Evil Teeth

They are so white

and so pretty

and fit perfectly

within two sets

of gums.

They’re rooted

just so,

and when the people

see them, they rejoice.

But here our little hearts

weep and wail

because truth

is a bitter sword

between our own

teeth.

Not evil,

but not pretty either,

biting down on

cold steel

and tasting

the blood of

our martyred

hearts.

Above the Burning Streets

“This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority.

Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings; yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on such beings when bringing judgment on them from the Lord. But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish.” 2 Peter 2:10-13

It’s too easy to be afraid of people.

Sure, people damage the whole world when it’s left unchecked in their hands. Specifically, people with broken hearts who have yet to surrender them to Christ.

But I like to think of the world as if I’m watching it from a crater in the moon. Little ants, all of us. A world of tiny beings, walking with our chests puffed out and our minds in the dark.

You have to realize what this looks like to an infinite God.

Laughable.

I think on a few things: how some people speculate that Adam was at least fifteen feet tall. How some even think him to have been much taller. How man can kill your body and not your soul.

That last one is comforting, even if it takes a minute to sink in.

Man wants so much to play God. To hold you hostage and take your rights and dominate in the name of peace although peace is truly the furthest thing from his mind.

But are you truly a captive if you don’t allow yourself to be? Because it’s not your body in need of freedom. It’s your mind, and your heart, and your soul.

You have the choice of in whom you entrust those things.

So there’s nothing powerless about the tiny beings who walk this planet.

But there’s nothing more powerful than an all powerful God.

So take a moment. Think about it. Will you align yourself with the ants that march mindlessly in a burning pocket of their own desires?

Or will you stand as tall as Adam and rise above the burning streets to hold the hand of God?

Hole in the Brain

My mind is shot.

I’m having a typical moment. Well, really not so typical as of late.

Just a moment that’s similar to ones in the past. Where I’m tired and coiled into myself and regret every choice I’ve ever made.

Hi, I’m Ericka. Nice to meet you.

It’s just a few things. Little things that weave together into a much larger blanket.

Or straight jacket.

It’s a moment where I walk away from the God of the universe and sit and pout because “life isn’t fair.”

This is apparently going to take a awhile.

Life’s hard when ADHD is thrown into the mix. It’s just…hard. But everything’s hard.

I’m not naive to that fact.

It’s just nice sometimes to recognize it. To say it out loud. To drop all need for pretense and picture perfect photos that angle out the dumpster fire in the corner.

And there God is. Waiting patiently in all His glory.

And there I am, hole in my bleeding brain, offering him that alongside my weather-beaten heart.

I’m afraid He might be getting the raw end of this deal. But something tells me He is and always will be okay with that.

Damaged People

I wake up in a weird panic sometimes.

I recommit myself to Jesus and pray for his mercy and forgiveness.

Something hits me squarely in the chest at night. Maybe it has something to do with the darkness.

There’s a lot of “us” versus “them” lately, no matter the particular issue. No matter the particular side.

What I feel in every inch of my being is that there are no good guys. We are all God’s people, created in His image.

And we’re all fallen creatures that will only come to see God when we submit our lives to Christ Jesus.

There is no such thing as all ways leading to heaven. There is only one way.

Don’t be fooled.

And this is why my heart spins in my chest sometimes. We’re getting closer to the end all the time. And there’s so much to do. And I will never ever measure up.

But my God takes me in His arms, and I can finally breathe again.

Because when we repent and we seek His solace, there is no “us” versus “them.” It’s only a damaged people yearning for a good, good Father.

And a good, good Father who will weed the bad from the good, an act of judgment that was never originally intended for our fragile human hearts.

It’s Not a Competition

There are too many amazing people in my life.

And I don’t necessarily mean successful ones.

Sunday’s Sermon reminded us that Jeremiah was a “failed” prophet. He never was able to persuade one person to follow the Lord.

But Jeremiah wasn’t a failure. Because maybe the point wasn’t His ability to change people.

Maybe the point was His utter reliance on God.

I think too often we associate our blessings, our financial gains, our business success with God’s favor for us.

But I’m not sure that’s always the case.

We were reminded during that same sermon that nowhere in the listing of the fruits of the spirit is the idea of being successful.

It’s certainly not a bad thing. But it’s not where our hearts and focus should be.

It should be for God and His people.

And I know so many who sacrifice and give because of their strong faith in Jesus.

And sometimes, I feel like I just don’t measure up.

But then I remember a few things:

1. God’s called each one of us to run a different race. I’ve been called in this season of life to write a book that gives Him all the glory. That takes time, effort, and dedication. And even though I take other opportunities to show my love for God and His people, right now, that’s where He wants my focus to be.

2. It’s not a competition. One person’s humble offering will far outweigh the bravado of someone the world deems successful.

3. It’s for Him, not for us. Like Jeremiah, everything we do is for Christ alone. We shouldn’t be in the business of gratifying our own hearts (or even the hearts of our family and friends). Everything we do should be for God alone, and only when our eyes are on Him can we truly serve those around us.

I may never be a New York Times best selling author. And I’m okay with that. Because the measure of my “success” hasn’t been made with human hands but with with a heavenly heart that will always far outweigh my own understanding.

I Am

I am.

Our children’s pastor shared a sermon yesterday that politely smacked me in the face.

See, I have this issue of being a control freak.

As a writer, I create worlds. And I very much want this one to be my own.

I like to dictate who I am in any moment, how my family comes off to other people. The way things “look” has always been a subject near and dear to my heart.

But that kind of grip on the world can be exhausting. And fortunately, I’ve learned to let go.

But there still are two very real problems that I face: 1. I like to believe I’m the main character in this story called life. 2. God is whatever I imagine Him to be at any given moment.

Both are incredibly hurtful lies that start to unravel my edges.

This story isn’t about me. Which is a great thing because we’d all be watching a thirty-something (emphasis on the something) woman wearing ankle-biting sweatpants in the middle of summer, trying to pretend she knows what “on trend” means.

She obviously does not. Just look at those sweatpants.

This story is about the Lord. We’re all here for His glory, and the suffering that sets our teeth on edge? It’s the crescendo, the final movement of sound and light that leads our eyes to the cross.

God redeems even when we’re too busy pointlessly gluing the pieces of our broken hearts.

I am.

He exists whether I want to believe it or not. He is the all powerful and wonderful mighty creator.

Everything starts from something. It’s the cymbal clash that’s always been audible behind my sternum.

And I know where the noise comes from. Why it keeps me writing until my fingers fall off and my eyes go blind.

This isn’t about me or you.

We only are because He is.

The Big Breath Mantra

Parenting is hard.

A lot of things are hard, but I digress. 

The phrase “His mercies are new every day,” keeps hitting me like a ton of bricks.

My mercies are hardly ever new. They’re barely refurbished.

I can hold a grudge so hard, it’s a miracle if it doesn’t break apart in my hand. And I’ve realized, I store up these angry little rocks in my heart even when it comes to the ones I love most.

Even when it comes to my daughter.

She’s a beautiful girl. She’s funny and outgoing and incredibly athletic (girl practically back handspringed out of the womb…ow), and is one of the most street smart people I know.

The only reason I’m not still looking for my car in the Wal-Mart parking lot is because of her.

But she’s strong-willed. And divisive. And manipulative. And an 8 on the enneagram (just like Stalin…but so was Dr. Martin Luther King so there’s hope, y’all).

And a sinner.

Just. Like. Me.

His mercies are new every day.

My mercies have to be new, too.

So that’s my big breath mantra getting me through this tween stage of parenting.

Nobody’s perfect. Not me. Not my daughter.

Only the Lord who grants us favor even when we least deserve it.


 

Little Bitty

There’s an Alan Jackson song that features these lyrics:

“Well, it’s alright to be little bitty
A little hometown or big old city
Might as well share, might as well smile 🎼
Life goes on for a little bitty while”

When I was a kid, I enjoyed the tune but found the lyrics to be atrocious.

I wasn’t going to be small. I was going to break out of Arkansas and become a best selling author who lived somewhere grand, maybe NYC.

God had other plans. Thankfully.

I’m understanding the value of small. Of how little moments measure up to be so much more than a big house, fast car, a little nip here, a little tuck there. Those things aren’t inherently evil. But when we make them idols, they take on a whole new life, or better yet, an entity that’s absolutely devoid of it.

Christ knew the value of small. He worked with only twelve disciples who all had their faults, not a million subscribers patting him on the back. He valued getting close to people, truly knowing them, and allowing them to reveal their hearts.

He worked against the idea of Babel, the insidiousness that infiltrates when people put more stock in themselves than in the absolute sovereignty of God.

Christ knew the value of a mustard seed. Of how the greatest things come from the tiniest of truths.

 

Choose Jesus, Not Religion

I watched a #youtube video the other day about a woman who left the Mormon church and how she was now helping others do the same as a trained therapist.

That didn’t bother me because Mormonism is lost on several biblical truths (as are a ton of so-called Christian religions who place tradition over God’s word).

What bothered me is that she equates Mormonism with following Christ, and therefore, decided to nix the whole thing altogether.

I get she was never a follower in the first place. If she were, she would have kept her bond with Christ, easily removing the shackles of a religion that kept her bound and removed from fully growing in His love.

How many others are there that equate a specific domination as the only door to Christ?

Tons probably. I was one of them.

It’s easy to listen to what the world wants you to believe. And it’s easy to be ingrained with false truth perverted by sinful man.

But what’s even easier, you guys, is keeping your eyes on Jesus.

Period.

Jesus is beyond the little religious boxes we attempt to trap Him in.

He is the King of the universe. We are not.

And unless and until we all acknowledge that, then the Christian Church will forever be splintered and fragmented, a sharp-edged mirror that won’t reflect God’s truth and will cut the hand of anyone trying to get near it.

I understand why so many people don’t want to know Jesus.

It’s because so many people who claim to be His followers don’t know Him in the first place.