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The Weight of Chains (A Soliloquy)
by Jennifer Kelly on November 17th, 2014

I used to go to the beach to get away from it all. In many ways, my global neighbors and I are a lot alike, and the beach is one of the big ways. Peace and tranquility and rest are prepackaged upon the shores of this world. All you need is a Visa or MasterCard, three to five day’s time, and whatever traveling mechanism is available to get you where you need to go. I have walked, flown, driven, and even hopped on a golf cart to successfully escape reality for a deep breathe of tricky comfort.

Although sought and paid for, I appreciated being able to pull the covers up over my eyes (in more ways than one) to an over-sized, fluffy, ridiculousness of a bed - and sleep. After awakening, I would grab a cold beer, turn the music up, and disappear into a different kind of bed - sand. Leisure, a tan, great food, new friends, and blurred lines all equaled out to success. But as we know, success is in the eye of the beholder. Or is it beauty? If it’s borrowed in vain, the paid illusion is justified to cover up so much. Both, success and beauty have been used to give a false representation of who we have become. Like lipstick on a pig.

I can remember the very first afternoon when my tried and true method of tranquility did not work. There I sat, on the beach, drink in hand and miserable. A horrible sinking feeling washed over me - that sitting and staring at the ocean could no longer drown out the pain, not even for even a moment. The sound of the waves crashing, so gently and methodically into the sides of the shore, did not comfort me. Not even with a buzz attached. The birds, the sun, the whites and the blues and the smell of sea, did nothing. I could always find temporary relief in gazing deep into the horizon, where water and sky melted into one.

And from that moment on, I thought the waves were haunting me. My heavy chains dug deep into my wrists and ankles on the shore that day.
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Eventually, I came to term with my chains. I could only go on, pay for, hide, and fake it through the days so long. A slave is still a slave on the beach, even on the most sought out and fabulous shores of the world.

You can be a slave to money, sex, drugs, people or alcohol. Or your chains can look less evident. Perfection, good works, pride and anger are still rock solid metal grips of entrapment. And they do a great job in holding your hands behind your back. But again, a slave is still a slave on the beach. You either want freedom or you spend the rest of your days masking it.

It takes courage to face reality. It takes honesty and bravery and gumption to look in the mirror and really see the person staring back at her for who she is. I know what mine used to say. The girl with sad eyes staring back at me; she was so lost and scared and numbed and exhausted. So tired of all the fronts, the fragmented parts of life that existed. The lies, the façade, the anger, regret, and shame that can pack itself into a soul and run deep. That’s when the waves haunt you... when you can no longer enjoy them for what they are. So the water just stays there and floats in your mind.

When I finally realized all my illusions, I almost couldn’t handle it. I noticed just how small of a cell that held the remnants of a life. I was distanced, shallow, hollowed out, and alone.

That’s the desert place.

When you realize that dried out bones are all that is left. You look around for water, for life, for a saving grace, only to find ghosts. So, you keep running, keep searching, keep crawling, keep hiding, keep whatevering... to stay afloat.

Then, one day, you give up. You lay yourself down with all those chains wrapped around you. You forget what life feels like without transgressions, without addictions, without weights pressed all around you. In the desert place, there’s not a person, a kiss, a drink or job that will help. It’s like the middle of the day, 3 o'clock in the afternoon and you hear the ticking. And that's it.

Yeah, my heart was beating. But that’s about it. I could hear it go thump - thump - thump against the hard ground floor and with the clock on the wall. Eerily, like an echo against white noise. It seemed so very far from me.

All of a sudden, a memory would come in. Someone started whispering about the weary finding rest, the dead brought back to life; and I would close my eyes. Rest and peace and love were exactly what I wanted. What I needed. 

At the most unlikeliest of places, on the cracked dry floor of a desert place, you find that you are offered Living Water. Jesus is there, lying right next to you. Breathing words of comfort into your soul.
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I found that truth ran much deeper than fear. I found a spirit deep within my soul that reflected the real me. And when I learned to name the chain, one by one - each and every time - Jesus said, “I paid for that”.

And each and every time Jesus was there to teach me, and talk to me, hold me, and piece me back together. Slowly, through His Word and prayer and worship, my soul cried out, “Abba, Father”. And much like a mosaic, my true reflection started to appear. Eventually, no longer a slave on the shore, I saw a daughter and an heir.
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The beaches look different now. I can hear the wind gently nudge the waves to come and play with the shore. I can see the birds revel in the glory of God in the flight of their wings. I don’t have to steal away for three to five days on a buzz, to cover up so much. Now, I sit on the shore of the beach a free person, and a daughter to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I found healing in truth. Grace and truth to be exact. The hard truth that no one can find freedom except through the precious blood of Jesus, and the grace part that accepted me with arms wide open.

Jesus died and rose again so you could experience eternal life in Him and through Him. The chains come falling off, like the sweetest, most amazing miracle, of all time. No longer are you pulling the covers up over your own eyes. You smell and taste and expereince life. Free, loving, giving life.

Now I find that my hands are extended high above my head in admiration. Praising and thanking and giving glory to the God on High. All that was once hidden in shame and fear - now set free in admiration and thanks.

Galatians says, “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who call out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir” (NIV).

The desert place of your soul can be realized on a beach, in Italy, when you are old, young, or somewhere in-between. God whispers gently, alluring you to "come and see, drink and experience life changing Living Water. Come weary soul, come and run, stumble and fall into my love". He will turn your desert place of despair into the most beautiful song of hope you have ever heard.

And nothing, absolutely nothing, will ever be the same again.

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