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2014-03-12 13.04.55c

by Robin Davidson

Emily reluctantly forced her eyes open. She blinked in the early morning light filtering through the slats of the blinds. She lay there for a moment, staring at the ceiling and arguing with her resolve, then sighed and shoved back the covers. She reached for the clanging alarm, then pushed herself up to a sitting position and swung her feet off the bed and onto the floor. She stumbled like a newborn calf to her laundry basket and fumbled through the tangle of clean laundry. She silently berated herself for not folding it last night, but she’d been so tired. She pulled on a t-shirt and yanked up her sweats. Walking into the living room, she was suddenly aware of how quiet it was this morning. It was early, but still, the noise of the Bohemian neighborhood could always be heard plainly in her one bedroom, third-floor apartment. She ate her customary morning yogurt (always strawberry flavored) and laced up her shoes. She tucked her key and her cell phone in her pocket and skipped down the stairs. Pulling her hair into a high ponytail, she sat on the front stoop to stretch. Then she looked around. No cars. No people. No noise signaling the beginning of the day. Odd, she thought, but didn’t dwell on it long, as she concentrated on stretching her hamstrings. Then she began to run.

Emily was not a morning person by nature. But, oh how she loved to run! Between work at the office, her volunteer work at the library, and her large, eccentric, and slightly clingy family, who expected to see her daily, not to mention her mother and sisters constantly setting her up on blind dates, the mornings were all she had left to herself. She couldn’t shake the feeling that she was running from something when she jogged. Even so, when the wind whipped through her hair and her muscles burned and the only sound in her ears was her breathing and footfalls, she felt free and in control. She felt like she could be herself and think clearly. When she felt the warmth of the sun on her face, she could imagine she was flying.

Somewhere around the sixth block, Emily thought again about the peculiar quietness this morning. She looked around and couldn’t recall seeing a single person since she’d left her apartment or even a single car passing her as she ran. As endorphins gradually charged up her sleepy mind, puzzlement replaced her morning reverie. Block after block, she glanced from side to side. She looked down each crossroad. She looked up at balconies and peered into store windows. All was quiet and dark. There were no people waiting at the bus stop, no paperboys delivering stacks of newspapers, not even a dog barking. She took a turn off her usual route and headed for the market district. There was always lots of activity there, at any time of day. As she rounded the last corner, she stopped short. There was no hustle, no bustle. She panted, not from exertion, but from the beginnings of fear and shock. She pulled out her cell phone and called her mother. Her phone beeped and ended the call. She called her sister. Another beep. She checked her signal–she had five bars. She tried her other sister, her best friend, her dad, everyone in her contact list and even her cell phone carrier’s customer service line, but not one call went through.

Emily strode towards one of her favorite restaurants and pulled on the door. Locked. She turned and went across the street to the funky boutique that her friend’s mom owned. The door was locked, but she went around to the back and let herself in with a hidden spare key. She walked through the store, aware of silence and loneliness pressing in on her as blank-faced mannequins stared. Maybe a landline would work. She went to the phone on the counter and dialed her mother, but a beep welcomed her and the phone went dead. Tentative relief washed over her as she decided that this must be some sort of prank her loved ones were pulling on her. But, how would they make the streets deserted? Maybe she was on a TV show, like Candid Camera. Or maybe today was a holiday and there was a parade somewhere and everyone had gone to watch. She glanced at the desk calendar next to the cash register and decided it wasn’t any holiday that she was aware of. Maybe I’m still asleep. Maybe this is a really vivid dream. Emily pinched herself to check. Nope, she was awake. Did I miss the memo? she wondered. Where is everyone? She dialed 911, but to no avail. Panic swept over every inch of her body and she felt an anxiety attack looming in her near future.

The urge to run was strong. Emily dashed out the back door without bothering to lock it behind her. As she ran, she passed her empty office, the vacant library, a park devoid of any activity. She ran all the way to her best friend’s apartment, but found it the same as the entire city seemed to be–deserted. Emily ran and thought and struggled to put it all together. She gradually became aware that somewhere along the way, the landscape around her had changed and she pulled up short.

She found herself on a dusty dirt road and as she turned in a circle, she could see sand and rocky terrain over most of the horizon. She saw mountains: a confusing sight, considering she lived in the plains. Where had the city gone? Where was she? This nightmare was getting more and more bizarre. It seemed so real, and yet she knew she had to be dreaming. No other explanation made sense. She walked towards some buildings that she assumed was a city. It looked like something out of a history book. Or at the very least, something from a middle eastern country. The buildings were squared off and made of stone. It looked ancient. She wandered the streets, wondering where she was. Or when she was, for that matter. “I’ve jogged far before, but this is ridiculous,” she tried to joke to herself, ignoring the tremor in her voice. After cautiously walking down several streets and seeing no one, she thought she heard a noise. She followed the sound down several more streets. It grew louder and louder until she was sure it was the clamor of a whole crowd of people. Finally! She started to cry in relief. She broke into a trot and followed the sound. As she reached a hill on the other side of the city, the noise stopped and she found no crowd anywhere to be seen. The only thing she saw was a wooden cross and a man hanging on it.

She saw the man and he saw her. Really saw her. He was dying, but she could see compassion in his eyes, as though he were comforting her. There was something else there too. She felt as if he knew her. She felt that he knew everything that she had ever done. She could almost see all of her actions played out in the air between them, as if on a movie screen. Her eyes dropped to the ground, mortified.

“Daughter,” said a strong, yet gentle voice. “Do not look away.”

Emily reluctantly looked up to the man again. This time, when she looked into his eyes, she saw a love there that she had never seen before. But, the love wasn’t just spelled out in his eyes. It was also written in the blood that was spilling from his body, from the crown of thorns on his head, from the nails that were piercing his hands and feet, holding him to a cross. No, that was wrong–the nails didn’t hold him to the cross–love did. She gasped.

“Who is he?” she whispered, in awe.

“He is my beloved son, in whom I am well-pleased.”

Emily had been to church once or twice and was sure that this man must be Jesus. Was the voice God? There was so much she didn’t understand, but all she could think to ask was, “But…why is he…dying?”

“Because I loved the world so much that I gave my one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. My prophet Isaiah wrote that he is pierced for the world’s transgressions, crushed for their sins, the punishment that brings them peace is upon him and by his wounds they are healed.”

“But, where is the world? I mean, where is everybody? I have looked all day and I can’t find anyone. And…where am I?”

“Today, my child, you are the world. You mean the world to me. I brought you here to show you that my son came to die for YOU.”

Emily thought about her life. She wasn’t a bad person, she didn’t think, but she was far from worthy. She thought of the many mistakes she had made. She saw flashes of lies and pain and selfishness in her mind’s eye. Tears of regret slid out from beneath her lashes and she squeezed her eyes tightly shut, trying desperately to block the shame.

“No, no, no! I am not worth it! My life is not worth your life! How can you love me so much that you would die for me? Don’t you know that I am nothing?”

“Of course I know you, child. I made you. I created your inmost being and knit you together in your mother’s womb. I have watched you grow. I have a purpose for your life. And you are worth it to me. I love you enough to send my son to die for you. Not just the whole world, but you alone. You individually. If you were the only person on earth, he would still die for only you.”

“But why? Who am I to deserve this?” Emily’s throat and heart ached with tears and sorrow for the cost that this man Jesus was willing to pay.

“Because without his taking the punishment for your sins, we would be separated forever, my child, and that’s not something that I can live with. I want you with me. For all eternity. This is my gift to you. Will you accept my gift?”

Emily’s heart suddenly soared at the sound of the voice and the love she felt enveloping her completely. She felt a warmth pulse through her veins. She had never felt love like this before and was sure that she never would again. Yet, she was sure that this love that was being offered to her would carry her through her life and beyond the grave. She looked up into the face of the man dying for her alone, her face still wet with tears, but gratitude written on every inch of her expression, and whispered, “Yes!”

 

**********

I wrote this story to flesh out an experience that I had a few years ago.  I was raised in church and John 3:16 was likely the first verse I ever memorized.  My faith had been tested and came out stronger.  I hadn’t had doubts in a long time.  But, one morning, standing in church and listening to a pastor read these words that had been familiar to me for nearly thirty years, I attempted to lessen the sacrifice.  Well, sure!  Anyone would die to save the whole world!  Just watch the movie Armageddon and you know that.  What happened next is hard to describe.  I didn’t hear an audible voice, but I felt God’s presence with me.  I felt like He had wrapped His arms around me.  I felt the words, “Even if you had been the only person on earth, I would have still sent my Son to die for you.”  I can’t tell you what that did to me.  I felt week in the knees.  I needed to sit down.  I needed to fall on my face and worship Him and beg forgiveness for my cavalier attitude.  I wanted to go home because I’d had enough sermon in those few seconds that nothing the preacher said after could compare.  That moment with God has stayed with me.  I don’t hear that oft-quoted verse the same way anymore.  I hear songs like “When He Was On The Cross, I Was On His Mind” in a different light.  As we prepare for Easter, this weekend, remember that it has nothing to do with eggs or chocolate bunnies.  It is about a man on a cross, dying for you.  And me.  I’ll leave you with the word that Julie Miller sang that pierces my heart every time I hear them:

Thorns on his head, spear in his side
Yet it was a heartache that made him cry
He gave his life so you would understand
Is there any way you could say no to this man?
If Christ himself were standing here
Face full of glory and eyes full of tears
And he held out his arms and his nail printed hands
Is there any way you could say no to this man?
How could you look in his tear stained eyes
Knowing it’s you he’s thinking of?
Could you tell him you’re not ready to give him your life?
Could you say you don’t think you need his love?
Jesus is here with his arms open wide
You can see him with your heart if you’ll stop looking with your eyes
He’s left it up to you, he’s done all that he can
Is there any way you could say no to this man?
How could you look in his tear stained eyes
Knowing it’s you he’s thinking of?
Could you tell him you’re not ready to give him your life?
Could you say you don’t think you need his love?
Thorns on his head your life in his hands
Is there any way you could say no to this man?

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Tuesday 10- My Favorite Verses for Comfort

Ever just need some comfort? I don’t know about about you, but outside of Jesus I don’t find much comfort. The world around us doesn’t have the answers. Our husbands can’t fully maintain our spiritual health. We must lean on and gain comfort from God.

Here are my 10 favorite verses I read when need I need to find comfort in the arms of my Savior. 

  1. “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;  he delivers them from all their troubles.The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:17-18
  2. “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father,who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope,” 2 Thessalonians 2:16
  3. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
  4. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
  5. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
  6. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:46
  7. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
  8. “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31
  9. “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26
  10. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21
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Thursday Thoughts on Hope

 psalm-39verse7

 

“We live in the imminent reality of the afflicted. But there is hope and the hope comes through the power of the resurrection of Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. So what is this hope? Is this hope supposed to be some cute little cliche that you can post upon your Facebook wall and maybe get a lot of likes on it? That’s cool. To some, that’s all that the hope of Christ is. Is the hope of Christ supposed to be something that the preacher is supposed to say over your casket as you lie dead in it? For some, that’s all that the hope of Christ is. But for us, who live with this reality, what is the hope of Christ? The hope of Christ is a motivation. It is a motivation that pushes us forward. It is a motivation that says that we can help those that are afflicted with us. It is a hope that says there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It is a hope that says, ‘yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.’ For Christ walks with me. And not only does Christ walk with you, but he has walked ahead of you. For he has made a way. For that is the hope of Christ. The hope of Christ is the resurrection. The hope of Christ is what drives the confidence of the believer…. Biblical hope is not an escape of the reality [in] which we live. It is not an escape. It is not flowers covering the charred remains, for the charred remains still stand. But we know there is hope even in the midst of the [rubbish]. We know there is hope in the midst of the ruin. Even in the problems that the afflicted face.” (Victor Stevens, pastor Westridge Christian Church)

This week, our pastor’s sermon was about hope. I have been thinking in recent days, that many people misuse the word “hope” and therefore, it doesn’t carry the same meaning that it should. They say, “I hope I get the job,” or “I hope I get a car for my birthday,” or “I hope it doesn’t rain.” Even worse is when you ask someone if they are going to heaven and their reply is, “I hope so.” What they really mean is that they “wish.” When we, as Christians, speak of hope, we aren’t wishing. We are knowing.

Biblical hope, for us, is expectation. Confidence. Assurance. When we say we have hope in the Lord, we are saying that we have expectation in Christ. When we say we have hope for the future, we mean that we have confidence. When we say that we have the hope of heaven, we are speaking of an assurance. We don’t wish it were so…we KNOW it is.

I John 5:13 “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

Psalm 62:5 “My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.”

Hebrews 6: 19 “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast…”

Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

And we can go on and on with verses about hope. Where does our hope lie? We have confidence that Jesus died for our sins and rose again, defeating death. We have assurance that we will live eternally with him. This is the whole message of Easter–that we have hope! We have a Saviour who has conquered death. We have a God who loved us enough to send His Son to die for us! Our God is NOT dead. Jesus is not dead. He laid down his life for us, but he came back to show us that he is our hope and we can be sure that we have something waiting for us beyond this life.

The place where you can see hope played out most clearly is at a funeral. One of the worst things I have ever seen was when I went to the funeral of one who had no hope. There was no faith in that family and no belief that they would ever see that loved one again. This was good-bye. Not “see you later,” as it is for those of us who follow Christ. The wailing that I heard at that funeral will stay with me. I wept, not because I was close to the one that had died, but because it broke my heart to see no hope. It was a wretched, painful, gut-wrenching thing.

This world is a mean, sorrow-filled, barren place. I cannot imagine going through life without hope. I have extreme sympathy for those without it because I know I couldn’t make it through one day without it. I’m so glad that I don’t have to.

In contrast, the funerals I have attended where we have had hope, certainty, that our loved one is waiting for us in heaven have been comforting and joyful. I’m not saying that tears weren’t shed. However, our tears were for us, because we miss them. We don’t weep for those that are now with God, in a place where there is no more sorrow or death or pain. I wept at my grandfather’s funeral, not because I had no hope of ever seeing him again, but because this world seemed a darker, lonelier place without him. When my father died, it was a very traumatic event for me. However, I knew that he was better off and despite my pain, I wouldn’t have wished him back into this broken world of sorrow and all the pain that he dealt with on a daily basis for anything. My dad loved gospel music and I imagine him sitting in heaven, participating in worship with his favorite gospel singers that had gone before. I could imagine he was infinitely more happy than he ever could have been here. It’s not just wishful thinking–it’s a reality that I am sure of. I will see him and my grandpa again.

Every day, I grow a little more homesick. Because I am a foreigner here. This is not my home. My citizenship is in heaven and I long to go home. My hope is in Christ alone. And my hope is a confidence so strong that I stake my entire life and eternity on it.

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Welcome to my little corner of the web!

Ultimate Blog Party 2014

 

Welcome to my blog Faith n’ Pixie Dust! Pull up a mushroom and have a seat. I am girl that has faith. I have faith in God. I am also a girl that is addicted to the Disney life. My blog is all about living out my faith in a world where I love magical moments, happy endings, and pixie dust. I go to Disney about once a month and can watch Disney movies over and over again  Right now the biggest things testing my faith is my infertility battle. I would love to have a baby of my own to love on and cherish. I have PCOS so I might be able to conceive but I have a lot of battles ahead. I need to lose weight and a lot of it. I have lost 26 pounds since the beginning of the year. I usually do a weight loss update every week, but slacked off in the month of March. I also try to do a  weekly motivational Monday post. I would love to set up a linky for the motivational Monday so if you are interested, let me know in the comments.

april-and-rapuzel

Here are 15 Things you might not know about me!

  1. I was born and raised in Jackson, Michigan
  2. I currently live in New Port Richey, FL, we are wanting to move closer to Orlando though very soon.
  3. I have 2 blogs this one and Pixie Dust Savings which is a frugal living/Disney travel website. A couple different giveaways going on- so check it out!
  4. I just celebrated my 8th wedding anniversary. We honeymooned at Disney.
  5. I am a picky eater because of texture issues.
  6. I taught school or had a daycare for 10 years before I started blogging.
  7. Though I live a couple miles from the Gulf Coast I have been scared of the water since being stung by a sting ray a couple years ago.
  8. I just got a camera in February and love learning it.
  9. Action movies are not my cup of tea!
  10. Star Wars is a new hobby of mine, ever since Disney acquired Lucas Arts.
  11. I do not like chocolate ice cream.
  12. Since it is close to Easter, my dream Easter basket wouldn’t have Peeps, Jellybeans, or gummies in it.
  13. I accepted Christ as my Savior while in Bible College in 1998.
  14. I have a Doris Day addiction. Send Me No Flowers is my favorite.
  15. I have a lab dog named Jaq-Jaq and a cat named Gus-Gus. Yes, they are named after Cinderella’s mice!
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Ultimate Blog Party 2014 Invitation

Ultimate Blog Party 2014

 

This will be my second year participating in the Ultimate Blog Party. This is a great opportunity to mix and mingle with other bloggers.  Bloggers and non-bloggers alike attend this event so  you will be able to grow your social media as well. I met a few bloggers I still chat with and found a couple great blogs. I will be participating on the first day and then I will be in Orlando for 2 days for a blogging event about working with brands. When I get back I will be ready to party on and meet new bloggie friends!! I really hope to meet some weight loss bloggers like myself.

That is not all though. You will have the chance to win prizes! I already see one prize I would love to win- a $100 Disney Gift Card.

You can RSVP to the party and stay on top of announcements. RSVP HERE. I hope to see you there!

Have you ever participated? If you have what did you like most about?

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