Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Puzzle Faces

another whisper in the every day
our favorite puzzle past time
criss cross of limbs
to bring tiny pieces of cardboard together
and make something beautiful
as the dusty pile is poured
we dive in for our favorites
me searching for the corners, the edges
the frame to box them all in
safe and sound
but not Lauren
she scours the pile for puzzle faces
eyes so they can see her
mouths that can return her smile
a chin she can place as if to lift it
tiny hands she can almost touch with her fingertips
and I get a glimpse of You
the one who seeks us out
in our two dimensional
fragmented jigsaw lives
and pours us out before You
as we all pretend we can make it on our own
one puzzle piece with only a hint
of the real image to come
but You silently sort through the pile
urging us to see beyond the frames
the four corners
the straight edges that trap us in
our four walled boxes
and Who, like my little girl
just wants to look in our faces
return our smiles
lift our chins
touch our hands
and place a bunch of cut up pieces
alongside eachother
knit together
to make something beautiful
something You had in mind all along.

"The heart is a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be." Jeremiah 17:9 (Msg)

"The destiny of each one of us is intended, by the Lord, to enter into the destiny of His entire Kingdom. And the more perfectly we are ourselves the more we are able to contribute to the good of the whole Church . . . Our love for one another must be rooted in a deep devotion to Divine Providence, a devotion that abandons our own limited plans into the hands of God and seeks only to enter into the invisible work that builds His Kingdom." Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Birthday Presence

July 20th
You started something crazy.

They say coincidence is Your way of offering anonymous gifts . . .
I turned 30 on my favorite day of the week
Today, I walked into the church I was baptized in twenty years ago
and into a cloud of Monet memories I have to squint to see
when middle schools fears chased like a man in a Hockey mask
a panicked search for my true self
and led me to the truth of You
when youth group trips weren't just a new place to hang out
but revelations of campfire conversations
and candlelight confessions that welcomed You
in the glowing circles
memories of pew-sitting with my feet waving pendulums below
looking up from my biting fingernails to watch dad lead worship
with his hands up and eyes closed
then Mom would come out from behind the black and white keys
where she painted beauty with her fingertips
to sing with the microphone up
reminding me of a silver ice cream cone
and her eyes would close at a precise peak
and I would close my eyes too and listen
because it was all about You
a weekend visit brought me into a new decade of life
with mom and dad looking at me
and saying without saying that I will always be their little girl
at exactly 10:40am this morning when I turned the big 3-0
my mom and I were singing a duet
and I couldn't remember exactly when
I grew into sounding like her
just like the first time I realized we could share shoes
It was a song of my heart written by Sarah Groves
the perfect reflection of my own modern day Psalms
dancing with the hymn of my heritage
"He's Always Been Faithful" and "Great is Thy Faithfulness"
give and take like the playground swings
growth spurting into hammock prayers with Your word in my lap
the thousand in the crowd along with my bright eyed grinning girl
and the man I love staring like our first date
all blanketed with darkness,
my eye lids curtaining any temptation of a show
and I just sang to You
thanking You for Your
birthday presence.

P.S. I don't feel thirty, and I think it's okay.
I'll always be Your little girl.

"Our life, as individual persons and as members of a perplexed and struggling race, provokes us with the evidence that it must have meaning. Part of the meaning still escapes us. Yet our purpose in life is to discover this meaning, and live according to it. We have therefore, something to live for. The process of living, of growing up, and becoming a person is precisely the gradual increasing awareness of what that something is . . . Therefore this discovery of ourselves is always a losing of ourselves--a death and resurrection . . . not the discovery of ourselves, but of Christ." Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island

"Morning by morning I wake up to find
the power and comfort of God's hand in mine.
Season by season I watch him amazed, in
awe of the mystery of his perfect ways
All I have need of his hand will provide.
He's always been faithful to me
I can't remember a trial or a pain
he did not recycle to bring me gain.
I can't remember one single regret
in serving God only and trusting his hand
All I have need of his hand will provide.
He's always been faithful to me
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
This is my anthem, this is my song, the
theme of the stories I've heard for so long.
God has been faithful, he will be again.
His loving compassion, it knows no end.
All I have need of his hand will provide.
He's always been faithful to me"
Sara Groves, "He's Always Been Faithful"

"I will sing of the LORD's great love forever;
with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations."
Psalm 89:1

Friday, July 11, 2008

Plug and Play

He wants to change
caught up in a fear and failure cyclone
ripple effect mechanical breakdown
he's trying to rewire, replace some parts
test some new technology
and research the DIY world of haystack needles
but he can't see
he's just unplugged
his old best friend somehow erased and re-sketched
into a cosmic santa claus
who doesn't need to check the list again
because he knows which list he's on
an uneventful Christmas morning to come
what used to be his favorite subject
now an outdated legend
of You as a clockmaker
who wound it once and walked away
to leave him stumbling through this world
to a tick and a tock that feels too fast
but there's a word that keeps popping up in his searching
a word he can't get his arms around
like a heavy box he wants to carry
but the angles are all wrong
I can feel it in my wiring
like a silent music of a song You wrote just for me
the rhythm behind my smile and subtle dance to my walk
but when I try to sing my song to him, all he can hear is noise
like him, so many could hear their own songs playing
if they could just
plug in
but I had to find my own outlet
I can't make them find it
but You can.
For three weeks
I'll close my eyes
belt my song to You
with Bono passion for his ears
and theirs.
And watch the light show begin.

"A desperation to change is not enough. In order to sustain the changes, we have to be connected to a power source beyond ourselves--a power source that never wavers, flickers, or leaves us in the dark. We have to move from willpower to the real power that comes from a connection to our creator . . . While our lives include many facets, our spiritual energy is more important than the others, because everything hinges on it. We're created as spiritual beings , and to develop spiritual energy, we have to develop a healthy connection to our Creator . . . We are created to be connected to a larger power source." Kerry and Chris Shook, One Month to Live

"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." John 15: 4-5

"All we have to do, our only role, is to be the branch and connect to the vine. If we are connected to the vine, we'll be spiritually healthy and be filled with his energy. When we forget and start thinking we're the vine instead of the branch, we get stressed out because that's a role we were never created to play . . . You don't have to sweat and strive and work harder, or discipline yourself to be more spiritual through sheer willpower. You're not responsible for producing fruit; Jesus is . . . This is the key for moving from will power to real power." Kerry and Chris Shook, One Month to Live

"You formed us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in You."
Saint Augustine

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Happy 4th! (and 5th and 6th . . . )

Just feelin' blessed this weekend
like a dog with it's head out the window
I'm just grinning and enjoying the ride
my family
my job
my friends
my country
Thanks for loving me way beyond what I deserve
and keeping me from enjoying it too much
so I can keep my eyes open in the wind
and search for ways to share with others
both inside and outside
my little window.

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever."
Psalm 118:1

"What a great time to be alive!" Stephen Mansfield, Freedom and Faith

Saturday, July 05, 2008


I just said no to a great opportunity
claiming immunity for the sake of community
and what You have in mind.
There You go raising the stakes
a stomach ache for soul's awake
and freedom unconfined.
a year ago I would have jumped at the chance
at first glance a logical advance
but then I stopped . . .

to ask You first.

a new calling sounds
the mind confounds this new out of bounds
so much bigger than me.
my plans for Yours
empty junk drawers, passion underscores
without a neon marquee.
listening for dream exchanging
life rearranging in your unchanging
to stop

and ask You first.

flapping my fins
on needles and pins, it's about to begin
diving in to swim upstream.
giving up little
childish noncommittal for a final acquittal
of a selfish regime.
abandoning the golden fleece
for some elbow grease and a senseless peace
all because I stopped

to ask You first.

walking alongside,
learning to abide, matching Your stride
to avoid a collision with standing still
Mind swirls like the little girl
trading pop beads for pearls
toward the center of Your will
to say what You need to say
the next act of the passion play
as I learn to stop

and ask You first.

"Following Christ isn't something that can be done half-heartedly or on the side. It's not a label we can display when it is useful. It must be central to everything we are. If life is a river, then pursuing Christ requires swimming upstream. When we stop swimming, or actively following Him, we automatically begin to be swept downstream." Francis Chan, Crazy Love

"God has something better than this. It's all about pop beads for pearls." Mark Beason, New Community Sermon 7/3/08

"It is hard to bear with people who stand still along the way, lose heart, and seek their happiness in little pleasures which they cling to . . . You feel sad about all that self-indulgence and self-satisfaction, for you know with an indestructible certainty that something greater is coming." Henri Nouwen, With Open Hands

"Greater things are yet to come
Greater things are still to be done in this city."
Chris Tomlin, "God of This City"

"One of the ways to partner with God in bringing order out of the chaos of our lives is to say no to (fast from) doing more activities . . . We need to fast from the idea that we'll miss something if we don't say yes to everything. Jesus himself walked away from some people and situations to keep the priorities of prayer and the kingdom of God first in his life. We are finite. We cannot do everything, we are not called to do everything." Valerie Hess, Spiritual Disciplines Devotional

"Moses said to the LORD, 'O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.' The LORD said to him, 'Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD ? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.'" Exodus 4:10-11

"The exciting thing about the Christian life is that God can break in when you least expect it. . . . Many people over the centuries have tried to find God in all sorts of ways. That desire is certainly good, but as Moses discovered, God is already there . . . That's why prayer is so important in the Christian Life; it helps us stay in touch with God's timing and God's ways . . . You can be sure, God does have a good plan for your life and he uses every detail--even tough times--to accomplish it." Whitney T. Kuniholm, The Essential Bible Guide