Thursday, October 29, 2015

Conflicted; Thorny Vines of Despare Crowned With A Bloom Of Hope

Conflicted am I, of how to respond...
Once we were lovers.
You kept me safe and warm.
Our love was a garden,
With a few weeds here and there -
Normal, quaint, secure, and beautiful;
It lacked all malice and didn't require much care.
But then a fire, sprang to life.
It destroyed all growth and happiness.
The ashes left only anger, pity, strife...
Within the destruction, we tried to sow anew.
A few blossoms flourished,
But weeds of bitterness grew...
For you were the one to start the fire.
And it was difficult to forget;
Your responsibility to the end of our sacred place -
Now only home to regret.
And as the thorny vines of hatred,
Crept towards the fresh blooms,
They choked out all hope,
Once again, making our garden only a tomb.
For then it dawned upon me,
That while the spark you did light -
I had planted the weeds, and created the kindling
That fed the fire that night.
And when you did repent, and tried to plant again -
I let those vines grow back.
The fault was mine that our garden did end.
Years since, we've tilled the soil,
In the hope that life returns...
Day by day we prune and trim - slowly
Trying to regrow love, among the scars and burns.
With patience, and tender care -
Forgiveness has blossomed,
It's sweet scent rides upon the air.
Love flows like rays of sunlight;
Kissing every inch with warmth.
Life has returned upon this place -
It has become the center or our home and hearth.
But conflicted am I; that is the weed of the hour.
It has such hateful thorns,
But a crown of love, like a flower.
For while our garden is springing back to life -
You've started playing with matches again -
The sparks of betrayal cut like a knife.
For you know how easily sparks can start a fire.
You've seen the pain they have caused -
And yet, to rid yourself,
You seem to lack the desire.
When will the fire stop burning within your soul?
When will they be put away from your sight?
Do you not see, that our garden;
Is at risk for a wild fire tonight?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

More Nightmares; Of Wolves and Lions

When I was little, I had horrid nightmares. And a lot of them were reoccurring. I wont go into too much detail, but let me just say, they were gruesome, and when I have shared them with people, their faces become quite a shade of pale not often seen.

The past two months, I havent slept well, and these nightmares from when I was a child, have come back - but this time - my subconscious is  aware of what will happen within the dream, and no matter how I change my actions, in order to change the outcome within the dream, calamity still hits... horror still strikes like a venomous viper at one's heel.

But last night's nightmare... it was different. It was the same as when I was a child, but with a few tweaks...

   It was a big evening carnival, with family, friends, and church family. We were all at an amusement park, playing games, having snacks... someone had the brilliant idea to play football, but since we couldnt find one, we used a tennis ball (yes I know it's not foot ball, but it sure made it a lot more fun, and more difficult to grab in the air, and then when it rolled away, people trampling each other to get this tiny greenish yellow fuzz ball, was just hilarious!!) I would like to say, the very first difference in the dream, was that I used to be a child in it, but now... I was an adult, partaking in the adult fun... before, as a child, I was alone, sitting and watching all the joy and chaos, and no one was around or would pay attention to me feeling like I was being watched...
   This time, in the middle of playing and tackling someone, I had the same strange feeling - something wasnt quite right. I turned to look around and thought I saw something over by the roller-coaster support beams. Something small, but I couldnt quite make out what it was. So in typical horror movie fashion, I let someone know I'd be right back and went to check on this thing by myself.
   This figure moved from behind the support beams, to inside the cabin area where all the controls for the ride, reside. The lights went on, and then suddenly, began to flicker - after all - this was an old roller-coaster, and an old theme park. By time I got to the control room, I was shouting as I went, "Hello? Is everything alright?" - and then I heard this giant smash! I jumped, did a sort of tuck and roll, and then ran into the cabin thinking someone needed help... but no one was there, just broken glass, and tuffs of fur.
   I started to touch a bit of fur, and investigate the weirdness of the scenario, when the hairs on the back of my neck started to rise... I heard a growl - so deep and dark it felt as if the belly of the earth was in murderous rage.... cowering below the broken window in the control cabin, I saw a large, massive, dark figure of fur and malice walk past the shattered window. It was a lion; but unlike any lion seen at a zoo or safari. If I were to stand up (and I am 5'8'') my head would barely hit it's shoulder blades... it's face was tattered and scarred, as if it had wrestled with death and was now death's master... the eyes were soul piercing black and when they met your gaze, could swallow all innocence inside of you. His claws pierced the ground, and left destruction wherever it went... This was no ordinary lion. It as dark, evil... and out to devour. As a child, when I met this lion, I would hide and try to stop breathing so it would pass by... I was so small and clumsy - every attempt to sneak out of there and run away, it would find and hunt me down... but I was just small enough to hide under a beam, or duck out of the way - but now... I was no longer small, now I was no longer nimble or fast... still clumsy, but fat, slow... and a much bigger target at 5'8'' vs 3'6''....
   The lion turned the corner, and went out of my vision. So I stood, up silently and crept out of the control box... until my foot crushed a piece of shattered glass. That growl, and snarl came swiftly. I panicked and ran, the lights flickered this way and that, and all the while I could hear the lion on my heels. The choice came upon me to either run back to everyone else, or to keep running and try to find a place of safety. But there was no place of safety, there was no where this lion could not follow my scent, there was no place his talons could not pierce. I decided to run, back inside one of the larger rides... the kind where they loop you around and around, like a hall of mirrors, except you're in a wooden maze. That was my choice. I hoped desperately I could loose this thing, hoped I could live long enough to warn the others.
   It worked... I had lost the lion, or it had lost me... I waited a bit to be sure it was gone, and when I was confident, I ran back to everyone else. I tried to interrupt the game - I tried to tell everyone that this thing was out here and we had better get to a place of safety, or weaponry... something, anything, other to sit and play around like dogs fighting each other over a ball, or bone. As a child, there had been less people there, this time as an adult, there were many... as a child, a small few would console me, but I'd still be ignored... as an adult, I was quickly passed over or made fun of for trying to cheat or end the game by telling ridiculous, exaggerated stories. But that growl... it came back, and shook the ground beneath us all. We had been found, and we were not found at the ready; but found vulnerable... found splintered, found bickering... and lacking in unity. We were lacking in all direction and order.
   Some of us ran, and were consumed by the darkness surrounding the edge of light that had encircled us... other charged head on to this lion and were swiped out of the way by his ferocious paws, almost as if we had been nothing more than a fly to a swatter. Some huddled in groups but singled themselves out from everyone else and made themselves easier targets... some, including myself, ran to find places of safety - perhaps back under the beams where I found refuge as a child, and could possibly find it again now...
   Those who stayed were consumed, and those who stayed to fight, fell... those who ran for safety, scattered and became easy pickings - falling to this beast, one by one... I nestled beneath the support beams, and felt incredibly child-like again... before I had a sensation of fear, but I was too young to actually grasp the gravity of everyone else falling around me. Now, I not only had great fear, but great, immense sorrow... what could I do.. I had no weapons, I had no long term hiding place... most of the reinforcements I would have relied on, had died. I thought of my family. I couldnt leave them alone, I had to find them... stay together. I fashioned some crude arrow-like spears out of some rusted iron pieces I found, and some old wood.
   The park had become quiet; unnaturally still. The wind billowed about, but even that seemed; unearthly and strange. I walked up higher and higher, around and around, through the wooden maze of the coaster... Some mesh was covering a repairman's ladder  entrance to the side, but it was torn and billowing in the wind. The moon's light sparkled against the black of the mesh and I cautiously opened it... nothing. The snarl and snap and growl was back from the lion. I could hear him; so very close! I jumped on the other side of the mesh, and prayed he would walk right by.... he did. He prowled right by me, I was hidden for a moment... The lion walked down the wooden pathway; I made the unfortunate mistake of leaving my place of safety before he was fully gone. The wood creaked; he turned, I was in his gaze. My back was against the balcony I had no where to go, except jump to my death, or fall to this lion. He crept towards me, his mouth salivating at another death. He leaped, and pounced; pinning me to the wood - his claws pierced my flesh - deeply into my shoulder - I had no escape. His jaws opened to snap off my head in one foul swoop and crunch - this is when, as a child, I would wake up.... but not last night, last night, as the heat of this lions breath was upon my face, and his jaws opened to consume me....
   Another Lion's roar was heard! A bright light, so piercing and blinding it made my bones ache from exposure to it's rays, accompanied the roar! The heavens burst open, and shook... the ground beneath broke free and the air became so oxygenated my lungs almost burst with renewed breath! This other Lion was twice as big as this first, it's muscles rippled beneath the fur and skin, in such a way, you could see each individual working muscle move with each step. It's mane was of pure gold - it's teeth, were like ivory needles... the claws were diamonds, fashioned to shred all enemies to dust. This Lion, grabbed the first by the throat, and threw it off me with one blow! The battle was on. Each lion knew victory could only be obtained by the defeat of the other...
   I rode the golden Lion's back, down to the ground for safety... and it charged the other lion away. When I was on the ground, and the golden Lion had me behind Him, guarding me... I could see all the fallen brothers and sisters, friends, family... on the ground... but they didnt look like they had previously. Some were dead wolves.... some were dead lions... The golden Lion roared, and out of the park, came more lions... all at His side... I myself became a lioness ... The first dark lion roared, and out of the shadows came a legion of small lions, like him... twisted, full of malice and hate... with an urge to destroy. Both lion prides stood their ground, the first lion's claws dug into the earth as he took his pouncing stance.... The golden Lion growled back and rolled His shoulders... preparing to attack.... Then, I woke up.

On That Day Ministries -

The Lion's Path 4.15.2015 - Wolves and Lions


Sunday, July 19, 2015

For The Mama With Small Children; I Feel For You...

I went to a large gathering this weekend. A church gathering of people from the two closest states near me. We all meet together once a month, if we can make it... have fellowship and discuss scripture. I honestly love going. We havent been in so long due to life getting in the way. But I was so excited to see all the faces I havent seen in such a long time...

As I was chit-chatting with a dear friend, her daughter was darting to and fro as we spoke. Her daughter is two; and just the sweetest thing ever! About half-way through a sentence, her mother saw her reach for someone's things... "A! Don't pilfer through other people's things!" She grabbed her daughter and put everything back as best as she could. Suddenly my mind wandered as I watched this mother and daughter...

About a year and a half ago; my son, almost two... pilfered through someone's things. He ran through a crowded room, reached into a lady's purse and grabbed her glasses case. I caught him before he could do much else... but what was the reaction of the people around me? It wasnt a simple pause in the middle of a conversation, as it had been with my friend. With my son, it was a show stopping experience. The pastor's wife let out a screech and exclaimed those were her sister's glasses and if he broke them, it would be hundreds of dollars. I apologized and said they were undamaged, but if they had been... we would of course pay for their replacement. (I have glasses; and am blind as a bat without them, so I understand how important those are.) I also understand that my son, at the time, was almost two... and was as curious and determined as a Capuchin monkey. (He still is, but has thankfully learned some restraint.)

What saddens me is; in this little fellowship/church, my son was not treated as a two year old, but as a bothersome, destructive hoodlum. And I was so thankful and glad to see my friend's daughter (and her mother) treated with kindness and grace by passers-by. While I was pleased and happy to see such kindness on display; I couldnt help but be slightly bitter to my own treatment, and that of my son over a year and a half ago. I've suffered numerous callous remarks and disdain for my small children in predominately older adult fellowships. It's been a constant tight rope, trying to balance between making sure they arent a bother, but at the same time, are allowed to be children. Trying to take the time and opportunity to correct their behavior, but have the grace and patience to weigh out their ages and levels of understanding. ...

So, when I see mothers with young children, in situations where there arent any other young children present... and it is quite obvious their children are the ones making noise, their children are the ones misbehaving... their children are the ones causing a distraction... My heart goes out to you. And I want you to know, you have an ally. I've been there. I spent the last two years going to a place every week where my children were the youngest ones, where they made 3/5 of ALL the children attending... where if crying or blabbing or normal child behavior was occurring, they were probably the ones doing it. Where all eyes would turn and gaze at them... I want you to know I've been you. And if ever I see you need a helping hand, I will offer one. I will offer assistance instead of rude stares and snide remarks... I will try to share my best advice with you - my experiences.

And I want to tell you something: Do not be embarrassed. Do not be ashamed. Raising children is the hardest thing to do... and if they are having a bad day, or if you are having a bad day.... if you can't seem to calm them down... Do not be afraid to ask for help. Seek a mother you trust to ask for guidance or a helping hand...

Titus 2:3-5
Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.…

I want to tell you older, capable women (older capable mothers) in the fellowships and communities I've been too in the past two years, the women who have NOT helped me, the women who have gossiped, glared, snapped at mothers with young children; that your time is better served by being gracious and kind to young mothers with young children in need... Shame on you for not helping them, for not training them on how to calm a baby, or offering to rock a child in the back row, while the mother gets a break... or offering to help tag-team with them because their hands are full and they are clearly stressed. Where is your compassion, and grace? Where are the memories of your hard days caring for your young children? What nuggets of wisdom can you share with young mothers who are right in the thick of it?

For those mothers, and fathers (and friends), who have been a help; thank you. A thousand times: THANK YOU. Thank you for not treating my children (and other small children) as second class citizens. Thank you for not minding they come sit on your lap during service ... or not minding them playing with your shoe strings during questions and answer time. Thank you for being a light, and encouragement, and a helping hand... Thank you for showing me (and my friend and her daughter) that not everyone is a prickly, cold, callous person... By you showing kindness, and offering to help in stressful situations, you are helping train the younger generation to do the same for the generation that comes after them. Thank you for being such a wondrous example of Jesus's (Yeshua's) Love.

To the Mom with small children... things will get better. Take things a day at a time. Find a community where the people around you, encourage you... where they show love and compassion... a place where, when correction is needed (to either yourself or your children) it is done so in a gracious, thoughtful, Biblical, and kind manner. Even when you feel alone, or singled out... remember: You are not alone... Millions of mothers have been in your shoes, and are in them right now. Be encouraged, and dont despair.

1 Timothy 4:12
Let no one look down on you because you are young; but in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example to those who believe.

Matthew 19:14
But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

Matthew 18:3
And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.