Pages

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Praise Brings the Release



Beautiful Dreamer.  Come sing your song of love to me.

Numbers flash fluorescent from the night stand.  3:10.  I toss and turn, look again.  3:14.  My body is aching and cold.  Every turn is pain.  I don't feel like singing. 

I form words in my head.  You know I love you, Lord.

Thoughts turn to a friend who can't sleep.  And another who lost everything but her family and faith in a fire.  A sister coming to get me in 3 hours so she can have yet another procedure...and still no baby.  Time is running out.  I pray silent.

He whispers again, relentless.  Beautiful Dreamer.  Yes, that's you.  Come sing to me.

Without words I reply.  Lord, I need healing.  So many need healing.  What can I give You? 

Come splash your love on me, and I will send it back on a moon-beam for all to see. 

Beautiful words--did I say that to You, or You to me?
The clock flashes 4:10.  My body hurts.  I think I should be the one going for a procedure.  I want to love Him, but I don't know how.  I whisper words only He can hear, words I can't understand myself.  They come from the deepest parts.  Lord, speak.  I need to hear your song of love for me.  I...we...need mercy.

Believe, Daughter.  I am here.  Can you trust me when I don't do exactly as you think I should? Can you praise Me in your need?

I am tempted to gaze inward, to look for some reason--something that I did or didn't do--that prevents Him from answering my prayer, from sending the healing we so desperately need.

It's not about you. 

I know, but...

But...I am working all things for your good.  For every one of my children--because I love.  I am here when you feel my presence, and when you don't.  I am teaching you to trust, to love in the midst of the pain.  When you can do this, you will know that there isn't anything that I haven't already done for you.
You will know you are Mine. 
You will know Me.
Just believe.  And sing.  I want to hear your voice--sweet.
And Daughter, remember, praise brings the release.



Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!

~ Luke 1:45 (NIV)




Photo Courtesy:  flickr - Feliciano GuimarĂ£es

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Dove's Eye


The night was black in the little town where I grew up.  People flocked to the local store, now locked tight, windows barred dark.  With nowhere to buy food, the panic-stricken wandered about the streets chaotic, unsure of where to go or what to do.  I felt trapped in the surge, claustrophobic, unable to move.

Towering above the crush of dazed and fearful faces I caught sight of my husband.  He was escaping the crowd, leaving me behind.  A sense of abandonment fell heavy, freezing my tears with the cold.  I tried desperately to get to him--shouted his name.  But he couldn't see or hear me for the tumult.
Devastated, I broke free of the rush and found a quiet place to rest leaning against the white-washed wall of the old Post Office.  I watched and waited, hoping to catch another glimpse, hoping he would remember and come back.
He did, just when I was about to give up.  But again, he appeared not to see or hear me, and instead, got into a shiny red truck and sped off up the hill toward main street.  I followed behind on foot, somehow keeping up.
As I walked with eyes glued to his back, his head and shoulders shining through the rear window, a song rose from within, gentle at first, but then in power and strength.  It was as if all of heaven was singing in the heart of me.  Joyful words flooded my senses until I could no longer hold them. 
The song escaped my lips with exuberance, propelling me forward, lifting me up and out of the fog.  The more I sang, the taller and stronger and bolder I grew.  The words were alive!
There is great, great, Great
Victory in the dove's eye.

There is great, great, Great
Victory in the Lord.
There is great, great Grace.
There is victory in the dove's eye.

There is great, great Grace.
There is victory in the Lord.
Oddly, the sides of my husband's red truck expanded to the left and right, taking up full the width of the road.   Neighbors began to come out of their houses and cheer us on.  I felt exhilarated, as if we were heroes being celebrated in a parade.  And I realized there were people following.

Suddenly, my eyes were opened to things I hadn't seen.  I noticed hard-rock wall on either side of me.  My husband was cutting a way through the mountain that had loomed ahead all those years.  The relentless opposition and oppression, the hopelessness and depression--all of it was leaving as he plowed.  And the sky burned brighter by the second. 
I continued to sing with heavenly voices, rejoicing in his accomplishment.  And I realized I was entering into a place in the Spirit that I had been longing for all my life.  Not only did I have dove's (single) eyes for my husband, I was in The Dove's eye.  It was a feeling I can't put into words. I knew I was born to live in this place of divine favor and victory.
When I woke, I could hardly speak, I was so alive with joy and power.  Then everything began to fade.  When I tried to sing the words of the song I was disappointed because they were no longer the same as in the dream. 
What I didn't realize is that somewhere deep a vein of faith--that of the Lord's-- had been imparted in my spirit.  I would need this for the days ahead.  In dreams, my husband is often symbolic of Jesus.  In this dream Jesus had come to show me He was making a way where there had seemed to be no way--not by might, nor by power, but by His Spirit. 
As I look back over 2010 it is clear that I needed joy and strength like never before.  It was a hard year!  A year of pruning, of losing my job and so much more.  (I wrote about it here.)  There were many times I wanted to give up.  But God! 
He poured grace in dreams, and gave strategies and strength for the days when I didn't want to go on.  He showed me how I simply needed to be like the dove--to fix my gaze and wait on Him, put my trust in Him and watch His victory come as I sang heaven's song.

I am still singing His song, and giving thanks to Him for bringing me through.



You did it: you changed wild lament into whirling dance; You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers.  I'm about to burst with song; I can't keep quiet about you.  God, my God,  I can't thank you enough.           

~ Psalm 30:11-12, The Message


Please, don't discount your dreams.  They are your own symbolic language for interpreting what can't always be seen or heard or understood with your natural senses.  Pray and ask Holy Spirit to guide you.  I have been journaling and praying over mine for years.  It is amazing what you can learn from dreams!




In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.

~ Acts 2:17, NIV


On this day of grace I thank Jesus for...

176.  His victory
177.  His love
178.  His favor
179.  His power
180.  His joy


I am a little late, but I am joining Ann Voskamp and the community of gratitude-givers in appreciating God's graces.  Click on the button below to read other grace lists....




holy experience



I am also posting @ Peter Pollock's One Word Blog Carnival where today's word is reflection,  and linking up with Jen from Finding Heaven for Soli Deo Gloria. Come join us!


 Click to read more about my Journey of Gratitude.

Photo Courtesy:  flickr - Dawn Huczek

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas


Jesus.  

He came.  He is coming.

He is here.

Wishing you, dear friends, life and love and laughter, peace and joy and hope, the fullness of knowing God in spirit, and every good gift given through His Son--The Word made flesh--that you may live in the abundance, the overflow of His love for you.

Merry Christmas, and a blessed new year!



Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. "  

~ Isaiah 7:14 (NKJV)



Photo Courtesy:  flickr - Minimalist Photography / Steve Johnson

Monday, December 20, 2010

Family and Feathered Friends



The birds are eating and singing again...

We surprised my dad with a family dinner to celebrate his post-retirement retirement.  Actually, I can't imagine my dad ever not working in some way or another.  He was born a builder, a maker, a creator...like Father like son.  His sense of adventure and commitment to making dreams happen make me proud.  I can hardly wait to see what's next for him and Mom.

Like birds, we gathered from all directions in the snow, all but the two youngest grand-girls--one working late and the other at a track meet--in a beautifully decorated golf club which sits quaintly atop rolling Western Pennsylvanian hills, peeking over and hiding under the cover of snow laden greens.

He thought he was coming for a birthday for my son-in-law, and discovered instead a Christmasy, candle-lit dinner with ones who love, and a burnt almond torte for dessert. (In this case, burnt is a good thing!)  We gorged on delicious food and conversation, some sipping wine and others coffee, all admiring the beauty of each other. 

When we couldn't eat another bite, baby-sister from mid-state New York brought out small, prettily wrapped gifts for just mom and us girls.  I opened mine first--there were four all the same--a small red cardinal dusted with shimmer, ready to perch royal on a Christmas tree branch.

I looked teary at my sister and saw between us another guest smiling, one you wouldn't know was there unless you were looking with the heart.  My grandmother had a love affair with birds--the Cardinal was her favorite.  We have a pair living in the shrub at the corner of our house, and every time I see them I think of her.

More messages from heaven.  We hugged and soaked in the love.

I thought thanks for my heritage--not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but--redeemed by love.  Yes, we are loved, and learning to love--all of us, from the oldest to the youngest.  I looked around and saw not just my grandmother, but the One who first loved. Emmanuel was with us, in us, singing over us--even those who were there only in thought, or in the shape of an eye, the form of a cheek-bone, the sound of a laugh.

The birds came hungry, and left satisfied, hearts full and spirits nourished...and my parents drove away dreaming about what they would do come Monday morning.

On this day of grace, I thank Father for...

161.  my dear parents and their inspiration to keep on keeping on
162.  family, each one carrying a piece of the ones and the One who came before
163.  heavenly pine and rich, red velvet and soft candle flickers
164.  piano tones smoothing pretty
165.  crab cakes and black'n'blue steak and buttermilk chicken with garlic mashed
166.  burnt almond torte (Yummm)
167.  the brilliant red of cardinals, gifts
168.  hugs and smiles and pictures taken squished
169.  cold, snowy air
170.  moonlight bouncing off the greens
171.  connecting small as parts of a huge and heavenly puzzle
172.  a nephew growing a foot since I saw him last
173.  laughing hysterics as we watch Elf all strewn around the room
174.  for the girls: green tea w/honey; and the boys: frosty Duquesne Pilseners (the male version of warming up)
175.  all is calm.  all is bright.  all is peaceful this frosty night.


Today I join Ann Voskamp and the community of gratitude-givers in appreciating God's graces.  Click on the button below to read other grace lists....

holy experience


I am also linking with  L.L. Barkat and other ready writers who share their stories of place at Seedlings in Stone.   Please join us!
On In Around button

 Click to read more about my Journey of Gratitude.

Photo Courtesy:  flickr - kansasphoto

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Prayer


Prayer
Prayer, the Church's banquet, Angels' age, God's breath in man returning to his birth, The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage, The Christian plummet, sounding heav'n and earth;
Engine against th' Almighty, sinner's tower, Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear, The six days world-transposing in an hour, A kind of tune, which all things hear and fear;
Softness, and peace, and joy, and love, and bliss, Exalted manna, gladness of the best, Heaven in ordinary, man well dressed, The Milky Way, the Bird of Paradise;
Church-bells beyond the stars heard, the soul's blood, The land of spices, something understood.
~George Herbert (1593-1633)

I like to think of prayer as singing in tune with the voice of God.  I believe my entire life has been given to intercession and song, in one way or another.  By His grace I am still learning to listen to His notes and sound The Holy.
In a similar way, George Herbert, a Welsh poet, orator, Anglican priest and according to a friend, a most glorious saint and seer, describes his poems as "pictures of spiritual conflict between my soul and God before I could subject my will to Jesus, my Master." (1)
In the hearts of all who linger here let there be "softness, and peace, and joy, and love, and bliss!"
And at every corner may you discover the ringing of laughter, the sounds of "gladness of the best."
Blessings in this joyous season.
Melissa

(1) Maycock A L, Nicholas Ferrar of Little Gidding,SPCK,London 1938

Photo Courtesy: flickr - xlibber

Friday, December 17, 2010

Silent Night



Silent Night
She drew the bow through amber wax and rubbed the strings up and back, over the curve of callused wood where ivory skin and chin relaxed, pressed firm the tail to shoulder graceful.
I saw Mother's eyes flash fiery flecks, reflect the flames of fire that leapt high from the hearth with woody sap snapping loud behind us; and then she closed them, dark lashes fanning crests over milky cheeks tilted low, with the smooth of her hair escaping in auburn tress, and she becoming one with her music.

Buttery strains shushed the dark as slender hands fiddled Silent Night with a soothing legato, soft as a baby's hush-a-bye, resonating fifths and lilting lifts, notes curling warm and floating to rest lush like our bed of downy goose-feathers, and us on our knees at the foot to bless Jesus.
Like flakes we drifted dazed in the lull, adoring, our eyes--four little-boy brown and my girlish blue--hung bright like stars on strings as we beheld their beauty, she smiling honey, and he dazzling, strong, leaning together, our breath caught and held forever in their love song.

Dad started first with smooth Irish tenor, and Mother joined dulcet in cheery, rich alto.  The two became one as they harmonized holy an ancient story--words dripping heaven shine, golden alms for the poor--God's Son born in a manger, a mother's gift given for all mankind, for love and light and peace and laughter. 
And chills ran wild along my skin, and tears lay bitter-sweet on cheeks again waiting for Mother-lips to wipe them clean.  And long the years of lonely after she passed, and long the waiting for another glimpse of song or bow or smile or touch, and only in the remembering...
All was calm.  All was bright.  All was good that Christmas night when Dad and dear Mother sang carols joyous to their wee ones. The boys and I, we huddled close and dozed, wrapped warm in soothing melody, before we lay our heads on downy soft, all three tucked tight with hugs and prayers and dreams of hope to lead us.

I wrote this in honor of my great-grandmother, who I never had the honor of meeting.  She died with cancer when my grandmother was just a young teen.  What she wasn't able to instill personally, she left in rich deposits of love and spirit--her violin just a symbol of her songs and prayers and warm, mothering legacy.




Photo Courtesy:  flickr - Luz A. Villa

December White


December White
White the moonlit hills, all glowing, flowing silk and satin, evening-gowned and crowned in icy baubles sparkling, sparkling clear the frigid night, reflecting hosts--star-glimmer globes-- dancing, prancing round the slippery slopes all shimmer, shimmering shadow light,

And white the powder sprays iridescent across the beams; she whirls and twirls on single silver blades a scribbling, swirling swirl of glassy sea, her cheeks pinched pink with cold and curling, curling round a dulcet smile like twin apples ready to be kissed, 
And white the flakes, so soft and fat, feathery, frosty, cold and wet, each crystal pattern fashioned, formed unique, falling, falling, lolling holy in their hush, and hovering, covering the earth with a blanket of heavenly beauty,
And white the pure, sweet joy, come bouncing loud on evening chill, shouting, spouting, flouncing far 'long distant hills; shake and shatter, treetops scatter, sending icicles crashing spatter, shards of splintering shrill
And white the breath that circles round a scratching, dashing, dancing blur, a frozen stir of vapor crowning, shrouding, wafting slow as pirouette ends abruptly, and happy laughter glazed in snow skates away zig-zag-zagging to warm aglow oe'r red-mittened hands by the fire.


This poem was inspired by the music of George Winston in a video entitled, December (click to listen), and offered for Moondustwriter's Thursday Music Poetry Prompt at One Stop Poetry.

I am also submitting this for the last One Shot Wednesday in 2010.

Have a blessed Christmas everyone!

Photo Courtesy:  flickr - Candida.Performa

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Winter Ride



A Winter Ride
by Amy Lowell (1874-1925)


Who shall declare the joy of the running!

Who shall tell of the pleasures of flight!

Springing and spurning the tufts of wild heather,

Sweeping, wide-winged, through the blue dome of light.

Everything mortal has moments immortal,

Swift and God-gifted, immeasurably bright.

So with the stretch of the white road before me,

Shining snow crystals rainbowed by the sun,

Fields that are white, stained with long, cool, blue shadows,

Strong with the strength of my horse as we run.

Joy in the touch of the wind and the sunlight!

Joy! With the vigorous earth I am one.


This is one of my favorite winter poems.  It makes me give thanks for love and life and the ability we have to enjoy the world around us, the snow, the cold, the warm laughter of friend and family, the sense of flying across the ground and lifting off into God-realms.  However you travel today, please take time to enjoy the ride!


Photo Courtesy:  flickr - Peter J. Markham, Loretto, MN

Blinded



Blinded
Why is it that when I beg to see your face I find myself the most afraid, shivering cold and alone in achromatic black, unable to breathe, unable to think or speak your name because all around thick unknown overwhelms, and I feel icy the rivulet of sweat run slow down the middle of my back?
Why is it that before you appear dream-like, I drift off to rest by the side of the way, wait paralyzed in slumber, and only then You surge bold over dark mounds, rush my face with blinding shafts, and I realize I cannot see because my eyes are plastered shut by glory?
And why is it that when I wake, the glory fades distant into the heart of me, and the sky lends the same gray, and the sun no longer shines as bright as it used to?

Posting today for One Shot Wednesday.  Come join us?

Photo Credit:  flickr - orsorama

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ecstatic Joy




Ecstatic Joy
by Melissa Campbell



Jesus 

came     to     show

God

loves.

God laughs.

He dances wild.

He woos romance.

God runs hard to greet us,

reaches low to lift us up.  Soft, he

sings love and comes to rest in humble

hearts, Word-welcomed flesh, while we rejoice

with feet touching earth, our hearts spilling joy like light

beams burst through cracks ecstatic, basking full in Fatherly

 adoration

because He

first loved and

gave His Son for all.

Oh, how God rejoices over us.




In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: 

“Do not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak. The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

~ Zepheniah 3:16-17 (NKJ)



A small offering for The High Calling's Christmas in Verse and  "Rejoice"- Blog Carnival

I am also offering this as part of the Christmas Tour Around the World at One Stop Poetry.  Wont' you come celebrate the joy with us!


Photo Credit:  flickr - Melanie Plante

Monday, December 13, 2010

Talk-show Religion



I am re-posting this today for Faith Barista Jam Thursday.  I love the topic:  Unwrapping Jesus Discoveries.  In doing this our lives become journeys of Treasure seeking...and finding.  One thing I am learning, God comes to live in jars of clay, but He doesn't intend to stay there--His light must shine!  And so He breaks our boxes, and Christmas dawns all year round.  Blessings!

God has been speaking to me again through his feathered friends.

This morning as I sit in my flannels, catching up with our oldest on the phone, I am delighted to see through a veil of drapes the silhouette of a Blue Jay flitting from one Christmas wreath to another, all hung wide with burgundy velvet across our four living room windows.

With regal, feathery crest he hovers in the between of each evergreen swirl and peeks into the glass, as if waiting for an invitation to come in from the blustery cold.

Does he see his reflection, or is he trying to get my attention?

I mention the crowned visitor to my daughter while we talk about "church" and our not being there and how she no longer has a desire to go and watch people put on a show as if they are acting out a drama for others to see.

"I'm tired of the superficiality," she says.  "I don't see what any of it has to do with loving and worshiping God."

For the most part I agree with her.  We haven't been to church as a family for months.  Instead, we spend the mornings sleeping later, cooking breakfast for each other, talking peaceful--slow, lingering in the warmth of together, and enjoying the intimacy we lack during the week.

"What was it like in Bible days?" she asks.  "I don't think they went just because they felt they had to.

"I don't think they faked their faith like we do now."

Mr. Blue Jay flies away, and returns a few minutes later to perform again his early-morning routine, like a ritual from beginning to end.  I watch distracted as Daughter and I continue the conversation.  Moments like these, when we connect in faith-matters are precious, and not meant to be rushed.

"God is drawing hearts to relationship with Him and each other.  He is speaking if we will listen.
I share how I have talked with friends in far-away places looking for somewhere to fit, somewhere they can be real before God and each other, all wanting to connect with other believers of like mind and heart who desire to return to the simple and holy ways of worship--who will walk in love and power and the ability to bring change for God's glory, not man's.

Then I remember, voice a roll-call of sorts, all the wonderful people we have known "in church" who were real in their faith and love for Christ, all those who made a difference in our lives and the world around us.  I hear a smile through the lines as we recall holy saints, and I watch my crested feathery friend fly off again.

Our conversation veers as well to the pecan-topped sweet potato casserole I am baking for our family Christmas dinner in a few hours.  I forget about my morning visitor until I open email a while later.

At the top of a message entitled, Blessings in Liberty, a picture of a gorgeous Blue Jay greets me.  And underneath, in caligraphy, this Scripture from Timothy reads:

Tell those rich in this world's wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they'll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life."

~ 1 Timothy 6:17-19 (The Message)

I think about Mr. Blue Jay, and smile.  Another message from the Lord?  He was trying to get my attention!  I look up the passage and read further:

And oh, my dear Timothy, guard the treasure you were given! Guard it with your life. Avoid the talk-show religion and the practiced confusion of the so-called experts. People caught up in a lot of talk can miss the whole point of faith."

~ 1 Timothy 6:20-21 (The Message)

Oh, the wonder of God!  Oh, how He loves us!  And yes, He speaks, if we will listen. 
My daughter discerns easily what has taken me years to come to terms with.  My religious ways and striving will never bring me closer to God.  Religion keeps Him in a box, and working for His approval wears me out. 
He never intended for us to dress up and perform for Him one day a week, then go about our business as usual.  Instead, He reaches down into every moment, giving grace that frees, forgives, invites and enables me to be real in life and love--that the world may know His goodness.
I am thankful today for His richest gifts that keep giving and speaking, and getting my attention, that keep pulling me into Him in one way or another.
Yes, let us guard the treasures we have been given!


Today I join Ann Voskamp and the community of gratitude-givers in appreciating God's graces.  Click on the button below to read other grace lists....

holy experience


I am also linking with  L.L. Barkat and other ready writers who share their stories of place at Seedlings in Stone.   Please join us!
On In Around button

 Click to read more about my Journey of Gratitude.

Photo Credit:  flickr - Jeffrey Pott

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ring the Bells


Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.
~Leonard Cohen

I read this quote yesterday on a blog site and liked it so much.  I meant to give credit to the friend who posted, but somehow in my copy and paste, lost the web address.  I apologize to whomever I borrowed it from.  Thank you for the inspiration!

In the hearts of all who linger here, let there be praise!
And at every corner may you discover the ringing of laughter, the light of love. 
Blessings in this joyous season.
Melissa

Photo Courtesy: flickr - Miss Corley

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Created to Sing- Part 8, Days of Light


She asks what form of creativity or expression makes my breath quicken and my knuckles grip white.  She questions if I force myself to overcome, or do I hide within myself, unexpressed?

I don't have to think long.  I love to sing!

I grew up with music all around.  My mom whistles like a songbird, sometimes so piercingly high it hurts the ears.  My sisters and I complained when we were small.  We had no appreciation for her gift, at times were embarrassed.  Now I worship when I listen, and wonder at the brilliance of a sound she has perfected over the years, but must surely come from heavenly places.

Mom sings with her vocals too.  Like she was born to.  We laughed when she said she dreamed of being a soprano in the opera one day.  We couldn't imagine our hard-working, floor-scrubbing, bread-baking, Bible-reading, fun-loving mother dressed in velvets belting drama in a foreign language.

Her love for singing was a gift from my grandfather who continually crooned old-timey melodies while he worked his garden or drove the logs he cut to the mill.  My favorite was, Down by the Old Cherry Orchard.  Sometimes I get lost in the light of childhood days and soak warm in words stretched wide across a whiskery smile.  

It was a happy day when Pap-pap yodeled.  Oh, could he yodel!  We giggled, and begged him to, "Do it again!" until his voiced would crack and he had to rest up for another time. 

I learned to play piano, and my grandfather turned family visits into old-fashioned hymn sings.  He stood looking over, resting one lumber-rough hand on my shoulder and the other turning pages while he sang in a beautiful tenor the songs he grew up on.  He didn't mind when I stumbled over the keys choppy, or hit a note awry.  His honeyed croons covered my mistakes, and together we made beautiful music--harmonies that linger sweet in my archives.

I tried to sing too, at the piano, in my room, outside under the trees and in car-rides with the family, all four of us girls crammed together in the back seat of our Pontiac, or sometimes in the front beside my mom because I was the oldest. 

I sang.  And she laughed.  She said I couldn't hit the notes or stay on key.  My sister 18 months younger chimed agreement.  Glad to find a flaw in my drive for perfection, she had no problem gliding along mom's melodies.

I learned early to stay quiet.  To be seen and not heard.  To stuff my songs in the dark places of my heart where I stood guard militantly lest one should escape and bring shame.  I believed I couldn't, shouldn't sing.  So I didn't.  I just mouthed the words silent and sullen. 

Years later, I found a friend, another songbird who poured love songs to Jesus.  She encouraged me to do the same.  For five years a group of us came together like a family to worship.  We praised the King with our laughter, our fellowship, our prayers and our voices. 

At first, I was petrified, white-knuckled and gasping for breath, hopelessly trying to catch the notes, struggling just to hear them, and not knowing how to translate or speak what was buried so deep within.  But God.

He sent light into those dark places through the love of friends, through the love of His Son.  I learned to soak full in His Spirit.  I learned to listen quiet for His voice.  I learned I was created to sing the song He had written inside. 

And I discovered that as soon as I turned from me, from my insecurity and all the lies I had believed, to focus on the One who loved me so well, who made me unique to give Him glory just by being, singing--when I sang for Him--I could sing! 

I sing!  My girls still make fun of me.  They don't like my music.  They don't like my songs.  They don't like my devotion to Someone they can't see.  But they are young.  And I have been assured that one day their songs will break free and give glory to the King.

I have it on good Authority as well, that He likes my offerings.  (smile)

Whatever it is that causes your breath to quicken and your knuckles to grip white give it to God, and let Him make something beautiful.  You were born to shine His light.  You were created to sing!


“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."


~ The words of Jesus, Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)


Today is the final day in my Days of Light series.  Thank you for joining me to light candles in words to highlight the Coming of our Lord as celebrated by some in Advent and The Festival of Lights.

Previous Posts:

Day 1:  Walk in Light
Day 2:  Almond Tree
Day 3:  Incandescence
Day 4:  Guest Post - Love Still Follows the Star
Day 5:  This Night
Day 6:  Gift of Light
Day 7:  Your Face


I am joining Emily and other singers today for Imperfect Prose.  Won't you join us?



Also, please consider visiting Exquisite Grace where I got my inspiration for this post, and where the light of God's beauty and grace abound.

It's not too late to visit L.L. Barkat and other ready writers who share about their place at Seedlings in Stone
On In Around button

Photo Courtesy:  flikr - Kassia

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Your Face - Part 7, Days of Light



On Day 7, another poem from the archives:
Your Face 
by Melissa Campbell 


A hungry gaze, a longing cry

My heart is desperate, thirsty, dry

Weary of chasing Your shadow, then wondering why

These moments with You won’t satisfy

 

How much longer must I wait

To behold your glory face to face?

Lonely tears—my heart is faint

What must I do to see your face?

 

I need to know You; I need to see

I need to trust your love for me

It's not enough that You're calling me

True friendship's born in intimacy

 

From Heaven's Holy River, Your living waters fall

Deep calls to deep; my spirit hears your call

"Who will go for Me?"  Your gaze ignites my soul

Love's cost can be so great; I pledge to give you all 

 

With flames of holy fire, You sear my heart with love

With a brand of glowing ember, my lips you gently touch

I feel your holy burning, but still...it's not enough

To quench this need to know you more, the One I love so much 

 

LORD, show me your Glory; show me your face

I'm hungry and thirsty and needing your grace

You've called me to follow; I'm walking by faith

Ruined and desperate to see the Light of your face  

 

Today is Day 7 of 8 in the Days of Light series.  Please join me again tomorrow as I continue to light a candle in words to highlight the Coming of our Lord as celebrated by some in Advent and The Festival of Lights.


Previous Posts:
Day 1:  Walk in Light
Day 2:  Almond Tree
Day 3:  Incandescence
Day 4:  Guest Post - Love Still Follows the Star
Day 5:  This Night
Day 6:  Gift of Light

 This poem is being offered for One Shot Wednesday.

Photo: Dynamic Sun, courtesy: flickr - NASA Goddard Photo and VideoUsed with permission.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gift of Light - Part 6, Days of Light



On Day 6, a poem written long ago:

Gift of Light
by Melissa Campbell

Into darkness God’s Light was given
Born in the land of the shadow of death
In a dirty cave, a sinful world
Jesus breathed his first breath

A gasp of hope, a cry of life
Sounded from the stable that night
When God bestowed his favor on men
And revealed His Gift of Light

A host of angels, the songs of heaven
Announced the wondrous birth
The very Word of God made flesh
Was spoken to the Earth

Lowly shepherds flocked to see
The Father’s gift, His own
A baby lain in manger cradle
A Prince upon his throne

Son of God and Son of Man
The first of many brothers
Was born to live and born to die
A child like no other

Who would have thought a little child
The Light who dawned by Way of the Sea
Would save the world from impending doom
Was God clothed in humanity

Salvation’s Plan at last unfolded
God’s Atonement for the world
Anointed for our sacrifice
His death was long foretold

Lamb of God, Prince of Peace
Humble, Servant King
Your body broken, bread for all
Your blood, our offering

Perfect Love in human form
Lifted high for eyes to see
You came to heal a hurting world
To set the captives free

Darkness shattered by the Light
The Morning Son appears
When Jesus, Breath of life and love
Breathes his Presence near

Kiss the Son, you children of the Light!
The King of Glory laughs!
The Father’s plan, so upside down
Has saved us from His wrath

The Gift of Heaven, our holy King
Now rules from David’s throne
Awaiting the day of promise
His bride becomes his own

Longing hearts will soon be sated
God’s joy the Earth will know
When two streams as one river
Both Jew and Gentile flow

Then God and man will celebrate
The wedding of the Son
For out of darkness, sin and death
The bride, in triumph, comes

With eyes of love, the veils now lifted
Over darkness, Truth has won
The Gift of Light no longer shaded
The bride reflects the Son

Death’s shadows cannot hide You
Come again to your land of birth
On clouds of Light and Glory
We’ll ride across the Earth

Then nighttime gone forever
Every tribe and tongue will see
Love crowned in radiant beauty
Truth robed in majesty

God’s Gift of Light, victorious
If now we will receive
Will shine in us forever
Not just on Christmas eve

Today is Day 6 in the Days of Light series.  Please join me for the next 2 days as I continue to light a candle in words to highlight the Coming of our Lord as celebrated by some in Advent and The Festival of Lights.


Previous Posts:
Day 1:  Walk in Light
Day 2:  Almond Tree
Day 3:  Incandescence
Day 4:  Guest Post - Love Still Follows the Star
Day 5:  This Night



Photo Credit:  flickr - A. Kuzminski

Monday, December 6, 2010

This Night - Part 5, Days of Light



This Night
by Melissa Campbell


Listen...
Do you hear them?
Angel octaves pealing
A Capella joy o'er the flocks
This night.

Behold...
Do you see Him?
No longer a babe, He
Reigns King of kings; Shepherds the World
With light.

Reach out...
Do you receive?
God-treasure hid in jars,
Forgiveness for those who forgive
This night.

Come to...
Do you believe?
Sons and daughters arise
When Emmanuel crams souls replete
With light.

Give praise...
Do you join in?
With mouth confess
God's glory 'cross the earth
Like calm waters cover the seas
This night.



Today is Day 5 in the Days of Light series.  Please join me for the next 3 days as I continue to light a candle in words to highlight the Coming of our Lord as celebrated by some in Advent and The Festival of Lights.


Previous Posts:
Day 1:  Walk in Light
Day 2:  Almond Tree
Day 3:  Incandescence
Day 4:  Guest Post - Love Still Follows the Star


Photo Credit:  flickr - Nerissa's Ring

Monday, November 29, 2010

How Do You Be, Little Bird?


I enjoy being hidden in the shadows, but there are moments when I lose focus and look past His face to see what "isn't."  Today was one of those days.  I knew I needed to change my perspective fast so I headed out the back door with no jacket or shoes, just wanting to breathe fresh air and God.

My husband had packed away the porch swing a few days earlier and in my heart I  complained.  I wanted to rant at him and let him share some of this pain.  But I thought better and plopped on the top step of the pool shed instead.  I lifted my face to the sun and let the breeze dry my tears.  It wasn't long before I felt the healing come.

As I soaked warm, I watched little Chick-a-dees flying overhead and landing in the trees, seemingly without a care in the world.  In my spirit I heard these words, "How do you be, Little Bird, there warming your feathers in the sun?"   

Not, "How do you do?" but, "How do you be?"

I answered aloud for the bird in the tree.  "I be just fine, thank you."  And smiled.

Then I realized God was talking to me, calling me His little bird.  He was looking at me.  Feeling my struggles.  Perching beside me on this warm November day, knowing I was hungry--so hungry--for His presence. 

My grandmother loved watching the birds gather and feast at the feeder outside her kitchen window.  She especially loved Cardinals.  Every time I see a Cardinal I think of her.  In the same way, my grandfather, when he saw my sisters and cousins and I coming to visit, would always say, "Here come the birds."  He likened our visits to the feathered friends who lit en mass in their backyard, assured there would be plenty of seed to eat.

Like the birds, we were always hungry for the food they shared.  We never once thought of lack.  All of my grandparents took great joy in giving, and feeding us from their bounty--it overflowed from the garden, their cupboards, and full hearts that loved.

I thought of this love that feeds.  Jesus said:


Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  ~ Matthew 6:26 (NIV)

 Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica


He promises to feed us when we are hungry.  We don't need to work for His love, or worry He won't be there.  Our challenge is to see past our lack to His abundance, and posture our hearts for the feast.  How hard can that be?

How do you be little bird? 
Warming your feathers there in the sun.
Winter's coming and you don't seem scared.
What will you eat when the harvest is done?

Your seat could be any branch in any tree.
But there you sit looking at me,
unaware that your friends have all flown away.
Could it be you came with a message?
His bread on wings? His word a feast?

Like seed, He spreads His love extravagantly.

Today I am thankful for:

141.  little birds
142.  and love messages from God
143.  His love that feeds
144.  the sun, the wind, the trees--the beauty that surrounds us
145.  the most wonderful Thanksgiving meal ever
146.  all the people and touches of love that made it special
147.  Dad unable to pray because of tears
148.  Mom's pies and whipped cream salad
149.  Farmer Jones' turkey and the story of how it made it to our table
150.  the hands that raised and bought and stuffed and cooked it
151.  chocolate covered, caramel apples and messages tied with a string
152.  mothers and daughters and granddaughter working together and giving gifts
153.  our names written in little wire pumpkins and graven on His hands
154.  a husband/son who honors his aging parents
155.  another husband who cleans
156.  another husband who drives through the rain
157.  left-overs and the girls (birds) who love to eat them
158.  husband putting up wreaths and winter's first snow
159.  memories of other Thanksgiving gatherings and the abundance
160.  grandparents who gave love and passed on their gift to give


Today I am uniting with fellow bloggers at Bridget Chumbley’s site to talk about Fellowship.  Will you join us

I also join every Monday with Ann Voskamp and the community of gratitude-givers in appreciating God's graces.  Click on the button below to read other grace lists....


holy experience


In addition, please visit L.L. Barkat and other ready writers who share about their place at Seedlings in Stone
On In Around button

 Click to read more about my Journey of Gratitude.

Photo Credit: flickr - Charlie Cowins

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fly - Living a Dream

 









Fly  by Melissa Campbell


He didn't know when he woke that morning

his childhood dream would take off down a runway,

climb out smooth and trace a path through the heavens

in first flight solo with his Dad looking down

and Mom and I on the ground,

proud tears running.


I held my breath and wondered

what it must be like to take on wings,  

to cruise the clouds and coast the winds.

soar into the sun like the eagle,

to lift and rise and paint the skies,

leave a trail across God's canvas,

stretched wide without an easel.


When he touched again the earthy realm,

heart spilling full the rush of adrenaline,

and aviators peeking from under the flap of a denim pocket,

I looked past the wing and caught a hint

of wild blue lingering in the depths of chocolate brown

and knew my dear Daddy

was flying high with the answer.



Click to below to enjoy other Fly photos:



I am reading some wonderful poetry at One Shot Wednesday.  Get a cup of tea and come check it out!

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Dawning




All the windows of my heart I open to the day.

- John Greenleaf Whittier

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Remembering the betrothal...

We shared wine, and you said yes.  I promised forever over a glass of rich red.  Later I dreamed you dancing while I drank the dregs of another cup alone, and settled the price of your purchase, extravagantly.

It seems like ages since I first beheld love twirling in your eyes. You were young and sweet like Abba's grapes still ripe on the vine.  You had no idea what it meant to be a bride.

When we kissed good-bye, you cried, not understanding the consecration. I tattooed the letters of your name over my heart, and with a finger drew a crown on yours.  I gave you my word I would return for you soon.

Now I stand below your window listening to the rush of your gown and girlish laughter, and I must confess I have been crazy counting the minutes until I can make you mine.

I did not abandon you as some have said, but went away to build us a home with lots of rooms next to the river, at the foot of the vineyard Abba gave us.  And while I worked late you grew weary and slept.
Watching through the glass...
But I am here now, waiting quiet, knowing full the pain of walking lonely, and remembering all the times I wanted to kiss away the wounds that came from the hands of your friends.

There were nights I came and stood with the stars, faces turned to your window parched, watching you drench the dark with fragrant oil, a mix of tears and love songs, and I was overcome with love for you.

Now a candle flickers from the sill, casting light shadows across your face.  I linger long, hoping to catch a glimpse of fire dance in those sapphire depths. Your eyes pierce my heart with eternity.

I have been faithful like this garden oak, roots gone down deep, leafy green a canopy of shade, and branches reaching high above the panes, watching dawn awake in the heights and depths of all your mystery.

Darling, I see clear through the glass how the years have matured you, your beauty full-bodied and complex like a rare vintage, and my lungs ache for breathing the headiness of your perfume.

Your light shines lovely from behind the veil, like a city on a hill, radiant, longing to know as you are known the secrets of glory, and captivating me speechless with all your charms.

Surely you knew I was coming.  Even as you slept I felt your heart hold mine.  Now I see you making yourself ready and I can't stop this emotion from running wet across my cheeks.

Beloved, our wedding day dawns...

I shout your name and taste it sweet as it rolls smooth over my tongue.  Again, I am undone as I watch you rise and rush the window like the sun, in a whirl of white linen and pearls.

You bend far to kiss me complete with the light of your eyes and I can't drink you fast enough. With carpenter hands, scarred and rough, I hold the silky smooth of yours, and thank God for the gift of covenant.
We soak long in ancient blessing.  My heart spills holy as I watch you inhale and put your lips to our wedding cup, then drink deep and savor the fruit of our own vineyard.  I kiss the wine from your lips and hear Abba say he is pleased to introduce you as my bride.
Kallah,  do you know how perfectly you complete me?  Your smile pure erupts and lights the room. Everyone claps when I splinter the glass, and we make love with our laughter as I carry you across the rose petal sky. 

Ah, Love, you will drink deep from this cup of joy again and again as we open our windows to a never-ending day of celebration.

Listen, the sound of angels singing. The fig has formed its early fruit.  Doves coo and almonds bloom and yes, winter has finally passed.  And you rest here in my arms, content at last.
For those who mourn:   Though it is dark, you must look to the day.  For even now the sun rises and the dawn wakes gloriously.


The Dawning:  Over a week ago I was watching the sunrise, and I heard the Spirit say, "It is time."  I watched the beauty of light and color rise up ahead of the sun, and I knew God was speaking about His glory rising on the Bride of Christ (Isaiah 60.)  We are seeing this happen now.  Many people I have spoken to have been led into a type of seclusion with God in the last year.  He is drawing our hearts to intimacy with His.  My writing is inspired from His word and His heart.

Kallah--similar to Kayla, the name of my oldest daughter, which also means pure--is the Hebrew word for bride.  I have always believed our names are God-given, and I come undone thinking that 26 years ago I chose a name for my first-born to declare God's glory in the earth today.

The Spirit and the Bride say Come!

May blessings abound as the Son rises upon you.


I am thrilled to introduce Adrienne Berry of Ruined from the Ordinary who was inspired from this post to paint a beautiful image of The Bride entitled, The Vineyard.  Please visit her site (click on the links) to see her painting and other beautiful works of bridal glory.  You will be blessed by the experience! 


Photo Credit: flickr - quacktaculous

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Colors of the King


The Colors of the King
by Melissa Campbell

Anoint us, Lord
Wave us to the nations
One flag of many flags
A people of liberation

Unite us to bring freedom
A remnant bride, your blood
We fly by the breath of your Spirit
Dance given to the song of love

Raise us up, a holy army
Hold us firm your banner high
A parade of earthly singers
Herald holy wings the sky

Assemble all our voices
While heaven keys a thousand tongues
And Spirit sounds the rush of waters
A splashng concert of daughters and sons

Dip us low to bind the broken
Spread us thick for eyes to see
With glory comes the dawning
Your sons will rise in majesty

And we will stand in awe of You
Our lips your praise we sing
A banner waves victorious
All the colors of the King


About ten years ago during intercession, I saw small pieces of fabric of different colors being stitched together into a quilt. When it was complete, the quilt was raised into the air and began to wave like a flag.  I saw how the vision represented our prayers for the nations as well as the nations coming together as one glorious company of saints being prepared as the Bride of Christ. Arise, shine, for your light has come. (Isaiah 60)

Blessings,
Melissa

I am posting this in a weekly, poetry community event,  One Shot Wednesday.  (Click to read to read the works of other poets.)   

I have also linked with dear Emily and other remnant writers at (click button to check them out):  




Photo Credit: flickr - Jared Tarbell