Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Burden of a Blessing

I awoke in a horrid sweat. I had been somewhere, some place awful. I took a few clearing breaths to try and cleanse the repulsive, the evil, the disgust from my skin. My eyes opened and immediately I began replaying the nightmare over and over. I leaned over my bed, physically sick from the visions. As I leaned over, I realized my feet were bound at the ankles. I looked down at the bottom of the bed and there was a dark presence standing there, just holding me by my feet. I wasn't scared of it, I knew it couldn't hurt me, but I wanted to get away from it. I didn't want it anywhere near me, I didn't want it to touch me.

I found myself crawling away. I was no longer inside my bedroom but I found myself digging my nails in the dirt to get away. No matter how hard I tried, my efforts were futile. All I could do was pray. "Lord please take these images from me. Please wake me from this horror and remove the binding the dark one holds. Please remove the sickening visions that will haunt me forever more. Lord let me find rest in you."

When I opened my eyes, I was lying on my stomach, scratching the mattress, still fighting to get away. I looked down and saw only red digital numbers across the room from the clock. The dark one was gone. I had no reason to doubt the Lord but I tested my prayer. I tried to immediately think of where I had been, what had horrified me so, and could not remember. The only thing I remembered was the feeling of being sick in the vile darkness. I remember the dark creature that held my ankles...and I knew The Lord had a message for me, but what?

I went about my day consumed with the idea that the devil was holding me back from something, but what? Church was going great, everyone seemed to be on fire! We were attending anytime the doors were opened. I was writing down everything I could that HE was showing me. That seemed to be my new job, a Gift He had only begun to Bless me with. I can barely write a decent grocery list so I cherished the new treasure. I did everything I could to bring our Spirit filled services home, to write about and to share with the ones who weren't there...hoping they might be get a Blessing, a Touch, no matter their distance. So what more did HE want? What was I not doing?

I couldn't figure it out. The next night, I fell asleep with little trouble, though I continued to ponder the purpose of the previous night's experience. I have no idea what time it was, but without warning, my eyes popped opened wide toward the ceiling. I knew where I was, I knew I was safe, but I could not blink nor take my eyes from the ceiling. Tears from my drying eyes began to pour down but what I was about to see, would answer the burning question of what more can I do?

It was just like a movie only I wasn't viewing a flat screen. I lay there for hours, paralyzed in body just watching it. It was like interlocking events I've experienced, or seen through my natural eyes that I could have never linked. I was watching people I've never seen before connect things together that I had no idea could be related. Though the events weren't exactly as they had happened to me, or exactly like I remembered with my common eyes, I was getting a much bigger picture of something. HE showed me how and why some of the things, even the not so nice things, I've been witness to, could work for His Good. There was a message in the story, and I just lay there consuming every morsel He would let me have. When it ended, my pillow was soaked, and I knew what I had to do. I was to write it down.

I couldn't or wouldn't refuse the burden. I was awestruck for days. With my mouth dragging open many times in amazement, that he would choose me for such a task, I sat down, and I wrote. I wrote for days, I wrote for weeks. As time drew away from the glorious midnight vision I call it, I became weary, and slack. The devil is really good and distracting, and lying, and trying his best to convince you not to do what The Lord asks of you. I carried this burden for quite some time, and though it is by far from perfect in form, it is the story...at least part of it. If nobody ever reads it, it has been a Blessing to me. I learned from my disobedience as well as my obedience. I am honored and to have carried the burden of this blessing. I introduce to you: Ladybug.
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I ask for your prayers as I still carry the burden of finishing the story as it was shown to me. I do not write fiction, never have been able to. My mind isn't as imaginative as it needs to be for that type of work. So pray as I try my best to finish the story. It will take more than my feeble memory to recite it so the true message shines and I will rely heavily on His hand for guidance. I hate to leave people hanging for too long so hopefully by Fall the conclusion will be out. Blessed beyond measure by what he provides Spiritually for me each and every day!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

When the Paint Don't Dry

As soon as we made it through those glass doors, everything slowed down. People were moving around the small country church on this second night of revival with outstretched hands in salutation and passing smiles from one to the other. The door had barely shut behind us and I saw a young lady stepping towards the altar. She looked downward and slowly placed both palms down on the smooth piece of wood. The carpet seemed to just reach up and take her by the knees and the small crowd that was there gathered around her as she wept. This day, when the rainbow stretched over our steeple...church began before the first song, before the first Testimony, before the Pastor even stood.

photo by Drew Hubbard

We quickly settled on a pew and I closed my eyes in prayer. I could feel hurt and heartache for her though I had no idea why. The Lord was letting us know loud and clear that He had reason for us to gather in His House tonight. The songs began and we all found ourselves right back down at the altar with the young lady who still needed her Lord. Two by two the knees bent and tears soaked the carpet below. I prayed silently, "Lord, your children weep. Your children are crying....can you hear the flock crying for our Shepherd?" Immediately, I received Assurance that not only did He hear our cries, He knew one from the other. Hearts were beating tears for just a moment and He wrapped His loving arms around crowd. I looked around at the mass of people and one by one heads were lifting with that same kind of Assurance.

The visiting preacher stood and he too began real slow. I sat in amazement of our Lord as he took this young man and sent him to that place. I watched a man go outside the glass doors, grab the devil and sin right by the nape of the neck and drag it back in to the front of the church. He stood it up before us and we watched, not knowing what would come next. We each took a look at vile, we listened to the sound of empty, and we sipped from a bitter cup that life has often poured, and it was as plain as I've ever heard, plain enough that even children were hanging on every word. He then talked of the Gift. He spoke of Salvation with ever bit of delicate his voice could offer...and the preacher never had to walk away from the front of the church. When his picture had been painted, it hung there at the face of the church and we watched, expecting it to dry.

When invitation began, the question was asked, who needed to pray? Out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement and I held my breath. Her strong eight year old hands pushed down on the wheels of her chair as she began to roll her way down to the front. I gasped at the thought and I waited until she reached the altar before my feet moved. The huge crowd surrounded the girl and her family and all I could do was thank Him. I knew He was reaching down and touching her right then. There's things this world can't possibly give that child but at that moment, He promised her everything. I have always said, I go to the church of The Gifted. That church is full of special needs. I can look around and see hearing devices, a wheelchair, children feeling their way around but there's more than that under that steeple. The Lord sees all of our special needs and each one is just as important as the next.

It didn't take long before another child of The King went to that place. That place she's been before, and He restored in her exactly what she longed for. As I sat back on the pew I knew my heart couldn't keep up on its own and I thanked Him again for bringing me here. I looked back up at that beautiful painting He made just for us and the paint was still damp. It had already changed in a matter of minutes and color seemed even brighter than before. I said to myself it just don't get prettier than this...and yet it did.

I saw more movement and this time my head made a blatant turn. His first grade fluorescent green socks carried him up to the altar. His tiny forearm covered his eyes as he lay his head down on that old piece of wood. My hands nor tissue could keep up with the river flowing from my eyes and I thanked Him yet again this night. My body began to laugh out loud as I watched the child pray and HE was doing it again, right in front of our eyes. His parents wailed in thanks and praise as once again, The Lord touched one of their own. This one here, kneeling for his healing, kneeling for his Salvation, rarely passes by me without reaching his arms out for a hug so I consider him one of mine. This child has given to me when I needed, he's a light in my busy school day and here he was, speaking to the same Savior that gave to me. Oh what joy can't even be described when you get to witness such a miracle.

We have one more official night of Revival and I can honestly say the paint isn't dry yet. I look forward to walking in again tonight and sitting among the artist who hold the brushes. He has more life to give our painting and I am Blessed once again as undeserving as I am.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Spot

Standing tall, clothed in stark white, the wall embraced both ceiling and floor at exactly the same time. I couldn't help but see the spot, just behind the piano. I told myself it doesn't matter how clean and white something is, the one spot of darkness can smudge, it can distract.

I felt the creak of the old hymnal as I opened it carefully. The fragrance of the aging trees from which the paper was made and bound together, circulated the pews. We held the books carefully and began the Sunday service with humble voices. I watched a daddy walk up to the piano with little girls surrounding him, his own tiny daughter, his nieces dressed in charm. One of the girls watched people sing as she tried to mouth the words to "I'll Fly Away." In all her daintiness, I imagined her riding by this old church in her adult future, and remembering how we sang, how we Praised, and how we Worshiped.

A Deacon walked to the front with his mother by his side. Just the sight of the two together warms my heart and the lady who sat behind the piano began to play. They all sang, "Through the wind and rain, it had still remained..." and I knew the blood was there. The eldest of the three Testified after the song ended. Then it seemed The Spirit was moving around the room, touching one, then the other. It began raining inside the church, though the wall was still holding the ceiling well. It was still as white and blameless as it always had been, but yet there was a river inside.

Testimonies rose as many offered meek Praise for the sister we all gained at a church event two nights prior. It wasn't long before The Altar was buried underneath the masses of praying souls. I looked up and noticed the mother of the one saved under Friday's moon had blanketed her niece. Others were reaching up and placing their hands on the little girl's back and some began to shout. I smiled, hoping, yet knowing, what was taking place. Another one was added into The Lamb's Book of Life, right then and there.

"Oh what singing, oh what shouting!" the song continued intently.  Hands clapped with such bliss, voices roared loud with purpose, and feet pounded in delight so that even the ones who stayed in, on this raining Alabama Sunday, were sure to feel that The Spirit had moved in a Mighty way underneath that old faded steeple.

I looked back to the wall, remembering the spot...and it was gone. The dark red spot moved toward the frosty window pane as the ladybug clung tightly to the glass. I listened about how longsuffering our Lord is with us. I watched the ladybug walk surely, knowing it had made it in. Others are out in the rain, but she made it in...and in absolute true LORD fashion, the preacher stood in front of the church and began reading in 2 Peter chapter 3...."14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless."

That wall was now clean, without distraction, without spot. The preacher stated that sometimes you need to do more than jump in the water to clean up. It's easy to see the dirt when it's placed upon something clean. Today I'm thankful for the cleansing that took place today. I know we all get smudged sometimes but I'm glad to belong to a church where the hungry go to feed, where the thirsty are given drink, and where the muddy are cleaned.

Blessed again to find that HE is never short of Miracles.



Sunday, February 22, 2015

Where the Wrens Go

I watched a flock of wren disappear into the fog. Their soft chirps, I could barely hear. I knew they rested in the yonder tree, but the thick white blanket of clouded air hid their tiny bodies. I clasped my hands around the warm coffee mug and listened to the rain drop in slow motion. I looked downward and apologized to The Lord.

My eyes poured as the fog of disobedience, neglect and self hindrance began to clear. I asked him to let me, one more time. "One more time Lord, give me the words. Let me share once more what you've Blessed us with."

  1. The angels so sweetly are singing,
    Up there by the beautiful sea;
    Sweet chords from their gold harps are ringing,
    How beautiful heaven must be.
How beautiful heaven must be,Sweet home of the happy and free;Fair haven of rest for the weary,How beautiful heaven must be.
I thought about how quickly I arrived at church out of habit. I went there without much thought, the common road has been leading me there for a while now. I sat upon a pew as the chatter filled the sanctuary. The moment I touched the hymnal, and opened the book of songs, I thought of Him. My eyes filled while I pondered on how beautiful Heaven must be. I thought, I won't have to see men in cages on the morning news, I won't have to hear of the awful things some children have to go home to after school..."no drooping nor pining, no longing for elsewhere to be...how beautiful Heaven must be."

I could hear their song, but I couldn't see the place where the wrens had gone. I knew they were there just the same. They sang on high, above the lands of the low, and I too, began to sing.

I revisited that room. The voices began to swell as The Spirit began to move. As He stopped by each one, humbled words spoke out. Several met Him at The Altar and burdens were lifted. It wasn't long until I saw her. The girl who was looking for a Sunday School room just minutes before. Downstairs as I waited for each of my "babies" to come to class, I saw a gorgeous young girl walking down the hall. She asked which way should she go and I told her, she could choose. She walked to the room that housed the familiar face of her little cousin, and that's the direction she walked.

This time, she asked direction from Him, and He walked her right down to that Altar. Her teenage knees bent, and she accepted Him as her Savior. The church wept at the beautiful Miracle taking place before our very eyes. Sometime after she sat back down, another child made her way to the front. It was the little cousin walking slowly towards that same Altar. Her precious face turned around to look back. When she saw her Grandmother coming up the aisle behind her, the sobbing child fell to her knees, and she too accepted Him as her Savior. It was almost too much to bear for the little country church. One after the other stood in Praise. Some sought forgiveness, some sought the Eternal Home, some sought lighter burdens, but all received Him.

Here now I sat, under the wrens. The bare pines held them high and though I couldn't see them, I knew they were there. I wondered what it would be like up there, where the wrens go, looking down. I then wondered what it was like to be in Heaven this day, as the Angels Rejoiced as they gained two more. I thought how messed up we can make this world, but they still have reason to sing. It won't be long I know. They'll be more heartache, more burdens, more fog to cloud our way, but the wrens will still find reason sing. I am thankful to have been under that steeple this morning.

Blessed again and I'm not even worthy. Thankful for The Spirit this morning.



Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Climb

I drove to church because the world was falling dark. I needed to turn away from the worldly news and be in a place where The Son has risen.  I wanted to be in a place where voices lift despite the claws of this world pulling and tugging to keep everyone down...or even worse, still. I thought of the place...

I remembered the place we drove to as teens. A group of friends and I had pulled over during an adventurous jeep ride in search of a waterfall. "It's right down here somewhere," someone said and we all began to trod down the steep slope. After quite some time, we reached the bottom of this mountain and wandered the forest in search of the falls. The evening sun was fading fast and we were still in the valley, walking through trenches with water on our minds. I looked up and a cool shade blanketed the massive hill that led to our "out". Miles of searching for something pretty was taking its toll and we reluctantly began our ascent out of the woods. It had been so easy going down but the slope of the landscape made for a difficult climb out of this disappointment. Our own choices had led us there as were just looking for something, but found nothing. Now, the very things we needed, were on top of that hill where we once stood...

Every step I took forward was met with gravity's hands who pushed me backwards. My feet were slipping and I couldn't seem to get ahead. My muscles tightened as I gripped the exposed roots and I held on for dear life. My knees bent and soil covered them as I used every ounce of strength I had left to pull. The climb up had been so much harder than the descent and moist earth covered my legs, my shoes and my fingernails where I fought, and dug, and clawed my way back up.

But now I sat on a pew. I wasn't down in the valley right this minute, but I knew others that were. I whispered in my heart to them, grab onto the roots, they are strong, you will be lifted soon, you may have some dirt under your nails and scars on your knees but the mountain is right in front of you...just climb.

Though not gifted with voice, I wanted to sing. I couldn't wait for the songs to begin where the voices from behind me belonging to those Gifted in song, would carry my meek words with their's. My words, though textured with softness and humble, soon met with the Mighty and together, we were all there for one purpose. It wasn't long before the Tall Man stood with his Bible in his hands and walked to the front. He outlined his intention and read the words as a friend, as a dad, as a brother, as a son. He took his time and thoroughly explained how perception can deceive. He said the world can be as dark as I wanted it to be, and I knew The Lord was talking to me. The news can be as bad as I let it, the day can be as dark as we want if we turn enough lights off. I wanted be in the sun [son]. I wanted to see the red robin's wings and hear his music throughout the trees. I was tired of looking through bare branches and seeing nothing. The corners of my aging lips rose and I was honored and Blessed that The Lord took that time with me. I was thankful that the Tall Man stood, and spoke.

Soon the preacher rose and naturally he clinched a Bible between his fingers as well. He spoke of the woman. The woman with the blood who had found no relief, until she touched Jesus. He had made her whole, He gave her what she needed, just like He does me today. She just went seeking. The preacher showed us something The Lord had shown him and it took my breath away. There were no computers, no phones back when the woman needed Him...so how did she know? How did she find out about Him? Someone stood. Someone spoke of Him and she had heard.

Today, I want to be the one...the one that told her about Him. I want to be the one that stood, and let them all know! I thought of how bright our days would be, if everyone told a story....someone tell me how the rain stopped when you just asked...tell me how the roots held you when there was nothing else to grab onto. Blessed again today, thankful for what I can feel.