Posts Tagged: faith

Frozen Teenager

My walls look different.
My son’s sad eyes stare back
emptied of soul. Despair thinly masked
behind smile. A frozen teenager.
He doesn’t hand me new photos
of girlfriend, wife, or family,
at gatherings.

He stares.
Pleads.
Add photos to your story.

Hang snapshots of love,
forgiveness, generosity, and hope on
the wall of your soul–you are my new photos of him.

Turning Your Page

Our stories now overlap. I would love to frame a picture of you on my wall. Keep Jonathan’s story alive by living yours to the fullest, come what may. Email your story at turningthepageonsucide@gmail.com

Lord, bless the reader. Encourage their heart to see the possibility beyond suffering. Embrace them as they journey through this life, and may their walls be filled with the bigger picture of your story. Amen

The Promise of Hope

I am a seed, DNA of hope, dying
to self so that others might live. Elevated
by Holy Spirit wind, to disperse
gospel truth. Trusting no
matter the path blown,
God will snuggle me deep into the
rich soil of His love and I
awaken, blooming in the Promised Land.

Turning Your Page

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.

Genesis 12:1

Do you trust God to lead you to good places in your depression? or grief? Abram knew nothing about God or his trustworthiness. God called Abram. Abram went. Why? There is always an initial intentional act of the will to follow God and leave the familiar, those things that once grounded and rooted us to strike out and follow where God leads. You may not know much about God’s character, yet, but he knows yours, and when he calls you into unknown places he also equips you to get there.

  • List ways God is leading you through grief, depression, circumstances?
  • Do you have a clear idea of God’s promises, (his covenant) with you? Here is a resource to begin exploring the promises of God. Bible Study Tools
  • Pick one way you will step out in faith today to trust God.

Master, you have authority over my life. I once feared and even loathed your control. Now I find security and comfort. Guide me in the way that leads to your everlasting glory. Amen

Turning Over Agitation

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

Romans 7:25 MSG

Turning My Page

Red Ball of Agitation

I woke up to a red ball of agitation, bouncing angrily against the wall of my mind. The simplest tasks felt heavy and frustrating. The red ball is hard to ignore because it is continuous friction of thoughts, feelings, ideas, and physical stress. Sometimes what we do and how we feel gets so compacted it requires sorting or turning over. Much like a compost pile.

Growing up, my family composted. Regularly we took a pitchfork and turned the pile over. I still remember the steam that rose as we began fluffing the highly compacted substance below. There was a delicate balance of microbes doing their job to break down the material, and the heat they produced ended up killing them if not given fresh oxygen.

At its core, my agitation stems from my flesh and spirit at war with one another. I am continually turning over all these fantastic new, useful, life-giving opportunities God has placed in my path. But, sharing a story of hope creates friction. In my own selfish desire, I want to withdraw every time God asks me to engage. My sinful nature says that says I will fail when the Holy Spirit teaches I am a part of a bigger story.

Even good things get compacted. I turn them over again and allow the fresh oxygen of God’s perspective to reveal truth, faith, love, and hope compressed within. Agitation isn’t a bad feeling if we choose to let it expose the fertile soil beneath and give oxygen to grow.

Turning Your Page

Agitation is a part of our lives because there is both good and evil; flesh and spirit at war with one another. Agitation is simply your soul’s cry to turn things over, air out, and create more fertile soil for growth.

  • List some areas of agitation right now.
  • Is God directing and ruling over all aspects of your life?
  • Are their areas that need to be turned over, re-purposed, or removed?

Father, my soul is turning within me. There is no rest. Reveal to me the most productive part of my life, and help me to cultivate a place your glory can grow. Amen

Study Courage

Courage,

though fear knocks you awake
to a relentless enemy. Ill-equipped, broken,
resources exhausted, you lay in a pool of despair.
Listen to those who know there is a way to win.

Get up! Cry out! Help is close at hand!


Observe

each warrior as they strap
on their armor. The defense and
weapon they choose. Feel the quiet
dissidence of preparation, as each
gazes beyond self to become one body.
Brother strengthened by brother.

Look

to the early riser, the soldier with tear-stained
cheek and dogeared photo–
intimate with the cost. They remain secure
through the routine of prayer. Bed of hope tucked
tightly for inspection.
Their bodies battle-ready,
no longer dependent upon the fat
of fleshly desire or wine of apathy.

Build

muscles of confidence in a God
who eavesdrops at tent flaps
and reports the fear that weakens invading camps.

Notice

the dirt on the unwashed face
of the midnight watcher. The one who
stands on the perimeter of your knowledge
so you can sleep.

Listen

for singing. Oh, the glorious
song recorded by all who put their hope in God.
Feel the heightened joy as the trumpeters
announce, you never fight alone!

Pick

up the Sword of Words and wield truth
that penetrates to marrow, revealing every spirit
that hides in the hollow of our flesh.

Stand

with the one who strategizes with
generals and glows with the
assurance of heaven’s mapped out peace.

Follow

the one who runs across enemy lines to sacrifice
and lift the spirits of the fallen, the weary surrounded by despair.
They are not abandoned. Pinned in.
Show them how to push out like defeat is not an option.

See

a God who surrounds the enemy
and causes the wicked to crumble.
Lives depend upon you
knowing who wins.

Pass on the good news.

Turning Your Page

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

Ephesians 6:13

What was the last true story you read where the protagonist overcame impossible odds? Share in the comments. History is plump with stories of victories. Study what makes a person stand when others do not. What qualities did they already possess in going into battle? What strengthened them? Where does courage come from?

  • Do you feel courageous? If not, study scripture and true stories of courage and list out characteristics. If so, write down the daily habits you have. Are their areas you need strengthened?
  • Who do you listen to for direction? In what ways have you grown from their counsel?
  • Find one person to spend time with who loves you enough to strengthen and challenge you.
  • Write your own poem about courage or study Ephesians 6 and write a Haiku about courage.

Lord, I learn so much from scripture about courageous men and women. Open my eyes to steps of faith you want me to take. Help me to encourage others in battle. Amen

Isolation Response

Sing.
Sing like the
stones would cry
out if you didn’t. Sing
like you know you have
the key of salvation. Sing
like other lives depend upon it.
Sing like there are no bars that
can keep heaven out. Sing because
God sings a song to you.

Turning Your Page

Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

Psalm 33:3

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.

Acts 16:25

God sings over you with song, not only does he sing, but he sings loudly. You can’t help the current circumstances you face with this pandemic, but you can respond well. Sing at the top of your lungs about the good things God has given to you. Turn heads with your singing.

  • My one and only challenge for you today is to sing and encourage others by sharing your song with others while you work around your home.
    • Post a video in the comments of you singing to your favorite song.
    • This isn’t about perfection, this is about praise. Recognize the good things in your life and sing at the top of your lungs.

Lord, I sing, though I am unsure of what comes next. You are with me. Lord, I lift my hands, because I know my freedom is found in you. Lord, I praise because the prison doors will shake open to glorify you. Amen

Jesus, the Spirit of Truth

I was lowered into a grave of fickle flesh.
Royal robes stripped, I submitted to the battering
will of I AM.

His love pulls starved faith
onto nourishing knee and tucks truth
into my stories–stirring souls to adventure life.

My life willingly pick-pocked by man’s understanding,
as Satan plumps his purse with the clink-clink of despair.

In the garden, I grafted man to me.
Plant saints and sinners in the fertile
soil of my tilled blood.
Root righteous oaks of transformed lives
by streams of fulfillment.
Display my glory.
Build a testament with the screaming
Tap, tap, tap,
of nails into my hands.

 

Poetry Posts every Thursdays at 7p.m.

 

Turning Your Page

Poetry is a way of studying the nature of God and how he loves you. Spend time walking wooded paths, well-tended gardens and linger by streams. All described in scripture by the psalmist, God, and Jesus. Growth comes from an awareness that he is both sovereign and near.

  • How do you view God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit?
  • Describe something in nature that stands out to you as an aspect of God’s provision and nature?
  • What questions do you have about God’s character?

Lord, open my eyes to the truth of who you are, not who I think you might be. Quicken my heart, that I may know what part you have in my life. Amen

Familiar God

Am I too plain with you God,
leaning into converse with my Master
over chai tea?
I delight in your presence.
Hold your secure hand like a child as I explore your
nature.
I sob and pour out my heartache as
if you are my best friend.

Should I grovel before
your throne, weighted by the
the burden of all I have done?

You are Creator of the universe,
Lord of the harvest, King, Sovereign,
Judge. Your robe of titles drapes across your pedestal,
demanding holiness.
Your throne is established in the heavenly realms.
Your footstool, the earth.

I should tremble as I enter your
throneroom in prayer,
but yet,
I trace your face in the image of my children.
Experience church in the embrace of my husband,
Recognize your rich provision in the
worship song of sparrows,
and draw near to the Holy of Holies in scripture.

Throneroom of God

Jesus’ love tore the veil and developed a familiarity between us.
You know my sorrow and put to death
the limitations of sin. So I push
open the
massive doors of separation as a joyous child
running barefoot into the arms of her loving Father, Savior, and Friend.

Run into the arms of a Familiar God
Gothic Angel Holding a Clock

Clocking In

I didn’t quit my job of loving,
When you stopped punching your time card.
I clock in to life,
Heart uncallused by the rough, 24-hour, work of losing.
I freely hope, with splinters of grief digging deep into my soul.
Faith, joy, and compassion embrace the world
With a work ethic that suicide cannot render unconscious
To the world around me.

A poem from Broken Butterflies Emerging Through Grief

Turning Your Page

Your story is powerful. Knowing what caused you to turn the pages on the hardest day of your past can help you to turn the page on the hardest page now.

  • Meditate on the verse: ” Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people” (Philemon 1:7 NIV).
  • Journal about a day that was difficult as a child, adolescent, first job. Identify the elements that made it hard. Did someone hurt you? Were you in constant physical pain? What did you believe about yourself at the moment?
  • What helped you to move forward to take hold of the next day?
  • Did someone encourage your spirit or stand up for you? Did you take a walk? Sleep on it? Speak truth over the situation?

I will be on Facebook until 7:30 pm.

Deflate the Bed and Give Me Life

By Karisa Moore

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Turning My Page

My bed finally deflated. After three weeks of camping out in the living room, post foot surgery, I made the decision I would brave the stairs to sleep in my bed. I didn’t realize until I determined to press forward into healing how crippled I had become in spirit. Two nasty falls had made me terrified of reinjuring my vulnerable foot. Even when my family attempted to help or push me around in a wheelchair, I would grip the wheel or gripe that they were going too fast. I wanted control of the healing.

But I don’t get to determine how long the bone, tendon, muscles, or skin take to heal. I both need to be actively moving my foot to keep muscle weakness from setting in, and keep weight off it. Time, patience, and a willingness to allow others to provide for me are all necessary. Oh, how restless I become while dependent upon others.

God, I treat you with the same impatience. When I hear another person has given in to despair, I wonder where you are. When my own children wrestle with loss and health issues beyond their comprehension, I grow weary. Do something! I scream. I know you have a perfect plan, but this does not feel perfect. I desperately want to know my two remaining children will survive their physical challenges and thrive in life and faith. I want friends and family to know the compassion and grace of God, and I want the tide of despair in this world to turn.

And God agrees with those desires because at just the right time he entered the world in human form. We were sinners, longing for someone to rescue us from the cycle of destruction we seemed set in. Heal us from our sickness! Deliver my child from demons! Rescue us from oppression. Years and years Israel waited for the Savior and he didn’t come. They poured over scripture, neighboring nations heard of the promised one, and paranoid kings shivered with nightmares of a God greater than themselves. People suffered. Still, he didn’t come.

Just as God knew his one and only son had to be born at the exact time in history for Christianity to spread like fire, he enters our pain and reveals his good, pleasing and perfect will. Do some of us hear the message and reject him? Yes. He is nothing like I expected. He will never fit into my box of preconceived beliefs, but he expands my faith to recognize his will is that none perish. Healing came for all mankind.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/history/people/martyrs/dietrich-bonhoeffer.htmlI may never fully see this side of heaven the result of standing firm in faith when my legs are literally jelly right now. Are you standing in what feels like quicksand? Press into the fullness of God’s good, perfect, and pleasing will. His timing brings us stories like Isaac, Joseph, King David, Ruth, Esther,  the Apostle Paul, Corrie ten Boom, Harriet Tubman, William Wilberforce,  Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Kanye West and my own. Add your story to this list. Be patient in affliction and wait expectantly for God’s will.  Deflate the bed of fear and trust God’s good, perfect, and pleasing will.

Turning Your Page

Do you have a fear you need to deflate? Identify any fear that hinders you from moving forward and embracing life. There are so many heroes of faith. Study the ones in scripture, study the modern-day heroes of faith. Not even one of you is alone in fear, alone in circumstances, and or alone in faith. Take courage that you can stand firm even when your heart feels it can’t.

  • What fears are currently plaguing your life and crippling action? List them on paper and then pick one or two verses addressing fear to meditate on.
  • Observe others who wrestle fear. What actions do they take to move forward, what encourages them?
  • What positive habits do you have, or will you have that are not based upon feeling? Pick a few to do every day without fail. These are nonnegotiable.

Lord, I am paralyzed with fear. Reveal the clear next step and help to stand firm when I feel I cannot go further. Amen

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