Tom The Turkey

The Aztecs of Mexico domesticated the Mexican subspecies of the wild turkey (called guajolotes). Spanish explorers took some of these back to Europe in the mid-16th Century where they became common farmyard animals. These domestic turkeys eventually completed the circuit and came back to North American turkey farms from Europe.:

This is a story about a turkey named Tom. However, this was not an ordinary turkey. Tom the turkey did not want to be a turkey. Tom wanted to be an eagle.

Tom often thought to himself, “self, I do not like myself. Self, this is one boring life I live.”  Day after day Tom would trot around the yard with all his turkey friends gobbling gobbling and gobbling. Tom would eat all the food that was given to him and he would watch himself getting fatter and fatter.

Tom would look to the sky and see the eagles flying around. Soaring above the trees. “So beautiful,” he thought. “I want to be like that. I want to be majestic. I want to be  an icon. I want people to look at me with awe. I want to be a national symbol and for people to look at with me with thanksgiving in their hearts.”

Majestic bald eagle over the Des Moines RIver in Iowa:

As much as Tom flapped his wings he could not get off the ground. It wasn’t that Tom did not practice, because he did. Some days that was all Tom did. Tom would run around the yard flapping his wings, never to get more than a foot or so off the ground. “God, why would you give me wings but not let me fly very well? Why would you let me see the eagles soar but not let me join them?”

Many of Tom’s less ambitious friends would talk behind his back. “Who does he think he is?”  “Look at that fool trying to fly like an eagle!” “Doesn’t he realize he will never be anything other than what he is?”

Many days and months passed by and nothing ever changed for the Tom. Every day it was the same thing. Wake up, eat, walk around the yard, eat, try to fly.  Every day Tom would ask the same questions. “Why God why? I want to be more than this. I want people to look at me in awe and be thankful that I am here. I want people to love me.”

Soon the weather started to get colder. Many days people would come and grab some of Tom’s friends and he would never see them again. Tom continued to eat and grew bigger and bigger. One day a family came and walked around the yard looking for the perfect turkey. They found one in the Tom.

The father looked at his family and said, “This turkey is beautiful. He will be the perfect symbol for our thanksgiving dinner  .”  The little girl looked at the turkey and said “I love you turkey. You are so beautiful.”

Tom gobbled and gobbled. Tom was so happy. “Finally,” he thought, ” I am being appreciated. I may not be flying like an eagle yet but at least people are seeing me as special.”

Tom was taken to the family’s home where Tom was promptly killed and cooked for dinner. Before they ate the family prayed. “Thank you God for this wonderful meal. Especially this beautiful turkey. We will forever remember this turkey in our hearts on this national holiday.”

List of 25 Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes - Photo Gallery | SAVEUR. I don't have a Turkey board so I am placing these under the Chicken one:

You see, God gave Tom everything Tom asked for. Tom was looked at with awe and beauty. Tom was a national symbol. The people gave thanks from their hearts  for Tom. Tom was made exactly how God wanted Tom to be and exactly how Tom wanted to be seen. Tom just didn’t realize that who he was was exactly who he was made to be.

What do you ask God for? Have you ever asked for a pure heart? Have you ever asked God to show you the way to be more like Him? Or are all of your asks and wants more about you? Have you ever thanked God for who you are, for who He made you to be?

More Alive by Pillar –

All I Need To Be by Fireflight –

This Is Who I Am by Shane and Shane –

God Follower by Steven Curtis Chapman –

I See God In You by Josh Wilson –

This Is Who I Am by Third Day –

Ungrateful

I walked by him at least twice a day.  More often than not it was closer to six times a day. He was always in the same spot, always wearing the same clothes and always staring down at the ground.

Anytime that I would walk by and I had some change I would drop it in his hat. He would never look up. He never said thank you. As a matter of fact, I never heard him say anything. I was usually on the go or on my phone or talking to my co-workers so I might not have heard him if he did, but I really don’t think he did.

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After a few weeks of dropping change, I decided to do an experiment. I started off dropping one dollar bills in his hat.  When he didn’t react I started dropping fives. Then I would drop a ten spot here and there. Nothing, no reaction from this guy. He didn’t even look up to see what I looked like.

I even got my co-workers involved. I had them start giving whatever they had on them to this guy. They all reported back the same thing that I experienced. No acknowledgement that we even existed. No thank you. Nothing. We had to be giving him enough to pay for rent somewhere.  Or at least buy some new clothes.

Many months passed. It was getting close to Thanksgiving. I had a really good year financially. Even got myself a promotion. Life was good. I was doing some early Christmas shopping and decided I would buy this guy a winter coat. I even put a hundred dollars in the pocket. I put the jacket down beside him on my way to work. Again, no acknowledgement.

I had enough. I was finally going to talk to this guy. I was going to ask him what his problem was. Why couldn’t he even say thanks. Why couldn’t he at least look up and give me a nod  at least.  Give me something man. I have been giving to you for over six months now.

As luck would have it though I was tied up in important meetings all day. I had to have lunch catered because I couldn’t get out of the office. When I left that day he wasn’t there. For the first time in as long as I can remember he wasn’t there.

The next morning he wasn’t there either. Same thing at lunch. Same thing on my way home. The entire week was the same. He was no where to be found.

The next week a lady came into my office. She asked for me by name. How did she know my name?  Anyway, turns out she was the sister of this man. She told me how Jim, her brother, that was the guys name, had cancer and it took a turn for the worse. He passed away last week. He left a note for her to give to me. I asked how she knew about me. She said it was all in the note.

She also told me more about his story. One night Jim, his wife and kids went out to eat and on their way home they were hit by a drunk driver. Jim was the only one that survived. He never recovered. He never talked again. She never learned if it was trauma from the accident or by choice. Jim just checked out of this world.

I couldn’t believe what I heard. How come I never talked to him? Was I too lost in my own world to reach out to him? Did I think I was better than him? This was another human being and all I did was throw money at him. I didn’t even try to get to know him.

After his sister left I went to my office and opened the letter.

 

Dear Rob,

I know your name because I listened when you walked by me. I know you are married and have four girls. Congrats on your promotion by the way. I know all of this from listening to you talk on your cell phone. By listening to you talk to your co-workers.

I wanted to thank you for all you gave me. I wanted you to know that I listened because I cared about you. I listened waiting for you to say something to me. I listened, and waited for you to acknowledge me.

I would give you everything you gave me back to you if you would’ve said a single word to me. I would rather have had a friendship with you than your money. I wished  you  would’ve got to know me. I wasn’t always this way.

I heard you talk about God to your co-workers as you were leaving the building. I heard you thank Jesus when you got your promotion. I heard you talk about hope and faith to your wife in one of your talks. I would’ve liked to know more about God but you didn’t share him with me.

Take care,

Jim

All this time I thought he was ungrateful. What I have come to realize is how ungrateful I am. I realize how I take my life, my wife, my children, my friends, my health, my job for granted. I didn’t realize how lucky I am. No longer. I now realize how quickly all that can be taken away from me.

I also came to realize that I don’t share God or my beliefs with anyone outside my circle. I am not spreading the good news of my savior like I should.

For that, I will always be grateful for ungrateful Jim. I only wish I would’ve taken the time to get to know him.

Guilty by Newsboys – I am guilty of not speaking of God enough. I want to be guilty for sharing it.  

Pray For Me by Kirk Franklin – 

Lean On Me by Comsumed By Fire – 

Brother by NeedToBreathe – 

Moments by Emerson Drive – 

Help Somebody by Van Zant – 

If I Can Dream by Elvis Presley – 

Humble and Kind by Tim McGraw  – 

Charlie Chases Cars

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Charlie was just a young puppy when he chased his 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.

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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.

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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 – 

But Mother Knew

128 Of The Most Beautiful Mom Quotes: I Love You Message - BayArt

Mother bird sat on her eggs for a very long time. Sometimes mother wondered if her eggs would ever hatch.

But mother knew.

The baby birds hatched and mother bird had to keep busy feeding them. Sometimes mother bird wondered if she would ever get any rest.

But mother knew.

Mother bird told her birds it was time to learn to fly. All the baby birds said they didn’t need to learn to fly, that they would always be by her side.

But mother knew.

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All the baby birds learned to fly but they all told mother bird they would be back soon.

But mother knew.

All the baby birds grew up and started families on their own. They said they would visit as soon as they could.

But mother knew.

All the birds knew mother was old and didn’t have much time left. They came home to visit. They said they would be back next week.

But mother knew.

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Slow Down by Nichole Nordeman- 

Fast by Luke Bryan – 

When I’m Gone by Joey and Rory – 

As Children Often Do

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From the time she could talk she was full of questions. And I, of course, was full of answers.

Why this, why that, where, when and who?

But as children often do, my daughter grew and grew and her questions became more elaborate.

Where are we going dad?

Nowhere.

Dad, what will we do when we get to nowhere?

Nothing, absolutely nothing.

Yeah, dad, I love going to nowhere with you and doing absolutely nothing. But I wonder, if we go nowhere and do nothing, does that make me a nobody?

Her questions were very deep so I thought for a second and told her she would never be a nobody. She is loved and cherished and will always be a somebody to me.

If I keep going south will I eventually be north?

38 Anniversary Quotes That Will Inspire You 24

As children often do, she grew and grew and her questions became more challenging.

Dad, if we get lost going to nowhere, will we end up somewhere? And when we get to somewhere, will we do something? But I wonder, if we go somewhere and do something, will I then be somebody?

Dad, can we get from here to there without going anywhere? And if we find anywhere, can we go there anytime? But I wonder, if we go anywhere anytime will I still be anybody to you?

If I ever find myself stuck between here and there and can’t find my way to you, will you come looking for me?

I couldn’t understand why her thoughts were taking her to these places but the only thing I could do was put my arms around her and reassure her no matter where she is or what time it is or what I am doing, I will always come and find her when she needed me.

But if I don’t tell you I need you, how will you know?

I will always pray that I will know but if for some reason I don’t know, I know a father who loves you more than even I do who will always be there for you even if I, for some inexplicable reason, get lost and am a little late in getting there.

Thanks dad, but what if I meant to go nowhere but ended up somewhere doing everything I know I shouldn’t do, would you still love me then? Would you go everywhere and do something, anything, to bring me back to someplace where you always are?

Not a doubt in mind that I would go everywhere and do something, anything, anytime to bring you back to nowhere so we could do nothing.

If the sun sets in the west will it always be dark the more west I go?

Just remember, dear daughter, no matter how many steps you take into the darkness, it only takes one to turn around and see the light.

 

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If I’m doing nothing am I really doing something and can I be doing something but actually be doing nothing?

As children often do, my daughter grew and grew. As she grew it was my arms that became empty, as she no longer wanted me to hold her and it was my heart that shattered to pieces, as it seemed she longer wanted it to beat for her.

I would knock on her door and ask, “Would you like to go nowhere today and do nothing?” To which she would just sigh and say “Dad, I’m not a little girl anymore.”

I would give her some time and distance and then I would knock on her door and ask, “Would you like to go somewhere sometime today and do something?”

To which she would reply, “Dad, I’m busy doing other things today.”

But I could tell something was going on, but I didn’t want to seem pushy, but I knew she needed me.

I gave her more time and more distance, even though it was killing me to see her so sad.

One day I knocked on her door and said, “My daughter, when you find yourself nowhere doing nothing and wanting to go somewhere to be somebody but you can’t seem to go anywhere any of the time remember I love you everywhere every second of every day simply because you are you and that’s enough.”

She gave me a sad smile and a thanks dad.

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Then I heard a voice telling me time and distance isn’t what she needs, she needs closeness and love even though it isn’t what she says.

I went and I knocked on her door and she was crying. I sat beside her and wrapped my arms around her and let her cry. After a few minutes and a very wet shirt later, she calmed down and looked up at me and I looked into those beautiful brown eyes as she asked me a question I had been wanting to hear for so long.

“Dad, do you think we could go nowhere?”

I smiled and asked, “Daughter, what will we do when we get there?”

Then she smiled back and said, “I was thinking we would do nothing dad, absolutely nothing.”

“Daughter, there is no place I would rather be than nowhere doing absolutely nothing with you.”

As children often do, my daughter grew and grew.

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I’m Standing With You By  by Chrissy Metz-

Like Your Father Does by Rhett Walker Band-

Pray With You by Mallary Hope-

I’ll Wait by The Strumbellas-

Have To Stay by Dido –

Shed A Tear by Kodaline-

Like Arrows by Matt Hammitt-

Short Are The Years by Jason Crabb –

More Than Gonna Make It by Alisa Turner-

Fighting For Me by Riley Clemmons-

 

In The Morning by JJ Heller –

 

 

The Battle

originally published Oct 19, 2016  (it’s been a year already, crazy)

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It wasn’t a good night. Alone again. Alone  with my thoughts. Alone with my doubts. Alone with my past regrets. That’s when I realized I wasn’t alone. Something, or someone was there with me. I could feel it. I would rather face off against Freddie Krueger.

I could feel it before I could see it. I looked around but I was the only one here.  Fear crept in.  The only sound was the sound of my too loud beating heart. Evil lurked. Looking for a place to land. It only needed a small opening and it waited patiently.  I wasn’t going to let it in, but it waited. Evil is patient, waiting for its opportunity.

I fought the invisible evil.  It wasn’t going to win. Doubts would sink in. At times I believed the lies. I was stronger than this. I had a power inside of me. I often forgot about this power. I often forgot about the strength it gave me. I wasn’t going to forget this time.  I also knew I couldn’t do it alone.  I yelled out to God.

The evil was gone. A peace overcame me. I stopped shaking. My heart calmed. I wasn’t naive though. I knew the evil would be back. It doesn’t give up easily.  More importantly, I knew neither did God.

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I had to get out of the house.

I liked walking on the beach. The wind coming off the ocean, the smell of it. The way the moon and stars shined their light off the waves.  I could walk for miles. It was relaxing but there were no stars to light my way tonight. Only the light of a full moon, and it didn’t seem to be as bright as it should have been.

I walked along the beach. Even the waves didn’t sound the same. Like they were whispering to me.  There was definitely a thickness in the air.

Something just didn’t feel right. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Was something in the house with me? Was it just my imagination? I couldn’t quite shake the feeling.

That’s when I saw him. Well, I guess I should say it. I couldn’t quite make out the form in the darkness but something was definitely there. He, or it, was hiding in the darkness under the pier.

My heart was starting to beat fast. Stop it, I said to myself. This is just your imagination acting up. There is nothing to fear.

I was getting closer to the pier.  Maybe 30 feet away. I took a deep breath. My mind was playing tennis. Volley to the left, it’s going to be okay. Volley to the right, be prepared. It’s going to be you or him. Volley left, volley right. That’s when he stepped out and I could see it in his eyes. Volley right it is.

I had no weapon. Or at least I thought I had no weapon. God, be with me. I heard the scream, I saw the light.  That’s when I fell to the ground.

Did someone sneak up behind me and hit me in the head? What was that light? I quickly did a self check and realized I wasn’t hurt. I  looked up looking for the man but he was nowhere to be found. What just happened?

Add that to my list of weird things happening tonight. The list would be getting longer.

I know what you are thinking. I should turn around and just go back home. Lock myself in my room and say goodnight.  I could not do that.  I should’ve done that but something was telling me to keep moving forward.

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I heard the screams.  I ran to them. I know you are yelling for me to run away from them. I was thinking the same thing!  I couldn’t do it. I am not a hero but I had to see if there was anything I could do.

They were huddled together at the dead end of a one way street. The look of terror on their faces is something I can never forget. They were looking upward. I followed their eyes and then I saw them. There had to be at least twenty, maybe more, of them. The legion of demons were hideous. They were attacking relentlessly.  They disgusted me.

At one time or another they were all a part of my life.  I am a sinner and I knew them all by name. There was greed, lust, fear, addiction, hopelessness, negative, pride, envy. I knew them well. There was also wrath, sloth, doubt, low self-esteem, failure, sorrow, gossip and hate. Many more I will not name  but they were all following their leader Baal. I was actually surprised to see him. They usually let their minions do the work and don’t show their faces. With him here, I knew this was going to be a long battle.

That’s when I saw the glow. I looked down and I was shining like a light. I wasn’t alone. I looked around and there were many others with me. We had been brought together for this moment. We are the light of the world and now was the time to defeat the darkness.

We lit up the dark night. Many of the demons ran when they saw the light. Many others chose to fight. The light was their enemy. The truth was their adversary. Hope was their opponent. We were their prosecutors.

After a long, bloody, hard fought battle we were victorious.  There was sadness in our victory. We lost some friends in the battle but they will forever be remembered as heroes. We will fight the good fight. Where there are demons, so will we be. We will honor the truth and defend it with our lives.

They will be back.  We will be here when they return.

We are the light of the world and we will shine victorious.

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Good Fight by Unspoken – 

Soldier On by Sidewalk Prophets – 

Never Burn Out by Stars Go Dim –

Same Power by Jeremy Camp – 

Independence Day by Union Of Sinners and Saints – 

Soldiers by Martin Smith – 

Onward Christian Soldiers by Petra – 

I’m Just Another Soldier by The Five Blind Boys Of Mississippi – 

Children Of The Light by Lecrae – 

Where The Light Is by Dan Bremnes – 

I’ll Be The Light by Colton Dixon – 

Why Is He Back?

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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.

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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.

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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 – 

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 – 

This Is Going To Hurt

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I ran.

As soon as he took a step towards me, I ran.

I can’t tell you how far or how long I ran.  I am willing to bet my last dollar it was farther and longer than I thought was possible.

I stopped to catch my breath and two questions popped into my head. What did I do for him to be here? Why was he following me?

I started to run again. In between my breaths, I heard the roar of rushing water below. It was in that moment I knew I took the wrong path.

I had three choices. Two of them would surely end in death. I could jump off the cliff into the cold rushing water. Death. I could stand there and do nothing and let him catch me. Death.

Since the first two choices would end in death, I had one choice left.

I had to escape.

Come on, come on.  THINK!! I looked around, evaluating my options. Looking for another way. Time was running out. I could hear him coming.

I threw a rock over the cliff into the water. Hoping he thought I jumped. Then I looked at my only option left. The thickest thorn bush I had ever seen.

This is going to hurt.

I jumped in.

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I tried quieting my breathing. I tried curling up into a small ball. I tried wishing that the moon wasn’t full. But it was.

I heard his footsteps. Getting closer. And closer. How did I get here?

I remember the day it happened. One year ago. One year ago today to be exact. I was in one of my “seasons,” as I like to call them. Nothing was going right. I was sinking into the quicksand I called depression. I was spiraling out of control. Failure was coming and I couldn’t stop it. Shame and guilt knocked on my door and I not only answered, I let them in.

Have you ever done something and one second after you did it you said what did I just do? I am so stupid. Why did I do that? I just let everyone I know down and I know they could never forgive me. I couldn’t even forgive myself so how could they?

I had to keep what I had done a secret. NO MATTER WHAT!! The truth would kill them, therefore killing me. Since I was already dead, there was no need to kill them. So I kept it to myself.

I sank further into my guilt and shame. I withdrew from everyone. Oh, I still had a killer smile and was wittingly charming. I could get by. I faked a lot of happiness. Inside, I cried a lot of tears. I was rotting inside and I knew they could smell it. I knew they knew I was a fake. But they never said anything.

Maybe I was better at hiding it than I thought. Then I started thinking, I am such a good liar. Which led to more guilt and shame. Which led to him.

At first, I didn’t pay much attention. I would see him at the gas station or maybe at the store. You know the feeling you get when you think someone is watching you. I would get that and look up and he would be looking at me. He wouldn’t look away. I got chills down my spine. What a creep, I thought.

Through the first few months, I would seem him every couple of weeks. As the year progressed, I would see him more and more. Recently, as I was falling apart and my lies were catching up to me, as my guilt and shame were eating at me, I was seeing him every day.

EVERY SINGLE DAY!!

ALWAYS LOOKING AT ME.

NEVER LOOKING AWAY.

I finally was getting the courage to approach him and ask him what his deal is. That’s when he took the first step to me. I froze. Then, I ran.

I ran and here I am. In this thorn bush. Scratched and bleeding. Dying inside. Hiding from a man who wouldn’t quit following me.

As smart as I thought I was by throwing the rock into the water, he was smarter. As quiet as I thought I was being, he could still hear me. As dark as I thought my hiding place was, he still found me.

I, for the first time, took a good look at him. I mean, a really good look. I wanted to know who was going to end my days. That’s when I saw the crown of thorns around his head. He didn’t say a word. He just reached his hand down and by the light of the moon, I saw the scars on his. A sudden peace came over me and for some unknown reason, I reached out and took his hand.

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The thorns parted as he pulled me up. My bleeding wounds stopped bleeding. It was like a giant boulder was taken off my shoulders.

“I forgive you.” In those three words that he said my heart changed. It was like clean air was poured into my dirty lungs. Tears of guilt were replaced with tears of joy.

I walked back home, with him by my side. I knew it may be a long road to recovery, but I knew I had to tell them. I knew they had to know the truth. I could not keep living with this.

I also knew with him there was no condemnation, no guilt, no shame. I had to believe that they would forgive me also. I had to hope and pray for a better future. No matter what happens, I knew I had to continue to walk with him, not run away from him.

I took a deep breath and walked into the house. I knew we would be okay. I knew that I would be a better man. I knew they would forgive me. I knew we would survive the lies. Even so, I knew this was going to hurt.

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Never Stopped Loving by Jeremy Camp- 

Grace Will Lead Me Home by David Dunn – 

Fear Is A Liar by Zach Williams – 

He Still Does Miracles by Hawk Nelson – 

Worth It by Lecrae- 

You Waited by Travis Greene- 

Always Faithful by Ashes Remain – 

Immortal

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We rejoiced in another battle won. We have fought many over the last few months but this one was not only of joy but sorrow.  We lost many good men today, and I take the blame.  I am their leader and I did not lead well today. Something was wrong with me.

Looking back on my lifetime, I have fought many battles and I have never, not ever, not even once been nicked, scratched, cut or anything. I have walked away from all those battles unscathed. I have had men die, but they were far and few between. I have fought battles alone and never lost.  The enemy could not touch me.

Some say God must have His hand on me. Some say that I am extremely lucky.  I don’t believe in luck.

I have walked into cities that were destroyed by the black plague and I did not get sick. I have walked into small villages that were so decrepit that stray dogs would not even live there.  In fact, I have never been sick a day in my life. Not a cough, not a fever,  not even a single sniffle.

That all changed three days ago.

A few of my men and I were relaxing and drinking a few at the local bar. We parted ways and I started to go down an alley I had walked down hundreds of times. Immediately, the hairs on my arms and neck stood up. Something didn’t feel right. I drew my sword, prepared for battle. Two demons jumped from the shadows. I easily disposed of the first one. As I faced off against the second one, a thought came into my head. One that I never had before.

You can not win this one.

It came and was gone just as fast but it stopped me in my tracks. And in that second of delay, the demon swung his arm. I ducked but his long fingernails grazed my arm.  I came back at it with an uppercut and then my sword sliced through his neck.  His headless body fell at my feet and I was victorious again.

It was then I noticed I had been cut. My arm was bleeding.  For the first time in my life, I felt pain.

I fell asleep that night and woke in a cold sweat. Nightmares came to me and I could not escape them. I could not fall back asleep. My heart was beating out of my chest and my head was on fire. I tried to get out of bed but my legs would not cooperate. I fell to the floor. I stayed there until the morning light.

Morning came and it was like nothing had happened. I picked myself up off the floor. My heart was beating normal, the fever gone.  My strength was back.  I wondered if it had all been a nightmare. My imagination was running wild.

It was Wednesday. Drill day.  Every Wednesday when we were not in battle, my men and I had drill day. We went through the basic fundamentals of battle. Defense, offense, blocks, attacks, etc.  We also did obstacle runs and uphill runs to make us stronger, to have more endurance than our enemy.  I ran circles around my men. No one could ever keep up.  But today, I had nothing. Halfway through I dropped to my knees, out of breath. Out of energy.  What the heck?  My men teased me until they saw my face. I was pale as a ghost. I fell on my back and grabbed my cut arm. It felt like it was on fire. My heart was racing. My men picked me up and we walked back to town. What was going on?

Then I heard the voice again, you can not win this one.

You don’t know who I am,  I conquer everything and everyone, I replied to no one.

The next day we were attacked like we had never been attacked. So many demons. The battle lasted for two days and I made many mistakes. I could not think straight. I could not lead my men, I had no strength to do so.  I should’ve put my second in command to the front, to lead, but I was too proud. I kept telling myself I can get through this like I have so many other battles.  But this wasn’t like any other battle.  We won but we lost a lot of men.  A lot of good men and it’s all on me.

The fevers kept coming, my head was on fire.  My heart beat irregularly. I couldn’t catch my breath if I walked more than a minute. Yet, I was too stubborn to see the sorceress or the doctor.  Only weak people go to them. But yet, I could not shake what was happening to me.

You can not win this one.

I was getting sick of this voice. But I was getting more worried about the shape I was in. My people needed me, my town needed me. I had to give up and seek help. I could not do this on my own.  I went to the doctor and all their fancy machines, medicine, and spells. I listened closely, the rest of my life depended on what they told me I had to do.

I am slowly getting better, but I have let others lead my men to battle. I have taken a step back so I can take a few steps forward. It is a long road to recovery, but the doctors say I will make it.

I have come to realize that I am only a mortal man. A man who knows I can only be immortal when I pass this from this life to meet my maker.

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As I was writing part of this, I was listening to the new Building 429 cd and this song came on. Funny how God works.

Joy Unspeakable by Building 429- 

Soul’s Anthem ( It Is Well) by Tori Kelly – 

Miracle Or Not by Alisa Turner – 

More Than Gonna Make It by Alisa Turner – 

Long Year by Jackie Lee –