Category Archives: Blogging Challenges

United With Christ

Image Credit: One Family Under God
Image Credit:
One Family Under God

Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians is a letter rich with power and meaning, for those who truly want to live the life that God has called us to. Therefore, we must make our way through it, slowly, pondering every golden nugget, so that we, like Paul, and so many other men and women, chosen by God before us, will come to say and mean, “For Christ I live, and for Christ I die.” Thus, we will continue our study from where we left off the last time, when we learned that we are Blessed With Every Spiritual Blessing in the Heavenly Realms...

The same scripture that tells us we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms, also gives us the reason why we are so blessed, hence, we must examine this scripture more closely:


All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.
~ Ephesians 1:3  NLT ~


Did you see the reason for our blessings? We only receive those blessings when we are united with Christ. Therefore, in order for us to understand this and be united with Christ, let us first look in the dictionary to see what “UNITED” means…

This definition for “UNITED” comes from dictionary.com:


1.     made into or caused to act as a single entity:
a united front.

2.    formed or produced by the uniting of things
or persons:  a united effort.

3.    agreed; in harmony.


Looking at these definitions of united, we can see that to be united with Christ is to act as a single entity. In order to act as a single entity, with Christ (or with anyone), we must know Him intimately, just as a husband and wife know each other. If we are strangers, or if we don’t know Him well, how can we act as a single entity with Christ? As we go about living our lives, remember, we are a representation of Jesus, acting in His name. Therefore, we must know Him well enough to know how He would act within the context of any situation you find yourself in, and the only way you can know that is to know Him intimately.

To be united with Christ is to be agreed and in harmony with each other, and to make a united effort. I can’t think of another that I would want to be in agreement or in harmony with, can you? To be agreed with Christ, we must know what we are agreeing with, and one of the best ways to know Him is through prayer and bible study. Remember, the bible is the Word of God, which is living and active. Unlike any other book that we may read, as you read and study God’s Word, you will come to know Him, and the more you know Him, the more you will love Him, which will make it easy to be agreed with Christ and in harmony with Him.

Beloved reader, please join me in a walk through some of the many scriptures on being united with Christ, so that you and I will be able to both understand, and walk in union with our Lord. Many times in scripture, followers of Christ are called the “Bride of Christ.” This implies that a wedding has taken place, and that Christ is our husband (or groom). According to scripture, this is a sacred union…


And He said, This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” ~ Matthew 19:5-6  NLT ~


Marriage between a man and a woman is part of a sacred covenant (a binding agreement between husband, wife and God. It is to last as long as both husband and wife are alive. If one or the other dies, the other spouse is free from the covenant and may marry again if he/she so desires.) 

As it is when a man and woman marry, so it is, when we are joined in union with Christ Jesus, our Savior, except that this is an eternal covenant, which must never be broken. Therefore, just as it happens in a marriage between a man and a woman, there are many forces that will attempt to separate us from Christ, though God, our Father has expressly forbidden it. 

It is equally important for us to understand that when we are united with Jesus, we are also united with God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and with all other believers. Therefore, we must do as the scriptures command…


I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.
~ 1 Corinthians 1:10  NLT ~


Beloved readers, it is when we (Christ’s church), separate ourselves from one another, with our different denominations and beliefs, or between the different cultures, ethnicities and races, that we become divided.  Look at the scripture below, and see what Jesus said about this:


25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” ~ Matthew 12:25  NKJV ~


As I wrote in my last post, The Race Card and the Times We Live In:


“As long as there are “black” churches, “white” churches, “hispanic” churches, “Baptist” churches, “Methodist” churches, “Pentecostal” churches, “Holiness” churches, etc., racism, bigotry, and prejudice will never end.”


Image Credit: Biblical Proof
Image Credit:
Biblical Proof

Indeed, the fact is that as long as the church remains divided, SIN will always enter in through the divisions. There is a reason why there is so much sin within the church. (When I say the church, I am speaking of every man, woman and child who has been born again.) Therefore, as Jesus said, “A house divided against itself will not stand.” Beloved readers, I urge you to examine your hearts. How do you respond when people of a different culture or race come to your church? Do you welcome them, or do you ignore them? Be honest with yourselves. 

When you meet someone from a different denomination, do you think you are superior to them? Do you sometimes feel that only your place of worship has all of the right answers, and that everyone else is all wrong? I remember attending a church, many years ago that didn’t believe in expressing their feelings, while singing or praying. Because I loved worshiping the Lord, I would lift my hands to honor Him. Many people who attended that church were irritated by my expression of love for the Lord, and one even commented with a sour expression on her face, “I think you need to go to a Pentecostal church!”  I can smile at that memory now, but at the time, I didn’t even know what a Pentecostal church was, and the way she spoke those words, it sounded like she was cursing me.

I shared this because I want you all to be very careful of how you treat God’s children. Jesus told us that the two most important commandments are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. The second one is to love your neighbor as yourself. I didn’t feel a whole lot of love coming from that person, when she made that comment to me. However, I did eventually go to a Pentecostal church, and I did feel much more at home there. Therefore, God took the comment she made to hurt me, and used it for my good.

It really doesn’t matter whether another believer is from another denomination. We really mustn’t allow that to separate us. For God didn’t intend for the Methodists to be united against the Baptists, or the Pentecostals to be united against the Roman Catholics. When the command to be united was written, it was written to all who believe in Christ. The author of Psalm 119 prayed a prayer  for unity that would be good for all of us to pray…


Let me be united with all who fear You, with those who know Your laws. ~ Psalm 119:79  NLT ~


A church united with Christ, and thus, united together was so important to Jesus, that in His last prayer, on the very night He was imprisoned, before  being crucified the next day, He prayed about it…


Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to You. Holy Father, You have given Me Your name; now protect them by the power of Your name so that they will be united just as We are. ~ John 17:11  NLT ~


The early church knew the importance of unity, as they gathered together, in the upper room, praying and waiting for the baptism of the Holy Spirit…


They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus. ~ Acts 1:14  NLT ~

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. ~ Acts 2:1-4  NKJV ~


I often wonder what the early church would think about the church today. Imagine one hundred twenty men and women all gathered together, with one accord. Just think about it. Below is the Greek word and definition for one accord, found in Strong’s Lexicon on Blue Letter Bible


One Accord – homothymadon (Blue Letter Bible/ Strong’s Greek Lexicon)

1.     with one mind, with one accord, with one passion

“A unique Greek word, used 10 of its 12 New Testament occurrences in the Book of Acts, helps us understand the uniqueness of the Christian community. Homothumadon is a compound of two words meaning to “rush along” and “in unison”. The image is almost musical; a number of notes are sounded which, while different, harmonize in pitch and tone. As the instruments of a great concert under the direction of a concert master, so the Holy Spirit blends together the lives of members of Christ’s church.”


When we read through the book of Acts, and see all of the miracles, signs and wonders that took place, it is important to note that believers in Jesus, both male and female were united. Their one focus was to share the Gospel of Christ, first in Jerusalem, then in Judea, next in Samaria, and finally, to the ends of the earth. They were all united in their purpose, in their faith, in their hopes and dreams. They were there to give glory to God in all that they did.

As we continue to ponder Strong’s definition of “one accord,’ we come to understand that these men and women were of one mindThis means that each one of them were focused on one thought; the thought of Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who had promised that He would never leave them alone. They were waiting for the promised appearance of the Holy Spirit.

As it says in the excerpt from Strong’s Lexicon, everyone of these men and women were different, yet they shared one common goal. Their goal was to wait, as Jesus had commanded them to do, ..


Once when He was eating with them, He commanded them, Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift He promised, as I told you before.John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. ~ Acts 1:4-5  NLT ~

He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” ~ Acts 1:7-8  NLT ~


Sometimes, I wonder what would happen if plain, ordinary people, like you and me, got together, in obedience to Jesus’ command, and began to pray together. Would we see miracles, signs and wonders?


14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14  NKJV ~


Why is it that Christians in third  world countries see miracles, signs and wonders? After all, we hold conferences, revivals and crusades, so why don’t we witness and participate in the miracles, signs and wonders like they do and like they did in the gospels and the book of Acts? Could it be that in biblical times, and still in third world countries, the people were of one mind and one accord, as they humbled themselves and prayed, and sought God’s face?

Is it possible that we tend to walk in our own ways, rather than living united in Christ? Would it be truthful to say that instead of conforming and transforming into the men and women God created us to be, we’ve tried to mold and conform God into who we want Him to be? Have we placed Him in the box of our men’s and women’s conferences, praise-a-thons, crusades and revivals? Instead of praying and prophesying according to God’s will, are we praying and prophesying according to our own will, or the will of those we minister to? Perhaps this is why we aren’t performing even greater miracles, signs and wonders than what Jesus did, even though He promised that we would…


“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in Me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” ~ John 14:12  NLT ~


Beloved reader, if each one of us will live united in Christ, and seek to do His will and not our own, we will be of one mind and one accord. Then, we can ask anything of the Father in Jesus’ name, and it will be done, but apart from Him, we can do nothing…


“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in Me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in Me and My words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!” ~ John 15:5-7  NLT ~


Beloved reader, my prayer for each one of us is that we would humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand, and ask Jesus to not only be our Savior and Lord, but to show us how to live united in Him. Whenever the disciples were unsure about how to do something, they asked the Lord. They even asked Him how to pray! So, why shouldn’t w e ask Him to show us how to be and live united with Him? 

Lord, I pray in Jesus’ name that You open the eyes of our hearts, and that you would teach us what it is to live in union with You. Show us how to submit ourselves to You, and to love You with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. Show us how to pick up our cross and follow You, and show us how to count the cost, and then with full knowledge of what it will cost us to live in union with You, give us the will to say, “Yes!” to Your will and Your ways. And Lord, in the days ahead, help us to remain focused on You and the message You have given us from Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians, and in the coming days, as we continue this study, give us a hunger and a thirst for more of Your word, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Routine

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge

“How does routine appear to you?” –  The drive to town every morn, that pair of shoes always worn, wake-up calls or favourite malls, superb meals or special deals, meditation, daily prayer, yoga mats or just a love of all that …

We would love to see your vision.
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Merriam Webster defines Routine as…

  1. a regular course of procedure
  2. habitual or mechanical performance of an established procedure

Those who know me well know that I am scattered and disorganized (except on the computer). I’m impulsive and I love doing things on the spur of the moment. If someone says, “Let’s go,” I say, “How fast?” It doesn’t matter if there’s work to be done or dirty dishes or laundry, they’ll still be there when I get back, so I’m ready!

My husband, on the other hand, is a creature of habit. He lives each day maintaining a very strict routine. He awakens everyday at the same time, even on Sundays, when his alarm isn’t set. He then goes downstairs and makes his coffee, before heading into the bathroom to get his shower, so that the coffee will be ready when he exits the shower. He gets up an hour earlier than necessary so that he can go out to his man cave and listen to some music before work starts… His whole day is regimented like this.

Image Credit: http://chosenvessel26.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/train-up-a-child.jpg
Image Credit:
http://chosenvessel26.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/train-up-a-child.jpg

Now I’ll admit that there’s been many times over the years when I’ve felt like pulling my hair out, because my husband is so set in his ways and in following his routines. There have been times when on the spur of the moment, I’ve wanted to go away for a couple of days, but we couldn’t, because my husband needed time to prepare for the trip, and make sure we have enough money.

Really! You see, I would have just gone, and if we didn’t have enough money to eat, we could just fast… Ok, so maybe having a routine is not such a bad thing. In fact, you could say that keeping a routine is a responsible thing to do…

As a matter of fact, scripture reveals that it is important to have a routine when raising children…

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.

~ Proverbs 22:6 — NKJV ~

If a child is brought up in a home with no routines or discipline, he/she is likely to grow up knowing no boundaries. The child is also likely to grow up not knowing how to maintain self-control…

Image Credit: http://biblestorymurals.com/ images/train_up_mural_new.jpg
Image Credit:
http://biblestorymurals.com/
images/train_up_mural_new.jpg

I once heard it said that if a person does not come to know the Lord as a child, they are less likely to come to Him as an adult. If you think about this in light of the scripture above, it makes sense. In most instances, the way a child is raised has a direct impact on the way he/she will live his/her life. If the only time the child hears the Lord’s name spoken routinely is as a curse word, then it is very likely that this is the only way that child will grow up to use the Lord’s name also.

4 “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

~ Deuteronomy 6:4-9 — NLT ~

The Lord knows that people need a routine in order to learn. That’s why Jewish children were taught about the Lord daily, from the time they got up in the morning, and throughout the day, until they went to bed at night. They saw and heard their parents praying daily, and they too learned to pray daily. Their parents routinely quoted the scriptures to them, so that the children memorized great portions of the Torah by an early age. 

In the same ways, Christian believers must routinely demonstrate and teach their children how to know the Lord. 

Therefore, even though I am an extremely impulsive and spontaneous person, I do believe that some routines are beneficial, such as the routine of praying and teaching your children to know God…

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Two Cents Tuesday – Toys

Two Cent Tuesday Challenge

Your “two cents” is exactly that – your opinion on the topic posted – it may take any form that you find most expresses your point of view: a quote, a motto or saying, an essay or article by you or attributed to someone else, a piece of music, a song, a video, a work of art, photograph, graffiti, drawing or scribble.  As with most things, the choice is yours…

This fortnight’s Two Cents Tuesday Challenge theme – Toys – suggests that everybody’s got their something…
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My daughter and now, both of her daughters have one toy that they cling to. For my daughter, it was her “Doll-doll”. I remember how she brought this rag doll with her everywhere we went. She couldn’t sleep without her “Doll-doll,” and it was crisis time if we visited someone and accidentally left “Doll-doll” behind. There was such weeping and wailing. The same  holds true for her oldest daughter, who has her “Puppy” and for her youngest, who has her “Bun-bun”.

I often wondered how it is that they formed such an attachment to stuffed animals or a rag doll, but then, I look in the toy room, where the grandchildren come to play, and I see Harvey. Just thinking about Harvey puts a smile on my face. Suddenly, I realize that the apples didn’t fall too far from the tree. Continue reading Two Cents Tuesday – Toys

On Eagle’s Wings

June 14, 2013 by 

#FWF FREE WRITE FRIDAY: IMAGE PROMPT
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photo by Matt Black, 2011 (Matt Black Photography)
photo by Matt Black, 2011 (Matt Black Photography)

Oh, that I had wings like a dove;
then I would fly away and rest!

~ Psalm 55:6 — NLT ~

With worried wrinkles in her brow
Tousled tresses tucked smoothly now
Flo’s flowered frock hangs loose and limp
Penniless pauper, forced to scrimp

Longing, lusting, she yearns for more
Searching the sky, she longs to soar
But burdens bog, too big to fly
Helpless, hopeless, too tired to try

Pausing to pray, she hears a voice
Speak to her soul, give her a choice
“Wait, watch with wit; soon you will rise
“Don’t dash or rush; you must be wise.”

Passionate praise springs from her lips
Singing, shame’s shadows now eclipsed
Radiance risen above dirt
Purify, purge away life’s hurts

Pious, prostrate revering Him
Rejoice, revere, with songs and hymns
Against all odds, hope is now born
Washed white now, she no longer mourns

Pulse pounding, eyes sparkle and shine
In God’s grace, His presence divine
Lavished in love, Her spirit springs
Swiftly she soars on eagle’s wings

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Home…

Five Sentence Fiction – Home

Jun 12, 2013 ~ Written by lillie

What it’s all about: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
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Last week, my husband and I flew to Georgia to visit our daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren, and though it was the first time I’ve ever been to Georgia, I was home. When we were at the airport in Atlanta, which is like a ginormous maze that was much to large for me to walk through, I was transported by wheelchair to my destination, assuring that my husband and I would catch our flight on time, and there, in that airport, surrounded by strangers from all over the world, I was home. 

Above the Clouds Cheryl A. Showers
Above the Clouds
Cheryl A. Showers

As my husband and I flew high above the clouds and I saw the world below from heaven’s perspective, taking note of the homes and buildings, which seemed too small for even a miniature doll house, while the people below were much too small to be viewed by the naked eye, again, I was home. Continue reading Home…

Desolate…

Five Sentence Fiction – Desolate

What it’s all about: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
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Lillie McFerrin Five Sentence Fiction

Sharp, piercing pain brutally ripped through her heart, leaving her desolate, as she watched the soldiers and centurions slay both her husband and her children, burning them on Nero’s wicked stakes, because they refused to pronounce Nero was a god, and renounce Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Still, she held her head high, refusing to give her enemies the satisfaction of seeing how deeply wounded she was, as she boldly made eye contact with as many of the people in the jeering, murderous crowd as she could, and spoke to the members of the inquest, who had carried her to the arena, to be eaten and mauled to death by the hungry lions. Continue reading Desolate…

My Confession

Trifextra: Week Sixty-Nine

This weekend we are asking for a thirty-three word confession.  You’re free to write non-fiction or fiction or to blur the lines in between.  We just encourage you to get creative and give us your best.
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Photo Courtesy of: http://www.autostraddle.com/playlisRain By Katie Tegtmeyert-when-youre-feeling-helpless-148190/
Photo Courtesy of:
http://www.autostraddle.com/playlisRain
By Katie Tegtmeyert-when-youre-feeling-helpless-148190/

Lord, I’ve cheated and I’ve lied
I’ve laughed and then I’ve cried

On my own I am lost
And over the line I crossed

O Lord, please forgive me
Set this sinner free!

Blow Wind, Blow

#FWF Free Write Friday: Image Prompt

Posted on May 24, 2013 by ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Image Credit: Tumblr

Her eyes furtively stole a glance at him, sitting rigidly upright with both hands on the steering wheel. His firm young jaw line was tightly clenched, while his Adam’s apple bobbed up and down as he swallowed, trying to rid himself of the lump in his throat that signified how close he was to tears. She quickly returned her gaze to the passing fields, fighting just as hard as he fought, not to cry. Continue reading Blow Wind, Blow

M is for Mom

m-is-for-mom-2#FWF Free Write Friday: M is for Mom

Posted on May 10, 2013 by KELLIE ELMORE
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My mother passed away on February 15, 2013, just a few short months ago, and I miss her more than I ever dreamed I would. She wasn’t a perfect mother, just as I am neither a perfect mother, nor a perfect daughter, but she loved me the best she could, and that was good enough for me!

“There’s a story behind everything… but behind all your stories is always your mother’s story… because hers is where yours begins.” ― Mitch Albom

Mama, the quote above says it all… your story is the beginning of my story, but I’m not strong enough or ready to write your story yet, so, I settled on these acrostics to give a brief, though incomplete glimpse into your life… God alone, knows how much I love you. Continue reading M is for Mom

Edge…

Five Sentence Fiction – Edge

Apr 10, 2013 ~ 3 Comments ~ Written by lillie

What it’s all about: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
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Image Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/ File:Wonderland_Walker_2.jpg

Fear and regret welled up inside him, as searing hot pain burned him from within and without, consuming him in a blaze of hopeless torment. “Oh God,” he cried out in agony, as the bitterness of his current state engulfed him with sorrow and remorse, while the unrelenting holocaust drove home the knowledge that it was now too late to go back and change anything. 

He had always lived his life on the edge,  like a tightrope walker, while never fully committing to the Lord, he enjoyed many of the forbidden fruits of life, being careful not to do anything too terribly bad, and always making sure that he never missed going to church on Christmas and Easter. How sharply focused everything suddenly was, as revelation came in a flash of lightning, burning through all of the lies he had told himself through the seventy-eight brief years of his self-indulgent life, when he had vowed to  himself that he would make Jesus his Lord and Savior when he was older, only to continue putting it off until now, when his life was used up, and it was too late. The truth is that even if he had lived another seventy-eight years, he’d never really had any intentions of making peace with God, and now there was hell to pay, as the flames unceasingly tormented him. 

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

GMOs – Diabolical Alchemy?

 TRIFECTA: WEEK SEVENTY-TWO

ALCHEMY (noun)
1: a medieval chemical science and speculative philosophy aiming to achieve the transmutation of the base metals into gold, the discovery of a universal cure for disease, and the discovery of a means of indefinitely prolonging life
2: a power or process of transforming something common into something special
3: an inexplicable or mysterious transmuting

Please remember:

  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
  • Only one entry per writer.
  • If you know your post does not meet the requirements of the challenge, please leave your link in the comments section, not in the linkz.
  • Trifecta is open to everyone.  Please join us.

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Genetically modified organisms (GMO) produce an alchemy of nutritious crops, according to the FDA, and eating foods with GMO are not harmful to humans. Unfortunately, there’s no data to base these claims on. No one in the FDA has monitored the impact of GMO foods on human health. In fact, it could take years or even decades to determine all of the health problems these foods are creating in our country. Continue reading GMOs – Diabolical Alchemy?

God’s Advice To You

Trifextra: Week Sixty-Two

On to the weekend challenge.  We want you to give us thirty-three words of advice. Your advice can be to anyone or about anything.  We only ask that you make it uniquely yours.  If you have time to kill, you can easily get lost in the advice of others here.

I don’t expect to win this challenge, because the advice is from God and the words below are His words from Micah 6:8… But I just couldn’t help but respond to this! 😀
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Trifecta Writing
Image Credit: Trifecta Writing Challenge

God’s advice: He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?

Words…

Five Sentence Fiction – Words

What it’s all about: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
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Her words were like a razor, sharp and hard, slicing their recipient to shreds, with each lashing from her tongue.

Image Credit: http://laboringinthelord.com/wp-content/ uploads/2012/04/The-Power-Of-The-Tongue.jpg

Just moments earlier, that same tongue had spoken words that were soft and soothing, a healing balm applied to the one she loved with gentleness, as she sought to heal some of the wounds caused by a lifetime of pain and abuse. There was great power in her words, and she was amazed at the transformation in her friend, who seemed to change from a lowly caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly, as she spoke those words of love and truth to her.

Yet now, as she peered at her reflection in the mirror with self-loathing, heaping those hateful curses on her image that looked back at her with tears in her eyes, she heard different words, coming from the Word Himself. “Be still, My love,” the Word tenderly whispered to her, “for you are My beloved, whom I have created fearfully and wonderfully in My image, for My glory and I command you to love yourself as I have loved you.”

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Little Girl Lost…

The following story is for the __picture it & write blogging challenge…

Image Credit: http://ermiliablog.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/photo-1-3.jpg

“Ring around the roses, a pocket full of posies. Ashes, ashes, we all fall down!” 

“London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down.
London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady.”

“See, see, my playmate,
Won’t you come play with me?
And bring your dollies, three?

Climb up my apple tree?
Slide down my rainbow,
Into my cellar door,
And we’ll be jolly friends,
Forevermore, 1, 2, 3, 4!”

Image Credit: https://www.makewav.es/story/425830/title/
shouldchildrenbeallowedtoplayout

Tears slid down her cheeks as she walked into the yard of her childhood, hearing and seeing the children playing again in her mind’s eye. Was it possible that she had once been so innocent and carefree or was it all only a dream, a wish for what could have — no, for what should have been? Nostalgically, she walked over to the swing that was still tied to the old oak tree, fingering its chains and testing the wooden seat before easing her weight onto it. Someone had obviously taken great pains to care for this swing, to ensure that the ravages of time wouldn’t render it a danger to other children who might use this swing, or in this case, so this now middle-aged woman could sit here, close her eyes, and remember…

She remembered playing with her neighborhood friends and her cousins until well past dark on those steamy summer days and nights, and then rising early the next morning, to do it all again. The year was 1971, and things were different back then. This was an era where you’d better be on your best behavior, because the neighborhood mothers kept watch on all of the children as if they were their own, and if you acted up, Suzy’s mommy would spank you for misbehaving, and then she would call your mommy, and she would spank you too! She smiled, remembering that Suzy’s mommy had indeed spanked her on more than one occasion, for her mischievousness.

Image Credit: http://www.gettyimages.com/
creative/hairbrush-stock-photos?page=2

She smiled as she gazed at the steps leading to the upper level of the yard, envisioning the little girl with her little purple hotpants under the cute little mini dress, wielding her brush as though it was a microphone, as she put a record on her record player and prepared her one-woman stage show, imagining the audience below, which sometimes included neighborhood children, and other times was completely imaginary. A lone tear slid down her cheek as she remembered that little girl standing right there, with her imaginary audience applauding as she softly sang Donny Osmond’s, “Go Away Little Girl.” 

She remembered staying up late on hot summer nights, catching lightening bugs with her cousins and her friends. Life up until then was so carefree, as it should be for a little girl of ten, but that all changed one dreadful night when she was playing a game with her cousins. It was a dark, moonless night, and they were playing one of their favorite games, “Midnight in the Graveyard.” She was “It”, the “Ghost in the Graveyard,” and she had to find a hiding place, where her cousins wouldn’t be able to find her, but if they did find her, she still had a chance of winning, if she could escape without them tagging her and run to the empty swing, which was “home base.”

She remembered finding the perfect hiding place. She shuddered now, as she remembered that night, hearing the voices of her cousins, as they counted the hours until they could go and look for her… “It’s One O’Clock in the graveyard, and I see no ghosts,” they counted. “It’s Two O’Clock in the graveyard, and I see no ghosts,” they continued, as she softly giggled, crawling towards the big bushes on the left side of the house. The other kids were scared of bugs and spiders, so they would never try to find her in the middle of these bushes, she thought, when suddenly, from behind, someone grabbed her foot and clamped a hand over her mouth.

Image Credit: http://beatrizmartinvidal.deviantart.com/art/Kidnapped-girl-57670485

“That’s not fair!” she thought angrily, as she squirmed to get away and tell whichever cousin had cheated, but as hard as she wiggled and tried to escape, he wouldn’t let her go. And then she realized that whoever it was that held her was much too big to be one of her cousins. This person had strong, hairy arms, like a man, and he smelled too — like he needed a bath and some deodorant. She kept trying to wiggle away and get his hand off her face, because she couldn’t breathe. What was wrong with him? Didn’t he know he was too big to play this game? “He doesn’t even know the rules!” she thought angrily. “Just wait till I tell my daddy about this,” she thought. “I bet he’ll straighten him out.”

She wasn’t frightened until he opened the door of a dark van, and threw her down in the back, while ripping a piece of duct tape from a roll, and placing it on her mouth. Her daddy and mommy liked to watch “The F.B.I.”, and her heart started pounding rapidly, as it suddenly dawned on her that she was being kidnapped by a stranger. “Oh God,” she prayed silently, as tears began to fall rapidly, and her struggling ceased as fear paralyzed her. “Please help me. Please don’t let him kill me, Lord.”

Image Credit: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-order/school-kidnapper-edwin-john-eastwood-makes-shock-confession/story-fnat7dag-1226539868318

The back door of the windowless van slammed shut, as her kidnapper opened the front door and climbed in, starting the van and turning the radio up loudly, as The Doors sang, “Riders in the Storm.” As she lay weeping on the hard, dirty floor in the back of the van, Shelley suddenly realized that her life had just changed drastically, and there was nothing she could do about it, but pray and try to survive. Her mommy and daddy had always said she was headstrong, and that trait would prove to be necessary for her survival.

Her husband quietly walked up to her, as she sat on the swing, reminiscing, softly speaking, “Are you ready to meet them, Shelley?” before he touched her. In their more than thirty years of marriage, he had learned to never walk up behind her and touch her or grab her, without first announcing his presence, lest he trigger a traumatic episode. He looked at his wife of many years with deep love and admiration for her courage. Over the years, she had fought her way past many obstacles that might have stopped anyone else, but she was determined to be whole, for her own sake, as well as for his sake, their children’s sake, and now for their grandchildren as well.

It had taken her many years of prayer and counseling to work past the painful memories that she had locked deep within her mind, as she allowed each one to surface. Sometimes, only one memory would surface periodically, and other times, she would be brutalized by an onslaught of many memories. Sometimes, they came in broken, hazy fragments, while other times, vivid, sharp memories bombarded her soul.

Image Credit: http://healingbrokenhearts.com/receive-the-doctors-diagnosis/

Still, with the help of her loving Savior, she had continued to press through those memories, which had led her here, to this place, her childhood home, that she hadn’t seen since that dreadful night in 1971, when her idyllic life had been ripped away from her. And God, in His infinite mercy and kindness, had kept her parents alive. She hadn’t seen them since that horrible night either, and she nervously stood up from the swing, and lifted her hand to her hair, to smooth it, glancing up at her husband uncertainly. “Do I look okay?” she asked him worriedly, and he smiled warmly, cupping her chin in his hand as he replied, “You look beautiful.”

Hand in hand, as the two of them climbed the steps to the upper yard, she glanced to the left at the bushes that were supposed to have been her hiding place on that dreadful night, so long ago, and shuddered, as the door opened and she saw the aged faces of her mother and father. Though time had left its toll on their faces, in the forty-two years since she had last seen them, she recognized them immediately, as they fell into one another’s arms, weeping for joy. “I thought we’d never see you again,” her mother cried, as she held her tightly, as though afraid to let go, for fear that she’d vanish again. 

“My little princess,” her daddy choked out as she was engulfed in his arms. “I’m so sorry I didn’t protect you better,” he groaned helplessly.

“Don’t say that, Daddy,” Shelley gently replied, as they made their way into the living room. “You were wonderful parents, and you had no way of knowing that such  horrible predators lurked about.” It was a joyful reunion, as Shelley introduced her parents to her husband of more than thirty years and showed them pictures of their grandchildren as well as their great-grandchildren. 

Their conversation soon took a more serious tone when her mother asked, “Can you tell us what happened, Shelley? Why did it take you so long to come back to us? There hasn’t been one day that we haven’t cried out to God to bring you back home to us,” she said, as she sat on the faded green sofa, leaning against her husband, who periodically swiped at his nose and his eyes with a wrinkled white handkerchief. 

“It was awful, Mommy,” she said softly, as she shared the story of her abduction while playing with her cousins on that fateful night. She told her parents how he raped her repeatedly, and then forced her to prostitute herself in the city, against her will. She told her parents that she had tried to escape numerous times, and how he would find her and beat her each time, until she finally stopped trying to run away from her captor.

She told them of her arrest at the age of fifteen, and how it had changed her life. When the police had picked her up, she told them of her abduction and her forced prostitution, and how they arrested her kidnapper, charging him as a rapist and a pedophile and locking him away for a very long time. The one thing she didn’t share with the police was her real name. 

The truth of her identity was locked somewhere deep within the recesses of her mind, but the years of repeated abuse and rape had wreaked havoc on the child’s fragile mind, and it would take years to unlock some of the secrets within. Because times were different then, there was no computer database for kidnapped children, and no DNA testing, which made it nearly impossible for the police to locate her family. By God’s grace, the courts were very kind to the broken teen, placing her into the home of a Christian couple who lavished her with love. They loved her when she acted out in anger and rebellion, and they loved her when she cried herself to sleep each night. 

It was this loving couple who introduced her to Jesus, and demonstrated His unconditional love to her in so many ways. They took her to Christian counseling, several times a week at first, then, as she began to heal, less and less. Throughout the years, she and her foster parents had prayed for Shelley to be reunited with her parents, especially when she married Gabe, and again, when each of their three children were born, but though she saw their faces in her dreams, she couldn’t remember their names. She wasn’t even sure if Shelley was her true name, until two weeks ago, when after more than forty years, there had been a breakthrough, and she suddenly remembered her name, her parents’ names, and even her former address. “I was surprised to discover that you still live here,” she finished amid the tears.

“Shelley,” her father said gently, “we thought of moving many times over the years, but we just couldn’t bring ourselves to leave, in case you escaped and came looking for us. We had to stay here so you could find us, and I’m so glad we did,” he cried,  getting up and throwing his arms around her and her husband.

“Shelley,” her mother said softly, “Would you like to see your old bedroom or would it be too traumatic?”

“Mommy, I have longed to see you and Daddy, and my old room for so many years,” she responded, standing up, and grabbing her husband’s hand, as the four of them headed up the wooden staircase with the gold shag carpet. She laughed delightedly, as she saw pictures of herself as a child hanging on the wall to the left, as they ascended the stairs, running her hand along the oak banister. Sadly, the wall seemed incomplete, as the pictures went from infancy until the age of ten, and then they just stopped. There were no prom pictures, no sweet sixteen pictures, no graduation pictures.

It suddenly dawned on Shelley just how ghastly this must have been for her parents, who never got to experience the joys so many other parents enjoyed. Her mother never got to share with her about the changes that happen when a little girl becomes a woman. Certainly, she had been deprived of these joys, but so too, had her parents.

Waves of compassion swept over Shelley as she, her husband and her parents stood in the hallway outside of her bedroom, and impulsively, before they opened the door to her bedroom, Shelley turned to her mother and whispered, “Mommy, I’m so sorry for all of the joy that you and Daddy missed out on. I’m so sorry for the pain this has caused you, and both of you need to know this was not your fault. You did all that you could do, and what that horrible man intended for evil, God has turned into something good. You see, if none of these horrible things had happened to me, I might not be working with teenage prostitutes and rape victims. This has all worked out for good, because I love God, and He has called me for this purpose.”

After comforting her parents, Shelley turned and opened the door to her bedroom, which had remained unchanged for forty-two years. The bright purple bedspread on the white for poster bed, and lavender walls covered with posters of Donny Osmond brought a smile to her face. There were her old record albums and her record player. She smiled as she saw her collection of stuffed animals neatly arranged on her bed, just as she liked them. She picked up Mr. Bean, a fat fluffy golden stuffed cat, cradling him in  her arms as she had done as a child, and walked to the window overlooking the trees and her swing.

“I’m home now, Mr. Bean,” she whispered quietly, as she turned around to look at her family, and with tears brimming from her eyes, she fell to her knees, as her husband joined her, and reaching for her parents hands, they all joined hands and prayed, giving thanks to the Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth, who in His infinite love and mercy, had reunited this broken family, and restored the years that the enemy had stolen from them.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

You’ve Got Mail…

Creative Writing Challenge: 2AM Photo

by Michael Pick on March 18, 2013
It’s 2AM and your phone has just buzzed you awake, filling the room in white-blue LED light. You have a message. It’s a photo. No words, no explanation. Just a photo. Tell us all about it. And what happens next.
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Image Credit: http://theperiledsea.ning.com/profiles/blogs/horse-rider-made-of-fire-what-i-saw

“You’ve got mail!” The sound loudly clamored repeatedly, jarring me awake from a dead sleep, as I reached over to grab my cell phone, wondering why it kept repeating over and over again. Usually, when I received a text or notification, it only sounded once, and I never had the volume as loud as it was now. 

“It must be some kind of a stupid glitch,” I thought to myself, as I sat up in the bed, squinting to see who could be texting me at 2:00 in the morning, and what kind of malfunction was causing my phone to vibrate and continue repeating, “You’ve got mail!” at full volume. Finally, unable to silence it, I decided to open the stupid message, hoping that would shut it up.

As I opened the message, my heart began to beat violently in my chest. There was no “Sender”, nor was there any message, just the grim picture of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. My heart felt like wax, as it melted within me, and a sudden weakness washed over my body. “Oh God,” I whimpered, as the image on the cell phone shook in my hands.

Suddenly, it seemed that time had run out. As I stared dumbly at the image on my cell phone, I saw the future begin to unfold, as other images raced across the screen, showing the impending doom of mankind and the earth as we now knew it. It was both great and terrible, as wars, famine and pestilence flashed across the screen, with each of the four horsemen leaving a horrible wake of destruction as they passed…

We were about to face the war that ends all wars, as families and friends would be pitted against one another. Children would turn against their parents, and mothers would betray their very own flesh. The love of many would wax cold, and it would soon be nearly impossible to tell friend from foe.

Indeed, this photo of the four horsemen was a call to war, and I knew immediately what I needed to do, as I dropped to my knees and began to pray fervently, crying out for God’s mercy and grace. I couldn’t deny that I’d already seen the signs — oh, who was I kidding? I knew that the first of the four horsemen had already arrived, and that it was only a matter of time before the second rider followed, as Antichrist set his evil plan into motion, winning the trust and adoration of many as they turned further and further away from Christ, calling His gospel of peace a gospel of war.

I had already witnessed the terrible toll that was taking place on believers throughout the world, and yet, like a foolish ostrich, I had buried my head in the sand, hoping that this terrible evil would just vanish if I didn’t look at it. “Oh Lord, forgive me for not taking a stand,” I now prayed, as I began to put my war clothes on.

Image Credit: http://taniarubimenglish.blogspot.com/2012_02_01_archive.html

Then, grabbing the breastplate of righteousness, I fastened it tightly, carefully guarding my heart. “Lord God,” I now prayed with purpose and fervency, “guard my heart and keep me righteous. In these last and evil times, Father, I ask You to protect my heart, so that I won’t stray from You, nor lead anyone else away from Your saving grace.”

Next, with purpose, I lifted the belt of truth, carefully examining it for any breaks or flaws that may have occurred during my time of cowardice, as I refused to face the truth before me. Thankfully, the Lord had guarded it, and I carefully fastened the belt of truth tightly around my waist, as I vowed, “Lord, from this day forth, with Your help, I will walk in truth, looking neither to the left nor the right. And though it may lead to my death, I will speak the truth in love, boldly to the men, women and children You place in my path, no matter who stands against me, because I know that no weapon formed against me shall prosper, and that every lying tongue that rises up against me shall be brought to justice.”

Image Credit: http://www.123rf.com/photo_15082883_old-and-dirty-military-boots-isolated-on-white-background.html

Even though it was now well past 2:00 a.m., I stooped down to slip my feet into the shoes in readiness of sharing the gospel of peace. “Lord, Jesus, send me to the streets, the prisons, the bars, the crack houses and the whore houses, so that I may share Your gospel of peace with those who are desperate for a Savior. Let me speak to them in Your love, so that they will be ready to face the trials and the tribulation that all must face. And Lord, I ask that You snatch them from the fiery grip of the enemy, saving many in these last and terrible days.”

Image Credit: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-shield-of-faith-booker-poole.html

I knew that my faith would need to be strong for me to endure until the end, and so, as I lifted my shield of faith, I entreated the Lord to take the faith He’d already given me, and to increase it, so that I would be able to withstand the fiery darts of the enemy. The helmet of salvation came next, and I carefully tied my hair up and out of the way, before resting the helmet on top of my head. It fit snugly and perfectly, and I breathed a deep sigh as I continued to pray, “Lord, let the mind of Christ be in me. Let my thoughts be Your thoughts, and Your thoughts be mine. Lord let me have the same attitude that Christ had, because even though He was God, He didn’t demand or cling to His rights as God. Instead, He made Himself as nothing, becoming a humble slave and suffering for the sake of many. Lord, help me be willing to humble myself for the sake of others, let me care more for their lives than my own. Oh God,” I cried, “Let me be a woman after Your own heart.”

Image Credit: http://fineartamerica.com/products/sword-of-the-spirit-jeff-haynie-poster.html

Finally, I was fully armed, save for one last weapon. I carefully picked up the sword of the Spirit, transferring it from my left hand to my right, placing it in its sheath, and then quickly removing it and assuming the warrior’s pose. The sword of the Spirit — the word of God… “Oh Lord,” I softly breathed. “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. As I prepare to leave the warmth of my apartment to go into battle with my brothers and sisters that You have also armed and called for such a time as this, order my steps, for Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light unto my path.”

“It is time now,” I sensed the Spirit commanding me, as I stood at attention. Then, without so much as a final look at what I was leaving behind, I walked out of my apartment, locking the door behind me. I would not be returning, for I had received my orders, and I was off to wage war against the enemy of the souls of men and women. “Remember this final thing,” I heard a voice speaking from beside me, as I continued to walk toward the city’s red light district, “This battle belongs to the Lord!”

“Hallelujah!” I shouted loudly, as I set my face like flint and sprinted to my destination.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Paradise

Five Sentence Fiction – Paradise

Mar 13, 2013 ~ Written by lillie ~ 

What it’s all about: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.

This week: PARADISE

Image Credit: http://oriofpanda.deviantart.com/art/the-way-to-heaven-311650104

Kept alive by wires and tubes, respirators and defibrillators, no longer able to speak or communicate with anyone save Jesus, she poured out her heart to Him, crying, “Lord, I’ve fought the good fight and I’ve finished the race. Surely there is a crown stored up for me in heaven — a crown that I will gladly cast down at Your feet as soon as You take me home.” She grimaced as pain wracked her body, followed immediately by yet another dose of morphine, which relieved the pain, but made communicating with her Savior so much more difficult, for with each dose, her mind could not function as the drug clouded her thoughts and caused wave after wave of nausea to engulf her.

She had been tormented like this for weeks, when suddenly, in the blink of an eye, it all changed, as now, for the first time in her life, everything suddenly came together with perfect clarity, and she saw Her beloved Jesus, engulfed in an indescribable light beckoning her to come. With great joy, she leapt forward, out of the bed, clasping His hand into hers, and as she stepped into Paradise, the I.V. was ripped from her arm, and the heart monitor flatlined…

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Writing the Wrongs

Image Credit: http://magicinthebackyard.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/writing-the-wrongs-jagged-little-pieces.jpg

“Here is your FWF prompt… I found this quote yesterday and posted it to my Facebook page. I liked the snarky feel of it and so did a lot of others. So I thought it would make for a great prompt! Here is your opportunity to vent. A chance for you to ‘write the wrongs’. Share a time that you have felt wronged or treated unfairly, either by way of a situation or another person.”

When I saw this week’s prompt, I felt a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I think it would take me days and days to write all of the wrongs in my life. I could write several books about those wrongs — maybe even several volumes. Shoot — I could probably write a library of the wrongs in my life!

But what would that accomplish? If I write the wrongs in my life, would it right the wrongs? I don’t think so. 

If I write the wrongs in my life, would it help anyone? Would it make anyone else feel better? Would it make anyone happy? Would it change the course of history? Probably not.

If I write the wrongs in my life, will the ones who wronged me be sorry? Will they even know I’m talking about them if I don’t use their names? Will they even remember wronging me? Maybe, but then again, maybe not.

If I write the wrongs in my life, will it bring me joy? By writing the wrongs in my life and thereby hurting the wrongdoers, will it bring them or me peace? By writing the wrongs in my life, am I seeking vengeance? By writing the wrongs in my life, do I become like those who wronged me?

I wasted many years of my life living and reliving the wrongful, hurtful things that were done to me throughout my life, and do you know what it got me? Pain… and more pain.

You see, the more you dwell on the wrongs that have been done to you, the more you become entangled in them. When your focus is on your pain, every movement you make causes more pain, and each time you relive that pain, the wound is ripped open again, so that it never has a chance to heal… and as that wound continues to fester within you, it becomes infected, and that infection then begins to spread into other areas of your life, infecting them as well. Before you know it, other relationships become contaminated, and you are unable to fully trust and fully love… 

Beloved, I don’t want to be tormented by the wrongs that have been done to me. Therefore, I choose to right the wrongs in my life…

  • I choose to forgive those who have hurt me…
  • I choose to love my enemies and bless those who curse me…
  • I choose to turn the other cheek…
  • I choose to think about the good things in life, rather than the wrongs…

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable,   whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,  whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if  anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

~ Philippians 4:8 NASB ~

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Unquestioning

This post is in response to the Blog Challenge by Tilda Swift at her blog, Swift Expression. This is my entry for number 1.

If any of my readers derives inspiration from this post and would like to do something similar on their own blog, please provide full credit to the owner of the original Blog Challenge (as stated above) to abide by copyright laws.
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Unquestioning

Image Credit: http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/curiosity/topics/ conception-through-birth-pictures.htm

When does life begin?
There seems to be some confusion…
Does it begin at conception?
Or is it true that life is mere circumstance — just a chance?

Why are we so unquestioning
When a man or woman proclaims
The thing within the woman’s body
Is not a baby, not even human?
It’s merely a  fetus, a parasite to be destroyed
By choice…

Image Credit: http://themahoganyway.wordpress.com/2009/09/18/six-weeks/

How can we deny the baby’s humanity
When only six weeks after conception,
The child has a face,
And a heart that beats
A heart that will one day love…

Why are we so unquestioning
When a man or woman proclaims
The thing within the woman’s body
Is not a baby, not even human?
It’s merely a fetus, a parasite to be destroyed
By choice…

Image Credit: http://izzym.hubpages.com/hub/Normal-Pregnancy -and-Childbirth#slide3398945

How can we not call
This precious one “Baby”
When at only twelve weeks
He sucks on his thumb
And yes — even feels pain?

Why are we so unquestioning
When a man or woman proclaims
The thing within the woman’s body
Is not a baby, not even human?
It’s merely a fetus, a parasite to be destroyed
By choice…

Image Credit: http://www.verumserum.com/media/2009/07/21-week-fetus.jpg

As time marches on,
Baby changes and grows…
With all organs in place,
By her twenty-first week,
She clings tenaciously to life!

Why are we so unquestioning
When a man or woman proclaims
The thing within the woman’s body
Is not a baby, not even human?
It’s merely a fetus, a parasite to be destroyed
By choice…

Image Credit: http://izzym.hubpages.com/hub/ Normal-Pregnancy-and-Childbirth#slide3398926

As Baby’s second trimester comes to a close,
She yawns and she stretches
And hiccups and kicks,
While she sucks her thumb.
If she were born now, this child could live!

Why are we so unquestioning
When a man or woman proclaims
The thing within the woman’s body
Is not a baby, not even human?
It’s merely a fetus, a parasite to be destroyed
By choice…

Image Credit: http://izzym.hubpages.com/hub/ Normal-Pregnancy-and-Childbirth#slide3398969

As Mommy’s belly expands and it stretches,
She knows this is no tumor or parasite…
The evidence is clear, leaving no doubt
That within the depths of her womb
Human life is unfolding…

Why are we so unquestioning
When a man or woman proclaims
The thing within the woman’s body
Is not a baby, not even human?
It’s merely a fetus, a parasite to be destroyed
By choice…

Image Credit: Huffaker Photography

And now the time has come,
This tiny human is ready to be born…
But what if now, after all of this time,
Mommy suddenly changes her mind?
Does this child have no rights?

Why are we so unquestioning
When a man or woman proclaims
The thing within the woman’s body
Is not a baby, not even human?
It’s merely a fetus, a parasite to be destroyed
By choice…

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

What Must I Do To Be Saved?

Image Credit: gracespieces.com
Image Credit:
gracespieces.com

Caddo’s Seven Sentence Story

She quietly paced back and forth in the emergency room, too agitated to sit, as her prayers ascended to heaven like the smokey sweet cloying scent of incense rising to the throne of grace. Although she nervously paced back and forth, crying out to God for the life of the one she loved, who lay lifelessly bound by all of the wires, tubing and medical equipment, she had no fear — indeed, she was strikingly calm and peaceful.

The hospital staff, ambulance attendants and others who were present that night were mesmerized by the tranquility that emanated from the room, where her beloved lay drawing closer to death’s door with each passing moment. Her love for him was evident to all, and yet, it soon became apparent to all that she wasn’t alone in the room with him, as someone else appeared, seemingly from nowhere, and held her in His strong arms, comforting her, while she laid her head on His shoulder. The hospital staff watched in wonder, as they heard Him whisper to her, “Fear not, for I am with you, My beloved, and I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Then, as her husband of more than 60 years drew his final breath, the staff and her family watched in amazement as the Prince of Peace gathered both of them effortlessly into His arms as a brilliant light encompassed the room, and the three of them ascended in a cloud of smoke, leaving nothing but two empty and lifeless bodies… Immediately, the room was filled with the cries of a repentant people crying out, “Lord, what must I do to be saved?”

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Serendipity

Image Credit: http://kellieelmore.com/2013/03/01/fwf-free-write-friday-word-prompt-3/

Hallelujah! As soon as I saw this word, the spirit within me rose up, and I knew that I had to respond to this #FWF Free Write Friday: Word Prompt
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Do you know what it’s like to spend your whole life longing for purpose? Did you ever long to know that there was some reason for your existence? Yes, some people believe that we’re here by accident, but I’ve never bought into that theory. 

You see, I’m one of those people who believe in absolutes. I believe in black and white… I believe in the existence of good and evil… I believe in absolute rights and absolute wrongs… 

I believe that every man, woman and child was created and placed here on this earth for a very specific reason. I truly believe that every human being was created by God Almighty, and that before He even formed us in our mother’s womb, He had a plan for our lives, and I would like to share His plan for my life with you.

You see, while I have always believed in God, I didn’t always believe that everyone was created for a specific reason. I didn’t believe this, because for much of my life, I felt that I was a mistake. Indeed, there was a time that I hated to even look in the mirror, because I did not like the person looking back at me. I thought that person was an ugly mistake, and I tried for many years to mold myself into someone more acceptable. 

Image Credit: http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/829.html

For many years, I tried to be the person my parents wanted me to be, but I was destined for failure, because that was not who God created me to be. When I would meet people that I admired, I would try to take on the personality traits that I admired. I have a friend who is very meek and soft-spoken, and I tried very hard to be like her. The problem with that was that I am neither meek nor soft-spoken. I can be very loud and opinionated, which does not work well when you are trying to be meek and soft-spoken. 

For so many years, I didn’t know who I was, or what I was here for, and I envied those who had purpose in their lives and walked confidently and comfortably in their skin. I spent so much of my life trying to be acceptable to my family, to the people I looked up to, and to the people that I went to church with, and the truth is, I was miserable, though I was very careful not to let anyone see it.

Then, out of nowhere, as I was preparing for a Sunday School lesson that I was about to teach, I had the serendipity of discovering a truth that changed my life forever! 

13 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; 16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. ~ Psalm 139:13-16 NASB

Image Credit: http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/523.html

God chose to reveal the answer to this problem of my existence that had haunted me all of my life serendipitously, as I prepared to teach a Sunday School lesson to teens. He revealed to me that He formed all of my inward parts, and that He had skillfully woven me together…

That meant that He had deliberately given me buck teeth, which required braces when I was younger. I wasn’t just some ugly freak. He had skillfully created me like that for some reason that I didn’t understand. And the scoliosis that caused me to wear a back brace as a young teenager, He had deliberately created that curvature in my spine. Again, it wasn’t just the result of some freakish accident – this was a result of His divine plan…

Now, here is the most amazing part of all of that:

14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. ~Psalm 139:14 NASB

Image Credit: http://www.preeminenceofchrist.org/fearfully
_and_wonderfully_made.htm

I am fearfully and wonderfully made… With all of my physical problems, my back problems, the arthritis, the crooked teeth I had as a child, I was and am still fearfully and wonderfully made. I was created in His image. I wasn’t a mistake. He deliberately created me, with my loud voice (it’s the voice of a prophet and preacher), with my strong, uncompromising beliefs (a prophet cannot back down from what the Lord commands him/her to do, no matter what the cost). 

He wasn’t surprised by all of the suffering that I’ve gone through in my life. I’ve been abused, rejected and lied about. I’ve been cursed and ridiculed and belittled. And God not only allowed these things to happen to me, He ordained it!

16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance ; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. ~Psalm 139:16 NASB

That’s a hard thing for many people to swallow, and you may wonder why I would find comfort in knowing that He ordained all of the painful events in my life, so I will try to explain it to you. 

I was a prison minister for almost ten years, and God allowed me to love and minister to those women because of what I had experienced in my life. You see, if I had never suffered rejection, abandonment, and abuse, I wouldn’t have been able to relate to those women as well as I did. If I hadn’t had those experiences in my life, I may not have had the love and compassion for those women that I have. You see, when I went in the prison to minister to them, I never felt that I was above them. I knew the truth — that it was only by the grace of God that I wasn’t an inmate.

Image Credit: http://www.oneyearbibleblog.com/2008/05/may-17th-one-ye.html

If I hadn’t suffered the things that I’ve been through in my life, I might never have known the love of Christ. I might have never realized how desperately I need Him, if I hadn’t suffered as I did. If I hadn’t suffered the things that I’ve been through in my life, I wouldn’t be the woman that I am today, and I certainly wouldn’t be writing as I do.

You want to know something? As I write this, I’m not even sure this is a good example of serendipity, because the truth is that I didn’t just find this wonderful news without looking for it. The truth is that it found me. God sent His only begotten Son to find me, and if He hadn’t purposefully sought me out, I would never have discovered these wonderful truths.

Can I share just one more thing with you? Did you know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made? Did you know that God skillfully knit you together in your mother’s womb? Did you know that God has an ordained plan for your life? Please don’t let what I’ve shared with you scare you off, because I saved the best news for last.

28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. ~ Romans 8:28 NLT

Isn’t that wonderful? Because I love God and I’m called by Him, He makes every bad thing in my life work out for my good! Do you love God? Have you heard Him calling you? If your answer is yes, rejoice! Because He will cause everything to work together for your good too! 

If your answer to that question is no, then I pray that God will open the eyes of your heart, and that He will reveal Himself to you. I pray that you will believe in Jesus, His one and only Son, who died to pay for my sins and yours, so that we would no longer be bound by them. I pray that you will know that even though Jesus suffered, bled and died for the sins of all mankind, He rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of God, and that He is coming back again to reign and rule over all the earth. I pray, in Jesus’ mighty name, that as you read my  post, you serendipitously come to know and love the Almighty Creator of the universe, and that you know that you are no accident.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Set Me Free!

The following story is for the __picture it & write blogging challenge. When I saw this image a few days ago, I knew I had to respond…

Image Credit: http://ermiliablog.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/__picture-it-write-53/

As soon as Jesus got out of the boat, He was met by a man who came out of the burial caves there. This man had an evil spirit in him and lived among the tombs. Nobody could keep him tied with chains any more; many times his feet and his hands had been tied, but every time he broke the chains and smashed the irons on his feet. He was too strong for anyone to control him. Day and night he wandered among the tombs and through the hills, screaming and cutting himself with stones. ~ Mark 5:2-5 GNT

He had lived a lifetime in pain and loneliness. Most people called him crazy and stayed far away from him, afraid of what he might do to them. Doctors said he was a paranoid schizophrenic and tried to control the voices within him with medication, but not even their strongest medication could completely silence those terrible, dreadful voices that made him crazy… and wild… and violent… 

Because they couldn’t hear them, they tried to tell him the voices weren’t real. But he knew better. Those demonic voices were just as real as the doctors and everyone else. Because they couldn’t see them, they tried to convince him that the demons he saw didn’t really exist — that they were merely figments of his imagination, but again, he knew better. He had imagined things in his lifetime, and he knew the difference between what was imagined and what was real. The demons were around him and within him, tormenting him night and day, day and night.

Image Credit: http://inkspirationalmessages.com/2012/09/a-legion-of-trouble/

They thought they were helping him by placing him on medications to “quiet the voices and  stop the hallucinations,” but they weren’t helping. Instead, the medications caused him to feel sick and nauseated, rendering him unable to function and fight against the demons. He still heard their dreadful, tormenting voices and saw them, though they were hazier with the medication…

He had begun seeing and hearing the demons as a child, but no one took him seriously. They thought his “imaginary friends” were harmless and cute, and they didn’t believe him when he told them that it was his “friends” who broke his toys… and started the fights with other children… and cut him… and caused his “meltdowns”…

As he grew older, his behavior grew more and more violent. Other children avoided him. He began to play games… drawn to dark games with witches and wizards and dragons… The make-believe worlds in these games became his reality, and he began to read demonic books and study things of the occult world, and his harmless and cute “imaginary friends” began to openly revolt against him, as the many clamorous voices within him refused to be silent, allowing him no rest.

They were the ones who forced him to cut himself. It was they, who caused him to hurt the animals. He didn’t want to, but the demons tortured him until harried and exhausted, he no longer had the strength to fight them, and so he surrendered to their will. His surrender only made the demons stronger, and each time he submitted to their cruelties, first hurting himself and then animals, they demanded more and more from him.

It had now escalated to the point that even with the medicine, he was unable to rest… He would be unable to resist their demands much longer, and they were commanding him to take a human life… He didn’t want to do this horrible thing, but he was powerless. The demons and the medicine had rendered him helpless, and he had lost all control of his body. 

Image Credit: http://kingpaton.deviantart.com/art/Chains-Of-Sin-39094777

While he lay naked and spent in the cemetary just outside of town limits, shackled by demonic chains unseen by mortal man, but there nonetheless, he began to weep, crying, “Set me free of these chains! Does anybody out there hear me?” One of the demons kicked him while he was down, causing him to curl up in a fetal position on his side, as he  continued to cry desperately for help.

“God please!” he cried, “I know I’ve done many terrible things, but please, Lord, set me free! I don’t want to live like this for the rest of my life,” he sniffled. “I want to love and be loved.”

Another demon kicked him harder this time, knocking the air out of him and hissing, “Silence! Don’t you dare speak that name,” another one backhanded him, striking his mouth and breaking several teeth, which lodged in his throat, causing him to choke on them. Helplessly gagging and spitting up blood and bile, he was finally able to dislodge the teeth from his throat and vomit them out. Things were much worse than ever before, and yet, for the first time, in all of the years the demons had reigned and ruled in his life, the man sensed fear emanating from them! 

They were so scared of that name that they didn’t dare even utter it. He had once heard a preacher say that if you call on the name of Jesus you would be saved, and there was no other name that could save you. “Could this be true?” he wondered silently, so that they wouldn’t hear. One thing he had discovered years ago… no matter how powerful the demons seemed, and though he could hear them talking and see them, they did not have the power to read his thoughts.

“For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else! There is no other name in all of heaven for people to call on to save them.” ~ Acts 4:11-12 NLT

Another thing he knew about the demons is that they hate the name of Jesus. “Maybe,” he continued to think silently, “if I call on Jesus, He will hear me, and set me free! One thing is certain,” he thought grimly, feeling lucid for the first time in years, “I cannot kill a human being or another animal, even if it means that they must kill me. At least, then, I would be out of my misery… Or is it true that I would be condemned to spend all of eternity with them?”

He winced and closed  his eyes, as another demon placed a sharp rock in his hand, commanding him to gash himself with it yet again. “Enough,” he rasped, and gasping for air, he weakly cried, “Jesus! Please, forgive me!” He gulped, as tears of repentance began to roll down his gaunt cheeks, “Jesus, help me, please. I know I have sinned against You, and I am not worthy to tie your shoes.” 

Though the demons around and within him continued clamoring for his attention, he set his face like flint, as he continued to pray. “I know that I am guilty of many atrocities, and that I don’t deserve Your forgiveness, but please, Lord! I don’t want to be bound by these demons anymore. I don’t want to hurt anyone or anything else. Jesus please save me!” 

Image Credit: http://jtbarts.com/2012/11/set-free-jesus-my-ransom/

Suddenly, the air all around him became fresh, as a gust of wind blew into the cemetery,  causing the demons to screech louder than ever before, but not at him. This time, they shrieked in fear, as the Almighty Son of the Living God appeared before them, holding a set of keys in His hand, walking toward the demonized man, as the demons all around him, against their will, bowed low to the ground. “Silence!” Jesus commanded sharply, as He unlocked the chains that had bound the man for so many years, and lifted him to his feet.

The man’s knees buckled beneath him, as he willingly bowed low before the King of Glory, and kissed His feet. “Forgive me, Lord,” he whispered, as Jesus again pulled him to his feet and looked deeply into his eyes.

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus spoke to him compassionately, “your sins, though they are many, are forgiven.” 

The demons, still bowed low, began to whine, “Don’t torture us,” they begged. “Please don’t send us to the abyss. Instead, please send us into that herd of pigs,” they pleaded, and Jesus did as they asked, casting them into the herd of two thousand swine that was nearby. And when they entered the herd of swine, the maddened pigs – every one of them – charged off the side of the mountain, into the the raging river below.

The man became aware of his nakedness, and Jesus, filled with compassion covered him with His cloak. As Jesus prepared to return to His heavenly throne, the man, now in his right mind, begged Jesus to take him with Him, but Jesus told him to stay, and share the good news about His love for all mankind with the people of his community…

The man did  as Jesus commanded, walking the streets and talking to the addicts, the prostitutes and the pimps. He spoke to the poor and the lost, sharing the good news about Christ. And he spoke to the other “crazy and insane ones” who saw demons, telling them the name of the One who would save them and set them free, Jesus, the One who had set him free… He shared what Jesus had said to him before He returned to His throne…

” And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you lock on earth will be locked in heaven, and whatever you open on earth will be opened in heaven.” ~ Matthew 16:19 NLT

Where Life and Death Collide

Image Credit: http://kellieelmore.com/2013/02/01/fwf-free-write-friday-image-prompt-4/

I was filthy. Though I scrubbed and scrubbed… and scrubbed and scrubbed, I couldn’t rid myself of the stains without and within. Closing my eyes, I grimaced in pain. With just one glance, He had captured my heart.

I sighed mournfully, saddened because I knew that He was pure and holy, while I was unclean and vile. He was faithful and true, while I was unfaithful and corrupt. He was merciful and righteous, and I was unforgiving and immoral. He was everything that I wasn’t… He was everything that I longed to be.

“O Jesus,” I cried out in my pain and misery. “How I long to see You, to touch You, to be with You,  but I can’t, for I am vile and murky. Though I’ve tried and tried to cleanse myself, it’s no use, for the sin and guilt run deep within me,” I whispered as I felt the darkness closing in on me…

But then I heard a still small voice calling my name, “Cheryl,” He whispered, “My beloved, I have heard your cries, so come now,” He gently said, “Let us reason together. No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool.”

“You would do this for me?” It seemed too good to be true…

“I would do this and more,” He replied. “Come to Me, My weary one, and I will give you rest. Cast all of your burdens and cares upon Me, for I care for you,” He spoke with a smile.

“But, I am not worthy,” I said sadly, as I hung my head in shame.

“Cheryl, My love covers a multitude of sin. If you will confess your sins to me, I will be faithful and just to you, and I will cleanse you from all unrighteousness. My beloved one, I will make you worthy, and I will clothe you in My righteousness. Come now,” He said with authority.

“It is time for you to cross over from the Sea of Death, and step into My Living Waters,” and as He held His nail scarred hand out to me, I made my decision, placing my hand in His. In that place where life and death collide, I left the murk and mire behind me as I stepped into His pure and holy life giving waters.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

The Tale of the Rock

Trifextra: Week Fifty-Two
Trifecta Challenge

And now on to our quick weekend challenge.  This weekend, we’re sending you back to English 101 to revisit the concept of literary devices.  We want you to give us a 33-word example of personification.
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Image Credit: http://www.freebibleimages.org/photos/triumphant-entry/

The rocks longed to break free from their silence and shout, “Hosanna,” as palm branches and coats danced together merrily, before falling to rest on the ground as a carpet for the King…

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

With God’s Touch

Trifecta Challenge:
We want you to choose one of the pictures below and give us a 33-word response to it.

Photo credit: Bruno. C. / Foter.com / CC BY

I live in squalor
I haven’t much
Not even a dollar
But with God’s touch

Though poor I was born
With God on my side
I’ll help the forlorn
I won’t be denied

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Infinite

(Image Credit: Maddy Bartlett)

Free Write Friday Challenge
“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”

 

The news was devastating. How could it possibly be true? What had started out as a simple stomach bug had turned out to be something so much worse.

I was so excited when after years of obesity, the pounds seemed to melt away. After years of failed dieting attempts, I went from a size 22 to a size 14, and I was still losing weight. For the first time in my life, I felt pretty, and now, people were always complimenting me and telling me how pretty I am.

A small whimper escaped from my lips as I fought to maintain my composure. I would much rather have all of that weight back and have people think I’m fat than to hear this news. I was sorry now that I hadn’t asked my husband to come with me to the doctor’s office. After all of the tests they had run, I figured the news wouldn’t be good, that I probably had stomach ulcers that would require surgery. We had talked about it last night, and I’d insisted that he go to work instead of coming to see the doctor with me, because we really needed the money, and would need it even more so if I had to have surgery.

“I’m sorry Melanie,” Dr. Chaffinch said as she leaned forward, and took my hands into hers. “Why don’t you let Jen give your husband a call?”

“No,” I forced out. “No — I’ll be fine. I need to tell him alone. So, what’s the prognosis?”

“I’m afraid it isn’t good,” the doctor replied gently. “It’s already spread to the bile duct and the liver.”

I swallowed hard, trying to rid my throat of the painful lump that was throbbing, and fighting to control the tears that were threatening to spring forth. I looked around the doctor’s office, taking in the dark walnut paneling, with my doctor’s many medical credentials, licenses and awards. I continued with my sweep of the room, taking note of the clock on the wall. Could it be that I had only been here for a total of seven minutes? It seemed like an eternity since I had entered this room. My eyes looked past the clock and settled on the bookshelves loaded not only with medical journals and such, but with many of the great classic novels and books, coming to rest on “A Grief Observed,” by C.S. Lewis. How ironic. Shaking my head, I focused my gaze on the pictures that hung on the wall, of Dr. Chaffinch and her family.

A lone tear slid down my cheek as it suddenly dawned on me that I would never bear Alan’s children. We had only been married for a little over a year, and had just started trying to  have a baby. “Oh God,” I silently prayed, “how do I tell Alan that we’ll never have a baby… that we’ll never grow old together?”

“Melanie,” Dr. Chaffinch spoke with concern. “Please, let me call Alan. You shouldn’t have to deal with this alone, and I know he would want to be here with you.”

Again, I drew in a deep breath and sighed, shaking my head. “No, please. This is difficult, but I can handle it.” I smiled uncertainly. “After all, how many times have I said, ‘To be absent from the body is to be present from the Lord,’ or ‘To live is Christ; to die is gain?’ Now, it seems I’ll be tested on that very foundation of my life.”

Now, it was Dr. Chaffinch’s turn to look away. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. The patient was the one who was supposed to be in tears and in need of comfort, not the doctor. She brushed her tears away, somewhat surprised to see them.

“So, Doc,” I stated flatly, “you still haven’t told me the prognosis.”

Dr. Chaffinch drew in a deep breath and began, “Pancreatic cancer has three stages,” she spoke sadly and softly. The first stage is resectable, and in this stage, the tumor nodules can be removed. The second stage is locally advanced, which means the cancer has spread to areas surrounding the pancreas, such as tissues or blood vessels. The third and final stage of pancreatic carcinoma is metastatic, which means that the cancer resides in multiple organs. Because a tumor can grow in the pancreas for quite a while without any noticeable symptoms, more often than not, when it is discovered, the patient is already in the advanced stages of the disease.”

“It’s in the final stage, isn’t it?” I asked bluntly.

Dr. Chaffinch nodded, still warmly clasping my hands within her own. I sensed that she longed to offer me hope, yet all of the test results made it clear that barring a miracle, there was no hope. “I’m sorry Melanie,” she said softly.

Even though I didn’t feel very brave, I still managed to smile as I worked up the courage to ask, “How much time do you think is left?”

Dr. Chaffinch gulped, then said, “Maybe three to six months if you’re lucky, and I pray you are.”

I felt as though I’d been punched in the stomach. “I see,” I responded after several seconds, which felt like a lifetime, had passed. “What about surgery, or chemo and radiation?” I queried.

Dr. Chaffinch shook her head as she responded, “I’m afraid it’s beyond that.”

“Whoa. I see. Will… will it… will it be painful?” I stammered. “Duh! What a stupid question. The pain is what brought me here.”

“It is painful, Melanie, but we can put you on pain meds to combat the pain, so that you can have as much quality time as possible. You’ll also want to contact Hospice as soon as possible, or we can contact them for you if you like, because they will be able to provide you with palliative care.”

I laughed shakily, “Hospice – that’s crazy. I’m only twenty-four years old.” Then, seeing the pained expression on my doctor’s face, I got up from my chair and embraced Dr. Chaffinch, comforting her, as the tears spilled from both of our eyes.

After leaving the doctor’s office, I drove to my favorite spot by the river. Because it was winter, I had the place to myself, as I got out of my car and walked to the river’s edge, sitting on an empty park bench. There, on that bench, with no one else there besides the Lord, I allowed myself to mourn. I cried out loudly to the Lord, seeking His comfort and His peace. For three hours, alone by the river, I poured out my grief for me, my husband and the children we would never have now, and when I was finally spent, I sat there quietly, waiting for the Lord to respond…

And as I sat there quietly, I felt the gentle brush of His Spirit, as He wrapped His arms around me and began to comfort me. “Fear not,” He whispered in the stillness. “From everlasting to everlasting, I am the Lord your God, and I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore, with lovingkindness, I have drawn you. Though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will be with you. I will comfort you with My righteous right hand. Just as I was with you before you were born,” He spoke, “so I will be with you when you come home to Me. And just as I am with you, so I will be with Alan. Therefore, fear not,” He gently spoke, “for My love for you is eternal.”

And in that moment, I swear, we were infinite.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Cleanse Me

This story is for the Picture it and Write! blogging challenge… 

What follows is a story very loosely based on the women that I’ve ministered to. The woman in this story is not based on any particular one, but rather on many.  Also, the “church woman” in this story is not me. She is only a reflection of the woman I would like to be. God doesn’t call Christians to stay within the four walls of a building they call “church.” Rather, He calls Christians to be the church, and to go and minister to people where they are… in the malls… on the streets… in the bars… in the crack houses… not in condemnation, but in love, sharing His love for the lost.

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Photo Courtesy of: Picture it & Write!

Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10

I felt so dirty as I soaked in the tub. I laid there so long, the bubbles were all but gone. I had scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed… and no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get rid of the stench of having sex with all those men. “Oh God!” I whimpered as I slid down in the tub, placing my feet on the wall, in an attempt to hide my private parts that I no longer wanted to see… those parts that I had sold to four men last night for $80.

For some reason, my “career” left me feeling… filthy today. I was almost okay with it until that church woman had shown up. What was a church woman doing out on the streets, anyway? Didn’t she know how unsafe that was? But this lady was different from any church woman I’d ever met before.

When she drove up next to me, rolling her window down, asking how much I charged, I figured she was just into women. The woman agreed to pay the price, so I got into the car with her. It was a nice car, white with black leather seats. “Are you cold?” she asked, as I nodded. I was freezing because I wasn’t wearing much, in order to attract business. She turned the heat in the car up, and then she turned a seat warmer on. Oh man! This was luxury. “Are you hungry?” the woman asked.

I looked at her suspiciously. “I’m out here to earn a living, not spend my money on food,” I replied.

She laughed joyfully, and said, “If you’re hungry, it’s my treat, and don’t worry. I’ll pay for your time as well.” I looked at her closely, trying to figure her out. “Well?” she asked again. “Are you hungry?” I was about to answer her, when my stomach growled and answered for me.

“Great, we’ll have to go to Denny’s, because they’re the only restaurant open at this time of night,” she said cheerfully. I studied her as she drove us to Denny’s. She was different from most of my clients — I mean besides the fact that she’s a woman. Most of my clients are sort of dark and creepy, you know? But she seemed like she was full of light and really happy. She seemed like she should be in a home with a family, not on the streets late at night picking up hookers.

When we got to Denny’s, she requested a booth in the back. I walked behind her, observing her blue jeans, and a sparkly purple top that seemed to flow as she walked. She was really very small. She looked like a tiny angel with her top flowing as she walked.

After we placed our order, she leaned forward with her hand out and said, “My name’s Joy.” I shook her hand, shaking my head. Tricks normally like anonymity. “And you are?” her bluish gray eyes seemed to peer into my soul as she waited for my answer.

“I’m Julie,” I found myself answering. Now what’s up with that? I never shared my real name with my johns, but it just slipped out without me meaning to let it slip.

She smiled warmly at me and said, “Julie, I didn’t pick you up to have sex with you. I want to talk with you, then I’ll pay you when we’re done talking, okay?” I looked closely at her, not quite sure what was going down.

“Oookay,” I replied, looking at this little woman as though she was crazy.

My look didn’t seem to faze her in the least, as she continued, “The Lord says that He’s heard the cries of your heart, and He knows how desperate you are to get enough money to pay your rent and show that you can support your son, so you can get him back from the foster home he’s in.”

My jaw dropped and my heart started pounding. “Who told you that? And who are you really?” I blurted out fearfully.

“I told you, I’m Joy, and the Lord told me that He’s heard your cries, and He loves you and wants to help you, but you’ve been running from Him for years, Julie, when all He wants to do is help you.” She took a sip of her soda, as I sat there trying to digest what she was saying.

“What do you want?” My heart felt like it could jump right out of my chest it was beating so hard.

“Nothing,” she replied, “but God wants your heart. He said that if you will delight yourself in Him, He will give you the desires of your heart.” I stared at her dumbly.

“How old is your son?” she asked, and I found myself opening up and sharing that Troy was almost four, and that he was a special child. He has Downes Syndrome. She listened with tears in her eyes as I shared all of the trips we had made to the hospital when he was first born, because his little heart was so weak. I told her that I had been married to a lying, cheating loser.

She put her hand on top of mine, telling me how sorry she was for my pain, and I couldn’t help it… tears began to run down my face, and the next thing I knew, I was sobbing like my heart was breaking all over again, and you know what? I think it really was, only this time, I wasn’t by myself, and this woman seemed to care more about my pain than my own mother did.

I told her how my ex had gone into a rage the last night I saw him, when we argued about his other woman, and how Troy kept crying. I told her how Billy kept yelling and screaming so loud that the neighbors called the police. And then he slapped Troy’s mouth, causing him to cry even harder.

Then the police showed up, and when they saw that someone had hit Troy, it was Billy’s word against mine, and we were both arrested for child abuse. They took my baby away from me. I had no money, and no one who cared enough about me to bail me out, so I stayed in jail until the trial. Billy and I both were found guilty of child abuse, and I spent the next year in jail.

When I got out of jail, I had nothing. I had no home to go to, and no job, because no one wants to hire an ex-felon, especially one who’s been found guilty of child abuse… “So I became a working girl,” I finished, looking at her, stunned to see tears rolling down her cheeks. This woman who didn’t know me seemed to care more about me than my own family ever did.

“Julie,” she spoke softly through her tears. “I’d like to help you, if you’ll let me. My church has a home for women who have been through hard times. While they live there, we mentor them, teaching them how to care for themselves and their children. We help those who are interested get their GED, and if they’ve already completed high school, we help them get into the local community college so they can get a good job when they graduate. We also work hand in hand with social services, and many women who have lost their children to the foster care system, are able to reclaim them once they’ve been in our program for six months. Would you be interested?”

I broke down. I couldn’t believe her kindness. I couldn’t believe that God would love me enough to send this woman into my life. I accepted her offer, and I’m gonna drain this water and scrub myself once more. Then I’m gonna go downstairs to meet the rest of the women and children who live in this home. And in six months, I will bring my little Troy here.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Writing Challenge: Starting Over

In this week’s writing challenge, we’re asking you to write a short piece of creative writing (fiction/poetry/prose poetry/freeform mindjazz/whatever floats your boat) on the theme of Starting Over.
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Earlier today, I was listening to this song in my car, and a story began to formulate within my brain. Then, I came home and saw that the theme was Starting Over, and it all came together…

They think I’m crazy, Kara. Hmph! I’m crazy like a fox. Just because I’m old and I sometimes forget things does not mean that I’ve gone mad! I know plenty of young people  who don’t remember things, and nobody calls them crazy. They just say, “Oh, they have a lot on their mind.” Well, I’m ninety-six years old – I’d say I have a whole lot more on my mind than they do – ninety-six years of memories and thoughts!

They brought me here to this nursing home ten years ago ’cause your momma, my precious Kelley couldn’t take care of me anymore. She had cancer. She was the only child I had left. I don’t mind telling you, it left a great big empty void in my heart when she went home to the Lord. My sons, Miles and Jeffrey had been gone more than ten years and my husband, Charles, passed on more than thirty years ago. 

So here I am, left in a nursing home, and I don’t mind telling  you, I’m tired… real tired. Most of the staff are very kind and caring, but there are some who aren’t. There’s some, like Carly and Tina, that scare me, and I want ask somebody to help me, but I’m scared. If I tell somebody and they find out it was me that told — no! I don’t even want to think about that. 

But I can talk to  the Lord, right? He won’t get me in trouble with those girls. See, if I don’t “cooperate,” the nurses here give me this medicine that makes my mind fuzzy, and that’s why I can’t think straight sometimes. I don’t want to put nobody out. I just need help sometimes, and some of the girls, like Pearl and Barbie, get real angry if I bother them, so I try to keep quiet, unless one of the nice ones is on.

You want to know about one of the nice ones? Well, my favorite is Emily. She works on the day shift. When she comes into my room of a morning, she always has a smile. A real smile, ya’ know? Not one of those fake I couldn’t care less smiles. She always says, “Good morning, Sunshine!” to me, and she walks straight over to my windows and opens the curtains, ’cause she knows I like to look outside and see what’s going on. 

Then she comes over to check and see if my bed is dry, and I’m ashamed to say it’s usually wet. Old age is hard on the bladder, but Emily doesn’t make me feel dirty or embarrassed about it like some of the others do. Some of ’em holler out in the hallway, “Miss Ella’s wet the bed again. Can someone bring me some more pull-ups?” It’s so humiliating. And some of ’em get mad at me for having an accident, and they make me sit in it — even if it’s a b.m. until the next shift. 

I get a lot of rashes and ulcers, and I’m sure that’s why. I don’t like having to depend on others to take care of my personal needs like that, ya’ know? And what’s really bad is when one of them will take me to the toilet and forget me. I sat on the toilet for two hours one day and it left a blistered ring around my backside. The nurse said my skin broke down. She asked me which aide left me there, but I was scared to tell her it was Marge, ’cause she’s a friend of hers, and I didn’t want ’em to get mad and hurt me worse, so I just pretended I didn’t know.

I thank the good Lord that I’ve still got my wits about me and I can talk and think, (except when they give me that medicine to make me behave), which is more than some of the other folks that live here can do. I still have a lot to be thankful to the Almighty for. You know, I try to share His love with the old people in here, ’cause some of them don’t have much hope left in ’em.

There’s poor Mrs. Stanley. Her family brought her here six years ago, and they haven’t been back to see her once! She cries and she cries everyday for them, but they never come. It breaks my heart for her. I usually try to save her one of my cookies when we have them, ’cause it cheers her up and lets her know somebody loves her.

I try to share His love with everybody I see, even the mean hateful ones, ’cause Jesus said to love your enemies, and I tell you what — some of them are my enemies. There’s the hateful ones, which are bad enough, but then there’s those that like to laugh at us old people. They’re the worse. They treat us like we got no dignity. They have no respect for their elders, and when I try to tell ’em so, they just laugh at me and make fun of me, like I”m stupid.

But that’s okay, because things are about to change here. See, I’ve been writing this letter, and it’s almost finished. Forgive the shaky, crooked letters. I used to have beautiful penmanship, but arthritis makes it harder to write, as I’ve got older.

Still, I’ve talked to the Lord about this, and He told me to write this letter and address it to my granddaughter, and once I’ve finished this letter, I’ll be gettin’ me a fresh start. Yep. He said He’s gonna take me home when I get finished with this letter, ’cause I told Him before I go home, I wanted to help the other old folks here, who can’t stand up for themselves. Then, once my granddaughter gets this letter, she’s gonna take it to the authorities, and they’re gonna investigate this place so that all the other old folks here will get a fresh start too, at someplace that will love them and take better care of them.

My fresh start will be when I cross over the Jordan and see my Savior and my Father. I’m almost finished with this here letter, Kara, and once I place it in the sealed envelope, the Lord said I can come home and start over. I can’t wait. Ninety-six years is a long time. My body is tired and weak. 

Kara, honey, don’t cry for your old Nana, ’cause I’ll soon be home and I’ll be free from all my sorrows and all my pain. I’m gonna start new and fresh — gonna trade in this old worn-out body for a strong new one. And my precious Lord Jesus is gonna wipe every tear from my face, as He gathers me up in His arms and carries me to the Holy of Holies. 

Honey, the time’s comming soon, I can’t hold this pen for much longer, and I must seal it in the envelope if I want to be sure you get it. Please take this to the authorities, baby. Help my old friends get a new start too.

Love,
Nana

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Daily Prompt: Clean Slate

Explore the room you’re in as if you’re seeing it for the first time. Pretend you know nothing. What do you see? Who is the person who lives there?
Daily Prompt: Clean Slate

Photo Credit: http://thechristianwallpapers.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/christian-wallpaper-large-172.jpg

“Oh my,” I think to myself as I’m greeted by the short overweight woman’s friendly smile and she invites me to sit at her dining room table, which is covered by a gaudy lime green  Christmas table-cloth covered with red and white striped candy canes. The table-cloth matches nothing in the room… It doesn’t match anything in the entire house, but this woman doesn’t even seem to care. 

Directly across from me sits a pellet stove atop a beautiful deep dark red brick hearth, which is approximately five feet by five feet. It looks very old fashioned, and the lovely brick hearth rests in the right hand back corner adjacent to the kitchen and climbs the two walls around five and a half feet in height. The hearth is capped by a brick mantle about six inches wide, on top of which rest black framed photographs of the woman’s many grandchildren. 

Photo Credit: http://shareyourwallpapers.com/upload/wallpaper/photo-art/christian-wallpaper/christian-wallpaper_7a8ffcbf.jpg

Above and beside the hearth is unfinished drywall. It’s as if someone began a home improvement project that was never completed, but again, the woman who sits at the table across from me doesn’t seem to mind it. Next to the hearth is a single window, which is covered by white mini blinds, which are closed. The woman explains that the window and pellet stove are on the north side of the house, which is the coldest, and receives the most wind in the winter, so the mini blinds stay closed. “Besides,” she grins at me, “it’s not like there’s a great view. The window overlooks my neighbor’s driveway and house, and I don’t want them to think I’m spying on them,” she laughs gaily.

Photo Credit: http://www.desktopbackgroundsfree.net

In the next corner is a lovely beech wood china hutch, which sits caddy corner, holding her husband’s great-grandmother’s china, which consists of white plates and bowls with turquoise and red willows, lined in silver trim. The sugar bowl, and the coffee cups have turquoise exteriors, and white interiors, again, lined with silver.

All in all, the hutch and the china are lovely, which is what makes the next wall seem completely out of place. On the next wall, which faces the front, west side of the house, are twin windows, side by side, covered with white mini-blinds, which are closed. These blinds are also kept shut year round, because they are drafty in the winter, and in the summer, they allow the air conditioning to escape. The wall on either side of the windows is a beautiful, aged knotty pine wall. Directly in front of these windows sits a dusty, plush green recliner that has clearly seen better days, and is loaded with books and dvd’s. The woman laughingly explains that her husband and son-in-law forgot to load the chair when they went to the dump a couple of months ago, and so there the chair remains, collecting books and dust.

Beside the chair is the woman’s printer, computer tower, and a telephone with a very short cord. Above the computer rests a cordless phone. Again, the woman laughs as she explains that the cordless phone no longer works, and the corded phone was given to her, and since she can’t afford to buy another phone right now, she makes do with the short-corded phone. I’m not sure why the broken phone remains hanging on the side of the woman’s bookshelf, unless, like the green recliner, her husband and son-in-law forgot to take it to the dump also.

Next, is the spot where the woman says she spends most of her time. The combination desk with bookshelves is built into the knotty pine wall and is also knotty pine. The prior owner from many years ago had built this, and it is quite lovely. I note right away that this woman must be an avid reader, as the shelves are filled to the ceiling with books. Also, as I look at the books on the shelves, as well as the ones in the green recliner I see at least ten different bibles. 

I look at the woman in askance, “Why so many bibles?” I question.

“Oh, I love to read the different versions,” she replied. “Sometimes the wording of one translation speaks to me more clearly than another might.”

“But don’t they all say the same thing?” I question.

“Sure they do, but even though they say and mean the same thing,” she replies, “the wording of one translation may bring things to light in a clearer way.”

I nodded. That makes sense. Anyway, continuing, I notice that most of the books are religious. I ask the woman about that, and she smiles and says, “I’m a Christian, and I love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. He is my passion, and I love to talk about Him, read about Him and study His word. 

“Do you see that chair in front of the desk?” she queries, then continues when I nod in acquiescence, “I spend a lot of time there. Sometimes, I waste my time and play silly computer games, but other times, I write. I write posts for my blog. I write poetry, and I work on writing my book. I also spend a lot of time burning worship cd’s which minister to me and to others.” Indeed, as I look closer, I see that she has a stack of cd’s on the stand next to her desk.

As I look around, I also can’t help but notice that the woman has papers strewn about in various places, and I have to ask, “How can you find anything?”

Photo Credit: http://4.bp.blogspot.com

Again, she bursts into gales of laughter. “Sometimes I can’t,” she replies. “If you ask me to find something on the computer, you will find that I am extremely organized. Everything is organized in files and folders. But alas!” she says dramatically, “I’m horrible with paper. I just can’t seem to organize myself. I try, and I will go through like a whirlwind and clean things up, but within a short period of time, I will again have this disarray to contend with.”

As I look around the room, and then look behind me into the living room, I’m struck by the contrast, and I question her about it. “My husband is just the opposite of me,” she replies. While I have a very abstract-abstract personality, my husband has a concrete-concrete personality. I think he has OCD,” she confided. “He has to have things very neat and organized, or it throws him off kilter, while I, on the other hand, am simply scattered. Therefore, in order for him to have some semblance of peace, I’m careful not to leave a mess in the living room.”

Again, she grins mischievously, “At least I try most of the time. There are too many occasions when I miss the mark, but praise God! I’m married to a good man who is very forgiving.”

I peruse the room one final time before I must leave, and in spite of the clutter, despite the seeming chaos of papers, there is a warmth here and a peace that I am loath to leave. “You’re welcome to stay awhile,” the woman lovingly invites, and as she offers me a drink, I find myself accepting her offer. “That’s what it is,” I think to myself. “The warmth I feel in this house is love. I believe I’ll abide in the warmth of this woman’s abode for a little while longer.”

And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony.

(Colossians 3:14 NLT)

Who are you?

Who are you? This is the catch,  you can’t say:

  1. your name
  2. your occupation (including students), or anything else that you spend your time doing
  3. your relationship to others (e.g. I am the daughter of so and so, or I am the friend of so and so)
  4. anything that you own or possess

Your answer has to define who you are from the inside, not with reference to anything external, including other people (or pets!), or how you pass time. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Photo Credit: http://www.fuentesevangelism.com/holy-spirit-by-power5.jpg

I am a Spirit-filled woman of God, who has been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not because of my own goodness (because I when I met Him, I was anything but good), but because of His goodness and mercy. I was created, as all people are, for the glory of God, and it is when I am glorifying Him, that I am most fully who I am… the Spirit-filled woman of God… me.

I am a woman of great joy, as is anyone who has been set free from a prison of fear and pain. I walk in that joy at all times, even in the midst of physical pain, because even in the midst of all that pain, I know that it will pass… that there are others who have suffered far more than me… that one day, I will feel no more pain… that in my weakness, His strength is made perfect… This is who I was created to be, and joy is an integral part of who I am, again, not from my own merit, but because this is who God created me to be.

Photo Credit: http://media-cache0.pinterest.com/upload/25473554112709347_d0j2UHoa_b.jpg

I am forgiven and forgiving. Because I have been forgiven much, I am able to forgive much… There are times when I am extremely angry… when someone hurts me or someone I love… when I see the victims of tragedies… when I see injustice… when I witness sin in me or in someone else… when what is right is called wrong, and what is wrong is called right… But I am able to forgive the men, women and sometimes even children, who commit these sins and atrocities, because I too have sinned and fall far short of God’s glory, and if He forgave my sins, then how can I not forgive the sins of others? 

I am loved and loving. Because God loves me, I am a woman of love. I love those who love me back, and I also love those who hate me. I love those who treat me kindly, and I also love those who have hurt me, abused me, rejected me, cursed me and treated me unfairly. I don’t like what they have done to me, but I love the people, not because I’m a great person. Believe me, if you knew me, you would see my flaws, and how I have struggled to love those who have “done me wrong.” I am a woman of love because I am loved by God. Do you know that even when I was in the midst of my deepest, darkest sin, He loved me? Oh, and get this… He didn’t just tolerate me or say He loves me. No, He loves me passionately, knowing what I’ve done, and what’s been done to me. He loves me with a love that is indescribable, and He wooed me with His love, and I couldn’t help myself. He sent His only Son to pay my death penalty for the sins I had committed. I fell head over heals in love with Him, and the funny thing is, the deeper my love for Him grows, the deeper my love for others grows.

Photo Credit:
http://thrasheradoption.blogspot.com/2012/02/mommy-who-jesus-loves.html

In summation, who am I? I am a Spirit-filled, joyful, forgiving and loving woman, because Christ changed me from a spiritless, melancholy, unforgiving and bitter woman when He gave me new life.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Trifecta Challenge: New Beginning

Trifecta Challenge: New Beginning
This weekend we’re asking for 33 words about a new beginning.

Photo Credit: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/content/img/page/2012/98622.jpg

Lost in despair
With nowhere to turn
No one to care
If I live or burn

But then I cried
Lord Jesus, save me!
The past has died
In new life, I’m free!

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

This is Freedom

Here is your Free Write Friday Prompt… 

What Does Freedom mean to you?

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

(Galatians 5:1 NIV)

In order for someone to truly grasp just how precious freedom is, he/she must also understand how dreadful bondage is. There are three types of bondage, physical, emotional and spiritual. Slavery is a horrible, despicable crime against mankind. Many people wrongly think that slavery ended with the civil war, and Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, they are wrong. 

Photo Credit:http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/october/bonds-of-freedom.html
Photo Credit:
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/october/bonds-of-freedom.html

Slavery is rampant throughout the world. In Sudan and other Muslim countries, Christians are beaten, tortured, murdered and kidnapped to be sold as slaves. Men, women and children throughout the world, on every continent are forced into labor against their will everyday. Men, women and children throughout the world, including the United States of America, are sold into prostitution against their will. 

In addition to that, we must also include men, women and children from many dysfunctional families, who are enslaved by an abusive parent, spouse, or child. These people can be living right next door to you, and seem like very nice people, while behind the closed doors of their home, they hold their very own family members, the ones that they are supposed to love and care for, as their personal slaves who must cater to their every need, and if they don’t do as they are commanded, they are often tortured, both verbally and physically.

And let us not forget those who are held in spiritual bondage, as our nation has become the breeding ground for people like Jim Jones, David Koresh, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and Fred Phelps, the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church. The list goes on and on.

So, what does freedom mean to me? I’ve lived in bondage and fear. I know what it is like to walk in constant fear of being molested, of being beaten, of losing all that you love and hold dear. I know what it’s like to hear the footsteps coming to your door, as you pray that they will just pass by and leave you alone. I know what it’s like to try to please the one who rules over you, and I know what it’s like to suffer the consequences of falling short of his/her expectations of you. Being enslaved is to live in constant, tormenting fear.

I know what it’s like when you break free from your slavery, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, you are still bound, as you live in constant fear of someone discovering the truth about you… Sadly, you want to be free from all of the pain and the fear, and yet by keeping the secret, you subject yourself to remain in that vicious cycle, because although you are now physically free, there are still invisible chains around you, that have to be broken. You see, even though I was physically free from the abuse I suffered as a child, once I got married, I still had a slave mentality that kept me bound.

But praise God! Though I once was enslaved, I have been set free. You see, when I came to know Christ, and His word, He loosed the chains that bound me, with these words…

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32 NLT)

Photo Credit:http://www.atlanta-bankruptcy.com/wp-content/uploads/home-page/freedom.jpg
Photo Credit:
http://www.atlanta-bankruptcy.com/wp-content/uploads/home-page/freedom.jpg

You see, people who are enslaved to other people are often enslaved by lies. I was told that I was stupid, that I would never amount to anything, and that I was too lazy to breathe. I was called all sorts of names that I don’t care to write, as well as being told that I was worthless. And I believed every single lie that was spoken over me, because Mommy and Daddy wouldn’t lie, would they? 

But the Lord spoke the truth over my life, telling me that I was fearfully and wonderfully created in His image, therefore, since I am the image of Christ, I cannot be stupid, because the Creator of the universe is very intelligent. He told me that I can do all things through His strength, therefore, I would amount to something. He told me that the Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life, therefore, I can’t be too lazy to breathe, because I am alive. He told me that I am more precious to Him than jewels, and that Christ died for me, therefore, I am not worthless. I am worthy of Almighty God’s love and affection. As the Lord spoke life over me and broke the chains made out of the lies that I had once believed, I began to taste freedom for the first time in my life.

What does freedom mean to me?

  • Freedom means that I can sleep at night, without worrying that someone will come and wake me from my sleep to beat me and curse at me. 
  • Freedom means that I don’t have to live in fear anymore.
  • Freedom means that no matter what my circumstances are, I can be at peace, knowing that God makes all things work together for my good.
  • Freedom means that I can breathe.
  • Freedom means that I can worship my God, anywhere and anytime.
  • Freedom means that I don’t have to worry about my children being victimized and enslaved.
  • Freedom means that I don’t have to carry the weights and burdens placed on me by other people. 
  • Freedom means that I can live.

I praise God for all that I’ve been through, for it is because I have lived without freedom, that I can truly appreciate the freedom I now have.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Fear in the Waiting

This was an image prompt at Kellie Elmore‘s Free Write Friday Prompt for December 21, and I liked it, and I began to think…

Photo Courtesy Of:http://kellieelmore.com/2012/12/21/fwf-free-write-friday-image-prompt-3/
Photo Courtesy Of:
http://kellieelmore.com/2012/12/21/fwf-free-write-friday-image-prompt-3/

O Israel, how can you say the LORD does not see your troubles? How can you say God refuses to hear your case? Have you never heard or understood? Don’t you know that the LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth? He never grows faint or weary. No one can measure the depths of His understanding. He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; He offers strength to the weak. Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will give up. But those who wait on the LORD will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

(Isaiah 40:27-31 NLT)

Do you ever feel as though you’re in the midst of a storm like the little bird in the picture? When I saw the picture of this little guy, it just touched my heart — probably because I feel just like that sometimes… When the bills are mounting, but the income has dried up… When the pain is great, and the medication doesn’t touch it… When it feels like you’ve lost your very best friend… When fear surrounds you… Sometimes the storms just rage against us and we have trouble on every side.

Have you ever been there? Are you there now? I am. The winds are raging and howling all around me, and like that little bird, I’ve hunkered down and bowed my head, as the rain, the snow and the sleet pelt against my skin like shards of glass, cutting me and tormenting me. 

And it’s right there, in the midst of the storm, as I bow my head, that something begins to change, though the storm still rages on every side of me. In the instant that I bow my head to my God and my Savior, and admit to Him that I am weak and unable to survive this storm on my own, that He begins to softly speak to me, encouraging me, blessing me and giving me hope. 

“… “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are Mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”

(Isaiah 43:1b-2 NLT)

Do you see that? Even though I may feel as though I’m all alone, like that little birdie, He is with me, loving me, ransoming me, protecting me from the storms of torment, the rivers of difficulty, and the flames of destruction. He’s there for you too, if you will call upon Him. He continues to speak to me, telling me that He never grows faint or weary, and if I will just wait on Him through this storm, that He will renew my strength, and I will mount up with wings like eagles. Ha! Did you catch that? If I will just wait on him, this little birdie will mount up with powerful eagle’s wings, instead of my puny little sparrow wings. 

Photo Courtesy Of:http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/58.html
Photo Courtesy Of:
http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/58.html

He tells me that I will run and not be weary… It’s been a long, long time since I could run, but I sure would like to run again. He says that I will walk and not faint… It’s been so terribly long since I could walk without it sapping every bit of my strength, leaving me crying out sometimes because of the pain… And all I have to do is wait and ride this storm out, keeping my head bowed to the One who made me, like the good little birdie in the picture.

As I keep my head bowed in the midst of this storm, I’m honest with my Lord. He tells me that He is renewing my strength, but I tell Him the truth of how I really feel, “Lord, I know You said that You are renewing my strength, but I don’t feel strong. In fact, I feel very weak.” He’s not insulted or angry when I tell Him this, not at all. He just gently smiles at me and says:

“Beloved… My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness…” 

(2 Corinthians 12:9b NKJV)

Photo Courtesy Of:http://simpletruthswithpastorrob.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/gods-strength.jpg
Photo Courtesy Of:
http://simpletruthswithpastorrob.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/gods-strength.jpg

Salvation is not just about going to heaven. Salvation begins here and now, on planet earth. Salvation includes healing and deliverance. Sometimes He heals us physically, and sometimes not. I don’t know why. His ways are not mine, and neither are His thoughts. You see, He’s much smarter than I am, and much more loving and kind than I am. He sees the big picture in the whole scheme of things, while I only see tiny fragments of it. 

I do know that He is always willing to heal our spirit and our soul, if we will allow Him to do so. The problem with that is that oftentimes, He has to lance our wounds, which is very painful, so that He can squeeze the infection of sin (both our sins and the sins others have committed against us) out of us. In order for us to completely heal, we have to be willing to walk through pain and suffering again, as we face those things that have long tormented and battered us… That’s why the waiting is so difficult.

Maybe you’re thinking to yourself that all of this is okay for some people, but God doesn’t really care about me. Oh Beloved, I understand those feelings, because that’s how I thought and felt for many years, but I was so wrong about that, and so are you. He does love you. That’s why He led you to read this post about the little birdie. Read these words that Jesus spoke to His disciples over two thousand years ago… the words that He is speaking to you right now:

“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill you. They can only kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  Not even a sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to Him than a whole flock of sparrows.

(Matthew 10:28-31 NLT)

Beloved, look at that little bird in the picture again. God loves that little sparrow, and He made it strong and resilient, so that it could withstand the storm that is pounding against it. Now, if He cares that much about a little sparrow, how much more does He care for you? Jesus said that YOU are more valuable to God than a whole flock of those little sparrows!

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Don’t Judge Me – Love Me

Judge Me

This is a post for the Picture it & Write Blogging Challenge at Ermiliablog!
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“What are you looking at?” she snarled, when she saw me staring at her. I couldn’t help it. She was just a little girl — she couldn’t have been more than eleven or twelve, but she was hard as nails. The bitterness and hatred that sparked in her eyes broke my heart. I knew her, all to well, and now, my challenge was to reach her before it was too late.

“Oh Lord,” I silently prayed, please don’t let it be too late for her. “Give me the wisdom I need to reach her, Father, before it is too late.”

“Well?” she brazenly demanded. “I asked you a question.”

I smiled at her, and answered her question. “You know very well what I’m looking at, or should I say who I’m looking at? I’m looking at you. Are you Candi?”

Giving me a hard look, she took a deep, exaggerated drag from her cigarette, then slowly exhaled the smoke from her nostrils before she answered me, “Who wants to know?” she replied, as she flicked some ashes on the ground.

I couldn’t help myself. I burst into laughter as I walked up to her and took the cigarette out of her hand, dropping it to the ground and stamping it out. “I’m Jenny,” I replied as she gave me a dirty look. “Don’t you know those things are bad for you?”

“Who cares? Why did you do that? Those things are expensive, you know!” Fire was flashing from her blue eyes, and if looks could kill, I wouldn’t be here now.

“I care,” I replied, looking her right in the eye. “That’s why I’m here. We need to talk.” The other children, presumably her brother and sister were staring at us with eyes as wide as saucers. 

“Why should I talk to you? I don’t even know you,” she replied angrily, crossing her arms in front of her chest and stomping her foot on the dirt road. Her unkempt blonde hair flashed in the sunlight, as she shook her head at me.

I bent over, until I was eye to eye with her, and I told her why she should talk to me. “You need to talk to me, because I’m here to help you. You need to talk to me, because you want to protect your brother and sister, but you can’t do it alone. You need to talk to me, because I’m probably the only one who doesn’t think you’re just a brat. You need to talk to me, because I care about you and your brother and sister, and I want to help you.”

As I was speaking to her, I saw fear flash across her face briefly, before she quickly hid it behind that hard, cold mask she was wearing. “Why do you want to help me?” Candi asked, looking me up and down. Not for the first time, I wished that my job didn’t require me to dress as a professional, in my navy blue pant suit, with a white shell, and a pair of bright red shoes. My auburn hair was tied back from my face with a red scarf, which completed the outfit. It would have made my job as a social worker so much easier, if I could have worn my faded jeans and a tank top, so that children like Candi could relate to me better.

“Candi,” I responded, “I want to help you, because just a few years ago, I was a lot like you.” She eyed me in disbelief, as I continued. “Look, kid, don’t let these fancy clothes fool you. I didn’t always have nice clothes. I didn’t always have a home either, and when I did have that home, I wished I didn’t have to live there. Living on the streets was better than living with my mom and all of her boyfriends, ya’ know?”

I could see her guard beginning to drop a little, and after instructing her brother and sister to go ahead and continue playing without her, she followed me over to my car, and joined me as I sat on the hood. “So what do you want to know?” she whispered as we sat side by side.

Turning so that I could see her face, I softly replied, “I need to know everything. Listen, I don’t want to hurt you or get you in any trouble. I just want to help. I need to help you. Do you want to know why I studied to be a social worker, Candi?” Her big blue eyes focused on mine as she nodded, and I continued, “I wanted to be a social worker so that I could rescue girls and boys like you, girls and boys who were like me when I was your age.”

Candi nodded, and gulping, she asked, “Did your dad ever –?” She looked away, struggling to get the words out, but terrified of what might happen if she spoke them out loud. 

Taking her hand in mine, I lifted Candi’s chin up so that she could see my face, as I nodded yes to her question. I didn’t try to force her to speak, because I knew that she was almost ready, and if I tried to push her or rush her, she might never speak those words out loud. “Do you have a brother or sister?” she asked me.

I nodded, and replied, “I have a little sister, like you do.”

“Did your dad ever… ever… did he ever do that to your sister?” a lone tear slid down her cheek.

“I don’t know for sure. I only know that I tried to protect her, but we never talked about it, ya’ know?” She nodded her head.

“I think my dad is… is… I think he’s going to hurt Reba if I don’t stop him.” She looked earnestly into my face, as the tears began to flow freely, leaving a dirty wet trail down her cheeks. I took my scarf off and handed it to her so she could dry her tears and blow her nose. I never think to bring tissues with me, but the scarf could be replaced. My heart ached to see her pain, but I knew that I couldn’t hold her yet. She wasn’t ready to be held yet. 

“Can you help us?” she whispered softly.

“I can,” I answered with all seriousness, “but you have to tell me everything.” Haltingly, over the next forty-five minutes, Candi shared the torment that she had endured at the hands of her father. Such things should never be.

After she shared her story with me, I explained that the police would be here shortly, and she and her brother and sister would be removed from their home, and placed in foster care. I told her that I would do my best to keep them all together, but there would be no guarantees. Then, we called her brother and sister to come to us, so that we could prepare them for the change that was about to occur in their lives.

Throughout the entire process, I couldn’t help but admire this woman-child. She was old beyond her years, comforting and caring for her brother and sister, as though she was their mother. I felt confident that given the right environment and the right set of circumstances, this young woman would not only survive her tumultuous childhood, she would thrive and overcome the pain of her past. 

“Lord,” I silently prayed, as the police arrived, and I loaded the children into my car, “watch over these beautiful children, and give them the chance that they deserve. Set them free, Father from the pain and the sorrow that has been inflicted on them. In Jesus’ name, let them know peace.”

I chose the foster family to care for these children. I knew them personally, and they were good, caring people… the people who had once cared for me not so long ago, and raised me as though I was their own child.

Do you see that little girl in the picture? Don’t judge her — love her!

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Trifecta Challenge: Intention

Trifecta Challenge: Intention
The weekly prompt comes from a place many of us associate with the beginning of a new year.  Do you make resolutions or think it’s all just hogwash?  Did you make any this year?
INTENTION (noun)
1: a determination to act in a certain way : resolve
2: import, significance
3a : what one intends to do or bring about
b : the object for which a prayer, mass, or pious act is offered

Please remember:
  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
  • Only one entry per writer.
  • Trifecta is open to everyone!!  Please join us.

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Here I am again, Lord, crying out to You. O God, I need Your mercy and Your peace now more than ever. Father, give me the wisdom I need to face each day, and help me to be a blessing to others, and not a curse. Give me words of life to speak to others, words that will edify and encourage, rather than tearing them down and destroying them. 

Lord, when I got up at 1:00 again, this morning, it was not my intention to write a post, nor was it my intention to spend this time pouring my heart out to You. I suppose this was Your plan all along, and I have to say, that I am so thankful for that. 

I praise You Lord, for every person You lead to read this prayer, and I ask You to speak to their hearts, Father, in Jesus’ name. For those who are sick and in pain, Lord, touch their bodies as they read this prayer, not for my glory, but for Yours. For those with a spirit of heaviness, Lord, in Jesus’ mighty name, I ask You to loose those chains of heaviness, so that they may know that You are the God of deliverance.

Father, in Jesus’ name, I ask You to lavish Your love on each and every person who reads this prayer. Let them know that You truly are the God of love, and that You care so much for each person, that You’ve even numbered the hairs on our heads. For the ones who are mourning, grieving for the loss of loved ones, whether that loss was by death or abandonment, please, wrap Your loving arms around each one. Send Your peace, and calm the storms that are raging in so many lives, just as You calmed the wind and the waves so many years ago, when You said, “Peace! Be still.”

Lord, I love You with all of my heart, and it is my desire to lift You up, because You are worthy of all praise glory and honor. Amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Daily Prompt: Call Me Ishmael

Take the first sentence from your favorite book and make it the first sentence of your post.
Daily Prompt: Call Me Ishmael

As long as there has been God, there have been God chasers. ~ Tommy Tenney, “The God Chasers”

Christianity, in its purest form, is nothing more than seeing Jesus. ~ Max Lucado, “God Came Near”

Okay. I know I was instructed to take the first sentence from my favorite book and make it the first sentence of my post, but the truth is I have a lot of favorite books. Therefore, I looked through my collection of books and chose two (I couldn’t choose just one) of my favorite first sentences.
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Cover of "The God Chasers (Special Editio...
Cover of The God Chasers (Special Edition)

As long as there has been God, there have been God chasers. In fact, Christianity, in its purest form, is nothing more than seeing Jesus. So many people are searching for that one “thing” that one “person” to fill a void that has been gnawing away at their very souls. “There must be something more to life,” they reason, and yet they struggle to figure out what that “something more” might be.

Many people look to other people to lead them in their quest to find “something more,” and when other people fail them, they become disheartened. Because of this, some struggle with depression, while others may become cynical and bitter. Others may continue their quest for “something more” by turning to religion.

Now, when I say “religion,” I am speaking of just that. Religion is not only Christianity. Religion can be Hindu, Buddhism, Muslim, Mormonism, Judaism or any number of other religions, including Atheism. Sadly, religion cannot bring that “something more” into focus either. Again, as before, some will struggle with depression, and others will become cynical and bitter.

god-came-nearHowever, there are a few who will not be satisfied with depending on another person to lead them to “something more”. There are a few who will not settle for what religion has to offer. These are the people who will determine in their hearts that they must not stop until they have found the One, their reason for living. They cannot, will not stop until they find Him.

These people realize that He will not be found in rotes and rituals, so they don’t bother looking for Him there. They understand that it’s not enough to have what someone else has — they want NO they need to find Him, to see Him for themselves. You won’t find these people chasing after televangelists or gurus. You won’t find them doing the same things that other “religious” people do.

You may not find these people in “church” as you know it. In fact, you’re more likely to find these people in the bars and the prisons, and street corners, ministering to the homeless, the tired, the afflicted, the criminals and derelicts that everyone else has written off as worthless, because it was in these unlikely places that they found the God they were chasing after. It is in these places, that they see Jesus.

So, for those of you who have become disgruntled and discouraged, I have a word for you. Do you want to find GOD?  Do you want to see Jesus?  Do you really, really want this? If so, He’s easy to find. The Lord says to you today, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13 NASB) 

Isn’t that awesome? I want everyone to understand this, because people and religion make finding God much harder than it is supposed to be. People and religion often times make finding God, and seeing Jesus impossible. That’s why it’s best to see what God has to say about it. He didn’t say you have to get your life straight first. He didn’t say you have to memorize and obey the 10 Commandments first. He didn’t say you have to stop drinking, smoking, swearing, and fornication first. (Mind you, He commands us to stop those things, and we will want to stop those things when we find Him) God simply said we will find Him when we search for Him with all of our heart. 

Jesus said pretty much the same thing, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8 NASB) Do you see? Jesus doesn’t ask us to jump through hoops. He doesn’t tell us to dress a certain way or follow a bunch of rules and regulations. He just says,  “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NASB

Friends, there is something more” out there, and His name is Jesus, and He wants you to find Him. There’s also a whole lot of charlatans, who claim that their way is the way to find Him, but don’t believe any of that bologna, because Jesus Himself said that He is the only way to the Father. If you want to find God… if you want to see Jesus, just seek Him with all of your heart, and you will find Him.

Many blessings to all of you, and I’m praying with all of my heart that you do find Him!

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Trifecta Challenge: Survive

Trifecta Challenge: Survive
This week we want you to write on the third definition of:
survive
1: to remain alive after the death of <he is survived by his wife>
2: to continue to exist or live after <survived the earthquake>
3: to continue to function or prosper despite : withstand <they survived many hardships>

Please remember:

  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
  • Only one entry per writer.
  • Trifecta is open to everyone!!  Please join us.

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For everyone who has been abused, misused, betrayed, rejected and put down, I want to encourage you, because I too, have experienced the sorrow and  anguish of abuse and rejection, and one thing that I’ve learned in life is that hurting people hurt other people, so the cycle continues.

http://www.ibtimes.com/could-delhi-gang-rape-victims-death-really-change-india-979932
http://www.ibtimes.com/could-delhi-gang-rape-victims-death-really-change-india-979932

For everyone who has ever been a victim (and I humbly submit to you that many victimizers were once victims), you need to know that you need not remain a victim. Did you get that? You do not need to remain a victim of your circumstances. You have options.

One of the things that victimizers do, is convince their victims that there is no hope. They do this by wearing their victims down with lies… You’re stupid… a mistake… worthless… unlovable… unwanted… Hear me friends, if you want to be set free, you must know the truth for every lie that has been told to you.

This is my prayer for each one who reads this post… that you would no longer be a victim. To merely survive is not good enough for you either… I pray that you would become an overcomer, a conqueror, one who knows the truth and has been set free from the lies of your abuser(s).

God says that He carefully knit you together in your mother’s womb, fearfully and wonderfully in His imageTherefore, you cannot be stupid, worthless, ugly or any of those things your abusers said you were, because God is perfect.

God says that He chose you long before the foundations of the earth were even laid, and that He loves you with an everlasting loveTherefore, you are not unwanted, or unlovable, because He loves you and desires you.

Beloved, I could go on and on, but my words are limited. Therefore, I encourage you to call upon the Lord, and allow Him to guide you in all truth, so that you are no longer bound by the chains your abuser(s) placed on you.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Writing Challenge: New Year’s Resolutions (Doompocalypse Redux)

Writing Challenge: New Year’s Resolutions (Doompocalypse Redux)

The tin-foil hat, Mayan apocalypse conspiracy people were wrong about the world ending in 2012. Hooray. Time for them to go back to watching grassy knoll footage in slow motion. BUT! 

They were only half wrong. There’s a gigantic meteor hurtling toward earth at an alarming rate, and a 97.3% probability that we’re all going the way of the dodos and dinosaurs within three months. So, this year you aren’t going to make resolutions about losing a notch on your belt. You aren’t going to concern yourself about polishing off Remembrance of Things Past once and for all. You don’t even care a jot about emptying your email inbox. In three months, doompocalpyse is going to be upon us. So what are you going to do?

You’re going to do what any good blogger does. You’re going to blog some resolutions that matter:

Tell us about the three things you’d most like to change about your life, and make a bold, I-don’t-care-who-knows-it-because-there’s-a-meteor-a-comin’ assertion to the world that you are going to get these changes made. And that you’ll have at least started making them happen by March. When, erm, you’re probably going to wind up as dust.

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We’re being told that the world as we know it is coming to an end in just three months, when a meteor of cosmic proportions (pardon the pun) will crash into the earth, blowing us all to kingdom come. People, please allow me to be the voice of reason in these last days. I know things look bad, and that it’s almost certain that many will die, but listen to me! While many will lose their lives in this catastrophe, there will still be those who survive, and since we don’t know who will and who will not survive this massive explosion, it is vital that everyone prepare for that great and terrible day.

Extinction Event
Extinction Event

Listen to me, friends… Because the blogosphere is on overload now, I am only allowed to share three things with you before this terrible catastrophic event occurs. Now God, in His infinite mercy has given us a timeline for this horrific event, so that we can prepare. It is now more vital than ever that each man, woman and child be prepared to die. Listen, we all know that it everyone is destined to die once, but you must also know that after death, comes judgment.

Oh, I know that many of you are rolling your eyes at me as you read these words, but please! I beg you to read this with an open mind. For years, many of you have called Christians narrow-minded and closed-minded, and I won’t deny it. Often times, we are, but that doesn’t mean that we’re wrong.

Since I first heard of this ginormous meteor that is headed to our planet at an alarming rate of speed, I’ve known what I have to do. You see, each one of us have been created for a purpose, and I was created to be a watchman on the wall. For those of you who don’t know, let me give you a brief description of what a watchman on the wall is.

http://samuelschoi.blogspot.com/
http://samuelschoi.blogspot.com/

In ancient times, there was a wall around Jerusalem, and watchmen were placed around the perimeter of that wall to serve as lookouts. These watchmen were responsible for warning the people when they saw any signs of danger, often sounding a trumpet (in those days the trumpet was known as a shofar or ram’s horn). These were watchmen who watched out for the physical safety of their city.

But there were also prophets, appointed by the Lord God of Israel, who were responsible for warning the people of spiritual danger as well as physical danger. They too, would sound the alarm when people endangered themselves by rebelling against the Almighty God. My friends, there are still prophets today, including me, who try to warn the people of impending danger, so that the people may turn away from their rebellion and run into the safety of God’s protection.

My friends, we are living in times just like Noah lived in, when men and women refused to obey God, and their thoughts were continually, consistently evil. Look around! There are evil men like Earl Bradley, who molested who knows how many children… and Jerry Sandusky, who molested numerous boys… And what about Adam Lanza who brutally shot and killed twenty children and six adults in Connecticut just a few short weeks ago? I could go on and on, but my point is that man has not gotten better. Man has not evolved into a kinder being. Mankind is terribly flawed and full of sin and evil, and in desperate need of a savior.

My friend, the three things I want to share with you are this:

“The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9 NLT)

There is not one person who has not sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and every one of us is capable of evil. Therefore, every single one of us needs a Savior to protect us and deliver us from the evil that lurks within us. We need to recognize this and admit it.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.

“There is no judgment awaiting those who trust Him. But those who do not trust Him have already been judged for not believing in the only Son of God. Their judgment is based on this fact: The light from heaven came into the world, but they loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. They hate the light because they want to sin in the darkness. They stay away from the light for fear their sins will be exposed and they will be punished. But those who do what is right come to the light gladly, so everyone can see that they are doing what God wants.” (John 3:16-21 NLT)

God sent His only Son, Jesus to be our Savior. You see, every sin must be paid for, whether it’s a “white lie” or murder, and to a holy and just God, who has a perfect standard, the cost of sin is death. Everyone who sins, (and that includes all of us) must pay for sin with our life, but because God loves us (I’m not sure why, but He does), He sent His only Son, Jesus, to live as a man without sin, and to pay for the sins of every man, woman and child who had ever lived and who ever would live (that includes me and you). And God’s only requirement for us to be saved is that we believe this, and love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. That’s it!

But now, O Israel, the LORD who created you says: “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are Mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.

For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I gave Egypt, Ethiopia, and Seba as a ransom for your freedom. Others died that you might live. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to Me. You are honored, and I love you.

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will gather you and your children from east and west and from north and south. I will bring My sons and daughters back to Israel from the distant corners of the earth. All who claim Me as their God will come, for I have made them for My glory. It was I who created them.” (Isaiah 43:1-7 NLT)

For those of us who die, loving Christ, we will enter into the presence of God, and there will be no more pain or sorrow, and every tear will be wiped away. For those who die apart from Christ, and I pray that it is none of you, my beloved friends, you will go to a place of never-ending torment, because you chose to pay for your own sins, rather than accepting the gift of eternal life that God offered.

For those who survive this meteor hit, please allow the word of God, as spoken through Isaiah the prophet, to comfort you. Fear not, because if you walk with Christ, He promises that He will never leave you nor forsake you. Indeed, Christ died so that you might live. No matter how difficult the days ahead may be for you, remember that the Lord your God will be with you, and if you will trust in Him, He will keep you in perfect peace.

My time is up now, so I leave you with this final blessing:

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and give you peace. May He lift the light of His countenance upon you and let the light of His face shine down on you!

Many blessings to you all!

Love,

Cheryl

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

Trifecta Challenge: Exorcising Demons

Trifecta Challenge: Exorcising Demons

This weekend we’re asking for 33 of your own words that exorcise a demon.  One of your own, or one from your imagination.  Let it bleed on the page.

Wow — this is a difficult challenge. How do you deal with something so painful and so personal in only 33 words? Growing up in a household of lies and secrets, of pain and distrust, fear and abuse, how do I share what it was like to suffer from the pain inflicted by those demons, and the joy of being set free from them? Then as I look at that number… 33… something truly profound hits me. You see, Jesus is the One who exorcised the demons from me and He is the One who truly exorcises the demons for all of mankind if they will just allow Him to do so… And get this — Jesus walked this earth as the Son of Man for only 33 years. If He could change the course of history, heal the brokenhearted, set the captives free, give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, a voice to the mute, and conquer death, hell and the grave in only 33 years, surely, He can give me 33 words to express myself. 🙂 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Comforterby: Michael Dudash
The Comforter
by: Michael Dudash

Exorcising Demons

Fear, pain and misery
Lies, death, shame and destruction
Jesus, You have set me free
From the dragon’s prison
Poured Your mercy on me
Sent Your love from heaven
Hallelujah — I am free!

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

Trifecta Challenge: Wonder

Trifecta Challenge: Wonder
The Trifecta Word Challenge this week is:

1a : a cause of astonishment or admiration : marvel <it’s a wonder you weren’t killed> <the pyramid is a wonder to behold>
 b : miracle
2: the quality of exciting amazed admiration
The Wonder of His Love

“Arise, My love, you’re free!”
His whispered words awoke

Hope as He said to me
“Rise from the dust — your chains are broke!”

Enslaved for all my life
By chains of fear and doubt.
Oppressed by pain and strife,
To Jesus I cried out

Cross Background
Cross Background

“Save me, Lord — Redeem me!”
“Fear not, My child, I’m here —
I’ll give you eyes to  see…
And wipe away each tear.”

“Cast your cares on Me, Love
Because I care for you.”
Amazed, I looked above —
It seemed too good to be true.

http://truthpressure.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/gods-love1.jpg
http://truthpressure.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/gods-love1.jpg

His words came out like thunder —
“For you I chose to die.”
I gazed on Him with wonder
“You died for me… But why?”

“You are precious in My sight,
My own special treasure.
My love exceeds all heights…
I love you beyond measure.”

As He speaks His love for me,
My heart overflows with love…
I think about His beauty
And the wonder of His love!

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

Daily Prompt: Just a Dream

You’re having a nightmare, and have to choose between three doors. Pick one, and tell us about what you find on the other side.
Daily Prompt: Just a Dream

As I walk along with him, I’m enthralled by all of the glorious colors. There are hues and shades that I’ve never seen or even dreamed of before. The grass is so lush and rich, like a brilliant green gem, almost glowing in its beauty. It’s like a lovely green luxuriant carpet, and though there is a sign forbidding me to walk on the grass, I must confess that I’m sorely tempted to do just that. It just looks so lovely, so inviting. 

Alice in Wonderland1951 Wallpaper
Alice in Wonderland
1951 Wallpaper

Oh! And just beyond the gentle curve ahead is a water brook such as none I’ve ever seen before. Its water fairly sings as it rushes by over perfectly smooth and rounded pebbles. I’ve never heard water sing before. And it’s so clear, so transparent that I can see all the way to the bottom of it. I can see the multicolored myriad of fish that swim beneath its surface, while it continues to sing, beckoning me…

“Come hither, my friend
And you will receive
More money to spend
Than you can perceive”

In awe, I watched as the kaleidescope of fish changed into silver and gold and precious jewels. Dazzled, I stretched my hand towards the water, only to have him quickly reach out and smack it. In ire, I looked back at him, tense and ready to fight him, but he just shook his head at me, whispering direly,

“Stay on the path
Touch nothing,” he said,
“Lest you feel the wrath
And then lose your head.”

I looked at this mysterious man, with wonder. “Curious,” I thought for perhaps the millionth time. “Everything and everyone here just gets curiouser and curiouser.”

“Look,” he resumed,
“We came here as two…
If parted, you’re doomed,
So what I say, you must do!”

“Then come with me,” I replied, while he shook his head. “I want to explore, for never have I seen such loveliness.” But there he  just stood, firmly shaking his head.

“The Wicked Queen lives here,”
He said in a rush.
“And she is very near,
Beware! Or your body she’ll crush.”

“She won’t rest till you’re dead.
And her army she’ll loose.
She’ll cry, ‘Off with her head,’
You’ll suffer abuse!”

Still, the water and the grass they beckoned to me, and then I saw the flowers! A glorious, beautiful abundance of purples and blues and reds, yellows and greens. And the smell that wafted from them was like none I’d ever smelled before, so fragrant and lovely, and as their leaves and their petals rustled, I heard them sweetly whisper…

“Come closer and sniff,
And gather a cluster
Breathe deeply and whiff
Come enjoy our great luster.”

Queen of HeartsWallpaper
Queen of Hearts
Wallpaper

I couldn’t help myself! They were so lovely, and they called me… Without saying a word, I turned from my worrisome friend and ran on the grass towards those splendid blossoms. Suddenly, the brilliance of the sunlight was gone, and as the sky turned a dark and fearsome gray, the luxurious jade of the grass became brown and dead, while the flora instantly withered and died. I watched in fear and foreboding, as the once clear waters of the water brook turned murky and dark, and the waters churned and boiled. As though in a cauldron, the waters began to rise quickly and dangerously.

Suddenly, my mysterious friend grabbed my hand saying,

“Oh no! Now you’ve done it!
The Queen’s armies will come
Let’s go lickety-split!
Please! Quickly! Let’s run!”

And then I heard it, a most horrible sound… it sounded like thunder as the Queen’s armies came forth, and above all the thunder, I heard a shrill, terrible scream, “Off with her head! Off with her head!”

My heart pounded crazily, as my friend and I ran, faster and faster, we had to escape. We came to a maze – round and round, in and out we ran, with the Queen’s armies on our heels. We came through the maze and we ran up a hill, as fear gave me flight. As we started down the hill, my friend pulled me to the right and into a castle we ran until we came to a room, and my friend pulled me into this room that had three doors, and solemnly spoke these words to me,

“This room has three
Very magical doors
Be careful, choose wisely
This choice must be yours!”

Three Doors to Choose Fromhttp://www.guardian.co.uk
Three Doors to Choose From
http://www.guardian.co.uk

My heart was filled with foreboding as I looked at the three magical doors, and tears began to spill down my cheeks as fear overwhelmed me. My friend and I were in grave danger all because I had refused to listen and allowed myself to be overcome with greed and curiosity. The thunderous sound of the soldiers grew closer, and the wicked shrill of the Queen drew ominously closer too, as my wise friend cried out,

“Please! Make haste and be quick!
The wicked Queen draws nigh,
She’ll place your head on a stick
For all to see and pass by!”

And so, holding his hand in mine, I closed my eyes and stepped forth, choosing our escape through this door:

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

Swift Blogging Challenge: Sweet Little Lies

Swift Blogging Challenge: Sweet Little Lies
When (if ever) is it ok to lie? And why (or why not)?
If you’re brave enough, share an example of a lie that you told which you thought was necessary. Give details.

I’ll probably come across sounding like an old prude for saying this, but it’s true (no pun intended)… I believe that it is never okay or good to lie. To understand my reasons for feeling this way, you must first understand that I grew up in a house of lies, and for much of my life, I lived a lie.

I know that a lot of people claim that not everything is black and white, and that there are a lot of gray areas, but that isn’t how God created me. I do see things as right or wrong, good or bad, black or white. For me, to drift over into those “gray” areas is to compromise my faith and my integrity, and so, at the risk of being branded “intolerant,” I will tell you some of the many reason why I believe it is wrong to lie, and why I believe that there are no such things as “Sweet Little Lies.”

As a Christian, I look to the scriptures to show me how to live, and here are just a few of the scriptures that talk about lies:

  • The LORD detests lying lips, but He delights in men who are truthful. (Proverbs 12:22 NIV)
  • I will not allow deceivers to serve Me, and liars will not be allowed to enter My presence. (Psalm 101:7 NLT)
  • Good people are guided by their honesty; treacherous people are destroyed by their dishonesty. (Proverbs 11:3 NLT)
  • Do any of you want to live a life that is long and good? Then watch your tongue! Keep your lips from telling lies! (Psalm 34:12-13 NLT)

That’s just a small sampling of the many scriptures that speak against lying, and for me, as a child of God, at this point in my life, that’s reason enough to be against lying… But my reasons don’t end there.

You see, I’ve seen firsthand what lies can do to a person… to a family… to a culture… to a nation… to the world. As I said at the beginning of this post, I grew up in a house of lies, and I know the damage that lies do. As a child, I told so many lies that I often deceived myself as well as others.

I can remember my mother beating me until my back and butt

Tell me, tell me, tell me lies, tell me sweet ...
Tell me, tell me, tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies… (Photo credit: marciespics)

bore bruises shaped like the imprint of her hand, because I told so many lies. “If there’s one thing I hate,” my mother would scream at me in rage while she beat me, “it’s a liar!” My heart used to break every time she would shriek those words at me, because it was just another reason – a BIG reason for why I was so unlovable.

And here’s the crazy thing – I really hated lying, but I couldn’t stop myself. I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone, but it’s true. I started off lying out of fear, but then the lies would grow, because when you tell one lie, another lie has to follow in order to keep up the pretense, and it doesn’t take long before it grows out of control.

I remember feeling so guilty when I would lie to my parents, to my teachers, to my Sunday School teachers, to my sister, to my grandparents and on and on and on and … you get the picture. And then, there was my mother and father… If I wanted them to love me, (and I did) I had to lie to earn their love… only they couldn’t really love me, because I was lying, and if there’s one thing they hated, it was a liar. Do you see what a vicious circle lying creates?

And then there was this other thing that really disturbed me. My mom and dad lied. I remember the first time I became aware that Mom lied. I was only around 7 or 8 years old, and I heard Mom say, “Jesus Christ,” not because she was actually talking about Jesus, but because she was using His name as a curse word. A few days later, we were riding in the car, and I asked her what taking the Lord’s name in vain meant.

"Everybody Lies"by: ersen-t
“Everybody Lies”
by: ersen-t

They had talked about that at vacation bible school, and this little girl didn’t know what they were talking about. Mom very seriously replied that taking the Lord’s name in vain is a terrible sin, and we must never do that. “You know how some people say ‘JC’ and some people say ‘GD’?” she asked me very seriously, looking at me in the rear view mirror, as I solemnly nodded my head yes. “Well, you should never ever do that, because that is very bad. Mommy might cuss, but that’s one thing I would never say,” she continued.

“Mommy, that’s not right. You’ve said ‘GD’ and ‘JC’ before. I’ve heard you,” I promptly retorted, remembering that she had just said that a few days before.

“No, you have not ever heard me say that,” she replied quite sharply to me, and I started to argue back, because I knew darn well I’d heard her say that, when I caught the look in her eye… You know, “the look”… the one that says, “You’d better shut your mouth before I slap it.”

“Oh,” I replied quickly. “I’m sorry Mommy. You’re right. I didn’t hear that.” There! I lied again, in order to protect my mother’s lie, and in order to protect myself from receiving a beating.

The other big lie that sticks out in my mind happened when my dad molested me. After he left the house, I had called Mom at work and told her what he had done to me, and she said we would talk later, when she got home from work (3-1/2 hrs later), and she told me not to say anything about what happened to my sister, because I wouldn’t want to upset her.

Stop the Lies
Stop the Lies

That evening, when she got home, she sent my sister to our room with me, while she talked with Dad. Now, let me just give you a picture of how I was thinking and feeling. During the 3-1/2 hours that I waited for my mommy to get home from work, I had everything figured out.

You see, I knew it was going to be hard for us to live alone, without Daddy, but I was going to help Mommy. I was going to start doing better in school, and I would do all of the cleaning, and help her take care of my little sister, and even though it would be hard, I was going to be a good girl from now on. I was going to stop lying and arguing with my sister. In fact, I was going to protect my sister, and the three of us were going to be very happy together.

When my mother entered our room a little while later, she sent my sister out of the bedroom, and shut the door, so we could speak privately. “Did your father have to beat you because you got in trouble today?” she asked me. I looked at her, startled. That wasn’t a question that I had expected. When I shook my head and said that I had not been in trouble, she responded, “I just talked to your daddy, and I didn’t let him know that you told me what he did to you. I just told him that you called me at work and said you were afraid of him. Then he told me that you got in trouble today and he had to spank you, and that’s why you’re afraid of him.”

I looked at my mother in disbelief. “This is the woman who hates liars?” I thought.

“I told him that I didn’t want him hitting you anymore and scaring you, and he said he won’t. He’s really sorry about what happened, and he said that it won’t happen again, so I’ve decided that we’ll stay for now, but if anything else ever happens again, you let me know, and we’ll decide what to do then. Also, I don’t want you to say anything to your sister, because that would just hurt and upset her, and you wouldn’t want to do that would you? And don’t tell anyone else either, or you could destroy our family.”

Numbly, I nodded in agreement, as she went on. “Now your daddy said he wants to talk to you and tell you he’s sorry, because he loves you, okay?” What could I say? What was I supposed to say?

Dad entered my room a couple of minutes later, and I’ll be honest with you, I don’t remember much of that conversation, except that he too instructed me not to tell anyone or I would destroy my sister and our family. I remember staring at both him and mom, and thinking of all of the beatings that I had received from their hands for lying, and now, look at the two of them. We were living in a house of lies, and I bought into their lies, hook, line and sinker.

I believed the lie that I was the one at fault. I believed the lie that I would destroy our family if I spoke the truth. I believed the lie that by continuing to lie (oh the irony of it) by burying that dark secret deep within me, I was protecting my sister. I believed the lie that everyone else’s happiness must be protected at my expense.

http://uturntograce.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/1-truth-with-grace/
http://uturntograce.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/1-truth-with-grace/

Can you see why I hate lies? Can you see why God hates lies? He hates lies, because He knows how they destroy the lives of men and women.

Is there such a thing as a “sweet little lie” or a “white lie”? Let me share one more example for you before I close. When my children were little, I taught them to believe in Santa Claus. When I say that I taught them to believe in Santa Claus, you should know that I went all out with it… My husband would wet his boots, and we would place a hand towel on the floor, by the chair where Santa would sit to eat his Christmas cookies, and my husband would step onto the towel with his wet boots, leaving Santa’s boot prints etched in the towel. And then, I would sprinkle gold glitter, also known as “Christmas Magic” all around where his foot prints were. Then, if we were blessed to have snow, my husband would make “reindeer tracks” and “sled marks” in the snow, (or the dirt when we didn’t have a white Christmas) while I followed behind sprinkling “Christmas Magic” quite liberally on the ground.

My children loved Christmas, and they were so excited to wake up on Christmas morning and discover all that Santa had left behind. This lie didn’t feel like a lie to me, and I guess I would have even told you that it was a “white lie” or a “sweet little lie” at the time, until the day came that the truth about Santa Claus was revealed to my son.

My son loved Santa Claus, and he believed in him with his whole heart, well past the age when other children believe in Santa. He was between 11 and 12 years old, when I revealed the truth to him in a very ungentle, unkind way. He was being disrespectful as many children that age are, and I accused him of being unappreciative of all that his dad and I did for him, to which he obnoxiously replied, “You and Dad never do anything for me or get me anything. Santa Claus and Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop, and Grandma and Grandpa are the only ones that ever give me anything.”

In my anger, I responded, “Well who do you think Santa Claus is?” My son’s eyes got great big as I continued, “There is no Santa Claus. Your dad and I have given you everything.” As I confess this story to you, I have to tell you, that this was one of those times in my life that I am deeply ashamed of, and as the tears welled up in my son’s eyes, my heart broke, and I was very sorry.

As tears flowed down his face, my son questioned me, “You mean you and Dad lied to me about Santa Claus?” he cried. When I tried to explain that it wasn’t really a lie, that we did it because we loved him, he just looked at me in disbelief. My explanation suddenly seemed pretty lame to me, because as I looked at it through his eyes, it became very clear to me, that the fun we had given him was based on a lie, and then he asked me a question that broke my heart, and caused me to see why God hates all lies.

“What about the tooth fairy? Is she real?” I shook my head no. “What about the Easter Bunny?” Again, I shook my head. “What about Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse” (click this link to see what he was talking about)? again, I shook my head no. “Are God and Jesus even real, then?” he asked, and the weight of what I had done fell hard on me.

You see, when we deceive someone, even with good intentions, we cast doubt on all that is good and true as well. I don’t want to be a part of any lies anymore.

http://uturntograce.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/1-truth-with-grace/
http://uturntograce.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/1-truth-with-grace/

So, am I telling you that I never lie anymore? I can honestly say that I try very hard not to ever lie, but there are times when I mess up and lie. That is when I go before God and ask for His mercy and forgiveness, as well as asking Him to help me to change. I don’t ever want my lies to be the cause of someone doubting the sovereignty of God. I don’t ever want my lies to harm anyone else, ever again.

Therefore, please don’t ask me to lie for you. Don’t ask me to deny the truth. Don’t ask me if I like what you’re wearing, if you don’t want to hear the truth. Can you understand why I say it is never good or okay to lie?

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

Swift Blogging Challenge: Back In Time

Swift Blogging Challenge: Back In Time
For this part of the Challenge, you need to write a letter to yourself in the past, i.e. to yourself when you were younger. So it’s like you’re writing back in time.

And the letter is for the purpose of giving yourself some much-needed advice. You can choose any age, it doesn’t matter. The important part is the advice that you would give to yourself and why.

I just have to tell you, that when I read this challenge, my heart started pounding with excitement. The most difficult thing for me in this challenge was determining at what age I should speak to little me. I wanted to make sure little me was old enough to understand and remember my advice, for the time when she (I) would most need it.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Cheryl,

This is a very special birthday letter to a very special girl on her eleventh birthday. I know what a wild imagination you have, so it won’t be difficult for you to believe what I’m about to tell you. The person writing this birthday letter to you is you, when you’re forty-one years older. :)

Stop rolling your eyes like you know it all! This isn’t a joke. I heard that giggle slip out. :DIt’s okay. Go ahead, smile. I know what you’re thinking, because even though I’m fifty-one years old, (fifty-one is not as old as you think it is), I am you, and you are me. I’m not doing a very good job of this, am I?

Listen Cheryl, I know you really want to share this letter with someone to see if it’s for real or not, but please don’t. I’ve been given a unique opportunity to write this letter to you, for the purpose of giving you some advice. I was told that I could choose to give you this advice at any age, so I really had to think about how old you should be when I share this with you. I didn’t want to talk to you when you were younger, because I knew you wouldn’t understand, and I didn’t want to wait until you were too old, because some things are about to happen to you in a very short time, that are going to change your life, and I want to help you.

You’re still wondering if this is for real or not, aren’t you? Okay, just to show you that this letter is really from you as a grownup, I know about the report card you erased last marking period, and even though you try not to think about it too much, you’re really starting to get scared, because they’re going to find out about it next week. You believe me now, don’t you?

Oh honey, I know how scared you are, and I know you don’t want to think about it, but I need to give you some advice that’s going to help you when everything happens, okay? Cheryl, l want you to do what I tell you, no matter how hard and how scary it is, and I want to share something really, really important with you.

First of all, let me share the really, really important information with you, okay? Cheryl, you know how you feel like nobody loves you? Well, that isn’t true. Somebody very important loves you, but you don’t believe it, because you don’t love yourself. Do you remember the first bible verse you learned when you started riding the church bus? “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

"Crying Inside"By ElenaR
“Crying Inside”
By ElenaR

Cheryl, I know what you thought when you memorized that. You thought God loves everybody else but you. You started thinking of all those “nasty” things you did, and you felt ashamed and dirty, and you thought there was no way that God could love you. But Cheryl, you were wrong. God does love you very much. Jesus loves YOU. He really does. Cheryl, He knows all about those “nasty” things you’ve done, and He knows about your “nasty feelings,” and He still loves you. You’re shaking your head right now, because you want to believe it so badly, but it’s so hard to believe, isn’t it?

Listen, Honey, God isn’t like your mommy and daddy. You don’t have to earn His love. Nobody can earn His love, no matter how good they are, but Cheryl, He knows about your report card, and everything else, and He loves you. You need to know this, because some really bad things are going to happen soon, and you’re going to feel like you’re all alone, and that nobody loves you, so just remember this. Jesus loves you, and so do I.

Cheryl, next week, when Mrs. Murray sees your report card, don’t lie about it. This is very important, and I know you’re really scared about it, but no matter how scared you are, tell her the truth. If you lie, everything is going to be so much worse for you.

Cheryl, Mrs. Murray is going to call the principal, and they’re going to send you to Mrs. Wainwright’s office, and she’s going to ask you a lot of questions. Listen to me – when Mrs. Wainwright asks you if you’re afraid of your mommy and daddy, tell her the truth. Don’t lie to her. She isn’t being nosy, and she’s not trying to get you into more trouble. She wants to help you, but she can’t help you if you lie to her. She’s going to ask if Mommy and Daddy beat you. Don’t lie about it. Tell her about the beatings and the punishments. Tell her how you’re not allowed to leave your room except to go to school and church. Always tell the truth, Cheryl, no matter what.

I know your mommy and daddy told you that if you tell anyone about your punishments and the beatings, that you would destroy the family. Sweetheart, they told you that everything is your fault, but that is not true. Everything is not your fault, Honey. Do you understand? You are not a bad girl, and you are not the reason why they are so angry. Sweetie, I know you’re afraid that there is something really wrong inside of you, and that you are just as bad as Daddy John. Cheryl, Daddy John was not a wicked man. He had a lot of hurt inside of him just like you do, and just like your mommy and daddy do.

You don’t know who you are yet, but I promise that one day you will know, and you will not only like who you are, you will love yourself. You will come to see that you are beautiful. Did you know that you are created in the image of God? You are funny and sweet, and full of love. And you know how you read all those books, and how you make up stories where you strong and courageous? Cheryl, you really are strong and courageous.

You know how I said that Mommy and Daddy have a lot of hurt inside of them? Well, honey, that’s why they have so much anger all the time. You see, hurting people hurt other people, and Cheryl, your Mommy and Daddy are going to hurt you really bad. They‘re going to say that you brought this on yourself, but believe me when I say that this is a lie. It is NOT your fault – not even a little bit. They are going to tell you not to tell anybody about what happened because it will hurt your sister, and you will destroy the family, but that is not true.

They are the grownups, not you, and they are supposed to love you and your sister and protect you. It is their responsibility to do what is right and to protect their children from harm. It is not the responsibility of a young girl or a teenager to protect her family from danger. It is the parents’ responsibility.

Cheryl, next week, when Mrs. Murray says, “You erased this report card,” don’t lie about it. Tell her the truth, and when she and the principal send you to the nurse’s office and Mrs. Wainwright starts asking all of those questions, tell her the truth. Tell her everything, about all of the beatings, all of the punishments, all of the bad names they call you and tell her about how they curse you. Don’t lie about any of it, and don’t hold anything back.

Baby, if you do what I tell you, you won’t destroy your family. You just might save them and yourself. I have to go now, but I want you to remember these things always:

  • Somebody does love you – Jesus loves you very much.
  • You are not bad, or ugly, or stupid, or too lazy to breathe, or worthless.
  • You are lovable, beautiful, very smart, worthy, and you will amount to something — you will be a success.
  • You are very strong and courageous.
  • Everything is not your fault, and you did not bring any of this on yourself.
  • Always tell the truth, and start by telling the truth to Mrs. Wainwright, then tell Mr. and Mrs. White and Mrs. Kern. They care, and they want to help you. You can save yourself and your family by telling the truth.

I love you Cheryl, and I know that you’re going to grow up to be a good person. You are going to get married, and you are going to have children and grandchildren. Honey, all of those things you’ve dreamed about, being an author and being a lady preacher — you’re going to do it all and more! God bless you, and remember Sweetheart, tell the truth. “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32 NLT)

Love,
Cheryl

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

Swift Blogging Challenge: Hole in My Soul

Swift Blogging Challenge: Hole in My Soul

Cover of "Feel"
Cover of Feel

Robbie Williams has a famous song called “Feel”. One of the lines in the song is –
“There’s a hole in my soul, you can see it in my face …”
Think about that, and write whatever it makes you “feel”.

The truth is that everyone is born with a hole in their soul. There’s an empty space within every man, woman, boy and girl that longs to love and to be loved, and throughout our lives, many of us will try just about anything, we will do just about anything to fill that void. Now some are quite adept at hiding that vacuum within them, choosing to wear a mask to hide the pain and the emptiness within. Then there are others, who find it impossible to hide that abyss inside. They are the ones whose faces are marked by their barrenness.

I used to think that I was the only one. I think that many times, we tend to feel like we’re all alone in our pain, and that no one else could possibly understand how we feel, at least that’s what I thought. But you know what? That is one of the biggest lies from the very pit of hell. The devil (yes, I do believe in the devil) wants us to feel isolated and alone, because then he can be about his work… you know, stealing all joy and hope from us, killing us, and destroying us.

Can I tell you something? There is not one single person on this earth who has not suffered from this soul hole. It seems pretty bleak, doesn’t it?

http://www.joytimesfive.com/2011/04/his-grace-my-god-shaped-hole/
http://www.joytimesfive.com/2011/04/his-grace-my-god-shaped-hole/

Don’t worry. Things are not as bad as they may seem. Did you know that God created us with that cavity? That chasm is supposed to be there to make us hungry. You see, when we get hungry for something, we start looking for ways to satisfy that hunger.

Now there are some who will try to numb the hunger, with drugs and alcohol, but they can never seem to get enough to completely numb the pain of the empty place within themselves, hence the need for more and more and more… Others try to fill the empty space with other things, toys, trinkets, cars, people, lovers, different religions, etc. But while all of those things are nice, still, deep within them, this hole remains, hollow.

This hole within each person begins to gnaw away at them, and some become depressed, melancholy and even suicidal because nothing they try can take away the hole, which seems to grow larger and deeper as time goes by. While still others become angry and frustrated, and some become violent, cruel and sadistic. And their hole shows on their face. And while the masked ones continue to wear their masks, the pain of their gaping hole makes it harder and harder to keep the mask in place, and it slips from time to time.

And even though this hole causes more and more pain to each one, they refuse to get off the main highway, where everyone else is traveling, and try walking the narrow road that leads to life. The thought of giving up those other things that they have tried and failed to fill the hole up with seems far greater than actually attaining the only One who can truly fill that empty space.

http://lizbydesign.blogspot.com/2011/04/daddy-place.html
http://lizbydesign.blogspot.com/2011/04/daddy-place.html

Meanwhile, there are those who are so desperate to fill that void, that they are willing to walk the narrow road – oftentimes alone! And you can recognize these people when you look into their eyes. For you and I both know that the eyes are the window to the soul, and when you look into the eyes of these people who have forsaken all else to walk that narrow road in search of glory, you see life. You see joy within them. You can see the love in their eyes…

And though the others who still carry their holes may curse them, and hate them, though they may do all sorts of evil things to those whose holes have been filled, you still see the love of Christ flowing out of them, because even though their holes have been filled, they remember how it felt to walk around with that horrid void, and so they have compassion for those who still carry that pain…

Look at me. There used to be a hole in my soul, and you could see it in my face. But now, that hole has been filled. Can you see it in my face? Can you see the love and the compassion I have for those who still carry that hole?

I know how to find that narrow road that leads to the One who can fill your hole, and if you’d like, I can show you how to get there. Won’t you come with me and get your hole filled?

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

Trifecta Challenge: Heal

Trifecta Challenge: Heal
The Trifecta Word Challenge this week is:

HEAL

1a : to make sound or whole <heal a wound>
b : to restore to health
2a : to cause (an undesirable condition) to be overcome: mend <the troubles … had not been forgotten, but they had been healed — William Power>
b : to patch up (a breach or division) <heal a breach between friends>
3: to restore to original purity or integrity <healed of sin>
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Oh God, why did I do it?” she whispered, heart pounding loudly in her ears, as the officer pulled her arms behind her back, cuffing her. Suffocating shame enveloped her in its darkness, as she was fingerprinted, booked and led to a cell filled with three other women, who brazenly looked her over. Never, in a million years, had she ever dreamed this would happen.

http://www.laportecountysheriff.com/jail/jaildiv.html
http://www.laportecountysheriff.com/jail/jaildiv.html

She fought the tears that rose in her eyes, as she walked over to the only unoccupied cot, sitting on it and drawing her legs up to her chest, trying desperately to shrink away into nothingness. Fear also crept over her, wrapping its clammy fingers around her heart, threatening to squeeze the life out of it. She closed her eyes to avoid looking into the curious faces of the others who occupied the dank cell with her.

“Lord forgive me,” she silently prayed. “I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway, with no thoughts of anyone but myself.” The wounded look on her parents’ faces when she was arrested haunted her, though not as badly as the terror in the eyes of the girl she had pummeled in a fit of rage and jealousy.

“Guilty,” she thought to herself, shuddering from the weight of it. “Oh God,” she whispered as the tears slipped from beneath her closed eyelids, “I could have killed her. I wanted to kill her,” she wept, awash with fresh guilt and shame.

“I deserve to die,” she thought, “I want to die. Oh God, who knew I was so evil?”

“The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked,” she heard the gentle voice of the Lord, “who can know how bad it really is? I know,” He said, “because I have searched your heart.”

“Oh Lord, forgive me! I know what I did was wrong, and I deserve whatever punishment I receive, but Lord, heal me and I shall be healed. Save me and I shall be saved!” she cried desperately.

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

Swift Blogging Challenge: Look into Your Eyes

Swift Blogging Challenge: Look into Your Eyes

Look at yourself in the mirror. Make sure the mirror is big enough for you see your whole face, and do this in broad daylight. Look yourself straight in the eye and don’t flinch. Say out loud (don’t look away) “I am a good person. I am a good person. I am a good person.”

Write about the experience. Was it easy? Did you struggle? Could you do it? If not, why not? If you did, how did you react? Serious? Laughing? Sad? Did you tell yourself, this is silly? If so, why do you think you said that?

Write it all down, and share!

This exercise brought back memories to me… memories of another time when I stood in front of the same exact mirror, uttering words very similar to these. What a difference fifteen years can make… What a difference God‘s healing grace makes.

Mirror mirror...
Mirror mirror… (Photo credit: antkriz)

Fifteen years ago, when I stood in front of the same mirror, telling the person who stared back at me that I am a child of the Most High God, and that I am worthy of His love, I struggled to look at the woman staring back at me from the mirror. I was instructed to look beyond the woman that I was then, and look back to the little girl locked inside of me, and tell her that she is worthy of love, and that loved her… I was told to retrieve pictures of the little girl that I once was, and to talk to her and show her the mercy that I showed other little girls.

Unless one has struggled with self-hatred and low self-esteem, you can never fully grasp how difficult this assignment was. I remember looking into the eyes of the little girl that I once was, as though I was the third person, looking into the eyes of someone who was not me, and talking to her. I remember the hatred and contempt I felt as I looked at the pictures of this child with my counselor.

When my counselor mentioned the pain and the innocence that was stolen from this child, I remember snarling back, again, as though the little girl in the picture was someone other than myself, “She was never innocent!” You see, I blamed the little girl I once was for all of the sins that had been committed against me. I blamed myself for the beatings I received. I blamed myself for the rejection by my parents, my teachers and my classmates. I blamed myself for causing my dad to molest me, because I had never been innocent.

eye
eye (Photo credit: Ricky Justus)

I could not bring myself to believe that this little girl was ever good, ever innocent, ever worthy of love, and I could not bring myself to believe that I, as an adult was good and worthy of love. And then, I remember visiting my counselor one evening, as we again spread my school pictures before me, and my counselor covered all but my eyes in each picture. As I looked at the eyes, who could have been anyone’s eyes, I could see pain in each of the eyes, but that pain was mingled with hope… except for one picture.

As I looked deep into these eyes, I saw death. It was clear that this picture was taken after I was molested by my daddy. In the eyes of this picture, I saw that all hope had died. Gone were this little girl’s hopes and dreams that had prevailed throughout all those other years despite the beatings and despite the many rejections and ridicule. In all that this little girl (I) had suffered up to this point, I had always retained some hope for the future, but after the final betrayal from my daddy (I had always thought of my stepfather as my daddy), and my mother’s refusal to protect me (“Because,” I thought, “I wasn’t worthy of anyone’s love”), my hope had died, as evident in my eyes.

“Cheryl,” my counselor wisely said, “look at those eyes. They could be the eyes of your daughter,” and she was right! My daughter very closely resembles me. “What would you say to that little girl, if she was your daughter? Would you blame her?”

augenblick
augenblick (Photo credit: westpark)

Suddenly, it was as though a dam burst, and with that bursting of the dam, all of those years of bitterness and anger I had directed at myself washed away, as I saw that poor hurt little girl, who tried so hard to earn everyone’s love, but always fell so far short. My heart broke for the little girl I once was, a little girl who had once been innocent. I felt a rush of love for Little Me, who longed so desperately for love, and yet I wasn’t even able to love myself.

Now, fifteen years later, as I look into the mirror, I do see a good person. I see a woman who may not be beautiful in the world’s eyes, but in the eyes of God, and in the eyes of those who love her, she is truly beautiful, from the inside out. I see a woman who loves deeply, and who is deeply loved. I see a woman who has overcome many obstacles in life, by the grace of God and by His mercy and love. I see a woman who has been called by God to share the hope that I have found with others, so that they too will see how much God values each person, and so others will know that if God loved me enough to set me free from the pain of my past, He can surely do the same for them, if they will allow Him to do so.

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

Trifextra: Week Forty-Six

This weekend we’re asking you to write 33 words that will make us laugh or smile.  Even a chuckle will do.  We look forward to the communal spirit lifting.  Good luck!
Trifextra: Week Forty-Six

http://blogdorf.wordpress.com/2009/12/21/the-little-blogdorf-santas-too-fat-to-be-a-role-model/
http://blogdorf.wordpress.com/2009/12/21/the-little-blogdorf-santas-too-fat-to-be-a-role-model/

Dear Mr. St. Nicholas,
You’re such a wicked Claus
You are so mischievous
Left me coal because
I said, “You look ridiculous
You should try a spa
‘Cause Your belly is so limitless”

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

Swift Blogging Challenge: 3, 2, 1

Swift Blogging Challenge: 3, 2, 1

This is a 3 minute writing challenge. The 6 minute writing challenge is actually quite a well known technique to help people develop their writing skills. Six minutes of writing would, however, be too long to leave as feedback, I think. Well I suppose it depends on how quickly you type; but let’s make it 3 minutes instead.

So, I would invite my readers to choose one of the following three topics:

  1. Something that you are afraid of.
  2. A hobby or activity that you enjoy (keep it clean, please!)
  3. An idea, theory or opinion that you strongly agree with.
photo credit: zenonline via photopin cc</a
photo credit: zenonline via photopin cc</a

I don’t know if this counts as a hobby or not, but one of the things I love doing is ministering to people. I especially love ministering to female inmates at the county jail near where I live. I usually go there once or twice a month, depending on the schedule, and have a church service. There are times when the women can be quite rebellious, while other times, they are very open to the message. Sometimes, they are sad and depressed, while other times they are belligerent and angry. Still other times, you the Spirit of the Lord quickens within me as I’m ministering to them, and they begin to openly weep as the Holy Spirit speaks to their individual needs. My desire is that these women would be set free and delivered from the chains that bind them. I minister because they are not only bound within the walls of the prison, but within the walls of their own minds as well, and my heart’s desire is to share with them the hope that I have found in Jesus Christ.

Swift Blogging Challenge: Visual Tribute

Swift Blogging Challenge: Visual Tribute

The purpose of this challenge is to pay tribute to someone. It may be anyone you choose. The most challenging person of all is usually yourself.

Ok, I need to be up front here. I cannot take pictures – they look blurry, or there are fingers and thumbs showing where they shouldn’t be… I truly tried to take a photograph, but no luck. 🙂 So, the visual tribute I am doing is in honor of my children, and no, I did not photograph this, so this will probably disqualify me. I don’t even have a camera other than the one on my cell phone. (I’m not worthy of one – lol) Anyway, this is in honor of my 2 children and 7 (soon to be 9) grandchildren…

http://viphealthyleadership.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/quiver_lrg-11.jpg
http://viphealthyleadership.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/quiver_lrg-11.jpg

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate. (Psalm 127:3-5 NKJV)

Swift Blogging Challenge: Guilty

Swift Blogging Challenge: Guilty

Does the feeling of guilt serve a purpose? If so, what is it?

Who's Guilty?
Who’s Guilty? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dictionary.com defines guilt as a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether  real or imagined. Does the feeling of guilt serve a purpose? Of course it does. Actually, the feeling of guilt can serve two purposes. One is productive and good, while the other is unproductive and damaging.

God gives each of us a conscience, which is a part of our heart and soul.  “Even when Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, instinctively follow what the law says, they show that in their hearts they know right from wrong. They demonstrate that God’s law is written within them, for their own consciences either accuse them or tell them they are doing what is right.” (Romans 2:14-15 NLT) 

It’s our conscience that cries out, giving us that “guilty feeling”, and preventing us from doing wrong. This is a good thing, because if we didn’t have a conscience, which creates that feeling of guilt, there would be nothing to stop us from lying, cheating, stealing or killing.

It also serves a good purpose after we have committed a sin or crime, because that feeling of guilt is hard to live with. Guilt won’t allow  us to rest after we’ve committed a sin or a crime, until we confess and try to right the wrong we’ve done. And that same “guilty feeling” exists to hopefully prevent us from repeating that sin.

Now, some of you may be thinking, “Not everybody feels guilt. What about a sociopath?” And you’re right, but scripture explains this as well. You see, the truth about God is written on everyone’s heart, and they instinctively know the truth, but many deny this. They choose to exchange the truth of God for a lie, and God doesn’t force anyone to serve Him, so He has given those who have hardened their hearts over to whatever shameful deeds they come up with in their minds and their hearts. These people feel no guilt for their actions, because they have become hardened to that feeling.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/new-chapter/201001/putting-guilt-perspective
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/new-chapter/201001/putting-guilt-perspective

The other purpose for guilt comes not from God, but from the devil himself. You see, while God uses that “guilty feeling” to prevent us from doing wrong, the devil perverts that feeling and turns it into condemnation. I’m sure we’ve all experienced that at one time or another in our lives. As I said before, that “guilty feeling” is good when it prevents  us from doing wrong, but what about when that guilt turns into condemnation? What about when you’ve repented of your sin and asked God for forgiveness, but you just can’t forgive yourself?

This is not of God, and it serves no good purpose. Rather, the purpose of this kind of guilt is to destroy you. One of my favorite scriptures is, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1 NKJV) After I’ve confessed my sins to God, and turned away from them, and if I’ve gone to the person that I’ve harmed and asked for his/her forgiveness, I should feel no more “guilt.” If I do feel that “guilty feeling” still, I can be sure that it’s not guilt I’m feeling, but condemnation, or false guilt, and that isn’t from God.

Therefore, in conclusion, yes, the feeling of guilt does serve a purpose, and that purpose is to prevent us from sinning against God, thereby harming others and ourselves. The feeling of false guilt also serves a purpose, designed by the devil, to condemn us and weigh us down.