When Things Are Dark And The Squirrels Preach

My sister tells me about her trip to the local Pharmacy and the woman she saw there, the lady with a cart full of kids.
The woman tells her children she will give them bloody noses when they get home if they don’t STOP IT. My sister cries in the car and together we say “blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted”. It is hard to believe in comfort when things are ugly, but we cling to words that don’t make sense to us.
Then there’s the struggling alcoholic who is singing hymns and slicing apples, talking about Jesus and slipping back to distilled agave a few days later. It would be easier to ignore the smell and the double talk, to just keep loving on her, but maybe mercy comes in harder forms, and blindness is not something Children of Light provide.
I took my boys to church in a new town. There was free food and many children running around and there was more dirt than I was used to, and more yelling, and more convicted felons. A lady screamed at her son to come back and you could hear the anger in her voice and I wanted to tell her to stop yelling.
Instead I took my son to wash in the bathroom and there we saw a cartoon squirrel poster announce, “Jesus Saves.”
Oh, He saves little squirrel. I believe it. He saves in the dark places. And there is dark all around here, dark I can see.
I see you, I see you! Man with the gang tattoos, alcoholics, poor people who scream in public.
I come from a place where the dark stays behind doors, and here it slips out in the open. It is in the face of darkness though, light really matters, Jesus really saves. So I am grateful for the ugly, because it makes more of the Cross than a cartoon squirrel. Our truth is more valuable when it’s facing hate, blood and pain.
Salvation is not cheap. The dark places are terrible and strong, but a light shines in the darkness…always, always, and the darkness does not overcome it.

33 thoughts on “When Things Are Dark And The Squirrels Preach

  1. “My chains are gone, I've been set free. My God, my Savior, has ransomed me. And like a flood, His mercy reigns. Unending love, amazing grace.” –Chris Tomlin

    I know this grace. Thanks for your post.

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  2. This is really powerful, JoAnn. I'm going to read it again. I've been thinking about this and how sanitized Christianity can seem in our middle class churches…He came for those in the dark.
    Thanks for your noticing and writing!

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  3. smiles. i like squirrels…

    yeah,thing is the light often doesnt get taken into those dark places….i guess i see this more now that i work in the low end areas…

    the light has a lot more power…

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  4. I love the picture at the top.
    I read this a couple times lastnight and the thing that stuck with me was “maybe mercy comes in harder forms, and blindness is not something Children of Light provide.” You always get me thinking…

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  5. okay, i know this is a serious post, but I have been known to occasionally threaten my kids that I'm going to give them a knuckle sandwich. Unfortunately they are not scared at all and just seem to giggle.

    (am I still allowed to comment here?)

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  6. i'm crying… this touched deep… there were so many TRUE lines, like:

    There was free food and many children running around and there was more dirt than I was used to, and more yelling, and more convicted felons. (and this is church, no?)

    and

    So I am grateful for the ugly, because it makes more of the Cross than a cartoon squirrel. Our truth is more valuable when it's facing hate, blood and pain.

    i just want to take all of the children and bring them home with me, away from the pain and the blood… i want to spare them all. so this is where we pray, for God's grace to surround them. for we cannot save the world, as much as we want to. only he can.

    you love so real. thank you so much for linking. xo

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  7. I'm so glad your comments are back!

    You wear your love so good and gracious and Christ like right there on your sleeve. I wish I could be more like you, to be brave enough to find God in those dark places. Your writing inspires me. Every day. Your heart, even more.

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  8. A little behind on my reading–good stuff here, both in word and in what you are doing in your family, showing your boys that Jesus really does save, really does heal the dark, ugly, broken places.

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  9. Okay, I'm glad others posted comments saying they missed you because I've been wanting to but was afraid it would sound like nagging. I'm a mom; I nag. It's what I do. In any case, have missed reading your lovely and funny, funny words. Hope all is well with you and your household full of cuties. Blessings, Ostrich girl.

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  10. really moving, jo… love the imagery. and i think it's few and far of us who feel the cut in the voice, realize that it's more than the mommy moment, but the babymoment… and that that cut fromthe voice lasts longer than the words.
    missed you

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