Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Meeting Him Between the Lines

"What do you see?" I ask her, holding out two hands like an amateur photographer, framing a scene out the bedroom window.

Photo: Stephen Wong, Creative Commons, cc license
She flops closer on the bed, scooting up on her elbows and begins to stare through the window, out across the front lawn, and into the neighbor's yard across the street.

"Notice what you see. What's still? What's moving? What colors do you see? What do you hear? How does it make you feel?..." I trail off, picking up my pen to scratch words across my sheet as well.

One fourth a tree in yellow leaves flutter. 
rest is bare, crumpled. 

Pumpkin-colored crimson tree in full-splendor
backdrops my last yellow leaves
carpeting the neighbor's lawn;
a reclining scarecrow in a brown wicker chair.

The wind blows hard from the left,
leaves strain to hold on
Yellow maples flutter right.
Daniel yells in sudden angry crisis from outside my bedroom door...

Poetry in World Literature side-steps on while I comfort a sad six year old. Later, he leans on tip toe from his wooden kitchen chair to break egg shells and slide gooey bananas into our scuffed white mixer. Tactile pressure explodes and shatters white shell fragments across the counter while he practices with egg pieces in the compost.

"...Two, three," we count the flour cups, and he pours a grain dust avalanche into the bowl. We mash, mix, and stir, before pouring lumpy batter into metal muffin tins. Banana bread muffins scent an autumn kitchen, while red leaves in the backyard fly sideways in the wind.

For devotions this week, I am enjoying the ancient poetic verses from the Bible book of Proverbs. Inspired by God, several Near Eastern kings captured wisdom into brief captions, like bite-sized lessons to mull over. After an initial reading through of Proverbs chapter 12, I knew I needed more time with it. Grabbing a smooth-rolling black pen and my journal, I wrote sentence by sentence, leaving room and time to pause and write prayer responses back to the Writer God Behind the Words. 

Working my way through the chapter, I interacted with Him in each line.

..."The plans of the righteous are just, 
but the advice of the wicked is deceitful." 

Lord, you call me righteous through Jesus' blood. Are my plans your plans? Am I following your heart and desires? Help me to be so in tune with your spirit that my plans are yours, automatically just. Help my advice not be wicked or deceitful.

"The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, 
but the speech of the upright rescues them." 

Abba, may my words and my heart not be wicked. May they not be out for another's blood, or pain, or wounds. May my speech rescue myself and others. May I be upright in your sight. 

Hours after the banana bread, the World Literature, and four loads of dishes, this idea comes to mind again, and I pull out my journal and Bible to study them some more.

"...A fool shows his annoyance at first, 
but a prudent man overlooks an insult." 

Whew, yep, I'm the first one so often, God. Help me, forgive me. You used the word 'prudent' here instead of 'wise'. Prudent has a longer term outlook, right? Wise, cautious, long-term-focus for better results? Help me overlook insults and use long-term judgment.

And while I'm safe at a desk eating a banana muffin for the moment, I know how easily I fall into the first category instead of the latter. There is more wisdom in this chapter that I need to mine. 

Photo: Ryan Guill, Creative Commons, cc license
Grab a muffin with me, and your Bible and journal? Where are you reading? Want to write back prayers to the Writer God Behind the Words, and have him draft and shape us into living poetry?


Cheryl Barker said...

Jennifer, Prov. 12 16 is my memory verse right now. I think that shows how much I need it! :) I'm hoping by memorizing it, my reactions will catch up to my good intentions. Here's to progress for both of us! :)

Jayne said...

I love how you love to spend time with God. It is so encouraging. Thanks!

Bill (cycleguy) said...

Got any chocolate muffins with chocolate chips embedded? I can taste them now. And you have to have Diet Dr Pepper or Dr Pepper 10 and not coffee if I am to join you. :) proverbs is a gold mine.

TC Avey said...

Since I was young I've written prayers to God as well as dialog. I'll ask Him questions then write down what I think He is revealing to me in His Word.
It's powerful and helps me learn.

Right now God is talking to me about my focus and perceptions. Those become my reality. He's asking me if my "reality" aligns with His Word. And Psalm 73:25 is really challenging me to assess my priorities.

Jennifer Dougan said...


Isn't that such a great verse? Oh, I need it too. :)

Jennifer Dougan

Jennifer Dougan said...


Thank you! Thanks for popping in here with me today.

Jennifer Dougan

Jennifer Dougan said...


Yum, a chocolate muffin sounds good. But no coffee? You are missing out Cycle Guy.

Have a great week,
Jennifer Dougan

Jennifer Dougan said...


Writing out prayers and my conversations with him have been powerful to me too in life.

ooh, aligning our realities with his perception of it is vital yet hard some days, huh?

Jennifer Dougan