.  We were now nothing but a reminder of the wife he lost.  We were nothing but a burden like predicted.

My father hid in his work, not knowing how to deal with his own hurt.  Loss of love hurts so badly.  When he was alone, he would think about us and how he wanted to love us and help us.  He thought about how much we must be hurting also.  That is because his heart was good.  He would promise himself that he would do things better.  He would be a better father.  But he did not pray concerning us.  He did not call on God to be our father.  He tried to do it in his own power.  And whenever he was in our presence, Demon Suffering squeezed his throat so that the right words would not come out and my father would run from our presence to seek relief from that pain that he always felt when he was around us.

And then a new demon joined my father:  Demon Regret.  Now he could never be a father again.  He had messed everything up in our family.  He quit trying.

To be continued…

Spiritual Flesh and Blood 3

The funeral of my mother at the age of five altered my life forever.  We had been a happy family.  I was not only provided for, but I had been invested in.  I had been the child of my parents’ happy marriage which had spilled over into a happy home.  My father, a manly man, had been so pleased to work hard to provide for his wife and children.  He felt he was good and he felt God was repaying him with this happy life.  With the death of my mother, I also lost my father.  He could not be father and mother, so he decided to be neither.  I lost my childhood.  I lost my innocent happiness.  I stood at her funeral, holding the hand of an aunt that I did not know, and so unsure of the new emotion that I felt:  fear.  I was a motherless child.  

After the ceremony, the few people my family knew in our little town gathered at our house.  It was a small simple farmhouse but my mother had made it a home.  With her death, even our home died.  Now it was just a house.  It suddenly lacked the charm that comes when there is happiness in the air.  I stood in the corner near the staircase.  I was blocked by a wall, but around the opening I could hear relatives whispering, “What will Matthew do with these children now?  What a burden for him.”

No, I was not the only child of Matthew and Grace Parker.  I was one of three children.  I had a brother, David, who was four years older and a sister, Fern, who was two years younger.

The whispers continued, “She always spoiled them and now he is going to have to pay the price.”

“Well, I think he deserves it.  He should have taken better care of her.  It is his fault this happened.”

“All I know is that children are expensive.  He doesn’t have any money.”

“Well, I happen to know where he can find a new wife.  That is the only solution I know of.”

“You are exactly right.  I mean it.  I agree with you.  And he’d better come to terms with that sooner than later.”

This was followed by small snickers.  They were not possessed by demons.  These people had been saved by God.  But they had been stopped in their footsteps.  They refused to fight.  They stood in their comforts of life and did not want to be burdened by the troubles of this world.  When they were tempted, they quietly gave in and kept it hidden.  When demons told them to judge, they gladly obliged.  They were modern day Pharisees.  The demons could not enter their bodies, but they could sit on their shoulders and whisper into their ears and influence their thoughts and actions.  The demons promised comfort in this world in exchange for their cooperation.

This is how the community felt about their responsibility to fill in the motherly gap that we now inherited.  There was never a solution or an attempt at one.  Our happy home was never happy again.  We had lost Eden.

To be continued…

Spiritual Flesh and Blood 2

And with that the angel army charged and the two armies collided for the beginning of a fierce battle in the war of a precious life.  That life was me.  This story is my unseen life, more real than this tangible world we feel and breathe and taste.  This is my story, lasting for eternity.

There is Heaven and there is Hell.  There is a spiritual world that we cannot see.  And there is earth.  It is controlled by the spirits but humans give too much regard to sight.

On the earth, mankind heard the first cries of a new baby.  I was born.  Claire Louisa Parker.  Fully human and claimed by God.  He had sent an angelic army to protect me and to claim me for his own.

But I was blemished I was born with sin.  I was in need of a savior.  There was still a war to be fought.

My parents loved me.  The love of my parents was the first victory Angel Life won.  My mother and father were innocent and they were ignorant.  They loved me and they loved each other.  But they built a weak foundation that could not stand the test of the war that surrounded them.  Their base, their family, was soon to collapse.

Demon Death swung his sword and struck the left shoulder of Angel Life, leaving a great injury.  From this world, my mother collapsed.  Her love and her guidance left me.  Her love had been the stronghold of our family.  Human love and human goodness was not enough.  Our family lacked a firm foundation.  My mother died when I was five and my life would always feel the wound.  Mourning and suffering plagued my childhood home.  Overnight, dark forces settled over our house that was no longer a home.

To be continued…

Spiritual Flesh and Blood 1

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Ephesians 6:12

My life is a meaningful story.  The author is God.

On the night I was born, in response to the miracle of life, an army of angels gathered in the heavenly realms.  They were great in number and they were fitted for battle, covered from head to foot with thick gold armor.  They resemble men of great strength but they are fairer with a heavenly translucency that shines from within.  They march with organized strength and determination toward the spiritual forces of evil awaiting them.

Opposing them is an army of demons.  In form, demons are terrifying creatures.  They were not protected by armor but they stood in height much taller than the angels even though they stand hunched over at the shoulders, a mix of human and beast.  Most of them are mangled and injured in some form.  They have bite marks or bleeding open wounds.  This is from the many times they have turned on one another.  They are a noisy and uncontrolled army.  Sometimes it appears that there is a dark cloud that moves with them, but upon closer inspection, it is their constant transformation from spiritual to physical.  They outnumber their opposition in mass so large that their number can not be counted.

At my birth, the demons hissed and shrieked and cried out.  Dark powers know the potential of a small baby.  A seed grows into an oak tree.  Tidal waves are made of small drops of water. Revolutions begin with a single being.  The dark world seeks to destroy the human race one life at a time.

In response, the angels began a beautiful song that started in a soft whisper but grew in volume.  It was a message, a statement of power.  The angels were not opening their mouths but they were glowing, and the light around them and through them grew brighter and brighter.  The demons held their ears and shielded their eyes.

With a great crescendo, there was complete silence.  An angel named “Life” stepped forth.  He spoke with a deep booming voice that commanded attention, “Turn to me.  Give me your regard!”

The demon crowd continued to shield their eyes.  Among the howls and expressions of pain, an authority among them hissed with a painful scream, “We loath your light.

The light dimmed until the demons slowly turned their heads and gave their notice.

Life continued, “Show me an opponent.  Give me an equal.  I will crush you.  I fight for the Lord, the God of Heaven and Earth.  This child has been claimed since the foundation of the earth.  You fight in vain.  Dare to stand against me and let me remind you of when my God crushed your god and flung him into Hell.  And let me foretell of macerating you for eternity.  My Lord God will reign forever.”  He paused a moment and then his voice boomed again with an intensity of authority and frustration, “Is there no one?”

A demon stepped forward, leaving the cloud, and assuming a more stable form.  Demons alter between many appearances.  A dark cloud is their appearance when they stand in a group in the heavenly realms but while roaming the earth, they inhabit beautiful human forms.  They prefer the company of other demons.  When they stand alone and the spiritual eye sees them for what they are, they are seen as individual tangible grotesque beings.  This outspoken demon was smoky in color.  He looked like a mangled and deformed tall brown bear fused with a man.  He had patches of missing fur and scars and mutilations covering his body that did not make him look weak, they only added to his hideousness.  He moved as a creature of strength.  His presence commanded respect and fright.  He spoke with a low guttural sound of hostility and a dark vapor escaped from his mouth and nostrils when he talked.  “My names is Death.  I was there with Cain while he slew his brother Abel.  I drank the blood when infants were sacrificed in Peru.  I shriek with delight while families are slaughtered during present day genocides in Africa.  I stand as a proud parent while followers rape young women in the Middle East.  I find glorious excitement while politicians waver under personal glories to the downfall of a great country in the fragile United States of America.”

“America,” he hissed, “bites the hand of God who has blessed her.  Oh so soon will be her downfall.”

“I am your equal opponent.  Me!”  He snarled.  “Me!  I will fight you.  I will find pleasure in her suffering.  I will add her to my trophies.  I will slaughter those she loves.  I will abort her children.  I will begin by killing her mother!”

The army behind him joined him in taunts and shouts of approval.  Encouraged by them, he shouted, “I will tear her husband from her!  I will spit in her face!”

He turned back toward the host of angels, “I will claim her to suffer for eternity by my side.  I will drink plentifully of her pain and it will satisfy my lustful desires of human sin and suffering.”  Excited with the satisfaction he thought was soon to come, he cried out, “I am hungry!  Hungry!  I will bring agony and torment and I will…”

“Enough!”  Angel Life interrupted, “Enough!  You speak with pride but you lack authority. This child will be protected by me.  I was there when God formed Adam from the dust of the ground and breathed life into his nostrils.  I was there when the human baby, Jesus Christ, came into the world in a small stable to conquer you and your army and your god forever.  But you only speak of the past and soon to be because you fear the future and you know what is to come.  In the future, I will be there at the side of this baby when she crosses over from that world into eternal life.  And in the future, I will be there when my God conquers Death and Pain and Suffering once and for all and claims the victory over this war.  And I will be there for all eternity praising Jesus Christ as God and Savior over all humanity.  This is already certain.  Her pain will be temporary and I will guide her in life.  You forget that you cannot persuade me with your empty lies.  Another has been chosen to be joined with her in life.  He is guarded by Angel Victory.  You can hurl on them physical pain and suffering and even death but you can only battle for a short period.  How pathetic you are when you stand against Life and Victory!  These words are trustworthy and true.”

Unlike the distracted demon, unable to concentrate because his mind was preoccupied by his own lustful cravings, the angel stood fixed and tall and peered straight toward the demonic murky cloud, with resolute confidence never turning to the left or right or looking for support from the military force that stood organized behind him.  With confidence in God he served, Life raised his sword and cried out, “Defend this child of God!”

The multitude of angels raised their swords and spears in unison and cried out, “Amen!

To be continued…

 

Verge of Tears

College sophomore Caroline Hite pulled my thin jacket around and zipped it up to my chin. I wasn’t quite prepared for the cold this Tennessee Fall was threatening. It was dark and I could not see the green circular lawn as I walked the diameter from the library to my dorm room. 

With a dreary attitude, I slumped up the steps to the third floor. With dramatic disappointment, I flopped down on my simple twin bed and gave a large exhale. 

“What’s the matter?” My roommate and best friend inquired. 

“I miss him!”  I was seriously on the verge of tears. 

“Who?” She asked with a tinge of girly excitement, yet knowing that I told her everything and she knew I did not even have a current crush. 

“One day I am going to love someone so much. One day it will hurt to be separated from him…I don’t know who he is…but I miss him now.”

Obviously, I am a hopeless romantic to the core. Randomly, that vivid memory crosses my mind and I smile. I still feel the cold breeze blow against my cheek and I remember that longing that I had in my heart that has now been filled.  James. James is that man that I was missing. 

And today that longing grabbed my beating heart in a whole new way. Bleeding and still pumping, the Holy Spirit grabbed my heart and tenderly yet firmly looked me square in the eyes and said, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.”

Did God long for me?!  Like that!  In a perfect, complete way know that he had created me and I was yet to be born?  Does he look at me now, at every detail of my little life and know that he made me to love coffee, know that he made me to crave the words of CS Lewis and while I read “Surprised By Joy” it was an event created to be at the beginning of the world?  Did he long for the day when I would have my own daughter and cry tears of love and joy at the realization that this is just a glimpse of the love the Father has for me?

And I am humbled. How?  HOW!  How can GOD love me?!  Want me?!  Wait for me?!  And I realize, he made me for Him. He has a purpose for me!  Oh God!  Grab me!  Kicking and screaming, wholly addicted to myself, and lazy out of selfishness and begin your work in me.

My toes are wading in the water, but I want to dive in!  

And I walk the diameter of this world. It is dark with arrogance. My heart is not in the right place. But I miss someone. Someone I will be with for eternity. One day I will sing HOLY. HOLY. HOLY. And one day I will be complete and whole and all my questions will be answered and all my hurts will be undone. Dear Jesus, my heart aches for that day I will be with YOU!  And the Good News is that You want to be with me too!

Spread the Secret

There are many me, there are lots of me’s that enjoy a big pot roast, me’s walking the isles at Publix, I see me picking up my kid at school, or even the multitude of me’s sitting in churches across this Western World. 

I have lived my life following the crowd of the must have. The media has influenced what I say. Oh!  Don’t get me wrong!  I have spoken out enough to make enemies with those I don’t like anyway, but never enough to get a label. I have lived my life in search of bigger and better, prettier and stronger, richer and more powerful. 

But last week, I took a trip that I didn’t want to take. Remember the day I had to write?  Remember me holding in the tears in Target?  Well, my levels were up where they shouldn’t be up and my oncologist ordered lots of scans. It sounded just like the previous six times that led to surgery. And not all surgeries are created equal. Add the C word for a dramatic effect and as the surgeries multiply, the risks and recovery are harder. Well, that time I wrote about what I couldn’t write about, it was that. Last week, Nana stayed with my girl and James and I took that oh so routine trip to Duke Medical Center. It is worth the drive. It is the difference between life and death. 

A sick feeling rises in my stomach while I try to prepare myself, thinking about things I had not let myself think about before. But my husband slips his hand into mine and then it can’t all be wrong. What I care most about is right. And I get an email from my mentor sent around the 5 o’clock hour and she has prayed in the presence of the Holy One on my behalf. And I get a text and another text and more that dear friends are praying and what more can I ask?

It all begins with an ultra sound, I grab James’s hand and I am prepared for the worst, “Completely normal. Nothing to worry about.”  Followed by a CT Scan and a bone scan:  My oncologist sent in his PA. (Pause here. I absolutely adore my doctor but when he sends in his PA, that is the news I want!)  All normal. 

But, ya see, this is the third time in 2015 that I have lived a similar situation. It never gets easier, maybe even harder, but each and every time I learn something. And they will continue. I am a 19 year cancer survivor. Since 19 long years ago, my blood levels are off. My doctors continue to search and scan to locate that microscopic cancer that they know is somewhere. But their hope, and my prayer, is that I live my life being poked and prodded and that it never grows to a size where they can find it. It has before. Six surgeries. But I live my life with routine medical bills and visiting the best doctors in the world and this cancer is slow growing therefore I proclaim that my life is a beautiful life with cancer. 

And living my life from this perspective teaches me enough to write about it. The thorn in my side can also become the blessing. Although I would have never picked this road on my own, and I would switch lanes at any point that I could, the suffering is never wasted. And what did I learn this time?  

I learned MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Yesterday, I accompanied my eight year old and her classmates to an assisted living home to spread some holiday cheer. My daughter, her friend, and I sat across from an elderly man coloring a picture.  As Madison chatted, like Madison does, the man must have told her a hundred times how smart she is. I smiled and introduced myself. He followed suit with his whole name. I then introduced my daughter and her friend. The sweet man we just met, smiled and told me he had two children, he pronounced the full name of one of his children and then paused with great pain on his face, “I am not smart like her. I forget.”

Not able to fathom the pain of forgetting the name of my own child, we moved on with the conversation. Because my God is awesome, he moved my daughter and her friend to share their recent memory work. They memorized all of Luke 2. (All 20 verses!)  As they recited the story, this precious man beamed. It was spiritual. 

When I do not have the option to take this life for granted, THANK YOU JESUS FOR SHOWING ME WHAT I LIVE FOR!  There was this tiny little baby, he was God Almighty coming to earth to save me!  There is no other religion where god loves me like that!  No other faith that says that I am good enough. No other spiritual life where I measure up to the God of the universe pursuing me! 

There are so many me’s walking around this world. We know God but we don’t want to get too weird about it. Ladies and gentlemen, ISIS is cutting off the heads of the infidel, mass shootings are the new norm, our president does not even recognize our enemy…this world is headed straight to hell!  I will strive to be more like my eight year old daughter:  “Here is the story of Jesus.  And when life hurts more than possible to endure, there is hope!  The story starts with a virgin birth, announced by angels. Hosanna in the highest!  I have good news of great joy for all the people!”  

MERRY CHRISTMAS!