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New Shoes

As usual
It begins with something small
A word, a thought
A grain of worry
Like sand in my shoe.

I keep walking
Going about my business
Going about the business
Of ignoring
This tiny thing.

And it works
For a while.
As long as I step carefully, I can fool myself into thinking
It’s gone.

But soon enough
The sand becomes a pebble
That hurts with every step.
It reminds me that it’s there.
Still,
I continue to ignore it,
Hoping it will go away.
Besides,
It’s such a small thing.

By now,
This stone is cutting into me
Making every step a limp
That makes people turn to look at me
In pity.
All I think about is the pain.
The pain!

I have forgotten that this started
With a grain of sand
Or how it even got there in the first place.

I can walk no further.
Not one more step.

“Child. Sit.”
I obey.
He removes my shoes
Worn from weary miles
And the debris they have collected
Over time.
He cleans my wounded feet,
Anoints them with love
And gives me new shoes:
Peace!
“Wear these every day.”
With these shoes
I am prepared with peace,
Ready to walk
To run a mile
To dance all night.

I won’t fret about pebbles or stones
Or tiny grains of worry.
I have other things to do.

You look at me
And see
The welcoming face with the brilliant smile
A large collection of friends
Bold strides
Sure gestures
And you think I have it all together.

The truth is
I struggle
With self-doubt turned to self-loathing.
I worry that I’m not enough
Or that I’ve said too much.
I’m certain that
Eventually
I’ll be found out
Discovered to be lacking
Less-than
An imposter.

So I smile bigger
And distract you with brilliance.

She is not just lightly flat
Or a tad sharp.
Her voice is all over the place
As if someone
Scattered the little black notes onto the page
Just in time
For her vibrato to attack the song.
It is strong
Not a hint of doubt,
Yet so devoid of accuracy
That I am completely distracted.
I am left silent.

So I give in
And let the words bounce around me
Until they begin
To wash over me.

She sings with a passion
I’m too timid to express.
Moved by love,
She is singing only for Him
Declaring her gratitude
Full of joy and victory.
In her song
Is the truth my heart knows,
Reminding me of His boundless love
That fills me with joy
And is my victory.
In that moment
I couldn’t be more grateful
For her song.

Sing it, Sister!

Cleansing

Create in me a clean heart,
O God.

Because I feel so dirty,
Covered with the mud
I have wallowed in.
The smudge of selfishness
That leaves its black mark
On everything I touch.
The dust of worry
That trails behind me.
The spot of pride
That everyone can see.
It is baked on
As I have stood in the
Hot sun of stubbornness.

Now wash over me,
Holy Spirit,
And cleanse me head to toe.
Cool, soothing water raining down from Heaven,
Running across my body,
Dripping through my hair,
Streaking downs my arms.

And I will step into this stream
Of Your love and grace
As it flows to me, from me,
Taking with it the mud
That had dried on me,
Leaving me clean once again.

Tuesday Haiku

For sale: one Fitbit.
Works, though not consistently,
Much like its owner.

Jehovah Jireh

He is
The God who provides.
We heard it in Sunday school.
We read it in Scripture.
We see it in the lives around us.
Yet we struggle to believe it
For ourselves
That he could be our Jehovah Jireh.

We tend to think of the financial need
Car payment
Mortgage
Tuition
This week’s groceries
But it’s so much more.
Physical
Social
Spiritual
Emotional
It’s everything, really.
Every thing.
He gives us all we need.
He is all we need.

Yet we too often think of Him as secondary,
An afterthought.
The last-ditch effort we make
Only after we have tried everything else.
The desperate prayer in the middle of the night.
He should be our first thought.
We should run hard to Him
Like a child running to base in a game of tag.
Home.
Safe.

Don’t think for a moment
For one second
That the God who created you
The God who keeps the stars and the planets on course
The God who died for you
(Died – for you)
Don’t even think He won’t meet your every need.
He’ll meet you at your need.
He’ll come to you.
Hold you
Cradle you
Push you
Because sometimes you need that too
Always touching you.
Often His provision
Is in withholding things we ask.
No is the right answer.
Or wait.
All so we have the opportunity to learn
Grow
Change
Appreciate
And always trust
In big things and small.

You know,
That challenge you’re facing
It’s not too big for Him.
Whatever your worry,
Whatever it is that grabs your mind
Before your alarm clock rings,
So big that you can’t put it into words
And if you can’t pray it
How can He answer it?
That’s what you’re thinking.
Whatever it is, God is bigger.
Give it to Him.
We have a big God.

And you,
Turning that small problem
Over and over
Like a pebble in your hand,
God sees it.
Give it to Him.
You’re not going to bother Him who watches the sparrow.

Child,
You have no idea the mystery of Him.
He is working now on your behalf.
He is meeting needs you have yet to feel.
Before you are hungry
He is filling your plate
Piling it high!

Every good gift comes from him.
He sees you.
He loves you.
He provides.

I need to admit this: I have barely written anything for weeks. It happens, these times of creative famine. The famine always ends, sometimes with a sudden abundance of thought and inspiration, so I try not to panic during the famine. This time is no different.

My journal tells the tale. A small poem that I squeezed through my pen over the course of a couple of days, followed by snippets of … well, not much. A few words, two sentences, a random phrase that was probably clever at the time but has by now lost all meaning. None of these are likely to spark any inspiration, but I will dutifully save them just in case.

Turn the page, and you’ll see two sheets of notes about my grandparents’ accident – the date and time, the officer’s name and the report number, phone numbers, claim numbers, the name of the young girl who had drifted into their lane at full speed. They are all thoughts that I captured by tossing them onto the paper. Between the lines is breathed my relief and amazement that everyone walked away from the scene. The words just lie there, a scattered mess that represents the disorganization of my mind.

They were written between and during phone calls and meetings at work, or over dinner preparation and quiet time at home. They are ideas that came to me while medicating my ailing dachshund, while grabbing a granola bar for breakfast, while trying to save a closing that had slid sideways, while preparing for unexpected company. They are jotted down at the end of a weary day in an effort to shut off my mind for a few hours’ sleep before it is time to get up and do it all over again.

To create is to see beauty. I find it in creation, in lovely moments, as I interact with people, or even in tough times.

But lately, I can’t look up from my pages of notes long enough to notice anything beautiful. All I see are these pages and all they represent of my life right now. I know this famine will end. Meanwhile, I’m hungry for inspiration.

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