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…

 

Dust and Shadows

9 years old and it is simply amazing what she can accomplish. I know that little girl inside and out, her strengths and limits, how she ticks, and what she can accommomplish. 

Summer days are our contradictions. Each day can be the extreme opposite of another. In order to defend myself in what I am about to tell you, I will first say that we just returned from a week’s vacation at the beach. There was nothing except play, family memories, and fun to be had the entire day. 

And then there was yesterday. Yesterday, my girl woke up to a list. Beside her list was my list. The two of us worked pushing out speed, racing the clock, accomplishing task after task after task. She is 9 years old and what she accomplished is impressive!  Get herself ready for the day, make bed, read two chapters of honors reading book, feed fish, give water to gecko, walk around the house and clean up any mess that belongs to Madison, practice piano, pass 1 level of rocket math division, read one more chapter, make a birthday card for Nana, a Father’s Day card for Grandaddy, vacuum, mop, set the table for dinner, and read another chapter from her book. 

And why do I make her do it?  Don’t I love her?  Am I not older?  Could I not accomplish these tasks with greater speed?

She is quickly catching up to me, but there have been nine previous years where I took double, triple, 25 times the time to involve and teach Madison in the daily chores that need to be done and the lessons that need to be learned. And why?!  Why would I have a three year old help me carry her laundry to the washing machine?

And you all know the answer. Because it is good for her. Because it is my job to teach her to be an independent adult. And that baby girl is going to make one amazing grown woman one day!  Because as she works, she learns to love work. And this is what Madison’s typical day looks like. But then sometimes, as happened yesterday, she puts a cherry on top and she goes above and beyond. Lastnight, Madison made a homemade apple pie for the family. (Not on her list) and then she picked up another book and asked her Daddy if she could read a chapter to him. (She did.)

And my day to day can be such a struggle. My spirit is willing but my flesh is weak. But sometimes, at the end of the day, I get a little glimpse of the woman that all her hard work is raising her up to be. And in these moments, I get a little “ohhhhh, I get it.”

Why does God make me work so hard every day?  Why do I hurt and suffer?  Why can this life be so tiring and painful?

Because he is making a list for nine year old Caroline and look at all the things I can accomplish because he is teaching me how to help this world. Once I was three years old and my tasks were so little as I did them with my Father. Now he expects more. And now I want to bake an apple pie for my family. I want to share the gospel wherever I go. I want that to be my priority and the center of my life. I want it to dictate where I live, what I say, and how I spend my time. 

My little girl is starting to dream. God has big huge plans for her. If you asked her today, she says when she grows up she wants to train dolphins. Give her time and she starts throwing in other animals that she wants to train as well. Point is, she has some big dreams. And if you ask me, she is firmly on track. 

What do I want to accomplish?  Is it to have lots of influential friends that like me?  Is it a newly remodeled wow inspiring home?  Is it finances of extreme comfort in the bank?  

Is it to welcome homeless people into my home?  Is it to be put in harm’s way so that I can help when emergency strikes?  Is it to tell other hurting people, no matter what the cost, about the amazing love of God their Father?

Oh Holy Spirit, I long so much for your presence. Give me hurting people in my path so that I can show them your love. Guide my steps so that I can serve the church. And then I will be a mature Christian, finally maturing into who you made me to be and then I will have intimacy with you as you accomplish the impossible in me. 

Everything else is dust and shadows. I will not settle. I will grow up one to do list at a time. 

I Just Want to be With Him

Separated by 12 hours, my entire mind and body ached for James. Newly engaged, I felt only half of a person waiting for my wedding day to be complete. My life was one thing:  waiting. 

I sat in premarital counseling all alone, trying my very best to answer questions the way I thought a Christian bride should. Then, the most obvious question, shook me:

“Why do you want to marry James?”

It was the most openly raw and truthful I’ve ever been in my life, “I just want to be with him.”

I haven’t written in a while. Writing is something that flows throw my body without ceasing. I don’t think about what I am going to write about. I sit down and, at any given time, I put my thoughts into words. But lately…lately, I didn’t want to say it. I wanted to DO IT. 

I didn’t want to write about loving Jesus with my whole heart, I wanted to show it. I didn’t want to inspire to adopt a child longing to be loved. I wanted to snuggle up with that love hungry child and promise a home. I didn’t want to poetically describe nature, I wanted to explore it and praise the God who so effortlessly assembled the mountains. 

And I couldn’t. I couldn’t write another word. 

And here I am. Did I adopt?  Was I not writing because I was living in a mud hut in an internetless village?  Did I downsize my home so I could give away my possessions?

No. Although I am inspired to do so. 

But I actually thought for a bit. Listened for a while. Kept my mouth shut and thought through my answer:

“Caroline, why are you a Christian?”

Hey, I want to go to Heaven. And I don’t want to go to Hell. I long to be kind and make a difference in this world to those that need it. I want to love, to really love my neighbor as myself. But, if I’m being honest, if my heart is open and raw and truthful, I will say that none of those are the reason I am a Christian. The real answer is:

“I JUST WANT TO BE WITH HIM!  I am tired of the separation. I am aching soul and body because of this long distance relationship. I want to hug and embrace and be with my Savior. I am a Christian, not because I am good, not because I have it all together, or because I have accomplished being a great humanitarian, or because I follow perfectly the Ten Commandments. I am a Christian because I am so madly in love with Jesus and I just want to be with Him!”

Trading Manure for Priceless Jewels

Menstrual rags are what I have to offer! Nasty!  We wrap it up and do not even want to see it in the trash!  

My unsalty crystals are not even good enough to add to manure!  It ruins poop so it can not even be used for fertilizer!  

He creates the sunsets like it is child’s play. The wings of the eagle are his artwork. He knew the thoughts of Johnny Cash before he was even born!  Gold’s only use is concrete!  The talent of Monet and the voice of Botticelli, his creation. 

And HE PURSUED ME!  It is insanity!  I ran away. I wanted nothing to do with the free gifts he offers to me!

JESUS!  For eternity I will praise you!  A worm like me you transformed into a princess!  Mercies of Jesus!  

My inheritance is that of the King of Kings!  My body will soar past the Olympian and a gold medal will mean nothing for the ease!  My voice will be of beauty that can join with the angels!  

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel!”

Go to school. Rush to your neighbors. The world is scared. Children are hungry. Your cashier at Publix. Your partner in business. Go to the gym and preach the gospel!  

I Didn’t Say It

I believe one of Satan’s greatest tools are the people that call themselves Christians. Digest that. 

I want to jump onto a moving train and hightail it outta there away from them and everything they stand for.  And so did Jesus. There were those darn Pharisees claiming to be followers of God, cleaning the outside of their vessels and making themselves look all high and mighty. There was only one problem. They had no clue who God is!  They did not follow love, grace, mercy, or justice. It was all a show and all for personal gain. 

Fast forward a couple thousand years and we have a whole bunch of westerners claiming the name of Jesus, pulling up their robes and living their lives for themselves. They have no clue who God is!  

“You believe there is one God. Good!  Even the demons believe that – and shudder.”

“The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

This is not intended to look at our friend, our brother, boss, the guy next door and say “Yeah, I’m thinking he’s not a Christian.”  It is to examine MY (you are basically reading my personal journal) …MY own life and struggle with the questions:

Does anyone know I am a Christian?  Am I pushing people away from God or loving them to Jesus?  Am I doing what Jesus has commanded me to do?  Am I burdened by trying to live this Christian life or am I so in love with my Savior that I just can’t get enough?

Honestly, there are some people that I wish would just SHUT UP. They are good little Pharisees and they strut their stuff and the world looks at them and declares, “I never want to be a Christian!”  These people are lukewarm and God is going to spit them out.

I didn’t say it. God did. 

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!

If You Feel My Heart

Put your hand here, upon my heart, you will feel the memories of our early days. It beats in my chest, pumping my blood, you are in my body. 

Feel my pulse, it is you beating. Made for you, longs for you, blood in my veins. 

And when you are not here, it rips apart, the thought of missing you, impossible to survive. Take my body and split me in two. That is what I am without you. 

Put your hand here, upon my heart. It used to beat in expectancy,now it is complete with thee, if you ever leave it will beat out of my chest in need of thee. 

This heart, it beats in me. It is you. The you in me that completes me. Beat, oh heart. Beat, you in me. 

Talitha Koum

Trees walking around. Her ears seemed to protrude and I noticed them like I had not before. I lost the focus of her beauty and despite my efforts to concentrate, her whole body seemed a jumble of pieces that no longer fit.

The spectacles of which through I saw this world had been removed, or I put on the spectacles, I’m not sure which, but I no longer saw people as I had before.

I had gone through my days with a need to impress others around me. I chose the finest clothes my money could buy, hours upon hours seeking not to be healthy but to have a thin appearance (I know this for sure because I cheated in such an unhealthy way), more hours of application to make my cheeks pink, my eyes colorful, and my lips protrude. My conversation was centered around the appraisal of me. Entertainment, career, family, even my place of religion was centered around my god:  me.

I did not see him coming, there was no reason to even notice that man. I was blindly rushing about my stress. I do not know why, but he ran after me. He grabbed me by the collar, I fought and I struggled and I yelled at him to release me. He did. And I fell upon the ground. Cursing, I complained and was insulted at his presence. There was complete hate in my heart and pulsing throughout my body.

Then two words he said to me, “Talitha koum.” (“Little girl, I say to you, get up”)

I don’t know how it happened, but I was upon my feet. The makeup was removed, I was bare naked but more fully clothed than I had ever been.

For I saw that I was just born. I had walked from death to life. He was all that pursued me and I turned and saw him everywhere. No longer was I a mere body, I had been born a soul.

The lostness of the human race struck me. The beauty of symmetrical bodies, youth, and wealth, all but filthy rags. Useless.

Then I saw her approaching. Her soul a glowing spirit. She smiled of joy and she loved with service. Her humility found herself when she gave herself away. I blinked and rubbed my eyes. I saw but an elderly woman. Poor. Aged. Sick. And at the end of her life on this earth. A mortal useless tragedy. But I saw, as I had never seen before:  the soul is where we find beauty.