Category Archives: Poetry and Art

Depression is a hand on the throat

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Depression is a hand on the throat, around the throat, squeezing the air out of your body.   It’s a heavy, wet blanket wrapped around your head, air molecules dodging water droplets.  Breathing comes in jagged waves- gasping for air, for life, for a life saving hand as your head goes down under again.  Depression is that 20 second pause after a fall when you look up at the clear blue sky, perfectly blue, achingly blue and you wonder how you got down here.  You wonder why your ribs are crushing your lungs.  It’s the split second before you gasp and choke and suck in air like shards of glass.  It’s getting the wind knocked out of you, over and over and over again, eyes to the sky and the blue pressing down on my chest.

There are moments where it takes all my energy just to keep breathing.  I close my eyes against the dazzling blue and try to remember why I like breathing.

If there was a reason, I could find it.  If there was a problem, I could fix it.  If there was something out of place, I could readjust.  But that’s the intangible, untouchable nature of boxing with shadows.  Nothing is lost.  Nothing is wrong.  Nothing is unjust or wicked or fraudulent or negligent.  All is right in my little world, just not inside of me.  If depression is a vapor, a fog; then anger is a liquid.  Hot tears.

“See Honey, I’m just slicing an onion.  It’s just a strong onion that’s making mommy cry.”  My hand with the knife moves automatically.  Really, I wouldn’t mind just eating cereal for the third meal of the day.

My eyes don’t need to look around me, for I can sense the shame collecting in piles of clutter.  And I have forgotten which mounds of laundry are clean and which are dirty.  And the crumbs under the dinning room table sigh at me and feel overwhelming tonight.  And the dog has taken up a forbidden position on the couch pillows, yet I just can’t muster the energy to scold him, or to pet him for that matter.

Days slip through my fingers faster than my dry eyes can make fresh tears.  I coil and uncoil myself around a pillow, back to bed now up again, night and day, dusk and dawn.  The most significant moment of the day is when I close my eyes and feel the globe spinning, sucking the air out of my lungs again, and I sleep.

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Beautiful Things

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This is something I found a while ago, and I’ve just been saving it for a rainy day.  I am just winding down the second of two intense weeks at work.  It’s nice to breath and watch a few minutes of creativity.  This makes me think of several of my students who are doodlers like I was when I was a teenager.  I wish I could give this song to each of them.  {Hearts to you kids!}

Let everything else go

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This weekend my husband and I are on a weekend get-away.  I can’t remember the last time we were alone anywhere!  We live our lives with our doors open and an extra place at the table.  We very frequently have extra people spending time with us for one reason or another.  We like this kind of living in Christian community, but sometimes we need to pull away and just BE, just relax, just breathe.

I don’t know how to relax.  This is something I actually have to TRY to do.  I need help.  So here to help me relax is this wonderful, old song by Phil Keaggy.  (If you haven’t heard any music by Phil Keaggy, well, then you haven’t really lived.  I think he’s one of the most gifted and anointed musicians alive.)  So here’s my treat to you today.  “Let everything else go.”

“…Oh I can’t wait to see you Jesus face to face!

Nothing in this world can take your place.

All the pride of man laid low, and all his works of gold

Nothing can compare with what you are

Let everything else go

Let it go…”

“I will not die an unlived life”

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Photo credit: aguscr / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: aguscr / Foter / CC BY

A friend of mine used this quote last week and when I asked for the source, she sent me the link to this beautiful blog.  This is exactly how I feel about my life… plus I do it all with a latte in my hand and I don’t see any point in going for skim milk.

“I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which comes to me as seed goes to the next as blossom and that which comes to me as blossom, goes on as fruit.” —Dawna Markova

My Mother-in-law is from a generation where people lived with plastic over their furniture and lamp shades.  She never takes the plastic off of things.  She says she’s saving things, but I don’t know who she is always saving things for.  There has never been a special guest in the house who has merited the removal of the plastic from the lamp shades and table tops.  Never.  So when she dies and the house is inherited by her children, they will find all the furnishings unused and brand spanking new… from the 1980s.

I can’t live like that.  I like to put pictures of my own loved ones in my picture frames instead of keeping the picts of the department store model families that come with the frames.  We actually asked her about this once.  She jokingly told us that these people were better looking than all of us, so that’s why she never changes the picture when she buys a new frame.  Really I think she is secretly planning to return the frame to the store someday.  But I can’t live like my house is a store.  I want my life to feel “lived in”.

I try to live life by fully focusing on the beauty of the moment.  I don’t always succeed in this since I’m naturally future focused and like things well planned ahead of time.  However, this is my goal- live and love this moment.  Whether good or bad, stressful or relaxing, I reject guilt and fear which rob me of my joy and thankfulness.  I find God in the moment.  He’s in the past and future too, but I am only in this moment so I can only connect with Him right now.  This living in the moment is so hard for me sometimes, but it’s always good for me.  It’s worth doing something that is good and hard when you get the kind of joy that I find in this challenge.  I live fully in the now.  I will not die an unlived life.

It’s Friday and I just want to Worship

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This is my most recent song fetish.  I can’t get enough of this song.  I played it frequently for my 9th graders the last year right before Acts class, so now it reminds me of spontaneously worshiping with them before we studied the Bible.  Just LOVE it!  Have a wonderful Friday and spend your weekend worshiping the Lord in whatever you do.

Relax and enjoy my Friendship

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This is the devotional I read for July 9 and 10.  Yes, I bunch up the readings and then let them sink in for a while before I bite off another bunch.  I read the book “Jesus Calling” as my morning devos. and then I do longer readings from other books and a portion of scripture for my evening devos.  This blessed me, and I just want to share it with you.

Photo credit: annais / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: annais / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

“Stop worrying long enough to hear My voice.  I speak softly to you in the depths of your being.  Your mind shuttles back and forth, hither and yon, weaving webs of anxious confusion.  As My thoughts rise up within you, they become entangled in those sticky webs of worry.  Thus, my voice is muffled, and you hear only ‘white noise.’

“Ask My Spirit to quiet your mind so that you can think My thoughts.  This ability is an awesome benefit of being my child, patterned after My own image.  Do not be deafened by the noise of the world or that of your own thinking.  Instead, be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Sit quietly in My Presence, letting My thoughts reprogram your thinking.

“Relax in my peaceful Presence.  Do not bring performance pressures into our sacred space of communion.  When you are with someone you trust completely, you are free to be yourself… I know the worst about you, but I also see the best in you.  I long for you to trust me enough to be fully yourself with Me.  When you are real with Me, I am able to bring out the best in you:  the very gifts I have planted in your soul.  Relax and enjoy our friendship.”

~Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

Kisses from Katie

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I don’t recall having ever been moved by the Forward of a book before.  But here it is.  These are the first few paragraphs from the book Kisses from Katie about a 19-year old girl who moved to Uganda and become “mother” to 14 orphans and ultimately to the entire village.  I’m just starting the book and I’m already moved.

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“People who really want to make a difference in the world usually do it, in one way or another.  And I’ve noticed something about people who make a difference in the world:  They hold the unshakable conviction that individuals are extremely important, that every life matters.  They get excited over one smile.  They are willing to feed one stomach, educated one mind, and treat one wound.  They aren’t determined to revolutionize the world all at once’ they’re satisfied with small changes.  Over time, thought, the small changes add up.  Sometimes they even transform cities and nations, and yes, the world.

“People who want to make a difference get frustrated along the way.  But if they have a particularly stressful day, they don’t quit.  They keep going.  Given their accomplishments, most of them are shockingly normal and the way they spend their time each day can be quite mundane.  They don’t teach grand lessons that suddenly enlighten entire communities; they teach small lessons that can bring incremental improvement to one man or woman, boy or girl.  They don’t do anything to call attention to themselves, they simply payattention to the everyday needs of others, even if it’s only one person.  They bring change in ways most people will never read about or applaud.  And because of the way these world-changers are wired, they wouldn’t think of living their lives any other way.”  ~Forward by Beth Clark.

That inspires me.

Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/noxstar/3072400338/”>Espen Faugstad</a> / <a href=”http://foter.com”>Foter.com</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>CC BY-NC-SA</a>

Hello Lord

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Hello Lord, it’s me your child.  I have a few things on my mind.  Right now I’m faced with big decisions, and I’m wondering if you have a minute.  ‘Cuz right now I don’t hear so well and I was wondering if you could speak up.  I know that you tore the veil so I could sit with you in person and hear what you’re saying, but right now I just can’t hear you.

I don’t doubt your sovereignty.  I doubt my own ability to hear what you’re saying and to do the right thing.  And I desperately want to do the right thing.  But right now I don’t hear so well and I was wondering if you can speak up.  I know that you tore the veil so I can sit with you in person and hear what you’re saying.  But right now, I just can’t hear you.

And somewhere in the back of my mind I think you are telling me to wait.  And though patience has never been mine, Lord I will wait to hear from you.  Oh, I’m waiting on you!  Right now I don’t hear so well and I was wondering if you can speak up.  I know that you tore the veil so I could sit with you in person and hear what you’re saying.  But right now, I think you’re whispering.

 

Home is where my heart longs to be

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I have been feeling so “homesick” lately.  But not for my Minnesota home.  I have been missing old friends that I’ve had to say good-bye to.  Spring is coming, which means another round of saying good-bye to friends who are leaving at the end of this school year.  Missionary life is a constant round of good-byes, and it makes my heart ache. 

I deeply long for Heaven- where I will never again have to say good-bye.  I get so weary of this life.  I want to shout, “Enough already!  I’m ready to go home!!”  I want to jump into the air and just continue going up and up and up, never again feeling my feet thudding back to the earth.  I don’t belong here.  I want to go home.  I am longing for Heaven.  

(I don’t remember if I’ve shared the lyrics to this song before, but I love it.)

 

Going Home

By Sara Groves

I’ve been feeling kind of restless.

I’ve been feeling out of place.

I can hear a distant singing,

A song that I can’t write, and it echoes in what I’m always trying to say.

There’s a feeling I can’t capture.

It’s always just a prayer away.

And I want to know the ending, things hoped for but not seen

But I guess that’s the point of hoping anyway

Going home, I’ll meet you at the table

Going home, I’ll meet you in the air

And you are never too young to think about it

I cannot wait to be home

I’m confined by my senses

To really know what you are like.

You are more than I can fathom

And more than I can guess

And more than I can see with human sight

But I have felt you with my spirit

I have felt you fill this room

And this is just an invitation

Just a sample of the whole

And I cannot wait to be going home!

Going home, I’ll meet you at the table

Going home, I’ll meet you in the air

And you are never too young to think about it

Oh, I cannot wait to be going, to be going home!

Face to face, how can it be?

Face to face, how can it be?

Face to face, how can it be?

And this just an invitation

Just a sample of the whole

And I cannot wait to be going home.

In the Name of Love…

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There is a chapter in the Bible that is commonly called “The Love Chapter”.  No it’s not in Song of Solomon… but if you want a sweet little blush on this Valentine’s Day, read that aloud with your Spouse.  No I’m talking about 1 Corinthians 13.

Here’s a challenge for you today as we focus on Love.  The Bible says “God is love,” but what does that mean?  Here in 1 Corinthians, we have a tangible measure of what Love is.  Try this challenge:  Read 1 Corinthians and insert your name in place of the word “love.”  Now read it again and insert the name “Jesus.”  This is what love should look like.  Jesus is the standard against which all human loves should be compared.  See, we fall short each time.  Jesus is the definition of love in the flesh.  And while you are thinking about THAT definition, think about this measure of love:  God showed his love to us in this way, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Now read this with your name in place of “Love”

Love is patient. Love is kind.  Love does not envy.  Love does not boast.  Love is not proud.  Love is not rude.  Love is not selfish.  Love is not easily angered.  Love keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not enjoy evil but is happy about the truth.  Love always protects. Love always trusts.  Love always hopes.  Love always perseveres.  Love never fails.

(Did you throw up a little in your mouth as you read that?)  Now read that with the name of Jesus in place of “Love.”  That’s who loves YOU.  Happy Valentine’s Day from your Beloved Jesus.