God’s Proven Love

“God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
The short stories of The Phoenix Chronicles were individually written over a long period of time and came together after they were completed. In every one of them I place a character who represents the love, patience, and kindness of God in the life of the protagonist. One such character in the Madison Turner series is Roland Washington, an old classmate of Madison’s who steps into her life and turns it upside down. He is faced with an angry, bitter woman who wants nothing to do with him. However, his gentle, persistent ways begin the slow process of breaking her down: “Piece by piece he was tearing down her wall and she felt helpless to stop him. Part of her didn’t want him to stop; the other part was scared he would actually walk in, see her heart, and take it for his own.” Madison feared what she could not understand.
She had never known true love from any man and even though she lived in loneliness and despair, she wasn’t ready to part with that life. Her pain was her world and she had made herself comfortable in it. Roland comes along and shatters everything she believes, forcing her to turn inside and see herself in the light.
Isn’t that just like God? He refuses to leave you alone in your pain and hopelessness and waits with infinite patience for you to reach out for Him and accept His deep, unchanging love. I was once broken and in despair of ever being happy, no matter how great my life seemed. I found healing in the blessed love of God. He has the power to do the same for you. Go.
“He sent Me to heal the brokenhearted.” Isaiah 61:1

Daddy’s Love

“Look at how great a love the Father has given us, that we should be called God’s children. And we are!” 1 John 3:1
The first of three stories about Madison Turner begins with her teaching a sixth grade class and she is ill at ease. The class isn’t what was making her nervous. The presence of her father does a number on her mind as she remembers her childhood and the effect her father has had on her. We are given a look into the silent secrets of her heart: “Madison remembered the hot pain his open hand caused, and the scorching tears she tried hard to hold back. And he would not stop with one. He kept going until she lost all her defiance and crumbled into a corner. When her father left the room, her mother gathered her little shaking body in her arms and tried to soothe her. But in her childish heart she knew her mom was just as afraid. And when Mom died and left her alone she promised she would never be afraid of him again.”
The wounds inflicted by a parent run deep, controlling the choices we make and the way we relate to others. Madison carried her wounds into adulthood and sought to medicate them with alcohol, which only made her worse. You can read the rest of her story in The Phoenix Chronicles.
I know what this kind of a hurt can do all too well. But it doesn’t have to control us for the rest of our lives. There is abundant healing in Jesus and with that healing a place in the Father’s heart of perfect love without the threat of pain. We can call Him Father and He rejoices to call us His children. These aren’t empty words to make us feel warm all over. They are truth I stake my life on.
“But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be called children of God, to those who believe in His Name.” John 1:12

The Secret of Hope

Rise:
The Secret of Hope
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
A secret is something that is not yet revealed. There is always a keeper of the secrets, the one who protects them and is in charge of giving them to those who ask. Why do I call it a secret? Because the hope we see in this world is fleeting and is based on changing circumstances. There’s no secret about that. What makes this hope so different? The secret must be revealed to us because the secret of hope is God Himself. The Keeper of the secret is the Holy Spirit. The One Who delivers the secret is Jesus.
In one of the stories of The Phoenix Chronicles, Lydia Green is living a brutal life with seemingly no way out. She had promised her dying mother that she would escape her abusive husband. A year after her death, Lydia is still with Silas. Listen to her thoughts: “When the door slammed behind him, loneliness overwhelmed her. She saw herself standing on the edge of a rocky cliff, looking down at the roaring waves below. They seemed to raise higher, their frothy tips opening like hands to catch her. If she took one step, it would all be over. She would finally be able to rest. The only person who kept her away from it was her beloved daughter. Yet the more time went on, the more she wondered if Nikki would be better off without her.”
Hope brings security and a feeling of safety, that what is seen is not the end of the story. Hope is belief in something higher than the ordinary that could sustain the soul in the worst of circumstances. For the time being Lydia’s daughter kept her from going over the edge. But her daughter was not strong enough to change the pattern of abuse Lydia suffered at the hands of her husband. She needed what only God could give. God’s character guarantees the power to lift her out and bring her into something better. I wrote later in Lydia’s story: “Jesus had come in and shouted to the waves to be still forever and left her with peace beyond her understanding. Was this what Mama meant when she told her to rise? But Mama didn’t know how much she wanted to give in to the death that haunted her every day. Jesus saved her from it”.
Though my stories delve into dark places, there is always a glorious light running through them. My message is clear: God is our only hope, no matter how bad our lives are.
You’ll find Lydia’s story in The Phoenix Chronicles and Trilogy of Hope.