Kayla’s Story, An Allegory: Chapter 9 That Dirt Pile Again

Kayla opened the rest of her letters – the ones that had come from her current friends. Just like she expected, there were several invitations to special events in their lives. A baby shower at the country club, complete with a sit down meal and live music. A birthday celebration at the ‘world famous’ night club on the west side of town, the one that saw frequent police action. A bachelorette party featuring a popular male stripper.  All sounded exciting and she instantly regretted not having opened these invitations since some had already taken place. No wonder a few of her friends had gotten weird towards her lately. They must have thought she had deliberately ignored them.

But then her eyes fell on her father’s letters and the letters from her old friends. Suddenly Kayla saw the invitations for what they were – cold, crass, and self-indulgent enticements to engage in passions of her flesh. The invitations had nothing to do with actually loving or caring about her or anyone else. Kayla couldn’t remember ever having deep talks with any of those friends. Sure, their behavior showed that they might have missed her. But had they really missed her? Did they even know – or care – who Kayla really was? No, more likely they had missed the affirmation her presence would have given to their behavior. And her gifts.

Kayla shoved the invitations into her backpack, no longer even slightly interested in them. She preferred the satisfying discussions around simple meals that she used to have with her old friends, the ones who really knew her and loved her anyway. She added calling them to her mental checklist of calls to make when she got home. Placing the rest of the letters into her backpack, Kayla flexed her right foot. Her ankle gave a warning twitch, but most of the pain was gone. Surprised, she got up carefully, balancing on her left foot, and slowly added weight to her right. She was even more surprised as her foot remained firm with just the slightest complaint from her ankle. Taking a few steps confirmed that somehow her injury had mostly healed. Not understanding how, but grateful that it had, Kayla turned to face the pile of dirt. It was time to go home.

Thinking about the advice her father had given her on the phone a few minutes earlier, she looked for a way that wouldn’t require climbing the mound. He had said there were always ways around obstacles, and she would find them if she looked for them. Well, this was definitely an obstacle, and if she was to believe her father, there would be a way to get around it. She had taken what seemed the easy way the first time, but climbing that dirty mound had turned out to be neither easy nor safe. Where was the other way? Kayla walked along the edge of the pile toward the street but found nothing new. Disappointed, she began to doubt her father’s assurance. How could there be another way when it was obvious the pile completely blocked her access to the other side? His advice had always been good before, but what if he was wrong this time? What if he didn’t really mean what he said? What if she had misunderstood him?

Kayla looked back up to the top. She could feel the temptation to just go ahead and climb the thing and get it over with. Her newly healed ankle shouldn’t be a problem so why not? It would only take a few minutes and she could get on with her walk. The longer she stared at it, the greater the desire to start climbing became. The thrill of getting to the top – of conquering this mountain of dirt – was enticing. She was about to give in when the sound of her father’s voice rose in her heart. “There is a way. This is not it. Keep looking.”  Startled, she shook her head against her misplaced desire. No! She wouldn’t give in to temptation. Her father wouldn’t say what he didn’t mean; therefore there was another way even if she couldn’t see it at the moment.

Kayla walked slowly around the edge of the mound again, this time heading towards the fence, through which she could see the other side of the dirt sloping down until it almost reached the garage. She considered walking to where the dirt was shallow enough to cross safely, but reconsidered. She would have to go all the way to the garage. Surely this other way wouldn’t involve breaking the law by trespassing. So where in the world was the way her father had promised she would find?

As she neared the fence, she began to notice that the top of the pile seemed to dip in the center, almost as if there were actually two piles. She could picture a truck making multiple dumps along this driveway so she wasn’t very surprised. But what did surprise her was the change in the dip as she approached it. The closer she got, the deeper it went, clearly separating the two piles.  Her heart began to beat faster as a new thought tickled her mind – what if the two piles weren’t actually connected? What if they only appeared to be because of her perspective based on where she had been standing? What if there was actually enough room between them for her to pass through? She quickly took the last few steps around the first pile and shouted with joy. There was a path in between them! It was narrow, but totally doable. Her father was right. There was a way!

It took only a few minutes to walk between those piles of dirt and she was on the other side. The sun was bright in the sky, filling her with warmth and light, as she danced her way down the sidewalk. Her house was only a few blocks away now and she couldn’t wait to get there. She was excited to reconnect with her old friends, to heal her relationship with Lisa, and to share what she had learned with her father.

Kayla laughed as she looked up at the sun streaming down on her. No matter what happened in the future, she had the companionship of a few close friends, and even more important, the love and support of her father. Life couldn’t get any better than that.


For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. (2 Peter 2:18)

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.  (1 Peter 2:11-12)

Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. (Rom 13:13)

So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter. (2 Thes 2:15)

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it. (1 Cor 10:13)

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. (Ps 16:9)

Bear Attack (short story based on a dream I had)

“There’s a bear coming!”

I barely looked up from my sketch pad to the man that was careening towards us.

“Yeah, right,” I muttered. “Like there’re any bears around here.”

“A bear?” came high squeaky voice.

“Shh.” I shook my head at the small girl next to me. “It’s okay. Which color should we paint the flowers?”

The man was almost on us. “Run! Hide!”

“Aw, quit trying to scare us. We know there are no bears anywhere around here.”

“It’s a bear, I tell you!”

“I doubt it. Maybe you saw a bush. It is a bit windy today.” I studied my drawing.

“Believe what you want. I know what I saw.” He reached out and grabbed me.

“Ow, let go! You’re going to pull my arm right off!”

“Better your arm than your head if you’re still here when the bear gets here. And think of your little girl!”

The man’s eyes were wide open with eyebrows almost reaching his hairline, and his face was as white as the pages in my sketch pad.  Um… even if he didn’t see a bear, he definitely saw something. But grabbing me?

“Let go!”

“Suit yourself! Hide or don’t hide. Your choice,” he called over his shoulder as he ran towards the trees on the opposite side of the clearing from where he entered.

I looked around the campsite. A few tents scattered here and there, hiking gear set out on picnic tables, and a gazebo. If I wanted to hide from a bear, where would I go? I couldn’t just run into the woods after that man. My daughter wouldn’t be able to keep up, and I couldn’t carry her very far. The trees wouldn’t be any better. Even if I could get my daughter up one, bears can climb, too. The tents offered no protection should the bear follow its nose instead of its eyes. The only thing left was the gazebo – a wooden structure with three steps leading up…wait!

“Come on! I know where we can hide!”

I grabbed my daughter and ran to the gazebo. Yes, just what I hoped for!

“Quick, in there.” I pushed my daughter into the opening of the crawl space under the gazebo. Trying to hurry her, I backed in so I could watch for whatever the man had seen. And then I saw it.

Not only was it a bear, it was a very large grizzly bear. It was carrying a rifle and coming straight towards me. Dang, that bear moved fast! I grabbed a long branch that was lying nearby and held it out as if it were a spear. It wasn’t much, but it was better than nothing.

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As I waited, I had time for two thoughts. Would the gazebo have really offered safety? Couldn’t the bear just reach right through the holes in the boards? And where did it get the rifle? Maybe from a ranger?

Just as the bear reached me, it slowly toppled until it lay still on the ground. Dead.

What? How?

Then the pieces came together – that bear must have taken the rifle from the ranger it attacked, but not before the ranger got a few rounds into the bear. The bear was so big; it took a while for the rest of the body to know it was dead.

Isn’t that just like our problems? We see disaster coming. Fear rises up in us and we run or hide without realizing that our Father has already shot the beast. Even if that beast continues towards us, it will topple over before it reaches us. We are safe.

Wait, I Think I’m Praying This All Wrong

She was tired.

Tired of looking at her messed up house.

Tired of contacting contractors.

Tired of waiting on contractors.

Tired of talking to contractors.

Tired of researching contractors.

Tired of talking about contractors.

Tired of thinking about contractors.

Tired. Tired. Tired.

“God,” she prayed over and over. “Who do I pick? There are so many scams and bad contractors around here since the hurricane, how do I know which one to pick? Please, give me wisdom.”

But no answer came.

Then, one day a thought hit her as she took her morning walk.0118190433 (3)

“Wait,” she said to herself. “I think I’m praying this all wrong!”

“God,” she prayed. “Fix my house, please.”

“Finally,” He answered her.

And immediately an enormous weight was lifted from her shoulders and her steps became lighter. It felt to her as if sunshine was breaking through the gray sky and everything began to look better. It felt so good!

“What an amazing concept!” she thought. “Letting my heavenly Father take care of my needs instead of me trying to work it all out myself!”

That’s My Dad!

As she read the Old Testament, and the various ways God dealt with the prophets and the Israelites, an idea slowly took form in her mind. That was not just God who did those things, it was her Dad!

The whole previous year, God had revealed His Fatherhood to her. And now she connected the God of the Israelites with the God who is her Father. But not just her Father – a parental figure who loved her and took care of her – but her Dad – who knew her intimately and who liked to hang out with her.

Wow!  She was blown away!

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It was her Dad who hid in the burning bush and parted the sea and rained down manna.

It was her Dad who appeared as fire and smoke and scared the Israelites.

It was her Dad who knocked over the walls of Jericho.

It was her Dad who sent the big fish after Jonah.

It was her Dad who had incredible conversations with the prophets.

And it was her Dad who did so many other amazing things!

Excited, she couldn’t wait to reread the Old Testament in this new light. It was like His dealing with people of long ago suddenly became more personal.

Looking up, grateful to the Holy Spirit for helping her understand a little bit more about God, she whispered, “There is none like You, my amazing Dad!”

He whispered back, “And there is none like you, my amazing daughter!”

Voices

Cast of Characters:

Voice One: a young girl, relatively new in the faith

Voice Two: the girl’s inner voice, whether her own or the Holy Spirit

Voice Three: the enemy (we all know who that is), sneaky quiet voice

Background: the young girl has been on a quest to learn about prayer in order to deepen her own prayer life

 

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Voice One: Prayer often seems so empty and unanswered. What am I doing wrong? God, why are You so quiet?

Voice Three:  Where is your Jesus now?

Voice Two: He’s giving you a chance to grow in your faith. But He’s smiling down on you. He knows how this will end, and He is so proud of you.

Voice Three: You should have this by now. You’re not good enough to pray.

Voice One: I’m so sorry, Father. I wish I was better at this. Would You teach me? I’ve tried all week to have a quiet time, but I just don’t know how to.

Voice Three: See? Nothing. He won’t answer you.

Voice Two: That’s just the enemy. Don’t listen to him.

Voice One: Really? Satan is involved in this? Why? I’m nobody.

Voice Three: You’re so right.

Voice Two: You are the daughter of the King. That makes you a target.

Voice Three: Nah. you’re no threat. Not worth Satan’s time. You can’t even pray.

Voice One: So if Satan can’t steal my soul because I belong to the Father, why is he after me?

Voice Three: I’m not.

Voice Two: He wants to keep you so busy worrying about your spiritual growth that you can’t enjoy life. He can’t steal your soul, so he’s trying to steal your joy.

Voice One: Hmmm… that makes sense.

Voice Three: NO! It doesn’t! Who cares whether you are happy or not? That’s just selfish.

Voice Two: If you have no joy, it’s hard to spread God’s love to others.

Voice One: So I should just enjoy who I am.

Voice Two: Right.

Voice Three: That’s just hiding your head in sand. You think if you ignore your problems, they will go away.

Voice One: So if I just focus on who I am, how do I grow?

Voice Two: Your Father is in charge of that.

Voice Three: That’s what they want you to think. It’s the easy way out. Growth takes work and discipline and plans.

Voice One: But don’t I need to work at it, make plans and discipline myself to follow through on them?

Voice Two: That’s just the enemy again. Don’t listen.

Voice One: Then how do I grow?

Voice Three: You won’t.

Voice Two:  Does a baby concern himself with how make himself grow? Or does he relax and allow his parents to be in charge? To lead him to what he needs – school, exercise, food – at the right times?

Voice One: I think I understand. I just have to enjoy being with My Father, and He will lead me at the right time into doing what I need to do to grow.

Voice Three: Mayday! Mayday! I think I’m losing her! All demons respond!

Voice Two: Uh, no. Cancel that request. You will leave her alone for now. Go!

Voice One: Thank You, Father, that You’re in charge and I don’t have to be. I can just relax and enjoy the life You’ve given me. You are amazing, God. There is none like You!

Welcome Home Party

“Will you go?” her boyfriend asked her. “You really should. You’ll love it and it’ll be good for you.”

“I don’t know,” she responded hesitantly. “There’s going to be a lot of people there.”

“So? It’ll be fine. You’ll see.”

She didn’t know why she found it so hard to be around groups of people. Even going to the same prayer group week after week still caused her to get sweaty-hands-and-stomach-cramps nervous.

“But I don’t know anyone there.”

“You’ll make some new friends. Everyone is really nice.”

“I won’t know what to do.”

“They’ll tell you. The leaders are great. They will take care of you.”

“What if I can’t sleep in that room filled with women?”

“I’ll be praying for you.”

Finally she agreed, and within a week she was signed up and on her way.

The first night was filled with introductions, expectations, and a short teaching. Not too bad, she thought. Even sleeping on her little cot went better than she expected.

The next day was so full of activities and teachings that she barely had time to think about being nervous. Everyone was so friendly and helpful, looking out for her and making sure she was OK. By that night she had begun relaxing and went to sleep full of the presence of God.

The next day brought a time of worship, a last message, and some group discussions. Then it was time for lunch.

While she ate, she marveled at the acceptance she felt from these ladies. No one was judging or criticizing her. No one was expecting her to be any different than what she was. It was even OK for her to be quiet and silent most of the weekend. She was so completely accepted just as she was. She knew after lunch would be the closing session and then it would be time to leave. She didn’t want to leave. She didn’t want to lose the warmth she had experienced all weekend.

A sound brought her out of her thoughts. Music? Where was it coming from? She noticed all the other women had also noticed and were looking around for the source. The music got louder and louder, and now voices could be heard accompanying the melody. Suddenly the door opened and in came a line of men holding lit candles while singing along with the music. And in amongst the men was her boyfriend! They made a ring around the women and sang to them.  Most women were crying by then, and she was no exception. Only her tears were on the inside. The men were singing to them! The men were singing to her! She was loved and cherished and valued! She was overwhelmed!

On her way home, she struggled to put her feelings into words, to form a picture of what the weekend had been for her. And then she knew! It was her welcome home party!

That’s exactly what it was, she thought. I left God when I was young, just like the prodigal son in the Bible. Only I wasn’t smart enough to go back home like the son was. The Father had to come find me. We spent the last year walking together  along the road back towards His home as He taught me about His love. And now, I’m surrounded by my brothers and sisters – all who love and accept me because He does! This weekend, like the party the father in the Bible threw for his son, was the party my amazing Father threw for me!

And she was grateful that her boyfriend had been right.

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