About Me

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Story of Hope


Tell me the story of hope
and dreams
and tomorrows
that start with the bright sunrise.

Tell me the story of hope
and love
and feeling together,
even when our hearts are so far apart.

Tell me the story of hope
and mercy 
and the courage
to face every day with a smile.

Tell me the story of hope
and the wait 
in between
with the ache of expectation.

Mostly just tell me of hope
and its reason,
and patience produces
something far beyond imagination.

Just keep telling me of hope
till it's as natural as breathing,
and let my heart hope,
Even when smothered underneath 
this constant sorrow
and this long winter
because hope knows spring comes.

Hope knows.


***

I hope all of you are doing well! There's a lot going on here. Lots of Christmas preparations (Can you believe Christmas is in only two weeks?!) and getting ready for some family to come. It feels busy, and I'm just trying to stay on top of the waves (hence the reason the blog was quiet for two weeks. Good grief, I never seem to be able to keep to good schedules/systems/habits). How's your Christmas celebrations coming? Are you finished with your shopping? I am, mostly. Thanks to Amazon. I have my whole bedroom, but somehow all my gifts end up on the end of my bed?? What's your favorite Christmas traditions? 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Soul-Filling Silence


Let's go find a lake
Somewhere they won't find us,
Somewhere the noise
Inside my head 
Quiets or goes away.
Let's just sit here for awhile
As I remember
What it is to...be,
And please remind me
Who I am without the moving --
The constant, restless moving
And the doing.
It's something
I always seem to forget.
Maybe if you remember,
Some of the voices in my head
Will learn to just be quiet.
I'll know what stillness is
Apart from this running away
Into the hills to finally breathe.
Can we be quiet by these waters
And fill our lungs with air,
Sitting shoulder to shoulder
In this place, this connection,
Free from despair?
I'll look at you and smile.
You'll just smile back.
We won't need words here
In this soul-filling silence
Because I know I'm safe with you.
I am always safe with you,
And you'll remind me
I'll be alright. 


+++

I tried entering a poetry contest. I didn't place, but it's alright because if my poetry can somehow slip into the cracks in my heart and maybe resound in one or two other people's lives, then I'm content. Where are your happy places? Where do you go to escape your brain and life? 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Perfection & Compassion



God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.

Oh dear heart, I see you and I feel your exhaustion. I feel the weight of a burden too heavy you've been carrying on your shoulders and how it keeps forcing you to your knees. You keep pushing and pushing and pushing. I know because I do the same, and it seems the only way I learn this lesson of grace and compassion is on my knees, stripped of the moorings I've used in my life, with a keen awareness of my inadequacy.

We keep chasing after a perfection we think is possible to achieve without God's grace and righteousness, but it is only an illusion, a hole in the floor we fall into time after time. This hole is a suffocating place to pull ourselves out of. In this desolation, we have no hope but to cast ourselves on God's mercy and compassion, as if surrender is a last resort when it should have always been our first hope.

Why is it so hard for some of us to learn compassion for ourselves? Maybe we're molded by expectations set too high by those older than us. Maybe our environment, circumstances, or a fear of failure and disappointment formed us. If we do all things well, then we won't have to rely on this thing-- this compassion, this grace -- that doesn't make sense, that has no justice in it.

Maybe we'll never know the cause of this cruelty toward self, but it's there deep inside of us, worked into our very core -- the idea we are somehow unworthy of compassion from others, and especially from ourselves to ourselves. Oh, we would bleed from our very cores for others to know compassion and grace. We would fight for others to know rest, to know how it is to lay aside their load of expectations, their drive to do better, always to do better. What have we done so unforgivable that others are deserving of this grace but we are not?

Why can't we grasp onto the compassion God has extended and extends to us? If we cannot learn to accept God's compassion, then we will never be able to accept compassion from others or our own selves. This cycle will repeat endlessly.

We are torn equally between mind and heart. Logic and feelings. We have both, so what is missing? We raise high standards, impossible standards and become frustrated when we can never reach them. We fight against every aspect of being human with all our strength. Our wheels spin until we're burned out, and how do you come back from being burned out? How do you learn compassion for self and remember God's voice isn't the same as the condemning voice constantly on inside of your head?

We latch onto truth and forfeit grace in exchange as if the two could not exist together. Randy Alcorn writes, "People thirst for the real Jesus. Nothing less can satisfy. Grace and truth are His fingerprints. We show people Jesus only when we show them grace and truth. Anything less than both is neither."

Anything less than both is neither. 

There is no hope in truth and subsequent condemnation (I have fallen short and sinned, and now I am separated from God). There is only hope in compassion (I have sinned, and I sin, but God knows my frame is only dust. He knows. He knows. Beyond this, 'He who believes in Him is not condemned' - John 3:18a. We are not condemned. In fact, Jesus is in Heaven now as our great intercessor. As we condemn ourselves again and again, He intercedes.).

Yet, we believe so strongly in our pursuit of perfection that the pieces of scripture we let penetrate our mind show our pursuit to be right. The words condemn us because we are nowhere near where we are called to be. After all, perfect love casts out fear, and the very pursuit of perfection is driven by fear. 'Be perfect as your Father in Heaven is', and if we are not perfect or striving toward perfection with all our strength, then are we even trying?

We seem to forget how lopsided this arrangement of eternal life is in the first place. If we don't grasp a small inkling of how unimaginably absurd it is that we should have this gift, then we'll never know of God's heart. We'll never believe grace and compassion in all their wonderful colors.

Oh, if only we could take to heart the things we are shown of God's mercy, grace, and compassion. "For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted [persistent pain or distress, great suffering]; Nor has He hidden His face from him; but when he cried to Him, He heard." (Psalm 22: 24). God does not despise us, the poor and striving. He delivers the needy (Psalm 72: 12-14). We are the needy. Their blood is precious in His sight (Psalm 72:12-14). Our blood is precious in His sight. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147: 3, 10). He takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy (psalm 147: 11).

What He doesn't take pleasure in is the legs of men. He has no pleasure in our own strength (Psalm 147: 3), and yet, we do use our own strength. We fight for perfection almost entirely with our own strength, and we forget we are human. God never forgets our frame of dust, but we do. We forget our goodness is nothing apart from Him (Psalm 16:2) and that it is God who arms us with strength and makes our way perfect (Psalm 18:32).

So what do we do? How can we rest on this grace and in this compassion? We must grasp hold of the fact God's perfection is enough. It is not simple or something we will learn in a day. Maybe it will take a lifetime. A lifetime of accepting humbling compassion and grace from others and from God and in time, letting ourselves rest. We will fail and fall short, but we must get up and try again. We need to remember to look past our rules, regulations, and goals to God's heart because there is an easier way than the one we've chosen.

Our God is the God who said: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30). Dear heart, let us run to Jesus with all our tiredness from trying so hard and heavy burdens of unrealistic expectations for ourselves and learn from Him. This is the only way to start.


***

This is something I've been struggling with a lot lately - compassion and perfection. Sometimes perfection has a way of sneaking into our thinking where we don't even realize how much we're influenced by it. I hope you felt love, compassion, and understanding as you read this. Do you struggle with perfectionism? What is something you do to offset that drive?  Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Maybe We'll Be Friends


Maybe we'll be friends
When we grow up
And fit inside another pair of shoes
And live another life,
Or maybe we'll only be neighbors
Who vaguely recall names
And the knowledge
We knew each other before.

We'll share similar scars
But only go skin deep.
We'll talk about the weather, 
Our cars
The jobs we keep. 

What about family?
No, we don't talk about our families.
They're the reason for our scars,
For our shallow, earthly conversations
With these people who share our lives.

Maybe we'll friends
When we grow up
And set out on our own
And cross a thousand deserts,
Only to return
To this familiar place
And make it our home.

Or maybe we could be lovers
Or friends who loved enough
To change the surface of our lives.

The thorns turn into roses.
The house needs new paint.
I think my wound started to bleed
As soon as you said hello. 

Maybe we'll be friends
When we both grow up,
Or maybe only friends right now
When something happened to align. 

Can we be friends for life?
I don't know half of what that means,
But it seems a lovely thing.

Maybe we'll be friends
When we both grow up
And fit inside another pair of shoes
And live another life.