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.

What Love Does

When you give your heart away

There is floating in between

A place of honest giving

Trust in how it will be received

The truth in giving love

Is to draw from our Redeemer

The One who gave it all

To the frail and flawed receivers

Faded flower calling in colors

Take a second look before you pass

New does not always mean best

Return to the the richer past

Knowing and loving and being true

Words to solve a puzzle

Understanding why is not so bad

Soak into my loving nuzzel

The question of how does not matter

My heart has been rooted in God

Loving a man that is in a battle

Is a wife’s holy and graceful nod

Moving to the next me brigade

Is nothing compared to commitment

A vow to be what I could not be

Without my Saviour’s commission

A love was protrayed in agony

A sheep praying for her wolves

Nailed to a cross with a silent prayer

Sacrifice is what love does

Apekdechomai (Assiduously Waiting)

Shifting sand and pulling waves

I struggle to keep my balance

Longing heart desire craves

Recall the accepted challenge

Cooling water ebb and flow

Await the next relief

Timely answers held in shadow

Faith beyond belief

New year dawns with stealth approach

Creeping near my soul

Time has passed with tears and love

A healed heart becomes whole

Paused behind the starting line

Poised to take my stance

Anticipation for sound of blast

Strength builds to take the chance

How long before the race is won

Seeps doubt into my mind

Eyes glance up and see the Judge

Hope rests in His sacrifice

A love so vast and worthy

A man so real and true

Jesus came to lay the track

The Way to make it through

This banner raised above my year

A word for hope and wait

Patience with excitement brews

Apekdechomai is the gate.

True Christmas

For those of us who are hidden

By the twinkle of Christmas lights

Cloaked by the carols and merry

Our souls are shining bright

The Kingdom where it all began

Shimmers in everlasting position

The most lovely of all gifts is waiting

Filled with glorious redemption

Tucked underneath a Savior’s arms

Born into a world warring and blue

He holds the sacrificial present

A knight in shining armor kind of rescue

The dreams in our hearts that lie dormant

Our childhood fantasies seem failed

In a blink of an eye they awaken

To the pain of His hands that were nailed

This holiday we know has been stolen

By the rush of shopping and glee

And so we hide beneath tears of loss

But this lament is not where He leaves

Shadows removed by the lights of love

The twinkle can reveal rather than hide

A tree represents the remnant of God

The stump that seemed dead reignites

Hands lifting high we give in worship

What our souls and ours hearts truly need

A focus away from our own selfishness

Notice places of hunger craving seeds

Shifting holy ground is shaken by grace

What was hidden can emerge in mercy

Tears salt the earth and we celebrate

Rejoice in satisfying what was thirsty

Christmas steps into the lost and weary

With the journey of adventurous souls

Come out of hiding with heads lifted high

Walk forth in truth of the ancient scrolls.

Life In Spite of the Scars

This Holy Book, where life is found

Rips up the hardness in my heart’s ground

Voiceless pondering, things of old

Solitary mining for treasures and gold

Lonely places in a discarded life

Filling with redemption as the bride of Christ

Hope and mercy, graceful love

Lands on the runway from Heaven above

No need to hurry or scrape for a chance

Your desires are known by a Father’s glance

Abiding in strength, when others see weak

I am learning to listen to a Man who was meek

Yeshua, Jesus, Mighty Counselor, I Am

Light in the darkness, like pearls in a clam

A heart that is open, and eyes that will see

Partake in the goodness meant for you and me

Do you sleep in peacefulness, and wake full of joy?

Life is a gift, like a child’s Christmas toy

Morning by morning, new life and new day

Truth and purpose, on my knees when I pray

No matter your worry, your sins, or your doubt

This Lover of souls will not leave you without

Redemption comes to you right where you are

In the middle of darkness, in spite of the scars

The wounds that burn will find ways to inspire

Your path has been lit by God’s Holy fire

He will use you to bring justice and might

Take up your armor, and prepare to fight

Your orders were written in the ink of blood

Rise and renew what sin has undone

We will never be ready with perfection in view

But sowing with hope, He will make all things new.

Surrendered to Seeds- A Secret Lament

The battles and questions do not give way

When hope is spoken come what may

Years of prayer and faithful trust

Leave us in waiting, ashes and dust

With lifted eyes we’ve hoped to see

Our desires answered, binds set free

Betrayals and sickness, cancer and loss

Seemingly drowning like leaves under moss

We find a comfort in secret lament

Rich in darkness, soil prayers are sent

Surrendered to seeds despairing to grow

Silently pressed into earth below

Quieted language and resting in dirt

We learn of sweetness being honest in hurt

Sadness and tears soften the ground

Water and salt clears sight and sound

We listen for breathing and look for light

In passionate peace grows strength and might

Husks of hope will break open in time

We wait together holding, yours, ours, mine.

 

Written in honor of Scott and Kaleen ❤️

Bound to Endure- Thoughts on Psalm 25:5

“Escort me along the way; take me by the hand and teach me. For You are the God of my increasing salvation; I have wrapped my heart into Yours!” David (Psalm 25:5 TPT)

“…Lead me into Your truth… I wait…” (NASB)

The Passion Translation threw me here, so I dug in to find how waiting was translated into wrapping my heart into God’s. Language is one of my favorite things, and what a delicious treat I found! By search and discovery in the Hebrew Lexicon, the root word in the Bible for waiting is ‘qavah’, meaning to twist or bind like a rope. So where does waiting tie in? (Pun intended!) Reading further into this rich word I found clarity and insight. To wait involves strength to endure. And to ‘qavah’ is to bind, be strong, hold fast to the hope of God, and to wait on Him. With Him. Bound to His heart.

God has used one simple word to blow my mind this morning. I am learning more by trying to understand less. Lofty concepts built on simple truths are inspiring, and I am reading several books with great insight and wisdom. I appreciate the wonderful lessons learned by others that are shared in black and white. But where God is taking me is foundational. If I bind myself to God first, I have the strength I need to endure. My story can inspire others. Yet true peace and wisdom comes from each unique journey taken by a heart bound to God’s. My strength lies in the simple yet profound and life changing act of binding my heart to His and letting Him escort me through life. I am never alone, and He will not change. Attaching myself to anything or anyone else must come second. People and circumstances will change or fail me, But God never will.

Lord, Unwrap my heart from unholy things. Forgive my carelessness with my soul. I bind myself wholly to You and seek to grow in strength while I wait for my future to unfold. Help me to live with integrity and yet not push others away. Let others be drawn to Your heart through me and lead me away from anything that separates me from You. Protect my life with Your covering and let the blood of Jesus purify my heart. In His name, amen.

Hearts in the Harvest- Thoughts on 2 Corinthians 4:16-17

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV

Paul puts into words so beautifully why we do not lose heart. We- meaning those who have surrendered our lives and hearts completely to Jesus. He speaks of being afflicted, crushed, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down, and then points to the miracle of being renewed day by day. This is the opposite of what makes sense in the face of so much hardship. A full surrender to the eternal hope of God’s care is the key that unlocks the chains of trouble in the physical world. There is an eternal glory without end on the other side of this world, and our current troubles can be viewed as light and fleeting when we believe this truth, and let our faith guide and guard our hearts.

I find myself struggling to communicate the depth of my hope sometimes. To say I have surrendered my heart fully to Jesus seems to fall with flippancy on the hearts of those in the midst of despair. I feel the need to explain my own pain I have walked through to justify my hope journey and faith walk now. I was gently reminded this morning that my first commitment is to God. My own disciplines and cultivation of the intimacy and relationship with Jesus is where my hope springs from. I must tend to this and let God tend to the ways He uses me in the lives of others. I can’t save the world on my own, but I can live my life as a testimony of God’s saving grace. I can love and I can speak of the wonder of God’s power in my life. I can stand in the gap, lifting prayer as the bridge for those who so desperately seek answers to their pain and hardship. It is only when you choose to surrender fully to God that freedom will come. This is a personal choice, and one I have to make day after day.

Lord, thank You for the hope You have planted deep in my heart. Let the harvest come. Thank You for the renewing power of Your love. Let the harvest come. Help me to guard my own heart and cultivate the tenderness of compassion and humility while serving the needs of others. Let the harvest come. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Rivers in the Wasteland- Thoughts on Isaiah 43:18-19

“Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19

There is a time and a season to ponder and process the past. But, if we are so stuck in the shame of our failures or remain too long in the pain of what’s been hurtful, we will miss the new miracles of God. Likewise, looking back to the good and wishing for it to be so now, keeps us blinded to the good God has for us next.

I love the new album from Needtobreathe. There is a song called Bullets, “Some bullets that you chose can’t go back in the gun…. Don’t let your heart be stone.” Shame and unforgiveness are on both ends of the bullet. And both can make our hearts be stone. Jesus takes the gun from the hand of the shooter, and heals the wound of the bullet in the victim. He makes a way through the wasteland no matter how terribly dark it may be. There is light and healing. There is a new life-filled stream that can spring from the desert. If God created all that is here, why should I doubt he will create newness and bring forth life in the dead places now?

We must plant our feet on the holiness of the present. This ground where streams spring up in the driest deserts of hopelessness. This roadway that God will make in the wilderness where we can’t see the forest from the trees. I am staking my heart’s tent in the present and will camp here with my eyes on God. He promises to do something new. He redeems our past and parts the waters of the present to make a way through the mighty waters to our future with Him.

Lord, You formed me and chose me. I am Yours, so I will trust that You are doing something new. Even if I can’t see it now, help me remain free from the snares of the past, and live with hope and expectation for those rivers in the wasteland. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Truth in Heart- Thoughts on 2 Corinthians 3:4-5

“Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy comes from God.”

2 Corinthians 3:4-5 NASB

I love how this reads from The Passion Translation “… our true competence flows from God’s empowering presence.” (v. 5b)

“To let God make us, instead of painfully trying to make ourselves; to follow the path that his love shows us, instead of through conceit or cowardice or mockery choosing another; to trust Him for our strength and fitness as the flowers do, simply giving ourselves back to Him in grateful service,—this is to keep the laws that give us the freedom of the city in which there is no longer any night of bewilderment or ignorance or uncertainty.” Sarah Orne Jewett, A Country Doctor

Our hearts bear the written testimony of Jesus in our lives. When we rely on God’s strength we lay down our fears of not being enough. We shake off the doubts of God being enough for everything we need. That he will fulfill our heart’s desire. Where our faith and God’s adequacy meet there is power to break through stony hearts and write love on the flesh. Whether on our own or others.

Just this morning I woke feeling heavy. I have had many mornings of not wanting to get out of bed lately. I realized it was the weightiness of me being self sufficient. Or trying to be anyway. Somewhere along the way I had picked up many of the heavy things I had laid down at God’s feet. So, I kneeled in prayer letting it go of my grip on these things once again. And then I opened today’s reading in 2 Corinthians. I just shook my head, smiled at God, and said, “thank you.” Yes, He is our sufficiency. He gives us the ability to do life well even in the struggle. Even in the not yet. Especially in the waiting for prayers that seem so long unanswered.

Lord, Forgive my self sufficient attempts to answer my own prayers. Thank You for Your reassurance that You are enough. Your love is the strong and secure foundation for my life. Let my heart reveal what I believe about You, and replace the lies with truth. It is not up to me and I can trust in You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

Shake Open Hands

by Jennifer Leigh

Let go, loosen grip, and untighten the hold

Fists clenched in clinging, turns inward, heart cold

Cinched in, and cramped reeling, aching for peace

If only, hold tighter, squeeze life, no release

Step back, breathe in, forced air into lungs

Envision your hands, letting go of the rungs

This ladder you climb, is taking you where?

Are you headed toward freedom, or hell unaware?

Heavy load burdens, drags closely behind

Collected and carried, for life hoped to find

Fall to your knees, hands and face slam in dust

Tripped by your pride, presumption you must

And yet as you finally, force in the still

Stay in place for a moment, pause quiet until

Hazy view, clearing slowly, glimpse blurry at first

Sudden eyes have new vision, cease thinking the worst

Light gleams before you, hands reach from above

A Savior reminds you, of unfailing Love

Stand and release, tight grip holding your heart

Let His grace revive you, heavy load, ripped apart.

Shake open hands, stretch fingers out wide

Walk into new freedom, where God will provide

Peace will cover, like new fallen snow

Renewing soul weary, new strength as you go.