Two Mirrors

Once upon a time there was a girl. She wasn’t too different than any other girl. Yet she thought she was, and so she acted like she was.

Other girls were pretty. She thought she was ugly. So she tried to hide whenever she could.

Other girls were fun. She thought she was boring. So she quit playing with others.

Other girls were smart. She thought she was stupid. So she quit sharing her thoughts.

She thought being ugly, boring, and stupid made her repulsive to people. And she tried even harder to disappear from everyone around her.

One day, she discovered she was invisible. No one saw her. No one heard her. She was happy, because now no one would have to endure her presence.

But she was also sad. As she watched people, she watched how they enjoyed each other and wanted to be around each other. And how they loved each other. She wanted to be wanted and loved. Yet, how could anyone want or love someone like her?

One day a friendly voice called to her.

“You can see me?”

“Yes. And I like what I see.”

“You can hear me?”

“Yes. And I like what I hear.”

“How can you like me when I’m so ugly, boring, and stupid?”

“Who told you that?”

“It’s what I see when I look in my mirror.”

“Where did you get that mirror?”

“I made it myself.”

“Can I look at it?”

“Yes, but be careful. Don’t hurt it.”

“It’s a lovely mirror. Strong, and well made.”

“Thank you. It took me a long time to make it.”

“I made a mirror, too. Would you like to look at it?”

“Yes, please. I’ll be careful.”

“Here. And you don’t have to be careful. This mirror won’t break.”

“It’s gorgeous. It’s so shiny; it looks like it is glowing! Who is that beautiful girl in it?”

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“That’s you.”

“No, it can’t be. That girl looks nothing like the girl in my mirror.”

“No, it doesn’t.”

“Then that must not be me. You must be teasing me. Who is that girl, really?”

“That girl is really you.”

“But what about the one in my mirror?”

“Didn’t you say you made your mirror yourself?”

“Yes.”

“Did you get any help?”

“Well, yes.”

“Who helped you?”

“People around me. But mostly I did it myself.”

“Do you think maybe your mirror might be lying to you?”

“Lie to me? How can that happen? It’s a mirror. Mirrors always show what’s there.”

“Unless they are distorted.”

“You think my mirror is distorted? What about your mirror?”

“Oh, I’m sure my mirror is accurate. No one helped me make it, so there was no chance for it to get distorted.”

“Well, maybe my mirror is not distorted either.”

“That’s for you to decide.”

“How can I decide? Which one do I believe?”

“You can believe mine, or you can believe yours. It’s your choice.”

The girl studied her image in each mirror. She was familiar with the girl in her mirror, but longed to be the girl in the other mirror. She tried to focus on that second girl – the beautiful one – but each time, her gaze returned to her own mirror.

“I like your mirror better. But each time I try to focus on it, my eyes go back to my own.”

“You haven’t really decided yet. Wanting is not the same as making a decision.”

“I’m scared to decide. What if I’m wrong?”

“Trust me. I wouldn’t show you anything that wasn’t true.”

The girl studied both images again. In spite of the fear that seemed to consume her, she made her decision.

“I choose your mirror.”

As she held the new shiny mirror in her hands, she found laying aside her mirror was still hard. She knew it would take time to get used to looking in the shiny mirror instead of hers, but she had decided.

Little by little, as she looked at the beautiful girl in the shiny mirror, she began to think differently about herself. Maybe she wasn’t so different from other girls after all.

Other girls were pretty. The mirror showed her that she was pretty, too. So she stopped hiding as much.

Other girls were fun. She thought maybe she was fun, too. So she began playing with a few people.

Other girls were smart. She thought maybe she was smart, too. So she started sharing her thoughts with everyone around her.

She thought being pretty, fun, and smart was more fun than what she had been. She quit trying to disappear from everyone around her.

She found out… the new, shiny mirror was right.

And as she believed the image in that amazing mirror, so did the people around her. She was wanted, enjoyed, and loved.

She had one last thing to say to the one who gave her the mirror:

“Thank you, Jesus!”

 

 

 

Romans 12:3 TLB  Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you.

Romans 12:3 ERV  You must see yourself just as you are. Decide what you are by the faith God has given each of us.

Bella – part 14 Are You Ready for the Truth?

Bella stared at her plate, regretting her words even as she said them. Now he would question her about them. What should she say? How much should she say? Maybe he didn’t hear her. No, she was sure they were loud enough. But would he ask her about them – or ignore them as he continued talking? She didn’t have long to wait.

“Knew what?” he asked as he bit into a slice of toast.

Stalling for time, she placed a large forkful of scrambled eggs into her mouth and began chewing slowly. Of course he would ask. Did she dare reveal her suspicions of aliens and a giant spaceship? No! She couldn’t risk having him laugh at her too. He’d think she was crazy and she’d lose any further answers about the pastor and his church. So what could she say? She didn’t want to lie, but she also didn’t want to tell the whole truth. Or did she? After all, he was the one to bring up the possibility that Pastor Toby was not human.

She swallowed the eggs, took a sip of her iced tea, then looked up at Andy.

Not knowing which direction to take, she decided to ignore his question and ask one of her own.

“What do you mean ‘for a human’?”

“Humans have weaknesses. We all have good and bad days, and we all have… less than good thoughts about other people from time to time.”

“That’s what I said,” she reminded him.

“And I’m agreeing with you.”

Exasperated, she blurted out, “But what about Pastor Toby? You said he was always good and I said that it wasn’t possible. And you said ‘for a human’. Are you saying Pastor Toby is not a human?”

Andy raised an eyebrow. “Not a human? What do you think?”

“I think this is a waste of time. No one seems to want to give me answers. Everyone just keeps talking in circles. Why is it so hard to get a simple answer to a simple question?”

“Maybe because your question isn’t simple.”

Now it was her turn to raise an eyebrow. “How is telling me who Pastor Toby is not simple?”

“Hmmm… well, maybe this will help. What if I asked you, ‘What is a rainbow?’  Simple question, yes?”

“Sure, but…”

“But is it still a simple question to answer for a 3 year old kid?” he interrupted.

She had to admit he was right.  “So a simple question to one person may not be so simple to another.”

“Exactly. It depends on what they are ready to understand. A child’s brain has not developed enough cognitively to understand rainbows. But yours has. So to you explaining what a rainbow is would be simple. But it would be pretty much impossible to explain it to a young child.”

“I get it. Do you think I’m not able to understand who Pastor Toby is? Is that why you haven’t answered that question?”

“No one knows whether you’re ready or not, except you. I can guess based on things you say, but I don’t know for sure.”

“So, do you think I’m ready?” she pushed.

He looked at her seriously for a few minutes.”I think you might be,” he said at last.

“OK. So tell me. Is Pastor Toby human or not?”

“Not,” he said, still watching her closely.

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Bella was stunned. As much as she had played with the idea that Pastor Toby might be an alien, to be told straight out like that was still a shock.

Conflicting emotions overwhelmed her. From fear and incredulous disbelief to relief that her instincts had been correct and a growing curiosity. If he wasn’t human, then what did he really look like? Humanoid? Insect-like? Or maybe some kind of energy form? Her mind was swimming with a whole new set of questions. Not able to hold them in, she began shooting them off to Andy, beginning with the most important one.

“Is he dangerous?”

“No.”

“What does he really look like?”

“No one knows.”

“Why is he here?”

“For us. Because we’re here.”

“What does he want with us?”

“To be friends.”

“Friends? Why would he come all the way here just to be friends? Surely he had plenty where he came from. Where DID he come from?”

“Well, that’s a bit harder to answer. He didn’t really come from anywhere. It’s more like he’s everywhere.”

“How can that be? Is he part of a collective consciousness or something?”

“Collective consciousness?”

“Yeah, like a hive mind. A bunch of beings all share the same mind so in a way they, as a whole, can be in many places at the same time.”

“No, nothing like that. He can read other minds, but they can’t read his so it’s not really a shared mind.”

“Does everyone else know about this?”

“No, not everyone.”’

“I mean, at the church. Does everyone there know all about him?”

“Some people know more than others, and no one knows everything there is to know about him, but sadly there are those who don’t really want to know more than the basics.”

“Such as?”

“That he’s there and he loves them. Beyond that, they don’t have much interest in learning more.”

“Why not?”

“Because, the more you learn, the closer you get to knowing him, the more he requires of you. And some people aren’t ready for that. Oh, and the enemy also comes at you harder as you grow in knowledge.”

“Enemy? There’s an enemy?”

“Yes. But don’t worry about that right now. Once you belong to Toby, you’re under his protection.”

Bella didn’t know what to say. Enemy? How dangerous was this enemy?  And what did Andy mean – belong to PastorToby? She didn’t want to belong to anyone. She had worked hard to become independent and was proud of her efforts. If she spent more time with Pastor Toby, would he make her give up her independence? Become his pet or something? And what if he decided to leave? Would he force her to go with him? Are those the plans Jude said he and his dad had for her?

Bella stood up abruptly. This was way more than she was expecting. “I’ve got to go,” she told Andy. “I’m sorry, but… I just… have to go.”

Andy stood up, too. “Bella, I know this is a lot. And it’s OK to be feeling a bit overwhelmed right now. I understand. I felt the same way when I first found out. But please don’t let it scare you away. Pastor Toby really does love you. More than you can imagine. And he only wants good for you.”

Andy pulled a card out of his pocket and handed it to her.  “When you’ve had a chance to process all this, please call me. I would love to talk more about this with you.”

Bella took the card and slid it into her pocket without looking at it. “Yeah, sure,” she said. “Thanks for…” she motioned to the half eaten food on the table, then, shaking her head, she raced towards the exit door. Good thing she had chosen a booth close to the door.

The nearby exit made a quick escape, but it also prevented her from hearing Andy’s prayer: “Father, I’m sorry. I sure messed this one up. Please be with her. Help her to understand and to feel your love for her. And bring her back to us soon. Don’t let anything I said drive her away from you.”

 

Bella stories:

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

Bella part 6   9  10  11 12  13

Bella, part 1 –  Heart VS Brain

Bella paced in her small apartment. She wanted to go, but then, maybe she didn’t. What if that had been a onetime thing? What if they weren’t happy to see her again? Worse, what if it had all been her imagination?

She remembered the kindness in their eyes. Kindness and love. No one had ever looked at her that way before.  And her heart was crying out for another encounter with that love.

After leaving the church, she had gone straight home. She hadn’t wanted to talk to anyone until she had had time to process her experience. What was that place? Who were those men? How could such a thing even happen?

Not finding the answers inside herself, she began searching on line and reading everything she could find on churches that are bigger on the inside. She was amazed at how many references there were to that.  And how many opinions there were about it – from awe such as she had felt to passionate condemnation, and everything in between.

How was she ever going to find out the truth?

“I’m just going to have to go back,” she thought as she paced.

You don’t want to do that.

She stopped as a new thought entered her mind. The thought itself wasn’t too bad, it was the fear that accompanied it that made her pause. Maybe I don’t want to go back there. Maybe they won’t be the same. Maybe they won’t even let me in the door. After all, I had trespassed that day. They might be angry at me, now that they’ve had time to think about it.

And they’ll force you to talk about Disneyworld.

Fear continued to build in her as she thought of Pastor Toby’s question about Disneyworld. What if he tried to get her to talk about it again? What if he wouldn’t let her go until she did?

Shaking now she decided not to go back. Ever. Not knowing what would happen, she couldn’t take the chance that things wouldn’t turn out so good a second time.

That’s a smart decision. You are so wise.

Feeling self satisfaction creep in, replacing the fear, she tried to ignore the cry in her heart. Her heart had led her wrong at times. It was her brain, her intelligence, that she needed to rely on. And her brain was telling her the wise thing to do was to forget about the church.

But way down deep inside, she could hear another voice.  One calling to her heart as if responding to its cry.  “Come back,” was all it said. But it was enough.

Undecided, she stood in the middle of the room.  What should she do? Should she chance returning to the church? Or take the safe road and stay home?

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(Bella’s first visit to the church is found in I’m Not Hurt, Not Really, Part 1 and I’m Not Hurt, Not Really, Part 2 )

 

 

 

Three Day Quote Challenge – Day Three

This is the third and final day of the Three Day Quote Challenge, which I was nominated for three days ago by BIBLEBLOGGERGIRL  from Teen, Meet God 

This challenge takes place over three days. Each day (or night), I will share a quote I love and explain why I love it, then I will nominate one blogger per day to continue the challenge.

My third quote is this…

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“God is good even when you don’t feel it. ” from iBelieve.com.

So much of what we think is based on how we feel. This quote reminds me God is bigger than my emotions. His truth doesn’t change based on how I’m feeling.

God is GOD. He doesn’t fit in any of my boxes. He’s not bound by my feelings. He’s not limited by my understandings.

He is GOD.  And I am not.

The security that provides me is beyond measure!

 

My last nominee for the Three Day Quote Challenge is Amy Blount, at A New Life. I love how open and honest she is in her blogs. Such a strong, courageous, and encouraging woman!

Muddy Purity

She read, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

“God, I have a problem. My heart is not pure.”

“Yes it is.”

“It sure wasn’t when that driver cut me off in traffic.”

“True, you could have handled that differently. But your heart is still pure.”

“No way, not after I yelled at my kids for not cleaning up their stuff.”

“Yeah, they told me about that. It’s something to work on, but your heart is still pure.”

“How can You say that after the way I ignored that homeless person holding up that handwritten sign on the corner last week? I didn’t want to give anything to him so I pretended I didn’t see him. I’m so ashamed.”

“Now that you’ve experienced that sorrow, maybe next time you won’t ignore the pleas of the poor. But your heart is still pure.”

“How can my heart be pure if I’m doing all those things? No matter how much I don’t want to, I keep sinning.”

“Sinning is not the same as purity.”

“Huh?”

“Maybe this will help. Imagine holding a diamond, a pure diamond without any flaws. IMG_20180415_052040472Now picture dropping this diamond into some mud. Is the diamond still pure?”

“Yes. The diamond didn’t change. The mud is only on the outside. Inside, the diamond is still pure.”

“That’s right. The mud cannot get inside the diamond. The mud can make the purity hard to see, but it’s still there.”

“So, my heart is pure. But my sins make that hard to see.”

“Exactly.”

“I don’t know. That’s a good illustration, but my heart sure doesn’t feel pure.”

“Purity is not a feeling. It’s a fact.”

“How do You know that?”

“Because I’ve said so.”

“You did? When?”

“That night I ate supper with my disciples just before Judas betrayed Me.”

“Wasn’t that when you talked about the vine and branches, and when You prayed for us? I don’t remember You talking about a pure heart.

“Sure. Read John 15:3.”

“It says, ‘You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.'”

“What do you think I meant by that?”

“Um, I guess I thought that meant our sins were forgiven.”

“You guess? Maybe you should look it up in a dictionary.”

“OK, here it is. Clean. There’re two definitions. The first one says ‘free from dirt, marks, or stains’. That would be the mud, right?  My sins that you’ve forgiven?”

“Yes. What does the other definition say?”

“It says, ‘pure, innocent’. Oh wow, I never associated clean with pure.”

She thought for a minute.  “So in John 15:3, when you were telling them that they were clean – pure – you were talking about their hearts and not their behavior.

“Yes.”

“And nothing they did, no sin they commit, changes that purity?”

“Right. It can be hidden under a lot of mud, but it’s still there.”

“That’s all well and good for the apostles. But I wasn’t there.”

“It applies to you, too. Read the rest of the passage and you will see that it applies to everyone who abides in Me.”

“Oh, right.” She was embarrassed that she had already forgotten that connection. “So, You said it and my heart is pure.”

“I did and it is.”

“No matter how muddy I get.”

“No matter how muddy you get.”

“Amazing,” she thought as she pictured that diamond in a mud puddle. “Simply amazing!”