Looking back at the situation, I remember it well. The basement was dark, ominous and penetrated by nothing more than a slight sliver of fading light. My bare back lay flat against the cold concrete wall. A tear slipped down my reddening cheeks. I hastily brushed it away and listened to the sound of bickering coming from upstairs. I was in trouble, again. It had been the wrong time and the wrong place for me to be. My guardian, a kind man on most occasions, had the temper of an infuriated bull. He and my other guardian clashed ideas about issues regarding me on many occasions, hence the heightened tones that slithered down into my space and sent chills down my arms.
Yes, my space. My cold, dark, isolating space. The place I now called home.
The moment I said that one thing wrong and he started yelling I knew from past experience that it was in my best interest to hide, to protect myself in this “home” of mine. With as much haste as I could muster I had skirted away from his wrath and moved into the space I knew so well, that awful basement. He never came down there, only for the occasional beer from the mini fridge. I tucked my head into my knees for a moment then stared up at the washing machine. It whirled away as though nothing had happened. The sound was comforting in many ways. If I couldn’t hear the shouts completely did that mean that everything was back the way it was supposed to be again?
I missed my mother so much; I wanted her to come back from the hospital. I wanted to know that she would live. I wanted to be held by my father, wherever he was. Did he even love me anymore? So much was wrong with the picture and I knew it.
Looking back now I realize that everyone knew it they just couldn’t fix it.
I watched as my little chest heaved with deep sobs. I turned my gaze away from the broken, little girl and asked, “Jesus, where were you when I was hurting like this? Lord, didn’t you care? At all?”
Soon as the question had been asked the light in the room widened. The source was not from the small door at the top of the stairs but seemed to swallow the black in the darkest corner of the basement. I watched that light grow. The little girl’s sobbing quieted to a whimper. My hope increased as did my ability to see Him.
His voice flowed with warmth greater than the heat of the sun. The way he said my name set my heart aflame. “Katie…Katie… oh, my sweet Katie.” He took a step towards younger Katie then knelt down beside her. He held a small bottle in his hand and pressed it lightly against my cheek.
“I keep a record of every one of these.”
I, grown up Katie, almost shouted at Him. How could He act so nonchalantly towards me this hurting little one? “Why are you doing that? Save her. Heal her mother! Good god. What kind of God are you?” He turned and looked into my eyes. I should have felt guilty for speaking out of turn but no. Instead, I felt complete peace. His kind eyes melted the ice around my heart. He accepted me even when no one else did. He understood my sorrow. He loved me so deeply as He could feel my pain. I held my breath as I caught a quick glimpse of the deep, red scars on both His wrists
As He continued to stare into my eyes the pained expression began to subside as He smiled. His eyes grew lighter, brighter, even more overwhelming. I was tempted to look away as He answered me, His voice soft yet powerful at the same time.
“Katie, I do this because I want to give you twice as much joy as you have experienced pain. I do this so my measurement will be accurate.” My eyes started to burn as He turned away and focused His attention on the girl’s tiny body. He wrapped His strong arms around her shoulders, His white robe ran over her like a blanket of snow. As soon as she was enshrouded I heard His voice, rushing like the pounding of waves on surf. It commanded the attention of all darkness and sent any feeling of despair shrieking as it ran for an exit. It echoed through the caverns of my wondering, wandering heart, bringing to life my trust in the God of the Bible. His discourse aimed at the hopelessness and death surrounded us.
“She is mine and I will protect what is mine. She is safe in my arms. Darkness. You will not overcome because she is mine.” He turned back to me, His eyes blazing like fire.
“Katie, I was always there… in your darkest moments, I was there. I am still there. Horrible things happen because of free will and Satan’s reign on earth but my child… nothing can separate you from the love I have for you. Nothing.”
I looked up at Him, tears now running from my eyes. “I believe you, Lord. You were there in my darkest moments. You are here now.” He nodded then stood and walked towards me.
“Remember that I will never leave or forsake you, Katie. I am yours and you are Mine.” He paused to wipe His warm thumb across the streams running down my face.
I choked out a response. “I love you.”
His voice continued, as smooth as always. “I love you too Katie. I always have.” His eyes continue to shine more brilliantly than the light now filling the room. He brushed a curly piece of my hair from my face.
“Don’t allow yourself to doubt that I always will.”
I share this story in light of the fact that so many of doubt the goodness and love of God based on the garbage things that have happened in our lives. I encourage you to sit down with Jesus, Holy Spirit and the Father. Ask God to reveal the most painful moment in your life then ask Him where He was in the midst of it.
I guarantee He will answer you and show you that He cares about the elements of your life no one else seems to give a rip about. Feel free to listen to the song I have included below as you do so. Be prepared for Him to shine His glory on your circumstance <3 it delights Him to do so.
With much love,
Last night was terrifying… I hadn’t experienced a panic attack or anything remotely close to it until the clock struck two Oct 12, 2017. Disclaimer: if you think this sounds anything like Dickens then thank you, I’m honoured. I imagine your next question might be, “so when does the ghost of Dairy Milk past come out to haunt you?” Haha, funny. You’re funny. There was no chocolate ghost. Not this time. Not ever… I don’t think inanimate objects have ghosts actually…
But, in honour of being poetically fancy I will let you know that the ghost of my “should have dones” and “what ifs” hovered over my head like ghouls on speed. They would never rest. They couldn’t settle. They jumped in and out of my brain. They clouded my judgement with their waxen, white robes. They wouldn’t let me be.
You might be wondering why I was in this mood of complete frenzy… well, my neck was killing me and I needed to wake up for cross fit in a couple hours.
More importantly, I didn’t do well on one of my University assignments and was told my highest mark would be a B + in that class. This wouldn’t be so awful if I wasn’t planning on applying for graduate work but indeed I am; when I am finished my Education and English degree this year I plan on applying to law school. As I’m sure you can imagine, the require a fairly high GPA (by fairly high I mean to the moon high… no… to VY Canis Majoris high… yep, that’s slightly more accurate).
On top of that many other passions, options and things to achieve decided to pillage on my mind.
As I lay there, my head and neck aching, I thought of familial issues and my role to play in them, my responsibility as a loving wife, my book and publishing paths, my relationship with God, my relationship with friends and obligations, my reputation and credibility in the work force. I began to think of assignments that I might tank and stupid things I might say during my upcoming presentations. I started to think about all the extra volunteer work that was required of me and if my health, as it stands, would allow it.
In short: there was a circus going on in my head and I couldn’t sleep above the din.
For a while I lay there, allowing the clowns, acrobats and tamed lions to run rampant through my mind. I allowed fear to swallow me whole. After many too many minutes of paralysis by way of fear I realized something very important.
It was something that would change how I would react to the situation.
I remembered that I am the daughter of a God who is so much bigger than the anxiety, the fear, the worry. I am the daughter of the King of Kings, the Lord of all Creation! Why would I let one grade bother me? If one grade too big for the King of the Universe to work with? I would give my fear and anxiety to Him. I would let Him take it then not allow myself to take it back on. Yes! It had worked before.
In light of this fresh information, I stilled myself in the darkness and started reciting Psalm 23. It goes a little something like this:
The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul (no one else can do this). Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for your rod and your staff they comfort me. You prepare a place for me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil (with joy). Surely Your goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
After repeating this a couple of times, much to my relief, the wildly beating heart within my chest started to sink beneath waters of placid peace. The storm in my mind calmed to a dull roar then stopped altogether. My worries faded away. The throbbing in my neck subsided bit by bit. My body relaxed and I was pulled into the arms of the Prince of Peace. He watched over me as I slept. I could feel it.
The next morning, my heart felt so dry and exhausted. I needed something anything. I needed more than the materialistic gains I had been running for to satisfy me.
I spent a good amount of time with Him rehashing what I had felt and how desperately I needed His presence and His guidance. I felt like a creek bed, dry and without sustenance or life. It didn’t take long for Him to answer each one of my cries with that sweet voice of His… that sweet, sweet voice.
He calmed my fears.
I write this for a couple different reasons but one of the most important is so that you know you are not alone. If you are struggling with fear, anxiety of anything of the like today please approach God and ask Him to still your frantic heart. He longs to hear your cries. He will not judge you for them. He welcomes you with open arms and a gentle heart.
He wants you to live life to the fullest and not to be bound by societies (and your own) expectations. Allow yourself to rest in His strong arms today. Let His peace flood you.
If you need prayers for anything do not hesitate to contact me.
This sound is incredible to listen to when you’re going through a tough time. It helps calm me when I’m having super tough time <3
Moments of lucidity have become a rarity for me. They emerge like shadows of the dead from my tainted past, merely a breath of smoky air, memories long faded into my history. When I encounter them I cling to them for less than a heartbeat before they evaporate into air, just as this moment I am experiencing now will. When my tormentors choose to inhabit my mind once more I will have nothing left but a consciousness that is poked, prodded, driven by the forces I allowed in when I was but a child. My name is Ammon, the hidden one.
It is only in these moments of consciousness, when flashes of light conceal the dark, that I remember that small detail.
If only I had known they could twist my very name, my identity, and make me into something I am not.
A reckless, raging lunatic, void of interaction and the will to live. Only precious pieces of me remained but as the days rolled on I felt as though I was losing those as well. It wouldn’t take long before I no longer remained. Oh, my body would still be there but my mind…my mind would be taken over by the tormentors because I had given them permission.
I alone was to blame.
Tired of being shrouded by darkness I moved from behind a tomb stone and allowed my eyes time to adjust against the blinding sun as it reflected off the other graves.
There was no doubt about it, the valley of the dead had become my home. There is no where else for me to go. No one living in my town wants me. No one in all of Gerasenes wants me. No one has come to visit me in weeks. When they do it is usually to bind me in chains so I will not harm myself or others but the demons… they are stronger. They are so much stronger than chains, my mind, my will and they empower me.
A sick feeling begins twisted in my gut. I was about to go back into hiding. They are coming back to reclaim their host. They are here.
Simon–the Cananean (disciple of Yehoshua, Jesus)
The stench was awful. It rose to greet us long before we reached the tombs. I could see disgust on my friends faces but nothing of that nature registered on our leader’s expression. He looked determined. His eagerness and willingness to visit kept a fire burning inside me and I was grateful for it.
The region was beautiful but all that inhabited this place was not. Most who lived here were Greek. They were not the chosen people but Yehoshua never minded that. He paid more attention to the marginalized that any Semitic leader I had ever met. This fact alone amazed and perplexed me to no end. It was one of the many reasons Yehoshua was so different from anyone I had ever encountered.
I turned to my leader, Yehoshua, who looked over and smiled at me. Our eyes met for a brief moment before a long, hair raising wail reached my ears. In the distance was a man, running full speed ahead towards us. I walked more quickly and put myself in front of Yehoshua.
“Simon, let him come.” I stepped back very reluctantly. I would protect him till the day I died, even if it meant losing my life in the process.
Yehoshua kept walking as the blurry dot got closer. We followed him. Before long I could see that the man running towards us wore nothing but dirt, caked on in layers and the remnants of shackles clasped to his thick wrists. Long, blood clumped gashes covered the muscles on his legs, arms and face. I grimaced. A crazed look glazed the mans dark eyes. They rolled back in his head before he dropped to his knees in mock salute, yelling at the top of his lungs.
“What do you want with me, Yehoshua, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!”
Yehoshua looked down at the man. “Come out of him you unclean spirit.” The man lifted his face, his eyes clear for just a moment before the crazed look took possession once more.
“What is your name?” Yehoshua asked firmly.
“Legion!” The man yelled proudly. “For we are many.” Yehoshua stepped forward, towards the man causing the man to scramble backwards, his fingernails scraping across the dirt, kicking up dust in their wake. “Don’t! Don’t send us away from this region. We beg you.” Yehoshua took another step forward.
I cringed as the demons’ tone changed to high pitched and child like. “Please! We beg of you. Allow us to stay. Allow us to stay.” The man curled into a fetal position, glancing up menacingly before shrinking back into the vulnerable position. Yehoshua studied the man.
The demons continued to plead in unison. “There are pigs feeding on the hill nearby. Allow us to inhabit them.”
With a chorus of wails and shrieks, louder than any previous a whirlwind burst from the man and flew across the hillside. We all listened intently as the tormented squeals of swine rose from the hill. Shouts and curses rose from the men tending them. Most surprisingly of all was the man. No longer crazed, he was curled in a fetal position, hiding himself from our eyes.
Yehoshua knelt beside the man. “Look. Your tormentors are no more.” The man slowly raised his watering eyes up towards his Savior. “No longer.” He whispered hoarsely. “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
Yehoshua took the mans dirty hand and helped him stand. John stepped up beside the man and lowered a course tunic over his shoulders.
Yehoshua beamed. He was nothing less than delighted. “You are free, forever and it is time to come out of hiding.”
This story was written as a reminder. A reminder that the things we choose beside Jesus will leave us in bondage and that Jesus, Yehoshua, is the only one who will ever be able to rescue us from the darkest recesses of our minds and hearts.
Today, I ask you release the idols you cling to, intellect, financial security, fame, friendships, your Iphone… anything that you cling to for security and self worth that is not Jesus. Those things will never fulfill you. They will never release you into a life of freedom like Jesus can… and will.
It is time to come out of hiding and allow Him to cleanse you.
This morning I rolled out of bed, snatched my phone from my desk and tapped in my password. While checking the trending section on Facebook a headline caught my eye and stopped my breath. It read, “The Voice singer Christina Grimmie…shot dead.”
As a sporadic watcher of The Voice and big fan of Christina Grimmie voice I was shocked and very saddened by her passing. The beautiful, talented, young woman that passed away was only 22 years old.
While I skimmed article after article many ideas notions and ramblings ran through my head. Ultimately, only one of those thoughts won out in prominence. That thought being: life has proven itself to be way too short. As can be seen in the incredibly tragic case of Christina, we can be here on earth one moment and gone the next.
That thought led to myriads of other questions… big questions that can appear to be rather disturbing if they have never been discussed or thought about. Inquiries such as: what in the world do I live my life for? What or who is waiting for me when I pass from this side to the next? Am I living in a way I want to be remembered for?
For me, thinking on these things was a somewhat macabre experience but also very enlightening… you see as a human I am not too excited about death and dying As a Christian, I believe in heaven and am incredibly excited to go there. I also believe God has called each one of us to live lives that are worthy of Him. We are to use our God given abilities and talents, no matter what they might be, in order to glorify and honour Him.
In light of the tragic events that have transpired I urge you to think about your eternity and what you have been placed on this earth to do.
If you’re not sure where to start, I can tell you this: you have been placed on this planet to know God and to make Him known to others. Yes, there is a God who is passionately in love with you who wants you to know Him and spend your eternity with Him. He gave His Son’s life so you can live with Him forever. Don’t wait to get to know Him. He calls lovingly for you today <3
My sincerest condolences and prayers go out to this beautiful, young woman’s family and the millions who have been impacted by Christina.
Christina singing “In Christ Alone” <3
Orange, yellow and red leaves float lazily across the canopy of the heavens then hug themeless closely to any terrain that will have them. Crisp, blue skies mark the top. The smell of harvest marks the bottom. The sound of bickering over a turkey, the horrific consistency of the mashed potatoes and who forgot to take their medication marks the middle.
Indeed, Thanksgiving is a time to remember everything you’ve been blessed with but what happens when you’re stuck in a room with a bunch of people who are just as imperfect as you?
What will you do when you aren’t sure which family member has substituted your tryptophan for cyanide or when your younger such-and-such won’t acknowledge you because you didn’t answer their whiny text, sent the day previous? What if the only thing separating you from these people is a plate of mashed potatoes, some undercooked green beans and a giant, dead bird? Oh Lord… my husband thinks I’m cynical at times. I, as unbiased as I am, would say that these words reek of practicality. What do you do?
I don’t have my PhD yet but I can take some time to answer. Ahem…
I wish I could wave a wand over everything and make some circumstances and certain people disappear.
(Rude? No, I think we’re all just too Canadian sometimes. Sorry.)
Oh, goodness. If only that wand were real…I wish I were able to do such a thing but no. I do not have access to such a brilliant piece of technology (this is probably for the better good of the human race) Please don’t leave! There is still good news. Yes! I have learned something nifty this thanksgiving.
Here it is: I am a judgmental, rotten, selfish sinner with her own closet of filled with skeletons. I look out for myself as number one and expect everything else to do so as well (is this due to a severe case of OCS “Only Child Syndrome” or a result of the fall? Feel free to choose which one to blame, just as we all do).
Whatever the reason, it’s a reality. I suck at times. We all suck at times.
(This is pretty depressing for a Thanksgiving post isn’t it? You’re welcome. I admit to have looked at Facebook and have seen everyone else’s perfect Thanksgiving. In light of this I figured I should rock things up a little. I think it’s necessary that we “screw ups” show the people with perfect lives what the imperfect people deal with.)
Anyhow, I am pleased to let you all know why I need a Saviour! I thank God that I can see how awful I am at times and depravity of my heart.
Do you know what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving? Ditch the potatoes, they cause far too much controversy and no, I’m not touching that cyanide filled, “specially made” piece of turkey but thank you!
Please give me my Jesus. I just don’t know where I would be without Him.