Wednesday, January 27, 2010

paint me a song.
a dozen crayons and
a sky to color.
the choir takes shape.
music lifts us above
the armies of darkness.
the ice of our hardened
hearts begins to melt.

melts our rage and compromise
and all the holes we can't
seem to crawl out of. don't
even know how we fell in.
despair, addictions. crippling

"there is no testimony
without a test." james 1

we had a ladies' function
at church on a saturday
morning. for me, every
new neighbor opens the door to
a bag of pastries in my arms.
i help in anyway i can.
but i just didn't remember to
invite the single mom
above me -

my friend, judy, had a neighbor
coming. changing her world.
it stopped me in my tracks.
what about the single mom

i was SCARED! yes!
i was. i can, and do, talk to
anyone about Jesus, but it was
8 p.m. the night before.

run, ann, before fear catches
you. let redemption have a chance.
to sing its song, and dance the rhythm
of love.

mary was dressing for a date.
not this time. downhearted?
NO!! i had done my part, and will
continue building bridges instead
of walls to her.

do you have days
when you feel you don't count?
where is life taking you? does
God REALLY care?!
really have a plan for YOU?

i'm coloring the sky
black. i don't like how
i'm feeling. oh, i want to
be PURE for Jesus. but
the angels are gone.
the music flat.
the air heavy.
how can Jesus use such
a flawed human like me?

i got the helmut.
grabbed the shield.
strapped on the breast-
plate of righteousness.

okay, warriors.
we are in battle.
i have your back.
hope you have mine.
i ran 12 miles for you
today. stay tough.
we will not be deterred
from loving the world to
Jesus. glorious Savior

i hear a thread of music.
the sky begins to warm.
the angels are tuning voices
for the next song.

never ever ever give up.
victory is ours.
hallelujah. hallelujah.

all images used by permission
copyright 2009 judy silverstein

Monday, January 18, 2010

catch a star.
dream a BIG dream.
toss a dozen colors
across the sky.

and know that the world
has a Savior.
and every helium-filled balloon we blow into the air
is a promise of His love and
unfailing compassion to us.
mortals. flawed. full of character
defects. remember, He uses the
poor...or...the strong (if they have
first been crushed) in spite of the
enemy's wildest attempts to shrivel
our confidence.

my sister tormented me
growing up. chiding me.
unmercifully. for talking too
much. i cried myself to sleep
in my pillow every time.

today, my best friend here,
is more patient. kinder. but
she tells me i need to listen more
and talk less. i finally get it.

i sternly promise myself
going to the beauty shop that i will
be QUIET!! but a woman is sitting while
the dye is processing , and we start
talking about our children. that everyone
usually has one problem child in the batch.
one who can't grasp HOW brilliant and skilled
they are, and get stuck.

our flawless (yes! walking perfection) hair
dresser has two, little ones with a third on
the way. that had to be scary.

another flaw of mine
is failing to be right on time
to events. maybe ten minutes when
i slide in, hoping no one will see me.

the enemy does his dance.
laughs his hollow, cock-eyed laugh
that forms shivers into the very marrow
of our inner strength.

he exaggerates EVERY failure.
he paints shame into the very marrow
of our self-respect. makes us feel
stupid and hopeless and despicable.

i keep pounding the chisel
into my spirit. stubborn with
will power. and EVERY day
i mess up.

throw the rocks out.
the lies and accusations.
dance on the stones.
build altars of humility
with them.

yes, dance the dance.
sing the songs of God's love
that leads us out of our despair
and utter discouragement.
remember, the enemy's best
skill is to tell us lies. to separate
and divide us.

the music rings.
the balloons are scaling
the atmosphere. and
victory is our song and hope.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

there is a road.
long and twisting.
narrow. bumpy.
rocks and pot holes and mud.
THE road.

every other road in view
is freshly paved.
streamlined. with the diamond
lane for two or more in the car.
flowers planted. piped music
promising the beautiful life
as you travel.

"i will not leave you or forsake you."
joshua 1:5

through wildernesss and
storm and desert and deep, cold waters.
but a PROMISE of shimmering light
if we are on the right road.

a new year.
i pull on my boots.
stick the badge of courage
on my chest. marching.
back straight. head settled
high on my shoulders.
fearless. big times coming
our way.

the world assures us
of this if we choose
their road.

my heart shivers.
having lived long enough
to know i am ALWAYS
seconds away from my
next humiliation. that in a
split moment, tragedy
can strike.

a day doesn't go by that
i don't sin. a prideful thought.
a missed cue to touch
someone. being out of sync
with God. a seed of bitterness
working to burn itself into me.

and then that gift called "faith".
in all my years, God has NEVER,
EVER failed me. but over and over,
i find myself terrified over the bills
or one of my children.
the badge of courage being
chewed away by doubt.

my married son and wife,
and his three brothers, plus
a girlfriend came home for Christmas.
bodies everywhere. i was on the
couch. mercy, mercy. i LOVE my sons.
what will 2010 bring to them?
i knew so little in my early 20's.

did i grow in 2009?
did pain teach me?
will my children
choose the hard road?
God's path with hidden purposes?
will my faith ever be perfected?

grab my hand.
let's face the future
Jesus, our Master.
forever with us.

boots buckled on.
when you start to fall,
i'll grab you. when i weep,
join me. if i hurt someone,
oh, may i be forgiven and learn
from it.

the fireworks are over.
balloons popped.
the sun rises over a
forboding, but promising sky.
i lie,
face down.
humbled and silent.
yearning for purity before
my Lord.

keep your boots buckled,
and be sure you are on the
RIGHT road.