A Love that Will Never Let Me Go

She sat at the table, a friend on either side of her. Three or four years old, she loved to color and she loved to hear about Jesus.

The Sunday school teacher read about Jesus at the front of the class. "One day, parents brought their children to Jesus so he might bless them, but the disciples tried to stop them and shoo them away." 

Oh, no! What did Jesus do? She pushed her chair away from the table so she could face the teacher. Captivated, she hung on every word.

"When Jesus saw this, he was indignant and told the disciples to let the children come to him for the kingdom of heaven was made up of such as these."

Her little heart expanded to near bursting and suddenly Jesus was in the room. He appeared kind of ghost like, hovering in the room, yet he didn't frighten her. His arms were open wide and he pinned her with his loving gaze. 

She turned to the other children at the table wondering if they could see him, too. Their heads remained bowed over their coloring pages totally oblivious, so she gave an inward shrug and turned back. All the while the teacher kept telling the story of Jesus and the children as if she, too, were completely unaware of his presence in the room. Jesus looked at her with arms open wide as the teacher said, "He took the little children in his arms and blessed them."

Awe and blessing, peace and joy flowed through her as Jesus bid her come to him. He loved her. Jesus loved her. Jesus wanted her. He took her in his arms and blessed her. It wasn't a physical hug. No. It was a spiritual sort of hug full of love... a blessing she felt in the depths of her heart and soul.

She smiled at Jesus and, with one last look, turned back to her paper and resumed coloring. Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so... oh yes he does... with a love that will never let me go...

It's Okay to be Happy

He's about two feet
from the ground. ;-)
It's amazing how the guilt thing happens. There's survivors guilt.  There's "I'm sick and can't take care of my family" guilt. There's "I should have done something to stop that jerk from hurting my loved one" guilt. There's, guilt over eating a cheeseburger when you didn't have time to fix something healthier. There's guilt over wealth or lack thereof - especially in this economy. There's guilt for being angry with a loved one who died. There's guilt over being depressed or not being able to overcome PTSD. There's guilt over celebrating your birthday or anniversary on 9/11.

There is all kinds of guilt we bear and there are times when we should feel guilty. But. We need listen to God, his Word, and let him show us when its true guilt and we need to repent, or when its false guilt and we need to step out of the box. Sin makes this a difficult thing to deal with, doesn't it? 

I found myself laughing and smiling and just generally enjoying myself at church last night. The fellowship and teaching was so encouraging. What would I do without my church? They're a gift from God! 

It's been such a tough year. A tough several years, actually, and I have to admit guilt nipped at me (not for the first time) for feeling happy. The realization of this jolted me and God took that moment to whisper to my heart.

"It's okay to be happy."

I wanted to cry tears of joy, but I smiled instead. Yes. It really is okay to be happy. In fact, God delights in my smiles and laughter. So I wouldn't forget, I wrote it down - It's okay to be happy.

Have you ever felt guilty for feeling a certain way? For doing or not doing something you see in hindsight that you could have or should have done? 

What kind of guilt box have you locked yourself in? 

*Warning: This isn't to confuse happiness and sadness with depression. Depression is a separate creature. You can be depressed and still experience feelings of sadness and happiness apart from the depression. Maybe this doesn't make sense to you. Unless you've experienced depression or unless you have an understanding of what it is, you probably won't get it. But trust me. There's a difference.

Water into Wine? What's the big deal?

Here’s the formula for turning water into wine:
(John 2:1-11)

Jesus + wedding – wine + helpful mother + purification jugs + obedient servants + water + miracle = wine.

Jesus went to a wedding celebration with his mother and brothers.

They ran out of wine.

Jesus’ mother told him the groom ran out of wine for his guests.

Jesus said his time had not yet come.

Rather than respond to Jesus, Mary told the servants to obey whatever he told them to do.

Jesus instructed them to fill the water-for-purification jugs which were supposed to be used only for the ceremonial purification process.

The servants obeyed Jesus without question.

When they filled the wine glasses with the water from these jugs, the very best wine poured out.

What does this tell you? There’s some pretty amazing symbolism going on here, don’t you think?

Jesus is The Bridegroom who poured out his blood to purify those who are his. Since he is our Savior, we are to obey him rather than men or customs or any legalistic man-made rules - just as these servants did. We drink wine or grape juice (the fruit of the vine) in remembrance of him and his sacrifice for us. Someday, Jesus will return for his Bride - the Church, and we will be wed to him.

What a beautiful story of redemption in this first miracle of Jesus!

Bonus question:
Was Jesus 100% man and 100% sinless? 

Too Serious...

Is there such a thing? 

There's this wonderful community I belong to. It's my writing community. I love them all dearly! 

There's my non-fiction writers who always have good stuff to say, but being fiction writer for the most part, I don't always feel like I quite fit in. 

Then, there's my fiction writers. Many are romance writers and many are SciFi, Fantasy, Suspense, Speculative... You know. All the wonderfully weird stuff. 

My Romance friends are always light-hearted and funny. My other fiction friends are, well, they're into stuff I don't even know what a lot of it is. So, once again, I feel like I don't quite fit in. 

Why? Because I'm SO, SO serious!

I enjoy funny. I enjoy light-hearted. I enjoy the wonderfully weird. Sometimes. As long as they make me laugh or stretch my imagination. 

I, however, am a fiction writer who writes serious stuff. I can be funny. Sometimes. I can be ... weird. A little. 

The point is, I often ask myself if maybe I'm too serious. Am I? Riding the waves of life is often suspenseful. Scary. Serious. But, then, it can be fun. Blessed. Happy. God gave us laughter and I do enjoy laughing. 

I enjoy fun and imaginative things. God created us this way after his own image. Yet, he also told us to be sober-minded. So, does that make my seriousness okay?

I think. Maybe.

I still find myself fighting the urge to be free in my creativity. I do. I envy my friends whose imaginations are so vibrant they make you smile and laugh and gulp at every turn. I am working to free mine. It's hard. I always wanted to avoid any appearance of being weird...


So I hid my imagination from the world. 
I stifled it rather than nurtured it. I forced myself to eat brown pellets when I should have been eating blue. 

It's a struggle to step out of my prison cave and into the vibrant jungle, but I'm trying. 
A captive writer is not a pretty sight and my self-imprisonment needs to come to and end. It's time for this blue monkey to swing. Seriously. Just the way God made me.

P.S. Be forewarned. 
If  something I write ever shocks you... 
Well, just know it IS me. 
This little Ragged Blue is breaking free!