Friday, May 28, 2004

Longing for Home

I work in a place where I see all kinds of awful things, but tonight I saw the most awful of them all. There is a child here. A knee-high guy who should be sleeping peacefully at 3 in the morning. And he is sleeping, thank God, because he is doped up because someone who should love him set him on fire.

I wish I were not here. I wish that little guy were not here even more.

There are days I long for Heaven. In the past two weeks I drove around in my minivan, singing Rich Mullin's song Elijah, too loud and off key. I hoped God wouldn't take my longing for a death wish. Most days, I'm afraid to die.

But tonight, in this God forsaken place, it really wouldn't break my heart to say goodbye.

Here in this place where Heaven and Hell are always crouching near, I pray those angels Jesus said are always here are standing close to the baby. Swaddling him outside the blankets that tightly bundle him, loving him, and whispering to him of Jesus' love. Of home.

Say a prayer for the little one.

God have mercy.

I hate this place today.

raga d

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Extreme Makeover

Most days I can't tolerate reality television, but I'll admit it, on a few occasions I sat in front of the television staring in wide-eyed wonder at Extreme Makeover.

Wow! Look at Drucilla, now. Check out Lucius--fine as wine, at last. Can you imagine? You send in a video tape, and if you're selected, surgeons will jack you up, leaving you incapacitated for weeks at a time, by procedures that could possibly kill you, in order to make you beautiful.

I want that, too!

I went to the mirror to scrutinize my personal damages with the cold eyes of a clinician. It didn't take long to realize that I am totally unacceptable. My breasts are fellowshipping with my knees. My butt is the size of Canada! And my tummy! There's enough excess skin there to make two whole people. That's just the beginning. How did I manage in this world looking like such a dog? I was ready to call the suicide hotline when I remembered Jesus.

Isaiah 53 tells us, "The servant grew up before God--a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look." (The Message)

What? You mean Jesus was just a regular looking guy? A candidate for a reality t.v. makeover? Sorry, John Avanzini, He didn't wear designer clothes. There was "nothing attractive about him." He wouldn't have made it as a Nazareth Heat calender boy.

But God did this for a reason. There is an invisible Kingdom, and you can't get there because you've got perky saline breasts, and a tamed and tucked tummy. Hallelujah! It's a Kingdom that focuses on the things in you that can't been seen with the physical eye. Only spiritual surgery, via the sword of the Spirit (that's the Word of God) will prepare you, not a plastic surgeons knife.

So, take heart wallflowers and ugly ducklings. You don't have to be a hottie to enter into this Kingdom. Jesus was an ordinary guy, who happened to be God. He does extreme makeovers, turning sinners into saints, giving plain ol' fisher men bejeweled eternal crowns, and making ragamuffins into divas.

Let Him make you over.

In Love Himself,
raga d

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

When You Haven't Got A Prayer..Sit There

I didn't have prayer.

It's been one of those days that my hands fly like vultures across the pages of my bible, seeking the remains of something once alive and vibrant. Nothing seems to speak to me. I can't concentrate, and the Bible doesn't make sense today.

I try to pray, but I stall. There are things I want to say, but I can't articulate any of them. I don't have any words, and then my hollow laugh at the irony of that. I close my eyes. I flop down on the bed that I've spent too much time in today. My mouth is stale, and I need a shower. I still have on my pajamas. Jesus knows I can't pray, so I don't.

I just sit there, funky, sad, and quiet in His presence until it is out--a barely perceptible sigh.

Jesus considers it (Psalms 5:1).

He doesn't say anything to me. He doesn't make me laugh or demand that I "snap out of it." He doesn't give deep spiritual insight. He sits. He nods in understanding at the longings only He can see. He sighs. His sigh is His intercession.

I wish I could touch him, but I am small and human, and mostly wait for Him to touch me. Even then, it is a mere whisper of His presence, but I'll take it. We sit. He allows me to be in pain. I'm okay with that, just as long is He doesn't leave me.

He doesn't.

I feel tired, and His presence nudges me to get under the covers. He wants me to sleep. I know this. For a moment, it startles me that I know exactly what I am supposed to do for Jesus. I wonder at it, such a little thing, just go to sleep, but Jesus knows me well. He knows what I need. I trust and obey, pulling the covers over my shoulders. I find a prayer and gather what few resources I have today and speak it aloud to him. It is that one word prayer that I have said so often.

"Thanks."

I feel a whisper of His presence. I feel His soft kiss goodnight inside my dreams.

Rest,
raga d

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

I Loved A Boy, The End

We walk into the stately brownstone, Jesus and me. It is a big, empty house and I joke, “I should have went for the hotel the boy offered.” Jesus didn’t laugh. There is a dusty old mattress on the floor, and a blanket. The boy and I are there. I turn to Jesus.

“Look how young I look,” and I am surprised that I am pretty.
“You were young. You couldn’t vote for another two months.”
“He is so handsome,” I say, and sadness settles into my throat.
Jesus takes my hand in His.

I cannot control the urge to cry. I whisper, “Jesus.” For a while, the name of Jesus is all I can say. Jesus holds me and rocks me. He is tender. He is crying, too. Finally my tears subside, “Lord, I really loved him.”
“I know you love him.”
“Will I always?”
Jesus looks at me, and the love in His eyes takes my breath away. “Yes, but it won’t hurt anymore.” He beckons me to look.

The room is illuminated. There are angels all around.
“Angels?” I say. I groan. “Don’t tell me there were angels.”
“There are always angels,” He says.

I watch. The boy and I are on the mattress and he is kissing me. Soon it will happen. I won’t be a virgin anymore, and I won’t be his wife either. I say to Jesus. “I can’t look at this.” There is a difference, though. I’m not seeing this as some weird porno “this is your life” from hell. Jesus is here, and I am seeing this from the perspective of eternity.

I close my eyes and I become the girl on the mattress. There are these awkward movements and my body does things that embarrass me. I am horrified. The boy makes a joke to reassure me, but I don’t feel better. I experience all that did on that day--every feeling: mental, physical and spiritual, only it’s different. I know that Jesus is here.

The angels avert their eyes.

Jesus speaks to me. “It is a mystery, and even now, I will not reveal the whole of it to you. You will become one with him, and he with you. This is how it has been since creation. You will not understand for many years what took place here, but you will feel its impact for the rest of your life. It will shape your sexual history, and how you feel about yourself. This is why I had to bring you back here. This moment changed your life.”

There is pain. I wonder what I am doing. How did I get here? It hurts so much. My hands try to push the boy away and he asks me if I want him to stop.

I do.

The boy says something to me that is uncharacteristically mean. Everything changes for us. If you didn’t know your heart can break in an instant, let me tell you that it can. A breath escapes my mouth, that carries with it an unintentional prayer.”

Jesus said, “You told me you were sorry in that breath.”
“But, I didn’t say anything,” I said.
“I heard what your heart said. I speak the language of sighs and tears.”

Then I am standing with Jesus again. I look back at the two kids on the mattress, and He is with them, too. He has his arms around both of them, and I am glad that Jesus is there for the boy, too. He draws the girl closer. He whispers in her ear, “You are forgiven. I love you. I died for this sin. You must forgive yourself, now. You must forgive the boy. It is time.”

The floodgates open, and I can’t stop crying again. “You are forgiven.” Jesus says this to me, again and again.

I find myself transformed. I am wearing a white dress, and I am the virgin bride of Christ awaiting my Bridegroom. I am back in now—39 years old again. There is water. I am standing on an ocean of love. The waves are quite manageable, beloved. I am walking on water. I am forgiven. I forgive the boy. I begin to laugh because in the light of eternity, this is such a tiny thing, and yet it is big enough for God to care about. Thank you, Jesus, counter of the hairs on my head. Thank you, Jesus, my First Love, and the Lover of my soul.

I am so happy that I dance. The angels dance with me.

Daughters of the Lord, put on your blood washed dancing gowns, and dance on water with me, for we are forgiven. Praise God, we are forgiven.

In Love Himself,
the raga-d

Monday, May 24, 2004

I Loved A Boy, Pt. 3

We are never alone. We have never been alone. The God who loves us, the counter of sparrows, He who dresses the lily in splendor...He is in Love with us.

"I was there," He says.

"I really hope that's not true, Lord."

"I was with you that day. I was with you the night before, pleading with you in your dreams. I didn't want you to be hurt."

"I got hurt."

"I know. I was there."

And then He asked me for something. "Return," He said, "Give Me that day, and I will heal you."

"Hold it. Now you're asking for too much. I can't give you that day. That was a *bad* day."

"Go back with me. I will show you I was there."

"Lord, I don't particularly want you there. Again, it was *bad* day."

"Then, let Me redeem it. Let Me heal it."

"No."

"I know you are afraid."

"Yes. I am. So leave me alone."

"I never leave you alone. I'm in love with you."

"Stop it."

"I AM."

"I know what your name is, Lord."

"I AM in love with you."

"I know."

"You don't know."

"Can we talk about this later?"

"That day--give it to me. It's time."

"I really don't think it's a good idea."

"You offered it to *him*."

"That's different."

"He is not the one that can change things. I AM."

"You know that whole 'I AM ' thing really works for you."

"I KNOW. Don't try to change the subject."

"Why do I argue with you? You know everything. It's an unfair advantage."

"I KNOW that you need healing. So give."

"Awwwwww."

"Give it to me."

"I'm ashamed of it."

"Do you remember what I said about making your bed in hell?"

"Yes. I've made a lot of beds in hell. I'm a regular chambermaid in hell."

"No, you're not."

"I am."

"Hey that's MY Name."

"Sorry."

He outstretches out His arms, and His hands--the nail scars are there. "I love you. Give me that day."

And I stop fighting and free fall into his embrace.


More tomorrow. And remember, He will hold you if you let Him.
The Raga D--the girl who Jesus loves.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

I Loved A Boy, Part 2

That boy! His voice on my phone--a gift, a sudden and unexpected mercy. A grace. The boy I loved on the phone, saying that he loved me. He always loved me! Always will. I was his heart, but he was afraid back then. And I had hurt him, too. He looked for me. For years he asked about me, but that door had closed. And now, my sun had returned illuminating the dark night of our shared history. I had my first love back. This was amazing! He had spoken and the virgin that was lost inside my heart was released. I was 17 again, and broken because I had surrendered all to show him that I loved him. He was 20 again, and was sorry that he hurt me. Oh, sisters, his voice on the phone, filling the fissures in my heart with at long last love. This was healing, and how I cried and cried. It should have been enough. It would have been enough, but there was just one thing.

That virgin was pissed. I didn't know she was that angry. And she and I proceeded to act a fool.

My thoughts became consumed with a singular desire. Return. I wanted that day back, or at least one like it. Give me another--a day for a day. One day with you, baby, I'll settle for two hours. I am not a girl anymore. I am irresistable. I am unbreakable. I will make you want me. Shall we trade? Here is the crippling rejection, give me your lust. Boy of my youth, return with me and I will leave you breathless with wanting. Wanting me. I will leave you...I will leave YOU. Before you leave me.

Uh oh. The heart really is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. At least mine is! "Who can know it?" the scriptures ask. But there was a another presence in my heart, with a passionate interest in that lost and angry virgin. He loved her, too. And He was a jealous lover, and His voice, the Lover of her soul, was saying to her heart, "My beloved, he is not your first love,I AM."

More tommorow, and may you know His tender mercy as I do.
The Raga D.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

I Loved A Boy



He was an amazing boy. Bright and warm like the sun, and just as beautiful. I remember the first time I saw him. I thought to myself. "He's out of my league. What could he possibly see in me?" Let me tell you, if it starts with you feeling unworthy of him...it's gonna end badly.

He was my first.

I remember that day with startling detail. I was afraid. I had prayed about it, and I knew that it was not the Lord's will. Our love was a green shoot--fragile and newborn. It didn't matter that I loved him fiercely. Sex is a God thing. It is holy and full of mystery that we mere mortals may never fully understand this side of heaven. Things happen in that joining that are complex, and I was not ready for the peril that would assault my soul through that kind of loving before it's time. The night before, all night long the Lord troubled my sleep with nightmares. When the Lord talks to you all night in dreams to warn you of danger ahead, and you fail to heed His call...it's gonna end badly.

He broke my heart.

Rich Mullins writes, "When you love you can walk on water, just don't stumble on the waves". Not only did I stumble I was overcome by them. I nearly drowned, and washed up on the gritty shore of grief, choking and gasping for air. The loss of him, they boy I loved--my sun, devastated my delicate heart. It was two years before the raw and throbbing ache was dulled so that I could bear it. Then I tucked my sorrow deep within my heart. Oh, children of God, don't hide your grief. It will demand release, and the God who loves you, will require you to surrender it to Him.

The boy returned.

Only he was a man, and I was a woman. We met, wouldn't you know it, on the internet. Kids don't try this at home. Almost immediately, I became a lunatic. Did you know that many waters cannot quench love? Did you know that love remembered is love just the same? Did you know that unresolved grief can render you temporarily insane? Did you know that unforgiveness will eat away at your soul, and bitterness will reveal the ugliest parts of you when you least expect it? Did you know that God loves you, children? And His love will compel you to come, yes, even with your ragged heart and dirty mind? I know these things. God is good, and if you are in need of a sudden and unexpected mercy, He will give you one, even if you resist it like the hellcat that you are (I'm a hellcat). More tommorow.

Today, may God love you lavishly.
The Raga D.