What is Love?

hands, heart, love

This happy holiday

with pinks and reds

helps some to feel love

and some to feel dread

The look in their eyes

that couple has love

when your dog cuddles with you

then you two have love

and when you give hugs

love is communicated

but also a cheeseburger

strikes up the love inside you

So have you ever wondered

what love really is?

That one word that is put in a box

we’ve shaped it and molded

until it means what we want

but what is love really supposed to be like?

how do we show it?

how do we know?

how can we always feel loved?

What is Love?

_____________________________________________________

Hey everyone! Today I want to tell you a little bit about love and what I believe it to be. I’m not forcing my opinion on you, just telling you what I think.

So like I asked before, what is love?

When I say “LOVE” what is the first thing that pops in your mind? A boyfriend and girlfriend maybe? Or maybe your best friend. Maybe even your mom. Or maybe just a simple picture of a heart or valentine’s card pops into your mind.

What what is love literally?

Love:
noun
1. an intense feeling of deep affection

Okay… but what does that mean? It sounds like the love between a couple or someone that’s married… but is that all that love is? Does that mean you can’t say you love your dog anymore? Or that you can’t love a book or love cheeseburgers?

Not at all.

So even I think that the word LOVE in English is pretty confusing, so I’m going to give it to you in a different language. Greek. Please don’t leave yet, it’s not that complicated. Believe me, if I can understand it, I’m sure you can. My (awesome) youth pastor did a series on love, so I will be using my notes from that to lay it out for you. There are four different types. The first is:

  • Phileo (fill-eh-oh)

Now, this is GOOD love!

Phileo love is the love of friendship. That’s a lot easier to understand than English, right? Because if you had a friend that you’d known for a super long time that was a boy, and you wanted to say “I love you”, it might come across wrong if you were JUST FRIENDS. So the love of friendship seems pretty smart to me!

This love would be between you and your closest friends. You have a connection, and you love each other, but not in a romantic way.

The verse that goes with this one is:

Proverbs 18:24 (NIV)

24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
    but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

We all need good friends to keep us accountable and encourage us.

And my youth pastor gave an example of a Disney character for each kind of love. (which was hilarious and great) So this one’s characters are:

Buzz and Woody from Toy Story! (I personally think Mike and Sully from Monsters Inc. would be good too!)

Onto the next love:

  • Storge (store-gay)

Also GOOD love!

So Storge love is natural love. This kind of love would be between a husband and wife, or between you and your dog. And it compels you to do something. So this doesn’t mean that if you really love your husband that you are like “Oh, I GUESS I will do his laundry”. No, it means that if you REALLY love him, it should compel you to NATURALLY do that! It’s part of it.

Same with your dog! (I can actually relate to this one) If you love them, it should be natural for you to take care of them and feed them without doing it grudgingly. That doesn’t mean you will always want to – Believe me, I don’t always want to feed my pigs and dogs, but because I love them, I will take care of them- it’s just part of it. Hopefully that makes sense.

Now how it really works. Storge love is the kind of love we should have with God. See, our relationship with Jesus should COMPEL us to do something. We shouldn’t just enjoy his companionship and not do anything for him. That’s like if we had a dog, and said we loved it, but never pet it, never fed it, never did it’s chores….what’s the point of a relationship like that? So when we say we LOVE God- with Storge love- we are COMPELLED to do something. We should naturally serve Jesus and tell others about him. We must be bold, and do it naturally. If we TRULY love God, it should NOT be hard for us to love others and read our Bible.

I really liked that the youth pastor made a note on this.
(This is ALL information that I heard from my pastor, he gets the credit, not me!)

So for this one the verse is:

2 Corinthians 5:14 (NIV)

14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.

This one really fits with the type of love, talking about how Christ’s love compels us!

So the Disney character for this one is…. *drumroll please*

Dory!!! Perfect, right? Because in the movie “Finding Dory”, she is looking for her parents. Because she loves them and wants to know them, she is COMPELLED to look for them!

Okay, next!

  • Eros (air-ohs)

This is BAD love!

Now I don’t even know if I would call this ‘LOVE’ because it is not good. So Eros love is Selfish, bad love. And it’s often sexual love.

This love wants someone/something because of what they/it can do for you.

It only focuses on MY (the person… Erosing….?) happiness, not others.

It would be like…. A boy liking a girl because she’s pretty, and he wants to be known for having a pretty girlfriend, for his OWN reputation, but he doesn’t really CARE about her.

Again, this is not good love. Do not use others for your own gain.

The verse for this one is:

Philippians 2:3 (NIV)

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,

This verse is REALLY good. I think this one would actually be a good one to memorize.    It is a great reminder as well as demonstration of what the bible says about Eros. So just remember that this is never good love, and you should ALWAYS value others above yourselves, so don’t use others to get what YOU want.

The Disney character for this one is Yzma from “Emporer’s New Groove”.

Quick Review:

Phileo: Love of friendship, good, we need good friends in our lives.

Storge: Love that compels you, good, you have a purpose in this relationship.

Eros: Love that is selfish, bad, do not use others for your gain.

Ending verse for those three:

Proverbs 11:25 (NIV)

25 A generous person will prosper;
    whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

_______________________________________________________

Now, next is the last and my personal favorite:

  • Agape (uh-gah-pay)

So this love is Unconditional love, and it is always best for the receiver. This is the love God demonstrates to us. This love cannot be earned, and cannot be lost. This love keeps giving even when the receiver is unresponsive, unloving or unkind. So this love isn’t “I only love you if you love me”, it is loving even when the receiver is not.

Agape love is:

Love without expectations- we live life afraid that God is disappointed in us, but he has no expectations of us. No matter what, we will not lose God’s agape love towards us.

Agape love is a choice, not a feeling. It does not think about what it gets in return.

The verses for this one are:

Romans 5:8 (NIV)

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Matthew 22:39 (NIV)

39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

God demonstrates his love toward us daily. His love is without expectations, it is unconditional, it keeps no record of wrongs. God IS love. So we need to have godly love for each other. Agape love. Agape love gives us identity and purpose. Can you see why it’s my favorite? When I think about a good demonstration of this, I think of John 3:16. Most of you probably know what that verse says. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. God loved us SO MUCH, that he GAVE his Son for us! That is so crazy to me. He had such an intense love for us that he gave the biggest sacrifice he had.. for US. THAT is Agape love. That is true love. Love without expectations. Unconditional love. A choice, NOT A FEELING. God is so amazing, you guys. I just can’t even express that enough. He is sooooooooo wonderful!!!

So I’ll get to wrapping it up soon, but I have one more thing to ask/tell/show you before I end.

I’ve told you all about different types of love. I’ve told you what they mean. I’ve told you how God loves us. And I’ve told you a bit about what we’re supposed to do and not supposed to do. Now…

How do we show love?

That brings me to a verse. This was probably the part of my youth pastor’s message that got me thinking the hardest, and I hope it does for you too.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Now you most likely have heard of 1 Corinthians 13- the love chapter. I know I had before. But I never ever thought about it like this. I probably should have, but I didn’t. THIS TELLS US HOW TO SHOW LOVE, GUYS!

I suggest you read this through a few times. At least two or three times. It’s hard to grasp just reading it once. If we want to be loving, if we want to show God’s love to others, he gives us an easy manual on how to do that. If we want to love, we will not be self-seeking, we won’t be easily angered, we will not boast, be proud, or dishonor others. If we want to love others, we need to protect, trust, hope, and persevere. This would be a really good list to memorize. I know I often wonder how to make people happy, to love them. It’s so simple! The Bible tells us how to right here! So I’ll do what my youth pastor did. I want you to look over it again, and think of a few that you may need to work on. It’s not easy to admit, but there has got to be at least one you could be better with. And ask God to help you with that one thing. Ask him to help you with that struggle, or those struggles, if you have more than one.

My main ones that needed work were patience, keep no record of wrongs, and easily angered. I have never been patient, so I’m working on that. I’m soon going to start reading James 1, a chapter on patience. If you have issues with patience, I would encourage you to read it with me! That would be awesome if we could do that together. And then I’ve had people wrong me- haven’t we all? -and it is hard for me to forget those. They still hurt sometimes, but I’ve been trying to get better about it. I make myself think about the people that I have wronged and how most of them keep no record of that, and I want to be like those people. And then easily angered. Guys, I’m getting worse on that. It’s hard for me to admit, because most people know me as a very happy person….and I usually am. But I can switch to super grumpy really fast. I really need to work on this. It also goes with patience for me, because usually when I’m impatient it leads to anger.

If you tackle your struggles with the Bible, prayer, and consolation with Christians you look up to that can keep you accountable, you will go far!

I’ll end with this:

I know Valentine’s day is past. But that doesn’t mean we can’t show love. Be loving, be like God. God loves you. No matter what you are going through, remember God’s unconditional love for you. You are precious in his eyes. Share that love with others throughout the entire year, as well as on Valentine’s day! Thanks so much for reading, have a great night/day!

I hope you enjoyed this post! Whether you learned a bit about the different kinds of love or became inspired to work on your “loving skills”, I hope God showed you something out of my post! Again, this was almost all information from my amazing youth pastor. I just want to give a thank you to him for teaching me so much in just those two messages.

~K.A

I believe this quote/picture sums up this whole post:

Image result for love is shaped like a cross quote

Please drop me a comment down below!

How was your Valentine’s day?

Which way to show love on the list in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 do you struggle with? I’d love to pray for you about those things.

Thanks so much for reading!

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Dance, Sing, Laugh, Smile, Praise, repeat.

blonde hair, blur, daylight

Hey everyone! I hope this encourages you to praise your Lord! I included the song below because it has to do with the story/poem, so if you want, you can listen to it as you read.

You belong to Jesus! So celebrate because you are HIS! This song always makes me want to get up and dance, even though I stink at it. Don’t be afraid to be you. God loves you. Enjoy!

You are the most beautiful, when you are being yourself.

 

Stand up

Shake those legs out

Get your heart a pumping

You have no reason to sit around

You have no reason to pout

Your God died for you

He resurrected from the grave

He saved you by his grace

So shout

And sing

Praise his name

Sing hallelujah

Dance because you are his

Smile because he already defeated death

Go crazy because God is your savior

Flip your hair

Leap from place to place

Be nuts and Jump out of bed every morning

Laugh because you know he’s the best

He loves you

You are beautiful to him

And you are his forever

So Feel it!!! Feel it in your mind

Feel it in your heart

Feel it in your bones

Dance all day long

Wear your beautiful smile on your face

Shout his amazing name

Tell the whole world about how wonderful he is

Laugh because God loves your smile

Smile because God is your awesome God

You have every reason to be happy

You have every reason to dance

And sing

You have every reason to smile

And laugh

And praise the awesome name of Jesus

So please don’t cry

Please don’t be sad

Celebrate

Because you are his

And he is yours

You were chosen

You were made specially to be you

God made you unique so you could tell the world about him

He loves you so much

So live for him

Dance for him

Sing for him

Laugh for him

Smile for him

and praise for him

Be happy

Be glad

Be you
Be who he made you to be

Loosen your limbs, dance for him

Move your arms

It doesn’t matter what others think

God loves your praising

God wants to see you smiling

He wants to see you encouraging others

He wants to see you reaching out

He wants to hear your laugh

So be happy

Dance

Sing

Laugh

Smile

Praise

Be crazy

Be insane

If being weird is your way to show how happy you are that Jesus is yours

Then do it

Be yourself

Because God loves yourself

And he loves you like you are

He wants you to feel his love

He wants you to feel his grace

He wants you to feel his happiness

And he wants you to FEEL IT

So feel it in your heart

Feel it in your soul

Feel it in your bones

Feel it on your face

Feel it in your actions

Feel it all over

And let others Feel it when they are around you

And dance because you are his

Sing because you are free

Laugh because God already won the war

Smile because he made you as you are

Praise him because he is God of Gods and Lord of LORDS!

The same God that overcame the world, made you and your beautiful heart

So praise the Lord

And give him the glory

And celebrate, because he is YOURS

Dance, Sing, Laugh, Smile, Praise, repeat.

AAWC #4- Reunite

Hey guys! Here’s my story for AAWC #4! Sorry it’s a little late!

I put in

1 story

3 prompts

1 drawing

so total of

6 points.

Prompts:

  1. “And they rode away in the sunset.”

“What’s a sunset?”

“I don’t know. But my Grandad saw one once.”

2.

via

  1. “Sorry. You’re the first person I’ve spoken to in ten years.”
aawcpupart.jpg
This is Komodo when he was younger

The night was cold. It was dark. It was lonely. The night I met him. The night I found my human.

I skidded around the corner, trying to find somewhere out of the wind. Out of the rain. I wanted shelter. I was scared and lonely. As I padded down the cement, I remember suddenly feeling … how would you say… refuge. I felt warmth for the first time in a long time. Nearly 10 years. And I felt dry. I looked up to see a young man, quite a bit older than my boy had been, hovering over me. He had deep, dark eyes, and dark hair. I smelled friendliness on him, and he had a kind look in his eyes. I knew I had found the one.

Now, let me rewind a little bit. If you haven’t figured out yet, I’m Komodo. I’m also a dog. Yes, I am. So why am I writing this? Because I learned how to speak English from my.. As you humans would say, grandmother. Not many of us could speak English, but my grandma had the secret, and she passed it on to me. There was only one time I had let a human know the I could speak it. See, this wasn’t just any human, it was my boy. We had been the best of friends. We were… you might say…connected. He was mine. I was his. We took each other on walks. I let him know my secret. He thought I was the most awesome dog in the world.

Then it happened. Someone’s fingers were snapped and suddenly he was gone. I didn’t know where he had went. I suddenly found myself in the middle of nowhere. No home. No warmth. No shelter. Nothing. I was alone. Bitterly alone for the first time in…forever. Now, here I am, ten years later. And I still remember all those years fending for myself, taking care of myself, only having myself to keep me warm. I was completely independent. Then it changed.

When I found myself under the shelter of another, I was happy. I felt true satisfaction and happiness again. I felt something about this boy, this young man. The one under the umbrella. He was different. He reminded me of my boy. He had strength, I could tell, but it also only took a whiff to tell that he had a good heart. That he was kind and loving. I could tell by how he treated me. I know I was stinky, I know I was dirty, yet he still reached down to pet me. I remember.

He leaned down and smiled at me, the look in his eyes reflecting the ones on my own face. He smiled and rubbed behind my ears. The same place my boy used to rub. I leaned into his leg and he kneeled down, still covering me with his umbrella. Keeping me safe.

Then he walked away. I thought it was over. That comfort, and safeness….gone. Then he turned around. He whistled softly and whispered the words I had wanted to hear for such a long time. “C’mon, boy. Let’s go home.” I remember padding after him all the way back to his place. It was a nice place, but it seemed rather empty. My boy’s house was full of people, especially young children. This one was vacant.

The boy- my new boy- sat down on the couch in their room and sighed. Then he stood up, swiping his hair out of his face, and grabbed a towel from the closet, wiping me dry. He truly cared about me. Then he sat down again, and I hopped up next to him. Then his phone started ringing. I still remember what that looked and sounded like from my boy’s phone.

I could tell by his words and voice that it wasn’t a happy person on the other end. I can understand English better than I can speak it.

“Hey baby. What’s up? Look, I’m sorry about earlier. No, please… we can’t do this now. Can we talk later? No, please…” then his phone came away from his face. I felt bad for him, but I wasn’t close enough to him to talk yet. Then he looked at me, and I smelled sadness coming from him.

“It’s been rough lately, boy.”

I whined, laying my nose on his lap. He looked away and sighed, and I could tell that there was something more bothering him than just his recent talk. He looked back at me, and then down at his lap. I tilted my head at him, asking a silent question.

“You see,” he started, “I’m part of a secret organization. One that works with dogs. I’ve never had a dog before. At least…that’s what my parents told me. But somehow I could always understand them better than other people. I was in an accident. One that took away most of my memory. But one of the things I remembered was my dog. You see, my parents told me I never had a dog. What made it even more crazy was that the dog could talk.”

My ears perked up and I started wondering.

“I know you probably don’t believe me…you probably don’t even know what I’m saying, but I never quite stopped believing that I really had a talking dog. My parents finally mostly convinced me that I’d never had a talking dog, and that while I was in the coma, I must have had a crazy dream. But then the agency found me, and they knew something was different. I still remember a connection with that dog. His name was Komodo. He was the most awesome dog on earth. Even if he was just a dream, I still miss him. You know, you remind me of him.”

I suddenly realized that this was the moment I had been dreaming of for those ten lonesome years. I was finally reunited with my owner. I couldn’t believe I had missed it before! He still had the same eyes, and same look. His voice had changed, but I knew for sure he was mind when he said that Komodo was the most awesome dog on earth. That’s exactly how he used to talk. He had less happiness than I remembered, but he was definitely the same boy.

I jumped off the couch and yipped, bouncing in circles.

“What’s wrong, boy?” he asked, eyeing me strangely.

I’ll admit, I was kind of offended he didn’t recognize me immediately. But then, I was a cute tiny puppy when he had last seen me! I was scared to try and speak his language again, because I hadn’t spoken it for a long time. But I couldn’t remain silent.

“It is you? Brody, it’s me!” I said, trying to be as clear as possible.

Brody’s eyes got big and I saw a familiar smile spread across his face. I couldn’t help but jump on his lap and lick his nose.
“Komodo? Is it really you, boy? I knew you weren’t in my imagination! I knew you were mine!”

I yipped and barked, trying to form more words in my head to say.

“You were gone. Lone I in myself!” I told him.

He looked at me strangely, trying to figure out what I was saying.

“Sorry,” I said, “you’re the first person I’ve spoken to in ten years. I was just so alone without you!” I told him. He wrapped his arms around me, and laughed.
“That’s alright, boy. I’m just glad to know I have a friend now.” he said, looking at me.

“What do you mean?” I asked him

“See, ever since the CSOI hired me- the Canine society of information-, I can’t talk to anyone about my hobbies. Because I love working at the place, but it’s part of a secret development program. You know… you could help us so much, Komodo!!! You could help us know what the dogs are trying to communicate! It would not only help us further the intelligence of dogs and humans, but could quite possibly give CSOI limitless possibilities! It could provide the answers to questions no one has been able to figure out! This could help cure cancer…so to speak. Wow… You are coming with me to work tomorrow.”

Although I only understood about half of what he was meaning, I understood the last part well enough to know that it was not a question. I WAS going to work with him the next day.

He embraced me once more. “Komodo, thanks. Thanks for finding me.”

 

I padded across the street and into a dark alleyway. If I smelled correctly, I could tell it was the same one that we had been in the night before. Brody looked both ways and then said something quietly to the wall, pushing his hand into it. I tilted my head, unsure of what he was doing. The wall split and opened into a very small, dark room. We stepped inside and he turned around, closing the door. Then he pushed in on another unseen spot on the wall and a screen of glowing numbers popped up. He pressed number 6 and I felt the room shift. Down, over, up, over, and down. Then it stopped and the doors opened once more.

I was shocked as I saw the entire room. It was extremely bright compared to the moving room I had just been in, and I was surprised by the bustling people everywhere. I saw a few people nod their welcome or wave at Brody as we walked in, but most of them just continued with their work. There were small offices stationed throughout the room, and most of the people sitting at their desks were typing on computers, taking calls, or both. Brody nodded toward the right and we walked into a hallway. I peered through the windows and saw men and women taking samples, and mixing combinations of chemicals together. It seemed that everyone had a place to be and a job to do. No one was just sitting around. I liked that.

Then Brody opened another door, and I instantly smelled dogs. This room seemed more relaxed, a little less full of people, and I sensed more friendliness in here. Brody leaned down and whispered to me that this was the department he worked in.

A man from a desk next to him stood up quickly and walked over to Brody, smiling down at me.
“Who’s your friend?” he asked Brody.

I got a smell of friendship that was coming from both of them. It seemed to be rather strong.

“His name is K- Kyle.” then Brody whispered something else to the other guy about talking to him later. The guy looked confused, but didn’t say anything more. I wondered why he had told the boy a fake name.

“Kyle, this is Terrance!” Brody said.

They walked together into another hallway and I knew this is where the dogs were. They all seemed very happy and I could tell they were well taken care of. There were small pups, big pups, and older dogs as well. I heard a conversation between a mom and her pups. It sounded like she was finishing telling them a story.
“And they rode away in the sunset.” the mother said.

“What’s a sunset?” one of the pups inquired.

The mother paused, then answered “I don’t know. But my Grandad saw one once.”

I smiled, glancing from pen to pen and hearing their conversations. Most of them were talking about normal dog topics, treats, food, crazy dogs, and chew toys, but some seemed more caught up in very intelligent conversations. I thought I heard some even speaking Portedogian, which is the language spoken by dogs that live in Portuguese.

Others talked about scientific chemicals used in specific combinations. I’d never heard conversations like this, but these people certainly had a way of finding intelligent dogs.

I smiled up at Brody.

“I really like this, Brody! Thanks for bringing me here.” I said. Then, as I watched his partner’s face turn to shock, I realized I’d made a mistake. Brody smacked a hand over his friend’s mouth, keeping him from saying anything.

“Look, I was going to tell you later. You can’t tell anyone yet, but this is Komodo…the dog I’ve told you about.”

The boy took a deep breath. “B-but…I thought he was fake? Something you imagined?”

“Well… he isn’t.” Brody said.

The guy looked down at me with the biggest toothy grin I think I’d seen before. “Dude, I don’t know what your secret is, but you are awesome, Komodo.”

I smiled and looked up at Brody. I knew I liked this kid.

When God Fights Your Fight

  Free stock photo of cold, light, road, dawn

My feelings are fighting

yelling and screams

I don’t know how to mend

all the torn seams

should I feel happy or sad

or should I stop pouting

should I put it behind me

and forget all the doubting

But it’s hard

because I can’t

the world won’t stop reminding me

of the person I’d made

I am trying to change

but my imprint will not fade

everyone thinks they know me

think that they’ve predicted it

but they don’t know the story

the hurt that’s been hidden

They said it’d be easy

that I could be different

but it’s just not that simple

they don’t know how it hurts

to feel so alone

like your sinking

and gone

In the middle of this big world

you’re only one of millions

You don’t think people care

They never even notice

You’re just a fish in the ocean

a drop in the flood

a pellet in the sand

some dirt in the mud

No one acts like you matter

You’ll always be the same

you can’t ever be different

your identity can’t change

That’s what they say.

That’s what they tell you.

But it’s not true.

God will always love you.

He’ll help you through

when your facing temptations

He’ll be there for you

and when you are sinking

He’ll pull you out

to Him you are special

He has no doubt

that you are his own

You matter to him

and he’ll always notice

how beautiful you are

your uniqueness

your focus

can be on him

and you can live for him

even when it’s not easy

you can serve the Lord

even if you have a reputation

it doesn’t matter what others think

as long as God’s on your side

you’ll never be Alone

When God Fights Your Fight.

 

AAWC #1-Confusion

AAWC is a writing challenge by Zielle! (Her blog is AWESOME, check it out) If you want to know more about the contest, go to her blog, and if you want to see an entry to it, stay tuned, cause you’re about to see MINE! Here you go!

Team Forest
MY TEAM!! THREE CHEERS FOR TEAM FOREST!

Okay, so I used this prompt:

and I put Forest in there! (my team name. WHOO GO TEAM FOREST!)

AND I used two drawings of my OWN, that I drew YESTERDAY!artAAWC.jpg

artAAWC1.jpg

  • 1 prompt
  • 2 drawings
  • 1 team name

Here it is! Enjoy:

Confusion

“Zeke! Zeke, where are you?” Keegan shouted above the strong wind. Zeke had been gone for nearly an hour and it was time for supper. Keegan had been given instructions to find his older brother- instructions from his mom.

He rolled his eyes as his shuffled his way out the small door and walked down their porch. Keegan was fifteen years old with brown hair and dark brown eyes.Displaying artAAWC.jpg

He ran his thick fingers through his hair as he walked toward the small forest-like bunch of trees behind their house. He guessed Zeke was out checking their traps, but he couldn’t be sure. He shook his head as he continued toward the trees. Glancing up at the sky, he noticed it was getting darker quickly.

He stepped over a large branch on the ground as he continued to shout for his brother. He paused, thinking he heard rustling in the leaves. Deciding it was just an animal, he continued forward, scanning the trees for any more movement. He knew he was getting close to their traps, yet he hadn’t had any sign of Zeke so far.

He saw movement out of the corner of his eye and glanced over at  a tree to his right. It was Zeke.

“Zeke!” Keegan shouted again, “What are yo-”

Zeke shoved a glove over Keegan’s face and hissed at him to be quiet. Then he slowly removed his hand.

“What was that about?” Keegan asked.

Zeke lifted a finger to his lips. “Listen.” he whispered.

Keegan rolled his eyes and strained to hear above the loud wind. He thought he heard voices when the wind slowed down, but then it immediately picked back up again. The next time it slowed, he knew he had heard a small conversation. It seemed odd. Mainly because this property was theirs, and the closest property next to theirs belonged to their neighbor, who had do not enter signs up all around the border of it. Keegan heard leaves crunching  and Zeke quickly jumped behind a large tree and pulled Keegan with him. He listened once more for the voices and heard them again.

“Wait, did you hear that?” one of the men said.

“Hear what?”

“Nevermind, I just thought I heard someone stomping around out here.”

“This property is owned by people, you know. People other than our girl.”

“Shhhh! Not so loud!”

Keegan held his breath as he listened to their short conversation. Zeke looked at him and they exchanged confused glances as the men kept talking. It was hard to hear their words over the wind, but they said something more about the girl and which direction she had gone. Then suddenly their conversation stopped. It quieted to incomprehensible whispering, and as Keegan slowly glanced around the tree, he saw them pointing to the bank of the river about ten yards from where they stood. It was a nasty river, one that held a handful of bad memories for both Keegan and Zeke. It looked harmless enough, but they had both had their misfortunes with it. One in particular that neither liked to think about. It had a deadly current that could pull away the strongest swimmer, and it flowed so quickly, that even during the winter it was dangerous, for the ice was never strong enough to hold one up.

Keegan was pulled out of his thoughts as he saw the two men running toward the river’s bank, making a beeline for an unseen object. Keegan peered closer and saw a young girl, probably 12 or so, that appeared to be hiding behind a small bush near the water.

Zeke and Keegan both watched silently as the men grabbed the girl by her arms and thrust her away from the bank. She let out a piercing scream, but the bigger man put an arm around her throat, holding her slightly off the ground. Suddenly Keegan saw Zeke running towards them and he took off after his brother. Zeke jumped on top of the bigger man and hit him solidly in the gut. The girl fell to the ground as she tried to get a breath. Keegan hurried over to see if she was alright, but was caught off guard by the other man next to him. He swung a punch at Keegan, and narrowly missed him. Keegan landed a punch to his face, but quickly felt the impact of a hard hit to his stomach shortly after. He tried running a ways off, but realized that wasn’t going to work well for him, and he circled around again to Zeke. Just as he got back around, he watched as Zeke got a hard hit to the face, knocking him onto the ground. Just then, the man reached for the girl again, slowly making her back farther toward the edge of the water. Keegan opened his mouth to say something, but couldn’t as he watched what he knew what about to happen unfold. He had seen it before. Mainly the one time in particular that he didn’t want to bring back to his memory. He saw her fall off the edge of the bank and into the rushing water with a splash. He hurried to the edge and -before he even thought over what he was doing- he felt himself jumping into the water after her. He knew he wasn’t a very good swimmer, but he tried his best to reach her. He knew she was going to head to the other bank, and tried to get to her to tell her it wasn’t safe. The wind drowned out the sound of his voice whenever he tried to yell something to her.

He felt himself being pulled into the current of the water and tried to make it through to the other side, but felt himself quickly running out of energy. The water was colder than he had expected and was one of his largest fears. He ducked under the surface and tried to swim toward the bank again, but came back up only to find that he was the same distance away. He took deep, loud breaths and his heart was pounding faster than he thought it could. Then he looked around. He didn’t see any sign of the girl. Keegan started to panic. He looked around wildly for her, then caught a glimpse of a hand thrashing at the surface. He swam towards her as fast as he could and finally reached where he had last seen her. He ducked beneath the surface and put his arm around her waist, pulling her to the surface. He tried to reach the edge of the river, but felt the weight of himself and the girl pulling him under. He fell under the surface of the water and felt water run up his nose and into his mouth. He came back to the surface and managed to grab a hold of a piece of dangling moss enough to pull himself out of the impact zone and back to the edge of the water. He quickly pushed the girl up on the bank and then pulled himself onto it. She seemed to be unconscious, but was still breathing and had a good pulse. He started a coughing fit and got up a good bit of water onto the ground. His throat and nose stung worse than he’d felt before, but he was thankful to have made it out alive. His vision was blurry and he felt like a black tunnel was starting to surround him. He shook his head and the darkness ceased some. He stood to his feet and glanced back to the other side of the bank, where he now saw the two men and his brother in a boat on the river coming towards him. He wondered where they had gotten the boat from, but decided not to question it.

He felt dizziness overtaking him and wasn’t sure of what was going on. He felt like his head weighed a ton and was pretty sure he should be doing something, but couldn’t think of what. He was pretty sure he heard someone yelling something, a voice that sounded familiar, like his brother. It was only before the men grabbed him by the arms and forced him into the boat that he realized his brother had been telling him to run.

“Keegan! Keegan, are you alright?” Zeke asked Keegan. Keegan’s eyes weren’t focusing on anything, and he kept coughing. “Keegan, look at me!”

“I- I’m fine, Zeke. I just-” Keegan interrupted himself with another coughing fit and grabbed the edge of the boat to keep from falling over.

“What do we do with them now?” One of the men said to the other one.

“We could…get rid of them.” The other said, motioning back towards the water.

“What if they have evidence with the girl? We could maybe use them to get more out of her.”

“Okay, then let’s bring them with us. If it goes wrong, we can always dispose of them later.”

“Sounds good.” the first replied with a chuckle.

Zeke took a deep breath and whispered a quick prayer.

***

Keegan opened his eyes to a still blurry world and realized they had stopped the journey. Through the fog of the world, he thought he heard someone say they were there. He felt himself being pulled off of the horse he was laid over, and realized he still couldn’t move. He’d never felt this before, but he couldn’t say anything or move his body. He felt the world moving again and knew someone was carrying him. “Are you alright? Keegan, wake up!” He heard Zeke talking to him, but couldn’t reply.

Zeke picked Keegan up off the ground. He was still unconscious. Zeke tried to hold back his worries about Keegan as he carried him closer toward the large structure. There was still a slim chance he could escape, but there was no way he could get the girl and Keegan out too. He looked around as he thought about a few different options and felt a sharp pain in his back as one of the men kicked him. He fell to the ground, trying to keep Keegan from hitting his head. Standing back up again, he saw men around the building that were coming their way. He gently scooped Keegan back up into his arms again, noting how wet he still was. He felt himself overwhelmed by guilt. Not only had he let only two men take an innocent girl, but he had endangered his own brother. At least he assumed the girl was innocent. If she wasn’t, he was not going to be happy that his brother had nearly died trying to save her. Hopefully he would be okay. This kind of thing had happened before, with a not so happy ending. Zeke was pulled out of his thoughts as he neared the entrance to the tall building.

His hands were yanked behind him, causing Keegan to fall to the ground. Zeke whipped around and landed a punch to the man’s face. The man immediately hit him again, in the same spot as he had gotten before, right in the cheekbone. He barely kept his balance and felt his hands being pulled behind his back and held by a strong rope.

One of the men pulled Keegan off the ground and threw him over his shoulder carelessly. The girl was now awake and they shoved her into the building first. Zeke felt another pain in his back as one of the guards kicked him and he stumbled forward into the building. It was then he realized it was a prison. Zeke’s nose was filled with the terrible scent of death and decay. It was musty and hard to see, as there were only a couple of windows every now and then, and it wasn’t uncommon to see a person pulling himself to the bars to try and grab you as you walked by. All you could hear was wheezing and coughing and the occasional plea for help.

Zeke was pulled to a stop and the prison cell to his right was opened. The man undid his wrists and threw him inside. The other two both landed next to him. He pulled Keegan over to the hard bunk that some might call a bunk, and laid him there gently. He checked his pulse and breathing again to make sure he was okay, and then sank to the ground, exhausted. The girl was sitting silently on the top bunk, her feet dangling over the edge. He could tell she was crying, but he didn’t feel like comforting her. He was more angry at her than sympathetic. After all, she was the one he had been trying to help. He slammed his fist against his leg and clenched his jaw. He wanted to yell, to get angry. But he’d tried that before, and he knew it helped nothing. He took a deep breath and pulled himself up onto the hard bed next to Keegan. Keegan looked so helpless, laying there limp and motionless. It hurt Zeke to see him like that. He once again felt a strong amount of guilt seize him. He knew his mom was probably worried sick about them too. He tried not to think about it, but memories and pictures kept filling his head. Past guilt experiences. Some he told himself he never wanted to think about another time in his life. He stood up and walked over to the small barred window on the wall of the cell. Glancing out, all he could see were the moon and the stars. It almost felt comforting, knowing that there was a place God could still see them through. This little window. He sat against the wall and rested his head on his knees. He whispered a silent plea to God. Just one word before he drifted off to sleep.

“Help.”

***

Keegan opened his eyes and blinked. It was really dark wherever he was at. He didn’t realize where that was until he saw the barred window and the bars next to the alleyway filled with pacing guards. He sat up groggily and yawned. It took him a minute to even think of what he last remembered. Then he saw the girl on the top bunk. He wondered if this was his imagination or if it was real. Then he saw Zeke walking over to him from by the window and shook his head. It was real.

“Hey,” Zeke started, sitting down on the hard metal bed, “how are you feeling?”

Keegan shrugged “Alright, I guess.” They were silent for a moment as they looked around.

“This is a nice change of scenery.” Keegan muttered

“It’s a prison cell.” Zeke stated

“I was being sarcastic.”

Zeke started to say something back, but was interrupted by a loud squeaking noise. A guard swung the door open and squeezed inside the cell.

“Where’s the girl?” he asked gruffly, looking around the cell.

She hopped off the top bunk and walked forward a few paces and folded her arms. He strode forward and grabbed her by the arm, pulling her out into the alleyway and shutting the door. Zeke stood up and walked to the gate, grabbing a hold of the bars.

“Where are you taking her?” Zeke asked, trying not to sound like he cared too much.

“Wouldn’t you like to know.” he said with a chuckle.

Keegan stood up and walked over to the small window. He wondered why they would even give the captives somewhere to make them want to go outside worse. Then he saw. The view outside was some sky, some trees, and some ground…..but in the middle of it was the gallows. He swallowed and walked over to the bunk again to sit down.

***

The door burst open and the girl was thrown in on the ground. When she walked into the light, Keegan saw that she was crying, and had a black eye. He was about to ask if she was alright, when he heard a man talking to someone else.

“I need the other two. Get over here, you two!”

Zeke and Keegan both looked at each other and then at the girl, who had her face covered and was shaking her head. The men burst into the cell and grabbed the boys by their arms and thrust them out of the cell. Keegan heard sobbing coming from the cell and looked back inside.
The girl looked up, tears streaming down her face. “I’m sorry.” she said, barely above a whisper, but Zeke and Keegan heard it.

The guards kept walking and opened a cell door. They threw Keegan inside and locked his wrists in hard, cold, metal chains. This cell didn’t have a bed at all. He expected to see Zeke be thrown in afterwards…but he wasn’t. The guard locked the gate behind him and pulled Zeke away, exiting behind a dark door in front of him. Zeke tried to restrain, but to no avail.

Keegan had no idea what the girl had told the men wherever she had gone, but he was wanting to know more and more. And he wasn’t looking forward to the night in this cold dark cell. He ran his fingers through his hair and sighed, shaking his head. Right about now he would like one of Zeke’s “Miracle working prayers”.

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I hope you enjoyed that! I didn’t have a ton of time to put into it, but I hope you liked it! Please tell me what you think in the comments! I’d love to know if you liked the drawings too! And don’t forget:

Give 3 cheers for TEAM FOREST!!!

GO TEAM FOREST

GO TEAM FOREST

GO TEAM FOREST!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

His Hands…

Old Age, Youth, The Hand, Grandmother, Child

I run in my room

collapse on the bed

and cry until all tears are gone

I don’t know what’s wrong with me

no one can understand

and I’m hurting like never before

but still someone cares

still someone finds me

and wraps his hands around mine

As I look down

I realize just how calloused his hands are

and how selfish I’m acting

This man is my father

he works all day long

I remember when I was little

how he would hold my little hand in his large one

all those callouses formed from such work

that all day and often all night

he was gone to provide

to put food on the table

he’d do anything

to keep his family happy and warm

and when i look at his hands,

I’m reminded that he loves me

When I see someone older

with smooth, soft hands

I chuckle to myself

as I think of my Dad’s

And i know that he’s gotten them,

because of his heart

His hardy work ethic,

the times that he’s done

what is never easy

even when it’s not fun

And those days that he came home,

and wanted to rest

but instead listened to my problems

and let me put him to the test

His hands taught me how to tie a horse

His hands taught me discipline

His hands showed me what love really meant

His hands gave me respect

for all a man does for his family and friends all the time

His hands helped me learn

His hands helped me grow

Every night his hands tucked me in

and every morning welcomed me with a hug

When I watched him read his bible, and flip the old pages

I’d smile and hold his hands

His hands showed me how I wanted to be

and how I wanted mind to look just the same

So now as I sit here, with my hand in his

I tell him my thoughts,

and my great love for him

I tell him just how much

I want to be like him

To grow up with calloused muscular hands

and act like he does

He slowly shakes his head

and tells me I shouldn’t

That I should take an example much better

than his own

That reminds me how humility is such a great trait

then I realize what he’s actually meaning

He starts into the story,

about a man that was great

too great for this world

a world filled with hate

But he came here anyways

because he cared for us

and he gave it all

to carry our cross

His hands washed the feet

of poor lonely souls

his hands raised the dead

and gave life to the coals

in this world filled with sin

his hands carried it all

and his hands were pierced

by nails

His hands were calloused

His hands were bruised

His hands were hurt

and his hands were used

Hung by his hands

he stayed on that cross

then buried in that grave

for three days he seemed lost

Then out of the grave, his hands burst through

but still to this day

they’re pierced, and calloused

because he cared for us

and gave his life

on the cross

So when I see my dad’s hands

it doesn’t just remind me of all he does for us

but all that Jesus did

when he died on the cross

And I thank God for all he’s done

and for giving me such a great daddy

Before You Become You

adult, beautiful, blur

I cry

I scream

I murmur

I wonder

I hurt

The tears are spilling

The dreams are fading

The truth is showing

my life is broken

defeated

destroyed

I’ll never fill this empty hole

I’ll never lose this ache

I’ll never know what peace feels like

I’ll never life life without pain

I want to cry out

to receive help

I want to receive pity

But I can’t bring myself to surrender

I can’t let go of that rebel inside

All that’s left are remnants of coals

All that’s left are remains

All that’s left are the shattered pieces

of a heart that once knew more than rain

and thunder

and hail

and echoing sounds of distress

and heart-wrenching screams that are silently shaking the earth

my heart is barely beating

my lungs are barely breathing

my tears won’t stop dripping

my nose won’t stop running

my life won’t stop falling apart

I am broken

I am bruised

scarred by the past

hurt by the present

I don’t know where to turn

my life isn’t working

and there’s only one path that’s left…

As I cry out to the only source left

I feel my heart being put back together

the ice around the pieces is melting now

the coals that were dead reignite

And all of a sudden

I take a fresh breath

as I realize

that God is talking to me

and this is what he says…

Sometimes your heart has to break

to be put together correctly again

And we always have to have rain

before we can see the rainbow

And after each sunset

a beautiful sunrise

There’s no way to have stars without darkness

There’s no way to have Spring until winter has passed

There’s no way to have perfect

before you have imperfect too

Sometimes you have to break

Before you become you

As I listen to the wise words, I let the tears fall

And as I collapse on the ground in a heap

I know that it can’t always rain

And darkness can never last forever

the stars will soon shine

And winter will never last forever

The spring will always come

And just like the rainbow comes after the rain

God gives us the promise of new life again

after each heartbreak

he’ll heal and restore

when you open yourself

and let him open the door

to your heart…

you’ll soon see that the hard times will happen

Before You Become You.