Friday, June 22, 2018

Oceans...A Poem

I am
One drop of water in an ocean
A single decibel of sound in the universe
A joule in this force of current

I am not
Consumed in the waves
Unheard in vociferous confusion
Short circuited in the circulating stream

Christ is
My lifeboat in the waters
My frequency in the cacophony
My source of energy in the dead zones

Oceans of vast provision
Oceans of hope
Oceans of grace

Often seen in
Streams in the valley
Springs in dry ground
Trickling in and through the crevices of jagged rock

Christ is an ocean of love in every place

Saturday, June 9, 2018

I'll Fly Away

Polka dot thoughts (random thoughts in process)

“Are you afraid to die?”, I asked.
She looked at me, somewhat puzzled. I chalked it up to her dementia. I asked differently.
“The pain of dying, does it scare you?”
She laughed and took my hand.
“Honey, there is no pain in dying. Your soul is set free and leaves your body."
I have thought about this for years.

Is the pain in dying or in living? When my body is sick is it the fight to live that causes the pain?

We are all dying, but fighting to live. Maybe pain is a blessing. Everything around the area is fighting for it to live. Without that alarm, we would die. Does it hurt? Yes, pain hurts.  We don't want it, we don't want to see others have it. We medicate and sublimate for any relief.

What about surrender? Is it the fight to cling to our cause that causes our stress? So much mental stress is a cause of physical disease. But I cannot just abdicate my position for the sake of relieving the pain. I must know who I am surrendering to.

Jesus Christ surrendered his body on the cross. He suffered. His pain was His sacrifice and His blood the atonement for man's sin, not His own. He suffered for our life. But when He finished, He surrendered His Spirit to the Father (Lk 23:46).

When we finish living, when there is no more pain, then dying will be easy. Our souls will fly away.

Do I know the source of my pain? Is it self-inflicted as a determination to live in my own way and not surrender my will to God's way? Either physical or otherwise, my physical body doesn't want to die so it fights.

We can trace it all back to the beginning and appreciate the progress we have made. However, with each new discovery comes other new diseases and it's getting harder to keep up.

I believe my mother had some great insight that day. It is all in our surrender. When her body surrendered, it was easy to to fly.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Let Someone Else Take The Picture

Polka-dots (thoughts in process, may be a bit scattered as I listen and learn)

Isn't a picture of yourself telling more of others than of you? I got 40 likes so far on my most recent profile picture. That may not be a lot to some, but I don't post a lot of anything on Facebook and when I do, very few respond. But my picture now makes me think no one has ever seen my face before. It makes me laugh.

It is true, I am not very photogenic. It takes a total candid pose and someone else at the camera to bring out a desired and acceptable look. Only someone else can make you look good.

Isn't that true outside of the camera? It seems the harder we try to look good., act good, be good, excel, succeed, win and be noticed, the more it feels like people are deaf and invisible. Our attention then becomes set on our own evaluations of us and our efforts and how to do even better. We are,  subconsciously perhaps, focusing in the wrong place for approval.

It is a fine line in the sand where to place yourself within the margins of totally seeking approval and having an “I don’t care” attitude. I find myself often wandering between the two extremes. There has to be effort somewhere and obedience to what is true and the natural, moral laws of consequence.

It is easy to see others and tell them exactly what is wrong with their life, isn't it? I would love to write your story. But, sorry, I can only write my own. God shows me my own faults as I submit and listen to Him. He will give me my own testimony, not yours. I may see a glimpse of God working in you, but if you don't see it, I can't make you respond to it. I can take the picture, only you can choose whether to post it.

Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips. Pr 27:2

Saturday, June 2, 2018

We All Need A Prompt

I need a prompt. They help, they are even fun, and they are necessary. I started writing consistently  with one prompt from the Holy Spirit. That prompt was hope. Words came easy, they came fast. God took hope and reinvented the word in me. I wove it into every thought. I took hard situations and memories I could not face and made them nourishing; not sugar-coated, but healthy and satisfying to revisit. Seasoned to remove the dry, bitter taste of regret and remorse.

That is what hope in Christ does. Real hope. Not the wishes and the dreams and the fairy tales; not the denials, but the honest truth about people and sin and redemption. It does no good to wish something did not happen. Hope does not change the past. But hope can show me what potential there is now and in the future despite the past.

This hope I wrote of transformed into poetry with prompts, which led to my first book. The suggestions, each different, added another dimension to this abstract, elusive, transparent apparition of a word. It was like God was saying to me,

“Mary, hope is not just a word. It is a person who wants to have a place in every subject, every scenario, every life, every bit of creation, every season, every joy, every passion, every hard thing. Hope is my life woven into yours through words. 

I never was observant growing up. If it wasn't concrete, don't ask me to explain it. Even things that were concrete, I would trip over. Having my eyes opened is taking years. I am sure there are many reasons why. We each are complex and unique.

There are talents we develop. There are genetics we are endowed with. There are gifts only God gives. They are hard sometimes to separate. I know there are writers in my family, so, yes , maybe .0003 percent of my genetics somewhere is lurking a potential from birth. But I naturally am not a writer. God didn't tell me I know what I am doing. He told me to do it.

There are some who may question that last statement. It is okay. I question a lot of things people say. It is a human attribute, to question. It is neither right or wrong. It just is. And it is not for me to answer every question you have about me.

I will explain what I am learning about the difference between a gift or a talent or a trait.

A trait is inbred. It comes naturally. Jackie Evancho, at 10 years old sang like an opera singer. No vocal training. It just came out. Her vocal chords had a certain shape and her voice had a certain maturity at that very early age. Child prodigy perhaps, as many other children.

A talent, I think, is more a trained skill. Pianists are talented because they take the effort and practice for years perfecting an ability.

A gift of God is different.

1. God’s gifts don't depend on one's natural born ability. They depend upon His sovereign choosing.

2. God may give you a gift for a season, like a word to give someone, or the grace to go through something for a time needed, but maybe not necessarily every time for everyone.

3. God will teach you as you walk. As I open and use one gift, he will then add another to it. For me it started with one word, hope, and then He began expanding.

The most recent things He is teaching me

4. A gift from God creates a passion. Even when I don't know what I am doing, when I feel I have nothing to say to anyone, it hurts more to do nothing than to write even a thought or a line, even if I don't know if or where it will ever fit.

5. He gives a passion, not only for the gift, but for Him alone. God will never give a gift that will put Him in second place. His ultimate purpose is for you to have a relationship with Him, not the gift. That is idolatry.

God is taking someone who has never had words, never known how to use words and who always was afraid of people's responses and reactions to words and telling her to write about hope. It is a scary place sometimes. I have to trust Him. The one thing I never want to do is misrepresent His Word with mine. I also don't want to ignore this gift He is giving me. It has a lot of pieces to it and has to be constructed carefully. I don't want to throw it in a corner because I can't finish it, and then feel guilty every time I walk by it.

God asked Solomon what he wanted as gifts. And because he asked for wisdom, God gave him everything. He loved Solomon, as He loves every one of us, but Solomon ended up losing His kingdom by managing God's gifts his own way. He followed other gods. I never want to take God's gift into my own hands and manipulate it to fit my needs.

Samson also had a gift of strength in his hair and let someone else manage it. He didn't appreciate the value or know how to take care of it. He teased with riddles. He had to literally be blinded and then God returned it and used it, taking Samson's life along with it.

The gift of salvation is precious and it is one that will never be taken away, but other gifts of God that He gives to us we can we let pride as well as insecurity filter their way in and become unprofitable.

So think of the prompting of the Holy Spirit in your life. If He wants you to hear it, you will. Then it is up to you to step out and let Him perfect it.