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Friday, October 29, 2010

Puzzle Pieces

Can we see ourselves, and others too, like God does, little life seeds, micro-bursts of light and beauty, unique from each other, and capable of becoming the spitting image of our Father?

Can we rid our brains of the lies we have learned and leaned on--that some are worthless, hopeless, ugly, not needed--and instead, embrace the truth how God created all of us intentionally with purpose and love?

Can we know who we are, His poema, works of art?

Can we learn to focus not on our imperfections according to the world's standards and media brain-wash?  Can we stop measuring how pretty-plain, fat-skinny, freckled-fair, quiet-loud, shy-proud, broken-manicured, glamor-geek we are, and look instead for the signature of a Creator who loves diversity and making strong the weak?  (Look at nature!)

Can we train our eyes to see not the less, but the more?

Not the lack, but the potential?

Not the failure, but the trying?

Can we look past our reflection and let eyes feast on first the heap, then the one who faces us, oodles of colored pieces, cut round and sharp and chunky, all crafted uniquely with the eye of a Master, and having a place to fit perfectly in His brilliant puzzle?

Can we reach past our insecurity a hand to help each other land there?
Father, give us eyes to see as you do, to look down deep where your DNA resides and find--uniquely beautiful and important, necessary for completing the picture--a family worthy of your love, that your glory (goodness) may cover the earth like the waters cover the seas.  Thank you for all the Precious Pieces that fit together in our lives, and for sending such a One to lead us.  Amen.
I was inspired to write this after talking with my mom this morning, and meeting new friends last night, all beautiful women and carriers of The Christ.  

My hope is that you all find your place today, and have a lovely weekend. 

Blessings here,
Melissa

Photo Credit:  flickr - Mykl Roventine

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Soup for the Poor

A perfect day for making soup--the sun shines bright Fall's fading color, and earthy leaf-decay spreads perfume on bitter wind gusts, their twirls dancing pretty.

I chop onion, and shred sharp cheddar, and cry real tears as I think about two girls who love this recipe:  The first, my oldest daughter--I need to call her soon to invite them both to dinner, she and husband.  There will be plenty with sloppy joe's too...

And the other like a daughter--a close friend of our second from the middle found a boy two weeks ago, and now has turned against her.  With the coldest shoulder she throws thick stones and calls mean names that hurt down deep, breaking open my child's heart--long leaking grief and looking for bridges to hide under.



I am angry.  And I hurt more than I should--for I know this pain--and all I want to do is kiss her broken bones and make it go away.

Instead I clean broccoli, two heads just bought fresh from my farmer friend across the streets.  I snap pretty crowns and rinse them clean through cold water running, and think of a happier day when they were getting ready in her tiny purple room, our sensitive one--an artist with hair and nails--working magic in red, shiny curls not her own, and lending a necklace to match the chunky pearls at her ears.   She has always been that way--giving.

Two little-girls-grown who spent the summer together, both candidates for home-coming queen, giggled and speculated who would be crowned, hoping, but not quite believing it might be one of them.  We took pictures close with arms draping and faces glowing, out there in the leaves.

In the evening--on a day like this, but colder--their dates escorted straight along the fifty yard line five beauties smiling big and heels awkwardly sticking in the green, as one by one their names were called.  The announcer made plain the winner.  And with the crowd's applause my daughter gushed congratulations, gave her friend a hug and said she was glad it was her.  Their fresh flowers tangled like their sister-love.



Days later she called from school on her cell, the two of them waiting to tape up ankles before practice, and they were hungry.  She asked if we had any soup left, and it wasn't long before she came flying into the kitchen, my daughter close after, looking for her favorite.  All the while her bowl got hot in the microwave, she couldn't stop raving about the soup.  They spooned it fast and carried pumpkin-cream-cheese muffins wrapped in paper, offered thanks as they went just as quick out the door.  I said, "Anytime!" and laughed.

That seems a life-time ago.  Now I clean the sink, gathering those little pieces of vegetable that didn't make it into the pot, and I think about my sister's trip to Mozambique, and her stories of the poor, hungry children who root through garbage for food and will eat anything.  Anything.  They would have a feast on what I just put in the trash. 

And I remember a poor girl whose daddy left her small--he doesn't always make it to her soccer games, but when he does, she quivers.  I wonder if he regrets his exit from her life, and how another daddy moved in to love her inappropriately.  And what was he thinking as she stood there on that special night looking at her mom with another new husband--they just bought a house together, and are fixing up a room.  But it's not ready yet.  She still lives with her grandmother three blocks down from the old Sunoco.

I hear she's coming over later, not to hang out like old-times, but as a member of the team, working on a school project.  Their honors class made a video--it's quite good really--the telling of three tales as one.  My daughter played the Scarecrow, having a heart, but needing a brain, and she, Belle--the beauty, the one in the golden gown and walking like a queen.   And I say out loud, I don't want her to eat my soup ever again.


 
And I wonder whose heart is colder, a friend's who isn't a friend any longer--maybe never was...

...or the bleeding empty one of my daughter, willing life to return to pre-fairy-tale normalcy...

...or mine, for wanting to keep all the soup to ourselves.

I don't think about it long.  The answer runs down my cheeks.  My mother heart cries for both of these girls.  And I realize I have to rise above the emotion, lay my self down and live in an upside-down kingdom where all is motivated by love.

My daughter is right in choosing to forgive, even if the friendship is never restored.  I must determine to do the same, and with grace offer up soup to the needy and poor, just like Jesus dishes it to me...extravagantly...freely...like I'm a queen instead of a pauper.
I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You'll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we're at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. ~Luke 6:35-36 The Message

Joining with Emily and other "poor" friends at:




This is essentially a true story, but some of the details and characters have been changed to protect privacy.

Photo's courtesy of: Ernesto Andrade and thebittenword.com
Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright � 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.  As taken from Bible Gateway.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Scandalous Blaze


Scandalous Blaze
by Melissa Campbell

When dark night settles heavy,
Hope pregnant with delay,
Holy angels come to gather
Those fallen to the sway,
Of self-love seduction,
And find,
A little faith sustained.

A happy flicker, faint at first,
One virgin wick just catching flame;
Bends low among the rushes,
Yields strong to winds of change;
When all around just ashes,
A remnant burn remains.

Such burning ones bleed,
Drip oil of Majesty,
Limp broken by their need,
Track heaven-scent along the street,
And sing to the wounded,
Love songs...

...A costly perfume,
For those who stand on the outside looking in,
Where stained-glass-window seats,
Shutter, shake,
And silver-tipped steeples,
Teeter, break,
And well-behaved worshipers,
Scatter, scathed,
Bathe long in after-glow of former glory...

And those seeking to know as they are known,
Turn faces full to welcome sun and fire's purge and race's run,
Rising up to lay-me-down, prostrate,
And willing to kiss both cheeks soft good-bye,
In final sacrifice,
Only after swallowing up the night,
In scandalous blaze...

...of glory.

Arise, shine;
For your light has come!
And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you.
  For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people;
But the LORD will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you.
~ Isaiah 60:1,2 


My inspiration for writing these lines came in the reading of Charissa Steyn's blog-post at Everyday Adventures:  Be Like Happy (Click to read.)

Re-posting from the archives for One Shot Wednesday.



 
Photo Credit:  flickr - Ben Britten
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. As taken from Bible Gateway.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Songe d'Automne



Songe d'Autonmne
by Melissa Campbell

My papa was snuggled up close along the back-side of Mum and me, spoon-like, with Bertie there on the other berth, his pale little arms stretched out wide above auburn curls, sleeping calmly, when the sound reverberated loud, like one of Mum's calicoes ripping, tearing metal, and a queer quiver ran through the length of us, deep in steerage bowels, afloat on an icy sea. 

He left us then, to join the men who were gathering on deck to admire an austere mountain of ice, and walking through its crunching scatter atop the boards, gingerly, contemplating.  And all around was peaceful chatter, and no alarms being given.  But he looked and saw some officers letting down the life boats, loosening cords, untangling cables and opening doors to storage where white jackets were stacked like soldiers, just as a precaution.

Urgent hands shook Mum awake, as I lay content on her breast.  "What is it, Luv?"

"We must get the children dressed warmly. Quickly.  I'm afraid we've struck a bit of ice."

Mama's feet dropped quick off the bed and immediately felt the cold shock of icy water underneath.  Adrenaline rushed, and sweat crept down her back and beaded on her forehead as she realized the truth of what was happening.  This couldn't be.  What have we done?  Left everything just to die at sea?  She began to weep and pray, "God have mercy!"

"How much time do we have?"

"Who knows?" he said, slipping his watch into the inside pocket of his worn, woolen coat, always smelling like tobacco.

We hustled to get to the upper deck, with Da holding Bertie, and shouldering a path through panic-stricken chaos.  Somber officers lined the walk, handing out life-preservers to the crazed passers-by.

"Stay close!  We need to go up one more set of stairs," he hollered back, as my mum pressed me warm into the back of him.

We came to a rope strung tight, with an officer guarding, and people pushing to get across.  They called for women and children, and the crowd finally gave way to us.  Da turned and put Bertie down, held me in his arms for the littlest while and kissed me on my head, then wrapped himself around us all, squeezing tight.  With quiet hope he said, "It's time you go."

Two hearts joined as one were beating hard, bending, sinking, bleeding like the boat they had put their faith in, their dreams glued together only for as long as they could embrace.  They held on for one last breath, then ripped apart.  Da pushed away first, with me still in his arms, and watched Mum, sobbing, climb over the rail and into #13.  Bertie went next with the help of a stranger, disappearing into the cold confines of a wooden boat different than our mother's.

There was a tussle next to us.  An angry man with a knife knocked into my father, hard against the rails.  And the officer stood stern and fired a shot and warned there would be no men boarding at this time.

I had been wrapped in a canvas mail sack, one Da found along the way and gave to Mum to hold our clothes.  A sailor used it now to lower me down into her arms, trembling.  And Da was brave as he looked into her hazel eyes one last time, and said, "Don't worry, Luv.  I'll be along soon." 

And then we were gone, jolted, shaken, taken down into the deep with ropes and pulleys.  And all around wake-less waves shone with star reflections.  And White Star Line strings played an upbeat melody, while icy depths seeped through a rip as big as the berth we had been lying on when my papa dreamed of a new life in a new land--he wouldn't live to see.

And grown men fell to their knees and cried like babies.  And some fell to pistol shots, while children whimpered and wives wailed, clinging to their men like they would never hold them again, and mothers screamed for missing children, wrenched from their arms and tossed like packages to the privileged few below.

And Da joined the masses--with Captain Smith looking down from the bridge--of brave martyr-men lining the decks, shoulder to shoulder, waving teary Good-byes and shouting desperate prayers.  He threw us a kiss and yelled for Bertie to hold Mummy's hand and be a good lad--he didn't realize he wasn't with us.  And he said he would see us again, as we drifted away on a glassy sea, each of us fading fast like a shadow, until we were no more.

Two hours and forty minutes after my papa first woke, startled, we watched in horror--a scene that would haunt the likes of us the rest of our years--those gallant groups of men stumbling, grasping, dropping like bees, losing their footing as the ship's stern slowly rose into the air, higher and higher, like a wounded sea-monster raging at the night sky.  

Some fell, and some jumped, and there were screams of terror like we never heard before.  And the strings stopped quiet, and the ship roared with thunder, as one by one the lights snuffed black, on that frigid night when the Atlantic swallowed up my papa's dream.

And the moon waned dim, deciding not to show its face, nor witness the impossible sinking heavy of many brave and mighty men on a ship never christened and never destined to die at sea.

We held each other close, my mother nursing me, floating in the dark on waters four degrees below freezing, south of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, waiting for a rescue, while the stars faded, and the voices carrying across the waves waxed eerily silent.


This is a Magpie Tale.

I wrote this to honor the memories of those losing their lives in the sinking of the Titanic.  According to a survivor, Songe 'Automne (Dream of Autumn), was one of the songs playing, if not the last, while the ship went down.  The other song remembered is Nearer My God to Thee.

Photo Credit:  Tess Kincaid.  Used with permission. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Heart Change

In the last week I have found myself giving voice to critical complaints and negativity, speaking loud my frustration with life in more ways than I would like to admit.  I distanced myself from my husband because he continually goes where I don't want to follow.
 

I decided I am tired of giving up all of me--all the things I could be if only...

...and I am tired of feeling sucked-dry with nothing left to give to anyone, especially God...

...and I am tired of being love-sick and hopeful over things that never come to be...

...and I am tired of walking this journey alone.


And I realize I am focusing on a whole lot of me...and entertaining thoughts that are not mine or God's.


Then I remember how Jesus takes the good with the bad and the ugly.  And He doesn't mind getting dirty to wash us clean. 

So I lift up my heart-felt disappointment and self-absorbed sadness and struggle to come back to a place of seeing Him in the people, places and things around me...


I think hard on the last seven days, and how I lived them.  And joyfully discover...there are multitudes of thing to be thankful for, even when I was blindly wishing for more:

73. Another mother-daughter day planned by my mom, gift-bearing--and all five of us making it!

74. A drive-by visit to Soergel's Orchard, and stopping for pics with the corn stalks.

75. The new, star-graced drinking glasses I bought at Ikea.

76. And throwing out what was left of the dishwasher-cracked-old ones.

77. Celebrating two sister birthdays at a round table at PF Chang's--with cake, candles and flashing party hats.

78. Lettuce wraps!  

79. And leftover Lo-Mein to take home to the girls in in a little Chinese take-out box.

80. A fortune cookie message that said:  A distant relative will call you soon.  (Hope so!)

81. And on the back, the Chinese word for face:  lian--spelled differently, my baby sister who lives in another state sitting next to me (Lianne.)

82. Reading how having face in China means the same as one's word being golden--and she is!

83. Settling in with snacks to watch Faith Like Potatoes with my mom and sisters after a day spent together loving and laughing, and having to call my youngest daughter and her friend to come get me because we couldn't make it through the movie.

84. Riding in the back-seat and getting home safely. :)

85. A husband who served others all weekend, picking up leaves and putting down floors, and falling asleep on the couch, in a different kind of exhausted.

86. A gift in the mail bearing bread for the soul and money.

87. The precious heart who sent it. (May your cup run over!)

88. God's protection over my girls in their coming and going in all different directions, and even an accident

89.  A son-in-law who apologizes with his heart for something small.

90.  Walking with our youngest on the football field for Senior Night, and The Middle bringing her sister a bag of gifts.

91.  The telling of a sister-secret, and The Oldest saying its okay.

92.  A candle-lit dinner for two with flowers and wine on a bitter cold night.

93. The cinnamon sprig of fall mum stuck on my windshield on a happy, sunny day.

94. And new, woolly slippers to take the chill off later.

95. A plateful of pumpkin pancakes shared by family on a Sunday morning.

96. And someone else picking up the tab.

97. The waiter who shared his funny story, and waited...and laughed.

98. Time spent together, talking, touching, being real.

99. A visit to Stanley's bakery for Lady Locks for my sister before she travels home.

100. The fresh raspberries, yogurt and granola I just ate for breakfast.

101. And the nourishment I receive when I turn my heart toward home.

102. The forgiveness that comes when I least deserve it.

103. And how gratitude changes the day.

104. To be able praise the One who makes it all happen.

105. And for eyes to see His grace at work in me.

I 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


Click to read more about my Journey of Gratitude.

Beautiful Photos courtesy of: flickr - Liz West

Saturday, October 23, 2010

True Colors



Autumn surrounds us with a song,
Wears true colors proud,
Boldly bares the heart of her Creator,
In blaze of glory and fiery soul. 

She lingers for but a moment,
Never giving us a chance to own her,
Just delight in her company.

So drink deep,
Feast your eyes on priceless beauty,
and breathe.

And don't be afraid to let your colors show.
 Today, and everyday!

Have a glorious weekend, everyone!


Photo Courtesy of:  Flickr - Liz West

Friday, October 22, 2010

Isaiah's Love Song

As an intercessor, I have the holy privilege of sharing some of the hopes and heart of God for people and situations around me.  However, because of a heightened discernment of emotions and spiritual tensions, I sometimes struggle with heavy burdens that come looking for a place to linger.

Over the years I have learned there is only One worthy to carry our burdens, and if I don't immediately go to Him in prayer, I can become quickly sucked into a miry pit of grief and despair.

Today I remember the words of our Great High Priest, who lives to intercede for us:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

 

The watchman, Isaiah, looked ahead and saw this beautiful Savior, who came to give us rest.  With a love-sick heart, he penned what he saw long before holy feet met earth:

He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

~ Isaiah 53:2-5

For those who are walking wounded, heavy and struggling to see the light today, who think there is no way out:
Look up! To where your help comes from.
Go call a friend who loves you.  His name is Jesus.  He comes to heal the brokenhearted.  He knows our pain, cries our tears and walks with us through the hard times as well as the good.   

He is not afraid to reach down into our mess, and lift the heavy weight of this world from our shoulders.  He promises to carry us through.

And bring joy in the morning.  There is hope for all of us.  So hold on!

And read this story if you like, of another watchman from Australia, who intercedes in behalf of the desperate. (Click to read.)  I guarantee you will be encouraged!

Father, bless your children with eyes and ears to see and hear your hope, your love, your plan for them today.   In Jesus' name, Amen.
  

Painting:  one of my favorites from Terri Derocher.  Terri has had several of her prophetic paintings displayed in the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C.  You can see these and others on her web-site, Love Letters from Heaven.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.  As taken from Bible Gateway.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Scandalous Blaze



When dark night settles heavy,
Hope pregnant with delay,
Holy angels come to gather
Those fallen to the sway,
Of self-love seduction,
And find,
A little faith sustained.

A happy flicker, faint at first,
One virgin wick just catching flame;
Bends low among the rushes,
Yields strong to winds of change;
When all around just ashes,
A remnant burn remains.

Such burning ones bleed,
Drip oil of Majesty,
Limp broken by their need,
Track heaven-scent along the street,
And sing to the wounded,
Love songs...

...A costly perfume,
For those who stand on the outside looking in,
Where stained-glass-window seats,
Shutter, shake,
And silver-tipped steeples,
Teeter, break,
And well-behaved worshipers,
Scatter, scathed,
Bathe long in after-glow of former glory...

And those seeking to know as they are known,
Turn faces full to welcome sun and fire's purge and race's run,
Rising up to lay-me-down, prostrate,
And willing to kiss both cheeks soft good-bye,
In final sacrifice,
Only after swallowing up the night,
In scandalous blaze...

...of glory.

Arise, shine;
For your light has come!
And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you.
  For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people;
But the LORD will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you.
~ Isaiah 60:1,2 


My inspiration for writing these lines came in the reading of Charissa Steyn's blog-post  yesterday at Everyday Adventures:  Be Like Happy (Click to read.)

Joining with Emily and other friends on:  




 
Photo Credit:  flickr - Ben Britten
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. As taken from Bible Gateway.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

More than Enough


Hungry  

Hungry I come to You
For I know You satisfy
I am empty but I know
Your love does not run dry
So I wait for You
So I wait for You

I'm falling on my knees
Offering all of me
Jesus You're all
This heart is living for

Broken I run to You
For Your arms are open wide
I am weary but I know Your touch
Restores my life
So I wait for You
So I wait for You

© 1999 Vineyard Songs
(UK/Eire) 
Words and Music by Kathryn Scott

When I first heard this song I couldn't sing it without weeping.  I was dry and thirsty, crying out for a Savior, searching and desperately hungry to experience the God whom I had met once, but hadn't come near in a very long time.  

I heard many talk about Him as if they knew Him.  I read His story--the Bible--and believed He existed, that Jesus came to save me and live in my heart.  I got baptized, taught Sunday School, joined the women's missionary group and confessed my sins every day to a god I viewed as perpetually angry and disappointed with me.  I thought of myself as a Christian, a "little Christ," yet inside I was nothing like Him.

I went through the motions of day-to-day life, slowly dying, lonely and miserable, plagued with hopelessness, fear, anger, depression and addiction--to romance novels.  I was looking for love in the wrong places, and struggled constantly with the guilt and condemnation from it.  My family suffered.  I suffered.  The sad thing is...

...I knew about Jesus, and all around me I saw people professing Christ, but I couldn't find Him anywhere.
     
God sent two joy-full Canadians with a heart to worship.  We became friends.  They showed me The Way.  One night in prayer I was filled with the Holy Spirit--for the first time ever I felt a warm gush of joy and love bubble up from within me.  The next day my husband and I burned my books.  In their place I discovered the Bible--words that I had read before now came to life as the Spirit became my Teacher. 
   
I learned later how religion had stepped in long ago when I was still a girl, to masquerade as Holy Spirit.  Empty places that had just been swept clean were filled with fear and condemnation instead of love.  I was taught to focus on works and rules, and never introduced to the Spirit of God--the One who was sent by Jesus to give good gifts, to edify the body, comfort, convict, nurture, teach and lead us, deliver and heal us, feed us and fill us, to communicate with us the heart of heaven.

Fear of falling into evil and not measuring up had blinded me from knowing a loving Father and The One True God, who is Spirit, and must be worshiped in spirit and truth.  And somehow, like Eve in the garden, a body of believers was deceived into trading Holy Spirit for who they thought God should be.  We put Him in a box, and opened a door to the counterfeit--he who comes to steal, kill and destroy.  

But God never stays in our boxes. 
  



I have gotten to know Him again, the real Jesus.  I now sit at the table of the King, no longer feeding on the moldy crumbs and muddied water of man's agendas and religion's control, but on endless bounty.  The Spirit of Christ brings more than enough to fill me up, and satisfy my deepest longings--those meant for only Him to fill--over and over again.   I am changing to be like Him.  Love has a way of doing that.  

We become what we behold.

And I have seen the Father.  And He is not at all who I pictured Him to be--but One who loves unconditionally, sending His Son to suffer and die so I can know Him again, now and for eternity.  His arms are open.  He reaches low, and pours His Spirit out.  He is holy and good, more than enough to feed the hungry.


And now, Lord, what do I wait for?
 My hope is in You.
-  Psalm 39:7


Today, gratitude rises for:

49.  Hope that doesn't disappoint,

50.  And faith, that is anointed with Father's touch.

51.  His word--a feast,

52.  There is always more!

53. Hunger, that can only be satisfied through intimacy,

54.  And a heart that has learned to be with You where You are.

55.  Living Water that breaks open the box,

56.  And opens my eyes to see,

57.  Beauty.

58.  A Savior, a brother a friend,

59.  He who gives His life as broken bread,

60.  And becomes more than enough to feed the poor.

61.  A love that has no end,

62.  But reaches down to broken hearts,

63.  Heals a marriage and releases abundant life again.

64.  Perseverance--You have smeared it all over me,

65.  Like blackberry jam.

66.  Until I begin to taste and smell like You.

67.  Two friends with burning hearts to praise,

68.  And joy, like a fountain that bubbles up inside my soul,

69.  Love that travels 2,495 miles in a phone call,

70.  To let me know it will be okay.

71.  For today,

72.  And another chance to bless Your Name.


I 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



Hungry has become my "theme song."  I sing it today with the same desperation of 15 years ago, no longer hopeless, but with a heart that sees and knows the living, loving touch of God.  He comes, again and again and again...as I wait for Him.  He will come to you too, if you ask. Let us all be hungry for more of God!

Click here to listen to Kathryn tell the story behind the song.

Click to read more about my Journey of Gratitude.

Photo Courtesy of: flickr - Kelsey LoveFusionPhoto
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.  As taken from Bible Gateway.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Choosing to See


Choosing to See
by Melissa Campbell
Eyes open,
Unafraid,
Drinking in the light,
Splashing color,
Bold and berry,
For no other reason,
But to praise.
Created to be,
What some will toss away,
Blazing in His glory,
And ignorant,
Of all earthly opinion,
Needing only,
To fade.

© 2010 Melissa Campbell
  



And the glorious beauty is a fading flower
      Which
is at the head of the verdant valley,
      Like the first fruit before the summer,
      Which an observer sees;
      He eats it up while it is still in his hand.


       In that day the LORD of hosts will be
      For a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty
      To the remnant of His people...


Isaiah 28:4-5 





Photos:  Morning Glory
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson,  Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. As taken from Bible Gateway.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Morning Prayers


Morning Prayers
by Melissa Campbell
Sky wakes slowly, as the dawn,
Glazing over, washing warm,
Watching earth below respond,
In holy, slow-spread wonder.

Sleepy sunrise opens arms,
Woos yon earth with all his charms.
Hovers orangey-red, a blazing song,
Over Autumn's golden splendor.

Blush sky faces, fades,
Smolders well beyond the towering sway,
Of oak-shadow shimmers.
Burning hot, with brilliant hue,
Sun's rays sharpen,
Cross the blue,
Poke bright dapples in the gray.

Leafy shadows scatter, skew,
Wander off, leave bare to view,
Diamond-y dew-drops,
The earth now twinkling, shiny wet,
With crystal orbs,
Crowning each grass blade,
In temporal glory.

© 2010 Melissa Campbell

 


This morning I long for the same--to be so consumed with the Son of God, that I burn, shine, disappear in His glory, becoming it.  

I give myself over to prayer, to Him who lives to chase every darkness away.

Hunger rises:  
...to eat and breathe and go down deep in the beauty of God, to carry His passion, be filled with His dominion, walk in union with Him on the earth as it is in heaven...

...to learn to raise my voice and wake the dead, the dying, the sleeping with the song of His praise, and...

...to go out in a blaze of glory--His story filling me to the brim, and flowing from my lips.
Jesus!  Fill me with You!  Shine me bright--so darkness cannot stand, or come this way again.   

And send me to those who need to know, you're The Man and The God who loves them.

I ask this all in your Name, and for your glory.  Amen.

My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD; In the morning I will direct it to You,  And I will look up. ~Psalm 5:3






holy experience


Photo Credit: flickr - by Gorfor 

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson,  Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.  As taken from Bible Gateway.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Poor Man's Pudding

The longing in my heart this week was for heaven.  Somehow I forgot that I was a connector;  I lost touch and let the kingdom drift away into wishful thinking.

When the clouds became the darkest, I pulled out an old recipe book--my grandmother's-- and found the ingredients for Poor Man's Pudding penned in her familiar loops and swirls.  Pent up emotion broke loose like the sun, and dripped melancholy all over faded paper and ink.

I whispered:  This life is hard.  I want to be where you are!

My grandmother taught me to see beauty in simple things, to find God in non-religious places.  In the summer, when her work was done, she and I would sit side-by-side on the old, wooden, porch swing, sipping sweet tea from golden colored glasses, and swaying to peaceful rhythms, bringing heaven down.




We talked some, but listened mostly, to the symphony of nature's serenade.  We became rocks crying out, sometimes joining our voices with song, but more often catching the wind as it blew through Weeping Willow, Red Maple and leafy Catalpa, lifting up silent praise in the language of worship.

When she died with cancer, I celebrated her promotion to Glory--I always knew she was meant to live where angels and saints gather around.  But I was devastated.  Not only had I lost my best friend--and the one who loved me closest to heaven--she took what I knew of Jesus with her.  It took me years to recover, to find Him again, and realize...

..He was with me all along.




Now when I get weepy, needing to touch heaven and doubting that God is near, and while there is still warmth to be found in these Appalachian hills, I swing, sometimes with tea, and sometimes without, but always singing the song Grandma taught me.

And I rediscover what I didn't always know--Jesus lives to make the Father known, and heaven has made my heart His home.




My perseverance in pushing through dark clouds and searching for evidence of the sun paid off, with small glimpses at first, then full-blown glory burst of light and beauty.  It came early on this weekend.

Grace reached down and soothed my soul.  I know His touch.  I felt it in my grandmother's hugs.  Lord, I am sorry I doubted.  He reassures me with a husband's love.

I will feel her arms around me again, and Jesus will wipe away every tear.  But until then, heaven is here--where my toes wiggle in the earth and my heart is held up high as an offering to the One who is worthy.   I will praise--with words and without--thanking God for His goodness, every day... 

...for 38 more graces:

Because the sun still shines even when the clouds get in the way.

And I am glad this suffering is making me lean into Him.

For beauty that moves my soul to tears, 

and a hunger for heaven in my heart,

I am but a sojourner here.

I thank Him for fall fruit: apples, peaches, pumpkin and...

Finding an old recipe for Poor Man's Pudding.

For light-dappled trees and falling leaves,

The canopy of brilliant blue sky over top,

The swing my parents gave me,

And swinging.

For tea, cold or hot, sometimes sweet like Grandma used to make, and sometimes bitter plain.

For the delivery of a furnace, something to keep us warm,

And the warmth found around a table,

An all-girls night for tacos at Artie's,

And ice-cream after.

For a sleepy Sunday morning where I meet with the One I love,

And see Him in the eyes of my husband and children.

For grilled hamburgers with half-moon Gouda and bacon-tomato-macaroni baked,

The hands, big and small versions of the same, given to cooking.

For a clean bathroom and shiny, smooth floors,

And questions about home-work,

For a daughter who says, "The trophy isn't mine, but ours,"

And another who takes time to cut her grandfather's hair.

For a man who sacrifices his sabbath to take me to see Secretariat,

The movie,

And the feel of his warm leg rubbing against mine,

As we watch the least of these become a Champion.

For the tears that come as I realize,

There is greatness in his blood--and ours,

And we will overcome because of Him.

For the way God speaks in our everyday surroundings,

And sends a glimmer of light when we can't find the way,

A friend that calls just to check on you,

And the laughter she spreads like strawberry jam on toast.

For the peaceful hush that comes when He is enough,

And another day to praise,

The One who loves us most.


Click to read more about my Journey of Gratitude.

I 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


Poor Man's Pudding:  This links to a recipe similar to my grandmother's.  She also included in the batter:  1/2 C. each chopped nuts and raisins, and 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice.  Enjoy!

Photos:  uploaded from my mobile phone

Friday, October 8, 2010

Poema


Could we with ink the oceans fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,

To write the love of God above,
Would drain the oceans dry,
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

I came across these beautiful words hiding in parables, ancient and inspired, handed down from the Author of all things holy...just waiting for a seeker to find and delight in their ability to paint Majesty.

The God-lover in me wants to sit with the one first graced, listen to his story over a cup of tea, discover what glorious glimpse of God moved him to take quill in hand, and ask, "What do you know of love?"

Isn't that what our earthly sojourn is all about?  To discover and return to Love? To learn to be Love?  To yada (know) and love the One who first loved us?  To know and love Love in ourselves and everyone around us?




There is a story of a man who ran from who he thought he was and discovered true identity.  God called him to set his people free.  When Moses encountered the fire in the burning bush, he removed his shoes, and turned to find himself caught up in a passionate pursuit of knowing The One who is, and was and always will be, an All Consuming Fire..Love, Himself.

Moses hungered for more than miracles, signs and wonders.  He was desperate to know the one who called his name. Moses talked face to face with God, yet still he cried out for intimacy.   His desire to know Love, to see him face to face in all His goodness, made all other pursuits for wealth and greatness pale in comparison.

God hid Moses in a cloud and joined him there, standing--feet on the ground, passing before him like the sky in all its glory, calling out His name, Yahweh! The Existing One! Undone, Moses fell face-down when he saw and heard the unspeakable, two words which stretch all human thought and understanding, words which cannot be apprehended with reason. I Am.

The Creator had  to translate:

Listen, You who long to know Me, this is who I am! 

I love passionately--deeply--a thousand generations.  I will  always bend low to help you up, to teach you to  follow, hand in hand, to have the eyes and heart of a child.  

I wait patiently, with wings outstretched beyond the impossible--for as long as it takes for you to come to know Me.    All heaven twirls and sings when you do!

I  overflow with kindness, lavishing you with favor, grace and goodness, all the days of your earthly walk, and into the forever.

I am faithful, dependable, unwavering in my desire and ability to Father you, Mother you,  raise you as my own--healthy, whole, nourished, satisfied, loved.

There are consequences to your not trusting, not believing.  But I will wipe away the darkness that wars within your soul against all that is Me...all that is You.  Just turn and see who you were created to be.  I will bring you home.




The sky is boldly beautiful today.  Every earth-thing shines with the brilliance of the Creator.  I lift my face and feel the warm sun-rays soaking into my skin.  Inside I look at Him--the One who call Himself Love.  I am surrounded, filled to my depths, and grounded in His Presence.  He whispers:

Love is who I have made you to be.


"Could we with ink..." is from the poem, Haddamut, written by Meir Ben Isaac Nehorai, a Cantor in Worms, Germany, 1050; and incorporated as the 3rd stanza in the hymn, The Love of God, by Frederick M. Lehman, 1917.

Photos:  Ocean Isle Beach
Poem Source:  CyberHymnal

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Over the Rainbow

There are moments when it takes but a glance to get caught up in the Spirit.  Today I struggle just to breathe Him in.  I am wrestling with myself, trying to stay afloat while being pulled deep into  murky waters--those consuming thoughts that keep me from hoping, trusting, moving ahead.

Another friend lost a son this weekend.  He was in his early 20's, just learning how to be a man.  She, a single-mom, went to bed thinking he was okay, never dreamed she would be making funeral arrangements instead of breakfast in the morning.  I cry tears for the anguish in a mother's heart, for the light that faded before it had a chance to shine.

Love is relentless, and won't let me languish in shadow for long.  He comes as close as breath, and whispers for me to move in, closer still, to lay me down and yield.  He knows I am aching inside, needing a quiet place to release my tears.

My daughter comes from the kitchen with a plate covered in white linen, food to nourish the body.  I am hungry, not for the temporary, but for the Broken Bread that feeds my soul.  I smile my thanks.  Watery eyes catch hers and linger, not wanting to let go.

She looks at me, questioning, sees I am troubled.  A thought lands  in the shallow end of melancholy:  She is the same age as a son who won't come home tonight.   I release a silent prayer of thanks for this thoughtful woman-child and her younger sisters, how we are all together today.  I tell her I love her.  The whoosh of the Spirit sounds as He swoops low again, reaching out a hand.

He is waiting for me to lose control, to give it all and get it over with.  I fear the fall, the breaking open of my soul in gut-wrenching sobs.  So I tighten the resolve, then whisper His name, the one I use when I don't know how to pray: Yannah--God Answers.

I am alone again, craving distraction, Googling inspirational songs.  I read how another mother's child was taken away far too soon, leaving behind a legacy of recordings.  As I listen to, Over the Rainbow, the narrow dam-crack breaks open wide; I press my forehead against the marred wood of the desktop and weep.

 


This time when He comes, I let go and grab hold.  He lifts me up high--to where troubles melt like Lemon-drops--and holds me in His arms, washes me clean.  All the sadness.  All the shame.  All the accusation and blame, and every unclean thing disappears in Him.

I think about her as I look into the eyes of my Redeemer, and see compassion, tears.  Like the Lemon-drops, I melt into Him.  He doesn't speak, but I hear his heart whispering:

I created you--My Poema--the work of my hands.  I spoke you into existence,  formed you in my image, trained you for war.  You were made by love and for love.  No words, thoughts or emotions can capture perfectly the essence of love.  But you can know it and live it--by the heart.

You grieve and intercede for this Broken One, this friend you love.  So you should.  But there are things you don't know.   My Spirit knows what it is you need to pray.  So listen and lean into Me.  I promise you, it will be okay.

I will take this tragedy, and make something beautiful.  Today, I hold both mother and son, just like I hold you.  You will overcome.  And so will your daughters.  And so will our Friend.  All because I overcame for you.

I pray.  Lord, let me learn to love like you love...
...deeper than an ocean's trench,
high above a rainbow sky,
wetter than a rainstorm's drench,
as free as bluebirds fly,
longer than forever's path,
devoted like the dove's single eye,
happier than a bubble bath,
as sweet as baby's sigh,
softer than a mother's touch,
soothing like her lullabye,
always enough--for her little boy's lunch,
...and never having to say good-bye.




You can listen to Eva Cassidy by changing my play-list at the bottom of the page.

Photo Credit: Enhanced Rainbow by Ruth Ver Sluis


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Buttons



Buttons
by Melissa Campbell
Buttons draw close,
And fasten firm together,
Giving room to breathe,
Two sides meant to be connected,
Though living worlds apart.

Buttons cover up indecent exposure,
And bridge the naked gaps,
Sometimes mending old riffs,
Sometimes needing to be reattached,
Always finding friends of like mind and heart.
Buttons lead us to discover
Journeys we never dreamed of,
Rare treasures found in the most hidden places,
Pearls formed with great price,
Kindred seeker--seers, popping color in poetic art.
Some buttons are plain and simple,
Others glossy, glamorous, gaudy even,
All unique in size and shape,
All inviting us to reach out and touch,
To become one,
Drinking in as we impart.
Linked to One Shot Poetry
I took some time today to create a button for my blog-site.   I am not a pro, and I am embracing the fact that perfection is achieved only when I am gone.  So after a couple of hours, this is it!  If you would like to add my button to your blog, you will find the code at the bottom of this page. 

Photo Credit: flickr - Lainey's Repertoire

Conversations with God: Inspeparable

Who shall separate?

Three words skip through my thoughts like pebbles dancing across a pond. Rude, they interrupt my drift into tranquil slumber and linger, reaching out in a slow spread until I am consumed.


The One who probes my deepest parts will not relent. He nudges gently, then waits patiently for my reply. I wonder about the motive behind His pursuit. Still I hesitate to follow.

What comes to mind is the conviction Paul shared in a letter to his friends in Romans 8. I relate to the hardship and suffering. I feel like a naked beach, beaten by the waves of an angry storm. I am angry too, weak and broken, afraid to see what remains of me.


The Spirit knows. His voice whispers again:


Who shall separate? Is there one to deliberate? Shall the ocean's storms or the fire's flame destroy my love for you?
 

Pain surges. I don't want to talk to Him now, and He knows it. He answers with grace:

No, I tell you. The trials only compel you to know me more, to come ever before My throne of grace. Come sit with Me in the Most Holy Place.


The Spirit hovers, but I hide. I realize the answer won't be found in the thoughts I think, but in the reality of my knowing Him face to face. There are walls I can't let down, so I stubbornly say what I hope will satisfy Him. "Lord, You know. Nothing can separate me from your love."


He probes deeper, boldly goes where I don't want to:

Dare to believe you can be like me. Conformed to the image of Christ. Though we are different, we are alike. In unity your heart beats with purity. I am in you, and your spirit is one with me. The storms were necessary to break you free from your idolatry. Now, stop hiding in fear and complacency. It is time to shine.


Yes, I am afraid. Can you blame me? When I cried for help, You were silent. When everything around me was crashing down, You stood and watched. When the winds raged, and the fires burned, you gave me no place to hide. How can this be love? 

I was there, watching, seeing, knowing. I held you in my hands and wept your tears. But I saw something in you far greater than what was showing. The storms were my Refiner's fire. Very painful, but necessary to prove your devotion to Me. I never abandoned you. I carried you through. 

You have taken away all I thought was me. I am nothing, empty, broken, unable to see. 

Barrenness is born from in-dependency. I created you to bear fruit abundantly. You say I am enough. But do you believe? You must learn to trust, especially in the storms. For the seed you carry will surely be opposed. You must learn to live and love in war.  

And only when you become content in knowing you can do nothing without Me, can I trust you to bring forth My greater glory. It's time to heal now. Rest in Me.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. who have been called according to his purpose...

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?...

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

- Romans 8:31-39



holy experience

Photo Credit: flicker - Saparevo

Romans 8:31-39 as taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. As found on Bible Gateway.