River of Time part three

The book series that this story is based off of is Lisa T. Bergren’s River of Time Series which I highly suggest you read.  The characters and all of that belong completely to her.

Here is part one and part two of the story.

Sorry I took so long to get this piece posted.  I’m working to get the next one up faster.

Enjoy!


“So,” Luca said, steeling himself “what is that?” He pointed to the iPhone in my hand.

“This is my phone.” I explained. “It can do all sorts of things.  Will you grab the light?”

“What?” Luca asked.  “How?”

“Oh!” I realized that he’d never even flicked a light switch before. I got up and showed him how to do it, much to his astonishment.  He tentatively reached out and moved the switch back and forth between on and off a few times.

“We should probably stop.” I said, laughing at his childlike wonder.  “Most people are asleep.”

“Oh!” He immediately switched the light back off and plunged the apartment into darkness again.  “Where did the lights come from?”  He whispered in the darkness.  I giggled under my breath and moved to turn on a smaller lamp beside the couch.

“It’s called electricity.” I said, gesturing for him to sit on the couch next to me.  I don’t know how perfectly I’ll be able to explain all of this, but I think we should save it for the morning.  It’s already almost midnight.” I looked up at him and remembered for the first time that he was wearing medieval clothing, and so was I. “We are going to have to buy you some clothes.” I said.  “You would probably fit into some of my dad’s stuff, but he wasn’t …alive when we were here last.  I have plenty of my clothes, so you might be able to wear one of my massive pajama shirts.” I was mostly thinking out loud at this point, but Luca was gawking at me.

“You want me to wear your clothes?” He asked incredulously.

“They used to be my dad’s.” I said in defense. “You can sleep in mom’s bed because you won’t want to sleep in the same room as me.”

“I’ll sleep on this.” Luca said, referencing the couch. “It wouldn’t be right to sleep in your mother’s bed.”  I rolled my eyes.  Chivalry is fabulous, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes Medieval chivalry is a little excessive.

“I’ll grab you a pillow and some blankets then.”  I said. “Do you want anything to eat or drink?”

“Some bread and water would be nice.” He said.  I grabbed him a glass of water and looked at our bread options.  Fortunately, my mother was a bit of a fanatic for traditional Italian bread, so we had something that would be similar to what Luca was used to.  I figured he’d had enough completely new things for the day.

“I’ll be right back.” I told him when I got him settled.  My dad’s old Cubs t-shirt looked out of place on Luca, but it was the best I could do.  As far as pants went, he was just going to have to wear the ridiculous leggings until we could find him a pair of shorts in the morning. “I’m going to go take a shower.”  I smiled at the thought.  I hadn’t had a shower in years.

“What is that?” Luca asked.

“It’s similar to a bath, but not quite.  I’ll show you in the morning.” I was entirely too tired to explain more to him tonight, and I had the feeling he was too tired to understand any of it.

I reveled in the extraordinary feeling of warm water rushing down my face.  This was the reason I’d missed this place so very much.  The simple comforts that I had taken for granted were the things I really loved.

I must have been standing in the water for a long time, because I suddenly realized that Luca was shouting my name outside the door.

“Yes?” I said, shutting off the water.

“Evangelia!” Luca sounded panicked. “Are you alright in there?”

“Better than ever.” I said, smiling. “I’ll be out in just a minute, Luca.  Don’t worry about me.”  I dried off quickly and slipped into my pajamas, relishing the feel of leggings and a sweatshirt.

The instant I opened the bathroom door, Luca snatched me into a crushing hug.

“Don’t ever do that to me again.” He said, voice husky.  I looked up to see tears on his face. I reached up to brush them away and he caught my wrist.  “Promise me you won’t.”  He said desperately.

“What did I do?”  I asked.  I didn’t think I’d done anything to frighten him.  “Let’s sit down.”  I said quickly, before he could begin.  Luca looked like he could collapse at any minute.

“I feel so lost.” Luca said as we settled onto the couch.  “You went in there, and all I could hear was running water.  As if a river was sweeping you away.  Then I yelled and you didn’t respond, so I worried that somehow you had been taken.  And there were these noises in the walls, as if the river was gathering from there.”

“Oh Luca.” I sighed.  I hated to worry him, but wasn’t this exactly why I’d brought him here?  To see what it’s like to leave the familiar? “I forgot that you don’t know what a shower is.  I was never in any danger, I just didn’t hear you yelling.  I’m so sorry.” He wrapped an arm around my shoulders, and I could tell that beneath his scowl, he was extremely shaken up.  He could take on five men in battle single-handedly and barely feel nervous, but this new world that he couldn’t understand was enough to make him cry like a child.

Suddenly, he shifted away from me on the couch.

“What are you wearing?” He asked, staring straight ahead, refusing to look at me.

“Leggings.” I said. “They’re pretty standard here.”

“Do women not care how very much they are revealing?” He asked, still not looking at me.

“What I’m wearing is downright modest for the 21st century.” I said, slightly miffed.  I know he wasn’t used to girls wearing pants, but he didn’t need to act like I was prancing around in my bra.  Even as I thought it, I felt a little self-conscious.  I had worn full-length dresses for so long that the sight of my two legs did feel a little bit indecent.  I sighed and grabbed a blanket, ignoring that I was sweltering.

“I’m sorry.” Luca said quietly.  “I know you came here to see home again.  I’m sorry” he repeated.

“Don’t be.” I said, laying a hand on his shoulder. “You don’t know any different.  I was the same way when I first found myself in your world.”

“That’s why you wanted to come back.” He said, looking at me as if he finally understood. “Your family settled in, but you still felt lost without all this.” He gestured around the room.  I nodded.

“Try to get some rest.” I said, getting off the couch.  “We’ll have plenty of exploring to do tomorrow.”

“Evangelia.” Luca said softly.

“Yes?”

“Thank you.” He rolled over and buried his face beneath a pillow.  What on earth was he thanking me for?  I shook my head, turned off the light, and went to bed.  I barely had time to register how soft the bed felt before I was fast asleep.

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A Joyful Christmas

I’m staying in a mountain cabin for Christmas this year, which is a complete first for me.  I’ve never had a Christmas that wasn’t at my home or at family’s home.  Granted, my family is out here with me and it is a beautiful wintry setting, but it simply has a different feel to be in an unfamiliar place.

One thing I was especially worried about coming out here was that we didn’t know anything about the church where we would be attending Christmas Eve service.  I absolutely love singing Silent Night by candlelight on Christmas Eve and I was genuinely worried that we would be missing one of my favorite parts of Christmas if the church didn’t have that.

Fortunately, and I’m sure this was nothing short of God’s work, we drove up to the church and my first thought was, This looks traditional.  I’m excited.

We walked in to a beautiful little sanctuary and were immediately handed bulletins and – wait for it – candles.  My worries that Christmas would be lacking my favorite part vanished, and I was actually really excited for the service.

The pastor started his sermon with a children’s message in which he told a simple version of the story of Christmas, occasionally saying something intentionally wrong so that the children would correct him.  It was a fun reminder of the simple innocence of the Christmas story that we grow up with.  As children, there is awe in the Christmas story, but also a beautiful simplicity that children can grasp easily, so they love it.  I know that story still holds a warm familiarity with me, like a friendly hug every year.

But Christmas isn’t as simple as it seems.  The pastor’s sermon for those of us who are older and supposedly wiser in the ways of the world was all about the meaning behind Christmas.  Yes, it was a little baby born to a poor teenage mother in a stable, but it was so much more than that.

As a kid, it wasn’t ever a question of why he came.  Jesus came to save us from our sins.  That seemed pretty straightforward to me.  But it never occurred to me that God, the creator of the vast universe and every minuscule detail in it, became a part of his creation.  And it wasn’t a pleasant creation that he entered either.  Sin had already done a number on God’s beauty and humanity seemed beyond redemption.  So this sets the scene of the world that God entered.  He loved those humans, no matter how sinful they were, so the creator of all things became a piece of creation to save it.  And that is only the beginning.  God could have chosen to become a human in a showy, celebrated way.  He could have been born to royalty or skipped the indignity of being born at all and arrived in this world on a golden throne and start throwing down orders to creation.  He could have, but he didn’t.  Instead, he chose to be born into a family that lived in near poverty and make himself known to shepherds, who were more or less the scum of society.  He did things his own way, never advancing his earthly station in life, even though he could have taken the world by force with a flick of his finger.

As if that isn’t enough, he came to die for our sins.  He didn’t come to lead an easy life, nor to give luxury to those who please him.  He came to die.  In the pastor’s sermon, he said that “the road to Calvary began with that ‘no vacancy’ sign in the hotel window at Bethlehem.”  Christ’s life of suffering for our sake began when he was born amidst livestock and placed in their feeding trough to rest.

But that isn’t the end.  Thank God that isn’t the end.  Because if Christ merely came to suffer, than that is a depressing story indeed.

1 Corinthians 15:19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

Our hope in Christ is certainly not only for this life, but rather for eternal life.  You see, Christ didn’t come only to die, but rather to conquer death.

We are more than conquerors through Christ.  You have overcome this world, this life.

Because of this, we shall have eternal life with Christ, never separated from our creator.  This is the message of Christmas, which brings me to the pastor’s next point: fear not.  Because Christmas brings us eternal connection with God, who is in control of every aspect of all that has been created, which includes us and our lives, we do not need to fear.  God has taken all fear out of our lives with the message of Christmas.

Our response?

Joy

“Joyless faith in Christ is a contradiction of terms.” This was another of the pastor’s quotes that I couldn’t help but write down.  How true it is though!  Because we have faith in Christ, the fear is voided in our lives which leaves us with joy.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that we don’t still have grief or pain, but it is a grief that still retains the joy of Christ.  Death is no longer final.

1 Corinthians 15:55 “Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?”

We will not bow to sin or to shame.  We are defiant in your name.  You are the fire that cannot be tamed.  You are the power in our veins, our Lord, our God, our Conqueror.

So, this Christmas, joyfully celebrate the birth of Christ.  There is no one more powerful, nor anyone who cares more for you, than Christ, so fear not and be joyful.

Merry Christmas!

Through a Child’s Eyes

I had the opportunity tonight to sit next to a girl of about five years old while she read a book about Christ’s death and resurrection.  She was so engrossed in the page depicting a cartoon Jesus hanging mournfully from a boxy cross.  Mary, John, and Mary Magdalene wept in the background while a Roman soldier knelt in the foreground.

“Why are they so sad?”

That was her first question.  She pointed at Jesus’ mother, tracing the tears down the paper woman’s face.  “They are sad because Jesus” – I pointed at the cross – “is dying on the cross.  She’s his mommy and they are his friends.”

“Why did he have to die?”

That was the question she kept coming back to.  “He died,” I told her, “to save your life.  Isn’t that cool?”  She repeated the question, her eyes begging me to give her a real answer as to why something so wretched should happen to God’s Son.  Now came my challenge:  How do I witness to a five-year-old?  All of my wonderful theological training would just confuse her.  The truth, that Jesus loves her, really doesn’t answer her question without at least a little explanation behind it.  At a loss, I decided the best thing to do was to give her a bigger picture. “Turn the page.”  She did so, revealing a bright picture where Jesus stood outside of the tomb, rays of light emanating across the page to a stunned Mary.  No one stood crying in this picture.  The very Earth seemed to be smiling. “You see,” I explained, pointing to Jesus, “He didn’t just die.  He came back to life.  He did that so that you can come back to life too someday.”

“Jesus died and came back to life to save our lives and we can live with him?”

“That’s right.” I smiled at her knowledge.  I wasn’t the first person to tell her this, so she already knew that eternal life meant a life with Jesus our savior and Lord.  The smile of understanding lit up her face for a brief, beautiful second.  Then she flipped the book back to the page where Jesus hung on the cross.  It seemed we were still stuck there.

“But why did he have to die?”

“He died because he loves you.” I gave her little belly a poke as I said it. “Sometimes you aren’t a very good listener and you do things that you are not supposed to do.  That makes Jesus sad because he loves you and he wants you to listen to him.” I felt like I wasn’t really getting anywhere with this tactic.  How was I supposed to explain to this little girl that she deserves to suffer the eternal punishment of hell?  Christ’s drastic action of love couldn’t really hold weight without that fact.  “When we do things that we aren’t supposed to do, the consequence” – I knew she had heard that word before – “is that we have to die and go to a terrible place without Jesus.  He didn’t want that so he died instead of us.  Jesus never did anything wrong, but he took everything we’ve ever done wrong and he took the consequence.  But Jesus beat the consequence.  He finished it and he forgives us for when we do bad things.”

I’m still not sure if I got through to her, but I know that she at least mulled it over for a while.  It made me realize how difficult it is to sink the message of the Gospel into our stubborn, childlike eyes.  God was working on my heart too during that instance.  He was telling me the Good News all over again, making me see it from a perspective that I’d forgotten since my childhood.  The truth of the Gospel really is as incredibly simple as that: Jesus loves me.

If Only You Knew.

Be Malleable

Maybe you’re the one that wants so desperately to love and be loved that you would do anything to stay with someone.

Maybe you’re the one that tries so hard to get people to like you, that you’ve lost sight of who you are.

Maybe you’re the one that is always there for your friends but when you need THEM they don’t care.

Maybe you’re the one who feels as though you’re nothing but a mess. Everything is out of control…you want to fix it in a few simple steps, but its never that easy.

Maybe you only look back on your life with sorrow, because you feel as though they were the best years of your life and there’s no turning back from mistakes you’ve made.

Maybe you’re the one that has preached about God’s love countless times, but if you’re honest it seems as if deep inside you’ve…

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Secret Revealed: What Every Godly Girl Wants in a Man

Be Malleable

Today I had a young man message me on facebook and ask me for advice.

His question was: “What are girls who are devoted to God’s call on their life looking for in a man?”

Naturally,  I started to write out a list of requirements such as “passionate” “honest” “sincere” etc. but the more I started to write, the more I doubted myself.

I mean, how on Earth is it humanly possible for me to speak for the Godly female population?

Not all Godly girls want a man who desires to be a preacher and be a pastor’s wife. Not all Godly girls want an introverted poet who can lead worship like an angel. Not all Godly girls want to marry a missionary and travel the world.

So what do all Godly girls want?

(Because let’s be real, we really don’t know what we want most of the time and that’s the truth…

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