Life is a Puzzle

By Katy Curry©

 

Life is a puzzle.  Have you ever felt that way?  You think you are doing things right, then you get comfortable, maybe a little too comfortable.  Before you know it, things are not doing so well!

Take this week, for instance.  I knew we would have just enough money to pay the monthly bills, pick up some Christmas presents (what you get for a thirty-six-year-old son who pretty much gets what he wants is a challenge) and plan a crown rib roast for Christmas Dinner.  All was somewhat good in Curry-Land.

Sunday night the phone sounded off with its normally merry tune, but this time it sounded something ominous, I didn’t want to answer it.  It was son number two.  Lord, give me strength.

“Alloooo,  Moooom.”  Ok who was talking?

“Frank?  Is that you?”  I responded hoping it was a friend with a mouth problem.

“Yeah,  I’mmmmm  shorrry di no get ovvver.”  These sounds only a mother could decipher, I could hear the background music of that TV show The Twilight Zone.

“What on earth is wrong with you?”  I was still in hopes that this new venture into a time of mystery and the unknown would end without too much pain or expense.

“I ha a toof ache, really urts.  Can cloth my mouth.  Gum ith all swollen aroun it.”

Ok, it was time for Rod Serling’s voice over to begin and the climactic music to begin playing.

(Don’t get me wrong, I love my son dearly, but God Bless Him, he has never put money aside unless he wanted to buy a “toy” for one of his hobbies.  He definitely doesn’t have a dentist.)

“Frank, you have got to go to the dentist.  I will make some phone calls.

My dentist called and with my sadly lacking explanation, he decided Frank should come in immediately.  Frank got there before I did and it was worse than the doctor had feared.  There was no time to set him up with an oral surgeon to do it through anesthesia.

The cost of removing the top and bottom molars, the jaw bone they had fused to, replacing the removed jaw bone with cadaver bone, insert drains, cutting away diseased gum tissue was around four thousand dollars.  In my mind, I saw Christmas trees sprout wings and fly off ‘til they were but dots in the distance.  No music this time, just flying Christmas trees leaving the area in droves. No wonder those Christmas trees had flown away so fast.  The standing rib roast shrank and shrank until it disappeared with the best animator’s “POP!)

Doctor Aswan and I talked; he showed more compassion than any man I know.  I shared the tremendous challenges this year had already presented, he then excused himself and went back in his office; shortly, the girl who did the billing called me over while doctor went to work on another patient.

She explained he had brought the bill down to just over thirteen hundred dollars.  I swallowed hard and said, “Go ahead, do what he needs.”

Frank could speak better;  asked me to sit with him.  It was obvious he understood this was a serious situation and that scary things were going to be done to him.  He was not just a little scared.  It if had been me, I would have been shaking in my boots and crying just a little.

The procedure began and just the application of the numbing agent prior to the Novocain was painful to him.  When Dr. Aswan arrived, I took that as a signal to leave.  Much as I love my son, I could not bear to watch what was about to happen.

For the next two and a half hours, I heard him moaning and gurgling in abject agony.  The Novocain was not as effective as all had hoped.  Slowly the teeth came out, in pieces, and with them the fused jaw bone.  Then came the replacement bone, the sewing, the cutting away of dead gum tissue and all that goes into such an operation.  It was done not once but twice!  The same procedure was mirrored on the upper jaw.

Christmas would be a bit more humble this year, but the first Christmas was very, very humble

My “Twilight Zone” experience was perhaps a lesson that was an answer to the puzzle of life.  Don’t forget who is really running things and in all things act in humility and obedience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pain of Loss

©Katy Curry

There are different kinds of pain; physical like when you stub your toe,  mental such as when you see something horrific and are helpless to do anything about it, psychological such as facing the loss of some one you love.

The pain of knowing you will soon loose a loved one becomes so palpable it literally becomes physical.  The hurt makes your heart explode, then explode again, and again.  Sobs wrack your body as you wail, the pain too deep, too intense to verbalize to another.  You are so alone yet so need company; not to cheer you up, just to be there, to hold you while you sob your pain, your feeling of loss, then maybe to pray with you for comfort.

That kind of pain is hard to share.  How do you tell others?  How do you verbalize what has no words, only feelings, emotions, and pain.  You try to reach out to others, yet somehow the blame falls back on you, the lack of verbalization of something you can’t put into words.  You wind up feeling even more seperated from those you trusted than ever, the pain intensifies as you realize you are even more alone.

The loss of a loved one is deeply personal, deeply emotional and creates a psychological and emotional pain that is beyond words.  The person experiencing  that loss needs understanding, acceptance, and someone who will not try to cheer them up or even necessarily try to give them hope.  I am watching my husband die, slowly.  I cannot begin to verbalize the sense of loss, the deep pain that cuts through the core of my being.  I cannot verbalize it, cannot pick up the phone and just share.  This gut wrenching pain is beyond that.

Should you know of someone who is a caretaker for their husband or wife or child knowing they will not help to heal them, but will eventually loose them, try just to be there, not to cheer-up, just be there.  Don’t wait for a phone call. it will not come.

If you have not been through this, you will not understand, I know I didn’t.  So I urge you, don’t wait for the call, be the one to call, be the one to hold her through the sobs, the pain.  This is not for the faint of heart, but know, as you allow her to pour out her grief, yours yours will be the arms of Jesus and through you, He will pour His perfect comfort into her heart and soul.   Will you allow Him to use you to bring comfort to someone going through loss?

Mourn America

Some months back I wrote the first part of “Sorrow” but then lost it.  Today, while looking for something else, I suddenly had access to where that and several other stories are.   Thank you, Jesus! 

You have read “Sorrow” now read this one.  If you are willing to slog through them both, please let me know which one you like better!

Katy Curry©

Her smile was grim as she remembered how she waved in tatters over a continental army striving for freedom from British tyranny.  She took pride in those leaders; Adams, Jefferson, Washington, Franklin.  She remembered the words penned in the Declaration of Independence:

                           “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness;”

She thought of what it had meant to the men who had rebelled against England, what it cost them, their families.  She considered how her country had been founded, in the hearts and minds of pilgrims searching for religious freedom,  from the blood and sacrifice of patriots who fought for freedom.

It had taken an uncommon amount of commitment, bravery, blind faith, and heroism to withstand the deprivations of cold, lack of food, lack of supplies, clothes or even shoes; but they stood, they stood tall and brave.   She flung the tear off her cheek, raised herself straight and proud and encouraged the eagle to scream in pride and glory.  There was more of that document, more that reminded her of the responsibility the founders and all the citizens had assumed.

“WE, THEREFORE, the REPRESENTATIVES of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by the authority of the good people of these colonies solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES;… And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

She saw the oath to God for the honor of what they were to do and saw how God had looked after and blessed those early Americans.  A song came softly on a drift of breeze…softly at first

“God Bless America!  Land that I love!

Stand Beside her, and guide her …..”

The words slipped away.  She tried to reach for them .

“From the mountains…to….the…”

They were gone!

A stealthy foreboding shadow had crept over her; its clouds had blocked the sun.  The angry black clouds boiled up in a fury that rumbled ominously with thunder and struck out angry slivers of lightning.  In those dark and menacing clouds and angry slivers of lightning she saw an evil try to rise, it was trying to strike down what those brave men had stood freedom, for her land, and won.

This darkness, this evil came in the shapes evil usually does; pride, greed, love of self.  There had been small skirmishes here and there with this evil that would destroy the land, they grew and grew until men and women were bought and sold like so much cattle.  It grew as states would raid and kill as a way to force new states to accept a title of slave or free state.  Then came that grave day, the day the tall man was elected.  South Carolina was the first to leave, others soon followed.  The result was the most destructive 5five years of battle, of death, of pain that a land could stand.  Brother fought against brother, father against son.  The tall man had tried to bring peace but died before he saw success.  The truth of his words rang out:

“Four scores and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

,, that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”  (Abraham Lincoln)

This man of honor and faith reminded the land and reminded Old Glory that this country, this land, this United States of America was a “new nation, conceived in liberty.” and dedicated to the equality of ALL men.  She thought of that last sentence, he honored the dead and their devotion on both sides; urged the country to resolve that these men, Confederate and Union, would not have died in vain.  That THIS country, THIS United Stated of America, UNDER GOD, should have an NEW BIRTH of Freedom and that the government OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE should not perish from this earth.

His words reminded her of the Declaration of Independence, was it there?  What had it said?  Oh, yes.  That all men were created equal and that all were endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights, such as the right to life, to liberty, and to the pursuit of happiness.

She had watched while the stars on her field of blue had grown, taken joy and pride as she watched the people grow into the wonderful words they had struck.  For the words of the Declaration, the words of the tall man — those were words a country HAD to grow into.  The full import of those words, the full responsibility of those words would continue to be learned and understood and implemented for years and years, or would they?????

She watched with pride as her land came to stand for right and might.  How her people would come to assist others around the world to fight against evil and injustice.  She stood so much straighter as people streamed to her borders from other lands in search of that freedom offered to any who would come and work hard and become Americans.

The wars came and went, she saw the horror of mustard gas, of the boxcars and ovens, the torture of men, women, even children.  She saw how evil tried over and over to raise its ugly head, to destroy her land.  She again stood proudly as that evil was defeated.  Her men and women came home.  Years went by, but something happened; people started to forget.  Evil had learned, it was stealthier in its attack.  No more broadsides, not for a while.

A chill went through Glory as she felt it sink, into the lives of Americans.  It had been a time of plenty, a time of economic growth, job growth, a time of comfort.  Her people, lulled into a false sense of security., relaxed their watchfulness.  Evil assured them, “No more can hurt you, just be happy, you have won and you did it, you can relax.  You have fought hard and are tired; so rest….sleep, sleep,…”  Well, the people did sleep.  They let their sense of entitlement take over; they forgot their Creator; they forgot what it takes to keep a land safe.They became selfish and greedy.  She tried so hard to wake them up but the evil, the darkness just smiled and continued being patient, advancing, retreating, then advancing again.  It gave up ground on some fronts, gained on others then went back and took back the ground it had lost.  It chortled once in the words of a man from another land “I once said, “We will bury you,” and I got into trouble with it. Of course, we will not bury you with a shovel. Your working class will bury you.” (Nikita Khrushchev).  Still, the people took no note.

Glory waved, worked to inspire, but the people could not be awakened from their malaise.  Little by little, supposed rights” took away the very words of the constitution.  First, God was denied, then a word was coined that took away the humanity of a baby, fetus.  Then came the “right ”  of a woman to her body.  Evil deluded the people.  Evil said, “Sex is good, why should you not enjoy?  Why should only those who are married have so much fun?”  Thus the crushing war on a woman’s sexuality began.  Birth Control, sex ed classes, legal abortion.  No longer is there a right to life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness,” Old Glory moaned.  “Now we extinguish life before it can enjoy life or liberty.  We take away the liberty of young women through the ideas of sexual freedom, they are forced to think they must.  Evil has taken away every protection.”  Evil’s grimace of a smile became wider, the blood of innocents stained its sharp teeth and dripped from the side of its awful ugly terrifying grin.

As the dank slumber deepened evil became more bold.  People looked not to the words of one who came to warn, the words that said: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country!”  (John F. Kennedy) Evil killed him, He had so little time to make his words a part of the land, their meaning, their great import was lost.

Other attacks came, a weak government, too weak and frightened to rescue hostages, somehow, for a while a hero would arise to beat that evil back and Glory remembered the pride of Reagan, the simple greatness of Bush.  She remembered when evil attacked again, with a boldness she would never have believed.  Over three thousand lives were lost that day, that September 11th.  The people seemed to wake up, but they had been in their drugged state for too long.  They were not used to a true fight, they did not have the stamina, they were weak.  They heard evil’s words and again closed their eyes.  They slapped at the responsibility, and the cry of the trampled people.  The clouds that adorned evils head grew thicker and blacker.  Evil continued to whisper lies to the people, Lies they wanted to hear, begged to hear.

Glory looked around.  The horror overtook her, the stench from the drug of the malaise reached her, she reared back in disgust and lifted her hand to her mouth, “Scream Eagle, Scream!  Scream at what they have done!  Scream to wake them up! Scream to call them back.”

Eagle screamed.  He screamed through the mouths of the stalwart few who had not succumbed to evil’s lies.  He screamed through song and prayer and praise, he screamed until he could scream no more.  “Glory, it is up to them.  I can do no more, I am used up.”

Glory understood.  She herself was tattered and torn.  She and Eagle looked over the broken land, the broken people, and tears of grief rolled down their cheeks.  She looked upward to the heavens, through the ones who were not asleep, she inspired prayer.  Prayer poured forth from the lips of those still awake.  Pray for our leaders, pray for our people, pray for an awakening.”

Glory waved high and proud in my yard this morning.  proclaiming what was once and what could be again, if only the people in her land would awaken.

 

I am Pro-Life and Why

In high school, I wanted to be a nun, a bride of Jesus Christ.  Not just any nun, but a Maryknoll nun.  One who would minister to the poor, bring them the knowledge of Jesus Christ.  I loved Jesus, loved my rosary and did not fit in too well with others.  I was unsure of myself and quite shy.  There were stresses at home that added to that.  I graduated high school never having been asked on a date, never attending my Senior Prom, still waiting for that first magical kiss.  I was afraid to tell anyone I wanted to be a nun.  After all, they were smart and I wasn’t.  They expected you to go to college, learn Latin.  No, that was nothing someone like me could do.  So you can see, I had a self-image problem, from the very beginning:  too fat, not pretty enough, not good at sports,  not good at school work, few friends.  I had no idea what kind of future I could have not with a pedigree like that! There she was, no skills, few friends, no social life.  She discovered a place where none of that mattered, where she could just be, she found dance clubs.  Finally, she was not a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.  The local military base made one club her favorite as was no shortage of handsome young men to dance with, sometimes take her out on a date.  It did not happen often, those dates, but going to those clubs made her feel more like a part of life.

My parents had sent me to secretarial school, but my typing was sad and my shorthand worse.  Before they kicked me out, I dropped out.  I did not want my parents to know that I wasn’t smart enough to do what my mother had no trouble doing.  It seemed better to look the rebellious teenager.  So Mom and Dad got me a job at a local bank.  There too, it seemed I was another square peg in a round hole.  The other tellers only talked to me if the absolutely had to and would make sure I knew I was not part of the group.  Well, I quit.

In the process I did find a place where I fit in, on the discotheque or dance club scene.  Every now and then I would actually have a date.  One Saturday night my date stood me up.  I announced to no one in particular; “Well, I am going out anyway.”   Mom warned me that it wasn’t right, a lone girl going into a bar alone. “ Oh Mom, it isn’t a bar and I know everyone there.  Besides if he shows up I don’t want him to think I didn’t have anything better to do!”    I had no idea how right my mother was, but I had gotten into the habit of arguing and doing the opposite of whatever my parents said.

I headed on out to my favorite club which was a ways from home, but it was near a military base so obviously to an eighteen year old, the best possible place to go.  When I got there I waved to the owner and the bartenders and then saw a young man I had been wanting to know better.    We made small talk for a bit and then he asked if I could run him back to the base so he could grab some more money, he was running light. It was a pretty common thing so I didn’t think much of it.  One had to hold a certain rank to be permitted a car and many of the non-coms just hadn’t been in long enough to make rank.

When we got to the car he reached for my keys,  “I’ll drive,” he said.

“Oh no you don’t,” I said laughing.  “You’ve had too much to drink.  I don’t want my car wrecked!”

SLAP!  The blow landed hard across my face and almost knocked me to the ground.

“I said “I’ll drive!'” he said again, anger edging his voice.  He picked the keys up from where they had fallen out of my hand onto the ground and opened the passenger door for me to get in.  Now, I should have ran immediately back into the club screaming my head off, but at eighteen I was nowhere near as sophisticated or street smart as I thought myself to be.    I got in quietly, afraid to argue more, too naive  to be smart.

He be-bopped around her car and slid into the driver’s seat;   “Boy, you have short legs,” he remarked as he pushed the seat back.  They were not bucket sets so the entire seat slid back.  I did not respond, just looked out the window and wondered if she was going to have a black eye.  I will never forget him trying to joke me into a party mood.

He maneuvered the car out of the parking lot and turned right.   “Wait, the base is left, why did you turn this way?” I was afraid he would hit me again, but was afraid he had forgotten his left from his right.  He wasn’t drunk, he knew exactly what he was doing.

“Oh, just a little something I wanted to show you.” he remarked casually.

I had heard of these tryst spots and did not want to have anything to do with one.  What went on in those spots was something I was not ready for and did not want to learn about.  “I don’t want to see, let’s just go to the base.  I promise I won’t say a word about what happened and you can get another ride back to the bar if you want, I just want to go home.”

“Aw, come on, I promise, nothing will happen, it’s just a nice quiet place, you’d like it.”  He never took his eyes off the road.

I felt  helpless and lost and moved closer to the door wondering if I could just open the door and fall out of the car.  I looked around and didn’t recognize anything and was too afraid to jump from a moving car.  So I stayed put and hoped for the best.  I just wanted to go home.

He stopped in a deserted area facing a swamp that opened eventually onto the Atlantic Ocean.  She was truly lost.  There was no water to see,  just cattails that belied the wetness of the area.  He had driven pretty far in so they were surrounded I couldn’t tell other than by the back of the car which way we had come in.

He reached over and tried to pull me to him.  I resisted.  He chuckled and moved across the bench seat himself and began to try to seduce me with gentle kisses; but those gentle kisses became harsher and angrier as I tried to push him away.

SLAP!  POW!  I saw stars.  The slap had not been too bad but the punch, I had never been hit so hard in my  life.  I was terrified.  I didn’t know what to do next but knew what he planned and what he would do.  So there I was, in the middle of who knew where with a man who had no problem beating me up to get his way.  How far would he go?  How much did I want to get hit?  I stopped, stopped resisting, stop responding in any way.  I just laid there.   This was my  first experience with a man and I was beyond terrified.

After a time, he seemed satisfied and sat up and started the car and drove to the base.  No words were exchanged until he stopped the car in front of his barracks.  “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done that,” he began;  “If I ever want a date with a really nice girl I will call you.”

I just looked straight ahead.  Again I could have called for help, could have told an MP what had happened.  I was still so afraid, and now so ashamed.  Mom had been right;  now I was used.

On the way home, my car started to act up with loud backfires and billows of black smoke.  I   got as far as my girlfriend’s house.  All the lights were out but  the car would go no farther.  The entire family got up.  I scrubbed my face with my hands, put on a smile and asked if I could spend the night.  Once in Deb’s house, I ran upstairs to her bedroom and looked at my panties.  Tthere was the proof of innocence stolen, they were covered in blood.  I screamed  a loud, horrified scream and fell on the bed sobbing.

“Is everything alright?  What is wrong?  Did something happen to you?: Mrs. Rizzi called up the stairs.   Deb ran to the door.

“Everything is fine, she was just a little nervous and then tripped and scared herself.  She is fine,” Deb called down, trying to cover for me.

Mr. Rizzi called my dad to advise where I was.  He shared that he thought something bad may have happened.  Kate had not realized how bad she had looked, pale face, in a state of shock.

The next morning  mom and dad came out to pick me up.  They wanted to see the condition of the car and what it might need.  The car engine had blown up and the men decided there was no point even having it towed home so the appropriate arrangements were made.  I climbed into the back of Dad’s car and  did not utter a word all the way home.  Mom and Dad tried to find out what had happened but I stayed tight lipped.

In in those days, a girl was either good or nice.  A good girl was a virgin, married a nice man and raised children.  A nice girl was the town tramp.  I was no longer a good girl, I was a tramp.  With that in mind I began to act the part in the way I dressed, talked, and acted.

Dad found this out, what I had become when he  was talking to someone who was new to the town.  He started to talked about a town tramp he had heard about who was pretty friendly.  He only knew her first name and had a general description.  As he described her and finally gave the name, her father froze.  The man had described his daughter, Kate down to her name.

Mom and Dad tried to get me into counseling which I refused; they tried to restrict my activities by locking me out if I came in too late or threatening to kick me out.  I would give them a blank stare and say  “If that is what you want.”  I didn’t figure I deserved much else.

Finally I became pregnant.  My parents had no regard for the man I had been dating.  I was in love with him and had daydreams of us raising this child in a land of rainbows and lollipops.  Dad ordered him to marry me.  Well you didn’t order Frank to do anything.  He refused.  I was in such a state of confusion and denial I just sat there.   Dad and Frank had a pretty bad argument and Dad decided I would never marry him.  I was whisked off  out of the country for a very illegal abortion.

He was a real doctor and did a number of abortions for people in the States.  He was all business and never thought about the placement of the equipment.  The vacuum tube ran right next to my face.  As the babe was pulled into pieces as the suction machines do, the tube would vibrate as larger parts of my now  dead baby were pulled through the tube.  I will never forget the sound or the vibrating of that tube. suctioned out.  In the recovery room I cried the tears of a mother who lost her child.  In my mind an entirely new persona was forming.  I had been just a tramp.  Now I was a tramp and a murderess.  I was worse, I had murdered my baby.  What could possibly be lower or more disgusting?

This all took place a few days before Christmas.  When I returned home, I slipped out of the house to return Frank’s Navy sailor shirt and other things to him.  We sat down on the steps at his rooming house and he apologized for everything and said he thought we should get married.  I responded with one sentence; “It’s too late.”  We sat in silence for a while and then I got up and left.  The next night we found ourselves at the house where he rented a room for Christmas Eve.  Mom and Dad were trying to get me to leave the room where Frank was and sit in the dining room with them.  My deviant behavior kicked in and I began to jump up and down as hard as I could.  I refused to stop and the more people told me to the harder and faster I would jump.

I started drinking heavily and had a brush with alcoholism.  I quit drinking for two years but prior to the shock of possible alcoholism; my hard drinking would drown out either what was happening to me or give me the false courage to drive my car into the big oak trees that grew in my neighborhood.  The car would never seem to cooperate as my suicide weapon and sometimes I would scream in frustration and fury.

Even though I stopped drinking, my destructive behavior continued and Mom and Dad finally talked me into seeing a psychologist.  He did not seem very caring or interested so I put on my show face.  I was sent to a  woman but I was having no more of it.  They couldn’t change what was or had been and in my mind they were putting me down, pointing figers at me.  Secular psychiatry offers a hurting person no help, no answers, at least it didn’t for me.  They did not see what I needed.  I needed to have my soul treated first.  They were starting in the wrong place, putting the cart before the horse as it were.  No one realized I still wanted to be a nun, dedicate my life to God, but a murderess, a killer of babies?  I deserved hell and I knew it.

Years went by and she produced another pregnancy, out of wedlock.  I was forced out of the Navy, harassed by the Navy wives, abused by the doctors who would examine me and I found myself back home with Mom and Dad, this time an unwed mother at twenty five.

When I let it be known that the baby’s father was Philippine I was told I had to put it up for adoption.  Besides, it would be better for the baby, what could I possibly offer it, someone like me.  I was loose and a single parent.  I had finally found an obstetrician who treated me with kindness and compassion.  He gave me permission to keep the baby.  Erick’s birth did not fix me.  I was still the tramp who had killed her baby.  I was a good mother or tried to be but I always saw myself as garbage.

I married Bob, a monster.  He beat Erick to a pulp, this made my final failure complete.  I had allowed a monster to beat and possibly permanently damage my child.   The marriage lasted five months.  Again, she was back with her parents, dependent on them as she could not earn a living wage to feed her and her precious son.   He had become her identity, for she had none that she was willing to look at.

As a single parent, I was shunned by married women as a threat to their marriage.  I knew they had nothing to worry about, but evidently they were not secure in their marriage.  I hated them for that and had “fun” with their attitudes and insecurities.  Deep down it hurt so much, but  I was used to it.

I met Frank number 2 and we married and I had two more children.  I asked Jesus to come into my heart, to be my Lord and Savior, to forgive my sins.  Jesus did, I did not.   I lived under the guilt of what had happened so many years ago.  Eventually I lost sight of why Jesus could possibly love or forgive me.   I would reach out to Him – I knew then and know now that he is truth and salvation, but how could I have that I was a  murderess, worse, the murderer of my own baby.

The trials of life continued, my younger sons made  disappointing choices, I buried my parents, suffered merciless nightmares begged God, apologized to Him, became unbelievably defensive.  I was coming undone, not much was mattering any more.  All she could see was baby killer.

One sad night Jesus came to me,  a dream a vision, I can’t say, but He was there.  He dressed me in a white gown and put the most beautiful white veil on my head.  He told me I was pure just as my name, Kathleen meant.  I shook my head and He stopped me;  “You are pure because of My blood.  You are my bride and you are pure with no stain of sin.”  For forty eight years I  had punished myself for that act; longer still for the rape.

Sexual sin, be you the sinner or victim damages you for the rest of your life.  I was that girl, I am now that woman and fir the first time in almost fifty years I am beginning to put that sin, the sins it led to, the guild it caused behind.  I still give praise because Jesus took what was broken and through His love, mended it, mended me.  I am still mending.

 

 

 

 

We Are Resolved

 

It was March of 2017 and a new president had been elected and sworn in.  It was amazing how quickly he got Congress to pass his proposed legislation.  He had literally shredded the Constitution and the citizens were in shock.  Although the House and Senate still met, they now had little power.  With the retirement of Justices Ginsberg and Kennedy, the new appointees guaranteed the new president would rarely face open controversy.

The citizens of Mentone, AL, a small town near Lookout Mountain, stood in a solemn, quiet line in Christ’s Word Church, the largest building in the area.  All were required to register and be assigned to a community worker’s group.  The new president believed in community participation and required each citizen to participate.  Of course, the leader of each community group would be keeping very specific records as to the “voluntary” work and the comings and goings of each family under his “care.”   On preliminary review, the reason seemed logical: research indicated when a family was about to or in the process of facing a crisis and this scrutiny would help the government to put the appropriate agency or assistance in place.

There were soldiers present were menacing with their stoic faces and blue helmets.

The Chief Community Leader stepped up to the microphone at the pulpit. “In the interest of community spirit and cooperation, we ask that every individual cooperate: first, whoever has any, turn in illegal or restricted books, tapes, or other reading material.  This includes Bibles, in writing or on tape, movies or stories using the Bible, or other books, movies, or tapes trying to foist the lie of the Bible over the public.

Second, turn in any weapons and ammunition you may have in your home.  Again, this is for your own safety.

Third, allow us to implant an ID in your wrist it is far safer if your social security number is implanted into you.  President Saunders believes this will cut down on the problem of identity theft and preserve more of your rights.

Finally, select the styles of the state provided outfits you like.  You can always purchase more for a nominal fee.  The colors will identify your place in our community such profession, religious belief, ethnicity, etc.  We promise to get you in and out as quickly as possible.

“If you do not cooperate with these directives, troops will enter your home to recover the contraband and you will be sent to a re-education facility,” reminded Mill Sikes, Mentone’s appointed leader.

Sally, whose parents had owned the local café, leaned over to Mayor Mike Calloway, “Mayor,” we can’t do all this, what are we going to do?”

“Pass the word, quietly, be careful who you tell; ‘Meeting in the cave in two hours.’”

Sally nodded and moved away.

Two hours later, Mayor Calloway was facing about 20 men and women.

“Okay everyone, they expect us to register and follow their rules.  I say no.  You signed a resolution about this place.  Now are you ready to make a resolution to God?  One that means we will be true to him no matter what the cost?

“I resolve!”  was heard from one end of the cave to the other.

“Pastor Roberts, does this mean it has started?” called Ben.

Pastor looking up and gave the answer everyone was dreading.  Yes, Ben, that is why so many people are missing.  This is the beginning of the Tribulation.  There was a collective sigh and without any direction, everyone decided to talk to God.  “Lord God, stumbled Mayor Mike, I ask you to protect these brave men and women.  Even though they erred, their repentance is genuine.  Please protect them and keep them save in your loving arms.    The people turned quietly and left to go get what they needed to prepare for a long stay to hide from the oppressors, the government.

Calloway turned to Paul Roberts, the pastor.  “Well, Paul, I think it is time for that closet you talked about.”  Both men turned and walked deeper into the house Thessalonians 1:11-12English Standard Version (ESV)

11 To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Relentless Mercy

 

Jesus

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:35, 37-38

 

 

“Yes, Jesus Loves me!”  “Yes, Jesus Loves me!”

“Yes, Jesus Loves me!”  “The Bible Tells Me so!”

Jesus with the little children

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

We should believe with the innocence of children, for we are His children

My Personal Testimony and Reason for this Writing.

I am an apathetic Christian.  This is a confession I do not take lightly.  I read books written by these wonderful authors who are truly on fire for God.  I read the Epistles and see how Paul counted his life as nothing, then wonder, “Why don’t I feel like that all the time?”  Oh, to be sure, I have my moments.  But so often the cares and living of this life just wear me down, I get so tired just coping with the day to day drudgery, God gets lost in there and I go to bed, get up, do what I must, go back to bed and before I know it an entire day has passed and I have not spoken to Him once.

Now realize, I am not talking about the bakery clerk or my neighbor or even my husband, I am talking about He who created the universe!  I am talking about a powerful being, one who has so much power I cannot even conceive of it!  I am talking about the One who made me, the One who died on a cross so I could be with Him, the One who, no matter how much I ignore Him, no matter what my sins are, be they purposeful or not, continues to pursue me with that wonderful, sometimes frightening,  overwhelming message:  “I love you, come to Me!”  He is there, calling me, holding out His arms to me.  Me?  “Not now, I’m too busy.”  So glib, so foolish.  Sometimes, when I take a moment to recognize exactly WHO is calling me, I don’t answer at all, instead I hang my head in shame, a tear may drop and meander down my cheek as I say in a voice filled with shame and unbelievable sadness:  “I am not worthy.  If only you knew what I have done.  I am not worthy.”  And I walk away from that offer of total forgiveness, of total agape love, tears running down my face, knowing I am not good enough to be approached by, to look at, and definitely not be a part of His universe.

Have you done that?  I think we all have at one point or another.  After we have said we were too busy or too sinful what happens?  He comes back, doesn’t He?  He calls out to you again, He holds his arms out again.  If you are quiet and listen you can almost hear Him tell you how precious you are to Him, how He loves you exactly as you are, that He knows all there is to know about you.  It is enough to stop you dead in your tracks, to bring you to your knees.  You catch your breath, for an instant you feel the beauty and peace of his touch.   Then the realities of life call you back as a horn blares or one of the kids starts to cry and you run back to that drudgery we all call life.

It’s so weird, if I am talking to someone about Jesus and following Him, my passion is palpable.  Sometimes I even get too intense as I turn from Old to New Testament showing how Jesus has always been with us, how we are in a time of grace that is fast coming to an end, I describe hell, read from Psalms, Proverbs, even Song of Songs so that whoever I am talking to can try to comprehend Christ’s love for us.  I usually give too much information and give it so intensely I make the receiver uncomfortable.

I love Jesus, I love and believe in Him so very much.  Why am I so lazy about spending time with Him?  To a point it is so very me.  I tend to care about and love people from a distance.  I don’t get to close to anyone, not my bestest BFF from school, not my BFF from church.  They usually have to chase me down.  I don’t know why; it is certainly not that I enjoy my own company so much.  More than anything else, I guess it is fear of rejection.  Ok, insecurities.  But I don’t have to be insecure in Christ, did He not say,

The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”  John 10:2-5

            There is one thing we have forgotten.  We can turn this life from drudgery into joy!  He will lighten our loads, put a spring in our step.  The same chores will be there, but somehow, with Him at our side, they seem lighter.  But we have allowed the cares of this life to eclipse the most important thing of all, our relationship with our God and our Savior.  So, does He walk away and go to someone else?  No!  He is determined, His love for each of us is so deep He does not stop, He does not rest, until as little children, we are enfolded into the loving care of His arms.

His pursuit of us is relentless.  I kind of liken it to something once said in “Terminator” when Kyle Reese told a very frightened Sarah Connor:

“Listen and understand. That Terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.”

Jesus has something better than pity, He has empathy.  He knows where we are coming from, He understands our pain, our hurt, our hopes and dreams, our temptations, even our sins.  Just like a true lover, He looks past all of it, He sees only the person He loves so dearly He died for them.  You can’t bargain with Jesus, He knows your yesterday, your today, your tomorrow.  Jesus has no fear, there is nothing He needs to fear.  He made it all, He can break it all!.  He will absolutely never stop until you are dead.  Once you have moved to that phase of life, your eternity is set.  He either welcomes you home or says, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”

Which words do you want to hear?  “Welcome home, good and faithful servant”   or “Depart from me …” .

I took the time to think about eternity the other night.  I just finished an article about what heaven is really like.  I was trying, as best as my finite mind can, to grasp the idea of eternity.  For some reason I pictured hell.  The burning, the pain, but what eclipsed everything was the total absence of that love I have felt all my life.  Jesus was nowhere.  Nowhere.  Then the horror fell on me.  This pain, this aloneness was never, ever, ever going to stop.  There would be no rescue, there would be no gentle voice calling to me, just the horrendous screams of others who were also there.  Behind it all was the almost maniacal laughter of the lost one himself, Satan.  This would never end.  I couldn’t even begin to grasp what that meant but I knew after ten thousand years of this pain, it would continue, for another ten thousand, and another ten thousand after that and for the first time in my existence I felt a total loss of hope, I came face to face with complete and utter despair.  Then I realized I had put myself in this position.

All I had to have done was say “Yes” when Jesus would call to me and hold out His arms, but I was “too busy” or too cool to give him an answer.  Now, NOW I understood why He had been so relentless in His approach.  He knew what my future would be, He has tried oh so very hard, but me and my “oh so cool” free will chose and chose very poorly.  NOW I understood, when it is too late.

I woke up from my reverie, cold chills ran down my spine.  I prayed desperately, as a drowning woman, “Please God, oh please, don’t let me go there.  Oh please, forgive my sins.  Oh please take my will, take all of me, don’t let me go.  I am so scared, I know I should go there.  Please, please, please don’t let me go there.”  I almost sobbed the words out.

Jesus came, He comforted me, held me in His lap, reminded me how easy it would be to start my day with him, easier yet to end my day with him.  Heck, I don’t even really enjoy the stupid TV shows I watch and my puttering on the computer is just a way to pass the time.  Why not put all that wasted time into Him?  He was right.  So what do I do now?  Watch stupid television shows and putter aimlessly on my computer.

So, I am not proud to say it but I am an apathetic Christian who needs to be turned on, plugged in and tuned up.  I thought to look at the relentless mercy, grace, and love Jesus offers us, of His Relentless Love and as we begin to better understand, and truly fall in love with the true Master and Maker of the Universe.

So, that is my story.  I read Genesis and see how from generation to generation humankind was more interested in their here and now than in their Creator.  So we from what I can see, even with the benefit of the New Testament, we have not grown a whole lot.  What is real, what is necessary for each of us to have the peace in our hearts and souls that we crave is not through things, or stuff, or that new car, or promotion at work; it is getting ourselves right with our Creator.

It is my simple hope that this testimony brings some closer to Jesus Christ, to a saving walk with our creator and savior.    As relentless as His love is for us, we must be as relentless in following Him, in spending time with Him, seeking His wisdom and Grace.

Christmas Spirit?

Christmas …..  Happy Holidays ……. Kwanzaa …….  Black Friday ….. Cyber Monday.    So what is Christmas?  The stores play special music  starting
Halloween or even before urging you to buy.  They are so anxious to give shoppers the best deals they stay open Thanksgiving and on into the frenzy of greed called “Black Friday”.  Let us not forget the deals we can Presentsfind in cyberworld on the Monday after Thanksgiving.  The message is if you care about someone you will buy, buy buy.  So, is that what Christmas is, a time to spend money you don’t have on things people probably don’t want?

Then there is the tree.  Millions are cut down every year.  There are tree farms where the perfect trees are cultivated and grown for this very reason.  EaChristmas Treech year families go out and select a tree for their home decorate it with lights and baubles, put all those presents they are told by retailers they need to give to love and feel loved.  Then  in 2 or 3 weeks they will take that tree  down and drag to the curb.  Just another piece of trash.

Maybe it is all those parties.  People have a lot of parties during Christmas.  Oh, so much fun, perhaps, if you go.  They can also be a source of pain, drink too much, forget yourself, do something you never would have done. Have you ever noticed the smiles on so many of the party goers, so plastic, so fixed.

Then there is the music, makes you feel so warm and tingly inside.  The Snoopycookies, the fudge, the goodies that come in from everywhere!.  An extra hour of workout this week!  Now don’t forget all those TV specials.  The kids jump up and down, watch for a bit and somewhere along the way you realize you are watching “Rudolph” or any of the myriad of Christmas specials they run year after year after year.  You can sing the songs along with the characters you know them so well.

All these things can add to a feeling of happiness, warm fuzziness, or they can lead to despair.  So many are alone, so many cannot face their family again with no job, no money, no tree, no gifts.    All that happens for other families, not for them.  Those who are single often feel a pain, a lonliness.  They just want to get through the “holidays” and get back to normal.

So, as they say in the song, “Is that all there is?”   You make yourself get all excited, then you don’t know why but you feel this … emptiness.  No, that’s wrong, this is Christmas!  How can you feel sad?  Empty?  How can you be asking “Is that all there is?”    Well, if that is all you look for, the tree, the gifts, the parties, yup, that is all there is.  But there is more.

Christmas is the Day of the Savior’s birth.  It is a religious holiday.  It isNativity the day Jesus Christ, the Son of God the Father, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity left His heavenly throne to come to earth as a helpless baby to lay in a trough, a place where animals ate.  To live a human life, to stub His toe, scrape His knee, to have to listen to Mom and Dad, to be hungry and thirsty, to have to submit to elders.   All the while having been the One who created the universe, the earth and all that was in it.

As you truly dwell on the enormity of that, of what Christ gave up to come here, to Earth, to allow  beings as sinful and insignificant as mankind to  mock Him, nail Him to a cross all so we could be with Him in Heaven.  As we consider Christ’s whole reason for coming to earth; to teach us how to love, to die on the cross so we could join Him in heaven.  NOW things are starting to fall into place.  Now we begin to see why those other things left us feeling a little empty, now we begin o understand the rest of the story.  For it is not just a babe in a manger, it is the decision of a loving God coming to live and walk among us.  To allow us in our conceit and false wisdom to nail Him to a cross and allow His physical body do die, only to be reanimated proving His conquest over the grave.

Some reject this offer of love, of mercy, of forgiveness of sin, they turn instead to a god of hate, lies, and cruelty so we see scenes like this                 isis2using their hate and love of anarchy and violence to claim to fight for their god.  They steal childhood from children, kill indiscriminately, rape, torture, all in the name of Allah.    I feel no joy in this, my outward joy, it is measured.

We live in a world where the very standards upon which this nation was founded are now considered not politically correct.  We live in a time where our leaders do not lead, where “Black Lives Matter.”  Today, babies can be killed when half born because a woman has a “right to choose”.    In today’s world, all that Jesus said was right is now criticized and what He said was wrong was applauded.  We live in an age when public prayer is forbidden as  is mention of God.  Our post modernistic world is one of the most humanistic, hedonistic civilization that ever lived.

As long as we have children who go to bed hungry or cold, who cry Syrian Christiansthemselves to sleep because they or their parents may not survive the night.  As long as we have such hatred in this world as to allow families to die of cold or starvation as happens in Syria right now; as long as we have drive-by shootings that kill innocent children so some punk can qualify for a gang, I take little joy in the trappings of Christmas.  Oh yes, the tree is up, the presents in all their profusion are slowly making their way under it.  Plans for a feast that will leave everyone groaning from too much food are in full swing, and I will love all of it.   But in my mind’s eye, I will see the children I sponsor who may not survive because they are in the wrong place to be Christian, I will see little children forced to kill, others dead because of the cruelty of a belief.  I will think of those who have given up, who can’t face another Christmas alone or without a job and I will think of the Reason for the Season, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.    We are His floJesusck and He is our shepherd and He will look after each of us as lovingly as we see Him nurture the lamb in His arms.  My spirit is in my heart, in my prayers for those I know in harm’s way,

So before you buy that next present, you know, the one you forgot for Uncle Joe?  or Great Aunt Penny, stop and offer a prayer for the protection and provision of those not as fortunate, take a name off that tree in the store, slip a dollar in the Salvation Army Bucket.  Help to make someone else’s Christmas better than it would have been.

Christmas spirit does not come from shopping, TV shows, carols, or any of the trappings.  It comes from remembering why came to this earth and why.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL, A GOOD NIGHT!