Out of nowhere, bricks slam into face and I am flattened by the hard reality that I will never see my mother on earth again. Tears rise from pain deep spilling over water line and I stop in the middle of aisle four in front of the food coloring.
My mother made the Christmas cookies every year for us six kids. It’s all about the perfect amount of almond extract that made the green and red Christmas trees taste like only my mother could make them taste.
Under an umbrella of ‘White Christmas’ blaring through the store speakers, I stand in front of the sprinkles and the cookie cutters and empty heart tears into hands of God hoping no one will see me break.
I. AM. BREAKING.
In the company of carts filled with milk and Cheerios, I break. In the middle of holiday food planning and gift giving, I break. In the presence of strangers staring into strange girl’s teary eyes, I break. There is no, “Girl…? Are you ok?” None of it. There is just torn heart skin hanging loose begging for time to bring the healing.
I break an egg and add the sugar and I get to mixing the thing that breaks my heart and holds it together.
I am bound to my mother’s love.
We were like a Christmas card, all of us kids, on our knees in the kitchen chairs. How we’d lean into the perfect trees on the cookie sheets waiting for the cleaning of the bowl with our fingertips. And when we thought she wasn’t looking we’d sneak a clump of sweet into our mouths. But she always knew because a mother always knows when her love goes out.
I could never get the Christmas trees to look as perfect as she did. My mother had a special touch. She always knew just how hard to hold on to anything and just when to let go soft. My mother held grace in her hands. How, through the years, she held my broken things in her arms and put me back together and let me go like a gift.
I was my mother’s gift.
Jesus broke into God’s arms.
And so, I hope with heart weak and feet like cement and say, “God, I can’t do this alone. I can’t do this no mother thing if You don’t help me do this and if You don’t hold me through this.” With flour and sugar in arms, I say, “I need You to hold me now while I break into the fullness of who You are. Move me slow away from this moment so I can move into the rest of the day that You made for me to live in and be glad in.”
We walk slow, me and God, to the register and out to the car and we drive back home. I put the food coloring in the kitchen cabinet and I don’t even know if I can make them this year. I think I may have just wasted a good four dollars and thirty-seven cents.
Though this season my merry is less, in my suffering, my Christ is more and soon, I have to believe, there will be good to come even in the loss of my mother’s love.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
I had a dream early July 2015.
It was summertime and I walked over to my neighbor’s house in search of something. There was a party going on in the front yard. Many were eating and drinking and having a good time. I couldn’t seem to get anyone’s attention to help me find what I was looking for so I walked into the house through the front door and began my search. I made my way through the living room, into the kitchen and opened the back door and saw that it was snowing.
It was snowing in the middle of the summer!
I looked to the left and Jesus was standing in a white robe, glowing, with His hands stretched out and a smile on His face.
“His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.” (Matthew 28:3)
In shock and excitement, I slammed the back door shut, ran back through the house and flung open the front door, where the party was going on and shouted, “It’s snowing in the summer and JESUS IS HERE!”
Again, I shouted louder, “You guys, it’s snowing in July! Jesus is here! He is in the backyard!
Everyone looked at me unamazed and continued to party.
I ran back into the house and an earthquake began to shake its foundation. I sat down with a little girl in a narrow hallway that was like a tunnel. We sat side by side on upside down Frisbees. As we were moving through the tunnel the little girl asked, “Where are we going?”
I said, “It’s OK. We’re going to heaven!
Two weeks after my dream a friend said to me, “The weather is crazy…, it’s summer and it just snowed?! After I did some research I found it snowed in Utah, Montana and Hawaii in the month of July 2015.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:36-41, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.”
THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS IS AROUND THE CORNER.
I am not a dream interpreter but I would like to suggest a couple of things. Not only did God give me a dream that it was snowing in the middle of the summer but in reality it actually happened. Could it be God is trying to get our attention by sending snow in the middle of the summer months, unlike snow that we expect in the middle of the winter months? Could it be, in these last days, God is showing us the contrast between dark and light? In the Bible, God refers to our sin as being like ‘crimson red’ before becoming ‘white as snow’ after we receive Jesus as our Lord and are cleansed by His blood.
“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool. (Isaiah 1:18)
Could it be that snow symbolizes God’s purity and His holy whiteness against a backdrop of ungodliness and sin that is sweeping across America? Is it possible God wants to bring attention to our sin apart from the light of His forgiveness?
Jesus is your only chance for an entry way into heaven.
Today, Jesus is standing in your backyard with His arms open wide waiting for you to receive Him. Will you open the front door or the back door or the side door or the garage door and let Him into your heart? Even the smallest crack in your bedroom window is enough for Him to shine His True Light into the darkness of your fear and depression and anxiety and unbelief and hopelessness and sexual immorality and perversion and deception and drunkenness and addiction and anger and bitterness and loneliness and brokenness and shame and unforgiveness and jealousy and divisiveness and hatred and greed and arrogance and self-righteousness. Will you let God into your black and your white and your blue? Will you let God into your Biblical ignorance?
It is time for harvest all over the world.
“Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest is a faithful messenger to those who send him, for he refreshes the soul of his masters.” (Proverbs 25:13)
I am just a messenger so don’t get mad at me if you don’t like the WORD I speak. Get mad at God, He is happy and pleased even, to take your ‘mad’ away.
Jesus says it this way, “Whoever listens to you, listens to Me, whoever rejects you, rejects Me; but whoever rejects Me, rejects the One who sent Me”. (Luke 10:16)
So, will you stop for one minute in the midst of the drinking and eating and marrying at your party and consider the ‘days of Noah’ that we are in? Are you ready to accept Jesus today, right now? Soon, God’s patience will run out as Peter tells us, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. (2 Peter 3:9-10)
There will come a day of judgement when we will all have to stand before the God who made us and all creation. If you reject Him you will have to tell Him why you were right and He was wrong. Believe me, you won’t want to be you on that day!
So…, will you join me and the little girl on our way to heaven?
Here is a prayer you can pray that will reserve a place for you at the greatest banquet party of all time in heaven:
Father God, I acknowledge that Jesus is Your Son and that when He died on the cross, He had my sins past, present and future, in His body. Please, forgive me of my sins and come into my heart and be my Lord and Savior. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and guide me from this moment on in the Way that I should go. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
If you said this prayer, please let me know by FB or you can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I would like to send you a package!
I love you and so does God.
“Fill me with Your Holy Spirit, I said, and lead me throughout the day.”
I have been working on some writing projects and felt led to go to a particular coffee house. I got my drink and set computer up with plug in wall. I propped my boots up on chair across table, unloaded notes and opened Bible.
I get to writing.
No sooner am I all settled in and comfy, ready to spit out words from crazy head, does it become freezing in the place. I think, surely they will turn the air off or at least turn it down.
Words froze in head.
It is unusually cold to the point that I could not even concentrate on the spelling of a word let alone the writing of a word.
I gather stuff up and head for car. I sit before steering wheel in parking lot.
“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:6 NKJV
I wait for Holy Spirit to lead the way.
I say, “God, I suppose You have a better place for me to sit and write today? Where would You have me go?”
I wait patiently.
I watch a bird peck on the gravel.
I watch traffic light turn red and green and yellow several times.
I sip coffee.
Then, it was clear, “Go to the pond.”
I head for the pond.
As I pull up, I see a woman sitting in the same seat I always sit in. “God, I say, not only will I not be at peace to write but someone is sitting in my seat! There’s a woman in my seat! Surely, You meant for me to go somewhere else?!”
I don’t give leaving one thought because the peace I did have assured me that I was in the very place God wanted me to be. I grab coffee and computer and Bible and notes and get out of car. I take a seat opposite woman sitting in my seat.
I say to woman, “I thought I was the only person who discovered this place.”
“No, she said, I come here all the time.”
“I love it here.”, I say. Funny, I thought to myself, I come here all the time too and I never saw woman here.
God was up to something.
I begin to gather words in brain hoping to bind them up in a book one day. Yup, a book about how God’s Truth saved a messed up me. Little did I know, I was about to have a one on one with the very woman sitting in my seat.
It was the geese that got us talking, all the and flapping and squawking out there on the water had us laughing hard, our bottoms bubbling up in our cushioned seats.
Woman begins to ask questions about life and Nashville rent and what I am up to. I tell her, “I am working on writing my first book. I have to share my story and the Gospel of Jesus to all who will listen from a heart that has been put back together with a scissor and some tape.”
She laughs and says, “You’re talking about the Bible, and I am an atheist.”
God is funny.
“So, what do you believe in?”, I asked.
“I believe in science, woman said. The Bible is just made up stories especially, the virgin birth. I try to believe it but science keeps getting in the way. I don’t believe in God and I don’t believe in the Devil. If I believed in one I would have to believe in the other. I don’t believe in heaven or hell. I don’t believe God even exists, so, I don’t believe he created the universe. I feel as if we are used as pawns between God and the Devil. And what about the books that were left out of the Bible? And Moses…, there is no proof he even exists???”
Not only couldn’t I believe what I was hearing, I didn’t believe what I was hearing.
God sent a Born-Again Christian to speak to an atheist.
Woman and I spoke for over 2 hours. I told her about the devil’s plan for her life opposed to God’s plan for her life. I talked about why Lucifer’s pride got him thrown out of heaven and how he is trying to deceive her into believing that God doesn’t exist so he could win her over to get back at God. We covered archeology and Adam and Eve and Noah and Biblical history etc. I told her who Jesus was, why God sent Him and what that meant for her. We played word-catch gently back and forth in love and compassion.
Woman was empty, lost, lonely, deceived, depressed, angry and full of hopelessness.
It all came down to two things; her faith and her spiritual life. She had no faith and she had no spiritual life. I explained the need for her to be born again so the Holy Spirit, the only true spirit, could come alive inside her and lead her into the light of truth about who God is and who she is in Him.
God sent taped-up-heart-girl full of Jesus love to woman so He could tell her the truth about how much she means to Him.
God never gives up on us, we give up on Him.
It was getting late. Woman reached for her phone and put her binoculars around her neck. I knew I couldn’t let woman leave without asking her one question.
Determined to fulfill God’s call for the day, I asked plainly, “Before you leave, can I pray with you?”
With no hesitation, woman said, “Yes”, and in that moment, I swear I saw woman’s heart door open just enough for God hope light to slip in.
God led me to an atheist who wanted me to pray for her.
I moved over to where woman was sitting and I held her cold hands tight. I bowed my head at the forgiving feet of Jesus while the Holy Spirit moved deep. I prayed salvation for the woman who was sitting in my seat at the pond where God led me to.
I said, “In Jesus Name, Amen.”
Woman said, “You’re a very sweet person.”
“I don’t mean to be sweet, I said, I mean to tell you the Truth so you can be set free from the lies that you believe”.
I am not the first person God put in woman’s life to tell her about why He had to send Jesus to die for her, but what is I am the last?
God is after Marie. Marie, that is her name.
With voice cracking and salt about to spill over water-line, I said, “God led me to you today because you were on God’s mind and God was on my mind. I love you and I want to see you in heaven. You were God’s divine appointment for me today.”
The fact that Marie was trying so hard to disprove that God exists actually proves He indeed does exist. The fact that Marie couldn’t understand why bad things happen in peoples lives and in the world proves that God is God and we are not. God made all of us with a spiritual hole inside that needs to be filled and until we ask God to fill that hole with the Holy Spirit through accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we will never be satisfied.
Marie is on my prayer list now and every morning I declare her salvation to God. I believe God’s will, will be done in her life.
I pray we all humble ourselves and come to Him with childlike faith so we can learn the greatest glory lessons of life.
“He has made everything beautiful in it’s time. He has also set eternity in the human hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Eccleciastes 3:11
I stayed home from church one Sunday morning in 1996 and God gave me this lyric to scribble down on a yellow pad. I find myself in this woman’s heart. I have learned over the tumultuous years of my life that there is only One Star that can lead us out of a black night, a broken heart, a dying hope, a lost dream.
Thank you Jesus, for being the only love and light in Whom we will always find all we ever need.
Thank you Jesus, for leading us out of our own darkness.
Thank you Jesus, for giving us a new perspective that changes all things and for giving us a Merry little Christmas.
Down the streets of solitude
She wanders on her own
With her dreams and carriage full
Of stuff she calls a home
She finds a quiet alley where
She settles in a storm
Through the winter wind she hears
A Voice that keeps her warm
In the light of one star she prays every night
With the faith of one heart till her eyes are dry
She holds fast to the hope that she’s thankful for
And finds all she’ll ever need in the light of one star
At the early break of dawn
She gathers her décor
And makes her way through a crowd
That’s always wanting more
As they stare her down in disgrace
Lost in their own greed
The only load she carries
Is a prayer to set them free
In the light of one star she prays every night
With the faith of one heart till her eyes are dry
She holds fast to the hope that she’s thankful for
And finds all she’ll ever need in the light of one star
A southern storm is moving in outside my window. The sky purple and black hangs restless over these Tennessee hills and a staggering sadness fills the clouds and my brown eyes too.
My heart beats in minor key about to strum up some change in me, rain in me. I say, “Go ahead, play your sad song and change me happy! Let the tears precious fill to the rim and fall brave over the craggy rocks in me. Just like those clouds getting ready to burst open and pound tons of spit on the drought down here, go ahead, RAIN, you looming clouds! Let’em all wring out dry!”
I can swim.
Way up high, beyond the dark gloom the sun sits golden next to Dorothy’s rainbow. That twister couldn’t scare her sun away. The sun is always there above the clouds like God burning bright even if we can’t see it.
No light switch can turn that power off.
And so, God, the Master puppeteer, gets to puppeteering those clouds, lining them up for the perfect storm in the earth of me and you. Uncertainty takes center stage, chilling fear and tempting winds of rebellion take their mark. Sun ball hides out in the wings waiting for its cue with all the birds and the blue sky and the buttercups and the rainbow too.
As for the leaves, orange and brown and yellow, life has come to an end. They break off from their limbs and fall in soft circles like a swirling fire ready to be quenched. Some land crisp on the dirt and crush under my boot and some land in my hands waiting for me to let them go.
I hold change in the palm of my hands.
I grip fast to the heart rope, one end tattered in my fist and the other end way up past the clouds, lassoed around the giant belly of the sun. I swing back and forth from doubt to faith, fear to trust in between the circling leaves and the dying things in me. The pumping of the blood breaks heart seams and self-made boundaries, busting faith wide open for a bigger love.
Only God can stretch the boundaries of our faith with His love storm and break open the thread that stitches our hearts tight shut.
We all get lost in our swirling storms just like Dorothy did but God promises that He will be there before, during and after every storm. The only place we will ever find peace in the cold of life is to keep our eyes on God and look inside the crevices of our hearts where God longs to live and breathe life and love into all things. Jesus died so we could be found in Him. Jesus is our only way our of every storm.
God is our best compass in our lost times.
Funny, the things we find in our own back yards, in the back of our own hearts. We murmur under the willow weeping waiting for someone to find us, for God to hear our prayers. And just when the sky turns so black inside , when we think we will never see the light of day, there it is.
The Light is in you and me.
I am grateful for the storm moving in and the sun getting ready to beam yellow. I thank God for filling the rooftop of my heart heavy with debris. How I need the rain for the loosening of the yuck, the scrapping away of the dinge in me.
We all have dinge.
When we feel the change starting to move in all uncomfortable and strange, it’s gonna be ok, because even though everything changes around us there is One Light in us and above the clouds that will always shine. The only thing in this busted world that will never change is God and the promise of hope through Jesus that was poured out on all of us on that day when His sky turned black with pain. And when rain flooded the eyes of the faithful, God was up there puppeteering those clouds and His Son perfectly in place. Yeah, God rose His Son up from that cross, and took all those splinters out of Him and now Jesus is the only One who can take all the splinters out of me and you.
When the last thunder rolls, the still quiet sweeps love and hope and victory into our heart holes and a silver string wraps around each cloud like a gift from heaven. The sun races to the stage and hits its mark high and bright, the birds go tweet and the bud that was reaching up for years finally opens and sips in the lingering drizzle, resurrecting life. And the butterflies and the bees play see-saw on the petals pink and white and purple.
The morning lifts it’s bright onto God’s shoulder and on the way up beams yellow streams through my window. Mascara kissed lashes unstick themselves and I am nudged up and out from under the warm cotton. The first of fall crisp sweeps through this place. The ticking clock tocks in a circle around my ever-changing heart. The next 24 hours of me.
The tooth-brush brushes and the spit spits into the sink and I look up into the mirror of me wiping the water and the stress away. There has been stress. And I say, you need some grace to do this day and a periodontist for the bloody gums.
I wonder what the day will bring? What sorrow? What challenge? What hope? There is always hope. If there were no hope there would be no light and we would all shimmy away and die out dark. Pluck the cross right out from the holy ground.
The coffee perks in the kitchen.
Stay alert, I say to myself. Alert to attend to the call, the mission. Alert to follow in the steps stomped out for these busted up boots to walk in.
Stay open. Eyes wide looking for the empty, the lost, the lonely, the broken, the prideful, yes, they are the ‘know-it-alls’ the skeptics, the deceived.
Stay armed. Don’t forget the breastplate and the shiny shield and the helmet for a hat and the double-edged sword that pokes truth smack in the center of the lie.
People can be mean, those unbelievers, and they will pour salt in your wounds all the day long and this will make them feel good about themselves puffing up their chests at you. But remember, ‘You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world.’ (Mat 5:13-14) I think how wounded we all are and how in need of healing we all are. How we need the pulling out of the roots rotten in us and the pouring in of the holy where the hurt runs deep.
We all need the rescue, the rain, the resurrect.
I push the lever down for the toast and wait for the pop up. I reach for the peanut butter. My star charm loose on my wrist falls off.
I flash back to the boy at the grocery store yesterday. My eyes open when I saw him wearing a T-shirt with a pentagram on the back, an upside down star. I walked slowly passed him reaching for the butter and the eggs and I know what I have to do. I turn back around and have a cart to cart with him.
“What does that word on the front of your T-shirt mean?” I asked.
“I don’t know. I have tried looking it up everywhere and I can’t find what it means.”
“Do you know what the upside down star means on the back?”
“No. I just got it at a garage sale.”
“It is a symbol of evil. It is satanic.” At this point he wants to continue the conversation.
“Oh, I didn’t know!” he said in shock.
I took his hand and I looked into his eyes and with conviction I said, “You do not belong to Satan. You belong to God. To Jesus. Take that T-shirt off and don’t ever wear it again. Burn it. Throw it away.”
He chuckled lightly agreeing as he strolled off on his way down the meat aisle. That boy couldn’t get home fast enough.
I grab a knife for the peanut butter.
God, You are on Your way. I know. And when I look out my kitchen window, as if over Your shoulder, I see a strange glare, a veil amidst the trees, the forest, the pavement even. I wonder does anyone else see what I see? The evil? Is everyone oblivious to what is going on out there like the boy who was oblivious to the symbol of Satan on his back. Yes, evil is here. I feel it in my spirit and it is working its way into our backyards like never before.
I want to climb on every roof top and shout, “Open your eyes! I want to lay my belly down on the shingled edge and hang my lamp bright against their windows. And I want to shake the sleeping houses up from their slumber. I want to reach them but they don’t want to be reached. I want to turn the latch open but their doors are locked tight.
Finally, the pop up. And the coffee perks into my cup full of morning swallowing warm down my throat distracting the chill.
I ask God to fill me with Him. To the brim with Him. Like the coffee that I drink into me. Overflow me with You I ask. Pour Your life into all my body wide. Into the hurt places, the lonely places, the scared places, the teary places, the screaming places. Push and pull the stubborn out. Open my spirit big and bold and tickle my ear with unsearchable things I do not know. Give me the wisdom you promise generously to those who ask for it. Teach me more about Your unfailing love and kindness so I can teach others who have no heavenly clue who You are and the whole glory plan You have to redeem a brood like us.
Scoot me along. Move me through the demands of the world and the bills and the debt that I can’t seem to crawl out from under. But You can. Yes, You can and even Dave Ramsey.
I throw the breakfast dish in the sink the crumbs scatter soft. The coffee cup spills cold down the drain. Crumbled napkin on the counter. Boots on and keys gripped. I turn the latch of my front door leading out to the gray. On tippy-toes I hop up and I ride on the shoulder of God. Grace me, I say. Grace me today up here holding fierce to the thorns of You.
It was 4 in the morning when I woke up and decided to listen to the book of Revelation. Like most books in the Bible once is never enough. So, hoping to be lullabied back to sleep, I began to listen. Hard. And I tried to understand it. Hard. There’s alot: the seven stars, the golden lampstands, the churches, the angels, the horses. There is life here and death here. The life part is our choice. So is the death part. God’s final judgement is all here in black and white. There is blessing here:
“Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near. “ Rev 1:3
If we just read it aloud we will be blessed. Listening counts too.
I get to the part where God is talking to the church of Laodicia and says, “Those I love I rebuke and discipline so be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person and they with me.” Rev 3:19-20
I drink it in. Sup it in with God, my head on my pillow. My eyes open. I think my heart is that door. So help me God, help us God, if we ever close the door of our hearts to You.
And then I think God must really love me. It’s all in the priceless lessons. The sharpening. The molding. Each twist of God’s hand on my heart wringing out the dirty water. Scrubbing out the black. God has brillo.
The stupid days.
In those days I didn’t know I was rebelling against God. Who would rebel against God if they really knew they were. Not only did Satan rebel against God but he continued to disobey God’s instruction and wanted to be equal with God and so God rejected him and threw him out of heaven along with all the angels who were following him. Satan had no fear of God. The Bible says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Just the beginning. There is so much more that happens after the ‘beginning’. After the garden. After the ‘ouch, that hurts’. Let Satan be the example of what we shouldn’t do!
The ignorant days.
In those days I didn’t know how I could have a relationship with God that was ‘alive and real’ through Jesus. They don’t teach you that in the Catholic church. Not the ‘how to’ part. The ‘alive’ happens when you ask Jesus to live in your heart and become your Lord and Saviour and the ‘real’ happens after that. That’s the cleaning up part. After the ‘forgive me for messing up part.’
The sin stains.
You said to come as we are. The ugly us would do. The dread we are apart from You. The spotless we are with You. And all I want is to be used by You. This You know. You know. And I grieve in my hands, the lost years, the wasted time, my face red and wet from tears of discipline and rebuke, even now. Oh, how You must love me! The tears You collect. The ocean of me You call me to walk on.
And so, my heart hangs on God’s clothesline. I bet there are clotheslines in heaven like the one in my back yard when I was a kid. I still smell the Clorox on my mother’s hand when she turns my cheek and kisses me good morning at the breakfast table. I long for her gentle on my face. How I love the smell of Clorox. The clean.
God is like Clorox.
And I still hear the squeak of the rolling out and the pinning up of socks and towels. Early Sunday mornings usually. After church usually and before the meatballs and gravy get cooking. It’s GRAVY. And the worst part is over for the clothes. The going ‘round and ‘round in the washing machine. Like you and me going ‘round and ‘round with God until we surrender to the clothespins.
I bet all the wrung out hearts are clothes-pinned up there on heaven’s clothesline where all the humbled hearts hang. And the breath of God is blowing sweet and holy on them, bending them in heaven’s air.
I punch into a spiritual clock every morning and say, “Lord, use me to turn Your light on in this dark world.” Then I get in my car and drive to the place where I punch into a real clock. The moment I step inside those doors I feel the split of my person, the tear in the curtain, the separation of the holy I strive to be and the sinner I become. Toxicity seeps into my skin, patience is tried, anger fused. I struggle to keep my heart afloat, my faith from slipping in the puddles. There are puddles there.
The walls drip with evil making puddles on the marble squares. Unethical, corrupt, Judas-filled puddles. In higher rooms sit appointed rulers, the strapped in tweakers who hate anything just, anything right, anything God. They look through magnifying glasses developing bullying strategies to pluck out the ones who don’t follow their ‘way’.
I watched them, over the years, my co-workers. I watched them with eyes blurred and noses red and heads down. When they thought no one saw them, I did and so did God. And I followed after them swiftly wiping their tears from the marble floor with the tip of my boot as I reached for their hand like a secret friend. It’s ok. It’s gonna be ok. I had work to do. Not the kind of work you get paid for. Not down here anyway. And we’d sit and they’d cry on my shoulder and together we would find the piece of them they lost inside that hell place. And broken things would come together.
It was only a matter of time on that Sunday afternoon before I looked up from monthly goals and over-priced ‘nothingness’ and saw her. Through back-stabbing gossip a look of despair screamed, “Get me out of here!” All I could think of were the words ‘use me’. The words I said a few hours ago. Use me. These are the moments I live for, I thought. The moments I know my life has purpose. When I know God really does hear our prayers. Yes, use me…of course. No! Use Me. HIM.
I grabbed her by the hand and I said, “C’mon.” Grace can do this. I pray for words as we walk around the puddles to the bench where tormented tears sink into the wood. The bench where faith works. The bench where hands are squeezed tight and God happens.
“I want to walk out”, she said.
“It is not the time.”
“I can’t take it anymore, the evil.”
“I know, but you have to be strong. You have to stand. The battle is within you. You choose.”
“I have no peace in me.”
“You have to keep your focus on God. He is your peace. You can’t do this alone, not in there.”
“I am Catholic and I pray to God and I can’t take this.”
“Have you ever asked Jesus to come into your heart and live inside of you so He can save you from all of this?”
“Do you want to?”
“Have you ever asked God to forgive you of your sins?”
“Do you want to?”
And so right there, as passers-by pressed their noses against our grace bubble, we bowed our heads and ‘hallowed art Thou’ and we let heaven open in us and we rose above and our perspective changed. And one more name was carved into the bench, into the cross. And we found peace in the puddles.