Snow Falling at Midnight

The clock struck 12 midnight as my foot landed in the freshly fallen snow. The cold powder tinkled my ankles as I walked down the quiet Main Street. What once was full of busy shoppers with places to be is now a blanket of untouched pureness and twinkling lined streets. The shops were locked up tight and the windows were dark. There was a stillness in the air that made the huge snowflakes fall at such a slow rate it was as if they were suspended in the air. I could detect the delicate differences between each flake and they shimmered in the glow of the kerosene lamps. My eyes began to focus on a light further down the road. A cool breeze gently touched my back as I moved forward slowly.  My eyes began to focus on the blurry blob surrounding the light and as I drew closer I relized I had reached a forest full of mature willow trees.  Their long branches were covered in a thin layer of ice and they almost reached the ground. I could hear the sweet music coming from the branches touching each other but there was no breeze to make them move. They moved with such elegance and I wondered they they were dancing for me. I moved forward into the woods gently touched the branches as I passed. Within minutes I finally reached the light source. It was in the center clearing of a group of five trees. I noticed there were no other foot prints around but mine. I squinted as the light grew brighter. It was suspended in the air with nothing holding it into place. The light grew bigger slightly and then shot up into the air. It burst into a million firefies and they swarmed above my head in unison. I was amazed as I saw them start to create words.

Beautiful 

Worthy

Lovely

Desired

Loved

Chosen

Forgiven 

Then the fireflies paused and danced excitedly as if they knew He was near. Soft footsteps came up behind me and my whole body began to buzz. It started in my feet and moved up through to my head as He reached out and grabbed my hand. My body grew limp and wanted to fall but the strength in his hand lifted me up. He grabbed my face with his other hand and tilted it up to look into his beautiful eyes. They were a color not discribed here on this earth and my eyes began to water as I couldn’t take my focus off his beautiful face. So much love poured out of his eyes and into mine. He said, “my child this one is my favorite.”  And as His eyes looked back up into the sky mine followed and the fireflies began to form an image. It was a picture of a baby. Looking closer I realized it was me. Then the images changed again, quickly but one image after another of me growing up. Then He squeezed my hand as if he was saying “watch this!” It was an image of me as an older woman. I began to cry. Then he put his arm around my back and said, “daughter, I have loved you the same from the moment you were born to your very last day here on earth. You are so precious to me and nothing you do can change my love for you. Every day you strive to do more and be more and you feel as if you are not enough. You feel as if you are failing. Oh my child that is far from the truth. I’m so pleased with you. Fall into me and find peace in my embrace. You are more than enough and I love you more than you know.” 

I let out a sigh and my whole body relaxed into His. A breeze circled around my body and up through the air. As I opened my eyes I saw the fireflies disappear in to the stars. Even though I could not see Him anymore His presence was near. 

(Photo by pixabay.com)

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Missing our Target

The young boy grabs his jacket off the hook and runs after his dad into the crisp morning air.  The sun is just peaking over the pine trees casting glimmers of light onto the dew in the grass. His rain boots squeak as they follow a much larger & aged pair of work boots. The sound of the rustling leaves in the trees above his head tells him winter is right around the corner. And on this day this boy’s father is going to teach him to hunt for their food. The boy watches his fathers every move as he pulls out the bow and arrow from his bag. He sees the target and quickly runs to set it up a few steps in front of them. When the boy returns the father gives him a lesson on handling the bow and arrow, pulling the string back close to your mouth and holding your breath for steadiness, aiming at the target, waiting for the right moment and then releasing the string from your fingertips. The father steps back and watches the boy take over the weapon. He stays quiet as he attempts to follow the instructions. The boy struggles a bit with positioning but fires anyway and the arrow lands 2 feet in front of the boy. Frustrated but determined the boy picks up another arrow and fires again with the same results. Each arrow coming a little closer to the target but not meeting it. Eventually, the boy caves and ask for help from his father. He nods and the boy releases his grip and allows his father to come behind him and guide him in each move.  The fathers hands wrap around his sons and he bends down to his level. As they set the bow to aim at the target they both pull back on the string and with an exhale they both release the arrow together. The arrow not only reaches the targets distance but it exceeds it, going over target into the woods far off in front them. The son turns to his father questioning him, upset that he didn’t hit his target once again. The fathers lips curl up on one side as the boy complains, as if his actions were somewhat cute and humerus. With a small chuckle the father sent his son into the woods to look for the over shot arrow. Head lowered and tear filled eyes the boy set out for the woods, watching the ground as his rain boots dodged sticks, leaves and uneven grounds. About to give up the boys head lifts as he sees the overshot arrow. His mouth dropped in shock, the back part of his hand wipes away a falling tear and he sighs as his hands fall to his side and his knees hit the ground. He looks up into the heights of the pines and his little lips curl with the same exact smile. “Thank you” leaves his mouth and he turns back to see his father standing right behind him. “Did you see what happen father?” and the father responds to his boy as he knelt down next to him and laid his hand on his shoulder, ” I know. I saw the deer in the distance as we were practicing. When you let go of control and allowed me to help you, I helped position the weapon to hit prize, not the target.”

The boy and his father knelt down together, arms around each other, in amazement of what just happened. His father looked down at the boy and quietly said, “I’m proud of you son. You’ve done a great job today.”

………
Just like the son in this story we set our eyes on the targets we set up for ourselves.  We go about life thinking we have control and making decisions on our own. When we miss those targets we get upset and question God. He wants us to see that sometimes missing the target gets us the prize, His plan and will for our life. His plan is better than our plans, we just have to let go and have faith that where God leads us is somewhere far greater than we can imagine or plan for ourselves.

Allow God to come in and guide you today. Allow him to lead your steps and bring glory to his kingdom. Whatever that may be, know that missing the target we set for ourselves may be failure to this world but it isn’t failure from Gods viewpoint. It is setting us up for Gods ultimate plan, a far greater plan than any man of this world could create.   Our only task is to believe that God knows what He is doing and stop trying to figure out his plan and purpose for our life. We need to only trust that He will align us with a much bigger target than our own.
23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

(Col 3:23-24)

13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

(Phil 3:13-14)

The Fog

The Fog

Short Story by Audra Ohm

Emma drove down this road a million times to get where she wanted to go.  Today, she was on her way to take her oldest daughter to ballet class.  The day started out just like any other day except that there was a very dense fog surrounding her purple jeep.  She pulled the knob out and turned on her headlights so that the other cars would see her.  Olivia, her back seat driver, was instructing her on where to go.  Emma stayed confident but her hands gripped the steering wheel and her back learned forward as if it would help her see better.  Oncoming cars passed as if they appear out of nowhere.  As she glance around her she couldn’t see the houses as she passed them.  She knew there was a huge subdivision on her right, but it had disappeared in the fog like everything else.  If it wasn’t for the roaring engine of their old 1998 jeep, it would have seemed as if they were floating in the clouds.  Emma glanced down at the time to see if they were going to make it in time, the clock said 9:45, they had plenty of time to get there. She took it slow.  In front of her she saw two tiny red lights, eyes peering at them through the cloud.  As they approached she realized it was a car breaking to make a turn, it looked fancy and new, she let out a sigh of relief, happy nothing bad happened.  She knew she couldn’t add another bill to the stack that sat on her dining room table.  They began to pick up speed again and suddenly the headlights lights flickered and then the whole jeep turned off.  She quickly veered over to the side of the road to get out of the way of other cars.  Since her jeep was from the 20th century she suspected something like this would happened eventually, but today of all days was not the day!  She put the car in park and turned the key backwards to take it out.  She tried to start the car but all she heard was silence, she sat there looking down at her hands that were holding the keys and said a short prayer.  “Father God, I need this car to start….” thats all she said and as she sat their quietly she heard a voice in her head say, “try it one more time.”   She let out a deep sigh as she listened to the baby crying and the five year old asking a billion question, she tried it one more time before making a call for help.  The jeep started right up and every light came on.  The radio station they were listening to turned to static, she figured it was due to the fog so she quickly hit the scan button to find a more local station.  It scanned for some time before landing on an oldie’s station, it made her think of happier times so she pulled her finger away from the button.  She glanced up to pull off the side of the road and saw the fog had cleared, confused and relieve at the same time she began driving.  The noise coming from her tires startled her and she glanced at the road, her car was now on a gravel road, “maybe I went too far?” she thought.  She looked around and she could only see green cornfields for miles.  She looked straight ahead, trying to see the stop light, but it was just gravel in the distance.  A car passed her on the left, she smiled as the bright blue farm truck was fully restored, she didn’t know the year but knew it probably from he fifties.   There was a young man in the driver seat, white shirt and hair slicked back.  His window was down with his left arm hanging our the door.  The cigarette butt in-between is fingers lifted as he waved at her.  She smiled, she loved seeing old cars brought back to life.  One day she hoped she would have one to call her own.  She continued driving hoping to see a sign to figure out where she was, she saw nothing, she knew was lost.  A little white farm house sat on the side of the road a few yards up, in the drive way sat a chevy two door car with white wall tires, like the one her grandparents use to own. She never knew her grandma, she had died at a young age but the snapshots replay in her mind daily.  She was so beautiful and she knew she would have been the sweetest woman she would have ever known.  One of the picture has her siting in a car just like this one.  She thought it was odd how she saw two fully restored cars so close together but she didn’t think much more of it.  She was overjoyed seeing this old farm house kept up & lived in.  As she drives around town she would gaze at the old houses and try to picture them in their former glory, this one was glorious.   One day she hopes to live in one with her blue truck in the driveway.  Emma decided to turn around in the driveway.  The house was a small two story square house with a a porch that stretch across the front. There was a freshly painted red barn in the back with a few animals outside.  She sees a young women on the front porch sitting crossed legged, her slender figure is hidden under a very modest summer dress.  She was watching a little boy play in the gravel with his bright yellow trucks.  He couldn’t have been much older than her youngest daughter that sat in the carseat behind her.  When she pulled in the young women got up and walked off the porch toward her.  Emma thought it might be best to go ahead and get out to ask for directions.  She opened the car door and before she could get one leg out the door Olivia’s door swung wide open.  Bursting out the car, her daughter ran right up to the woman and gave her a hug, as if they’ve known each other for ages.  Stepping out of the car the sun’s rays poured down on Emma’s face and sweat began to form on her forehead, she took off her vest and threw it to the passenger seat.  The women looked at her with so much sincerity in her eyes and asked,  “Are you okay?”

Rolling up her sleeves Emma answered, “I’m not sure, I think we are lost.  We hit a patch of fog a little ways back and I think we got turned around.” She went on to tell her where she lived and the direction they were going but the lady was unable to help them.  She asked them if they had time to come sit and have a glass of lemonade, to cool off a bit before the went on their way.  Olivia agreed quickly and ran with the boy to play in the yard.  Emma grabbed her youngest, Mille, from her carseat and they followed the lady to the porch.  As she walked up the gravel path she couldn’t shake that this lady had a familiar face.  There was a sweetness in her face that complimented her wavy brown hair, the ends landed just above her shoulders.   Emma couldn’t place her but she was quickly distracted by the kids screaming, running right through the two of them.  The lady turns, picks up a small metal truck in the path and turns around, “Im Katie by the way”  “Nice to meet you, my name is Emma. Thanks again for your hospitality.”  The edges of her red painted lips curled upwards and she nodded as she ran in the house real quick, but just before she entered she said, “My mother’s name is Emma.”  Emma looked around for a seat on the porch.  There was a small antique glider that she saw Katie sitting in earlier to her left, so she picked the other seat.  It was a red metal chair, it didn’t glide but it still had a bounce to it.  She sat down and rocked with Millie on her lap, looking out at the kids.  Moments later Katie pushed open the screen door with the back of her foot and turn around with a tray of lemonade and sugar cookies.  She held out the metal tray in front of her and Emma grabbed one of the colorful metal glasses, the coldness felt good to the touch and the dew ran down her fingers.  Olivia’s small fingers wrapped around a drink while the other hand picked up as many cookies as she could.  “Livi, be polite” said Emma.  Katie assured her that it as ok and Olivia smiled at her mom and ran off.  Katie went on over to the glider and sat the tray on the side table.  Taking a glass for herself she began talking about the beautiful day.  Emma looked out onto the road and realized there hadn’t been a car to drive by since the truck she saw earlier  She loved how peaceful it was out there.  She took a sip of of the lemonade and as the sweetness hit every tastebud in her mouth she knew this was freshly squeezed with roughly six cups of sugar added, it was heaven.  She was use to the sugar free lemonade straight from the packets, she savored every sip.  Olivia on the other hand had her glass finished and on her way over to the table for seconds.  Assuming they would miss her daughters ballet class Emma crossed her legs, leaned back in the chair and enjoyed this beutifuly day with her new friend.  They sat there for what seemed like hours.  The kids played, they talked about motherhood, being wives and just enjoyed each other company.  As the sun hit the peak of the sky Emma felt like it was time to go.  The kids were getting cranky and she knew she would have to get them home in time for lunch.  She still had to figure out how to get back.  She politely said thank you for this time and would love to keep in touch. The lady said she would be back and she came back out with an envelope.  On the envelope it said the name, “Catherine” and had a number scratched under it.  “Catherine is my name, my friends call me Katie, call me anytime” she said reaching for a hug.  Emma thanked her again for the sweet time and they said their goodbyes.  They walked down the gravel path and back in the car. After putting the girls in she bucked her seat belt and sat in the front seat.  Katie stood in the driveway, with her boy on her hip, waving at them.  She looked down at the envelope and noticed there was something inside, slowly and curiously she saw there was a picture inside.  Confused she took it out, and as it peaked from white edges she noticed a very familiar picture.  It was the one she had seen as a young kid, her grandma Catherine, smiling from the passenger seat of their chevy two door car with white wall tires.  Confused, she looked back up to the driveway, but all she could see was the fog had surrounded them again.  She looked around her in all directions, there was no sign of the woman, the house or the hot sun.  Cars & semi’s whizzed by with their lights on.  She looked back down at the photo, turned it over and she could see in the same writing as the front of the envelope, it read, “I love you dear granddaughter, -Grandma Catherine.”  tears began to flow from her eyes and they landed on the sweet words.  She took a deep breath, “are you ok mommy?” came from the back seat.  “yes” as she wiped her tears, started the car and got back on the road.  She looked at her clock and it read “9:45”.

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