Friday, July 28, 2017

Willing To Be Defeated




I used to be cocksure,

willing to trample fragile souls for the sake of being right. And

it hurts to think I was so unlike Your sacrificial kindness, so unlike Your bleeding, selfless truth.

May I be willing to be defeated to win one. May I grow accustomed to embarrassment to at least appear humble as the pride prickles are chiseled away—one by one, by weary one.

My kingdom looks ever dim in the bright hues of Your shining presence—and may all see You

in spite of me.

If I would feed on Your words more than I feed on my need, I would be so much more nourished

with life to give.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

A Limping Life




I heard your whisper in the wind, and

I leaned to listen; but

my lisping voice rose rough and rasping, replaying all the shame moments,

the named moments—over and over,

owning their bite.

I glimpsed your face in the green breeze of spring, and

I opened my eyes wide to see and be seen, but

the haze of doubt drifted down like a curtain, so I was unsure of what was there; and

blinking long and hard only tired my eyes,

my heart,

my will.

I put my knee to ground in weakness,

convinced that my limping life would never be anything more than this,

that tears would ever flow; but

you met me there

where

words are soft and

light is clear and

belief is birthed from unbelief.

*****************

Be still and know that I am God. ~Psalm 46:10a

Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. ~Mark 9:24b


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Renewal


Renewal always sounds bright and shiny, like a beautifully restored vintage car or a vibrant blossom in the spring bursting from what had looked like a lifeless branch. But the problem with renewal is that something has decayed in order for it to require a new life. So restoration is a good thing. Right?


But renewal comes with a hitch. What is new is chained to what is old. When I walk in fresh ways, my past self is not dismissed like a cast-off piece of clothing. My past is the chain tied around my ankle, reminding me that whatever lies ahead, whatever bright, polished penny-of-life has brought new life and vision, I am only separated from what has gone before by my willingness to step intentionally onto a new path.


Sure there are helps in people and programs. There is spiritual renewal that comes from the supernatural. But as long as I walk in this skin and bone, my whole story is part of me. Deaths, accidents, betrayals, and sufferings, both physical and mental, do not suddenly and totally disappear in the presence of some mysterious regeneration of self or circumstance. Glass-half-empty does not of its own accord morph into glass-half-full. Renewal is the gritty process of intentionally looking to what is ahead. It is the planting of one foot in front of the other, heading toward a brighter prospect. It is the recognition that what is really real will become actually real when faith becomes sight.


In faith, I may be a new creature and all things may become new in some spiritual sense; but in truth, renewal here requires the commitment to press on in weakness, not forgetting the other chapters of my story, but putting them in the grander perspective of the whole story.


“Now I know in part; then I shall fully know, even as I am fully known.” ~I Cor. 13:12b          


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Preface to My Profound Political Speech (Keeping It Real!!!!)

First, thank you to all my fans and the planted vocal support placed throughout the crowd to give the illusion that I have more going for me than I do. 
I would like to thank my speech writers for the rousing, articulate diatribe I am about to recite. As politicians from the last century and this can testify, without you, the world would know that my handlers think I am incapable of presenting cogent arguments on this stage, let alone present truths that are worthy of electing me to the power and position I so earnestly crave. Of course, if they plagiarize the content, I have plausible deniability since I only saw the speech last night, and my views are so fluid they assume I will need to include material that has already had a favorable hearing.    
Thank you also to my handlers who coached me as to when I should raise my voice, sweep my hand, and shed a tear. The subtle pinch I give myself at various points is a very effective way to generate a tear without feeling that much emotion. (Pulling out nose hairs works, as well, but is harder to do in public.)The tight knot in the tie at my throat enables me to get very red-faced and sweaty at moments of righteous indignation.  The "pause for effect or laughter" notes on the teleprompter are also a great help in reminding me to give space for my "plants" to insert the proper response, and by imitation and inspiration, influence the innocents around them into brainlessly jumping on this popular bandwagon.
Please know that if I had to write my own material, I would not have become this successful, so join me in giving credit where credit is due--as long as they do not get my substantial paycheck and as long as they also take all the blame for any errors in construction and content. And now to begin . . .
******************
It is with great humility and transparency that I accept your rallying support, adulation, and finances on this historic day! . . .

Saturday, July 2, 2016

It Doesn't Take Much



It doesn’t take much to shake confidence.
Brick by brick, you structure a world with truths and practices you trust are best—
sure—
guaranteed with positive outcomes.
And then the slight shift,
the murmur of doubt.
It doesn’t take a crushing blow—only the soft winds of uncertainty,
the weighted air of disappointment. And collapse threatens.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

I Wonder



Do you ever wonder about all these people you have crossed paths with, crossed wills with,

and do you ever wonder what it will be like to spend eternity with them—those who pressed all your wrong buttons and abused your good nature?

They believe the same as you—except for all the details of doctrine where you are right and they are wrong.
But that should not keep them out of heaven, right?

It’s easy to segregate from the unfaithful, of course; that us-them thing works much more efficiently there. But it’s the faulty faithful I have trouble seeing alongside me as I walk on blissful shores. It is much more comfortable to see them in my mind’s eye punished for all the insensitivities, the lies, and . . . I think they were lies. 

But then again . . .

Do you ever wonder when you accidentally meet up in a shop or accidentally stalk their Facebook page whether or not they have changed—whether they are sorry for the wrongs and whether they are properly chagrined at how they refused to value your wisdom and gentle spirit?

Do you wonder how God could love them the same as He loves you when their diminished character kind of makes you ashamed to call them brother and sister?

I wonder as I blunder.
********************
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The You That's Me

182 - Copy

There is a grieving for opportunities past, opportunities lost. It’s like the world moved on when you just stepped off momentarily to take a quick look—and it’s gone. Not the world,
but the world you thought you knew.

There is a grieving for the identity you had carefully (or maybe not so carefully) nurtured—okay, it kind of just happened,
but the happening seemed real and sure until one day you woke, and you realized you are not important anymore. Well, maybe you weren’t before, but at least you thought you were. Didn’t the world somehow revolve around you?

You are patronized that you can do some things well—and at your age!

When you are young, those things you do well are fuel for an ever expanding future—the first step to a waiting, dazzling world, begging for your grand entrance with its greatest hits.
But those same skills and gifts at 60-something are quaint, anomalies in a fading body and aching mind.
You have had to step aside for all the young, pushing from the rear—
because the utilitarian you is now seen as an impediment to the dreamers closing in.

And you are known more for your aches than your art—
more for your halting step than your racing mind.

Wisdom is underrated by the young; but
for all you have lost, that you have indeed gained,
but there is something muddled in this system when you finally have a substantive message but have lost your audience.

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II Corinthians 4: 7-8, 16-18:
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.
 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 
For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 
So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.