BOooOo To Me

When I got off work, midnight reigned and I was exhausted. It was one of those nights where the darkness infused the city so deeply it nearly swallowed my headlights. A few streetlights did just enough to throw around strangely angled shadows of giant oaks and retirement homes. Even the coyotes lost their howls to something in the darkness, their voice clipped and desperate.

A small creature stepped onto the road in front of me. A raccoon? Javelina? Normally, Ifull-moon-1668805_1920 can tell by the crest of the back, but for some reason, it hid beneath my beams and the shadow of the brick office standing near the road. Nice of the little fellow to use the crosswalk.

Woa! By the time it had gone three quarters of the way across the street, it grew arms and legs. With a stooped back, it looked less like an old man and more like a teen although we were in the midst of an aged community.

I widened my eyes, thinking I was so tired, I was seeing things. It probably didn’t help that I had just read chapters of Hollow City, and When Godly People do Ungodly Things.

Is this an illustration of the power of the written word or of the ever increasing spiritual warfare morphing into a beast right before me?

Maybe both, or my Dr. was wrong and I do need more caffeine.

Either way, it will go into my ever increasing collection of unexplained stories. Happy Halloween to you.

The Battle of Words

Fantasy literature is a Heaven and Hell fight. It’s the bookstore lumping in witchcraft novels along with heaven’s novels–in the make-believe section–as if nothing beyond the realm of flesh and blood is real. It’s me in the library, walking through the explosion of chapter books, trying to discern between a harmless magic-based novel or a book that will fight for my daughter’s loyalty to something darker.

I tell my princess God is real.

But that other book tells her witches are real, and good.

I show her the Bible, talk to her about the stories. “This isn’t just a book”, I say. “It’s a history book.”

But then she asks me why schools outlaw that history book.

She knows the truth inside that book, but gets distracted by the pretty covers 100_3067shelved alongside it.

We all need something extraordinary beyond our flesh and blood lives so we know there’s a purpose for this earth-and-pain mess we live in. God is that something extraordinary. “But what about what this person said?” she asks.

I could tell her all kinds of things, read to her the story about Elisha and the army of angels and how Elijah called down fire from heaven.

But we don’t see a whole lot of that in America these days. Some say it’s because we’re too distracted.

So I pull that mustard seed from my pocket and hold it out to God.

I had a nightmare—a staggering one—the kind that wakes you up with sweat and fear coursing down your body. I dreamed horror and woke up piercing the darkness with my prayers. I called the only God who ever shows up because I knew this wasn’t just a dream or too much late-night salsa churning inside my belly—this was a battle. The kind bookshelves call fantasy.
The next morning, Chloe said, “I had a dream last night, Mommy.” My heart thumped a little, remembering my own nightmare. But then she said, “There were angels surrounding our house, protecting us, and Jesus came inside to be near us, so we were okay, Mommy. The bad guys couldn’t get in.”

I remind her of that dream when she asks me about God’s abilities. She may tell that dream to someone someday, and they might laugh it off and say it was just a dream, or that she’s been reading too much fiction.
But I hope she remembers to pull out her own mustard seed. I hope she remembers who showed up to protect us that night…and who didn’t.

I believe there’s a reason why we don’t see much fire from Heaven, or chariots of fire coming for our prophets. I think when we started shelving all of that in the fantasy section, we made ourselves blind. We laugh at those stories, call them silly dreams, but when we need to escape—when we need to know there’s a reason for us—we dig into a few books or flip on the TV.

The problem is, along with the heaven-books, there are other volumes with names like witch or daemon that are passed off as fantasy, but that’s really not it. They are the disguised foe—fighting alongside the volumes of heaven for our children’s hearts. Our hearts.

Writers: It’s never just a story. Your work is eternally valuable.
Readers: It’s never just a story, it’s a battle. But you are worth the fight.
Parents: It’s never just a story. Wicca is the fastest growing religion of American children today. You, along with the angels, are guardians of heaven’s children.

You see, a mustard seed is really a sword. It’s that thing that meets us in between  earth and the spirit world. Never leave yourself unarmed, and don’t ever forget the Maker of your sword.