"I am a native Michigander; have lived in Michigan all of my life. I grew up in a home headed by my mother and grandmother. My parents were divorced before I was born, and I did not have a father figure of any kind. I accepted Jesus as my Savior in 1987; subsequently turned my back and went back into the world. I returned to Him in 2001 and will not be going back. Returning to the Lord reminded me of the joy I had been missing. This time, I felt like Peter, who said, when Jesus asked His Twelve Disciples in John 6:67 "You do not want to leave too, do you?" Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." I am married to the most gentle and wonderful man in the world, Fred, and am the ‘mother’ of two amazing English Cocker Spaniels, Toby (born in 1995) and Shelby (born in 2004, a year before our wedding date!). I enjoy reading, movies, music, marathons, traveling, serving on the Video Tech Team and as a Women’s Ministry Life Group Leader at church and blogging at http://andrealschultz.blogspot.com.Andrea was dreaming...or so she assumed…for suddenly she found herself standing, in of all places, a blacksmith’s shop and an ancient one at that. She stood and watched in fascination as he worked and slowly became aware that she was not standing there alone. She looked to her side and then up…up…up to find a ten foot tall, incredibly gorgeous angel standing next to her. He didn’t exactly look like an angel…he had no wings and no flowing white robes but someone she knew…he was definitely an angel. Her angel. Her guardian angel. He looked down upon her with eyes full of love and affection and then silently directed her attention back to the smithy.
My wish is to be able to put the past behind and live the rest of my life for His glory."
The large burly man was sweating profusely and hammering away with his hammer and tongs upon a long metal object. Andrea could feel the heat from the furnace but when the Blacksmith plunged the metal shaft into the heart of it, she felt as though it was she. Tears sprung to her eyes and she found herself unable to breath until once again he withdrew the metal and began pounding away on it again, flipping it over and over, tempering it relentlessly. Now she could feel each stroke of the hammer, it didn’t exactly hurt but every time the hammer fell, she sensed it. She began to panic when she saw him readying to plunge the metal again into the white hot fire and the angel put his arm about her. This time she felt only warmth. Slowly she began to comprehend…she was the metal!
At that instant, the blacksmith looked up and straight at her. While his exterior was large, burly and muscular (with rivulets of sweat pouring down him) there was no mistaking his eyes! A tingle rushed up her spine.
Several more hours passed as he worked the metal, alternating between holding it to the fire, beating it down, plunging into the water and repeating the process over and over again. Finally it was done and when he had finished it was a thing of beauty. He had affixed a magnificent hilt bestudded with gemstones and gilded with gold to the end and upon the flat of the blade he had etched a glorious design. Then he carefully wrapped it in a cloth, picked up another shaft of metal about the same size and walked out of the smithy. Andrea and her angel followed along afterwards, walking just behind him as he wove his way up a winding road to a magnificent castle upon a hill. No one seemed to take notice of any of them and he continued walking, crossing through the main entrance and finally into a glorious throne room that no words could describe. Andrea felt herself begin to tremble. Even the touch of her angel’s hand upon her shoulder couldn’t quiet her tremors. Except for the King who sat upon the throne and two knights upon either side, the throne room was empty. The blacksmith knelt upon one knee before him and presented both the tempered sword and the unworked shaft of steel to the King.
He lifted both in his hands then handed one to each of the knights upon either side of him. With a quick bow, they took up the sword and shaft and steel and began to circle each other, moving away from the throne, Andrea and her angel. It was over in seconds. The very first blow shattered the untempered steel into shards which flew in all directions. The pieces passed right through Andrea and her angel as if they weren’t even there.
The knight returned the gorgeous sword to the King with a bow, who held it aloft in his hands and admired its’ beauty. As he turned it this way and that, his smile broadened and with a nod to the worthy blacksmith, he laid it upon his knees.
“The workmanship is exquisite!” said the King to the blacksmith approvingly.
“But what of the other sword, your majesty?” asked the Blacksmith, acting as though the shards were not scattered about his feet.
“Useless.” Replied the King. “Did you not see how it could not bear up under pressure, how it shattered at the least insult? It was not tempered in the fire nor by the forge, therefore it is useless.”
Upon these words the King looked directly at Andrea and beckoned her forward. With her knees knocking, she stepped slowly forward, irresistibly drawn to Him despite her fear. She stood only inches before him and felt his arms go about her in a fatherly embrace.
“You resent and wish to forget the years of your tempering, do you not my daughter?” He said, his eyes kind and understanding. Andrea nodded, her emotions welling up. Her chin fell upon her chest and her shoulders began to heave. Pent up years of hurt, embarrassment and pain welled up inside of her and bubbled over like a gushing fountain. The King’s other arm went about her and he held her close as she sobbed and wailed until she felt cleansed inside and out. His hands then went up to cup her cheeks and his wonderful, penetrating eyes searched those of her own most deeply.
“I know every pain,” He whispered softly. “I have experienced every sorrow right beside you,” Andrea looked at him and suddenly it was the King and it wasn’t. It was the blacksmith and the King and upon his body were the bruises that he had shared with her and also taken for her.
“Only the finely tempered steel is worthy to serve in the army of the King.” He whispered, bending forward and placing a tender kiss between her eyebrows. “Go in peace, my daughter, and never resent nor regret the tempering of thy spirit.”
With those words Andrea suddenly found herself sitting up in her bed staring at the nightstand clock which read 3:00am. Had it really all been only a dream? Suddenly she got the distinct impression someone was grinning at her. She turned her head and practically screamed aloud; almost waking Fred up. Next to her bedside stood her angel and this time he had his wings on and his glowing white robes.
He started dissolving like so much sugar in a cup of hot tea.
“Wait!” hissed Andrea, reaching for him. “At least tell me your name!”
“Rupert!” he responded, solidifying just a bit. “And, yes, I have always been by your side, since the moment you were born.”
“Always?” breathed Andrea feeling both blessed and disappointed at the same time. “Then…why…?” The unspoken insinuation hung in the air, despite everything she had just experienced. Rupert bent down and cupped her cheek in his hand, reminding her again of the King/Blacksmith.
“There are many things I did protect you from, my little one,” he whispered, his eyes full of love and compassion for her, “but you will never know of them and that is as it should be. Let it be sufficient to know that all you have gone through has made you the child of God you are today, a finely tempered sword in the hand of the eternal King!”
Finally it sunk in and Andrea bowed her head in submission. Before he faded away from her eyesight she felt his kiss upon her bowed head.
“We are with you always,” came his faint voice like a sigh upon the wind and with that, Andrea sunk back into a peaceful sleep; her heart much more at peace than it had been in many years.