28.12.17

shame is a shroud over truth // Eve

Shame is nothing but a shroud over truth. 

Shame is a cloak I pulled over myself,
that day in the garden. 

I wrapped it round my body and covered my face with its length. 

A snake spoke to me that day, 
and said there'd no longer be anything hidden from me
if I bit into the juice of the fruit
on the tree. 

That was when I pulled on the cloak and wept within 
seeking solace behind the leaves. 

Both of us were there, 
and when our Lover walked up beside us,
that was when I covered myself with its length. 
Its black reached over my head and covered my body,
keeping me safe. 

Our Lover asked why we were hiding
and we told him that we wore no clothes. 
He came to us with clothing in his hands 
and he covered me. 

I was already covered. The black stretched around and over, beneath the leather he gave me. 
A long time later, 
I learned that my cloak had a name, 
Shame. 

It was payment, 
given for eating the fruit;
I ate, and I received the cloak. 

I have thought about that day many times. 
I know now: that day I forgot who I was. 
That was what happened, you see.
I hid. 

Shame is a shroud over truth. 

When I tasted the juice and swallowed the bite, 
that was when I found the cloak, draped over my shoulders. 
Smoothed down, creases pressed out. 
The wicked face grins into my memory. The slivered tongue, straightening the darkened edges, fingers soft and grating. 

The garden was so long ago,
and only now am I realising what the whole thing really meant. 
How we both hid in the trees -- 

The cloak stripped us of the memory of our identities. 
We hid in the trees because we forgot who we were. 

We believed we were corrupt. 
We believed we were unwanted. 
We believed we were worthless. 
We believed we were insignificant. 
We believed we were useless. 
We believed we were deprived. 
We believed we were controlled. 
We believed we were lost. 

You want to know why we didn't take off the cloak
when our Lover asked us where we were,
why we didn't explain the cloak
when he gave us clothes to wear. 

We thought that we were the cloak,
and we could not take off ourselves. 

It is the first time since the garden 
that I have realised:
I am not the cloak. 

The instant the cloak was around my shoulders, 
I believed it was within my heart,
spilling over my soul. 

This is the lie I believed
since creation's earliest days. 

Two pages of stone 
re-wrote what our Lover had spoken to me, 
about not eating the fruit of the tree. 
I tried reaching out through the cloak
for redemption's list,
but it grew thicker 
and its blackness
stifled 
me. 

I wore the cloak 
generation after generation,
and one evening, 
We met our Lover again 
in the garden. 

I asked him why he had come. 
He pointed to the hole in my heart, 
the blood that ran down, 
seeped into stain. 

Generation after generation 
I have wept silently 
for who I am. 
I have worn the cloak of shame 
believing it was demonstrative of my identity. 

As we spoke, 
for the first time 
in thousands of years,
hundreds of people surrounded 
our Lover and me. 
They held rocks and held me fast 
and told our Lover 
where they'd found me. 

I remembered when I hid from him in the trees,
how I refused to come to him. 
Generation after generation, 
my cloak has kept me from returning to 
our Lover. 

As the people surrounded me, 
rock gritty between their fingertips, 
our Lover spoke 
as if he saw something beyond me.
He bent and knelt in the sand, 
the stuff of rock,
of stone,
and he wrote. 

He spoke. 'The sinless among you, go first.'
I watched as each walked away,
and I realised in that moment 
that they too 
wore cloaks of shame 
that they believed were their identity. 
They shuffled away...
hiding. 

I sat at his feet 
before him in my cloak of shame 
that I believed was the whole of me. 

And I wondered what I was doing 
before him like this. 
The weeping grew louder inside 
and I put my face in the dust
and 
then tears fell out 
and made mud. 

Both of us 
constantly become strangers again...
 
now our Lover is bowed 
and I realise all I mask;
desperation, loneliness, fear; 
is all I was made to pour out 
to our Lover. 

The next time I see him
we are at the tree again. 

With his eyes, he motions to my heart,
to its hole.
Tilts his head to his hands.
Iron hammered through. 

They say, that day 
a veil tore, from sky's grip to the ground. 

All these generations
our Lover knew the hole in my heart. 

Shame is a shroud over truth,
and I wore shame like it was who I'd become,
a cloak that dripped into every fibre of my being. 

Our Lover saw the truth,
the hole in my heart. 

Blood running through iron,
against the tree where I sought to find everything,
our Lover speaks: 
Beloved. 

Then I know. 
He has never seen the cloak. 

The cloak was what I saw when I forgot who I was. 

Every day,
our Lover presses his hand against my heart. 
Every day, 
our Lover reminds me who I am. 




21.12.17

water, blood & spirit

Sometimes the grandest truths are hard to form words round. The words that form us the most are hard to put down to be read. We know them in our heart & how do you convey them to the mind? 

I'll try, but it might not be smooth, though I wish it were. 

Maybe for over two thousand days, the sentence has come toward me in its own times -- reminding me, summoning me. 

There are things you want other than Me

And what do you do with this voice, this gentle stroking back of your hair? 

Some days you agree, some days you lift your head and beg some kind of change. It pulls you toward Philippians 3. 

Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness.10-11 I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.
Still, you push forward and you keep wanting and loving other gods; human gods, human things. 

Years on, and you stumble into Tozer's The Pursuit of God and you read it cover to cover. You begin to pray the man's written prayers at the final edges of each chapter, and to your great horror and relief, this God has been begging these prayers with you the whole time. You read it all over again and you're breaking like you've never broke before. You shatter into more pieces than you thought you were made of. This god you've loved and longed slips out of your grip and you find yourself facing the only God you were ever made for.

You gripped this god so long and it wasn't that you didn't want the true God -- you couldn't let go of this human god, couldn't quit your worship because you truly believed it was your life-blood. To let go of this god would be to let go of your life. To die. 

These begging prayers you began praying as you wept through this book, The Pursuit of God, they're like the beginning of transformation, like your first surrender to death & glimpse of resurrection. 

And months wear on and you, still, resort back to your old worship, your old human god. Slowly you begin to know the Holy Spirit, and you begin to meet with him, in word & prayer and slowly entering the stillness. You begin to speak of how hard it is, to surrender your loves and gods. You come daily, and with lowered hands, beg surrender and release of your god-worship, your human-longing. 

It was yesterday I admitted honestly, that now I knew I didn't want anything without Him, without God, without the only God I was made for. I didn't want the boy or any of the worldly things through which we seek joy & fulfilment & beauty & purpose & peace. I didn't want any of them without this true God because they're only empty and depression and selfish soul-seeking without Him. 

I told Him that even though I knew that without Him no thing was good, I wasn't ready to just have Him. I wanted all the other things with Him... but I didn't want only Him. And it was then that I realised I do not yet know the goodness of God. 

I'll keep coming in begging prayer, arms lowered in surrender, 

and maybe you'll join me. 

I’m asking God for one thing,    only one thing:To live with him in his house    my whole life long.I’ll contemplate his beauty;    I’ll study at his feet.
This is my continual confession, 
my soul admission. 

And the unknown goodness, He'll fix our faces fast, 

amidst the water,
the blood,
& the spirit. 
Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness    while I am here in the land of the living.

30.11.17

CALLING

Called Me Higher, All the Sons and Daughters 

Am I the only one got it into my head that being alive is about perfecting relationships and establishing business and nestling into a happy nest of comfy success?

The perfecting of a relationship and the establishing of a business are good things, but this song spoke to me how it is:

He's called us to live in Him, not in the happy nest, and the happy nest isn't the goal. The business is good and the relationship is precious -- but the nest isn't what we were made for. And sometimes the business and the relationship are all about nestling into the happy nest, instead of falling into God and making home in Him.

I'm asking myself now -- am I living for the happy nest, or to nestle into God? What do I ultimately want? Why do I ultimately want to perfect this relationship, to create this business, so on and on?



But I wanted a happy nest life. 

Taking a bit of a dive into Thessalonians, it says it as if it were like any old fact in existence:

God, who called us into his own kingdom. 

I want pain and blemish free neatly tied with a ribbon and meanwhile, our true calling stands.

God, who called us into his own kingdom. 

This God, they are family, their names Father and Spirit and Son.

The story goes that they lived in communion, in abundance, the givers and joy-makers who one day created humanity to be a part of their family. Birthing us out of their beauty.

Humanity rejected Their call, and the Son reached right down into our dusty depths and put on humanity's bones and flesh and with a breaking heart, continued to call us into Their own kingdom.

Oh, and us, so temperamental about our lives being our own -- the Son stretched himself out and wrists dripping red, water rushing out,

He died for everyone so that those who receive His new life will no longer live for themselves. (2 Corinthians 1:15)

His death was our birth and His resurrection was our adoption.

Out of sheer generosity He put us in right standing with Himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we're in and restored us to where He always wanted us to be. (Romans 3)

The Spirit is in relationship with humanity. As we awaken, we become participants with the Spirit in the sweet awakening of a sleeping humanity,

as the dust still shifts, ever so slight,

in memory of His feet over the sand.

25.11.17

finally home

How to say it? I've been afraid of coming home. Afraid of looming hours and unplanned wandering and loneliness.

And I started the drive home last night and I asked it out loud for the first time, maybe acknowledging it for the first time: Papa, why do I have such a strong aversion to coming home? 

Approaching the railway intersection, between the cracks of trees and sky I saw lights illuminating buildings and space and I was met with a deep feeling of familiarity that I haven't experienced in years.

It was the feeling of coming home. Of knowing something as home. The realisation that you are returning, that you have finally returned, to a place you knew a long time ago, perhaps in a dream.

I woke several times in the early hours of morning and each time, dread would breathe its grey dust in through some broken, open wound I've got exposed here, threatening me with empty.

Each time, the word would rise inside me,

Home,

it's edges painted gold,

so deeply satisfying the longing inside me.





I am constantly focused on how I need to know God more and be closer to him, and last night I heard him speaking to me, like waves that keep coming,

saying to accept, appreciate, and be present to where we are now, to where I am with this God who is Three,

Father, Spirit, Son,

this family with arms always open.


Home is something that exists. It's a place where you live.

Mulling over Jesus' words in the pages of John, I remember how I always ask him, and what is real life? What is eternal life? 

There is plenty of room for you in my Father's home. If that weren't so, would I have told you that I'm on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I'm on my way to get your room ready, I'll come back and get you so you can live where I live.  
I will talk to the Father, and he will provide you with another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can't take him in because it doesn't have eyes to see him, doesn't know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you!
I will not leave you orphaned. I'm coming back. In just a little while the world will no longer see me, but you're going to see me because I am alive and you're about to come alive. At that moment you will know absolutely that I'm in my Father, and you're in me, and I'm in you. 
Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can't bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can't bear fruit unless you are joined with me. I am the vine, you are the branches. When you're joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can't produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is -- when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples. 
I've loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you'll remain intimately at home in my love. That's what I've done -- kept my Father's commands and made myself at home in his love.

Home,
is where nothing is missing. 


16.11.17

{heart cry}

Ah, my walls. I suppose you've stumbled into them a time or two, hoping to meet with me.

They stay out front, guarding. 

There's four, you only need four sides to truly wall something in. To be honest, I'm so used to having them around that I actually forgot that they were there. Forgot that they were between you and me. 

You've seen the glass, probably. I think it's usually pretty fogged up when you're around, but maybe you know it's there. That little window. 

You might catch a glimpse of me, someday. 
Unless... you have walls, too, and you only have a small window, like me. In that case, it'd be a stretch for our glass panes to line up, and even if they do, if one of us were a little foggy, neither of us would see anything. 

I mentioned that the walls guard. Another word would be, protect

They protect my heart. 

My heart's kind of battered, see. Got heaps of sticky taped wrapped right tight round it. Even got these fading scars where blood dripped out. Oh, how it all hurt. 

I don't remember the conversation we had after it all happened, but at some point, I must've signed up the guards. They came in all their brick glory and made a border round my heart. 

Now that I'm telling you all this, I'm remembering something else. Right when the blood was trickling out, and the pain was like a hammering against my soul -- 

right before all the sticky-tape bandaging began? 

Right when cracks covered all the surface of the old worn heart? 


Oh... that's when the love all poured in. All poured out. 

You guard, you walls -- leave, now. 
Goodbye. 

This old-worn, tattered, battered,
beating heart -- 

it calls out. 

Calls out, beyond the walls,

and I hear it now. 

I'd wound it up so tight. 


It's edges loosen, 

and as they do, 

a brick moves. 

Light moves and He moves His arm round my shoulder,

and blood trickles down his side,

and there's this heart-cry,


how love pours out and in like blood. 

27.10.17

staying or walking away

The word accept terrifies people because it comes attached with the idea that it means to lower your standards and submit to something that isn't good enough, whether it be in ourselves or somebody else. 

What is the opposite of the word accept? I'd go ahead and call it rejection

What does it mean to reject? I'd say it means to cast out, to throw away, to declare unfit. To reject means to turn your back on. To walk away. 

Opposite words usually have opposite definitions. If to reject is to walk away, then what would it mean to accept? 

To stay. 

I guess it turns out that what we're really fearing is what our act of staying really says about us: that our standards aren't good enough, that we're settling for less than the best, that we don't have what it takes to be who we ought to be, that we have no pride if we can accept somebody who isn't measuring up to the ruler we're holding against them. 

As soon as we submit to this act of staying, we fear it saying that we didn't have it in us to make it to where we should've been. 

As soon as we commit to staying, we concede defeat: now we will never reach the standard, never be who we ought to be. 



My experience of shame comes out of not being the person I strive to be. I attempt to white-wash over reality by denying what is true about myself. 

And I know, I know what you're thinking -- this is the only way to overcome the things that aren't good enough. By proving that they aren't there. 

But I am a quiet person. And wishing to deny this and be different from this only keeps me from drawing the beauty out of this quality. It is not wrong to be a quiet person -- but I've always thought it was.
Sometimes I am quiet because I am being self-conscious -- thinking about myself. I am aware of this now. And when I find myself being detached from a conversation because I am wrapped up in thoughts of myself, I have discovered the wonder of realising that this moment is not about me -- this about the person I am with. Whilst I don't suddenly turn into a bright, bubbly person and the life of the party, I become a person who is able to see the person in front of me as a glorious creation and truly appreciate who they are, their presence -- and find myself with things to say and questions to ask because I am truly in awe at who they are and their existence on this earth. 

However, if I had stopped at the point of thinking, being quiet is bad, I have to be talkative, my thoughts, motives and intentions would be entirely based on self, on being a better version of me, of attempting to surpass myself -- and I would have missed the human beside me entirely. I would have missed Jesus entirely. 

Think of an aspect of yourself that you struggle with. Something that for whatever reason you believe ought not to be how it is. Maybe a word you use to define yourself, a belief that you have about yourself, a standard you hold yourself to (and seem unable to reach). At its core, acceptance isn't about what we do but who we are. 

Now -- why do you struggle with this aspect of yourself? And because you struggle with it, what do you do with its existence? 

Do you attempt to overcome it? How have you attempted to overcome it? 
Do you attempt to deny it? Has this been successful, or made its existence more prominent in your mind? 
Do you experience shame? Anger? Fear?, toward this aspect of yourself? Why? Does this specific response make you happier? Stronger? Kinder toward others and yourself? 

Let's return to our definitions. 

To reject -- to walk away. 
To accept -- to stay with. 

We're attempting to walk away from ourselves and each other where we don't measure up. We're abandoning our selves and each other out of fear that to stay is to give up. 

But this is where we've got it all upside down. What situation has there ever been that to stay means to give up -- and to walk away means to keep trying? 

Maybe, in the end, our denying and attempting to overcome and prove ourselves has always been a rejection of ourselves, a giving up of ourselves, a refusal of ourselves. 

In the end, maybe the bravest thing there is... is to stay with ourselves, to stay with each other. You and me both know it's the bravest. 

But what're we gonna do? What choice to we have? Walk away from ourselves -- or stay? 
There's holiness in this risk. In this act of staying, this act of acceptance. It's not a giving up -- it's a surrender. 

And if I accept myself fully in the right way, I will already have surpassed myself. 

Oh, the wonder. 

Ponder, 
whisper your fear, 
and know that you are loved. 

14.10.17

what i found

I am filled with hate. Love does not live inside me. I am a hard, calloused thing. Hate forms my thoughts, my defences.

I don’t know God, because I don’t love at all. I am emptied of love. Love doesn’t know me as home. Jesus it’s dark. It’s crowded. It’s lonely. It’s prideful, it’s careless, it’s selfish.

I sit between the back of the couch and the window, feet pressed down into wood, peering at flowers behind the glass. They’re closed, their petals are torn, colours fading. They were open yesterday.

Hatred is at home inside me. It’s comfortable. I didn’t even know it was here until just before, but now it makes sense as I remember the edginess, the restlessness, that shoot bullets at my heart and take pointed words and throw them at other hearts.

It is me. The battle is between light and dark, good and evil, hatred and love. I am fighting for dark. We fight for whatever lives inside us.


It’s true that light breaks darkness. But how do you love when you are filled with hate? 




When you find yourself begging the question, you find love summoning you: 

come



3.10.17

human jesus // spoken word

- spoke some words - 

He was too human. The Jesus in my head was glossy, and valiant. Not wrinkled and ordinary. 

 I realised that the Jesus I thought I knew was only my own ideal, 

and that an ideal is something that can never be personally known. 








30.9.17

anything, in this,

This -- it's where I left off. 

How anything is about knowing Jesus. 








Shopping and laughing and praying and reading and singing and writing and working and speaking and planning and playing and organising and preaching and listening and sharing and practising and washing and eating and meeting and gathering and remembering and giving and receiving and driving and stopping and walking and running and creating and designing and committing and loving and spending and saving and granting and breaking and growing and savouring and trusting and relinquishing and cherishing and thanking and baking. 

I said -- Jesus, forgive me for everything being about anything besides knowing You. 

I've wanted other things in all of them. 

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognise what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:1-2

What is anything but to know You? 

When you're living to get through... you forget you're living to know Him. 

And He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised. 2 Corinthians 5:15

We fight mental fires and feelings and we find ourselves getting through -- and we find ourselves asking why, and what is this auto-pilot life? 

When you're living to get through, you forget you're living to know Him. 

When you live to know Him -- you're no longer living to get through. 

When you're wringing out every gift of being -- baking and writing and playing, friendship and family -- you find yourself a bit soul-wrung.   

When you're wringing out every gift of being in an attempt to satisfy soul-emptiness, yeah, you find it to be all wrung-out and this soul still empty. 



You get to this heart of the whole thing and right where you are, here, now -- this is you meeting eternity in the present and knowing Jesus. 

You can know Him right here. In this. All within and through, this Way, Truth & Life. This Jesus, in this, you can know Him. 

19.9.17

missing?

A.W. Tozer brought it up, this segregation I've made between myself, the sacred, and the secular. 

Between with God and without God, being inside and outside, with the boy and without the boy, 

healthy and unhealthy, broken and whole. 

Who I am and who I am not. 

My mind is divided. My life is divided. 

I cry for unity, for oneness, for whole -- 

and all the while, this bleeding soul makes distinction that makes abandonment unavoidable. 



As if it were my own differentiating between life and death, right and wrong, good and bad -- that creates this empty space inside of me? 

Could it be that my tendency to separate one thing from another is why it seems like something has gone missing? 

I've stolen from myself what I thought had disappeared some other way. 

Would it be so simple? 


When I distinguish between the two and myself, it means that something will always be missing -- the sacred or the secular, God or no God, the boy or no boy, health or lack thereof, brokenness or whole. 

No matter my seeming desire, the separation I make between two means that something is always gone. Something is always not here. Something is always missing. 

As long as something is missing, I'm always scrambling to find it. 

I guess the question that's been flicking at the edge of my mind, my heart, this soul today -- is what if nothing is missing

What if nothing is missing? What if it's only what I've broken apart into two that makes two out of one? 

What's all these pieces in my hands? 

What's this holy God being three but entirely one? What's this, their calling to humanity to come into their oneness?  What's this oneness out of many? 

I'm holding all these pieces -- inferior or superior, sufficient or insufficient, talent or practice, close or apart, dream or reality, sky or grass, 

and oh, the distinctions I create

What if nothing is missing? 



All the missing in me -- all that I see I'm not?

What if nothing is missing? 

12.9.17

STORM EYES

Years of asking the same questions finally escalated a few days ago with me being unable to do anything at all due to insufficient answers. "Why does it matter? What is the point? What is the reason?" 

I caved, there on the ground, beyond all shame for my years-long dilemma. I couldn't even pretend any more. The mask had just sort of fallen off. Years of battling what I was doing with a reason and purpose. Years of trying to twist every act and commitment into a reason for doing so. 

Shame behind me, I picked myself up off the floor. "Where are you going?" the boy asked. "To pursue God." 

I went out the back, and I spent a few moments pacing the concrete, gazing from sky to trees to sky, and then I remember mulling over the fact that it was like there was something in front of me, blocking me. Then I became aware of where I'd found myself standing: this red brick wall right in front of me. 

I can't move it, I said. 
I know, Papa said. But I can. I'll dismantle this wall, brick by brick. 

I took a step backward, and I looked up at sky, and acknowledged the thought in my head; I'd been contemplating doing something, and had internally asked, will it give me purpose

And then, clear, a voice sounded: But what if who you are is purposeful? 

These simple words rushed into me like a waterfall and they gushed out the fear and doubt. 

All these years, I'd been attempting to derive meaning and purpose for myself -- 

and He'd spoke and I was freed from my fear and shame about who I was and what I was doing. 


That was a few days ago and I'd been enjoying the ease and peace that I'd had ever since hearing those words. But, then, today, I started to doubt. Which made me worry. I started worrying I was slipping away from Papa again and that depression would wash in like a tidal wave and just when everything was starting to get better -- would it just fall apart again? 

I've been reminded of a greater truth that I'd forgotten, that I used to keep close in my soul. It's from the book of James, in chapter two, and it goes like this: 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  

I'm reminded of Peter, when he stepped out of the boat onto the wild roaring ocean waters, and walked toward Jesus. When he started to sink into raging waters. How He drew him out. Asks him why he doubts. 

After all the storms, 
all the dark, 
all the healing,
all morning's rising's -- 

we find ourselves in another storm... 
oh, Jesus,
fix my eyes on You. 
Hand of God