Poem From A Broken Writer

I felt sunlight softening soul into spirit,

Liquifying calcified dreams

Pressed dormant into crannies

Of this flesh-shell.

 

I felt icicles like prisms melting

Drips of radiant, golden life

Suspended from the end of despair

And soften, butter-yellow

Fall, back into this flesh-shell.

 

Yes, I felt sunlight soften my soul

Dripping spirit back into body

Filling, ever so slowly, back up this

Gutted flesh-shell.

 

I watched goals and dreams flitter

Like litter cross the street,

Fast and flimsy, uncharted, un-chased

Un-pursued.

 

Acorns pop beneath my feet,

Rebelling, I walk past lecture halls

And lessons.

I abandon should’s and should-nots and

Probably nevers.

 

I refuse the notion that my pen,

My words, my voice propels

The essence of my story.

I am not the harvest of so many pages

Or the culmination of book deals,

Digital friends and lurid likes.

 

I am not a soul-ish creature

But spirit filled and driven,

Spirit carried and consumed.

I am an artist and a canvas,

Both a creator and a lump of clay.

 

So, I let the warmth of sunlight

Bake my spirit firm.

Like autumn pies, rich with clove

Fragrance wafting from this open heart and

Weakened pen.

 

As soul melts and drips spirit

Back into this flesh-shell,

Abba bake me in the morning rays

Of Your exquisite love

And infinite purpose.

 

A purpose so profound,

It is only written on a softened heart.

A purpose of worship,

In words and notebooks, pens and pages

Hearts and humanity in right this minute.

Why I Create

They called it re:Write. As I sat my bum in a chair pinched between two other wannabe writers, (or perhaps they’ve already arrived and confidently call themselves “scribes”, as such) tears welled in my eyes.

Apparently, not enough of my life is “re:Writing” to make blip on a publisher’s radar. Apparently, the spontaneous energy that itches at the tips of my fingers and prickles my mind when there’s no paper in sight, isn’t really what good books are made of. Apparently, almost nobody reads anymore. Apparently, the mysterious romance of author and pen, discovery and syntax, melody and imagination just isn’t enough. And apparently, even a message from God, a testimony of redemption, this welling glory in my chest, a conviction to share Gospel through story, to wrap my story up in His story, just may not be newsworthy.

Between masters of market analysis and prestigious publishers, an author was sandwiched. Ted Dekker took the stage in artsy array, as if he’d clothed himself from the quirky Austin shops on his way to the conference. His message entranced me and coaxed even more tears through the rivulets already marring my makeup.

It was almost as if he implored me not to be there. His call to my artist-heart was that sweet-sorrowful voice of Create, wooing me to endure. I wept, fearful that in twelve more hours of facts and figures, the voice would be drowned out. Back in my room last night, I sobbed.

I picked up the program, willing myself to will to go back, to face the cold, hard truth of the dismal potential of publishing.

re:Write. This call to make something of my words is almost the same as what propelled my earlier years of an eating disorder – an effort to prove I’m exceptional at something. I imagine if someone would just validate my words, pluck my story from the slush pile and be astonished at its merit, then, then, I will be someone. My life re:Me, re:MyWriting will define me.

I’m sure dozens of people are spurred on by such messages. I know that their SMART goals drive them to succeed; I know they know what success looks like. I know they will beat me in this race for literary recognition. But, I’m also sure I’m not the only one who feels this way, trapped, shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of others pressing to realize the same dream, haunted by the fact that only a few of us can possess it.

You see, I can’t write regarding writing. I can’t think regarding writing. When I do, I find myself tangled in the concepts I’m trying to convey, confused by my own story, caught up between the needs of a reader, the demands of a publishers and the Reason. THE reason. That’s it. I have to write for a reason, and that reason has to be beyond myself, beyond numbers and platforms and pie charts. I write re:Jesus.

I first sat down to write because I had a story. I had a powerful tale of a damsel in distress rescued by her one true Love, a Love who had pursued her before she ever knew His name. But it was more than a powerful story, it was a pervading story, oozing through my pores, from the inside out, shimmering on my skin, transforming me. And as long as I wrote from that place at my Redeemer’s side, staring up at Him in awe and gratitude, the words flowed. He is my Reason.

Sitting in the conference, I felt as if I was trying to write from a distance; squinting to see a becoming profile of my Lover, attempting to place Him in the best light, then pausing to evaluate myself and impose one story on top of the other. But I can’t see the real story from there. It’s clearest when I’m standing right next to Him, when He illumines, when I am focused so intently and intimately on Him that I can scarcely see the distinction between us.

So, I left the conference. For myself, pressing my story into palms, seeing my story in another woman’s eyes, holding her shaking shoulders and angling her just enough that she can see Jesus, sharing my story over coffee and in long letters, declaring my redemption on parchment that may never have spine or cover art or rave reviews – it is enough. It is more than enough. It is who I was meant to be and how my story was meant to be told.

My life re:Jesus.

Naked Shame? or Very Good

There is at least one common picture in every family’s photo album. Or as many common pictures as children in the family. It is the inevitable bathroom picture.

imagesA pink, pudgy child, below the age of shame, plays in the tub, blissfully ignorant of Daddy’s camera. If not ignorant, simply unaffected by the potential shame in that microsecond flash of light. Bubbles cling to smooth, clean skin. A dollop of suds perches atop a curly head, like a white crown. The little girl is joyfully convinced that her royalty is unmarred by nakedness. Or, the tiny self-imagined cowboy remains undaunted by his immodesty. And Daddy grins with pride at the innocence and perfection.

It might remain that way. If the little girl were never exposed to any opinion but that of her father and mother. If the only people whoever judged her nakedness were those who created her together, who bore her in their loins and pushed her into this critical world. But it won’t be that way.

The boy might remain proud of every inch of his natural physique, if he only internalized his parents’ admiration. If only he was never told, “You should look like this…,” or, “You could be more perfect. You’re lacking something.”

When did naked become a problem? 

God created Adam and Eve in His own perfect image. He bore them, and brought them to life by His own exhale. And He thought they were perfect. He knew their frame. He knew they were dust and He knew they were good. They were exactly as He intended.

And what if they had never entertained the voice that said, You could be more? You are lacking.

When God entered the garden after Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they had already scrambled to cover themselves. Then they hid from their Creator, dearest Love, most Faithful Companion. The first moment earth knew shame. The first time a woman cowered in humiliation from the longing eyes of her lover. 

But they had been naked before. God had seen them naked. They had gazed at each other naked. It was obvious they had been made in God’s image. They looked like His children. So why were they ashamed? What were they afraid of?

Adam and Eve’s sin was not that they were naked. In fact, I think God’s greatest disappointment was that his children listened to, entertained and believed the serpent’s opinion of them over His own. Essentially, with their choice to eat the fruit, Adam and Eve were demonstrating that they did not believe God. They did not believe that He was a perfect creator. They did not believe that God had made them VERY GOOD.

Just like the child in the bathtub, they would have grown up seeing that they looked just like Daddy. And they would have grown in the assurance that they were VERY GOOD.

How do you overcome the shame surrounding your body, your failure, your insufficiencies? Is it possible to ever again be VERY GOOD to God? If so, is it possible to ever be convinced in your own mind that you are VERY GOOD? Can you ever return to the way it was?

“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:16-19

Through the means of a couple of pastors lately, unrelated and in their own sermons, God has posed this question to me, “Who told you you were fat?”

Quite a provoking question to ask a recovering anorexic. Who told me I was fat? Where did I get that idea? How do I silence that voice, turn and drink in the voice of a God who calls me VERY GOOD? Permit me a paraphrase of the verses above:

So, from now on, I will regard no one (including myself) as fat or ugly or worthless. Because I believe in Jesus Christ, everything bad about me is gone. He has created me all over, and again and made me VERY GOOD! All this is from God, who brought me back to Him, restored me to my original mint condition and to His favor. Because of Jesus, I am perfect in Christ and I am given this responsibility, no, this JOY, of telling the world that Jesus has restored us. Shame has no influence over those who believe their Daddy.

Sweetly Scarred

Scars! I cried.

Holes and Marks.

Wounds of shame,

Mar this tiny heart.

Daddy, I stretched my arms

Above my head, above my heart

and mind.

Pick me up, take me away.

I’m no good anymore.

Cocktail of fear, shame and pride

Sloshes willfully in my chest.

Overflows in tears.

Frustration paints my cheeks.

Daddy stepped close,

Stern love in His eyes.

He held out a robe.

Over my pleading arms it slipped,

Soft as silk against shame-flamed skin.

Every bruise soothed by its whisper-smooth trace.

He met my eyes, held my hands.

I see no scars.

No marks or holes.

I see beauty, perfection, exquisite, effective holiness.

No one will ever recognize you now.

You look just like Jesus,

Dressed in His raiment.

Walk your streets.

His cloak will heal you, keep you.

His righteousness will dress you.

Disguised, go out.

In our image, I created you.

For now,

For this.

I love you, you’re beautiful.