To See Stars

The backpack feels like a boulder pressing down more hard and forceful against her back with every passing second.  She gasps desperately as she crumples to the ground, too weak to stand and too weak to utter another wretched cry.  She roles over and searches to sky for stars, celestial orbs that she had heard of yet never seen.  She cringes.  If I could only see a star ... then I could hope ... then I would know that progress is possible.  Her instruction book had told her that seeing stars means your personal vision has improved; a layer of your personal darkness, layers which encompass every person to varying degrees, has been lifted from your sight.  This vision improvement means that you are coming closer in relationship with the person the book calls the Maker of the Stars and in understanding of your personal everlasting purpose.  Perfect fellowship with this Maker of the Stars was said to be the goal of all; a vision state of pure light is when this goal is said to be reached.

Yet, her world is surrounded in blackness - deep, dark, and oppressing.

With a final, desperate inward plea for help, Raef falls into a fitful sleep.

Stomping feet wake Raef.  She groans, wishing that her sight was light enough so that she could at least see who it is.  She hears more footsteps and mumbled words uttered by desperate humans fumbling along in blackness, searching for they know not what.  Raef stands up, grimacing, as she is reminded of her ever-present burden upon her shoulders: the hindering objects filling her backpack.  She lets out a cry from the depths within her.  will get this off me.  The thought of bearing the weight another day sends a wave of desperation through her veins.  Her instruction book had said that the way to get the pack off is to surrender her burdening objects to the Maker of the Stars.  In doing this, she would find everlasting purpose.  Can this life really have everlasting purpose?  She takes a step forward.  How I am supposed to fulfill this duty of "surrendering" my burdens in my pack to find it?  She takes another step forward.  And if the Maker of the Stars truly is real and powerful, why won't he just remove these burdening objects Himself without my supposed surrender simply out of pity for my miserable state?  She stops walking, lost in thought.  Why do all my efforts of ridding the contents of this backpack always fail anyway?  She pushes her foot forward, slips, and falls.  

Why am I stuck in this darkness? 
A tear falls silently and unnoticed down her cheek.

Raef sits up so that her backpack's bottom is resting on the ground.  She tires again, fruitlessly, to remove the objects.  Frustrated at her failure, she twists around and manages to unzip the backpack's top.  Although this awkward motion stretches her side painfully and makes her muscles below her shoulder blade crunch up, this is the only way to see into her backpack.  It is cramped full of objects from top to bottom, containing many items that she hasn't even seen.

Yet on the top of the pack rests 4 very familiar objects that she sees every time it's opened.  The first is wispy white and small; it is her clouding doubt that blocks her mental clearity.  Then next object is a fiery red lump burning to the touch; it is her raging anger.  The third object is a large, heavy black rock that absorbs all light and reflects none; this is her discouragement that constantly sucks at her joy.  The final visible object is shiny and metal with sharp, jagged edges; this is her worry that frequently pierces her side.

She sighs and pounds her fist as a tear of hoplesness slides down her cheek.  She fumbles to regain her composure.  I have to do something! I cannot keep living like this.  She searches her mind for any glimmer of hope.  Her mind runs over all the things she had tried in attempt to rid her backpack's contents, hoping to in turn find abundant life.  How many times have I failed?  I need truth.  She searches her mind again for something that claims it leads to a true way of life, a life of answers, full and free of her hindering objects.  She latches on to what her instruction book had told her.  The Maker of the Stars promises to guide and lead to abundant life if only I will trust and surrender ... I must learn ... learn what it means to surrender this horrid pack ... learn who the Maker of the Stars is ... learn my everlasting purpose ...

find what it means to truly live.

She takes a deep breath.  What have I got to lose?  Her mind feels too muddled to send a silent prayer to the Maker, so she clears her throat and prepares to speak, knowing that her voice will give her something, at least, to focus on.  "Maker of the Stars, this is Raef.  I am terrified right now... I am also more than discouraged.  I need these objects in my backpack to leave me, or I am going to break.  Your book says ..." her gaze drifts, and her mind fogs over as the doubt in her pack clouds over her thoughts.  She grimaces and continues as best she can, "Your book says that through my trusting faith as I give you these objects in my backpack, that You will bear my burden, and I can start seeing things as they are.  Your book also says that once I have surrendered my backpack's contents, then I will know my everlasting purpose."  Her mind again clouds over,  and she loses her train of thought.  Refocusing, she tightens her determination and continues.   "Maker of the Stars, my faith is small.  I  don't know if I've ever truly trusted in my life.  Plus I hardly know who You are.  But I do know that I don't want to stay as I am now and that You are said to help the weak.  I know deep down within me somewhere that I really need You.  I cannot and will never be able to get rid of the things in my backpack of my own strength.  I can not even lift the things out of it.  So Maker of the Stars, I come to You with what little trusting faith I have and surrender my backpack's objects to You as best I can.  Please, take them so I can know You and serve You; so that I can live."

She looks around, hoping vehemently for some rapid change, and waits, but nothing seems to happen.  Familiar discouragement barges into her mind.  She is alarmed at its presence so quickly after her prayer.  I don't think I have the strength to fight it.  Her mental exhaustion and attempts to maintain her fading fast hope are draining her out.  I need to do something.  It is time for a walk.

Walking on, she battles with discouragement.  Unlike usual, she does not let it penetrate any deeper into her mind than it has already gone.  This time, she fights not only to defend, but to gain back for truth ground that she has surrendered to it.  The draw on her strength as she does this starts to become unbareable.  Maker of the Stars, I need Your strength to revive me.  She takes a deep breath as she decides to add the next part.  I trust that You are faithful as Your book says and that You will help me as I am doing what Your book commands.  Her battle letting up some, she looks up, realizing that she temporarily had forgotten about her surrounding and her pervious worries.  Where am I?  She scans the around her and starts with surprise.

I think ... I think layers have been lifted! 

She hears a voice distinctly and looks up.  She sees a shape.  I am seeing a shape!  Aghast, she keeps walking, staring bewildered at her surroundings.  Little by little, she witnesses darkness being lifted and things becoming clear.  She can see trees, waterfalls, grass, and hints of color.  And although her world is still blanketed in a mist, she can actually see people's forms.  She can, in addition, hear what they are saying much more clearly than previously.

But she hears one voice so powerful and majestic that she can not mistake it, for it is the Maker of the Star's voice.

"Well done, my good and faithful servant.  Even though you were incapable of removing your burdens, have trusted me with what's in you.  You have, to the best of your abilities, surrendered to me your life and waited on me to do the rest.  Now come, and see life more abundantly and find what it means to live."  Here the voice trails off and is heard no more, leaving Raef standing alone by a stream.

Raef was so awed by the glory of the voice that it takes a couple of seconds to regain her conscious awareness.  Then she laughs out of jubilation and starts to run.  I heard Him; He is real and true.  He has lifted my darkness! He will show me what it means to live.  Then she stops as a realization strikes her and lets out a cry of delight.  I just ran!  Raef had not run for years because the burden on her back had become too large and weighty.  My burdening objects, they've been eliminated.  The thought shocked her.  Could this possibly be true?  Hurriedly, she sits down and twists around to see inside her backpack.

Instead of her hindering burdens, she sees instead 4 beautiful objects: the first object, a crisp, bright, and hardened drop of water, rests at the very top; this is her clarity of mind spreading wisdom wherever it goes.  Next, her patience, a cool, green leaf soothing to the touch, sits leaving gentleness in its wake.  Besides that, a yellow orb giving glimmering light, her hope ever kindling inside of her, resides.  Finally, a smooth, round white stone, her trusting peace, lies stabilizing her existence.

Joy bubbles through her veins.
He is real.  

He does care; He indeed does love.  He will do what He claims and really will be my strength.  She looks around at her newly brightened world.  I can not believe how gracious His gifts are; I did nothing to deserve them.  In fact, He is the one who got rid of my old burdens in the first place.  And now I have such wonderful treasures in place of them!  She smiles at the thought of what her backpack is now filled with.  But I still have a question unanswered: what now is my everlasting purpose?  She gets up and lightly walks over to a rock.  Puzzled at not receiving another message from the Maker of the Stars already, she looks looking around.  Soon, she spots this message:  He who is guiding will never fail; His love endures forever.  He is just and faithful; He will knock at a heart's door until it's opened or until He is forever rejected.  His servants listen to His voice and obey, showing His love and the Way to all.

Raef rocks on her heels.  Showing His love and the Way ... How can I, for I chose this day to be His servant, do that?  She sits pondering then hears footsteps and groaned out words.  "No rest, no peace, no happiness."  She feels chilled as the voice continues.  "None to comfort or to help.  None to care."  The voice keeps rattling on, bemoaning its wretched state till Raef becomes frustrated with the voice's underlying self pity.  Why won't he do something about his state!  The answers are all right there in the instruction book.  All he must do is pick up and read it ... Raef starts at her own thoughts.  How quick I am to judge when I myself just came through what that man is now going though.  I am no better than him.  She smiles as she remembers what she just read: showing His love and the Way.  

A cool breeze ruffles her hair as she inhales and exhales, filled with a new sense of purpose.

Quietly, she walks over to a nearby cottage and finds what she expected the Maker of the Stars to have provided.  She grabs a fresh copy of the instruction book and a blanket and starts walking towards the man.

She looks up and sees glimmering celestial beings, stars.

This is the life.  

 © 2012 Deborah Hope Shining


  1. Great visuals in your story! :o) Keep seeking Him, Jesus, life really is an adventure and He has the best advice. :o) Love you so!

  2. Well done Deb! I enjoyed reading that. How much of Raef is really Debra? Just wondering.
    hugs Grammy

  3. Hello! Yes, you guessed it; a lot of Raef is based off of my personal experience. In many ways she is a model of myself, modeling the processes that I had (and still have) to go through. Thanks for the encouragement!

  4. Hello Deborah! Isabella here - Wow. Just got side tracked during work, but oh how great it is to read all that you have articulated! Amazing insight! I am so impressed with your ability to translate what probably MANY people are going through. It is SO beautiful how God has gifted each one of us. You my sister will reach thousands or more! Thank you for being open and allowing Him to use you! (I will pass your blog on to other women)


  5. My family always say that I am wasting my time here at web, except I know I am getting familiarity every day by reading thes pleasant articles. yahoo mail login


I definitely don't want this to be a monologue. What are your thoughts? Questions? Ideas?