In the Wake

In the wake of the storm
A stillness unsettling
We dwell here
Searching for your peace

Pieces of our brokenness collected
Bringing them to our father
With tears streaming
Not realizing your joy at these gifts

You delight in your children
Yet we hide, ashamed
Believing we are naked in the garden
Not realizing you have already seen

We are not disappointments
Works in progress
You smile upon us
At every step

Every time we stumble
You are there to catch us
Not disappointments
As we chase you

Striving, ever striving
Not accepting rest
Afraid to settle
Your voice says, “just be still”

Leaps and bounds are not expected
The journey is what we were made for
You fall in love with our story
As we tell your story

We battled the storm
And you were with us
Your hand upon us
Carrying us when we couldn’t go on

Now here, in the wake
There is a stillness, unsettling
We can dwell here
Finding your peace

Blogging Everyday in July|Last Day

It’s the last day of the month.  I made it.  This is it.

Today, I wrote a poem for someone wonderful that I haven’t known that long.  Marsha asked me to write a poem for her when I said I was gonna write one for her husband.  I’ve been wanting to write it for a while, but I’ve been so drained.  But today, it finally happened.

Mama Duck
Mama duck
With all her ducks in a row
Always having someone to care for
Because she was made to care

She knows her quiet place
She knows that there, she can find rest
Her empty nest is never an empty nest
Her heart is always full

Healed
Redeemed
As someone who brings healing
As someone who carries freedom

Mother, daughter, sister, friend
Both known and unknown
Safe in the mystery
Comfort in the open places

Holy
Loved
She reflects the Father
As she dwells in his gaze

No need to search for something more
More is already given
Overflowing
Find peace beneath her wings
Home.

Blogging Everyday in July|A Poem for a Pastor

I moved to Florence and inadvertently claimed the Ark as my church.  The Ark is a lighthouse to this area.  Lighthouses tend to follow me (or lead me?) wherever I go.  The college I went to uses a lighthouse as its symbol.  The church I went to in Mammoth was called Lighthouse and is a lighthouse to the nations.  And now I’m here, part of yet another lighthouse.  A place where the lost can be found.  A place where maybe I’ll be found.
A couple weeks ago my pastor(?) and some of my friends came to my place of work for a coffee and a hang.  I sat with them on my break and Phillip Clemons, the father of the Ark, the pastor, found out I was a writer and was blogging everyday in July and said I should write a poem about him.  The thing is, when I’m part of a church, I’m usually far too involved, either because my school requires me to or… no, that’s pretty much it; church has been a requirement of school for me for a long time.  So of course I had relationship with the pastors.  But here, for the first time in a long time, I have had the option to blend in.  So I haven’t really gotten to know my pastor.  So much, that it’s strange to call him that.  Am I one of his sheep?  (Because the word pastor comes from the Latin word for shepherd.)  But I have chosen the Ark.  Because I love the community I have found there.  Thus Phillip Clemons is my pastor.
Anyway, he said I should write a poem about him.  So I did.  But since I don’t actually know him, this was a challenge.  Because I’m not perfect.  I’ll stop stalling now.

Phillip Clemons
Wise like an owl
Fierce like an eagle
Taking flight
Taking flight
Taking flight

Over and over again
Soaring
Leading fearlessly
Because there is nothing to fear

The roar of a lion
Fire is called down
Lives change
Hearts heal
All because of obedience

Blessing
Abundant blessing
Blessing begets blessing begets blessing
Simply blessed

A voice worth hearing
A call worth responding
A vision gifted
Clear as day

Father
Protector
Helper to the helpless
Finder of the lost

Wise like an owl
Fierce like an eagle
Took flight
Born to soar

Unbroken Joy

You are the rhythm I dance to
No one else can match it
The song in my soul belongs to you
Just as I do

I sprint through fields of truth
For a moment to touch your beauty
I can’t quite grasp you in my hand
You open up my whole arms
My whole heart
Taking over my being

Here I am
Take me
All my pieces
You don’t make broken people
In your presence
I am whole

Father

You’re a good father
And you are my father
A perfect father
Yet I find ways to forget
I run from you
Making mistakes
Because I want to
Because I know I’m not perfect
And I find ways to prove it

Why would anyone look up to me?
Finding reasons not to forgive myself
Even though you already have
Because you’re my good father
That’s simply who you are

Yet it’s even more complex
Than that
Isn’t it?
You gave it all
As my father
Died as my friend
Paying all my debts
And wrapping me in your loving arms

You give me all your mercies
None that I deserve
And take my hand
To walk with me
Through the destruction I cling to

I should be broken at your feet
Thrown from your sight
Left for dead
Yet you search for me

You find me so easily
Never tiring of this hide and seek
Teaching me a new game
I just never got the hang of it

I don’t want to search anymore
You tell me you were never hidden
As I bask in your power
Dwell in your presence
Prayers on my lips
My soul sings
As you dance with me

Oh Mighty Smiter

A girl I know brought a guy that I kinda know to church on Sunday.  I say that I only kinda know him, because he’s a bartender at the resort I work at and we’ve had conversations, but I’ve heard a lot more about him that may or may not be true.  We get along and he’s funny, and I’m not going to have a problem with him that he didn’t give me himself.  I do my best not to judge people by what I hear about them.
Anyway, I was in the sound booth and they both came over to say hi and he said to me, “I’m surprised that I’m still alive, walking in here.  I thought I would have caught on fire.”  And then he looked up and said, “Please don’t kill me!” As if he was talking to God.

After he walked away I started thinking about where this way of thinking came from.  Why do people who don’t know God immediately go to the idea that he is angry and a smiter and a killer.   In the movie Bruce Almighty, Bruce calls out to God and says, “Smite me, Oh mighty smiter!”  But God doesn’t smite people, at least not often.  Sure there are a few stories, like Sodom and Gomorrah and Ananias and Sapphira, but those are not God’s main characteristics.
And then I think about the famous Christians; the ones that think they speak for all of us.  They tell people that if they don’t change their ways, then they will burn in hell.  That is their opening line. They carry signs that say “God hates gays.”  But God is love.  How did we forget that?  1 John 4:8 says, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”  I mean, come on!  It’s right there!
God forgives.  He is a God of mercy, even if we don’t deserve it.  All he wants is relationship with us.  He made us because he loves us.  And he didn’t destroy us after the first sin in the garden because he loves us.  He could have ended it all and started again.  I think I would have.

Why don’t more people know the story of the woman that the Pharisees brought to Jesus, the one that they caught in the act of adultery?  He did not condemn her.  Instead, he bent down and wrote in the sand.  We don’t know what he wrote; all we know is that all of Pharisees left after Jesus told them that whoever had no sin could cast the first stone.  He asked the woman where her condemners went, and then told her that he also does not condemn her.  Then he said, “Go now and leave your life of sin.”  That’s all in John 8:3-11.

Jesus was one to forgive sins.  And once sins were forgiven, people changed.  If you’re willing to change, why would he condemn you?  God loved first.  He gives us so many chances to get things right.  So why don’t people know this?  It’s not funny.  I have so many thoughts and not enough time to put them all down, but does this make sense?
I think it might be time to rid the earth of the image of God as an evil killer who destroys those who don’t obey him.  He is a good Father, the best Father.  He works with us and forgives us.  Sometimes he punishes us, but only to push us in the right direction, and never out of spite.  He is not spiteful.  And he is not a regular smiter.

Today, I Got it

I think today I finally understood it.  God is our Father, our dad, our pops.  Sometimes people’s human dads aren’t that great.  I was blessed to have an outstanding father, but not everyone is so lucky.  But you know what good dads do?  They raise you, they protect you, and they point you in the right direction.

Not every human dad sticks around to raise their children.  Mine did.  My dad used to pick me up every Friday from school and took me to lunch.  When I was in high school, my dad drove 2.5 hours to one of my track meets and let me drive back with him.  He’s always been willing to help me and overruled the things that were meant to punish me or hurt me.
God does that too.  He raises us.  He is always ready to spend time with us.  He makes things and puts things in place that will bring us enjoyment or happiness.

Growing up, it is really hard to understand rules.  A lot of rules appear to be really stupid.  At my high school we couldn’t wear slippers because gangs in Mojave wore slippers.  I did not grow up in Mojave.  I don’t even understand why slippers would be gang affiliated anyway.  It was dumb, but not worth fighting.  Most of the rules my father set for me were pretty good rules.  I think any of the stupid ones, if I broke them, I didn’t get in trouble because obviously I came to no harm.  Rules like telling me not to touch something because it was hot are obviously there for my protection.
All of God’s rules are good rules.  He tells us to be honest with one another because lies, even if we don’t notice it at first, cause destruction, lack of trust, and destroy relationships.  He tells us to wait till marriage for sex, because sex is meant to be shared with just one partner in order to bring a family into the world.  Things don’t always go wrong if these rules are broken, but premarital sex can cause emotional damage, stds, and bring unplanned children into the world without two parents who are prepared to raise said children.  God’s rules are for protection, not to make life a little bit less enjoyable.  He doesn’t want us to burn our hands on a hot pan.  He loves us.

My dad raised me a Christian.  He sent me to Christian school.  He’s glad I go to a Bible college.  Some people may not see it this way, but growing up in a Christian home has kept me safe and headed in the right direction.  My dad helps me to see what way to go, and points me in the right direction when I veer off course.
God does that too.  He sent me to Bible college, even though I’m not going to be a pastor or work in a church.  When I’ve tried to leave, He’s kept me here, because it’s where I am meant to be.  I discovered myself here, and found where my passions are.  I know what direction I need to go in because God faced me in the right direction five years ago.  I’m glad He helps me with my decisions.  It makes life a little bit more safe.  I like knowing I’m safe.

I have a pretty great dad.  But my God is the best Dad.  Not everyone is blessed like I am with my father, but everyone can receive the blessing of my Father.  I’m just really glad God is my God and is protecting me like my Father.  I think I get it now.