Saturday, October 25, 2014

To The One Who "Let Herself Go."

I read this blog post about a week ago. 

It made me pretty upset...even angry.
 I know one thing for was wrong.
 Since then, my heart has had something to say.

The post said this: 

I know the rut women fall into after having kids and getting comfortable in their marriage. They stop trying to fix themselves up, because they don't want to be selfish. I promise you, that is a bad decision to make. Don't let yourself go, and blame it on being a mom. There are MANY moms that are still fashionable, in shape, and not rich. Don't make excuses for yourself."

I have a few thing to say in response to this:

Women don't "let themselves go."

Women suffer with deep depression after giving birth to still born children.
Women deal with the aftermaths of being sexually abused as children.
Women deal with their mother knowing they were being abused and allowing it.
Women deal with neglect from their fathers. 
Women deal with regret and shame after thinking an abortion 
was a better option, than bringing a child into a world
 that they didn't want to be in themselves.
Women are mistreated.
Women deal with their husbands cheating on them and then decide to try to "move on."
Women deal with memories haunting them from childhood trauma.
Women deal with feeling completely alone in all of this.
Women deal with the death of children and still have to wake up the next day.
Women deal with losing their parents and feeling alone.
Women deal with their bodies aching in pain because of physical abuse that nobody sees.

This just scratches the surface.

There is not a woman on earth that has decided that she felt safe enough to "let herself go..." but rather, she has done her family and herself the favor of still being alive. 
She has not taken her life to avoid the pain she is in. 
She has not given up. She has not walked away from her children. 
She has not mistreated them as she was mistreated. 
She has broken the cycle.

 She has looked at the abuse that was done to her and said, "I want more for my children." 
She has looked at the abandonment in her life and said, 
"I want my children to know I am here." 
She has looked past the flaws of those around her and decided to try to love freely.

So no, she did not "let herself go."

 She is still alive. 

She is still breathing and with that breath comes the opportunity for Jesus to redeem.
 To set things right in her life. 
To give her the strength to deal with the abuse that was done to her. 
To be stronger and better because of it.
 A chance to truly live.

If that doesn't look like how you think it should look, then your view is sadly off.
 Until you sit at the feet of a mother who has lost a child, 
don't you dare judge her on weight that she has gained as she tries to handle her grief.
 Until you look into the eyes of one who has been sexually abused and see the deep pain, don't you dare judge her for not being up on the latest trends like you have managed to be. Until you see beyond the face, the dress, the hair, the make up to see her heart...don't say that you know what "Jesus wants a person to look like." 

You are DEAD wrong.

 What Jesus wants most of all is for that heart, 

that BEAUTIFUL heart,

 to look into His eyes and to see His face


Friday, November 22, 2013

My God, my God, why have you forsaken us?

The List

Clasping the thin paper I held in my hand, I squeezed it a little tighter. I looked around to see the thousands of women around me. There were similar papers everywhere. Some stuck in the folds of women's hair, some more like well-bound books under their arms and purses everywhere were overflowing with these lists.
We all knew where they came from and who sent them to us. We all had something in common.

The lists. 

Not one, two or three, but hundreds and thousands of lists. 

As the hum of the crowd continued all around me, I drifted back in my thoughts to the day before I had these lists. "How naive I was!" I mumbled to myself bitterly about how far I had come. 
Not as many of the younger generation were represented,
 but judging by the life experiences of those around me, 
they would eventually make their way here, too.  
The older generation, myself included, were gathered together...
looking rather lonely and alone. 
We were tired and weary but had something in common
...we were in this together.

From time to time in the crowd, a woman would get especially loud and grab for her list. Others around her would read her list with her and gasp appropriately at the deep wounds it brought to her heart.
 Others, not to be left behind, would reach for the really deep, treasured lists that some kept close to their heart and would take a turn communicating the heart ache of the things represented on each of their treasured lists. 

Each list represented a hurt. A pain. A scar. A wound. A place left bleeding in her heart. 
Many had hearts that were so calloused by the severity of the list,
 that their eyes were dull and the flicker in their soul had died.

One woman started chanting and others soon followed. 
Some were chanting to never hope again, others were yelling to protect the list at all cost.
 Others were just quiet, tears dripping down their faces,
 with their lists gripped firmly in their hands as if they had no voice left to speak at all.  

I watched quietly. I am more of an observer and observed a lot of pain. 
I had my list or lists but kept them mostly to myself. I like a good list. 
One to keep for a time when it is needed. Just to be sure, I found a quiet corner and went over mine again.
Yes, there it all was in black and white. 
I had written and re-written different spots for emphasis. 
Some parts were barely visible and others were in bold writing so I would not forget. 

My list: 

Anger in place of love
Hatred in the place of pain
Malice in the place of hurt
Bitterness in the place of silence
Sleepiness in the place of my voice

I felt for my sachet. In it was the key to the house that I had traded for this place in my heart.
In the house, there was a kitchen filled with cabinets full of ammunition. 
My heart wasn't kept here. It was underground in a safe place being guarded. If anyone got near it or tried to sneak up on it, I have explosive devices rigged. I had ammunition, guns, machine guns and much more. 
I was ready. I had to be ready. I had to be prepared.
 Deep in my heart I muttered,  
"Bring it on. I will win. I will beat you.
 You will go down. I will swing my bat at your knees and see them buckle as you fall." 
I was protecting the very depth of who I was. 

I didn't start out like this. 

For every hurt I had received, there was a voice offering a weapon to help the pain. 
For every betrayal to my hurt, anger was offered to ease the blow. 
Slowly but surely, I had traded each pain for anger, rage, bitterness 
and every kind of shield that was offered to me in its place.

I was brought abruptly back to the present when the crowd hushed as One Person started to speak. 
This Person was familiar to me. I was sure that I knew what He wanted and was almost sure I knew what He had to say. He had left me along the way somewhere to fight this battle on my own. 
I was quietly angry at Him and felt the betrayal of being alone wash over me. 

He started to address the crowd:

 "Women of God, I adore you. Each one of you hold a special and dear place in my heart.
 I have battled for Your Freedom and won it. 
Yet, I see you gathered lonely, alone, restless, feeling betrayed.  
You have been fooled into thinking it was me that put you there." 

A woman burst out in anger. 


The crowd started to erupt in applause and acknowledgement of this  sad "truth" as they believed it. 
Jesus walked through the crowd to find this woman and sat beside her to look into her face.
 She winced as He got closer and held her face in His hands. 

"My child, I have been here all along. 
You tried to use men to fulfill a role I died to protect and save. 
A role that consists of Me and you in a deep relationship with one another. 
There is no man, woman or child that can fulfill the role that you seek."

A tear rolled down her cheek and she whispered, 

"But, he said he would love me and protect me and did the exact opposite. 
How can I trust anyone again?"

Jesus held her in a long embrace and then sat back and looked at all of the deep, heart wounds around Him.

"You women see these lists as protecting you from pain, I see them as the root of your pain.
 You have gone over each offense and played over each event in your life that has left you wounded, until it is sealed in the depths of your soul and rage consumes your days. 

What you haven't seen is Me.

 That is Who or What you are missing. 

You have looked to men to be your 'god' when I have not asked them to play that role in your life. 
I have always wanted to be Your God. 
When you give this role over to a man, you are setting yourself up for a life filled with disappointment."

As the truth started being clearer, it was as if the sun peaked through and clouds melted away.
  More and more women around started making their way to Jesus, 
each with a different question and each with a beautiful, truth-filled response. 

I slowly made my way to Jesus and sat at His feet in tears.

"I traded my heart, love and romance for protection. But, what I didn't know was it was protection from the enemy. He offered it and I took it. I didn't see a choice. I already had a 'god' and he wasn't protecting me. I gave this place in my heart away and got all of these things in return. A list filled with antidotes for pain."

I showed him my key and told him that I had kept a list of each thing done against me and kept it somewhere safe where nobody could see. He told me that He already knew about it and described it to me as sort of a mini-kingdom. One that had been set up under a different "god" and not with Heavenly rules. 
I told Him my heart was buried underground there for safe keeping.
 He understood and said that He knew exactly where it was hidden away.

Sitting back and looking at the crowd, He made us an offer. 

Our "kingdoms" for our hearts back.

 He would be The Protector He was always meant to be,
 The Provider He had promised He would be
 and The Saviour we had sought in other people or things. 

With tears streaming down my face I fell into His lap. 

What would I be willing to give up to have my heart back? 

Would I be strong enough to give up the anger? 

Would I be willing to forgive once and for all? 

What would happen to the "mini-kingdom" I had made?

Jesus said that He would take care of these things for me and held my heart in His hands. 

"No one can take you out of my hands.
 Keep your eyes and your heart with me.
 I will cover you. I will provide for you. I will be Your God."

Similar things carried on for a very long time as more and more women came to sit at His feet,
 He traded their lists for their very own hearts. 
As Jesus was handed each list, the list and the mini-kingdom that went with the list, would dissolve. 
In its place, the sun would shine brighter and the eyes of each women revealed 
the sparkle of her soul again.

Each women, now free, starting dancing as the walls crumbled all around them.
 The debt had been paid and our hearts were safe in the hands of the One
 who had taken the place of our pain so long ago.

 We were free.

 Free from our lists, free from our pain and free to sparkle, shine and glow in the Light of our King.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Value of a Mom

This morning I was awakened with the words of my very expressive 6 year old, who was talking a mile a minute. "Mom, it was so amazing, I slept without my 'blankie' last night without even realizing it!" My 9 year old was close behind, not as chatty but waiting for a warm hug and a morning greeting. My baby was still sleeping after being up now and then throughout the night with some teeth just waiting to break free. We drifted downstairs to a quiet morning because per a "punishment" from the night before, the t.v. was not allowed to be on. My 9 year old proceeded to talk to me about how this punishment was exciting for me because I hate Sponge Bob anyway. 

(I inwardly smile at that thought and congratulate myself on sticking to my guns, after all, who can possibly stand to wake up to that noise?) 

We had a conversation about something Jesus had been showing me about surrender and every time I surrender something, it's as if Jesus gave me a gift in a different way that totally thrilled my soul. I encouraged her to surrender this "need to watch t.v." and see how God rewarded her surrender. Keep in mind, explaining this to my 9 year old, comes with remarks in between, filled with skepticism and how she's not so sure this would work for her. She then reminded me that her "normal" friend at school CAN watch t.v, have an I Pod and a phone and we don't have any of those things. I reminded her that I grew up without all of those things and turned out o.k. I managed to stump her for a bit. 


Meanwhile, in the middle of the conversation, my 6 year old had managed to find her new socks and fresh pack of underwear.  She had been dancing around singing making up songs about the excitement of such things. As she did, she called out to us to watch as she danced yet another little jig. She made me laugh and her older sister rolled her eyes.
 But then, when she wasn't looking, her older sister silently threw me a little smile 
so that her sister couldn't see she, too, was amused. 

Then, my 6 year old remembered she really, absolutely needed to have the new book that had come out in her school. We looked it up online to see if we could find a better deal on the book. She found several other things she would love to have while we were browsing. 

Somehow, in the middle of this, we had managed to eat breakfast, get a snack packed and discuss the dreads of substitute teachers. Then, the suggestion arose...maybe we should just stay home. After all, we all WERE coughing last night. Any excuse to skip a day.

The baby had since been awakened, due to a concerned sister visiting her room, in hopes of her waking up. They just had to see her before they left for school! She immediately needed a diaper change, which she is forever protesting and I  reminded her to be patient several times while I changed her and she kicked her feet in every possible direction. I carried her around, placing random kisses on her soft cheek. I took away whatever remnants of pizza crust she found on the ground and changed her into a new outfit for the day...and reminded her to be patient...again while she nearly scooted off the couch in protest.

I threw kisses and hugs at the bigger girls as they walked out the door and I shut the door to see a big grin from a sweet baby girl. I picked her up from her complaining position of being held captive in the highchair, and we hung out on the floor looking for very special treasures. A mirror and brush seemed to be as exciting as could be and I got lots of cheesy grins. She came to sit on my lap and play close to me while inspecting her new toys. While playing with her,  I was prompted to pray for the child with the "dreaded substitute teacher" today and took some time silently praying for a pleasant day for her and that fear would not cloud her day. We went up and down the stairs a few times, getting the sweet girl's favorite blankie and bottle.  Then, we snuggled on the couch as she slurped down her morning food. I kissed her head and played with the slight curl that is forming in the back of her hair. I wrinkled up my nose and peaked out from my glasses to give her a laugh. 

My coffee had escaped somehow after just one sip and it was somewhere getting cold.
 The floor had odd pairs of socks scattered on it from when I started to pair them up.
There were dishes that needed to be tended to and the house was getting quieter.
 I waited for the dreaded whisper that often comes when it's quiet and says, 

"Aren't you going to get anything done today?" 

But, that voice wasn't there.

Instead there was a still small voice that lead me to the chubby thigh my hand was wrapped around and whispered...

"Each time you kiss a soft cheek, hold the hand of a child and lead the way, you have done your job and done it well. You have loved and after all, that is what you are here to do." 

Still pondering this, as I administered ear drops into the ear of a sweet little one,
 His whisper got louder, as I acknowledge and believed it,
 and He said...

"Well done, sweet girl. You have done what you have been called to do already today. You have loved and loved well. With your loving hands, your gentle words and your mothering wisdom, you are shaping the hearts of your children and the fingerprints of Me are all over their souls. Do not sell yourself short or believe any other lie. The value of your "mothering" has no end. Whenever you listen to them as if what they have to say has value, laugh at their funny jokes and make eye contact that shows you are representing My heart to your children. You are molding the very fiber of their souls. 
Being a mother to these three is a role only you can fill. Not only is it valuable but it is priceless. You are bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to earth all around you. Walk in the fact that you are not just "a mom" today...but that you have accomplished one of the greatest callings on earth, which is, being the hands and feet of Jesus to a heart that needs to be shown the way."

So, as I brought my little one up to take her morning nap, I kissed her face all the way up the stairs and whispered and reminded her that she is "God's Treasure" as I laid her down.

 I tracked down my coffee to heat it up and sat down for the first time that morning and remembered: 

Being a mom is not only valuable,
 but it is immeasurable in the life of my children today. 

And as I take the time to write this out, 
I am beginning to think that I might actually believe it. 

Friday, January 4, 2013


The mighty thunderous roar of the storm battled around this beautifully breathtaking cruise ship. The ship, which was made to bring calm, peaceful bliss to people, was now locked in the battle of her life being tossed to and fro just waiting for this enormous ocean to swallow her whole. How was it that the water, which represented peace and tranquility, usually, brought now the threat to steal away every part of what this cruise liner was designed to do?  Bring solace and comfort and calm to its passengers. Now, being overtaken by this storm, the cruise liner had become just the opposite. A threat to the very lives of the people that once only came to her for strength, comfort and love.

Slowly sinking, the gaping holes in the sides of the ship left no comfort to those trying to save the ship from its ultimate demise.  Desperately trying to patch the holes to keep it afloat, the love that these people had for this ship was clearly seen through the attempts to save her, but it seemed endless and to no avail. Had you or I been looking, we would’ve thought them crazy, but we wouldn’t have been able to see the beauty that this ship had brought to their lives. The days and nights of laughter and calm that this ship had brought to them left them feeling like they owed it to this ship to pull out all of the stops to save it from this deafening, wrenching storm which seemed to be taking out her very soul.
The confusion of the storm had everyone running, patching, dumping and searching for ways to bring peace. Ideas flew about as each person came up with their own way to save the ship being tossed carelessly to and fro. One thing was certain. This ship could not save itself. One crew mate was sure that this ship needed his strength to hold onto to bow and keep it steady. Another crew mate felt like his job was to yell orders to all of those around him on how to save the ship. Yet another found herself trying to get to the bottom of the ship and trying to dig through the clutter to find the one leaking engine that could save the ship from sinking. Another was yelling at the storm, saying that this was not forecasted or part of the plan. Another had been hit by the pain of the possible loss of the huge ship and was sitting in the hallway begging for the pain to go away. All of these things, all though noble and caring weren’t seeming to help or save the ship as it sunk lower and lower beneath the crashing waves of this brutally attacking storm.

Then, faintly over the crackled barely working speakers came a tune familiar to this crew. It had been a tune that had been one that had represented this ship so well, almost as if it was written for this ship and for this crew. This song had played during the good and beautiful times and now almost seemed to be taunting them as it played now. Slowly it beckoned them all and they found themselves drawn to the place of its origination. On the front deck, as each person came from their post of protecting, or pain, or fixing, they saw each other. This was the first time that it hit each one of them how much this storm had taken its toll on them all. Everyone a little tattered and exhausted gathered around. The one that had been shouting orders grabbed the hand of the pain-filled one and they all quickly followed suit. Gathering in one giant circle, they quietly listened solemnly to the tune of this once, life-giving song.

As each voice joined together quietly singing, their one voice got louder and more powerful and the storm seemed to fade into the background for the first time in a long time. Their voices seemed to blend as one and get louder as the words of the song seemed to overwhelm the noise of the sea. Standing together, the circle seemed to get bigger as it seemed to beckon to the others around the ship. Soon, standing on the deck, you could see the storm all around them but in the middle, there was a calm, restful beauty that was only found in the security that each one had found in each other. 
They stayed there all night long until the Sun brought a New Morning, a New Day,  a New Light and by doing so, overcame the dark, looming, devastation of the storm.

They sat down finally looking across from each other wondering what just happened to her ship, how they could save her from this sort of thing again. They couldn't seem to find an answer. What they did know for sure was that they needed each other. The strength that had come from the outreached hand, the familiar song, the circle of love was what had kept them alive until the morning came. Standing together, they came up with a plan for the next storm. To grab a hand, hold on and find the comfort in the eyes of one another until the Sun stormed   through the clouds and rose again. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Seeing Through the Eyes of Pain

 I had just entered into yet another hospital room. This time it was a new setting.  There was a huge machine in front of me and hazardous material signs around me. The spirited and somewhat enthusiastic technician greeted us. I found myself in one of the most difficult situations I have ever encountered. My kidney wasn't functioning properly and therefore putting me and my baby at risk. The pain medicine, the testing and the surgery, all had been endangering the life of the little one that was developing inside of me.  Instead of being the peaceful, protective sanctuary that I longed to be, for my little growing baby, I had all of these things taken away from me. I felt as if I was barely surviving myself.

Nothing looked the same to me.

 The pain medicine had altered my frame of mind and the pain, itself, left absolutely no room for logic or the things that usually brought my heart peace and rest. While I appreciated the prayers of my family and friends immensely, I found myself unbelieving that I would really be out of this state anytime soon.  This unbelieving brought even more unrest because my heart longed to believe and to be who I knew I could be. However, my altered state of mind would not allow it. There was no praising through the storm or rest in my heart about what was happening. The pain was too great and had taken over anything that I could usually see through.

 I signed my name to yet another piece of paper acknowledging that harm could come to my baby and felt nothing but pain and fear and dread mount within me. It is quite something to try to prepare one’s self for even more pain when you are already immersed in great pain.  As if I was bracing myself for the greater pain that would come in the result of losing this baby if harm would, in fact, would help me in any way.  

The anxiety of what was ahead, the fear of what harm this was bringing to my baby and the lack of faith that I felt at the time almost seemed to overwhelm me.

The eyes of pain were absolutely all that I could see through. 

Faith did not even feel within reach and hope seemed extremely distant. I knew in my head that the eyes I was seeing life through were not the eyes of Truth, but I could not talk, think or pray my way out of looking through the world this way. I did not know that this day and these moments were the end of the pain and that the healing had already begun.

The next Sunday gathering I attended, I cried through from the very beginning to the end. I thought that coming out of the “dark spell of pain” that I found myself in, I would be ashamed going back to Jesus knowing that I hadn't found my strength in Him throughout this time. Instead, I found His words comforting and compassionate. He showed me how pain alters the very foundation of faith. He reminded me that everybody looks through their own eyes of pain. Also, how the eyes that I am looking through are the result of the pain that I have either ignored or let Him cleanse and make whole. Either way, pain is not what He wants for us. He wants to cleanse and wash away the pain. He doesn't want me to have to carry the weight of a life full of pain throughout my entire life. He longs to be a part of the healing process.

I am so incredibly blessed that the physical pain has left me and I love what He showed me afterwards. Looking through the eyes of pain is different for everybody. Not everybody sees things the way that I see them and the opposite is true, too. 

Either way, pain alters our reality, makes us believe things that aren't always true and robs us of our joy. So, any opportunity I have to tell pain to go away and ask for Jesus healing touch, I should because without that, my reality is ugly, lifeless and lonely.

 Jesus reality is full of peace, love and life and He longs to bring me back into the reality that He designed for us all to be a part of, the reality where He heals, He restores and He redeems.

 Whether it be physical or emotional pain, healing is a beautiful gift from above and is mine for the asking.
 Asking, seeking and finding---beautiful to the hurting soul. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Keeper of the Island

   I hung up my "Savior or Needing to Save" cloak a while ago, but I find myself sometimes struggling to see that I really can rest be at peace while another person I love is finding their own way. Jesus gave me this picture while I was journaling about this familiar feeling that I have come to realize is so unhealthy for me and I wanted to share.

The Island of Peace 

With my boat safely docked in the harbor, I found this new beautiful island a place of safety and rest from the storm that seemed always to be brewing around me. Skipping with great delight, I looked at the beautiful sign "Peace" that was held high over the island I now called home. I loved the name of my island and even more loved the One who gifted me with this beautiful sign. 

My boat had been docked for a while now and I enjoyed spending my days with the Keeper of the Island more than anything or anyone else. He was so gracious and kind and it seemed as if when I was with Him it was easier for me to be a lot more gracious and the kindness seemed to come so much more naturally with Him by my side.

I thought I'd probably stay here forever. 

Knowing the Keeper of the Island like I did, I asked Him if I would ever be silly enough to ever leave the island. He smiled that smile that He did so often and said, "Your safety rests in me, I hope that you will never leave." I couldn't imagine anyone or anything taking me away from this glorious place and assured Him that I imagined I would never leave this spot, either.

Several weeks passed and as I was sitting in my hammock I had affectionately called, "The Truth," I heard a faint cry in the distance. Panic arose inside of me and I just knew that I was needed immediately. Swimming out to the place where I heard the cry, out of breath and having some trouble keeping myself afloat, I finally caught sight of a boat. It was a pretty boat, I could definitely see the signs of trouble, though and got in the boat as quickly as I could. I grabbed and hugged who I now recognized as someone that was in deep pain and tried to figure out how quickly I could get this boat cleaned up and back running smoothly again.

I shook my head, it was actually worse than I thought. I had left everything back on the island, but used what I had on me to try to patch up the holes in the boat and to be sure to take care of this person who was in pain, too. 

With determination mounting, I just knew that I was up for the task at hand and so badly wanted to help this person to get to their own island of rest. I just knew that they would love it there. So, on and on I went telling them all about the island and how beautiful it was there and about The Keeper of the Island. He was amazing. Just sure that this was what this one in pain would want, I busied myself trying to get the boat in working order. We could set sail by morning, and I knew we could make it there before the sun set on the very next day! It was so close I could feel it!

While I slept that night, I dreamt of what beautiful things the island would hold, what treasures would be found and what Peace awaited there for this one I loved so dearly now. Slowly, I drifted off to sleep and got ready for the day of excitement that lay ahead.

Before I caught a glimpse of the beautiful morning sunrise, I noticed something was strange, the hole that I had fixed last night was open again and the one in pain was up, holding her side using a hammer to tear apart the boat that I had spent so much time on fixing the day before. I went into a bit of panic and tried to talk her out of this. No, this would only bring pain to the boat and eventually to her, why would she continue to destroy the very vessel that was keeping her alive? Leaning over the side I looked to see if the front of the boat had any damage. There I caught a glimpse of the name of the boat. Well, this wasn't her boat at all. How did she get in  here? The words were barely visible, but I could make out the faded words of Self Pity. I sat up and looked around. Floating all around me where similar vessels, Self-hatred, Self-loathing, Self-protection, Self-preservation, Guilt and Blame were just a few and they were all calling her name. 

I sat in despair and for the first time wondered why I hadn't brought the Keeper of the Island with me. He would explain everything, He would compel her to the beautiful island that He had waiting for her. Calling out as loudly as I could I yelled for the One who I knew could help. I knew that I couldn't stay on this ship of self pity long, I had tried similar boats and they didn't get me anywhere I wanted to go and they only took me away from that beautiful island I loved so dearly. 

Oh, the beautiful sight of the Keeper of the Island, He appears almost instantly and I absolutely loved what His presence did all around me. Excitedly, I showed my beautiful pain-filled friend the Keeper of the Island. She wasn't impressed. She said that this was home for her now and she would rather stay out here and weather the storms herself. I looked at the Keeper of the Island in shock and dismay. Tears filled my eyes, begging I said, "But have you seen your island? It must be beautiful and you can walk with Him there and you can talk to Him and He'll never lead you astray! All these voices calling out to you will only bring you into more hurt and self-loathing, wouldn't you rather have Peace, Love and Joy?" With her eyes glazed over, it was as if she wasn't even there, she turned her back and was yelling back at the others who had promised to help her to another one of their vessels. 

My heart sank within me. How can I ever convince someone to come back to the place of Peace and Rest? Slowly, taking me by the hand, the Keeper of the Island told me one must want to go of his or her own free will. He said that He would never force anybody to turn away from their "safety" to be with Him. He said long ago in a garden somewhere far from us, He had decided that somebody wanting to spend their days with Him was much more desirable than trying to convince someone of something that was good or evil for them. 

So, back to The Island of Peace and Rest we went. I looked up at my sign and looked across towards my hammock and asked The Keeper of the Island for one little thing. Please remind me to never leave the safety of my island to save a ship that isn't sure it wants to be saved again. I was sure now, that situation being way over my head, the only person that could really, truly bring saving was The Keeper of the Island, Himself, and even then, the person would have to actually want to be saved by Him.

Unwinding and sitting down, I looked at the beautiful sea and the Peace that I loved so much washed all over me again. Maybe next time I would stay here, on my island and ask The Keeper of the Island to go if I heard a cry and from the shore I would cheer for Him and the hurting one as He brought each one to safety in their own beautiful  way which was far better than I could ever have dreamed for them.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

  Cleaning Out the Dust

     Smiling, she placed the finishing touches on her perfectly pressed white curtain. Slowly, she stepped back. What a beautiful sight! Fresh and clean, the scent filled the room with delight. Ah, how beautiful. The Light from the outdoors played into the room painting all kinds of different beautiful hues around her newly decorated haven. This was sure to be the place that she would find the deepest peace she had ever found before. Proud of her newly finished task, she stepped out to put a few much-needed tools back into their place. She grimaced quickly and with one eye closed placed the tools right inside the door of the musty, dust covered room. Quickly closing the door, she realized that room was for another day, or perhaps another week she thought to herself. When would she ever possibly find the time that she needed to increase the stamina and strength that she would need to sift through that old dust-filled space? Glad that nobody else was there to notice, she wrapped up the finishing touches to her crisp, white curtains and stood back to admire the look. Fresh, modern and clean.  She figured she would just turn her back in this direction because even the thought of the dust covered space made her insides wince. She pushed it out of her mind and moved to the next task at hand. Busying herself, she found many more things to keep her occupied and slowly the thought of that dusty room was pushed away and only the thought of the white, beautiful, stark and perfect new curtains remained in her mind. It was her little secret. Only she would really ever see that room anyway. Or so she thought.

Weeks later with time flying past she ducked into the dusty space again out of necessity. She was driven by her perfection to keep the front of her home manicured well and the only tool she knew that would work was in that dust covered space. She braced herself and again with one eye closed winced through the dirt and found what she needed. Pulling it out and dusting it off gave her some relief. She knew that one little tool would keep her from having to revisit this dusty place for a while. Dusting her clothes off, she placed the tool in the sink and started to scrub away at it to remove the build up that had been cause by the lack of attention it had needed. Scrubbing every way that she knew how, she kept trying to bring it back to its usable state. She figured some of the build up would get in the way of what the tool really was meant to be used for.  Shocked a little at the amount of time this was taking, she decided to revert to looking back into the dusty place for something else. There had to be something there that could be used. Surely this was not the only tool that would do the job. Starting to panic a little knowing that company would be there soon, she held her breath and quickly dove in, to keep this visit as short as possible. Seeing some safety glasses by the door, she grabbed them to save her eyes from the harmful dust and entered this old, dusty place. Hearing the door bell ring, she tore off those glasses, threw down the tool and quickly patted her clothes for any dirty residue. Smiling, she opened the door, in a near panic on the inside. Much to her relief, it was just some young kids wanting to take a political survey. Kindly ushering them away, she shut the door to quickly get back to the task at hand. Armed and ready, glasses on this time, she dove into this dirty, musty space and opened her eyes.

There was something different about it. She couldn't figure out if it was the glasses or maybe the smell or what it was. To her horror, she realized that she had left the door ajar and the dust and the smell had seeped into the rest of her perfectly manicured house. Aghast and frustrated now, she quickly started fanning and opening the windows to let out the dusty fumes. Dust was settling all over her house now, and the smell, it just didn’t seem to be going away. This would never do. She would have to reschedule or maybe push her company back by a few hours. Trying to gather her thoughts, she could feel her heart beating out of her chest. How long would it take for her to recover from this complete and utter mess?? Mad at herself now for causing such chaos and being frustrated by her overall state of aggravation, she figured that there had to be something else that she could do.

Company or not, clean house or not, she was going to have to brave that dusty space and clean it out and make all of that dirty, clutter go away. This was it! She had been sweeping this under the carpet long enough. Changing into her working clothes and pulling her hair back, determined and ready, she stepped into the “war zone” as she decided that it should be called. Rifling through old things, she realized that none of these things were even worth keeping around. She opened up an old journal and saw that it read, “Believe me, the worst is coming.” “Stay in hiding, no one is coming,” and all sorts of things that she no longer believed. Now she realized why she had been avoiding this place so fervently. It was the place she had come before the pain had stopped. Before she had been set free.  She was disgusted by this place. It meant nothing but yucky feelings and broken hearts. She had experienced so much freedom since she had left this place behind her. Slowly, the dawning of the significance of this room meant so much to her. She had never looked back. She had been set free, she had watched everything be set as it should be, her world was set right side up, but she had locked the door on this part of her life and never looked back. And yet, here it was coming back, time and time again to haunt her, to ruin her beautiful new place of rest and to take all of her peace away yet again.

With a blink of an eye she knew what she must do. She made a quick call to the Loving Ones that had come before. The Ones with the loving hands and the sweet, gentle, loving arms. They showed up almost instantly. They helped her look through this gloomy, dusty past and as she looked through each dust, covered place, she handed The Ones the things she was longing to be free of forever. Slowly, they took the things away, if she wouldn’t have known better, she would’ve thought that those things just vanished into thin air. All that toxic waste and after a few hours of sifting through and letting go of the past, The Loving Ones asked if it would be o.k. if they joined hands and agreed that the past was gone and this place was no more. 

The Most Loving One stepped forward. 

He asked if instead of just emptying out this place of the old dusty things, He could replace them with something new. She agreed, wondering what He could do with this old, dusty place. And then as they joined hands the room started to shake, the ground became unsteady and bursts of light started the shine in. The walls instantly crumbled down and glass windows in their stead were clear and beautiful. The Loving Ones gathered around as the Most Loving One stretched out His hand. She came to Him in this new, peace-filled place and He said, “Thank you for letting me sift through the past with you and bring you something completely new.” This new aroma started to fill the air, she recognized it. It was the aroma of the Love that these Loving Ones carried with them. She jumped up and asked if they could please fill her home with this aroma, too. She grabbed the hand of the Most Loving One and together they ran from the top to the bottom of her home, out to the front porch.  She remembered that she should ask Him to help her with the one thing that she had been working on before He came. Surprisingly, that place that need to be fixed was completely done already and the house sort of just sang of beauty and that aroma she loved so much. She ran and swung open the front door. She wanted to be sure this aroma filled her yard and the air all around her place and perhaps it would even float into the place of others!

She stood there and smiled at the Most Loving One. 
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. 
The visit that I was preparing for was nothing compared to the true beauty that You and Your Loving Ones have shown me today. 
He assured her it was His pleasure.

She took a deep breath to smell the air around her one more time. Yes, indeed. It was fresh, clean and smelled just like the Most Loving One. What a refreshing way to live her days.