Time to Wait (Never Wasted)

It’s time to wait
It’s now or never
Is it time to date
Or time to sever?
I don’t know
All I know
Is that I want to be like the tree
in Jeremiah 17.
Christ-centered
Never-nervous
At this point
Words are superfluous

Please, let’s be
like the tree
in Jeremiah 17.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
    whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
    that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
    its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
    and never fails to bear fruit.”
(Jeremiah 17:7-8, NIV)

To Qaraqosh

The town of Qaraqosh, Iraq was taken over by ISIS in August of 2014. The predominantly Christian town, full of approximately 50,000 Christians, was razed and burned to the ground. Men, women, and children were beheaded for loving Jesus. 

The town was recently taken back in the fall and winter of 2016. Those brothers and sisters who survived are now coming back, slowly but surely, to the town, and their resilience is amazing.

In honor of these brothers and sisters, as well as to share their story, I was led to create a poem. Enjoy.

(To Support those in places like Qaraqosh, please buy from/donate to Reload Love, a nonprofit that takes spent bullet casings and other materials from war to create jewelry that can be sold. All proceeds go to helping children who have been hurt by war. Thank you.)


Qaraqosh,

You were broken.
The crucifixes on your church buildings,
your pride and joy,
were torn down–
blasted down–

falling from the roof onto the chaos and wreckage beneath it.

It looked as if
you would never rise again.
It looked as if
you would never raise your hands again,
high
to the One who suffered, too.

Qaraqosh,
I think you knew
what was waiting on the other side of the door
when they came yelling into your homes.
They bursted through your doors
whether you let them in or not,
took everything you got
including your daughters.
Your sons were kidnapped,
your daughters beheaded.
That should not be written easily.

Because on that day,
you were persecuted for loving Him.
the One who suffered, too.
You knew He said it would be hard.
How could it all be?

Where was the One who
Pre-planned all of your days
on the day you fell?
Pray, tell.
It is not a quick nor easy answer to believe.
Qaraqosh,
Did you perceive
that He
was near to You?
Waiting to pick you back up
In all of your pieces?
The crucifixes fell
But He was not on them.
No,
He was, is, sitting on the right hand of the Father
Praying for you.

Qaraqosh,
My sister,

You are Loved.
I wish I could cup You in my hands
and hold you close to my heart.

You are already being held,
and He will not let you go.

Qaraqosh,

You are Conquerors.
Just as He rose from the grave 3 days later,
You are rising from the ashes 3 years later,
Daring to come back to the place where your lives were erased!
How brave!
It is the great mystery of Him in You
that has raised anything.

Qaraqosh,
You are at Home,
with Him.
You were broken;
You are Loved;
You are Conquerors.

Children of the day,
Many wounds are still left.
Let us not look past those.
But,
Dare I say we celebrate?
If not with streamers,
Then with smiles.

Because the gates of hell did not prevail.
“The power of God has torn the veil
And we know [Christ’s] Love will never fail,
We believe– you believe.”

I am excited for the victories to come.
Chosen ones,
The fight has just begun.

But He, He is the One who fights for You.
The One who suffered, more than You
ever have.
Rest in that.

Qaraqosh,
In Him,
You are Loved.
You are fought for.
You are Healing.
You are free.

May we all learn from You
That He, so Loving
and so true
is the One, True Living God of Qaraqosh–
and of us, too.

“But Moses told the people, ‘Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.'”
(Exodus 14:13-14, NLT)

Proclamation

I am covered.
I am safe.
You are with Me…
Even when I am not with You, even when I don’t want to be
(the Insanity!)

I am Yours. Your Mess to clean up, Your Daughter to guide and protect, Your Sheep to Keep.

Always.

“…Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20)

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 11 “All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish.” (Isaiah 41:10-11)

 

Fear (And a Love-Song to a Savior)

I am afraid of many things:
Of eternal loneliness,
of being locked inside four walls
forever.
Never.

I heard once that fear is just
the idea of having to do something without You.
Jesus, Your Presence
flushes out fear,
Your Perfect Love
drives it out
the way Your righteous-rage
drove out the money-makers.
Any takers?
I am feeling lonely again,
yet on the mend,
and I swear I will see Your Face.

Let the moon dip down, into the black sky,
let stars sparkle underneath Heaven’s white light.
So many of us feel lonely, tonight.
Jesus,
won’t You
enter the room,
change the moods of many hearts
stuck in the dark?
Let Your Love, Your Love
shine like that moon in the darkness–
no, better,
like the sun in the morning sky.
Please let the Paper boy
bring me news of Your Unfailing Love–
I need it to survive.

Please, let the early dawn bring me
the fuzzy warmth of my cat, pawing at
me (I love/hate how he does that),
the annoying panic of my dog
and the beckoning of Your Song
to “come away with You” again.

You seem to be my only friend.
In a place like this,
Is that enough?
I know the Sunday-school children may shout “Yes,”
and I should never have any hesitance.
But I do.

Won’t You
make it all loud and clear?
Like the rooster at 8am
telling me to get up, ascend.
Like a His whisper on the phone:
“Good Morning, Beautiful.”
Only Better.
From the Artist Himself?

I am acting like You do not already do this.
The way the moon kisses the stars
and even the haze gives perfect light.
And did you make that sunset just for me?
I swear You did–
those are my favorite colors.

How LOVED I am, by You!
It swirls around,
completely surrounds!
Where can fear fit in
When my God is wooing
Whispering,
Calling me out, again?
It cannot,
does not exist,
in the Presence of Your Love.
It’s physics– or maybe chemistry–

The way you do this to me.
My Father, My Friend,
Hold me in Your Arms, again–
Let me never be
So much-afraid.
Dedicated to Grandpa.
Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” (Psalm 143:8, ESV)

Compare

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).
This is what the Psalmist, David, wrote all those years ago,
a young man, a Shepherd himself: He saw how You
led, guided, protected Him– and how in need he was of such guidance,
of such protection–
that we are vapors in the wind,
and that does not need to be sad.

I have compared myself, dust,
to another pile of dust,
who walked on the sands of Spain. What is new, again?
This thing You are doing in me,
preparation for the ultimate grand finale–
nothing could compare to this.

Happiness:
Not the fulfillment of worldly desires,
but the fulfillment of Your Will in my life,
even if I am taken by that sharp, shiny, pointed knife
they call trial, sorrow, “the valley.”
Jesus, You are my Joy
no matter the chatter
of the ages.
You set me free, my Shepherd, my God– and I don’t need
the sunset of a distant shore
to know the adventure of a soul, in Your Hands.
(not that there’s anything wrong with distant lands.)
Take me to your lands, Jesus–
I know I will see your Goodness.

Jesus,
Let me see the light of Your Face,
instead, You know
I need You– My Shepherd, My Strength,
Forgive me for fearing the goats,
and envying the rams.
You are the Great “I Am.”
I am YOUR lamb; let me
be led by You,
forever.

(As I have approached 21, please make Your desires
my desires
for my birthday. For the Life You
have given me.)

Be strong. Take heart. Wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14).
Okay.
You are the God of the Psalmist, the Author of Salvation–
Help me to write,
to glorify You.
This, today,
is my prayer.

Dwell

Oh, Lord Jesus
I want to
dwell in Your Living Space
Enclosed, safely
With Your Presence all around me
I want to
dwell in You, Shelter, where
You put me up high
looking down,
yet covered in Your Cloud,
Resting on verdant, verdant hilltops
With Your shade– not harming me,
like the oppressor’s shade is prone to do
But to be at rest
in the near Presence of You

I want to
mount on wings like eagles– dwell on the Beauty of the LORD
let faith arise
let my confidence and stronghold be You,
like impenetrable cement blocks
rising to the skies–
I want to 
rest in Your Unfailing Love
like oceans deep,
dwell in the tides
washing over me

You say that if a man
gains the whole world,
but loses his soul
it profits him nothing
even when he thought the “comfort” he was dwelling in
was something
She can trade money for a Love, grand and astute
But if she bases her confidence on anyone but You
Her confidence will become dust
(Because even the greatest human relationship harbors issues of trust)
And he can build himself up on piles of plastic bags
filled with the latest of fashion, and hottest trending mags
but these things, too
truly provide no shelter to
the one who counts on them–
these things end up in landfills,
never alive but very able to kill
the one who wants to dwell.

 

And then there are those who build their sanctuaries on
multiple degrees and certifications
these, too, are fine and well
but at the core, they cannot tell
what hides inside the human heart–
Your soul can be sold to being very smart
but, you see, knowledge is research-paper thin
The typing and typing will never be enough
For life’s test
Such is the mess
for the one who wants to dwell.

Jesus,
My Jesus,
it was always You.
Your Hands hold the scars
marked by nails I shoved in while trying to build something true.
(You are the best Carpenter, I know not what I do)
You said
You would build my house in heaven— and come and take me to it
Heaven— a permanent place to dwell
With You Forever, no trace of hell
built on Grace, through faith alone
You paid the price to secure my Home!


And so I declare
My Home is You
and no mater what, this is my prayer:
Let me dwell in the House of the Lord, Jesus
–forever–

 

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'”
(Psalm 91:1, NIV)