Spoken Word Poetry: A New Perspective

Hi everyone!

As a follow-up to the previous posts (here and here),  I am publishing another one that came from the lack of writing recently. Perhaps that was a good thing, as a new beginning came in the form of my church’s Women’s Retreat this past month and I could not be more thankful that, perhaps, the hiatus provided fertile ground, if you will, for healing and writing. That said, I’m back on track and ready to write again.

For those who have stuck by me, I am grateful. Thank you and I appreciate your encouragement and patience along the way. Knowing that someone is reading this and may very well take this poem as an inspiration for their own writing, a way to deepen this or her relationship with God, etc., does much to encourage me also. The glory of God and y’all are the reasons I keep writing, even with the long breaks in mind. Thank you for continuing to encourage me in my journey and know that I am praying over and supportive of yours as well.

One more thing: you may notice that I refer to childhood abuse. My dad was physically and emotionally abusive for the majority of my childhood, including adolescence. As such, I spent most of my late adolescence and twenties believing the following:

  • I had to earn God’s love.
  •  I was a deficient and second-rate believer at best and a heretic at worst.
  • I deserved the physical and emotional abuse my dad inflicted thanks to the above.
  • That I was abused meant that I wasn’t good enough for God since He saw fit to ordain that for me.
  • That I wasn’t as wanted and cherished as He promised me I am as His child, so the abuse was simply my lot for whatever I did to make myself a second-rate, barely qualified child of God.

 

Thankfully, none of that was true and it will never be. Unfortunately, that is very common thinking among those who have suffered child abuse, as I did. (*See below for more on the subject.)

 

For those who find this sensitive topic triggering, you are always welcome to reach out and I will be glad to help you in your journey towards healing. I have always considered part of the purpose of the writing I have done to love God and others as myself and I won’t stop doing my very best, by God’s truth and grace alone, to do that. As such, here is the poem in question, without further ado.

 

A New Perspective/Broken for Healing’s Sake

 

Fighting against the turmoil of an abusive upbringing

By the parent who was most responsible for Godly child-rearing

Didn’t exactly place me in a situation ripe for believing God’s claims.

Thankfully, though, Mom wouldn’t sit back quietly and hear Dad’s “no”

Choosing instead to forge a new path ahead and point her children to the Messiah-

The Father my sister and I needed all along and, blessed be His Name, knew very young

Thanks to the example of His love God gave us through our righteous, devoted Mom.

 

Now, almost thirty years from the time I became a Christian,

I look back and see fully now the dangers of my warped perspective.

That is, growing up, while I loved the Lord and knew Him,

I thought His love must be conditional and only when I was good enough for Him.

After all, I reasoned, He wasn’t protecting me from Dad’s abuse, I thought,

So He either wasn’t Who He claimed He was or there really was no God.

 

That, in itself, I realize now, was understandable, and thank God I was wrong!

Though my teenage, trauma-wounded vision was clouded, there He was

Opening my eyes in my darkest moments to see the fullness of His love

And to realize the problem was not me, Whom he loves ,

But the abuse my sister and I endured and the poison in my thoughts.

 

I really believed I wasn’t worth His time, or if so, barely His child.

If I really was, then, I wondered, why did I have to wait a while?

Why wait a while, that is, for Him “help my unbelief” and heal me?

If He really did care for me, then why would He hurt me when I was already weak?

Why did I have to go through the trials of trauma, rejection, and brokenness?

 

(Yes, I really did think I needed to earn His love-

And that He thought me weak and stubborn,

So the abuse my dad inflicted was just.

Either that, or maybe, just maybe, sadly,

He didn’t care, or there was no God in Whom to believe!)

 

What if the breaking, though, was the beginning of a new life- or, a new perspective?

What if He was calling me to walk with Him all along and could take my questions?

What if, perhaps, I had to stop asking questions for a moment to listen

And hear the voice of my Father, Lord, and Savior telling me I am cherished?

 

Only now have I come to realize that I always had the advocacy of the Holy Spirit

And the blood of the Son to establish my place with Him- plus His intercession-

For the Father to hear and grant my requests according to His best

That I might see, even when life hurts me, when I make mistakes, or truly sin,

That I was, am, and will always be His child- wanted, cherished, and truly beloved.

 

Well, then, it is a blessing indeed that I was broken for healing’s sake

When the time finally came to lay down my pride and walk anew in faith

That a new perspective, “a future and a hope” would govern my life- a needed change!

Thank You, God, and do what You want with me, in Your Most Holy Name. Amen.

 

* The Scripture verses quoted are Mark 9:24 and Jeremiah 29:11, respectively.

** For more information on common, toxic thought patterns in the minds of victims of child abuse:

Coming Back to the (Pleasant) Work of Writing……

Hi y’all!

I hope you are doing well and realize some of y’all might be surprised to see I’m back after an incredibly long hiatus. Suffice to say that life has been something of a roller coaster ride, for lack of a better metaphor, presently. Most significantly, losing my maternal grandmother on Christmas Eve, to whom I was very close, becoming more active in church and at my current job, and related events, perhaps, drove me away from writing in general for a while, however unconciously. Thankfully, I think the dry spell is over and I am now able to ponder the blessings that would come from the grief and other life events I mentioned. As such, I feel like I am finally in a good place to write again.

Another theory came to mind as I was writing this as well. To be even more frank, I think that perhaps the dry period I had this time was a call to step back and think about my life as it is now, especially since I turned twenty-nine years old in January. I figure I am not getting any younger, so, while I am looking forward to my thirties, I am somewhat apprehensive about living those years and pray I live them well. I mean that, as always, I pray God and His glory will come first, or, to quote Charles Spurgeon, perhaps the greatest Christian preacher and reformer of his day, “I wonder how many Christian people could have their biographies condensed into this line: ‘He lived to make Christ known?'” In any case, I’m back again and for good this time, barring unexpected happenings, etc.

Spoken Word Poetry: Fearless Faith (Taking A Page from Freddie Mercury) (Part 1: Introduction)

Hi everyone!

Maybe I have turned a corner after all since a counseling session brought some clarity to my current situation and I also understand my sister, Nicole’s current obsession with the music of the Britsh rock/pop band, Queen. By the way, I will call her by her nickname, Nicki, hereafter. Additionally, please bear with me since I know this introduction will be….long, but there is a lot of ground to cover. Thanks for reading this, especially if you have the kindness and patience to read it in its entirety.

For those who haven’t heard of Queen, check them out! For those who have, well, you are already acquainted with much, if not all, of their music, the personalities of the band members (especially that of the late Freddie Mercury, whose character did much to inspire this work, surprisingly!), and the Bohemian Rhapsody biopic coming out later this year.

In the session, to be clear, I talked about some family concerns, work struggles, etc., the feelings of fear and doubt I’d experienced in those and many areas of my life besides lately. In that time, and  and told my counselor, “I think I understand Nicki’s obsession with Queen now.”  For context, Nicki became obsessed with Queen around the time she first heard of the biopic, reconnecting us with our roots in classical music, country, pop, and classic rock in a new way. My initial reaction was to grumble concerning the realization that either I would become obsessed myself or I would hate Queen in response to Nicki’s obsession. (In fact, as I wrote this section of the blog, she modified “We are the Champions” and sang the modified version to her pup. Part of me wants to tell her to shush, the other is smiling and thankful for her love for Reilly since Reilly just came back from the vet and got a combination vaccine!)

That in mind, I became interested in the characters and psychology of Queen myself. After almost a year’s worth of mulling over what could be the reason behind my obsession with the character of Freddie Mercury, I hit on what most resonated with me this past week. . Nicki and I were watching the following video: Freddie Mercury – The Official Birthday Video, and I finally realized why I admired him so much and why he had a magnetic draw for many people during and after his career and death. Even with the strong language, smoking, foolishness (like calling himself a “musical prostitute- to me, there is nothing funny about human trafficking, though the jest was in sarcasm), and so on…..he was, well, authentic and transparent to a degree I don’t see in very many people nowadays. His raw candor and authenticity just…..resonated with me in a way that I finally realized that’s what I, personally, love most about him as a musician and I am sure I would have been very good friends with him if I had been born in the 1940’s or 1950’s myself.

He missed the point of living if he was not a Christian, yes, but his authenticity and transparency, with little to no fear of the days to come, were and remain inspiring. That, to me, is a hallmark of mature Christianity and what Jesus wanted for His people, after all! Proverbs 31:25, for example, says of the “wife of noble character,” “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” (NIV 2011) Additionally, the Message translation states that Jesus wants for us as follows:

Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. “The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I’m not keeping it to myself; I’m ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen.

28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

“Living freely and lightly” sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Part of Mr. Mercury’s draw was, I think, that he did so as well as a non-believer could do and gives many, I imagine, pause to consider what doing so as a Christian does or would mean, whether they are living like that.

How I wish Mr. Mercury had known that, if he didn’t. I pray he did and, frankly, his example has inspired me to write about that realization on Thursday and the counseling session today. Thanks be to God that He reminds us that “nothing is too hard [or difficult] for [Him],” according to Jeremiah 32:17, no matter what legitimate translation of Scripture you read! That certainly applies to living authentically and transparently, thus using the time we have on this Earth to seek out the Lord, grow close to Him, and impact the world for His glory and our good during our lives and after we are either in Heaven or Hell.

In conclusion, with that in mind, I will publish Part Two of this series of posts- the poem itself- tomorrow, as I am still writing it mentally and working out the best way to communicate what I mean clearly. Please pray about that for me and I will pray for y’all as well! Thanks, as always, and may God Bless you now and always!

Michelle

Happy New Year! Well, Almost….

Hi friends!

As we go into this New Year, how do you think your year went and why? What was the best part? What was the worst? (Yes, more than one of both is acceptable to write here, for those wondering.) Also, what are your resolutions for 2017? Mine are as follows, as I have the feeling some may ask:

1) Get closer to God by reading Scripture, journaling, and sharing in community with fellow believers every day.

2) Make more time for family and friends however that may be, including my furbabies.

3) Save more of my money. I have a set amount going into my savings account with every paycheck and resolve not to touch it save for emergencies or other unexpected expenses.

4) Exercise daily, even if that is just some light stretching or a one-hour walk with my mom, my sister, the pups, or some combination of the specified groupings.

5) Be more efficient at work and have no fear about seeking feedback especially.

6) If I can, do a random act of kindness for someone daily. If not, do so as much as possible this coming year.

7) Write more poetry and songs, also taking the time to repair my guitar and violin in between all of the writing!

Finally, above all, how may I pray for you and yours as we enter the New Year? God Bless!

God Bless,

Michelle

It’s Been A While

Hi everyone,

 

It’s been a while and I am sorry I have not been blogging at all recently. Work has been really busy, among other things, but getting all of said tasks within and without the context of work for now helps! I resolve, thus, to blog more regularly and hope everyone is having a Merry Christmas! So long as we don’t forget the Reason for the Season, all should be well. Truthfully, the month or so that I ended up taking off from blogging and such has changed much, but I am back now and a more mature person for it, I think.

That said, how were your Christmas Days and how will you celebrate the remaining eleven days of the season? Let me know! Thanks!

God Bless, like always, everyone,

Michelle

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The Spirit of Baltimore, or Reflections on My Native Region (English Version)/ L’Esprit de la Baltimore, ou des Refléxions de Ma Ville Natale (Version Anglaise)

Note: This post is in English only presently, since I am not sure when I will have the presence of mind or time to sit down and write out this full post in French. Saturday evening, perhaps. Thank you!

Note: Cet article de blog est en anglais seulement, au moment, comme je ne suis pas sure quand j’aurai la tranquillité de l’esprit ou le temps ‘a écrire le meme texte en francais. Le soir du samedi, peut-être. Merci!

Hi everyone,

Having lived in the Baltimore-DC area all my life and having had a long familial history here, I find this crisis, frankly, devestating and confusing. Basically, to give you an idea of how long we’ve been here, it’s been since the time of Edgar Allan Poe, truly; his adoptive father is my 4x-great-grandfather since he had his delegitimized son Charles Allen with an unknown mistress. Thereby, Mr. Poe is my 3x-great-uncle via adoption/legal guardianship.) Yes, so we are established here. In fact, my entire maternal family grew up in or around the area and some of us still live within the region.

That said, I can vouch for it 100% that what you are seeing now is not, nor has ever been, what Charm City is; at least, that was never the case for me. Has Baltimore had a violent reputation? Yes. However, from what I understand from others who grew up in the area, Baltimore was a peaceful, diverse, and friendly community until after the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior, in 1968. What my loved one described like Baltimore was as I remembered growing up. The violence I’m seeing today, I can promise, is nothing like what I ever experienced as a child. In fact, I remember frequenting the city with my family and even went to a famed restaurant in Little Italy for Easter dinner with my extended family this year, in keeping with our tradition for many years.

Therefore, I promise what you see here is not what the majority wants. We want peace, reconciliation, healing- not violence. Many have lost loved ones, lost homes,their livelihoods, access to basic needs such as food, water, and clothing….the list goes on. We’re already sick of this crisis and want nothing more than healing and to see the Baltimore many call home, regardless of what living here was like for any one of us,

All things considered, please pray for Baltimore and, if you live in the area, do what you are able to help bring peace and reconciliation to the area. That’s all I believe most of us would ask. I do. Thanks.

God Bless,

Michelle

A Creative Breakthough- Really, A Boost of Self-Confidence/ Une Épiphanie Créative, ou, Une Augmentation de la Confiance en moi-même

Note: I will include the French tomorrow, since I’m not thinking in French at all right now save for a few words!

Hi everyone,

Wow, I’m surprised. I admit I ocassionally check my stats to see what engages people on my blog and I am surprised to discover that my poetry is quite engaging. Wow! Maybe I should keep writing? My photography has also gained some notice, which, again, surprises me. Finally, I notice my reflections on Christ have gained notice (which I like the most because that keeps me humble and, more importantly, gives us all cause to look at God!) That said, of course I will keep blogging/publishing my writings here since I enjoy what was originally a return to a habit that a friend inspired since, for many reasons, I stopped practicing online years ago.

At the same time, it’s daunting because I want God to use me and yet I’m afraid of becoming, eh, puff-headed. That said, I take it that’s what y’all want to see more of from me: photography, poetry, and other digital, written, and related artwork? Given that God can use anything to glorify Himself and show us He loves us all, I’m in!!!

Specifically, would you expect people from all over the world to read your blog and look to God through that?? I sure didn’t and I am thankful I did this now because of Him and because I enjoy blogging for many other reasons. After all, the aim of my blog was really just for fun and to see what God would allow it to become. Yep, I thank God it all goes back to Him!!!

So, there’s that! I’ll be publishing more writing when the time is right, at least! Look out for writing later this week, in other words- most likely later today (Thursday, April 16, 2015, EDST). Thanks!

God Bless, as always,

Michelle