Casually, Critically Monday

New kid

What’s the color of your soul?

Hiccups bump the impression that I 

Used to know you somehow.

When did we have our first conversation?

When did you say hello?

Remembering me like I recall this movement:

Familiar twinkle in your eye.

Favorite color is–

Yes!

I’ve seen your soul before.

Rocking hard out to those classic tunes.

You’ve got a King-like reputation but I’m only

Seeing the kid inside.

Happy, sunny Monday.

When did our pal start to walk slow?

Head hanging under the same old hat I see on him all the time.

Every single

Sunny or shady Monday.

Wind blows the cares away

Sometimes

Or else it whips them around to stay.

I’ll find those eyes again in the morning.

She stood there talking quietly with a multi-layered smile.

How I wanted to hear what she had seen!

The moments will not be lost over the decades to come.

Young and breathless

Smooth skin and courageous

Eyes filled with water as she recites the beginning

And I’ve never heard it told so poetically

Thank you for the true story.

In the end, I got arrested.

Trying to run from a window I knocked a hole into.

He shot me but missed by a hair

I wept and collapsed in fear.

How dreadful that angry face–

It was a mistake.

I just tried a little too hard to

Play ball on opening day.

Couldn’t get home to save his life

So, I got arrested instead today.

Now I’ve seen it from them all:

I’m walking the city streets free of cuffs and bars.

No hope is dead until I stop moving.

Lose the fear.

Trust

He’s here.

Next time, I’ll paint the walls a different shade

But for now,

Stick to Lemon Bars and Doilies instead of picture frames.

be unlike him to you

I promise

Whether it seems nice now or not,

I will never leave.

I forgive you

From now until forever for

Everything you do.

Nobody can hurt me as bad as they hurt him, so

I decided.

If he doesn’t leave me

I won’t

Be unlike him to you.

Lips zipped

Over my loud heart

Trying to be funny–occasionally.

The aching

Ignored

Blue eyes

Holding secret sores.

As long as you faithfully

Serve

So shall I.

And that is the end

My Fighting Friend.

P.I. Me

Purple vessels. Red veins. Blue secrets inside a body.
I think I can see through the skin of this one.

Tell me what trickery. Kick out the box’s ends.

They run away at the sight of confusion, but the chaos draws me in.

No, but it’s clear as mud and

I love the feel of clay under my knees, over my hands.
An endurance test, that’s what it is. Old fashioned.

Steadfast love always conquers in the end; I hereby will myself to be a

Truly snoopy friend.

01/19/2016

In the details I swim. Every moment the clock ticks only a second or a few,
But,

To my mind and heart and body, each second aches by bountiful as an age.
In the details I swim, uncertain of when I might get out again.

Left and right, no lack of entertaining thoughts in my sight, but the day drags on and

I’m wearying faster than my friends.
I can’t get out.
The detailed water feels too delicious all around me.

But I wonder if, some day soon, I will need a rescue ship.

On my big, fluffy bed when it’s late and,

When the entertaining thoughts keep me awake,

Tears of exhaustion emerge from the depths of my being and it rains and the sky gets dreary.

Who is swimming near? Who can see?

Most assuredly a heart that has been given to me,

But which one?

It never looks or acts like what I’m expecting.

And don’t I forget, do you see?

I am not the architect of true happiness in anything.
Details all around me, keeping my spirit awake.

God will yet astound me with the connections through me He will make.

Destiny: It Isn’t What I Thought It Would Be

No more pretending. No more denying. I am not the animal I imagined I would be when I was quite young and I had a dream.Crafting myself was within my power. How did I end up this way?

The waters rushing over my body grew stronger as I strove in deeper to the heart of what I desired. The waters rushed cold but the sun above me kept my heart alive every single stressful hour of that horrible, long time. Here’s the story of the swimming and what became of it.
Pushing my body through the rushing waves to try and find a grip against their might, I hoped I could swim it without a foot on the bottom, but that was taking far more stamina than I could muster. Years went by, I tried it every day for one—two—two and a half—three—three and three quarters, oh the end is near! Four years of just trying to get my foot up off the rocks to swim against the waves in my own strength.

The current was of professors with glasses and some with long hair. They came speaking English, Spanish and Japanese; they came teaching Chinese American Lit and the History of the English Language. Every hour of lessons swept over my body like a powerful wave of a river’s fresh water. Smells I’d never smelt before and how the cold, unending current did rob the strength from me.

When I hit the pillow at night, I was a rock once rough and full of hopes to be a certain shape, but the waves rushing over my body day after day had changed my very mind and heart in to a smooth rock that looked exactly like every other rock around me. I was losing my identity as I chose to jump in every day and fight the waves.

When I was younger, I used to be a princess. Preciously appreciated for kindness toward children, dedicated in instructing those below me. I was quiet and diligent in receiving words from those above, the old relished my sweet, youthful beauty; the young used me as a target for their growing character and behavior. Purpose filled my hours and I spent free time creating stories to delight my friends and future children.

Then, one day, the lot told me I’d grown up enough and it was time to jump in and see what I was made of: In I went to the river of a college education.

Wash over me another year, another hour, I’m trying to become an English Major and it’s taking more than everything in me.
The end of my swimming was the day I graduated: just a few hours and I let go my force on my muscles. My identity was smoothed out, I was only a common-shaped mind and heart, all the hope of unique life beaten out of me and thinking in a “please them no matter what it takes” kind of way. I was carried in the current, I had sunk to the bottom, among the other smoothed out rocks. I slithered down in the crevices and wondered where I might end up. Certainly, it wasn’t going to be the amazing novelist life I’d dreamed of so many years ago.
I’m not sure how it happened except that God must be infinitely kind and my parents must have prayed for me throughout my life such that He might answer in such a time as that, but God came and picked me up out of the water right after graduation. It didn’t feel like a good thing. It didn’t look like a good thing. I actually told everyone I knew that it was a “temporary situation.” The goal of my life was still to swim on my own, but God had put me in a sunny spot in the nearby forest, sitting in the dirt with clover growing around me, it was a simple station. Humbly, I began to serve sandwiches and bake muffins. All the color came out of my clothes for the sake of a dress code, and I couldn’t find enough strength or guts to make a run for it.

Do you know what God was doing when he gave me a job in a coffee shop across the street from my house with a living situation so tight I had nowhere to even think of creatively writing? He was cutting me off from my dream. He was cutting me off from my idea that I could work to earn my happiness; that I could work to earn a unique place in the river. God just picked me right out and put me somewhere entirely different because—He saw that I would be more beautiful in the forest on the dirt right under the little green clovers. He knew I’d be enjoyed far more there where the grass needed something cute to look at, someone sweet to make its breakfast sandwiches, something generous to bake it banana bread.

Kids, I didn’t want to be what I am today. It wasn’t in my plan and it wasn’t something the big people with the questions, “What do you want to do with your life?” could possibly imagine. Only God could make the beautiful person I am today by giving me such a responsibility, by cutting me off from what I put my identity in (writing and being intellectual). Only God could take me out of who I wanted to be and make me who I was designed to be. This story fits and I fit neatly, easily, but satisfyingly and purposefully into it. I’ve never been so motivated and fulfilled as I am doing the things I didn’t know I ought to do. 
Whoever you are and whatever you’re doing, stop.

Does it feel like trying to swim against a current, just to get your foot off the bottom and suddenly you just can’t do it any more?

Have your edges turned into nothing until you feel like you’ve got no identity at all and nobody appreciates you?

Perhaps you’re serving the wrong masters.

Maybe you’re trying to make yourself instead of letting God hold your hand and put you so clearly in to a position that appears inglorious to you.

His yoke is so easy: to the eyes that have been staring at artificial light it looks lame and dusty at first. But, His dusty job is the path to true glory, so take the way.

Take His way and let go of whatever plan has been evading your grasp for these years.

Enjoy God.

Before you know it, you’ll be serving kings and being adored whenever you walk out your front door. Not because you’re going to be shiny but because who you serve will shine over you and make your heart full.

Today, I’m having to relearn how to write so that I can tell you what He has done in my life these past years. God bless you. Have courage and let go of what isn’t His idea. In the end, you will have a deep happiness, a heart swelling with thankfulness, humility, and joy.

Take it from someone know knows. 

Working for God

Sometimes the work we do for God is just practice, but He doesn’t tell us that. We hear the fire alarm just like we would if it were a real fire. Or, to put it more realistically, we hear the call to take on a new project to represent the cause of Christ and we think, “This is it! This is what I’ve been waiting for!”
It goes well for a while and we put in our time and prayer to keep it centered in Him and to honor Him, but then one day somebody knocks a leg out from under what we were building and it falls completely to the ground. It’s a face-plant, the structure fractures beyond repair, we are crushed and we cry and we feel like a failure but— it looks like— wait— was that thing so important to us that we let it define our worth? Was I building something “For the Lord!” that looked so totally stellar and showed all the “lost and hurting” people around me how well I was keeping up with God? My project was bringing inspiration and healing to them, I was literally being Christ to all these adoring people! Look how cool my proje—

If it becomes an idol, it gets obliterated.

If we allow our work (even our cause for Christ, our calling, our “destiny”) to define us, God lets go His hold on it and the entire thing collapses.

It feels like fire. It burns our insides out. We gasp for air (can’t breathe smoke, guys) and our eyes get big because we can’t quite feel our identity any longer.

“Who am I if not that awesome person I once knew? What have I if not that fantastic dream I was drawing up with The Lord?!”

It’s confusing.

Because we thought since it was for Him and with Him, we were doing all right and He was going to sustain it forever. Turns out, God is bigger than our little projects. He isn’t crushed if they fall apart because He made the very fabric of earth beneath and breath within us.

When my “dream/project” collapsed, I didn’t know who I was, but I knew one thing with certainty: I still had God. And, if it was true what I’d read about Him being the one who made me, He knew who I was meant to be. So, perhaps, if I’d lost it, He could recreate it. If He built me, He can build my entire life, can’t He?

Instead of doubting Him (which I’ve read isn’t such a pleasing thing to God, but take your example from Man. Ever met a man who likes it when you doubt His ability? Haha! Nope! Me either!), I chose to have faith that He just might be exactly who He says He is.
The project you’ve been working on for your King, well, get a good look at how much you love it and realize

It could and will get taken away

any

day.

All your enemies are looking for ways to use it as a weakness in you.

(Better get it off a throne in your heart before that tactic actually succeeds against you!)

Your father above, who is on your side, is just watching to make sure your heart doesn’t get tricked into believing that the project defines you. If everybody knows you by your work and that’s all you see of yourself, the structure of it will likely be set on fire soon. If you can, take the time to place your identity once again in who He is in your life and what He wants you to be: in love with Him and Him alone above all earthly things or human beings.

God just wants us to rest in His love for us, to know who we are based only on His voice in our ear/heart. Sometimes our towers topple and it breaks us inside. That break is so good. Let it burn and burn up completely. Only when the things we love are tested in the fire can we truly be free, strong, stable, fixed and secure in The Truth.

Let nothing define you except what God says.
Just something I read this morning that got my mind stirring:

“He who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

John 3:31-36

Run Your Race and I’ll Run Mine

Some people don’t know when to quit. I guess I was one of those at a few points in my life; quit trying to possess me and maybe I’ll be able to smile again. What do I do? Once I used to walk around with craving eyes, searching innocent bystanders for comforting conversation. The problem wasn’t them, it was just myself. Unhappiness can’t find happiness in happy faces. Unhappy must take itself to a quiet space under the stars and let The Word talk it into better shape. Nothing inside wants to hear it, all the limbs and feels may rebel, but that Word is the only thing that can heal it. In the midst of taking the medicine, unhappiness will change its shape to humility before the Great King and then He will come down and make humility less alone. In His presence, there is fullness of joy, so, what’s more to say?
Go get your heart in The Word and yeah, you’ve got to read it out loud. Health to all flesh, even your bones. And the earth and animals around you benefit from it, too. They’re eagerly awaiting you take your true place as an heir of God.

So perhaps you’re very romantic. And likely you’re capable of making another person very happy. But it can’t be me. I’ve tried to explain it, but sometimes what I know escapes language. Oh, in fact, it happens quite often. And if you don’t already know what I’ve realized, you’ll have to learn it on your own. I’m looking for someone who already—ah, how comforting. He already knows. The perfect way of reading me. Smart but not an alec. Jumpin’ Jivin’, wonderful at everything, except maybe dancing. I’m waiting, watching for that man. Come my way some fantastic day. I’ll keep on hoping for him.

Onward and upward, my friend!

The more we face now the greater tests we’ll take later on, just keep ye anchored in The Lord.

Yes, He lets us hurt as we work along. If Coach told us we could stop running the instant we felt a stab or burn, we’d never run any day, any place, or any time. Hello and duh! I’ve got to remind myself. Muscles grow. It gets to be more fun. Here we go, come on boys, let’s run! Run this race without short-cutting until we’re done.