Monday, November 21, 2011

To give up the bitter blade...

(( Written awhile ago.....just sharing it now. )).....

It's all an illusion.
Imagined power.
Make-believe strength.....


Blood-dripping daggers of bitterness stabbed through our own souls feel like power in our clawing hands. Power to spread the pain, to pierce other hearts. We're holding the end, gripping on the wielded weapon of anger, enthroned in the kingdom of pain, but all the while bleeding to death.

Unassailable...god-like in our anger, we feel only the sneering burn of wickedness coursing power through our veins.
....Until we catch our reflection in the gleam of dagger flying. 
What's that form? There's only a scorched human there. Dying and scarred. Pale, thin, and weak. 

We frown, confused. We didn't know the fierce flames were only burning our skin.  We didn't notice the way the blood dripped down and pooled around our feet, wasted drops of life still pouring from the wound that started it all. 

Gaping wide open, we must face it now. The choice. 
Press on and die, keep fighting till the last drop falls with the end of breath.....or admit wounded defeat.....and heal.
Be weak....and live. 
Give up the weapon... and survive.

But no,....NO!  
Suddenly it's not power surging through vessels, but pain.
Searing, stinging, aching, screaming. 
Now it's only blood we see. Ours. Leaking out of deep gashes inflicted.  
We had no power to stop them. 
No power.
Fear trickles in, gaining momentum.

Without this bitter blade, I cannot protect myself. 
Without anger, I am only flesh.
Skin and lungs and heart. 
Pierced, open to attack. 

But with  this weapon, no one can get close.
Close enough to save me. 
I need saved. 


Deep breath, and let it go. 
Open palm and let the dripping, ragged dagger clang to the ground.
Collapse, blood soaked.

But something new is trickling in...
Just  beginning....
Relief. In the veins. Cooling the burning hot of bitter blood.

There's strength enough here after all... air, enough. Light, enough. 
To breathe, to see.

.....To live.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A turning point....

..In ten words or less :)


"The old is gone, THE NEW HAS COME. "

Monday, August 29, 2011

A table for an enemy....

I have prayed to know, and grieve, the depths of my sin. To deeply feel the way I've turned against my God.
So that I might know salvation, rather than just knowing I'm saved.

I didn't know how that would feel.

It's hard to swallow, accept.
Like a lavish gift from one I've wounded, scorned.
A smile from a face I can't bear to see.

Or an invitation to a feast thrown by the King I've spat upon.

Yes, like that.
Like showing up, covered in filth, expecting...deserving....rejection,death.
...but finding none of those, but a table set with lavish love.

Undeserving, dispicably shame-filled me.
Invited to sit down and eat grace.
It's hard to swallow.
To believe.

Tears will fall when I put food to mouth.
Tasting goodness through lips of shame.

But I know it.
I feel like a slave redeemed, forever in the debt of the Redeemer.
Like a theif forgiven, released uncondemned.
Like a traitor standing alive over the body of the One who took the bullet.

I prayed for that. That I would know.
I do.

The question...the

Can I, will I believe the grace?

Live nourished by the gift-bread of undeserved love?

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God..." Eph 2:8

I don't know how.
I don't know how.

"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight." Eph 1:7-8

Redemption, forgiveness.....according to His grace.

All I can do is lift the spoon in faith. Taste redeeming love, though my stomach turns with shame.
He invited me in, spread table with love.

I can only eat it and know it takes more grace to swallow this.... it takes grace to believe grace.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

It's really dark out there....

....Change it.

"I do believe the world is swinging toward the light,"
So spoke a soul on fire with holy flame.
Amid the dark such faith pierced through the night,
The dreamers wrought, and living fruitage came.
To give of self, and not to count the cost,
To learn, to teach, to labor, and to pray,
To serve like Christ the least, the last, the lost-
These were the beacon fires that lit the way.

Our light grows dim; the air is thick with doom,
And everywhere men's souls are crushed with fears.
Yet high above the carnage and the gloom
The call resounds across the teeming years,
"Lift high Christ's cross! Serve God and trust His might!"
I do believe the world is swinging toward the light!

Georgia Harkness, 1891-1974

Friday, August 26, 2011

Words...but not the right ones.

I can't write when I have too much to say.
This, this is a tight, frustrating, impossibly infuritating epiphany.
Because, a lot of the time, I just have a lot to say about a lot of things. 
And I need words.
I love the way they can pour out the whole internal imprint of a heart.
Make the unknown known, and stagger with beauty.
I love how little they matter alone, how nothing a single word is,  but how they shape up into strong something, weaving thoughts into concrete real when they find just the right places together. 

So, it almost hurts. It kind of aches....When this passion gets so full, painful, how it also gets stuck, dammed up, held back.
Pages stay blank and thoughts stay invisible.

It seems my words can flow, passion pouring....but only when I've already chewed my insides down to almost nothing. When the blazing fiery fades, and just the organized pale has stuck around.

But when it's all in there, up to here, and I'm swimming, gasping in it... longing more to write it out, down, firm and clear...I can only come to pages and stare. Empty.

Passion tides swirl and slam the walls of my head and heart.

But still...the empty white page. No words.

Or, here, today...just words about words.
I don't really want to talk about words.

Really, I came to say...maybe to scream... "HOW COME?"

How come kids are starving and money is flowing, but not in the same places?
How come the ones I love deep don't know Him, don't know deep Love?
How come I feel so much and can change so little?
How come?

I came here hoping to shape these "How comes?" into something real, beautiful... to speak the unraveling mess into clarity.
But I can't. It all screeches to the tip of my tongue, the ends of my fingertips, and halts.

And then it's just so evident again
That I can't write when I have too much to say.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The quiet best

It's here, in the winding-down of day, that I understand things.

The tumbling rush of doing slows down, and my heart's thoughts breathe out proof of what mattered most today:

Significance and insignificance start dancing, weaving in, out, to trade places.
The paperwork..lists...expectations and deadlines...Suddenly they go missing from my thoughts. They seemed heavy rock all day, but they're lifting away, vapors only.

The quick moments of eyes noticing, the little questions, the quiet words reaching out for just a nod of recogniztion, focus in and sink.... sift, gentle down, harden up and become layers of bedrock life.

The sweet ones who smiled quick.... they stay with me even driving home.

Did I smile, too?

And him, the one who works so hard...he's risked those quiet words here at the end. There. Just on the phone, in a stolen moment. Just about the day, the work, the heaving burden of being in charge.

And I wondered if he noticed. If he needed.

But he's there...quietly. Asking. Giving. Exchanging presence and presence....rejoicing in being and knowing and stillness. Wanting me....not saying, not doing...just living the desire. Doing the life thing, side by side, as God gives it.

I smile now, seeing slowly the sweeter, softer, stronger thing.

The quiet best.

Me, who flails and scratches, scraping out the love, tearing down the bedrocks that love builds, life-day after life-day. Demanding, begging, world, my way.

It's always frowning, pounding need. Needing lots of words. Asking for a report card, a check up, a graded test, handed back, wasted breath cheaply affirming I'm still performing okay.

Instead, he calls.
Quietly being with me.
"YOU are still okay".....only without the words.

And doesn't He want me to hear it, too?
Doesn't He offer abiding?
Not the frantic running to do, to win some cheap, paper-thin approval. But the stillness, the waiting, the soft-hearted resting in His presence. Quietly being.

There He fights...when we're still.
There we find Him. Still, small.
There is the strength for being us. For living. For love.
In that quiet best.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Holy Tongue.

I'm convinced.
I waste words.

I water down my life's effect with their drizzling grayness. Fill up relationships with flooded nothings and drown out power.

Violence to holy moments.

I blow up the sacred cathedral in each moment when I blow away the space where He could be with careless breath.

My ears stop working when my tongue starts wagging. And when my ears don't work, my heart goes hungry. For it is His words that feed...that man lives on, since bread for body is not enough.

Maybe Peter did mean a quiet mouth with that unfadingly beautiful gentle spirit. I am always the one fiercely shaking away the notion that this saint's charge to women for true beauty has no place for loud women of many words. He's not talking about personalities. He can't be.

But doesn't Proverbs paint the hard-to-swallow picture of femininity gone astray with "loud and wayward" words?

The adulteress's words are honey-sweet but empty lostness, spoken to seduce a wisdom-searcher into a bed of folly. And, if I'm honest, don't I try to seduce my world with words?
Isn't that what my personality really is sometimes?
Performing with words.
A frantic, flailing for approval, for attention, for an identity.

 Oh, I know it deep that Peter isn't trying to bury women's worth in silence. We have much to offer, and it is true that vibrant, outgoing women are beautiful pictures of godliness...just as shy, sweet ones are. He isn't talking about personality, if "personality" is the deep traits of only-us-uniqueness that God wrote in, on, all over us.

But I know too, deeper lately, that I have fled His invitation for a holy tongue...a life-giving rudder for the ship of my life's witness.... to cower behind my excuse, and call foolish peformance "personality."  I have left my conversations lately full of shame, aware that no one walked away closer to my Jesus because of a multitude of words. My loud, fearful attempts to win favor evaporate away and leave nothing of Him.

It makes me want to take a vow of silence.
To learn how to do life without my tongue, so I can learn to give life with my tongue.

But silence isn't the cure.
Presence is.
His being present with Him, with now....being here to listen.
Listen to His Spirit, and to the lives in orbit around my flailing planet.
Could I find the focus?
 Be pulled and driven by the gravity of the Son to be bent...aligned?...correctly, and constantly, only moving with Him as the center?

When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. Prov. 10:19

The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse. Prov. 11:32

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Prov. 12:18

Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life, he opens wide his lips comes to ruin. Prov. 13:4

A fool's mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul. Prov 18:7

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. Prov. 18:21

God, make my mouth a witness of your life.

Help me hold my tongue until it is a holy tongue.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Eyes of Faith and Lips of Thanks...

Been reading (and re-reading) One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.... a mesmerizing, heart-transforming treatise on gratitude. Eucharisteo. The act of grace, of giving thanks. Her story--- the journey to name 1000 gifts with gratitude.

It does change everything, you know. Giving thanks. Receiving the gifts. Unwrapping them by speaking them.

"The truly saved have eyes of faith, and lips of thanks," Ann says....

Am I truly saved?

"Eucharisteo makes the knees the vantage point of a life and I bend the body, it says it quiet: 'Thy will be done.' This is the way a body and a mouth say thank you: Thy will be done. This is the way the self dies, falls into the arms of love."

Ah, yes. That place where peace prevails, joy emerges from broken down souls.

"Thy will be done."

And I will be thankful. Here, where my vantage point needs an adjustment. Go lower. Be small.

"Let God blow His wind, His trials, oxygen for joy's fire. Leave the hand open and be. Be at peace. Bend the knee and be small and let God give what God chooses to give because He only gives love....and whisper suprised thanks."

From this aching, yearning, deeply eye-opening vantage point of my's fire is flaming bright.

With trials breathing gasping life back in, the fierceness of joy pounds hard.

And I am thankful. It's a war, and to win I must weild that fierce weapon of joy.

 My weapon is being forged...its slow. But its glowing hotter and brighter. My parched lips are speaking thanks once again.

My count is as all counts by one. But each one fans brighter the flame. Join me?

82. Blazing brightness reminding me that every winter does give way to spring.

83. Soul-aching piano chords--inviting soul-reflecting

84. Girls that miss me when I'm gone.

85. Italian tastes and flavors savored with precious family.

86. The reminder to believe.  John 6:29. Do the work.

Perspective? Righted.
Balance? Restored. :)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Balance Check?

Nearly everything in my job is about finance....tracking income and expenses, budgeting,...balancing the checkbook.
In my personal life, however....I am a constantly failed experiment in diligence with financial matters. I will shamefully confess I have attempted to make a habit of checkbook balancing nearly every month, and fallen off the wagon within the first 2 weeks.

But, as I am characteristically unwilling to admit defeat...I have not given up the fight just yet! I've started again this month...This time employing the help of an excellently designed budgeting program recommended by a good friend of mine. :) Yes,sir. I have high hopes for this. (Don't you dare roll your eyes.)

But anyway, as I've pondered why this attempt might have better results than the multitude of failed ones on my record, I've discovered some beautifully appropriate applications of the whole concept of checkbook balancing....Perfectly metaphorical, of course.

That leads me to the purpose of this blog.

See....Keeping records in my checkbook is a fairly important way to keep tabs on the consistency, integrity, appropriateness, and availability of my income and spending. When it comes time to balance it against my bank statement, I'm forced to face any hidden costs, or secretive shopping in which I may have indulged. I must immediately reckon with the results of the way I've chosen to invest my rather minimal funds. And I must take a sober look at the way what I've taken in has covered and prepared for what I've spent. At the end, I see what I've done and where I need work, and I ask myself some important questions:

Where's my cash?
Am I balanced?
How am I investing my funds?
What does that say about the balance in my income and spending?
Am I  doing alright, or teetering on the edge of financial disaster?

Similarly, I'm setting forth with this blog for the purpose of....checking my balance. Asking some important questions:

Where's my soul?
Am I balanced?
How am I investing my life?
What does that say about the balance of my life with the Lord?
Am I  doing alright, or teetering on the edge of disaster?

Perhaps we all need a balance check from time to time.