Another 18th Psalm, a blackout poem

How do I go forward when my story seems to be encircled with weeping and great loss? King David found help in his King of kings, and he penned a God-inspired poem — Psalm 18. Although not nearly as verbose as Psalm 18, this blackout is a reminder to us that our King still listens and still responds with help. He has armed us with His Spirit’s perseverance and His Son’s namesake. With this truth, we can and will overcome the hard with joy. The King lives. He is my Chief. His purposes for me are good and great. Therefore, I give thanks.
 

Return of Day, a blackout poem

Commentary about poem below

Depression is no joke. It is suffocating, overwhelming, and debilitating. BUT depression is not without a solution, a balm. Truth fights depression and tells us, “we don’t fight alone, we have a God greater than our grief and depression, we will be okay, we can take one step at a time, we are loved wholeheartedly, we do not have to succumb to the feelings of depression.” Instead, we can savor the truth and strengthen our hope that God always wins, and we are on God’s side. Wanting to step out of the night and return to the day is a hurdle though. We can with God’s help. Step into truth and see the light. Just a step is a good start.

What Is Best? a blackout poem

Commentary about the poem below

What is best to be done when we are tired of trying without success, tired of fighting with nothing to show for it, tired of working without any progress? What is best to be done when we struggle to see purpose in the trials?

Our next choice should always be to do the next right thing: try again, keep fighting, work to work it out. Sometimes our greatest success is found not in an achievement but in the determination to never quit.

Quitting is losing every time. Resolve to never quit, for perseverance is success. Often the process is more valuable than the achievement it may produce.

Cost of Influence, a blackout poem

See commentary below

I remember wishing that I wouldn’t be picked to lead a team, group project, or committee simply because I didn’t want to pay the price for leadership and influence. As this poem implies, sometimes we want to refuse the honor of influence and let someone else lead. Unfortunately, we have done that too many times, and now there is a vacuum of influence that is being filled by people and forces that I don’t want influencing those I love. This poem doesn’t delve into the cost of choosing NOT to influence. It’s a high price. So, when offered the chance to influence, my friends, may we take up the honor, face the hardship and criticism, and lead our followers toward righteousness and integrity, toward truth and faithfulness, toward love and unity, and toward growth and maturity. Will we face aggression, injury, and wrong? Yes, the criticism will come. Leaders suffer. May we never leave a vacuum of influence for the world to fill because we decided influence was too difficult and too costly for us to possess. Vacuums get filled. We can’t afford to falter in our calling or give away what was ours to do.

The Mercy of Cold and Rain, a blackout poem

See commentary below

None of us like trials—the rain and cold of life. None of us want to lose the things we hold dear. Sometimes a trial leaves us with nothing. We lose it all, or we walk away from it all. In those moments of loss, we are drenched in grief and smothered in the dirt of discouragement. But then God comes, and He renews us through His power. He comforts our souls. He begins to take the emptiness and fill it with His decorations. He turns darkness to brightness. He takes our pieces and makes them perfect. He sets our table and prepares us with His goodness. He clothes us with truth. Only God can transform the trajectory of tragedy into our gain for His glory.

Lightbulb Moments, a blackout poem

Commentary for this poem below.

More than ever, I am of the opinion that reading is one of those bare necessities in life. If someone can read, he can learn. Granted, learning can be done by example; but reading catapults a person to greater heights and imaginations. Reading opens doors, expands imagination, develops dreams, and highlights action. God spoke to us in a written language intending for us to learn to read. It is useful. It is necessary. It is little but everything. Learn to read, then read to learn. Reading will then become one of your best friends.

Young One Gone, a blackout poem

Commentary for this blackout poem is below.

When a mom gives birth, she invites pain in multiple ways for a multitude of reasons. We welcome our children to this world only to let them go to start new families and pursue their futures. We spend so much energy being present that when it comes time to feel their absence, the change can be crushing. The solution is to grab God’s hand, sit at His feet, discover His joys for our lives, see Him clearly, and be near to Him. Be still. Look and know. And the heart will follow.

The Isolated, a blackout poem

Commentary of the poem below

I am naturally drawn to the walls of isolation. In my mind I think I prefer it. In my mind I think I enjoy it. In my mind I justify pursuing it. Unfortunately, isolation is everything this blackout poem says it is. Fractured. Dark. Destructive. Furthermore, prolonged isolation blocks growth and wholeness. God created us to be in community. Satan uses isolation to fracture humanity, and he packages it up nicely so we don’t recognize it until the fractures have begun splitting us into an island. Social media, individualism, self help — these are activities of island dwellers, those who live on lava with invisible walls. The solution? Find well-timbered mountaintops. These people aren’t perfect; they are very much broken, but they live in community growing together with a wide open view of the horizon. Mountaintops with broken people or islands with invisible walls? It’s a choice.

Remember, a blackout poem

Remember commentary below…

I am a forgetful person, and I need reminders. If only I could remember that being busy  does not make me a VIP or  MVP. I forget that little things become big things and attitude matters. I forget that my pride is my own worst enemy, and Jesus tells me if I want to lead I start and end that leading by serving. Busy doesn’t get me to the top. Accomplishing big things won’t get me to the top. Humbly but merrily and deliberately doing the little things one step at a time will be and is rewarding. Remember! Don’t forget.

The Art of Teaching, a blackout poem

The Art of Teaching commentary below…

Teaching is an art not for the faint of heart.

The classroom is a battleground for the minds of our next generation.

The good teacher fights the conflict. A great teacher motivates the student to fight the conflict.

If you are called to teach, you are a warrior fighting for the next generation.

The hardest part of the battle is choosing to love a child’s future enough to pick up the sword today.