Aurora’s Folly, Part 1

I’ve mentioned before that I love the Disney animation of Sleeping Beauty. Today I’m going to pick on Princess Aurora.

In case you’re not familiar with the tale, Princess Aurora was cursed at birth by the witch Maleficent. Before her sixteenth birthday ended, Aurora would prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die. The good fairies changed the curse so that Aurora would only fall into a deep sleep until she was awakened by true love’s kiss.

So, being extra cautious, the good fairies take on their human forms and hide Aurora in a peasant’s cottage where no one knows who they really are. Then on her sixteenth birthday, the fairies send Aurora into the woods while they prepare a celebration.

And there Aurora meets a handsome young man and falls in love. (Which is actually a funny scene, but I digress.) Aurora finally has to hurry home, but she tells the young man to come to her cottage that night, meet her aunts and all that.

Aurora arrives home and her aunts kinda pop the news on her that she’s a princess betrothed to Prince Phillip.

Now if someone told me all of a sudden that I was a princess in hiding, I think I’d be shocked first and then wildly curious about the details. I think I might be excited about meeting parents I’d always thought were dead. I think I’d be apprehensive, but very intrigued to see what life for royalty is like.

But Aurora seems to miss all that. She bursts into tears because she’s told she can’t meet her handsome young man again. (Here’s the clip of the announcement if you care to watch it.)

Because she’s only sixteen and she’s lived in extreme seclusion, I give Aurora a break when I’m watching the movie. Today, I’m cutting her no slack: if ever a girl acted like a besotted, infatuated goose, it was Princess Aurora.

I mean, she was a princess!

Her father ruled the country. She could have anything money could buy. She had a mother and father after always believing herself an orphan.

And all she could think about was never seeing this man again, a man she’d met only once. (And, yes, I believe true love is one of the strongest things on earth. I even believe in love beginning at first sight. But I don’t believe you can know it’s true love after only a few hours. Maybe I’m wrong.)

Aurora had just been handed the splendor of royalty, yet she’s upstairs weeping on her bed because she cannot have a man she met only that day. Short-sighted lassie.

But, after condemning the poor girl thus, let me add that we can be just like her.

A Christian is a child of the King of Kings. The King who holds the stars. The One who created us. The One who shed His own blood to free us from sin, its power, and its punishment.

And yet we are reluctant to live sold-out to this King, our Father.

If I follow His laws to the letter…

…I won’t be able to watch all the entertainment of this world because it glorifies wickedness–wickedness which put Jesus on the cross.

…I won’t be able to do all the things my worldly friends do at parties because they pollute my body, which is the Lord’s temple (see 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

…I won’t be able to dress in all the faddish clothing because it places superficial value on the body and devalues the soul, thereby causing me and others to stumble.

…I must forgive everyone who wrongs me, no matter what they’ve done.

…I won’t be able to spend all my time on myself because the Lord will ask me to use it for His eternal kingdom, or simply to serve others.

…I will have to speak what people don’t want to hear because I must spread Jesus’ gospel and warn them of sin’s punishment.

…I’ll have to give up this or that because it isn’t edifying or it squanders time or it flat-out honors wickedness.

…I won’t be able to stay up late because I’ll get up too late to meet with Jesus the next morning. (Confession: staying up late can actually become an idol in my life. I spend the latest hours with novels or something for my own pleasure, then I can’t rise early enough the next day to read my Bible. I say I’ll do it later in the day, but I don’t always do it, and if I do, it tends to be rushed or even half-hearted.)

…I will have to reshape my entire way of thinking to align my life with the King’s laws.

We complain about all we have to give up.

But we somehow forget about all we gain.

We gain forgiveness of sin and a home in heaven.

We gain incredible power in our daily lives to overcome all the snares, temptations, and attacks of the enemy.

We gain incomprehensible peace in the midst of turmoil.

We gain joy we can’t explain.

We gain love for others that cannot be matched.

We gain a Father who cares for us and takes our worries upon Himself.

We gain a purpose we can never outlive.

We gain a Provider, Defender, Friend, and Savior.

And, yes, we gain pure pleasures that He gives us simply because He loves us.

How can we complain about what we must sacrifice when there is so much more to gain?

Are we as short-sighted as Aurora weeping over her royal birth?

All those things we’re giving up are only temporary anyway. The things we gain are eternal.

-Miss Darcy

P.S. Yes, I realize that the law of irony dictates that, after berating poor Aurora so, I’m destined to fall like a ton of bricks off the Eiffel Tower for a man someday. May God grant me grace. 🙂

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Writing Is a Gift

A lot of writers feel insecure calling themselves writers. Can’t say I haven’t been there. After all, it’s hard to make a living as a writer–always has been. You can’t say, “I’m a writer,” and command the same respect as saying, “I’m a nurse,” because people have a lot of preconceived notions about writers. (Some of which are quite accurate, some of which are true for certain writers, and some of which aren’t true at all.)

But, when it comes down to it, all of that is beside the point. I’m a writer because I write.

And writing is a gift.

I don’t mean that the way we say, “He’s a gifted painter,” or “She’s a talented musician.” I mean, writing is a gift from God, wrapped in the plain brown paper of education and tied with a gorgeous colorful bow of creativity.

This is a gift partly for my enjoyment. Stringing words together in sentences, putting thoughts into coherent text, painting pictures with black marks on white paper, gives me a great deal of joy. (Why do you think I’m so apt to get long-winded, hmm?)

And if I never wrote for anyone except me and God to see, it would still be a precious, delightful gift that never grows dull.

But I do get to write for others to see. I get to try to amuse people, challenge people, encourage people, and bless people. That is a lovely gift. (Granted, I don’t always succeed, and that’s one difficulty of being a writer–we are never perfect, much as we’d like to be. And because we put our imperfections into the semi-permanence of written words, they can sometimes haunt us more strongly.)

Yet when I succeed in writing something people are glad to read, I’m delighted all over again with this gift.

Best of all, I have the opportunity to glorify God with my words. To unveil Him to this world. To capture a tiny facet of His glory. To point others, and myself, to the God who created language in the first place.

Hard to describe how I feel when I think about that. Kind of overwhelmed and kind of disbelieving.

Writing isn’t always a rose-garden gift.

Some days what I write wrings me out and I feel physically tired. Some days the words refuse to come–they feel clunky, they won’t fit, and I erase almost as much as I write.

But the Lord never said our gifts wouldn’t mean work. Contrary to popular belief, work is a good thing.

Then some days this gift feels like a burden.

“I’m not reaching my word-count goals.”

“I can’t say this the way I want to.”

“I can’t find the passion to write this.”

“I can’t get into this character’s head.”

But for me, and I can’t speak for any other writer, I’ve discovered writing becomes a burden when I’m focusing more on the gift than the Giver.

“God, I want to write for you. Why can’t I find the words? Why can’t I write better? How am I going to write all the stories You’ve given me?”

But it’s not about the words. It’s not about perfection. It’s not about what I can do.

It’s really about Him. He gave me a gift, just as surely as if I found it under the Christmas tree one year.

This gift is to push me to Him. To give me joy as I use it under His direction. To challenge me. To serve others. To glorify Him.

God gives us many gifts.

Family. Friends. Pets. Jobs. Possessions. Food. Land. Beauty. Feelings. Knowledge. Music. Skills.

But these are all to point us to Him, to inspire gratitude toward Him, to bring us joy in Him.

The gifts must never be more important than the Giver.

It doesn’t help me to pressure myself, saying, “You must write such and such for God. You must write more words for God’s glory.” But when my relationship with Jesus is in the right place, when there is nothing coming between Him and me, then I can write freely. And even if it’s hard work, it’s satisfying and good.

You can’t brag about a gift. (Well, you can, but it’s silly because you didn’t acquire it through any merit of your own.) But you can make use of a gift. You can revel in it. And you can talk about the goodness of the Giver whenever you get the chance.

-Miss Darcy

It’s All About Souls

The devil has many talents. He’s a great liar–Jesus called him the father of lies, in fact. (see John 8:44) Which means he can cook up the best ones. The ones we’ll be dead-sure are the truth unless we’re submerged in the Word of God daily.

He’s a great accuser. He can heap guilt like nobody’s business.

And he’s a top-notch master of distraction.

Oh, yeah. He knows that for some of us Christians, the lures that ensnare the world won’t necessarily work on us.

“Alcohol? Are you kidding? Drunkenness is strictly condemned in the Bible, and besides, it’s bad for your health.”

“Cheat on my husband? Are you out of your mind? I’d sooner die.”

“Try drugs? Well, I guess that would let you take me to hell in a hand-basket.”

Oh, no, we’re too spiritual to fall for such tricks. (Okay, we think we are. You and I both know we see that kind of junk happening in the church so often it’s terrifying. But you know what I mean. Most of us think we’re above that.)

So Satan distracts us from the most important things by consuming us with good things.

Yeah, things that are in themselves good.

Such as a sound knowledge of good doctrine. We can get so caught up in pursuing theological excellence that we miss who Jesus came to save.

Or we get so consumed by Bible prophecy that we forget our lives are here, now. And we are supposed to be about Jesus’ business.

Or we get so concerned about the best plan to grow our church, that we forget what the Church–Jesus Bride–is comprised of.

Take note that all of these distractions (and these are only a measly three examples) are good things. Good doctrine, studying Bible prophecy, and growing our church fellowships are all worthy pursuits–if, and only if, we never allow them to override our main concern.

In the end, it’s all about souls.

“for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

-Luke 19:10 (NKJV)

When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

-Matthew 9:12-13 NKJV (emphasis mine)

 

We forget, in our pursuits of so many good things, that Jesus’ main purpose in coming to earth was to atone for the sins of all the souls who ever lived.

We get so caught in our own agendas that we divide our forces and cripple our ability to reach this world. We even shoot bitter words at our own brothers and sisters, wounding their souls, making ourselves the enemy. (see Psalm 64:3)

Brothers and sisters, what are we doing? What are we doing?

How have we missed that our Redeemer’s main concern is souls?

Bringing souls to Jesus for salvation from sin. For healing of the deepest wounds. For strength to overcome any bondage from Satan.

All we can do is quibble over predestination or freewill; post-Trib or pre-Trib rapture; hymns or contemporary music to draw in new church members.

When all around us souls are dying, going to spend eternity in hell. Souls are bleeding in secret because this world and the enemy have struck them so many times. Souls are drowning in addictions and destructive behaviors.

God have mercy. What are we doing?

I’ve seen so many older brothers and sisters whom I respect. I should be able to look up to them. But somehow they seem to have missed this principle. Or at least, they haven’t managed to pass it on with any passion.

It’s all about souls.

We can be so quick to judge one another.

So focused on our own convictions, our own ideas, we can’t accept our brothers’ and sisters’ differences. Without taking the time to know our brethren, we write them off as the problem.

Granted, sometimes our fellow churchgoers are a problem. I firmly believe that Christians have a responsibility to hold one another accountable. (I mean, would you rather hear your faults pointed out by God when you stand before His throne? I think I’d rather hear it now from a sister in Christ who loves me.)

But we forget to speak in love. We go blundering in and pierce the souls of our own brethren. What are we doing?

I have friends I love deeply. I see areas in their lives which I think need growth. But I know them, so I’ve gotten a glimpse of their hearts. I see hearts that love God fiercely. That desire passionately to follow Christ and grow more like him. That long to see souls saved and thriving in grace.

I see a mirror of my own heart. Flawed as only each individual and God can know. But striving to follow our King and join His work.

How can I speak condemning words to them when they are just like me? How can I refuse to work alongside them?

I’m not a person easily brought to tears. But I could cry when I see a church so distracted that it cannot fulfill its main purpose–to join Christ in winning souls.

What are we doing?

How have we let ourselves become so distracted?

-Miss Darcy

Moving … Again

From all appearances, my family is going to move. Again. From Huntsville, AL, to a rural area of Tennessee. Of course, the Lord could work a miracle and we wouldn’t have to. But Dad’s taken a new job, and we’re going.

See, we’ve moved a lot over the years. I have to stop and count on my fingers how many places I’ve lived in … eight. Maybe not so very many, but we’re not a military family. Oh, and did I ever mention that one of the houses we lived in had to be remodeled and we lived in four different places during that year? Well, that’s a long story for another time.

When we moved to Huntsville a year and a half ago, we said, “This is it. Last move. We’re staying here for always.”

Even at the time I had a dry little voice laughing in the back of my head. Sure, sure, you won’t move again. You won’t leave this house until you get married. Right.

So when I first learned there was a real possibility we’d move again, my immediate reaction was to laugh. It was so ironic.

Then I started pouting. I didn’t want to leave our beautiful house, in a beautiful neighborhood, in the ideal location, outside my favorite city (which is saying a lot because I don’t care for cities).

I didn’t want to leave the church we’ve only attended for a little over a year. I love the people; I wanted that to be my church for, well, forever.

I didn’t want to move away from some of my dearest friends. I wanted us to raise families together, let our kids play together.

But the Lord had other plans.

If the Lord wants me to move to Tennessee, then there’s no way in the world I want to do anything else. I want to go where He wants me.

And I don’t want to dig in my heels and make Him drag me. I don’t want to be whining and complaining as if I think He made a mistake. As if I think His gifts aren’t good.

Good things have always happened when we move.

God lets us meet wonderful new people and experience beautiful places. It’s not like He’s even called us to a particularly difficult place. Sure, we’re moving to a new state, but we’re still in the same affluent country. I’m grateful that God has given me gladness about our move.

I’m glad to move to Tennessee.

Am I glad to leave all the people I love in Alabama?

Um, no.

I’m happy to go, but sad to leave. (Don’t look at me like that. It is possible to feel both things at the same time. Mom says the word for such a feeling is ambivalence.)

I’m not saying I won’t cry when we leave. I’m not saying I won’t miss my home and friends dreadfully. I’m not saying I won’t have some difficulty settling into my new home, especially when it comes to finding a new church.

But God is good to me. Has always been good to me. (Even if I had nothing in this world, He would still be good to me because He sent Jesus. But I digress.)

Maybe this move is a gift straight from Him. In which case, it sounds pretty bad to say, “Lord, I don’t want this gift. It wasn’t on my wish list.”

With all my heart, I want to be willing to do whatever He wants.

It might not be easy. But with God it’s never impossible.

-Miss Darcy

Two Houses

Once upon a time, a man named Mr. Moros sailed to a beautiful tropical island not far from the coast and decided to build a house there.

He had difficulty with the foundation. He dug and dug through the sandy soil, but he could not find rock. Finally, he sank huge support posts deep into the sand and set them in poured concrete. Atop this he built a lovely house with the floor plan he’d always wanted, and he furnished the place exactly as he pleased.

Another man, Mr. Phronimos, chose the other side of the island to build. He ran into the same problem as Mr. Moros–he could not find the bedrock. He’d seen Mr. Moros’s solution to the problem, but he didn’t trust it. Instead, he shipped in the equipment he needed and burrowed down to the rock. His house finally had a two-story basement, but the foundation was fixed on the rock.

After the expense of the crazy foundation, Mr. Phronimos couldn’t afford all the finishing touches he’d planned. But with a setting like this island, he was fairly content.

Both men lived there for several years before a huge hurricane threatened their homes. They boarded up the windows, fastened down anything they thought could move, and traveled inland.

The hurricane barreled right along and brought the right side of its eye straight across the island.

Once the storm had passed, the men hurried to see how their homes had fared. Mr. Phronimos found his home almost in one piece. The roof had fared worst, the surrounding landscape had been rearranged, and the house had taken a beating. But it still stood. So he hurried to see how his neighbor’s house looked.

Wreckage greeted him. What was left of Mr. Moros’s beautiful home had crashed down, partially buried in drifted sand. Pieces were strewn across the island. But the debris left could never have comprised a whole house.

Two emotions hit Mr. Phronimos so strongly he had to sit down on an uprooted tree.

Relief that his home had been spared and he didn’t have to rebuild his life.

Guilt that he had counted Mr. Moros’s foundation “none of his business” and had not warned his neighbor when they both began to build.

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:

and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:

and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

-Matthew 7:24-27 (NKJV)

You might have to dig through tons of different knowledge, toss aside countless worldviews and philosophies, but it’s worth it to make sure you’ve founded your life upon the Rock.

A foundation that will not wash away when the eye of the hurricane beats on your life.

-Miss Darcy

When I Grow Up

I’m twenty-two. An adult. Sometimes I don’t feel like it.

When I was little, I’d say, “When I grow up…” and I meant when I reached about the age I am now.

There’s a certain dry humor in that.

I’ve always wanted to be grown up. Mature. Respected.

But I’ve come to realize that however old I get (and I hope to get quite old before I leave this world), I don’t want to forget what it’s like to be a child.

  • How to throw myself into a physical game, playing hard until I’m hot, sweaty, exhausted, and perfectly happy.
  • How to transform brooms into horses and baby strollers into automobiles.
  • How hard and tedious it is to learn to read.
  • The drudgery of practicing an instrument before you’ve begun to master it.
  • The childish, but very real joy of saying or doing something particularly “grown up.”
  • How it feels to want to say something but have no grown-ups interested.
  • How it feels to not understand why your parents are arguing: you just hate the tension. Or worse, the subtler, but even more unnerving tension of an old grudge in the extended family.
  • How it feels to meet one of your mom’s old friends, and hear them say to her, “Oh, my goodness. Are these your kids? I haven’t met the youngest, but I remember this one when she was in diapers.”
  • The painful self-consciousness when you overhear your parents tell an embarrassing story about you before you’re old enough to laugh at it.
  • How it feels to compete with siblings for adults’ attention.
  • The joy of making a perfectly useless gift of questionable artistry for your parents or friends.
  • The scathing injustice of getting an equal punishment as your sister when you know she was more guilty than you. 😉
  • The importance of adults’ approval.
  • The way it felt like forever until you’d get older.
  • The small delights of ice cream, swinging at the park, hide-and-seek, and new school books.
  • The scheming to get more time to play with friends.
  • The begging of “the dads” or “the moms” to play with us kids instead of just talking.
  • The indignation when an adult won’t listen to your side of the story.
  • The wonderful feeling of your first successful bike ride without training wheels.
  • The frustration when your parents are lecturing and you know they’re right.
  • The uncertainty when you get older and you’re hovering somewhere between the worlds of children and adults.
  • The stupid rivalries between kids and how they somehow matter then.
  • How it feels to admire a teen or twenty-something and have them treat you as a cute kid, a twerp, or a nuisance.
  • How it feels to have a “big kid” or teen pay genuine attention to you.

I had a good childhood. And I don’t want to forget the good things. Or the bad things.

I want to keep part of my heart in childhood as long as I live.

(Side note to any teens or twenty-somethings reading this: Let me encourage you to engage kids. Listen to them. Treat them like equals sometimes [unless, of course, they’re acting up and you need to straighten them out]. Wear yourself out playing with them. Give piggy-back rides. Let them make an idiot of you once in a while. Be the cool teen, the cool young adult you would have wanted to play with when you were small. It’s fun.)

Now, as a Christian, I do not want to always be a child.

A Christian who never grows more like Christ. Never matures in knowledge. Never learns to display Christ in everything I do.

No, I want to be a Christian who matures.

I’ll never be a truly grown up Christian until I die. But I always want to be a Christian who is growing up.

Interestingly, the path to mature Christianity is counter-intuitive.

Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them,

and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

-Matthew 18:2-4 (NKJV) emphasis mine

Notice He says little child. I’ve known older children to develop a bit of pride. Don’t ask where I discovered that. 😉

But we must come to God as children.

With all a child’s awe at God’s power and grace. With all a child’s undiluted love for a good parent. With all a child’s unquestioning trust in a trustworthy caretaker. With all a child’s sorrow when struck with a true understanding of wrongdoing.

With all a child’s joy in the life given to them.

It doesn’t pay to be a grown-up too soon. Maybe when it comes to serving Jesus, it doesn’t pay to be a grown-up at all.

-Miss Darcy

The Blood Is Still There

As an oldest child, certain stories in the Bible stick out to me. (Cain and Abel, for instance. If ever an oldest child flunked his role, Cain did!) Today I want to talk about Passover.

The Hebrews were slaves in Egypt. Moses had come and requested that Pharaoh let the Hebrews go. Pharaoh wouldn’t.

So God sent plagues upon the land of Egypt, warning Pharaoh and his people that they must let the Hebrews go. And Pharaoh would say, “All right, you can go. Just remove this plague.” Of course, as soon as God had eased the suffering, Pharaoh changed his mind.

Finally, God told Moses, “This is the final plague. After this, Pharaoh will let you go. In fact, he will drive you out.”

Before, God had sent frogs, lice, hailstorms, livestock diseases, and boils on man and beast, among other things. This time, God would strike hard. No one would be able to ignore His power.

At midnight, God would kill every firstborn child in the land of Egypt.

From the firstborn of Pharaoh to the firstborn of the captive in the dungeon, even to the firstborn of the livestock, God would strike with death.

I can’t help thinking: If I had been an Egyptian child that night, I would have died. Just stopped breathing.

If I had been a Hebrew child, I would have died that night unless my father followed the strict instructions to protect me.

A lamb had to die for the firstborn to live.

The father had to kill a perfect lamb and let its blood fill a basin. Then he dipped a bunch of hyssop in the blood and struck the doorposts and the lintel with the blood.

Can you imagine that wooden doorpost, dry from years of desert air and wind in Egypt? The man took a bunch of hyssop, dipped it in the lamb’s blood, and slapped it against the lintel (the beam across the top of the door). Again, he dipped the hyssop and hit one doorpost. Finally, he struck the last one.

Can you picture the dry wood soaking up the deep red liquid? This is a stain to last for decades, no matter what winds and rains scour the doorposts.

When God saw the blood guarding the door, He passed over that house. Death had already occurred there, as evidenced by the blood. The firstborn child could live.

Fourteen hundred years later, Jesus came to this earth. His purpose? To save mankind from sin.

They have all turned aside,
They have together become corrupt;
There is none who does good,
No, not one.

-Psalm 14:3 (NKJV) emphasis mine

For the wages of sin is death, …

-Romans 6:23a (NKJV)

Someone had to die to pay for sin. Logically, that person should be the sinner. But God did not want us to die.

A Lamb had to die for us to live.

Jesus is our Lamb. The final sacrifice. His blood is enough to erase all sin, forever. (John 1:29)

And just like the blood on the doorposts in Egypt, Jesus’ blood is never going to wash away.

Once I accepted Jesus’ sacrifice and turned my life over to Him, He applied His blood to cover my sin-stains. His blood isn’t going to evaporate. It won’t fade. It won’t grow too weak to cleanse me. Ever.

No matter what Satan throws at me.

I love the way this song captures that: The Blood Is Still There by Gary Duty.

Hope you enjoy!

-Miss Darcy