God Heals. ♡

I refuse to limit God to man’s cultural religion. Leave it to man, and God will no longer be a Healer, just only a Comforter. But, the thing is…He is both. He can still heal today. I refuse to believe that cancer is greater than God. Cancer is a disease. Jesus took the stripes for all diseases, and He knew someday there would be something called cancer. We can’t forget God’s Word. He said to confess our sins and to be healed. He said He would send forth His Word and heal us. He is still our Healer.

Sometimes God calls His children Home. He knows when we need Healing at Home more than we need Healing on earth. But, He should be the One to decide that, not man.

I believe our first recourse must always be surrender and faith when we get sick. Surrender to ask forgiveness and mercy for our sins if we sinned and/or faith to believe God wants to be glorified as Healer through our lives. He IS Healer. We must always make that our default belief. By Jesus’ stripes we are healed.

Friday I was in tears on my way home. My head was throbbing. I put my hand on the base of my neck, and I simply prayed and asked God to heal me. I heard His Spirit tell me that He loved me. I let that wash over me. Although the top right of my head still hurt, the base of my neck had no pain. It was all gone. All gone. I found myself marveling at that, but I should know it’s part of my inheritance as His child. Healing is what the Father does.

I know when people die whom we care for it challenges us to the core. Why does disease seem to have the upper hand? Where is healing? I am here to say that I still believe God heals. He is Healer. He always will be. Never cease praying for the health of those we love. Let God choose where He wants to heal them, in heaven or on earth. But, let’s partner WITH the Holy Spirit and AGREE for others’ complete healing in Jesus Christ. God loves us. ❤

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What are God’s Dreams for You?

https://youtu.be/8-w_Car6634

This song. It’s TRUE. God’s dreams are THE best dreams. Never in my imagine did I see missions being what it is in my life today. But, I am not Amy Carmichael or Elizabeth Elliott or any of the other mighty women who have mentored me over the years in the Bible or through books. God has His unique story written just for my life, just like He has also written for you.

Daily I see women around me struggling to find their God dreams. Is it marriage? The perfect job? Community impact? A chance to write a best seller? An opportunity to worship on stage or sell an original piece of art? I have seen women with all these dreams, and oddly, I have also seen women who have had one of these dreams fulfilled, but they are waiting on God for another dream they think they want that another woman has fulfilled. So, what have I learned? I die daily. God IS my dream. The rest will always be extra. I’ve learned it’s never enough when we pursue the extras. It never satisfies. But, Jesus is enough, and God knows that. So, it’s the lesson I and others must learn every day if we want the abundant life. I do. ♡

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:16

Marriage Reflections

Marriage in a Godless culture wouldn’t make sense. Not when people feel they can have multiple relationships, not be responsible for the children they create outside of marriage, and they can be free from submission and committing to another person.

But, marriage was never man’s idea, but God’s: from the start, He made them male and female and joined them in covenant as one.

You see, marriage makes sense when it represents what it is supposed to, a picture of Jesus’ relationship with the church. When a husband and wife in Christ marries, it is to God’s glory. So, what He joins together in covenant, man should never try to part.

If you feel called not to marry, fine, it is a gift, then, because abstinence is the gift from God. But, if you can’t abstain, marry. That is God’s good plan.

Seriously. Our culture is quickly forgetting WHY we marry. It is to reflect Jesus’ relationship with us, the church. We need God to revive our country and the whole world with His truth, conviction, revelation, and Holy fire again. We need Jesus!!!

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Ephesians 5:31‭-‬32

Within One Day, One Month, One Year…

Today marks a year since I found out for real that my dad had cancer.  To be honest, I just couldn’t believe it.  He passed away within the week.  A part of me at times is still very mad at the hospital staff.  Why didn’t they work to save his life?  What does a DNR have to do with it?  Aren’t doctors supposed to do everything they can to save a person’s life?  Of course, I didn’t attend the meeting with the doctor, so I don’t honestly know how terrible my dad’s cancer had progressed. But, I had just seen him in April, and there was no talk of cancer then. How can doctors suddenly find a gross stage of terminal cancer when they failed to find it all along?  These things perplexed and angered me.  All along, I had hoped that none of it was true. I prayed he would be well.

I can still remember how just last year I was crying out, “Jesus! Jesus!” over the phone as my brother was telling me the news–for real.  There was no way to deny it anymore. But, shock does that to a person for a season.  I was in shock, and I couldn’t accept it.  But, I remember that after writing a five page paper for my American Politics Class, suddenly truth settled it.  I had to go home.  Everyone else was there at the hospital already.

Within the week, dad passed away, and within the month, we buried him. All that within this year.  Nobody talks about it anymore.  And, I try to tell myself to not rehash it all.  But, I’m a writer.  This is my way of grieving.  After all, June is his birthday, and he passed away a day before his birthday. June is also Father’s Day.  No wonder it’s all hitting me right now.

Since last June, I’ve moved from Texas to Virginia.  I’ve finished 2 Constitutional Law Classes and a class on Presidency.  I have also become part of a wonderful church, and I now live in Chesapeake.

Since last June, I have also learned to care for someone to find that God had others plans, and I have, instead, poured my life into teaching 6th graders in a Title One school.  More are the children of the desolate woman, the Word says.  Somedays, I wonder if God will ever allow me to marry and have a family of my own.  Then, I realize how He has filled my lack with His Presence and allowed me to minister to a lot of hurting families.  Maybe in heaven that is how family works.

Today, I watched the Norfolk community serve its community by providing food, shoes, and opportunities for families.  It was amazing to see churches, businesses, and non-profit organizations coming together to serve the area.  I also got to have some heart to heart conversations where I heard myself speak about my heart’s desires.

Yes, a lot has happened within this year. But, these are the things I know.  I know that dad gave his heart to Jesus Christ; I will see him again at Home.  I also know that God has brought me here to Virginia to continue trusting in His Promises, and He has been faithful to use me in the schools and community.  Furthermore, I know He is with me.  He is with me in every sweet word of encouragement I receive from new friendships and from my older friendships.  He is with me in the provisions He has granted me here on this ground.

I bless the Lord.  I know He is going to do something truly amazing in the coming days.  When we choose to say yes to Jesus, He is able to do extraordinary things in and through our lives.

I decided to get back into blogging again.  I hope this entry blessed you.  No matter where you are in this season, I understand how within one day, one month, one year—so much can happen. Imagine how God sees it all! To him, one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years, like 1 day.  I love that HE is the constant in all of this.  That’s what makes everything hold together for good.

Blessings in Christ,

Christine

🌿I Am a Slave of Jesus Christ

People don’t like to hear the word slave. It’s a deeply offensive term these days that brings back memories of our painful history in America, a time when our nation used a portion of our humanity for selfish greed and personal gain.
Centuries later we are still fighting about that injustice and abuse.  We are still oozing with pain over it.

We fought a Revolutionary War for all Americans to be free of tyrany, but in our very own backyard there would be evidence questioning what our Founding Fathers actually fought for.  DO we hold these truths to be self-evident that ALL men are created equal?  Obviously, scars still show that wasn’t the case at the time.

Over the years the battle has been fought, and many victories have been won regarding slavery and racial discrimination.

You would think that after President Lincoln’s great Emancipation Proclaimation and the bloody Civil War, our nation would finally realize our great mistake and get it right, that we would finally embrace equality for all humanity.

Yet, it took a civil rights movement and more shedding of blood and legislation to guarantee a right we already have before our Creator.  Segregation. Marches. Civil disobedience.  The assassination of MLK, Jr.  After all this, it’s finally written down under the 14th Amendment in man’s annuls:  all are equal.  All are free.  So, why are we still in 2017 fighting this battle?

Still today our country is fighting over color, race, past mistakes, and our longing for freedom.  And quite frankly, I believe it all comes down to so many people irrespective of skin color, tone, or shade feeling so locked up inside their hearts.

We scorn the word, slave; nevertheless, so many people of all skin tones, are still walking around with heaviness of that hurtful heritage branded on their memories and hearts.  No wonder the fight still feels on.  Some have still not yet been set free.

It’s one thing to be a free on the outside, quite another to be free on the inside.

The truth is, we ALL long to be FREE!!! It’s not a color or race condition, but a human condition.

I wish I could just say I am sorry and cry with those still hurting until the anger finally gives way to honest confessions of grief, fear, incredulous shame—whatever is keeping a soul still chained to yesterday. If only we could muster enough courage to say “Enough!”  Because I do believe that kind of bondage is NOT supposed to stick around even for another generation.

Furthermore, I believe that bondage is found in every shade of humanity because what I am describing now is man’s sinful condition. Being a slave to sin is not about the color of our skin, but the condition of our hearts.

Sometimes life is full of ironies and vanities.

In history, God’s own people were sold as slaves in Egypt for a season. Eventually, they were set free to head toward the promise land.  Notice how future generations who made it to the Promise Land didn’t just constantly fight Egyptians in their hearts and remain in bondage through offense to their past history.  Nor did they expect a validation from what happened in the past.  No, instead, they learned to praise God and thank Him for their deliverance out of bondage by crossing that Red Sea Road of faith into freedom. They were no longer slaves; they were FREE!!!

Right now there is great offense over Confederate statues and names, (you know, those statues that rarely anyone but history nerds pay attention to) because there is a portion of our humanity that still feels the hurt caused by that era. And, one by one stone statues are being chiseled down to heal offenses.

But, earlier this summer, I learned a semi driver died because he hit the crane that was on its way to remove one of those statues in Dallas. Seriously, should a slavery issue from centuries ago still take innocent lives today?  If so, what was the Civil Rights Movement all about?  Didn’t we declare freedom for all?  Didn’t we make it a law of our land?  So, why all this bondage still to the past?  Why all the fighting?

I believe it has everything to do with the condition of our hearts no matter what color we are. No amount of tearing down statues will change any person’s true condition of the soul.

God says in His Word that we are ALL slaves to sin or righteousness. As for me, I choose to be a slave of Jesus Christ, a slave of righteousness.

But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

Romans 6:17‭-‬18 

🌿The Unexpected Gift of Election 2016:Donald J. Trump and His Relationship with the “Forgotten” Americans

Introduction

President Donald J. Trump was an unexpected gift to the United States on Nov. 20, 2016; however, like some surprises, not everyone was willing to accept him.  When he began his race for Presidency in June of 2015, all the odds were against him.  Political analysts highlighted a list of his deficiencies;  the media, like CBS for example, exploited him for their personal marketing gain during his campaign and spoke disparagingly about him throughout;  and although Trump was successful in the business world for decades, dealing with others auspiciously in both domestic and international relations, it was evident that within politics, he was an outsider, not part of the political establishment, not even accepted by his own party.  As a matter of fact, according to Ceaser, Busch, and Pitney, “GOP leaders were at a loss to stop a reality TV star with seemingly unlimited wealth and almost universal name recognition.”   Perhaps it was these outcast elements that helped Trump relate to those whom he would best serve and who would in the end help him win his Presidency.

To those in the opposing party and other multiple factions across the nation, dubious and ready to take offense at his every word, action, and policy, Donald Trump was simply a bombastic icon, a too-familiar brand; he was mocked, chastised, and judged for his past moral failures, his current temperamental weaknesses, and his apparent lack of political etiquette. How could such a man then outrun every other candidate and accomplish the improbable, becoming the 45th President of the United States of America?

Some in the evangelical Christian community would assert that the game changer was that President Trump found real Christianity during his campaign. Although Trump had not officially spoken out about his personal relationship with Jesus Christ, key pastors like Robert Jeffress began serving and promoting Trump because they had confidence that Trump would protect evangelical Christians in America.  At the time of the election, Christian consciences and rights were being violated through lawsuits.  In multiple private businesses throughout the nation, evangelical Christians were being forced to compromise their consciences or to pay penalties to the government. America, a place once known as a haven of religious freedom was slowly becoming a place of persecution for those of faith.  Therefore, when Pastor Jeffress stated, “I can tell you from experience, if Donald Trump is elected President of the United States, we who are evangelical Christians are going to have a true friend in the White House,”  regardless of President Trump’s personal faith, this acknowledgement gave the unsettled Christians hope. What they didn’t realize was that Trump was also providing hope to many more of his constituents, as well.

Keeping these details in mind, after analyzing Ceaser, Busch, and Pitney’s book, Defying the Odds and reading Richard Neustadt’s Presidential Powers and Jeffrey Tulis’ The Rhetorical Presidency, I assert that the fundamentals and contingencies surrounding the 2016 election impacted President Trump’s relationship with the American people in a more positive manner than what most are willing to admit: President Trump has been able to begin building trust with the people by keeping his promises to the “Forgotten” Americans.

Fundamentals and Contingencies During the Election

Ceaser, Busch, and Pitney ask the question, “Are presidential elections mostly about ‘fundamentals,’ or mostly about ‘contingencies?’”   They later admit that like all elections, the 2016 election was a mixture of both.  If we are able to see fundamentals as the practical groundwork, framework, and blueprint of what is taking root in America, then perhaps we can see contingencies in elections as the means of potential fruit for the future. Pragmatic roots and the hope of economic fruit were among several reasons why hardworking Americans had favor for President Trump during his campaign.

One of the fundamentals that highly stand out during the election process of 2016 was the need for jobs in the economy. When Obama took office, he inherited an unemployment rate of about 11.1 million according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in December of 2008.  However, by 2014, the rate had become 17.7 million unemployed people, and in 2015, the rate had been 16.9 million people unemployed, showing a decrease of 783,000.

Yet more employment is what the people expected the new President to provide. To work toward this end, Donald Trump made promises during his campaign to blue-collar workers that he would make America great again by bringing jobs back to America.  According to Ceaser, Busch, and Pitney, automation had put blue-collar workers out of jobs, and they were also afraid of the rise in economic globalization.  From automobile jobs being sent to Mexico, to the rise of undocumented immigration, the native-born working whites were feeling the effects of not only job loss, but also wage depression.   Ceaser, Busch, and Pitney state that  “Between 2007 and 2016, whites between the ages of twenty-five and fifty-four lost about 6.5 million more jobs than they gained,” whereas Hispanics, Asians, and African-Americans all gained employment during that time.   As a result, resentment began growing regarding discrimination.  Trump would step onto this scene, however, and reach out to “the forgotten” blue-collar Americans in the Mid-west and Pennsylvania, and this outreach would work toward his electoral gain and building trust with the American workers.

The interesting part about this fundamental puzzle piece is that in a sense it was all made possible by a contingency, Trump’s spirited personality and his “demotic rhetoric” with the people.   Although Trump was a billionaire, as he campaigned, he grew in public prestige as “the people’s billionaire.”  Trump found that he didn’t need to identify himself as an elite with a super PAC or any other party organization.  Instead, he simply related directly with the people through his rallies and social media.  As a result, he came to identify himself as a “spokesperson of a popular movement.”   Whereas most politicians were busy chasing money to make a difference, Trump already had the money.  He shifted his focus to chasing “the forgotten,” and as a result, he won their votes.

Certainly, Tulis would see Trump’s rising as “soft-demagoguery.”   After all, Trump saw himself as a solution for the white working class; he would bridge the apparent gap between his prosperity and their need for a job by extending his attention on their behalf and drawing closer to them in understanding. Then, he would assure them by making campaign promises to bring back jobs that would serve them when he became President.   However, to Trump it wasn’t just a speech to gain their loyalty, but his word.

Consequently, in his is first 100 days of office President Trump did keep his word to his constituents.  He effectively used his Presidential power to decisively withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.  Also, he chose to approve the Dakota Access Pipeline and Keystone XL Pipeline and roll back anti-coal regulations, as well as implement the “Buy American, Hire American” executive order.   Neustadt would have been proud that Trump used his Presidential power to build his reputation as a decisive leader in the first 100 days of office, building his prestige and trust with the American people by keeping his promises to them.

Consequently, Trump used some Neustadtian principles also to pass the above orders, which additionally built up the President’s credibility and relationship with the people.  He made certain that all Americans knew he had signed executive orders by publishing them on his White House homepage and sharing them on social media for the public to see.  In addition, he held press conferences, so the country could know about his executive orders. Furthermore, any directives he issued out to his cabinet members were understood and astutely applied, and they were fully aware that he had authority to sign the executive orders, terminate agreements, and begin new ones, all on his own authority without Congress (although we certainly found courts jumped in to try and stop him).

The fundamentals and contingency plan were clear:  America needed a better economy and more jobs, and the fruit would be Trump keeping his word to the people, building trust to bring those jobs back to America. As Neustadt asserts, “[I]f choices are the means by which a President builds power, it is only as he sees his power stakes in what he does that choices become building blocks for him.”   In Trump’s case, his choices helped him build trust in his relationship with the American people, especially his constituents, “the forgotten” blue-collar workers who voted him in to do exactly what he said he would do.
Conclusion

Both the fundamentals and contingencies of the 2016 election greatly impacted President Trump’s relationship with the public. President Trump understood that economy and jobs were a major concern in people’s lives. Using his unique personality and bold rhetoric, he built a relationship of growing trust specifically with his constituents, the working class, even as he tried to build better relationships with angry factions across the nation.

Where some will see a “basket of deplorables,”  God will allow another to see with His heart of compassion. Maybe that is the spark of hope that inspired Trump to run for office, Make America Great Again.

Donald Trump was an improbable candidate in the 2016 election; however, truly his win has been an unexpected gift for our nation. God says in His Word that whatever we do for the least of these, we do it for Him.   “The forgotten” blue-collar workers finally had someone looking after them this past election, someone they would never have likely expected, a billionaire from New York City. They understood what it meant to be falsely judged, what it meant to be overlooked, and what it meant to be misunderstood and forgotten. I suspect Donald J. Trump had not expected to be the one to help them, but by the time he could, he understood all those things, as well.  That’s what  servant-leadership is, a true gift to those who are being served.  We never look more truly like Jesus than when we are willing to lay down our lives to serve others, and in order to do that well, sometimes we have to go through what they go through.  Perhaps this is why Robert Jefress knew President Trump would be a friend.

God bless America.  God bless President Donald J. Trump.
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Hallman, Tristan. “Donald Trump Reaches Evangelical Vote Through Dallas Pastor

Robert Jeffress.” Dallas News. Mar. 2016. Accessed on October 10, 2017. https://www.dallasnews.com/news/news/2016/03/06/donald-trump-reaches-

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Days.

We Belong:  A Part of His Body

Oh, I get it.  I get the liberal.  They have “atomistic” thinking.  Hear me out.  They don’t believe they are whole within a society.  They believe their whole societal concern is within themselves.

If I were not a Christian, I would be a tree-hugging liberal who would believe we are all individual and unique and we should just focus on that.  I would probably be asocial.  Some of it has to do with being hurt by institutions like family, school, church, and even the closest of friends.  Sometimes it’s safer to not lean on anyone else, but ourselves.

But, I thank God I am a Christian, and God will not let me be alone.  He has told us we are part of His body.  We are not the whole body, just a part.  That takes humility and dependecy.  We need others in this life.  We need God above all.

But, this is the pain of this generation. They lack moms and dads committed in marriage. So, many have learned to trust in nobody else, but themselves.  The idea of God being Lord through Jesus Christ means they have to let go of their personal power which is the one safe thing they KNOW they can depend on. 

Oh, we need to pray.  God wants to heal our society, community, our churches, families, marriages.  God cares about our part in His whole picture.  He created us in community. In Christ, we are His body.  He has more He wants to be in His body.  He died for us ALL, after all. ❤

So.. Yeah.  I got this whole revelation by looking up the word “atomization” today in my reading because I didn’t understand how that scientic word would fit politics.  But, I get it now.  And, it burdens me to pray for this generation, causes me to praise God for placing me in His body, and I look forward to how He will set this girl in His beautiful plan someday to understand the fullness of what marriage and family means.  Jesus heals.  There is HOPE for ALL OF US IN OUR NATION!!!!!!!! ❤

The whole body depends on Christ. And all the parts of the body are joined and held together. Each part of the body does its own work. And this makes the whole body grow and be strong with love.

Ephesians 4:16

Jesus is Home

In the winter of 2011 I was staying with a friend. I had gone to church and came home late. She had gone to a friend’s, and she was sleeping on the couch. I was shivering out in my car outside her home.

It was about 1:30- 2:00 a.m. and I was on the phone with a friend from Buffalo, New York. We were praying. I was overwhelmed because I didn’t understand what God was doing in my life. Why was I out in my car, instead of in my own comfy apartment, asleep?

While I was crying out to God in prayer with my friend on the phone, I asked the question, “What about me, God? What about me?” And, then, boom…it got really quiet, and my friend I felt God’s Holy Spirit. I was’t expecting an answer. I was just whining because I was freezing out in my little Corolla (yes, my sweet Corolla I still have-Blessing!) wondering where my friend was. But, God had an answer BEYOND ME. An answer that resonates with what I see today regarding the hurricane in Houston.

Suddenly, the Spirit of God said, “What about you? You have everything you need for Life and Godliness.” Then there was a flash of light and a vision in my heart. Then the Spirit said, “What about them?” What I saw were MULTITUDES of homeless people. And, they weren’t homeless because they were on drugs or addicted to alcohol. God then said, “you have a Home in me. But, What about them? They don’t have Home. They don’t have Me.”

I bawled. A hard cry. I knew God was saying I was alright. But, He was also challenging me to see like He sees. To give my life away. My friend was on the other end, she was part of the moment because I told her what was going on as it was happening. God showed me multitudes of lost souls who would be homeless, but ultimately they would be Homeless without Him. What about them? In that moment I knew that God was trying to show me that I would serve in missions, but His way. Jesus would train me and give me everything I needed to GO.

He wanted me to understand the call and offer Home to lost souls who don’t know Jesus Christ, our true Home. With Hurricane Harvey taking the homes of so many Texans, I have an opportunity this season to be His hands and feet. To tell the good news. To go. So do you.

Sometimes God sends us back to a place, not for ourselves, but for others. To GO. Friends, I get that this is one of the reasons He sent me back to Texas this late summer when I was willing to resettle back in my hometown in Illinois after my dad passed away. No, God didn’t want me in Illinois. He wanted me to be brave. To trust Him. To come back here. To Texas. To give my lufe away. So, He can use me. Okay! So, I obeyed.

What about your part, too? Your call? Who is your Home? Who around you needs to know that? How can you offer Home, Jesus, to them?

It is time to expect unity and to serve others in humility. Our nation needs hope. Our nation needs Home. Our nation needs Jesus. We all who are in Christ can do our part to share the Gospel and Hope. Missions always happens in our own back yard, afterall.

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:16-21

The Princess and the Rose Bush

©2017 Written by: Christine Ann Craig Story #1 in her Princess Parable series

Once upon a time, there lived a Princess at the edge of a wheat field. She harvested most of her crops from that field, but in her spare time, she had a special hobby of tending to a special rose bush.

Her house was located at a fork where the field would divide into two pathways. And, down each of the dusty roads lived a prince…

One of the princes had a beautiful castle, and he had a favored horse that he would take for a trot every day down the dusty road. One day as he was going past, he caught glimpse of the beautiful Princess harvesting the wheat outdoors. He thought to himself, “it’s time to get married. She is very beautiful and a hard worker. I think she would make a wonderful wife.” He thought about all the securities he had, and he calculated that he could provide for her well. So, he made plans in the coming days to captivate her with all his riches and woo her for marriage.

Down the other dusty path lived a Prince in a very humble home. He had actually journeyed from afar, and although he was given permission by inheritance to bring all his possessions with him, he chose to take only what he needed, for he did not know how long his journey would be. Trusting his circumstances to a faithful and loving God, he cultivated a heart of gratitude for his present circumstances. As an evening solace, the prince would often travel the dusty path through the wheatfields by foot, usually too caught up in song to pay attention to his surroundsings. But, one day, he felt led to go for a walk in the afteroon, and as he was trecking down the path, his eye caught sight of a beautiful princess carrying a sheath of wheat and placing it near the grindstone near her porch. She disappeared to the back of the house, soon returning with a water bowl; then she watered her rose bush. Quickely surveying, the cut wheat around him, he thought to himself, “This beautiful lady is very hardworking. Does she tend to her field alone?” And, he had compassion on her.

Well, one beautiful early summer afternoon, the prince on horseback was going to check his estates when on his journey trotting down the dusty road, he saw the princess out in her yard tending to her rose bush. He went to her, and cordially bowed and introduced himself, then he admitted to her that he had been considering her for marriage. Would she consider his offer? To this confident lad, she had but a test. 

She told him that a long time ago, her Father had planted a rose bush for her. And, that she knew when it would be the fullness of time for her to marry because when her true love would come, he would be able to pass a single test. So, she looked him square in the eye, and asked him, if he were serious in his pursuit, and if he wanted to consider the test.

Feeling rather put off that she had rebuffed his offer of marriage, the prince had to try and hide his frustration before meeting her eyes and saying that he would take the test. What was it?

She told him that if he earnestly meant to win her heart, he must pluck a rose from the rose bush and give it to her in proposal.

So the prince set out to do just that. As the princess left to go inside the house, the prince hastily walked over to the rose bush, and he reached down to pluck the first rose he saw. But, alas, when he put his hand to the stem, his flesh was cut. A thorn had pierced his hand, and he was bleeding. When he saw what had happened, he was very upset.

Immediately, he stopped his endeavor of procurring the rose for the princess, and he got on his horse to ride home to bandage his wound, so he wouldn’t get an infection. Leaving the Princess and the rose behind for the day, he didn’t know if it were worth the cost of coming back any other day to try again. The thorn’s impression in his flesh had cut deeply, and it hurt. He didn’t know if he could ever take that kind of pain again. So, he said goodbye. 

The Princess wasn’t distracted. She was far too content to be distracted by suitors who didn’t know the price and cost of true love. She had promised her Father that she would trust and wait for Him to bring true love along with the time was ripe. She intended to go about her work vigorously unconcerned and kept until it was the Father’s time to join her heart with the love of her life.

Well, one day, the Prince on foot was walking down the dusty path, humming a merry song, when he once again noticed the Princess carrying a sheath of wheat from the field toward her porch.

“May I help you with that?” He called out to her, as his feet suddenly took a jog.

“I would be very thankful,” the Princess replied. 

So, the Prince took the sheath from her hands and carried it to the others. He noticed all the work that she had already been doing before the heart of noon.

Moving back towards the dusty road, he walked by the rose bush.

“What beautiful blooms!” The Prince replied, and he knelt down to gently smell a single rose.

“Be careful!” the Princess immediately cautioned, remembering the injury the other prince encountered, but she had spoken too slowly.

The Prince had already cut his finger on a single thorn.

“Well, dear Princess, what a beautiful bush, one that aptly protects you!”  The dear Prince laughed.  “Do you have any rose water that I may dip my finger in to take away its sting?”

Immediately, the Princess went inside to get the water, thinking to herself that the Prince was wise, and he had humor.  

When she got back outside, there he was kneeling with a single, glorious bloom in his hand.

“Will you marry me, dear Princess?”  The humble Prince asked.

She was a little surprised.  How did he know how to get the rose off the rose bush?  How did he know to ask her with the flower in bloom? She had never had a chance to share her Father’s test with him.

“Before I respond, I would like to ask you a couple questions. Kind, humble, sir, how did you get the rose?  How did you know to ask me to marry you?”

The young Prince with a kind twinkle in his deep brown, sincere eyes said, “That was easy.  My Father sent me on a long journey.  He told me that one day down a long road of a wheat field I would meet my true sister, my bride.  His only caution to me was that there would be a single thorn I would have to endure.  He told me that to win your heart, I would have to let it crucify my flesh with its searing pain.   He told me that although the pain would be excruciating that it would be brief, but the joy set before me in capturing your heart would be for His eternal glory.  He asked me if I were willing to go.  And, dear Princess, my answer to Him was Yes. So, my sister, my bride, will you marry me?”

The Princess bowed to the ground next to his feet, and she humbly spoke, “Yes, dear sweet, humble Prince.  I have been waiting for you all my life.”

The end.
Began on 1/19/2011. Finished today, on 8/21/2017.