Give me the faith to believe what You say, and trust in Your Word when I’m tempted to stray.
Do not teach your daughters to be ‘pretty.’
Do not entomb her in a pretty pink tower
and insist that only the degree of her physical appeal
may set her free.
Teach her to fight her way out,
to consume books and spit knowledge
to lesser boys who insist she is just beautiful
and nothing more.
Teach her to love her body
not to manipulate and put a price tag on herself
as a defined worth
she shall be immeasurable
she shall be more than this.
Do not let her break herself down
when the boy in kindergarden hits her
because he likes her.
What are you really teaching her?
Pain and love are not synonymous
neither are pretty and perfection.
Teach her to be kind
to be harsh
to be demure
to be wild
to be sensitive
to be thick-skinned
But good god,
Do not teach your daughters to be ‘pretty.’
War in the Mind (Freedom Time) - Lauryn Hill
In A Sentimental Mood - Duke Ellington & John Coltrane
Faith demands surrender, which is antithetical to the American values of success and accomplishment. Faith demands we remain comfortable with mystery and tension, which wars against our perpetual need to label, categorize, dissect, and understand. God is simply too big to fit into our classifications. Faith also requires desperation. Jesus isn’t for people who have everything figured out or have other options.
Picture Jesus, blemished physically and spiritually with your sins and mine, hanging on the cross. Faultless and spotless, but now carrying the weight of all of our wickedness upon Him. And the Father, pouring out all judgment on His own begotten Son whom He loves. Can you imagine it? The separation, the darkness, that loomed over Jesus, because He was saving you. He tasted it—hell—as He felt what it was like to be apart from His Father. And suddenly there was the forces of darkness, the bitterness, the intense desperation and depression as the full weight of God’s judgment continually crushes Him. His heart crying out over and over and over in silence until His throat finally opens up and He is able to scream out, “Father, why have You forsaken Me?” The crowd at the foot of the cross do not understand, they just pass on by, they scoff and roll their eyes, they mock and scrutinize, but some, just a few, they kneel down and beat their chests and look upon the face of Heaven.
He pushes His feet up to breathe, and then pushes back down to let out little air. His entire body is sticky with blood, and some of His bones are visible out due to the heavy flogging and whipping He had undergone. His back almost glued painfully on the cross as He inhales and exhales, pushing His feet up and down, flesh being torn from the movement, which would result in even more pain.
Excruciating pain after excruciating pain, and He is only trying to breathe.
How easily could He have cried out “Enough!” and sent a legion of angels to surround Him and carry Him into heaven? How easily for the Son of God to cast all wicked men from His sight into hell, a place where they deserve to go? How easily it is for Him to ignore man’s desperate need for salvation and to forget the cross.
Because before He would step on this Earth as a Man named Jesus, He knew what He was getting into… and He still chose you.
He stuck through. He trusted His Father. In spite of the torture and the pain and the vast darkness that hung over Him and tempted Him to quit, He did not give up. In spite of the heavy rejection His people—whom He loved so dearly—has laid upon Him. In spite of their mocks, their insults, their hatred. He did not quit. For in the eyes of Christ, He could see and hear everyone, every plea, every cry. Their need for a Savior, for someone to rescue them from their own wickedness. The questions, the cries for help. The faces of the men and women during that generation and the years to come.
Your cries at night were heard by Jesus.
Your prayers. Your fears. Your pain.
So when you are lost and wandering and He tells you that He loves you, you know He means it. When you have succumbed to lie after lie and He tells you that He’ll forgive you if you turn away from it and to Him, you know He means it. When you have slipped in sin and walked in darkness and His voice tells you that He is more than willing to set you free, you know He means it.
And when you read upon the voices of the ones who have lived before you, the ones who have walked with Christ, the ones who have seen His glory… when you read their accounts all saying that “He gave His all,” you know—deep in your heart of hearts—that they meant it.
Because Jesus Christ, this Man who died, He died for you.
It is not because of your goodness that Jesus Christ is willing to forgive you. For what is our goodness but filthy rags in the sight of a holy God? No, this is the love of the Father and the beautiful act of sacrifice of His Son—the Son of God entering such a state of vulnerability that He gave His own people the chance of rejecting Him and nailing Him on a tree.
This is the love of Christ that will set the entire world free.
We do not deserve the dust from His feet, or the sweat the dropped from His brow, or the blood He bled on the cross.
But He gave up His life. In a beautiful exchange, He traded our filth for His righteousness, and He tasted hell so that one day, as we place our faith in Him, we will be with Him in heaven.
This is to Jesus Christ—the King of kings and Lord of lords—who gave up His life for us who do not deserve Him.
To Him be all the glory, and the honor, and the praise, forever and ever. Amen.
Five Star Rated Poetry.
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Poems from my anthology, Could You Ever Live Without? The full book is out now and available as: