How the Sun Loves a Home [Poem-a-Day: 27]

How the Sun Loves a Home [Poem-a-Day: 27]

Houses I see, but they aren’t home to me.
In my mind they house another family.
Some that I visit, and in which I stay,
But to live there forever just is not my way.

I like to see them from afar,
meet them on the porch where they are,
and talk for a while, enjoy a dinner or tea,
maybe stay for the night to wake with the morn
and watch how the sun loves their home.

Oh, I love how the sun loves a home,
how it fills it with light from morning ’til night,
and how the shadows dance round in return.

But then after I see, its the road left for me;
not to stay but to wander and roam,
to be in one place and then move to another,
all the while tracking the sun.

The forest feels deep enough to let me be free,
and the sky in the desert is home.
The mossy, green knolls all laugh as they roll,
and I laugh in the joy they’ve become.

Because oh how I love,
the way the Son loves a home.

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Midnight Haikus [Poem-a-Day: 7]

I like poetry
But not when I feel sickly
My brain hurts now too

Is this a cop out?
That is very possible
Or I am lazy

But I did research
How to create a haiku
Counting my fingers

Laying in the dark
Counting to five and seven
While I moan in pain

Sufficiently
Today’s poem goal is fulfilled
Still I keep typing

Rhythm and math is
A fun combination for
Pushing away stress

Maybe this poem goal
Not a burden anymore
It is now a joy

An Autumn’s Saturday [Poem-a-Day: 5]

An Autumn’s Saturday [Poem-a-Day: 5]

My eyes are heavy — blinking, sinking

must keep seeing.

My head is pounding — pulsing, throbbing

must keep ‘wake.

Must dig for inspiration,

must mine for rhymes and stanzas,

and for goodness sakes,

fix those typos–

Or dont.

After all, it’s almost done,

The day is almost gone.

Spent well, lived richly

biked far, laughed loudly

played games, and loved softly.

An Autumn’s Saturday.

What would be sabbath day,

Now calls for sabbath rest.

A Lullaby and Dance [Poem-a-Day:2]

A Lullaby and Dance [Poem-a-Day:2]

I flip off the light
and in the dark we sway.
Left foot, right foot,
slowly both,
our sweet and gentle dance.

I sing and you rest,
your muscles all relax.
Pure and true,
still the darkness echoes
all my love for you.

My songs are done,
the time has come,
to lay you down to sleep.
A kiss for you, you kiss me too.
Your soul, our Love, will keep.

Songs of Autumn Mornings

Songs of Autumn Mornings

Good morning, Abba.

The earth cries out Your name today.
The stars have ceased their songs in awe of Morning’s,
but trees just sing along.
The air is crisp and clean
The sun burned ‘way any remaining drips
of summer’s humidity.

The trees, their leaves are vibrant green
Just the smallest hint of autumn yellow,
discernible only to a season professional,
that could otherwise be mistaken as golden drops of sun
held fast, by the leaves’ refusal to let go.

The mist rises from the grassy hill as the world stretches
and the blue-grey blanket of night slides off
like silk sheets.

The birds giggle in the morning sun,
not drunk with it, just giddy
like school-children, they can’t stop talking
and flitting about for lessons.
Why should they? They’re birds.

It is what they are, and what they do,
ceasing only for the night
to sing more voraciously
in the morn.

The children of Nature, of summer
and of spring, of autumn.
Oh God, protect their joy through winter’s cold,
that spring will greet me with their song.

“Fine” & the Love of God

“Fine” & the Love of God

I’m sitting here avoiding eye-contact with the blank page as I stare unfocused at the keyboard while my fingers tap-tap-tap and make no words.
We’re off to a good start. It’s been a while y’all. No fear, I certainly haven’t forgotten. Every day for the last week I have thought about blogging. Two weeks ago I even mentioned to a friend that I need to blog soon, and what it might be about. Hah. Yeah, sorry about that. Maybe those posts will never come.
Part of my not-blogging has been honest. I had a lot of art commissions come up, as well as a short children’s book idea that I had that I have set about illustrating. Or at least, learning to illustrate. We’ll see what it will become.
All that ^ + being a mom to a non-stop 16-month-old + being in one of the busiest/strangest periods of our lives so far = no blogging.
But there might be another factor in that equation, one I hope will surface as I type this out. I hope any of my faithful blog readers have become endeared to my raw “style” of writing (or at least have grown accustomed to it) because this likely will be very unpolished. You’re along for the ride with me on this one. (If you don’t like messy, self-doubting, possibly God-doubting, swirling mind-storms, you might want to jump off now.)

Now, if you’ve stayed… I love you, thanks for not leaving me alone in this, Invisible Reader. You’re the best.

I’m noticing a pattern in my life, one I just wrote down in my journal about 10 minutes ago. It goes like this:
Step 1. I’m fine. Enjoying life, going with the flow, taking each day as it comes, not standing outside of myself but really being in the moment. Sweet.
Step 2. Realize I’m doing all of the above.
Step 3. Wonder if I really am fine.
Step 4. Wonder if I should be fine, or if being fine is actually a cover up for some deep, dark not-fine-ness that I’m lying to myself about for some reason.
Step 5. Get all anxious about it and go digging deep in the caves to look for something wrong; suspecting everything light might actually be darkness.
Step 6. Genuinely believe something must be wrong, and now all of the sudden
I’m not fine.
Step 7. After living a couple days in the depression of Step 6, wonder why I’m not fine anymore, when I found no legitimate reason to not be fine.
Step 8. Feel absolutely crazy for feeling so not-fine when I have no reason to be.
Step 9. Somehow, all of the sudden, be fine again. Enjoy it quickly while it lasts before you realize you’re fine and it starts over again.
That, my friends, sounds absolutely insane written down. Bail now if you want to, I would if I could.

Oh, you stayed? Wow, now I really feel loved. Or maybe you’re just curious how this will end. (pst, me too.)

Thinking in psychology terms, that seems like a type of self-sabotage, or a means of keeping oneself in a role or situation that may not be healthy, but is comfortable because it’s what they have known. It wasn’t until writing it down the list that I recognized a piece of where it came from.
Being in the church culture as one-on-one discipleship started in the area, it was common for me to meet with several people a week, sometimes multiple a day. Many of those people are now my dearest friends  family who genuinely love me and I love them more than I can say. God works through everything to make Himself known and help us find Him… and in Him, find each other.
But some of these meetings felt more like giving a report or an account on if you’ve been living a good enough life in the last week. Now, the realization that the word “fine” was overused had already spread through our groups, so we didn’t have to pretend we were okay and had everything in order when we went to these meetings. In fact, the unspoken rules encouraged you to be not-okay. It seemed like better growth, deeper maturity, to say that you weren’t fine; that you had realized a deep-dark heart issue that you were taking to the Lord and letting Him fix. These unspoken rules set up a strange environment where if you said you were fine, or even good *gasp* you weren’t actually being genuine. I had friends in these meetings raise their eyebrows at me and wait… thinking maybe I’ll say ‘but’ and spill my guts, the actual genuine part of me. [<sarcasm>] Because being okay can’t possibly be genuine. No one is actually okay. Like, what? Jesus came so we can be more than conquerors and be filled with joy and life abundant as we walk with Him? Nah bro. [</sarcasm>] When I didn’t do that, and turned the floor over for them to share they would say, “That’s nice. I’m having a really hard week..” etc. And I’m not demeaning that may certainly have had a hard week. I’m not saying they shouldn’t have shared that, or that I wasn’t happy to walk with them through the hardships. We grow so much in the valleys of life, and I love the hard times because I love who God makes me in the hard times. Hard times are good. Not being okay is good.
But what I’m saying is that being okay is good too. Being fine is good. And I’m realizing that the way I’ve started to treat myself is the same way the friend with the skeptical eyebrow looked at my okay-ness.

I’ve said this for a while now, but just not on here yet: We as Christians still have full range of emotion. (like “full-range of motion,” get it?) Christ did not come so that we would be happy all the time. He also did not come so we would be glum and burdened down all the time. He did not come so that we would never be angry, but He did come so that in our anger we would have the freedom and ability to not sin. Christ came to be with us. God with us. Immanuel. With us in our grief and in our joy, in our sickness and our health, in our fine-ness and our not-fine-ness. There are no wrong emotions or feelings. In fact, maybe the only wrong idea of feelings is that there are wrong ones. I know I have been so tied up in doubt and confusion and anger about my emotions, trying to sort through which ones are “real” or “valid”. What if they’re all real and what if they’re all valid? What if I was completely anxious and depressed starting this post, and now I’m relieved and determined at the end? Both of those are good. They’re waves on this sea of life. If I’m fighting each one, trying to only ride the “correct” ones, then I will go no where, and I certainly won’t enjoy the ride. I won’t get to see the beautiful sunrise or the way the clouds are reflecting off the water, or how the light comes through a wave as it crests.

You may not come from the same background as me, looking for wrong where things were right. You may not be fine, and you might think that it’s wrong to be so; that you’re supposed to be happy all the time, always at peace and rest. You’re not. You’re supposed to struggle and wrestle, dance and rejoice. You’re supposed to be you. Made to feel and love and live like you do. You were made to cast that specific shadow on this world and love it because you are Loved. You. The fearfully and wonderfully made one reading these words right now. You aren’t supposed to be anything else than what you are right now, because what you are right now is loved. Loved by an Almighty God who sees everything about you and loves you there.

Come friends, let us be loved.

 

“We the Church, the beloveds of God.”

A Gospel of Gems

A Gospel of Gems

Back in March God started the arduous process of tilling the earth of my soul. His spade pierced my hardened ground, slowly overturning things that had not seen the sun in a long, long time. Patched-up broken hearts, learned defense mechanisms, and this fun thing called Codependency were suddenly laid bare above ground; worms still groggy from being lifted out of their cozy dwellings, groaning and squirming, looking for a way to burrow away from the sun. One of these surfaced sicknesses was my view of the Gospel. I should have guessed this earlier, considering speaking or typing the word nearly brings me physical pain. At points over the years He revealed small reasons for why my Spirit reacted so strongly to how I saw the word “gospel” being used. For example, the fact that much of the American church lives as Christian Deists, believing God started the work of the Church at the cross, gave us the Bible (thus everything we need for life and Godliness), then ascended, leaving us to finish His work while He waits on His throne for us to get ‘er done. That’s not the Gospel I know. That’s not the Gospel that is continued through the New Testament. He doesn’t save us at the point of our Salvation and then send us off, leaving us to spend the rest of our lives “making it up to Him” or proving to Him that He made a good choice in picking us. There are many more, and I could get all up on a bunch of soap boxes, but I don’t want that to be the point of this. The point is that in meeting Him, knowing just how Good He is and how Good it is to be known by Him, the “good news” I’d been taught didn’t seem so good. The view I’d caught had so many strings and burdens tied to it that I was left to weakly say, “Sure, it’s good news,” with a shrug and a lowercase ‘g’.

My view of the good news went something like this: I had been taught that we were a block of mud, muck, and manure. Gross. And God thought so too. When we came to God and said we wanted Him, He took a little wooden cross and stuck it in the middle of our block of “yuck”. Then, “sanctification” was Him chiseling, scraping, and wiping everything out of the way so that the cross was clearly visible. Anything left of us (including our personality, likes and dislikes, preferences, talents, and the things that make us smile) was thought to be the mud left on the cross, and thus was keeping people from seeing Him. Remember, in this picture, the manure is us. The end goal of sanctification was to be completely “surrendered” until nothing remained of us; the only thing left standing was the cross. Since it was the same cross put inside other Christians, if we all “did our jobs” in the sanctification process, we would all look identical, and thus be “unified.” See why didn’t seem like very Good News?

Here’s the GOOD NEWS: that’s not what it is at all. Instead, God created a beautiful little gem (that’s us) and in that gem was all the sparkle of our personality and gifts and the things that make us smile. The curse of sin knocked us out of our Creator’s hand and rolled us around in the muck until we were completely covered in it, with no trace of the gemstone still inside. In fact, a lot of us have completely forgotten we ever were a jewel in the first place. We come to God, cemented in the muck and say we want Him. Sanctification then, is Him chiseling, scraping and wiping away all the yuck of sin, to get back to the beautiful us that He made at first. We were fearfully and wonderfully made, knit together intricately in our mother’s womb. When He looked at Adam and Eve He said they were “very good.” When we place ourselves in His hands, He sees us the same way! He then goes about getting rid of anything in the way that would keep others, and ourselves, from seeing the beauty He put in us.
With us as a clean, but rough, gemstone in His hand, He starts faceting us. For each gemstone there is a perfect, unique way to be cut that best catches the Light, and it’s the same with us. We’re all different types of stones, and different cuts will bring out the ultimate shine of the Spirit He put in us. This is gentle, hard work as He cuts and smoothes and buffs. At the end of it all, we will be the most amazing handful of jewels, glittering and shimmering in His light. In this, unity doesn’t mean we all look the same — no,  we’ll look quite different. Shades of crystal, sapphire, emerald, and ruby, all perfectly faceted by the same Jeweler. And because it’s the same Jeweler writing all of our stories, we each fit perfectly together into a beautiful crown to lay before Him.

I used to say “Everything that is good in me is Jesus,” but I can’t anymore. Instead, everything that’s good in me is because of Jesus. He looked at me when He made me and He said I was “very good,” and He says the same about you too. It’s all because of Him that we can be anything beautiful, but because of Him we are beautiful. With the old view of the Gospel it made sense why I didn’t feel loved by some people in the church, why it felt like they didn’t want to get to know me for me. They didn’t. They couldn’t. “How can anyone love a pebble in their shoe?” (Oh Ever After, you’re so unintentionally perfect for this.) If our view of ourselves is mud and yuck keeping people from seeing the wooden cross hidden inside us, then that’s how we have to see other people too. There’s no room for real grace here, or for really enjoying and appreciating one another as our dear brothers or sisters. All that’s left is stilted, robotic handshakes at church meet-and-greet time, and awkward accountability sessions. This “love” has no patience to get down in the mud with someone to pull them out, because it doesn’t believe there’s something good in the mud to pull out. Everyone is the mud, and that’s that.
Oh but if we’re all jewels I can look at you and catch sight of the sparkle hidden under the dust. I can say, “Wow, God made you beautiful!” and I can say, “Let’s fight together to get the mud out of the way so you and everyone else can see just how precious you are in God’s eyes.” I can be beyond jealous for you that all the muck slides off and we can rejoice together in the Lord as you twist and twirl and sparkle. And if you’re still being faceted, if your rough edges jut out and cut me, there’s no need for harshness or impatience from me, because I know that it’s not you that hurt me, just the stuff on the outside that is now passing away. In this, there’s also no room for self-righteousness, for being mad at someone for pointing out our faults. You see, if you’ve been told that you’re the mud and you believe it, but you want to hold onto the last remaining bits of self, you’re going to bite and attack anyone who comes anywhere near talking about the mud. They may be wanting it to get out of the way so you, and everyone else, can see how beautiful you are, out from underneath the mud. But if you think the mud is you, then it is a personal attack on your being, and you can’t allow that. Oh please, child. Please see that you are far more than the mud you’re defending. Please let us walk with you in light and truth. I’m not going to defend anyone’s mud (it’s mud for goodness sake, just let it go) but I sure as heck am going to remind you the mud is not you. Let it go. Let it slide off. Let Him scrub and facet you. You are beautiful. I am beautiful. I want to dance together under the Light of our King as we sparkle in His eyes.

Now, this analogy isn’t perfect. We are so much more dear to Him than any precious jewel. He loves us as sons and daughters, locked hand in hand as we run to give Him the biggest hug. That is far better than being even the most beautiful gemstone. But this analogy did bear fruit in my life. I’ve been able to love people so much more wholly and openly, having grace and strength in encouragement to grow that I haven’t had before. And now The fruit of this message 4 months later is that if someone were to come up to me and ask me why I’m here, what makes me worth it to the King or why on Earth He would pick me, I’d just shrug, smile this child-like, innocent grin, and say, “Me. Me is enough for Him. He said so, so I’ll believe it.” And I’ll boldly approach the throne of grace with confidence… aka, run like a giggling little girl, hair flying out behind me as I jump into the arms of my Daddy who’s laughing too.
And We sparkle.