Stone Walls

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~~~

Do you really think I sent you here,

Into this desert land;

And this is all I have for you,

Calamity, grief, and sand?

~~~

I know it seems as you first look

There’s nothing here you need,

But look again, My wilderness

Is fertile ground for seed

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In fact, this is the place I choose

To soften what is hardened

And grow in you, not brush and briar,

But a flourishing watered garden

~~~

This place that seems the end of all

Is but a fresh new start,

Where I will tear down stony walls

You’ve built around your heart…

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So know that as you languish here

When you have passed the test

A Promised Land awaits you

Of beauty, peace, and rest

~~~

… Nope.

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Are we there yet God? Have we finally found it…

Rock bottom?

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(Am I done falling?)

It feels like I’ve finally found the cement—no further to fall…

Yes, Rock bottom.

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Can it be?

Oh God, I hope so.

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The sages say when you find rock-bottom the only way is up.

Oh, God… what would “up” look like?

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This hole is so deep—my pain now my constant companion.

Up? On what planet does the “up-life” live?

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I thought arriving in this vineyard was finding my inevitable rock-bottom… nope.

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  • I thought, the 1st year, 2nd year, 3rd year… nope.
  • Facing the loss, the pain, the grief, the abandonment—nope!
  • Walking away from You.
  • Yep! Stony-cold-dark-rock-bottom… when I started hating You.

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I used to think that it was impossible for a “Christian” to hate God.

Impossible! Unthinkable treason!

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(You and I know different.)

No lies between us—nope.

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That was our deal. Our contract.

No phony, plastic, posturing… nope.

No matter how ugly the truth, no matter how hard rock-bottom…

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Face-to-face, heart-to-heart, no bull, no blarney… right?

Yep!

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So here we are God.

I’m in this vineyard of graves and fruitless vines; led here by You… and I’ve finally said it.

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I hate You for bringing me here

leaving me here…

for only God knows what purpose!

(No bull in that.)

Nope.

The DREAM-MAKER’S Promise:

“My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up.” Psalm 5:3Psalm 5:3
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3 Yahweh, in the morning you shall hear my voice. In the morning I will lay my requests before you, and will watch expectantly.

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The Caterpillar’s Prayer:

Father, I’ve only this, “…the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!'” [Luke 18:13Luke 18:13
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13 But the tax collector, standing far away, wouldn’t even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’

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Pain-Killer Laments

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It all stopped working God…

(What a dirty trick!)

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For so long, these pain-killers did their job.

I confess…

I loved them!

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I loved the numb.

I could breathe.

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A little at least.

Little seemed better than not at all, right?

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Then one day they just stopped.

Stopped doing their job!

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I confess God, I loved not feeling.

I loved just floating.

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To not feel the weight of my chains, even for a few hours, was such a relief!

Now, that’s gone too.

Now, no matter what I do. I feel. I see.

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And worst, I think!

Oh, what a blessed relief it was, not to think!

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I suspect You’ve something to do with this!

Not bad enough You’ve brought me here.

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Now You’ve taken away all anesthesia.

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Now I see myself as I really am—this fruitless tree!

Isn’t that an oxymoron God?

A fruit tree with no fruit?

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Couldn’t You have just let me be?

Was it so much to ask?

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Never mind.

Your silence is my answer.

Oh God!

This pain! This throbbing, pounding, relentless pain!

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Wasn’t it enough that I hate this place?

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Do I now get to hate You, too?

 

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The DREAM-MAKER’S Promise:

The Caterpillar’s Prayer:

An “awful grace” isn’t that what the poet said? Yes. I don’t know anymore about grace Father, but if this pain is a grace? It is certainly is an awful one!

How does one thank You for an awful grace? How does one bless with so much anger in their heart? How does one breathe through the smothering black clouds of pain?

(I confess… I do not know.)

Jeremiah… at least you understood what I am going through. At least God has given that grace—an understanding heart.

I hear your heart cries from centuries past, and they reach me here… right here, in these ashes of mine, and I know that I am not alone.

Cemetery Prayers

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God? I am haunting my ruins again. Wandering past the old gravestones of long dead hopes and dreams.

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Lord?

Why do I do it?

Why do I keep coming back here?

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Why do I haunt this place?

These dreams no longer dance—no longer sing—no.

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It’s so silent here and dark, but I keep coming back, sometimes to weep and feel the pain again, sometimes to just stand and stare—feeling so lost.

Oh, God!

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I’m lost to me but I’m not lost to You.

You know the answers to all my questions.

I thought I’d surrendered all my Why’s?

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I guess not.

Maybe it’s time to ask some new questions.

Questions like…

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“Where?” or “Who?” or “What?”

Anything but, why?

Such a useless thing—why.

What good is why?

Will an answer bring a resurrection or breathe life into these graves?

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Don’t answer God.

You don’t need to.

We both know the answer to that one!

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Save me from myself God.

You’re the only One who can!

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Forget these graves… breathe life back into me!

My heart feels as cold as these marble monuments.

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And just as hard.

Only You can save me…

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Heal me.

The DREAM-MAKER’S Promise:

“Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved.” Jeremiah 17:14Jeremiah 17:14
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14 Heal me, O Yahweh, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for you are my praise.

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The Caterpillar’s Prayer:

Abba… Daddy-God, I have no hope but You. I have no prayer but this,”Heal me …breathe on these dry bones.”

 

The Tumblers Will Click

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Oh, God! When did I stop believing this?

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“The tumblers will click someday.”

(I used to believe.)

 

I used to think, “One day, some day, some way—He’ll come. You would come!”

You’d spin the dial on the padlocks in my life and I would be free!

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But, now?

 

When did it happen?

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I just stopped.

I stopped looking for You.

I stopped expecting things to change.

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I’m looking back over my shoulder trying to see the day or the moment when my hope turned to stone.

 

 

 

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Now I stare at my cell and my locks and I feel nothing at all.

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It just stopped.

It all stopped working for me.

All the songs, all the sermons; people of faith look like aliens to me now.

Two-headed creatures from another planet!

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I know You promised God.

My head knows.

But, my heart?

It’s over there, in the corner of my soul, curled into the fetal position, stillmutecold.

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How did this happen?

Where?

When?

Why?

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I should weep or wail.

I should be terrified, or furious, shouldn’t I?

My heart is on life support.

My hope is D.O.A.

And, me?

I don’t feel anything at all, except… curious.

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When did I stop believing God?

The DREAM-MAKER’S Promise:

“And it will be said in that day: ‘Behold, this is our God; We have waited for Him, and He will save us, This is the LORD; We have waited for Him; We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.'” Isaiah 25:9Isaiah 25:9
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9 It shall be said in that day, “Behold, this is our God! We have waited for him, and he will save us! This is Yahweh! We have waited for him. We will be glad and rejoice in his salvation!”

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The Caterpillar’s Prayer:

God? What good is church to one who no longer believes?

I can’t relate to those people God. (You know I can’t.) What am I supposed to do? Lie? Fake it? I hate that stuff! (And so do You!)

The only Believer I can relate to now is that honest-heart from so long ago. (You know the one.) His cry is mine as well: “LORD… help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24Mark 9:24
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24 Immediately the father of the child cried out with tears, “I believe. Help my unbelief!”

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Cotton Candy Comfort

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O LORD, how long?

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I am so sick of candy-apples-church and cotton-candy-comfort.

How long, LORD?

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Is this all there is until You return? These so-called men of God, who offer much, but deliver little!

Each week I go to the well for a taste; a touch; of You. Each week I go away with sugary words that melt away to nothing.

It all sounds so sweet, but years and years of this have left me so…

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(What?)

Hungry? Thirsty? Both?

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Where are the true men who speak for You?

The ones whose words don’t fall to the ground?

Isn’t that supposed to be the mark of a true prophet?

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I know no one is perfect. I know we all get it wrong sometimes. But LORD! These people are all empty words – promising all – delivering, oh so little!

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Where LORD? Where?

On my left, vile ones; tombs filled with vipers and dead men’s bones.

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(I couldn’t run fast enough!)

To my right? Sugary fluff! Looks good; sounds better; delivers less than nothing…

Because these ones leave you more empty, more desperate, than when you first came!

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God, help me!

(No wonder I’m depressed.)

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Your word promises You will not leave or forsake.

So here I am.

Please.

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Feed my hungry heart with Your truth.

The DREAM-MAKER’S Promise:

“These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for who is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.” 2 Peter 2:172 Peter 2:17
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17 These are wells without water, clouds driven by a storm; for whom the blackness of darkness has been reserved forever.

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The Caterpillar’s Prayer:

Oh Holy Spirit, how we need You! Many of our churches are dry wells, with little, or no Living Water.

Remember us, Your people LORD. Baptize us with fresh fire!

Come again like before… with Your mighty rushing wind…come!

For Judas and The Thief

“…What shall I do with this man you call your King?”

They shouted back, “Crucify him!”

Mark 15:12-13Mark 15:12-13
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12 Pilate again asked them, “What then should I do to him whom you call the King of the Jews?” 13 They cried out again, “Crucify him!”

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My enemy came to me today,

I wanted to turn and walk away!

“Who does he think he is?” I said.

A Voice, from deep within me, pled…

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“He is another for whom I’ve died,

Like you, he’s stolen, cheated, lied;

Yet what you two must understand,

Is for your sins, they pierced My hands…

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The BOTH of you, are dear to Me.

Oh, child of Mine, why can’t you see?

That what you think is “Ministry”

Is really PRIDE – it isn’t ME!

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I want you two to listen well…

Perhaps the others you will tell;

I have no enemies – none at all!

And if you’ll listen to My call…

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I’ll take you where no pride can grow;

You’ll have to kneel and bend quite low;

With basin, towel, and love anew,

You’ll wash the feet of those who threw…

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The stones that made your poor heart bleed;

You’ll find new ways to meet their needs.

And when you’re tempted to forget,

You’ll remember that your needs were met…

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By One who laid beneath your stones,

With bleeding wounds and broken bones

Yet harkened to his Master’s Voice,

Renounced his fear and made the choice;

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To look not on the things you’d done

But offer up the gift he’s won,

Of mercy from a brand new heart…

I’d given him—he’s done his part.

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And now I turn to look at you,

Like Judas and the thief who threw,

Betrayal and curses into My face

When I had offered loving grace-

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You must decide what you will do

When you are hated by a few

Who still don’t understand or know

I have NO ENEMIES here below…

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Just wounded hearts, in need of love,

That you are called, like One above,

To give away – forget the cost.

For sinful pride, how much is lost!

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A new heart here I have for you

With Mercy, Love, and heaven’s dew—

Of thankfulness for sinner’s blame…

Forgotten Forever—because I came!”

 

 

Comfort My People

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Comfort my people? With what? (I know I’m your kid God but, jimmeny-crickets! Have you seen what’s goin’ on down here?)

How is comfort supposed to flow from such a dry and barren place?

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Besides… they are Your people God. You comfort them!

(I don’t even like most of them.)

Me?

(Oh no, You’re right.)

I don’t like me, either.

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I’ve become like them… mean, bad, and nasty.

Disillusioned and hard, and yes, dry.

This vineyard has destroyed whatever I once had.

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I had such high hopes once.

“Rivers of living water flowing OUT of me…”

That’s what I thought… hoped. Not this.

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Habakkuk’s Vineyard and living water… now THERE’S an oxymoron!

(I guess I just don’t get it.)

Oh, I know what “the crowd” will say…

What the crowd always says, “We told you so!”

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The crowd.

(The mean-bad-n-nasty, you mean.)

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Well let’s see… (Huh? Whadda ya say?)

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I don’t GET it?

(Yeah God, I just said that.)

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(You love them?)

The mean-bad-n-nasty crowd…

You love them?

Why?

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(I TOLD You I don’t get it.)

How can You love them? Me …them!

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I can’t stand to be in the same room with… them.

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(You know that?)

“Comfort them.”

…comfort?

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(How does one comfort The Enemy?)

I’m sorry God. All I have left are questions…

Mean, bad, and nasty questions.

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I’m sorry, I don’t know how to do what You ask.

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(It’s not in me anymore.)

The DREAM-MAKER’S Promise:

“Comfort, yes comfort My people! says your God.” Isaiah 40:1Isaiah 40:1
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40 1 Comfort you, comfort you my people, says your God.

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The Caterpillar’s Prayer:

I know I’m supposed to forgive my enemies God. (I know.) But I don’t even know where to begin… there’s so much stuff!

So many wounds. (They wanted to destroy me God!) They tried. Oh, how they have tried! Over, and over, and over again, and they almost succeeded God… so many times. (You know. – You saw.)

How do you forgive someone who is dedicated to the task of destroying you?

You know sometimes I feel just like a little kid again. Dad is standing over me telling me to, “Eat my yellow squash.” (I hate yellow squash!) I know it’s good for me… but that doesn’t mean I want to do it! (Yeah… just like forgiveness.)

Jesus help me. I can’t do this on my own. (They hate me so much… they wanted me dead!) It’s there in their eyes… in their deeds. Pure hatred.

So much, I can’t even bear to look at them anymore.

Where do I start Jesus? Where? The cross?

(We always come back to that, don’t we?)

 

My Cross

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Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto

the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

Psalm 51:1Psalm 51:1
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51 For the Chief Musician. A Psalm by David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. 1 Have mercy on me, God, according to your loving kindness. According to the multitude of your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.

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In all my woe I ran to Man

Hoping for successful plan

“Show me options, and a way,

To fix my broken life today.”

~~~

But nothing could they do or say,

To end my pain and sad dismay.

In fact, their offers came to me,

With strings attached – nothing for free!

~~~

“Fix us! Fix us!” their deeds cried out.

“We, too, are bound by fears and doubt!”

“Dear God,” I cried. “What can I do?”

Man’s help is useless, only You…

~~~

Can bring the mercy that I need.

“Where do I go?” is what I plead.

Do for me what no man can,

Deliver by Your awesome hand!

~~~

~~~

THE CROSS, my child, is where to go…

That is where “free mercy” flows;

Where pain is healed, and woe erased.

THE CROSS is where you find such grace.

~~~

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Man can’t give you what you need,

On that, you and I agree.

THE CROSS is where fear is undone;

THE CROSS is where REAL life’s begun.

~~~

Abundant life with joy and peace;

Freedom’s found and you’re released!

It’s all right here awaiting you,

And here is all that you must do…

~~~

Come, hungry, needy, wanting more…

That is what MY CROSS is for!

To heal your wounds – replace your strife,

With Living Water bringing LIFE!

~~

Come, drink your fill… and still, there’s more!

This is what MY CROSS is for.

A heart that’s healed – your life restored

At Grace and Mercy’s open door…

~~~

MY CROSS! That’s why I came and died.

Plunge beneath its crimson tide…

God’s grace is bountifully applied.

Mercy is free. Not one denied!

Sinning Saint On Sinking Sand

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A sinning-saint, that’s what I am!

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(Talk about your oxymoron!)

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I accuse myself God:

  • of failure
  • of fainting
  • of fatigue so deep…

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(Are these excuses or accusations?)

Why do I do it God?

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Why do I choose the thing I don’t want?

The words I wish I hadn’t said… the deeds so petty… so unkind?

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If “saint” I be (and this I know) for Your own word declares it true…

Then why this “un-saintly” behavior?

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I do not understand myself.

I let You down, and others, too.

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I do things even I can’t stand, and think, and say…

(Well, God… you know.)

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I’ve no excuse.

(I give You none.)

It’s for my failures that You died.

All I can do; all I can say; is hushed in shadow of Your cross.

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I bow my head in shame’s disgrace, and wait for cross’ crimson tide, to sweep away sin’s heavy load.

Oh God… I thank You for this gift!

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(You truly are my only hope.)

My hope is built on nothing less; than Jesus blood and righteousness

I dare not trust the sweetest frame; but wholly lean on Jesus name

On Christ the solid rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand

All other ground is sinking sand

The DREAM-MAKER’S Promise:

“It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.  I love to do God’s will so far as my new nature is concerned;  but there is something else deep within me, in my lower nature, that is at war with my mind and wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. In my mind I want to be God’s willing servant, but instead I find myself still enslaved to sin.
So you see how it is: my new life tells me to do right, but the old nature that is still inside me loves to sin. Oh, what a terrible predicament I’m in! Who will free me from my slavery to this deadly lower nature? Thank God! It has been done by Jesus Christ our Lord. He has set me free.”  Romans 7:21-25 The Living Bible

The Caterpillar’s Prayer:

Abba! When will we learn? Apart from You, we can do nothing. [John 15:5John 15:5
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5 I am the vine. You are the branches. He who remains in me, and I in him, the same bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

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© 2017 Martha (Molly) Gibbons blog text. All rights reserved.