Tappin’ Out (Poem)

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I’m tired.

Tired of being a dollar short and a day too late.

Tired of being told to be patient and wait.

Not smart enough. Not strong enough. Not good enough.

Just not enough.

 

Wear this. Have that. Do this. Be that.

Everyone wants it. Everyone does it.

Everyone gets it,

but me.

 

Sometimes, I want to scream.

 

But instead, I lift my head,

put on my mask,

smiling, self-relying.

I’ve got it.

This won’t break me.

But, I’m lying.

 

Pressures. Tap.

Expectations. Tap.

Obligations. Tap.

 

The wind whispers, “Be still, and know . . .”

The paths beckon.

Which way should I go?

“I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

Lord, how can I keep on

through suffering and strife?

 

I’m tired.

 

“Come to Me, all you who are

weary and burdened

and I will give you rest.”

 

Lord, help me believe You. Help me receive You.

Help me know, it’s only Your truth

I can cleave to.

 

I’m tired.

 

Tired of trying to be it all, have it all, control it all.

I’m one step away from losing it all.

Can’t do enough. Can’t have enough. Can’t be enough.

But You,

Jesus, You are enough.

 

I’m tired.

 

I slump to my knees. Tap.

Trust You with my pleas. Tap.

Surrendered, I’m free.

Tap.

 

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Tappin’ Out by Xochi E. Dixon, from the Life Psalms Collection, was previously published on the Real Teen Faith website on September 3, 2009.

Photo taken by and used with permission from Lauren Pfahlert.

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The Master Craftsman

 

quivercollage“For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV)

My father creates custom quivers for bow-hunters. He carves intricate wildlife pictures into the genuine leather.

 

 

Archers from across the states have purchased these works of art, which are easily recognized as my father’s one-of-a-kind creations.

During my last visit, he carved the details of an eagle onto a side-quiver.

Pressing a blade into the supple leather, he varied pressure to create the different textures that give his artwork dimension. With gentle strokes, he covered the leather with crimson dye, magnifying its beauty.

As my father’s confident hands designed another masterpiece, I thought of how often I forget to appreciate God’s creativity in myself, and in others.

The Bible teaches that all people are important to God. He designs us with unique qualities and purpose.

Ephesians 2:10 reminds us that “. . . we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Learning more about the Lord, through the study of His Word, helps us view others as God’s beloved masterpieces.

Like the pliable leather carved by my father’s skilled hands, our worth is determined by the unconditional love and creativity of our Creator.

We each have value as God’s one-of-a-kind creations, simply because we are His. 

Lord, help us accept Your perfect love and see ourselves, and others, as Your unique masterpieces. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN

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Suggested Reading: Isaiah 43:1-7

Prayer Focus:  THOSE SEEKING AFFIRMATION AND ACCEPTANCE

Thought for the Day:  We are uniquely created for God’s glory.

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“The Master Craftsman,” written by Xochi E. Dixon, was previously published in The Upper Room (Jan/Feb 2014) and featured on The Upper Room Blog in February 2014.

 

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Still Looking Back and Moving Forward

The Light Behind Us photo by Cheryl Thompson

The darkness of the past can paralyze the bravest warrior.

Wisdom moves full-steam ahead and never looks back. Why dig up old skeletons and risk people judging?

The optimist who fritters the day away in the depths of my mind pipes, “God can use the past for good.”

My doubt blares like a siren.

Lord, don’t You remember the shameful moments riddling my past? Don’t You recall the poor decisions damaging, and sometimes destroying, relationships? What about the careless words I’ve spoken, the hurtful words of others that I can’t seem to forget? How can You use the painful things that happened to me, and the horrible things I’ve done, Lord?

Fear and shame morph into an iron shield, separating me from people and from God.

Still, the Holy Spirit breathes truth that eventually begins melting my steely heart.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves we have received from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV)

I respond.

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD, my God, I will give you thanks forever.” (Psalm 30:11-12, NIV)

Dwelling in the past differs greatly from using the past to give God glory.

Like my friend realized when she snapped this picture, beauty pierces through the darkness we’re leaving behind.

The unconditional love of the One who knows and wants to be known creates a powerful healing balm. In mercy, He turns heart-wrenching circumstances into testimonies of His faithfulness.

Because God knows our purpose, we can thank Him for using hardships to reveal our great need for Him. Because God works for the good of all who love Him, we can appreciate the longsuffering that magnifies the truth of His power made perfect in our weakness. Because God redeems, we can share our story and point to His power and grace.

A wise psalmist penned these words:

“I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds. Your ways, O God, are holy. What God is so great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.” (Psalm 77:11-14)

Faith roots deep when watered by witnesses of God’s faithfulness in our lives, in the lives of others, and in the Bible.

Every child of God is a living testimony of His life-transforming grace. His Light pierces through the dark parts of our past and uses our story to shine hope into the lives of others.

Lord, please give us opportunities to share our testimonies with others. Use our experiences to encourage someone to place their hope in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen

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Reflections:

What has God done for you in the past that can refresh your faith or shine hope into a friend’s dark situation?

What’s stopping you from sharing your testimony and giving God glory for what He’s done?

If you’ve shared your testimony, how have you and others been blessed by your courage to be transparent and honest about your past struggles?

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Photo taken by Cheryl Thompson and used with permission. Portions of this article previously published at www.xedixon.com, June 2014 and at FBCVV.com January 2015.

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