But, we’re still good. We have one roll left in the guest bathroom and two rolls left in the master bath plus two skimpy partial rolls.
Like you and everyone else, I don’t want to run out of toilet paper!
But, what if we do??
We’ll all be glad when this is over and can get back to our normal lives. This sudden smack in the face has shown me what little control I have over things like covid-19 and empty shelves at Walmart and people getting sick and dying.
As a believer, I know that God is bigger than covid-19 and that He is willing and able to take care of me and my family. I know that when I’m afraid I can talk to Him and find peace. I’m thankful that God is bigger than the universe and has everything under control and that I don’t have to worry about silly things like running out of toilet paper because He promises to supply all my needs.
And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus (even toilet paper). Philippians 4:19
Easter Sunday was almost as exciting to my brothers and me as Christmas morning. As poor as we were, mom always made Easter special by cramming our baskets full of candy. We couldn’t wait to jump out of bed Easter morning and hunt for the baskets mom had hidden the night before. I will never forget those golden moments of joy and happiness.
Some of my Easter creations are soft and whimsical, reminding me of the joy and excitement of the Easter Bunny and baskets filled with goodies. But the last few of my creations are dark and grungy, reminding of the suffering Jesus bore on the cross for my sins. Like Christmas, Jesus is the reason for the season!
free for your own personal use
Click on any picture to enlarge or begin slideshow
So, I’m paralyzed. Been this way since the car accident. I can’t walk. I can’t feed myself, bathe myself, even brush my own teeth. And this Man comes to me and asks, “Do you want to get well?”
And with a big, pearly white-toothed smile I say, “No. I’m good. I like people waiting on me hand and foot. I like using my handicap as a crutch. I like not having to do anything, prove anything, take responsibility for anything. I like people coddling me, making excuses for me, doing everything under the sun for me.
Of course, this ridiculous scenario is just fiction. I’m physically healthy. I can clean my own house, pull weeds from my flowerbeds, even walk around the block a few times.
But the man Jesus approached at the healing pool had been an invalid for thirty-eight years and Jesus had the audacity to ask him, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6)
Why would Jesus ask such a no-brainer question? Why would He even think that the man wouldn’t want to be healed? He was at the healing pool, wasn’t he?
As a snotty-nosed kid, and seeing the world through my over-sized rose-tinted glasses I often wondered about that scripture. Then, when I grew up and those glasses got punched off my face, I saw the world and the people in it differently. I even saw myself differently.
Reality stinks. It rattles our brain and makes us see things about ourselves and others that we’d rather not. Don’t open my eyes and I won’t have to see how people use their long-time physical and emotional handicaps to bully and control others. Stick in a pair of earplugs and I won’t have to hear their never-ending moans and groans.
It’s funny how you can sit in a room with strangers or even people you know and friendly conversations often become a contest of who had the most surgeries or take the most pills or has the worst ailments or suffers the most pain.
Why do people do that?
As kids growing up, my brother and I had rheumatic fever, but Kenny’s was more severe than mine. He was sickly all the time, in and out of the hospital and pumped full of penicillin at the least sign of a cold. He cried a lot. Was coddled and babied a lot. And I felt ignored a lot.
Then, when I was in the third grade, I got deathly sick every day after lunch and laid my head on my desk trying not to throw up all over the floor. Finally, mom and daddy took me to the doctor to discover I had walking pneumonia.
Finally! I was one up on my brother and rubbed it in his face boasting that I was the sickest, now and it’s my turn to get all the attention!
But, Kenny wasn’t having it and argued that he was still the sickest. After dragging mom into it, she finally ended the contest by calling it a tie. We were both equally sick.
For many years I expected people to treat me with kid gloves because of my out-of-whack emotional disorders. I relied on others to do things for me that I was afraid of doing myself. I relied on my loved ones to protect and defend me, to be there for me, to boost my confidence, to validate and make excuses for me. And the more I relied on others the more dependant I became.
Then hearing my desperate cries at the healing pool one day, Jesus knelt beside me and whispered, “Do you want to get well?”
When the prison doors swung open, I just stood there gazing wide-eyed into the vastness of freedom. It was scary out there without my crutches —- those emotional handicaps I so desperately clung to for so long. The smell of freedom was alluring and sweet, but stepping into it was like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute.
I still rely on the love and support of my family, but I don’t expect them to sit and hold my hand twenty-four hours a day, not that I ever did. I don’t expect them to make up for everything I lost throughout my life. I don’t expect them to coddle me and pamper me and agree with every single thing I do or say.
Just as God has set me free I set others free. I know what it’s like to be bullied by someone else’s handicaps and I’d rather cry alone in the coldest, darkest cave than to ever do that to the ones I love.
Freedom always comes at a cost, especially if you’ve been enslaved for a long, long time. In order to gain one thing you have to let go of another and another and another, whatever tattered rag you’re clinging to because it feels reliable and safe.
And as crazy as it seems, many people would rather lay around sucking on their emotional pacifiers than get off their pity pot and walk.
I don’t want to be one of those people. I want to get well. I want to be what I was created to be. I want to take up my mat and walk like a boss!
When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, He asked him, “Do you want to get well?” John 5:6
Free for your own personal use
Click on any picture to enlarge or begin slideshow
Sugar and spice and everything nice
That’s what Eve was made of
And placed in the Garden of beauty and charm
To bask in the warmth of God’s love
Then along came a serpent so charming and sweet
With a hellish mission in mind
To crush and destroy the apple of God’s eye
And to rob her trusting soul blind
How foolish was she that fateful day
When she ate from the forbidden tree
And lost the cloak of God’s righteousness
For all eternity
But even before He formed the clay
God had a plan for man-kind
To redeem and restore our broken souls
And give us life sublime
He sent to earth His only Son
To die on a rugged tree
To wash away sin’s ugly stain
And to set our spirits free
I was weaned on hymns and Jesus loves me songs. I believed that God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit were all three in one. I believed that Jesus was born and lived and died on the cross to save me from all my wretched sins. With every breath I believed in God’s love, but my battered, bleeding soul couldn’t grasp it.
For many, gut-wrenching years my God-relationship went something like this: Jesus was my best friend. The Holy Spirit was a floating ghost. God was a mighty giant somewhere high above and looking down with glaring, scornful eyes. Oh, and His arms were always crossed and his foot tapping beneath His long, flowing white robe.
In my mind, heart and soul, God was anything but love. I couldn’t get close to Him no matter how hard I tried, so I quit trying. I just stumbled through life with Jesus somewhere near, the Holy Spirit floating far behind, and God looking way down shaking His head with absolute disgust.
But a constant, nagging, desire to know God, that mysterious giant in the clouds, flickered in my heart, guiding me toward the truth about myself, about my shattered past, about God and His unconditional love for the seemingly most undeserving ragamuffin on the planet.
I could tell you about the dark, lonely, twisted path I followed that led me straight into God’s, outstretched arms. I could tell you how I trembled and sobbed there, how He cleansed and clothed my filthy, naked heart, how I never ever felt such warmth and love and forgiveness. But if you truly want to know God you must doggedly follow the crumbs scattered along your own dark and twisted path. You must see His outstretched arms through your own tear filled eyes. You must feel His love and forgiveness with your own sobbing, broken heart.
Then you will know.
Then you will never question His love again. He will never seem a million miles away again. He will be the father the mother the brother the sister the everything you searched and longed your whole life for but never found. Then you’ll have only dipped one little toe into the vastness of God’s love, His mercy and forgiveness. Try with every fiber of your God-created being and you’ll never understand it. You’ll never be able to explain it. You’ll just know!
It’s Sunday morning. A few years ago, I would be putting on makeup, fixing my hair, slipping into my Sunday best, grabbing my Bible and heading out the door for church.
But, like I said, that was a few years ago.
As a kid, mom never had to fight with me to go to church. I wanted to go. Like, taking a bath and washing behind my ears, it’s what I did. It’s who I was. Besides, anywhere my mother went is where I wanted to go. I even begged her to let me go with her when Oliver Green https://en.wikipedia.org held revival tent meetings in our community, promising to get up in time for school the next morning.
I got saved when I was five. Got baptized when I was seven in a freezing cold creek on a freezing cold Easter Sunday morning in Landenberg, Pennsylvania. Jokingly I tell people my sins were frozen when I got baptized.
I can’t remember a time growing up that I didn’t go to church or Bible School or Christian Camps or revival tent meetings. Regretfully, for reasons unknown, I never got to go with mom to the Billy Graham Crusade back in the ’50’s.
Yet, here I sit this cool, Sunday morning, drinking coffee on my messy, cluttered back porch having church. In my pajamas. No makeup. No spiffy outfit. No congregation. No choir. No entertainment. No preacher behind the pulpit. No Bible on my lap. Just me and God and the birds and the squirrels.
And God spoke to me. He told me stuff about myself that I didn’t want to hear. He broke my heart. He made me cry. He made me see into the depths of my soul. And there I sat, coffee cup in my hands, tears streaming down my face, seeing and hearing and surrendering my stubborn will to God.
I could give you a million reasons why I stopped attending church, but that would only open a can of ugly worms and be seen as blasphemy in the minds of many. And nothing anyone can do or say will ever change the way I feel and perceive the church today. And the last thing I want to hear is that you have to go to church to worship God or to even get one little toe into heaven. That kinda limits those who are bed-ridden in nursing homes, or hospice or an iron lung, don’t you think?
So please, don’t question those who don’t attend church. Question those sitting in church whenever the doors are open. Question their motives for being there. Watch what they do. Hear what they say. No one is what he or she wants people to believe they are; especially in church.
Things happened in the church I attended for over twenty years that after four years, I’m still working through the hurt, anger, and disappointment. Things that opened my eyes and made me question, made me think, made me wonder why I didn’t quit attending church long ago before it finally crushed my spirit.
People will argue that I need to be in church to connect with other Christians. Well, that’s funny because most of the time I felt as connected sitting in church as I did walking through a crowded mall.
So, there fly’s that theory out the window.
I’ve heard all the arguments, I’ve weighed all the pro’s and con’s, and I’m over feeling guilty for the choice I’ve made. I feel happy and free from the hypocrisy and pretenses I observed and adopted over the years. It’s like my brain went through a deprogramming process of what I once perceived as truth and discovered that much of it was a lie. Especially all the rules and regulations made by the church to keep its members on the straight and narrow and making a good appearance.
So today and the next day and the next, my church is my heart; the Holy Temple of God. As broken and screwed up as it is at times, it’s where God really wants to be. I think He enjoys cleaning and redecorating as much as I do. Anyway, He kicks off His dusty sandals, pulls up a chair and makes Himself at home there. And if He sees a crooked picture on the wall or dirt on the floor, He doesn’t shake His head and wag His finger in disgust, He helps me straighten it and clean it up. Best of all, I don’t have to dress up, primp up or put on my Sunday-best behavior. I just have to be me. Raw and naked, honest to the bone me.
So tell me, why should that offend anyone?
I raised the windows in the living room, poured a cup of coffee and snuggled in my favorite chair. The one that glides and swivels so I can keep busy while I’m sitting and doing nothing. The one that Pepper loves when she curls on my lap and I rock her to sleep. The one where I sit and think and dream and talk to God.
So, as I sat gazing out the window, feeling the breeze, listening to the wind chimes, and watching the salamander skittering across the porch rail, God whispered,
“Stop pushing so hard and trying to fix everything. Stop fretting about getting old. Stop worrying about your husband’s diabetes. Stop complaining because you can’t do things you did ten years ago. Just keep trusting me. I have everything under control. I will never let you down.”
Yeah. God whispered that to me this morning through the gentle breeze, the tinkling wind chimes, and the salamander skittering across the porch rail.
Only ‘The Shadow’s Nose Really Knows’ for Sure!
Corpus Christi, Texas
The journey from the very start
If you can't see it, is it real?
This site is dedicated to my amazing writing skills.
Art is something that makes you breathe with a different kind of happiness
Art is the only way to run away without leaving home ~ Twyla Tharp
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. ~ Psalm 147:3
My Personal Space On The Web To Post Anything That Tickles My Fancy
A place of Love and Security
The Power of Story
Random thoughts, life lessons, hopes and dreams