My Journey Along the Narrow Way

Archive for December, 2009

The Door…

All my life I had been walking down a dark, dreary alley. Let me describe it for you. It was damp stone with moss growing between them and cracked and broken bricks. The street was also brick and could be very slippery. Sometimes I would slip on the brick and fall and skin my knee or hurt my hands when I tried to catch myself.

From time to time, I would come to place where the buildings rising up on either side of me were a little farther apart and, if it was daytime, I would have a glimmer of sunlight around me. But most of the time it was dim or even downright dark. And there was no color anywhere. Just blacks and browns and grays everywhere.

There were people around me once in awhile. And every now and then there would be someone there that seemed to shine with light from within. But mostly I trudged along by myself. I did all the things I was supposed to do every day, but I couldn’t seem to escape the alley.

Once in awhile I almost felt like I had escaped! Things would be brighter there might be some blue skies and some nice, soft grass under my feet. However, sooner or later (usually much too soon), I found myself back in my alley – trudging down the uneven brick – in the dark, colorless place that was my home.

Then one day, one glorious day, I found myself in what seemed to be almost a maze. I couldn’t seem to get out of the maze. No matter which way I turned and walked, I always ended up right back going through the maze. And sometimes I was really upset and wanted out of the maze, but mostly I was curious as to where the maze led and how I got in the maze in the first place.

Then one day I noticed that it began to be a little bit lighter in the alley. It wasn’t a big change but it did seem to my eyes that I could see the stones and bricks a little clearer. I didn’t think I was stumbling near as much either. Also, I began to notice things around me in a different sort of way. There were actually more people around me than I had ever realized. Maybe it was because there was a little more light that I could see them better. I also could see their expressions on their faces and hear them talking.

I also noticed that everyone around me seemed a little excited about something up ahead. And when I thought about it, I realized that I had a sense of anticipation and excitement as well.

As days went by, I noticed that it was definitely getting brighter. Through the brightness I could also see how really dingy and dirty everything around me was. I also noticed that even though everyone had that sense of excitement, beneath that excitement there seemed to be a sense of desperation and longing in everyone’s face. When I saw that desperation and longing, I realized that it had been on these people’s faces all along. I had never seen them without those feelings.

The excitement continued to build. People around me had started talking to each other and to me about what lay ahead. What could it be? What did it mean? There was so much anticipation but also still some nervousness too. What would it be like in that light? What if I liked my alley better?

But still we trudged along. And it got lighter. And suddenly, at the end of the dim, dirty alley we saw it! It was a door.

The door was just a plain, ordinary door set into the brick. There was nothing new or even very exciting about the door. It was what was beyond the door that was so exciting. There was light. There was color beyond my wildest dreams. It was as if everything in the world had gone from black and white into Technicolor! There was so much detail in everything I could see through that door. There was also music more beautiful than anything I had ever heard. It seemed as if everyone on the other side was so happy they were laughing and singing all at once!

As I looked I felt the deepest, most profound longing to walk through that door. I actually started to walk right through it but then the doubts and fears started. I had a huge wave of doubt. “Do you really think you, of all people, belong here? What would happen if they found out who you really are? What if they knew how you acted, how you thought deep inside?” I thought if I just stepped back and finished some of those improvements I always thought I needed, then I would be ready to walk through that door. Maybe if I took a good, hot bath and cleaned myself up, then I would be ready.

I looked around and saw that many were hesitating. But what I really noticed was there was a man behind each one of those hesitating and he was whispering in their ear! I didn’t know what he was saying to them but everything he said caused them to hesitate and the wonder and excitement that had previously been on their face was leaving.

I began to worry that I had one of those men behind me too. When I turned around, there he was. And what I thought were my worries and fears were actually what he was whispering in my ear, “Who do you think you are? Do you really think anything over there is for you?”

I realized he was trying to keep me from going through that door. I also realized that there was nothing I wanted to do more but go through that door right at that moment.

I looked back one last time through the door. Beyond the door I could now see my dark, dreary alley. I saw poor, sad people trudging along the alley with their heads down. They were so intent on not stumbling; they didn’t even see the open door in the alley. How I longed for them to look up and see the open door.

Then I turned and stepped through the door.

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:44

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The Clampetts Come to Town…

In 1992, back when Bella was 5 and Joey was 2, our family moved to Fargo, North Dakota. We were like fish out of water when we arrived. Let me explain…

First of all, I was born in Colorado, but we moved when I was four years old. After that, I grew up in Southern California and Alabama (back and forth pretty much). Two nice, warm states. I remembered the cold and snow from Colorado, but vaguely. My husband was born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama, as were our children. So they knew nothing about snow.

The trip driving up to Fargo was an experience in itself. We discovered somewhere around Tennessee that Bella got extremely car sick on long trips. Who knew? Let me tell you, it is NOT fun to clean vomit out of the backseat of a car, out of a basket of toys, and off of a little brother’s shoe on the side of an interstate with cars whizzing by and your husband dry heaving beside you. Just saying is all…

On Day 3 we finally pull into North Dakota. It was cold and blowing snow. Did I mention it was the first of November? Everyone else pretty much had either snow tires or chains. Also, they had nice warm parkas but not us. We had little measly thin Alabama coats and we were FREEZING.

So as we pull into to town, we go to Wal-Mart. I’m sure we looked hilarious running through the blizzard, with no snow gear on, in our tennis shoes, into Wal-Mart. An hour and a couple of hundred dollars later, we are fully outfitted with parkas, boots, scarves, gloves, hats, and snowsuits for the kids. Ahhhhh…we are finally warm.

Next, it’s on to the grocery store to get some provisions. Another hour and another hundred dollars later, we are fully loaded with groceries and ready to see our new apartment. After running by the real estate office, we are finally ready to get to “Home, Sweet Home.” Sounds easy doesn’t it? Well, it wasn’t.

Here you had an Alabama boy driving the car…one who had learned to drive in the snow during the last day. And not very well, I might add. We turned onto our street and slid right on by the driveway. OK…let’s try this again. We drive around the block and promptly slide right by the driveway again. It took either three or four tries before we finally got into the driveway.

Our apartment was on the second floor so we decided not to carry all those groceries up the stairs but rather throw them up to the balcony. I bet you can guess whose brilliant idea that was. The kids and I go ahead up to the apartment and Bud unloads the car, throwing each tied bag up to me. It all went fairly well until he threw the milk. For some reason, I saw it coming and ducked. It promptly exploded as it hit the sliding glass door. I never did get all the milk off the door until the spring thaw…

Finally we were done with the groceries and the kids and I watched out of the part of the sliding glass door that wasn’t covered in ice milk as Bud parked the car and attempted to come on up to join us. I say attempted because he was walking across the parking lot and the next thing we saw was feet in the air and Bud on his back in the snow. Hilarious!

All I can say is the Clampetts came to Fargo that day!

I’m Cured…

Recently, I had a troubling experience with an infection. Through a strange set of circumstances, I ended up finding out that I had brought something more than souvenirs back with me on my trip to Indonesia. The worst part of the whole experience was the fear that I had infected my husband and children as well.

It ended up that I was the only one infected (due to a shot that didn’t quite “take”). Of course, I was very thankful for that. But it did get me to thinking…

I am completely and totally infected with sin. You are too. In fact, we all are. Yet we never think about how this sin infection is affecting and infecting our family, our friends, and even complete strangers.

Every day we walk around spreading this infection around through our actions. Everything we do, even with the best of motives, is sin-filled and dirty in the eyes of our Holy God.

We are called to be light to those around us. How can we be the light that points others to God when we are full of dark, dirty sin? The bad news is – we can’t. The good news is – Jesus can. And He does it through us when we trust in Him and ask Him to be our Lord and Savior.

And in this dirty, dark world, Jesus is a bright light. Like a lighthouse in the ocean that keeps ships from crashing into shore, Jesus shows us the way with His light. We are drawn to this light like a moth to a porch light.

So, with Jesus within me, I am now a lighthouse to the lost and searching people around me. I reflect this light to everyone around me…even fellow believers! I am no longer a person infected with sin dragging down people; I’m a light showing people the way.

I’m cured!