Daily Prompt: Sixteen Tons

(How do you feel about your job? Do you spring out of bed, looking forward to work? Or, is your job a soul-destroying monotony of pure drudgery, or somewhere in between?)

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If you know the song, you know it’s about miners and owing your soul to the company store.  I think this photo is so sad.  It’s labeled “Junior Miners,” and it really brings home what these boys had to look forward to. 

I’m thankful to say that most of the three days a week that I work, I go off singing “Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work I go!”

Of course, no job is perfect. At the end of some days, I come dragging in like last year’s leftovers. My days can be tough, filled with stories of betrayal, heartbreak, deceit, and despair. 

BUT:  There are lots of days when I’m able to help roll back the gloom and restore some hope. God’s Word is amazing. It has the answers to every problem anyone has ever brought to me. Sometimes we just need to search a little before we find it.

I think of my job not so much as being a therapist, but as being a problem solver. Most of my working hours are spent helping people think about their situations from a different (biblical) perspective. Voila!  There is always hope. 

Blessed Art Thou

Matthew 16:17. “And Jesus answered and said unto him, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven.”

Jesus had asked the disciples what the people were saying about His identity, and got a variety of answers.  Then He asked the disciples, “Whom say ye that I am?”  Peter spoke up and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God!”

Have you ever wondered how delighted Jesus must have been to hear, for the first time from human lips, the full truth about Himself? Finally, at least one of the disciples was starting to catch on! 

Furthermore, it was not of his own wisdom that Peter recognized Jesus as the Son of God.  It was God Himself Who had revealed to Peter the truth of Jesus’ identity. And now, the stage is set for a most wonderful revelation, something so new and so different that it is referred to as a mystery, something hidden. 

Stay tuned.  It gets better!

Daily Prompt: Mr. Sandman

(What kind of sleeper are you? Do you drop off like a stone and awaken refreshed, or do you need pitch black and silence to drift off to dream?)

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For as long as I can remember, it has been a book that puts me to sleep.

My husband, on the other hand, barely touches his head to the pillow before he starts to snore.  I’ll never understand how he can do that. Never ever.

How on earth does anyone just snap off his brain? I mean, in MY head there’s this whirring projecter that never stops rolling.  Pictures, songs, TV shows, conversations, you name it–it stays in my head.  He, on the other hand, says “Good night.” and promptly goes to dreamland.

I need the Sandman.  If I’m exhausted, it will take me maybe ten minutes to nod off.  But if I’m not all that tired, it can be an hour or more before the eyelids roll down like venetian blinds and I float off to join my husband. And Mr. Sleepsalot  has set me up with a timer on my bedside light that turns itself off so I don’t have to wake up to do it. Very cool.

Of course, he’s an early morning person– which is without doubt the absolutely most irritating thing for anyone to be. Mr. Cheerful, he boings around like Tigger before the sun is up!

What I need for him is a Sandman who can keep him asleep at least until the birds stop singing and I’ve had my morning coffee!

 

Daily Prompt: Young At Heart

(What are your thoughts on aging? How will you stay young at heart as you get older?)

These daily prompts are fun.  They make me think.

What I think about this one is that I feel sorry for those who dread any sign of aging; who value old people very little; who equate age with senility and uselessness. Frankly, just the opposite is true for me.

I’ll be 67 next birthday.  The only real regret I have is being overweight, but that didn’t come just with age.  It’s harder to get rid of as we age, though.  I guess I also miss being able to sing.  That’s something I never thought about losing until maybe ten years ago, when I recognized the vast inequality between male and female voices.  Women’s voices age earlier, get the quavers, become either shrill or way too deep.

Other than that?  I don’t regret a thing.

My life has not been trouble-free, but the joys far outweight the sorrows.  There are laugh lines around my eyes, and I’m fine with that. There are wrinkles in my forehead, and I’m fine with that.  I don’t particularly love my turkey wattles, but you know, they haven’t always been there.  For years and years I had a normal neck  😉  In fact, it was normal for more years than it will be wattled, and you know–scarves are a very big fashion deal!

I have some of the conditions that come with age:  My friends Arthur and Burs (itis); two artifical knees; bunions that prevent me from wearing cool high-heeled shoes; varicosities that look like roadmaps.  But I don’t mind, because I’ve earned all of it. My hair is almost entirely grey these days, and that’s ok too. I never got into coloring it because I’m just too lazy to keep touching it up.

So what are the benefits?  Well, I’m very thankful to say that I’m in generally good health, still able to work three days a week, to enjoy my grandchildren, to continue to learn new things every single day, to enjoy a good meal and good friends.  There’s nothing more pleasant than to be in the company of people you love, and who love you back–even if you’re no longer youthful-looking.

Mostly, I believe my relationship with God has kept me young at heart, because no matter how tough things can be in this old world, I’m always, always looking forward to the sure hope of heaven for all eternity. Not only will I be reunited with those who have gone ahead of me, but I will finally see the One Who provided His Son for my salvation, and I will be able to enjoy His presence forever.

Some people fear old age because they fear death. When you know Jesus Christ, death holds no fear. It is only the bridge from this world to the next, where age won’t matter at all.

_________

Daily Prompt: Three Coins in the Fountain

(Have you ever tossed a coin or two into a fountain and made a wish? Did it come true?)

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Thirteen is a wonderful, terrible age. Still caught somewhere between childhood and womanhood, the thirteen-year-old girl has hopes and wishes and dreams that she doesn’t truly understand.  Things are happening in and to her body that are both exciting and confusing. Emotions she doesn’t understand can overwhelm her with sadness or delight.   She’s at odds with herself, with her family, with everything as it is; at the same time, she needs desperately to have the comfort of her family and the safety of home while she dreams about all the things on the outside of that  comfort zone.

So, as Gina stood at the fountain that shimmered with  wish coins, she gripped her own while she thought of all the things she could wish for.  Her dreams tended to reach far into the future. She saw herself as a prolific writer of great historical novels. She pictured a mansion filled with beautiful furnshings and  echoing with the laughter of children. She heard the resonant voice of the world’s most incredbly handsome man as he called for her when he came in from his business day.

Leaning over the edge of the fountain, she saw herself.  Long hair, straight and mud-brown.  Bad skin. Big brown eyes, her best feature, didn’t make up for her lop-sided ears and the gap between her two front teeth.

“No,” she thought. “I’ll never be a famous anything.  I’m too plain, too poor, and too shy to ever accomplish all that.  I’ll be lucky to find an ordinary guy who doesn’t mind how short and dumpy I am, and who likes mud-brown hair.  What can I wish for that might actually come true?”

Gina didn’t believe in fairy tale magic. There would be no Prince Charming in her future, she was sure. She wasn’t about to waste wishes on things that were impossible. Lost in thought, she didn’t notice the little old woman who approached the fountain and stood next to her until she felt a hand on her shoulder. Glancing up, she smiled a bit at the kindness she saw in the woman’s eyes.

“Did you ever make a wish here?”  she asked.

“Oh, my yes.  When I was just about your age.”

“Really?  Did your wish come true?  Will you tell me about it?”

“Yes, my wish came true.  It was simple.  I wished that I would find someone to share my life with, someone who would always be glad he had met me.  That’s all I wished, but I got a lot more than I wished for.”

“What?  What else did you get?”

“Why, my dear, if I tell you that, you’ll waste your wishes on things that might not be best for you.  The key is to wish for someone you can love, someone whose life will be better because of you. Your life won’t be without sorrow and loss, but you will never regret the life you shared with a person who believes you made his life better than he ever dreamed.”

The woman turned and walked away, and Gina still sat on the edge of the fountain, dreaming.  Finally, she stood and  tossed her coins, one by one, into the clear water.

“I wish,” she whispered, “That someone else’s life will be better because of me.”

 

Sexual Assault: Focus on Male Victims, part 4

The myth for today on this subject is that  those who abuse boys are homosexuals. If you try to follow the logic on this one, you’re going to get all twisted up.  It makes about as much sense as this silly little comic strip:

So let’s take a look at some of the implications of this belief.

First,  one must assume that all who sexually abuse boys are males; otherwise, why would a homosexual woman abuse a boy? Wouldn’t she choose a girl instead?

Second, one must assume that women do not abuse boys. This is patently not true.  Here’s just one of dozens of websites on this subject: http://kalimunro.com/wp/articles-info/sexual-emotional-abuse/male-sexual-abuse-victims-of-female-perpetrators

But let’s get back t the idea that every man who abuses a boy is a homosexual. We need to be very careful about making these 100% kinds of statements, because some very damaging beliefs can develop from them. One is that a boy who has been sexually abused becomes homosexual. Another is that all homosexual males abuse little boys.  Neither of these statements is true 100% of the time. We need to be careful how we use 100% words, like all, every, always, never. 

Are there homosexual males who molest young boys?  Of course.  Are there heterosexual males who abuse young boys? Of course.  Do all boys who are molested become homosexuals?  No.  Do all boys who are molested grow up to become molesters? No. Do either of these things happen sometimes?  Sure. But not EVERY time, not ALL the time, not EVERY boy!

So why does anyone molest a young boy?

There are no simple answers here.  We need to remember that every human being is born with the nature to sin.  That sinful nature is going to manifest in many different ways.  One of those ways is to sexually abuse people who are unable to prevent the abuse.

There are several passages in the Bible that express how the sins of the fathers will show up in the children for several generations (Numbers 14:18, for example).  The meaning of these verses is not that the children will be punished for their fathers’ sins, but that the same tendency will exist in them as it did in their fathers. That’s one reason generational incest is such a problem.  An obsession with pornography, or any other kind of sexual sin, is very often traceable in the family tree.

That doesn’t mean it has to continue.  Each of us has the choice to follow the path of evil of the path of righteousness, which is a topic for another post.

There are some common features  in those who abuse children:

  • A person with power or influence over a child can develop a sexual interest in the child.
  • There are no “stops” that keep the adult from improper behavior.  It is very easy to convince oneself that it’s okay, because the child didn’t resist; the child actually enjoyed it, and so on.
  • The person acts out their sexual fantasies and impulses toward the child, because he/she can’t find an adult who will cooperate; or the person is afraid of rejection, and a child is pretty helpless.

For me, the bottom line here is that Satan is out to destroy whatever God loves; God loves children; therefore, Satan targets children with no end of abominable abuse at the hands of those who have no conscience, and who care only about their own gratification. We call them sociopaths these days. And that, too, is a subject for another post, another day.

Never discount the presence and power of evil in this world.

Thou art the Christ!

Matthew 16:15-16. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

This astonishing moment must have rocked Peter’s world, and the other disicples’ world, as well.  To my knowledge, this is the first time any of the disciples came right out and said, “You are the Son of God!  You are deity.  You are Yaweh, Messiah, Immanuel!  You are God!”

What a solemn moment. What a moment of personal realization for Peter.  He speaks up here as the mouthpiece of the other disciples. He says that which the Father has revealed to him. Whether or not he actually got the full import of his statement, we do not know. It is clear, though, that Peter and the others were beginning to realize just Who it was that they were following and serving.

I don’t know about you, but when I think of walking, sitting, or standing in the very presence of the Creator of the universe, the One Who condescended to take my place of shame and pain and then to rise again to life so that I can have life abundantly, I just can’t think of it without tears. I can barely grasp that He knew me before I was ever conceived; I can never understand that He loved me before He died for me, and that when He was on the cross, I was on His mind.