Amusement Park: Haunted House, Fifth Room – Mirrors

Amusement Park: Haunted House, Fifth Room – Mirrors

They entered the light of the next room, much brighter than the light of the previous rooms, and immediately Amalia saw why. Mirrors.  Mirrors of all sizes, shapes, colors, and styles were reflecting and re-reflecting light beams across the room until the room seemed to glow.

At first Amalia enjoyed the mirrors. They were all intriguing as they each reflected the other mirrors around them. As she looked into each one, it seemed as there was a depth in them well beyond what she was familiar with in the mirrors at her home. It almost seemed that each mirror held its own little world.

As she passed the first mirror, she looked at her reflection and gasped. She knew she had been eating more than usual lately, but had she really put on that much weight? Well, as soon as she got home, she was going to do something about that. Maybe walking a few extra miles each day would help.

She looked away, not liking what she saw, only to find herself looking into another mirror. What? Confused, she gazed at the skinny girl in the mirror. She wasn’t overweight? That was good, but being so underweight wasn’t much better. She looked all boney and awkward. Maybe she should eat more. But what if the first mirror was right, and this mirror was wrong, somehow?

Confused, she shifted her gaze to the next mirror. In this one, she was neither too skinny nor too fat. But she was green. Green? How was that even possible?

Before she could think of a reason, she caught a glimpse of herself in yet another mirror. Wait! She was beautiful! Golden tan body, long silky black hair, perfectly proportioned body parts. She smiled, enjoying this view. Yet at the same time, she knew there was something wrong with it. Her hair was brown, not black. And it was curly, not straight. Sighing, she let that image slide by.

The next mirror showed her that her head was too big for her body. She looked grotesque. She shrunk away from this image, willing it to disappear. But that only made it worse.

Confusion filled her as she continued to look at her image in one mirror after another. So many images – each totally different from the others – filled her eyes and mind until she forgot what she really looked like. Was she really as wild looking as the brown mirror showed, or as sickly as she looked in this blue mirror? Was she as self-confident as the red mirror made her look, or as scared as she appeared in the silver mirror?

 

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Confusion turned to anxiety as Amalia lost all sense of who she was as well as where she was. There was nothing in her life but mirrors that she no longer wanted to look into, full of images she didn’t want to deal with. So she closed her eyes and withdrew within herself.

At first she didn’t notice the gentle squeeze on her hand. Then it came again, a little stronger, bringing with it a memory. She wasn’t alone. Jesus was with her.

Keeping her eyes closed, she asked, “Jesus, how can You still be here with me? I’m so messed up.”

“Of course I’m still here. I promised you I would be, and I always keep My promises.”

“I don’t even know who I am anymore.”

“I’ve told you who you are.”

“But that’s not what I see when I look in these mirrors.”

“Ah, I see your confusion. These mirrors show you how different people in your life see you, which affects how you see yourself.”

“They are all so different. Which one is right?”

“None of them. They are all imperfect.”

“None? Some do look kind of odd, but most look like perfectly decent mirrors. How can they not reflect the truth?”

“Because no matter how straight they look, the way each mirror’s glass was created caused different amount of bends, just like how life experiences and belief systems cause bends in how people see the things around them. Some people have straighter glass than others, but even the straightest of those have some bend to them. It’s the bend, which most people are not aware of, that distorts what is reflected back to you. When you look at yourself through their glass, your view is distorted by the amount of bend they have. There is only one mirror that has no bend.”

Amalia, eyes still closed, thought of the various images she had seen, wondering which one had been in the one straight mirror. She wanted it to be one of the beautiful ones, but there were so many more ugly ones that she felt it had to be one of those. She was afraid to ask Jesus to reveal the correct one just in case it was one of the uglier ones.

But Jesus knew what she was thinking. “I have something for you, Amalia. But you’ll have to open your eyes to use it.”

“What is it?”

“It’s My mirror. It will show you what I see when I look at you. It will show you the truth about yourself because it’s the only mirror with no bends.”

“I don’t know if I want it.” Fear of finding out that she really was ugly was stronger than her curiosity.

“It’s up to you. I can’t force you to take it, nor to look in it. When you are ready, it will be here for you.”

Amalia felt the car slow down and then stop.

“Jesus, why did we stop? I want to get out of this room.”

“Your eyes are still closed. You won’t be able to see what’s in the next room until you open them.”

“But I don’t want to look into any more mirrors.”

“There’s only one mirror you need to look into.”

After a few minutes musing over the possibility of staying in this room forever, the desire to move on with Jesus overcame her fear, and she opened her eyes. Jesus was holding a small mirror in front of her, just big enough to reflect her image without confusing it with images of the other mirrors.

What she saw took her breath away! Her image revealed a strong warrior glowing with good health and vitality. Confidence radiated from her smile, and her eyes sparkled with joy. There wasn’t a blemish on her.

Amalia, unable to take her eyes off her image, heard Jesus whisper, “Now you see what I see when I look at you.”

Amusement Park: Haunted House, Fourth Room – Floorless

Amusement Park: Haunted House, Fourth Room – Floorless

Amalia regretted seeing the next door approaching quickly. She had liked this room, with all its fun toys and marvelous possibilities. Yet she was curious about what the next room contained. Maybe more people. Or maybe another quiet time in the dark with Jesus. But when the door opened, she gasped. No way was she prepared for this!

“Stop! Stop!” she screamed.

“What’s wrong?” Jesus asked.

“We… the car…there’s no floor! We have to stop this car!”

“It will be okay. You’re with Me. You’re safe.”

“Noooooo! Stop the car!”

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Jesus reached for the emergency brake and stopped the car just as it passed the door frame. He turned to Amalia, and gently said, “Look at Me.”

But Amalia couldn’t take her eyes from what lay before them. Or rather what didn’t lay before them. The track was gone. The floor itself was gone. She could see the door on the other side of the room. But between her and the door, there was… nothing. Peeking over the side of the car, she looked down. Way down. The hole filled the entire room and grew increasingly dark the further down she looked until all she could see was blackness at the bottom. If there was a bottom.

“Amalia, look at Me.”

“Jesus, there’s no bottom! We can’t go this way. We have to go back!” Amalia couldn’t tear her eyes from the horror that seemed to be waiting for her.

“There is no going back. But you are safe. You are with Me.”

“Easy for You to say. You’re God. You can easily jump across this hole. Or fly across. You could even walk on thin air if You wanted to. But I’m just a human girl, and not even a very strong girl. There’s no way I could jump across to the other side. If I move even a few inches, I’m going to fall and die.” Amalia shuddered. “We have to go back. We can get out of this car and walk back if we have to.”

“You’re not going to fall. You’re in this car with Me. It will be okay. Let’s keep going.”

“This car is even heavier than I am. If we go forward, we’re going down. At least I will. I’m not a spirit like You. I can’t just disappear and reappear on the other side.” Amalia’s voice shook as she continued to stare down into the abyss.

“Amalia, didn’t you agree before we started this ride to stay with Me through the whole thing?”

“Yes, but…”

“And didn’t you say you trusted Me to know what’s best for you?”

“Yes, but…”  Amalia’s wide eyes darted around frantically. “But… there’s NO FLOOR!”

“AMALIA! LOOK AT ME!”

His strong commanding voice broke through her fear, and she turned to look at Him. He almost never used that voice with her, and, although she should have felt chastised, she didn’t. She actually felt reassured. He was in charge, not her.

“Good,” Jesus smiled warmly at her, while maintaining eye contact. “Will you trust Me?”

Amalia thought of all the times He had been there for her in the past. How faithful He had been regardless of her weaknesses and failures. And how nothing was impossible for Him. If He wanted her to cross this nothingness, then somehow He would make it happen. And if not… if He wanted her to die in this place.. then she would die. She had given herself to Him years ago so she didn’t belong to herself anymore anyway. He could do whatever He wanted with her. Nodding with her decision, she answered Him with a soft, resigned voice.

“Yes, Jesus. I will trust You. If you want me safely on the other side, then I will trust You to get me there. And if You want me to fall forever into this deep dark hole, then down I will go. Your will be done, not mine.”

Amalia closed her eyes as she felt the car lurch forward, her hand tightly clutching His hand, and prepared to fall.

A moment later a brightness penetrated Amalia’s closed eyes. Confused, she called out, “Jesus?”

“I’m here.”

“What’s happening? Am I dead?”

He laughed. “Well, actually, you are. But not like you’re thinking. Open your eyes.”

She did, and saw they were at the next door. Twisting around, she looked behind her at the floorless room they had just crossed. What? How? She turned back to Jesus. “How did we do that?”

“I told you to trust Me. So many times what you see and fear is so much worse than the reality. Where you saw empty space, I saw a firm path. Where you saw an inevitable drop into oblivion, I saw a marvelous opportunity to manifest My power.” He gave her hand a squeeze. “Thank you for trusting Me. Let’s keep going.”

Amusement Park: Haunted House Ride, First Room – People

Amusement Park: Haunted House Ride, First Room – People

The ride started off slow and easy. Not too bad so far. But Amalia knew enough about haunted houses to know it wouldn’t stay this way for long.

“Amalia, hold my hand. It will help you know I am with you every inch of the way. When you get nervous, or feel lost, or when we enter the places of darkness, squeeze My hand and I’ll squeeze back reassuring you that I’m still with you. And remember that nothing bad can happen to you when I’m in the car with you.”

They went around a bend, and entered a large, bright, noisy room. People were everywhere! They were on both sides of the track which went straight through the room to another doorway. Some of the people were engaged in a variety of sports including ball games, skating, bike riding, throwing Frisbees, and jogging. Others were busy with quieter activities such as reading, eating, and conversing with each other. A few were napping, and there was at least one group that appeared to be on some kind of tour led by a guide who was pointing in different directions. She watched as a woman lead a line of kids on one side of the track, while two kids appeared to be playing tag on the other.  Most of the people seemed not to notice Amalia and Jesus pass by.

 

However, a few people did notice.

“Hey, there! How’s the ride going?”

“Have fun!”

One group waved, and then got back to their game.

Some people tossing around a beach ball stopped to call out an invitation. “We are having so much fun! Come join us!”

Amalia was tempted to join them. They all appeared to be having such a great time. But when she looked at Jesus with questioning eyes, He just shook His head and the car kept moving.

Before long, the nicer comments were replaced by not-so-nice comments:

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“Where are you going? You should be here with us!”

“Who are you to think it’s okay to keep moving?”

 

As the car continued to move, the comments turned into curses and threats. Some of the angry people threw things at the car, and a few even went so far as to jump at the car. Amalia shrunk back into her seat, but no matter how close they got – so close Amalia could almost feel them – none of them actually touched her or Jesus.

Jesus, on the other hand, didn’t seem bothered by their threatening behavior. His calm voice pulled her attention back to Him as He said, “This room is filled with the people in your life. Most people you encounter don’t pay much attention to you. They are busy with their own lives, and so you pass unnoticed. Other people, however, do notice you. Some of those people are happy to see you and encourage you as you travel your path. They understand that they have their lives and you have yours. A few of them, though, try to persuade you to leave your path to join them on their path. They enjoy their lives and think everyone should do what they do. They have good intentions, but they don’t understand that not everyone is called to do what they do. But, then, there are a number of people, motivated by their own pain, mental illnesses, or even by demonic suggestion, who attack you. They see you moving past them and resent it. They don’t want to move on themselves, and they don’t want you to either. So they try to make you stop by making you feel bad or afraid. But stopping won’t help them. You can’t help those who don’t want to be helped. Ignoring them and moving on is the best thing to do.”

So they did.

Amusement Park: Haunted House Ride, Prologue

Amusement Park: Haunted House Ride, Prologue

“Where do you want to go?” Jesus asked Amalia one day as they headed out the door.

“The field – where it’s familiar and peaceful.” she answered. She loved that field, with its flowers and sparkling blue lake. She imagined walking slowly along with Him, enjoying the peace and companionship she had grown to expect when there.

But that’s not what she found on the other side of the door.

“Wait, that’s not our field.”  She tried to stop Jesus, but He continued to walk, pulling her along with Him.

“Nope, I have a better idea.”

He joyfully led her towards a long canopy-like covering, such as you would find at fancy events or carnivals. Through the opening, she could see a hint of a variety of amusement park rides. An amusement park? With all its activity and noises and smells?  This was not a peaceful place, where they could just enjoy being together. Maybe He had another idea in mind. Maybe He was going to show how the distractions of life could keep her too busy for quiet times with Him. However, that was not likely because of His attitude. He was happy, so this amusement park was not a bad place. Maybe it represented her life. Maybe the rides were the different activities she was involved in: kindness rocks, writing, spending time with her granddaughter,  journaling, reading her Bible, attending small group and church. Each one was a ride of its own. And she could go from one to another as she wanted. Is that how God saw her life? As an amusement park?

“Yes.” Jesus nodded at her. “An amusement park is fun. Your life is supposed to be fun, too. But you make it so serious. I give you these things for your enjoyment, not to make you work hard. You get so caught up in the smallest details, and want everything you do to be perfect. Don’t worry so much about the imperfections. Nothing you do can be perfect as I am the only perfection in your life. Besides, no one else cares. Have fun. Relax. Choose to be with Me as you go from one ride to another. I want to ride them all with you. I want to laugh with you at the thrill of new discoveries and sudden solutions: not fear what might happen. I know how the unknown scares you. These rides are designed to help you learn to not only cope, but actually enjoy the unknown. Talk with me as you feel anxiety rising. I will reassure you until you get comfortable with the feeling of the thrill, and no longer worry.”

“Which ride are we going to do first?” she asked, looking around, and wondering about what He had just told her. Life was supposed to be fun? All of life?  0420200800b (2)

“Let’s do the haunted house.”

“Really? There’s a haunted house here? In this place with You?”

“It’s not what you think. This ride is about life circumstances that pop up and scare you, demons that try to mess with your head, times of darkness where you can’t see where you’re going, and other things that make life uncomfortable for you.”

“I’m not so sure I want to go on this ride. Can’t we go on a different one? Like maybe the merry-go-round?”

“We could. But I think this one is the right one for this moment. Do you trust Me to know what’s best for you?”

“Yes, You’ve shown me that many times over the years.”

“So will you ride this one with Me?”

Amalia looked dubious. She didn’t like haunted houses. She didn’t like the unknown. She felt anxious just at the thought of what she might face in there. And yet, Jesus wanted her to do this.  “Well, okay, if you really want me to.”

“And will you promise to ride all the way to the end with Me?”

“I don’t think I have much choice. Once I get in there, it’s not like we can just turn the car around. I guess I could get out of the car and walk back out, but that sounds worse than staying put in the car. Okay. if You promise to stay with me, then yes, I will ride to the end with You.”

Jesus smiled as He led her to the first car. As they sat down, He smiled. “Ready?”

She nodded, and realized she really was ready.

Dear Little Adventurer (from Someone Who Loves You Series)

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Dear Little Adventurer,

Just look at those little feet! So tiny, yet they have all the bones, ligaments, muscles, and tendons as adult feet – everything you’ll need to walk, run, jump and dance when you get older.  What potential in such an amazingly small package!  I can see them pedaling a tricycle, heading full speed to destinations that aren’t important as you exalt in pure motion. I can see them lifting you up to reach something just out of reach. I can see them running without restraint as you race to your father’s embrace. And I can see them kicking wildly in a pool, soaking everyone around you. What fun you will have with them!

Your marvelous, perfect feet! I wonder where they will take you one day. Will you be a dancer? A mountain climber?  A marathon runner?  Will you use them to help people in need? Will they take you to exotic and exciting places? I can’t wait to hear about all the journeys your feet will take you!

Above all, I hope they keep you on the path of the One who loves you most – and if they happen to stray, that they will bring you quickly back.

Always,

Someone who loves you

 

Psalm 44:18   Our hearts had not turned back; our feet had not strayed from your path.

Psalm 18:33  He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights.

Proverbs 4:26   Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.

Isaiah 52:7    How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

 

These letters have double meaning. On the surface they are letters I’m writing to my granddaughter. But they are also letters God is writing to you. Reread them, replacing the greeting with your own name, and the closure with God’s name – and get to know the great love God has for you!

Three Day Quote Challenge, Day 3

Here is my third and final quote:

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I can’t see the future. I can’t see how my decisions today are going to impact my future. I can’t figure out everything I need to do today to make my future a good one. I can’t see how all the details in my life – both good and bad – are going to work together for the future God promises me. But I know the One who can. And I can trust that He knows what I need to know and experience today that will get me to that future. All I really need to do is listen, obey, and enjoy the ride.

And that includes becoming the person He made me to be.

And a bonus quote I just ran into…

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just because it made me laugh.

I laughed again at Dorci Harris’ response: “Oh yes, they can swim. They can float, dive and hold their breath. For years. But only God can walk on water.”  Let’s hope more of our enemies are like the Eygptians who got swallowed by the Red Sea than the ones Dorci it talking about!

 

Thank you again Sue Love at Run With It for nominating me for this Three Day Quote Challenge.

Now I would like to nominate  Faith on the Farm for the 3 Day Quote Challenge because she reminds me of my brother and his family who live on a plot of land with all kinds of animals also. Faith on the Farm is an awesome name and just right for this lovely Christian girl sharing her faith!

Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

For 3 days, provide a quote each day and why you like or chose that quote.

Nominate one or more bloggers each of the three days for the Challenge and then send them a comment letting them know they have been nominated.

(When you receive a nomination, if you’re too busy, you can do it later if need be.)

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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