The Day I Ate a Moth

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Running….running…running!  Breathing hard, knew I was already late.


Out of breath and gasping for more, I wasn’t planning to stop until I reached the church.   I couldn’t miss!  I had to get there.   With several blocks left to go, I stepped up my race-pace.  The Red team would be toast once I arrived!

Watery eyes made me squint, and I could hear myself gulping air.  My lungs were stinging, but I was purposed.  My numb legs mechanically trekked the sidewalk.  Nothing could stop me now!

Nothing that is – – – – except a huge moth!  

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Into my mouth it flew and plastered itself to the back of my throat.   I had inhaled this monster-bug!   (Well, maybe technically, they are not bugs.)

Ugggghhhh!   Yuk! Pft!  Pft!  Cough…sputter…gag!  Then, (wouldn’t you know it) my involuntary response kicked in and….I swallowed it!       I wanted to throw up, but I couldn’t.

While I was still bent over, making obtuse retching sounds,  a concerned passerby, tried to help.  Saliva drooled to the ground and my voice wouldn’t work to respond.  All I could think of was, “leave me alone!”


Still slobbering and wheezing, my embarrassment overtook me!  All I could do was run. 

“Let me help you…..”  the voice trailed as I left behind my surprised would-be rescuer.

I didn’t care.

Rounding the corner and out of sight, stopping was finally mandatory.  Now I was sick to my stomach and the convulsions hit.  My lunch, the moth, and stomach slime splattered the sidewalk and my shoes. 

By the time I collected myself and got to the church, I was a mess.  All I wanted to do was find the bathroom. 

I no longer cared that I was the star of the Blue team and that they couldn’t live without ME.  I no longer cared about winning.  The wind had been knocked out of my sails and I was just glad for a place of respite. 

Faintly aware that I smelled like curdled milk, I sat in the back and watched the two Bible teams go at it.

Sure I knew all the answers, but suddenly, it wasn’t so important.  I realized that it was just good to have a place where I was safe and could recover.  My head and body hurt. 

That day I actually HEARD many of the bible passages that had previously become rote. 

Even though I was a pre-teen, I got it.   God’s Word comforted me that day like nothing else.

And next time I run?   I’ll keep my mouth closed!
This post has been linked to Michelle’s Thought Provoking Thursday
Also linked with Jennifer at: God-Bumps and God-Incidences
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Who’s Your Daddy?





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“Lot’s daughters helped him out – -” the deep voice trailed.
My ears stung and then time stopped.
Immediately transported to the bedroom area of our small three-room housekeeping rental at the Old Mission Motel in Oakland, California, I was in third grade.   It was early morning and hunger pangs doubled me over as I searched desperately on the closet floor for something to wear. 
Everything was thrown together – clean and dirty.  I heard my father coming and panic set in.  I wasn’t dressed!  I hid in the closet and continued to rummage.  All I wanted was some sort of top to cover me.  He called out.  I didn’t say anything because I was frantic.
The closet door flew open. 
“Come here” he laughed and tried to pull me out. 
“No!”  I cried   “I’m trying to get dressed!”   Flailing about to cover my chest, I ran back into the closet.
Then the comments came – about my naked body, that is.  Maybe he thought they were cute but I was mortified.   Who talks to their nine year old daughter like that? 
He tried to hug me, but I wouldn’t have it and pushed away.  I only wanted to cover up!  His big hands always managed to be in places that made me recoil. Then the teasing…..
Like an immature school-boy, my father berated me.  He didn’t like being rejected. The sharp remarks let me know that HE paid for everything.
Yeah?  If he was so good at it, how come I was always cold and hungry? And…how come I always had to care for the younger kids?  How come we were in this motel and not a home?  Where were my under wear, socks and some shoes… and, where was my mother?
Snapping back to the moment, I stared at the phone.  Did my father just . . .?   Did he just try to make me feel obligated to “help him out” by misusing part of a Bible story about Lot and his daughters?  
My face and neck flushed.  My ears hurt and I felt quite odd! No words can describe the flooding mix of emotions.
It was already late in the evening.  My husband and two young children were asleep, and I was on my way to bed . . . when the phone rang.
It seems my father was in between women – again!  He was feeling sorry for himself.  My efforts to encourage him and give him some great Bible verses which had helped me, fell fruitless.
How could I have missed it?   All my life, I couldn’t help but feel that his hugs were out of line.  When he’d ask for a kiss, he turn his head at the last second so the kiss so it would land on his mouth instead of his cheek.
I hated it when he would get “huggy” with any of my friends, especially as I got older.   His behavior just didn’t feel “normal”. Some of them reacted the same way I did.  His flattery toward others of them often evoked their admiration.  How needy they must have been for attention from their own fathers. 
Even later, when my daughters were older, they mentioned that they felt “funny” around Grandpa. He was “creepy”.  I tried to think the best, but there was always that strange unsettledness in my gut.
After he married his fourth, much younger, wife I ended up with a half-sister the same age as my youngest daughter.  Whenever they came around, something in me rebelled! I didn’t like it! It was like he was in competition with me over kids, career, everything.
Once he showed up at my door and said he had given his life back to God.  Still, I didn’t trust him. 
During my childhood there were long periods of time where I didn’t see or talk with him because all of us kids were here and there – in the homes of relatives, friends or even strangers – wherever my father could place us to be cared for while he worked . . . and my mother was hospitalized. I didn’t mind the separation so much because I didn’t have to think about how to cope with my father.
The positive and the good about my father should have offset his shortcomings, right?  At least that is what I told myself.
I couldn’t believe it though, when he visited, it was always all about him and what he’d been up to.  He, his current wife and daughter would blow in, unannounced.  He’d ramble about whatever project he was involved with or where he was going to preach, and then?  Then, they would blow right out as fast as they’d come.  That was, however, AFTER they had finished off the food or snacks we had hurried to prepare for them.
Things were always a bit strained.  My biological father didn’t know me or my family. We never had the opportunity to share anything about us.  Being hit by a bulldozer, couldn’t have left me more wounded. The whole time, MY poor little family didn’t know what hit them either. 
My middle daughter shyly approached my father with a school project about family and asked if she could interview him.  He bluntly refused her.  She was so hurt; she remembers to this day that her grandfather couldn’t take a little bit of time to help her.
Selfish and self-important, my father continually bragged about the places to which he had traveled to preach or to tout the “book” he had written (self-published).   He never knew, but his youngest child had coined the phrase, “Great White Missionary”, to describe our father’s mind-set – – and it stuck.
Several times he had chosen “missions trips” over caring for and feeding his own children.  There were many unintentional consequences attached to this neglect. 
Right up until the day of his death, I don’t think he ever really got it!
Physical heart trouble plagued him and eventually weakened him altogether. But, what he really needed was to go to God for a spiritual heart-transplant. 
Only God can keep a person’s heart convinced of HIS love.  Only GOD can fill any void.
Only God can provide a person with purpose and worth.
If my father would have actually placed his trust in God as a Father, he would have experienced contentment and the joys of his salvation. 
It is with a distant sadness that I say that he was a “legend in his own mind”; a byword to his children. 
Unfortunately, my image of God as a Father was severely tainted by the father-image modeled to me.
Distrust and insecurity plagued me for a long time.
It was only when I embraced the idea about being a new creation in Christ, while old things – old ways of doing things and seeing things – had passed away, that my impression of God began to change.
All things became new. NEW?  Something that had never before existed? The very thought!   I could hardly contain myself!
I learned that I could come boldly before the throne of Grace that I might find mercy and grace to help in time of need.  Could it be?  Could I solidly place my trust right there?
When I learned that God was not a man that He should lie, my spirit experienced liberty!
How comforting.  Abba!   Daddy!  My Father God.
I’m never ashamed or afraid in YOUR presence. 
How comforting.  How freeing to KNOW God as My Father.
This post is Linked to Shanda’s  On your Heart Tuesday
Also linked with Joan Davis Sharing His Beauty
And at Hazel’s Tell Me a True Story at: http://letmetelluastory.blogspot.com/

God’s First Responders

People and circumstances float in and out of my mind all day long. I’ll think to myself,  “Hmmm, I wonder how they are…wonder what’s going on with them?”

On the surface, it’s a passing thought.  Sometimes it returns.  Maybe the returning thought is a bit like a knock on the door? I wonder how many times I have ignored that knock?

One thing for sure, it always strikes me funny that when I actually settle down for a “planned” prayer time, my mind goes BLANK!

Other times, I’m driven to prayer and to intercession.  The night holds many secrets too. I am often awakened with someone on my heart.  Some evenings, I can’t even get to sleep because I’m musing. 

This was so a few nights ago.  My thoughts tended toward a certain family member.  I prayed – not long – but asked God to minister His peace and love to her. A lot of old-time hymns began rising in my spirit. I felt like God cradled her in His arms. I went to sleep.  Awakening, I learned that she moved home to heaven that night.

Just days ago, the face of a distant friend popped into my thinking.   I actually had to stop what I was doing, to get on Facebook to post the prayer God had stirred in my heart. That very day, she responded in a worried manner, asking for continued prayer.  Chest pains and fear had gripped her solidly.  She said the prayer helped. After a Doctor visit, she reported that her blood pressure was out of control, and that she had to quit smoking.  This is a Christian lady, and I wasn’t even aware she smoked.  She admitted it to me and asked for me to pray to help her stop.  Was I a little surprised?  Yes…but not really.

Yesterday, a name stirred in my heart, so I grabbed my phone and shot her a text with a special message.  There was no response.  None, that is, until this morning! 

Early, my phone chimed with a barrage of texts!  She was so glad I had contacted her! 

For over a year, she and her abusive husband have been separated.  His acrid attitude and mouth have tormented both her and her daughter. The daughter had not spoken to him for over four months. 

A heart attack suddenly claimed his life, yesterday.  Apparently my friend had received my text, and was, later, confronted with the news of his death.  I sat, a little stunned, but thankful to the Lord that I had moved on it. 

Whew!   It’s a bit mind-boggling!  The Holy Spirit’s timing, that is!

I’m convinced that this  pray-without-ceasing-thing is pretty much to be the order of the day for every Child of God.

Instant in season?  God isn’t kidding.  We are His First Responders here on this earth!
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A warrior has his senses trained by reason of use and his armor has to be ready!  The problem is, when messages come, we think it is just us or maybe we don’t hear so well.

Our senses, which belong to this world, are to be trained to be sensitive to directives from another world – the Spirit realm.  It is certainly a paradigm shift!

Since our spirit is always in touch with the Spirit of God, the “tuning in” is our part to practice.  Although I am NOT perfect at recognizing and reacting to the messages, my station, HSCN  (Holy Spirit Channel-Nancy) is coming in more and more clearly these days. 

Thought-triggers can be indirect.  Some are obviously urgent, but most aren’t.  I yearn to be so exercised that the “hearing” becomes the “doing.” Martial arts calls it “mind-body reflex.”

Before that can happen, I have to consider one other thing.  James 1:25 – “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the word, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

Part of being able to hear relates to my familiarity with God’s Instruction Book. What do I do with what I have found there?   I do NOT want to be a forgetful hearer! 

So what is my take-away?  Here is the order.  Stop ( …be still and know that HE is God). Look (…into His Word).  Listen ( …receive instruction).  Continue  (…stay in the Word and practice).   Do it  (…act now)!  

God is counting on us!   Being a First Responder is vital.  
This post has been entered at Hazel’s, Tell Me a True Story
And at Joan Davis’s Sharing His Beauty

Angel-of-the-Canyon

Driving through the canyon at night could be a little spooky!  There were few lights where the freeway wound around the hills.
When I was a teen, it seemed to take forever to get through that area and into the valley beyond.   Maybe it was because there wasn’t much to see.  A harvest moon nearly kissed the hills and made them glow in the fall, but otherwise I remember the canyon ride for its darkness.
One bright spot in the trip held as much anticipation as it did mystery. Set way back off to the side of the freeway, up a hilly drive, was an ethereal sight that we dubbed, “The Angel.”
Its welcome glow cast a supernatural aura of excitement and peacefulness over me, all at the same time.  With eagerness, I always looked for it and gazed as long as I could before it was out of sight.  Even as I became old enough to drive, year in and year out, it never failed me.  My thoughts were always turned heavenward and to God’s power; to His love, mercy and greatness – even after a brief glimpse. 
Actually, it was hard to make out what kind of figure it was.  By day, the structure and its contents were not well visible, but blended into the hillside.
Years later, a news article caught my eye.  It was about MY angel!
The owner of the property said that many people were under the impression that it was an angel, or the Virgin Mary.  In his words, it was a huge “icon,” a statue that he found on one of his trips.  
POP!    My wonderful bubble burst.  I found myself a bit irritated with that guy!   As crazy as it sounds, I wish he would have kept the information to himself. 
I had not been superstitious, nor did I think the angel actually had any miraculous power.  I just liked seeing its shimmering light in the darkness.  It reminded me of the angel who stood guard at Jesus’ tomb.
What captivated me then?     It was HOPE!     It still captivates . . .
The supernatural. The miraculous. The Divine.  Angels represented all that.  They were everywhere in the Bible.  They brought news, instructions, encouragement, and hope. 
Why do I say HOPE?  I say hope because, “Fear not…”   were usually the first words spoken by these angel messengers.  (Their awesome presence would cause most people to faint otherwise)
           
Matt 28:5-6 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.   He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come see the place where the Lord lay.
Jesus’ miraculous birth, His sacrifice and His resurrection were part of The Divine Plan of Father God, predicted by prophets and announced by angels. 
           
History has it that stained glass, mosaics, carvings and other art which decorated churches and cathedrals, were intended to inspire the worshiper. In other places, the art depicted Bible stories for those who could not read,
My Angel-of-the-canyon inspired ME! 
The statue is no longer lighted, and,  unless you know what your are looking for,  it is gone from sight too.  But, the memory is not.   As for me, I did not lose the wonder it stirred . . . and I didn’t lose my HOPE.
He is Risen!   That’s what the angel said!
 

This post is linked to Deidra’s Sunday Jump Tandem

Also to:  Hazel’s  Tell Me a True Story

Only God. . . Only God!

Class at National School of Dental Assisting,  in N. California
“Dental Assisting School,”  I answered.  
After inadvertently being forced into a recess for over 6 months by circumstances beyond my control, I was so happy that the calls were finally starting to come in!
The woman on the other end carefully inquired about the duration of the session, the tuition and the payment plans.  She paused, and then asked if she could pay about $100/ month.
“I’m sorry, but the school is so small that it cannot carry students.  The best I can do is split payments into 6 months,” was my reply. 
I suggested that she plan for sometime next year. Her voice trailed as she thanked me for my time.  I sensed disappointment.
Now any other person would have just let her hang-up so they could get on with THEIR business. I knew something was up. 
“Don’t give up!” I called out before she could go.
“What?  What did you say?”
“Well….”, I began.  “Don’t give up! You could set a goal for yourself and begin putting your budget of $100/month into a savings account.  I have had other students who did that,  and they were finally able to attend.    By the way, what is it you want to do with yourself? What would you like to accomplish by attending this small school?”
My questions evoked a rash of emotions from her.  Excitement, fear, tears and then, hope. 
There was no hesitation – her story gushed.
Apparently, she had been on the path to a wonderful career in Dental Hygiene when cancer took her on a 10-year detour.  It was a fight for her life, but she made it!
It had cost her some prime time in her life, and any financial security she had established, but she was alive!  Her mother and an uncle were not so lucky.  They suffered similarly, but did not recover.
I listened, hushed, whispering a prayer.
This woman did not feel adequate enough to approach the dental field without some type of refresher course.  She told me that her best hope was to, maybe, work as a dental assistant.
“Okay,” I responded.  “Now close your eyes, “ I continued.   “Are they closed??”
 “Yes.” My ears heard it….a small, but compliant “Yes.”
“Okay”.  “Father God I am coming to you on behalf of this precious woman.  God, You know all things and I know you didn’t send her to me by accident…..”
The prayer became energized by the Holy Spirit and covered a lot of things that I might not have been able to figure out on my own.
I love it when God takes over.  He knows the end from the beginning, and he began speaking out her life and His love for her.  He spoke of guidance and encouragement; of having ears to hear and eyes open to opportunities. 
“…Amen.”
“Amen,”  she echoed.  We were both quiet for a moment as the reality of what had just happened sunk in.  The she became happily excited as we discussed other possibilities for her.  I promised to e-mail her some helpful info.. 
Did I sign up another student at a time when I so desperately needed one? No, not her anyway.
Did I do what God directed me to do?  Yes.
It would have been much easier to go back to creating the advertising piece on which I had been working, by just hanging up before any conversation could commit me.
All in all, it didn’t really hurt me to step out.
She hadn’t expected it!   An unexpected demonstration of God’s love, go figure!  He is way beyond cool! 
A faceless, nameless voice on the phone told her that she wasn’t forgotten.   An unexplainable bit of confirmation let her know that God was, indeed, guiding her, and that things were turning around. 
She was in awe.  Her voice reflected joy and hope as we ended the call.

I am in awe too.   Only God….Only God.  

Please visit the sites this post has been shared with at:
and with Hazel’s Tell Me a True Story