They Find Me

It is Autumn, but the weather promises the winter cold. Gray skies drizzle endlessly. All consuming to my bones, the weather mirrors my heart. 

There are things. There are things in my past. They are hidden in the “everyone makes mistakes” and “you are a good person” comforts where I seek to be consoled. 

I have betrayed, lied, hated, and turned my back on need. Perhaps it is just my humanity, but sometimes the rain pours and the bitter wind can not be shut out by all the coats and blankets in the world. 

I know. I do know the freedom of forgiveness. I have lived the peace that can be found. But I know deeply, perhaps more deeply than others, the reason for a Savior. 

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A Link to My Longest Writing Ever

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Naked People in Heaven

Instant bad mood.  I search around for my screaming phone on the floor under my bed.  The damn alarm clock continues to scream at the top of its lungs.  Slowly gaining control of my sleeping body, I step out of bed, pick up my phone and turn off the alarm.  The pain of waking up.  In heaven, I will roll over and enjoy the waking up process just as much as snuggling into bed and drifting off to sleep.  (That is if we sleep in heaven.)

My world runs about me in fast forward.  Honking impatiently at the slow moving car, spending what we don’t have for the newest item that hits the shelves, driving around our children to some place other than home.  Why do I join the insanity of the crowd?  I do believe in busying oneself with hard work, but that is not what is happening here.  We are all consumed with what does not matter.

Now.  What we want is now.  The admiring stares of those we don’t know.  Now.  The praise of what drives us around.  Now.  Winners of the race.  Packed pantries to overflowing.  Fashonable jewelry on our bodies and extra in the closet.  Fancy modern restaurants.  Everything that our neighbors have.  Our neighbors that we want to be like, not the ones outside of our neighborhood.

But all we think about is now and we laugh at anyone that suggests otherwise.

Ted Turner is famous for a lot of things, one of them is stating what is on his mind.  Hey, I can respect that.  He likes to chose his words so that other people listen.  He doesn’t just fit into the crowd.  I respect that also.  But I wish that someone would tell him, and a whole lot of the rest of the world, that they are on the wrong train.  When Turner quoted, “I’d rather go to hell.  Heaven has got to be boring.”  I wish someone would have asked him, “What do you want most in life?”….”It will be in heaven.”

Heaven is better than being a billionaire.  There is money to spare, Hey, let’s pave these streets with gold.  Heaven is better than pornography!  THERE WILL BE PERFECT BODIES WALKING AROUND NAKED!  And it will be a good thing!  No one will be embarrassed!  (There will be no sin in heaven.  Pornography is a destructive, cruel sin.  The point is, naked bodies will be good….and everywhere.)  Heaven is better than Hawaii.  All the food will be paid in full!  Heaven is better than Christmas!  That baby Jesus, he will be with us!  It doesn’t sound boring to me!

And what will not be in heaven?  Babies without mommies.  Wheelchairs won’t be needed in heaven, or medicine, or hospitals.  There will not be divorce, no one’s heart will be broken.  What have you been through?  What hurts?  What tugs at your heart and makes you cry out, “That is not right!”  God will end it.  He will make all the wrongs undone and he will wipe away that tear.

“Jesus’ miracles are not just a challenge to our minds, but a promise to our hearts, that the world we want is coming.”  Tim Keller.

So, look at this world.  Read the Bible.  Take a look at what is good in this world.  LORD, FIX MY PRIORITIES!  SET MY MIND ON THINGS ETERNAL!  Get ready.  It is going to be the best party of all of eternity.  Don’t throw away your invitation.

The Way it Should Have Been

Terror. Terror seized my body, I could feel my heart beating out of my chest with an intensity and pounding that throbbed my whole body. They were coming for me. For me. There was nowhere I could go, nowhere to hide.  Hiding my body was useless. They were seeking my soul. 

Distance did not exist to them. The darkness did not hide their sight. No threat, no weapon, no fight would hinder them. Here they came and they wanted one thing:  my pain. 

Slithering under the door, they fill the room.  Laughing, it is the only way I can define the noise, but it has no joy. It is the sound of satisfaction, excitement of lust fulfilled. Demons. Demons had found me. 

I fought. I only wore myself. Their strength was undefeatable. I screamed, I cried, with no hope of relief but only from shock within my body.  The terror of pain surpasses the physical. Realization that it was upon me. 

Dragged out to a hill. One, from the multitude of them, held my body. His strength held me like iron chains. They fought over who could torture. One of them would take the whip, swinging with strength of no earthly being. Tearing my skin and shocking my nerves. My body wanted to pass out, to seek some relief, but they were experts of torture. They knew how to intensify pain, while keeping me always conscious.  Pain. Terrorizing pain. 

All the while, the guilt that lay on my heart. You see, I am a liar, a cheat, an adulterer, a murderer. There is no sin that I have not committed. I am guilty and I must die. I must suffer the consequences and pay the price.  My soul can not seek refuge. The pain inflicted is deserved. I am a criminal, condemned to pain. Forever pain. 

They drag my mangled body, I do not even look human. The whips, the spit upon my face, the insults, each a blow I feel and deserve. I am layed out flat. I moan in terror and fear of what I still will face. I see the tools, I see the instruments. I see my agony and I see the demonic smiling faces.  Their day has come, their satisfaction begun. My hell their heaven. My pain their reward. 

A powerful beast drops a beam beside me. It lands upon my arm, breaking the bone. They take my arms, they look into my eyes, wishing to soak up my pain and savor every moment. 

The nails are spikes, thick and huge. Held up to my hands, I knew my coming fate, with a blow of the hammer my body wriggles. The spike nailed through my wrist, pain that can not be explained. 

Crucified, hung upon a cross. They taunted, and they jeered, and they scoffed at me. Through agonizing pain, I pushed up from my bleeding, nailed feet. I sought breath from my crushing chest. 

But this was not the worst, nailed I could not escape, but I was shocked in terror of the fate that awaited me. 

And here was the final blow, he stood before me. The leader, the master planner, with strength and power he stood before me. Since my birth, he had worked for this very moment. Slaved away for my soul. He had won the victory, I easily gave into his conniving plan. 

Satan stood before me. With one large hand, he ripped me from the cross and flung me into the fiery pit. Forever to be tormented in agonizing, torturing pain. Pain. Forever pain. 

It should have been me. I should have hung upon the cross. But my Jesus, he paid the price for me. I am saved. 

Do You Understand Forgiveness?

There.  She hides in the shadows.  She hides behind her job of success.  Ordering and delivering success.  She strives to achieve beyond the hurt she has caused.  She climbs the ladder proving that she is a benefit to this world.  Why can’t she get high enough?

There.  She hides in the popular crowd.  Her friends gathered around.  They love her, want to be her, applaud and compliment her.  They have to be right.  She has to be good.  Just have fun and forget.  Why can’t she forget?

There.  She is a mom.  She buys him new clothes, peels his apples, and kisses his cheeks.  She plays with him and claps with him and reads to him daily.  She buckles him in and ties his shoes and holds his hand as they walk.  Why can’t she love him enough?

There.  In the dark they cry.  The inner pain that won’t go away.  The secret that points its finger and condemns them to daily hell.  There is no pain they feel they don’t deserve.  Hate is all they have for themselves.  The deepest throbbing torture of a sin beyond belief.

Here.  My arms beckon.  All sin is washed clean.  Run to me for relief.  Even that.  I know of even that. It does not hide from me.  But mother of a dead baby, you can never do enough retribution.  Give it to me.  Here.  Here is the only place you can find forgiveness. Here.  Here there is no condemnation.

Arise

The heaviness was beyond fog, a thickness and darkness of air and soul.  Graveyard of the damned.  Dark, lifeless trees towered over the ground, keeping out any glimpse of sky.  Row after row of headstones.  There are no visitors and no flowers placed among these graves.

Beckoned from the damned, I rise.  I scratch and claw and arise from the dirt.  I crawl.  I slither among the ground like the worm that I am.  My stomach, my legs, my chin have been rubbed raw.  My finger tips bleed.  Eyes closed, I smash my head into another headstone.  Pushing my body under a large overgrown vine, I slither on and beyond.  I slither out of the graveyard.

My eyes still closed, I have no wisdom of my whereabouts.  Like a new discovery, I bend up to my knees and elbows.  I crawl.  I find it to be much more productive.  Tall trees surround me.  A thick forest.  They grow thick overhead and shield any sight of sky if my eyes were open to see.  There is a thick underbrush.  I seek no path, I seek no comfort, but I crawl on my hands and knees through the thick brush.  Hour after hour.

My body begins to twitch all over.  I seize.  Suddenly, with no thought, with no realization of the action, my eyes open.  I see I am twisted in the thickness of the brush.  I crawl toward relief.  I now travel on a path.  My eyes are open, it is not a thought, it just is.  I can see.  I do not comprehend.  I do not look around.  But I see and I crawl on.

Jerking, my legs begin to push in.  I fall.  My body attempts the movement again. Using my new sense of sight, I crawl to a tree and use it to push my legs in.  My entire body hugs the tree as I push and force my body upward.  Slowly, painfully pushing my face against the tree and scratching my raw face, I achieve an upright position.

Arched over, head down, arms flopping, I travel on.  My eyes look down.  I am quite pleased with myself.  I am in an upward position and my eyes watch the path.  I travel on.  Hours and hours.  No rest.  I drag my legs, swing my arms and I walk on.  Then I have a thought.  It is something that I am starting to do now.  I think.  It hurts my head at first, but I press on.  I walk and I think.  I walk and I think.  I see that the path has changed.  The path is flowing.  I flop my foot forward for the next step.  It splashes the path.  The flowing part of the path shines.  It forms an image.  With my proud new vision, I look.  I swing my arms.  It imitates.  I think again.  It is a reflection.  I see myself.  I see myself hunched over.  I push at my back.  I stand.

I stand upward.  I stand straight.  I press my chest out and push my head up.  I walk.  I walk with something that is quite a new sensation.  Confidence.  I walk.  I see.  I think.  As I walk on, the trees begin to thin.  Something shines through the top.  I squint.  It is bright, I have never seen that before.  The sun shines down on me.  My body begins to drop dirt.  It becomes clean and pure.  My matted hair falls down and flows long and clean and free.  My raw bleeding skin heals and is of the purest cleanest beauty.  My rags radiate a white flowing gown.

I run.  My body presses on with strength and beauty and confidence.  I break through the edge of the forest into a wide clearance.  The sun kisses my body, a flock of birds spring and fly matching my speed.  Flowers blow in the field, complimenting my beauty.  I have been resurrected from the damned.  My Lord has beckoned me, I run and do not grow weary.  Transformed, I persevere.

This Time I’ve Really Screwed It All Up

“Dear sweet baby, it is ok.  Everyone messes up.  EVERYONE.  What matters, is what you do after you mess up.”  I do not know how many times I have said this to my daughter.  I have begun to learn to say it to myself.

Remember Peter?  Peter of the Bible.  Peter, the disciple of Jesus.  Peter, the Rock.  The rock on which Jesus would build his church.  Jesus knew he was about to be crucified.  Peter swore to him, “I will not deny you.  Even if I have to die with you, I will not leave you.”

Just a couple of hours later, Peter was standing in the courtyard.

“Hey, You were with that Jesus,” said a stranger.

“No.  I don’t know who he is.”  How quickly the tune of Peter changed.

“You.  You are a follower of Jesus,” it came again.

Peter was getting really mad now, “I have no clue who you are talking about.”

Another voice, “Oh yes, I saw you with Jesus.”

“Damnit!  I have no clue who Jesus is!” yelled out the voice of Peter.

At that point, Jesus turned and looked at Peter.  Jesus, that was covered in blood, whose body was disfigured because of the torture that he had endured.  The Jesus to whom Peter had just that very night pledged his life.  Jesus looked at Peter.

What do you think his eyes looked like:  I told you so?  I am disappointed in you?  I hate you?  Go to hell?

I have a daughter.  If, because of her, I was taken out into the streets and tortured.  If I was spit on and left to die and it was all brought on because of her, if I was one breath before death, and I got to see her one more time, if my eyes could lay on her for my final breath, do you know what I would want to say?  I love you.  It does not matter what you have done, I forgive you.  All of your mistakes, it does not matter.  I love you.

And I am not Jesus.  So, I can only imagine all the more, how much Jesus’s eyes knew Peter and loved him.

Peter screwed up big.  He denied the God of the universe.  But know what?  God was not finished with him yet.

Jesus, that died, his heart stopped beating.  He had no more brain waves.  He was dead.  But he is God. He is alive!  Three days later, he walked out of that tomb.

He found Peter and said to him, “Feed my sheep.”  He said to him, it does not matter.  You are human.  You screwed up.  But what matters, is what you do now.  Peter, get to work.  I have forgiven you.  Now go, tell others how they also can be forgiven.

“Caroline, You have screwed up.  You really messed up this time.  I don’t care.  I forgive you.  What matters is what you do now.  Do you know that?  Do you really believe that?  When your husband makes you mad, do you hold it against him or do you forgive him, like I forgave you?  When you lose all patience with your daughter, are you serving yourself or me?  When you judge that woman that walked by, do you not see her as my daughter that needs you to wrap your arms around her and tell her that it is ok.  Tell them, I know what they did.  I forgive them.  I love them.”

Jesus healed the blind.  He took the hand of a twelve year old dead girl and told her to stand up and she did.  He walked on the water.  Jesus was tortured and died a horrible gruesome death.  He was dead.  But then he walked again, talked again, and ate again.  And Peter saw him.  It is foolishness to those that do not know him.  But try to convince Peter otherwise?  Peter was tortured and died in the end for Jesus.  Know why?  Because he knew it was truth.  He knew Jesus.

A few thousand years later:  Jesus took a really screwed up sinful, sick, Caroline, and made me into his princess.  I know him!  It is foolishness to those that do not know him, but you can not convince me otherwise.