• The Writer


    Hello! My name is Laura, welcome to my blog! I write weird stories, collect dragon plushies and stay up too late with my nose in a book. I am a wife, mom and child saved by grace. My hope is that you find encouragement here or at least a smile or too.
    God bless!

  • “Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book that it may be for the time to come forever and ever.”
    ~Isaiah 30:8.

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  • Quotes

    We have come from God, and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, will also reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God. Indeed only by myth-making, only by becoming 'sub-creator' and inventing stories, can Man aspire to the state of perfection that he knew before the Fall. Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic 'progress' leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil.
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    "The only just literary critic," he concluded, "is Christ, who admires more than does any man the gifts He Himself has bestowed."
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    “Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisioned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    "Writers who see by the light of their Christian faith will have, in these times, the sharpest eye for the grotesque, for the perverse, and for the unacceptable. To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures."
    ~Flannery O'Connor

    You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.
    ~Arthur Polotnik

    Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.
    ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

    "There are forms of insanity that condemn people to hear voices against their will, but as writers we invite ourselves to hear voices without relinquishing our hold on reality or our right to control."
    ~Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway

    Christians have sometimes been suspicious of stories, because they really can influence you. If you read the Twilight novels once a month for a year, I think you'd be a different human afterward—and not a sparkly one.
    ~Nate Wilson

He Does Provide

I’ve passed the one month mark as a married woman, and in the last several weeks I’ve been overwhelmed with the wonder of God’s provision.  The generosity of people; friend’s, family and even complete strangers.  God’s perfect timing with giving us exactly what we need the moment we need it.

I’m so filled with gratitude.  A thank you card or any other gesture of thanks just doesn’t feel adequate enough.

Thank you Father.  You have proven once again that no matter what, You are watching out for us, making plans and providing for our needs no matter how great or small.  You cloth the lilies of the valley, but You love us more and cloth us more radiant that those.

In this season of Thanksgiving, though the day itself has passed, my heart is overflowing with thankfulness.

Thank you Father for your provision.

Thank you.

What are you grateful for?

October 31st, 1517

“Unless I am convinced by Scripture and by plain reason and not by Popes and councils who have so often contradicted themselves, my conscience is captive to the word of God. To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. I cannot and I will not recant. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me.” ~Martin Luther (From the movie Luther 2003)

496 years ago today Martin Luther penned his “95 Theses” and began a much needed reformation in the Church. He challenged the corrupt authority of the Church in the 16th century, stating salvation was reached through faith and repentance, not through works or the purchase of “indulgences”.
Today his work still influences us and he is one of my heros, a man God used to change how people saw Him and the Christian Faith. Luther faced death at the stake for what he believed, but he stood fast, holding on to his faith in Jesus Christ. He struggled, he doubted, and I’m sure there were days when he wanted to give up, but he didn’t. Through God’s leading he changed the world with his words. Words of truth to make the darkness flee.

“I cannot renounce all of my works because they are not all the same.First are those books in which if I have described Christian faith and life so simply that even my opponents have admitted that these books are useful. To renounce these writings would be unthinkable for that would be to renounce accepted Christian truths… The second group of my work is directed against the foul doctrine and evil living of the Popes, past and present… Through the laws of the Pope and the doctrines of men, the consciences of the faithful have been miserably vexed and flayed. If I recant these books, I will do nothing but add strength to tyranny and open not just the windows but also the doors to this great ungodliness… In the third group I have written against private persons and individuals who uphold Roman tyranny and have attacked my own efforts to encourage piety to Christ. I confess that I have written too harshly. I am but a man and I can err. Only let my errors be proven by Scripture and I will revoke my work and throw my books into the fire.” ~Martin Luther (Luther 2003)

 

…On and On.

Adventure always comes when we’re not looking for it.  We’re just living our lives when suddenly someone or something comes along and completely changes our entire world, and from that moment on nothing is ever the same.  You’re pulled out of your quiet comfortable life and thrown onto some crazy road, unprepared and without a pocket handkerchief.

Was I thinking a year ago that at this time that I was going to be getting married in three weeks?  No way!  Was I even thinking last summer that I would be anywhere near close to getting married within the next year?  Nope. Not only was I not expecting to be getting married so soon, but I never thought I’d be leaving the area I’ve spent my entire life in and moving 2,000 miles away from everything I’ve ever really known.  Yes….The dwarves arrived while I was quietly eating supper, took me as their burglar, and pulled me with them to go steal back their gold from a dragon….and like Biblo, (the real hero of that story), part of me is thinking, “What just happened?”

I find it rather ironic actually.  For so long I had been praying for my future husband, asking God to use me, to take me on an adventure and make me His hero.  When I fell in love with Daniel, I started praying harder, asking for God’s best, for His timing and to make something happen if it was meant to be.  And by golly, He made something happen and what’s even more of a surprise, His timing has made things happen a whole lot faster than I ever dared hope!  My brain just having a hard time keeping up… 😛

So here I am, on an unexpected journey, heading off to the unfamiliar and leaving the known behind me.  But the great part about it is, it IS an adventure and one I am going to get to share it with my husband, my best friend.  Together and with God’s help we’ll take this road, pass through the mountains, the valleys, and the dangers of the dark wood, fighting side by side when enemies surround us and try to tear us apart.  I know with God on our side, standing as the third party in this adventure and guiding us along the way, there is no beast so terrible, or creator so foul that could stand in our way.

So here I go.  Stepping out onto the road, keeping my feet, but being swept off all the same.

 

"I'm going on an adventure!"

“I’m going on an adventure!”

 

When Dreams Come True

Dear readers,

There has been something amazing and wonderful happening in my life that I have been waiting to share with you for some time.  I posted the picture on Thursday, so you all are well aware about what has happened… but now, I get to talk about it.  All I can say is God is so faithful.  When we trust Him there is no limit to the incredible things He can do.  His love is unfailing, His timing perfect, His dreams, well, they are beyond anything I could have ever hoped for.

My dreams have come true.

I’ve been granted the desires of my heart.

My cup is overflowing.

Everything has changed.

Everything is perfect.

I’m going to marry my best friend, Daniel Beals.

Remember THIS POST back in December?  Well, those dreams were about Daniel.

Though I’ve known Daniel for several years, this journey (for me) really started fall of 2011.  Daniel and I had grown very close over the last year and I had come to realize just how much his friendship meant to me.  Before I had tried to think of him just as a friend, a brother in Christ, but as New Year’s and 2012 came around, that became very difficult.

As the months passed our friendship changed.  We became even closer.  I knew I cared about Daniel, cared a lot, and I wanted to tell him, but more than that, I wanted to stay with in God’s will. I suddenly find myself praying nearly all the time.  For Daniel, about Daniel… constantly giving God my feelings for him, and my future, whether it included a life with him or not.

The first several months of 2012 were hard.  I tried to keep the mind set that Daniel was some other girl’s husband, I kept praying and handing how I felt over to God, I tried to keep from going crazy.  On a walk one day, I came to the realization that Daniel had become my best friend.  I knew I wanted the man I married to be my best friend, and the idea that Daniel might not be that man, honestly, made me feel depressed.  I decided that I would rather not marry anyone than lose Daniel or his friendship.  (I am so very thankful that God had other plans.)

One night that summer, during a closing shift at work, I spent the whole evening praying.  It was slow that night, and I had six hours before closing and clocking out.  I prayed about Daniel, telling God how much I cared about him, how scared I was of losing him, and I desperately I wanted to just tell him how I felt.  I wrestled with God, going back and forth between almost letting go, to coming up with a reason to hold on.  Finally… I let go.  I gave Daniel to God.  I gave my dream of Daniel to God.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  I didn’t know what would happen, but I knew my future and my dream was in good hands.

Then the OYAN Summer Workshops rolled around.  When I saw Daniel again, face to face, I couldn’t stop smiling, and actually surprised myself with with the suddenly thought of, “I love him.”  Also, I was pretty sure that God was telling me, “Yes, he’s the one.”  That week was interesting, and when it comes down to it, rather hilarious.  I tried to let Daniel know how I felt, without actually telling him, and apparently, how we both felt about each other was very obvious to everyone there… except us.

In August, Daniel and his mom came to visit.  That week… I just about went crazy.  The whole time all I could think about was how I was going to let Daniel go back to Oklahoma without telling how I felt.  I prayed so hard that week.  Preparing myself for the goodbye I thought was coming.  I decided that if Daniel didn’t say anything that week, and left without confirming how I thought he felt too, I was going to slowly end the friendship.  I felt like I was being fake with him by not saying anything, and I couldn’t continue on with our friendship staying the way it was with how I felt.   Then… God gave me my dream.

My mom sent me with Mrs. Beals to run an errand.  When we got back, Daniel and my parents were sitting at the kitchen table, and my two younger siblings were no where to be seen.  I should have been more suspicious, but I wasn’t.  I thought it was rather odd, and continued on my way upstairs to the restroom.  My mom followed me up, knocked on the door and asked me if I was alright.  I thought that was a little weird.  She told me to wait for her before I went back down stairs, and there was something in her voice that made my heart leap.  When I came out I asked if everything was alright.  She just smiled and said yes, then took my arm, placed it through hers and led me downstairs.  We walked into the kitchen.  There was Daniel, his mom and my dad at the kitchen table.  (I was still clueless as to what was actually happening.)  Mom left me standing in the middle of the room and sat down.  Again, I asked if everything was alright and what was going on.  My mom looked at Daniel and said, “Well, are you going to tell her?”

Daniel stood up and walked towards me.  As he talked, he never looked up.  I just stared at him.  He told me he had asked my parents permission to court me, and they had said yes, now he was asking me for mine.  Suddenly I couldn’t remember how to talk.  I managed a quiet “yes” as I thought my heart would explode with happiness.  I couldn’t believe what had just happened and was in a daze pretty much for the next couple of months.

Since August, Daniel’s and my relationship as grown even more, and on February 8th, 2013 he asked me to marry him.

I walked in the door from work, to find a big vase of red roses along with a card with my name on it sitting at the kitchen table, and, my siblings waiting with cameras.  (Again, I was clueless, and readily accepted my sister’s explanation that Daniel wanted pictures.)  As I opened and read the card, Daniel walked up behind me.  I couldn’t believe he was there.  I turned around and gave him a big hug, then he knelt down on one knee, pulled out the most beautiful ring, and proposed.  Of course, I said yes.

God has been so good.  I have grown closer to Him through getting to know Daniel, and through falling in love with him.  The last year and a half has been an incredible journey, and I can’t wait to see what this next road holds, walking side by side with the love of my life.

Farewell Dreams

Dreams.  We all have them and we all tend to cling to them as if they are our only life source.  I know I did.

Dreams are wonderful.  That fanciful daydream, longing, secret wish or hopeful thought, stirring in us an indescribable, uncomprehending desire to act on them and make them more than dreams, but realities.  Dreams such as…

Dreams of being successful.

Dreams of finding love, marrying.

Dreams of a family.

Dreams of being more.

Dreams of achieving all your higher goals.

And so many others.

Any of those dreams sound familiar?  Do they prick a cord in your heart, stirring up that same wishful fantasy they stir in mine?

Dreams are so precious aren’t they?  They’re apart of us, woven into who we are and every fiber of our being.  That’s why it’s so hard to let them go.  Yes, let them go.

2012 is drawing to a close, and as 2013 approaches, I think back over the past year and everything God has brought me through.  He has revealed so much to me over the past twelve months, taught me so much.  He has shown me how to be His hero, not just how to write about them, but how to be one.  He’s taught me a deeper meaning of love, how it endures, holds fast, never gives up and never lets go.  And, how to let go of my dreams.  The last was the hardest lesson to lean, one that brought many long nights and tear-filled prayers.

I’ve known for a long time God was calling me to relinquish my dreams to Him.  I thought I had, but no, I was still holding tight to them, my knuckles turning white with the strain.  It was tormenting.  Yes, tormenting.  Some of you reading this will understand, and really, this post is for you.  My dreams were beautiful, shaped through out the years of my life, from my child’s mind to now, and God wanted them.

This year was more of a struggle for me regarding letting my dreams go than any other year before, and yet, it was so wonderful at the same time.  The way God began revealing Himself to me, pulling my heart ever closer to His.  It hurt, it was hard, but it was beautiful.

It seems so many times, we pray and ask God to change us, to take control of every aspect of our lives, but we really don’t know what we’re asking for.  Complete and utter surrender, of, EVERYTHING.  Dreams included.  It’s funny, when we surrender our lives, we list things like money, job, school, family, heath, choices etc, things we can see, feel and touch, but we don’t consider our dreams as part of that list.  Yet, the reality is, our dreams are something God desires above the physical.  Why?  Because He has dreams for us too, and when we let ours go, He can give us His.  When we say goodbye to our dreams, we say hello to the wonderful things God has in store.

I never imagined it would turn out like this.  Never in my wildest dreams.  When I thought of letting my dream go, I thought I was giving them up.  In a way I was, I was emotionally giving up what I desired because I wanted God’s best, and if my dreams were getting in the way of that, then they were something I needed to sacrifice.  So, one night, I tearfully, even reluctantly, brought those dreams to the alter, laid them there, and let them go.  I asked God to make His dreams my dreams, and I gave Him the desires of my heart.   It was the hardest thing I have ever done, but I did it.

Did I feel relieved after?  Yes and no.   Yes, because I knew God would take care of those dreams, and do what was best for me and those dreams.  He was in control now.  No, because my human mind could not comprehend what I had just done.  I had let everything go, I had let my chance at those dreams go…but had I really?  A few weeks after that night, an amazing thing happened.  God have those dreams back to me, and it was wonderful.  (Eventually, I will tell you about those dreams, when the time is right.)

No one knows the desires of our hearts better than our Father in Heaven, and no one wishes to grant them more than He does.  I think too often we let what we want, what we want to hold on to get in the way of that.  We have to completely surrender those desires to Him before He can give them to us.  We have to be willing to let Him have our lives in their entirety if we want the blessings He has in store for those who trust in Him.

From someone who has hurt, struggled, bleed, and cried herself to sleep holding on to her dreams for dear life, because she thought if she let them go, she would lose them forever, let me tell you, God is wonderful.  He will not take your dreams and cast them aside after you place them into His hands.  Rather, He will lovingly take them, and create a more beautiful reality with them, then you could ever imagine.

Dreamer, don’t give up.  Letting them go is not the end, it is merely the beginning.

September 4th, 2008

Four years ago this past Tuesday I became a member of the One Year Adventure Novel online student forum…

Four years ago this week I became StoryGirl and joined the OYAN family… and my life has never been the same.

Little did I know what exactly I was getting myself into that first time I logged in.  I had never been on an online forum before, and I really had no idea what it was or what to expect.  There I was, seventeen going on eighteen, a senior in High School, just beginning to seriously dabble in the world of writing, and then WHAM! I suddenly found myself the world of OYAN.  (And no worries, it was a good WHAM. 😉 )

I don’t think I had ever felt so at home in a new place before.  It’s a weird thing to say about a forum on the internet, but that’s the best description for it I can come up with.  I was welcomed in with open arms by people who were just like me!  Writers, nerds, Tolkien fans!  And best of all… people who understood completely my passion for stories and writing.  Having a place where I could ask questions, seek help and encouragement, even sympathy, was like finding a slice of heaven.  For those of you who are writers, you know that writing, being a writer is a very solitary thing.  With OYAN, I suddenly discovered I wasn’t alone, and never had to be.  We were all doing it together.  Writing different stories, in different genres, but we were always there for each other when it got hard, and we still are.  (We’re a force to be reckoned with. 😉 )

Over the past four years I have been so blessed through OYAN.  I was given so much through one writing curriculum.

Strong friendships.

Encouragement.

The tools I needed to become a great writer.

Fellowship with like-minded writers.

A place to be myself.

Crazy people who were just like me! 😉

Challenges I needed as a writer.

Support.

Help when I needed it.

Shoulders to lean on, (or even cry on).

An incredible second family.

Amazing experiences.

And most of all…. love.

Yes, love.  To me, OYAN means love.

My life has been changed so much through OYAN.  God has used it to make me not only a better writer, but a better Christian who is closer to Him as well.  He has used the people I’ve met and the friends I’ve made through it to help and change me in more ways then I’m sure any of them realize.  When I say it changed my life, I really mean it.

So, to all you OYANers reading this… Thank you.  You have been such a blessing to me.  You all have changed me, as a writer and as a person.   Thank you.

And to Mr. and Mrs. S.  Thank you.  For creating the curriculum, for supporting us and being there for us.  Just for everything you do.  Thank you.

From the bottom of my heart…. Thank you.

God bless you all.

OYAN forever!

 

Have I Disappeared from the Face of the Earth?

No… I actually haven’t, but when I do, I shall let you all know.

It’s August! And I only made two posts last month….Hmm…. can you say life is crazy?  I shall try and give you all an update on how things are going.

I haven’t had much time to write… well, actually, I haven’t had ANY time.  Which as been weird… but it’s kind of what happened this summer.  Things of been rather crazy in the Jenkins house and between working and having lots of things to do at home, Choices, Chances and a few other story projects have been placed on the shelf until Fall.  (At which time I plan on wrestling them to the ground, finish editing and outlining, and possibly make some head way on development for an awesome new world. 😉 )

In other news… MY BEST FRIEND IS COMING ON SUNDAY!!!!!  Yeah… I’m just a little excited about this. 😛 😉  Be prepared for another bombardment of pictures and awesomeness.  🙂 (Might even get a video… hmmm.)

One thing I have to share….

God is just SO GOOD.  Over the last two weeks I have been on the most amazing roller coaster ride with Him.  And the really cool thing about it is… it wasn’t just with me.  God’s timing is just incredible, how He puts things together, moments in peoples lives, shared experiences…yeah.  It’s hard to describe.  My faith has been completely changed and strengthened.  I even feel different than I did two weeks ago.  He has answered a prayer that has been on my heart for years, He’s given me something that I never thought I would have, and it is so much more than anything I ever imagined.  His timing is perfect.  His dreams are so much greater than anything we could ever envision.  He’s given me such a peace, a joy, an excitement for the future… I can’t wait to see what He has in store.

News Flash

Heylo Readers!

My apologies for the lack of new posts, lots of things going on right now.

For one… God has given me a job!  I am now a writer with a day job. 🙂  I work at this awesomely unique place that sells imported British food and merchandise, (plus British pastries they make there at the shop).  There’s allot to learn, new brands, new products to familiarize myself with, but I do believe I am going to greatly enjoy working there.

As for writing… I have not done any significant writing in two weeks… yeah, I know, ouch.  This is due to a combination of writer’s block, procrastination, and starting this new job.  Hopefully I can remedy this within the next couple of days.

I was planning on putting out a video today, but I have so much writing to catch up on it will have to wait until next week.

Hope all you lovely folks are having an awesome week!

Until the next post!

God bless!

L.E.R. Jenkins

Your Choice: How to Stay in a Good Mood

One morning last week I woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  You know those mornings.  The alarm goes off and you feel as if you’ve only slept for a few minutes.  It’s raining, everything just looks gray.  You’re down, everything and everyone bothers you.  You just feel down in the dumps for no apparent reason.  The sad part was I didn’t want to feel better, I wanted to wallow in my own self-pity.  Why?  Did it make me feel any better?  No, it just made me feel worse.  So why?  I had swallowed a lie created to ensnare my emotions.

Emotion

Emotion (Photo credit: rexquisite)

When we are in a bad mood, our Flesh is at war with the Holy Spirit that indwells us.  Satan feeds us the lie that we can’t changed how we’re feeling, it’s just part of life, part of human emotion, part of not getting enough sleep last night.  But the Holy Spirit is telling us that we can changed how we feel.  Emotions are just emotions, they don’t dictate how we are going to live.  If we let ourselves be led by the swing of our emotions we surrender before the battle has even started.  I know, when we wake up on the wrong side of the bed the last thing we feel like doing is trying to feel all happy.  We forget that even though it might be raining, the sun is still shinning behind the clouds, and we feel too down to try and rise above them.

As I was sinking into this mindset, a little voice, the softest of whispers, spoke to my heart.  A ray of sun, just a pin prick, found it’s way through the gray and illuminated the truth.  I saw the lie I had accepted and what it was doing to me.  It wasn’t just sapping my emotions, it was sapping my joy, my praise.  Let’s face it, when we are down, do we want to praise God?  Do we still feel His joy?  No.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t.  Suddenly I was overwhelmed with who God is and what He had done, and was doing for me.  His love, His mercy, His grace and His gift of Salvation.  The task He had called me to, the mission He had given me.  Every piece of Him in my life shone out to me in an instant.

In that moment I realized something; if God has given me His grace, loved me unconditionally, poured out His mercy on me and given me the gift of salvation through the death of His son, me, the chief of all sinners, if He has done all this and more, and continues to do so, then I have no right, no reason to be in a bad mood.  That truth was so liberating, I had to laugh at myself and praise God for His grace.  There I was, mopping around because life was so hard, or I just didn’t feel good, and there beside me, patiently waiting, was the God of all creating whispering in my ear, “I’m here, I love you, it really isn’t as bad as all that.”

Sure I have my moments and I know times of testing are just around the corner, but I know the truth now, no longer will I accept Satan’s lies and let him rob me of my joy or my desire to praise my awesome God.   We are in a battle, every moment of every day.  The last thing Satan wants is for us to be joyfully going about our lives and praising God and following Him even a midst tribulations.  He wants to keep us from being joyful, from praising God, but we must fight him, we must not let him win.  Our God  is greater, our God is higher than any other.  Our God has already won.

I finally understand another piece of the bigger picture of being a Christian.  People think we’re suppose to be happy all the time.  No, not “happy” as the world defines it, but joyful, praising our God.  We might not be “happy” every moment of everyday, but we can choose what we are going to do when we’re not “happy”.  Will we give into the lies of Satan?  Or will we remember how amazing God is, how much He loves us and what He did for us?

God’s joy is ours, and if we remember Him when we’re feeling low, nothing can take that way.  Next time you’re in a bad mood, choose to praise God despite how you are feeling, I assure you, if your heart is right, your emotions will follow.

My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise. ~Psalm 57:7

Today in Hell, By Morning, In Paradise

This is a story I wrote for my Fiction Writing class.  Let me know what you think.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I would die at dawn, the guard told me that evening. 

As he held a plate of stale bread inches away from my groping hand he said with a sneer.   “We do not feed the condemned, Christianus.”  Christian. 

He spat the word out like bad wine and retreated, taking the treasured food with him.  I clutched at the bars of my cell staring after him, listening to his footsteps echo and fade into nothing.  Hunger clawed at my stomach, a painful ache digging through my gut.  Was it hunger?  Or was it the reality of my fate?  Tomorrow I would die.  I sank to the ground and wrapped my arms around my thin frame, the chains about my ankles ratting with the movement.  The coarse wool of my ragged clothing cut into my skin, the smell of my own filth hung thick in the air of my little cell.  I held my breath and squeezed my eyes close, shutting everything out.  No, no, NO!  What had brought me to this? 

My ears began to ring, my lungs begged for air.  I held on, maybe, maybe I could end it all right here, right now, save myself the pain of a Roman execution.  My life is no longer in my hands.  I had said those words, all thoughs years ago, putting my fate in another’s hands.    I gasped, opening my eyes and heaving in great gulps of air.  Tears stung my eyes and traced salty trails down my checks. 

As a boy, my father had told me men didn’t cry, but my father hadn’t known what would happen.  He hadn’t known the Romans would come and kill him.  He hadn’t known I would be taken to live out my days as a slave, never again to see my beloved Britton.  So I cried.  I cried for the past, for the boy I had once been, free in my homeland.  I cried for my fate, for the flames that awaited me come the dawn. 

My heart filled with anguish I raised my tear stained face to the small shaft of light flickering against the wall from a torch across the way. 

“Deus donavi meus ultionis!”  God give me vengeance!  I shook my fist, yelling in the Latin tongue at the light as if it represented the presence of God in this foul place.  Give me vengeance. 

My life is no longer in my hands.  I had given it away, let it go.  He had given his, what more was I to do with mine?  

I was afraid to die.  Afraid of the pain, but I could still escape it, I could still live. 

“Deny, deny your faith and you shall go free.”

I stared at the procurator; my chains seemed to grow heavier as if to embellish his words.  Deny, simple enough.  They were words only were they not?  God would still see what was in my heart, see I still believed though my tongue said otherwise.  I could live, continue serving Him.  What good was I dead?  All I had to do was say three simple words – “I deny Christ” – and I would go free.  Free.  The flames would devour another martyr, but not me. 

“Well?  What say you?”  The procurator stood looking down his nose at me, awaiting my reply.  “Stop preaching this false faith, deny the Christian God and your life will be spared.” 

Why was I hesitating?  Why was I silent?  Lord, I do not want to die.

The procurator gave an exasperated sigh and waved his hand at the guards.  “Take him away.”

I was dragged to me feet and hauled from the room, my chains clattering on the marble floor.

“There is still time, if you should choose to change your mind.”  The procurator’s words fallowed me from the hall, ringing in my ears.

I thought of them now, wondering where I would be and what I would be doing at this moment had I said those words.  Perhaps I’d be sitting with Laurel, our hands clasped together, speaking of our upcoming marriage.  Laurel, I could still see her face when they came to take me away.  She cried my name, her voice wrought with anguish and fear.

“Dafydd!”   

Oh, to see her again!  To lose myself in her dark eyes and the sound of her bell-like laughter. 

“Lord,” I prayed.  “Protect her; do not let her suffer my fate.” 

My fate; I wondered at my words.  Had I chosen to die?  I remembered that day, how many years ago?  The teacher, dying in agony on a Roman cross above my head, hardly recognizable as the man I had known.  He was innocent of any crime, just as I was now, but they had killed him and he had allowed it.  He had chosen death, could I do the same?  I followed him, I spoke in his name, but could I die for him?  So many had died already, they did not deny him.    

“Lord, you can see my heart, can you not?  You can see my fear, how can I do this?  Can I not serve you more by living to spread your Word?  What of my life with Laurel?  I will never see her again in this life, never have a life together.  God, how is this part of your will?  What have I done that you would abandon me to the flames?  Let me live!” 

My voice echoed back to me, bouncing against the stone walls, let me live! 

“He never abandons us Dafydd.  We are mere men; we cannot comprehend his thoughts or his plans.”  Stephen, his words returned to me.  “He sets a path before us and leaves us with the choice to walk it.  What will you choose Dafydd?” 

Stephen died, stoned for his beliefs.  He had stood fast, facing death.  Could I do the same? 

“Could I?” 

I thought back to the day I had met the Teacher.  The day he had given Laurel back her sight and in a way, he had given sight to my blind eyes.  I was a bitter slave, cursing those who had killed my family and taken me from my homeland to live a life of bondage among a people who thought of me as chattel.  My heart was filled with nothing but hate.  Laurel had tried to show me love, she had taught me Latin, nursed my wounds after beatings, but the hate in my heart blinded me to her kindness.  I was more a captive to myself and the bitterness inside then I ever was as a slave.  It ate at me, tearing my mind apart; then he came.

He healed my shattered heart.  Never before had I felt so liberated.  The hate, the bitterness, the hurt, it was all swept away at the touch of his hand and the sound of his voice calling my name.  He had shown me how to forgive those who had slaughtered my family and enslaved me.  Though by law I was still a slave, in my heart and soul, I was freed forever.

How could I deny that?  How could I deny the hope, the peace, the joy, the freedom I had been given?  I couldn’t.  I could not betray the love that had given me new life. 

“Acceptus calicis ex meus,” Take this cup from me.  “My life is in your hands.”            

As a cold chill crawled up my spine I shivered.  The night would soon be over, my last night on earth.  I leaned against the moist stones of my cell.  The slow drip of water sounded from somewhere in the gloom.  Laughter of the guards and cries of fellow captives could be heard as faint whispers in the silence of the prison.  I looked around me, the stench, the darkness, the hunger, this place was hell, but tomorrow, tomorrow I would find paradise.

My life is in your hands.     

The End

 

Pronunciation guide:

Dafydd – (Da-vith)
     a: short as in can

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