Tag Archives: poetry

Sequins explained

The other week I shared a poem I had written whilst on a retreat/conference in France. I have lots of other takeaways I want to write about following on from that conference, but for now I want to unpack the imagery that helped to create that poem.

The conference was called Blesstival, and was a gathering of friends of a wonderful charity called The Bless Network, or Bless. Many years ago when I was an undergrad studying French at university, I interned through Bless at a French church. Since then I had not been greatly involved with the charity, I would read the newsletters and think to myself: It’s been a while, I really should sign up to one of their events. This time I stopped thinking about it and booked myself on. I am so glad I did.

The theme for the weekend was “un chant s’élève” – a song is rising – and the teaching was all around the ideas of worship and prophecy, how God sings over us and gives each of us a message to share with the world. At the end of Saturday morning’s session, one of the organisers, Chrissie, came over to me and said she had been given a picture for me of God sewing together the tapestry of my life, and sewing bright sequins into the work. After this session I spent some time in the prayer room reflecting on this picture, and others that had been given to me over recent years. A yearning was rising up inside of me to write again, something I have loved over the years but keep putting on the back burner, making excuses about not having the time or the head space. I was listening to an IHOP worship album on my phone while doodling, and I jotted down some lines from one of the songs that jumped out at me:

Just put me anywhere

And put Your glory in me

I’ll serve anywhere

Just let me see Your beauty

(IHOPKC & Corey Asbury – All Is For Your Glory)

and then it the words just spilled out of me, inspired by the song and the picture I had been given.

But there are references within the poem to other pictures, words and images given to me over the years, that seemed to align with the new one.

I’ll start with perhaps the most obvious, to those who have been with this blog from the start…

When I was thinking about how sequins reflect light, it was easy to link in with the poem I wrote several years ago which inspired the name of this blog: May I Be the Moon. In that poem I thought about how it is better to reflect the glory of God, as the moon reflects the sun, than to believe the world revolves around me.

Similarly, I wanted to include the image of the mirrorball, which again reflects the light around it. Back in the days of my Bless Internship, one of their conferences had the theme of ‘Mission as a mirrorball’. The idea here was that by serving others in the name of God, we are drawing His light in and reflecting it back out onto those He made and loves, just like a mirrorball. The moon, the mirrorball and the sequins all unite around this idea of reflecting the glory of God in our lives.

Next, the arrow. While in this poem it represents a kind of road sign pointing the way, it also for me has connotations of the arrows used in archery. These have to be pulled back before they can be released into flight. The work of weaving our lives together includes pain and setbacks, bad times as well as good. But in all things He works together for our good. The setbacks we face will ultimately lead to greater freedoms. (A no now means there is a better yes to come). Likewise in the work of the weaving, we will not see the full picture until it is completed and all the colours are sewn in.

Finally, the phrase ‘see what I am building in your life’. A few years ago I was on the way home from an evening service at church. We had visiting speakers who I knew had a gift for the prophetic, and I was hoping for some insight into a situation I was facing. I was disappointed not to have received any words during the service, but my route home took my past a building site with a massive crane standing tall over it. The building was still in its early stages but you could already begin to see the shape it would take, and the size of the crane bore witness to the eventual height of the construction. In that moment I heard God’s whisper ‘see, what I am building in your life’. 

The construction of my calling, my learning, my relationships, was (and is) still in its early stages, but the process of constructing the building, the process of weaving the tapestry, points to the genius and majesty of the creator as much as the finished product ever will.

Sequins

You are making me

A tapestry

Colours showing You at work in me

Blues, greens, reds,

The moments and emotions of my life

Woven together in beautiful harmony

And gently sewn in

The sequins start to glimmer

Flashes of light in the darkness

Reflecting Your beauty

The work You have done in my life

Becomes an arrow pointing to You

And I hear Your whisper

“See what I am building in your life”

The work of Your hands

The moon, a mirrorball,

That draws Your light in

And reflects it out

To show the world the Way to You

Not a Fan

Last week I said that ‘Hibernation’ was the first new poem I had written in a long time – but I made a mistake. I forgot about this one, but it is a different kind of poem…

In the autumn of last year I joined a short-lived writing group, and one week we had to bring a random item and write a poem inspired by it. One of my colleagues had just returned from a holiday to Barcelona, and brought back souvenirs for everyone in the office. I was given the fan pictured below, and that was the item I took. I was thinking what if, instead of a colleague giving it to a co-worker, a boyfriend had bought a similar item for a girlfriend. Anyway, enough explaining, I hope you enjoy…

 

Not a Fan

To him

It was a romantic gesture

“I thought of you while I was there”

To her

It was a thoughtless jibe

A simple reminder

That he went without her

Chose his friends over her

Had experiences she could not share

 

A souvenir of places she could not remember

Plastic and cloth that became a wedge

A grudge

A hint

A nudge

A suggestion that he did not care

 

Jewellery might have won her over

(Not that she cared about the price)

But a tacky fan she could not use

(Because the weather here is never nice)

Made her question his commitment

Made her think she could do better

Became the thing that broke the pair

IMG_2826.jpg

Hibernation

I sometimes feel like

My heart has been in hibernation

Like a tree in winter

Barren and dry

Apparently lifeless

But beneath the surface

The roots go deep

And draw up life

And like the warm spring sun

A moment in your presence

Wakes my tired soul

And brings forth new colour

Blossoming, blooming, bearing fruit

After the darkest night

Comes the morning

After the coldest winter

Comes the spring

 

2017-04-16 11.36.15

Presence

Ushered into the Awesome presence

I edge forward in fear and reverence

Knowing I stand on Holy Ground

A voice like rolling thunder

Eyes of fire

Clothed in bright light

I fall to my knees

for I am not worthy

How can I stand in Your awesome presence

How can I gaze on Your beauty and majesty

I am suddenly so aware of my failings

the stain of my sin marring what once was pure, and I am ashamed.

 

But then I hear Your whisper

telling me I have nothing to fear

You raise me to my feet

and clothe me in white

making me clean

blood red washing me white as snow

and Your voice

 

“I am the beginning and the end

the Living one who died

See I have saved you

redeemed you

made you mine

made you new.”

 

So now with the Saints I sing

of the One who has saved me

I sing of the salvation He has won

the great things He has done

The Holy Holy Holy LORD God Almighty

who always was

and always is

and always will be

 


 

I wrote this poem back in 2012, partly inspired by Revelation Song by Jesus Culture (below). It’s been on my mind recently and I was surprised to realised I’d never shared it on this blog.

My Awesome God

My awesome God!

Beyond anything I can understand

More than minds can comprehend

Showing us things unseen

Making the unbelievable believable

We’re waiting for You

Hungry for You

Crying out for You

And boy do You turn up

and turn everything upside down

Defying explanations

Exceeding expectations

Stretching imaginations

So we see more

and want more

and seek more

More of You

This is a poem I wrote on Sunday 4th December, 2010, after an amazing evening at church where some pretty exciting things happened. I’ve moved on from that particular church now, and but I love rereading this poem and remembering all the amazing things that God has done in my life.

Recently I’ve been studying the Exodus and certain aspects of the Law given to the Israelites at the dawn of their nation. I used to get really frustrated at the Israelites and how quickly they forgot what God had done for them in bringing them out of Egypt. Throughout the Law books in the Bible, one phrase is repeated over and over: ‘I am the LORD your God who brought you out of Egypt’ – the Israelites are meant to keep the Law as an appropriate response to what God has done for them.

I say I used to get frustrated, because one day I realised I do the same thing – we so easily forget the good things that happen in our lives as soon as the next crisis comes along. This is why testimony is so important – sharing what God has done is encouragement to others and keeps it more firmly in our memories.

This was an instruction to the Israelites too. One of my favourite brief passages in the Old Testament law texts is this section from Deuteronomy (6v4-9): ‘“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.’

So find ways to remember what God has done for you. Write it down, tell a friend. Keep His words and promises at the forefront of your mind by leaving yourself notes, putting up posters, setting a reminder on your phone… If you have other suggestions please comment!

It is so important to keep reminding ourselves of all that God has done for us, to keep us trusting when the tougher times comes, and to keep us celebrating His love for us. The God we serve is awesome indeed.

A poem for Tori

Recently, I’ve been following the story of a beautiful baby girl called Tori and her parents, Brennan and Lesa Brackbill. Tori has been diagnosed with Krabbe disease, which is terminal – but people all around the world are praying that God would heal her and strengthen her family at this time.

You can read their story over at Lesa’s blog: https://thebrackbills.wordpress.com

A few days ago I was rereading some of my old poems, and I came across this one. It seemed so pertinent to their situation that today I am dedicating it to Tori and her parents

.teamtori


In the midst

Of another sleepless night

Where worries weigh

And thoughts twist, turn and tumble

I again can only trust

That You are true

Watching over the worn out, weary and weak

Strengthening the strained

Refreshing and renewing the restless worrier

Keeping the called in Your care

When we are empty

You can refill

When we are burnt out

You can refuel

When we are broken

You can remake

When all is torn apart

You recreate


I am #TeamTori

Expecting – an advent poem

2014-11-30 22.04.25

And we wait

Excitement building as the nights draw in

the coca-cola advert the first clue

that the season is on its way

Soon enough

fairy lights will flicker on house fronts

and we will count down the days with chocolates

the weeks with candles

And the shopping begins

and dreams of what might be found

in stockings hung on mantlepieces

or at the foot of the bed

but do we really know

what we are waiting for

Think back

for one girl

there were nine months of waiting

a young expectant mother

knowing her life would change completely

unaware how completely her child would change the world

and as months pass

the expectation grows

“He will save His people”

Nine months from promise to fulfillment

or longer?

as the promise was made long before

clocks go back 700 years

A promis spoken

“unto us a son is given”

“prince of peace”

light in the darkness

hope is born in an expectant people

waiting

for the silence to be broken

for the promise to be fulfilled

the promise made long before

looking back through time

hints and clues along the way

back to the beginning

the birth of the world

the first people

a promise broken

and a new promise made

the offspring who would redeem

Son of God, Son of Man

and the years passed

until the time came for the child to be born

to live

to grow

to die

and live again

so now we look back

as we look forward

to the day of celebration

For He is here

yet He is coming

so in expectation we await

the promise fulfilled

the empty hand

I am not incomplete

I do not feel like part of me is missing

I know that I am loved

And the One who made me

Made me enough

On my own

But sometimes

As I walk along

And my hand hangs by my side

And there is something missing

My hand needs another hand to hold

‘It is not good for man to be alone’

We are made for community

But more than that

We are built for relationships

Intimacy

I know that one day

My longing will be met

My hand won’t be empty

but treasured

held

and later, maybe,

smaller hands

will cling to mine

and call me home

But until then

I wait

and trust that it will be

worth the wait

for the hand made to hold mine