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Sunday, 29 November 2020

Graveside


 

Another trip around the sun,
Another November nearly through -
And I'm standing at my graveside,
Soil in hand,
Staring at the depths
and thinking
R.I.P.

R.I.P the me
Who would have been loved at 23,
R.I.P. the me
Who by now would be a mother of three,
R.I.P the me
Who'd have known community,
Thrived as a missionary,
Been healthy, been happy, been holy-
Who'd have been done with therapy.

I know a man who said that
to really live you need to really die,
That if you want to truly flourish,
It starts with the death of I.

That's why I'm standing at my graveside
Weeping "R.I.P, me"-
Because that man died at thirty three-
Ashes to ashes,
dust to dust, 
R.I.P. 
A seed that had to perish
in the dark,
before it bloomed to glory.

So, another trip around the sun,
Another familiar chill,
And I am standing at my graveside,
Soil in hand,
But saying "R.I.P me",
And trying to believe.

I'm trying to believe
That growth can come from the barren, frosty earth,
That death and death and death
will eventually give way to birth.

So much of me has died here
Year on year on year,
Of dreams and dread and dread and death,
Of dreams, then dread, then death.
Winter has followed winter,
Who would dare to hope for spring?

Yet I'm standing at my graveside.
The last of the leaves
are swept away by the bitter, icy breeze,
But I'm still trying to believe,
Even as I grieve,
That one day, "R.I.P me"
might become a song of resurrection,
A song of victory.


Sunday, 27 September 2020

Disappointed Woman


I wrote this poem in response to our sermon this morning, on Matthew 9:18-26. People often talk like it wasn't a big thing for the woman to reach out to Jesus, but if you've ever seen your hopes shattered, you'll know differently. 

If she trusted you with her hope-
if,
though she had reached out,
so many times,
fragile heart in trembling hands,
and if,
though she had seen gleaming hope slip through fingers
and shatter into sharp fragments that scattered
so that what remained of light,
tumbled from sight, 

If she,
dreams in tatters,
unravelled, worn,
torn to shreds,
to a life of dread
If she,
who had reached out,
so many weary times before—
in to her purse,
towards hands that promised help but made it worse,
to Yahweh, for rescue from her curse,
only to watch her hope slip, crack, clatter, 
fracture beyond recognition. 
If she,
who’d gone on reaching out,
year on year on desperate year, 
still in pain,
still in lonely, scarlet shame-
with arms grown weak from the reaching, 

If she could gather up all those rusted shards
that had been trodden to dust
time and time and
time again,
If she, with whatever sliver was left of the preciousness of it,
Though fearful,
Though quiet, 
Though utterly spent, 
Though she could not have borne to watch it fail
for what would have been the hundred, thousandth time,
could reach out, 
to You,
and trust You with her hope,
maybe,
just maybe,
I could trust You with mine. 


Monday, 31 August 2020

No Tear Unnoticed



Revelation 7v17

♡ "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." ♡

There is a tearless morning coming! What I love about this verse is a) the promise of comfort b) that no tear will be rendered insignificant or irrelevant- every tear will be noticed; every tear will be wiped away; every cause we have had for sadness will be acknowledged and healed c) the fact that comfort will come through intimacy and relationship- God himself will do it: in tenderness, in mercy and in love.

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Unforsaken


Hebrews 13v5

♡ "Be content with what you have, for he has said, 'never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.'"♡

Depression often feels like being forsaken, so this promise is so beautiful. This is the wonder of God's generosity and grace: he doesn't promise to send help from afar, or to chuck a few blessings to me down in the pit... nope, he has joined me in the pit- this pit, and countless others, and has committed himself to my good right here where it's messy. My mind may forsake me, my friends may forsake me, my health may forsake me... but Jesus never will.

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Complete


Colossians 2v10

♡ "And you have been made complete in Christ." ♡

This verse has been such a joyful reminder to me at times where I have felt in some way lacking whether because of my health, my character, my appearance, my CV etc etc but because of culture both in & outside the church, it can feel especially hard to believe I am whole because I am single. But, despite the fact that the founder of our faith was overflowingly full, genuinely ebullient and single until he died, this verse is also such a wonderful reminder that are made complete, already. Wherever we most keenly feel our emptiness, this verse speaks of a joyful reality: Jesus makes us whole! We don't need to seek completion anywhere but in Him and in Him we have already received FULLNESS. Believing this is a joyful act of defiance in the face of any lies to the contrary, however powerful they can sometimes be!

Friday, 28 August 2020

Infinite Value


Philippians 3v8

♡ "Everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord." ♡

I think depression has given me ways to know Jesus that I wouldn't have known without it- I've known the mightiness of his power to remove guilt and shame, I've known the tenderness of his kindness, the depths to which he is willing to stoop, I've known the preciousness of the cross in ways that may have otherwise passed me by, I've felt the weight of despair that exists without the empty tomb. Depression has at times shut out all the hope, light and love in my life... except for Jesus. Jesus became my hope. Jesus became my light. Jesus became my love. Would I choose a depression-free life if it meant I would not know him so well? Probably not- because an easier life is worthless compared with the infinite value of knowing Him.

Thursday, 27 August 2020

What Depression Isn't Stronger Than



Philippians 2v9-11

♡" God exalted Jesus to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at his name every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."♡

The implications for this verse are so far reaching there is nothing so far they do not reach... but as these posts are focussed on mental health... here is one implication: sometimes depression is stronger than me. Sometimes it's like 10 to 10 billion times stronger than me. But you know what it isn't stronger than? Jesus. Same goes for E V E R Y T H I N G else. That's what "name above every name means", and it's such a rock solid reason for hope!
 
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