Category Archives: death

5mf- A single ray of light

It’s easy to forget in the deepest, darkest moments how connected I am. Connected to my immediate family, my church family, all the I have touched, and all the people I will touch. Pain can be overwhelming and convince you that you are alone, that going on with life is hopeless, it might as well end now before more suffering occurs. But if I take a moment to reflect on how severing those connections would hurt those I am connected to, the pain of leaving is great enough to keep me here. Connections are what is keeping me here fighting my way through the muck, the mire, the agony, the hopelessness and despair. Life is so hard all on it’s own. Life is harder when one is forced to deal with pain inflicted by other people who were bigger and stronger. The strongest connection of all keeps a small ray of light shining ever present in the darkness, in the deepest pain, the lowest despair. That connection calls me to take another step, no matter how much it hurts, even if I think my legs are broken, or my muscles torn. A single ray of light offering me hope. “Stay connected”, He says, “don’t give up.”

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For I am free…

Satan is a liar.  He  is the king of lies.  He twists words and ideas into something that I can easily believe that traps me and holds me captive.  Captive.  Like a person chained to a wall.  Lies like “Nobody’s listening, so why bother telling your story.”  Why bother telling  my story?  Lots of people know my story, so why keep hashing up the past?  That’s a good question.  A really good question.  Maybe I am just talking to myself to keep myself going and to keep pushing higher up the mountain.  Maybe it’s because I hope that someone, somewhere will hear my story, and that person will feel hope and will keep moving up higher themselves.

Funny thing about believing in Satan’s lies, they are an illusion, an illusion that keeps me trapped as long as I believe in them.  As we all know, an illusion is something that is not really there, our eyes (or hearts, or minds) are playing tricks on us because we buy into the illusion.  Oh yes, he can hold a mirror up to us and show us the ugliness that exists in our hearts and  minds.  He can push us into believing half-truths because he is a master of illusion.  We can believe that there is no way out of this darkness we have gotten ourselves into.

The truth be told, I hold the key to breaking the chains of the illusions.  That’s right, I have the key.  The key is Jesus.  He is the light that shines in dark places when we think we see something that isn’t there.  Satan would hold us mesmerized in the darkness that is full of illusions that cause fear in our hearts and in our  minds.  He would have us chained to the wall of half-truths.  He would have us be captives for the remainder of our days.  But Jesus, he ripped the veil that kept humanity separated from God when he died on that cross.  He broke through the barrier and defeated death.  He defeated Satan.  That’s right, Satan, the master of illusion and lies, is defeated.

When we grab hold of the light and undo the chains with our wonderful Jesus, we are free.  We are free to go around and share the light with others.  We are free to ignite the flames of passion for the true living God in our own hearts.  We are free to help Jesus beat back the darkness that surrounds people’s hearts.  We are free to become whom we were born to be.

I was born to tell my story so that other’s may see the glory of God in my life.  For I am free.

Day 8 and Day 9 of Just Write!

Yesterday was kind of a fog of recovering from the weekend + Monday, and some kind of little stomach bug.  So I never got around to doing the post.  I actually miss not writing, so this experiment must be working!  So I am going to write yesterday’s and today’s in this post.

One

One day I will see you again

One day I will be forever yours

One day I will look on your face and feel bliss

One day I will no longer be worried, or frustrated, or angry, or sad, or in pain

One day LOVE will wrap me up in warmth, and comfort, and peace

One day earthly concerns will no longer matter

One day my prayers will be answered

One day I will understand it all

One day it will be you and me and everyone else

One day the mysteries of the universe will unfold themselves to me

One day Jesus will be my bride(groom)

One day the Holy Spirit will no longer be invisible to my naked eye

One day EVIL will be vanquished forever and ever

One day (and already know) I will be in eternity where there is no beginning and no end

One day I will receive the crowns that are mine

One day I will touch the center of the universe

One day I will be filled with joy unending

One day the struggle will cease

One day I will have a job in heaven that is perfectly suited to me

One day I will be with you, and you will be with me.

Peace

Peace that passes all understanding seems so far away from me.  I struggle, I fight, I yearn, and I bleed.  Yet, God promises these things to me.  They are mine for the taking, if only I would reach out my hand and take them.  I understand this with my head, but not necessarily with my heart.  Some days it seems that I like the struggle and bleeding more than I like the peace.  Perhaps the fighting gives me a sense of power.  Perhaps bleeding shows I am alive.  I don’t know, but most of the time I would like to be at peace.  With people like me, sometimes being at peace means being dead, because peace eludes us so easily.  However, I have work to do on this earth before I die, so dying must wait a while.  I’ll go when it is  my time, and not before.  Oh Lord, show me how to reach out and grab peace like a climber grabs a rope to get back up the mountain after a scary plunge from the sheer cliff.  Help me not to squander your gift for me.  Help me to surrender to your ways and your peace in this lifetime.  Help me to know when to pick up my sword, and when to lay it down and rest.  Help me to know true peace that passes all understanding. Help me to know this before death takes me to you.

5mf Post- Rest

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Five minute Friday’s are a stream- of- consciousness exercise hosted by The Gypsy Mama every Friday.  In an effort to get myself writing more frequently, I am going to participate as frequently as I can.  I am also participating in a weekly bible study at Beauty for Ashes onWednesdays, and in “Just Write!” campaign also hosted by Beauty for Ashes.  The 5mf exercise is simple, The Gypsy Mama gives us a word prompt and we write for 5 minutes.  There is no editing and no backtracking.  Just write whatever comes into your mind.  So here goes this week’s edition of 5mf:

Rest

I just got up from a  nap.  I was attempting to rest, because I feel so tired.  I just needed a nap.  Instead of actually sleeping, I thought of all the reasons that I don’t have time to sleep, or that keep me awake.  Secrets about my sins, things that stress me out, physical pain, spiritual hunger, needing more God in my life.  It’s easy to look at someone and say, “You need more rest!” without actually understanding what keeps them from resting.  Truly resting is not an experience that involves sleep.  Truly resting involves trusting.  Trusting that everything will be alright.  Trusting that God’s got it covered, that He has my back.  I struggle and struggle to find this place of rest and abandon.  I struggle to just let go, and let things lie where they in my life.  I want to be able to feel the sweetness of utter and complete rest.  Of lack of control.  I mean, if God is big enough, why do I need to worry?  He says he wants my burdens, so why not give them to Him?  Why not let Him fight the good fight on behalf?  The pain, the worry, and the frustration don’t have to be mine.  Here is a prayer hoping to let go and let be.

Thanks for stopping by!

Steph

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Who would attend my funeral? Some thoughts on friendship.

Don’t worry, I am not planning my death or anything crazy like that.

In It’s a Wonderful Life, we spend the first two acts getting to know George Bailey.  He grows up in a small town of no real consequence.  He has loving parents, and a brother, he is friendly, loyal, honorable, part of a local community, and is bent on seeing the world.  But, life takes some twists and turns he did not expect.  Instead of traveling the world, he marries, takes over a business he does not want (his father’s Savings and Loan), has a few kids, builds homes for others, and does his darndest to keep the local baddie at bay.  He has some friends and life is okay.  Until something terrible happens, and he effectively wishes he were dead, or had never been born.  The third act of the movies shows us what life would be like in his small town had he never been born.  Life is ugly without him in Bedford Falls.  A measuring stick was held up to his life when the townsfolk started to show up to help him out of his crisis.  George needed that angel to show him that alternate reality to help George to understand what his life has meant to others.  George definitely made a difference and it showed.

Sometimes I lie awake at night and wonder if I died, who would show up at my funeral?  How would I be eulogized? What would people say to those closest to me in an attempt to comfort them?  I used to have a morbid fascination with this idea because for a time I felt that no one would show up.   I felt lonely and afraid that I would die alone and unnoticed.  I struggled with invisibility (and often still do) and felt disconnected.  I really wanted connections in my life so people would show up at my funeral.  Initially, my motives were selfish.  I wanted people to care about me enough to care about  my death.

God does not like selfishness.  He likes selflessness.

Forging lifelong friendships is a long and difficult process fraught with danger and pain.  There were some relationships that were toxic, some that just ended, and some that kept going.  The friendships that kept going were eventually based on a mutual exchange of time, trust, and energy.  At some point, this process became less about what I could get from others, and became more about what I could give.  A bowl of soup here, a friendly and kind word there, a much needed moment of free childcare, some empathetic tears, a hug, a kiss, a little cash, trusted advice, helped others to know their worth to me.  And I receive these things in return and can feel my worth to those people.  The Holy Spirit gives us energy to maintain relationships with others because He desires an exchange of love between Him, us, and others, above all things.  Relationships matter.  Jesus said that the world would know us by our “love for one another” and that “no love greater is this; that he would lay his life down for his friends”.   Having friends is not really about what you can get from others, it’s about what you can give to others.  It’s about offering yourself, your gifts, your wisdom, your time, and your energy to other’s benefit.  The more you pour out, the more is poured into you.

I have many people that I love dearly outside of my little family.  Let’s cross that out; these people are my family.  I rejoice that these people are my brothers and my sisters.  They really care about me, and I really care about them.

To quote Clarence the angel, “…no man is a failure who has friends.”

Would love to hear your thoughts here….

Hold on, just a little longer.

Thief

by Third Day

I am a thief, I am a murderer,
Walking up this lonely hill.
What have I done? I don’t remember.
No one knows just how I feel;
And I know that my time is coming soon.

It’s been so long, oh, such a long time,
Since I’ve lived with peace and rest.
Now I am here, in my destination,
I guess things work for the best;
And I know that my time is coming soon.

Who is this man? This man beside me,
That they call the King of the Jews.
No, they don’t believe, that He’s the Messiah,
But, somehow I know that it’s true.

They laugh at Him in mockery,
They beat Him till he bleeds,
They nail Him to the rugged cross,
And they raise Him, yeah, they raise Him up next to me.

My time has come, and I’m slowly fading,
But I deserve what I receive.
Jesus, when You are in Your kingdom,
Could You please, please remember me.
Well He looks at me still holding on,
And the tears fall from His eyes,
And He says I tell the truth,
Today, yeah, you will live with Me in paradise, woah yeah.

And I know that my time, yes my time, is coming soon, woah yeah.
And I know that my time, yes my time, is coming soon, woah yeah, yeah
And I know that paradise, paradise is coming soon.

I was listening to this song the other day while I was driving…somewhere (can’t remember).  I have listened to this song a thousand times and sung along with tears in my eyes all choked up (which makes me singing this song not pretty to listen to).  And usually, I reside in the place of the thief when I dwell in this song for the few minutes that it plays.  From the perspective of the this thief, I feel the weight of my sin and understand the price that I must pay.  And at the end of the song, I feel hope in the redemptive power of Jesus’ death there next to him (me) on the cross.

This is all good.

But that other day (the one where I can’t remember where I was going in my car), when the last verse was being sung I had a waking dream.  A brilliant flash of understanding that I had never experienced before.  It was blinding.

And, I felt like I had been delivered a roundhouse kick to the chest.  I couldn’t breathe because of the depth of what I saw and understood in that brief moment.

Jesus/God was gracious enough to hang on that cross long enough for this one last person to be saved while He was still here on earth.

WOW.  And I cried, hard.

He could have chosen to give in to death a bit sooner and end his suffering.  Who would have blamed him?  From what I  have heard, death on a cross is an agonizingly slow death of suffocation.  If it had been me up there I would have prayed for a swift death.  But Jesus/God chose to go just a little bit farther for that one last person He could touch while he still breathed.

His example has taught me a crucial lesson: When others look at me they are supposed to see Christ in me.  When I am open and there Christ can flow through me.  Being human, I am required again and again to die to myself because I am not God and therefore not perfect, but the thief in the song saw a beacon of hope in Jesus as He hung there dying and I need to be a beacon of hope in my relationships so that others may see Him.  I need to hold on just a little longer.

What are the ways that you and I can hold on just a little longer?

Tower of Babel- The destruction process

Genesis 11

The Tower of Babel

1 At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words. 2 As the people migrated to the east, they found a plain in the land of Babylonia and settled there.

3 They began saying to each other, “Let’s make bricks and harden them with fire.” (In this region bricks were used instead of stone, and tar was used for mortar.) 4 Then they said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.”

5 But the Lord came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. 6 “Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! 7Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.”

8 In that way, the Lord scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why the city was called Babel, because that is where the Lord confused the people with different languages. In this way he scattered them all over the world.

I wanted to write some prosy thing about this process, but I just don’t have it in me.  Instead, I am going to share the email I sent to someone who is sort of counseling me at the moment.  Here goes:

Phew.  This has been a tough week.  Still reeling from the smashed tower and wondering what to do next, the day after the last image I sent you (which would have been Wednesday) I sat down again and asked the Lord to revel himself to me.  This is what I got:

Part 1- No other Gods before me.
The scripture is Exodus 20:2-17.  The purple squiggly on top is Sovereign God.  The bottom left hand corner spiral is the Holy Spirit.  As the colors spiral inward the Holy Spirit is infusing himself with me.  I am in the center in the red.  I am not sure if the red represents anger/rage, or my heart, maybe both.  If you notice the majority of the spiral is in blue and moves to purple then to red.  All of the words of the scripture are moving inward from the HS into the center.  I felt that God was making clear that I am putting something before him.  But I really did not want to know what.

Part 2- Ouch! That hurts!
I met with someone I look up to on Thursday because I wanted to express some hurt and anger about some things that had happened.  I had something I was holding onto for the past 5 years that was still hurting me.  I wanted to be able to let go, but God wasn’t letting me let go.  So, I finally (after much goading from a friend) met with this person.  She told me she thought I had an attitude problem, an anger problem, and she I was held back from going forward in leadership because of this.  She said that I can have my opinions, and even feel anger, but she said that I am not very honoring in my approach to expressing my anger.  This, of course, hurt me and my ego.  I also felt frustrated because I only really feel anger is when I feel an injustice has been served to  me.  For a couple of days I felt distraught, anger, frustration, and more anger.  And I really did not want to ask God about this because I was sure I wasn’t going to like what I heard.

Part 3- The dream
Right before I woke up Saturday morning I had a most vivid dream.  Usually there are 3 signs that the dream was from God: 1. It was vivid, 2. It stays with me all day, 3. I can still remember it the next day.  Here is how the dream went: My husband was carrying our child because I could not after a certain part of the pregnancy.  We were in a hotel room that was more like an apartment.  It was time to deliver the baby, but it had to be done by c-section and I was the only one there to do the procedure.  I felt a little panicked, rushed, but confident that I could handle a dangerous procedure on my own.  I was rushing around to get the room ready putting out towels to soak the inevitable flow of blood and for the baby.  I was also changing my clothes into something more appropriate for handling surgery.  As I was removing my stockings, my husband said that he was waiting for someone to arrive.  He had called on another nurse, someone more qualified to handle the surgery.  I was very upset with him and threw a little temper tantrum.  I said, “I can’t believe you called someone else!!”  He said that someone who was qualified for this needed to be there to handle “multiple points of infection”.  I immediately awoke from this dream in a panic.  I knew almost immediately this was from God.

Part 4- The Revelation
Yesterday, I sat down and wrote out some thoughts I was having because I felt like the faith issue that you talked with me about, and the anger issue were related.  The dream was key to making that connection, but I still didn’t know why.  And, I was feeling angry with God.  So I wrote out a few things that I was feeling including the dream.  The first question I posed to myself was “What are the correlations?” between the anger issue and the faith issue.  Then I wrote out the possibilities which are:
  • I feel angry that I cannot just “handle” things myself.
  • God is saying he is “qualified” to handle things, and I am not.
  • I feel angry at injustices
  • Sometimes the lack of blessing feels like an injustice, especially when I feel that I have done what is required of me.
  • I feel angry at God.
  • I feel mistrustful of others.
  • I feel misunderstood.
  • What is the root of this?
  • I have an “I can (and now I think “must” is part of this) take care of myself” attitude.  That doesn’t jive with God.  I feel I have, and continue to be, treated unfairly, and unjustly by others.
  • Am I my own God (in this area)?
Then I wrote: Why do I care about injustice and fairness towards myself?  To the point of expressing anger?  Why do I feel God has treated my unjustly?  I feel I don’t deserve what has happened to me and angry at God for not stopping it.   Which is ridiculous since a deep understanding of pain makes me more sympathetic (and empathetic) toward others pain.  I believe this but find it difficult to accept.  Is this where “be the exclamation point, not the question mark” comes in?

So, yesterday afternoon, I sat down with my sister and we talked about why we want so badly to be heard.  We agreed it was because we weren’t heard as children, or as adults in our younger years.  I am driven to keep making my point until I feel I have been heard, which leads others to believe that I am trying to “get my way”, which is not my usual intention.  Then I began to wonder if, as Christians, we have a “right’ to be heard.  Meaning: Do others really need to hear my thoughts and opinions?  My sister felt that in some situations it was important to be understood.  But, perhaps in most situations it was not so important to be heard by others.  Then she came up with this scripture, “Let no evil talk come out of your mouth, but only what is good for giving necessary teaching, and for grace to those who give ear.” Ephesians 4:29.  Then I found the rest of that chapter “And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:30, 31.

Part 5- The Conclusion
Obviously, I need to rely solely on the Holy Spirit to guide my words when I feel strongly about something, which, somewhere deep inside of me, makes me unhappy.  So I am coming to grips the full meaning of this revelation.  I expect that I will be fully on board with this soon enough.  So here is my conclusions on this matter:
  • It takes faith to trust that God is fully capable of handling whatever comes my way.
  • I need to rely on Him for revelation on how to handle a situation
  • I am not God in my life.  Only He must be.
  • My words must be tempered with love, honoring, cherishing, encouraging, full of grace.
  • Since I am woman of strong opinion and passion, I must go to Him EVERY SINGLE TIME I have a struggle to temper my reactions before I speak or do anything.

So there you have it.  Like I said: Phew!

Walled In

At the beginning of the movie Labyrinth the main character, Sarah, has to rescue her baby brother from the Goblin King lest the baby be turned into a goblin.  In order to rescue her brother she has to successfully navigate a very complicated, confusing, ever-changing maze.  At her first encounter with the maze, both directions seemed to have no end.  As she walked and walked, the maze kept going and going.  She had to yield to the fact that she could not figure the maze out on her own.  In short, she needed help.

Life is like that maze.  Wrong turns, confusing passages, trickery, and dead ends.  Out of all of the things that can happen in life, dead ends are the hardest to do anything about.  When I reach a dead end, there is no where to go.  I suppose I could go backward, but what would that get me?  I can’t go forward because the wall is too high to scale and too thick to get through.  I could just camp out there waiting for the wall to crumble on it’s own.

I’m sorry, but those situations just aren’t what I want.  I want to move forward, but I can’t do that on my own.  I need someone to come along and destroy this wall so I can move on.  During a recent bible study with my life group, we were discussing Colossians 3:1-17.  We were talking about how to deal with sin in our lives, how to live life according to God’s plan.  I got an image of a walled-in maze.  God made it clear that in order to move forward, the wall needed to be destroyed.  And, He was the only on that could do anything about that wall.

Lord, I pray that you would destroy the wall in front of me.  Please, BLOW IT UP!  Amen.

Are you facing a wall right now that you need God to destroy?

Rapunzel

What a chore.  Day after day, I drag this hair around.  Why do I bother?  Hair this long is burdensome and gets in the way.  Constantly having to step over my hair, brushing and binding it up into a manageable bundle, and the constant washing is, well, a chore.  Yet, there is something about this hair that I just can’t let go.  Maybe it’s the way the sunlight glints off of it with hints of gold.  Maybe it’s the way the slightest rustle releases the scent of lilac.  A blessing and curse, my hair is to me.

The other day, I thought I heard a voice.  I thought I heard someone call my name “Rapunzel”.  The voice was soft and alluring.  Perhaps it was just a dream.  My captor came again to visit me here in my tower.  She had put me here a while ago when I stumbled and lost my way in the woods.  My hair was shorter then, just to my waist.  After my captor had put me in the tower, she tried to cut my hair to make it more manageable.  But, it always grew back.  Eventually she just gave up, and it grew and grew.  Now, I struggle day in and day out with this hair.  But, back to the voice.

The voice came calling again today. Confident and strong, “Rapunzel” it said.  This time I felt compelled to take a look outside.  After I had stumbled  my way over to the window, tripping on my hair (yet again) I peeked over the sill to the ground below.  And there he was, a prince.  He looked especially dashing in his emerald blue tunic reflecting gently off of his blonde hair. “Rapunzel”, he said with a smile on his face.  With that smile a memory comes rushing in from the dark corners of  my mind.  Years ago a man, with this same smile, came to me in my days before the tower.  He told me that my strength would be tested in days to come and that I feel alone.  He also told me that I would not be alone, his spirit would be with me.  His spirit would give me strength to get through the dark time, but there was a requirement.  When the dark time came, I needed to let my hair grow no matter how long it got.

And now, here he was at the foot of my captivity with a smile on his face, calling my name.  “Rapunzel” he said, “Let down your hair”.  Now, how in the world was I going to do that?  The hair was everywhere!  “Rapunzel, Rapunzel.  Let down your hair”.  I looked over the side of my tower, hesitating.  And there he stood with a kind smile on his face.  “Rapunzel, sweet Rapunzel.  Let down your hair.”  With a sigh, I begin the onerous task of gathering my hair to throw it over the side, down to the prince.  After a moment, the prince took a solid grip on hair and started to climb.  Hand over hand, step by step, he made his way slowly to the top until he reached my window.

I looked at him for a moment, wondering what this was all about.  “Why are you here?”, I asked the prince.  “To rescue you, of course.”, said he.  His answer caused me some concern since there was no way out of here.  No locked door that could be broken, or stairs that came after to lead the way out.  How would he accomplish such a task?  From somewhere in his cloak the prince produced a sharp blade.  With a slight twinkle in his eyes, he reached around to the nape of my neck and sliced my hair clean from my head.  Needless to say, I was more than a little shocked and bewildered.  So many questions ran through my head.  He had asked me to grow my hair so long ago, and now he cuts it off?  And how is this going to help me get out of this place?

The prince set about braiding the hair into a rope.  He then tied it around a study pole and threw the hair-rope over the side.  He proceeded to climb down.  Dumbfounded, I couldn’t move.  It was that easy.  Throw the hair over the side like a rope, and climb down.  Then I would be free from my captivity.  “Rapunzel”, said the prince, “Don’t just stand there.  Climb down with me.”  Happy to comply, I ran over and grabbed a hold of that hair that I had hated so much, blessing it as I climbed down.

This little fable I have spun off of the real story of Rapunzel, bring into focus the need for obedience, even when we don’t understand.  At the beginning of my walk with the Lord, He asked me to grow my hair long.  I really didn’t understand the need for this.  Over time the Lord revealed to me that the length of my hair would serve as a symbol to me of my need for obedience, much like Samson.  Surely, there have been times when I wished to be free of this burden and wanted to rebel.  Perversely, this caused me to want to cut off all of my hair.  Thankfully I have not.  Obedience is difficult in the face other people’s opinions, circumstances, our own pain and lack of understanding.  Yet, obedience to God’s plan brings life, fruit, and rescue in our dark times.  The bible is full of scriptures about obedience such as:

Genesis 22:18
and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.

Deuteronomy 5:33
Walk in obedience to all that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.

1 Kings 2:3
and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go.

1 Peter 1:22
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.

2 John 1:6
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

Has there ever been a time when  you were called to obedience, even when you didn’t understand why?

Down in the valley so low. Up on the mountain so high. And tighten up that brain, why don’chya’?

Moments of clarity can be blindingly brilliant.  Bringing light into the dark places, reveals the what’s been hiding in the dark.  Which makes these moments of clarity something to fear.  When there is no light, no one can see the mayhem that the darkness brings.  Who wants to see the mess they have made of themselves, right?

I feel so low right now.  All I know right now is feelings of defeat, despair, self-loathing, and anger at my stupidity.  And, I really have no idea why.

Paradoxically, I feel like Noah’s dove bringing back the olive branch that I found on tree that is high up on a mountain top, free of the floodwaters.  Free to go off and do what I was meant to do in the places I am meant to do them.

Such a strange place to be, both high and low altogether.

As I was sitting and pondering all of this my brain was listening to the movie playing in the living room, Spy Kids.  This is not a deep or profound movie.  But the moment that I tuned into the dialogue the father spy, Gregorio, was explaining some research he had been involved in to his wife spy in a flashback.  The research was for developing artificial intelligence and was called the Third Brain.  While the various researchers are busily working on their versions of the “Third Brain”, the spy in charge of the project walks by one of the researchers, pats him on the back and says something like, “Why don’t you tighten up that brain.”

Hearing this gave me pause.  It’s as if God is challenging me to “tighten up” my brain.  God, in His grace and wisdom, teaches us in our infancy how to live our lives according to His rules.  The bible says that He doesn’t give us more than we can handle.  I take that to mean that God expects me to be able to stand on my own two feet and walk out this salvation of mine.  Especially since His strength is flowing through my veins.  Which means that I have the power to speak His light into the dark places in my soul.  When I get to the realization that I need to tighten up my brain I usually go here:

Psalm 42

As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?

My tears have been my food
day and night, while people say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”

These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise
among the festive throng.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.

Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.

By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God my Rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”

My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

Which generally leads me to repentance of my attitude.

Repentance is a funny thing.  Imagine that you are standing in the darkest of caves.  The master of the  light has given you a torch and a match, of which you light.  And there you are, crouching amongst the bones and debris of your sin, filthy and in tattered rags, hair matted against your head.  You are both crouching in fear of the light, and the light-bearer.  You need to coax yourself out of the corner and gently reveal the need to say to the source of the light, “I am sorry I fled from your light.  I don’t want this cave of darkness anymore.”  Repentance seems so simple, but it is so hard to do.  Yet, the reward is worth the price.  As soon as you turn to the light-giver, He breathes life into the dark place and blows away the filth and yuck from every corner and every crevice so that the cave has no remnant of the sin it bore.  And you look as if you have been undergoing the year-long beauty treatments that Esther underwent so she would look her best when she met the king.

Lord, please forgive my unbelieving attitude.

It is now time to tighten up my brain and say to myself “Why are you downcast, oh  my soul?  Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”  Amen.

Do you have anything to repent of today?