Thursday, July 30, 2015

Polaroid Boy {an original poem}


In an Instagram world You’re a Polaroid; A fresh classic at heart, Full of life and color Undeterred by the norm, You brim with good vibes; Spreading tailor-made rays Of sunlight through the trees Your laugh is outrageous - I strain just to hear The tear-bringing joy sound That bursts forth from your frame Yes, that is the image In you, Polaroid, That the focus is on, To best capture the light Mirth, it forms in your eyes, And now in my mind, As I take mental shots Of you rolling with glee Oh, my Polaroid friend, With your flashing smile, And those belly laugh jokes, You spread love instantly One snapshot of you, child, I share with the world That you expose to me In your own awesome way
{this poem is also an entry to a contest. if you'd like to help me out, find me here & share from that page. you're a beautiful human being, & I'm grateful.}

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"Blind In Darkness" {an original poem}

[maybe the labels cued you in, or maybe you're an old hat at this, & remembered when I told you  of my intent to post these poems. These are pre-healing poems, typed by a post-healing poet, & the perspective is profound & overwhelming to me. This poem, specifically, was so vital at that time. It was a battle. I wept over it. I sketched it. I breathed these words for weeks, & now here they are, & the hope is so much more real to me.]

(written August 14th, 2014)

Can't get to sleep
Cannot wake up
Confused, I weep
With empty cup

Endless cycles
Lost trains of thought
Shame recitals
Battles un-fought

Strength all but gone
Can't move my lips
Hold sketch I've drawn
In fingertips

I know the words to pray
Can't bring myself to say them
How can I feel this way,
Knowing all I'm saved from?

Do You feel rejected
As I do?
Confused and dejected,
I doubt Truth

Why do these things feel real
When they're false?
Were I dead, could I feel
My wrist's pulse?

If all I see is darkness
Should I trust my eyes,
Or dare adjust my focus,
To see past the lies?

Abba, Father
Restore sight
To this beggar
Bring Your light

I blink rapidly
And then squint
A tear falls from the shock
I hold hands before open eyes

Count my fingers
Weak as they are
Poor performers
Can't reach the bar

And so I kneel

Surrounded by demons
And darkness
A sword lies before me
I grasp it

I cannot wield it
I'm far too weak
I hold it for
False security

The darkness seems deeper
I gave up my vision
Enemies lurk, unseen
But I can still feel them

The dark is near
Tangible
Choking
Thick

Lord, there is none besides You to help

He heard my cry
Restored my sight
He took my sword
...
And fought my fight

Friday, July 24, 2015

What's in a Name?

It's almost strange to me, how prominent naming has become in my life.

I never gave it much thought before.

Now, I find myself thinking about someday babies, & rather than trying to come up with the most lovely & unique name (e.g., Mykelti), I ponder names that have significance to me. I used to think that naming babies after people was so out of date ... but, now? It's not so much a thing of heritage (although I definitely want to pass down my middle name), but of deeper meaning. I want my babies to be named after a prayer warrior with a gentle spirit, or a person that always knew how to comfort those around them, & lift them up. I want to name them after artists - give them the name of some human who overcame pain & made Beauty out of their life. I want to pray those things over my children; to bless those qualities in them even before they are born, & every day after. I give them a name that, when spoken, is essentially a prayer. I could call a child Ruth, & my speaking her name would be my prayer that she would love God without boundaries, that she would lift up the cast down, that she would take risks, that she would be a beacon of faith that gives hope to those around her & springs them into action.

There is so much power in a name.

My name, in some places, is said to mean, "beautiful woman of grace."

I almost laugh, because self-image used to be one of my greatest battles, & I have been so much less than gracious in my life, & I still struggle so to receive grace.

& yet, my name.

I hear that meaning behind it when the Lord speaks to me, & when He uses His people to bless me, it's in their voices, too.

I have been called what I was not, & over time, the prayers for the knowledge of who I am to flood me have brought me here.

Here, whispering my own names to myself in the morning.

I have a list of over one hundred.

My eyes scan them when the duties of the day still loom over my head, & I breathe.

I never understood that knowing who I am was so important, until I realized that I didn't. I had no idea.

We return to the image of a petrified girl on her bedroom floor, rocking back & forth, her shoulder blades pounding on the bed frame in rhythm with her murmurings of, "I don't know who I am. I don't know who I am."

I had no notion of my identity in Christ, beyond the classic Sunday school answers, & the lyrics to songs that somehow didn't resonate with me.

I knew how to impress others; how to make them believe I not only had it all together, but could advise them in their lives. & I did know what to say to the hurting, oftentimes. I just couldn't speak it over myself. I couldn't breathe in what I exhaled, & so I ran through my life, breathless & weary.

I have described myself as inhale-deficient.

I never breathe in.

I'm learning that I need to.

I'm slowly learning how to.

Part of it has to do with that growing list of names.

Whenever someone prays a certain identity or quality over me, or whenever I see one that I can rightly claim as mine in Scripture, I write it down.

I am Called.

I am Redeemed.

I am Strong (because He is Strong).

Capable (because He is Capable).

I am a Warrior.

I am an Intercessor.

A Prophetess.

I am one who Hears Jesus.

I am Not Alone.

I am Not Forgotten.

I'm His.

I am Free.

I am Healed.

I read these over in the morning hours, sometimes just choosing one to cling to for that day. I remind myself intentionally of my calling, my giftings, my inheritance, & my identity. Who I am to Jesus.

& then I flip to the other side of the book. & I rub who He is to me over my soul like a balm.

He is my Protector.

My Savior.

My Jesus.

My King.

The Lifter of my Head.

The Lover of my Soul.

My Healer.

Sanctifier.

My Lord.

The Good Shepherd.

Friend.

Warrior-King.

I am reminded of what He does for me. How He cares for me. Why I can trust Him, & cease my vain striving. I know who I am, so therefore, I do not have to pretend to be who I am not. I don't have to try to measure up. I don't have to hide from Him, because He knows who I am, too. & I know who He is. So I don't have to save myself. I don't have to panic in the storms. I don't have to feel like I'm alone.

He calls me by name, speaking Truth over me, & reminding me of what He sees in me; who He created me to be, & who I am, in light of His sacrifice.

I call Him by name, reminding myself that in calling Him "Good," I am inviting Him to reveal to me His goodness, even in the things that confuse me & the things that hurt. In calling Him "Savior," I am choosing to believe that He does save. I am Safe.

& the love just keeps flowing. The grace does not run dry.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"Marred Hands (to the devil)" {an original poem}

(written July 23rd, 2014 - almost exactly a year ago)

Ink-smudged hands betray me
Proof that I'm still fighting
My thoughts can be rambunctious
I don't quite know where I am

I'm a finger puppet
Keep forgetting my lines
I can't seem to stop it
Mimicking roles not my own

I want out of the gray
To stark lines of paper
Where I have found a way
To stitch together my thoughts

With a black pen as thread
Here I can find my voice
Preaching inside my head
Odd, how now they all listen

So observe my stained hands
Tremble at what you know
Who you know that I am
"What has her pen done this time?"

I underline the Scriptures
Claiming promises as mine
I pray to the Creator
Writing His words next to my own

I make art through the pain
Writing poems, sketching
Proof that I still remain
You have not defeated me

My God sees the darkness
As I view blank paper
He readies His brushes
And paints with His light and grace

His hands are twice as marred
My name carved on His palm
Near the beautiful scars
From the nails He took for me

You thought you'd won then, too
With the death of our hope
I guess no one warned you
Of strength found in our stained hands

Monday, July 20, 2015

l'artiste

I wanted to be an artist.

I thought the definition of Artist was "one who paints pretty pictures."

& somewhere in that definition, I was sure was the stipulation that the art had to be quick & effortless.

It wasn't supposed to be something you learned, but something you created ... You were full of art, & therefore, you simply made art.

As I grew older, I saw that there was more to art than paintbrushes.

I even admitted that there was art within me.

But I failed to notice what had happened to me ... I became art-oriented.

This is something I'm only now discovering, & I don't fully understand it, nor its connotations. (by the way, I looked "connotations" up, to make sure the full definition was what I wanted to express here {I love looking up words I thought I knew & discovering new depths to them}, & I was thoroughly satisfied with the result. A definitively pleasing definition to read. Add looking it up to today's to-do list. My use of it here implies the philosophical definition.)

So, here is what I am learning about myself: When I appreciate something, I appreciate it based on my perception of its artistic value.

I am very open in my love for art. I will sometimes swoon over a telephone pole when I discover some semblance of art behind it.

I do this with people. I could spend hours listening to a particular voice. Or watching the way they act around children. The way they respect others. The sparkle that comes into their eyes when they get passionate about something. People are artists, as well as artwork, & I am drawn to those, especially, that create art out of their everyday. Those who make dinner like the spoon is their paintbrush. Those who make listening & understanding you their art. Those who take walks, just to walk.

I see art in everything, & I try to make art out of everything.

I have always had this thing about atmospheres. The undercurrent of certain places. Some places can haunt & repel me until I discover art within them. If it is all order & no warmth, I want to curl up & die.

I hate when I have to give up coffee, not just because the flavor is wonderful, but because I find something aesthetic in the making & drinking of it.

Same goes for tea. If it is made with microwave-heated water & a packaged teabag, it is a mere beverage, & not art. If I can put it into a pretty mug & sip it slowly; if something beautiful can be salvaged from the experience, then the cuppa might be redeemed.

I don't mind if there is a mess. I mind if there is only a mess. If my bed is covered with remnants of my day (headphones, apron, novel, pencils, sketchbook, coaster, to-do list, etc.), I do not mind, so long as the mess is arranged in a way that is visually pleasing. Then it becomes an arrangement, & I take a picture. (& then tidy up. Because I'm a clean freak.)

There is beauty & grace in everything, if your eyes are attuned. There are masterful strokes of Christ's hand in every person & in everything ... if  we determine to prove that, how much more joy awaits us?

I guess what I am learning is to become aware of myself, instead of a slave to myself. I could use this orientation of myself to excuse shallowness, snobbishness, & disconnectedness, or I could overcome barriers now that I am aware of them.

Instead of automatically shutting down when in a place that lacks warmth, I could be the one to bring the warmth. I could look more closely, to see the intentional design. To see the beauty that is not just surface-level. Who knows what I could discover?

Instead of avoiding someone who makes me feel small, I could choose to bless them; to see the bigness in them & point it out. To say, "hey, you have a true gift for seeing the bigger picture." Or, "you have a great laugh!" When someone is made aware of the art within them, it lifts them. it bestows value onto them. People who feel valued act accordingly, most times.

Love is always worth the risk.

& in the other places where I find & make art? I can use it to recharge my soul ... & I can do the same for others. I found out this week that a few other people in my circles appreciate the art of a lovingly made cup of tea. Art isn't meant to be hoarded, & the appreciation of art isn't meant to be held back for the ones you deem worthy. Love calls for sacrifice & beckons forward to discovery.

& it's a beautiful thing.