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Isn’t it weird to find something, tucked in the recesses of your computer, that you wrote ages ago? It’s strange to be transported back to what you were thinking at the time. I just found a poem I wrote a few years ago, while I was still single, still living in Minnesota, and still attending Bethlehem Baptist. I find it, while to the best of my knowledge theologically correct, cumbersome. It’s not a pretty poem, but it is interesting to see my thoughts from back then. Very Piper-influenced, I’d say.
Can we understand love without
First truly knowing God’s devout
Love for Himself? Knowledge that He
Foremost considers His glory—
While offensive to some (for they
Would prefer to regard God’s way
As making much of themselves), is
Sweet truth to sages and pure bliss
To embrace. For otherwise idolatry
It would be for God to esteem
Another lovelier than He.
This truth, this reality be
To us but an invitation—
That we too may value the One
To whom all praise is due. In this
We find our commandments exist:
Love God with all our heart, soul, mind,
And to love our neighbor in kind.
What does love look like? In reading
Philippians 2, it’s being
Of the same mind as Christ. We must
Empty ourselves and become dust,
And in so doing, consider
Others around us as better
Than ourselves. We—so far below
Christ, who, in form of God and though
Exalted high, came not for fame,
The very form of a servant—
Thus, we must be of same intent.
His own deity He did not
Grasp, but came to give us blood-bought
Purity before the Judge. How
Can we, in self-importance, bow
Not our hearts in meek submission,
Finding our Holy Ambition?
Might this edict cause us to hear
And pray salvation-working fear
In us. And may God be gracious
To work, by His efficacious
Power, to will and to labor
To the end of His good pleasure.
I believe the beginning of my career in poetry ended just as it began. However, I would like to recommend one of my favorite poems, written in this narrative style by a far better poet than myself. It’s John Piper’s three-part Pilate’s Wife. [[dramatic sigh to emphasize just how good this poem is]] Of this narration, I could (and do!) listen to the third part time and again.
The women used to say, “is there
In living with this man? We dare
You, Claudia, though he be rich
And powerful, there is no hitch
Unbreakable, and this one has
Been broken just as surely as
The man has failed in ev’ry vow
He made. You are not bound to plow
For this man like a heifer now,
Nor lie beneath him like a sow
To satisfy the lust of swine.
No Roman law has this design,
Nor any Jewish ordinance,
That you should keep your vow. So whence
This foolish faithfulness that keeps
You in the bed where Pilate sleeps?”
My own insertion here: The next verse is powerful. I turn up the volume at this part on the recording. And with this, I conclude my Poetry Post.
And Claudia would answer them,
“O women of Jerusalem,
You speak as if there were no God.
As if there were no tender rod
To comfort me and lead me through
The darkest valley of my few
And painful years, as if there’s not
Nor should be higher aims than what
You’ve dreamed for man and wife, as if
The path were safe nor any cliff
Be close or any bitter wind
Be in my face, nor I be sinned
Against, or feel this constant grief
So long, my death would be relief.
How many women do you give
Such shallow counsel? As I live,
O, women of Jerusalem
Who counsel thus, I pity them.
As for myself, there is one love,
One covenant, one vow above
All married bliss or pain, and I
Once held the bloody price on my
Own lap, and heard him, dying, say
To me enough to show the way
A covenant is kept. Now go,
And learn what God designs to show
When Pilate crucifies his wife
And she is faithful all her life.”
Yes, it’s true. Two Wednesdays have passed with nary a post from me. I told you I wish I had the consistency of those who wrote “theme posts.” Yeah, I know. That’s a total cop out.
Now in all seriousness, I have fallen behind due to a couple factors. And I’ll shoot straight with you. The main reason isn’t even a good one.
I’ve become obsessed with Freecycle. It’s just so exciting! I’ve already gotten two large stacks of free (of course they were free; everything’s free!) magazines (more on what they’re for in a bit), and I’ve given away a couple of unneeded spools of ribbon. See? Like I said: exciting!
Also causing my posting to lack is the seeming insurmountable pile of homework waiting for me each night. I believe all it takes is a little adjustment to this new nightly activity, but I’m still not there quite yet.
Excuses, excuses. At least there’s always next Wednesday to be on top of things. Perhaps next week I’ll detail what I’m doing with all these magazines I got from Freecycle!
Now, because of all of this [slacking], I feel I don’t deserve the blog award that Minnesota Mom so graciously bestowed upon me! I am so very honored to receive my first award! And it seems fitting to come from her. The one who was primary in reigniting my blogging enthusiasm. If I could, I’d give the award right back to her as her blog is positively delightful!
Put the logo on my blog
Link to the person you received your award from
Nominate at least 7 other blogs
Put links to those blogs on your site
Leave messages on the blogs you’ve nominated
My blog picks are as follows:
Mary-LUE at Life, the Universe, and Everything: The first comment I left her in September when I came across her corner of the blog’verse stated that I was excited about finding her “treasure of a blog.” It seems my first impression has proven quite true; I’ve found quite a kindred spirit in her!
Jen2 at jendaas: My dear friend who writes posts that often seem to reflect the thoughts going through my mind that are unable to find expression in words; she finds the words for me!
bren j. at Stranger in a Stranger Land: Not only does she write fun posts (and includes cute pictures of her adorable little’un), she’s a Canadian living in America–just like Hubby! I knew I would like her immediately.
Whitney at Baby Tunnel Exodus: She’s funny; she lives in Minnesota…. What’s not to love about her?! (Plus, I think she was one of the first bloggers I started following upon returning to the blogosphere. Fun!)
Jamie at Ohbecareful!: I don’t know if this is against the rules, but the award has come full circle for her. Nevertheless, I feel I must nominate her, because I love reading this (homeschool!) mom’s blog! That, and she has better handwriting than I do; it’s true.
Emily at Lilies of the Field: My sister has joined the blogosphere! She’s just getting started, but what more motivating than an award to start you off?
And finally, Hubby (!!) at Watch Your Life and Doctrine or Armchair Theologian: He started back into the blogosphere, but it’s yet to be seen which blog he’ll jump on board with. Either one, I’m happy he’s a blog-mate of mine again.
Costco muffins are just too big.
Let’s unpack that statement. Here’s what happens: you start out really hungry and the muffin looks so good. But about four-fifths of the way through the muffin, you start thinking, “this is starting to get prettty gross…” But you can’t just stop there. You’ve already eaten past the half-way point, so it’s not like you can save the rest for tomorrow. But it’s far too much to throw away; that’s just wasteful! So you feel compelled to cram the last bites down. By then, it’s become downright gag-inducing. But forge ahead, you must. After you’ve finally finished off the last bite (so dry, so hard to swallow), you kinda hate yourself and vow never look upon a blasted Costco muffin again. At least until the next day, when you’re really hungry and the muffin is looking so good….
That’s what happens.
Having only been married for a short time, I find myself incredulous at the amount of sanctification already evident as a result of two selfish sinners living together. Already our home has encountered many-a joyful day of sweet unity as well as sad, difficult days of warring pride and stubbornness. We’ve discovered that the “honeymoon state” of our newlywed status doesn’t obliterate our sinful tendencies.
This past week has been a showcase of such tendencies. Escalating events of wounded pride and misunderstandings lead to explosive battles for our respective positions. Through the course of the week, these battles took on a sort of ebb and flow pattern. We’d bicker, then recede to a semblance of peace, only to haul out the arsenal against some other infinitesimal offense the next evening. Most of these skirmishes were brought to an end due to a far more humble hubby.
I‘m not wrong, I fully insisted to myself. I refused to even consider being incorrect, much less sinful, in these occurrences. He’s aggravating me; he’s being inconsiderate… Et cetera. During every peace-making time, when he was repenting and asking forgiveness of me for what he had done wrong, I merely threw into the mix an apology for the manner in which I responded. I obviously had no part in the sinning. Obviously.
In “peace-time” last night, while hubby was working on homework, I perused our three-IKEA-bookshelf-wide library, and my eye caught on a title. I hesitated. Crap! I reached out and sheepishly pulled the book off the shelf. The self-righteousness in my heart recoiled in fear of the rebuking that was sure to come with any further action taken with this book. However, the Holy Spirit working in my heart won out, and I walked back to our loveseat with War of Words by Paul David Tripp.
The first chapter, God Speaks, addresses how “wordy” our lives are and how necessary words (and thereby, communication) are to our lives as humans created in God’s image. God first spoke, giving words their significance. He communicated to us Himself through words. Tripp uses Isaiah 40 as an example of God revealing Himself and His glory. In this chapter is found a quote, putting quite succinctly, how our words are not our own.
“…Words do not belong to us….They should echo the Great Speaker and reflect His glory. When we lose sight of this, our words lose their only shelter from difficulty. Talk was created by God for His purpose. Our words belong to Him.” (p. 15)
I will have to remember that: words have a “shelter from difficulty” if they are spoken within the guidelines for which they were created! As I continued, I felt the afore mentioned rebuke with every word read and a heart heavier and heavier with conviction. How haughty I had been! Speaking awful words (that I thought I owned) to my husband and then believing I was in the right. At the end of the first chapter, Tripp prompts you to honestly evaluate your talk by Galatians 5:22-23, to confess sin to God and others, and to “commit yourself to the work of change” while continuing through the book. He includes the following questions on page 16 to assist with the self-evaluation:
- Does my talk with others lead to Biblical problem solving?
- Does my talk have a “stand together” or a “me against him / her / them” posture?
- Do my words encourage others to be open and honest about their thoughts and feelings?
- Am I approachable and teachable or defensive and self-protective when talking with others?
- Is my communication healthy in the principal relationships in my life? (ie. husband-wife, body of Christ, neighbor-neighbor, employer-employee)
- Does my talk encourage faith and personal spiritual growth in those around me?
- Do I speak humble and honest words of confession when I sin and words of sincere forgiveness when others sin against me?
- Do my words reflect a willingness to serve others or a demand that they serve me?
Let me tell ya, I didn’t do so well on that little pop quiz. Upon finishing the first chapter, I went in tears to my husband to repent and ask his forgiveness for my unwillingness to serve him and the sinful use of my words. Et cetera. It felt so good to both go before the Lord together in prayer.
I’m sure I’ve not seen the last of this lesson, but for now, I’m finishing this great book and wholly relying on God’s strength to use my words only for their intended purpose–to His glory.