My Biggest Challenge

February 20, 2015

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I’ll live with the scars
Of all my past failures
I won’t forget them
They have been my hard teachers
My joy is that mercy reigns

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I found the biggest challenge
Is to learn to forgive me
When others cannot forgive
The wrong I have done

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I cannot please men
Measure up to my own rules
I found a friend in Jesus
Looks at me with compassion
Gives what I do not deserve

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This relationship
I can’t explain to others
It’s a mysterious love
From another world
Love broke through a story
Real man in real time – real love

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I have fallen many times
Failed to trust, done it my way
Suffered consequences
Felt the despair

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He is the one I trust
No other one can bear it
My soul’s deepest pain
When I am alone I know
My Father’s hand is on me

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I arise with His power
Renewed by Eternal love
Accept forgiveness given
Live today in peace

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Reflections of the morning as the birds sing behind me in the bitter cold.

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When I read this “Haiku” to Charlotte she said “You make yourself sound like you were pretty bad.” I said, “I know that I have hurt people. I don’t remember ever intentionally hurting anyone. But looking back I see I have. I just take responsibility for my part in that hurt and I am very greatful for the kind forgiveness I have received from God and those I have offended.”

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Gift of Forgiveness

January 31, 2015

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Looking back I see
The blind spots in my own life
Born of ignorance
Then the intentional wrongs
They can be overwhelming

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The blind spots are important
Learning points to remember
Because they are there I see
The damage I’ve done

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I’m responsible
For the suffering of those
Given to my care
Children, family and friends
I found forgiveness with God

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To face the truth about myself
Is a surprising gift to all
When love becomes the focus
And forgiveness reigns

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I forgive myself
God chose to forgive my sins
My heart was broken
When I saw the price he paid
Incomprehensible love

*

I’ve sought forgiveness
From those I know I have hurt
From those I don’t know
I pray God covers us both
With gentleness and mercy

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In stillness I come
I am focused on His love
With no one but God
I draw near seeking His mind
And I discover His heart

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He has favored me
Claimed me as “His Beloved”
This promise given to all
Is sealed with His blood
Established by resurrection
Embraced by trust in His words

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I practiced feeding this truth by reflecting on the words given in the Psalms this morning. Psalm 31, 91 and 121. The judgment of my own heart is so great that if I don’t establish who I trust in the morning I am manipulated by my worldview and the worldview of others who also hide behind the noise in the heart.

Anguish Healed

January 25, 2015

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Overwhelmed with anguish
The pain and loss is so great
Does anyone understand
The devastation

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No friends to comfort
Loses of my dear love ones
Where is God who cares
Why is this happening now
Can anyone answer me

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The cry in the human soul
There are no easy answers
God promises to confide
In those who fear Him

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I cannot fathom
A God who lets this happen
Suffering and grief
What is it I am missing
Do I really want to know

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Truth hurts and it heals
The tragedy in my soul
Comes down to two things
I must face the truth about me
I must face the truth about God

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“Fear” does not mean “Be afraid”
It means I must face greatness
Of the love of God revealed
To my shattered soul

*

The consequences
Of the choices I have made
I am destitute
The poverty in my soul
Is hidden from all to see

*

The confusion inside me
With the unanswered questions
Were cleared up when I focused
On the love of God

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He promised to never leave
To meet me in my anguish
To forgive me of my wrongs
To renew and restore

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I will trust in Him
Gives victory over death
Carries my burdens

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Insight only comes
After one chooses to trust
The Giver of life

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May you be blessed by the Lord
Maker of heaven and earth
One who understands your need
Gave all to forgive

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These reflections will be enhanced by reading Psalm 25, 55, 85, 115 and 145. Sarah Young, an amazing therapist and teacher, offers insight to the anguished soul in her book “Jesus Calling.” 

The Father’s Touch

January 24, 2015

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What do I yearn for
Where does my heart go when still
I will seek your face
When you appear I’ll see your face
I have set my heart on you

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My weaknesses still cry out
The sadness-es all around
So many lost in nothing
My inner soul weeps

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The little sparrow
Finds a place to rest and sleep
God knows what is happening
I’ll praise His greatness
Enter into communion
With my Father who loves me

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You’re my sun and shield
Light to find my way today
Protection from enemies
Angels to attend
To all those who will trust you
Who seek you with all their heart

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Your power’s displayed
You do the impossible
When you are trusted
You surprise with your answer
Light comes, love’s demonstrated

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Trust takes away fear
Anxieties are dispelled
I’m surprised by joy
Your living presence reveals
A Father in touch with you

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There is no trouble
That he does not understand
And promises to take action
Of all the voices
I can choose who I will trust
A gift from the Father’s touch

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I have fallen many times
Failed to trust, done it my way
Suffered the consequences
Felt desperation

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I arise with His Spirit
Renewed by Eternal Love
Accepted, forgiveness given
Live today in peace

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Reflections after reading Psalm 24, 54, 84, 114 and Proverbs 24. Sarah Young speaks to the promises in the pain in her book “Jesus Calling.”

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Being an over-comer
Is different than healing
Forgiving is the secret
Narrow road to life

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Forgiveness can come
When I see my own failure
Anger dissipates

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I would like to disappear
And escape the human pain
I find there is no exit
I am powerless

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No one can see this
My lot is to be alone
Overcoming doesn’t work
I’ve come to the end
Getting past the hard issues
False sense of nobility

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This layer of bitterness
Can stay hidden in the church
These deep personal wounds
Cut me to the core

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My soul is wounded
Spiritualizing the problem
Burying the grief
My soul wound has been hidden
Hiding behind the “false self”

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I am not strong and noble
I do not have the resources
I can no longer overcome
I need to be free

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It will take courage
To face the personal lies
With a mind that’s clear
With personal surrender
With patient love freedom’s born

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The journey to authentic forgiveness undoubtedly is the most treacherous path of the human soul. “There is a difference in overcoming wounds and forgiving from the heart.” (Anonymous) I found in surrendering to real love, facing my own humiliating shame with a friend who knows and can point me to a love relationship larger than my “false nobility.” There is freedom I have longed for in this world. It is available to all who seek and discover the patience and love of the mysterious Creator of Life.

Love Pours Down Like Rain

January 5, 2015

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I wait in expectation
Morning by morning I seek
To listen to your kind voice
To walk in the light

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Those who tell lies crush others
Homes are destroyed, children lose
The safety and love God gave
With two loving souls

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No word can we trust
Hearts are full of destruction
Only action speaks

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I found a place of refuge
Place I can be glad again
God can restore the real joy
Spread his protection

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Those who love your name
Will find a place to rejoice
When we seek a pure heart
Our eyes are opened
Love pours down like the rain
We experience God’s love

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Forgiveness from God
Is the greatest gift of all
Then we can forgive
The one we have hurt the most
The offense against our souls

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We wounded ourselves
Lied to ourselves and others
Miracles of forgiveness
Comes to those who will repent
Accept God’s love and give it

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God will run to receive you
Others will be unable
Celebrate this gift and give
Others time to heal

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Reflections from Psalm 5 with awareness of the Father-son relationship in Luke 15.
Your Story Matters http://www.yourstorymatters2him.com

Best Friend Conversations

January 2, 2015

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Good conversation
Is a gift I want to have
With those I love most
I will include the stranger
And, also, my enemy

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Who will be my friend
I will be looking today
Ready to respond
Open to this adventure
Love with no expectations

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This I know is the hardest
For we wrong one another
Get offended easily
I know where to start

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I will start with me
The one I sleep with each night
This is the hardest
The one I offend a lot
I’m the one I hurt the most

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I found the secret
A way to forgive myself
To have a conversation
That’s gentle and kind
A way to love even me
In the darkness of my soul

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Ready for the ride
Mutual conversation
Is what I’m committed to
It’s the missing part
So I will not medicate
Keep doing the counterfeit

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I will like sleeping with myself
I have no choice about that
I will befriend my own soul
I’ll live in that joy

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I’ll take away the judgment
With real authenticity
I’ll train to forgive myself
And the one near me

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It is possible to live this. It is possible to overcome the darkness of the wounded soul and discover the joy. The impossible is possible when the deep soul decision is made to live and not die. Deciding to fight for my life is the most important decision I have made. I had to begin by caring about me. At that point I began to pay attention to my questions. Taking that responsibility has led me to discovering how to live in joy over the past fifty-three years. The pain, the reality of my own failure toward others and their failure to me is the most difficult road to navigate.

The best book I recommend to kick start this conversation was written by Jim Woodroof “Sayings that Saved My Sanity.” Write me and I will tell you how to get it. May all the best conversations take place for you in 2015. Your Story Matters http://www.yourstorymatters2him.com

Soul Maker

December 29, 2014

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No one understands
The depth of the human hurt
It is emotional
Runs deeper than the ocean
And higher than the heavens

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I can go so far
Confess my limitations
Say, “I’m unable”
To be there on that level
I cannot comfort you there

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I’ve tried that and failed
The deep places of the soul
Can only be helped
By One much larger than me
Only the “Soul Maker” heals

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This mystery discovered
In the depth of my despair
When my soul cried out
I had no language to speak
The inner groaning of my soul

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“Where is God,” I say
Why God if you’re really there
Do you let us suffer this
Desperate grief

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I asked, “Who are you?”
When I began to seek you
You came in the deep darkness
Brought light to my soul
Gave me new information
About you and about me

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Now I am hungry
Arise each morning to seek
Be still and listen
There’s someone who hears my cry
Who loves me as His dear son

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Psalm 28:6
“Praise be to the Lord,
for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and shield;
my heart trusts in him and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
And I will give thanks to him in song.”

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David speaks of where he found help!

Light

December 27, 2014

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To say I’ll walk in the light
Brings me joy and great sorrow
Because I can remember
And I am aware

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When I walked in the darkness
I was blind and did damage
To myself and other ones
This is the problem

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I lost some good friends
Who gave to me from the heart
I took and did not return
Give back the love gift
I know I’m hard on myself
That is still all about me

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Growing up is hard
When one misses the stages
Others will suffer
Maturing comes through the pain
The trials and the hardships

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What is good in me is this
I was looking for the light
Darkness is what held me captive
My tears called his love

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Confusion and the chaos
Growing up was the challenge
Navigating the losses
Is what each must do
No one escapes the darkness
No one can hide from the light

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Moments of silence
In the abandonment years
Came my life questions
Suicides, alcohol, grief
Love entered in little ways

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Pinholes of light came
Little kindnesses given
A smile and a gentle word
Of affirmation
Were the surprising moments
Were embraced with great delight

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Light brings the delight
Forgiveness breaks through with joy
For myself and the others
This love was revealed to me
Through the life of Jesus Christ

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He led with real compassion
His gentleness drew me in
Religion orchestrated
Making sure he died

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He died a horrible death
I cannot even fathom
The magnitude of this loss
Love it represents

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He is my pinhole of light
My failure as a human
Is connected to his death
And resurrection

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I have peace today
Forgiving myself right now
Forgiving others
Accepting the light of his love
And giving it to others

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I’ll make no demands on you
We can be a reflection
But not the reality
God is near to love

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These secret truths are revealed all along the way in the process of growing up and deciding to never give up! There is so much to learn on the journey and I hope to never stop learning. One thing I am determined to do is never stop moving toward the light even in the darkest hour. The movie “Unbroken” is a good example of light coming in the darkness and the power of never giving up. Love never fails. It must start with me and not the other person. Forgiveness opens the window of the human heart to the light of inexpressible joy!

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“Delta Blues From Darkness to LIght” can be reviewed on Amazon and is $0.99 cents on Kindle. It is my story of the painful but hopeful process of continuing to discover light.

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Christmas Conversation

December 22, 2014

I rise to see you

To come into your presence

Through faith I see love

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I am not a fool

The one who made the eye can see

The one who made the ear can hear

The beauty of life

The masterful creation

Speaks to the honest human

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Honest questions discovered

As one experiences life

Leads to a surprising joy

Of human greatness

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Taste and see the Lord is good

He will not “should” on your life

You’re responsible to seek

Search out what is true

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Most people react

Don’t look at the obvious

Look past the problem

Understand yourself and God

I discovered real friendship

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When you’re seventy

It is time to speak and say

Truth I have learned to live by

Brokenness and peace

The freedom of forgiveness

Joy that surpasses knowledge

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This painful process

I have sought to know what is true

Many failures and loses

Have taught me to listen well

In suffering I find found peace

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I have hurt many

I have been failed by many

There is one who has not failed

His love forgives me

And I forgive the others

Who I hope can forgive me

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My failures and yours

Will not stop me from loving

For I can give what’s given

Love the unlovely

That is in me and in you

It’s the work of God’s Spirit

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So when Christmas comes

It’s time to begin again

Remembering the Advent

Love Demonstrated

One human who made it clear

How to bring peace on this earth

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Reflections inspired by Psalm 20 and 50. May God’s peace be in you that sits above the circumstances. May the joy of Christ’s Presence fill you today.

Dedicated to Steve Brumfield 

No One Can Fathom

July 6, 2013

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History tells us

The things that we need to know

Am I listening

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The wars, the innocent lives

The raw human suffering

With fear and trembling

But with confidence and hope

I will go with you leading

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I will enter the soul wound

Having been wounded and scarred

Broken by ill-equipped ones

Loved in the middle

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I’ll not lead with piety

I enter as a wounded soul

Aware of my own sorrows

Meeting in the pain

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In my darkest grief

Losses inexpressible

The darkest room in my heart

A gentle light came

A pinhole of light to give hope

There was joy to be found

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The God I know forgives me

He came to me in darkness

Showed me what a child is worth

Opened me to love

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Every soul I meet

Help me never to label

Or eliminate

Each person has a story

Each one is beloved by God

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I’ll not live in fear

I will go with the light of love

With courage to act

With the power of presence

Staying close with compassion

 

I’ll be wise as a serpent

Gentle dove as my model

Courageous as a lion

Move forward ln light

 

The wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace will be our guide.  With the Spirit of sonship we will go where we are led.  His promises held high we go forward to meet the prisoners with a message of healing, hope and forgiveness.  As Moses led the way for the slaves in Egypt,  Jesus calls us to join him in bringing the light of life to those trapped in darkness.

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Isaiah 9:6; Zecheraiah 9:9; Romans 8: 15-16; Exodus 3:5

I Light Up My House

December 29, 2012

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This morning I lit a candle. I dropped to my knees.  I said The Lord’s Prayer  slowly and thoughtfully, meditating on the words: “Father,” “kingdom,” “your will,” “on earth as it is in heaven,” “forgiveness” and “temptation.”  Then I moved into a focused reading of Psalms 16, contemplating David’s interaction with God.  As I did these things, a metaphor came to me.

 

My body is the tabernacle of God.  Mentally, I go throughout the tabernacle lighting the candles in each room.  The light of love from the Father illuminates the main room.  As I move from room to room, I light the candle that brightens its darkness.  I light the candles of peace in each room.  Forgiveness is the brightest light that brings the gentle presence of God with his awareness of my story.  The candle of joy is lit and affirms the power of His indwelling presence that will never leave or forsake me.  The rooms are filled with comfort as the light illuminates the deep grief and loss I have no words for ….  Then there is the candle of hope, the certainty of a God who will always keep all of His promises.

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My temptation is to let all the noise of my heart, coming from the dark rooms, draw me into action, before I let the light in that guides me in this treacherous wonder-filled journey.  I then awaken to the joy of the house I live in and continually listen to the counsel I receive.

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“God is light and in him is no darkness at all.”

 I John 1:5

*Tabernacle=dwelling place

Fountain of Life

October 24, 2010

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The fountain of life
Is for those who choose to hear
The One who gives life
Accept his unfailing love
Drink deeply from his presence
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Extravagant love
Demonstrated and given
Yours to accept
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Remember the story
Practice what he modeled here
Daily he drew near to God
And loved the wounded
Those who came to him seeking
Receiving his gentle touch
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It is in giving
That you receive his blessing
Trusting that he has given
All his love to you
You must practice perceiving
Hearing his voice in silence
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Renewed in mind
Accept that you are chosen
Beloved and holy
Then be clothed with compassion
Kindness and humility
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Forgive offenses
As you have been forgiven
And above all love
It holds all things together
Let God’s peace rule your heart now
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© Terry S. Smith
October 14, 2010
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Written after meditating on Colossians 3, John 15, and Proverbs 14.  I am also reading Battlefield of the Mind, by Joyce Meyer. 
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Living Free

October 1, 2010

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I will look for what’s fair
I will not speak to quickly
I will listen for all concerned
I will not fear death
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Pride has been my enemy
Hidden in my unconscious
It can breed self-righteousness
A snake in the grass
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An angry man will destroy
A man of peace will bring life
To be angry is not wrong
How you speak can be
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Patience with yourself
Will help you with compassion
The door way to life
You cannot give to others
What you cannot give yourself
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Forgiveness – the miracle
The greatest that’s known to man
This is the hidden secret
The basis of love
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Forgiving yourself
A most difficult challenge
The truth will free you
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It’s like a fresh drink
That is received in the heat
A cool drink that refreshes
It’s living water
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© Terry S. Smith
September 28, 2010
Meditations written after reading Proverbs 29 and John 15.
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the way to joy

December 11, 2009

A gentle hand touches me

A loving smile embraces

I respond with gratitude

Overwhelmed with joy


Each day is a mystery

Who can know what it will bring

I will begin with laughter

Peace comes in the pain


The journey is hard

Easy answers do not work

The trouble is real


My parents failed me

They did not love each other

Home, not a safe place


Their parents failed them also

The cycle must be broken

It’s time to stop the death run

I will start with me


Somebody needs to live it

To reveal the way to joy

Forgiveness stops the cycle

Love will overcome


I’ll be a victim no more

By decisions of others

Responsibility’s mine

Which way I will go

 
© Terry S. Smith
December 11, 2009
 
Dedicated to my grandson Preston, who is 6 today.
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