Worship, Create, Dream

Be free to Worship God. Create with abandonement because He is the Creator. Let's discover our Dreams together.


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Why Create?

Beauty is necessary

Look at the morning paper. What are the main headlines? Possibly hurricanes demanding families to evacuate their home. Painful memorials of how people have been unjustly treated in one way or another.  Stories depicting  the horrible outcome of what started out as a peaceful rally exposing wrongful actions toward a group of people.

Pain upon

Anger upon

Death upon

          ……………………………AGONY.

Is that all there is in our

                                                              Real  Life?

Suddenly the reality of those pain-filled words started jumping all around me crying out to make themselves heard. “I am real”!!!

Pain exists.

  • Cancer with all of it’s excruciating effects.
  • Raising children with no help.
  • Losing a loved one.
  • Addictive choices becoming a lifestyle and those choices affecting the web and flow of a families very breath.
  • The list of the world’s chaos goes on even further.

Should I continue? What would be the point? If you are not fighting a medical battle, you are probably in the middle of an emotional one. If you are not in an emotional upheaval, then a spiritual  turmoil might be clamoring inside.

THE RESPONSE?

A creator has to create. A writer HAS to write. Walking through a bookstore, will bring many attempts to answer the question to life.  The form will vary.  Either by straight-forward nonfiction or a slightly more subtle way as in poetry and fiction. It is in the DNA of a writer to express an answer to the world’s chaotic pandemonium.

I believe as Christian creatives, poets, writers, we are called to tackle those same real themes. Our participation in this battle with the creative arts we have been given will write through a different lens.  It is necessary to join in the dance of God’s heart and co-labor with Him to bring out truth and beauty.

HOW?

All true artisans are willing to cry and rejoice in the reality of the world.

A writer who has taken up the pen as a sword has implements at her disposal  in the spiritual world. As she constructs a well developed story, she can take her  reader to the depths of reality and freedom beyond what mere details can achieve. The creative  sees the data of pain. The story no matter how it is composed( fiction/ poetry/essay) will walk with the reader in and through the pain. The reader will not feel alone.  Well chosen words will cause the reader to identify with truth and know she is identified with.

As a Christian, I know the world will have tribulation. John 14:33

I also know Who the Victor is. We need creative writers who are bold  with their gifts of creativity to feel The heart of God  and show the victory through ways that will touch a soul.

Why do you create?

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As you read this post, seriously look into your calling.  As creators we have a high calling. Slow down to sit at God’s feet. Put your ear to HIS HEART. Will you at times be brave enough to  weep as Jeremiah of the Old Testament?  Before it comes time to put pen to paper,  pause and wait for His Word.Selah

In the depth and fullness of what you receive, be bold and obedient to flow the beauty God has shared with you.

I will finish with a quote from Luci Shaw

It is my wild hope that perhaps creative Christians, by means of their “baptized imaginations” may be able to help integrate the universe by widening and sharpening their focus, by seeing the whole picture as if through God’s eyes, by observing humankind and the environment and saying, “Yes, I see. This like that . There is meaning in it”.1

Where is God taking you on your adventure in creating? Feel free to share your thoughts. We are on this journey to worship together.

BE

To

Worship

As

Were

Created!

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1Luci Shaw BREATH FOR THE BONES Art, Imagination , and Spirit: Reflection on Creativity and Faith ©2007 P.68.

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View with a New Lens

Wobbling back and forth, oozy  wounds roughly covered with torn rags.. Sores, no ability to feel pain. I cannot bathe anywhere because the lesions fall into the water contaminating anything and everything. The area around  me wreaks as my body is slowly decaying.

What is worse? The condemnation of my body,  or the condemnation of my mind and soul?  My body will never allow a gentle touch or a kind word. What was my sin? I did not ask for this? Why am I receiving such harsh treatment?

 

A soft voice flows past  which I can barely understand. One ear is partially gone. Is the voice talking to me? Voices coming in my direction have been harsh and cruel. Each word is usually followed by a series of stones and sticks. Now my mind cannot comprehend a voice where the decibels are not barbarous and pitiless.

Jesus did not stop with the outer layer. He looked at the  inner beauty His Father created. With the Lens His Father had given Him, Jesus knew the freedom I am  still called to experience. I needed not only the deep cleansing from the outer decay. I would need an even deeper  cleansing of an inner decay toward all those who hurt me and refused to help me.

 

Jesus takes my hand. My first reaction is to shrink back. His holiness shakes my sins to shout louder than my leprosy.

. “Why would this Man touch me?”

 

Jesus eyes come to mine.  Peace settles into my soul. Peace washes over my body.. Healing sweeps over me. I feel the strange sensation of a smile come to my lips. I hear the sound of pleasant child hood  laughter and a bird’s song.
Jesus-heals-leper
(yahoo.com Jesus Heals a Leper free image)

 

I receive the inner and outer healing to live the creative story God intended for me.

———————————————————————————————
This teeny obscure flower is not a big eye catcher in the  restaurant herb garden . Compared to the beautiful orange flowers edging the garden for decorations, the yellow one probably doesn’t get second glance.

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It takes a special lens to bring out the beauty inside the yellow flower. The size did not attract me and I needed to take extra work to get deep inside.  It not only took recognizing the lack of my camera but I had to  recognize my need for the correct lens. I had a lack. I had a need.

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The same is true in life.

 

There are situations in life where the lens I use is not adequate. To see the inner beauty of God’s creation, no matter what it is, I have to recognize my lack. I have to recognize my need.

Some inner beauties we all may need a new lens from time to time:

  • family members
  • someone who votes differently than you
  • an art work when it is passed by
  • a book proposal getting rejected for the third (or fourth or fifth) time.
  • Please do not end the list here. Ask God, what inner beauty around you  is being missed, has a lack, has a need?

Jesus saw the beauty of the leper through the lens of His Father’s Heart. We miss the beauty of God’s Heart when we are unwilling to use His Lens to look at this world.

 

The proper lens makes a world of difference.

 

Be

Free

To

Worship

As

You

Were

Created!

 

 Forgiveness through God’s Heart and taking His hand will allow us to be free to worship as we were created.  You are welcome to comment and share. We are on this journey together.


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WILL YOU TRUST ME?

 

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WILL YOU TRUST ME?

This a question most born again Christians want to automatically answer with a resounding:

OF COURSE!

 

A war battling inside and out may cause a tremendous tug on our body, soul  and mind making that inquiry loom to the heights of  Mt. Everest. If you cannot look anyone in the eye for fear of breaking into tears, the isolation takes the mountain and multiplies it many times the size it was before.

 

How often do we even acknowledge this internal agony bearing down inside and around us? If you have read my previous  blogs, you know comparison is a bully, trying to tear down the joy of who I am in Jesus. This ugly cloaked  beast recently uncovered itself and attacked.  The pain was ……
I recently returned from an exciting, challenging road trip with my daughter.  This post deals with the inner war that took place shortly after coming home.  I share  this experience with you for one purpose. To encourage all believers who “walk through the valley of the shadow of  death”.

How did it happen? I can’t say. I can point to words I heard. They pulled at my insides until finally I snapped. It wasn’t just the words though. I started to add “this to that”, “what I do and don’t do”, “what I can and cannot do”

I was in darkness. I saw no future. I felt pain from my past. My birthday coming in a few days simply added to the feelings “I am so useless”.

 

I can point to the main lying phrase which caused my breathing to come in small, short, stints:

“You are not good enough” !

I stayed  in our library,  using box after box of tissues, wondering why I was in such torment. At that point,  I firmly decided I would not be leaving  the house the rest of that weekend,  other than as a silent passenger in the car  Anything else was beyond my capabilities.

I questioned:  Am I going to be this way for the rest of my life?

 

In the midst of this confusion,  I sensed a soft gentle breeze.  God’s presence. Not an “I AM WITH YOU”,  overly loud voice from the scriptures.  Rather a soft whisper, “i am with you and i will never leave you.”
I experienced a respect-filled love from my God, my Papa. I felt His compassionate Presence very close to me. He could have taken my hand,  but I was too bruised to be touched. Every once in awhile, I felt a slight touch which made me aware of His love and presence. The Creator knew my needs.  He was never intrusive, never invasive.

Sunday morning brought a sliver of possibly riding in the car to church.  My husband and son were volunteering for the first service.  Still not wanting to talk to anyone, I would wait in the car til the second service.   My husband left the keys to our car and suggested if I decided I was ready to go at all, I could drive and meet them for the second one.

I did not feel as though God was expecting anything. He was not saying “You can do all things because of who you are in Me.”  Rather the gentle love extended to me was a hand knowing my needs saying:

“I think We can do this. Will you trust me?”

 

I did not feel shame or pushed. I did not feel as though it was something I “should” do. I truly felt the choice was mine. Even though that was the case:

I was not doing this by myself. I did not walk alone.

 

I (We) got behind the wheel. I (We) drove to church. I (We) walked through the doors.

 

Little by little God has taken my hand. I presently see life through a different lens.

The questions, pain and emptiness which erupted over that weekend have not been totally answered or dealt with. 😕  They are just not screaming louder than God’s love for me. Right now I can breathe.

I would like to give you the gift God gave to me. His wonderful love allowed me to walk through the weekend without expectations how I was to perform. I was ugly. I was not pleasant. I needed to be alone. God did not leave me. His touch was unique to my need.

 

We are all very unique. With that in mind, how do now I approach the attack:

   YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH?

Is that even a statement  to consider?   God gave His Son for me.  In receiving this precious gift, the relation between God and me is totally free to be everything it was meant to be. In Jesus, I am free to love, free to create, free to worship, free to live as God created me to be.

God gently takes my hand into His. We will walk the path where He leads me.

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Reach out  and take God’s hand. Where is He leading you? Will you trust Him?

What can I say

It is not always easy to walk this path, but God is not calling us to walk it alone. He is always with us even when the feelings are not there. Be honest.  If you have questions or comments, come and share them with me. We are on this path together.

Be

Free

To

Worship

As

You

Were

Created!


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Slowing Down Can Bring True Refreshment

 

Proverbs 14 b

As you slow down and give yourself to the serious pursuit of reflection, you will find it is not an absence of work. It is more of a decision as to where you want to allow your mind to go. What do you want your mind and body to engage in?  In receiving the wonders you take in,  you decide how your heart engages with the given information and how you will share it. In other words,

It is discovering  refreshing waters pouring  over  your tired soul.

 

Ponder this : If the daily spiritual consumption you ingest is similar to a drive-thru for your favorite latte on your way to work, are you really getting the best and deepest nourishment in your relationship with God?

Probably Not.😄

It tastes really good at the time. You get your needed zip to start the day.  Then as  the time goes  on, and like the caffeine energy that wears away,  with little  spiritual and substance and reflection,  it is hard to hear His tender, caring voice expressing His love.

.

 

 

In a  past daily Bible reading, the New Testament portion was Acts 25-26. I could easily  been impressed with Paul’s eloquent rhetoric in his defense to King Agrippa. I could have  closed the book and said, “WOW! God sure gave Paul just the right words to say to get him out of trouble.    Thank you God.”

Slowing down caused me to catch something else God had in store for me.

 

Kick against the GOADS.

.  
12 “While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, 13 at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. 14 And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

 

                                                                                                  NKJV Acts 26

 

Such an odd sentence! Kick against the goads!  What does that mean?

 

goad02

 

An  ox goad  is similar to a cattle prod. (an instrument used by ploughmen for guiding their oxen   . http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/  )  It is a type of long stick with a pointed end.( Wipikedia)

A farmer uses the goad to push and prod the ox to make him move to a certain goal and perform the duties he is created for. The more the ox fights (kicks) against the goad, the harder the farmer needs to push it into the ox until the correct path is chosen.

IT HURTS!

Everything in Paul’s being was trained and ready for the Messiah. When the PROMISE was fulfilled  through the man Jesus, Paul could not or would not walk that direction. He kept pushing against the very path he actually wanted to be on.

As Paul realized the Man speaking to him on the Damascus road was the Promised  fulfilled,  he quit kicking.  The true wisdom, washed  over his heart  causing Paul the freedom to embrace a relationship with Jesus for who Jesus truly is.

                        That YES changed Paul’s life forever.

That YES affected all followers of Jesus forever.

 

Slowing down and reflecting on this passage took me to a deep question. I put this same  question to you.

Is there an area in your life where you are:

         Kicking against the goad?

 

Where did you say “YES” to God with your whole heart and now you think you know better for your life than He does?

Was  creativity a dynamic worship expression in your intimate relationship with God at one time and now other areas vie for your time?  Creativity and worship are not important?

Is God opening  a different direction in your life ( a new ministry, change of  job, writing a book), but it  does not seem to line up with your “normal walk”?

You can fill the blank with  your own question that has been lurking in the back of your mind________.

                                             

What is your response when you think of these specific conversations? Are you kicking against the goad? God is not angry.  He is waiting to free you as He did Paul.

 

 

As Paul  received the wise words to quit resisting the reality of Jesus and His Love, Paul was bathed in refreshing waters for a new life.

 

IMG_4099

Relax and sit with Me for awhile

 

Slowing down will bring true refreshment for you. What are your goads?

 

BE

 FREE

TO

WORSHIP

AS

YOUR

WERE

CREATED!

 

Feel free to share your questions and thoughts. We are all on this journey together.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

plowman photo is a free on line example of an ox goad with ox.

 


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Nurture a Reflective Life —Slow Down

Contemplative Photography is taking me into a deeper adventure.   All new adventures bring with it something a  bit daunting. I open the door asking God, what is ahead of  me. As I gaze upon a blooming flower, or see dark clouds cover the sky, is the message being shared reflecting  the beauty of God’s creation alone , or is He motioning me to — Come further up, come further in!” ― C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle.

Put the words “Nurture a reflective life” and ” Be contemplative in my photography” together.  But how?

SLOW DOWN IN WHAT! SLOW DOWN TO WHAT?

  • Activities?
  • My mind?
  • Walking?

Will this “slowing down” automatically happen if my body stops doing?  Probably not. The mind can frantically race with yesterday’s events and tomorrow’s needs while the body is lying in bed.

Being  reflective  is making an active decision to engage in the surroundings. Going deeper than the top layer.

WHAT IS GOD SAYING?

CAN I FEEL HIS TOUCH, HIS LOVE IN THE GENTLE BREEZE AS IT PASSES BY MY FACE ?

HOW CAN I REFLECT THIS TOUCH IN A PHOTO AND SHARE HIS HEART?

Slow Down and reflect Tammy Morton Photo They teach us to dream

                                                                                      Tammy Morton’s photo entitled:

                                                                                                         ” THEY TEACH US TO DREAM”1

Is it possible to slow down and reflect in the rush  of daily activities?  In the course of routine housework, am I willing to mentally or emotionally slow down, take God’s  hand and reflect on His Words to me?  The beauty of nature, color all around,  waves of the lake lapping against the rocks, a walk through the woods,

 

have a greater  intensity for intimate interaction with my Creator than cleaning the kitchen. I can imaging slowing down and reflecting in a sunrise.

How can I slow down and reflect, let alone create with a photo through daily chores?  Mindless, thoughtless, repetitive cleaning do not compose a creative story.

 

The first question might be: 1.Do I want to take the mental energy  to engage to create space for God to enter into the chores? —-  2. Does God really care to enter into my time of cleaning? I know He is with me always, but really, intimate chats  while doing housework?

  • Slow Down
  • Be Present in the Moment
  • Take a Long Loving Look at the Real.
  • What is God Saying Now?

Reflection Through a Veggie Drawer.

 I needed to put the groceries away. The veggie drawer was covered with yellow onion skins so I decided to dump these out. Then I would give the drawer a quick swipe.   😝 Thinking about my photography assignment, I ask  God, “Is there something You want to show me?

I used these  tools from  The Reflective Life by Ken Gire.2

  • Read the moment—Using my  eyes to see what’s on the surface.
  • Reflecting on the moment -Engaging my  mind to see what’s beneath the surface.
  • Responding to the moment –  Giving what I saw and received  a place to live in my heart, allowing it to grow there, upward to God and outward to other people.

An interesting cleaning experience took place.

I needed to scrub extra hard in cleaning the icky sticky goo I found close to the ridges. These ridges  took longer to clean than I wanted to give my attention to the whole drawer cleaning business.  In fact, the cleaning  was getting  boring. Thoughts began to race “Did I really want to make sure the drawer was thoroughly clean? All sticky goo gone? (Remember, at first, I was only going to dump the loose skins into the garbage . 😄 )

What was  God’s response to the sticky goo hiding next to the ridges no one sees inside of me, the gunk hard to get at?  The outside is nice and clean, but there are areas where some stuff  needs more time to (re)move.

God will never leave a job half done.

 God started with the outer layer and cleaned away the onion skins.  God then looks deeper and says “I will stay with you and clean the icky sticky goo hidden inside. I will gently clean til  the job is completed.

WHY?

Years ago I said YES to Him  and I desire His beauty to reflect through me.

(6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil. 1:6 NIV)

Who knew the simple non creative job of cleaning a veggie drawer could bring me into the throne room to  interact with my Savior and Friend?

As a result the connection of slowing down I created two photos from my cleaning.

 

Be willing to enter into the moment. Slow your brain down. All you have is the reality right in front of you. The Creator of the Universe is at hand at all times to engage in the moment with you.

Slowing  down is not easy in the fast paced world. Feel free to share your victories and your battles. We are on this road together.

 Be

free

To

Worship

As

You

Were

Created!


1Thank you Tammy Morton for saying Yes and allowing me to us this picture.

2THE REFLECTIVE LIFE (Becoming More Spiritually Sensitive to the Everyday Moments of Life) by Ken Gire © 1998 p.88.


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Does God Love the Good Girl?

Very odd question?

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These photos have their own unique qualities.

The top ones- peaceful, calm, tranquil.

The bottom ones – exciting , dangerous, vigorous.

Which one has a greater appeal to you? There is no right or wrong answer. It is what it is.

The photos might represent our stories as well.

Peaceful,tranquil, no waves, (obedient).

Wild, crazy, crashing (disobedient).

Both stories can be very lonely. The WILD story may come to the realization she is in deep need of love. Her crazy life is dynamically  filled with loose threads attached to nowhere. Her emptiness causes a realization. It is the need to search for a true love which will meet her every want. She recognizes the reality of God’s grace as she runs into His arms.

The TRANQUIL story has a deep unknown need, even to herself. It has no label until it is made known to her. Her need is just as deep as one in the WILD story.

Following is a slightly adjusted modern day parable of the Prodigal Son. With whom do you best identify?

A single mother with two daughters.  Father passed away  years ago. Mother comes from a prestigious law firm family who gladly welcomed her back to her per-marital position.  Finances were no problem. Mother loved her daughters very much. Work never comes before the needs of her girls though.  She is a good example of love, strength, peace joy.

Sara the elder daughter is the “good girl”. When her father died, she had many questions. She had deep pain. Sara saw her mother cry. As Sara put her arm around Mother, it brought comfort, made Mother feel better.  So instead of talking about her own pain, Sara would listen. Sara would do the household jobs asked of her the first time. That would bring smiles from everyone.  This covered  over questions, pain inside Sara.  Value came by listening and receiving the “good girl” smiles from everyone. Everyone except the person in the mirror.

Sidney is the youngest daughter. Her wild side made people know she was not happy when her father died. She cried long and hard. Who cared if her jobs got done? Mother had long talks with Sidney about life – drugs, smoking , boys and sex. (the consequences on your body , heart and soul when you act as if you don’t care). Sidney didn’t care. The pain in her heart was deep. She was going to cover it somehow. Besides, these things were fun.

Sara and Sidney knew their father  set aside  money in a trust fund.  This was to help pay for continuing higher education or starting a business. The money was to be withdrawn for that specific need and age. Not before.

As a “good girl” wanting to please, this was fine with Sara. Not the one to make waves because it always made people smile Sara went along with this choice for her life. She lived at  home. Classes were taken at the state university. Upon finishing her B.A., Sara  pursued pre- law. Did she really want to be a lawyer?  It made her mom smile  with the news.   Every one around Sara said she was a good listener.

Sidney barely finished high school. After one year at the local technical school, taking a few business classes,  she said “FORGET THIS MESS.”  Sidney went to Mother and demanded her trust fund half.   No way was she going to stay in this town.  It is too boring.

In pain, Mother went to the bank. With open hands, and open heart, she gave the funds over to Sidney. Sidney’s present boyfriend was in the car. Without even a kiss goodbye, Sidney drove off.

Sara looked out the second story window watching the car tear down the driveway. She c0uld hear the laughter sailing from the top down convertible.  Two care free people sailing off to their adventure.  Sadness crossed Sara’s mind. A very small seed  entered her heart. This seed was so tiny, Sara would not dare to claim it existed. It would put a crimp on her “good girl ” label. The seed was a combination of two deadly sins to a “good girl’s” life. Envy and bitterness.

Sara did not allow  any recognition of these feelings. Instead, her primary thoughts, her need was to seek out Mother. How could  Sara comfort Mother?  Sara would do  what “good girls ” always do. Forget they feel inside  to meet the needs of others.

This is part one of the story.  Sidney goes out to have fun. Sara stays. Both make choices.  Who do you identify with?

The tranquil waters are obedient. But REALLY?

Is she any different than the raging waters?

Have either one yet come to terms with their father’s death?

Can you identify at all with Sara? What is she lacking?

Feel free to leave comments or questions.


Ideas were taken from grace for the GOOD GIRL by Emily P. Freeman. Thank you so much

 

 

 

 


The Wall

A story can reveal the inner thoughts of a person. The one reading the story if she will takes the time to allow the words to sink in. The writer of the story,  if she is true and allows honesty to flow out.  This is the case set before you. The new year is almost three weeks old. The excitement of resolutions, a new adventure in a new year may still be running strong. In a short while, it is possible you will run smack dab into an unexpected hard WALL, as you are engaged in the wonder around you. You hit your nose very hard. How will you respond? Is the adventure still there?  Are you excited about the walk? Do you complain about the WALL?  Follow PAN in her path.
PAN welcomes this walk, this new adventure. The steps are not too challenging, just enough to make it exciting. The adrenaline begins to flow throughout her body. Looking around, PAN takes in  sights and beauty never seen before. The sounds are unbelievable as if she enters another world.  Deep blue rushing waters, rock formations expressing a special type of awesomeness all their own.  Green leafy trees reaching to the sky with praise.

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The most thrilling part of all is talking with the Creator. PAN cannot believe anything could be more overwhelming.
Suddenly a brick wall smashes with PAN’s nose.

” OUCH,”  PAN,  yelled as she jumped back with surprise.” Where did this brick wall come from? I thought I was watching where I was going. Bam  this thing comes out of nowhere.”
As PAN continues rubbing  her very bruised nose, tears begin to form. Looking towards the sky, Pan has a verbal conversation with the One who moments earlier caused her Joy and Delight.

Rather defiantly Pan says, “ I thought you were all knowing. Didn’t You see the WALL? It surely is big enough. Why did you lead me down this path? You made me run right into a huge WALL. Now my poor nose is very painful. Not very protective of You!!!”

 

Dark Branches
The area grows dark. The sun’s rays seem to fade with each word of protest, each complaint coming out of PAN’s mouth. The wonderful excursion  suddenly turned sour. The joyful give and take between PAN and the One she trusted is slowly becoming bitter.
“ The words initially drawing me to You promised protection. Wasn’t there something about ‘ Leading me by still waters,?’ and ‘ Peace that passes understanding?’  Instead, You lead me right into a brick wall letting me hit my nose, causing pain. Plus, I have no peace. I am frustrated because there is no way going forward through this. “ An angry body points to the stony barrier.
These are viscous words verbalized. Inside her mind, Pan has what she thinks is a private   conversation with herself. She figures God cannot or will not go into this secret area.  Her  true feelings of fear, rejection and despair are exposed. In PAN’s former life, these types of conversations were common.
Shaking her head, talking  herself again into a  false sense of bravery  PAN thinks,‘ I guess I need to figure out how to do this myself. He does not really care. Nobody cares. Not really.  Who was I trying to fool? Nice adventure at the start, but I knew it was too good to be true. This is my life. Always was. Always will be.”

With a dejected shrug, PAN resolved to figure something out.
Although the bright sunshine had never really left the sky, The darkness was larger,always covering PAN. She was  becoming,  more fretful and anxious.  The  Wall seemed to drain PAN’s inner joy, peace and contentment  from her very soul. PAN was feeling helpless  and  out of control.
Realizing she could not handle these circumstances any longer on her own Pan started another conversation with God. PAN’s  attitude was far from gracious.
“God’, PAN begins in a less than humble tone walking around with her hands going up and down, ‘I read Your book! I know what it says You can do. Why aren’t You doing it?” : A childish, temper tantrum is forming.
“You are all powerful. You called me on this journey. THIS ADVENTURE.  Part these bricks like You did the Red Sea.”PAN spouts the words as spoiled child having a temper tantrum. ” Make a way for me to walk through the bricks. I know I am not being chased by Pharaoh, but I have been here FOREVER. You are in the business of miracles, right? Let’s see something happen!!! “
With each uttered word the cloud overhead became darker and heavier.Dark night
God is ever patient. God is extremely kind. He is slow to anger. He knows the desires of our heart. He knows our needs.

A fight inside and out is wearing PAN thin. The soul  initially crying  out to God in need for His connection is crying out now in need of food, in need of water, in need of love.

The Holy Spirit is tenderly wooing PAN.
Through gritted teeth,  but less anger,  PAN looked upward again. ”  OK, I recognize this is not going to be easy, but I cannot go forward  on my own. I am stuck on this side. What am I going to do?”
The cloud seemed to lose a bit of its heaviness. The sky was not quite as dark.  The bright sunshine and blue sky was still hidden.
PAN’s  eyes went to the wall again where she saw a blackish shadow.  Was it always there?  Was it alive? Was it part of the WALL?
Very hesitantly PAN walked over to the shadow. Realizing the blackish thing was lifeless, she bent to examine it. This was a huge sloppy bag.
Lifting the old bag was impossible. Grabbing the zipper foot, PAN hoped to see a sledgehammer in the bag.
The zipper was long across the whole bag. Slowly pulling the back opening, PAN saw two strange items inside: a very heavy rope and a strange looking hook.

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Pulling her head back in dismay, PAN  holds up her hands asks, “What the heck am I to do with these? Are you kidding? “

PAN’s tone lost the adventure it held at the beginning of her walk. Scared and defensive are her true feelings.
For the first time, since PAN hit her nose, she decides to  seriously examine the Wall. Although large and wide these were two thoughts. Going around is impossible Going over would be difficult, but doable.
Something else was apparent. Others had been here before. Marks were on the wall looking like indentations.  Had someone been here before?
“HMMM. Interesting , “ PAN observed rubbing her chin .
“Oh My GOSH!!!” This is heavy!!! “ Grunted PAN as she first grabbed the rope.  PAN lost her balance not  expecting the weight.

Standing again, PAN calmed herself, grabbed the rope and swung the rope. The rope was many inches thick. The hook was very heavy. The hook moved high and  hit the wall with a horrible thud. Sadly, it  came nowhere near the top.
In desperation, PAN stretched her arms. Trying to remember yoga stretches and calisthenics, PAN did a few to limber her body to better swing the heavy rope and hook.
“I am just a bit out of shape. Just a little warm up. That’s all. I will get it this time. No problem.”
Over and over and over her head the rope went. Away it flew. Thud against the side of the wall the hook collided.
‘ARRGH”
“THIS CANNOT BE SO HARD. Are there gloves in the bag? Maybe I am letting go too soon. Let me check”

Looking into the huge bag, another sigh of disappointment rose.  No gloves.
PAN remembers from past movies and true life stories, the sheer rush of adrenaline in times of desperation will cause fantastic amounts of excess strength beyond normalcy.

“That’s what I need. A sheer rush of adrenaline to put that hook on top. I could not be any more desperate.  I will mentally  give myself a rush flowing to the  rope to fly high enough to make the hook  fasten on top. That’s it. Calm PAN. Think it. It Will Happen”

PAN felt very relaxed as she walked over to the heavy rope and hook. With every muscle in her body she hurls the rope, but to no avail. One tip catches the top, but is not enough to stay the entire  hook. As PAN yanks the rope to test its strength, the total hook comes loose falling to the ground.
As the rope falls to the ground PAN falls to the ground in utter despondency.
“God”, the tone of a child recognizing her complete need, a repentant child longing to sit on her Papa’s lap, “I cannot do this”.
A tender “I know”,is the response. These words are not ones of rejection, shame or anger. “Take the rope again.”
With this tender encouragement, PAN receives strength from the One She Can Trust. Going beyond the doubt in  her own strength, PAN takes the rope one more time. Moving to the place of the three previous failed attempts, PAN expresses in gracious tones to the One Who is in Control, “Please Papa, Be My Strength”.
PAN closes her eyes. The huge rope is swung three or four times. PAN lets the rope fly with the hook aiming to the top of the wall.  Instead of a dull thud, PAN heard a different noise. A loud clink, possibly something caught. Scared to believe this truly happened, but needing to trust, PAN went closer to the Wall. With hopeful wide eyes, PAN examined the rope. It was hanging straight down. PAN grinned.
“God. I am afraid to pull it to see if it will hold my weight. I rejected the times to hear You. I did not want to take the time to listen to your voice. I am sorry. Please forgive me.”

PAN gave the rope a very strong tug. The hook did not come lose. It would hold. PAN felt giddy. She grabbed the rope. Slowly hand over hand; she placed her feet where  others ascended  before. The climb was slow, difficult and challenging.  PAN was not climbing on her own strength.
As PAN scaled the wall, the cloud was slowly vanishing.

IMG_2858  Healthy conversations between God and PAN are now taking place instead of childish accusations and complaints.
Upon reaching the top of the wall, God asked PAN to throw the hook back down the first side.
A slight fear crept into PAN. “How do I get down?  I have to pull the rope up and then put it to the other side to climb down. Do You see how high this Wall is?  I can’t jump.”
God is so patient. He lovingly shakes His head.  Gently He leads PAN to  another grappling hook and rope. God describes this second side set up is for the people who climbed the Wall and are ready for the next step in their journey.
“God, is this the same journey for everyone? I thought I was on a special path with You. “
“My Daughter, I know the exciting journey for you in My Kingdom. You are unique. Your response is truly yours. Many will walk similar paths, but no one will have  your  exact same journey with Me. The Wall was hard. It is part of the adventure.”
PAN was confused as she slowly descended the wall.
As PAN’s feet hit the ground, she broke into tears. “I was terrible. I was a brat. I was childish. I was controlling. I did not trust you.  How can you want me to continue on this Adventure?”
Nodding His head, God was very kindhearted in His response. “Yes, you were my Child. The Wall is a slice of the journey. It is  here  to disclose the negative portions in your heart. Those negative portions will keep you from enjoying the deeper realms of the Adventure in My Kingdom.  You allowed me to expose and release you from those portions.
“My Joy is you saying Yes to Me , PAN. There will be other challenges. I will never leave you. Nor forsake you. Come, Take My Hand. Lets Continue.”IMG_0362

 

God never leaves. In times of desperation and silence, in times of unpredictable challenges, how do you respond?  Even Job in the Old Testament when he felt completely abandoned by God in his peril, Job was not alone.

Take His Hand.