To read my blogs – see ‘Poetry’ and ‘Prayer & Reflections’ links above

A Poem: Ascension

 

“Keep going, don’t give up”, I read.

Yet keeping going today,
looks something like,
closing and opening my eyes;
and turning over to my other side
in bed.

Progress is sometimes measured
in the smallest increments.

My not giving up today
was perhaps seen
in the leap of my heart,
at the Tui and Fantail on the branches
beyond my window’s ledge.

Sometimes progress is measured by the reach of our vision,
beyond the place we now rest.

Stop, go.
Who is asking that we maintain our pace?
To rest is to regain the strength to rise.
Before we release a breath,
we must breathe in the oxygen we need.

Yes, our hearts,
they beat to the measure of our supplies.

So sometimes not giving up
looks like curling into a cocoon;
and drawing the blankets in tight.
We might need to tend
and mend ourselves,

as the cat that comes in from the night,
licks at its wounds.

The shelter of the cocoon
provides the supports that aid our healing.
Before we ascend,
we must kneel and bend
to get the uplift desired.

No, we don’t give up,
and keep, however slowly, making ground.

But its not clear cut.

Sometimes ascending looks a lot
like slowing down.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
Ascension Day 2017

“…Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
Luke 5:6

“Begin again. Begin anywhere.”
Anam Cara Ministries

Image: Alexey Terenin, “Double Flight”

A Poem: Colour

You paint
such colour on my skin,
where I saw white
in my mirrors reflection,

I look again,
and you’ve unearthed them.
The colours of my soul.

I see indigo
and yellow,
but not the sallow
shade of skin,

but bright
like a finches breast
or sunflowers glow.

And there’s blue and rose,
pink across the cheeks.
In such hues that
I can longer see me – for you.

Is that what you were wanting?
Is that what you would seek
to unveil?

Sometimes we
must surrender
strength in mind and body,
and decrease.

While we might appear,
by all intents and purposes to
recede

the colours of our soul
are only reaching

the light of day.

Ana Lisa de Jong
May 2017

Lord, I am not high-minded : I have no proud looks.
I do not exercise myself in great matters : which are too high for me.
But I refrain my soul, and keep it low, like as a child that is weaned from his mother : yea, my soul is even as a weaned child.
Psalm 131

Painting: Odilon Redon

A Poem: Wordless

Loss is so deep
there are no words
to define its meaning,
that we can speak.

It is empty,

like the ringing of a bell
gone silent.
Or the rush of the bird
that all of a sudden
takes flight.

We are left alone.

And that alone,
is overwhelming.

We can no longer stand up
We cannot speak.

But love, has not flown.

Though we stand without,
the substance of a person in our life;
or thing, whatever it is,
that, like the tide,
has departed at our feet –

love still exists.

It is the only given.

And it restores the floor
under us,
where we lost our footing.
Its in the hands that uplift us,
in our grief.

The love that we have lost
can’t be replaced.
There’s still that hole.
We cannot circumnavigate our grief.

But love transforms.

The tree that flourished
and then lost its leaves,
has dropped its crown.
But its seeds

lie buried in the ground
beneath.

Our loss, can still co-exist
with life.
We see Spring emerge from Winter
and dawn from
the darkest night.

Our hearts may break,
but the breaking brings
its own healing.
Grief will not consume us complete.

In that day that light brings
its blessed relief,
we will find its love
that kept us from

falling.

Ana Lisa de Jong
23 May 2017

Written for a friend on the death of his mother.

Image: Alex Wigan, Courtesy of Unsplash

A Poem: Growing Pains

It hurts.

It hurts when the shell breaks,
to make room for the new.

When the husk cracks,
so that the green can push through.

It hurts when we’re growing
beyond what our constraints can restrain.

Growth cannot be delayed
but pushes through, despite the pain.

I would like to tell you that that this will end,
but life has a way of emerging from within.

Losses and mistakes,
you count them as though you were to blame.

Don’t

They’re the breaking of you
in preparation,

for all you’ll become.

Ana Lisa de Jong
June 2017

 

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn’
Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.’
Kahil Gilbran

Image:  Pinterest

A Poem: Except a Grain of Wheat

Except a grain of wheat

fall, catch the current of the wind,
and lose all sense of direction,
to rest in a place unbidden and foreign,
it remains a single grain.

Yet, unbridled or contained,
and at the mercy of God’s faithfulness,
it bears the seed for the new season’s harvest.
It becomes new bread.

Yes, I think it is that what often looks like death,
or lack of fruitfulness, is instead,
just the time it takes
for the gift of life to flourish.

And tears, and gestures, or words,
the frustrated expressions
from good intents gone vaguely wrong,
or not as we would have determined;

the love that appears to be in vain.
They bear our heart’s cries as seed,
while God’s purposes he sometimes shields,
from our current understanding.

So that just like grain, or leaves,
or anything that falls,
we find next season’s yield,
is often stored,

in the remains of the first.
Apparent death just the shedding
of the husk,
that brings about new birth.

Ana Lisa de Jong
June 2017


“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
John 12:24

“…He prepares the earth for his people and sends them rich harvests of grain.”
Psalm 65:9

Image:  Dominik Martin, Courtesy of Unsplash

A Poem: Borne Up

There are some days
in which,
just as the sun travels from east to west
across a blue horizon;
I find myself
held up,
carried aloft,
that my clay feet might not touch
the ground.

I did not know, I was so light,
or inclined to be absent?
Rather I think it is that you instead
are strong, and ever present.
And that it is your pleasure
to uphold us,
to assure us of the comfort and strength
found in the centre
of your arms.

And so I rest,
like a child weaned.
I have found, standing still
what many might travel the earth
on weary feet to seek,
not knowing that strength
is found
where weakness gives us away,
always at our knees.

Ana Lisa de Jong
June 2017

Image: Pinterest (unknown artist)

A Poem: We Sing

We sing.

We open our mouths

before dawn breaks,

because our hope

seeds in the dark.

 

And we believe,

before we see,

the dawn that breaks through leaves

and gilds them gold.

 

We arise in our hearts,

and so our voice

declares the light

before it arrives.

 

Ana Lisa de Jong
May 2017

“…in the morning I will sing of your love.”
Psalm 59:16

A Poem: Love Surrounds

 

You surround us.
There is comfort there.

So much comfort to be had
by the thought of our
encompassment.

We lie, like seeds in the earth;
or wait, as birds in a nest.

For our provision.
For our establishment
in the ground.

And for a while there,
we thrive.

Until seasons change,
and our understanding
grows to find,

that none of us were made to stay grounded
for long.

Birds take flight.
Seeds and green leaves are shed, and spread
across land and sky.

We were made to grow,
and lengthen and expand.

To break our shells,
to green and die, and
then restore ourselves from the ground.

And in the dark and light;
in the summer, and in the winter’s night,

we recognise wherever we are,
there is a greater purpose,
and meaning profound.

Truth deeper than we might ever grasp,
found in the knowledge, of your love.

Love as a tent,
that circles and surrounds.
Seen in the flight of birds, and Spring’s first emergent growth.

And witnessed in the dying of the light,
and the closed eyes of those farewelled.

Love is bigger, and larger and completely beyond
what we can comprehend, but its comfort
is in the knowledge that it’s a tent,

and we’re held safe
in its confines.

Ana Lisa de Jong
May 2017

Image: Gabriel Jimenez, ‘Poor Man’s Garden’
Courtesy of Unsplash

 

Daily Inspiration, 9 May 17

 

“Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant with the weak and wrong.  Sometime in your life you will have been all of these.”
Walter Scott

“I am capable of loving, but I am also capable of not loving. That cannot be said about God. God cannot stop loving, because love is God’s nature. It is not my nature to love. I must learn to love, and only by God’s grace am I able to love as He loves.”
James Bryan Smith

“Christianity isn’t for the little engine that can, it’s for the train-wreck that can’t”
Daniel Emery-Price

“Many people are hanging by the very thinnest of threads.  If you treat them well, without knowing you may very well be that thread.”
John Pavlovitz

“…He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.”
Psalm 103:13-14

My Prayer today is for sympathy.  For sympathy that falls like light from heaven, and rises like mist from earth.  Matthew 5 says that God ‘causes his sun to rise on both the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous’.  When we call people wrong, is it because they simply sin differently to us, or because their mess is more apparent?  We have all been in a mess, a mess held together by threads.  Talking to my daughter about self-responsibility tonight, I felt convicted by her generous sympathy for those, in my own mind, undeserving.  It caused me to reflect, does God put a limit on his love and generosity, his light and his rain?  People must earn our trust, yes, but love and sympathy is often a gift to the unworthy.  How can we not go to great lengths for others, when God goes to such lengths for us.

picture

Daily Inspiration: 8 May 17

 

“Often hobbling through our church doors on Sunday morning comes grace on crutches — sinners still unable to throw away their false supports and stand upright in the freedom of the children of God. Yet, their mere presence in the church on Sunday morning is a flickering candle representing a desire to maintain contact with God. To douse the flame is to plunge them into a world of spiritual darkness.”
Brennan Manning

“We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way.”
St. Francis of Assisi

“I think I would rather live on the verge of falling and let my security be in the all-sufficiency of the grace of God than to live in some pietistic illusion of moral excellence. Not that I don’t want to be morally excellent but my faith isn’t in the idea that I’m more moral than anybody else. My faith is in the idea that God and His love are greater than whatever sins any of us commit.”
Rich Mullins


‘For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith.  And this is not from yourselves.  It is a gift of God.’
Ephesians 2:8

My Prayer today is for grace. Grace that works itself out through love.  Grace that is enabled by his love and grace to us.  Perhaps as C.S. Lewis notes below, we were able to see the holy in our neighbours, as well as their humanity, then despite appearances on the surface we might see more of ourselves in them.  We might be able to accept and identify with their difference, or their struggles. We might even be able to, despite their brokenness and fallibility, receive them whole.

 


Grace is the father who searches for us,
in our hearts
where we are blind
and lights up all the dark,
until there’s no more hiding.

And we understand then, never to judge,
another’s stumbling walk,
or to be too proud of our own.
For there is a time for us all,
when our deep need brings us to our knees.

And his great grace is beyond what we knew, or understood, before.
And we realise then, in our weakness, that only the unworthy receive.

From my Poem ‘Grace’

 
lewis