All her colors run together on the floor

beautiful calm clouds dark

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

All her colors run together on the floor…

she has been here so many times before

She is sure this time they will stone her

Condemnation beats in her heart and her soul is torn…

 

His gentle words were more than she had hoped for…

He bent down in the dirt and wrote a word

He spoke gently lifting her face to see Heaven

“No one here can condemn you anymore…”

 

All the colors of New life swirled around her at once

Blood red drops in the dirt became white as snow

the blue of the sky filled with angels singing “gloria! ”

He said, ” your sins are forgiven now you are whole… “

In a culture that worships a false normal of beauty and worth…

photo of night sky with stars

Photo by Bryan Schneider

“Some of the greatest lies you will ever believe are told by your own eyes.”  Says the  writer Preston Sprinkle

We have been talking about this issue in American culture for the last twenty-five years and I don’t see much change in the message. Even in the age of reality TV shows like “the Voice” while the auditions are blind so that a judge cannot pick the contestant on any merit other than their voice we find that if they make it past the blind auditions they are quickly given a Hollywood stylist and their clothes, make-up, and hair are tweaked here and there and by the time the contest is over for that season the person is “acceptably attractive.” Even as far back as Carrie Underwood winning American Idol or Kelly Clarkson…if you go back and look at them you can see they were “made” more acceptable.

With God, your image, yours and mine, we are acceptable just as we are but I cannot for the life of me understand why we cannot get past these stereotypes of how one should look, and dress, and even age…

As a believer in God, Jesus Christ and the Bible I have no problem believing that God is omnipotent, omnipresent, all-knowing, all-seeing, creator of ninety trillion million stars, the ocean, the tide, the sun, the earth…(You get the picture). Nobody tells God what he can or cannot do.

I have a harder time believing that this same transcendent Holy God would reach down to his earth and rescue his human race which makes him also an intimate God. A God who desires relationship with the people he created, with me and you. He isn’t playing a game of cosmic chess with us. He doesn’t love us begrudgingly yet most of us have a difficult time believing that same huge God who we believe created us and everything around us truly cares about us. That he delights in us. That he thinks of us more often than there are grains of sand? That he can’t wait for me to come talk and walk with him? That I am more beautiful than any sunset or sunrise could ever be? That he wants to be my friend and even more astonishing that He trusts me? That he never gives up on me just like the father in the story of the prodigal son He never stops looking out to the horizon to see if I am coming home after making a mess of everything in my life! He loves to hear my joy of laughter or singing. He is patient and kind and slow to anger. He loves my face and my body. He loves me!

It is an endless dance of performances and masks that I grow so very weary of. Are you weary? I cannot sustain what I think that you think I need to look like to be acceptable. This is the burden of societal shame. 

So, I must not let my own eyes deceive me in commercial ads, in billboard ads, in Playboy, in movies, in T.V.

I work with young women. Eating disorders, body image, and anxiety is at an all time high in this country. It is a fact. They believe they must be thin, quiet, and good all the time. They believe they are ugly and not made by God and in His image at all. What a toll it has taken on our people.

God sees his children as beautiful. He sees each race as beautiful. His redemption of his children cannot be thwarted by any scheme of Evil or of man. So, I choose to look at myself through the eyes of my Father God who created me. I choose to look into his eyes and see myself as his beloved daughter. A daughter of beauty in every way and that He came down from heaven and redeemed me with his Grace and lets me walk with him daily and talk with him freely and never feel that I am ugly or unworthy of his love and blessings.

My spirituality, my beauty, my worth is upheld by God’s stubborn Grace and deep enjoyment of me.  It is  God whom I reflect and even if my eyes lie to me a thousand times it does not change the Truth one bit. I am precious, beloved, and I do belong to Him. I am beautiful…

I want my daughters and their sons and daughters to know they are more than even their own eyes tell them they are.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity into our human hearts; no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Ecclesiastes  3:11

She had forgotten the taste of new wine and sweet olive oil…

green flower bouquet on white background

Photo by Alena Koval

I saw her standing in the Valley of Decision and I reached for her hand gently.
I said, “I don’t know where you are coming from but I do know what you are running from.”
She said she had forgotten her loveliness and her might. She has forgotten the taste of new wine and sweet olive oil. Her trees would bear no more fruit. All of her gifts and talents had drained away. The “invented” normal had left her heart and soul gravely bruised…
I have seen it many times in sixty-three years. The exigencies the “inventor of lies” has put upon us. The accuser, the impostor of beauty and wisdom says, “We girls have to be skinny, smart, beautiful, witty, sexy, as well as Mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, healer, cook, house keeper, and oh yes, we can never age, wrinkle, or grow soft muscles or gray hair…
Oh what a relief is found when we know these falsehoods cannot raze our joy! The Spring rain will wash you clean of shame and doubt and you will regain all you have lost! Young woman, daughter, widow, single Mother, or any Mother, any woman…Come to the Valley of Decision and lay down all the plates you are spinning. Hold with palms open upward any control you deem you have and you will realize that you are so far beyond what you believed. Choose Wisdom instead of control. Choose Wisdom which says, “You are the Pearl of Great Price!”
Stay in this Valley and decide to seek Wisdom… be healed, be whole, and dance before the Lord God without fear and then reach out your hand for the next woman you see and give her the Wisdom you have gained…it is a decision, it is truth or it is lies and you must choose…thousands upon thousands of women are waiting for your hand…

A bruised reed he will not break, and a fading candle he won’t snuff out. He’ll bring forth justice for the truth. Isaiah 42:3
Also, inspiration from Joel 3:14

“Grace is the most dangerous, expectation-wrecking, smile-creating counter-intuitive reality there is.”

You know it really shouldn’t astound me but it still does. After all of these years I am given new glimpses and I am glad to say a more accurate view of God’s grace everyday…
It is so easy to use the word Grace in the Christian world. I realize now that if the true meaning of Grace was unleashed in the church or more to the point in MY life…well there is just no words…
So here is the thing…This writer, Preston Sprinkle writes this, “Grace is the most dangerous, expectation-wrecking, smile-creating counter-intuitive reality there is.” That sentence grabbed at my gut. He went on to say the Grace of God ” has no leash.”

God’s grace is untamed. It is wild and free!
“Divine Grace is God’s relentless loving pursuit of His enemies, who are unthankful, unworthy, and unlovable.” 
Grace is a gift for the person in the gutter, the outcast, the unattractive, and yes even a church full of self-righteous misguided believers (praise God he love self-righteous people too!!!) “
“Jesus gutted the religious leaders of his day by showing Grace to whores, lepers, and the dregs of society yet he extended that same Grace to the Pharisees who sought him out!” Isn’t this rich? I can’t make God love me. I do not have to perform because “God loves me because of WHO he is and because of WHAT Christ has DONE!!!
Oh how the Truth can set you free from all of your pious judging of others, at least it does for me. I am glad his mercies are new every morning. Jesus loves sinners…even the very tidy looking ones.

She Offers Perfect Praise… “unless you come as a child you will not know the kingdom of heaven…”

A child is not aware of her dependence on another. She simply trust that it will be done and gives her praise to God in unsolicited ways. Like the sunflower she moves through her day always facing the sun.

She praises God with belly laughs and silly songs never doubting that he will not be delighted with her. She praises by folding her little hands to pray. She praises by dancing for all the world to see. She praises by clapping for herself when she accomplishes a task. She praises with her tears when she is hurt and loving arms reach for her. She praises when she jumps into her daddy’s arms trusting that he will always catch her. She praises when she hangs on to her Mommy’s hand when she is unsure of what is occurring.

She is unencumbered of what things cost or ashamed of anything because she Trusts The Holy One who has shown himself to her in the rainbow and in the leaves and in the pretty rocks she picks up all along her walks with her Mama.

And all of the heavenly host rejoice with her!

The Fruit of The Lie…

clearing desolation destruction fallen tree
Photo by Picography

Everything living bears fruit. It is ordained to be so but the fruit of the lie…well, it is the way of destruction. You will read on Christian folk’s plaques, little framed sayings, and coffee cups what is known as  “the Fruit of the Spirit.” The fruits of spirituality in Christ Jesus are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Most of us who have attended church most of our lives or had a Biblical upbringing can quote these words verbatim.

The fruit of the lie however, is not talked about as much but it’s evidence is rife within humanity. I have seen with my own eyes in the last twenty years… more fruit of the lie than I ever dreamed possible. It is as if the conscience of society only concerns itself with what he/she presumes to be morally acceptable. Not whether a thing is True.

Society now says, “Everyone has their own truth.” THIS is the Lie. There can only be one Truth and Truth stands alone.

If you believe the Bible, in the very beginning the human problem starts with a lie and  disobedience which was instantaneously followed by Shame. The Truth is distorted just enough to sound like truth but it isn’t. This specific spiritual distortion lures you into a temporary comfort that may “imitate peace” for a short time but just like snow that appears to be a warm fluffy cloud  when you press yourself into its deceiving embrace so gently it snuggled you tightly until your cold heart stops beating and you are dead inside.

Lest you think I am exaggerating let’s look at some of the fruit of the lie…

  • Saying we “know” God but never being grateful to Him or honoring him rather we honor our own works of our hands, our deeds, our magnanimous “reaching out” to the less fortunate or having wealth of our own for which we give ourselves all the credit. We say “to the works of our hands, you are our gods.” Actually denying his existence and Holiness we belittle His name.
  • Denying who created us and that we are our own “adapted” gods. We instead call it  Adaptive Evolution. Once again Denying the total completion  of God Almighty.
  • We build mighty armies wishing they can keep peace in a world where there is no peace and all the while we here “let’s all just sit down and talk and get along. Those radicals are our only problem.” We never pray or fast or seek God’s direction anymore! Now that is some deadly fruit!
  • Denying that it is God who gives life and healing yet we boast about our choices and our technology as if knowledge alone without ethics is okay. Yet death still comes and we must face that.
  • Saying that “we” feed ourselves when the Truth is that Americans can barely make one day without electricity and refrigeration and we are “out” of heat, food, and gasoline. Instead we are lulled into a false sense of prosperity and believe we can “fix” it all.

I am not saying that working hard and having possessions are a LIE but they truly are a bad thing when we begin to believe the LIE that we “did it all ourselves, look how great we are…look at the technology we have discovered, look at our genius…” when all along it is God who gives all “good” gifts and never “humbling” ourselves rather we are proud, arrogant, and haughty.

There is no Truth, nor Love, nor Good apart from God. That is the Truth. The Fruit of the Truth is love, joy, peace patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

Nine Months B.C.

They think they know me…I walk among them and they turn their eyes away. Most of them want to see me stoned to death but Joseph has stepped up to save me. Even my father and mother doubt me. Some say I am a lunatic or have devils in me.
I am ten and four years. I am a daughter of Abraham, a Hebrew girl. I was born, have lived and will die in this patriarchal world. I am to make a good wife and mother. I want to do that with all of my heart.
I have known trembling fear these last few months and yet I have had an unworldly peace in my soul. I really cannot explain it but my Faith in the integrity of my God is so very real to me. I know that God is good. I know that He loves people. I know he created all things and he loves and does not lie. I know that he is just and gives life…this has sustained me. I cry out to Him most nights when all are asleep and I am alone. I cry to him that I don’t understand this miracle that has taken place and that I am so frightened at times that my legs buckle underneath the weight of it. Then I hear His voice and there is peace…I cannot explain it. What lies ahead only God knows…

Year 33 A.D.

This last year has been both glorious and a torment. He had to go. I had known some of what He was to do but did not really comprehend the complete and utter sorrow of it. I was not prepared for the crucifixion. How can anyone be prepare for that? My son, God’s son – so loved yet hated, so gentle yet a stumbling block, murdered they say but I know He gave his own life by his own volition. I was there. A part of me died that day as well. I begged Him to call down the heaven’s army, to save himself…oh yes I did that. Do you think me less holy now? I wanted him to use his God-ness and kill them all! Of course, part of me understood on some level what He was here to do. I had a lifetime to learn of it but when it came to the reality of it I was his Mother and he was my son…A son who stepped down from being God to become my child…of course people think it is all insanity and I can understand that they would but if they met him, if they listened to him and saw his compassion they would be changed by him. That day at the Cross there was SO MUCH blood as if it flowed for all the people of all the world. I realize now that is exactly what was happening! 
So much pain and loss but he kept his word and rose from the grave on the third day as he said he would…Oh my heart was so full when I saw him. I knew then I could go on and when he ascended I knew I would see him again when I die.
He has saved the nations, even Gentiles! Can you imagine?

Now, people try to exalt me and some try to worship me. I run from them. They think they know me but they do not. I will have no worship of me. Jesus is my Savior and my King and He alone is to be worshiped. This I know beyond a doubt…
I must live on until my time comes to go to the temporary grave. I must live with the thought that they may still come for me and imprison me or kill me but it will not stop the message of Jesus…
In so many ways I still am that young child who became the mother of God in the flesh. I pray that no one ever thinks of me as Holy outside of the blood of that same Jesus that makes them Holy…I am full of failures and achievements like everyone else. I have had great joy and have been broken and insane with sorrow…and I am still simply a woman who has Faith in the Integrity of my God!

“Let it me done unto me as you have said…my soul still magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…”

Hard paths, strong shoes…

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She was pulled into the boxcar with a burning jerk to her arms with dogs barking from behind. She could not think a straight thought in her head so she must be losing her mind.

Just a day ago she was laughing  and dancing and playing in the sun. The evening brought screaming and raping now her parents are gone.

Suddenly jostled from a dream where she was safe and warm. The dead dark of night brought more cries of agony raining down like a storm.

Now she is ordered to walk into the woods and not speak to anyone. She focuses her eyes on her old sturdy shoes the tops of them all covered in blood and urine.

She can hear her Father’s voice so gentle and kind.  Reminding her not to fear the hard path for God is on her side.

“He will not ever leave you nor forsake you nor will he disregard your state.  He provides you with strong shoes to walk the hard path.”