30 November 2015

First Week of Advent: Hope

Enter Advent. The countdown to the incarnation of Christ--a season of rest, fulfillment of promises, and great expectation as we celebrate the birth of our King. To celebrate and to keep my focus, I'm going to write a poem each week for each of the themes of advent for the week. This week is Hope. 

My soul is heavy, weighed down by a sadness that seeps through to my bones.
There is a darkness in this world and it is thick as death,
I feel it like a poison that I cannot be rid of, a shroud of pain over we images of God.
There are chains and there are prison cells and there are voices in my head,
And without Him, I am lost.
So, O Israel, I understand your mourning.
How the silence of God must have ached as you labored under the rule of sin,
As you bloodied your hands with sacrifices that were never, never enough
To bear you up to God as perfect and blameless.
You were lost. You prayed for a sword to tear the darkness in two,
When what you really needed torn was the veil that separated you from God.
Did you forget that it is He who turns your darkness into light?
But I understand that, too. For I pray for an answer when the God of the Universe is right here,
As if He weren’t enough of an answer for me.
But I hear the word, whispered through the darkness, from faithful to faithful,
A silver thread stitching starlight into the night:
Hope, hope, hope.
For to you, O Bethlehem, too little to be a clan of Judah, a Ruler will come,
And you, O people walking in darkness, behold, a great light.
There lies your answer, wrapped in linen and lying in a manger,
A Child is born, destined to die, foreknown before the foundation of the world,
Made manifest to rid us of this sin for it cannot overcome Him.
There is a darkness in this world and it is thick as death,
But death has no power, because there is light, and it is driving all the shadows away,
Until the final revelation comes and we are given eyes to see—
Christ above, behind, before, to the left side and the right side, underneath, and within,
Christ alone, for He is marvelous in glory and beautiful in love, and His holiness knows no end.
This is hope. And we bear it in our hearts, just as we bear it in our throats, in our bodies, in our lives.
So, heavy soul aching with the brokenness of the fallen world, look up.
Raise your head, for as these things take place it is not the end,
For your redemption is near, it is coming and it will not delay,
And it is breathtaking as the morning, for the Risen Son will never set,
And in that day hope will no longer be a word, for it will be right in front of us,
The unmistakable Light of the world, speaking out life everlasting. 

27 November 2015


You’ve got a lot of fear, you said.
It took me a while to admit that you were right.
But I see it now, like the tangled roots of a fallen tree,
The fear has broken my soil and shown me what lies underneath,
Like worms and crawling things that I don’t want to see.
Surely after all this time, I would know not to be afraid,
But I don’t. Even my words are laced with fear,
As I push them outward, wishing that instead they would pour from me,
But too afraid that they will look all wrong—
Like corpses and stains and broken bones and things that don’t fit right.
You’ve got a lot of fear.
I know.
It is that fear that wearies me, not the muscles that it takes to run at breakneck speed.
It hollows my lungs out and leaves no breath in them,
While my heart beats in time with the word, No, no, no,
Until I finally admit to myself that I am so, so scared,
And I crouch in my bed with my covers up over my head
Like a child who sees monsters in the closet, except this time,
The monster is me and I don’t know how to chase it away
Because my light switch is suddenly not the weapon I knew it to be.
You’ve got a lot of fear.
I know, I know, I know!
I grip even tighter the things that I am afraid of losing,
Friends, family, the way that life used to be,
And everything that was given freely, not earned—
Like grace.
I admit that most days, I’m afraid it will run out,
I will fall yet again and will take a drop of the cordial to heal my bones,
And it will be empty.
How many times do you have to tell me that it is unending?
Maybe it takes all of this failing and receiving over and over and over again to realize that
You cannot run out.
You are the Lord God Almighty,
Holy, holy, holy art thou, with a voice of many waters and feet of burnished bronze,
In your right hand is the church, and you hold the power to judge—
And to have mercy.
You are the I AM in the wilderness,
The Jehovah Jireh that raises the mountains to the sky,
The King of Kings and the Prince of Peace.
Who am I? Who am I even in the thunder and rain, in the tiny glimpses of your glory?
Who am I when the whirlwind comes?
I am but dust, brought to life with the breath of you,
Set into motion by the sinews and muscles and organs designed by you,
Made in the very image of you,
Yet still, I fill myself with all of this me—
With everything that is not of you,
With loneliness and selfishness and pride
That all sprout from this fear that I thought that I was immune to
Because I was too scared to admit that I needed you.
You have a lot of fear.
Yes. And you have the solution, the sacrifice that twisted fear around and destroyed it,
You have, no, you are the Perfect Love that casteth it out—
Not like a boomerang, to be brought back again,
Not tied to strings to reel it in,
You cast it out into deepest ocean and there is no fishing, no diving, and no picking up shells here.
These lingering remnants of fear are but what I have illegally taken and hidden,
And you know that I cling to the threads of myself, you know that I take them out at night and count them one by one.
And so you come to me in the still small voice, and you say,
You’ve got a lot of fear.
And I look up at you with those big, fat tears in my eyes,
Like a child caught in the act of theft,
Ashamed of everything that makes up who I am.
I am afraid, I say.
Afraid of what?
The dark.
I am light.
Losing things.
I am gain.
I am the steady rock.
Messing up.
I am your strength and your completion.
I am Perfect Love.
Being alone.
I am here.
I am.


Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness,
Let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
And take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
And uphold me with a willing spirit. 

Psalm 51:7-12

23 November 2015

The Gratitude Tag

Taken by Cally Declan, because skiwz guys. How she got this moment is beyond me. Skiwz, guys. It's me and Addy, if you wanted to know. 
So guys, I got tagged by the incredibly amazing and talented Abby over at Abby and the Pens (who I adore) for this Gratitude Tag, and seeing as it's Thanksgiving Week, I thought it would be a nice way to start out. :-)

So, without further ado, onto the questions.

1. What is your favorite quote or verse that reminds you to be grateful?

Well, that's actually harder than it seems.... because lately, man, the whole Bible reminds me to be grateful. Because seriously. It's a book full of promises that find their fulfillment in Christ. But the one that comes to mind is from my memory verse:

Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 1:3-5

That reminds me so deeply of God's love for us and the hope that we have--how can we not be grateful when we read about how we have been adopted into an inheritance with Christ through Christ and for Christ! It's amazing and humbling. Praise God! 

2. Who are you grateful for?

A lot of people. Like so many people that if I made an album the lyric booklet could be FULL of gratitude. :-) But first and foremost, I am grateful for Christ in my life. And I am so thankful for my family, and how they've always stuck by me in everything. They've seen me at my worst and they've still stuck around, so yeah. They're pretty stoic. But especially my big sis. No words. <3 And I'm thankful for my bestest friends in all the world. You know who you are. I miss you and love you guys. And so many others, seriously... 

3. What life events are you grateful for?

I agree with what Abby said about homeschooling. Homeschoolers unite! :-) So yeah, I'm grateful for homeschooling because it really provided a safe environment to learn. I'm also so grateful for going to camp. That was definitely a life event, and it changed my perspective on many things and pushed me to do things I never, ever would have done! (in a good way!) 

4. What is something you are grateful for but oftentimes don't think about?

Hm... I'm thankful for the trials that God has presented in my life recently. It's not easy to think about all of them with gratefulness, but they have really drawn me closer to Christ, which is AMAZING and so worth it. :-) 

5. What are you going to do to show people your gratitude for them?

I think part of it is accepting graciously that which they offer. You don't always have to "give back" in order to really be grateful (especially since most things people do you could never do for them!). But it's also nice to act selflessly toward them, and if that leads me to give something or do something for them, then I do. To truly act in gratefulness requires the Holy Spirit within us, guiding our actions and our words. So I guess it's a little different for everyone who you are thanking. So yeah. Really vague and rambly answer. XD 

Thank you for the tag, Abby! It was definitely a good way to start off the week in thinking of the things that I am thankful for! 

And I will tag a few people, if you guys are interested:

Raquel at It's Just Raquel

21 November 2015

One Thing

I wasn't expecting it when I walked out the door last night. I knew we had snow, I knew that more was coming. But I didn't expect it to be breathtaking. The fog graced the streets and the Christmas lights reflected off of the fog in the warm kind of way that makes you want to dance for sheer joy. 

I shivered, inadvertently catching the snowflakes in my hair and my eyelashes. I giggled and opened my mouth to let the snowflakes hit my tongue because no one's too old for that. Not when it actually snows. 

How to express it perfectly? I can't. My words are just words after all. If only I could take you there, to show off the world like the gift that it is--See, see! Come and look! The words are blessedly childlike, and my eyes are, too--wide, and filled with wonder. 

I have had to grow up a lot this year. Each passing day makes me a day older. I'm an adult now. I've learned things; hard things, good things. I've let old things die so that new things might sprout (or at least, it's happened with me kicking and screaming and then finally seeing it as good). 

But it has all come down to this one thing. This one thing that often it takes being a child again to see, because it's simple enough to miss. 

It's Christ, and only Christ. It cannot be anything of myself because myself is fading away day by day. What is eternal? Christ is. And He is my one desire--not these other things that I spend so much time working after. 

How beautiful to fall so madly in love with this God, this Creator of snowflakes that cling to my eyelashes, this Author of the joy that pours through my heart and pumps through my veins. Would that I could be emptied of all the me that is left in my heart, to take on only the fullness of Christ, because the me that I have held onto for all this time is nothing compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. (Philippians 3:8b)

How good it is to be nothing, for He completes me with His everything! 

One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that I will seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.
Psalm 27:4

15 November 2015

Only You

by Cally Declan
The soil of my heart is furrowed and plowed,
And I stand at the edge of the garden and wait.
Would that I could see this place in its fullness,
When the trees have grown tall and the roots have grown deep,
And the flowers, all in bloom, fill the air with their fragrance.
But for now, I wait.
Words tumble from my pen like a fountain,
And I try to catch them before they fall into the earth,
Try to formulate something sensible onto a page.
Yet the words in the earth sprout clumsily, each green shoot easy to trample on.
These will bear fruit. These I will keep,
For they will not return void.
And when the words cease, I scribble my pen across the page in a different way,
Trying to form faces among the lines.
To imitate the world as I see it—beautiful.
But my hand is shaky and my lines respond, and it is but a broken image of the garden I know.
In frustration, I crumple my pages of words and drawings,
And I turn once more.
My instruments lay in the corner, oft-forgotten,
And I mourn their silence, but I fear the tuneless notes,
The crooked melody.
Still, I try, and I ache for perfection,
To somehow portray this unfathomable weight of glory that cries out words of redemption even now.
So I pray for words, or art, or a song,
To somehow be birthed out of these unskilled hands.
Anything, Oh Lord, anything true,
Anything honorable, anything just,
Anything pure, lovely, commendable,
Of excellence, worthy of praise—
Oh Lord, only you.
May my heart cry out not for the work of my hands,
But for you and only you.
I have no good apart from you, and this I know, though I still seek it elsewhere.
Oh fickle heart! Turn and see thy God!
So I stand at the edge of the garden and wait,
Not for words, not for art, not for music,
Not even for the garden to be in full bloom,
But for you.
And I know that you are coming,
Yes, even that you are here. 

13 November 2015

To the Gate

Me and the unsurpassedly lovely Addy T. Photo taken by the unbeatable and unmistakable Dally.

Autumn leaves kiss winter’s frost.
I wait.
The breath of the morning is frozen
And my chest aches with a cough, but I run.
I run.
Just to the gate, not beyond,
For it looks lovely, sparkling in the bright sun.
Gently, gently, gently,
Says the morning with a laugh.
But I am young and stupid
And I would rather save gently for withered hands and crippled feet.
To the gate, then, I stumble.
Oh, aching lungs, would that you could breathe a little deeper of this purity,
Would that you could laugh a little longer,
Or sing a song to the Maker of this abundance.
But gently, gently, gently. You’ve reached the gate now.
These farmers’ fields spread out before me,
At the end of their bounty, but not the end of their beauty
For God has painted them in earthen gold,
Not to die, but to live and proclaim the works of the Lord.
I think my heart is full to bursting with their life,
Where my own had shriveled in the fear of loneliness and the dread of emptiness.
But now my weary, cold-weakened body drinks deep the cup of holiness,
And it is enough—Oh, God, you are enough!—
My being cries out in deep-seated hope,
For my resurrection eyes will always see fields full of gold, and I know,
I know that the Beginning is nigh.