Life is weird these days. Between a pandemic, multiple hurricanes, school, work, and the south Louisiana heat and humidity, there’s a lot going on. There’s always another responsibility, another danger, another factor to consider as I go throughout the day.
When life is busy, I tend to look for things to cut out. Some decisions are easy. Netflix and Xbox both take a backseat to homework or Bible study. Other decisions are more difficult, however. When is it wise to skip a workout? When should I stay up a bit later or wake up a bit earlier to get my work done? When is it best to take a break from the blog?
While I typically take some time off each year from posting new content to the blog, I try to maintain consistency in my schedule here whenever possible. Even if I don’t get the time I’d like to write and edit, to reread and refine a piece, I try to post consistently, and I wanted to share some of the reasons why today.
I write as an act of self-discipline. Writing helps me think. The act of writing words on paper or of typing words into a word document provides the opportunity to organize my thoughts. Writing serves to clarify ideas and to reveal truth. And while I receive these benefits when I write in my journal, I find that writing for the blog is different. Here, I’m trying to take an idea and trace it out to application, drawing lines from theory to practice. Knowing others will read these words adds a level of accountability I don’t always have in my journal. While I may be more vulnerable there, I feel more responsible here. I see consistency as part of that responsibility, as an aspect of that accountability to the reader.
I write as an act of self-expression. Much of what I write stems from the lessons I’m learning, from the emotions I’m feeling, from the joys and sorrows I’m experiencing. I’ve often thought that you can probably tell what I’m going through by looking closely at what I’m writing in a given season. I try to be vulnerable in my writing, sharing my fears and my hurts through poetry and prose. I don’t give you everything. My journals and notebooks contain more specific reflections and poems. You likely won’t see those. But I want to share, at least in some measure, the work I do, partly because I want you to see me and know me. But I also want to share because I’ve seen God use the things I write to serve others, and I want to be faithful to that form of ministry, which leads me to my third reason for writing.
I write in the hope that you’ll benefit from these words. While I want you to see me and know me, I don’t write simply because I want sympathy (though sometimes I do desire that). Rather, I write in the hope that you’ll see yourself in the words, that perhaps I can articulate on your behalf something hitherto unspoken or unexpressed. The writers who have moved me the most are those who gave voice to my soul when I felt lost and alone. I seem to remember Andrew Peterson getting at this idea in his book Adorning the Dark, and I’ve found the point rings true. As I’ve found myself in his writings and in the writings of others, I’ve been greatly helped, encouraged and challenged to press on through difficulties and to wait and hope in the goodness of God. I pray that my writings might be so used in your life and in the lives of others who happen across my words.
I don’t claim brilliance. I don’t seek fame. I know my faults. But I desire faithfulness and pursue it, often falteringly. And so I write. I write in the hope that I’ll understand a bit better after the writing. I write in the hope that you’ll see and know me a bit better after the reading. I write in the hope that you’ll see yourself in the words and will be moved to know and love God a bit better in the process. And I pray the Lord is pleased in it all.
The poets worshiped you through verse and rhyme, Turned their imaginations to the task Of translating eternity to time That image bearers might be brought to bask In light refracted through a humble lens, Refracted so to share a diff’rent view Of beauty. Souls in wonder took up pens And wrote to cultivate their love of you. One wonders if the words will ever cease, If all might soon be said, each rhyme fulfilled. But throes of life persist, and words bring peace, So movement of the quills will not be stilled. Rise up, you poets, scribes of humble soul, To teach and train us better to extol.
In honor of National Poetry Month, I wanted to highlight a few of the poets and poems that have influenced my own writing. I recognize that my voice, in large part, has been trained by the voices of others, and I give my highest recommendations to their art. May they inspire you as they have inspired me. Continue reading →
The gospel is the poetry of truth,
For in it love and beauty condescend
From heav’n above to take the form of youth:
A righteous life to cover those who sinned.
Redemption’s plan was fixed before the fall.
The father, through his prophets, has foretold
The coming of the king who sounds the call
To all who under sin and death are sold.
Twas at the proper time and proper place
The son himself engaged man’s greatest foe,
And by his death the dead were made alive.
Alive again, the word of love and grace
Inaugurates his kingdom here below,
And all who know him evermore shall thrive.
I studied English at NSU, minoring in communications. That means that I, in theory, can speak English better after those four years. The jury’s still out on whether or not that’s the case.
In reality, that means that I spent a lot of time reading and writing. A focus on literature helped me narrow the scope of my studies to fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and even some film along the way. One class in particular impacted me more than most: creative writing.
Layers upon layers of
Links to pages where eyes shouldn’t look,
Every one doubling as
Pieces of a chain with an eternal hook.
Line after line of text,
Every word weighted with wrath
Floating like feathers,
Fixing themselves in the mind like
Phantoms: Thoughts that haunt
And never seem to die.
Unwanted glimpses of
Skin not yours to touch,
Lips not yours to taste,
Rights not yours to take.
Unwelcome houseguest, unsought snake,
Sneaking around so silently
At times you
Might believe yourself to be free,
Might forget the enemy,
Right in the wrong place,
Left unguarded against the trap.
Temptation’s plague upon the mind,
Meant to mar souls, to murder men and women.
Masked and manic.
How many more must you take?
Truth is a subject often in dispute
When two interpretations disagree.
Two brothers – neither list’ning – turn to shoot
The other dead rather than bend the knee.
Assuming that there is no middle ground,
No chance that God is wiser than their minds,
They trip and trap and trigger all around
The body harsh divisions of all kinds.
And as the fights erupt, the mission fades
And is forgotten ‘neath the cries of war.
The rescue ships no longer act as aids;
They leave the dying stranded on the shore.
True doctrine does deserve our strong defense.
Contentions of convictions? Recompense.
I long for you to fin’lly see
The stains of this iniquity,
To recognize the travesty,
To turn to Christ our hope and plea.
I pray for you to one day be
Reborn a child of royalty
So that you would be ever free
From sin’s eternal poverty.
The curse’s pow’r no more remains;
Christ’s blood has cleansed the deepest stains.
He condescended to our pains,
Ascended, now forever reigns.
So you need not inhabit holes
Hewn by the hands of hostage souls.
Now turn your gaze to higher goals
As all creation now extols
The one who gave the beggar sight,
Forgave the wrong and showed the right,
Took up the sword and won the fight,
The incarnation of the light.
I wonder whether I am growing here,
Or whether I am day by day the same.
I bow before his Spirit showing fear
While sin is showing me the way to shame.
Surrendering to sanctifying love,
I seek to know you by your book of truth.
Appearing as a heart defying dove,
You help my heart ‘scape ev’ry hook of youth.
Yet still I wonder, God of glory bright,
How can I know that you are here to stay
When messages of gospel music fight
To work their way in to my ear of clay?
Might I gain access to your kingdom then?
To find the ev’dence, I must look within.