Missing Beauty

Like a child at Christmas

New to a world of unbridled joy

Toys and gifts unshelved and labeled just for me

Scantily wrapped in bows to entice

And to celebrate the more beautiful giver

With an eye to Glory and Grace.

 

But I ran through the piles,

Stepped on a few.

Past love and peace and a new set of eyes.

Past my new heart and a clean mind.

I reached for the lowest branch,

And plucked an eye catching bauble.

As I turned the plastic charm around in my palm

Narcissus, I boasted in my glossy reflection.

Oh the prize of this cheap decor.

 

But a hook skewered my finger

Biting my pink, immature flesh

It held and my blood dripped upon

The beautiful gifts meant for me.

God Blood on My Hands

Blood on my hands.

I struck the heart of God.

And He gave himself for me.

His blood on my hands.

And life pulses through me.

Life blood seeping into pores.

Heart inflating, lungs gasp.

Blood, God blood.

Infinite, perfect blood on my hands.

I cry, tears of anger, loss, gain, redemption.

I claw at passersby,

Some never see me.

Desperate, pleading – His

blood on my hands.

If I can but brush their hand

As they pass me by.

I, the irrelevant, pleading, bloody beggar.

If they might notice His stain.

The stain of His blood

As they pass me by.

Let His contagious blood

Seep through their pores

And that stain on their hand

Never fade.

Protection of Pain

Another tendril in the ever-reaching privilege of pain. It started with one sore and bloody spot on your heart.

A wound, untended, glaring, raw.

Your beauty marred, a fatal flaw.

What good can come, this spreading ailment

As blood seeps out and down to deeper strands,

Threads of life, woven tight,

Till pain has stained it all.

I bet you hadn’t ever considered all the benefits of bleeding. In the physical realm, medically, we know there is a benefit to the rush of blood through a wound. Cleaning, scabbing over, protection, eventual, slow healing.

What if pain had a way of protecting your heart? I read a story recently in my Bible study by Beth Moore. She mentioned a friend of her daughter who heard that another friend had committed adultery and decided to abandon her marriage in favor of her lover. When the friend heard this story, she broke into uncontrollable sobbing. Vicariously, she experienced the pain of that family, the loneliness of the children and the betrayal of the spouse. It rent her heart.

“‘She cried over the thought that all of us have the potential of doing something that destructive. It scared her half to death.’ If that fear became a liquid shield against a wave of temptation, could it be appropriate?”

In my own life, I have shared here on many occasions that I battled anorexia for about 15 years. Once and while to this day, there is a gleam of temptation to go back: an excuse to begin distance running again and the appeal of being the thinnest of my peers, the awe or mis-guided admiration of friends when I express amazing self-control in my diet, the power trip of denying my need of anything and anyone.

But, then there’s the memory of pain, a liquid shield. My journals bear the wrinkles of dried tears when I was in the hospital. I easily remember the loneliness of refusing invitations to go out with friends. I remember the strangled protests in my mother’s eyes. I remember the painful agony of unrelenting thoughts about calories, exercise, weight, work and laziness. It was hell.

And therein lies my protection. Pain often keeps us from making the same mistake twice or from making the same mistake our friends and family make. Think of the adult child of an alcoholic. Not always, but often, they are more determined than ever to never become what they observed and bring that kind of pain into their new family.

What about you? What lesson have you learned while bent over the knees of pain? When you stood again, wobbly and tearful, were you resolute to never do anything that would put you in that position again?

Under Fire On Facebook

Who knew the dangerous tendrils of Facebook? It’s no surprise that Facebook has been related to a plethora of illegal activity in the United States.  Last year, I must have read a dozen surveys in women’s magazines asking, “Would you let your ‘tween’ have a Facebook page?”

But these infractions seem ridiculously small when compared the true story of a young Coptic Christian in Egypt who was arrested, convicted and sentenced to three years in prison for something he posted on Facebook. [from: persecutionblog.com] His home and those of four other friends and relatives were torched.

“For a Muslim to stand on a street corner and say bad things against Christianity, or even to broadcast them on the radio, on the television, on their Facebook page or whatever — that would go without punishment. But this Christian, who has been accused of posting something that was offensive to Muslims on his Facebook page, is now sentenced to three years in prison for insulting Islam.” Todd Nettleton

This story insists that we teach our children the absolute value, the death-worthy value of our faith. Few adults know and live by this truth:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.a Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.” Hebrews 12:1-3

It’s time that changed. Let’s start with this generation.