Sailcats, Crucifix Fish & the New Year

Sailcats, Crucifix Fish & the New Year

Kindhearted volunteer Marshall Scott answered the U.S. Marine Corps call to rescue me at the Charlotte, North Carolina, airport on Thanksgiving Day after I attended my son Luke Parker’s memorial service. Marshall took time away from his family Thanksgiving to make sure I made my connecting flight. Additionally he shared the legend of the Crucifix Fish.

Jesus on the cross is outlined on the front of the sailcat’s skeleton, complete with the hilt of the sword that was plunged into Jesus’ side. The back of the skeleton displays the Roman shield. When you shake the cross, you can hear the dice being tossed for the Lord’s clothing.

When I got back to Scotland, my research disclosed that gaftopsail catfish witness God’s love in life, too. For example: Jesus died on the cross and went down for hell for three days to take the keys of death and hell away from satan and secure eternal life for us. The sailcat lives on the soft bottom of the ocean – but unlike other catfish – it doesn’t feed there. Just as Jesus loves and accepts everyone of every color, every country, every social status in life, the sailcat feeds up and down through the entire water column.

Male gaftopsail catfish brood their young in their mouths until they hatch. During this entire period of up to 65 days, males do not eat. What a great parallel of Jesus’ nature; His willingness to sacrifice even His life that we might be born again and grow into His image. Jesus never leaves us nor forsakes us when we are weak.

Sailcats are saltwater catfish. As Christians, we are instructed to be salt in the world. We should walk in love, but also in truth. Our truth – salt – has great healing power.

Crucifix Fish skeletons are popular for jewelry, but rare. Imagine my delight when I received a Christmas present from the Scott family, a box containing a Crucifix Fish! It will be freely shared here, going so much further than just our house.

What a great New Year it would be if we all took lessons from Crucifix Fish: witness Jesus openly both in this life and in the memories left behind when graduating to heaven. Love and accept others, no matter how different. Get out of the comfort zone and dare to be salty! Put others first. For 2014, I want to live like a Crucifix Fish.

Texas Eugenia Thornhill, in my new Christian mystery-romance-suspense “Fear of Shadows,” reminds me of the lessons of the Crucifix Fish. She is too self-reliant and self-sufficient to need God until she solves the mystery of her fear of shadows. The truth almost destroys her. There is power in the Cross of Jesus, but to tap into it – Texas would need to get out of her comfort zone and get salty. Can the proud, independent Texan who embraces one rebellion after another do that?

http://www.amazon.com/Fear-Shadows-Stephanie-Parker-McKean-ebook/dp/B00HGLRS7O/ref=la_B00BOX90OO_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1387739222&sr=1-6

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Knife to the heart

There’s no knife to the heart in this short blog about Major Luke Gaines Parker who graduated from the U.S. Marine Corps to Heaven on Nov. 17, 2013 – except for the wound left in the heart of his mother. But there are knives in the story – so keep reading!

Luke isn’t dead. His plane crashed. The outer shell of his body will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday, Dec. 3, but Luke went straight from the sky into the arms of Jesus. So many people have poured out love, support and praise for Luke that I wanted to share a bit of what made him special.

I was raised an atheist. When Luke was four, I had only just discovered Jesus and started reading my Bible and going to church. We had no vehicle and sometimes we nearly missed the bus home from my work. So my four-year-old said, “Mom, why don’t you pray for a truck?” I was afraid to pray for a truck. What would happen to Luke’s faith if we prayed and didn’t get a truck? What would happen to mine? Luke had no doubts. He prayed for a truck. We got one the next day.

Luke read his Bible and believed it. He read that with faith, a person could move mountains. So when he got warts, he asked Jesus to remove them. Jesus did.

When our truck was sputtering and I didn’t think we’d make it home, Luke slapped his hands confidently on the dash and said, “Get the hens, Satan. Get the hens.” Puzzled, I asked him about the hens, only to find that he meant, “Get thee hence, Satan.” God wasn’t confused. The truck made it home.

From snakes and turtles to all things bigger and smaller, Luke loved animals and rescued them. He saved songbirds from bee traps and raised a one-legged baby raven. I found him hanging upside down in a tree one day teaching a baby opossum how to climb. When he ran a marathon in New York City, a bird landed on his shoulder. He fed it drops of water until it revived and flew away.

Luke accomplished everything his heart set out to do. When he wanted to learn to play the trumpet, he did. When he wanted to learn to play the piano, he did. When he wanted to join the Marine Corps and was told he couldn’t because he needed a steel rod to straighten his back, he got prayer for his back. Jesus healed his back and Luke started running up to eight miles a day – every day – to prepare for basic training. He worked his way up in the Marine Corps from enlisted to major. He graduated from college even though he froze during tests. He learned to fly a plane, then bought his own plane. He flew in air shows and preformed aerobatics. But that’s not why I’m so proud of him.

Luke walked with God. When he was in basic training, some of the guys got drunk and tried to get Luke to drink. He refused. When their mocking and taunts continued, Luke got into his bunk and covered himself with a sheet. In the morning, Luke’s mattress was slashed all around his body. One slash had just missed his heart.

When Luke was in Iraq, one of the men wrote in the newsletter, “No matter what we do, we can’t make Captain Parker cuss.”

Luke loved his wife and daughter. He was a great dad to his little girl. He walked with God. The Marines lost a man. I lost a son who walked with God.

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