The Fun House Of Mirrors

sites at the local fair ground - I never liked to funhouse.  But if I was with friends I went in them and rode rides anyway.  Nana

“Step right up, come on in, only a dollar” shouted the carny. He looked right at me and my friends. “Come on in boys, this will change your life” and he winked at me. I don’t know why but my gut was telling me something was wrong. My friends wanted to go in and since I didn’t want to be left out, I went in with them.

It wasn’t much at first. A conveyor belt going the opposite direction. Oooh scary right? We made a tight turn to the right and the floor started shaking. Everyone started to laugh but the feeling inside me was getting worse. It was then the lights went out. We started reaching out, touching each other to make sure we were all still there. We slowly inched forward and hit a wall, promptly piling into each other.  Then the lights came on and that was when the fun began.

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We were looking at ourselves, all four versions of each of us. We looked at each other like what the crap, a couple of my friends used some other choice words. In one mirror there was me, looking as normal as I am now, if you can call that normal. In the second mirror I was a hideous monster. What the heck? The third mirror I was a baseball player, uniform, glove and all. How could this be? I only was wearing the clothes I came in with. The fourth mirror showed me as an old, decrepit old man, all by myself. It was then we realized there was no exit. We did the only thing we could and started to push on the mirrors. The only one that moved was the second one. We all looked at each other and kind of shrugged and took a step through. But we weren’t all together on the other side.

There I was, the hideous monster. I pulled on my skin and clothes to get them to come off but they were me and I was them. It was then I noticed a small light in the distance. I walked toward it and saw it was a cell phone. It had a note on it. PRESS PLAY. What I saw disgusted me and I wish I didn’t have to tell you about it, but I do. It was 15 second clips of my life. There was me eight years old pushing the other kids down on the playground. There was me twelve years old stealing a cassette from the local music store. There was me sixteen years old with my girlfriend. We were in the backseat and she said she wasn’t ready but I said we had already gone too far so let’s keep going. There was me at nineteen at a college party when a bunch of guys took a passed out girl upstairs and I didn’t stop them. There was me at twenty two when I didn’t take the keys from my friend and he drove home drunk, but he didn’t make it. There was me at home instead of visiting my dad before he passed away. There was me watching a movie instead of calling a friend who was home alone, waiting for me to call. There was me ignoring my wife because of past mistakes. Was I really this monster? Is this how others see me?

Then we were all back in the same room of mirrors. We all looked at each other like what was that? No one was laughing now. We pushed on the mirrors again but only the third one opened this time.

There I was, at Wrigley Field, pitching for the Cubs. The crowd was chanting my name. Oh yeah, this is what I was made for. They all love me. I was on the mound, World Series, game seven, bottom of the ninth, two outs, two on, two strikes. One more strike and I bring a championship to Chicago. The wind up, the pitch…and I heard it. My shoulder popped. Then I heard the crack of the bat as it connected to the ball. Then I heard the silence. Just like that it was all over. The game, my career, my life. I was so angry. I was mad at God. How could He bring me to this moment and then let it all go? One pitch. It was all over. What kind of God would do that to me? I shut everyone out. I drank myself to sleep every night. I didn’t know the women’s names I would wake up to. I didn’t care. I went from 60,000 people screaming my name to the deafening silence of my own thoughts.

There we were again. All six of us in the same room of mirrors. Mark said that wasn’t so bad. “Let’s get this over with,” said Scott. We looked at each other and hesitantly stepped into the fourth mirror.

There I was. A decrepit old man. No one there but me. A lifetime of choices led me to here. A lifetime of bad choices. How did I get here? I was a good guy once. I believed in God, once upon a time. I looked in the mirror and the mirror looked back. Was this really me? Then I was gone. There in my casket, all by myself. Honestly, all by myself. No one came to say goodbye. Not one single person! Was I that unloveable and selfish? Was I really that bad of a person? I guess the truth hurts because I must’ve been for not one single person to show up.

We were all back in the room of mirrors. A couple of my friends said how cool their mirrors were. They hope their lives turn out like that. I didn’t have anything to say. This time the first mirror, the normal mirror, opened and we walked through. A couple turns and a few distorted mirrors later we were at the exit.

“Hey boys, how’d you like it? Did you like what you saw?” said the carny. “The mirrors don’t lie boys. If you didn’t like what you saw, you still have time to do something about it.” That was when he looked at me again and winked and gave me something. I was too terrified to look at it so I stuck it in my pocket and left. He turned around and started shouting , “step right up boys and girls, come on in, only a dollar and it will change your life.”

I forgot about what he gave me until I got home and undressed. It fell out of my pocket. A small bible with a note inside. Read this if you want to change your life. Read this if you didn’t like what you saw in the mirrors. It is your choice.

Monster by Skillet – 

All Of Me by Meatloaf – 

Ain’t Much Left Of Me by Blackberry Smoke – 

These Things I Hate (Revolves Around Me) by Bullet For My Valentine –

Hate Me by Blue October – 

Faces by One Less Reason – 

Objects In The Rearview Mirror by Meatloaf –

I’ll Find Me by Steve Azar – 

Sing by Waiting Hill – 

I Remember Me by Jennifer Hudson –  

I Hope They Get To Me In Time by Darius Rucker – 

Mirrors by Justin Timberlake – 

Funhouse Mirror by Jill K – 

I Choose You by Point of Grace – 

The Maze

I was shivering. Strange, since when I went to bed I put an extra blanket on and set the thermostat to heat up the house at 6:00. I then realized I was also wet. I startled awake only to realize I wasn’t in my warm bed. I was in some type of… give me a minute to look around. I was in some type of maze. Confused, bewildered, baffled, were some of the words that came to mind. I had to be dreaming, but I wasn’t.

I yelled out, but no one answered. I did the only thing I could and started to walk. Around this bend, turn left here, turn right there, dead end, start again. I then saw a note up ahead. I read it: If you have ever lied turn left at the next turn.  Well yeah I have lied, who hasn’t? I came to the turn and went left. After about 200 yards or so I found another note. If you have ever stolen anything, turn left again. Unfortunately, I had to turn left. I kept walking for another 200 yards and yet another note. If you have ever dishonored your mother or father turn left again.  Well, to be honest I am sure I have but if I did maybe it was just something little like talking back or missing curfew. Guess my answer was already made for me because the only way I could turn was left.

I know I just walked in a square but yet I was someplace new. Hanging up at the end of this walkway was a mirror. As soon as I looked into it I heard the voices. You are ugly. You aren’t good enough. No one likes you. Your kids don’t even like you. Look at your body, what have you done to it. You are a disgrace. Why are you even alive?

I covered my face with my hands and ran. I ran as fast and as far as I could but I could not get the voices out of my head. I came to another intersection.

Have you ever committed adultery? Well. Not physically. Then another voice: that doesn’t matter. Have you or haven’t you? Okay, yes I have! Correct. Go right.

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Have you ever murdered someone? Of course not, I said. Are you sure about that? Yes, I am positive on that one. Then the images came to me like it was yesterday. The girl I talked into sleeping with me. She was so young and innocent. I wanted her. She said no but eventually I wore her down and she gave in. I murdered a piece of her that night. I murdered a piece of the boy I used to make fun of because he wasn’t like me. Oh God! Make this stop. Good try! God isn’t here and he isn’t coming. This is my world and you are just a pawn in it.  Go right.

Have you ever worshiped someone other than your so called God? Have you ever used your so called Gods name in vain?  Have you ever ….  GO RIGHT I SAID!

NO!! I screamed. I don’t have to listen to you. I don’t have to go where you want me to. I can break this. I can walk away. You are a liar.

No, you can’t. Remember you are a nobody. No one likes you, except me. You are what I need to change this world.  YOU can follow me, YOU can rule the world with me. YOU can turn stones into bread. YOU can jump off a building and angels will catch you. I can make you into the most powerful person in this world. TURN RIGHT!!

No, that’s where you are wrong. I don’t want to be the most powerful person in the world. I don’t need to be liked by everyone because I know God loves me. I don’t need your lies. I just need to follow the truth. With that last word I sprinted as fast as I could, to the left, and ran and ran for what seemed like days. I didn’t realize that the maze was disappearing as I ran. I was breaking free from the chains that bind me. By the time I stopped it was all gone.

I fell to the ground. Exhausted. Sweating. Breathing hard. I didn’t hear the footsteps come up beside me. Maybe there wasn’t any. I heard his voice. The one I have heard many times throughout my life but ignored. I felt him kneel beside me. I felt his hand on mine. I heard him say well done. I heard him say I love you. I heard him say I want you. I heard him say you belong with me.

He picked me up and walked me back home. He said trust in me. Have faith in me. Love me. And just like that he was gone. But was he really?

Breaking Inside by Shinedown – 

It’s A Maze from the Secret Garden – 

Lost by Red – 

Lost and Found by Rocket to the Moon – 

Come and Lead Me by Danielle and Mackenzie – 

You’re Not Alone by Owl City – 

Lead Me To The Cross by Hillsong – 

Impossible by Sidewalk Prophets – 

Lost Get Found by Britt Nicole – 

Changed by The Katinas – 

Where The River Meets The Desert

Image result for No matter how far down any path you might have walked, the beauty of free will is that at any point you can PIVOT on the spot and take a  different journey.

At first, I thought I must be dreaming. I could hear the strength of the water rushing by me, I could feel the wind as if it was piggy-backing on the strong current. I bent down and put my hand into the water and my fingers came out wet. I could pinch myself but I knew this was not a dream. I stood up and I looked to my left and all I could see was a vast desert, no more than ten yards from me, that the river just suddenly disappeared into. I could not fathom how all that water was pouring into the desert with no trace.

The desert was lifeless but I was intrigued to take a few steps into it. I looked back at the river, like a child who is about to do something wrong looks back at its parents, but continued on my way. The river was close, I knew I could return to it anytime I wanted.

I ventured farther and farther into the desert. The farther I went, the thirstier I got. Not for the river, but for more adventure. The desert was alluring but I knew there was nothing out here for me, but I continued to walk. What was I doing? I could no longer see the river but I could remember the life it gave. There is no life out here.

Why couldn’t I turn back? Every time I started to, another distraction caught my eye. I was feeling guilty and ashamed for being gone so long but that made me want to stay away even longer.

I would pass cacti and a few animals out here, reminders that even in the emptiness of a desert, there is life. Life that reminded me of my old life, when things were good. I started to long for that life again, but I didn’t know how to get back there. Out here in the desert, it is easy to lose your way, to continue to go the wrong way, to be desperate to go back but not knowing the way.

Frustrated with the way I was living and desperate for help, I looked back to where I thought the river was and somehow I was able to whisper help me Jesus.

That was a name I hadn’t said in a long time.

Dig. I heard a voice say.

I fell to my knees and started to dig the dry, hard ground. I broke a couple fingernails and my knuckles and fingers bled. Why am I digging? It is so easily to forget the voice I heard.

Keep digging. I am never far from you.

Through the sweat and tears I kept digging for what seemed like hours. Eventually the ground began to soften and shortly after, there was a stream of water. I immediately took a drink and my eyes opened.

It was like I was blind but now I see. I thought I was alone out here but now there were hundreds, no, thousands of others with me. Thousands just like me, wandering aimlessly. Lost souls.

Next thing I knew, I was back at the river. I had found my way home, but I knew I could not stay. I was given a second chance, a new way to live my life, and I knew what I had to do.

I took my first steps into the desert, but this time it wasn’t for me to do what I wanted to do. This time, I had to find other lost ones and bring them back to the river with me.

Image result for i loved you at your darkest romans 5 8 desert

Church (Take Me Back) by Cochren & Co.-

The Wanderer by David Leonard- 

All The Wrong Things by Branan Murphy-

The Journey by Building 429-

Never Been A Moment by Micah Tyler- 

Come To The Altar by Elevation Worship –

 

 

A Tree That Touched The Sky

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I saw a tree that touched the sky

It hurt my neck to look up so high

I wondered if I could climb to the top

But after a few feet I had to stop

Doubt crossed my mind, am I worthy?

I think I am a little too dirty

What if I went a few more feet?

I wondered just what I would see

But another doubt, am I good enough?

Am I really worthy of love?

But a voice from somewhere inside

Told me to continue to climb

A quarter of the way up a whisper so small

What are you doing? Don’t you know you could fall?

Somewhere inside something told me not to fear

Don’t look down because the top is almost near

Halfway up I grew weary and tired

Voices everywhere telling me he’s a liar

Do you really believe he forgives?

Look at how you have lived!

So many wrongs, so many mistakes

Half your life you’ve been a fake

I reach for another branch, I must continue

Leave the past in my rear view

Why do you continue to climb?

What is it you are looking to find?

A voice says it’s not that far down

Let’s get back to solid ground

Another voice says you are almost there

It’s getting harder to breathe with this thin air

Maybe I should turn around

Back to the earth so green and brown

But something pushes me to go higher

I swear I can hear an angel’s choir

Three fourths the way I have climbed

Pushing onward, I am no longer blind

The negative voices telling me I must stop

Are still there but I listen not

I know why I found this tree

But this knowledge isn’t only for me

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I must tell you of all the truth I have acquired

On this journey where I had all my heart desired

But nothing ever seemed to satisfy

I was always searching but empty inside

I learned more the closer I got to the top

About grace and forgiveness and a true love

A few more branches, just a stone’s throw

When I heard a voice from a long time ago

Give it up, you are not good enough

Look at you, so unworthy of love

Do you really believe you can change?

Why don’t you turn around, reverse your way?

You are ugly and you have a terrible past

Even if you find love, it won’t last

The tree offered me another of its arms

I climbed higher, knowing there would be no harm

I knew in that instant my past did not define

The future was there for me to climb

Another branch or two

I was that much closer to the truth

But I felt the tree start to sway

I wondered if this is why so many walk away?

When the tree sways, people become afraid

So, way up here, I started to pray

For those in mansions, homeless on the streets

For those that always seem to win and those who are always beat

For those that are addicted to fight their pain

For those that have so much more to gain

I prayed for things unseen and those that are seen

I prayed for you and I prayed for me

Forgive me for what I’ve done

Into your arms I want to run

I no longer want to hide my face

I want to accept your love and grace

If you could help me climb a little more

I know I will never be who I was before

Then I felt a hand grab mine

He pulled me up to finish my climb

Image result for tree that touched the sky God bible

Dear God by Hunter Hayes-  

Breakthrough by Chris McClarney – 

Here I Am by Lincoln Brewster – 

Breaking Point by Sanctus Real – 

Days Gone By by Hillsong Young & Free – 

Finish Your Story

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I read through the pages of your book

I get to know you and your every look

I’ve stumbled upon a terrible chapter

One that’s full of hurt and disasters

Some have chosen not to continue to read

They closed the book in your time of need

But I read each and every word

My eyes teared up and the pages blurred

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With each page I prayed you would make it through

Even at your darkest I knew there was a light in you

Another word, another sentence, another paragraph, another page

I couldn’t stop reading because I knew you would find your faith

I was at the end of the chapter and started the next

You made it through the worst but still weren’t at your best

But as I promised I continued to read

I will hold your hand when you are in need

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You are not alone and the next chapter could be amazing

Thanking God for the trials, his name we will be praising

Right now, I need you to keep writing

This world needs you to keep fighting

Don’t give up, don’t let the dark win

Through the wounds, let the light in

Because I know when I close your book after I read the last page

That after all the ups and downs you didn’t give up and you found your way

I know at the end of your story

We will give God all the glory

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Carry You by Ruelle – 

Beautifully Broken by Plumb – 

Turn It Around by Lincoln Brewster- 

Deep Down (Walk Through The Fire)  by Lincoln Brewster – 

Fighting For You by Tenth Avenue North – 

In Four Minutes Or Less

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In less than four minutes

I share my life and everything in it

I’ve got one shot to get it right

So you better hold on tight

I’ve got demons bouncing around in my head

Trying to fight the ones telling me I’d be better off dead

I’ve got scars on top of scars

Been to Venus, should’ve stayed on Mars

Fell into holes so deep I couldn’t claw my way out

My voice has been silenced when I would scream or shout

Buried alive beneath my pain

The sun would shine but I felt only rain

That’s my story so far when I went to hell

That’s only the beginning, so much more to tell

Days when  I didn’t think I could stand

He was always there holding out his hand

When I could see in the darkest of nights

It was because he was always there shining a light

When I gave up and hope and joy were nowhere to be found

The seas would part, the mountains would move and shake the ground

When I chose to believe in what I couldn’t see

I could see he was there fighting right beside me

I can’t say I have walked in your shoes

Maybe I don’t know what you are going through

You can’t say you have walked in mine

But I know we have crossed paths from time to time

So there’s my story and I pray it can help you

Life is better when you realize it’s not about you

It’s not about what’s wrong and what’s right

It’s about God’s mercy and grace and living Christ-like

So in less than four minutes I told you how I rose and how I fell

But there is so much more, way too much more to tell

I used to live in the dark

Until one day He changed my heart

Yes, I still worry from time to time

But I let God have my life

Whatever problems come, let them come

Let God’s will be done

It doesn’t matter what the circumstance

It doesn’t change who I am

The peace I found when I fell to my knees and started to pray

It changed my life, not just that day

The peace I found when from my knees I chose to rise

In four minutes or less you know how God has changed my life

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Changed by Sanctus Real –  

You Can by Building 429 – 

Inside Out by Bonray – 

I Got Saved by Corey Voss –  

From The Top Of The World

From the bottom of hell and on my knees

My rotting soul in the air I breathe

I hold my breath, want my lungs to explode

Fighting my mind from mistakes made a long time ago

I claw at my chest, want to rip out my heart

From this world I want to depart

I poke at my eyes, I no longer want to see

I’m sorry for things I’ve done but I can’t forgive me

I’ve become cold, heartless, and callous

Nothing but empty rooms in this palace

In this palace the demons say the lies are truth, they insist

From the darkness of hell they tell me the light does not exist

From the bottom of hell and on my knees

I find the strength to whisper please God, please

From the bottom of hell I give you my sins, my shame

From the top of the world you whisper my name

From the top of the world you shout my name