All posts by christiekrull

About christiekrull

Inspirational writer, speaker, blogger, wife, mother, Nana, singer, and journeyer. I love life walking in the Spirit of the Living God. There is never a dull moment.

Invasion of Privacy

phil-and-doctor-squeaks

A friend of mine had her purse stolen from her as she visited among friends in a restaurant. My heart went out to her, because she is overseas, single, and reaching out to help people in that foreign country. Reflecting on this robbery threw me back to a time when I was the same age as Taylor, in my late twenties. Our family of five lived out in the country near Raymondville, Texas.

Our house sat on 1.5 acres off of a dirt road four miles from town. Surrounding us on three sides was an expansive field of sugar cane. When the crop was nearing harvest, you could not see anything else but the waving leaves covering the thick canes laden with their sweet harvest. This time of year we were hidden from the main road

I had been a stay at home mom for about ten years and since we bought our home, I wanted to help out with the payments and I began working at Mama Knox’s Dollhouse, a home daycare. I enjoyed the routine, the children and parents, but I have to admit, I really enjoyed Mama Knox’s home made sourdough rolls the most.

We were grateful for a job where I could still see my daughter, Audrey, every day, and when I found out I was pregnant again with our son, Jonathan, I was glad that I was in a place where I could bring my children and still help out some.

Things were going well until one day we went home, and as we walked toward our back porch, all was strangely quiet. I couldn’t quite figure what it was until I opened the door and saw that our two cockatiels, a normal gray and an albino, bright yellow, with peach cheeks were gone along with their cage that usually hung out on the screen porch where they could enjoy the fresh air and sunlight.

Some weeks earlier, we noticed that the shower room on the porch was wet from use, which was strange since we had been gone all day and the only time we used it was to shower off the kids when they were too dirty to walk through the house to the bathroom.They preferred tub baths.

I had been alone at the house when my husband was away at summer school, getting his teaching degree, when I would hear the outdoor spigots squeak on, water run, and then the faucets squeaked off again. I knew that we were on an immigration trail that some illegal aliens would take. One day on a hike, we discovered an abandoned house not too far from ours and I am sure it was used for a rest stop on the way. We stayed away and did not bother to investigate.

When I heard the water run outside, I would just bless the ones out there and wish them good health and a safe journey. We did not bother them and they never bothered us. I instinctively knew that the shower was being used to clean up and that didn’t bother me either. I was glad to help someone on their way and wished them well.

Today, however, I felt violated. All of the good will I extended in word and deed, and here were my children’s pets stolen right from inside our screened area. That is what was missing when we walked toward the back door. Every day as we exited our car, we would hear the shrill greetings from our two birds as we came closer to them. We teasingly called them our watch birds, because they alerted us to my husband’s return each day.

Our budget was a bit tight and so I did not look forward to breaking the news to our children that no, we would not be able to run out and replace our birds. We had them for a few years. There was a breeder who lived in town. We got them when they were tiny and hand fed them so that they were very tame. The children were heart-broken.

A few weeks later though, we came home to another incident. This time our TV, stereo, an anniversary clock, a sentimental rifle that had belonged to our grand dad,a collection of rare coins, my make-up of all things, and some antiques were missing. My cedar chest that I had received for my engagement, from my parents, was damaged and the lock was broken. It wasn’t even locked to begin with.

Oh, the feeling of how unfair, of people rifling through my drawers and closets, of the disrespect for our privacy and our loss of some very sentimental items. The children and I loved to listen to records and they danced around and put on “shows” to these merry songs, but their favorite record was taken since it remained on the turn table, when they took the stereo. The sinking feeling in my heart left me numb.

I think it was more the sadness at being a target of such an act, when we tried to be generous with the little we had and always wanted others to do well. But jerking away the things that we owned and looking through our home seemed such an invasion.

This happened again three more times that year. I wondered why I even bothered to go to work. I am sure this would not have happened had I been home.

Friends, people we did not even know, and family gave us used TVs, stereos, and money to help replace missing items.

The culprits were finally caught, but since we could not give serial numbers for the coins, we could not get them back. Same for the rifle, TV and stereo. We had to have pictures or something to prove these items were ours, and the only thing we had a picture of was our mantel clock, but it had been smashed and the works taken out.

We had been short-term missionaries in Japan for a year and had taken a pastorate at a tiny Spanish-speaking church for a year until they could get a replacement. Our salary was only $300 a month with a home and utilities provided back then, so we were not materialistic. Rather, we rejoiced that all of our children enjoyed good health, that we did posses a washer and dryer, cars that worked, clothes enough for the places we needed to go and a sound roof over our heads. God always blessed us with enough and more to give away when needs arose.

Today, I still can see the ups and downs in our lives. The challenges that arise are no less daunting. Yet, our hope is not in all things going well with no wrinkle, but our hope is in the great resources of glory and the intervention for our good from a loving heavenly father.

Choosing to look at life through the eyes of gratitude and love, and to forgive rather to become bitter and feeling victimized are rich lessons that make each new day an adventure in faith. When you are looking to find the good in every situation, you discover the miracles and treasures that are set before you daily.

Ann Voskamp once said, “When we refuse to trust God and forget to live with thankfulness, we are living as practical atheists. We are not positional atheists (in truth, we are always positioned in Christ through faith in Him), but we are living like God does not exist.”

James, the brother of Jesus wrote,

2Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. -James 1:2-4 (NASB)

Look for the treasure in each happening. Give your situations to him to partner with you. Then rest in the FACT that you have the Creator of the Universe and all of his resources working in your behalf. Declare his goodness and declare your praise and worship that you are his.

“Rejoice in the Lord alway, and again I say, rejoice.” -Philippians 4:4 (KJV)

 

MORE THAN A SPARROW

sparrow

     “So Mom, are we going to be street people?” questioned my eight year old son.

     He was astute for a third grader. Blonde hair, curious mind, industrious and thoughtful would best describe him. Fidgeting with something in his hands, always something in his hands, he waited expectantly for my response.

     What could I say that would be true? This new reality was shaking me at my foundations, yet I needed to reach out in comfort to these dear children who could not comprehend how their father’s departure would rock their secure little world.

     I searched my mind for ideas. What were we going to do? We all knew that this house belonged to the church for the next minister to live in, so with their dad resigning as pastor of the church and leaving us to “pursue his own life”, we knew we could not live their indefinitely.

     Four months earlier, my parents left as full-time missionaries to the Republic of South Africa. They were at work at a college there. My sister, Diana, and brother-in-law, Don, loved about an hour away and had their own two little ones to raise in a cozy farm house, nestled in citrus groves. There were five of us who needed a new home. So, where would we go next?

     I looked at Nathan and gave him a hug. I love to ruffle up his hair and then smooth it out again. Such a sweet face looking up my way. Lord, help me through this moment and give me the grace to stay calm and trust you.

     “Look at the birds of the air and see how God has given them beautiful feathers to fly. He keeps them warm, protects them, and there is plenty all around in nature for them to eat. Nathan, do you think God loves you more than a little bird?”

     “Yes, I know he does,” he nodded. His eyebrows remained bent quizzically.

     “Then don’t you think he already knows where we will go next? Do you think that he is getting a place ready for us even now?”

     “Yes, but Mom, you don’t have a job! If you get one, then you will have to leave us all alone! What are we going to do?”

     “First of all, I am going to get quiet and pray so that I can hear what God says to me about this. Then we will carefully wait in faith and see what doors open up. This way, we will know God is taking care of our needs.”

     I usually like to pray about things, but I had to think on my feet for this one. I needed some time to figure many things out for myself. Who should I go to? Where would we live? How could I afford to care for these beautiful children the way they deserved?

     I wanted to be at home and be the one caring for their needs. I could not help but get angry about leaving my precious charges to babysitters. Children need stability, love, and kindness. At the ages of two, six, eight, and ten, they were young and impressionable. They needed a solid foundation to stand the test of time.

     My mind swirled round and round. I was transported from a simple life full of family, chores, cooking, and happiness to problems too complex for my troubled mind to solve. My heart raced, as fear chased to imprison me.

     I called to get my haircut by a woman who worked out of her home and she told me how she and her husband were moving from their four bedroom rental home, just two blocks from the Rio Hondo schools. She suggested I call their landlord. So I did. After he heard my story and plans for college, he lowered the rent and only charged me $200 a month. That was the hand of God. That I could afford.

     The children were elated to have God provide such a large house right in town for us to live in. Believe me, I was as grateful as they were to have this opportunity fall into my lap. I knew Nathan was relieved, but as an adult, I was as well. So thankful my heavenly Father took care of us all.

But you, O God, are both tender and kind, not easily angered, immense in love, and you never, never quit. So look me in the eye and show kindness, give your servant the strength to go on, save your dear, dear, child! Make a show of how much you love me so the bullies who hate me will stand there slack-jawed, As you, God, gently and powerfully put me back on my feet. Psalm 86:11b (MSG)

     

BREATHE

Breathe Avellanas Beach

Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Exodus 20:8

The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath. Mark 2:27,28

The sun shone brightly and I wanted so badly to go outside and play, yet here I was tossing on my bed with a slight breeze stirring the sheer curtains of my room. When it rained or clouded over this ritual was no trial, but today, my active mind and body would not settle down for my nap. I briefly looked through some books to see if that might tire me, but at ten years of age, being quite active, I could not focus on reading for long. If only I could nap a bit, then I would be free to go outside and explore in the nearby wood.

My family observed resting on the Sabbath. For us that meant that on Sundays, we went to church, ate fried chicken for lunch, cleaned up and then took a nap. Later we could play outside, or inside play games. In the evening, mom would get a break from food preparation while dad either whipped up his deep dish apple pie, banana splits, or the aroma of popping corn flooded the house with his orange juice and Kool Aid  punch for our evening fare.

When I married at nineteen and left home, I carried this tradition with me. Napping each Sunday afternoon was my rest for the week. Then after the babies came along, it was a necessity to recharge and have that time free with my husband helping to put the children all down for a rest.

Yet, when I was in my twenties and a pastor’s wife we attended two services on Sunday. I attended classes at the local college, I worked part time as a waitress, then I cleaned and baked on Saturdays. I began to feel low on energy. Where was our rest?

As a single mom in my early thirties, I wrestled with finding my rest as I worked to complete my teaching degree and raise four children. 

Then one summer my children and I discovered the Sabbath. 

I worked and studied hard in school while the kids had their favorite teenager, Charlie, short for Charlotte, who played with them, took them for rides, and in between her mom’s swim classes taught in their backyard pool, my children splashed and played until we all converged in the early afternoon.

On Fridays I packed up a lunch with drinks, straw mats rolled up, towels, changes of clothing, and then with a shirt and shorts pulled over top their swim suits, my four children scurried down the porch steps and into the waiting car for our day together at South Padre Island, only forty-five minutes away.Freed from studies and  chores, our laughter, conversation, and play revived. No  budget problems to solve or facts from volumes of textbooks that waited to cram into my mind crowded my thoughts.

Carefree, I listened to the soothing regularity of the waves. I breathed in deeply fresh air from the constant offshore breezes.

Here in my sandy cathedral, I would give my confession of my fears and weaknesses. When I encountered this great God who created vast oceans and this Gulf of Mexico my problems shrank in comparison. He put my fears to rest with a sweet peace that could not be manufactured. This was his preliminary answer to my prayers. 

So much anticipation and joy came from this summer tradition. Sundays were busy with two services, then a big Sunday dinner; but Fridays were holy.

Once I started teaching, I became exhausted and it dawned on me that I had violated the Sabbath rest that God commanded for my good. I still got a nap in on Sundays, but I neglected taking a total day to gain the rest that my body, soul, and spirit required.

I asked God what I could do for a Sabbath and he gave me a strategy. I began to take Saturday as my day to restrain from work. I would throw laundry in the washer before school and do loads in the evenings and we would clean during the week, but I read books, went on walks, played tennis, took naps, and enjoyed my family on Saturdays. 

Now that I am retired, I have a busy schedule with children, grandchildren, my husband, substituting, and volunteer work. But, I take the liberty to rest one day during the week and to just follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes my nose is in a book, sometimes I share time at lunch with a family member or a friend. I go for a swim. I spend a day with family. Sometimes I browse through photos daydreaming about pleasant memories from the past. I thank God for this command of rest, just to bless me. I contentedly sit and just breathe. 

THE LOST PRINCESS

Henry_Meynell_Rheam_-_Sleeping_Beauty

Galatians 4:1-7  “1 What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2 The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3 So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. 4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father’ 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

I began with the truth of the Word of God. Now let me illustrate with the help of an old French fairytale, Sleeping Beauty.

SLEEPING BEAUTY

At the christening of a king and queen’s long-wished-for child, seven good fairies are invited to be godmothers to the infant princess. The fairies attend the banquet at the palace. Each fairy is presented with a golden plate and drinking cups adorned with jewels. Soon after, an old fairy enters the palace and is seated with a plate of fine china and a crystal drinking glass. This old fairy is overlooked because she has been within a tower for many years and everyone had believed her to be deceased. Six of the other seven fairies then offer their gifts of beauty, wit, grace, dance, song, and goodness to the infant princess. The evil fairy is very angry about having been forgotten, and as her gift, enchants the infant princess so that she will one day prick her finger on a spindle of a spinning wheel and die. The seventh fairy, who hasn’t yet given her gift, attempts to reverse the evil fairy’s curse. However, she can only do so partially. Instead of dying, the Princess will fall into a deep sleep for 100 years and be awakened by a kiss from a king’s son.

The King orders that every spindle and spinning wheel in the kingdom to be destroyed, to try to save his daughter from the terrible curse. Fifteen or sixteen years pass and one day, when the king and queen are away, the Princess wanders through the palace rooms and comes upon an old woman, spinning with her spindle. The princess, who has never seen anyone spin before, asks the old woman if she can try the spinning wheel. The curse is fulfilled as the princess pricks her finger on the spindle and instantly falls into a deep sleep. The old woman cries for help and attempts are made to revive the princess. The king attributes this to fate and has the Princess carried to the finest room in the palace and placed upon a bed of gold and silver-embroidered fabric. The king and queen kiss their daughter goodbye and depart, proclaiming the entrance to be forbidden. The good fairy who altered the evil prophecy is summoned. Having great powers of foresight, the fairy sees that the Princess will awaken to distress when she finds herself alone, so the fairy puts everyone in the castle to sleep. The fairy also summons a forest of trees, brambles and thorns that spring up around the castle, shielding it from the outside world and preventing anyone from disturbing the Princess.

A hundred years pass and a prince from another family spies the hidden castle during a hunting expedition. His attendants tell him differing stories regarding the castle until an old man recounts his father’s words: within the castle lies a beautiful princess who is doomed to sleep for a hundred years until a king’s son comes and awakens her. The prince then braves the tall trees, brambles and thorns which part at his approach, and enters the castle. He passes the sleeping castle folk and comes across the chamber where the Princess lies asleep on the bed. Struck by the radiant beauty before him, he falls on his knees before her. The enchantment comes to an end by a kiss and the princess awakens and converses with the prince for a long time. Meanwhile, the rest of the castle awakens and go about their business. The prince and princess are later married by the chaplain in the castle chapel.

  1. THE CURSE

In the fairytale, we see that a King and Queen have an enemy, the old fairy, who is bitter about being an afterthought at the Christening Ceremony. She gets back at them by putting a curse on precious newborn princess. In order to protect her, they send her out of the palace for fear of her pricking her finger and entering the sleeping death. They place her in a humble cottage, thinking that she will be away from civilization and will not be harmed if she remains there until after her 16th birthday.

How sad for the king and queen. How they longed to hold their daughter and watch her grow day by day. Instead, they were separated from her and entrusted her to some fairies. She had a pleasant enough life, but she was not enjoying the total wealth, love of her parents, and did not even know really who she was, that she was an heir to the throne and Princess Aurora.

In Genesis 3:7-9,15-25 we read another story about a lost identity. “7 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

(This is where human life began. How amazing that God could take the dust and breathed His essence into it and with his personal breathe of life, the first man came to life, perfect in form, innocent and ready to learn from God himself.)

“8 Now the Lord God planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground– trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to ear from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not ear from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you ear from it you will certainly die.’ 18 The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’ 19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23 The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman’, for she was taken out of man.’ 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. 25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”

So here on Earth, after God had shaped all of the different animals from the dirt, every created being became more and more complex. Adam, God breathed His breath into. He received a substance of the Creator Himself into his being. When Eve was created, she was even more elevated in that she was not formed from dirt, but rather from a rib near to the heart of Adam. God knew Adam needed a mate, but much more than that, there was more of the essence of God that he wanted to reflect in his creation of Eve. The Hebrew translation for helpmate has a meaning closer to a problem solver. Someone who would be a nurturer, who had more of a global way of looking after all of the family and taking care of the young as well as her husband.

Adam and Eve were the King and Queen of the Earth who walked and talked daily in the cool of the day with their Creator, God. What a glorious life with no evil, no sorrow, no pain, no shame, no competition, no envy, and no offenses. How wonderful to be taught all that there was to learn from the very mouth of God. To be his pupil, yet to be his beloved as well.

Yet, here in paradise, they did not realize that a bitter enemy wanted to take their place and reign over the earth. They had no concept of envy, hatred, or pride. Lurking in the garden and awaiting his opportunity to trick one of them out of their dominion over this perfect world was the fallen one who had rebelled against God. He was beautiful and lost his place as the highest archangel of worship.

Satan came to Eve and tempted her to taste the fruit of the forbidden tree. She relented and ate it. She looked for Adam and he ate it as well, so they both disobeyed. This is when the curse fell on them and sin entered this world.

              2. THE CONSEQUENCES

God came and had to deal with their disobedience. He was crushed. It was always a possibility, because he had allowed them free will, but he was crushed that their relationship could be destroyed so easily. That the couple showed so little regard for his one request.

First the serpent received his consequence which was to crawl on his belly. Then, the woman was told that she would always endure painful childbirth. She would have to depend on her husband, not on God, to provide, feed, and bring in all they needed to survive. Then she was told he would rule over her. For up until now, she reigned equally with him. Now there would be strife, anger, impatience, misunderstandings, and a whole multitude of other things that would come between them.

Adam, would have to plow and cultivate the earth and harvest their food. Worse yet, thorns and thistles grew up and choked out their plants. Instead of easily plucking pleasant fruits and vegetables that grew without any of their efforts, all at their fingertips given by God; they exchanged it all instead to sweat and to work long back-breaking hours day after day in order to just survive. The greatest loss was their daily communion and walks in the cool of the day with God. Their life became empty and their striving caused great sorrow.

So, the daughters of Eve never knew life in Eden. A cherubim and a flaming sword that swung back and forth guarded and prevented anyone from entering and approaching the tree of life.

             3. THE COVERING FOR THE CURSE

In the Sleeping Beauty story, when she falls into her sleeping death, her one chance to escape her fate is for a prince to come give her a kiss. When she received his kiss, she awoke, and discovered that she was the Queen of a realm. Just now, she began to enjoy her legacy as a member of a royal family with privilege.

So, daughters and sons of Eve, our prince, Jesus Christ, was the one who saved us from our curse. He paid the ultimate price. He humbled himself and became a man. God allowed  him to come knowing full well that he would be misunderstood, called a bastard, and accused of working for Satan when he performed miracles. How scandalous to allow the Prince of Peace to be beaten, nailed to a cross in order to break the curse and purchase our redemption which brought all of us back into a place where we regained our legacy as part of the Kingdom of God!!! What love!!! The blood of Jesus was the price for our defiance.

If there anyone who has not accepted the gift of redemption from Jesus Christ it is yours. You simply have to ask Him into your life by declaring that Jesus is the Son of God and ask forgiveness for your sins. You can joyfully accept God’s generous gift of freedom from sin and it’s curse. Come back into the lineage of royalty that was intended for you and reign in heaven with God for eternity, rather than suffer eternal death.

PRAYER:

Lord, I thank you for loving all mankind so deeply that you provided a way for us to be pardoned and embraced back into your kingdom. Please forgive me of my sins. Come and fill my life with your Holy Spirit to guide me and teach me your ways. Let the Word of God speak to me and bring new understanding and life to me. Transform me into your image and into your character of love. Cleanse me from evil and cultivate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

(Fruit of the Spirit- Galatians 5:22)