Bella – part 13 Finally! Some Answers!

Bella was saved from responding as the waitress returned to take their orders. Did he mean to convert her? Is that why he was being so nice? So he could add a tally mark to the ‘Number Saved’ board? If so, he was going to be disappointed. When the waitress left, she decided to be upfront with him.

“Andy… Pastor Andy… um Assistant Pastor Andy…” she began.

“Call me Andy.”

“OK, Andy. Just so you know, I’m not interested in God. My questions are about Pastor Toby and this church. “

“Fair enough. What do you want to ask?”

Bella thought through the list of questions that had been mounting in her mind over the last couple of weeks. Where should she start? Pastor Toby? Jude? The discrepancy in size between the outside and the inside of the church? The weird backyard? The church people’s behavior? She decided to start with the most important.

“Who is Pastor Toby?”

Andy looked puzzled. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, where is he from? How did he get here? Is he really as nice as he seems? How long have you known him?”

Andy held up his hand. “Whoa! Slow down! You ARE full of questions!”

“Sorry. It’s just he seems so… different than anyone else I’ve ever known.”

“That’s because he is.”

At her puzzled look, he said, “Maybe if I gave you a brief history of this church, it would help.”

Bella nodded, excitement beginning to build. Was she finally going to get some real answers?

She waited as Andy lowered his head and appeared to be thinking about what to say. Finally he looked up at her and began.

“This church hasn’t been here forever, as some people like to think, but it has been here for a very long time. It began about the same time as this city. Back then it looked different than it does today, but other than appearance, it’s pretty much the same.”

“So, this church is old. It doesn’t look it.” Bella said.

“That’s because it changes to keep up with the needs and interests of the people who attend. As styles changed, the church responded. But that’s only on the surface. The core of this church has remained the same.”

“OK. So the church is old and keeps changing. That doesn’t help me understand Pastor Toby any better.  Where does he fit in? Who exactly is he?”IMG_20180828_044634375

“You mean besides being pastor of this church?”

“I mean where did he come from? What is he really like?”

“What he’s like is easier to answer so I’ll start with that. He is just what you’ve seen. He’s loving and kind and good and generous. All the time. There is nothing even slightly negative in him.”

“That’s not possible,” Bella said as the waitress returned with their order.

“Here you go,” the waitress said, setting down their plates. “Do you need anything else?”

Bella and Andy glanced at their food, then shook their heads.

“Nope, it looks great,” Andy said. He thanked the waitress, picked up the salt shaker, and offered it to Bella. “Salt?”

“Thanks.” Bella salted her eggs then handed it back to him. She peppered her eggs, handed the pepper shaker to Andy, spread some jam on her toast, then picked up her fork. “So, about Pastor Toby. He seems to be a good man. But always? 100% of the time? That’s just not possible. We all make mistakes, have grumpy days, and harbor mean thoughts from time to time. That’s just part of being human.”

“That’s true,” Andy said slowly. “For a human.”

“I KNEW it!” Bella said before she could stop herself.

 

Bella stories:

I’m Not Hurt, Not Really Part 1 Part 2

Bella part 6   9  10  11 12

 

Bella, part 4 – Questions

They sat on the pier like they had done the last time. At first they were silent, drinking in the beauty that surrounded them.  The reflection of the sun danced on the blue water of the lake. Birds sang to each other, and a cool soft breeze wafted past them from time to time.

Eventually she became aware of the silence between them. She wondered if he was waiting for her to speak first. Maybe he was getting bored, but sneaking a glimpse of him out of the corner of her eye, she saw that he was looking around and seemed to be enjoying the peace as much as she was. She also saw something else in his face. Something like…  satisfaction? As if he was responsible for the beauty himself? No, that couldn’t be right. She must be seeing things. Nobody could create a place like this. Discover it? Yes. Nurture and care for it? Yes. But create it? No. A sly thought sneaked its way into her mind: maybe he thinks he’s God.

As if reading her thoughts, he said quietly, “God’s creation is amazing, wouldn’t you say?’

She sighed with relief. At least he’s not claiming to be God. That would be weird. Maybe even dangerous. She’d heard too many stories of the evil done by men with a god-complex. And she had no intention of becoming a victim of a cult – enslaved and intimidated into obedience.

“Something wrong?” he asked, looking at her with a twinkle in his eyes.

“Um, no. Why do you ask?”

“You sighed.”

“Oh, that.” She didn’t want to reveal her stupid suspicion so she tried to change the subject. “I love it here,” she said. “It’s heaven!”

“No, but close,” he chuckled. “Did you say you had some questions?”

“Yes, I do. Lots of them, actually.”

He laughed. “Most people do when they discover this place.”

“What exactly is this place?”

“Well, for me, it’s home. This is where my father and I live.”

“But, it doesn’t make sense. How can this place be here? We’re in a city. There’s not enough room in anyone’s yard to have all of this in it.”

“That’s true for houses and apartment buildings that were built after the city got big. But this place.” he motioned around him with his arm, “was here before the city grew. You could say the city grew around us.”

“That makes sense. But what still doesn’t make sense is how your home is so much bigger on the inside than it looks from the outside.”

“It’s kind of like an illusion. You know, tricks that fool the eyes. Illusions show that you can’t always believe your eyes.”

She nodded. She still didn’t understand the physics involved but she wanted more time to think about it before asking further questions.

“So, if this house, this land, was here before the city grew, then you must have grown up here.”

“It seems I’ve always been here, that’s true.

“And was your dad born here too?”

“No, he wasn’t.”

“When did he get here, then?’

“He’s been here so long, you could say he’s been here forever!” he laughed.

This is getting me nowhere, she thought. She changed the subject.

“Your dad is a pastor. That means he must know a lot about God. And you, being his son, must know a lot about God, too. Right?

“You could say that.”

“Does God really exist or is He just something someone dreamed up to comfort people?”

“Oh, God’s real, all right. No doubt about that.” IMG_20180520_222010004

“Well, if God is real, why do so many people act like He’s not?”

“Many people don’t know that He exists.”

“I mean, people who go to church. People who say they are Christians. Why do they act like God is not real?”

 

“That’s a good questions, I…”

“How’s it going out here?” called a voice as footsteps vibrated on the pier.

Jude and Bella both turned to see Pastor Toby waving as he walked towards them.

“Wonderful,” she answered.

“We’ve been enjoying the peace of this place,” Jude said. “And Bella has some pretty deep questions.”

“Awesome! I love answering questions. But first we have a date with a fresh hot-out-of-the-oven peach cobbler! And if you know anything about peach cobbler, it’s best eaten warm!”

“Mmm… sounds delicious!” Jude said as he stood up. He held out his hand to help Bella stand. “My mouth is already watering!”

Bella tried to hide her disappointment. As good as the cobbler sounded, she would have preferred to hear Jude’s answer to her question. But she didn’t want to hurt Pastor Toby’s feelings, so she smiled and headed back to the church with them. Maybe after eating some of the cobbler, they could get back to her question. She hadn’t realized until she asked it how much she needed to have her question answered. All she knew was that the growing pressure of not knowing was driving her nuts.

 

Links to previous parts of this story:

I’m Not Hurt, Not Really, part 1

I’m Not Hurt, Not Really, part 2

Bella, part 1- Heart VS Brain

Bella, part 2 – Distractions

Bella, part 3 – Overcoming Detours

 

Mystery Blogger Award!

I was impressed the other day running across a blogger’s statement that he wasn’t blogging for awards and, although appreciating those who nominate him, he wouldn’t be accepting any of them.

I wish I could say the same about my blogs.

But I can’t. I LOVE awards! I’m honored by them! I’m thrilled by them! They validate what I’m doing in a way few other things can. The recognition I feel from someone walking the same road I am is simply amazing!photogrid_1476365612975

And I was just nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award! Thank you On My Way Home for the public pat on the back! I am especially honored and thrilled to receive this nomination from a published author of children’s books – a goal I aspire to soon!

In the words of its creator Okoto Enigma :

“WHAT IS MYSTERY BLOGGER AWARD?
Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.
– Okoto Enigma”

THE RULES

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

 

Now on to what you really want to read…

Three Things About Me

  1. I used to hate writing. Reading, yes. I could and did read all day. But writing? No thanks! Funny how God changes you when He calls you for a new job.
  2. I love to sew. Stuffed animals, quilts, pillows, bags, soft sculptured dolls – pretty much anything except clothes. I currently make and sell memory bears in my Etsy store and am working on starting a new store to sell inspirational bags as soon as I get more time.
  3. I’m about to be a first time grandmother!  Aryn Jade is due early July and I’m just about ready to self-publish my first children’s picture book in her honor!

 

Questions to Answer:

  1. Why did you begin blogging? At first, it was a way to practice my writing skills as I worked on my novel. But it has since changed to be a way to glorify God, inspire others, and share my testimony of God’s faithfulness in my life.
  2. Your philosophy of life?  Like my husband is fond of saying, “Life is hard, and then you die.” Everybody is struggling with something. We need each other and we need God. And what we do on this side determines what our life on the other side will be like. It’s like our life here is school preparing us for our future after we graduate.
  3. What would you do in life if you were sure of success? join a Christian soft rock band and go on world tours
  4. Your favorite dessert or other guilty culinary pleasure? coffee ice cream with chocolate chunks!
  5. Best childhood memory? When on a field trip to an amusement park, the wind blew my brand new hat off my head. I watched with dismay as it blew over the fence in an area I couldn’t access. However, my big brother climbed the fence and retrieved the hat for me. I don’t remember if he got in trouble over it, but I know that every time I looked at that hat, I remembered how he cared enough to chance it for me. Oh wait… maybe it was the time this same brother tried to push me out of a roller coaster car just as it made a fast turn high in the air…

 

My Nominees:

Joe Rodriguez at Lighthouse Devotions by JR – love his use of photos of lighthouses to illustrate spiritual matters

Celestial – who sees God in everything

BibleBloggerGirl at Teen, Meet God –  a teen leading teens (and some old people like me)

God Inspires, I Write – she doesn’t blog daily, but when she writes, it’s good

The Focused Heart – short yet powerful

Pastor Randy – love his uniqueness and how he makes connections

Be Blesstified – it’s always good

The Godly Chic Diaries – inspiration for women

Dani at God in Real Life –  practical blogs on living the Christian life

Love Joy Balance – another good one filled with practical posts

Heavensreef – unique use of questions to get us thinking

Matthew Winters (Comeback Pastor) – always an interesting read, and love that he shares his personal life with us

 

Five Questions for My Nominees:

  1. Why did you start your blog?
  2. What is your best achievement in blogging?
  3. What has been the craziest things you have done while traveling?
  4. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
  5. My weird question:  jello or pudding?

Wrestling with God (continued from You Want to be a What?)

IMG_20180420_033725515(If you haven’t read  You Want to Be a What?, you may want to read that first to provide the context for this dialogue.)

God, we need to talk.

I’m listening.

Did You send my friend over here today on purpose?

Maybe.

Is she right? That I need to release him to You before You can work in our lives?

Hmmm…

Does that mean You’re planning something for both of us? Or is this just for him?

What do you mean?

If you take him to serve You, You have a plan for him.

Of course.

Then what about me? I’m involved too.

Yes, you are.

I need You as much as he does.

Yes, you do.

I want Your perfect will for me as much as he does for him.

That’s nice to hear. But what are you really saying?

I don’t want to be left behind.

Ah.

And I’m upset. You told me it was OK to go out with him. To talk to him. To let my feelings grow.

Yes, I remember that.

So why? Why tell me that just to take him from me?

(silence)

Did you plan this to show me I can love again? If so, You could have shown me that when You gave me someone to keep.

(silence)

Did you call him away to show me how much I love him? If so, You could have let me discover that on my own.

(silence)

If this is to show him something, then that’s even worse because that’s using me. Downgrading me, like I’m not important. You love me and promised to take care of me. You can’t just use me like that.

(silence)

If You’re doing this to push him in a different direction, then I want some definite guidance, too.

(silence)

If You’re going to split us up, then I want a reason. It makes no sense to put us together, encourage us grow close, just to separate us. That’s mean, and You’re not mean so I can’t believe that’s what You are doing.

Whew. I was worried there for a minute.

Why are You doing this?

Trust

Trust?

Do you trust Me? You’ve been saying you do. Do you really?

(pause)

Well?

I’m thinking about it.

I’ll give you a moment.

Trust is hard but I believe You love us and want what’s best for us. So yes, I trust You.

Here’s another question: Do you really want My perfect will?

Definitely. You’ve already shown me many times that Your will is better than mine.

One more question. Will you really give Me everything?

I’ve already given You everything.

Everything?

OK, not everything. Not him. You want him? He’s Yours.

Good.

Wait! Don’t take him just because I’m giving him to You.

(laughter)

Lord, here’s the bottom line. I will accept whatever You want for me – for us – with one condition: that I know it’s Your will. I don’t have to have a reason. I just need to know that it’s Your will and not our misguided decisions.

Are you finished? Is it My turn to talk?

Yes, Lord.

I love you and want what’s best for you, just as I love him and want what’s best for him. Trust Me. Keep going out with him. He’s OK. It’s OK. You’re in my will.

Soooo… do You want him to be a priest?

No.

Then what in the world is this all about? What do You want me to do?

Continue what you are doing. Listen to Me. Relax. I know what’s going on and I’m in control. I will take care of you. I’m on your side. Will you trust Me?

to be continued