Whispers in the Woods

Though my throat hurt and my head throbbed, though my 33 week pregnant belly ached and I peed every 10 minutes, the sun was out and God whispered: go to the woods. Before my husband and I left, I noticed new, much bigger stretch marks on my belly. A barrage of old familiar lies disguised as truth flooded my mind. Stupid. Ugly. Gross. “Jesus, teach me my beauty and worth!” I prayed.

We hiked five minutes into the tall trees and feathery ferns. I sat down on a mossy log. Overwhelmed by God’s beauty all around me, tears welled and fell softly down my face. “You’re SUPER pregnant,” my husband said. I smiled a little. While hormones were definitely raging, these tears flowed from a deep hurt being healed. God was again whispering: “all this beauty? I made it. I don’t make junk. I made you in my image, you are beautiful.”

As I waddled up the short path to the overflowing port-a-potty, my heart swelled with joy. I am beautiful. I am worth dying for. I am loved.

So are you, reader.

Thank You, Jesus!ūüíě

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Creation’s Ovature

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
 Serve the Lord with gladness!
    Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    and his courts with praise!
    Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good;
    his steadfast love endures forever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 100

 

juicy, ruby berries

vibrant emerald leaves

each bird song a melody of praise

painted paper butterfly wings

strong long octopus arms

curving antlers

decomposing logs supporting mushrooms

come, adore the Lord with me!

 

hidden roots

moisture licking air, hydrating plants, returning to clouds

the symphony of ecosystems

the mystery of stars

the beauty of each being proclaiming His majesty.

 

 

the cross to life

the cage door swings open. a gentle man beckons you through the opening. will you listen?

we’re like cheetahs in a zoo, accustomed to our ways. we settle for slavery.¬† Jesus is the door to life. He loves us. not only does He provide the way out, He takes us by the hand and guides us through. Grace.

can a cheetah know the wild joy of sprinting full tilt across savannah plains when he is still confined to a concrete enclosure? though we’re comfortable in the familiar, Jesus asks us to trust Him. we need to realize we’re lost before we’re found. deep down, we all know we were made to run free. but we can’t get to freedom on our own. we need Jesus.

as the Son of God, Jesus has authority to forgive sin. through His death and resurrection, we have access to eternal life. will you believe in Jesus and receive this free gift?

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.   Ephesians 2:8-10

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith,¬†we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.¬†¬†Through him we have also¬†obtained access by faith into this grace¬†in which we stand, and¬†we¬†rejoice in hope of the glory of God.¬†Not only that, but we¬†rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering¬†produces endurance,¬†and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,¬†¬†and¬†hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love¬†has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

For¬†while we were still weak, at the right time¬†Christ died for the ungodly.¬†¬†For one will scarcely die for a righteous person‚ÄĒthough perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die‚ÄĒ¬†¬†but¬†God shows his love for us in that¬†while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.¬†Since, therefore,¬†we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from¬†the wrath of God.¬†¬†For if¬†while we were enemies¬†we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by¬†his life.¬†¬†More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received¬†reconciliation. Romans 5:1-11

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love display

innocent lamb
led to slaughter
our punishment
poured on Him
because of love
His body torn and broken
raw & ripped open
He died in our place
(willingly)
took our shame
bore our weakness
sin and sickness
pierced arms stretched wide
blood tide flowing from your hands and side
removing sins
inviting us in
embracing the broken

spotless lamb

perfect sacrifice

He hung in the sky
crossbeam lifted high
hope realized
love displayed
crimson droplets fell
splattering thirsty earth
the holes in His hands
make us whole
all our shame erased
by grace
He‚Äôs the answer to our soul‚ÄĒ
Jesus

trickles of blood
droplets of mercy
breathed his last
(it is finished)
temple curtain torn in two
earth shook
rocks split
tombs opened
the dead breathe again
raised to life
victorious one
walks out the tomb,
setting us free
victorious King
fierce Father
beautiful Savior
waterfall of life
galaxies of grace

He hung in the sky
crossbeam lifted high
hope realized
love displayed
crimson droplets fell
splattering thirsty earth
the holes in His hands
make us whole
all our shame erased
by grace
He‚Äôs the answer to our soul‚ÄĒ
Jesus

God’s wrath for our sins
poured on Jesus‚ÄĒ
Just and Justifier
finally satisfied,
now we’re His bride
washed white
adorned in beauty
holy, set apart for the sake of God’s glory

He hung in the sky
crossbeam lifted high
hope realized
love displayed
crimson droplets fell
splattering thirsty earth
the holes in His hands
make us whole
all our shame erased
by grace
He‚Äôs the answer to our soul‚ÄĒ
Jesus

if i ever doubt God’s love
the cross forever seared
on my heart
reminds me
of truth
my one true love
now we’re His bride
washed white
adorned in beauty
holy, set apart for the sake of God’s glory

forest of longing

For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die–but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:7-8

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emerald ferns feather the outskirts of the narrow, long dirt clearing. roots peer out of the earth like half bridge knobs. ancient bark, history‚Äôs eyes see people past‚ÄĒlaughter and tears, death and love. people who pined after an invisible lover, searching their lifetime, the world over, for peace. a sometimes dull, sometimes screaming desire. starving, pain. universal earth ache. throbbing to be noticed.

asking, ‚Äúdo you love me?‚ÄĚ

all this cosmic turmoil contained in every flesh tent. I knew it well. craving but never relieved. burning for more. born with flames tickling my  heart.

‚Äúdo you love me?‚ÄĚ echoed through the forest, touching every second of my life.¬†men came and went. one stayed for life. still I hungered. I searched‚ÄĒunder clouds and stones, behind trunks and waterfalls, in human hands.¬†who could whole this furious, yearning hole?!¬†a mere shadow of life, I crumpled under the tree canopy.

one day, a crimson droplet cascaded through the leaves, dripped on my nose. I drew my eyes to sky.

life rain, love reigning. God sacrificed Himself, bloodied, beaten, killed by those He formed and desired. life for life. Jesus created a way for my wayward heart to be welcomed home!

still, aware of my stains, I timidly crouched under a fern. hiding. wishing. wondering.

He beckoned me.

me??

incredulous, i stayed hidden. yet, I was already seen, fully known, totally loved.

how?!

such divine romance had to be unreal.

“Yes, I love you.” God said.

His words drenched me, sang the missing note, completed the puzzle. I was inside out, upside down, undone in the presence of soul saturating love so passionate and sacrificing.

drawn out of hiding, led into light. that second of rapturous delight transformed me.

from then on, joy soothed sorrow as I danced with my true Love.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13