Memorial Day Tribute 2019

Gratitude gleams in the sunshine

Reflecting on tears that have fallen

Red, white, and blue, stripes given

From a hero who walks life uncommon

A call of the duty that beckons

Brothers and sisters in arms

They take up the cross that burdens

To protect and keep love from harm

Pause and reflect on the cost

Notice the eyes of those who have served

Join me and pause to see them

These warriors with hearts submerged

Sometimes the rough exterior

Will hide their hidden kindness

They deserve the searching

Treasures found in exteriors that blind us

Losses and pain kept secret

Heavy like balls and chains

Lets us be seekers with gracefulness

To bind mercy in the life unchanged

Honor to those who gave their lives

Forgiveness for those who remain

Hope in the promise of Jesus

Who’s love sacrifice was one in the same

He is the only Redeemer

The One who understands our pain

No matter the life we walk while on earth

His love and healing will stay

I lift my hope this Memorial Day

For those who are lost and alone

That the sadness you feel would be planted

Into beauty this fought for freedom can grow.

Beauty and Truth- Thoughts on Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.” (Philippians 4:8 The Voice)

Here is a final attempt to show the Philippians (and us) the way to experience peace. The battles of perplexity and anxiousness are won first in our thoughts. If we can fill our minds with the light of truth, all things will be seen more clearly. If we find our way to the beauty, and behold what is lovely, good, and right, our hearts will settle. Even when faced with the most difficult situation, or a person causing us to despair. We have no control over how or where they stand. Where I stand matters more than anyone or anything else. And what I choose to let my mind be filled with will determine my response. My actions are what others see. My words are what they will hear. What flows from my heart into the world will tell of the well it draws from.

My mind is the engine which generates judgement or love. Since God is the judge, I must generate love. Loving God should fuel loving others the way He loves me. I want to generate this love. So I must determine my steps by filling my mind with beauty and truth. What I let my heart feed on is the fuel for my life. Because my heart is the wellspring of life, I want to filter and protect its contents. Just like my water filter at home. I go to the best source of water I have, and then let the filter clean what I cannot see. Instead of judging others based on what I see, I want to let love and God’s truth be the filter. So much in our world seems dark, and yet I have seen light in otherwise dark places. Situations that seem to be lost causes, or stories of terrible events at the hands of people have moved me to look for the heart of the matter. Not to excuse but to look for redemption, the way God redeemed me. God loves with an unconditional love, and this is the way I am to love. It is a difficult thing sometimes, yet each day is a chance to judge less and love more. When I ponder judgement, my pride takes a shadowy stance on my heart. When I ponder how to bring forth God’s love and fill my mind with how He sees, there is light and peace.

Heavenly Father, You are a good and gracious God. Out of Your Heavenly Kingdom flows life and redemption. Thank You for sending Your Son Jesus to us as a human just like me. I am moved to tears when I think of this love. You did not reign down judgement, but sacrificial mercy and grace. Yes, there are consequences for sin, but I leave this judgement to You. Help me to see with Your eyes, and love with Your heart wrapped with mine. Let my hands and feet be in sync with Your plan and will for me. Fill my mind with Your goodness and truth. In Jesus’ name amen.

Study Notes on James 1:9-11

Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their position [as a Christian, called to the true riches and to be an heir of God], and the rich [person ought to glory] in being humbled [by being shown their human frailty], because like the [wild] flower of the grass they will pass away. For the sun comes up with a scorching heat and parches the grass; its flower falls off and its beauty fades away. Even so will the rich [person] wither and die in the midst of their pursuits. James 1:9-11 (taken from multiple translations)

Jesus is the great equalizer. The riches of His Kingdom are available to all who accept. From wisdom and doubting in the previous verses to rich or poor, our circumstances change, but God never does. The beauty in life will fade but is no less beautiful. The low and difficult times are hard, but the promise of an abundant, everlasting Kingdom is so much more!

The last part of verse 11 caught true in my heart; fading away in the midst of my pursuits is not how I want my life to go. In the midst means in the middle. I don’t want the pursuit of anything to take the place of experiencing the riches of what God gives. When I pursue Jesus, there is an intimate and powerful satisfaction that feels like a dream coming true. That feeling of desire being fulfilled is like an epic and victorious scene in a movie where a long awaited breakthrough was needed. Nothing in this world has ever made me feel that way. When He moves in my life, there is no doubt that God is in it. So, I must keep enough empty space in my life to have room for what He wants to give. In the same way, when I am brought low, I want to be like the woman who honored Jesus by washing His feet with her tears. By not staying low I would miss this beautiful opportunity. I want to walk in the low places with eyes to see others there, with humility and a servant’s heart.

Lord, take my pride and refine me. Take my cravings and fill me. Remove anything in my life that is in the way of Your purpose. Help me to make more room in my heart and my life for You. I am grateful for the beauty and also the pain. In my afflictions I am closer to You. Thank You for the hope and promise of a forever Kingdom with You. I am looking forward to seeing all things made new. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Beauty is Growing

  

We are so blessed

yet we complain

Surrounded by mercy

even in pain

Collecting my tears

like droplets of rain

Blink open my eyes

to see life again

Don’t move away

when flood rushes in

Climb up and go higher

than sadness and sin

Through prayer and time

God reaches in

Once flooded and frightening

God does a new thing

Soil becomes richer

new life He will bring

Where once there was silence

a song you will sing

Seeds you have planted

without even knowing

Our soul Gardener knows

beauty is growing.

Eve’s Daughter

Eve2

The questions remain

Lodged deep in her heart

Where did I come from?

Where did it start?

There must be a reason

My soul feels alive

In the purest of moments

With nothing to hide

Raindrops on oceans

A knowing glance

The simplest notions

Not fate, not chance

A movement inside you

Tears rushing tide

Emotions tip rising

Heart open wide

The remnant of Eden

Anchors my soul

Created for beauty

I am His. This I know.

Eve

Eve

In the beginning there was beauty

There was man and Eve

Life given in such magnitude

And freedom

Her Creator, her Maker

He designed her in Love

In His image she was formed

Eyes to see color

Ears to hear melody

Hands to touch softness

Feet to journey

Heart to fill with delight

Beauty to share

A man to love and be loved

But darkness loomed

In a moment of temptation

Eve chose the serpent

She lost sight of God

All seemed lost

Shame and guilt covered

Eve is exposed

And yet her story

Does not end in guilt

She is redeemed

She is restored

She is renewed

She is our mother of life

And her story is not over

Neither is ours

Our daily hope

Is Jesus.

ifequip.org

Beauty from Pain

Moments of joy and life full of love

Drift and depart through my days

Washing over and receding in spin

Like the waves of the billowing sea

Departing and loss is painful and yet

The promise of life still returns

Surprised by joy with bloom in hand

Like a gentleman courting his bride

Riding the tide and awaiting return

Learning to breathe once again

Push into the freedom of letting it go

Knowing Your love will sustain

Lord help me and keep me

And use me for good

Turn ashes to beauty from pain.

Healed Heart Gleams

What stirs in heart at depths it seems

The whole of quiet, nature beams

Take a look and longer gaze

At what you pass in hurried days

Find the rest, your soul that thirsts

Remember love, remember firsts

Once wild desire, taken for granted

Trace back and see what seeds you planted

The tree that grows needs time to flare

Slow down, stop running, reaching for air

Hold to that which firmly rooted

Anchors soul, press play, now muted

Let beauty’s music guide your heart

Hope revealed, seen now in part

Gather treasures growing where

Your passion planted life once bare

Remember promise sown with vision

God graced you with a worthy mission

Humble down and let love rise

Cherish treasures, choices wise

Cease in searching empty dreams

Once cold and broken, healed heart gleams.

Words and Photo by Jennifer JLS

1/23/15

Love to Love

Sometimes eternity, reaches to me

Jolts me awake, and my eyes really see

I drink in the soulful, heart wrenched melody

Notes play out pain, free rest gives to beauty

And therein lies life, right in front of me

 

Life loves to live

And love lives to love

Give me a love where life gives all in love

 

Warm washes coldness, chips away steel

Bringing forth mystery, heart songs I can feel

Love sparks courageous, seeks layers to peel

Give in to hear music, unfolding to real

Reciprocal joy, follows steps on the heel

 

Life loves to live

And love lives to love

Give me a love where life gives all in love

 

Another day dawns, birds singing in flight

Returning the favor, of God’s morning light

Echo the singing soul, battle songs for the fight

Beautiful balance, of wrongs blended right

Step forth a new chapter, new songs for new might

 

I love to live

And my life loves to love

God gave me a life to show love loving love

By JLS
10/1/2014