Category Archives: Thoughts on Faith

You’re Interested?

So…you’re interested in my daughter?

Let’s talk.

Before you presume to take her hand and dare to make her feel warm inside, you must realize who I am as her Father. I will spare no effort or expense to protect her and guide her in finding the right man to share her life.

Carefully consider that any man who desires my daughter needs to discern her immense value as a woman. She is deserving of the highest, most sacrificial kind of love. Any man worthy of her will not need to be reminded of the treasure he holds, and he will approach her with all dignity.

I have some questions for you. The most important one is, “Is your heart soft and does it break easily?” If you can’t be broken, then you can neither be strong nor whole. You will only be a weak man who tries to conquer life in his own strength. Are you tenderized to absorb the hurts of another and respond with empathy and understanding? My daughter needs a man who will not hesitate to tenderly embrace her heart and dress her wounds with gentle care. It goes without saying that he will strive to not cause her any pain himself, but he will be just as diligent to kiss and heal hurts from others or memories from the past. To repay her for the pain you inflict is mere humanity; but if you spend yourself to dry her every last tear, that is boundless love.

Are you completely faithful? Outside the lines of public scrutiny or her keen observation, are you unshakably true to your love for her? When you close your eyes, is she all you see? Is your soul locked in? When you are all alone, who do you think about and desire? My daughter may never know, but you know. Indiscretions of the mind take the exclusive, passionate edge off of a relationship. Will you give my daughter the not only the best of yourself, but all of yourself—heart, soul, mind, and body?

Is your love infinitely deep? Will it not only survive, but thrive through the stormiest times? Or does it wane with the shift of the wind? Does it shrink back when things are not perfect, cowering to wade in shallow waters? Or does it go deeper still, fighting for the very core and truth of what love is? Can you promise to love during the most difficult challenges as well as happily agree to love my daughter in the happiest of times? Is financial achievement more important to you than sharing the bread of contentment with the one you love? Are age, health, fitness, and youthful attributes the sliding scales where you will determine her attractiveness? What is your gauge for the level of attention you will give her? Will you submit yourself to be filled with a heavenly love that will endure through the years, surpassing the fading of her beauty? 

Think about your answers to my questions before you answer. I’ll be waiting to hear…

I have heard your response, and I realize you might have wondered if I wanted your bold and supreme assurance that my daughter in in the right hands. I did not. Instead, I wanted to hear the contrite, humble voice of a servant, declaring his sincere inability to perform up-to-task. And within that same voice, I was searching for a man who knows his weaknesses, yet still has not hesitated to wholly place his love on the altar, sacrificing all he has and is. Even now, my ear is bent to hear if he is praying for the mercy, wisdom, and strength to love my daughter with abundance–because he knows it is impossible without that grace. You see, all my questions were only to see if you are a man who knows he is walking into certain failure, except for the certainty that laying down his life will more than make up the deficit.

I don’t care about your bank account, your position, your reputation, your social standing, or your worldly gains. I care about your heart. The man who will be allowed to carry my daughter away in his arms will have a heart saturated with compassion, utmost loyalty, and endless, unlimited love. So, here’s my last question: Do you love her just as I do?

Son, if you want my daughter to belong to you, show me that you love her like her Father loves her. I’ll be watching. Yes, all the time. I can do that. I’m God.

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Carrying the Promise

It was the beginning of an ultimate Mother’s Day, initiated by the fearful and holy presence of an angelic visit. Even more startling was Gabriel’s heavenly announcement. A pure, bewildered, young woman was surprised to hear that she would conceive the Son of God by the power of the Most High.

No, I’m not headed for a re-telling of shepherds tending their flocks by night. So, bear with me.

For some reason (because angels never do anything for no reason), Gabriel left Mary with a odd, parting sideline of information. He revealed that Mary’s relative, Elizabeth, was six months pregnant. That was the other startling news, because Elizabeth was very old and presumed barren. Proof, it seemed, that God could indeed create life miraculously.

As Gabriel left, Mary’s final response was, “I am the servant of the Lord. Let this happen to me as you say!”

Mary’s next response? She went to see Elizabeth.

Was it to make sure that she wasn’t delusional? If Elizabeth was indeed pregnant, then Gabriel’s visit wasn’t just a dream. Moreover, his prophesied words to Mary about her own conception must also be true. Seeing Elizabeth for herself was the one and only way that Mary could check her story. But, curiously, once her relative’s pregnancy was substantiated, Mary stayed with her another three months.

When I was a young woman standing at a crossroads in my life, I was overwhelmed with some new challenges looming in my future. A sweet but strong older lady gave me some advice. In the hushed rasp of an undercover spy, my friend leaned towards me and confided, “What you’re carrying a promise, go to someone who is more pregnant than you are.” With a knowing glint in her eye, she reminded me of those three important months of Mary’s life. It was the crucial time when Immanuel (God With Us) was being formed as flesh and blood. The blessed hope to save the world was growing inside of her, including the little hands that would touch, heal, and…yes, be crucified. We can only imagine Elizabeth’s role in preparing the way for Mary, just as later her son, John the Baptist, would prepare the way for Jesus.

I’ve never forgotten that.

Yes, there is such a thing as “more pregnant”. Logic reasons that you either are or you aren’t, but mothers understand the difference. Believe me, at two weeks past my due date, I felt a whole lot more pregnant than any other woman (or elephant) on the planet.

In this symbolic context, pregnancy represents carrying a promise until it is manifested. It’s about nurturing the vision within and cooperating with internal changes until there is travail and birth. And, like following a guide through a dark forest, one can learn the terrain just by watching the footsteps of someone leading the way by experience. She turns around to offer kind words of encouragement, calming the fear of the unknown. Like an Elizabeth, everything she’s already encountered can prepare a Mary to anticipate and navigate her own journey more smoothly.

I know what seeking someone “more pregnant” is not. It’s not grasping for favors from those with great influence. It’s not an excuse to gratuitously seek connections that will lead to better connections. It’s not an invitation to sap expertise or education from a willing teacher. It is nothing opportunistic and everything humble. It’s reaching for an inner impartation of strength, faith, and grace.

I’ve been mentored by several Elizabeth types over the course of my life. I’m thankful, especially because they seemed to show up with perfect timing, right when I needed them. My vision became clearer, and my steps became surer because of their influence. However, in my writing, I have not had the privilege of finding a close relationship with anyone who blazed the trail ahead of me. Golden authors and poets of the past have paved my heart with inspiration and awed me with their literary excellence. I even write about some of my author heroines in Falling in October, because I link everything I write with what I have seen, read, and heard. Iconic authors, musicians, and artists add a rich flavor to my life because their creativity stirs my creativity. Even more importantly, their passion stirs mine.

I certainly admire contemporary authors, and I consider some of them friends. But I haven’t met a true jungle guide with footsteps I want to emulate. I’ve been aided by those sympathetic enough to offer assistance in Twitter-ology or the complexities of e-book formatting. I’ve liked their page and they’ve liked mine. Yet, truthfully, my personal experience in the publishing world lacks an Elizabeth connection. Maybe that’s why I still feel that I’m stumbling in this arena. It’s not because I’m knowledge-challenged, because knowledge can be accessed. Somewhere inside of me, I think I’m looking for an Elizabeth who is more pregnant than I am.

This realization joins other ongoing introspections about who I am as a woman and an author. Why do I do and for whom? In the introduction to my book, I steadily proclaim, “….it doesn’t matter to me how many other people read my cache of feelings. I’m not worried about the bestseller list or a target audience. This is written to one man who will not be concerned with chapter divisions or my writing ability. When my poetry doesn’t rhyme or fall into perfect meter, he won’t even notice. He’ll just see straight into my heart as he recognizes me as the jagged piece he has been missing from his own picture.”

I’ve always written with purpose…and for love. I can’t diminish this to a marketing venture. Forgive me, but I just can’t. It’s personal. Will it cost me if I don’t cover the gamut of promotional bases? Probably. So, why am I so peaceful about that? Because I’m staying true to myself. My work is out there–getting to that point was the hard part. Beyond that, I’m happy just following the course that is best for me, even if it’s not best for business.

It would be nice to have an Elizabeth in my writing life. I’d love to closely observe a “more pregnant” author who would share her personal admonitions with me. I could discuss my gears of motivation and maybe she could turn her flashlight down my path and show me the next turn in the road. But, regardless, I’ll keep walking. With or without an Elizabeth, my footsteps are making their own imprint on this trail, and experience always brings it’s own wisdom. Maybe the light I find will lead the way for someone else. As we carry our promises, there are always those who are not as pregnant as we are.

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