Do NOT Become a Christian

Are looking for something to fulfill your life?  Need a list of laws to follow?  Are you a good person?  Are you rich?  Is your life put together and you want a church?  

Let me be the first to assure you, Christianity is NOT for you. 

Are you outcast because your sins are much too many?  Do you want to be dead of this life you live?  Sick?  Find this world meaningless?  You don’t fit in?

Then, for you, I may have the answer. But I will be the last to try to persuade you. In fact, I will do the opposite. Consider the cost carefully. 

Jesus himself turned away the crowd. To the rich young ruler that he loved, he looked straight to his heart and saw the one thing he could not give up, “Go and sell all you have and give it to the poor.”  There was no hug and welcome and let me lead you to the sinner’s prayer. No!  To follow Jesus, to be like him, he will have no competition!  The Lord must be loved with ALL your heart. 

This is no plan of your own. You do not approach your Maker and ask him to bless your plans. Oh!  How many curse God because He does not answer their requests!  

First, you must die. All your comfort, your identity, riches, and beauty are dead and buried. Meaningless. Rags to be offered. But you will walk in danger and not be afraid. And it will be so very dangerous. You will be mocked and count it as blessings. Monies only purpose is to be given away. Prayers are to be reserved for miracles. The miracle to accomplish a part of God’s big huge plan. 

And ladies and gentlemen, the very miracle is that God himself reaches out his hand and extends an invitation. And the church of religion kindly declines, “No thank you.  I’m doing just fine on my own.”

Open Journal

“My sweet little bitty, teeny tiny baby,” You have never been one to really like the many nicknames that I have thrown out your way, “Mom! Don’t call me that!” And then I pulled out this exaggerated pet name and you didn’t mind. It is the first that you smile and let it be.

As I like to do, I was having coffee with a friend, who happens to be a mom of one of your friends. She asked, “how do I keep improving my life to show my daughter that she can be anything?”  She, and I, realize our immense responsibility to be the role model of our daughters. We chatted and I loved our chat so that the words have stuck with me, bringing a new realization a few days later:

Madison, you are so enthusiastically curious, so calmly friendly, ever achieving new abilities, lover of learning without the stress of perfection, independent, and SO PERFECTLY YOURSELF, that I believe others expect more out of me! This is what I mean:

Madison plays piano. Oh! I never played any instrument.

Madison excels at an exemplary private school with whatever you can throw her way as a model student. I struggled through public school.

Madison plays volleyball. I never did. 

M rides horses. I never. 

Madison stands up for others (at such a young age)!  I didn’t know how to.

Madison loves sharks! Me: scary!

On and on the list goes so that I have realized:  Caroline, your job is to get out of the way!  God is her parent, He is her Father. I have prayed for this child since I was pregnant and when she was three months old, God said in the most audible way, “She is not yours!  This baby is MINE!”  So hard for me to open my hands!

But there are NO WORDS that I can write to fully illustrate the overwhelming JOY and PRIVILEGE to see God Himself take my nine year old daughter by the hand and whisper softly,

“Little bitty, teeny tiny baby, I have one big huge, God sized plan for your life!

The Goodness of Pain

Oh no!  There was no way around the large puddles now. I splashed right through them. My pants were already soaked through so that I could feel the coldness upon my legs. The sudden downpour caught me unexpected and soaked me through and through. Pain I did not like but with or without a good attitude, I tolerated it. 

The sound of the small drip, the sight of steam rising up from the coffee pot, the smell.  My brain was already enjoying the promise of a hot cup of coffee. After a hot shower and putting on comfy pajamas, nothing was a better ending to this cold day than holding a hot cup of coffee between my fingers. I slowly lifted the the large mug to my lips and, to my delight, the soft touch of my lips told me the contents of the cup was much too hot. Pain I enjoyed. 

I knew the seriousness of the moment as she slowly and solemnly entered my room. I put down the shirt I was ironing and simply looked into her eyes, telling her she had my attention. As tears rolled down her face, we collapsed into a chair and I held my arms around her. She recounted the guilt over a wrong and poured out her broken heart. There was no further need for discipline, her heart had learned the lesson well. Pain she learned from. 

There were even times that I intentionally brought pain on my own daughter that I love so much!  Lack of treats when she was craving them, remaining loyal to a sports team when she wanted to quit, shots at the doctor when she did not understand, stitches at the hospital, the natural consequences of forgetting to do her homework. I used pain for her own wellbeing. 

I didn’t know them all that well. But I hear that they’ve lost their two year old daughter in a drowning accident. I can not begin to explain this. I do not understand. But I take comfort in knowing the God who knows us through and through promises me that one day all the wrong will be undone. One day I will look upon his face and I will have no more questions. One day it will be all the better because in this oh so short life I have suffered real pain and real hurt. 

Simply put, the existence of pain is by no means an explanation that there is no God.  How could I ever question God, mere man that I am?  He gives and he takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!  And he simply looks into my eyes, showing me that I have his attention. We collapse into a comfortable chair, he wraps his arms around me and tears roll down my face. I tell him of my wrongs and my lessons learned. Blessed are those that suffer and they suffer for righteousness!

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 8

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

My father’s sermons were not personal for me or my brother or my sister.  We were strangers that lived in his house.  I remember sitting in the pew and hearing my father talk week after week about a loving God.  I remember thinking that my father was a different man, there behind the pulpit.  It was the only time I saw him smile.  He knew the answers and he knew a relationship with God.

His personal demons could not reach his heart, they could only influence his life.  So, their agreement was that they would sit outside the church while he preached and then they returned to his shoulders as he walked out the door.

Wayne was different.  Evil won battle after battle since he was conceived.  Wayne grew up and changed from that plump-faced quiet child who longed for a childhood.  He couldn’t change them, so he joined them.  He accepted the money and the attention and the praise of the world.  He walked through this world blind, always being told how good he was, and he came to believe the empty lies.  But God does not care what the world thinks.  Darkness was upon the face of Wayne.  His life was without purpose and it was void.  Then the Spirit of God moved in the heavens.

The world did not know that when he was born, the angels and demons gathered.  Angel victory stepped forward and shouted, “Proclaim this among the nations:  Prepare for war!  Rouse the warriors!  We are about to conquer this human life for good!

Demon Defeat had won so many battles in this young life but Defeat would soon receive a massive blow that would change the tides of the war on Wayne’s life.  A camel as about to walk through the eye of a needle.  

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…