Fling Wide These Doors—a poem

I was dancing in my room to worship music (“Lover of My Soul” by Kari Jobe, and “Psalm 46” by Shane & Shane, to be exact) this morning. I was so overwhelmed by joy in Christ I just couldn’t help myself. I then realized how, being kind of shy, I tend to hide my true feelings sometimes around other people—I tend to stifle my joy, or keep it contained. I should feel free to let it out! Why not? Anyway, I’ve been praying that God would help me to overcome any self-consciousness over letting my joy be shown. This moment and thought process brought about this poem. :)

songs from the refinery

Notes surge; I feel my soul arise

As if carried by butterflies;

A thousand prayers to God my King—

“Oh, thanks for all You’ve done for me!”

I can’t contain this joy inside.

But sometimes, still, I tend to hide

Behind closed doors to dance this dance.

This secret heavenly romance

Must not be secret anymore.

I must fling wide this bolted door,

These walls that hide my praise, destroy;

And, though no singer, sing for joy.

Oh, Father, please, enable me

To not be shy, but set me free

To sing and dance and laugh aloud

And tell of all Your mercies, how

You’ve changed my life and given me

A new dance for these hands and feet

A new song in my mouth, to sing

The glories of You, LORD, my King,

And of all that You’ve done for me.

Unhindered, may I dance, freely.

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I wrote this poem a few months ago, and just today published it on my poetry blog (which is now called “songs from the refinery”).

songs from the refinery

As I look back on my mistakes

And feel remorse, please give me grace

To turn from these sins and repent

And not repeat such base events

But leave them all behind, and see

That life is better when I’m free

From thoughts and deeds that slow me down

Since rather quickly I must run.

To win this race, I must move toward

Christ, my Savior—ever forward.

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“Petals” — a poem

I was a young and flow’ring tree,

With branches clothed so gracefully

with blossoms white and pink, that swell

With beauty, bearing pleasant smell.

 

At least that’s how things used to be—

Till change did overtake this tree.

Somewhere a Psalm says flowers fade*.

As seasons pass, so did my state.

 

One day the sun misplaced its glow,

And mid-May winds began to blow.

For summer, spring was making way;

My flowers, sadly, wouldn’t stay.

 

I saw my first few petals fall;

With balding blooms I stood appalled

As gusts of wind would carry off

The beauty I was so proud of.

 

It humbled me, stripped me of pride,

As I watched several flowers die—

Small heads, of petals quite bereft.

But then I still had many left…

 

Still, just like rain, the petals drop

Quite ceaselessly—they hardly stop.

The wind dies down, yet still they fall—

Will there be any left at all?

 

I feel much lighter than before…

But can these branches take much more?

This loss of beauty, stripped of charm?

Why must this wind do so much harm?

 

But… is it harm? Or is it grace?

Oh, could it be that this disgrace

Is just the means to better ends?

The gravity** this tempest sends?

 

Clouds thick with rain extract their tears

As I do mine, while standing here,

Bare, shivering, my blossoms gone.

But soon storms cease; I see the sun—

 

Dispelling darkness, causing sight

To see, where once stood pink and white,

On wind-blown branches, evidence

Of fruit beginning its existence.

 

And so I see. The wind was grace—

Although it for a time defaced

One type of beauty, I would meet

One just as beautiful and sweet.

 

/ / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

 

Footnotes:

* referring to Psalm 103:15-16: 

“As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.”

Other biblical references to flowers fading occur in Isaiah, such as twice in Isaiah 40:7-8, and in James 1:11.

 

** “gravity” – double meaning—both referring to petals falling and the grave state of the circumstance

 

(originally posted at MaddieThePoet)

Fragility—a poem

This body is fragile and weak—

This isn’t exactly what I had envisioned.

But I know that it would be wrong

To question the Artist about his decision

To make me the way that I am for some reason,

And give me this life with its trial-strewn seasons.

So help me, when tears fall, and I’m on my knees,

To praise You through sorrowful fragility.

 

Like David, I ask You, “How long?”—

I could have been freed from this when I was younger,

But I’ll never say You were wrong

To give me a thorn that would bring forth such wonder.

But when I feel lost in my questions, alone

In a valley, enveloped by many unknowns,

Please be my light, Father, and help me to see

Your hands at work through this hard fragility.

 

As I recall all that I’ve seen—

All the difficult things that You, LORD, have assigned me—

You faithfully guided me through

Every trial You’d given, in love, to refine me.

For pain leads to growth, and such growth have I tasted.

Those tears and unbearable days were not wasted.

I thank You for giving me this severe mercy:

This difficult, beautiful fragility.

Under The Fig Tree – A Sonnet

In anguish my heart searches, seeking rest,

But there is none: two wills divide my mind.

My evil thoughts and actions I detest,

But somehow cannot bear to leave behind.

 

I feel this battle in my soul increase;

This sin I hate, yet love, grips me with force.

These habits, when will they at last decease?

They promise joy; I only know remorse.

 

Almighty God! From sins, deliver me!

These worthless things I somehow love, destroy!

From hollow, fruitless pleasures, set me free,

And make me captive to Your greater joy.

 

You’ve taught my restless heart to rest in You;

I now know joy unmeasured, joy most true.

 

(A sonnet I wrote for a school assignment, inspired by Augustine’s Confessions.)

 

Scales

There’s something that afflicts my eyes

And makes it difficult to see.

Sin blurs my vision, thick like fog

And now I can’t perceive You clearly.

I need You, Father, but I fear

That You can’t see me through the haze

Although it’s not Your sight but mine

That’s hindered—I have turned my gaze

From joy eternal without measure,

To empty things and fruitless pleasure

Which leave me empty, seeking more.

 

And as remorsefully I sigh

And think this darkness will not end

You see these scales upon my eyes

And want me to see You again.

These scales, You know, are all my sins—

My fear, my selfishness, my pride,

Anger, greed, unrighteous thoughts,

And countless other things beside.

And I will never ever see

Unless You perform surgery,

Slowly, till the scales are gone.

 

Skillful Surgeon, do Your work;

Take up the scalpel that You own

And use it, to make clear again

My vision, seeing Christ alone.

This operation will be painful—

Though I scream and groan and cry,

Don’t slow Your work removing sin—

This pain is how You sanctify.

And afterwards when I recover,

Give that remedy, none other

Than gospel truth, restoring sight.

– 10/15/16

Originally published at MaddieThePoet.

Found

She acts like everything’s alright,

Nothing wrong within her world.

But there’s an ever-present feeling,

Inside of her, a gnawing pain,

A conscience-pricking, dark-gray guilt.

In vain she tries to shove it down

Into a box and lock it tight,

Only to see it free again.

But no one sees this war inside her,

This losing battle, this defeat.

All they see is that she’s pretty,

Has all that she could ever want.

Everything, that is, but freedom –

Freedom from this gnawing guilt.

She’s had enough of all this pretense;

Cannot feign a smile once more.

Because she’s done an awful deed,

Left her husband for another.

Left her old life for a new one;

Left a better for a worse.

This new life looked so promising,

So much richer, much more free –

But it was all a brutal lie,

And she’s now worse off than before,

Shackled in her misery.

And her new lover senses grief

and wraps his arm around her, saying,

“Darling, tell me, what is wrong?”

She pushes his embrace away

And cannot stand a moment longer,

And fails at all endeavors to

Hold back all her bottled tears

And like a storm, they start to fall.

“Darling, tell me, what’s the matter?”

Silence, save the bitter sobs,

Until at last the tempest clears

And gives her leave to speak her mind.

“I abandoned him.  I must go back,”

She says, “I’m sorry, but I must.”

With hardly a goodbye, she leaves him –

Packs her bags and takes a plane

Across the country to her first love,

The man whom she so wrongly left;

Abandoned for another lover.

“Please, I’m here to say I’m sorry.

I’m at the airport.  Pick me up.”

Two hours later, he arrives

And to her awe, he runs to her

And scoops her up and squeezes her

And won’t let go.  Tears fall again –

Happy tears, tears of relief,

Of a forgiven heart, set free.

He kisses her upon the forehead,

Lightning sparks run down her spine.

“I was wrong to leave,” she said.

“If you don’t want me, I don’t blame you.”

He pulls her closer, whispering,

“No.  I love you.  You’re here to stay.

Forget your past, and I will too.

Let’s rejoice and celebrate,

For you were lost, but now you’re found.”

“Anger Won’t Be Queen” – Poem

Today, for fun, I wrote a poem about anger, how wrong it is, and the importance of fighting against it, and for patience.  Enjoy.

///

Where did I get this attitude?

Today I’m irked at moments such

As inconveniences too small

Or hearing noises far too much;

Corrections coming from another

I’ll (sadly) take as such a bother.

Such instances, so minuscule,

Presses Anger’s hand to rule…

 

“But no!” I tell myself.  “Enough!

Why do you let yourself surrender

To these feelings of impatience?

Did your heart cease to be tender?

Soul, look, this Anger is a liar.

And she will spark a brutal fire

In your soul, if you will let her.

But do resist her; you know better.”

 

Temptations rise up in my mind:

“Must I resist this burning feeling?

Can’t I let myself ONE time?”

NO!!!  Though it may seem appealing.

In one small spark, ‘most no one sees

The harm of several thousand trees.

It’s to your harm when you give in

To this apparently small sin.

 

Anger starts out small, you see,

But grows at an increasing rate

And somewhere down this steep descent

Comes bitterness and evil hate.

Do you want this cruel master?

Spare yourself from such disaster –

Let Anger not usurp your soul.

Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Have self control.

 

I stop and say a prayer to God,

“Please help me act as You would act.

You deal with me so mercifully,

Though you could smite me just like that.

You’ve given me ability

To deal with moments patiently,

But on my own I cannot do

What would bring most joy to You.”

 

And just like that, the anger’s gone;

The spark, just taking flame, put out,

And God, the rightful King, controlling

This error-prone and sinful heart.

Anger, no, she won’t be queen.

Not a trace of her is seen.

The storm is calmed, and I am free

To live my life more peaceably.

 

“I Cannot Heal” – Poem

I see the world through teary eyes,

A world turned dark by Adam’s fall,

With pain and sorrow and disaster –

And I can never fix it all.

 

If I could cure my one friend’s woes,

My other friend’s anxiety,

Or comfort those in pain, I would –

But healing isn’t up to me.

 

I could help till I drop dead,

But still, no matter what I do –

Give many hugs, a few kind words –

I cannot heal; that’s up to You.

 

When healing comes to someone’s heart

By words I speak, by love I show,

It isn’t my accomplishment,

But Yours, O God, and this I know.

 

You heal, O God, but You use means

For Your great work, so if You will,

Let my heart You’ve caused to break

Be a means You use to heal.

-Maddie

Sometimes Words Just Don’t Suffice

  

Made this just now (the poem is an original too).

You know when you feel such strong emotions – 

uncontrollable joy, 

or immense grief, 

or almost unbearable pain, 

or the feeling that you get when you’re sitting on the couch with a cup of tea, watching the rain fall outside and feeling like all is right with the world,

or a mixture of multiple emotions,

– and you want to describe those feelings as best you can?  And while words can sometimes do a pretty good job capturing thoughts and emotions, often they just can’t.

Sometimes words just don’t suffice.

Sometimes there are no words to describe that feeling of unsurpassable happiness I get when contemplating the Gospel.

And sometimes there are those days when I feel so low, and if I wanted to tell someone about it, I would have no idea how to perfectly describe how I feel.

Sometimes someone is having a bad day, or going through a really tough season, and I feel for them and want to let them know that.  But sometimes I can’t find the words to get that across.  So that’s where hugs come in.

Sometimes I look back at my life and see all the things God has done in my life, and I want to share my story, but I will never be able to share it so perfectly that people would understand EXACTLY how it went, but rather only get a small glimpse of the beauty of it all.  

I suppose though, that finding the right words takes practice – the more practice you get, the better you become.  It’s like a way of stretching the mind, to see just how creative one can be, how realistically one can describe whatever it is they are thinking of.

That was rather deep, I know.  Which is the way I like it.  Haha.

-Maddie

  

Sunday Afternoon – Poem

Yesterday I got to spend the afternoon with one of my friends.  We went to a health food store and got lunch and sat in the cafe area for a while, talking and catching up on eachother’s lives.  It was wonderful.  So I wrote a little poem about it, just because I can.  Haha.

Over an hour
Spent talking together.
It seems like
We hadn’t done this in forever.
Talking of missions,
What this summer holds,
Of evangelism,
The will to be bold,
Of last year as freshman,
The good times we had,
How this year is different
(Which is rather sad),
God’s grace in our lives
(Wow, isn’t He good!),
And my name for my house
(“Little House In The Hood”).
Interrupted but once
By one employee
Who dropped glass on the floor.
“I’m so sorry!” said he.
The hours passed swiftly,
Our time had to end.
I had a nice time, dear –
I’m glad you’re my friend.

These Past Few Weeks

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After a rather hectic week, with a mid-term exam and an extended paper, spring break has finally arrived!  I am so overjoyed.  I keep having this thought “I have things to work on” and then remember “Wait!  I don’t!”  What relief!  :)  It’ll be so nice to have a whole week to just unwind and rejuvenate.  I’m planning to do some pleasure-reading (i.e. The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis and The Things of Earth by Joe Rigney), write (during regular school days I never have the time to let my thoughts flow on paper as much as I’d like), draw, sleep, spend time with friends and get in the Word more.  This will be fantastic.

I am LOVING spring.  It’s so good for the soul!  The warm and sunny days, the fresh air, hearing the birds, being able to use my porch again, the ability to not have to wear a coat and don shorts and sandals/flip flops… ah.

In class we are doing New Testament Survey and Theology, which I am enjoying very much.  We recently read through and compared the content, the literary styles, and the backgrounds of the four gospels, then read Acts, and now we are studying the Epistles  Just yesterday I finished a big paper on the Kingdom of God.  It was interesting to write, and made me look forward to Christ’s return and the coming of His Kingdom.

I’ve started making handmade cards.  I had my very first client about a month ago, who wanted me to draw a portrait of Audrey Hepburn, so I did.  I’m working on opening an Etsy shop soon and sell cards and art prints; however, those probably will be high-quality printed versions of original drawings.  I don’t have time or energy to hand-draw every single product.  I’m a busy woman. :)

A couple weeks ago our school did a dodgeball tournament.  It was pretty awesome.  There were some pretty hilarious team names, such as “the Darth Graders” (professors and faculty, who showed up in Darth Vader costumes), “The Beach Bums” (my team, who wore shorts, tees, bro tanks… summery clothing) and “The Church Dodge-matics” (which is so delightfully nerdy).  However, towards the end of the tournament, I got hit hard in the face by a ball, hurting the top of my nose, and… breaking my glasses.  Oh no.  So for the past couple weeks, I’ve been living in a slightly blurry world, unable to read words from a distance (especially on the whiteboard in class) or people’s facial expressions from far away.  It’s pretty sad, but I’m learning to live with it.  The night after it happened, I wrote an ode to my glasses:

O Glasses!  Dear you were to me,

For you enabled me to see.

But now you’re dead and gone, and so

Blurred vision once again I know.

A couple days later, I borrowed these obnoxious fake hipster glasses from my sister, and wore them to class the next couple of days to see what people would say.  I got some surprising “cute glasses!” compliments, a “Those are actually growing on me!  You look cute in them!”, and a perplexed “…how do you like your new glasses, Madeline?” (to which I replied, “They’re fake.”  To which my friend replied, “Are you sure?“)  Haha!  :D  Thankfully, I just got some new ones (which are pretty funky and hipster, though not in an excessive way) a couple days ago, and God willing, they will be coming soon!  It’ll be nice to have clear vision again.  :)

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This quote is one of my favorite quotes ever, and it’s played a pretty significant role in my life.  It’s been on my mind these past couple months.  God has been helping me improve in taking thoughts captive, recognizing untrue or sinful thoughts when they come, and replacing them with what is true and worthy of my thoughts.  He’s teaching me to set my mind “on things above, and not on things that are on earth (Colossians 3:2)”; to focus on Christ and make Him the center of my mind and affections.

God bless,

Madeline