Week Twenty-Three

52 Weeks of Gratitude, Week Twenty-Three: A physical trait

Mine eyes have seen the glory

Hazel

An innocent seed, once torn apart,
now births a vulnerable sapling
to stretch and sway towards the light:
a journey to understand the knowledge
of near dangers and distant stars.

Brown

The path beneath my feet is dusty–
like brittle, broken bones praying for life–
yet sweet and true as honey
to fill my eyes with the glory that waits
at the end of this toil and strife.

Blue

The ocean throws itself against the rocks
in an effort to crumble and destroy;
but it also calls, it nudges, it sends
a whisper on the wind to challenge
the silhouette on the shoreline to speak.

Grey

In the midst of the storm, darkness
clouds my vision and I lose hope, gasping
for nonexistent air beneath the surface
of my pride, and I have to surrender
myself to the waves to be saved.

Green

A promised land unveils its own beauty:
its splendor casts aside all fear
and illuminates every dark corner
with hope and a chorus of birdsong
to praise the Lord who brought them there.

Violet

Citizens of Heaven, we are royalty.
We’ve been born anew– from dust and ashes
to worship and victory garlands,
from feeding pigs to feasting joy,
and endless wilderness to eternal glory.

Advertisements

Week Twenty-Two

52 Weeks of Gratitude, Week Twenty-Two: Something you use every day

breathe.

the morning crawls
between the moon and stars
to find its way to me
and set me free
from my dreams

the warm air laughs
over beloved inside jokes
to relieve my fears
and dry my tears
from my cheeks

the evening giggles
in a game of hide-and-seek
to remind me to sleep
and keep me awake
all at once

my eyes dance
between magic and joy
to mend the breaks
and guard my heart
in the Potter’s hands

Jesus is Calling

Jesus went out of His way to bring us Home.

I bow my head over the bread and the cup and close my eyes. At the head of the table, Jesus stands. There’s a crown of thorns piercing His brow, and His eyes are sunken but shining. His outstretched hands bless the beggars, the cripples, the liars, the rebels.

I’m battered and bruised, bleary-eyed and brokenhearted. I stare into the face of the One I spent my entire life running from. I’m overwhelmed because He loves His enemies. He subjected Himself to torture, to the grave, to hell and beyond, in order to bring us Home.

Jesus is calling.

The image shifts and I’m running through a dense wood at dusk, scratching my face and tearing my hands against thorns in my mad race to get as far away from Heaven as I can. I’m screaming to shut out His voice and crashing through the underbrush as if my life depended on it. When I think I’m deep enough into my wild escape, I stop with my hands on my knees and try to breathe. I shut my eyes against the beauty.

I’m a rebel. Rebels have no time for beauty.

But my heart still aches. I’m still angry. I’m still afraid. And I’m lost.

“Eliana?” comes the gentle, firm, sad voice.

“Stop!” I cry, pressing my palms against my ears.

“Eliana.”

This is not a voice I can block out.

He appears slightly beyond the trees, watching me. He doesn’t shout. He doesn’t raise His fist. Instead, He opens His arms and waits.

Despite myself, the tears spring to my eyes. He came after me. He searched for me, leaving ninety-nine to find one. His eyes are kind and He blinks slowly, holding a promise there in the scars on His hands.

His mercy reminds me how foolish I’ve been. His abounding grace reveals my ridiculous sins and petty attempts to be my own king. His invitation is covered in a love that gently tells me I don’t deserve it but He’s going to love me anyway. He’s going to lead me to His house and let me sit at His table, even when my heart was set on killing Him.

I sob and let Him hold me.

“Come Home, my child,” He whispers. “Come Home.”

Week Twenty-One

52 Weeks of Gratitude, Week Twenty-One: Things you like about summer

Let Summer

Let the cool water dance with your fingers in a series of innocent kisses,

like a newborn rain cloud deciphering the difference between a shower and a storm.

Let the blueberries tumble methodically into the clear glass bowl,

like a tiny equestrian staring wide-eyed between her gray’s wiggling ears.

Let the sunshine search your smile for a hint of the stories you’ve read,

like old characters hesitantly tapping your shoulder and asking for a revision.

Let the adventurous road beckon you forward into new beginnings,

like dandelion seeds flying away to make a little boy’s dreams come true.

~*~

What are some of YOUR favorite summer memories? I’d love to hear about them!

A Posture of Surrender – Part Three: Know That He is God

Click here for Part One, and here for Part Two.

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10)

As we wrestle each day to be more like Jesus it’s unspeakably easy to fall into the trap of self-scrutiny. We can become so focused on ourselves (introspection) that we lose focus of who God is and the role He plays in our lives. In moments of anxiety, we are called to be still and know that He is God. It seems self-explanatory and rather obvious but – and I won’t speak for the masses here, merely confess what I’ve observed in my own heart – in the midst of deep brokenness or fear I forget God’s power. I forget His sovereignty, His love, His grace, and His promises to His people.

Pastors and speakers I’ve had the privilege to learn from often ask their congregations / listeners some form of the question, “Where do you go when things aren’t working out?” This, they elaborate, is a good indication of where our love, trust, and faith lies. Chances are, when we don’t run to God it’s because we don’t truly believe who He is and what He has promised to us. We doubt His power and ability to walk with us, so when He gently nudges us to talk to Him in our struggle, we push Him away and run to other things, drowning our woes in temporary distractions.

But while we might be able to push the pause button on our worry for a brief while, we cannot and should not try to mute the voice of God. And He’s calling us to be free. He’s calling us to stop, rest, and believe that He is God.

In our trials, we have to come to the realization that we are unable to tackle these things on our own, that we need God’s help and guidance. While it may be reassuring to know we don’t have to do it alone, we must also break down our walls of pride and admit that we simply can’t fulfill our daily and long-term callings without Jesus. There’s where grace comes in: Jesus calls us to do incredible things and walk through stormy waters, but rather than ordering us around and leaving us at that, He mercifully holds our hand to walk us through.

Jesus enables us to walk the path He has set before us, and we must continuously remind ourselves – and allow the Spirit to nudge us to remember – who He is and all He has done, is doing, and will do.

“God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.”
(Psalm 46:1-3)

Week Twenty

52 Weeks of Gratitude, Week Twenty: A new friend

He Calls

There’s something brewing beneath your skin.
It’s tugging the breath from your lungs
and beating against its cage.
It wants to be free.
So do you.

I’m here.
I’ve always seen.
I’m knocking on your door
and whispering promises to your spirit.
There’s something stirring behind your walls.

Week Nineteen

52 Weeks of Gratitude, Week Nineteen: Health

& then & then & then

My withered leaves tremble at the faintest brush of wind.

My branches reach to breach a shield around my crumpled heart

that beats too fast in =harmless storm clouds and sprinting rain,

that needlessly shivers with the squirrels at winter’s first snow army,

because like the pages of a torn book that’s been buried in the earth

I’m afraid to share this new understanding of why I’m breaking.

 

I remember what it was like to live without fear.

I remember what it was like to live without tainting out memories.

And so do you, so how do I tell you it’s different now

without sounding like I’m making up a convenient excuse?

The van ride, the bus ride, the train: it was all the same

and I didn’t have the vocabulary to explain the pain inside.

 

Now I do.

Please, believe me. I need you to.

Please, listen. I’m begging you to.