I Know…

 

aerial photo of boat on sea

Photo by Pok Rie

 

I was not your faithful friend

I was not truthful, no

I am not the best daughter, sister, wife, or mother

But I know The One who is all I have not been

 

The One who is a kind and faithful friend

The One who always tells the Truth, yes

The One who is the best in me that I cannot be

The One who’s is all I have not been

 

So when you think of how I let you down

And remember the times I did not live in truth

I want you to know that I know

Jesus is The One who is all I have not been

I was flayed open with a razor sharp knife

silhouette of girl during evening

Photo by luizclas

He was the only one there in that dark still night

I was flayed open with a razor sharp knife

He said are you ready to rise from the dead?

Through sobs and his blood yes was all I said

 

He said I am the love you are counting on

I am the only One when all  others are gone

I am the one who carries you when you fall

Through doubts and sorrow I’ve paid it all

 

He is the one who  gave His all for me

He fought for me to the bloody end

And on that day when He rose again

He said I am all I have ever been

 

He held me there as life seeped in

He is everything no one else has been

He is my champion, teacher, Redeemer, and friend

He is the one I will count on until the end

 

 

 

 

 

Bell Fright

door wooden bell old

Photo by Little Visuals

 

Her hooded gray blue eyes are unexpectedly bright

She speaks of the “old days, the days of Bell Fright

The terror, relentless ringing in the darkest hour of the night.

 

Communism she says, “did not deliver futures bright.”

Just more betrayal and fear, and torture called Bell Fright.

Not the Nazis, no but Comrades Stalin and Marx

Different regimes but same death toll ringing in their hearts.

 

Haunting broken melodies played on Hungarian violins

She still shivers with the memories of dark dank cells

She says  no one ever knew before  it could be so cold in hell.

 

This poem is inspired by the book Goodbye to Budapest by Margarita Morris and to all who have survived the Bell Fright of dictators of evil.

 

 

Eroding survival default (letting the Spirit of God be my coping skill)

 

red human face monument on green grass field

Photo by Mike

Oh yes I learned at an early age that my face and eyes and smile could paint a picture of self confidence and a surety I could articulate all the answers expected of me. I am after all, my Father’s daughter and “no one” would get next to me…

For years I danced this dance of being strong and able. Of not letting by hurts show. Of being articulate to hide the pain. Of keeping it all together for the sake of…

By God’s grace over the years this survival mode of being all together began to erode away as I grew into the realization I wasn’t made to just survive and I wasn’t made to please others or be strong or lead. I was made in the Image of God to live my life in such a way that He would be known and glorified by it (my life).

Now when I see my self coping with life in that old default survival mode more often than not I can spot it and go to the Holy Spirit for guidance and He is always ready and present. God does not help those who help themselves. Nope. That is recorded nowhere in Scripture. God knows that we cannot save ourselves  which is why, of course, He saves us through His Son Jesus, by Grace, by Mercy, by His atoning blood shed for us. God saves people who think their coping skills are working until they aren’t. God saves us because of who He is not because of who we are or anything we have done. This is a great relief to me and probably any fellow believer in Christ. This truth gives me great comfort every day.

When Jesus told the disciples that He had to return to the Father’s house to prepare a place for us and said he would send us The One who would dwell in us, with us, guide us, and yes give us heavenly coping skills until that glorious day we go to our Father’s House forever.

How are your coping skills working for you? Eroding survival skills are a slippery slope that gives way to dying. God’s way is so much better. I choose not to go back to my comfort zone in order to avoid exposure, pain, or suffering. The cost is much too high so I choose to stand in The One who really did pay the highest price for me.

 

The first time I touched heaven…

sky sunny clouds cloudy

Photo by Skitterphoto

The first time I touched heaven I was a five year old little girl who knelt down beside her parents and prayed to Jesus, who loves me…The faith of a child was heaven…I touched  the face of pure love. I prayed to Trust Jesus.

A twenty one year old college girl alone in the sand and sea with Hope renewed. I touched the King of the Kingdom and I confessed all my fear and failure… and we walked anew.

A thirty year old wife and mother…tired and scared of what I didn’t know. I touched the Spirit of God and he whispered to me that He would never leave me…I rejoiced in Peace.

A thirty-four year old woman who was breaking her marriage and her life and had depression and despaired of the goodness of God…but he gave me a man who would not walk away and I touched a Faith restored in God’s goodness.

A forty-five year old daughter I put my Daddy in his earthly grave and a light went out of me in this world but the Light of the World kept shining and I touched the Power of the Resurrection in Jesus Christ.

A sixty-three year old grandmother of five…I kneel each day in gratitude for every breath and every family memory…I touch Joy unspeakable and full of Glory…

When I leave this body to go to my Father’s house…I will go to The One who died for me and I will touch eternity and live forevermore in His presence finally touching my Lord who is Heaven…

Sharp Shooter on the roof tops…

automatic weapon bullet camouflage close up

Photo by Pixabay

 

I dream I am  in guerrilla warfare, watching for sharp shooters on the roof tops

The King was right when he said we do not fight flesh and bone

Yet we insist on killing our own over and over,  the choice made, cannot be taken back

There are many traitors among us, or most likely they never were a child of the King

They look just like me so I cannot know who will gun me down, it is not for me to judge

The Truth can pierce the bone from the marrow, I know because it happened to me…

I must don God’s armor at all times, be vigilant in lie detection, oh the enemy is so smooth, it is a false light…

My heart is pounding, I cannot be silent, for every day is a day of war in the spiritual realm, to immense to be ignored.

The manifold wisdom of God sees all, the Captain of the host holds all power in his name, Messiah, Jesus, God with us

So I take up my weapons… the belt  of Truth, the shield of Faith, the helmet of Salvation …

I continue to walk behind the enemy line for I know the Battle is the Lord’s, I long to remain a diligent warrior

The sharp shooter is still on the roof, the scope on the rifle is aimed at my head, I can see his eyes dead like dolls eyes

I choose to keep walking

 

I walk on vigilant always for any inkling of the enemy’s presence…deafening silence

yet in a split-second a pervasive white mist envelopes me…

I feel heavy weight and aching in my body  and spirit,  it is the supreme stealth weapon of the enemy

It is shame, my most relentless foe

The ballast of Shame slaughters aggressively,  the deadliest of weapons, worse than sarin  gas…

If I don’t kill it, it will kill me and all it touches, shame is unholy from hell

I cry out to the King,  blood seeping from my chest, a razor-sharp slice

I did not feel it at the point of entry

Towering above the shame the King appears, brandishing his two-edged sword

it blazes and radiates like a million Suns, in a blink the sharp shooter

on the roof top falls dead

I am blind now, crouching down behind my shield of Faith

the King wields his Holy two-edged sword and shame screeches like the demon it is…

instantly there is silence, my heart is no longer bleeding, I regain my sight

The Holy Spirit is the watchman, the Angels encamp around me

I savor the Holy rest of  victory this day…

 

I

 

It was the brightest sky in a hundred years

 

amazing astronomy background bright

Photo by Luck Galindo

It was the brightest sky in a hundred years

an ancient song that drew me here

There is no burden that these stars will fall

I know you will answer when I call

 

Like a dazzling topaz you fill my sky

as you drift from me to that Holy high

I knew that you were glad to go

though selfishly I did not want it so

 

Then you spoke to me in that gentle way

There are worse things then dying you said that day

I cried and agreed but did not want you leave

but we both know the One in whom we believe

 

For He holds all our days and all our joys

although I can no longer hear your voice

Today I know you’re both watching over us

The family that you love so much

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Night Heron

grey heron reflection on body of water

Photo by Leigh Jeffreys

She said what she first noticed was that images were spinning around her frontal lobe like those old 1950 children’s lamp shade night lights. As the lamp would spin around different nursery rhyme stories would glow in the dark. This is what she noticed first.

These scenes of life from childhood to ancient-hood would spin in her mind but then she would immediately forget what she saw. She said it was tremendously frightening at first.

She said with in a few months the the children started coming more often. Telling her what she should do more often. She just smiled and ignored them and worked in her garden. She managed dozens and dozens of tulips and daffodils around her large home built with field stones.  A beautiful home that once was in a country meadow but with human progress was now in the middle of a large city neighborhood. She said she loved to prune the bulbs and separate them each year. She used her little garden mat for her creaky knees and wore the hat which was her Mother’s. She said her Mother bought the hat in China where her family were missionaries until the Communist kicked them all out of the country.  The hat was perfect for long days in the Texas summer and was constructed so well that it looked as good as new instead of forty years old.

I would drive by her house every day on my way to work or to the market and everyday she could be found in her garden. I often stopped to chat.

One day we were talking and she said, “you know children can never know their parents young. That is why it is so hard for them to understand them as adults. They have never seen me run a relay race like a gazelle or fight with my sister. They have never seen me with skinned knees and pigtails. They surely cannot picture me as a lovely teenage girl going on her first date much less enjoying a healthy sex life at least until they were born! I also think they have forgotten that their Father always brought me tulips and daffodils our wholes lives together.”

As fall approached I would see her out there tending the bulb garden with her head bent over and her knees on her mat. It gave me a sense of comfort I think.  Then, of course, that inevitable day came when I did not see her for a week or so but had been too busy to stop by. The next week I saw a for sale sign in the front yard and stopped.

I was surprised when a nurse aid let me in and I knew this must be a bad sign but she was actually looking quite spry. I noticed when she stood up that her back was a tiny bit bent like trees whey they finally wear the shape of the wind. We sat together in some worn but comfortable chintz chairs by the front window. The gray-blue light of winter slanted through the stillness. She said, “Death’s cruel pluck is coming.” She was right.

By spring she was gone. By summer the children sold her house and the lot behind it. The new construction destroyed every single tulip and daffodil. All the lot taken up by a McMansion. They didn’t tear down the beautiful stone house but to me tearing up the garden was the cruelest act. I wonder if the children had no idea what it meant to her. I wondered why they did not see the hours she labored and loved in that garden. I wondered a lot of things.

The last time I saw her she talked about how the night Heron with it’s silver soft plumage was the most beautiful in all the marsh. She said she that the Heron had been visiting her each evening in the shadows of dusk. She said she was stuck in a memory of growing up on the Bayou of Houston and couldn’t remember a lot of things about being an adult.  The last thing she said to me with a gentle smile on her face was, ” thanks for coming to visit me Mama. I will see you soon for good.”  I just smiled and told her goodbye and thanked her for the beautiful tulip and daffodil garden.  She waved and I was gone. She was gone too.

Every time I drive by the property I go through a run of emotion from anger at her children for what seems carelessness to realizing I am not their judge. I feel sad that the beautiful tulips and daffodils no longer dance there in the breeze. I remember her smile and think of the Night Heron. I picture her in heaven with her Chinese hat on bent down on her knees with her mat working in God’s garden.

You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of the aged, and you shall revere your God. Leviticus 19-32

 

“You cannot find the way of the Cross. Jesus must lead you there…” Martin Luther

mountains nature arrow guide

Photo by Jens Johnsson

Oswald Chambers says “The Cross of Jesus Christ was the greatest and most profound collision of God and Sin”. In my sixty-three years of life I am still often astounded how I cannot grasp all that The Cross of Jesus means to those who choose to follow him. For you see it is a choice. Jesus never pushes himself on people because He knows that to be his follower there will be a cost.

In Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book, Meditations on The Cross, I found myself pierced in the heart at my lack of true discipleship. Oh, make no mistake I am a born again child of God, regenerated and adopted into the family of God through Jesus’ blood shed for me however, having knowledge of that and thoughts and plans of my own on how that should go and how that should look I am learning to abandon.

In Bonhoeffer’s book he quotes Martin Luther and this quote absolutely “gutted” my spirit and has also transformed my idea of what following and obeying Christ means…I really don’t have the words to express what I have realized.

The Martin Luther quote, “things must happen not according to your own knowledge but rather immerse yourself in the abandonment of understanding and Jesus will give you true understanding. You cannot find the way of the cross. Jesus must lead you there like a blind person. Not the work you chose for yourself, not the sufferings you think up for yourself, but what comes to you contrary to your choosing, thinking, desiring, that is where you must follow, there He is calling. There you are the pupil, there is where your teacher, your Savior has come and is found.”

“So, this Great Collision between God and Sin, this collision absorbed by the heart of God is what the Cross of Jesus is. The world shook, the foundation of hell and death were defeated forever.”  Oswald Chambers

 

What the Cross is NOT is an act of martyrdom, in the sense that there is no “defeat” on Jesus’ cross. Only victory with the greatest price paid that eternity past, present, and future has ever known. The Cross is the central event in time and eternity, and the answer to all the questions of both. Nor is the Cross of Jesus something that “happened” to Jesus. He came for this exact purpose when he made His covenant between the three persons of the Godhead to become flesh and dwell among us.

Oswald Chambers says, “The Cross of Jesus is not “a” gift from God rather it is THE Gift from God! The Cross of Jesus is the literal act of God’s Holy judgment on Sin.”  Most Christians are familiar with these words but I tell you when I pondered on Martin Luther’s quote above regarding Jesus leading me like a blind person to His Cross, bearing my own cross of sin, selfishness, and vain knowledge I was undone!

In an ongoing study but now a  conclusion to this small putting together of words that cannot satisfy what I am trying to say,  The Cross is not the horrible end of a pious life, but stands rather at the beginning of community with Jesus Christ. Every call of Christ leads to death of self with the promise of eternal life in Him. You cannot know the way of the cross. I cannot make myself a disciple of Christ with my own knowledge, my own pursuits. It is only in following Jesus to His Cross that we will know the “Power of His resurrection” and eternal life. Lift up the mighty shield of faith for there are battles daily in this world but Jesus the God/man Redeemer of all is leading the way!

 

Oh what a Collision of God and Sin, my sin happened on the Cross of Jesus. The Cross of God. Oh my soul rejoice for the Joy of my Salvation has been restored!

 

(Credit to Oswald Chambers and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther, and the Holy Bible.)

 

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the mourning is in the small connections to ordinary things

adult affection baby casual

Photo by Pixabay

The mourning is in the small connections to ordinary things. The smell of her hand cream and her talcum powder…

The crinkle of his skin in the corner of his gray-blue eyes when he smiles. The silly songs he  sang to wake me up each morning and the silly nicknames he called us to show His love…

The struggle, the grief, the mourning  is not between ourselves and others. It is within ourselves and lay between the longing in our souls and that which is ordained by God himself…

Between the body and its desire and between the mind and its necessary vital need of renewal…

These connections are learned at a very young age, as a babe already knows the scent of his mother and the lower tones in  her father’s  voice …So it is that these ordinary simple connections… are in reality the sound of Joy’s voice  like a warm spring rain…

These are the gentle paths of mourning that ease us into grief. There is no fear in mourning for it is a connection to our Maker…there is no fear or reason to “get rid” of grief.  For without the mourning there is no comfort. Without the sorrow there is no relationship and without grief there is no Joy.