Tag Archives: pain

Carl and the Serpent

At first, I wasn’t sure what I was watching. Carl and Bee were pulling on something and neither were going to let go. The problem was the thing was a black snake that had slithered up on the porch to sun himself and didn’t realize what he had gotten himself into.

All I could do was scream. I am not sure if I was crying out for the snake or for the safety of my dogs. I couldn’t tell if the reptile was poisonous from my distance and I wasn’t going to get any closer.  So after a couple of minutes of tug a war, the dogs were no longer pulling.

It was then that I went into the screened in porch and looked over to see the remains of the snake. The head was lying on one side of the porch and the rest of the creature was lying between both dogs. Foam was seeping out of their mouths as they protected their prey.

I called my husband for advice and he told me to get the snake off the porch and throw it over the fence. Even though the snake was dead, I still didn’t want to go near it. So I recruited a neighbor to come to my rescue and discard it for me.

As he went to pick up the head, the snake opened its mouth. This absolutely creeped me out. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The mouth continued to open and close while the rest of the body slithered around five feet away. What I learned later is that this isn’t that unusual.

I couldn’t help but think about this verse as I pondered the continued movement of the snake. John 15:5-6 states, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”

Just as the snake’s body had been removed from the head, we can also be removed from the vine. Sometimes, people may even look spiritually alive and make all the right movements, but in the end, if they don’t remain in Jesus, they are dead.

John 15:7 states how we are to remain in Jesus.  It states, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

If we stay in God’s word and it remains in us, we can ask whatever we wish and it states that it will be done for us. But we need to be careful in knowing that it may not happen immediately or even in our lifetime. And in many cases, the end result may look very different from what we have perceived it to be.

Just as the snake continued to open and close its mouth, my perception of what a dead snake looks like was definitely different from what it was in reality. As for Carl, he did suffer a battle wound on his left ear. It appears the snake must have dug in as Carl and Bee pulled him a part. But thankfully, he seems fine and ready for his next encounter with the wild.





A Robe for the Scarred

It was clear. Carl was devastated. His human father had left him behind. Every Saturday and Sunday morning, Carl had the opportunity to sit in the front seat of the big black truck and ride down the road with my husband. But not this Sunday. This morning, Carl had been left.

Maybe my husband was just too preoccupied to call for Carl to get up from his bed and join him. But after the backdoor closed and the truck’s engine began to purr, Carl began to whimper. I tried to console him but it was clear that he was a hurt little puppy.

With his ears down and head almost touching the floor, Carl slowly made his way back to his bed. I tried to pet him but he turned his head away and closed his eyes.

There is no relationship like the one between a child and a father. Given that we get our first glimpse of who God is from our father, it is crucial that earthly fathers give their children the time and attention needed to raise them up to love God.

But as we all know, there are fathers that are just too absorbed with their own desires and needs which leaves the children emotionally wounded. 2 Kings 16-18 tells the story of a king and his son and how the desires of the father could have destroyed the future of his son.

It states in 2 Kings 16:3, “Indeed, he made his son pass through the fires.” Did I hear that right? Yes, Ahaz made his son Hezekiah pass through more than one fire. This was a sacrifice to a pagan idol and typically the child would die. But Hezekiah didn’t. So without burn units and medication to help with healing, Hezekiah lived with both the physical and emotional pain of a self-absorbed father.

Once Ahaz died, at the age of twenty-five, his son Hezekiah became king over Judah. Given his upbringing, we would guess that he would follow in his father’s footsteps. But he didn’t. Instead of worshipping idols, Hezekiah did what was right in the sight of the Lord.

If anyone had reason to be bitter and angry it would have been Hezekiah. But from all accounts, he trusted God with his past. With scars from the fires, God placed a robe on this young man and he ruled for twenty-nine years. And isn’t this what God wants to do with all our broken and scarred souls? Place a robe on them and adopt them for His own. All we need to do is turn from blaming others and trust God with our lives.

My husband came home and Carl ran up to him and rubbed his body against his leg. It was clear that Carl had forgiven my husband and just wanted to be near him.

In this lifetime, Carl may never wear a robe and I probably won’t either. But I am going to put my order in for one that I will wear when I reach my eternal home.



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My Garden of Friends

In John 15:12 Jesus stated, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

The tears are fresh and the hurt continues to stab at my heart. I need to change my thoughts to the gifts that I have been given. My grandson’s birthday. I remember the two hour drive to Statesville, not yet a grandmother. At that point, not sure if I wanted to be one. Then this beautiful baby was born. I never would have thought a red headed boy could be so beautiful! Thank you Lord for my grandson. I pray I will always appreciate this amazing gift.

Speaking of gifts. They come in all shapes and sizes but the most special ones are the people God has given us. They come in the shape of grandchildren, children, husbands, sisters and brothers. And then there are the friends, the chosen gifts. We can take them for granted if we are not careful. These friendships need to be nurtured like flowers in a garden. If we are not careful, weeds can grow up all around our relationships and the distractions of this life can choke out the blossoms of a friendship. On the other hand being together creating memories and finding reasons for laughter will surely cause the flower to open wide and display all of its wonderful glory. Through the highs but particularly the lows of this life can loosen our souls and create the rich soil needed for my garden of friends. So as difficult as this time is, I do believe God is creating a beautiful arrangement that will withstand this present storm and ones to follow.

Finding Treasures Along the Way

Yesterday, a dear friend of mine had a brain aneurysm that almost took her life. When I first heard the news, I was taken over with an overwhelming sense of sorrow. I was torn between wanting to go immediately to her side or giving her husband some space to process what was happening.  After realizing that I couldn’t do anything at that moment, I decided to run the errands that I had planned on doing.  First, I went to the DMV and renewed my driver’s license and then I went to the post office to mail a package.

I felt numb as I stood in line waiting for my name to be called, looking around at all of the different shades of humanity that lined the walls. Thinking about how precious life is and how easily it could be taken from us. After leaving the DMV, I made my way to the post office where I ran into an old friend from my past. She immediately asked about me and I couldn’t help but begin to cry. Concerns about my friend flowing freely.

I then asked her about how she was doing and she told me how she had had stage four colon cancer. She explained how God was ever present throughout her long treatment and recovery period. She shared how her relationship with God had been transformed because of the cancer and how she was truly grateful for it. As I listened to her, I couldn’t help but think about how God had placed her in my path at just the right time.  He gave me the gift of hope which I will forever be thankful for.

Yesterday afternoon, I did get to see my friend.  She was extremely groggy but clearly thankful for having survived. When I walked into the room, it was clear she was glad to see me and began asking about my family.  With all that she had been through, she cared enough about me to look beyond herself. I couldn’t help be in awe of having such a dear friend, a true treasure from God.

The Unwanted Friend

The Unwanted Friend

As we walk through this desert together, we have made a new friend that won’t leave us alone. He persistently is in our lives every waking moment. Our journey has been challenging but now with the addition of our new friend, it can be seen as unbearable. We are constantly asking our friend to give us some space but he is relentless.

Our friend’s name is pain. Not just the coming and going kind but the constant, unbearable type that starts in the lower back and reaches over to the hip and down the leg. Every once in a while, a little relief is found and a glimmer of hope comes to the surface. Will our friend finally leave us alone? But then as if the thought is too much to ask for, the pain comes back in a vengeance.

How can this be a friend and not an enemy? Isn’t a friend someone you hold with personal regard or affection? Isn’t a friend someone who gives assistance and support? What type of help can we be receiving from this unwanted intruder? Could it be a new perspective of life that only our pain can give us? Could God be using this friend to help us desperately seek him? To humble us to our knees and keep us constantly aware of his presence?

I have heard people say that we don’t leave God when we are facing adversity. But people tend to place him on a shelf when they are in the midst of prosperity. If this is true, maybe our friend has a new name? Could his name be God’s sovereignty in our life? If so, let us be thankful for his desire to draw us close to him, even if we have to share it with our unwanted friend.