Last year I decided to take a word and claim it for the year- just one word that I wanted to work on and have God accomplish in me. A word that (whenever I heard it, read it, or saw it) would remind me to cultivate this special quality. Last year’s word was JOY. This year’s word is one that I will struggle with all year and possibly still struggle with even when I move onto my next word. Let’s see if I can even get this word out- TRUST! Why is this so hard for me?
I’ve been starting to realize how self-reliant I have become. Life seems easier if you do not need to depend on anyone for anything. No worry about being hurt or taken advantage of, no worry of dreams not coming true. Then God struck me with the fact that I haven’t been trusting others; but even more importantly, I haven’t been trusting Him.
“Child, you have been fighting your way through life trying to get what you want- when you want it- on your own power. You have held me off from guiding your footsteps, and you have held off people who would walk beside you.”
“But, God, seriously, I used to trust You and others; but then I got smart. I mean, why would I bother with people when they only end up leaving me or rejecting me? And as for You, well that’s another subject. You know what I was supposed to be doing with my life by now, but here I am, still uncertain about what the future holds for me.”
“Oh, so you think that you can’t trust Me because I did not make life go exactly like you thought it should. You think that because you’re an author, you can write the best plot. My Dear, you have so much to learn. If you would only let go of the pencil for a little, I could script a story that would blow you away. See, I’m good at that, very good.”
“But what about all those people who allowed You to script their lives and they ended up dead in a prison camp, ambushed by killers, burnt at the stake, or suffering from cancer. That’s not how I want my life’s book to read- ‘MarJanita, faithful follower of God died ? from enemy explosion as she was trying to rescue children from the war zone.’ I want it to read- ‘MarJanita, celebrated and accomplished writer, musician, world-traveler, and philanthropist will now be making her appearance at the Giant Center to give a speech on her latest book The Three Keys to Open the Door of Success.'”
“See, that’s what I have been trying to tell you. You can’t trust because you think you know what is best, but you really don’t. No offense, but you’re human, you’re not God. Your understanding is limited. What you don’t realize is that when I write someone’s story I write it in mystery-novel style. I don’t write plain comedy, because although life is fun it is also serious. I don’t write plain romance, because sometimes love is hard to see and you need to come to Me to find it. I don’t write plain tragedy, because there is also joy in life; and I don’t write biographies, because that would mean there is an end to the story. I write mysteries, but I won’t reveal the ending until you’re sitting here with Me and I can personally read it to you. I am trying to do something very special; I only wish you could see that.”
“Okay, I’m starting to understand, but why do I need other people?”
“When have you read a story with only one character in it?”
“That’s right, because life would be pretty lonely if there was only one star in the show. Yes, you will get hurt when you open your heart to others, some will only be with you to see what they can gain. Others will find someone else to walk beside and move out of your life. But enjoy the moments when they are right there in your story walking through life with you. Loving and being loved are the richest blessings you can find. To be without that is a tragedy indeed.”
So, I finally tried to let go, let go of my wishes, my dreams, and my hold on life and what I love. And God took the pencil from my hand and started to write. In the last few weeks, He has shocked me with what He has written. I like to think that I can create some imaginative stories, but God can script things that we can not even begin to think and form on our own.
So this year, I’m going to try to be okay with my life being a mystery novel. In my novel there will be comedy, tragedy, romance, and suspense; but I’m going to have to wait for it all to come together until I reach Home- and I’m going to try to be okay with that because I will TRUST! Blessings to you as you continue to let God guide you as well.
King James Version (KJV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Daily Prompt: BYOB(ookworm)
Daily Prompt: Mirror, Mirror
Look in the mirror. Does the person you see match the person you feel like on the inside? How much stock do you put in appearances?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us MIRRORED.
I yawn and push my hair back behind my ear as I lean forward to survey myself in the mirror. I wrinkle my nose in disgust at the puffy eyes and the sleep lines criss-crossing my forehead.
I look closer and deeper in shock as suddenly the mirror begins to vibrate and pull apart into a new reflecting substance. I gasp as I no longer see my blue eyes and curly hair, but instead see my soul- every thought and feeling and emotion.
I quickly look away, not sure if I really want to see all of this. Is this the way I look inside? What would people say if they could see this?
I always thought that the outside of me matched the inside of me, but now I’m not so sure. The outside of me always wears a smile and a laugh, but the inside of me speaks of hurt and tears. The outside of me is dressed just right, but the inside of me is scattered and confused. I did not realize how this part of me looked.
To the left I see an ugly blotch of jealousy; I quickly grab some concealer to cover it. Then I frantically try to scrub away the acne of pride. Soon, I begin to use the tweezers on complaining.
I look away from the mirror and fall back into a chair in frustration because nothing I do seems to get rid of this ugliness within me. As I bury my head in my hands and weep, I hear a tender voice alongside of me. I cover my soul with my hands trying to hide what I want no one to see.
“It isn’t pretty is it? No matter how hard you have tried to gloss and shine the outside, the inside is quite the opposite.”
I nod my head in despair, still keeping my eyes lowered in shame.
“I have tried for years to get you to look at this part of you, but you were always too busy and wanted to pretend that there was nothing wrong. I wanted to show you, but only now were you willing to look.”
I grab a sweater and pull it over my open soul, “But, why do I have to? I wish I had never seen this. Why can’t I go on believing that the inside is as good as the outside?”
“Because, it is impossible for any human to have a perfect inside. The quicker you realize this, the quicker you can do something about it.”
“But I can’t do anything about it. I have tried everything that I can possibly do, but it all is still there.”
I feel soft hands raise my head and turn me towards himself. “Look into my eyes,” he commands.
Slowly, I lift my eyes until they lock with his. Never have I felt anything like this- I feel like I am about to drown in guilt, but yet there is such an unspeakable love that is holding me up above the waves. He pulls my sweater from me and guides me to the mirror once again. This time, instead of only seeing my horrible soul, I see his beauty and grace standing beside me. I now know that he is The Great Physician. I bow my head and clasp my hands as I plead, “Will you heal me?”
He does not say a word, but begins to wash my soul. Oh, it hurts to be sanitized and disinfected, but I keep my attention on his scarred hands to take my mind from the pain as He gently cleans. Suddenly he stops, I look at him wondering if it is possibly finished. He nods His head as if He had read my thoughts. Then He lifts His hands and I look into the mirror once again. I gasp. This could not be my soul. It must be someone else’s. The blacks and darks have been replaced with warmth and brightness. My soul seems to completely radiate and shine. All the defects have been replaced with beauty. Instead of jealousy there is love. Servanthood has replaced pride, and gratitude has taken the place of complaining. I finally get words out of my mouth, “How did you do this?”
He smiles as He shows me His hands and then clasps mine in His, “Because of this, my child. These hands were scarred and I was tortured so that I can make you as beautiful inside as you are outside- because the inside beauty is more important that the outside. The inside is who you really are. You need to be willing to look at your soul and come to me for washing whenever there is something ugly within your soul. If you let it grow unhindered, it will take control again; but if you allow me to keep you clean and pure, the lovely things that you now see will only bloom fuller and more perfect. You can not do it on your own, but I will always be here, my Daughter.”
Dear readers and friends, I will be logging off of WordPress for the next two weeks while I attend some classes out of the area. May God bless you and keep you as you continue to follow Him. Goodbye for now, and I hope to check back in with you again by January 20, 2014- Marjanita
I pushed my way into the house with my arms full of groceries and shoved the door shut behind me with my foot. I dropped the bags in a heap and prepared to brave the cold for the next load, but the note on the fridge caught my eye. It was scribbled in my mother’s handwriting and read, “A letter came for you today, it’s from some attorney’s office. You better check what it’s about. Start supper- I’ll be home soon. -Love, Mom.” I threw the note in the trash and sorted through the mail scattered across the counter. There it was, the letter. It was addressed to me, and the return address stated in business-type font that it was from The Office of Bashter, Rowledy, and Samswa Attorneys At Law in San Francisco, California. Curiosity got the best of me, and I tore open the envelope. I pulled out the sheets inside and started to glance over them. Phrases caught my eye, “Your uncle has passed away”, “You are the legal heir to his inheritance”, “Please come to California immediately”. I sank unto a chair and reread everything hoping for a little clue into this mystery.
“Hi, honey, I’m home,” Mom said as she came walking through the door. I did not hear her until she repeated it once more. “Why’s supper not ready?” she then asked. I did not say anything, only handed her the letter. I watched her eyes scan over the letter. She covered her mouth in shock as she turned pale. “Oh my!” was all she would repeat over and over to herself.
“Well?” I asked impatiently. “What’s this all about? I never knew that I had an uncle on your side of the family. You always told me that you were an only child.”
She fumbled a bit with the zipper on her jacket before answering, “Well, that’s what I tried to always believe and make you believe.” I raised my eyebrows. She continued, “I actually grew up in San Francisco with my parents and older brother, Timothy. When Dad and Mom died in the crash, Timothy was all that I had left. He looked after me and made sure that I got through college. He had big dreams of a brother/sister reporting team. You know, the kind that travel the world collecting stories and writing first-hand about events. Well, that was his dream, not mine. I just wanted to get married and raise a family; so when I met your father and moved away, Timothy said that he would never speak to me again. I guess I disappointed him pretty badly. I tried many times since then to contact him; each year I sent him a Christmas card and family picture, but I never heard back. I didn’t know what happened to him and what he ever did with his life; so this is just as much of a surprise to me as it is to you.” Mom stopped to catch a breath after hurrying through the past years of history.
I stepped off the plane into California. I had only dreamed of visiting this place, but now here I was with all expenses paid. I took the taxi to the Bashter, Rowledy, and Samswa Attorneys At Law office. To say that I was intimidated by the huge skyscraper before me would be an understatement. I walked in, feeling a bit out of place in my plaid shirt and jean skirt. I must have looked like a cowgirl to those black-clad suited attorneys. A secretary briskly led me to a room where a man was already seated at a long mahogany table. He stood to his feet as the secretary pulled a chair back and seated me across from him. Once we were seated, he cleared his throat and began, “I’m sure you know why you are here, Miss Trago.”
I timidly replied, “Actually, I really am not quite sure what all is happening. I never even met my uncle.”
The lawyer never blinked an eye, “That may be true, but he seemed to know you quite well. He was very vehement that you be the heir.”
“Heir? Of what? And how did he know me?” I blurted one question after another.
I thought I detected a slight sigh, “Your uncle, Timothy Card, was a very wealthy man. Very eccentric, but very wealthy. You’re looking at a multi-million dollar property, quite a few investments, and a special nest egg that will keep you warm and happy for a very long time.”
I sank backwards. It was strange, but I could have guaranteed that the room was spinning. I clasped my hands on the table before me trying to find some bodily proof that I was actually here and not only dreaming. I shook my head trying to clear the confusion. I was only an average American young adult. My car was on a loan, and my paycheck was pretty much used up by the end of the month with the bills of life. Money was something that I had not had much of a chance to build a relationship with. “Why me?” I squeaked out.
He pulled out a file, “Mr. Timothy Card was quite proud of you, his niece. It seems that he kept each Christmas card and family picture that your mother sent. He learned to know you and your personality through those annual letters, plus it seems that he was a follower of your blog, “writingandstuff”. He walked over and placed an envelope before me, “This was requested to be given you. It contains a personal letter from the deceased.” I picked up the envelope and stuck it into my purse so I could read it later in the privacy of my hotel room. “There is however one condition that must be met before you can obtain rights to the inheritance,” the lawyer said as he shuffled some more papers.
“Yes?” I nearly exploded from having to wait for each detail to come forth in its own slow agonizing way.
“You need to write a biography on the life of Mr. Timothy Card before assets will be available to you.”
He said it so nonchalantly, as if this was an everyday occurrence. I scratched my head, “What?”
This time, he seemed to have lost all patience, and I noticed a slight eyeroll. “I repeat, you need to write a biography on the life of Mr. Timothy Card before assets will be available to you.”
“I heard you the first time, but I don’t quite get it. I’m not a writer. I mean, I wouldn’t even know how to go about publishing a book,” I waved my hands emphatically.
I curled up under the downy comforter and pulled forth the letter from my uncle.
You don’t know me, but that’s okay. I have chosen you for a special gift. You probably are wondering why I have done this. I could have probably found someone else, even if I am an old bachelor; but I know you are the right one. I have read your blog and seen your passion. You are a writer; you see with your heart and then put those feelings unto paper. I always thought your mother would continue my dream, but she had dreams of her own. I ask you to write my biography because I want you to have to retrace my footsteps. I want you to read my articles, see the hurt in this world, and do something about it. You are the key to telling the world what is going on out there. You need to be the first one capturing the agony after an earthquake, the hopelessness after genocide, and the desperation during a famine so that you can tell others and bring help to those that can’t help themselves because of the impossible situation that they are within. Yes, I’m an eccentric old man; but that’s because I have spent my entire life fulfilling Jesus’ command of loving and helping and serving. That’s what I want for you, my dear niece. Yes, you will receive a great monetary reward from me when you complete this; but I know you will find an even greater treasure that money can’t begin to buy. Blessings for your Journey, Mr. Timothy Card.”
I folded the letter back up and held it to my heart. I was about to embark on the voyage of a lifetime, and I knew that I would never be the same again.
It was the same as always. I rolled my eyes as the dear woman beside me proceeded to tell a story once again. It wasn’t that I didn’t like her or her story; the fact was that I couldn’t believe a word she said. What made it so bad was that there was truth mixed in with the lies she constantly spun, making it hard to know what was right and what was wrong.
I cringed as he drew near me. I knew that I would suddenly be told the honest truth about myself. He seemed to always have a way of being upfront and truthful about the way I dressed, ate, sang, or simply lived…this usually resulted in that tearing within my soul that hurt pretty deeply.
How exactly am I supposed to answer that? This is something that I myself have struggled with on many occasions. What happens when your friend asks you if you like her hairstyle? Or what happens when you speak the truth, but it jeopardizes someone else?
I have to go back to the verse that says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!”
Earlier, I gave two examples of people I know. One is always on the borderline of white lies; the other is on the constant tirade of honest truth. Yes, the last one takes things a bit extreme; sometimes his honesty would have never even needed to be spoken. But if I was going to need an absolute answer that I could trust, I would go to him because I trust him. Honesty goes hand in hand with trust. Tell someone a lie or hide the truth, and you slowly chip away that valuable bridge of trust that has swung between your hearts.
As a Christian, I also go to what the Bible says about honesty.
Proverbs 12:22 ESV /
Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.
Proverbs 16:13 ESV /
Righteous lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right.
Proverbs 11:1 ESV /
A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say anything about being “too honest”. In fact, Proverbs 11:1 is saying that we are to be honest, even in our work and giving and selling. If God is so concerned about honesty that He tells us to be fair in every detail of life, I would think that He would agree that there is no such thing as “too much honesty”.
Yes, there are people who say things they would not need to say. There are people who use the truth as a cover to hurt others. We should know better than to use honesty in this way; for God tells us to love our neighbors and treat them with love and respect. That means that we speak honesty in a loving way, not as a tool to destroy.
What about when honesty compromises your own or other’s safety? I am reminded about the struggle between Corrie ten Boom and some of her family members. Corrie believed that she did not have to be honest when it came to safety; while Nollie and Cocky disagreed.
THE HIDING PLACE BOOKNOTES
CHAPTER SEVEN – Eusie
Even though Peter had come home, he was still not safe, because German soldiers were using a method of forced servitude that the Dutch called the “razzia.” They would perform a lightning search and seizure of all the young men they could find and transport them away to work in munitions factories. One night, it happened in their neighborhood, and Peter and his older brother, Bob, rushed into Nollie’s house, looking for a place to hide. Nollie put them in her secret spot in the potato cellar under the kitchen table. When the soldiers burst down the door, they demanded the boys’ younger sister, Cocky, tell them where her brothers were. Without missing beat, she said they were under the table. When the soldiers lifted up the tablecloth, Cocky began to laugh, and so did everyone else. The soldiers, feeling humiliated, left, and the ten Booms spent the rest of the evening feeling both grateful for their safety and arguing over Cocky’s insistence on telling the truth. Nollie stood by her daughter and said, “God honors truth-telling with perfect protection!”
Being honest doesn’t always have such good results. Sometimes honesty can truly hurt you, but I have come to the personal conclusion for my own life that I would rather err on the side of truth and keep a reputation of trust than frown on too much honesty and have ones around me feel unsure of my allegiance and commitment to what is right. I believe that this is a decision that each person must wrestle through so that they truly know for themselves whether honesty is the best policy or not. Thanks for joining me once again!
- “Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!”
- Sir Walter Scott
I love “what if’s”. The most interesting thing you can do with a group of people is ask “what if” questions and see how they respond. Just this past New Year’s eve, we had some friends over for a party and spent some of the time doing this little game. What if you could win $1,000,000; what would you do with it? What if you could be anyone or anything for a day; who would you be? What if you could see one thing in the future; what would you want to see? Everyone had a different response, a different dream, and a different goal because each person was an unique creative individual. That’s why I was excited when I saw the daily post challenge that gave a blogging prompt on “When you look back at your blog on January 2, 2015, what would you like to see?”. I suddenly knew that I was going to have to put some thought into this question and that I was going to enjoy reading other’s responses.
My first answer was that I would want to see a huge readership. I mean, what’s better than having a couple thousand views a day from all over the world? With a large following, I would build respect, create a reputation, familiarize my name, and perhaps pave the way for finally achieving publication for my books through popular publishers.
So I replied, no, my truest desire for the January 2, 2015 blog post is that God can look upon it and smile. I wish that it would be a writing of enjoyment and encouragement. I want my blog to be a place that people feel safe visiting, knowing that what they read for that day will be spiritually refreshing. I want the person that is depressed and wondering if life is worth living to read of value and hope. I want the person wondering what choice to make in a life-changing decision to feel a Presence that directs their paths. I want to be completely honest with my struggles and life challenges so that I am not some aloof writer on a blog but a human being with the same exact trials and hardships that everyone else is going through. That’s what I would really like to see a year from now- not numbers but individuals. Friends that I can lean upon, and friends that can lean upon me. When I blog to be only seen and heard, I am completely self-centered and not allowing God to use the keys on this keyboard to connect with others. When I blog for others, that’s when true accomplishment has arrived. So, I look forward to the next year.
Let’s pack our suitcases and get ready to journey together! http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/daily-prompt-progress/