I recently received some “helpful” advice from a family friend, that my poetry did not seem “Christian” enough. She did not say as much, but she did express grave concerns over my standing with God. So, I felt like it was time to write out my own personal mission statement.
When you’ve put faith in Christ, peace is not a destination vacation reached after an 8 hour flight. It is a long and often bloody battle. It’s a process called sanctification.
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.
My poetry is simply a chronicle of that process of surrendering to God (or of His taking from me) the things that I would hold to be higher than Him. I often look to the Psalms for my inspiration. David frequently opens his songs with the feeling that he has been abandoned by God. And through the process of writing David reminds himself of God’s past faithfulness and places his faith in this same God despite his own feelings or emotional state.
That is the definition of faith.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
Being an authentic Christian does not mean being a Stepford wife, all plastic smiles and cheery platitudes. It does not mean glossing over our struggles to save face. My experience with God has been a spiritual wrestling much like Jacob’s story in Genesis. It is my hope to honestly express my experience with Christianity even if that means acknowledging the struggles. It is my hope to be part of a community that encourages me and sharpens me (like iron sharpens iron). It is my hope that anything I write may resonate with people of any faith or even no faith at all. And that even if no one else is to ever read anything I write, I will still use the written word to work out and understand my own journey. I will continue to wrestle with God and even through he may dislocate my hip in the process, I will say as Jacob said, “I will not let you go until you bless me.”