To be a writer

Word whirl
within my wild,
wandering mind,
trying to find
what the times can’t provide.
Inside,
it’s a hurricane, hailstorm,
with letters of lightning,
a torrent of typography
flooding the ford with unfathomable feeling
and unsearchable sentences.
I’m overwhelmed by Oxford commas
and under attack by apostrophes,
quashed by quotation marks
and dominated by dangling modifiers.
The clauses crowd each other out,
calling and quoting and constructing these
out-of-context icons of inexplicable integrity
crumpled and confused and uncontainable.
The captive constructions
are pulling at their artificial tethers,
raring to be free,
to burst the seems of reality and be.
Thus defeated by my ideas, I set my pen to paper
and everything goes silent, unseen.

Chapters

Just some random words strung together. This is something that’s been on my mind lately, as I’m in this transition period. I’m excited for the new, even as it means a lot of change. I like to think of change as not a loss of old experiences–what I’ve learned from those will live on in me forever–but the gaining of new ones: new knowledge, new hopes, new worlds to uncover. Even so, the reminder that some things do not change is a comforting one for me. I can’t build higher unless my roots stay strong.

This
is not
chapter one.
This is chapter eighteen.
And as it closes,
the page turns.
Another chapter opens,
but it builds on the pages before it.
The cascading waterfall of words
did not originate here,
nor will it end here.
Passing through,
but picking up new stones along the way–
fresh currents,
new fish to swim alongside.
Perhaps the salinity changes,
perhaps the direction.
Neither final nor familiar,
but not inconsequential either.
Change is inherent in growth.
Foundation holds fast, strong,
even as leaves change,
branches stripped or full
to meet the season.
Roots remain
even as I
stretch
toward the sky.

On joy

16982653Joy is literally my middle name.

How ironic.

Some days, it seems all I do is grumble or complain. I quarrel and I snap back at the slightest provocation and I can’t control my tone of voice. Quick to anger, quick to speak, but slow to listen.

Sound familiar?

I’ll never forget how one of my friends laughed when someone asked her why she was so happy all the time. “Because I have Jesus in my heart!” she exclaimed, eyes shining. You could see it, too.

But I have Jesus in my heart, too, and last time I checked, “happy all the time” was not a part of my daily experience.It wasn’t until later in my life that I began to see the difference between happiness and joy. It’s a lesson I’m still learning, in fact.

Because “happy” isn’t something you can be all the time–but joy is. Happy is something you feel; joy is something you choose. Happiness is an emotion; joy is an attitude. Happiness is an experience; joy is an outlook. Happiness depends on circumstances; joy exists regardless and in spite of them. Happiness is earth-bound; joy is heaven-found. A lot of lives have taken a turn for the worse because of confusion between the two.

Righto, but that still doesn’t answer the main question: how can I get me some?

As I’ve been writing this, a number of old children’s songs have been running through my head:

“I’ve got that joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart! Where? Down in my heart! Where? Down in my heart! I’ve got that joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart! Where? Down in my heart to stay!

Or, how about this one?

Joy to the world, the Lord has come!

And then, there’s this one:

The fruit of the Spirit is love-joy-peace, patience-kindness-goodness-faithfulness, gentleness and self conro-o-ol! Love-joy-peace, patience-kindness-goodness-faithfulness, gentleness and self control!

Oh wait, that’s a Bible verse too, isn’t it? “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Joy is the fruit of the Spirit. It is the product of having Jesus dwelling inside you.

*Raises hand* “But wait, Miss Bre, didn’t you just go in a circle? Didn’t you just say that even though you have Jesus in your heart, you don’t always feel joyful?”

*Pats head fondly* Why yes, that’s true, young child. But what I mean is…oh wait. that’s a good point.

Look, here’s the thing. Living life God’s way isn’t easy–otherwise everyone would be doing it, and my friend Amanda who is happy joyful all the time wouldn’t have sparked any comment, ’cause we’d all be walking around turning the other cheek until we were literally spinning in circles. But the product of choosing the narrow gate instead of the broad is this: joy. Love. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Joy.

You ever feel conflicted? Like you want to do what’s right, but you just can’t help yourself? Well, you’re in good company; so did Paul. Romans 7 says, “I do not understand what I do. For I do not do what I want to do, but I do the thing I hate….Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” 

(Oh look, I’ve found something in common between me and the greatest missionary of the New Testament! This is a good sign!)

There’s a reason for this. It’s that there’s actually two natures dwelling inside you. A sin nature, born at the Fall, and, if you believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, the actual Spirit of the living God. And believe it or not, every Christian has exactly the same measure of this Spirit as another. There’s enough to go around. You have it just as much as me or Paul or Corrie ten Boom or the person sitting in the pew beside you. The only difference is how much you choose to listen.

Many people are familiar with the old Native American story about the two wolves in a fight, and the famous saying: “The one who wins is the one you feed.” If we all have the Spirit of God living inside us (something not Abraham nor Moses nor Elijah nor any of the other heroes of the O.T. had access to, by the way) then the determinant of our joy is this: how much we feed it, and how much we choose to listen.

“The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, but I have come that they may have life, and have it to the fullest (John 10:10).” The thief wants to steal, kill, and destroy your joy. Your peace. Your patience. I’m ashamed to say that he often succeeds. He lies and tricks us into chasing happiness instead of joy, and we build up treasures on earth rather than recognizing that this is not our home; we’re only passing through.

So the source of joy? I guess we’re back at the original answer: Jesus. But it doesn’t come from a passive, one-time decision; it comes from a lifestyle where you’re feeding your soul with truth and grace, and choosing to focus on the real thing instead of chasing shadows.

May you be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. May you learn kindness, and patience, and joy.

Blessings!
Bre

There is a music inside me…

There is a music inside me,
free of thought and language:
a voice that sings–
But lacking instrument,
this sparrow lacks her wings.

There is a magic inside me,
dancing like sparks from the fire:
a power that burns–
Though trapped by ignorance,
there’s still something in me that yearns.

There is a tempest inside me,
raging with wind and with fire:
turbulent mind-storm.
Thunder cracks, lonely and loud.
Jesus, get rid of this thorn!

image

I want to hold on to this week, but I’m not sure if here is the place to do it. So instead, you get a list of random thoughts about nothing.

Disclaimer: I always hate these posts on other blogs. So, if you’re like me, go read one of my other posts. Or don’t. Just skip this one. It’s the first time I’ve done this and it might be the last. Or like, feel free to use them as writing prompts or something. I’d love to see what you come up with in the comments below. Just know all work is copyrighted ;P

-The fire may have flickered, but the embers never died.

-I miss the creek already.

-I claim your words.

-This may be a spiritual battle, but the forces are greater than me. And of the two, I know which is stronger.

-God is not based on how I feel, but on who he is.

-Here, it’s harder.

Weird post, I know. I’m sorry. But it’s been a long week. Blessings,
Bre

A Plethora of Poetry!

April, as knows anyone familiar with the blogging hemisphere, is NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month! An English teacher of mine challenged me to write a poem a day, and despite a lot of crazy stuff going on this month and the extreme likelihood of acute lack of sleep in the last few weeks due to my show this last weekend, I decided to give it a go. This is the last one I wrote for the month, and somehow it seemed fitting to close out a month of this writing exercise that really challenged me in a great way. It’s a little more playful and sing-songy than many of my others, as well as not so personal, which makes it easier to share.

Anyway, without further ado, I present “Paper Wings: An Ode to Books.”

Sequestered in a corner
they make the world go round
In someone else’s problems
my own no longer found.

They are ocean waves of power
or portholes of escape
Ideas yet unpondered
or dreams yet to be made.

I take flight on paper wings
Fresh eyes behold the view
Exposed to these unheard-of things
Books have now become my shoes.

I may be sharing more poems in the future. Depends how brave I get. Blessings!

–Bre