A couple weeks ago I attended an open mic night where people shared songs, monologues, and poetry. It reminded me of a time when I wrote a lot of poetry, so I rushed home to read my old journals. I pulled the dusty container from the top shelf of the closet and opened it as if it was full of treasure. Unfortunately, as I opened each floral bound book it only revealed how lost I was at the time. All those years of writing poetry only to reflect how much I needed Jesus not as the big dictator in the sky but as a close friend and father.
Discouraged, for the next week I started thinking that maybe I’m not a writer, maybe I just like to rhyme all my hurtful memories. After days of doubting my God-given talent, God answered me with a poem, not to build me up, but to build up others and to glorify Him.
In Isaiah 61 God, through his prophet Isaiah, reassures the mourners that they will be comforted. He tells them they will wear a crown of beauty instead of ashes. The New Living Translation says “beauty for ashes.” Those words inspired my poem, but so did the life of my good friend and sister who’s name fits perfectly into the verse. For her protection I will not disclose her name or the title of the poem. I feel the poem is the words of the Holy Spirit written through me. What an honor.
They say she started as a seed.
Funny how a sprout finds its way to the light,
Pushing through the surface, the barrier,
The very thing that protects it from the elements.
Its leaves appear to be carefully brushed with a fresh coat of paint.
What was once wrapped in a glossy shell, now reaches,
Expanding toward the warmth of the sun.
Her days were spent leaning into the breeze,
Becoming stronger with every bend.
The tree saw many good days,
Finding pleasure in many a passerby.
But winter came.
An icy layer coated her.
The tree, though, had learned to endure.
As summer came, much like this summer,
Her roots longed for the moisture they once had.
Not even a morning dew came to quench their thirst.
She had stood up to the harshest climates,
But nothing could prepare her for this.
Surrounded by dry brush,
The tree’s leaves and bark built up a heavy wall of debris,
But the blaze could not be defeated.
Her rough exterior quickly bubbled under the scorching flame.
Her still-young limbs withered and became brittle.
When morning came there was only a heap of ash,
Smoldering and chalky, a cloud hung low over her.
No longer was the light to be seen.
The heat continued to fester beneath the surface of ash,
Until one day, just as the spark had been swept up,
The skies lit up and roared with thunder.
Not even the chalky ash,
Blowing in the fury could escape this storm.
She remembered her resilience, her fortitude,
Slowly the smoldering ceased,
And the powdery mound transformed into clay.
As the winds spun over and around
The clay was molded into something extraordinary.
No longer could she be threatened by drought or by flame,
But the very thing that appeared to destroy her
Now brought restoration and strength,
For she was no longer an ordinary tree,
But a divine sculpture
Designed to overcome all hardship.
She did not always live a happily-ever-after life,
But she now knew she was mighty.
Sometimes when we doubt our God-given talents God gives us more to prove he was the giver, but we don’t always notice it ourselves. Maybe it’s time to step out in your spiritual gifts and see how people react. There’s no doubt that you will know right away which were God-given. When I wrote the above poem the words were pouring out of me. When I write in my own ability it doesn’t happen that way. As with all gifts we should not squander what God has given us, but show our gratitude through practicing our gift in order to grow it.
I know this is not my typical post, but I hope you enjoyed it, learned from it, and found comfort in it if you are like the tree in my poem. Please leave a comment by clicking “reply” at the top of this post or like my post on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. You may also follow my blog by clicking follow in the top right.