Ashes, ashes

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When my thoughts go to your younger years and I hear your deep voice cursing the time, my eyes fill with hot tears and I wonder if singing Jesus Loves Me with you as a toddler was enough.

I lit a fire this New Year and watched the hot embers fly high and burn out fast and fall cold and faltering to the ground and felt my mothering was the same.

A seed may die and defiantly sprout up to new life and grow a tree. But ashes, ashes, they just fall. Hot for a moment and that’s all.

I have no hope for these burned out years unless ashes can be traded. But who does that?

I don’t know how, but here I offer all my ashes. Will you take them Resurrected? Will you make them a crown?

Peacemaking

As much as it depends on me I’ll lose, I’ll defer, I’ll wait.

Not because I’m weak, even though I am. Not because I’m less than, even though I happily consider you greater. Not because I’m not able, not willing, not right. But because I want to walk with you through the night. Through the light. Through the hard days and long days and everyday normal days.

As much as it depends on me I’ll look for ways to bridge a connection between you and me and the everlasting.

As much as it depends on me I’ll make a home, a good pot of soup, a place to relax and laugh and hold each other. Not because I’m stuck here. Not because it’s home. But because I want you to know that home is a place you’ve only felt a little of here.

As much as it depends on me, I’ll keep walking with you. I’ll slow down, even stop, even wait, even ache, even bear the pain of all the shame that comes with forgiving. Not because I can’t escape. Not because there is no other way. Not because you are my only way to feel whole. But because I’ve already found the way.

I’m already promised Shalom. I’m already alive and free and no one can take that from me. I lay it down willingly.

This year

This year I watched the world burn
with anger and lies
I watched my sons wallow in the mire
and I prayed.

This year I watched my friends build theories about conspiracies
and I watched my neighbors wave their flags high.

This year I heard cries for justice from the least of us among us and felt strange disdain from those who I thought would claim the fame of Jesus and gladly refrain from blaming

…but they didn’t.

This year I heard a woman say, “I can’t bear the grief anymore,” while one side of her body tried to dragged her to the floor and I stood close and propped her up and helped her see the ones she loves through the window on the third floor.

This year I cried for deliverance
“How long,” can I keep asking you to grant repentance?

This year I felt overwhelmed by the throngs of elders left alone to let someone else find them shelter

and we stood by.

This year I sat next to Job and decided to shut my mouth and hold
his hand.

This year I opened my mouth and said, “Follow Jesus with me!” to the friend who cried not knowing what she could possibly do with her falling apart life.

This year I realized I couldn’t see past the thorn in my side and the plank in my eye and almost decided to give up.

But what? What is there to let go of except the delusion and illusion that this coming year or another person would bring Shalom.

This year made me long more for home
and King
and the ones he’s redeemed.

In me

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there’s a dancer

a singer

a crafter

a word-wielder

In me there’s a hospital builder

a wound washer

a home maker

a child discipler

In me there’s a shepherdess

a prophetess

a pianist

a lyricist

In me there’s a warrior

a defender

a rescuer

a runner

a strong-armed carrier

In me there’s a companion

a champion

a queen on her knees

making way for the weak

In me there’s a servant

a diligent worker happy to labor till the day

her King scandalously bows to say

“Well done. Be seated. Let me serve you, my beloved.”

Christ, in me. My hope of glory.

Whatever you do this Christmas

Come

with your indifference

with your mocking

with your doubts

with your questions

come with your lies

with your rejection

with your acceptance

with your imperfections

come with your health

with your doctrine

with your thoughts

with your past

come with your burdens

with your poverty

with your riches

with your fear

whatever you do just come near

to the king come to set you free

He fled

lion on green grass field
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All this time I shrunk back.
I heard the low rumble of his growl
I remembered the pain
The times he blamed and enticed me
to curse God and die.

I remembered sinking in the sand
he told me was solid ground.
And I pulled back.

There is a lion out there
in the street.

I thought he’d rip me limb from limb.
I heard his rumble,
his pride,
his lie,
and I believed it.

I was hiding.
I was trying to be comfortable.
I was trying to be safe.
I was sinking.

But you brought me to your people.
You surrounded me with faithfulness.
You told me your name.
You made me brave.

I was out there today-
in the street
where the lion prowls.
He was there.
He started to growl.
I remembered Your crown.
I knocked,
she answered.
I invited
and he fled.

 

body, bread and gummy fruit

four toddler forms circle photo
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I “teach” a preschool class at my church a couple times a month. It’s not really teaching, it’s an effort in preventing total rebellion amongst 4 year olds for 1 hour. This poem was sparked by how God always uses those kids to teach me what it’s like to be part of his family. When I sit down, on their level, pull out some food, and read them a story about Jesus… their rebellion stops and they listen. It’s a testimony to me. I wrote this for a writing contest at Fathom Mag, and although I wasn’t a selected winner for the contest, I loved trying to condense my feelings about God’s work through 4 year olds into appropriate words.

 

Projectiles fly
Bodies collide
“That’s mine!”
Untamable troop
Condescend to crisscross thighs
Offer of gummy fruit
Brings instant mute
Rebellion invaded with feast
Snack and story
One came to our waring
Offered body, bread and juice
Peace introduced

Forget myself

country lane field meadow puddles
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I want the storm to come
and fill the atmosphere with
three dimensional anticipation-
eruptions of power.

I want the storm to come
blow right down into my sunny
status quo where the air
is still.

I want the storm to come
stir things up, promise change,
bring thunderheads pregnant
with rain.

I want the storm to come
show me God’s power,
see him move molecules to form
storehouses of water.

I want the storm to come
bring healthy fear, loose sight
of ills, anxieties, cheap thrills,
self-preserving quiet.

Ah here it comes
grey and white towers in the sky,
flashes of deadly light
booming threats arrive.

Let it rain, let it thunder
let it blow my hair, wet my face
startle me with alarming voice,
make me stand in wonder.

Let it blow down all my props,
all my padded, pretty shelters,
head down pretending danger isn’t
in here.

Come storm come!
Let me stand in your midst
gusts knock me over,
lift my head, spread my arms
forget myself in your power.

Fly fishing lesson

IMG_7038Start with yarn
Begin with listen
Commence to lake
Now watch
Make a loop
Pull the line
It’s all in the forearm
Just a whip
Nice
Now do this
Tall young men
Students
Wise fisher woman
Guide
It’s not boring
Constant moving
Scenic views
Meadow
Pine
and Spruce
The breeze slowed
Line now dances
Without folding mid-throw
Whip
Whizz
Drop
Slip
Fly in the water
Now pull
Cast farther