An Easter Story: “Dad sent me.”

crossw-3080144_1280I wrote this Easter story a few years ago to express how I think about Easter. May you be blessed during the most hopeful holiday of the year!


I am trapped.

The boulder is heading straight for me. I can’t escape.  What good would it do anyway?

I’ve ended up in this exact situation before, too many times before, so why try to get away?

It’s my own stupid fault.  I finally get that.

There’s nothing I can do.

I huddle down. How much will it hurt this time? I can’t take much more pain. I am so sorry. So very, very sorry. Not that that matters.

I’m knocked to the ground.  But not by the boulder.

A man, a stranger, shoves me out of the way. I twist around to him. The boulder smashes into him and shatters into a pile of rubble, burying him.

I gape. I stare. Why would a stranger save me?

The pile moves. Flinging off the rocks, the man stands up.

I splutter, “B-b-but how?  But who?  But why?”

Brushing off the dust and dirt, the man gives me a huge grin and answers all my questions with one sentence.

“Dad sent me.”

Scripture Saturday — Easter

crossw-66700_1280“It is finished,” said Jesus as he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

“It is finished,” said the Roman soldiers as they removed the body from the cross.

“It is finished,” said Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus as they laid the body in the tomb.

“It is finished,” said Pontius Pilate as he returned to the business of governing these stubborn Jews.

“It is finished,” said the chief priests and elders as they congratulated themselves on the success of their scheme.

“It is finished,” said the disciples as they huddled together in Jerusalem, hiding from the authorities.

“It is finished,” said the women as they prepared spices to take to the tomb.

“Is it finished?” asked Mary as she turned her tear-stained face to the starry, Saturday night sky.

And on Sunday morning, the stone was rolled away, and Jesus walked out of the tomb, stretched his arms, gazed at the world he loved so much, and shouted with a laugh, “April Fool’s!”

I must thank Max Mitchell for the idea for this post.

Scripture Saturday

restw-52495_1280This post couldn’t have come at a better time. Recently, I had been feeling very anxious with all my writing demands piling up and crashing into all the demands of just living in the real world.

Despite feeling the need to work at 100 m.p.h., I followed Mrs. McDowell’s advice and sat down and expressed to God what all my anxieties were and turned them over to him. Then for over five minutes, I tried to clear my mind, repeating, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.”

Those five minutes worked wonders. I was refreshed and clear-headed. I will try to keep to this new routine, and hopefully, increase my time when I just sit and listen for God.

Scripture Saturdays — Lent

fastw-78493_1280If you are thinking of giving up something for Lent, I recommend giving up worry.

This will be the third year I have tried to give up worrying for Lent.  I worry about everything.  And I do mean everything.  If I’m depressed I can always find a dark cloud in the biggest silver lining.  The first year I gave up worry was the most rewarding Lent I have ever had, spiritually, mentally, even physically. Last year, I had much more trouble giving it up. That’s why I want to try again this year.

If you are like me, and worrying is so much a part of your life that you think it is normal, here are some actions I took to help me give it up.

Pray every day.  I couldn’t give up worrying without God.  I pray when I walk, so every day, I would review my vow, thank God for the worries I gave up the day before, look at what I was currently worrying about, and rededicate my efforts to give them up.  I needed to check in with the Coach before plunging into the day’s “game”.

Become objective.  I worry so naturally I had to step out of myself mentally so I could observe my symptoms of worrying.  If I had racing, repetitive thoughts, or a sick stomach, or shortness of breath, I knew those were signs of worry.  I would look at my thoughts, sort out the worries, and kick them out.  As I became more aware of my symptoms, I could catch the worries sooner.

Take it day by day.  If you tell God on Ash Wednesday that you will not worry again until Easter, you will fail.  Don’t look further ahead than one day.  Pray and then work through the day to run the worries out of your head.  Even if you have to do it fifty or a hundred, or five hundred times a day at first, you have not failed.  Every day you work at it, you are fulfilling your vow.

If feel moved to give up worry for Lent, let me know how you are doing.

Scripture Saturday — Last Thoughts on the Solar Eclipse

bible-998150_1280In the days leading up to the solar eclipse, my husband mentioned how extraordinary the phenomenon is. The moon is the perfect size to block the sun and leave the corona visible. Both the sun and the moon are the perfect distance from each other. According to Wikipedia in the article “solar eclipse”, if “the Moon were in a perfectly circular orbit, a little closer to Earth,  and in the same orbital plane, there would be total solar eclipses every month. However, since the Moon’s orbit it tilted at more than 5 degrees to the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, its shadow usually misses Earth.” To read more of this article, click here.

The eclipse reminds me that in God the Creator, He combines the Ultimate Scientist with the Ultimate Artist. Although the nature we see isn’t perfect due to death, it still functions with a beauty that makes us smile and catch our breath. Can you imagine what perfect nature will be like in the new heaven and new earth?

Perhaps we limit ourselves when we try to split science from art. Some inventions work, but we like the ones that work beautifully. An artist still has to understand the elements of his art. A sculptor must know how different materials behave under different applications and which one would be best to accomplish a particular work.

I am going to keep this in mind when I write. There is a “science” in writing — understanding parts of speech, word definitions, sentence structure — and I should take full advantage of that “science” so I can meld it with the art and creat something beautiful.

Scripture Saturdays

bible-450298_1280I’m sorry it’s been so long since I posted in this category. My time got away from me this summer and I have just now found it. Since Easter, I’ve been reading the Psalms and Proverbs.  I like the structure of the Psalms. The verses are usually a kind of couplet in which the same thing is described two different ways.

Psalm 37:1-2:

“Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon whither, like green plants they will soon die.”

I’m not sure where I read it, but a writer pointed out that because of this structure, the Psalms translate into any language. Its poetry isn’t dependent on rhyme.

Proverbs also uses this dual structure. Sometimes it does it the same way as the Psalms, such as in Chapter 17:17:

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”

But many of the Proverbs are couplets that demonstrate an opposite.

Proverbs 14:23-24:

“All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”

“The wealth of the wise is their crown, but the folly of fools yield folly.”

My favorite chapter in Proverbs is Chapter 30, “the Sayings of Agur”. It uses a structure only found in this chapter.

Proverbs 30:15-16:

“There are three things that are never satisfied, four that never say, ‘Enough!’: the grave, the barren womb, land, which is never satisfied with water, and fire, which never says, ‘Enough!'”

Proverbs 30:24:

“There are three thing that are stately in their stride, four that move with stately bearing: a lion, mighty among beasts, who retreats from nothing,; a strutting rooster, a he-goat, and king secure against revolt.”

I like how these list are constructed and would love to be able to write some with modern meanings. Now that I’ve found my time, maybe I will do that.

Here are some of my favorite verses from the Psalms:

Psalm 24:1:

“The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it.

Psalm 24:7

“Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, your ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.”  I like this verse because it is the first line of a hymn I grew up with.

Psalm 133:1, 3:

“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” “It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion, for there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.”

Psalm 121:1:

“I lift my eyes to the hill — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” I like this verse because I love mountains.

Scripture Saturday

flower-429645_1280What Easter Means to Me

I am trapped.

The boulder is heading straight for me and I know I can’t escape.  What good would it do anyway?

I’ve ended up in this exact situation before, too many times before, so why try to get away?

It’s my own stupid fault.  I finally get that.

There’s nothing I can do.

I huddle down against the impact, wondering how much this will hurt, wishing being truly sorry mattered.

I’m knocked to the ground.  But not by the boulder.

A man, a stranger, shoves me out of the way, and I just have time to look up and watch the boulder smash into him, shatter into a pile of rubble, and bury him.

I am too stunned to do anything but gape.  When I finally recover enough to move, the pile moves, too.  I stop, my eyes glued on the pile.

Flinging off the rocks, the man stands up.

I splutter, “B-b-but how?  But who?  But why?”

Brushing off the dust and dirt, the man gives me a huge grin and answers all my questions with one sentence.

“Dad sent me.”

Scripture Saturdays

hope-2046018_1280Still Hoping

I wanted to tell you how I was doing with giving up worrying and taking up hope for Lent.  Not very well is the answer.  I have been worrying a lot.  Not the stomach-sickening, paralyzing kind of worry, but the sneaky, persistent sort that makes me feel miserable before I can figure out why.

It is so alien to my nature to hope.  It feels false, like I am wearing an outfit I don’t like.  And our culture in general, in the arts specifically, equates hope with rose-colored glasses and chasing rainbows.  I can’t even estimate the number of times I have read that a TV series has “improved” because this season the storyline is darker, or an actor is excited her character has taken a dark turn.

I understand why artists turn to dark themes.  They believe that can get more dramatic mileage out of the destruction of a marriage than the restoration of one, out of a best friend’s betrayal than her faithfulness.

But it’s extremely difficult to live with such depressing expectations.  Since my feelings in this area often trick me, I will go with what I know, and what I know about hope I have found in the following verses:

Psalm 31:24: “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”sun-622740_1280

Psalm 42:5: “Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

Hebrews 6:19: “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”anchor-57748_1280

This is one I love Jeremiah 29:11: ” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to proper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”

Yesterday I actively hoped instead of worried about a problem.  I felt my heart grow lighter.  I came to the conclusion that since neither hoping or worrying changes the outcome of a situation in reality, I might as well hope.  Like any other skill, I have to practice it.

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