“I got my meanness from the gutter and my kindness from God…

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He said, “I get my meanness from the gutter and I get my kindness from God.” I sat down under the bridge with him and I said, “I think I could say the same.” He looked at me square in the eyes and I could see he was surprised by my response. He said, “You don’t look like you know much about the gutter.”

I smiled and said “looks can be deceiving don’t ya know?” Then he laughed. The sound of his laughter was one that made me smile. His laughter was like a nine month old baby’s belly laugh. The kind of laughter where nothing is held back and a sweetness of joy rings from it. I told him I had not laughed like that in ages and he said, “Oh you can only laugh like that when Fury and Thunder have cracked your soul and all the dark places have been opened up and cleaned out and all the pieces are strewn about and you cannot put them back together by yourself. I call it reconcilable purity. This laughter only occurs when you have lost your life to save it and when you were first but now you are last…”

I sat there in sober silence but something inside of me begin to tremble. “Who are you?” I whispered. He said, “I am just an old man who has been given a new heart and all day long I just like to go around and give my heart and life away to whoever might need it for a minute or two so that they can go about their day with some pure laughter…” The gorged veined, brown spotted hands palmed my face and the old man looked me in the eye and he said, “Go and be, not do. Go laugh and cry. Go and give your life away for someone else and you will see. You will laugh the laugh of “reconcilable purity.”

Beginning of Wisdom

gray concrete post tunnel

Photo by James Wheeler

I am a ruin, only pieces of me stand.

I was a fool and knew only nonsense

yet he levels the mountains before me

and cuts through my chains.

 

He make fools of false teachers

and keeps His promises.

His foundation is laid, it is His Son.

 

In my secret place He stores his riches

and gives me a name of honor.

Rejoice in the ruin that stand restored.

 

Inspired by the prophet Isaiah

I dance on the ledge that is way too high…

woman standing by one foot and holding flare stick near trees

Photo by Wellington Cunhao

When I wanted to dance on that ledge that was way to high

when I was a foolish naive woman child

You did not judge me rather you told me to try

when the summer storm cleared the sky I cried

 

I cried because I made mistakes and had deep wounds to show

I cried because I grieved the things that had ravaged my soul

I cried because I am grateful that you never let me go

You said whenever you are ready I will take you home…

and never more will you cry…

 

I still dance on high ledges because life is a thrill

I cherish my wisdom and my fine woman skills

I gladly now bow to you my Lord and King

So whenever you are ready my heart will take wing…

and I will be home with you…

 

The Lillies of the field sing for me

The waves of the sea are my dance

The stars in the heavens are my guiding light

As I dance on the ledge that is way too high!

 

 

 

Shadow Boxer

…and when I looked I saw you Oh Beauty! The Cherubim hovering above the Holy High God’s throne. Your total attention on the Holy Wisdom God himself imparted to you so that you could impart his will to the Celestial Armies…then for a millisecond your eyes darted away…your royal beauty reflected in your armor of precious gems and gold…No longer were you worshipping God but yourself, oh Lucifer why? Why did you let your created beauty and access to Godly Wisdom deceive you? All created beings are worshippers but only of The Holy One who is right, true, and just…so you and those you deceived were cast out forever! Your beauty is decay. Your wisdom is a lie…now you roam this earth seeking whom you may devour but you have been exposed to us by the power of the Cross of Jesus Christ, the Resurrected King of Glory!

 

Shadow Boxer

glitters like gold!

Shapeshifter lies

have all been told!

His candy is poison

but sure taste sweet!

He shadow boxes

down on Deception Street!

Shadow Boxer betrays

with silver, he stole!

His beauty hides his

evil lust for control!

oh your fall from the heavens

like a burning star

shook the deep of this earth

what a falling was there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exposure

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Photo by Garon Piceli

I lie down under the burden

      of the courage that I lack

For you to see the sin in me 

      cannot be taken back

It is my greatest fear at times

      you might finally know

The dark and filth I tasted once

      I never want to show

Exposure of who I really am

     could it drive your love away?

After all you’re only human      

     dare I hope that you would stay?

The truth of exposure that I fear

     is a mystery not of loss

But a debt that is fully paid

    willingly hung upon a Cross

All her colors run together on the floor

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

All her colors run together on the floor…

she has been here so many times before

She is sure this time they will stone her

Condemnation beats in her heart and her soul is torn…

 

His gentle words were more than she had hoped for…

He bent down in the dirt and wrote a word

He spoke gently lifting her face to see Heaven

“No one here can condemn you anymore…”

 

All the colors of New life swirled around her at once

Blood red drops in the dirt became white as snow

the blue of the sky filled with angels singing “gloria! ”

He said, ” your sins are forgiven now you are whole… “

In a culture that worships a false normal of beauty and worth…

photo of night sky with stars

Photo by Bryan Schneider

“Some of the greatest lies you will ever believe are told by your own eyes.”  Says the  writer Preston Sprinkle

We have been talking about this issue in American culture for the last twenty-five years and I don’t see much change in the message. Even in the age of reality TV shows like “the Voice” while the auditions are blind so that a judge cannot pick the contestant on any merit other than their voice we find that if they make it past the blind auditions they are quickly given a Hollywood stylist and their clothes, make-up, and hair are tweaked here and there and by the time the contest is over for that season the person is “acceptably attractive.” Even as far back as Carrie Underwood winning American Idol or Kelly Clarkson…if you go back and look at them you can see they were “made” more acceptable.

With God, your image, yours and mine, we are acceptable just as we are but I cannot for the life of me understand why we cannot get past these stereotypes of how one should look, and dress, and even age…

As a believer in God, Jesus Christ and the Bible I have no problem believing that God is omnipotent, omnipresent, all-knowing, all-seeing, creator of ninety trillion million stars, the ocean, the tide, the sun, the earth…(You get the picture). Nobody tells God what he can or cannot do.

I have a harder time believing that this same transcendent Holy God would reach down to his earth and rescue his human race which makes him also an intimate God. A God who desires relationship with the people he created, with me and you. He isn’t playing a game of cosmic chess with us. He doesn’t love us begrudgingly yet most of us have a difficult time believing that same huge God who we believe created us and everything around us truly cares about us. That he delights in us. That he thinks of us more often than there are grains of sand? That he can’t wait for me to come talk and walk with him? That I am more beautiful than any sunset or sunrise could ever be? That he wants to be my friend and even more astonishing that He trusts me? That he never gives up on me just like the father in the story of the prodigal son He never stops looking out to the horizon to see if I am coming home after making a mess of everything in my life! He loves to hear my joy of laughter or singing. He is patient and kind and slow to anger. He loves my face and my body. He loves me!

It is an endless dance of performances and masks that I grow so very weary of. Are you weary? I cannot sustain what I think that you think I need to look like to be acceptable. This is the burden of societal shame. 

So, I must not let my own eyes deceive me in commercial ads, in billboard ads, in Playboy, in movies, in T.V.

I work with young women. Eating disorders, body image, and anxiety is at an all time high in this country. It is a fact. They believe they must be thin, quiet, and good all the time. They believe they are ugly and not made by God and in His image at all. What a toll it has taken on our people.

God sees his children as beautiful. He sees each race as beautiful. His redemption of his children cannot be thwarted by any scheme of Evil or of man. So, I choose to look at myself through the eyes of my Father God who created me. I choose to look into his eyes and see myself as his beloved daughter. A daughter of beauty in every way and that He came down from heaven and redeemed me with his Grace and lets me walk with him daily and talk with him freely and never feel that I am ugly or unworthy of his love and blessings.

My spirituality, my beauty, my worth is upheld by God’s stubborn Grace and deep enjoyment of me.  It is  God whom I reflect and even if my eyes lie to me a thousand times it does not change the Truth one bit. I am precious, beloved, and I do belong to Him. I am beautiful…

I want my daughters and their sons and daughters to know they are more than even their own eyes tell them they are.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity into our human hearts; no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Ecclesiastes  3:11

She had forgotten the taste of new wine and sweet olive oil…

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Photo by Alena Koval

I saw her standing in the Valley of Decision and I reached for her hand gently.
I said, “I don’t know where you are coming from but I do know what you are running from.”
She said she had forgotten her loveliness and her might. She has forgotten the taste of new wine and sweet olive oil. Her trees would bear no more fruit. All of her gifts and talents had drained away. The “invented” normal had left her heart and soul gravely bruised…
I have seen it many times in sixty-three years. The exigencies the “inventor of lies” has put upon us. The accuser, the impostor of beauty and wisdom says, “We girls have to be skinny, smart, beautiful, witty, sexy, as well as Mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, healer, cook, house keeper, and oh yes, we can never age, wrinkle, or grow soft muscles or gray hair…
Oh what a relief is found when we know these falsehoods cannot raze our joy! The Spring rain will wash you clean of shame and doubt and you will regain all you have lost! Young woman, daughter, widow, single Mother, or any Mother, any woman…Come to the Valley of Decision and lay down all the plates you are spinning. Hold with palms open upward any control you deem you have and you will realize that you are so far beyond what you believed. Choose Wisdom instead of control. Choose Wisdom which says, “You are the Pearl of Great Price!”
Stay in this Valley and decide to seek Wisdom… be healed, be whole, and dance before the Lord God without fear and then reach out your hand for the next woman you see and give her the Wisdom you have gained…it is a decision, it is truth or it is lies and you must choose…thousands upon thousands of women are waiting for your hand…

A bruised reed he will not break, and a fading candle he won’t snuff out. He’ll bring forth justice for the truth. Isaiah 42:3
Also, inspiration from Joel 3:14

“Grace is the most dangerous, expectation-wrecking, smile-creating counter-intuitive reality there is.”

You know it really shouldn’t astound me but it still does. After all of these years I am given new glimpses and I am glad to say a more accurate view of God’s grace everyday…
It is so easy to use the word Grace in the Christian world. I realize now that if the true meaning of Grace was unleashed in the church or more to the point in MY life…well there is just no words…
So here is the thing…This writer, Preston Sprinkle writes this, “Grace is the most dangerous, expectation-wrecking, smile-creating counter-intuitive reality there is.” That sentence grabbed at my gut. He went on to say the Grace of God ” has no leash.”

God’s grace is untamed. It is wild and free!
“Divine Grace is God’s relentless loving pursuit of His enemies, who are unthankful, unworthy, and unlovable.” 
Grace is a gift for the person in the gutter, the outcast, the unattractive, and yes even a church full of self-righteous misguided believers (praise God he love self-righteous people too!!!) “
“Jesus gutted the religious leaders of his day by showing Grace to whores, lepers, and the dregs of society yet he extended that same Grace to the Pharisees who sought him out!” Isn’t this rich? I can’t make God love me. I do not have to perform because “God loves me because of WHO he is and because of WHAT Christ has DONE!!!
Oh how the Truth can set you free from all of your pious judging of others, at least it does for me. I am glad his mercies are new every morning. Jesus loves sinners…even the very tidy looking ones.

She Offers Perfect Praise… “unless you come as a child you will not know the kingdom of heaven…”

A child is not aware of her dependence on another. She simply trust that it will be done and gives her praise to God in unsolicited ways. Like the sunflower she moves through her day always facing the sun.

She praises God with belly laughs and silly songs never doubting that he will not be delighted with her. She praises by folding her little hands to pray. She praises by dancing for all the world to see. She praises by clapping for herself when she accomplishes a task. She praises with her tears when she is hurt and loving arms reach for her. She praises when she jumps into her daddy’s arms trusting that he will always catch her. She praises when she hangs on to her Mommy’s hand when she is unsure of what is occurring.

She is unencumbered of what things cost or ashamed of anything because she Trusts The Holy One who has shown himself to her in the rainbow and in the leaves and in the pretty rocks she picks up all along her walks with her Mama.

And all of the heavenly host rejoice with her!