Monday, February 27, 2017

The Secret of His Presence

My thoughts this week
have been filled with eternity.
 A dear friend just left this earth,
and now there is a void in my heart
and in the hearts of all who loved her.

Are you missing someone dear?

Can we face sorrow together?

I Miss You

Your death leaves a hole

You have found the secret place

But my heart still burns

 --Bettie Gilbert

And while my heart still grieves,
there is a hope that goes deeper
than any pain could touch,
A waiting for the time 
our paths will connect again.

My dear one is at the feet of Jesus
Her pain no longer consumes
Her soul has found relief
And her body is set free.

Heaven of Love

The secret of God

Rests in His Heaven of Love

My soul burns to go 

--Bettie Gilbert 

I pray you find the comfort that Jesus brings
Sharing in our sorrows
And bearing all our grief. 

These poems are offered as part of the #Haiku #Poetry Challenge
placed by Ronovan Hester over at his site: Ronovan Writes 
where the prompts this week are "Secret&Burn." Find other great Haiku when you click over to his site.

I am linking today with:





Thursday, February 23, 2017

Unlocking the Heart

When my last post had words
simmering under the heat 
of ice melt,
I thought my heart was melting
in the stillness also.

But the beginning of the ice melt
is only, well, the beginning.
And the cold has returned to our Wisconsin
Lake town.

But what about my heart? Is this only the beginning
for the ice melt there as well?

Today is Week 8 over at Michele Morin's site Living Our Days,
where we have been studying C.S. Lewis' myth re-told, Till We Have Faces. If you enjoy lively discussion and vivid insights, then hop over to Michele's site for her excellent leading of the study.

And, if you have been following along here, you might remember that Orual had just become Queen in our last study.  After her sister Psyche's banishment to a life of desolation, and Orual's own inner desolation, Orual chose to immerse her days in becoming more and more "Queenly," and took up the title with much virtue. She instituted changes that brought a level of justice and knowledge that her Kingdom of "Glome" had never known before. But those were her days. Her nights were a different matter:

"one little stairway led me from feast or council, all the bustle and skill and glory of queenship, to my own chamber to be alone with myself--that is, with a nothingness."  

As her years wore on, "round and round like a wheel," Orual became weary of the never-ending sameness to her days, and decided to go on a tour of the countries surrounding her own. The lands were finally at peace with each other, and she thought there could come a variety to her days by traveling.

In all of these years, Orual had chosen to wear a veil to cover her own face. Ever since the devastation that happened at the mountain with Psyche, there was a hiding that Orual took up as a cloak. And as the years lengthened, there were fewer and fewer alive who had remembered seeing her face. Always called "ugly" when she was younger, there was now surrounding her an aura of mystery.

Towards the end of the traveling tour, while her companions and servants rested, Orual wandered into a temple where a strange priest recounted to her the tale of the young goddess called Istra, (Psyche's given name,) who had been banished to a life of desolation.  In those moments, Orual's hard heart threatened to break open. She was furious over the way the story of Psyche had been misrepresented through the years.  The true story rushed into her memory, indeed into her very heart, and she remembered the times that she had not admitted to anyone: she had seen the god with whom Psyce dwelt in the palace of supernatural making. In her anger she vowed to tell her own version of the story, and she would unleash her anger at the gods for taking away her own Psyche.

"Often, though I had seen a god myself, I was near to believing that there are no such things. The memory of his voice and  face was kept in one of those rooms of my soul that I didn't lightly unlock. Now, instantly, I knew I was facing them."

As I wait to read the final chapters of the book, I wonder what will become of Orual as she unlocks her heart to face the ice-melt that is happening there. Will she ever remove the veil that she has shrouded herself with for so many years?

More importantly, when the true God who created
all of these dwelling places for us,
our very souls,
calls us to let Him remove the veil
and melt our hearts,
how will we respond?

In my place of pain and weakness,
will I let Him speak words of beauty 
over me?

Or will I choose to hold onto 
the tattered and worn veil,
refusing to let Him cover me
with His words of Love?

As I pray for my own heart
to find the unveiling
so that I can be covered by His Love,
my prayers are also filled
with longing
for you, my friend.

Will you open to Him?

 "The Lord your God in your midst, 

The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV 



If you want to catch up on any of the posts relating to C.S. Lewis' Till We Have Faces, you can find an index by clicking here.

I am linking today over at #LiveFreeThursday Suzie Eller


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Ice Melt

I have been waiting all winter for these days. The time when the ice on the lake in our little town begins its receding has come early this year.  What a beautiful day to stand in the sun warmth and see the ice actually melting!

Has God been waiting and watching me, preparing the way for that same ice melt in my heart?

Ice Leaves 

The heat of the sun

Brings ice sweat melting winter

My heart warms also 

--Bettie Gilbert

In the winter of my soul, I find in the hardness a place of false rest. If only I didn't have to look at the tender places, where hurt and healing rest side-by-side, maybe I would be able to ignore the process that seems to take far too long for my own wishing.

But the process requires a scorching and a melting to clear away the dross and the chaff that has accumulated in my soul. 

Heat Burns

Don't sweat the small stuff

Watch as heat burns daily chaff

Purifies my heart 

 --Bettie Gilbert

Through the life-long days of 
whatever Season you find yourself, 
there is ONE who sees your heart. 
He will never
leave you abandoned
scratching to find your own way.

He waits for the ice to melt
and for the heat to soften our hearts
touching us there
with His Love.

And He says,
"I cared for you in the wilderness,
    in the land of burning heat."
Hosea 13:5 NIV 

These poems are part of the challenge for Ronovan Hester's #Haiku #Poetry where the prompts for this week are "Sweat&heat" over at his site:   Ronovan WritesCheck out some of the wonderful offerings there this week.

I am also linking today with these great bloggers:
Meg Weyerbacher, #TeaAndWordTuesday

 Jennifer Dukes Lee, #TellHisStory

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Surprised by Love

Have you ever felt your heart
whisked away into a surprising
and mysterious Love?

This is week 7 for the Book Study over at Michele Morin's site: Living Our Days, as she has invited us to join in for the discussion of C.S. Lewis' "Till We Have Faces." I must admit that after last week's (click here for my thoughts on that) intense passages, where Orual chose such a dark path, I had a hard time wanting to read what would happen next. So, when I finally picked up the book to read again, I was expecting to find the wasteland feelings that Orual was set to walk in. However, I was not expecting to find a bright spot in a love that was manifest in an almost hidden event.  

My own heart is finding a surprising Love
from my Dear Lord, as He persists in calling me to a place of Stillness in His Heart.

Orual and her Greek Slave/Tutor, "The Fox," continue to have a deep relationship, even as Orual faces the prospect of the King's imminent death, and her progression into becoming the Queen. As one of her first duties to protect the Kingdom, Orual is thrust into the prospect of a dangerous duel with a neighboring Kingdom's wicked Prince.  Of course, The Fox is against the prospect of Orual taking up the sword-fight herself, even though he finds out that she has been secretly coached by Bardia in the skill.  He argues with her, and pleads for her to give it up. But then the next day he approaches her with this thought, that could almost be brushed over in the quickness of the day's events:

"Daughter, I did badly last night. I think this offer to fight the Prince yourself is foolish, and what's more, unseemly. But I was wrong to weep and beg and try to force you by your Love. Love is not a thing to be so used."

I expected the story to stop, and for all to pay attention right then! Wasn't this the very thing that Oraul needed to hear about true love? Wasn't this the very thing that she had herself tried to force on Psyche in her own selfishness?  But no, the story moved on, and my heart was left to wonder at the brief encounter.  Until pages later, after the King finally succumbed to his illness, and Orual was made Queen, her first official duty was to grant her Dear Fox his freedom.  She realized what that freedom meant for one who had so longed for his own country for a lifetime of years. Oh! In her giving him that right, she faced not just Psyche gone forever, and not just years of wasteland ahead of her as she felt the god's anger with her, now she faced the very real possibility of one who had been more a true Father to her than her own Father had ever been, walking out of her life also. Of course he would choose the freedom of finding his own country again. Who would not?

I have known those longings
They feel as lifetime journeys
Even if time does not agree
The heart knows a different beat
And looks for a country
A Heaven Home
Fairer than any I see before me. 


But after a long night of inner struggles, The Fox meets Oraul with these words:

"Wish me well, daughter. For I have won a battle. What's best for his fellows must be best for a man. I am but a limb of the Whole and must work in the socket where I'm put. I'll stay."

And once again, C.S. Lewis had me weeping when I least expected to do so. From the heart of a Greek Slave, who held onto Philosophy and Rational Thinking as his sole foundation, he yet understood the depth of what True Love looked like.  He embraced his part in the Story, in Orual's life, as best for himself even if it required his own surrender.

How many times have I heard
my Lord whisper 
deep into my heart
"Choose the better way."
"Choose the way of Love."

 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 

John 15:13 NIV 


In these days approaching the Season of Lent, 
My heart is drawn to the One who faced the ultimate test of True Love.
His heart won the battle
And gave what I could never give
The Truest Sacrifice 
of Love:
His Life for mine.

How will I respond
to Love that is so pure?

Could I choose 
to surrender my will for His?

Could we see 
What only Love would know,
Our hearts would run
to give Him all.

 If you are looking for a great Devotional
especially for the Lenten Season,
my blogging friend,
Susan Chamberlain Shipe,
has just finished this beautiful book.
Find it Here at Amazon.

If you are interested in reading any of the posts pertaining to the book study of C.S. Lewis' Till We Have Faces, you can find an index to the series by clicking here.

I'm linking today over at:
#LiveFreeThursday, Suzie Eller 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Shadows in the Stillness

Wow. Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I wonder who it is that stares at me.  When did the eyes sink low, and the grey paint this hair? 

Do you ever feel that way?

The years flow swiftly 
and my heart has trouble
keeping pace.

But there is ONE who sees with eyes 
that are true,
and HE would call me close
to see with eyes
made new with HIS sight. 


Turn my eye to you
Love bids my heart come, look in
The shadows all fade   
--Bettie Gilbert

The beauty of youth
Fades, the mist and shadows spin 
Eye of Love sees true. 
--Bettie Gilbert 

"The eye is the lamp of the body. You draw light into your body through your eyes, and light shines out to the world through your eyes. So if your eye is well and shows you what is true, then your whole body will be filled with light."

Matthew 6:22 (The Voice) 


Are your eyes weary with the shadows
or the fading of light?

Will you look with me
for eyes made pure
and vision restored 
from a light within?

I pray that we will lift our lamps
to catch the light
that Jesus brings
and take Joy in a Love that sees true. 




These poems are offered as part of the challenge put out by Ronovan Hester at his site RonovanWrites, for his weekly #Haiku #PoetryPrompt, where the words this week are "Eye&Fade."  


And I am linking today with



Thursday, February 9, 2017

Love or Self?

February, the month of LOVE, and I could easily rush through it all. Think that I've been here, done that, the years have proven timeless for me, and Love becomes easy and same, day after day.

But here it is, week 5 in this online book study of C.S. Lewis' Till We Have Faces, and my heart is shattered by the conviction that

the depth of LOVE can never truly be plumbed.

What have I really learned about loving
and giving away my own rights?

Midpoint through this book, and things have come crashing down around Orual and her sister Psyche.  What seemed like love to Orual has shown itself to be something deeper and uglier. When Orual is confronted with Psyche's choice to live out her days in a place that is incomprehensible to Orual, she makes a choice to try to "rescue" Psyche for her own good.  But Psyche wants no rescue, and she cannot convince Orual that her choices are her own to make. Desperate to have Psyche back in her own world, Orual does the unthinkable and threatens Psyche that if she doesn't leave it all to come with her, then Orual would be willing to go to the awful depths of taking Psyche's life and then her own.

My heart was crushed at the awful plans that Orual laid out.

But a deeper conviction pierced through me when I read Psyche's response:

"Oh, Orual--to take my love for you, because you know it goes down to my very roots and cannot be diminished by any other new love, and then to make of it a tool, a weapon, a thing of policy and mastery, an instrument of torture--I begin to think I never knew you."

How could Orual take that love, and use it in such an awful act of manipulation?  I could not comprehend the depth of her will. And yet . . .

Have I not
sullied the Name of Love
when I have asked for it
on my own terms?

Have I not
misused my own desires
to label my Dear One's
needs as theirs
when mine
were the answers
I sought? 

What hope
is there 
for one such as I?

How can Love
ever be
full and free
and pure?

The Words from my Lord have been spoken so often that they can become one more way to rush through a season that has become artificial and man-made. But God's Words do not become LESS TRUE by our own misuse. No, His Love becomes even more pure  when placed against the starkness of our own selfish desires. 

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.  

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:1-7, NIV 

Only Jesus can transform my own loving
to look more like His.
Only Jesus has fully known
true selfless love.

And when my heart is stirred to
then His Spirit
is the One who is
doing the stirring
within me. 

Will you join me and ask for
His Love
to inhabit our hearts?

May our Lord Jesus
flood the corners
of selfishness that still lurk
hidden away,
and show us the way
to love our Dear Ones
with His 
Heart of Grace.

Oh Glorious Freedom
The Love that floods
From Jesus
brings with it
His Glimpse into the Beauty
that is His Picture
of our Dear Ones.

If you are interested in reading any of the posts pertaining to the book study of C.S. Lewis' Till We Have Faces, you find an index to the series by clicking here.


I am linking today with:

Suzie Eller, #LiveFreeThursday 

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