patterns. a poem.

pull and push
i feel the wind fighting
unseen patterns of frigid
and warmth
ancient, invisible sky rivers
an annual
tug-of-war
as i dive under blankets
wishing for ocean waves
instead
of the frost
forever covering life
pushing and pulling
fearless
terrified
toward the sun

*****

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three red birds

Before I knew what life could do to a person . . . before I knew what had been done to me . . . I felt peace. I remember it, whole and holy, round and full, like the weight of a newborn infant in a mothers arms.

It was the sort of peace that comes from a youth undented and undaunted by the hammers of hurt.

The sort of peace that lives in a heart that has not yet realized people really are capable of evil . . . of lies . . . of betrayal . . . of stealing innocence, no matter how old we are when someone snuffs the last piece of us out.

Holed out, hollowed and spent, fear fills us first.

Unless we believe God and His promise to pour His Holy Spirit into us.

Unless we believe His promise to never leave us alone.

Only then, by releasing the clutch of our unbelief, can we let fear, unfettered, flee from our hearts.

The other day, I realized the depths of my unbelief as fear and shame overwhelmed me once again. I ran down the path in town, spindly brush, naked trees and silence surrounding me.

Help.

Me.

Overcome.

And then, unrequested and unrehearsed, the birds appeared.

Bright, red cardinals. Chests bursting and fat with downy, winter feathers.

First one.

Then a second.

Then a third.

Three cardinals stained red flew wild across my path. And I remembered God has something important to say when He says it in threes.

died for you, He said.

died for you, He said.

I died for you, He said.

So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose?

If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us?

And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us.

Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture . . . We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

Romans 8:31-39 (TMV)