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“Tell us a story mom, about when you were little.” Both girls sat on the bed, wanting to hear something wild. The problem was, I’d already told them all the wild stories I could remember. I looked around the room and spotted the October calendar. It was featuring a beautiful Alaskan wolf, running through the snow–and there it was….a memory, a story of my childhood, they hadn’t heard yet. Little did I know that this night, this story, would birth something in me that would change the course of my life forever.

And so the story began….

It was freezing that winter in Ontario. There was much snow, much more than a typical winter for Canada. The plows would come through and push it to the side of the road making snow walls. It was piled so high, even higher than my dad, who led the way. We were heading to “The Hill”, dragging our sled behind us. Mom was at home making hot chocolate for our return, after the great adventure of flying. That’s what it felt like anyway. The power of gravity is no match for a human, but going down that hill, you almost forgot you were grounded. In my mind, we were Kings who conquered “The Hill” flying through blizzards and dragons, and we wouldn’t be stopped.

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When we got to the hill, we slowly tread upward. It was my least favorite part, but the reward was coming. Other kids were to our left and right, all climbing for the same purpose…to fly. Without fail, friendships that would bud on the way up, would be sealed by the time we reached the bottom. Something about the journey down the hill together, bonded us. We were “The Kings of the Castle.” And everyone else were “The Dirty Rascals”.

The second and third time down, we all started getting creative. What if we all piled on one sled and rode to victory together? We were onto something you know? What if…what if we could all stay on the sled all the way down. We had to try. After all, we were Kings.

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Jason, my oldest brother would want the front, of course. He was a natural leader. He wanted to feel that death-defying view from upfront. Behind him, Joel (my younger brother) would jump in. Joel was the co-captain, by default. Jason wasn’t going to give up that spot unless Dad made him. πŸ™‚ I might have thought I wanted a turn at the front, if I hadn’t of seen Jason’s face at the bottom of hill. His chapped cheeks, and blistered lips looked unattractive, painful even. No, I liked being somewhere in the middle. It was fun, and if felt safer.

(That says a lot about me eh?  To be honest, I don’t like what it says. At this moment, I will not digress on a tangent though. I’ll save that for another day and continue…)

It didn’t matter how many times Jason and Joel would lead us down the hill on our little sled, piled-high with kids, we could never all make it down together. Inevitably,  when you looked back at hill from the bottom, you’d see bodies strung all over it. It looked like a crime scene with sounds of groaning. If it weren’t for the break-out of laughter and some brave child saying, “Let’s try again,” there may have been a few more tears in my memories. It hurt getting thrown off that sled. Snow isn’t as soft as you might think.

Jason would always get the blame. The leader always does. Isn’t that harsh? Could he have taken a turn more carefully? Should he have slowed down in that one part of the hill, instead of whizzing through it? May be he should have, but he had a vision you know? Vision is a powerful motivator. He wanted to reach the bottom. That was the point right? Did he care that the others couldn’t hold on through the chaos-filled ride? I’m guessing the thrill and power of gravity along with the vision of reaching the destination, was compelling enough to temporarily forget about the others. After all, he was a young leader at that time. Today, He is my hero, and  l’ll follow him down any ol’ hill!❀️

…………………………………………………………….

I left the girls room feeling my Father-God continuing to press me with this story. I was sitting alone, thumbing through the memory again, when I heard an audible voice.  It startled me and I immediately looked up thinking I would see someone talking to me. I didn’t see God but I recognized His presence. I grabbed my pen to write down the words I heard, word for word.

“Don’t ever sacrifice my beloved for the sake of a cause.”

There it was… He was teaching me something vital.  He wanted me to grasp this so I would be able to lead thousands upon thousands of people into His presence, without losing even one child. I saw the people. Tears sprung to my eyes. With the words He gave, came so many pictures, I couldn’t possibly recount them all.

The Revelation– If I get to the bottom of the hill, and half my friends are gone, I better never justify that. We can come up with stories that push one-off with blame here, and justify the loss of another there, but reaching the destination isn’t worth it without stewarding what God brings, as He would steward it. 

The “cause” of cleaning my house or writing this blog isn’t justifiable if I tell my kids harshly to leave me alone, so I can get “more important” work done. Even salvation is so important to God, but not more-so than the hearts of those already saved. Isn’t that crazy?  I’ve seen people justify terrible behavior, abusive behavior toward family, friends and fellow helpers, because of a move of God. Let me say this: the reasons to do so won’t hold up inside His Love, not when I do it and not when you do it. His purity will burn those excuses all up. Thank God for that. He is good and He is also fiercely protective over His beloved.

God was telling me something vital for my life. He was giving me wings to steady me through a “fear-of-man” turbulent time. He was honoring me to hold a sacred piece of His heart, and encouraging me to speak on behalf of that piece. That’s scary. Remember, I liked the middle of the sled, but He was calling me up, into a greater level of stewardship, and thus leadership. Here, I couldn’t be afraid. I might get blistered, bloody and chapped, but it was worth it…for the sake of His heart. I saw the piece and it scars me still with beauty.

He desires me to stay connected with those on my sled, every single one. He desires for me to slow down on turns, and even stop on the hill, defy the power and thrill of gravity itself, if needed.  He desires me to provide the kind of care that supersedes the cause. He is telling me even now, “THIS IS the cause.”

He wants me to see the Kingdom on earth in its fullness, while I’m alive. I do believe, if I heed this council, and become this word, I will be able to look back on my life and see we all have arrived together,  safe and sound. We would then get to celebrate together. I can’t even imagine the beauty and joy, the unity and holiness of such a moment.

Have you ever went on a roller coaster with someone, or traveled the world with a friend? I have had these opportunities. Remember the joy of the shared experience? Remember reliving every twist and turn of the adventure? It grows more fun with every telling.

The greatest sound in my home, is my two girls staying up late laughing and talking in their beds, or the life on the intimacy between my husband and I. The most painful sounds in my home are times of disunity, arguing and connection loss.

I’m pretty sure, the Father feels the same way. May we never justify the loss of His beloved, (loss of connection) for any cause. It just isn’t worth it! In the end, Love is the only thing that remains.

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The Way of a Leader

This is something I wrote back in 2011 in an old blog. It came up in my fb memories and I felt to share it here. 

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I’ve been pondering on the subject of leadership the last several months. I thought it would be interesting to flesh out my thoughts here in a blog. We’ve all been subjected to bad leadership in one shape or form at some point in our lives. It may have been a teacher, a parent, a pastor, a police officer or a boss…etc.. Hopefully we’ve all been honored and mentored with good leadership at some point too. If not, that is my prayer for us all! How can we model that which we haven’t experienced?
When I stack up the attributes of the “bad” leaders in my life with the attributes of the “good” leaders, I start to notice a pattern across the board. The “bad” leaders have one common denominator, and that is the use of control. It would take on many different forms. 

Sometimes, manipulation would be used, sometimes intimidation, and some would use their strong personality to try to conform me to look like them. The sad thing is, that most of the time these tactics worked. I gained approval instantly because of my desire to please the leader. I wanted the leader to be happy with me. 

I began to realize a pattern in my life that puzzled me. I didn’t want to be the leader. 

 Every time I was offered a head management position, I’d decline. I would go as far as assistant manager and then stop, quit, and start a job somewhere else. 

I didn’t like what happened to people when they got to be the “Big Dog”. Over and over again, I saw great people turn over to the ways of control, when they would gain a title. Not just in the business arena, but in church, in worship bands, in cell groups. I really believed that the higher you got, the more terrible you had to become, to get things done right. I believed that all the “yuck” went with the territory. Perhaps the pressure was so great at the top, no one could withstand it?

I realize now, that’s not the truth. I’m learning what real leadership looks like and I’m excited about sharing. 

What if leadership looked like this:
What if leaders parked the furthest away from the building so the people they care for wouldn’t have to get wet when it rained. What if leaders weren’t so highlighted, or always on a stage and instead they highlighted others. What if leaders led by inspiring people to do their best instead of micro-managing them in what they’ve been instructed to do already. What if leaders weren’t driven by fear, but were driven by love. What if they were so impassioned, they were contagious with knowledge. Here is a big one. WHAT IF THEY WERE DEVOID OF EGO and graced with humility. 

At this point, it sounds like I’m describing a soup kitchen volunteer, I know. I think a soup kitchen volunteer worker looks a whole lot more like Jesus then many “leaders” who have a title do. It’s interesting to me that a common leader of our day is so hungry for approval and validation and the furthering of themselves, they forget what a leader is for.

A leader is to lead others into their destiny in some way shape or form. They are to call out excellence and help teach in the stewardship of it. They are to revive with passion, truth, integrity and honesty, when it’s necessary. They are to allow uniqueness in personality and gifting, and nurture an atmosphere that encourages that variety. They are to lead by serving. They are to love those they lead. How else is it possible to lead them well? Sometimes, leading means addressing things too, but how great would it be to be addressed by someone who really loves you and wants the best for you.
If we reduce leaders to just being the people who tell people what to do, when, and how to do it, then we might as well call them the “Bossies”. That is so much less than what a leader was meant for. 

We all need a leader, not a boss.
We all get to be leaders to someone, even if are sphere of influence stops at our children or a sibling, or friend.
People must know their value. A leader is someone who at all costs, drops it all, to go after the one who doesn’t know as much and who doesn’t understand how valuable they are. 

Jesus used the example of leaving the ninety-nine sheep to go get the one that was lost. 

A leader prioritizes the joy of establishing value and purpose in those around them. They reach out to the ones who can’t keep up, or trail behind and help them. They don’t leave people in the dust.

I’ve seen people establish this kind of environment in an office, and excel in business. I’ve been taught by a teacher who treated his classroom with this much honor and because of Mr Syme, I caught the passion to pursue writing. I worked for a woman who stopped everything to secretly put snow tires on my car so I would be safe in the winter, driving around. I have a dad who led his home with so much integrity and hunger for all that is good, he instilled something so true and beautiful in each of his children; something that can never be unwoven. I have a mother who till this day teaches me what it means to give it all away because of love, and her leadership in my life has caused a domino effect in the lives around me. My husband has shown me how beautiful humility looks like on a leader, and how integrity speaks so much louder than noisy talk. None of these people had a stage or a microphone, or a huge paycheck that drew my admiration. That’s all fine too, but these people didn’t have these things and yet their impact on my life carries the most significance. Each of these people inspired me to grow, and control was knocked out of the equation completely. What an honor have been led by these great leaders. 

 Pray for your leaders and pray for this kind of leadership to raise up in every area of life. To start in the family and then flow into the church and businesses, to transform this world. 

I was having some woman issues and after about 5 months of praying and not seeing a change, I reluctantly scheduled an appointment.

It was with a heavy heart I went to a doctor’s office, a while back. I had hoped God would heal my body himself, the way he had in the past. I was resenting the upcoming, invasive procedure too, that was sure to follow.

Sitting in the waiting room, I texted my sister-in-law, Karen. It’s a good friend who reminds you of a past word God gave. She texted, “Remember, you’re there for THEM, not you.”

Awe…perspective! God had told me once that wherever I went, it was never out of need. I was there for love. It didn’t matter if it was the Dr., Dentist, Chiroprator…etc…Love leads me, not need.

I smiled at my sister-in-law’s reminder of that intimate word, right when I needed it.

“Aimee,” the nurse was calling. I looked at the woman calling me. I saw her, you know? I actually saw HER,  instead of having my eyes on myself and my fears, as they had been. She looked tired and stressed. I was able to bring encouragement to her day, because of the truth! We even got chuckling when she told me how perfect my blood pressure was and I assured her, that I would try my best to remain humble about that. (It’s been really hard though. Even now, you see how I worked it into my blog.πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚)

I saw the Doctor and then he sent me  in for an ultrasound. The technician was probably more chatty than she should have been and told me, during the ultrasound. “Hmm…this here, you see how it’s darker?” She questioned. “I’m not saying it’s cancer, but that’s the texture …uh…or color of it. Only normally, if it is cancer, it would be a smaller spot, not over your whole uterus like this.” She was studying the screen the whole time she spoke, and sounded deeply intrigued with the visuals she was retrieving. “Or,” she continued, ” you could have what they call (insert a long word.) Either way, I’d come back on Monday to hear from the doctor, if I were you,”she concluded.

 I bust out laughing. Honestly, I don’t really know why. I was uncomfortable, but it wasn’t because of that or any fearful thing. I think it was because I was surprised by her lack of tact. I wasn’t upset though. I had compassion for her and saw myself in her. I was actually thinking, “I’m glad she is telling me all this and not someone else, who might freak out for the next few days, or get her in trouble for diagnosing.”

Yes, she was sweet and she was a lot like me;a woman who probably needs to learn to talk less. πŸ˜‚ I thanked her, and snapped a quick photo (above) of my uterus. I’m not certain why I wanted a picture. Maybe because I’d never seen it without a baby in it, and it made me remember those times, and how wonderful that uterus has been to me.

All the way home, I was drawn into worship, thanking God for my amazing uterus, that has accomplished such beautiful things in life already.

Four days went by fear-free, but on that fourth night, before my early morning appointment with the Dr., I felt fear come knocking.

I got out of bed and read Psalm 139 over and over. An amazing chapter! Fear just left. No fight, no nuthin’. I decided to ask God if there was an issue in my body, cancer or otherwise?  I wanted him to tell me before the doctor said a word, because I understood that the doctor would only confirm what God said, or go against it. If the doctor said something God didn’t say, I would trust my Lord over all well-intended words. That was my heart’s desire in asking him. Also, I knew if he told me anything, it would be accompanied with great hope and promise. That’s how I want to hear it all.

He said clear as day, “There is nothing wrong with you that a little water won’t fix.”

There was my answer. Again, I laughed. This time though, because that’s just hysterical! I still don’t know if he meant water-water, or the word, so I’ve upped both. πŸ˜‚

The next morning, sitting across from the doctor, he gave me his best reasoning for the odd ultrasound pics. (not cancer or anything serious) All in all, his concerns were small. I asked him, “I think I just need more water eh?” That got a laugh out of him, which made me laugh too hard for the occasion. What happened next is embarrassing since I couldn’t stop giggling and had to avoid eye contact. I giggled like an idiot every time he said uterus. Ok, moving on…

Although the doctor didn’t confirm that I needed water, he did confirm that I’m fine. I was grateful for that, but even more grateful for an opportunity to bring LOVE into that place, and see fear shrinking in my life because of Jesus Christ!

When we surrender our lives, then we are living at His will, Love’s will. When he is my fortress, I’m safe to steward my heart inside the person named Love. It doesn’t get any safer.

This experience watered those sprouting seeds of his affection! With thanksgiving and great joy I sing, “Grow some more! Have your way dear Love, in every cell, nook and cranny!” 😊

I was 19. I was staring at these children playing in the courtyard of a Guatemalan orphanage. A bus had just dropped us off and wouldn’t be back for two hours. 

We were there to love the kids, to play with them, help them with their homework and hug them. That was the mission. Walking up to that courtyard, I felt like Jesus. Compassion was gripping me and drawing me in deep. It was a surreal dream-like day awaiting me. 

As soon as the kids saw me, I was bombarded on every side. They swarmed me like bees to their honey. Here I was to love them, and yet the welcome was so gracious, I was bubbling over. Upon this intense greeting, two questions surfaced. Why were they so happy? And why on earth were they greying at their temples?

My 19-year-old heart fainted in that moment, as my first question vanished, and the second one birthed such horror. They didn’t have grey hair. It was lice! So much lice was crawling around their temples, it made their hair look grey. Suddenly, that feeling of being like Jesus was replaced with a self-centered, vain and privileged teenager. 

Where was that bus? I looked back to see it had already left me. “Two hours here to hug them?” I thought, “I can’t do this.” I had no idea how to pass this time, and was freaking out about catching their lice, every second I stayed.

I forced a smile, finding a small comfort in our height differences. Two children grabbed each of my hands, and took me into their bedroom, while the others followed behind. They were so proud of their room and especially their bunk beds. I looked, as one little girl climbed in to show me how great it was. All the while, all I could see, was the infestation under her sheets. “No, I don’t want to get in,” I told her, accompanied with a little giggle to veil the rejection.

Walking out of that room, hand in hand, but my heart so far away, I felt sad. My first question rushed back: “Why were they so happy?” I saw one of the helpers who spoke English, preparing the lunch. I excused myself from the children to go talk to her.

She was an older lady. Her hair was greying with age (I checked) and her eyes were clothed with a great kindness. I asked her about the source of their happiness. Her response was graced with such wisdom, it changed my perspective from that of a self-centered child, to a child of God.

“They have a Papa who loves them, just like you.” She twinkled with love more brightly than any diamond ever did. “The world calls them orphans, but He calls them by name. He wants each one. He wants to feed them. He wants to love them. He wants to hug them. That is why they are happy.” She paused and concluded, “And, they don’t get much company that look like you.” She laughed and continued, “Today, is a good day. We will have rice and beans AND mango in your honor.”

It was too much kindness. I didn’t deserve it. I was crying. I wanted to fall apart. While she spoke, I watched them light up this little corner of the world with their joy. I came to minister to them and was changed by their affection instead. In the midst of one woman’s beauty and wisdom, I understood what fear was trying to birth in me. 

I walked back over to the kids, this time accompanied with more clarity. I wish I could say I wasn’t afraid at all, but I still was. There was a difference though. I had resolved in my heart not to miss an opportunity to love, by justifying those fears. I would be obedient to love. 

I whispered in an attempt to lead my soul, “God, I will love them like you. I’ll lay my head against theirs and kiss their foreheads, that they will know you more, because I am here.” I added with courage, “If I get lice, I will glory in the fact that it was for love, for you.”

Swarmed again I was, caught up inside their glee. I bent down and placed my head against the most beautiful grey-templed little boy I’d ever seen. I put my hand in his hand, and his heart grew inside mine. It was easy after that. We all played together. I laughed so hard and saw joy escape from me as well, dancing with their joy that sunny afternoon. 

I didn’t want to leave. We spent five afternoons in all with those kids. The next four days I climbed in their beds, knew each one by name, and hugged them so tight, I ached at the thought of letting go. Each day, fear played a smaller part until it couldn’t find an opening at all.  The next four days provided me with memories that changed the course of my life.

Fear will mask itself in a false wisdom. It plays dress-up in perversions of the truth, to steal from us. Its desire is to direct us to another path. Fear is our enemy. Oh but Love…let me finish with this: Love is my friend, my best friend. He is the Truth and the way and the life. His path is everlasting and He is leading anyone who wants to go with Him. I have discovered great joy in the follow!

PS: In elementary school I got lice two times. I had terrible memories and paranoia associated with it. But on this trip, I never got it. I never got lice! May be, just may be, enemy things aren’t contagious where, and when love rules the atmosphere. May be heaven meets earth, and the miraculous marrys the needy to transform it,  when we become love. I believe so. Posess us Love!  Posess me! 

The Day You Grew Up

 

My dear child who recently turned nine, wrote me a story for a belated Valentine’s Day gift. I have her permission to share it with you. I have corrected some grammar for your benefit but will keep the original, and savor all the imperfections forever, of course. She included a section at the end for me, that I have also added to my blog here titled, “About The Author.” πŸ™‚ May this story encourage you and make you smile, the way it did me.schoolpics2016 026

The Day You Grew Up

by Aliyah Perry

     The night was so very sweet, the night that swept my parents to their feet  because their new baby would be here soon. It filled my parents with a beautiful tune. It was a cold night, (yes it was) because it had snowed the other day. The night whistled and howled too.

I was born that night as my parents held me very tight because they saw the light that was in my eyes. It was a wonderful day filled with excitement and love.They thought I looked like the dove that was always beside the lake, but I thought I looked more like Jesus’ child.

When I was two, I told everyone what to do.

When I was eight my parents said that I had grown up that day, because I taught everyone about Jesus. I told them, there is joy everywhere and that you don’t have to fear.  When you do something wrong, you just say sorry to God and do you know what he says? He says that he loves you so very true.  I taught that to everyone I knew.

When I was thirty, I spread love everywhere I would go. I remembered hearing my Grandfather say the words, “Jesus is the King and he is loving.”

Do you know what’s true? Every time you push Jesus away he just comes back to you. Do you know what this means? He loves you dearly. Remember Jesus is loving and dear and I’m telling you that if you believe in him, there is lots of love and joy that is left to come.

The End

About the author

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She lives in North Carolina. She lives in a little house on the street (she proceeds to give our address) and has a mother named Aimee, a Father named Eric and a sister named Sage. She has written the books “Tara and Alyssa” and the series of “Buttercup” and “Jacky” and “The Mischief Maker. She is currently working on, “Emily of the Coyotes” which is yet to be finished. But there is something you must know about Aliyah. She loves wolves and any animal in the dog family.

This book was inspired by the book, “The Night You Were Born.” Thank you for reading this book. Remember the King.

 

 

Corrie Ten Boon has captivated me for nearly three decades now.Β  I was first introduced to her through the movie, “The Hiding Place”. I then read her biography and every other thing I could find on her. If you have never heard of her, it’s time you look her up. I won’t give her story away, for she is far superior at that, but I’ll say this: Her time in a German prison camp, shared from her heart down through her pen, changed my heart forever.

This week my dad posted a quote from Corrie that I never remembered reading. I want to share it.

Corrie Ten Boom told how she met one of the Nazi S.S. guards who had abused her and her sister during the Holocaust. It was after the war, and the man had become a Christian. He offered her his hand. With all her humanity screaming for revenge, she prayed, “Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness.”

She then took his outstretched hand, and immediately begun to sense a current flowing along her shoulder, down the arm, and through her hand into his. She started to feel an overwhelming love for her former enemy. She discovered — “It is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His.”

This is powerful to me for many reasons. It’s impossible to forgive something like this, and who would ever expect her too. I certainly have hardened my heart for much-much less. “All her humanity screaming for revenge”, I get that, even in my miniscule circumstances . I can relate to that feeling.

Corrie wasn’t able to forgive that man that day. She couldn’t even fake it, nor would she. She knew it was the right thing to do, but impossible to do. How many times have I had a thought run through my head in the middle of anger- A thought doing it’s best to steer me right. How many times have I knocked that thought as far away as possible?Β  How do I choose forgiveness in the midst of an opportunity screaming for a distortion of justice? How do I do that?

We desire to see justice immediately! Is it even real justice if I carry it through with my hardened heart though? What is justice anyways? Is it making people pay for what they did? On a smaller scale, is it me giving the silent treatment, or holding back love? All I know is that I have an inability to be “ok” while pursuing justice from a place of hurt. I may say I’m ok, but the black spot on my heart is a dead-giveaway that I’m not.

Justice is what God does. It’s who he is! Justice redeems hearts. Justice only works through love, never apart from it. (1 Cor 13) It sees every individual through the eyes of Christ and handles them with that kind of care. Corrie was able to tap into Jjustice, because He lived in her heart. Where she came up short, Justice was overflowing, as He always is. She could only extend what was inside her to extend. When she looked in her reservoir and saw it empty, she tapped into His! WOW! That’s how she forgave him that day.

Justice for that man, who had been so cruel to Corrie and her sister, looked like forgiveness. It looked like love, Christ’s love. Love had already found him, but I guarantee you that day, Love consumed and redeemed his innermost parts, and he was never the same.

Heavenly justice transforms lives. It’s not to suggest there are no consequences for sin. There certainly are. I’m referring more to the heart’s positioning toward people who have hurt us, rather than the natural progression of sin. For example, I know when I’m still mad at someone. I can talk all day long about how I forgave them, but in my heart, I call myself a liar if that’s not true. I condemn my own heart. The truth would be that I want to forgive, but my reservoir is empty. I haven’t yet tapped into His, and I’m not sure how to. Pray for me to do that.

When we can become that honest with one another, we will experience community and building up like never before. Healing will flood through us like the river it is. I believe sicknesses will dissolve under the weight of that river. We will experience what Corrie described as a truly supernatural ability to forgive and display the justice of God.

If you are in a place where you haven’t been able to tap into God’s reservoir of forgiveness and love for an individual, I want to pray for you. You can spend the rest of your life trying and struggling, or you can experience His love for that person now. It might mean cutting off some deception and pride. It might mean accepting a humility in your heart that feels awkward, but if you’re tired of the torment, it’s worth it right?

For the sake of your calling, your purpose, your destiny, and your freedom, mercy has a plan. That space in your heart used up for this, was meant for something great. But the great can never come if it’s trapped, even though it wants to so badly. Forgiveness, feels like embracing the person and interceding for them, in a way you couldn’t before, with that black spot on your heart. It feels like you would be willing to take a bullet, or in more biblical terms “lay down your life” if it meant helping theirs. All offense has disappeared and you just want to look them in the eye and tell them how valuable they are TO YOU! It’s a miracle inside the heart, so radical, it’s worth the biggest party in heaven. And don’t you think they aren’t preparing for it right this second. It is possible, because of who Christ is. If he’s in you, his reservoir resides there. It’s time to get ready for your party.

You are the guest of honor. Don’t be late.

Many years ago, I had a significant and memorable dream depicting the difference between lust and love. The season we are in, is one where everything goes, as long as it feels good. We are being told that we must support everyone’s choices, even if it’s contrary to what will birth freedom inside them. This is so difficult for me. It’s easy to find a love for everyone inside my Father’s massive heart, and it’s my prayer to unleash it upon them like they’ve never experienced on earth. This is the good news, but I can’t pretend that I don’t see the torment. It feels like I’m watching someone I love, eat maggots, and then listening to them go on about how delicious they are. I understand this may sound like judgement, after all, who am I to judge their choices as “maggots”. I get that, so I will stop here, and begin to simply relay the dream I had.

I was in a dirty, run-down, paneled shack. I don’t know how I got there, but I was sleeping on the ground inside that place. There were about twenty to thirty other people in there with me. I didn’t know them. I was trying to sleep, but would wake up to men groping me. I felt the delirium of fatigue fogging my mind, like I had been drugged, or asleep for a long time. When I glanced to the corners of the room, I saw horrible things being done- things I want to forget. I closed my eyes and looked away, determined to try to sleep once more.

Within seconds though, I woke up to the flooding feeling of arousal mixed with intense fear. I was so confused, but I knew I was finally waking up. I stood up, and shook myself loose from the hands, and looked around the room once more. I looked straight into the faces of the people there. There was such anguish in their faces. It became too painful to watch what was being done. I wanted out. I got up and started for the door, all the while, hands trying to hold me back.

When I finally reached the outside, I was relieved, but freezing. I was dressed in a nightgown. It was dirty from sleeping on the floor of the shack. It had dirty hand prints all over it too, making me feel ashamed. I knew I wasn’t dressed appropriately to go anywhere, but I couldn’t go back to that shack. I wouldn’t. When I looked around, there was nothing but one little two-story white house, directly across the street. Everything around me was a wasteland, until I made out that little miracle-house.Β  It had all it’s lights on. It looked so inviting. I felt sure someone in that house could help me, so I crossed the street.

When I arrived to the front door, it was already open, so I just walked in. I was startled when I looked down, and saw a man sleeping in the middle of the room. He wasn’t on a bed though. He was on the hard wood floor with a purple blanket over him, and a little pillow under his head. The room was lit by a warm light. It felt like a cozy cabin.

I suddenly noticed movement. He wasn’t sleeping, but rather just laying there. I felt terrible-like an intruder, and embarrassment climbed up over my face.Β  He smiled a comforting smile, recognizing the awkwardness of the moment for me. He held up his hand, waved at me and said, “You can come in, if you want?”

I did want to. I really wanted to. I stepped inside the doorway. Once inside, I felt this overwhelming desire to go lay next to him, under that purple blanket. He just looked so peaceful, and I felt so tormented from what had just happened to me. So I did. A moment of courage had come over me, and I just laid down next to him. It felt wonderful, not weird at all. In fact, nothing in my life had ever felt so safe, or so right, until then. I didn’t even notice the hardness of the floor, and I had nearly forgotten about what was going on across the street. I felt this deep sense of relief to be inside that white house. His smile put me to sleep, and I fell into a deep rest, finally able to totally surrender to my exhaustion.

Morning came (still in my dream), and I was awakened by his voice. “Aimee, do you want to go exploring?” He asked.

I certainly didn’t remember introducing myself, but I must have, I reasoned.

“Indeed!!!!” I replied so quickly, I startled myself. I felt so rested and excited all at the same time. I wondered what the rest of this cozy cabin looked like.

“Spoken like a true adventurer,” he said, as he grabbed my hand and we raced up the little staircase.

It was a stunning upstairs! I couldn’t believe it actually. The first thing I saw was a table with a spread like I’d never seen before. I thought it odd the dining room was on the second floor. The kingly spread before me was so colorful, and there were fancy goblets. The walls had murals painted all over them. It was so vibrant, so enchanting, it truly was too much to take in without hours of study.

Had he known I was coming? Who prepared all this? Was it for me? I just couldn’t believe it. I thought surely others were coming, and he had made this for them-that I just had excellent timing.

We sat down and began to eat immediately though. I remember laughing so hard, and just truly cherishing the time with him at that table. I remember that emotion, more than the food itself. It was at that table, I began to see his face better- his twinkly eyes in particular. For whatever reason, in my dream, I couldn’t see his full face when we had first met. With every bite, his eye-color grew deeper and more intense, but also more twinkly too. Before I knew it, we had finished eating, and no other guests had arrived. Had this all really been for me?

“You want to keep exploring?” He asked again as we were finishing up. I was confused. This was the second floor to a two-story house, and I had seen it all… but again, I blurted out, “YES! Indeed! There’s more?”

He grabbed my hand a second time, his whole body seemed to smile at me. It filled me with more confidence than I’d ever had. Up we went, up a grand staircase that I thought had been just a mural. We ran up those steps like children, all giddy and such, but when we came to the top landing, I stopped short.

“What on earth is this?”

I was so confused. The marble floor spread out into a grand ballroom. It was like something out of a movie. It was about five times bigger than the floor below, I analyzed. And now that I was thinking about it, the floor we ate on, was at least three times bigger than the first floor, that we slept on.

“I don’t understand this architecture,” I stuttered as I looked at the columns circling what appeared to be this gigantic, royal dance floor. “How on earth can the base of this house support this floor?”

“Let’s dance, shall we?” He held out his hand, and pulled me in close. I was so attracted to him at this point, so intrigued, and so undone with the mystery of it all. Waltzing across the floor, I realized I was in a ballgown, not my nightgown I had on from the shack. I don’t know when my clothes changed…may be when we were eating? He interrupted my thoughts,

“I want to take you to the next floor,” he whispered, while music notes starting to fly around us. Actual music notes were coming out of his mouth and filling the room with a sound, a frequency of a music I couldn’t recognize. They kept coming out, all different colors too, while he continued to speak.Β  “…But, you should know, it’s twenty times better than this floor. It’s bigger too, by about that much. It has more rooms than you can imagine. Each one is special to me, so unique in it’s offering. You won’t believe it Aimee, you won’t believe your eyes. I want to take you there. Do you want to go?”

“I don’t understand this house?” I wasn’t protesting. I was genuinely perplexed about what was happening. “It doesn’t make sense. How can it keep getting bigger? How does the base support it? Are we going to end up in the sky? What do you mean better?” Meanwhile notes were wrapping me up in a music so grand, I could hardly stand. Was I even ready to go to another floor?

He began to laugh. He laughed so hard, his eyes got teary. When I looked at him, I started to laugh too. I couldn’t help it. Somehow, my confusion did seem funny and my questions so out-of-place for this PLACE. When we were laughing together, I could finally make out his whole face. It became so radiant, it wrapped me up inside it’s brightness. Yes, I could finally see him and his face was so mufti-faceted.Β  (I don’t know how to put into a words an experience inside a dream that possesses my thoughts every day since. No words will do it justice, so your imagination will have to fill in the blank.) He recognized instantly, that I could see him…fully.Β He was looking at me too, and I felt his gaze through all my senses. I thought I was going to dissolve under such an intense gaze, and truly I did.

“Aimee, you can never get to end of me. You can search every day and only find more. You can explore every floor with me, and discover it will only out-do that BEAUTIFUL imagination of yours, every time. Love is like that. It grows deeper, wider and higher with every turn. It won’t make sense, and only the ones who have eyes to see the floors, will see them. We could have been happy laying down there on that first floor all your days. You would have felt safe and loved, and never have known what was upstairs. I couldn’t help but ask you if you would come with me here though. I knew you would love it. When you said yes, I felt my heart leap. It’s an upside down structure, you see? It starts in your future home, but I find you in your present home, and we travel together forever..up and up…”

The dream ended. I woke up, still in his presence. His sweetness was lingering in my room. I couldn’t see him now, although my eyes were open, but I could feel him. I knew immediately, God wanted to show me the difference between lust and love.

The shack was lust. It became torment. It became chains of entrapment. I had now seen the first three floors of LOVE’s house, and was invited to the fourth. It had been proven to me that the natural progression of passion, love and intimacy increases in this house. I never, never want to leave.

Lust is selfishness at it’s very core, no matter how we pretty it up in our generation.Β  It’s not sexy to use someone to feel better, ever! Selfishness has nothing to do with love.

Love gives. Lust takes. Love beautifies. Lust objectifies. Love honors. Lust degrades. Love cleans. Lust dirties. Love frees. Lust traps and so on, and so on…

Love is eternal. It doesn’t ever lose it’s shine. In fact, it multiplies it’s brightness in incomprehensible dividends.

Tomorrow, love becomes greater, kinder, and more patient still. Tomorrow, love is better still.

So you see, I’ve eaten maggots in my lifetime too. It’s not judgement. I love you no less if this is where you are. In fact, I may love you more, since I can relate.Β  Sometimes we choose maggots, because we can’t possible believe there is something better. Sometimes maggots help our stomachs not to feel so empty, in this painful world. I get it. I’ve seen the torment though, that these choices bring long-term. Like true maggots, they feed on us and destroy us from the inside out.

So lust or love? What do I want to pursue in my life? What do I want to believe for? Or live for?

I’m believing that we choose the little white house, that meets us on our path, wherever we are. I’m believing in a staircase that knows no boundaries, an architecture that bends to no earthly laws. I’m believing that the person of LOVE holds my hand, our hands, all the way up to our eternal home. There’s no contest. I’ve tasted lust and it’s left me sick. I’ve tasted love….and I’m addicted!