The Last Of The Innocent

Image result for protecting the innocent

I had one job. Why they entrusted me with this job I had no idea. I’m not the most reliable person, but that is another story. Perhaps they thought I had a strength in me that even I did not know I had. Perhaps they secretly thought I would fail.

Protect the child.

That was my one and only job.

The child was the last of the innocent. All the others have allowed the world to take their innocence away. All the others before had failed to protect their child they were assigned. I would not fail mine. I could not fail. After all, this child was the last. If I failed, all innocence would be lost.

As soon as I had put the the thoughts in my head that I could and would do it, the lies started. Do you really think you can do this? All others have failed, what makes you so special? Why would they even pick someone like you? All hail the king of double standards.

Then the fear followed shortly after. What if I can’t? What will happen to the world? Will everyone blame me? What will they do to me when I fail?

When I fail? A few moments ago I was thinking that I could not fail. How quickly the momentum shifted. It wasn’t even like I believed the lies and fears, but the crack had opened that made me not believe the truth, that I could protect this child.

At first, when I looked at the child I felt a huge burden on my shoulders. I had anxiety and my heart would beat a million beats a minute. Then the child would look at me and smile and all that went away. It wasn’t my job to protect the child from all the harm in this world. It was my job to show the child all that was good in this world. It was my job to love the child, unconditionally. It was my job to teach the child the way the child should go. It was my job to teach the child of hope, faith, and love. It was my job to show forgiveness. We all make mistakes and the child must learn from me on how to handle them.

Image result for teach the children quotes

It was my job to show the child what a good man should be, even when the child was no where around. It was my job to be a light when most people see only darkness. It was my job to behave in such a way that if the child saw me, the child would not disapprove.

I realized my one job in protecting the child was turning into a lot of other jobs. They all worked together for one purpose, protecting the child.

In the end, it was a lot of pressure on my shoulders. I had to watch every move I made and every word I said. I had to not only teach love but show love. It became easier each and every day as I lived what I was taught and what I passed down to the child. It is a difficult world, one with a lot of jaded people. But, there are also a lot of good people. There is more hope and more love than I have ever seen before. There is light forcing its way into the cracks of darkness.

It could not to let lies and fear win. It was my job to protect the child. Now the child must go out into the world.

Will you watch for the child and help when you see the child? Now it is in your hands. You, the world, must protect the child. It is time for us all to rise up and protect the last of the innocent.

Image result for the last innocent child graduation

Pick It Up by Luke Bryan – 

Way Beyond Myself by Newsboys – 

Safe In My Father’s Arms by Sanctus Real-  

You Are The Reason by Calum Scott- 

Ready by Third Day – 

Advertisements

Charlie Chases Cars

Image result for absent parent quotes

Charlie was just a young puppy when he chased his just first car. Charlie loved the thrill of chasing cars. Charlie wondered what would happen when he caught one.

Charlie grew bigger and faster. Charlie ran every day to build up his strength to catch a car. Charlie didn’t have time to play with other dogs. Any dog that tried to get close to Charlie, Charlie would run over on his way to try to catch another car.

Then one day, Charlie was chasing a car when he saw Bella. The world stopped for Charlie. Charlie didn’t think about chasing cars as much.

Charlie and Bella fell in love. Charlie and Bella started having puppies. Charlie and Bella were happy. Charlie started to worry about how he could provide for them.

Image result for absent parent quotes

Charlie started chasing cars again. Charlie ran and ran. Charlie would stay out late chasing cars.

Charlie and Bella started to fight. Bella was left all alone while Charlie chased cars. Charlie’s kids wanted him to be home more. Charlie’s kids wanted to spend time with their dad. Charlie kept chasing cars.

Then one day it happened. Charlie caught a car. Charlie was so happy. Charlie thought I finally did it. But in that same moment, Charlie had another thought.

Now what?

Charlie realized he had made it to the top but that he had destroyed his life. Charlie had no friends. Charlie and Bella didn’t talk anymore. Charlie didn’t know what his kids were like.

Charlie was miserable at the top. All the long hours, all the sacrifices, all the birthdays he missed to get there.

Charlie wished he didn’t want to chase cars. Charlie wished he could do things differently. Charlie wondered if they would ever forgive him.

Charlie didn’t want to chase cars anymore.

Image result for a thousand years from now it will not matter

Cat’s In The Cradle by Harry Chapin – 

Lose My Soul by Tobymac-  

Just Another Birthday by Casting Crowns – 

Love I Leave Behind by Hannah Kerr – 

Without You by For King & Country – 

How Could You Leave Us by NF – 

Without Love by Bon Jovi – 

Your Rose Garden

Image result for rose garden

I watched you for what seemed like hours as you tended your rose garden. I never understood why you would want to have so many roses and why you would want to spend so much time out there. You would always say you loved the way the dirt smelled. You would spend countless summer days bent over the garden, sweat dripping from your brow, pulling the weeds and pruning the roses. You would come inside sweaty, dirty, and looking exhausted but you always had a smile on your face.

I don’t get it I would say. You would reply, what’s their to get. It’s my time to do what I love and it’s my time I spend all alone with God. You should hear the conversations we would have. I would always reply I don’t know if I want to and we would laugh.

Even in the dark cold days of winter you would get bundled up and go outside to walk the path through your garden. Talking to them, touching their dead branches. Of course, I didn’t get that either. Why on earth? You would always say that they aren’t dead. There is life inside of them. They are like a lot of people in this world. Walking dead but there is life in them. It’s up to us to bring that life out. Waiting patiently, for today they may appear dead but with tomorrow there is always hope.

Image result for dead rose gardenImage result for rose garden

You are like that. You had a natural beauty that I was instantly attracted to but it was your inner beauty that would light up my heart. You could walk into a dark room and it would be like someone turned on the lights. It is the type of person you are.

Until one day you were taken from me. A teenager was texting and driving and ran into you. Neither of you survived. God needed his angel back and I had to pay the price. At your funeral the pastor recited your favorite bible verse, Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Forget you God. If this is your plan then I don’t want any part of it. I looked out the back window and saw your rose garden. In my grief, I ran outside and I pulled and broke and cut every rose bush. I screamed and hollered your name. I screamed at God.

Out of breath, cut, scratched, and bleeding from the thorns, I dropped to my knees and let my tears water the lifeless dirt.

Summer turned to winter and, like the days , my heart grew darker and colder. I didn’t know how to live without you. I didn’t want to live without you. God should’ve taken me with you. My pain was too much to bear.

I looked out the window and saw the bare garden. I finally understood what you meant. Even if they appeared dead, at least they were still there. Now there was nothing but bare dirt. I grieved more as I recalled that day I destroyed what you loved.

Image result for for those who mourn

As seasons go, winter turned to spring. We had an early spring this year. I looked out the window and could not believe my eyes. Somehow in the very back of the garden, barely visible from where I stood, a rose bush had survived and now had two roses blooming.

I ran outside as fast as I could. I had to touch them to see if they were real. As I did, I could swear I caught a faint scent of you. Then in the spring breeze I could swear I heard your laughter. I immediately dropped to my knees and grabbed a handful of dirt. It smelled so full of life.

In that moment, I felt my heart start to beat again.

I went out and bought as many rose bushes as I could find. There had to be at least a hundred of them and I was going to fix what I destroyed. I was going to fix your rose garden.

I labored for hours that first day. I went to bed exhausted, sore and smelling like dirt but I would wake up refreshed, ready to start again. I realized I could not do it on my own.

I looked at my phone, hesitant to dial their number. I dialed anyway. I called the teenagers parents and they came over to help. I think all of us healed a little bit that day.

I watched every day as your garden came back to life. I spent hours out there talking to you. I slowly learned to talk to God again.

Summer rolled around and I was still in the garden. Sweat rolling off every inch of my body but it was okay. I stood up to take a break and I swear I felt your hand touch mine. I closed my eyes remembering what your touch felt like. I looked down at my hand but yours was not there. I started to lift it up when a beautiful butterfly landed in my palm. Then a sliver of light fell right on it, giving it its own spotlight. I smiled, then the butterfly fluttered toward my face and touched my cheek, as if giving me a kiss. Then it flew to a nearby rose and I did something I hadn’t done in a long time.

I said your name out loud. Kim?

Then a summer breeze picked up and I swear I heard it carry your laughter. Tears fell down my face but I smiled.

In your rose garden I found life again. I found you again. I found God again.

I miss you every minute of every day but it was right there and then that I knew I would never be alone.

Image result for joy comes in the morning

Rodney The Raccoon – Inside The Mask

20160531_101118

(image credit: Mari Jones from Journey of a Million Miles)

“Oh, hello there.  My name is Rodney. It’s nice to see you. I don’t get many visitors. Most people see the mask and think I am bad.  I must tell you, I am not! At least most of the time. I am honest if nothing else. My mom always told me honesty is the best policy.”

“Come on down and have a sit. I don’t have rabies or anything. My uncle Phil had rabies but he is long gone. Only one in the family to get rabies but everyone usually thinks we are all rabid.  It’s like your family. I bet you have one bad apple in that tree.  Does everyone think you are bad because of them?”

“Let me tell you something else. We eat a lot of different things from pesky insects and small rodents to fruits and nuts. Yes, that was me in your trash can the other day but I could not find any other food. I had to feed my family. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.  You know how many of your kind I have seen trying to find food in trash cans. It’s sad if you ask me.  I mean me, I’m an animal and I don’t have anyone looking after me except maybe my near family. Your kind though, you throw away about half the food you eat. I see it in your trash cans and land fills. Shouldn’t you be helping others of your kind out instead of throwing it away?  How about buying less so there is less to throw away and using that extra money to give to a food bank or something? I once helped a deer out. Not typical for me but I just could not eat anymore berries so instead of tossing them to the ground, I gave them to the deer. Next time you see that homeless guy, look past what you see and feel what’s in his heart. You won’t miss that dollar or that sandwich you give him. Maybe even your heart will  grow three sizes that day if you did.”

“The mask?  What’s up with the mask you ask?  Take a look around you, everyone wears a mask.  Some you just see easier than others. My mask is for me to be able to see better at night. Look at that person over there? Do you think her mask is to protect her from her past?  She would love to take off her mask, get rid of her past mistakes but she is too scared to take it off. You don’t see a mask? Trust me, it’s there.  Look at that guy.  Do you think his mask protects him ? He looks like he is big and tough and can take on the world but inside he is hurting, he is begging to be loved, he is a big softy but no one will ever see that.  That little girl over there? Yes, another mask. She tries to put a smile on and be happy but I see her eyes. Her pain. She gets yelled at everyday. Her parents fight all the time. She doesn’t think she is worth anything.  That’s sad to see a mask on someone so young. I think you humans can do better. Take off the mask. Like my mom always said, honesty is the best policy. It will release so much stress and hurt.”

“What? You thought I was an animal to stay away from?  Why?  Because of my mask and the rings on my tail.  Really?  Take a look around you. Do you stay away from everyone that looks scary?  The guy with all the tattoos?  He is the nicest guy I ever met. The black man over there gave me his leftover food one day. I took that right home to my kids. They were so thankful. The white guy over there killed a snake one day and brought it over near my home. I eat anything.  Dead carcasses are sometimes my favorite. The Asian guy over there came right up to me one day, just like you did today, and just started talking. I sat there and listened. The Muslim lady over there wept with me one day when my youngest baby was hit by a car.  I don’t discriminate. I need all of you to survive.  Sometimes I help you, sometimes you help me.  That’s the way it should be. ”

“It doesn’t matter who you are. I will come up to you. That scares most people who only see my mask. Do you know I have a friend names Jesus who was the same way?  He talked to everyone, and there were people who were afraid of Him. He only wanted to teach people about His father and the love He has for all of us and how we should treat others.  Yet, people were afraid of Him and had Him crucified. He died for all of us. That includes you. Isn’t that awezing?”

“What? That’s not what you are taught. That’s a shame my friend. A real shame. I can call you friend, right? That’s what you are to me. I think you should take my words to heart. Go out and look at what’s inside a person. Get to know them.  Get past the masks and the colors.  You might be surprised what you find.”

“Have an awezing day my friend.  What’s that? You don’t know what awezing is? Oh, that’s a word I made up combining awesome and amazing. See, never know what you will find once you get to know someone.”

(image credit: Laura Ross)

Walking Blind by Javier Colon – 

Chosen Ones by Blanca – 

Get To Know Me by Mateo – 

Colors of the Wind by Tori Kelly – 

Heal The World by Michael Jackson – 

Where Is The Love by The Black Eyed Peas – 

Unite by 1GN – 

World Changers by Matthew  West – 

Love Feels Like by TobyMac – 

Rainbow Connection by Gwen Stefani (original by Kermit the Frog) – 

The Dream

Image result for my dreams

This was my dream. Leave my life and everyone I know and head to the city. This was my dream and not theirs. I packed my bags and headed out. I saw the tears fall in my rear view mirror. They weren’t my tears but theirs. I pulled out of the driveway and headed to my dream.

I stood on the corner and watched the world go by. How many people have stood right where I am? How many have walked this same street? I believed I was meant to be here. I was going to make my dreams come true.

I worked hard. Harder than most. I sung my heart out. I wrote words that touched those that heard them. I carried a smile everywhere I went. But my faith was wearing thing. My hope was fading with the sunset. I was tired. It felt like no one else believed in my dream.

My heart was turning into the concrete I walked on. My lungs were polluted with the black of darkness that consumed this town.  My thoughts were flying with whatever direction the wind blew. Every no was shaking my soul to the core. Why was I here? I didn’t even know anymore. Somewhere on these dirty streets I lost who I am.

I only needed one yes. One person to believe in me. One break. One…

I stood on the corner and watched the world go by. I thought about stepping off the curb and into traffic. I just stood their with my eyes closed and my heart exposed. Everyone walked by and didn’t say a word. If they only knew how close I was. One word was all I need. One word, one touch, one….

My phone rang. Mom. She always knew. How did she always know? It was time to go home. Not to give up on my dreams but to do a restart. I needed to go back to where I was loved. I needed to find me again.

I pulled in the driveway and saw the tears fall in my rear view mirror. This time they were mine. I let them fall down my face.

I was home.

Image result for my dreams

Coming Home by Keith Urban-  

Cry Pretty by Carrie Underwood-  

Bright Lights by Mathbox Twenty- 

All Along by Jordan Feliz- 

Never Been A Moment by Micah Tyler-  

The Pier

I remember the first time I saw her. Standing all alone in the water. I stood in awe at how beautiful she was. A true work of art. It was love at first sight.

It was our first vacation together to the beach. Our first of many.

I remember the first time I walked out on her, I stood so far out into the ocean. The beach looked so far away. I was so far out all the people on the beach looked like ants.

I learned all about her. From the beginning when she was first being made until now. All the storms she had been through, everything that made her into the beauty she is today. I couldn’t help but wonder if other people looked at her the way I did.

How many sunrises and sunsets have we seen from that pier? How many long talks have we had walking the beaches and that pier while holding hands?

Every year, before we would go back, I would look at the old photos of us taken on that pier.  The first one taken when we’re just dating, the first one taken as a married couple, the first one with our daughter as a baby and all the ones through the years as she, and we, grew older.

Image result for piers covered in fog

Throughout the years, I always knew the pier would be there when we were. The times when we would walk early in the morning and the fog was so thick we could barely see our hands in front of our face. But somehow, I knew the next step would land on the next plank.  On the dark nights when we could not see the end of the pier because of the darkness, I still knew it was there.

Image result for old wooden piers at night

Then I looked at the last picture, the one from last year. The pier was showing her age but she was still so beautiful to me. Our daughter had grown so strong and beautiful, ready to go out on her own. There was something off about the picture though. There was a light missing from your eyes. Maybe the smile wasn’t as big as years past.

Maybe it was just my imagination. I couldn’t get the thought out of my head.

Do you believe in coincidences?  As I was staring at the picture there was a breaking news alert. The hurricane hit the pier and she was gone. I couldn’t believe it. All those years of storms and sunshine, cold winter nights and hot summer days, all the things the pier had been through and now she was gone.

Image result for pier destroyed in myrtle beach

A tear came to my eyes as I stared In disbelief. Was it real or was I dreaming?  Was she really gone? All these pictures, all the memories, all of it gone. No, they were still there but as I looked at the empty space in the ocean I knew things would never be the same.

I couldn’t help but look at the last picture again. The one where the light in your eyes was gone and your smile wasn’t as big. All the storms we have faced and survived.  All the good days and the bad days. I couldn’t help shake the feeling that a storm was coming.  A storm bigger than we have ever faced before.

We will survive it or we will fall like the pier?

Related image

 

Almost Broken by Sister Hazel-  

Church Clothes by Kelleigh Bannen – 

Performance by The XX – 

A Day To Be Alone by One Less Reason – 

Even If by MercyMe – 

That Could Still Be Us by Keith Urban- 

Where We Go From Here by Jason Gray – 

Where Do We Go From Here by Oleander – 

Something Beautiful by One Less Reason – 

Broken Together by Casting Crowns – 

Why Is He Back?

Image result for demon in mirror

 

It was  a difficult time.  I knew that she was not being herself.  I knew the enemy had attacked and she didn’t fight him.

I told God, I told the devil, whoever would listen that I am stronger than she is.  Take the demon from her and put it in me. Release her and let me deal with it.

I don’t cuss.  I don’t scream. Most of the time nothing bothers me. I just let it roll right on off and go on with life. Yes, I get discouraged when I am taken advantage of, over and over and over. But life goes on. Stay the course.  I tell you this because you need to understand the change that happened when I invited the demon into me.

The change was immediate. I felt like a different person. I could feel the tension inside of me.  I turned into a person that screams, yells, and cusses. She deserves every bit of it for what she did. I don’t need her so let’s beat her down until she can’t get up. She did this, not me. 

I looked in the mirror and the eyes looking back were not mine. I could see him in there. I knew he was there. He knew I knew. A small sinister smile appeared.  You asked for me to be here so here I am. 

It was a battle between who I am and who he is.  Sometimes the angels won, sometimes the devil won.  Sometimes I didn’t care who won.

Sometimes I even enjoyed him being there. No more Mr. Nice Guy. No more kind heart.  Be the bad guy they all want anyway.

But I can’t be the bad guy. As hard as it tried, it’s just not who I am. It is who he is. Telling me things, telling me I need to do this or do that. I fought it.

I could eventually feel him come at all hours of the day and night. I would feel my eyes shift and I knew he was there. It would be like blinking and the world just looked different. He was the one looking from behind my eyes, not me.  I would wake up sweating but my teeth were chattering because I was freezing. I would start shaking, like I was having a seizure, in middle of the day.

Where did he go when he wasn’t in me?  Or was he always there and the angels just kept him subdued? If that’s the case, did the angels leave me to deal with this on my own? I don’t know.

I had to get control.

I could not take it anymore.  God take this from me.  Silence.  I guess I did ask for it. Maybe I was not as strong as I thought I was. Maybe I still am not that strong.

I went to a Christian counselor to see if this was just in my head or what was going on.  She suggest we do this rapid eye sensory thing,  something they use for PTSD cases. Anything was worth a shot.

Holy crap, I will never doubt counseling again.  I could see the demons face, he told me his name.  It was like he was sitting right beside me.  It gives me chills just talking about it now.  After a few treatments, and since I now knew its name,  I asked it to leave. Amazingly, it did.

That was five years ago.

I finished brushing my teeth yesterday and looked in the mirror. To my surprise, he was looking back at me, then he smiled his sinister smile.

Image result for demon looking back at me

Oh no! was my first thought. I didn’t ask you to come back here. What are you doing here? Then I thought, I don’t even care. I am too tired to fight it.

I just stood there looking at myself, and not myself was looking back, smiling.

I resigned myself to this is how it is going to be. I must well give up.  But then I saw a flash of light in the mirror behind me.

I knew the angel was back also.  I was not alone.  I would not have to fight this alone. I will fight this.

I will fight.

Image result for angel flash of light

Goodnight Good Guy by Collective Soul – 

My Demons by Starset – 

Don’t Give Up by Calling Glory – 

I Am Not Alone by Kari Jobe – 

Oh Lord by Lauren Daigle – 

A Fight I Must Win by Arch Enemy –