Friday, December 24, 2010

it is almost Christmas eve.
please forgive me for not communicating
with you, my fellow warriors and friends,
since right before Thanksgiving.
my first grandbaby, Colben William Anderson,
was born on Thanksgiving day. NOW, i know,
what one feels when your children have a baby.
something so beautiful and pure levels
life out in some miraculous way. all of other
sons and jasmine's brother and mother and i were
all with her through labor and delivery. yes, through
the entire process, we stood and watched this
unforgettable event.

this is such a difficult time for so many.
i have felt so deep under the waters of struggle
and concern that it has made me, literally, put
one foot in front of the other. telling myself,
"just keep moving." pain squeezes our ability
to remember what we have. we are so consumed
by what we don't have. none the less, pain becomes
a gift. it is by gulping a breath of air in the dark waters
of the soul that we realize joy when it does happen.

my book proposal has been sent to all
main publishers. several wanted to negotiate
immediately IF i would just write like the rest of
the world. with full punctuation. conforming with
all the other books in the store. as desperate
as i am for income, i just can't, overnight, decide
to do this. so i wait. wondering how God is
going to accomplish this process. i am so fiercely
open and vulnerable and unveiling that i just
can't decide this overnight. please pray re: this.

wherever you are, today, remember that there
are masses around you that are fragile and devastated
and almost paralyzed by the economy. or with
lost and prodigal children. no income to buy those
they love gifts. shaken by those that won't forgive
or need forgiveness.

this has been the most difficult time for me.
so i am especially touched by those who walk
by. moved by the pain i see etched behind their
half smiles.

Jesus says, "fear not!"
He reminds us that His arm is NEVER too
short to help us. His mercies endure forever.

please forgive this rough blog. from my
heart to this page. no matter HOW hard i've
tried to put together something beautiful for
everyone to read, i have felt too broken myself
to process it all. i love you all. we ARE warriors.
we will NEVER give up. for the King of Glory
will come in.

a beautiful, miraculous Christmas to you all.
i gave a beautiful, little, crippled mexican woman
my dryer.

"i pay you $50. that enough, missus."

"you don't need to right now."

"no, i pay you missus."

her nephews came in and carried
it out to her little red truck.

as she hobbled to hand me the cash,
her face shining, i said,
"elaudia, i won't take your money."

"yes, missus..."

"no, merry Christmas. remember Jesus
really loves you." and i hugged and kissed her.

i had $25 in my account. no idea HOW i was even
going to feed all my children coming home. stark terror.
i was reading in my room when i heard my cell phone,
and knew i had a message.

"ann, i just put $600 in your acct...for Christmas
or rent or whatever you need." mark and julie

$50 given away. $600 given back from God.
without me telling anyone of my seeming devastation.
so GIVE everyone. in whatever way you can. God
will NEVER let you outgive Him. i love you, ann.

Friday, November 19, 2010

forgive my whining and groaning
about the dmv, and flunking the tests.
oh, please forgive. today, i walked in,
went straight to the counter, no studying.
and passed. hands down.

forgive someone you know you have
a grudge against. make the real power
of the glorious Cross worth what Jesus did.

forgive your children. human and struggling
and losing their ways and trying to find themselves
maybe in all the wrong ways. without forgiving, you
cannot genuinely listen and love and be creative
in how you express their beauty and value to you.

forgive yourselves.
i am ruthless with myself.
my failures and flaws are lined up,
side by side, stamped on the walls
of my closest and hidden places of
my heart.

a dear friend
told me the other night that
she covers for me when certain
people at the church are always
critical and judgemental of me.

why tell me that?
now i know i have all these people
who have negative opinions about me.
i slip into the service.
sit wherever there is a chair.
smile and greet a few people as i leave,
i have a few great friends there, but not
alot. why do people have negative opinions
of me? i don't vie for attention. make a scene.
it's so hard to have perspective with this.

i love that old song that pleads for sinners.
"just as i am,
without one plea...
but that thy Blood was shed for me...
oh, Lamb of God, i come. i come.

just as i am,
and waiting not
to rid my soul of one dark Thee
whose Blood can cleanse each spot...
oh, Lamb of God, i come."

when things get muddy
in our brains, and some things
run together and scramble our
perspective, know that deliverance
most often comes through forgiveness.

drawing so much strength from all
of you who love me and send me beautiful, ann

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

today i went to the dmv.
you know. a BIG room filled
with dozens and dozens of people.
long lines. hard, plastic chairs.
numbers being called. over and over
and over.

looking at my driver's license,

ann, your license is
expired. did you know?

usually, the dmv notifies
people a couple months ahead,
and you respond, and they mail
you a new license. same picture.
the man sitting next to me today,
at the dmv for a different reason,
showed me his driver's license.
now, partly bald and gray...with
his picture from twenty years ago.

i was only told today that i would
need a new picture. as soon as
they snapped it, and i paid my
$31, they handed me a written
test, and told me to go to a cubicle
and take it.

a CALIFORNIA driver's test?!!!
before i moved to california, i never
got anything but a perfect 100% on
my dmv tests. but...
here, they have seven different tests.
and if you miss more than three on one,
they give you a different sheet...clear
down to number seven.

i'm insecure about ALOT of things,
but not my intelligence. no! i'm NOT
brilliant, but can usually hold my own.

without a chance to even look
at a book, and study alittle, i was
handed a pencil and pushed away.
it didn't seem that hard, but all those
questions, and only three misses
allowed. and slipped inbetween the
easier ones, were these sneaky,
insignificant, benign and ambiquous
questions that had at least two choices
that seemed viable.

well, i flunked.
five wrong.
and i was not about
to go home and come another

taking the paper book, i sat down
on the only chair in the entire room,
by a cubicle, and was madly combing
through the pages. making everything...
every little detail...stick. when,
suddenly, a loud voice said,


i looked up.

yes, YOU! what are you doing
sitting in the testing area with the
study guide?

well, there were no other chairs, and
i was waiting for my number to be called,
and cramming for the test....

go to the over side!
did you hear me?
away from the testing area.

tears in my eyes.
do you have to scream at me?
i looked around, and EVERYONE
in the entire room was looking at me.

you are embarassing me.

and suddenly, my number was
called again. almost NO time, again,
to gather my thoughts.

in the end,
i failed all three times.
by one extra mistake.
i have to return, pay again,
and face my shame and terror.

and i plan to return TOMORROW.
after the gym tonight, i will study
that little book until i know it all.
and with great intrepidation, i am
praying that Jesus helps me.

"Jesus loves me,
this I know...
for the Bible tells me so.
little ones to Him belong.
they are weak, but He is strong..."

wherever you are today,
know that you are loved.
that we all fail. are all broken.
sometimes can graduate with honors
from a great university, and still
flunk drivers' tests. i love you. ann

proverbs 3:5-6

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"my friend helped me FIND the lost blog..."

dear warriors,
my new blog vanished
from the screen of my computer.
in a second, gone. thrown out
by the complication of computers
that i am truly, mentally-challenged
by. my dear friend, debbie shea, will
try to find it. any one of my sons could
help me in a second. but every one of
my four sons is either doing papers for
classes or sleeping or driving to a

so, i sit here at my computer,
lost and dismayed and sad.
take Jesus with you today.
remember to forgive. as i strive
to do the same. because forgiveness
is the essence of the Cross. there is
NO hope for any of us if we choose to
judge and hold onto our wounds.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

the last gun firing.
the air clean and clear.
peace from years of enduring
and surviving and falling into
holes and being delivered.
pulled out and standing on
firm ground.

that is how i feel today.
my chapters of the new book
are done. no one can imagine
how unveiling and revealing i was
about the last 14 years of wilderness
and sorrow and struggle and survival.

laying out.
piece by piece.
my failures. the story of
my bereft marriage, and how
Jesus led us to deliverance.
of my four beautiful sons.
of their bold courage for me
to tell of their adolescence
and our survival. single
parenting. a path no one
could truly understand unless
one has walked this journey, too.

i have begun to really understand
the Race. what it means to be a
soldier. a warrior. all for Jesus.
to lose and gain. to run and stumble.
to fall and be picked up. to forgive.
and be forgiven. to hold on to and
to let go. to swim and almost
drown. to grab ahold of an unseen
Hand and be rescued. to dare to
believe. REALLY trust. when
there is no money for rent. from
wealth to poverty. to not forget
those around us. never. on the
darkest day, to reach beyond.
all the pain. the self-absorption.

to run with your children. to hang
on to their shirts. to pray rather than
scream. yell. stomp around in fear.
to love them completely. their youth
and insecurity. their lost places. the
journey. the stuff that has made us
more than family. more than soldiers.

we are WARRIORS.
five of us. always watching
each other's back. standing
together. through loss and confusion.
anger and frustration. dusting
ourselves off. back on course.
rage and sorrow. and deliverance.

to you.
my dearest comrades.
pray as the proposal of my
book goes to main publishers
via my agent. please understand.
i will not give my story away easily.
when you have fought and won.
when the darkest sky is being lit
by a shred of sun. and our wounds
are laid on the ground. for all to see.
and my children and i stand.
faces clean and radiant. God's
vast power over darkness. and
we have learned to stare fear and
terror in the face. because of our

living costs a price. for
all of you. and me and mine.
pray for this story. yours
and mine. and for God's
glorious Redemption.

romans 8:28

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"trust in the Lord with ALL
your heart: do not depend on
your own understanding.
seek His will in all you do, and
He will direct your path."
proverbs 3:5-6 new living translation.

oh, Jesus, sing.
i need to hear the music.
of all the millions who have gone
before me. who have embraced
Your heart. and seen You in all Your

Jesus, sing your songs
of deliverance. pound out
the keys of victory and triumph.
always room for one more. always
room at the foot of the Cross.

i am a woman.
a single mother of four.
a recovering addict of pain
pills and addiction. broken
and twisted by my own insecuri-
ties. my willful bent toward perfection.
sing to me, Jesus. sing.

"oh, cleansing Stream...
i see, i see, i plunge, and
oh, It cleanses me."
i dive into the warmth of Your
Presence. yearn to be pure.
yes, Jesus, pure.

we are warriors.
dishelvelled by insecurity
and human rebellion.
but i march.
one. two. three.
blistered by boots that rub
against my bruised ankles of
self and pity.

yes, i am a sinner. saved by Grace.
the pulsing heart of Jesus. stretched
across the rugged Cross. Your torture
for our sins. oh, beautiful, amazing
Cross. arise, you who doubt.

yes, Jesus, sing for us.
we are listening for the
strains from Heaven. music
of victory over defeat.
yes, Jesus, sing.

Monday, July 12, 2010

quiet. hush.
another warrior..
soldier of the Cross..
has just stepped over
into Heaven.

another nail of victory
has been pounded into the
rough-hewn Cross of our
faithful to the end.
endured the shame.
walked the walk. unwavering.

monica went to bed, and
awakened in Heaven.
no more weight struggles.
no more program.
no more diets.
no more brokenness
and concern
over her children.
no more fears over her
money situation. free and
delivered and victorious and
stamped with the Blood of
Christ. in Heaven forever and ever
and ever and ever. completely

hush. quiet.
do you hear the angels'
choir? the roar of melody
across the Heavens for another
child who has defeated death and

i'll miss you, monica.
i've always loved you.
welcome Home, faithful

fellow soldiers.
march. stamp your
boots to the sound of
our glorious Savior Who
will someday bring us Home,
too. stand tall. grab my
hand. know my love for you.
i am weak and broken and
utterly imperfect, too.

"Savior, like a Shepherd lead
us..." sing with me. hear
the breath of God as He hovers
over us. "much we need Thy
tender care"...yes, Jesus, yes.
we need You. yearn for You.
our boots are muddied. our souls
tarnished with self and indecision
and fear.

"precious Jesus, precious Jesus...
Thou has bought us, Thine we are.."
yes. Lord.
THINE! all Thine.
amen. amen.

hush, quiet.
listen to the soothing
music of the angels' choir
as they shepherd us for
Heaven. like they did for

Friday, July 2, 2010

rest. warriors. rest.
listen. hear the crushing music.
feel the earth shift as broken sons and
daughters, empty and now, triumphant, rise
from the ashes of deep affliction and
searing pain. see the victorious and
cleansed as they rise out of the

listen. quiet.
a new song. radiating from
hallowed corners of a reckless, and
calloused world. choirs. with raised
hands to the Savior of the universe. the
only One who understands the correct chords
and rhythmic chanting of the lost and
struggling and redeemed.

paint across the sunrise your
deliverance from the cold wilderness
and deep waters from which you've come.
trace the arc of a rainbow. the promise of
beautiful, happy tomorrows.

sitting by my sister's bedside.
a hospital in berkeley, ca.
chemo and a stem-cell transplant
accomplished. courage oozing
out her fingertips. her eyes. running
down her cheeks. wet with triumph
in spite
of illness that has taken her to death's door.
suddenly, her white cells rising.
a miracle. dreams really can live.
thank you all for praying. for standing
by us. sharing in the victory.

i left jan's side
to fly to irvine, ca. to keynote the
international convention for exodus.
gays and ex-gays reaching for peace
of mind and spirit in a brutal environment
of judgement and condemnation. trying
to do God's will. to understand truth.

for me, attempting to share
pure, untarnished love that promises
healing for any and everyone's
woundedness; kissing the deep scars of
shattering isolation. embracing their pain
as they did mine.

i am not gay.
i only know that the complexities
in them match, on a different level, those
in me. i know what the Bible says. and
i filter that through the loving heart of God
who calls all of us to rest. to lying by still
waters. Jesus remembers we are made of
dust. He understands our frame.
(ps. 103:14)

home at last.
regrouping with my children.
heading for the gym, and a fast,
racing six miles. my eyes filling
with tears as the gal behind the check-in
desk crawled over the counter
close enough to hug and kiss me,
and i, her. two single mothers
collide with love and commonality.

i love you, fellow warriors.
run the Race.
breathe even
with the consolation
that you will never
be alone.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

it was thursday.
my oldest son, home
from college for the summer.

we headed for the gym.
all my children and i love
the deliverance that a good
workout brings. taylor to the
weight room. i, to the cardio

it was a day that put a fist
in my stomach. two miles,
and i headed toward the women's
locker area. 10p.m. barely making
it to the bathroom in time
to lose every piece of food in me.
hoping no one was there, too. listening
to my sickness.

stumbling to a sink.
cold water on my face.
when looking into the mirror,
i saw this beautiful, hispanic woman.
cleaning. a crease between her eyes.

you, okay?
her two english words.

i threw my arms around her neck.
buried my hot, wet face into her
shoulder. two women. miles and
miles apart; yet, at this exact moment,
we were bound by love. a force so powerful.
stretched across eternity by the God of
the universe.

pushing myself away from her.
what do i smell and look like?
her face warmed by kindness
and concern.

oh! love of God.
beautiful. amazing. enduring.
bound by pure, untarnished sacrifice.
the Cross. Redemption.

sing, Jesus, sing.
wipe away the darkness and
corruption. until our boundaries
are erased. and music resounds
to the breadth and magnitude of
God's passion.

i was done for the night.
sitting in the downstair's
area of the gym lobby.
beat. demolished. empty
of all pride. my feet no longer
resounding the torch of rhythm.

i see the same hispanic
woman. straightening chairs.
she looks up, and sees me.
her face breaks the universe
with love pulsing from her.

i return the smile. she,
motionless, and i.
miles and pain and
corruption all around us...
but cleansed.

two women.
apart. but bonded...with
powerful oneness. all because
of Jesus. His glory. His

"For I am convinced that neither
death nor life,
neither angels or demons,
neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers,
neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us
from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

~Romans 8:38-39

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

copyright Judy Silverstein 2009
used by permission

pain is a gift!
it hurts. it scrapes our
egos and hearts against rock-
hard boundaries. but...
it forces us to tilt our eyes away
from ourselves to others. and
ultimately, toward the face of

pain kneads in us a softening
of our rigidity. our criticisms.
our wilful bent to define our own
journey. leaving God on the sidelines.
believing ourselves far more adept
than He at putting the pieces together.

i have never marched in
the band of suffering with joy and
acceptance. in time, i start kicking and
screaming. i go from shock to an immed-
iate sense of rebellion and fear. believing
that God needs my help to peel away
this claustrophobic tightening of what i
want vs. His will of defined hardship.

i always think of brock, my second born.
standing in the door of the laundry room
where i was folding clean clothes. he had
just returned from kindergarten.

someone said something mean
to me today.

my face looked sad.
that must have really hurt
your feelings.

it did.

i folded this five year old
little wonder into my arms.

brock, life is sometimes mean
and hard, but Jesus always, in time,
fixes everything.

i am just now really coming out of
years in the wilderness. and silence.
always writing and speaking publicly
that darkness comes, BUT Jesus never
leaves us there forever. that we will always
laugh again. the sun will diffuse the
darkness. yet, this wilderness felt like

stop the pain.
turn off the sun, moon. the stars.
close all the stores. tell the policemen
to go home. paint the windows black.

again, i promise you that pain is
a gift. it purifies our souls. gives God
a chance to prove Himself: that love
ALWAYS wins. miracles ARE raised
out of ashes. we can really appreciate
the gifts He has saved for us only if we
have lived with pain.

take pain's hand.
make her your friend.
believe....always...that darkness
does NOT last forever.

as i read your loving comments
on facebook and my website, i
have tears. your love warms my
spirit where wounds once lived.

Jesus is my Song.
the ONLY One who can paint
beauty and purpose in our lives
if we embrace the pain, and wait
for Him to create the sunrise.

dance with me.
take my hand. i love you.
remember that God's
love binds us together.
and our acceptance of
suffering ultimately brings
God's brand new, fresh

"Dear friends, do not be surprised
at the painful trials you are suffering,
as though something strange is
happening to you.
But rejoice that you participate
in the sufferings of Christ,
so that you may be overjoyed
when His glory is revealed."

~ I Peter 4:12-13 (NIV)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Michelle Meiklejohn


when our babies are
laid in our arms, there is
nothing like it. so tiny. cooing.
the smell of burped milk .
gifts of God's, to us. we

paint our dresses yellow.
hang the flags on every post.
celebration begins!!

yet..her baby suddenly
gets more attention than ours.
or one gets the croup. nights of
walking the floor. exhaustion.

husbands and babies and the world
to impress and please and nurture.

our children go to kindergarten
and others hurt their feelings.

my oldest was in first grade.
a rainy day. i had my other three
in car seats in the back.

mommy, will you please walk me to class?

and another quiet

finally i took
his sweet, little hand and we
ducked the rain, and dashed into
school. i suddenly could see that
he had tears streaming down his cheeks.

i fell on the floor beside him.
i began to weep. i had not
imagined that this was such a painful
day for him. i wonder why, i thought.

and even as i type this,
my eyes are filled with tears.
every mother has some sad
memories. and somehow,
when it comes to our children,
those don't fit.

scratch them out.
wrap them in paper.
color them black, and
throw them into the river.

i wanted us to be HAPPY!
no troubles. no yelling. no spankings
by dad. warm cake at bedtime. adven-
tures. the bigger world where we all
stood on some higher level of peace
and wholeness than those around us
with all their problems.

along. the. road.
every mother hits the wall
of hardship and pain and worry
and imperfection and concern.

babies become toddlers, and
toddlers grow and end up in
junior high school where hormones
start going crazy. all kinds of
things can begin happening. at eighteen,
they are supposedly adults, and making
their own choices. and NONE of us
EVER always make the right and per-
fect decisions.

my children are my rising sun and setting
sky; my moon and stars and quiet, evening
breeze. my four sons are my everything.
and i believe every mother reading this feels
the same about her children.

but they aren't perfect. don't always make
right choices just as we didn''t and don't.
motherhood has thrown me on my face.
across the carpet of my bedroom floor, and
taught me to PRAY. a mother weeping over
her children.

i love the line,
forgiveness is an act of worship.

mostly forgiving ourselves.
forgiving all the tense moments
when we could have handled our
children better. forgiving all our imper-
fections when we started out sure we
would be perfect. forgiving our children
when they step into some deep hole,
and we don't know how to pull them out.

louie giglio was talking about how inconceiveably
BIG our God is. how He spoke the universe into
being and breathed stars out of His mouth that
are huge, raging balls of fire. our God who knitted
our human bodies together with amazing detail
and wonder. we can trust the God who has the
power to hold us all together when things seem
to be falling apart.

held together,
one cell to another,
by the Cross.

mothers are soldiers.
marching. marching.
always striving to live with
forgiveness as our act of worship.

i throw my arms around you.
i especially dedicate this column
to all the single moms who have
marched on turf most others cannot

marching as to war!
the enemy cannot have
us or our chilldren.
I corinthians 13

"Love never fails...
and now these three remain:
faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love."

~I Corinthians 13:8, 13

Monday, April 26, 2010

hans urs von balthasar:

"i say to you, blessed is he who
exposes himself to an existence never
brought under mastery.

who does not transcend, but rather
abandons himself to God's ever-transcending
grace. blessed are not the enlightened whose
every question has been answered and are de-
lighted with their own sublime insight.

blessed, rather, are the harassed who must
daily stand before enigmas and cannot
solve them. woe to the rich. although nothing
is impossible with God, it is difficult for the
Spirit to move their fat hearts.

the poor are willing and easy to direct.
they do not take their eyes off their
Master's hand to see if He may throw
them a morsel from His plate. so careful
do the poor follow His promptings.

God's grace is unpretentious, but
the poor are satisfied with little gifts."

i've been spending
much time among the poor
since will died. i love this
quote from someone i don't know:

we have walked together
in the shadow of a

it's been hard,
and i can tell you
only a few have stood by
my children and me.

those who have helped us
have taught me things i never
could have learned any other way.
i kiss every check. and my children
have learned to love giving because
we know the thrill of receiving.

wave your flags.
paint the sky red.
dance in the street.
grab a hand and squeeze it.
smile in every face God 's beautifully

Jesus makes a way.
did you hear me?
give, and you will receive.
God promises.

if you are afraid today.
cannot see any way through.
keep your eyes on the Master's hand.
and sing! yes, SING!''

music is bursting through every
fresh, new flower. listen. and
join the choir. and feel the warmth
of my hand in yours. you have written
love all over the walls of my life. oh,
how i love you all!

" Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives;
he who seeks finds;
and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which of you, if his son asks for bread,
will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish
will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your Father in heaven
give good gifts to those who ask Him!
So in everything, do to others
what you would have them do to you,
for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."

~Matthew 7:7-12 (NIV)

"Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your would will delight in the richest of fare."

~Isaiah 55:1-2 (NIV)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

i noticed the
mailman was by
the mail boxes.

are you almost done?

give me two minutes.

you have to be very smart
to be a civil servant. did you know

i hate this job.
do you know that 40% of all
these homes are receiving
unemployment checks? 40!!
i wish i was on the other side
of the world, playing golf.

that's why i believe in Jesus.
i hang on to Him in these
dark times. He's my only

no words in response
to what i said. just more
genuine grieving for the
suffering. tinged with rage.

here we are.
God's children.
suffering. striving. and
He is working to remind us
that without troubles, we would
forget the desperate need for Him.
His grace. His Presence.

a thread wrapped around our
hearts. pulling us toward
Himself. our dependance on Him.
strong arms long enough
and wide enough to hold
us all.

a ribbon of love
tied around our wrists.
drawing us in. the warmth
of God's broad shoulders and
steady beating of His heart that
stretches around the wide, blue

this next week,
my sister starts her "kamikaze"
chemo and stem cell procedure.
terrified. i, her partner. almost as
fearful as she.

my daughter-in-law
who miscarried her first
baby, and is put on bed rest
with this second one. weak
heart beat.

your wounds?
terrors? battles?

march on, soldiers.
march on. shout the
victory call. join with
each other. a united
choir. bind the forces
of the enemy in Jesus'
Name. stare into the dark
abyss of chaos and despair.
fighting. fearless. daring.

i can hear the music.
the clap of thunderous joy.
higher ground.
out of the mist. the chill.
my hand in yours. yours in
mine. pass the cup of love.
victory reigns. stand steady.
alleluhia. allelluhia.

"Who shall separate us from
the love of Christ?
Shall trouble or hardship
or persecution or famine
or nakedness or danger or sword?
As it is written:
'For your sake we face death
all day long; we are considered
sheep to be slaughtered.'
No, in all these things
we are more than conquerors
through Him who loved us.
For I am convinced that
neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers,
neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us
from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
~ Romans 8:35-39

Saturday, April 3, 2010

i have been to
two funerals in
three weeks.

all young men.

one mother,
gently putting her
fingers on her son's head,
humbly saying...

Your will be done.

.and their "babies".

watch the butterflies.
paint stars on your children's
foreheads. laugh loud. trace
the shimmering breeze
as it blows through
your hair.


there are sorrows
that will shake our joy
and spew pain into the
dust. grinding it into the
mud of ugly hopelessness.

look at the beauty
of the small, giggling
child. tickle. hug often.
jump rope and feel the world's
music in all the trees.

oh, this glorious God.
He plants rich soil with
giant flowers pushing through
the sod.

He promises joy
to come
in the seemingling hopelessness
of searing pain and loss.

when we believe we'll never
laugh again, God promises
we will. the sun ALWAYS
rises again.

life is a journey.
on the screen.
periods of loss and
joy and hurt and celebration.

life is NOT a constant
dance routine. it is hard-nosed,
and the vigilance of the enemy
can make us feel like a
desert. scorned. perishing.

long ago,
on a dark, cold night,
a Baby was born. different
from all others. grew to be a
man. and LOVE was His alliance.

scorned way beyond our what we
will ever endure or grasp. what a
Man. a glorious life doing the work
of His Father.

out of hate,
a cross was hewn.
and Jesus nailed to it.
stripped. whipped. until he

this was all about our Lord.
broken for us. bruised. and three
days later, He arose, and EVERYTHING
was done to redeem us of our fragility and pain.


do you know how sweet
freedom is? we're all
broken. all sinners.
pass the Cup. drink.
let holiness be our song.

Monday, March 15, 2010

a tear slid down my cheek.
one isolated sign that
something was broken in me.
a wound. a gnawing
pull against my heart.

someone said i was self-absorbed.
and wrapped up in stretching
my own victories for all to see.

what do we do
when someone hurts us?
when we believe it's unfair?

i have learned that there is ALWAYS
a pocket of truth in EVERYTHING
someone says to me. to
take heed. evaluate.
ask God to reveal it to us.

people were crushing me
against a book table following
an appearance. books thrust
in my face to be autograghed.
for a few moments,
it was scary. no air.

trying to catch my breath. men
were pushing the crowd back
when a young man yelled...

you are a complete phony.
i do not believe one thing you
said on stage tonight.
it was hollow and empty.

there was an audible gasp.
in the massive crowd..
around me. shock.

i stopped.
looked at all the faces.
it was that guy to the side.
i just knew it.

he slipped away.
it was a reminder that
i am flawed. that a meek
spirit is what matters. to
keep my eyes..on

keep running the Race.
take the blows.
understand it is a part
of the battle between good
and evil.

darts and arrows puncture
us. but Jesus interrupts to
protect us. He is the Victor.
and we are His. Truth prevails.

photo used by permission copyright Judy Silverstein 2009
scripture reference taken from NIV version

Monday, March 8, 2010

i have a dear friend.
beautiful. unpretentious.
pure. and all God's.

a storm blasted her family
last week. the world lay flat.
the sky reached down and slashed
the earth. side to side.

my friend's brother.
tall. chiseled features.
brilliant, in spite of learning
disabilities. senior pastor
of a large church.

from the blast of depression.
in a moment and time when it
seemed so reasonable to him,
he took his life.

howl and blow around us.
stand fast. hold on.

yes, i believe he's with Jesus.
"He understands our frame;
He knows we are dust."
Psalm 103:14

"i'll praise you in this storm.
and i will lift my hands, for You are
who You are. no matter where i am,
every tear i've cried, you hold in your hand.
You never left my side,
and though my heart is torn,
i will praise You in this storm."

"as the thunder rolls,
i barely hear Your whisper through the rain,
i'm with you. and as You mercy falls,
i raise my hands and praise the God who gives
and takes away."

i will lift my eyes unto the hills,
where does my help come?
my help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of Heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1,2

we wear the scars.
even if it just keeps raining.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

behind every face,
there is a story.
no, many stories.

we do not know
where on the journey
of life, people are.

i was casually browsing
through nordstrom's.
san francisco. with a
special friend. wanting to
look at the costume jewelry.
just for fun.

there was a pair of earrings
similar to ones that someone
gave me and got ruined. on sale
clear down to $14. my face warmed.
$14?! i could manage $14.

a perky, young girl.
maybe in her 20's.
excuse me. is this price correct?

let me ask my manager.
returning, she said you have
even a better deal. the price has
been dropped to $9. usually, we
never sell anything this reduced in
price, but the manager said you can
have them. $9.

my eyes were large.
heart beating.

i don't know if you are a
spiritual person, but i know God
brought me straight to you. you
were the sales girl that approached

her visual look turned cold.
only her eyes betrayed her.
i was not deterred.

God didn't send me to you to
tell you to change. to shape
you up. chastise you. almost
whispering, i said, oh, no!

Jesus wants me to tell you
that He loves you and REALLY
cares. i don't know what is
happening in your private life,
but Jesus sent me to say it
will be alright. He is working
on it.

tears began to gather
in the corners of her eyes.
her face softened.

an ordinary day.
a sales' clerk at nordstrom's.
a giant God of the entire universe.
His vast love and compassion.

don't preach.
give people hope.
touch them where they
are. plant a seed of love
where it can sprout. let the
world know they REALLY
matter to God. somehow,
bring Jesus to their level.
it is ALL about love.

it is just a warm smile.
telling someone they are
beautiful. a hug. people
are starved for connection,

fragile wonder.
vast open sky.
breeze on our skin.
glorious world.
amazing, glorious God.
a song across the meadows.

Jesus lives,
and that is EVERYTHING.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

as tall and proud
as a towering palm tree.
stretching toward the sky.

as majestic as a mountain
standing against all obstacles
in its praise to a creative God.
not even man can call to it. it will
not shiver or blur in magnificance.

the sun that slides so quickly.
below the curve of the horizon.
rising or setting, its radiance fills the earth
with glory.

and the ocean.
pounding surf.
singing its own melody.
doing its majestic dance.

so is the Solid Rock
of our salvation. Jesus.
Redeemer. Creator. Lover
of our souls.

He calls us to join the
march. be soldiers. straight.
strong. unwavering
in our "yes" to Him.

do you understand
the wilderness?
screaming? sweating? hoping?
begging? yearning? lost?
alone? destitute? feeling forsaken?

God! where are You?!!
abandoning me?
kicking me off the team?
i am not good enough?! yet

YES! to reaching our arms
around His neck. hanging on.
to believing against all odds
that some day. some way.
God's strong arm will pull
us out of the shadows of
torment that have twisted our faith,

we will NOT be moved.
we will NOT give in.
the enemy cannot defeat us.

even as steady as
the sun to rise and set
each day, so
our eyes and hearts
are cast on you, Lord.

we are WARRIORS!
and all God has in this
bitter, lost world.

life is a marathon.
rhythmic with the eternal
God of the universe.

you WILL
laugh again.
your patience will build perseverance.
a sign you are ready
for your next mission.

dance, world. dance.
the Light of Glory
will come to us again.


"Consider it pure joy, my brothers,
whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith
develops perseverance.
Perseverance must finish its work
so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything."
James 1:2-4 (NIV)

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.