April PAD Prompt Day 4: Type of Person

The Religious Narcissist
.
Because he has been chosen from among men
to be favored by God
he knows he is infallible.
.
God speaks directly into his ear,
so do not question when he
contradicts, blasphemes,
adulterates, manipulates Scripture
.
because he has been chosen from among men
to be favored by God
.
his choices might destroy families,
pull houses to the ground,
set towns ablaze,
bring his child to her knees–
but he feels no call to answer
the plea in his daughter’s eyes
that beg him to come back down to earth
for just one moment and affirm her
.
because he has been chosen from among men
to be favored by God.
Advertisements

Poem Share: Psalm 91

To kick off National Poetry Month, I have chosen one of my favorite poems to share. Yes, this is a psalm from the Bible, but the imagery and metaphor in this poem make it particularly powerful as it speaks to the strength and power we have when we are faithful in our relationship with God.

Psalm 91 (New International Version, ©2011)

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

“Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

(read online at BibleGateway.com)

Valentine Candy: For My Four Girls

dripping drool kisses

drizzled with sticky syrup

hugs all covered with

gooey hands filled with the hearts

of my sweet, sweet valentines

…………………………………………………………..

This poem was my attempt at a Tanka, a form being explored today at One Stop Poetry. Visit their site to read more poems and add your own: http://onestoppoetry.com/2011/02/one-stop-poetry-form-todays-form-is-tanka.html

Verses on the Love of God–Week 1

I have recently started a devotional practice where I collect a group of verses on a particular topic and read, meditate and pray over those verses each day. Some days, I make it through the whole group of verses. Other days, one verse or passage may be the focus of my meditations and prayers. I find this practice particularly helpful in the renewal of my mind.

The topic that I have chosen for this week is The Love of God. The verses and passages I am using for devotional time are below:

Exodus 34:6-7

Psalm 5:7

Psalm 23

Psalm 31:7, 16

Psalm 33:5, 22

Psalm 36:7-10

If you decide to read these passages as well, I would love to hear about what God has revealed to your heart in your quiet time with Him.

Peace be with you.

The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus: Meditation on Romans 5:8

This verse has been running through my head the past few days:

Romans 5:8 (NIV, ©2011)
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Can you imagine a love this big? God didn’t say, “Get yourself cleaned up and obey my rules, and then, I’ll die for you.” He didn’t say, “Get yourself right with me, and then I’ll die for you.” He didn’t even say, “Love me, and I’ll die for you.” He loves us so much that He died for us when we were in sin, separated from Him, when we rejected and denied Him, when we deliberately disobeyed Him. He loves us so much that He has provided a way back to Him–no matter how far away from Him we go.

This kind of love takes my breath away. I feel so unworthy in the face of it, because I know that I do not come close to loving in this way. I like to think that I am a loving, caring person, but in the face of a love like this, my love pales in comparison. How could I ever love Him as much as He loves me? And while I could see myself dying for my children or other members of my immediate family, I would probably never lay down my life for those that have hurt me, rejected me, deceived me, or betrayed me. Yet this is exactly what Jesus did. He did it for all of us; He did it for me.

My first response in trying to understand this profound love is, “Who am I that You, sweet Jesus, would love me this much?” The only answer is that He loves me this much because of who He is. He is love. I am inspired to attempt to live a life that is somehow worthy of His love. I pray that He will help me love Him more and better and deeper.

This old hymn by Samuel Francis is a beautiful response to the realization of His love:

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!


Belief

Once belief is broken,
promises become lies
and idols are toppled,
revealed as scraps of wood
whose worthlessness cries out
to be worshiped,
not loved.
……………………………….
This poem was written in response to a poetry prompt from Robert Lee Brewer at http://blog.writersdigest.com/poeticasides/CategoryView,category,PoetryPrompts.aspx

Thoughts on Freezing and Thawing

Today, January 26th, marks one year since I left my life and husband in Denver and moved back to the city of my birth.  I call it the day that my world fell apart, which is true, but what I didn’t know then (and would never have acknowledged) was that it was also the beginning of a new world for me–a world where God has been so near and so present that, even though I feel like I am walking through a tundra, I also feel like I am being healed and put back together as a whole human being.

For many years, I lived with a frozen soul.  Like the Narnia that was ruled by the White Witch, I lived in a spiritual place where it was “always winter but never Christmas.”  I think that being frozen is different from being numb, because when you are numb you are incapable of feeling.  I was capable of feeling, but all that I was feeling was pain: unending hurt and misery.  This constant pain caused a layer of ice to form over my soul so that even when there were moments of happiness, they were unable to penetrate and give me any relief.

Freezing was my method of surviving. By freezing, I could put on a smile, dress up, dress up my children and pretend (even to myself) that everything was just fine. The frozen layer kept all of my pain and frustration hidden. I did such a good job of this, that some people even wished they could have a life like mine. When I heard this, my stomach would turn. But I believed that if I could keep up the pretense, I could keep everything together.

But one year ago, it all fell apart.  I believed, at the time, that I had been buried under an avalanche.  The truth is, it was really the first crack in my frozen exterior.  Over the past year, under the love of my Savior (And I really know what His Name means), I have gently thawed.  More and more of the real me is being exposed.

Nowadays, I make no pretense of having it all together.  Being a single mom of four young girls six and under won’t allow for that.  My girls show up at church some days in the clothes they wore to bed and their hair only minimally combed.  They run around, out of my grasp, out of control, and gathering them in is like trying to corral wild horses.  Some days I am able to get a little make-up on; some days I don’t.  There is just no way for me to look like I have it all together.  Most days I am thankful to God that He has me in this position.

Because I can no longer focus on my appearance, I feel like I am much more focused on what truly matters.  The more I thaw, the more I am able to enjoy my girls.  In the last few months, we have had moments of deep-belly laughing that have been cathartic for all of us.  We didn’t laugh much before.  Perhaps we were all frozen.

A frozen life is not what I want for them or for myself.  I don’t believe that God wants us to live that way either.  Psalm 104 describes a Creator who made earth for our enjoyment: “He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for men to cultivate–bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart.” (vv. 14-15)  This place where His face shines upon us only becomes real when we get real, when we allow the truth of who we are to break out and flow through and bless ourselves and the ones we love.

So this year I say, let winter do its worst.  I will still be warm, resting in the arms of the One who loves me best.

Last Chance

Memories in boxes
stored in strangers’ houses,
necessities packed,
checked into this flight home
from our poverty of means
to face our challenges.
One more step ’til I am gone,
one last chance for you to say you love me…
.
in silence, you let me go

Rebuilding the Ruins

You sit among the ruins
of a past you wish would die,
a past you tried to bury
under sky-scraping idols
you thought were made of steel.
But they all toppled,
they all fell down,
until everything you knew
was reduced to rubble.
.
You wail against this devastation
of your deepest dreams,
as the ancient serpent slithers around you
and tempts you to believe
that it is God
who has abandoned you
to this wasteland,
that He was the one
who condemned you
to this darkness,
this lifeless living.
.
But He has never forgotten you.
He calls you by name…
.
And in your tortured soul
stirs a Hope, a longing to be free
from this wreckage
where the serpent reigns,
where you are bound
to your broken past.
.
You cry out
to the One
who has always loved you,
your Redeemer, Yeshua,
who died so that you might live.
He calls you into His light,
and with His steadfast love
breaks your chains,
and rebuilds your ruins
with the precious stones
of His kingdom.
 

Breaking Free, a painting by Judy Gilbert

 

An Opening

like Spring softly
comes slowly you warmly
come silently to touch me,
with soft-rain kisses
opening slowly flowers,
with a sunlight dream
opening silently my soul
bursts soft colors warm beneath you.
.
now Winter is long just a memory,
forgotten.