We Need a Hero…

As I think about my life, I’m ever grateful for the hero in the story. When I was young, I watched The Adventures of Letterman on television. He was a cartoon, but he saved the day nonetheless!

Faster than a rolling ‘O’
Stronger than silent ‘E’
Able to leap capital ‘T’ in a single bound!
It’s a word, it’s a plan…it’s Letterman! (The Adventures of Letterman, The Electric Company. PBS. 1971-1977.)

A damsel in distress needs a hero, doesn’t she! How many times does the hero swoop in at just the right time to save the girl trapped in the villain’s dastardly plan? Thankfully, every time. And what kind of terrible villain was at work in my life? The worst enemy imaginable: the one who wants to see me destroyed— body, mind, and soul—forever. For-ev-er.

Once upon a time, I was a petite young lady looking to wake up and conquer each new day in some fresh way. Home life. School life. Social life. Life was all about me, and I had the ability to meet the challenges in creative ways. But the skills I used were entirely mine. There was no need to look for the hero in the story then. Oh, I did that when I was younger, but the hero never came. I was able to meet my own challenges and succeed well enough. Good enough. Smart enough. And—bonus!—a decent number of people liked me.

Isn’t that how most people handle the world? Is there any other way?

Maybe there is, but back then, I didn’t know any other way.

Speeding down the highway in a ’71 Pontiac Catalina in 1990, music blaring. Later speeding down the highway in an ’96 Chevette, music blaring. Queen of the road—my own road.

Something was happening, though, behind the curtain in the realm I couldn’t see.

All the pain. All the hurts. Some I chose, and some others recklessly dumped on me. I had to take it all somewhere. Without resolution, the wounds festered, cancerous to my soul. Where could a girl take the pain of life and know there could be healing? Tumbling through the villain’s cycle for my life, I stuffed the emotion until implosion or explosion. Then I started again. No release. I wreaked havoc on my own life, but targeted others as often as I could to lessen the pain.

But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;  Isaiah 43:1-3a

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

My pain was real, and I acted out of that pain for years. But the God of the universe was willing to rescue me when I was still an angry, spiteful, pain-driven woman for so many years. Knowing I would hate Him (and any other male figure in society)…

He took the beating, the long walk to the hill carrying that crossbeam, and the nails in his hands and feet. The wood slivers shredded his skin as he rose to draw each breath and sunk to rest between. The spear pierced his side.

He didn’t have to endure that. Jesus was perfectly innocent and powerful enough to make things happen differently, if he wanted. He could have chosen to remain at a distance. He could have left me (and all of us) to the consequences and justice deserved. But love motivated every step to the cross. And love held him there.

We have no right to be even acknowledged, let alone in the presence of Holy God, in our sin-ravaged state.

But God…

Rescued.

Redeemed.

In relationship.

Thanks for reading along.

~j

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Hidden Gems in Unlikely Places

If we sat down for coffee and got to know one another, you’d learn something about me very quickly. I love a bargain when I can get one. Much to my husband’s chagrin, this leads to rifling through the racks, stacks, and shelves at my favorite spot: the thrift store. (Somebody tell me I’m not alone!)

And if we shopped together, at some point you’d see me moving at a snail’s pace by the book shelves. Treasures are just waiting to be found on those shelves, I’m convinced. I’ve found wonderful reads for a buck or two, and since writers read, I’ve got a good excuse to peruse the shelves very carefully.

As it happened, my last trip ended as most do—with a book shelf “crawl”—and a book caught my attention. The title was interesting, but then a cute little card boasting an adorable kitten and puppy photo op fell from the inside and drifted to the floor. Filling the inside and spilling to the back was a personal note from one woman to another. And yes, you guessed it. I chose to eavesdrop on the half of the conversation that had been passed along. (You would have done it, too, right?)

I immediately knew I wanted to take the book and the card home with me. I purchased a book I will definitely read, but I really purchased the beautiful, cursive encouragement that overflowed the card. It was perfect for me to read, and I was a little thankful the woman who first received it lost track of it. Then I thought, “Maybe this is something I could share…” 

We are stepping into an example of correspondence the way it used to be. So, from my anonymous friend to you all—puppy20kitten20card_zpsyws0ztte

Dear [friend]:

I am praying God will show you how to have victory in your present family conflicts + show you how to be an overcomer, even if no one else changes.

Remember [in] Eph 6:12, that these are spiritual battles + they will not be mastered by fleshly means. Also your victory or progress in the Lord is not dependent on what others do.

In Matt 6:33 we are told to seek first the Kingdom of God + its righteousness + all the rest we need will be given.

We know we cannot force people to fulfill our ideas of right + wrong. We can only hope to influence them by our Godly example + let God do the rest. I found the scripture I was mentioning to you the other day—I think it is God’s way for us to have influence, in your particular case Godly. I read it in the amplified Bible + it reads as follows

1 Pet 3:1
“In like manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands, subordinate yourselves as being secondary to + dependent on them, + adapt yourselves to them so that even if any do not obey the word, they may be won over, not by discussion but by godly lives of their wives.”

But of course all people have free will so we are not sure of any outcome but I think God’s advice for any problem will be the best chance for a victory.

I pray for you + your family always for Godly wisdom to know how best to deal with all situations we find our self in. But take heart in what God will do for you as you keep working on the person he wants you to be no matter what others around you are doing
(over)

Because in the end God knows the only person we can control is ourself + that is the one we will be accountable for some day. In the meantime have faith that God will do his work in others lives also—doing all He can to bring them to a sanctified end.

Love,
R

So here we all sit, eavesdropping on the conversation between two women, and I want to imagine what their friendship looks like in real life. Do they sit at a kitchen table with tea or coffee? Maybe they stand in the lobby chatting just a little longer than the rest of the busy people shuffling in and out on a Sunday. Are they joined in heart and separated by generations?

We’ll never know, but I love the idea of imagining these two women doing life together. The good, the bad, and the ugly are all part of the package. Sitting patiently with one another during tough times is the real deal. Tears and a box of kleenex seems to be woven into this season of friendship between these two women. Providing encouragement and tangible resources is, too. One lends hope to the other with her words. I love that!

I said we needed to find our tribe in a previous post, and we sure do. But we need to find our real friends, too, whether they are part of our “creative clique” or not. More importantly, I wonder if it’s not crucial for us to find someone near us and pass the tissues to her when she needs them….

What do you think about this little half-conversation we’ve overheard in this card? I’m curious to hear what you think.

Thanks for reading!

~j