A Peak Into My YA Romance: “Counterfeit”

Athena looked around the crowded room filled with the rich and snobby. They were just the kind of people that she hated, fake smiles, fake boobs, fake teeth, fake tans, and real money. That was exactly why she had invited each one. She gave her own fake smile to the elderly man with the orange tan that had just agreed to a large donation and quickly made her escape. Athena hated lying, but what else was she supposed to do? Trying to make it as truthful as possible she said she had something she needed to check on. He doesn’t need to know that the “something” is my aching toes.

She quickly passed through the side door, and found her way to the little room she had found earlier while setting up. There was enough light coming into the storage room that she didn’t bother turning on the light. No reason to let anyone know that the room is occupied. She eased down onto a wooden crate and sighed. Easing one of her ridiculously uncomfortable high heels off, she rubbed her aching toes.

Suddenly she heard a soft “bing” and she tried to figure out what it was. When she notices a soft glow coming from back in the corner of the room, behind some stacked chairs, she stood and limped over that way. Fully prepared to scream bloody murder if she had to, she unconsciously held her shoe with the sharp stiletto heal, like a weapon. As she peaked around the chairs she could just make out the glow of a cell phone between some fingers.

“Who’s there?” she asked in a stage whisper.

“You can put down that shoe, I’m not dangerous, just hiding,” came a manly voice.

“Why are you sitting in the dark?” Athena insisted.

“Why didn’t you turn on the light?”

“Oh, right,” she muttered. “Sorry, I’ll leave.”

“I take it you are hiding too,” he asked as she turned to leave.

“Well just for a minute. My feet are killing me and my head is starting to hurt,” she admitted.

Suddenly the phone came up and she could just make out the face of the person sitting in the corner.

“Landon?” Athena asked in surprise.

“Yep, that’s me. Aren’t you the hostess?”

Athena sighed again, “Yes.”

They both were silent for a minute.

“You don’t have to leave, I can go. I won’t tell a soul I saw you,” offered Landon.

“No! You were here first, I am sorry I intruded,” she stammered.

“Hey, I already wrote a check, you don’t have to worry about offending me.”

“Oh, that isn’t it,” she lied again.

He just looked up at her. Even though there wasn’t a lot of light in the room, she could tell he was calling her bluff.

“Look, I had my few minutes of escape,” he said checking the clock on his phone. “In fact in a few more, I can leave without stepping on any toes.”

“As long as they aren’t my literal toes, feel free to leave the building, after all, you already wrote the check,” she quipped.

Drama Queen or Noble King?

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We all know a few Drama Queens. You know the ones who live soap opera lives. They love drama and the latest gossip. They are busybodies, they think they have to know and try to fix everyone else’s problems, when their own seem too huge to even attempt to fix. Anything that happens in their lives is a BIG DEAL! Mountains are made out of molehills. A bad report becomes headline news (everyone has to know.) Most of the time we grow out of that stage around the age of sixteen, but for some, it becomes a way of life.

Those kind of people drain me. How about you? It feels like they sap the strength right out of you. Suck you dry. They are so needy.

At Church they are always in the prayer line, always asking for prayer, wanting someone to “stand in the gap” for them. All good things, but they never receive. Or if they do, they just move onto the next big deal. What is the problem?

They don’t trust God. Or, I may even venture to say, they don’t know God. Sure they may know who He is, they may even believe He is real and that He sent Jesus to die for them, but they don’t really know Him. How do I know that?

I’ve had my drama queen moments.

Always, those times have been when I looked at the circumstances, believed the bad doctors report, or the balance in my checkbook, more than I looked at Him, or believed His word. Sometimes we believe, we know Him in an intimate way, but we still go into panic mode. Most often, in my own life it is because I haven’t been listening to Him, or I listened but didn’t do what He said.

Years ago when I was having heart issues, and had some equipment malfunction while on the operating table, fully awake, I lived a few months of the Drama Queen life. From the beginning, God was trying to tell me that He had it all under control, that I had already been healed, and to act like it, declare it. However, I chose to listen to the doctors and some well-meaning people and things went from bad to worse. It took me finally listening, and obeying Him before I saw the issue totally healed. He healed me before the foundation of the world, way before He ever took those stripes, but it took months for it to manifest due to my lack of obedience. Thankfully, a good Christian friend told me that God said, “I’ve got your back. It’s all taken care of.” The exact same thing He had been trying to tell me for months. Some of the worst days in my entire life ended up being a stepping stone for my faith to grow. I know I can trust Him! He proved it, again.

Proverbs 3:5-8 (NIV), “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.”

That is a word to stand on!

Now, before I finish up today, I don’t want to just say “don’t be a Drama Queen,” I want to also encourage you to be who God created you to be. A Noble King.

Revelations 5:10 (Aramaic Bible In Plain English), “And you have made them a Kingdom, Priests and Kings to our God, and they shall reign over The Earth.”

He has made us kings! I didn’t say it, He did.

When you think of a good king, David always seems to come to mind. He was intimate with God. He refused to take any action against his enemy Saul, recognizing that King Saul was anointed by God. When he sinned, he repented. One scripture stands out to me in the life of King David that helps prove the nobleness of his character.

II Samuel 9:1-7 (NIV), Then David said, “Is there yet anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David; and the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” And he said, “I am your servant.” The king said, “Is there not yet anyone of the house of Saul to whom I may show the kindness of God?” And Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan who is crippled in both feet.” So the king said to him, “Where is he?” And Ziba said to the king, “Behold, he is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel in Lo-debar.” Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, from Lo-debar. Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and prostrated himself. And David said, “Mephibosheth.” And he said, “Here is your servant!” David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will surely show kindness to you for the sake of your father Jonathan, and will restore to you all the land of your grandfather Saul; and you shall eat at my table regularly.”

Saul and his sons are dead. David is king. He is subduing his enemies with the Lord’s leading. He has built himself a fine home out of the cedars of Lebanon. All is good for David, yet there is one thing is still on his heart. He remembers the good things about King Saul. He recalls the friendship he had with Jonathan, so he wants to show some kindness to anyone who is left. David accepts this cripples man into his home and restores all of his grandfathers land to him. He thought of others. He wanted to bless, to give, and wasn’t thinking of how he could get.

That is nobility.

Yes, he was king and had more than he needed. But, you must remember, he started as shepherd boy. In fact, that’s when God anointed him as king.

Drama Queens live in the temporal, Noble Kings live in eternity.

It’s a choice really.
How do you choose to see your life?
How do you choose to see God?
Who do you want to be?
A Drama Queen or a Noble King?

Is He Watching?

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Psalm 33:18 (NIV), “But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,”

Genesis 28:15 (NIV), “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

That is pretty comforting that our Heavenly Father is watching over us. Especially the part about “until I have done what I promised!” But, is He watching us all in the same way? He loved everyone. There is not one person exempt from His unfailing love. In fact nothing can separate us from His love. (Romans 8:31-39). However, according to verse 18 in Psalms, His eyes are on those who hope in His love. What does that mean? Though God loves everyone, He especially watches over His children (those who have given themselves to Him.) Then going a step further, He is looking for those who fear Him, who trust Him, and those who expect Him to “do all that He promised.”

God can work in the lives of those who are trusting in Him!

Verses 20-22 go on to say, “We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.”

Notice it doesn’t say that we need to try and “make something happen.” It also does not say that our hope is in our own effort, or our job, or our family, our church, the government, or the lottery. Our hope is in Him! Nothing else can fulfill those promises that He made us. The bible is so full of promises, thousands, literally. Only He can perform them. Only He can finish what He has started.

Is it important to place our hope and trust in Him?

Psalms 33:20 in the KJV and also the NAS use the word “according” after love. His love is with us according to our hope and trust. Do you hope a little, trust even less? That’s how much His love is with us. Not because He loves us less, but because we won’t accept His love and blessings if we don’t trust Him. It’s not Him, it’s us that fails.

Finally, let’s look at the same scripture in the Amplified version.
“Let Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, be upon us, in proportion to our waiting and hoping for You.”

That says it plain and simple.

He is watching over us! He so wants to bless us. His desire is for us to have an abundant life. For us to live out of His provision and not out of our own effort. Yes, we do have to work, and we should be diligent and honest in our labor, but don’t ever look at your own work as your source.
Trust Him! He is able.

Choose Your Way

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What looks like the easy way, the way out, the way up, isn’t always the right way. That path strewn with flowers, smooth as a baby’s behind, you know the one that looks sunny and bright, may not be the path that you need to take. In fact most often, in the long run, it isn’t easy at all.

The paths we choose can’t be based on what they look like. We can never rely on our natural senses. The roughest looking road may be exactly the one God would have us walk. I often use the analogy out of the Disney movie “Beauty and the Beast.” There is a place where Bell’s father is faced with two paths. One looks lovely and the other is shrouded in darkness, there is an evil looking mist, and some scary looking trees. The horse is the only one who seems to have any sense, and in our hearts we are screaming “take the sunny path!” However, if we watch the scene through, the path he took was the right path to lead us to our happy ending. It is the same with us. Be led by God, not by our fears, anxiety, or laziness.

So why would God want us to take the road that is less traveled? Is it because He wants us to suffer and fight every step of the way? No. Those pits, road blocks, speed bumps, and glare ice have all been put there by our enemy. He wants to stop us from advancing. That’s how we know we are on the right road. Why would Satan hinder our path to Hell? He hinders our walk to the Abundant Life, the road that leads us into a deeper relationship with our Heavenly Father. Our enemy doesn’t just try to impede our way, he also tries to distract us from the path. If he can get us to step off of the path, to try an “easier” way, or to completely suck us in by that sunny little path that leads straight to that beautiful oasis. You know, the one that leads to the sunny beach with a life of ease. Don’t be fooled that life is a mirage! All that glitters is not gold!

So why doesn’t God just sweep our paths clear? After all, He is all powerful. Because He knows what is best for us. He sees what’s up ahead. He knows the people we will influence, the trust and strength we will gain. Simply put, He wants us to be led by His Spirit, to learn to trust and rely on Him. In reality, we will never know how many obstacles He has removed! I know that He has protected me so many times. I put myself in some pretty dangerous situations when I wasn’t living for Him, and He brought me through them all. How much more protection do you think I have now that I have committed my way to Him? There are angels guarding around me at all times. I am confident that they have carried me up an over many pits and snares. God knows we need His strength. That’s why Jesus promised to never leave us nor forsake us. Matthew 28:20 (God’s Word Translation), Teach them to do everything I have commanded you. “And remember that I am always with you until the end of time.”

There were many times in my life when I was tempted to “take the easy way.” I went through things that weren’t easy. My teen years were some of the worst. I struggled with self worth, anxiety, and alcohol and drugs. Several times I almost gave into that voice telling me to “end it all.” Though I had left the path God had chosen for me at the time, He still kept me safe. My marriage is another example. We both came into it with issues and at many different times we wanted to “call it quits.” But, we stuck it out. (Granted sometimes in fear or stubbornness, but God turns it all around for our good.) We found some Godly counsel, many times over the years, and finally went through some deliverance. For years we both lived in a messy marriage, but we knew that God’s best for us and our children was to stay together. This summer it will be thirty years since we said our vows. For about the last ten, they have been better than we ever dreamed of! It was all worth it!

Sometimes the way gets rough. We can’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have been known to say, “enough already” and “really?” Those both directed at God. At times in anger, and other times joking with my Father. Thankfully He is patient and forgiving, and He has a sense of humor. Do we always know why we have to walk such a spooky looking path? No. But can we be confident that God is good and He has our back? Yes.

The more we know Him, the more we know His word, the easier this walk gets. Are all the obstacles removed? No, but His word is a light unto our path. We can see them way ahead of time, so we can be built up and strong in the Lord. Whatever you do, keep walking forward. No turning to the left or the right, and for Heaven’s sake, don’t sit down! Never set up camp in a rough spot. Go through! Let His praises be on your lips. Let your heart be full of His joy. That’s where our strength comes from.