Garments, Mirrors and Beauty (continued)

I decided the poem at the end of the last blog was not quite finished after I posted it.  Here is the final version:

Garments, Mirrors, and Beauty

It’s time for a change of apparel, it seems

These garments no longer fit

The dark sweats of shame do not compare

to the beautiful garments of praise


My Savior has wrapped me in new clothes today

They are beautiful, made for royalty

It is hard to imagine  how He intended

These gem-laden garments for me


The crown of beauty is on my head

The oil of joy flowing down

As God claimed me as one of his own

The spirit of despair was cast down.


He’s turned my tragedy to treasure

He took my filthy ash-covered self

Wiped off my face and my head and my heart

He replaced it with heavenly wealth


So now I accept his healing touch

The reflections too much to bear

Unworthy, I am but made worthy by Him

It’s time to exit this lair


He’s unbinding the bondage while binding my heart

breaking the links of the chain

With gentle love and skilled hands

He is healing my pain


From trembling to bravery

from fear to boldness

I step out anew on this day

I trust Him with what He has done

And I’m hearing the words that he says


“All beautiful you are, my darling

there is no flaw in you”

Your words pierce through my heart

“Show me your face, let me hear your voice”

I look in the mirror- I fear falling apart


“For your voice is sweet and your face is lovely”

I believe what you say, I am ready to start

Adopting the way that you think

transforming my mind, renewing my life

no longer will I hide or flee


All yours, I am

Now courageous and strong

Conquering strongholds within

Free to be who you fully intended

when you carefully crafted me


 

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Like the Rays of Sun on a Clear Day

Sketch has a very active bath time.  When he takes a bath, he likes to slide his little body from the back of the tub to the front as quickly as possible, and watch the water swish and flow like waves in the tub.

Did I mention he loves to keep the water running the entire time, too?  What a mess!

Water  streams over the edges of the tub  like a powerfully driven waterfall, creating a mini ocean on the tile floor in the bathroom.

No place is dry, all the floor space has been touched by the overflowing bath water.

Sometimes the bath is Sketchs’ “happy place”.  When he’s in his happy place, watch out!

He’ll laugh and giggle but that does not even begin to express the depths of emotion he feels.  Because his little body can’t contain all that joy all at once, he adds to the giggles with squeals while jumping up and down on his tippy toes, gaining unbelievable heights. He flaps his arms with intensity that sometimes I wonder if he will fly, or maybe he can jump so high because his arms are helping him get air under his feet!  It’s like he’s trying to release some of the excess emotion, trying to keep his skin from exploding from the build up.

Sketch just lets it all out, unrestrained.  All the joy comes out one way or another, because he feels it, and he can’t contain it all. With the lack of social awareness, he just let’s it escape however it happens and doesn’t worry about what people think.

Unrestrained joy. Like rays of sunshine on a clear day, beaming from it’s core, not hindered by pollution or anything else.

You know how bright that would be?

Do we allow that amount of joy to be in us?  Or do we not experience it anymore?  Have we NT’s found some way to stifle the joy so we act “socially acceptable?”

I have heard that long ago, in biblical, times people expressed grief and joy much more extravagantly than we do now. People tore their clothes in grief, or danced naked in the streets (somethings are probably better off not done!).

We have a God who has exceeding joy, exceeding and indescribable love for us.  He doesn’t restrain his emotions. (Zeph 3:17).

We have a God who made us in his image.  So, I’m thinking Sketch has it right… He is not inhibited by social rules, he just is… He impacts everyone he comes in contact with.  No matter what their mood prior to seeing him, they are smiling and laughing with him. Maybe he is revealing a bit of Gods’ exuberance toward us in his joyful ways and happy dances. What if we took note of that, and really understood the depths of love and passion God feels for us…maybe we would flap too?

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19

An Unusual Thing Happened

An unusual thing happened this morning when I checked my email. A blogger friend, Fi, from Welcome to the Mad House, gave me a totally unexpected award, called The Versatile Blogger Award!

What a surprise that was! And what a great way to start the day!

As part of the deal of accepting such an award, I am to reveal 7 things about myself, and also pass this on to 7 other blogs for this wonderful, inspiring award.

So, here is the breaking news about myself:

1) I always have loved animals, and have been the proud owner of the typical household pets, but also exotic onces such as sugar gliders and hedgehogs!

2) I can not stand it when people put mustard and mayonnaise on the same side of a sandwich. There are two pieces of bread for a reason! Oh, and the cheese always goes on the side of the mustard. It’s only right!

3) I don’t do mornings.

4) I have super powers in the coffee drinking department…but it has to be good coffee!

5) I love to make fermented foods, and currently have a continuous brew of Kombucha in the basement!

6) Crackers are to be eaten only one way…salty side down, toppings on top of the unsalted other side–sometimes referred to as the “bottom” of the cracker. This way you get to enjoy the full sensory experience of the salted tops!

7) People who think they know me say that I have something they call “Merri logic”. I have no idea what they are referring to. I think I am perfectly logical!

Now that all 7 cats are out of their bags, I will move on to the 7 blogs that I enjoy and follow. There are actually only 4 blogs that I can pass this award on to right now (the others have already received it!). So, basically that means that instead of each blogger receiving 1 award, they will each qualify for 1.75 awards so that it add up to 7. See, that is perfectly logical!

1) Christa Wells

2) Treasured Season

3) Between the Lines

4) From the Mango Tree

One more thought before I close this post. When I woke up this morning and saw this award in my inbox, I had the nicest warm and fuzzy feeling that someone had thought of me for this award. Imagine how warm and fuzzy we’d feel every morning if we woke up fully aware of the fact that the God of the Universe is head-over-heals rejoicing over us? How awesome and incomprehensible is that?

Zephaniah 3:17

“The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.”

In Memory of Shannon

This is one of those moments when the dust is kicked up so high it is hard to see anything else.  I write this with tears streaming down my face, and uncontrollable sobs flood like waves from out of my heart.

A wonderful person who brought companionship and laughter to many years of my life passed away on Saturday from antibiotic-resistant pneumonia.  Shannon was only 35 years old. I am overwhelmed with grief that she is gone, and sadness for her incredible family who has to continue on without her, though I am confident that God will strengthen them with His love.

God placed this sweet person in my life during a very hard time, and He showed me volumes about His love, through her. I met Shannon in the mid 1990’s, and I was her in-home supports staff, and I also provided respite services.  Shannon had Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, which causes mental disabilities, and some physical differences as well.

Shannon was so much fun to be with, and God truly blessed me with her friendship.  She was incredibly social.   Everywhere we went, she would see someone she knew.  Her eyes would light up when she conversed with people, or unexpectedly met them at the grocery store or mall.  I will always treasure the memories I have of her.  God taught me about unconditional love through Shannon.  She was always so excited to see me and spend time with me, or spend a weekend at my apartment.

God also blessed me with Shannons’, entire family.  Her mom was a wonderful example of an advocate for her daughter.  She was able to navigate the system and get what Shannon needed in a very friendly way. God used her mom to teach me  about advocating, years before I had my own children.  Shannon had a very wonderful purpose in her short life, and it continues still… sparkling through the dust, and I hope as the dust settles that the glistening will be even brighter.

That sparkling treasure is love.  Shannon’s excitement to spend time with me mirrors Gods’ excitement when I spend time with Him.  God’s heart lights up when we choose to spend time with Him developing our relationship with Him. Isaiah 62;5 “as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.”  Shannon showed me what it was like to be “rejoiced over”.

Let us all remember Shannon, by remembering God’s unconditional, passionate and exuberant love for us.

Zephaniah 3:17 says,

“He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.”

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