Inspired to Live (Repost)

Inspired to Live

“Hi, I’m Madie, what is your name?”

The conversation started and centered around her favorite things to do and how long she was going to be vacationing on the beach. She was a cute little 9 year old girl that had about as much energy and questions as any other girl of the same age. She seemed to be enamored by the cuteness of my daughter…which doesn’t really surprise me, because I am pretty sure my baby girl deserves at least a couple awards for the way she looks. Maddie kept wanting to (the only word to describe it is) pet my girl as if she were a gerbil and we like to take her out in public for some reason. Oddly enough, we are somewhat used to this…

Maddie went around our family-created half circle as we floated in the pool together and asked where we were from and what we did for a living. To be honest, I wanted to just float and play with my kids in peace. My answers were abrupt. My wife, however, is always inquisitive and began to ask this little girl about where she was from. Apparently, Maddie hadn’t yet learned the “don’t talk to strangers” rule we all learned in grade school and at home. There was something about her, though, that seemed to have a zest for life. It could be her age.

Maddie told us that she was a twin, and her sister, Macy, was also swimming nearby. Right as she said this, her clone came bouncing along at lightspeed past the “no running” sign on the wall. When Macy jumped in, it soon was apparent that these girls were best friends.

I decided to join in and admit defeat to their cuteness. I asked dumb questions like, “can you read each other’s minds?” just to break the ice (which was already shattered). They laughed and I entered the conversation. Then, all of the sudden, Macy blurted out something completely out of context. She said, “Yeah, Maddie wasn’t supposed to be born.”

That shocked me when I heard it, and I asked her to explain. Macy then told me the story about how doctors were expecting Maddie to be born dead because Macy was “stealing all of Maddie’s food and blood in Mommy’s tummy”. What she was describing is a fatal medical condition during gestation. So, she reiterated, “Maddie was not supposed to be born…but I am glad she was…she is my best friend.” Macy said this with a smile as if she really didn’t understand the full implications of what she said. Meanwhile, I am silent and nodding my head as if this conversation hasn’t completely floored me. It still rings in my head.

These girls then went along their way, and played like sisters are made to do. These girls are both walking miracles…one, because she is alive and the other because she chooses to live.

I will remember these girls for a long time. Their energy and playfulness give me hope that, when I feel dry, tired, and alone in my Christian walk…there is always hope for new life. It means something that Maddie made it. I have to believe that. A girl who should not be here is only a couple of years away from having a crush on a boy, and only 36 years away from becoming president.

Live a life that inspires others to live. Even if you feel dead…the inventor of life can resurrect.

-Landon DeCrastos

Back to the Garden

treeThe serpent nestled comfortably in the  elbow of a thick branch on the beautiful tree at the center of the garden. He rested as he waited for the inevitable confrontation between he and the woman (as it was called). The serpent had an agenda and wanted to give the appointed stewards of the garden a taste of what rebellion is really like.

These humans, as they were called, seemed to be cherished by the tyrant (as he saw it) above any other being. He wanted to change that. There was something invigorating about saying no to a system that seemed to be so controlling and provided no immediate reward for obedience.

On the other side of the large garden, the Creator Father spent time enjoying His creation…these new earth stewards; humans. Adam and Eve were such great companions and each day they spent time with the Father they felt more energetic and fulfilled. The time together was filled with laughter, rough housing, and pure joy…as if this Father was not only an authority but a friend. Neither one wanted the times together to end.

Adam and Eve wandered to the center of the garden one day, and found the serpent resting in the tree. The sinister creature was taking a nap, but awoke when the woman approached. As he spoke, he made the forbidden fruit seem so appealing, and even though the Father told them they should never eat it, they took a bite. It seemed so harmless, and the chemical make up of the food probably was safe, but this was a life lesson they needed to embrace. So…fast forward…the humans were thrown out of the garden and the relationship between them and the Father was damaged. Trust was lost and their times together were forever defined by shame.

When we read the Bible we see story after story that describes a deep desire God has for us. He wants to repair the relationship He has with humanity to revert it back to the joy once found in the garden. He created us to be the beings that interacted with Him in this way. We operate best at this level. Whether it be stories of God’s wrath or compassionate mercy…we see God wooing His creation back to himself. He went to great lengths to execute a plan to get them back…because He is driven by love.

Why do we fight this? I can tell you why…because we have tasted rebellion and it is temporarily pleasant. We think we were created to find happiness at any cost, and abandon truth when our reward is not immediately visible. Some generation needs to stand up and walk away from the serpent’s influence. Could it be us? Let’s try.

-Landon DeCrastos

Avoiding Trouble

A few days ago, I revealed a deep dark secret about my childhood. It was one of those times in which my brother and I did not have the wisest of judgment and God was gracious to protect us from harm. Stories that end in barely escaping harm seem to take up a large part of my memory. Being a boy, daredevil stunts came naturally.

One particular activity that I regret as I reflect on my childhood (in which I participated in a few times) was the ridiculously stupid firework war with my friends. These wars didn’t include harmless poppers or makeshift sparkler swords….no….we would shoot bottle rockets at each other and throw small explosives in the opponents direction. It was dumb.

My friend’s dad happened to have some old cars on his property which he would use to harvest cosmetic car parts. One time, when we were engaging in our ruthless war, one of us accidently shot (with pinpoint accuracy) a bottle rocket into the gas tank (no, I am not kidding) of one of these cars. The world stopped spinning, and we all looked at each other with panic. We did the bravest, and most manly thing we could think of….we ran. Somehow, by the grace of God, the rocket was a dud and no explosions occurred.

If we were to list the things that God has saved us from, how long would the list be? Perhaps these things are situations that we have prayed about for a long time, or maybe they are things that we were complete ignorant about. In either circumstance, God, for some reason, helped us escape the most severe of all the possible consequences. One has to wonder, then, if we have some greater purpose, or in those times, if there was a reason for this rescue.

In life and even in death, God has a plan for all of us. It is up to us to recognize this truth, and obey God to see it fulfilled. This doesn’t mean we are always clear on the details, but it does mean we trust that God desires the best for us.

-Landon DeCrastos