No Laughing Matter

“Lord Jesus, I offer myself to Your people. In any way. Any place. Any time.” – Corrie Ten Boom

I read (okay, skimmed) an article in The Atlantic recently about how witchcraft is on the rise.

People are scared. They’re looking for guidance.

I know a lot of people might roll their eyes and think that’s crazy, but is it?

When you don’t have Jesus you scramble for the closest shoe that fits. And for some, this might just be the shoe.

When I was an atheist, I was deeply into yoga. I could head stand my way from the living room to the kitchen like a champ.

Sort of.

God used my reliance on the wrong thing as an opportunity to right my heart.

You see, yoga opened a door into a very dark world. And for three months, I had demonic visions.

No, scratch that. I was in the presence of demons.

It was beyond anything I’ve ever experienced, and I know it will trump anything I ever experience in the future.

(Until the very end, of course.)

It was pure evil, and I was trapped. My body was paralyzed. My spirit spun out of my body. I felt…possessed.

If you don’t know me, let me make something very clear: I’ve always relied on my intelligence and ability to reason to survive. I may not be the prettiest, the most coordinated, the most likely to understand how time works (clocks are stupid), but I’ve always put a pretty penny on being a smidge book smarter than the average bear.

So when this happened to me EVERY night for THREE WHOLE MONTHS, I decided I was losing my mind.

There could be no other option. Because there was no God.

But my soul couldn’t take it anymore. It started to feel like it was breaking apart. I knew I couldn’t save myself, so I asked Jesus to do it.

Not Buddha.
Not Shiva.
Not the guy who lived across the street and could never figure out what a mower was for.

Jesus.

That night? And all the other nights after it? Pure. Blissful. Sleep.

I’m the last person on earth who ever thought she would become a Christian. I thought that type of life was for hypocrites and brainless do-gooders.

And yes, there are some of those walking around who need Jesus just as much as your average agnostic.

But then there is the core group of true believers who have seen things. And know things. And would in an instant give their lives up for the one and only King.

These are the people sacrificing for others. Humbling themselves. Watching the world wide-eyed, acknowledging what Satan is up to but knowing Jesus has already finished the ending.

Friends, if you’re just “dabbling” in witchcraft, even the white arts, pray for wisdom. Seek real truth and not the truth Satan wants you to feel, wants you to see.

Because evil is no laughing matter. TRUST ME. There is something very real going on, and we can only see a shadow of it.

Put your hope in Christ. Fear God. Because in the end, we all meet our maker, a just Lord who will bring every single one of our trespasses to light. And without trust in Christ who paid the fine for us, we’re left to our own devices.

And to me? That’s the scariest truth of all.

Heck, I can’t even tell time.

#witchcraft #thursdaywisdom

Self-publishing as a Ministry

I finished the book.

No. Let me try that again.

I. FINISHED. THE. BOOK.

Relief. Happiness. An internal conflict brewing that worries me ceaselessly and provokes me to think that no matter what route I take with this thing, it will be the wrong one.

You know. The usual.

But there’s something way different this time. Jesus has taken the wheel. And I know deep down this book is more than a book and my writing is more than my writing.

It’s my ministry.

This is exactly why self-publishing is on my radar. I don’t just want to publish one book. I want to publish a slew of them that can be categorized as gritty contemporary fiction but still speak to the heart of Christ.

Have you peeked outside lately? Our world is on fire. And the only way to put it out is with the true, unhibited love for others that Jesus gives every one of us.

Not religion. Not systemic evil that’s insidiously wormed it’s way through every facet of human existence (nice try, Satan). But through the raw, real love of Jesus that meets us at every dead end.

I want those kinds of books available in the market. Because right now? All I’m seeing in the Christian publishing world is cheesy “koombabaya” novels and a select few non-fiction books that are absolutely stellar but won’t catch the attention of your average agnostic.

It’s time for change.

I’ve started a new self-publishing series here at erickaclay.com to pen my thoughts throughout this journey. I’m excited to break down the online programs I’ll be using for editing and cover design. The YouTube tutorials that fire me up. The self-publishing aggregator that I KNOW will do my book justice.

I want to show you that impossible is possible when you trust the one and only Creator.

The Art of Listening

I love a good meme.

And I also don’t.

I forget how beautifully quiet the world is when I’m not on Facebook. I forget how God made me to be a listener, not a sponge for other people’s thoughts and opinions.

I get back on sometimes because I mistakenly believe I have to be a “normal” person (or a “normie” as I like to call them). I have to scroll and read and like so I can remind myself that I have friends.

But I don’t have to do any of that. I can be a friend by sacrificing my time and offering an ear, one-on-one.

And I don’t have to post it to prove it.

I don’t have to subject myself to the degradation of others. I don’t have to subject myself to the onslaught of noise.

I am in control of what I want to absorb. And if it’s not Christ-like, what good does it to know it? To hold it in my heart?

Because if I’m not on the ready to receive God’s word, I might just blink and miss it.

And no meme in the world is worth something like that.

None, whatsoever.

“Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Matthew 11:15

#facebookhiatus

Distant but Social

A few weeks ago, I socialized.

Distantly.

It was much needed. A few friends (under 10) and I got together a healthy six feet apart in our church parking lot and talked.

T-A-L-K-E-D.

This post is about how I’m horrible at talking in groups.

Like, HORRIBLE. It’s a tennis match for me, and I feel like I’m constantly dodging tennis balls, trying to find the right moment to speak up.

Because here’s the thing: I don’t even want to say anything. I like listening to my friends. I like making mental checklists of what everyone’s going through so I can pray about everything later.

But it would be really weird if I just showed up, smiled and kept nodding at everyone.

Or maybe not. Can I do that?

No.

Okay, fine.

But the REAL point of this post isn’t about how horrible I am at talking.

The REAL point, no scratch that, POINTS, are these:

1. My friends are some of the most grace-filled people I’ve ever met. And that’s pretty evident considering they keep inviting me to things even though I probably wear a pained a expression most of the time, concentrating on when to say anything halfway coherent.

2. The Holy Spirit is real. God is real. Which is evident by the hope I have in my heart driving me to be social (distantly, in this case) when I’m a natural introvert who loathes the concept of other people. You should have met me when I was an atheist. I was a real charmer.

3. I won’t give up. This a different side of myself from the person I used to be. The old me would have just said “Never mind!” and driven back home before I even got to the parking lot. But I’ve been determined to grow and challenge myself because God doesn’t want me to be stagnant.

I’ll still learning. I’m still putting my foot in my mouth and starting sentences I never finish because I’m not great at using my “outside voice” (the concept of which makes me want to throw up in my mouth a little bit). But I’m not going to let Satan tell me I’m not good enough to have friends. To be loved. To give and receive mutual respect.

I need to be there for them. And I need them to be there for me.

#blogpost #socialdistancing

Bury Those Forks

Job’s friends are the worst.

They’re slowly sticking a fork into his side in an attempt to “comfort” him.

Here’s a man who’s lost everything. His children, his home, his health. Even his wife tells him to curse God and die.

I relate to Job. But I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t relate to his friends.

Remember my sin, vanity? (https://www.facebook.com/groups/erickawrites/permalink/501393474138910/)

Well, meet my other sin, envy.

I am not good at not being jealous.

I will say I am A LOT better at it than I used to be. But there are still those dark spots in my heart that try to eat it from the inside out.

God has shown me with my skin issues that I’m not less than when I don’t look like perfection. And he’s showing me now that where I am at this moment in my life doesn’t define who I am either.

It’s not about other people and what they’ve accomplished. Because, like the book of Job points out, sometimes God leaves people to their own devices and lets them succeed at their own hands.

And that thought, my friends, is terrifying.

Think about it: God has left them utterly alone to amass wealth and titles and all sorts of goodies and there they go patting themselves on their backs none the wiser.

They’ve never given God the opportunity to circle their sin and bring their attention to it. They’ve never attempted to redefine who they are in Christ and forget the ways of this world.

What do you think will happen to them when they die?

A brand new Mercedes is nice, man, but it ain’t gonna save your soul.

However, not everyone who is blessed with wealth is walking this path. Think of Joseph of Aramathea. He gave his own tomb to Jesus.

Now there’s a man who truly got it.

So the point is this: the health of your heart (not your bank account) totally correlates to your journey to heaven.

If there’s darkness there, sin that’s eating it away, then there’s no room to grow in Jesus.

This is something I have to be mindful of from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep. I am not my circumstances or my accomplishments or the lack thereof.

I am the heart I offer to Christ.

And if it’s dark, if it’s intent on my own success at the expense of everything else, then it’s not the gift I want to offer.

“Though He slay me, yet will I hope in him…” (Job 13:15)

#newblog #bibleverse

I Don’t Do It for the Friendships

Sometimes, I don’t want to talk about Jesus.

There.

I said it.

Not just speaking, not just believing but FOLLOWING Jesus means giving every part of myself.

And because my venue has always been writing and blogging (the latter since 2009, what what), I know this is the platform God’s designed for me.

He wants me to share how He’s working in my life with others online, even if I know there’s probably been more than one virtual eye roll my direction because of it.

Sometimes, I just want to be normal.

Not that there’s a real, absolute definition of normal. But you get what I mean.
Sometimes, I wish I could just show up with perfectly colored hair, a new Louis Vuitton on my shoulder, and conversation that doesn’t go too far beyond the color of my brand new Mercedes.

And don’t get me wrong. I’m not knocking anyone for their life choices.

I’m knocking me for wanting the very same ones when I already know God didn’t wire me that way.

So what’s a girl to do?

Lay it down.

I have to lay it all down at Jesus’s feet. Because every day I’m realizing more and more that what I had in store for me, isn’t what God has ordained.

He wants me broken and powerless.

“Do I have any power to help myself, now that success has been driven from me?” Job 6:13

No. I can’t help myself. Only God can.

And friendless or no, there’s too much beauty in that to ignore.

#Jesus #purpose #blogpost