Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Furnace

I was little. I cared about nuclear war, and Satan, and the things that made my basement make noises when everyone else was asleep. I would lay by the wall register and wait for the heat to turn on. I would listen to the little dings and bangs that would happen moments before I would feel relief from the loudness of silence and fall into my own little comfort, as the heat would wrap itself around my face and warm everything under my blanket on the floor. I had a bed and my own room, but there was something about sleeping on the floor next to that heat register in the same room as my mother that I could not resist. My mom didn't mind, I think we were both lonely.

Loneliness is the thing. It's that terrible feeling so deep in your stomach that sometimes you can't even feel it at all. Sometimes you go about your day just as normal as the last, but feel terrible with dread. You shrug it off and do it again the next day. It creeps in and quietly makes you unhappy and discontent.

The absolute worst is when loneliness makes you think about the most precious and beautiful memories you have ever had and yearn to repeat them. You listen to songs that remind you of when you were happy and you get sad and your stomach starts to hurt, like a child's hurt in a department store when they have lost their mother. You ask something like wanting to go back and just watch it happen. You don't want to change it, you just want to feel it again.

The truth is that those times weren't so great. We tend to forget the reasons we wanted to be grown ups then. We forget the things that made us lonely then. Our lives are better now.

We have to try not to live in the past. Find a heater and lay next to it for a while until it turns off. When it turns off, you remember the cold distance between hot and cold. Then you have to wait in anguish. Loneliness leaves you in anguish.

Instead, find the things that make you warm, like your husband, or wife, or kids, or a place you once were happy and go there. Or buy a space heater and run it until it burns down your house. Either way, there is nothing wrong with comfort, just be comforted in the things that last.


Thanks for reading...Z

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Signature of God

So what happens when despite your best intentions and devotion to the promise to never "do that", you find yourself on the outside of your own moral map? 

We plan our lives to reflect what is in our hearts. We make promises to ourselves and stand firm in the cement that keeps us devoted to the person you want to be. 

In the Bible, Peter the apostle rebuked the possibility that he could ever deny his best friend and savior, Jesus. Jesus said he would deny Him three times and like clockwork, he did. Jesus was murdered, then buried, and the apostles scattered and returned to their lives, Peter to fishing. Jesus returns and finds Peter back in the boat he sat in when they met and forgives him. Then He uses Peter to start the church. 

That is what you do. You accept grace and forgiveness and move forward. There are lessons to be learned from everything in the Bible. The biggest lesson I learned from the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is that looking back at sin is foolish and isn't well liked by God. When you are pulled from the fire, you should not strive to go back. So you move forward and forget, after you confess and rely on God to enrich your life with good things. 

It is the guilt that keeps us looking back. Love drives out guilt. This is the beauty of Christ. The very name of Christ means Messiah/Savior. If we are still guilty, why is He called the Savior? We trust in Jesus as our hope for a really great eternity and the lifting of the burden of death from our hearts. 

My goal in life was to be a picture of integrity. I have always desired to be honest and real and open. I try really hard at these things and fail often. Despite the pain failure causes, my conviction is to never look back at my failures. Again, I struggle with this too, but leaving bad things behind does give quite a liberation in your life. 

I'm not going to write a blog about a new age, artsy, feel-good kind of positivity. My desire is that you and I  would focus on the positive because that is exactly what God has given us. This is what God has called us to. We are not to give up. Instead, we can find His signature everywhere, just like an artist that leaves his signature on a painting. God has left His here. He has left His on you.


 Thanks for reading...Z