Not Gonna Wreck It!

wreck it ralph

January 22nd was the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the court decision that legalized abortion in America. I had wanted to write something on the subject before the month was out, but in order to do that, I’m going to talk about a movie first. Today, I came across some notes I jotted down from when I first saw the movie Wreck it Ralph, Disney 2012, and was shocked to see the clear pro-life theme running through the plot and living through the characters.

It’s another one of those times when a little section of popular culture feeds American society what we have long dismissed as old-fashioned or atypical—and we embrace it with touched hearts, little realizing that we are embracing the very script that we have denied. While many have enjoyed Disney’s Wreck it Ralph on the surface, appreciating its playful characters, comical allusions, and creative plot-line, the movie has a lot more to say, carrying deeper meaning below the surface, which is incidentally where the most important parts of the story evolve from.

The mythical world of computer games and characters is ordered and arranged by cyber-scripting, deep in the heart of the arcade’s memory. This is also where we find the great deception that has stolen something very precious from the most loveable character in the movie.

The little girl, Vanellope, is considered a “glitch,” even though “King Candy” is actually responsible for her deficiencies, having gone into the DNA of the game “Sugar Rush” and stolen her identity as the princess of the game. Not only did the villain steal her destiny as a famous racer and assume the kingship in her place, but he also changed the game’s basic memory and rules of citizenship—its constitution, if you will, in order to erase any memory about the deception from everyone’s mind. He will stop at nothing to keep her from racing and regaining even a measure of normalcy; and while she is forced to live as an outcast, he reigns as king and encourages the ostracization that others put her through.  Even her friend, Ralph, is initially convinced by King Candy’s argument, which—like most subversive arguments—does not come across as wrong or maliciously hurtful, but masquerades as “the right thing.” King Candy assures Ralph that he is keeping her from her destiny “for her own good,” because she will certainly be rejected by the game players, cause the shutdown of the whole game, and ultimately perish herself when the game is unplugged.

Any of this sound familiar? If it doesn’t, consider the pro-abortion arguments and see how shockingly they compare with King Candy’s.  Arguably the largest proponent of abortion, Planned Parenthood plays the part of “societal helper,” making people believe that doing away with children who were not wanted in the first place would be better for everyone involved, except of course, the child. However, in spite of their candy-coated lies, the same is at stake for both the preborn child and Vanellope – a destiny and a life. This destiny may not be visible yet, but it remains nevertheless innately given, something that he or she can “just feel in their code,” as Vanellope explains it to Ralph. Isn’t that what we are made up of on the most basic physical level? DNA code? What if someone were bursting into our “codes” and seeking to derail our destinies? What if someone were seeking to take all of our potential away, under the guise of “the greater good?”

The truth is…it’s already happening, and a movie like this cannot exist without the corresponding reality close at its heels. Society has a conscience and no matter how much it is buried under the day-to-day barrage of desensitization, it still lives. The proof of its existence lies in the immediate popularity of a movie like Wreck-It Ralph. How can society live in such disregard for human life and yet immediately embrace a film that shows the innate worth of an unwanted “glitch,” and elevates as “heroic” the one caring enough to fight for her? I argue with hope that society’s basic conscience is not yet dead. How many destinies have we taken away from children? How many people have we lost? Presidents, doctors, lawyers, senators…even race-car drivers. The point is…if movie audiences find the tampering of computer DNA abhorrent, how much more angry should we be at the idea that this perverse stealing happens all the time?

However, as in the film, only the brightest light of Truth will destroy the destroyer. I realize this is stretching the analogy a little, but bear with me. Like Ralph, we can pound our fists against injustice all we want, but if the power of God and the Truth doesn’t shine through us the way the beam of light in the film shone to destroy the cyber bugs, our efforts will be futile.  How does Ralph know that it is wrong to take from the little annoying girl what is rightfully hers? How do we know? Perhaps it is written in our “code.” Perhaps we know the basic rules of “citizenship,” not just on earth but in heaven—the way things were meant to be.

Deep down, we know, like Ralph, that our “code” carries whispers of the Divine and as Ralph and King Candy find out, you just don’t mess with the DNA of destiny.

 

 

Advertisements

Thinking with God

190I’m reflecting today on what it means to think God’s Thoughts with Him. So often, we neglect this privilege, but just think about it—we are specially designed to carry God’s thoughts, to dream with Him, to have hearts after His own heart. No other creature on Earth has this ability, this potential. But now because of Jesus, it’s more than just potential.

So often, we act as though being saved or “born again” is a solitary moment that happens and then it’s over. We said the magic words and now we’re going to heaven, and yet we either go back to the way we were living before, striving in emptiness after things that are passing away, or we struggle throughout life because we can never quite attain the victory we know should be available to us in Christ.

It was never meant to be that way. Just picture the analogy itself. When a baby is born, its life and journey is far from over. The birth is only the beginning of a beautiful process of learning and growing. So how much more would a spiritual rebirth into God’s Family mean a process of learning and growing…being conformed daily to the Image of Christ; learning to look like Christ the way a child learns to exhibit the characteristics of his parents; growing to take hold of full potential?

God delights when we look like Him. He was pleased with David because he was a man after His own Heart. It was this Heart that gave David victory. David was able to defeat Goliath because he was so one with God that when God moved, David sprang into action. Over and over, God accomplished His will for Israel through people like David, people who carried His Heart and would do all His will. Now, because of Jesus opening the way to the Father, and pouring out His Holy Spirit, this Heart is available to all of us who believe!

“Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God….born of God.” John 1:12-13

“He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with the Lord…Christ in you, the Hope of Glory.” 1 Corinthians 6:17 and 1:27b.

This is the awesome privilege we are designed for—when we receive Christ as our Savior and Lord, we get to receive God’s Life in us. God’s resources are at our disposal, in Christ. We get to dream God’s dreams. When we delight in Him, His desires become our desires, and that’s how He gives us the longings of our hearts. Our motives and priorities change. We develop the ability to refuse sin, to take thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. Compassion stirs in us, opening our hearts wider and enabling us to do greater things than we would’ve done on our own. (And these greater things are not just greater in terms of size, but impact.) Whether we plant or water, God gives the fruit, and we get to experience being a part of God’s plan.

Let’s not neglect this wonderful privilege and great pleasure.  We have the mind of Christ. Let’s surrender today, and ask Him to help us walk out the glorious reality we were made for.

Faith Under Ice

The Winthrop Harbor beach wears an icy coating, a mirror painted so close, I can see individual grains of sand glistening frigid blue and silver, scattered with the chilled fragments of mussels. I stood there last year, marveling at the phenomenon under my boots.

That was last November, when we traveled up to Tim’s hometown as boyfriend and girlfriend. He asked me on the way up if I could describe what I was expecting. I didn’t even know…said I would know it when I felt it. There was no ring on my finger yet and open-ended questions hung heavy in the air. We didn’t need to talk much about it though…we knew marriage was around the corner and every engaged Facebook announcement that week highlighted our desire and spun scenarios that made us catch our breath. How would it work out for us? When? And then what? We tried to pray through the uncertainty, taking hands in the Spirit and holding up to God the seemingly-endless options before us. All we had was one step, but we knew something was starting, and every day began tugging us further towards it, like the pull of a gentle, firm shepherd, encouraging action.

We arrived in Illinois in time for gentle Thanksgiving snowfall that wrapped the harbor town in white, but the warmth of his family melted any anxiety off the surface. Tim and I spent a couple afternoons by the edge of mighty Lake Michigan, a new world of snowdrifts and sand. Grey became one of my favorite colors as I watched early winter darkness brood in the cold shoulders of water, the waves capped with white eyebrows. I felt instant years with this shore 800 miles away from my home.

That was a new horizon for me—literally and spiritually. The first hint that perhaps God’s plans for me as an adult included shores beyond where I’d grown up.

A year later, I’m standing there again, on the shores of the lake that is now my neighbor.

After getting married in September, Timothy and I made the move from North Carolina this December, as husband and wife. Familiar territory for him. A giant leap for me. But strangely, going home for both of us. I hadn’t expected to make such a big move so soon after marriage. It involved a lot of letting go…family, friends, church family…not one person I wanted to leave behind. What made it especially tough for me was the fact that all we had was the one big step to show for all our time in prayer. We couldn’t see much beyond that, except promises, an assurance that we were following the Lord and would be protected and guided from there. Still, it was a stretch for me to step out on cold, unknown waves and not be able to see stepping stones ahead, all in a straight, orderly line.

The two-day trip north was a flurry of activity and miles, packing, and unpacking. In spite of God’s specific promises to the contrary, I expected to feel lost and empty in the new place, at least for a while. With each mile, each step accomplished in the moving process, I prayed, hoping that God would meet us in our first steps of obedience and give us vision, purpose. When we arrived and moved in, I waited for that empty feeling to glare at me from the apartment walls. Instead, I found something else–Faith.

It was waiting on the doorstep of our new home, illuminating the porch as if someone already lived there. It winked in the window with the next morning’s sunlight, a promise for each new day, and it filled the empty house on Tim’s first full day of work. It wasn’t even daunted by the to-do list I had in my head, reminding me of all I needed to do to establish myself in the new place. I found this strange peace waiting to befriend me—and it wasn’t just a lack of worry about the future or the absence of missing what I left behind, but an actual peace that was there and remained steady even as those other emotions came and went with the consistent snowfall.

~~~~~

In week-long stretches of sub-30 temperatures here, you can forget the sun has power. Then, there’s a day of nearly-40 paradise that sends the ice dripping in glistening rivulets everywhere. Everything crunches under our boots. Our scarves hang loose—no hats, no gloves.

Our final day here last year was like that. The sun transformed the beach. I watched Tim skip rocks, once and twice over waves, the pebbles like little squirrels hopping snowdrifts. The water was happy that day, curling foam out and under, tossing music to the shore. The sand was smoother, printing footsteps. Ice lay in chunks, like discarded ornaments.  I dreamed of that moment many days afterwards—us on the sunny beach, Tim’s arms my only coat as I stared at the water, seeing not just the lake, but beyond. And that is what I see now…our boat taking wing, its sails set for flying, ready to embrace the waves and more.

I can actually only count on one hand the days where I’ve looked around and shrieked, (to myself of course), “I can’t believe I did this!”And even though at times it’s been rough, overwhelming, or sad, the one thing it hasn’t been is terrifying.

Perhaps because what I need for the next step is here.

Timothy. Sand under ice. Faith.

 

Thrilled to be Writing

It’s a thrill to be writing!!

Starting a blog has been a goal of mine for a couple months, but as I’ve waited for the right time to start, I have also struggled for the words to begin. I have been writing since I was nine, an avid reader longing to find expression for all the words inside. It began with scribbling childish copies of the historical fiction I couldn’t get enough of. As I grew older, I found my niche in biblical fiction, inspired by the writings of Francine Rivers and Terri Fivash, and of course, the Bible, which has been my ultimate lifeline and remains the backdrop for the majority of my writing. Over a period of nine years, I was writing pretty consistently, finally getting a novel down on paper (working on editing the final stages.)

This past year or so, my writing has suffered a lull, a timeout while I began working more, got married, and then moved out of state with my husband. My goal for this blog is to provide myself with a small amount of accountability so that I can get back into the swing of writing regularly and hopefully encourage someone in the process. In addition, it is my hope that writing from my heart will increase my regular times with the Lord.

There is a new desire inside me for more of the Word, more of the Truth. There’s just no time for anything less. I am convinced that as we pray and dive deeper into the Word and the Lord’s Presence, God will give us understanding that we can share.

I am excited to see where this journey will lead, and anyone interested in coming along is more than welcome!