You can look for me…

white peonies in clear glass vase centerpiece near a white ceramic mug closeup photography

Photo by Dominika Roseclay

 

You can look for me on the streets or home

my footprints are there but I may be gone

There is a scent of rose and a south wind breeze

a slight Texas drawl and a gospel hymn…

 

They say no one knows where they belong

without a doubt I know this is wrong

For every step taken must be redeemed

this journey’s path is  seldom what it seems…

 

You can look for me in this Texas town

where all my roots lay deeply in the ground

A sense of strength and a southern swag

and a Gulf Coast pull that calls me back…

 

You can look for me on the streets or home

Some familiar paths and some still unknown

You will hear my laugh dancing in the trees

 the cottonwood’s shade as the church bells ring…

 

 

“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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Axe to the Tree

 

cut a tree fell a tree ax axe

Photo by Tookapic

when Life is not always

a merry Tale

or Thunder makes war

from east to west…

 

when Day leads to 

a comfortless Night

or Evil and danger bring

your Soul to unrest…

 

put an Axe to the Tree

of all things hidden

keep your Sword always drawn

and sharpened…

 

let the Fair and the Fresh

be your Dream

never forget the High King

of Heaven…

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.

 

 

 

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

Due to Bad Weather…

Photo by Magda Ehlers

So I am sitting in the Detroit airport waiting for a late flight, due to bad weather and a plane pulls up…everyone gradually looks around, they get up and walk to the observation window…low and behold a military escort marches out into the rainy, ice cold apron and then off the plane comes a casket and a family…all of us in the window stand reverently and then a young man in uniform salutes…some people put their hand over their heart as it dawns on each of us what we are witnessing..some begin to shed tears…this person who has served their country is coming home…there are no news cameras, no horns blowing…we don’t know their name or their family but all of us mourn…all of us are relieved it isn’t our son or daughter, brother, sister, mom, or dad…all of us wish the story would be different…a somber blanket lay over this small band of witnesses to something so private yet so universal…I bow my head and pray for the family…pray for my family who lives in freedom…pray for my country that she might be healed…as the casket is loaded into the hearse the crowd begins to spread out and I hear a little three year old girl say, “Daddy, can we get some candy now?”…the Dad picks her up and hugs her close…he cannot speak…I walk away and ask God to forgive me for complaining earlier about the weather…

All the Pretty Horses

girl standing near carousel

Photo by Abby Chung 

 

Joni Mitchell and a cup of tea…

I shut the door so no one can see

and dream of something kept underground

when I had to jump off that merry-go-round.

 

I loved the ride and all the pretty horses

I loves what I thought I would be.

I would have sold my blood to be published

so all the work could read.

 

 

I would wax eloquent and be held in high esteem…

all the other riders would admire me.

They would gaze at me on my grand carousel

marveling at all the wisdom I share.

 

Well now I speak in present tense…

the merry-go-round broken down and spent.

For my profound literature there is no need

I still like Joni and a cup of tea.

sjad

Cage of Flesh and Bone

 

brass wrought container

Photo by Jessica Cortez

 

I heard there was a party not in this Cage of flesh and bone

Since there is little or no magic here, I am stepping on down the road

 

Time is out of mind, send me an inviting card

Just swaying in the Twilight, leaving earth won’t be so hard

 

I was interviewed in a gutter, took a catnap in a palace grand

Just a wayfaring woman, Shadowing the Promise Land

 

A duchess lost in fiction in love with a Strangers moon

Now Truth is my destination, Time will be forgotten soon…