Daddy’s Home for Easter

Radiant warmth beamed down

As we sang of truth and hope

Fellow sojourners on every side

Melodies unlocked the recesses

Of heart and mind and soul

Allowing tears to outward flow

And a soothing balm to enter in

Images and flashes of painful moments

Glimpses of hospital rooms and graves

From the back to the front of my mind

Not to haunt but to heal this time

Resurrection promises more than hope

But blessed assurance and peace

We do not think, or hope or just believe

We KNOW because he ascended

So too shall we who are alive in Him

Dad made it a point to let us know

The Christ, his Savior was his hope

So he is home and he is whole

Restored, renewed, and rejoicing

And whether it’s a whisper from him

Or a whisper from our Lord

Heaven came down to hug my soul

This sunny Easter morn

Radiant beam from the Son

On this most sacred day

To let me know my Daddy is with Our Father

And we’ll be together again

Ex tenebris, lux

This Holy Week has been a journey from a triumphant entry into a city to the temple, the mountains, an upper room, a garden, a praetorium, to a cross, and a tomb sealed with a stone. We have the privilege of living in a post resurrection world. We knew on Friday, that Sunday was coming. His disciples (our predecessors) however, did not.

I try on Holy Saturday to spend some time imagining what it was like for them. I try to imagine how they must have felt, what they must have done, what they must have thought. I do this because it has become my tradition to consider this whole week with Christ , so that Sunday’s bells and hallelujahs are even sweeter and louder. I do this because I do not want to take for granted the true miracle of the resurrection and the hope it is for us all.

This Holy Saturday this quote from C.S. Lewis kept coming to mind. While I don’t know exactly how Peter, James, John and the other disciples felt that dark Saturday, I know very well what it was like when I lived in my own darkness. I write so far removed from that time that it seems as far away to me as the Saturday we were all rescued.

Lewis is right, any part of us that is resurrected has to die. I can tell you many things in me that have died. Some quickly and some painstakingly slow. This death was necessary before new life could spring forth.

What has died in me : People pleasing, approval addiction, codependency, shame, nightmares from past trauma, a critical spirit that was born from insecurity, lies, fear, false identity, brokenness from my parents divorce, pride, anger from betrayal, unforgiveness, bitterness, envy, greed, comfort eating, mistrust , fear to speak the truth and stand up for what is right, excess worry, the inability to sit still.

Resurrection is bringing death to life.

I was dead in my sin. I was so sin sick, I didn’t even realize how bad it had gotten until I was so deep in the pit that there was no crawling out. I was in a toxic, abusive relationship. I had made poor decisions. I was failing out of college because I invested all of me into a relationship where the receiving person did not truly love me back because he did not know how.

The physical and emotional pain from that relationship damaged any esteem I had. I found myself in a downward spiral. I was telling lies to avoid getting in trouble. I became so good at telling lies I began to believe them and repeated some of the insignificant falsehoods long after the relationship had ended. I had made my own bad decisions before this unhealthy relationship, so I do not cast blame on him or make excuse. I was in a bad situation, but I reacted poorly. In fact the relationship ended after 4.5 years and I still made poor choices. 

The truth is this: when I was a 10 year old little girl I knew who Jesus was and I professed my trust and belief in him. I knew he was my Savior. What I did not know was who I am in him.

So here I am in a pit that is dark, cold and I am wading in my own sin. The guilt and shame of my own actions and reactions. I was pretty low. In addition to that I was in the middle of my LVN program and hanging on for dear life to remain in the program because I had to work full time which was looked down upon. I had an unstable living environment and my finances were a constant challenge. Life was hard situationally when I found myself in this pit.

So in the midst of this a friend of mine looks at me and says, “You need to go to church with Josh tonight.”

I scoffed at him, ” You don’t even go to church. You are not even sure what you believe. Who are you to tell me to go to church?”

I don’t recall his reply. I was frustrated, but what he suggested was something I just couldn’t get out of my head. Something in my spirit was stirred and unsettled. I still believed, but I hadn’t been to church in years. So I found myself that evening driving my moped to my friend Josh’s church.

They were having a revival that week. There was a guest pastor. We opened up singing. Then it was time for the message So I am sitting there with this built up anxious expectation in my spirit. I clung to every word the pastor was saying. I don’t recall the message, but I remember very clearly what happened afterwards.

The preacher no sooner let the altar call invitation slip out of his mouth and this people pleasing , worried about what other people think, usually too shy to go up to altar girl bolted down that aisle like there was a fire to tend to. I kneeled at the altar and prayed. People laid hands on me and prayed. I don’t even remember the prayers, but I remember the feeling of being there but not. At one point I opened my mouth and did not understand the words I was saying. (That part I used to be nervous to share and tell others, because oh she is one of those. I mean what would people think about this sensible person ). You know what, if I am going to tell you what happened you might as well know that was the honest to God truth. I had never experienced anything like it before or since. But I was speaking words I didn’t know while I prayed and other people prayed.

At some point I just knew it was time to get up and go back to my seat. I did. At that time I noticed others were receiving prayers too. We sang. The service ended. I drove away on my moped and the only way I can explain it was I felt lighter. It was as if someone had lifted the weight of the world off my shoulders. As I drove home I couldn’t help but notice the grass was greener, the sky seemed more blue and whatever heavy feelings and presence that been lingering over me was gone.

That was a turning point in my life. I pressed in and finished nursing school. Things began to improve. I made better choices and tried to surround myself with more positive people. There were slip ups along the way, but this was definitely one of a handful of turning points in the life of one Shelly Lynette Curtis.

There were several more turning points which included my marriage, becoming a mom, becoming a Nurse Practitioner, getting baptized as an adult, and the Lord using an opportunity of a failed business to get my attention and grow me exponentially in my faith by discipling me through people he placed all around me when I wasn’t looking.

So this 48 year old Jesus girl who has been married 22 years to a man who loves the Lord with a 17 year old daughter who loves the Lord and is surrounded by so many clergy and beautiful brothers and sisters in Christ has come a long way from that pit.

I was dead in my transgressions, wasting away in guilt, shame, lies, and fear. I was barely keeping my head above water.

He rescued me from myself. He saved me, but he did not stop at my salvation. He surrounded me with people that would encourage me. He gave me a purpose. He has led me in the path of righteousness by discipling me through various ways and thanks be to God I will never be the same!

He has allowed me to cross over from the path of death and destruction to life. He called me by my name and told me I was His own. He restored me. He restored my academic integrity. I went from a 1.68 GPA at Sam Houston to graduating with my BSN at UT Houston with a 4.0. He gave me a career where I could use my caregiving nature to take care of others and support my family and do well financially. He restored my sexual integrity with a healthy God honoring marriage. Despite having an abortion as a young adult, he allowed me to have a healthy child and be a mom. Her name means light or Lord. She is my light from the Lord because she is a constant living reminder of His mercy.

So I mean it when I say there is nothing the Lord cannot breathe new life into.

I am glad that from death, with our God whom nothing is impossible, new life is found.

I found out the day I lost myself, is the day that I found God.

-Switchfoot

True Lies

Wisdom is wealth
Yet we are tied
to a device
Don’t think twice
About what you believe
Open up and take the headline we feed
Don’t dig deep
Cause You’ll lose sleep
The World enslaves us
Lies about the One who made us
Because the lies they crave us
Feed off rebellion and naivete
Don’t you believe in what I say
It’s not likeable anyway
Gotta further separate
Truth from lies
Blur the lines
You’ll be fine
If you march in place
Don’t you think
Don’t you seek
I will tell you what to believe
We’re all numb
No pain, but dumb
Beat the drum
Just don’t sing out
What life’s about
Cause if you believe in love
Then you’re weak
Cause real love cost you everything
But its return is exponential
It’s providential
Your true potential
Is not wrapped in chains
It doesn’t blame
It doesn’t lie
It doesn’t cut you down to size
It gives you freedom
At a small price
See the sacrifice
Has been made
It only costs you faith

Truth Serum

We got the winners, losers the in between 

You don’t want me to make a scene

But I’m coming clean

I won’t be obscene 

But I’m going to tell it 

Like it is

Won’t be sugar coating 

I’m not gloating 

Wish I was floating 

But your ego is bloating

Now your head is filled 

With too much of you

Took those pills

But you still you

And I’m still me

And we still can’t seem to agree

Cause you read the truth on the screen

In a magazine 

And it was in a scene

But wait a minute

It’s got you in it

But you weren’t there

And you’re not aware

They using you 

To sell the lies

To hypnotize

You are the prize

You mesmerized 

They are playing you

And playing me too

Got us shouting 

Doubting 

Rerouting 

Our steps our plans our lives

Now we march in place

To their drum 

What a disgrace 

They think we’re dumb

Cause we took the bait

Swallowed up the hate

They served on a plate

And they manipulate

Don’t contemplate

Just inflate, deflate, relate

To the lies they feed

And the evil seeds

No fruit it yields

Just left in fields

That are deserts , dry

Wondering why

So let’s not comply

Stand up stand together

Unite

Let’s start forever

And Fight

For what’s right

Starting tonight

And that’s LOVE

Let the Darkness Fear

It comes in the night to the lonely soul; it comes in the day to the weary body; it comes in the evening to the grieving heart; it comes and for some seems never to part. It wears down the mind as it tears down the soul; Whispering lies and watering roots fed by wrong deeds, guilt, shame and fear; Lies get stronger and then births despair. Quiet, still, dark- the only sound is the beating of a heart.
CLASH! BANG! What is that explosion? My eyes, it’s TOO bright, it is piercing.
What is it? I can’t bear it, but my soul runs to it. My soul yearns , burns for it.
TRUTH. LOVE. HOPE. COMPASSION. SACRIFICE. LOVE. HOPE. TRUTH.
Let the darkness fear! Christ has overcome. Chains are breaking every day.
Warriors are rising up. HIS Kingdom is coming, His army of LOVE is growing. LOVE conquered death. Let the darkness fear! TRUTH shattered lies. HE has overcome. We are HIS. We have overcome. Let the darkness fear!

Seek and ye shall find

Seek and hold fast to what is good! We are given minds to reason, explore, and discern. Our Creator could have made us robots, but instead he gave us a will that is free to choose. Why? Because love is the aim and forced love is not love at all. So explore, seek, discuss, debate, question and discern what is good and noble and true and pure and hold fast to these things.
There is a Spirit of truth that helps one overcome their own flaws, biases, self-centeredness, and brokenness to discern what is true. Seek and you shall find.

ones and One

But your throne is humility and peace. And now I see that no one can be at peace until they have become humble. Humility and peace: how good it is for a man or woman to be humbled so that they can attain to peace.

Guigo II, ninth prior of La Chartreuse

It is all to easy to get one’s pride puffed up ,even for the typically selfless person . For them Pride does not take hold due to self but often times it is their concern for others. You see Pride is an insidious foe. She creeps in slowly as if stealth and obfuscation are her prime skills. She cloaks herself in indignation and moves about in partial truths. She gets the part of the story right that is convincing and that warrants others to champion her cause. Yet she leaves out some minor details. “Oh, don’t dwell on the role you played in contributing to the issue,” she whispers, “it really did not play much a part in the bigger picture.” Unaware the soul believes it and can move forward in moral outrage and exclaim cries of ” How could you?” or “What were you thinking?” Meanwhile Pride sits back and watches the dramatic whirlwind ensue. One argues with the world and not oneself and then it is one against the world and eventually us versus them. Them is whomever is not us. The whole misery go round is self-feeding and can go on for hours, days, months, and even years if one lets it.

How does one stop the misery-go-round that Pride has oft led us to? Plain and simple: solitude. Now mind you, this time I will beg of you to depart from what Webster and the others define as solitude. For in reality solitude does not mean the state of being alone. One can be alone and not in solitude. One can be alone and not lonely. For there is the One who is all present and all knowing that is everywhere. That One does not change. It is when we are aware of the One when we are no longer alone. When we dwell on the One and get outside of our own mind and leave the self behind and the need to be validated, entertained, understood, heard or needed that we are ready to experience solitude. When one can take one’s mind beyond self and place it upon the One, then we reach solitude.

In this sacred, hidden place this is where the part truths become apparent. This is where Truth is revealed and the light is shone on Pride, Envy, Lust, Greed, Wrath, Sloth and Gluttony and all of their minions. The mind becomes aware of what the soul in its inner core knew all along because it was made by the One in the image and likeness of the One. The body and mind drifted from the One and thus has made the soul sick. However the One is not only all knowing, all present and just. The One is also loving and merciful. The One offers a balm no earthly physician could ever manage. While in the material we have learned many ways to heal the body, only the One can heal the soul.

Once this reality becomes apparent one can see the Truth and is humbled by the reality of justice, truth, goodness and though the One could stop there with this revelation that leads to humility, the One does not. The One chooses to take the ones in the humbled places and envelop them in love, mercy, and grace and this leaves one with peace. This peace transcends all things. Then solitude as Webster defines it is thrown out forever. For never again shall ones who know the One be alone again, ever.