agape with bah in world’s pasture

gather me—
i’ve read the
truth: there is
no flaw in me,
turning a green cap
until my finger shows
red. a sign of struggle,
no. not blood, but a
pressure from your little
lamb, a

FMF Prompt: gather. Today’s post comes from my struggle to open a water bottle. This is my thought pattern while turning the cap: “I got this. It’s moving. Almost there. The water is really high. Now it’s stuck. Maybe if I turn this way. Moving. Stuck, ( have to give everything the death grip.. my hand looks like it’s giving the sign for “I love you.” Please open..” Then, I sigh and make some distance between me and this bottle, before asking for help.

If I’ve learned anything lately, it is I can’t stay in moments. My brain feels ADD. I’ll watch a show and be escaping full screen to look something up, check email, Pinterest, text. Yesterday, I told a friend I need help staying with something, instead of looking/thinking ahead. A tiny voice in my head keeps telling me this is wrong. To rest. With Jesus. So my brain goes all crazy. Convinces me I should try looking for more magazines to submit my work.

Like yesterday, I found a poetry contest I thought about entering awhile ago. I did a workshop with one of the people running the contest, so I emailed to see if I’m eligible.. And then, every buzz on my phone made me check to see if there was a response. It’s always a nudge from God I’m looking in the wrong place. Again. I know I’m looking for someone to tell me I’m good enough to be paid for my poetry. Again. So. I’m not checking email here or on my phone for as long as I can today.

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin. Zech. 4:10. From the ending of last month to beginning of this one, God has given a small beginning back into something I forgot I love. I spent hours with this drawing yesterday. Every time I starting thinking it looked ridiculous, he would make me laugh. I could hear his whisper: I don’t, keep going.

He knows the small stuff makes me happiest, when I’m doing something out of love. Not to be seen or praised by millions. I’d actually prefer for him, and let whatever springs up, flow to whoever he places in my path. It’s hard to keep away thoughts of grandeur–getting in big name mags, but whenever Jesus meets me in a poem or in these drawings, a joyous peace floods my soul & I’d rather stay, then leave him who is slowing bringing me back to life.

& he never stopped loving her

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Drawing of come tell me, child. I totally had this song in my while working on this. I wanted to be in his Hall of Frames. where he showcased kids drawings that were sent in. badly. I have this vague memory of watching a particular episode at my grandma’s/ Waiting. wishing, hoping he’d be holding my drawing. When he wasn’t, I cried. I think I gave up on drawing after that. Silly, I know/ Way before I knew poetry, I used to draw stick people and flowers. And I didn’t care about perfection.

And Pappy made drawing look so easy. You just draw a circle and some lines and boom: a nice looking animal from earth. I think he’s the person who gave me the courage to believe I could be good at something. He’s also the first one who made rejection a kick to the stomach. It wasn’t enough for me to believe my mom & grandma, I had to risk this guy who reminded me of my grandpa, saying no.

I know now he wasn’t the one to blame. He most likely had a team of people selecting the pieces of art to be featured. And I’m sure I had way too much I would become famous. Famous as in, he would incite me on the show and teach me to draw. Or at least twirl a pencil. Pappy made drawing have a calm, a joy to express your soul without fear of judgement. He , but I think as a little girl, I hoped he was as kind in real life. Kind of enough to tell me personally, I was an artist.

But, maybe he did without personal recognition. In the way he made me believe I was already good enough. Good enough to let my stick figures and flowers out. Even if they weren’t like everyone else’s. It’s crazy to me that at 6, I wanted to be validated, known, seen by someone in New York as a girl who has “it”.

Right there is where my dreams were off. Because if Pappy (or his team) told me yes, I still would of been hungry. I probably would’ve gone into fantasy land, dreaming I’d be chosen every time. And that’s not healthy. Because, Earth to Julia: I already have “it”– a divine design aching love. I don’t need to be chosen every day to see I’m loved. I’m worthy whether or not, I someone tells me so.

When I look at how I draw, I laugh a little because the 6 year old me is woven through those heart-winged angels. Clouds that look like flowers. And Jesus, who adorns a shaw & bare feet. I shouldn’t be ashamed if I coming to Jesus as a child. It’s how we receive heaven, by giving heart. Messy joy. full love. Somewhere in the midst to give Pappy a piece of this mess, I must have had the urge to share this love.

This love Jesus delights give. I’m thinking my 24 year old self needs to believe what 6 year old me whispers: He sees me, the child who’s falling in dreams where he is the color.

Conversation With Empty Turned Memory

I wake up with my stomach,

hey, I’m empty here.

I will wish you well

ignorantly turning

either side. I can’t

ignore growling,

walk through walls!

greet the day!

feed me!

Yeah, well,

I’d rather free

my mind forevermore.

You are not a human too,

dear old tummy, only a part

of my humanity. You urge,

eat the chocolate hearts,

drink the smoothie

on bedside table.

Oh, I don’t suppose

eating/drinking

makes my left hand

a shovel to bury what is

lost, praying mess found

warrants a kiss forgiveness.

I know you’ve heard my heart—

Jesus, I want to belong to you,

but I don’t understand why I cry

inside the waking sleep, you

s[eaking unfailing love, peace,

all is well, my over my broken.

I’d rather make you proud,

see, Daddy, I’m self-sufficient.

I can, okay? Let me keep

wasting time pretending

I know independence .

When you are barren,

I remember, stomach.

I am a thick-headed thief,

setting my sights on glossy

pages in a top notch magazine,

again brought low by cry:

I hurt too Julia. Oh my

darlin’ weep, rage, sit still

& I will follow. We’ll have

the best day of your life.

I need you reminding

I am no hologram,

no gypsy girl

running down

the worldly drug.

money, money

money. A way

to the future,

they’ve told me.

I’ll get somewhere

if I work, work, work.

They don’t know I have

without love. You saw

the way I looked over

at her. Again, again,

again. She said, why

do you keep looking

over at me? You

anticipating my reaction?

She seemed mad,

or scared for me.

You watched

my shame blushing

my cheeks, frequencies

showing I didn’t mean

hurting her. We were

watching TV, I fixed

on her face flushed

red. Worry lines

I wanted to erase

somehow.

I wonder

if she knew

I wasn’t seeking

invasion of privacy,

but clarification

she loved me.

Love Me In My Mourning Undress

I want to lay back,

lift my eyes ceiling high.

I’ll bore my blues inside

whitespace—You deserve

respect, but I shouldn’t look

upon forgiveness I fail.

I’ve spent nights a child,

knowing something,

someone watches me

unravel a thread of control.

afraid letting go will betray

another’s trust—my own.

Voices in the back of my mind

echo proudness at my decision—

Kennesaw! January 7th. Smile

came against my mouth, window

reflecting state of heart. Liar,

I can hear disappointment

because my preparations

show less than admirable.

I know my first thoughts lean

heavily into someone’s direction,

reaction when I don’t come through.

I dare not ask thought divine.

What if you gave me what I what?

(sleep.)

What if not?

(I’m wasting days)

I can’t think straight,

able yet to write my depravity

I continuously ache apology.

I’m sorry I’m a failure, Julia.

I’m sorry I’ve cared less

for you, every mistake

calling me out until that theif

shouts, go hide, unworthy.

I tell you not to touch me,

gentleness shouldn’t your child

receive when she doesn’t know

quivers when you cry peace.

You come closer, I tell you

I have something to do.

A breath whisper.

Rest.

I want to give myself out,

flame blown out, companion

darkness snarling, good to see

you again, old chum!

Jesus, how I yearn softest

hand under my wearied head,

cradle me in compassion

I won’t try worrying away.

Ending Ached, New Year

Last night, I told my mother

I will never get better.

She says I say this

every time, but a smile

finds residence across

my mouth. This isn’t only

PMS magnifying fault

I’ve allowed myself believe

no matter direction my cold feet

travel me. This is me losing

sleep, repeating: There is

nothing to fear. Whispering

inside my head, it’s just the dark.

I close my eyes, picturing you folding

your hands reverent. I stand over frailty

once housing a soul maybe my twin.

We shared fears—death, loss, mistakes.

As I do with mom, I cried over them to you.

Voice firm, Julia, you are too hard on yourself.

I always thought you were scolding, until I recall

your watery eyes, seeming to know my needing right

once and for all times. You knew only Jesus could give

answers human mind doesn’t comprehend. When I

wandered through this desert, leaving school in search

for Him. Instead, I spent hours asking why, Jesus?,

why, Grandma?

why, Mom?

I’;ve failed,

I am a failure.

Between head,

world chaos

I put this fear into collection

you called, asking if I’d pass

copies your way.

This was the last time we spoke.

I’ve wondered if my raw honesty

frightened you as much as the day

grandpa cried peace into my ear

hushing my whole bod

Letting God Have His Job Back

Friday, I read this quote.

“Friends are people with whom you dare to be yourself. Your soul can be naked with them. They ask you to put on nothing, only to be what you are. They do not want you to be better or worse. When you are with them, you feel as a prisoner feels who has been declared innocent. You do not have to be on your guard. You can say what you think, as long as it is genuinely you. Friends understand those contradictions in your nature that lead others to misjudge you. With them you breathe freely. You can avow your little vanities and envies and hates and vicious sparks, your meannesses and absurdities, and in opening them up to friends, they are lost, dissolved on the white ocean of their loyalty. They understand. You do not have to be careful. You can abuse them, neglect them, tolerate them. Best of all, you can keep still with them. It makes no matter. They like you. They are like fire that purges to the bone. They understand. You can weep with them, sing with them, laugh with them, pray with them. Through it all—and underneath—they see, know, and love you. A friend? What is a friend? Just one, I repeat, with whom you dare to be yourself.” — C. Raymond Beran.

I immediately sent this to Megan.

I said, “so you.”

I was overwhelmed. That isn’t saying much, because according to this test, I’m 24/27 highly sensitive. (Not that I need a test to tell me..)

Anyway, she sent me a box. Not just any box, but a box with a tree that looks straight out of The Lion King. With a Cookies n’ Cream Hershey’s bar. A leaf ring. A locket necklace with charms surrounding. Stouffer’s chocolate. BACON flavored lipgloss..

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Let’s not forget the #bestiefortherestie necklace. (It’s really a leaf with the word “BEST” in the corner.. But, MEGANNN, we need a #bestiefortherestie necklace, kayy?) And her book.

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I’m in a real difficult place—this place where I want perfection, but I’m curled up in fear because I want to let go. I’m tired of not being me. A child. Who isn’t asked to do everything right the first time around. Or the second. Third. Fourth. Even beyond.

This morning, my mom and I were talking about mistakes. Today, I was published in the same magazine where I sought approval in October. I sat there crying when it didn’t go how I expected. I didn’t think I deserved it. I thought it was a mistake.

This time, the happiness I felt the first time, wasn’t there. When I saw the email saying the issue came out today, my heart stopped. There’s a word in the poem they chose, I feel changes the whole meaning. I asked if I could edit. I was told to wait and “don’t get your hopes up.

I did though. Then, I worried. I’ve been a teeter totter. God, no way!! Why would they pick me again? You’ll come through! What if they say no?

And you know what? They never let me fix it. And my mom’s words after my angered question (toward myself) about why this bothers me, hit like a ton of bricks.

Maybe you won’t admit to yourself you made a mistake.

She’s 150% percent right. I don’t want people to see this poem isn’t exactly how I wanted. Much like the relationship this talks about. I especially don’t want the person this is about, my dad, to get the wrong idea.

Do you see where this is going? God already knew this was going to happen. They’d say yes. I’d deny it for a week. I’d finally look, only to see a mistake I d ask to fix. And now, it’s out there, out of my hands.

It’s reminds me of Megan writing about her unbelief at my 7 poem poetry book. How small. How short of perfection: no copyright page, different font sizes, formatting, and no doubt spelling errors. Brutally honest, but lovingly so.

If I’m honest, I didn’t want to publish that book. I was discouraged everywhere I looked, even myself. If it wasn’t for the friends I shared this with through here, and real life ones, like Megan, I would’ve gave up.

God moved through my small offering of imperfect.

I always want Him to impact a ton of people (okay, whole world) with my writing. That’s never been His intention though.

It’s been a few people, who see past my approval hungered heart, whispering: I love you. Be you. You are beautiful.

And God’s lesson today: Let Me shine through the small.

Answer To My Empty

1. I slip off the bed.

Slippered feet walk

toward the door, closed.
2. I look down, telling

God: she is just a person.

Shame rushes down spine.
3. Leaning against the wall,

I pull, instead of pushing the gate

open. I scare her to death.
4. I listen to her tell me,

school is awesome.

Her mouth drops wonder

when I stutter how I have

no desire to go.
5. I can’t sleep before midnight.

My mind asking why God says:

Look, the human beings have become

like us: knowing good & evil. What if

they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life,

and eat it? Then they will live forever!

6. I text a friend, explaining

how I hear anger, maybe God

never wanted us forever. I don’t

tell her this, but how I compare

my earthly father to God. Asking

questions makes me terrified

I am bothering someone.

Somehow, I picture God sitting

beside me, as I remember

my father asking, what do you mean

you don’t get it? His frustration

made me feel wrong. The eraser

burning remark against that white paper.

He blew the shavings away backhanded,

while I made resolution to understand

the first time around.
7. I let the phone light go out,

weeping with the question she asks:

what is keeping you from enjoying life

right where you are? I feel small,

chillike, trying to keep tears inside.

My chest heaves, why don’t You love

me? This is getting broken up all over

again, again, again. Tidal wave crushing

shore, until I fall back back

under sleep’a call.

To You, Under Oklahoma Sky

You’ve turned my heart.

I’m not looking inward,

pointing a shaming finger,

or letting my tongue

tsk tsk my brain’s drifting

thought pattern. Here,

I sit upon comforting bed,

my eyes stung by sleep loss

a week could not gain.

Mother says I should slip

inside dream if my weary head allows.

Such a luxury will not happen today.

My eyes wish lending tears

for my friend, whom You love

more than I ever will. Oh, how

I can’t will them out, but keep

whispering, you are beautiful,

you don’t need another validating

shine given before your beginning.

He thought you, blue tendered skies

worth a glimpsing. whether laughing,

or weeping. You look at her, His Beloved,

declaring, Daughter, do you not see this well

will never delight you? Living water stands

willing give a flowing spring for all eternity.

I know all these loves

you thought surely would catch

your fragile bones. Calling your heart

the dearest ever to be caught. But,

they broke their forevers the moment

you cast your wishing net praying depth.

You come up empty each time.

I want to fill you with life, so you

know I am the way, the truth, the life.

I do not make mistakes, you have

a room in the home of my Father.

No matter what gifts you may squander,

roaming desert lands hoping another human claims you worthy,

I will call you back to Me. I will woo you as I did Gomez, speaking

gently the promises as a compassionate mother. I will not leave,

nor forsake you. I will rest my hand upon you. Peace not of this world

will free you from expectation to be less than the child I’ve made you.

You will no longer be trouble or afraid. I’ve been waiting, and I will

continue on if that is what you need. But, oh my darling, I ache

intimacy with you only. Can’t you see?

We fight the same battle—licking wounds brought by anger—fearful

maybe our voices are best laid to rest early. Still, a prayer finds me.

May you bless us , keeping us in Your presence, so wherever

we may look, we are overcome by the brilliancy of Your face

sweeping us up & away.

Human First, So I Too Love

You spoke me in lines.

Oh my darlin’ come awake!

Let those blues meet infinite

expanses, where dreams break

open your mouth as you wish.

You cry to these thieves thick

with the same welling you learn

lonely by misplacing another will.

Sumatra, they will tell tell you.

It’s better to be an island,

you’re protected this way.

You’ll forget Me—how I dress

the daisy, colored yellow bumble

bee. A sting found sitting in a pew,

thinking I will come out of the box,

where they say lie My remains.

I will scream, condemn, hurt you,

as the people arguing beside you after leaving.

You’ll look for a drug—not alcohol, cocaine, or Mary Jane—

no, you’ll look for approval in your mother, father, any friend,

even your own eyes. Every move you’ll question, not wanting

a mistake defining forevermore. You’ll become lost, nervous, aching,

crying: won’t someone tell me where I can be found? You’ll find yourself

walking through walls: heartbreak of a boy eager for flesh, your parents

hanging between hello & goodbye, and your need to be seen by the world/

You’ll find Me here, breathing a songbird melody

down inside your heart, caged too long in fright

you may not be worthy. Such a tuning could make

you proud, wasting time while others move along.

I don’t win hearts over the same as how the west

was won, through anger & bloodshed. No,

I extend My hand to you, Jack to Jill,

where we walk living water & child.

Up the hill, I look you over, smiling,

My dear, do not fear, the best day of your life

rests in My hands, don’t you see these moments

are not a hologram, but pure heart?

Linings Silver

Author’s Note: Today, one of my best friends published her first book of poetry. The following poem is how I responded after seeing how many likes she received after publishing the news on Facebook. I’m learning how quickly the Devil will use such a thing as numbers to make me feel useless, my words, voice don’t matter. Not true. I’m sorry if my “woe is me” stole your joy for even a second, Megan. I’m so so so so so PROUD OF YOU FOR FIGHTING THOSE COLD FEET! I’m so thankful God put you in my life so I could freely BE MY CRAY, IMPERFECT SELF! 🙂 (I yell at her all the time.. 😉 ) I love you, Megan. Thanks for letting me be part of this. PEOPLE OF WORDPRESS & BEYOND: GO BUY THIS GIRL’S BOOK..RIGHT. NOW. Please? ❤  On to the poem….

In this pitiful soul,

tossing & turning on mistake heavy bedsheets,

I am thought beautiful ruin.

We talk hushed, our language breath

I let go when enclosed by You.

My inhalations frustrated.

How could I let jealousy steal

me away again? This isn’t

about me, slow numbers

climbing up a hill, only brought

halfway to a sudden halt.

No, a friend has stepped

out on cold feet making waters,

only to see You, marvelous light,

calling: Come to me! She doesn’t

hesitate. cannot turn down

invitation to dine at Your table.

Sharing the bread & wine of Life.

She ignores the doubting wind,

waiting perfect time to drown

her lovingkindness smile.

She steps one shaky foot

after another, out of the boat,

while I sit still, I am so proud!

But, slowly, a sinking fear grips

my shrinking heart.

What about me?

He must not love me as much.

She turns back, not fearing fall,

extends her hand to pull me up

and out beside her.

You’re cray. He loves you, too.

I wouldn’t have had the courage

without you. I hug her tight.

We pull apart, walking

hand in hand to You,

our Father’s roomy embrace.