Light Always Fights

My words, His response.
A tug and pull of Spirit, Father and Friend.
A response to a gift that’s one of a kind
A painting, a story, a promise.

A canvas so innocent.  Truth so striking.

A gift of hope from a true friend
A gift of vision for what is to come
A gift of remembrance for battles past

A girl at a big grey wall once again. Oh how He loves her.

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A gift to keep fighting, growing, loving, healing and thanking
To keep pressing forward in gentle days, rugged days and boring days
To maintain a posture of heaven and pause with the sacred

A battle fought, a battle won.  A battle wound surfaces again.

Hope is rising
Hope is waiting
Hope is multiplying
Hope is.

A hesitant brush on a canvas page.

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Hope is me and hope is you
Relax into my Presence, He says
Soak your soul in my truth
Let me love you closer to me

I paint determined to break light out of dark.

An expectant gift, but one with no pressure, no strings attached
Just a wish and a promise to love as you find colors dancing in your soul

I paint desperate to see color rush through.

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So, awake.
Awaken to color and beauty and rest
Your trust in God is sweet and deep
Trust in yourself is shaky and uncertain

Now.  Paint now.  Paint with your heart and soul until you bleed thanks.

Be brave dear heart and take a chance
Stumble, limp, dance and sing
Be not afraid of the strength in you
Be not afraid of the tenderness in you

Warmth.  Peace floods.

Fear not the waves for they listen to His name
Waves of doubt crash around your soul threaten to pull you under
Peace, be still, He says, She is mine

Transformation, my good old friend.

Piece by piece the wall comes down
Peace by peace until light breaks through

To speak the tongue of heaven.  The language of life.

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So dance my soul
Sing out with joy
Heart be brave and take flight

Soul piercing, mind captivating, heart transforming.

Oh to hear you beyond myself
There is a time to rest and a time to be brave
Now be brave in your rest and restful in your brave

Safe, wild and free.  Come to me.

So dare to hope
And may stone wall break
Color is waiting to come rushing through
Color and light dizzy with expectation for you

Come to me and breathe in wide open spaces.

Are you ready?
Be brave.
It’s time to let go

I am hereI am good.

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Chasing Rainbows

Driving home from work one evening, I was blown away by the incredible sky.  It was one of those slow, summer sunsets that fills the sky and takes its time to travel across the horizon.  I pulled over to snap a few pictures while it was still light enough.  My car was parked on a rocky outlet on a side street, I left the car running and the door open as I jumped out to capture the last light on my trusty smart phone.  I was literally pursuing the light and chasing the beauty.  When was the last time you chased beauty?

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This reminded me of when I was a young high school student and my sister was in middle school.  At the time, our family lived in a house that backed up to a field and beyond that was a golf course.  One summer, a brilliant rainbow stretched across the sky and looked as if it was actually touching the ground in the field.  Colorful light filled a grassy area that appeared just a short distance away from our house.  My sister and I threw on our shoes, rushed out the back door and ran to find that rainbow.  I was sure we could touch it.

So we ran and ran.  We ran through the field and across the bridge that led to the golf course.  The farther we ran, the farther the rainbow went.  We ran on for a while pausing to catch our breath.  It’s not easy chasing rainbows in Colorado’s high altitude.  I put logic aside and was convinced I really could touch the rainbow if we ran faster.  We ran a little further, but alas, we didn’t touch the rainbow.  It was always just beyond our reach, and we knew that, yet we delightfully pursued anyway.  I love this little memory and I still hold in my heart a faith that says you can catch rainbows if you chase them hard enough.

Sometimes in the chaos of life we forget to chase rainbows.  We forget to look up and notice a summer sunset claiming the sky.  I turn my eyes inward and get stuck.  I put the emphasis on myself, not on He who is greater.  Suddenly, I forget rainbows and chasing beauty because I get lost in myself.  When will I wake up from this toxic sleep of self-obsession?  When will I be brave enough to be free, unbound in endless salvation, resting in quiet hallelujahs?

I hold dear a philosophy of chasing rainbows.  A little whimsy and faith can go a long way.  Maybe you can’t touch rainbows; maybe science says it’s impossible.  I don’t care.   I will keep chasing rainbows anyway.

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Alive and awake
Sky speak to me
I chase your brilliance
I catch sun’s last light

Quickly fading
My last glimpse is another’s first taste
Morphing color make your brilliance known to me
Great big sky encircle me like a warm embrace

Sweet kisses of pink, blue and gold
Heaven in the wisps of every cloud
Your vastness in miles of big open sky

Your creative canvas
Your most holy playground
A love letter of highest form
A kaleidoscope of light

Heaven softly calling from up above
Surrounded by love’s perfect touch
Clouds surrendered to their maker
Lighthearted they rest in splendid suspension

A place of fearless awe and wonder
Overwhelmed you would paint skies for me
In a world torn, hurting and afraid
You pause to create such beauty

Who am I to deserve such art?
A gift I’m most undeserving
But I’ll stand still and wait and watch 

A moment in time is mine for the taking
If only I’ll look up
Inward eyes I do despise
Yet I’m so easily swayed

Emphasis on you is joy
Roots of faith grow down deep
Taking hope from wondrous skies

Sunflower Song

5099691_origUsually I like running, but today was not that day. I squeaked out the miles in new shoes that were no bueno for my feet. But this sight stopped me in my tracks.

We’ve had drizzling grey weather the past week, unusual for Colorado especially this time of year.  The stark contrast of the grey horizon and the bold sunflower reminded me of my own story.

It was a long process of awakening from a world of grey, and I was and will always be so thankful for the sunflowers in my life that beckoned me to more.  Those sunflowers have names and faces.  My amazing mom who listened to me with profound patience and endlessly spoke life and vision into a weary soul, Joanie who sat on the floor before me in a little prayer room and held my feet to ground me while she prayed over me, even a favorite author, who at the time I hadn’t met before, whose writings spoke to me at a new and deep level.  God reached me through each of these people in ways unique and beautiful.

I’m thankful for these people.  I’m even thankful for the grey.  For where there was no awareness of grey, there would have been no sight to see the color of freedom.  I am forever thankful for you, my sunflowers, my heroes.

A drop of color in a world of tasteless grey
A burst of light to chase desperate gloom away

In your honor, you beseech me
And draw me toward worlds anew

Poison creeps in and suffocates the soul
But a power awaits beyond all control

I draw strength from your great beauty
Courage from wonder once lost

Poised to defeat by strength of light
Reckless in every act of love’s bold might

Little sunflower formed of gold
You were not made to fight alone

Your sense of self sways with every gust
With your face to sun you know to trust

Unpretentious little flower
What secrets you must know

Gentle petals of valiant hue
Seeps all that is good, wonderful and true

To the sun and wind, you may bend
Yet grow bright in tender strength

A poetic bloom of mystery
Captivating in raw honesty

A little hope of color
Most gracious dash of life

A priceless beauty to be sure
A warrior of freedom’s great valor

Striking passion in field of earth’s hot breath
You sing a different song

For you stand your ground
In a world tragically grey bound

A song of hallelujahs
Some broken but made whole

So simple and so true
You stand firm as true you

So stand your ground and sing your song
Driving twisted grey away

Pink Mountains

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I took this picture and wrote this on a long early morning run.  Turns out 8 miles is rough on the knees,
but easy on the heart.

Pink light bathes granite mountain top
Towering in strength
Beckoning with its intensity

A gentle call washed in early morning light
Come and live fully
A hard heart turned flesh
A song of true home

One step then another
Always climbing
Always seeking
Will I reach the top?

My name whispered in the breeze
Hope mingles with peace in a perfect pirouette
Chasing shadows to find smiling light
And tangle my fingers in its grateful glimmer

Gentleness splayed across strength in playful pink
Weightless in its wonder
I feel the impact full force
Stillness seeps deep into my soul

An inspired climb higher still
To touch the painted peak
And breathe in kiss of heaven so sweet

Cheap Chaos & Tantalizing Grace

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Trapped.  My mind a cave.
Thoughts like floodwater, rushing in.

Heart racing, body tense, mind ablaze.
Paralyzed by my striving efforts.

Blatant silence.
Prayers ricocheting off an invisible ceiling.

Desire to control and to know tantalizes and tempts.
Darkness creeping in quietly beckons and sickly woos.

Questions, dreams, and ‘what ifs’ vie for attention.
Romancing the dark, I stay in a place of cheap chaos.

Running.  Running in my mind.
This way.  That way.  Running into walls on all four sides.

I’m a slave to my thoughts.
Self-obsession the bolt to my self-made prison.

A sinister dead end in every way.
Still I wrestle.

I lie down to rest, but I am awake.
Running, rushing, thinking, grasping.

A pinprick of light.
So small I nearly miss it.

Light.  Focus on the light.
Slowly, as slowly as ice melting in winter’s sun it grows.

My mind begins to clear.  Thoughts still.
I breathe in the light, I breathe out the darkness.

My heart slows to a steady rhythm.  Peace stirs.
I breathe in light, I breathe out darkness.

My body calms.  Striving energy turned to stillness charged with joy.
I breathe in light, I breathe out darkness.

Another light.  Brighter.
I reach out to it.

A feeling of love sweeps through like a warm gust of wind.
Spiraling toward me and into my soul.

It steadily grows.  Stronger and stronger.
Wind so warm and strong. I close my eyes and breathe it in.

Love like a faithful companion, I know I am not alone.
Love that delights in me, I know I am seen and known.

The wind strengthens.  I can feel it stir inside.
I surrender to this wind.  Light now radiates within.

My mind awake with its reality.
My heart at rest in its certainty.

My body resonating in its presence.
My soul pierced with freedom.

Love.
Pure, sweet love.

Wrecked by grace through winds of mercy.
Undone by love through purest light.

I am His and He is mine.

Mary

5058706As Christmas rapidly approaches, my thoughts turn toward a humble hero of that blessed night.  A teenage girl who spoke to an angel and believed without question.  A young Jewish girl who leaned in to the promise of God and said yes.  A young mother whose cries, sweat and tears brought Life into the world.  Let’s step back into history and walk in Mary’s worn sandals.

Daughter of Nazareth, will you be the one?
Will you carry life both now and for kingdom come?
My Son will be yours to love and to hold,
My trust in you is complete and twofold.

Will you say yes to trials, confusion and heartache?
At times you will feel lonely, but daughter you will be awake!
Will you say yes to joy, love and grace abound?
In you my presence will always be found.

Precious Mary, so pure and strong, will you be the one?
Will you nurture love both now and for kingdom come?
Will you carry my Son in your arms and heart,
Even when His body is laid down in the dark?

Honored Mary, so young and sweet,
Did you give up dreams to be made complete?
Soft baby hands grasped your finger and called you mother,
You watched him share, play and explore with others.

A little boy’s scraped knee meant tearful eyes pleading for your kiss.
You watched him learn, work and grow with bliss,
He crafted wood and looked into his father’s eyes for advice.
Did you know he would one day pay the ultimate price?

Lovely Mary, so true and brave,
You stood near as your Son was laid in a grave.
You suffered at the foot of His cross, His pain was your pain,
Heartache in your deepest soul, love flowing through every vein.

Imagine your feelings when seeing him risen,
His body bright and healed, no longer crimson.
Once more you held him in your arms so near,
His loving eyes looked into yours with joy and a tear.

Faithful Mary so obedient and blessed,
Mother of our Savior is no gentle quest.
The vessel of all greatness and our redemption,
Mary, chosen woman of love and truest gumption.

Caesar Augustus

4245741I had it all.  Power, connection, posterity, an entire kingdom… mine.  The first emperor of Rome.  A tribune for life.

True, I was one of the people, a countryman.  Born Gaius Octavius in Rome 63 BC.  However, sheer defiance would rule out the ordinary.   My destiny was authority.  Born to greatness; leadership in my blood.  I was adopted by Julius Caesar.  Adopted into power and might.  I was crushed by my uncle’s assassination, but only for a moment, for then I held the power of the empire in my hand.  A power I respected and transformed into a monarchy.  A power I exploited.  I worshiped the Roman gods, yet insisted on my people worshiping me as a god.  My face on coins, my image on statues across the land.

I hungered for power.  So thirsty for it, I would have cut opened my very veins to drink it in.  Glory was mine.  Rome; famed and great because of me.  From the military to the arts, I had a hand in crafting Roman culture.  I led with innovation and tradition.  My reign was marked by a season of peace and prosperity for my people.   I knew no limit to my apparent success.

Nonetheless, there was a wrinkle in my plan.  A glitch in the cosmos of time.  One little thing, which would become my greatest downfall.  A baby.   An infant boy that would be king.  A child born in an unknown corner of my grand kingdom.

I never met this child, nor did I meet the man he grew to be.  While I built the Roman Forum he and his motley band carried the gospel on the roads I commissioned.  For thirty three years, He built his kingdom and I built mine.  His power rivaled my own, but I did not know it.

A baby in a manger.  A man on a cross.  Me.  A man caught at a crossroad.  I answered to power and spoke the language of might, when I should have fallen on my knees and succumbed to the vernacular of grace.

I had it all.  Power, connection, posterity, an entire kingdom… mine.  A tribune for life.  The greatest Roman Emperor.  Yet I had nothing.  Nothing that mattered outside the domain of my kingdom.  There was another kingdom that I refused to acknowledge.  Blinded by power, choking on success.  A kingdom that surpassed my own.

A cry in the wind from an obscure manger.  A cry from the cross that rang out across the land that all is finished.

And me?  I am finished too.  Finished by a power I could only grasp at.  Run in by a love so pure I ran from it.  Torn apart by a kingdom I could not see with my eyes.

Yes, it is finished indeed.

 

PS – I wrote this monologue for my church, which then turned into this:

Awakening to Glory

809880We look within.  Obsessed by troubles, doubt and human goodness.  No light within.  Trapped in a cell of our own bodies and minds.

We look out and see the face of God in Christ our Lord.  God living and breathing in me.

Delivered from my state of death.  Awakened to Christ in me the hope of glory.

We stand not within ourselves, but out in an open free space where He has been waiting all along.

“Light up the darkness, Little One,” is what He said.

Light pours forth.

Light impacting me, light streaming from me.  Light surrounds and abounds from all directions.

Light pulling others in, its magnetism inviting them into the kingdom.  To come, rest, and just be.

The promises of God in my open palms.  Hands and heart extended to heaven as one.

He takes my frail human dreams and expands them into the universe.  No longer my dreams, but His.  Glorious in nature.  Far greater than I could imagine.  More extravagant than I would ever dare to ask.

I see a glimpse, a glimpse of what is promised.  That promise rests in my heart and spurs me forward.

We recognize the song of heaven sung out across the open space.  A familiar tune we were born to hear and embrace.

Light from His Being, His Spirit strengthens me.  Not rough, but a gentle constant inner strength.  Light softly pulsating from within.

Letting go of my small life and pathetic control.  Surrendering to Him who is greater.  Fully impacted by Grace.  Full breaths of blessed air.  Fresh, full draws of grace mixed with glory.

Awakened to the free life.  Lean in and listen to His call.

Christ cultivating a free spirit within me. Living unreservedly, energized and stirred by God’s Spirit.

His Spirit.  My closest companion, my heart’s guide, my mind’s sculptor.  Power and light collide within me.  He whispers to me of glory unseen and grace to be consumed.

His love has the first and last word.  Hemmed in by grace.  Overflowing with the light of His being.

I am His and He is mine.  Life, together, in the open free space.

Dancing in light that arouses His glory in me.  Breathing in love so pure it hurts and yet heals.  Embraced by grace that draws me in deeper and higher.  Awakened by the Father as He covers me with His dreams and delight.

Christ in me the hope of glory.

“Wake up Little Light.  Will you come to this open space with Me?”

Awakening to Wonder

6492478What if life was more than what we see with these saline eyes?  What if there was more just beyond the surface of reality?  What if we prayed an audacious prayer to go higher and deeper into that sphere?

Imagine what you might see.

Would you see beauty and joy in its purest form, blinding in its purity and radiance?  When laughter rings out, would the sky explode with brilliant color?

Perhaps you would see the pain and sorrow of this world marked by sweeping blue hues gently streaming from men, women and children alike.

Would you see the intensity of hate and evil sneak about in inky smoke?  Would you see evil seductively striding from person to person?

Would you see good encircled by an army of light?  Warriors.  Men, women and children of story who dance and fight as one light.  Can you hear them call out to you?

Lean in and listen.  What secret is he whispering to you?

Embrace the wonder.  Enter this story.

Don’t be disillusioned.  This is no fairytale.  This is light and this is darkness.  A narrative of all that is evil and all that is good.  This is where light tells a story and darkness must listen.  This is where beauty dances, joy sings and passion fights.

Will you awaken to this world?  Will you awaken to wonder?