Saturday, 22 December 2012

It’s what I call relationship!

I’ve found someone I didn’t know before.
Someone who has always been there
and I didn’t even realise it.
My dad.

He left this earth many years ago but I feel him in my heart.
I know he’s there for me.
He was watching me, guiding me, crying with me, from the very start.
I found a journal about him,
details of his life and what he did for me before I was even born.
I read it each day, drink it in, not because I have to but because I want to know.
Because I love him.

He did certain things in his life, treated people a certain way.
I want to mirror that, I want to be like him.
I adopt his ways, not because I have to,
but because I want to know what it’s like to live like him.
Because I love him.

There’s certain things he does, his message of love,
things that rebel against this world’s ways.
I know what people say.
I’m not trying to impress, trying to gain gold stars to be recognised as walking in his path, no.
I do because I love him.

I try to break my pride that creeps in and tries to out-do my brothers and sisters.
I don’t want to live for them.
I don’t want to live for me.
I want to live for him.
Because I love him.

You look at me and criticise saying ‘why do you live those religious ways?’.
‘Religion’ I say? Religion is misdefined by too many.
What i do i do because I love him.
Because Jesus loves me.

I live a life where he wipes away my tears,
he comforts me when I am paralysed by fears,
I live a life in the knowledge that he hears my call,
he blesses me and guides me so I can live wise not as a fool.

What I do...?
Why do you have to ‘religious’ it?
To me, it’s plain simple,
it’s real, it’s raw, it’s relationship.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

The limerick and the ballad

It’s a peculiar thing; poetry.
Restrictive rhyme, clumsy rhythm,
fighting, to fit words together?
Too frequently the flowing freedom of words wants to. Stop.
Numerous attempts fill the waste paper basket.

But the meaning; it cannot be silenced,
it deserves to be sculpted,
constantly and gradually refined.
Then you’ll find, caught between the tangles of words,
the beauty that first captured your imagination.

Separately they sat, the limerick and the ballad.
Two unique forms authored by the same hand.
To merge as one - can harmony be found?
Far from seamless, a necessary rework,
a constant crossing of misread lines.

Now the pen is poised, ready to tell tales full of substance,
moments eager to be written and recited, and remembered for years to come.
Ink writes the humour, the heart, the depth and love, 
but the prose is far from fairytale,
it needs to be guided and nurtured,
an ongoing exercise of grace and forgiveness.
Sacrifice; essential for growth.

What a blessing to have God flowing through your verses,
Christ central to your song.
Embed Him in your daily narrative,
to create a whole new genre,
let your pens inscribe the paper,
together, write the words, of Matt and Lydia.

A father who inspires

I'd write a soppy poem dad,
but it would only make you cry.
To rhyme just what you mean to me,
seems unworthy, but I'll try...

I remember once, when at school,
I was asked who I admired;
'My dad' I said without a thought,
'he's a father who inspires'.

It wasn't just cos you were in a band,
although that's majorly cool,
but to tour the world through rock and roll,
whilst keeping hold of your soul?

Now that's something that makes a statement dad, bigger than all national banks.
A real message of steadfast faith,
and I just wanna say thanks.

Thank you for being the wise man,
the leader of the pack.
For keeping us afloat for so many years,
for never holding us back.

You never stop encouraging,
all my crazy ideas,
you taught me to embrace the creative,
to just do, and defeat my fears.

You pap, may zone out to space sometimes,
and dream of saving the day,
but truth is, you already wrote the script,
a hero of present I’d say.

I used to think you slept til noon,
brewed beer and printed flyers,
who knew behind the leather jacket,
was a father who simply inspires!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Undeserving; forever serving

You never cease to bless,
in a world full of hate that pollutes my soul.
You wash me clean;
save me from destroying it all.

Time and time again I wander close,
to the line where death taints perfect love.
I brush it with my trembling toes,
fearful of a world I find too tough.

This fear is a lie I’ve let in.
Lost focus on the truth of why I remain.
Oh spirit lead me back to love,
wash over and remove this vile stain.

Each day you draw me closer,
provisions surround me everywhere I go.
The people I encounter,
lead me to the one I need to know.

A thankful line I struggle to say,
my selfish way controls my mind,
Each day the word chips through the dark,
your light breaks grip from sinful bind.

Perseverance surrounds your name;
you never quit on me.
I spat in your face, I stabbed your side,
I trampled grace for greed.

But you removed me from broken life,
your hand took mine to mend,
a heart undeserving of blessings Lord,
But now I’ll serve until the end.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

I am an acorn

I try to climb the mighty oak tree,
whose branches part like a giant yawning in the morning air.
My gripless shoes slip and I scrape my knees,
leaving nothing but open wounds and a deflated heart.

As a little girl i’d cry and run to those I knew
could pick me up and carry me through,
but as I grew, I realised their arms were stunted and could only reach so far...

Now I wander through a world I don’t belong,
searching for a joy that circumstances only smash down,
leaving me broken, and bitter, again.

Further through the forest i’d creep,
exploring the challenges in the midst of woodland.
Oblivious, I’d ventured deep,
and lost myself in the dirt and the mire.

Afraid, I try to find that solid oak I felt drawn to in my early years.
I humble myself as pain escapes, releasing repentful tears,
I wipe the dust from my eyes to see that glory tree stamp down my worldly fears.

The father of that forest always remained,
roots planted firm in solid ground,
paths wound to him but I couldn’t handle the climb before...

But now he stands before me,
offering a comfort and safety far greater than anything I’ve ever experienced.
I am an acorn,
and part of that tree now remains in me.

On my own I’d only fall, scraping my knees again and again.
But the woodland dove can lift me up to the truth; he will never leave,
but prepare me with what i need to face false trees,
in this world, I don’t belong.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

A questioned future

It seems everything around me is changing. The safe perimeters of my world are being ripped away in front of my eyes, leaving me exposed and questioning whether I even belong. Friendship groups have dispersed and you begin to wonder whether you were really ever deep friends in the first place... whatever that means! I don't blame anyone. Life goes on. People are getting married or moving away, making fresh starts and pursuing their careers. I am at that age, mid-twenty-something, where life moves rapidly around you, nothing is solid and nothing is certain. It's an exciting yet unsettling combination that one has to actively adjust to and take in their stride. I intend to do just that, but, my optimism is accompanied by a very real anxiety that proves difficult to suppress.

Unhappy and under-challenged at work I decide to ignore the fact that we are in the midst of a recession, I shrug in the face of the poor economic climate that surrounds the high streets, and I decide to look for something new. It's not completely ridiculous, like most people I am struggling to afford to buy much more than a packet of crumpets and those smart price bananas each week. The part-time charity wage is not a stable career path nor a life-long commitment, and so I figure that now is as good a time as any to look at my options... Except the options are few!!

I could go back to university and complete some kind of Masters degree. This would mean more expense, greater debt and it would not even guarantee a job at the end of it. It would however be fairly interesting and could, potentially, lead somewhere new.

The other alternative, other than actually finding myself some kind of paid, full-time employment, is to find myself an internship. This would, hopefully, lead onto full-time employment in a career that is more enjoyable and rewarding. Managing to secure such an internship, preferably a paid one, is a challenge in itself but the main concern, for me, is my lack of really knowing what I want to do. I enjoy writing, well I enjoy writing my blog, but how could I use this in the workplace and would this really fulfill me? I am still unsure.

This is my distinctive ponder. A forked path. A questioned future.

Monday, 26 March 2012

A blessing undeserved

It was a dry and mild Thursday evening when the air of loneliness and self-pity that had consumed me for the past few weeks seemed to lift. I was presented with a choice: a prayer meeting with a group from my church or a night at the pub with a good friend in need...

To bail on the prayer meeting initially filled me with a sense of guilt. Was I putting God second by not going? Was I not fulfilling my obligation as a member of a cell group that suggested and scheduled the prayer meeting in the first place? My heart, or so I thought, was telling me I should really be a good example and attend the meeting. Prayer however strikes fear within me. To pray in my mind is fine but prayer meetings make me feel pressured into participation and these heartfelt thoughts quickly become a dress rehearsal for the vocal performance. Stage fright strikes causing me to stumble over my words, words that have somehow been masked by this thin layer of falseness and very promptly my lips run dry before nothing but an Amen tumbles feebly out into the awkward room. The whole process, on reflection, seems pointless. God, after all, would hear my first silent prayer. Flawlessly articulated in the depths of my mind. The show prayer would hold little substance and would be spoken with an intention just as empty as my reason for attending in the first place. Obligation. Image. Pretense. Even if I did choose to go, these inevitable outcomes would eliminate any attempt at convincing that by going I am putting God first. Pretending to give something to God that I am feeling obliged to do, to make me look honourable, seems to be an entirely selfish motivation.

It was evident that my heart was not in the right place for this evening of prayer, and I didn't really feel, perhaps rather critically, that the other attendees could offer me much in the form of encouragement. It is therefore unsurprising that when my friend text me, asking if I was free to catch up, that I instantly felt the inclination to accept the invitation. In fact, before the text had even arrived, I had already decided to not attend my church meeting, and thought instead I would spend the evening preparing for a job interview that I held later in the week. When my friend's message lit up my phone I was faced with another decision that seemed to want to test my character. Friendship or career - What is more important to me at this time? The answer to this question was not difficult for me. My friendship definitely ranked higher on my importance scale but I still did not want to jeopardise an opportunity that I had been striving to receive. I eventually decided to consider combining these two new options when it occurred to me that my friend, who I had since discovered was feeling down and needed someone to vent to, could actually help me with my job preparation.

With the decision made I happily set off on my twenty minute walk to town. My friend had told me she was already ten minutes away so I promptly headed to the pub where we had arranged to meet. However, when I arrived she was no where to be found and after several unanswered calls she eventually dropped me a text to say she was running late - typical! Still, it was a pleasant evening so I gracefully perched on a wall outside of the venue while I waited for her arrival. A few minutes later two, nonthreatening-looking, twenty-somethings approached me and asked whether I would be willing to answer a few questions. The guy, an American with kind, big brown eyes and his female companion, also American, told me they were from YWAM. This caught me by surprise and these feelings did not disperse as the girl continued to ask me questions about community and what my thoughts were on prayer. Her manner was gentle and she carried a sweetness and innocence that was both refreshing and inviting. I was amazed, and respected their courage for asking strangers these challenging questions without the foreknowledge of their background or faith. They had no idea that I was even a christian, let alone one that was skiving a prayer meeting with her community church at that very moment. I honestly answered their questions, sharing with them my struggles with prayer as I have with you in this blog. They both offered me some encouraging advice before concluding by asking me if their was anything I would like them to pray for. I mentioned my job interview and also asked if they could pray for ongoing guidance and reparation for a personal struggle I was going through. That's when my friend turned up. It's funny, I am certain that if she had been there on time I would have never met these two street missionaries. After a few more exchanges of informal conversation the guy and girl prayed for both me and my friend before leaving us to attend to the night ahead.

I couldn't stop reflecting on the whole incident - it seemed far too relevant to just be simply coincidence. God's hand, I believe, was gripping on to mine, and even when I felt I had chosen to not spend my evening in communication with him at my church group, he had chosen to spend it in communication with me. The job prep from my friend was hugely beneficial and her attitude in life, combined with the uplifting prayers of my YWAM friends, left me with a new found positivity, a peace about myself that I struggled to find before. God blessed me throughout that Thursday evening, and I did not deserve a single drop of it. That is part of why God is good, God deserves our praise and why I will continue on my journey to become a strong woman of God.

This is my distinctive ponder. A humbled heart. A blessing undeserved.