Did you know that God sends text messages? It’s true! This past week I got two messages that seemed to be from two friends of mine… but they were not. They were from God himself. His answer to my hearts pain.
Did you know that he also sends little notes in magazines? I received the latest copy of “A New Heart” magazine and there in the first article, God had written a note. From Him to me… via Judy Squier.
Life can truly be a battle at times. I am working on another story for my “Kingdom” series. Every time I work on this project, I realize how much of the Christian life makes sense through the viewfinder of kingdoms and wars.
I was milking this morning (like every morning… ) and my mind was wandering. Suddenly I found myself getting more and more discouraged. Remembering conversations. Remembering things that should never have happened. Feeling frustrated that I had responded this way instead of that. By the time I was done, I had spent an hour thinking melancholy thoughts!
When I got inside, I felt God’s gentle reminder to turn my mind to things of Him. So, I began a list. Its been rolling around in my head all day. It has been my shield from dismal thoughts.
Brokenness Redeemed. Light in Darkness. Truth from Lies. Life from Death. Wholeness from Broken Pieces. Transparency from Shadows. Morning from Night. Grace from Condemnation. Healing from Wounds. Victory from Defeat. Joy from Mourning. Dancing from Sorrow. Trust from Betrayal. Belonging from Loneliness.
That’s as far as I got today. If you have more to add, leave them in a note! I’d love to have pages of them…
So, back to the battle. (Yes, all these pieces do fit together into one coherent thought) I have been caught in the realization that “war” is one of the best analogies of life. We’re fighting. All the time.
This morning when I was trapped in my selfish gloomy thoughts, it was the same as being in a battle and losing. When I began countering those thoughts with my list… I started winning. Each truth was like a blow from a sword or an arrow shot straight at the Enemy. Eventually he ran away. Oh, he’ll be back! But this round was won. Not because of my strength but because of God’s. The text messages. The note. The gentle reminder. His strength being poured out to me.
I'll leave you with a part of my Kingdom tale...
This is the story of “Toria”, a girl who was trapped by the Enemy and left to fight the Monsters alone until she was saved and taken to the Kingdom. Covered with scars but mostly healed, she would stay hidden when the Kings Warriors went to war, her life being controlled by fear of the monsters. She was safe but never felt like she truly belonged. This is what happened when she finally went and faced her fears.
It was then that she heard it. A low growl that made her skin crawl and her breath die in her throat. “No.” She whispered, looking around for help. No one was close enough to call out to. She heard the noise again. It was so familiar. “I said I didn’t want to come to war.” She whispered, closing her eyes and trying to pretend that everything was fine.
She opened her them and saw it. The fiery red eyes and long vicious claws. “No!” The sound was piercing and frightening. She started running, racing to escape. She never saw Clara’s head jerk up, nor did she see the Warrior-Princess deliberately turn away, so she never saw the tears that fell for her.
Toria stopped running when she came to a great stone wall. She spun around, seeing too late that she had trapped herself. It was the same monster. The one from the dungeon. The one from her nightmares. The reason she hadn’t been willing to go to war for so many years.
“Help me!” She screamed as the monster leapt toward her and the claws ripped open the old wounds on her face. She screamed again as she was knocked to the ground. Her sword was still strapped to her side, forgotten as she kicked frantically, using every bit of strength she had. Where was everyone? Why weren’t they helping her? The fear that had been laying doormat for years began to grow and spiral through her until she felt as if she couldn’t breathe. The pain blossomed and blood streamed into her eyes. With all she had left, she shoved the monster and stood to her feet. Then she ran again. She ran and ran, terrified. Something pushed her from behind and she ran faster.
Wiping the blood from her eyes she caught sight of Clara, fighting bravely. She waved her arms, hollering her name even as she felt the monsters hot breath on her neck. Clara looked toward her but continued on, never moving to save her.
Horrified, she looked around. Everyone was busy, distracted. They didn’t seem to notice that she was dying. A claw sank into her shoulder and she cried out as she went down. Why am I trying? She thought as the pain enveloped her. They don’t love me. They aren’t helping me. They promised to never feed me to the monsters, yet I am being eaten just the same.
Her hand fell limp at her side, brushing the hilt of her sword. Aldwin’s voice echoed in her memory. “Remember your sword, Tori. It is the only thing you have to fight with.” She kicked her feet against the monster and yanked her sword free. Her arm was so weak she could barely lift it. “Use the King’s name, Toria, speak it, sing it, shout it. Keep your mind on Him.” Alana’s voice whispered along with Aldwin’s.
“For the King.” The barely audible words slipped from blood stained lips. The monster roared. “For the kingdom!” She said, bracing the sword as the beast swiped at her, hitting the sharp edge. It only seemed to enrage the animal more. He drew back then charged with teeth bared.
I’m going to die. Toria groaned in agony. She scooted backward, glancing around. There was nothing. No one. It was only her and her worst nightmare. I’m all alone and I’m going to die.
“The King is always with you.” Clara’s gentle whisper broke through the layers of fear that were choking her.
“Where?!” She screamed, angry. “I’m dying and where is He?” Teeth sank into her arm and the sword dropped.
Rain began to pour from the sky. The water splashed against her bloodied face. In the fog of her pain she realized that the sound of the water reminded her of the King’s voice.
She looked down and found that the sword was back in her hand. Something was lifting her from the ground. The monster was roaring again, starting to charge. Warmth pressed against her back, bracing her. She let out a war-cry and lifted her sword as the monster came. Another sword appeared beside hers and a strong arm held them both steady. She watched as the beast fell to the ground in front of her, dead.
She stood staring at the unmoving body. Every nightmare she had ever faced. Dead. The warmth at her back spread through the rest of her body. She knew who was there before she turned. Knew it was Him.
His eyes met hers. His arms surrounded her. “You came.” She whispered and cried.
It was nightfall by the time they caught up with the Company. Emberlyn rushed to meet them, Alana behind her with bandages. They surrounded her, washing her face, applying ointment, wrapping the torn flesh with strips of white cloth.
The King stood beside her, holding her hand. She wanted to ask why He had waited so long but realized that it didn’t matter. He had come.
Clara came walking up and Toria felt a stab of betrayal. The King had come but Clara had turned away from her. She had begged for help and she had been too busy. They all had. They knew of her fears. Knew what she had faced all those years in the dungeons. Now there would be more scars to add to the old.
“My King.” Clara knelt. “How goes the battle?”
The King, still holding Toria’s hand, smiled. “It goes very well, Princess.”
Clara turned her gaze to Toria. “You killed your monster.”
“No thanks to you.” Toria answered, shocked at her bitter tone.
The Princess didn’t flinch or look ashamed. “You thought you needed my help?”
“Of course I did. I was all alone.” She pointed out, frustrated that she still didn’t seem to care.
“Oh, my Tori-girl.” Clara laughed. “You were never alone.” She pointed to the King, still holding her hand. “He was fighting beside you from the very beginning. You never needed me.”
Toria turned and looked into the King’s face. “It’s true.” He said, squeezing her hand gently. “I would never leave you to face any monster alone.”
Truth filled Toria’s heart. His footsteps beside her as she ran. His hand pushing hers to her sword. His voice reminding her of all she had learned. His arms lifting her up, bracing her back. His sword joining hers in the death blow. He had been there just as He promised. Warmth spread through her. She could trust Him. Even in the middle of her pain, she could trust Him. Leaning forward, she kissed His cheek.
His hand cupped her wounded face. “Oh, Beloved.” And this time, she believed him.
It barely took a week for the wounds to heal. Nothing had cut deeper than the skin and Toria was amazed at how quickly they closed and were gone.
The Celebration at weeks end arrived and she was able to attend. Her sword banged against her leg as she walked to the square, listening to the songs of the people.
Hail to the King!
Mighty and Glorious!
Loving and Victorious!
Wonderful King of All!
A step appeared beside her and she looked up into the King’s face. He smiled. She smiled back. A smile of belonging. Of faithfulness. Of trust. They reached the fountain and the King leaned forward to whisper, “Now, my little bright one, you are truly healed.”
She glanced down and caught sight of her reflection. The wounds were healed but something else was different. She looked again and saw that what He said was true. The scars were gone.