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Posted by on Dec 11, 2017 in Devotions, Everyday Life, Reflections | 0 comments

skunk the fear.

I read somewhere that everything you’ve ever wanted in life is on the other side of fear.

So that got me thinking. Why does fear play such a vital role in our loves?

Take my two dachshunds for instance. One evening, I let them both out to go potty before bed time, and not even five minutes later, Lucy came scurrying in. She looked like she had seen a ghost. She kept scrambling up to me, and then back out the door, poking her head around the corner to see if I was following her. Lucy kept the charade up until I followed her outside.

And goodness. What a scene to behold outside. Annie was standing about a foot away from the fence, tail raised, ears back, barking with everything she had. And on the other side of that fence, about the same distance away, was her new friend. A skunk.

All at once, visions of Peppy Le Pew eu de par-fum danced in my sense of smell. And yet there was little I could do in the situation because if I stepped closer, I would more than likely wear the skunk’s revenge as well.

Annie didn’t let up. Peppy Le Pew didn’t let up either. As sixty seconds of Battle fell to the ground, the skunk sprayed the tar out of Annie, and sauntered away. Annie, on the other hand, shook off what she could and came flying in my direction, confused and disoriented with what had just taken place.

I bathed in her tomato juice with baking soda, and it tinted her pink. It was nearly 11:00 on a school night, so we stayed pink until the next afternoon when I bathed her in her oatmeal puppy shampoo that washed out the pink.

The funny thing is, if Annie could have a hashtag after that incident, I swear it would read, #noregrets.

Let’s look at how both of my dachshunds approached the same situation. One could argue that Lucy was smart enough to actually have fear. She knew trouble when she saw it and tried to stop the inevitable. I’m sure she tried to get Annie away but Annie wouldn’t have it. Lucy also knew that her mama needed to intervene.

So then there’s Annie. Sweet, brainless, little Annie, who stood her ground against the enemy, and protected her territory at the expense of her smellalicious state of affairs. She certainly took home the trophy for last man standing, but she also didn’t have the fortitude her sister had in recognizing danger. Even if she had, she figured she could bark it away.

When Jesus was crucified, His disciples stowed away in a house. They refused to come out. In a word or a few, they were terrified that something like that could happen to them. In the coming days, Fear controlled them so deeply that even when Jesus revealed Himself to His disciples three separate occasions, His disciples were clueless. They were Lucy. Skeptical. Fearful. Alertful. Afraid to do what needed to be done in fear of real life consequences to themselves.

I’ve always imagined the scene of the Holy Spirit beckoning to these men, as a warm summer breeze would beckon us out to our porches and our backyards. I imagine a voice so tender, so comforting, so undeniable, that their fear collided with resolution and in that collision, faith was born.

On the other side of fear, Peter became the rock of the church. On the other side of fear, Paul wrote such passionate letters to the church that their relevance has outlasted time. And on the other side of fear, these men kept Jesus alive and sought a will greater than their own.

It’s powerful stuff, no question.

And I think that fear is an okay mechanism to keep at bay, no question. But are we truly obeying and reciprocating and proclaiming if we don’t jump over that line in the sand and take the risk? Are we truly living if we shut ourselves away from all of the skunks and persecutors and modern day Pharisees of the world? Are we?

Seems to me faith can’t exist without fear because faith conquers fear.

Seems to me that fear can’t exist without faith because faith is on the other side of that line.

I pray wholeheartedly that you are able to get past the Lucy in you and tap in to just a smudge of Little Annie’s boldness. Whatever it is, however much the moment weighs, I can tell you this: it is nothing compared to the sheer joy of letting it go.

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Posted by on Dec 7, 2017 in Devotions, Everyday Life, Reflections | 0 comments

the blessing of dust.

I have a confession.

Another one.

I do love Jesus. I do.

But I also let a few words slip through customs that had no business boarding the plane.

I’m the first to admit it and the last to deny.

But one day in particular just seemed to pile up baggage faster than I could put it away. I was so frustrated. I finally arrived into my house and stubbed my toe hard on an end table.


Not the word used, but a variation on the dark side.

And wouldn’t you know the minute the word left my lips, a picture frame I had on my built in book case came crashing down.

The weird thing was, I had it steadied by something else to its side so for it to fall was strange.

The remnant sat in my brain all afternoon until memories of my great grandmother just seemed to flood through me and I couldn’t brush them away.

And then it hit me.

My great grandmother.

My great grandmother was getting after me for using dark side words.

I laughed out loud and apologized to her, and I could almost feel someone’s sharp but forgiving smile.

I called my grandmother and told her what happened. She laughed and reminded me that she never cussed a single day in her life and never approved of it. That showed me.

I think back to the days of Jesus and miracles and prophets. And I wonder about the Loud Speaker version of God that was in your face and burned non burning bushes and sent Jesus on a rampage in a temple. There was no lack of subtlety in those days. Nobody can argue that.

But in the way that God has transitioned Himself into a refined gentleman that He always was but always will be as well, I do believe He speaks, and listens with such subtlety and detail so that not a word falls short of His ears.

Think of it this way: Jesus’s disciples followed Him so close it is said that they walked in His dust. That visual is what validates my grandparents’ continual presence in my life for me. That visual gives illustration to the careful consideration my grandparents take to choose the moments when they know my heart is so hurt it bows in and of itself, or those moments in such happiness that it bursts in confetti.

As long as I live, I’ll follow as close as I need so as not to miss a moment of love from my grandparents. Or from past loved ones. Or from God. I want to be covered in their dust.

I want to recognize these moments as much as I can. When Jesus appeared to the disciples three times, they failed to recognize Him. At all. The author brought up the thought of Jesus appearing in three different people to the disciples, so the disciples missed the part where Jesus is all people.

We should never miss a moment. Never miss a step. Never stop to wash the dust off but move carefully, considerately, and kindly so that we might recognize when Jesus is tending to our hearts and to us. And though we fail daily, there is always tomorrow to get up and try again.

It is worth the risk.


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