Masterpiece

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We had another awesome time at Simonka this evening. The theme was “Celebrating You”, about what God thinks of the women at the shelter, through Jesus (hint: good things!).

Once again, the subject was perfect timing, as I needed to refocus and take a breather for myself after the divorce, changing my name everywhere (I hadn’t realized just how many places and accounts it would affect!), and the emotional impact of all that’s happened this past month.

None of my existing poems quite fit the theme, however, I was feeling tired and not at all sure about writing an uplifting poem when I myself felt so depleted. So I prayed and left it up to God to speak through me or not.

Before attempting to write, I first had to remind myself who I am in God’s eyes and then hopefully pour out my thanks to Him on paper. Reviewing an organized list of Bible verses that my counselor friends gave me a long time ago that’s simply entitled “Who You Are In Christ”, I chose a few that jumped out at me, and as usual, references to a few other scriptures also found their way into my writing. Not surprisingly, by the time the last line was typed, I was feeling more centered and re-energized! Here’s the poem:

“Masterpiece”

Even when I feel depleted,
God, I find myself in You.
In all, Your will is completed,
Your strength always pulls me through.
For I am Your child, joint heir,
loved daughter, saint, Your friend.
Joyfully, my all to You I bare,
though You know me beginning to end.
In my every coming and going
You anticipate each thought!
Grand mystery, how, all-knowing,
You bring good and rework the plot.
Masterpiece in the making,
unfinished and carried by love
to shine so there’s no mistaking
that my worth comes from above.
For all that I am and will be
is from You and for Your glory;
In You I’m forgiven and free,
so I’ll keep sharing my story.
For You call me Your own,
by Your sufficient grace I stand.
You empower this flesh and bone
to carry out what You’ve planned.
May I always see myself as You do:
A warrior clothed in victory.
Walking boldly ahead as You
celebrate and sing over me.

5-27-18
© Ladeena Ashley

After I shared my poem at Simonka, my friend began his message by commenting that my poem really set him up well. He was right! I chuckled to myself several times as he cited most of the same verses and points. I hadn’t seen his notes, but the Lord had, and lined things up nicely!

Here are some of the highlights:

We are joint heirs with Christ – by grace we are made righteous and will have eternal life in heaven! Romans 5:17

We are children of God – we are loved, guided, and disciplined. John 1:12

We are called to shine like stars in the sky – we’re empowered to share the joy of salvation. Philippians 5:15

We are God’s friend – we can talk to Him about anything. His Spirit works with us and gives us wisdom. John 15:15

We are His workmanship – God created you on purpose! Ephesians 2:10

We are clothed in victory – we have victory over sin and death! 1 Corinthians 15:57

God delights in us and sings over us – God thinks we’re pretty great! Zephaniah 3:17

It’s important to know our standing with God, through faith in Christ. It’s entirely different than how the world sees us, but ultimately, God’s opinion is the only one that matters. God loves us so much that He actually rejoices and sings over us! It is vital to keep that in mind during difficult seasons, to keep hope and joy alive. On the flip side, however, when things are going well, we must also remember from Whom those blessings come!

I hope this helps you remember how God sees you through Christ, and that you’re living like you believe it!

Blessings to you, this day and always!

©Ladeena Ashley
All Rights Reserved (Blog content and photos)

Amazing Adventures Await!

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So…last Friday night was awesome!

It was our turn to serve at the Simonka House women’s shelter. In just a couple of hours we’d be leading the chapel time. The poems I had selected were okay, but something felt missing. So I stopped and prayed, asking the Lord if He had something specific for me to convey to the ladies. He did. Later, though filled with nerves, I boldly stood to share the new poem the Lord gave me (written from His perspective):

“Running”

Running from Me as though you can hide.
Vain pursuits leave you empty inside.
Fleeing dark past for brighter tomorrows,
you’ll never outrun the pain and sorrows.
My child, you’ve resisted far too long
– Admit your weakness, I’ll make you strong.
For more than sufficient is My grace.
Stop trying to hide; lift up your face.
Can’t rewind, but you can turn around,
it’s not too late to cover new ground.
Adventures await the moment you pray,
“I trust You, Lord” in surrender today.

3-10-17
©Ladeena Ashley

Some of the women at Simonka are pretty vocal, and that night was no exception. Throughout the poem, several voiced their agreement and affirmation. Humbled and awestruck by the response, I carefully finished reading. Many said “amen” and I was given a hearty applause. For the next few moments I shared a couple of thoughts about running from God before playing the song Prodigal by Sidewalk Prophets. Then I sat down to listen to the message. At the end of our time together, many ladies approached me saying that my poem meant a lot to them, and few also asked if they could get a copy of it.

I shouldn’t be surprised that the Lord showed up, but sometimes I still am. Mostly I’m ecstatic just to be used so powerfully. Yet that’s what happens when we get out of our own heads, out of the way, and make ourselves available for whatever He wants.

Surrender
Like Jonah, we may not want to do what God asks, either because we’re nursing a bad attitude or have succumbed to crippling fear (sometimes both!). We can easily run away from God spiritually, if not physically. At the very least we certainly wrestle with Him, holding back portions of our lives that we just can’t quite relinquish control of. But, as Jonah discovered, God doesn’t let us go that easily. He pursues us, often disciplining us until we finally surrender to His will in that area, abandoning our own logic and throwing ourselves at the foot of the cross. Then He lifts us up, dusts us off and sends us on incredible journeys we would never have dreamed of while stuck in our own stubbornness.

Along For The Ride
While I don’t run, I’m often timid when it comes to following God – at least when speaking in public! Constantly I must remind myself that fear doesn’t come from Him (2 Timothy 1:7), there’s no room for doubt because it’s not about me (Galatians 2:20), and that God loves me and knows what He’s doing.

On Friday I truly felt like I was just along for the ride, and what an amazing ride it was! If we remain surrendered to Him and available, He will work in and through us to do incredible things! But first we have to stop running, wrestling, or cautiously standing on the sidelines.

If you’re running from God, or wrestling with God in some area, don’t wait! The enemy wants you to cling tight, because he knows that what you hold on to… has a hold ON YOU, keeping you from fully enjoying all that God has for you. So surrender it to God, then get ready, because your next steps will be the first of many adventures!

Extra Credit
For the full Bible story, read the book of Jonah (it’s only four chapters!).

Faith Notes
Another song that fit with the theme is Big Fish by FFH. It’s a little corny, but catchy!

Blessings to you, this day and always!

©Ladeena Ashley
2017 All Rights Reserved (blog content and photo)

Poem’s Progress

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(Picture: Herald of Spring – Crocus. Taken: 3-9-17)

John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

Not surprisingly, most poems I am inspired to write are from my own experiences and point of view. The one featured in this post is the first time I recall writing as God spoke directly to me, for me. It was written during a pivotal time in my young life: graduation not far behind me and an uncertain but wide-open future ahead. What the Lord spoke to my heart encouraged me to keep looking to Him through it all.

“You First!”

Hear Me when you have the voice,
Choose Me when you have the choice.
Fear Me when you have fear,
Come close and I’ll be near.
I never forsake those who call,
I lift up the weary who fall.
Follow My light when darkness is seen;
Accept My forgiveness and you will be clean.
Blindly trust Me and then you will see:
My love lasts for all eternity.
Hope in Me when no hope is there,
Love Me when your feelings are bare.
Acknowledge Me in everything you do.
Look towards Me and I will see you through.

8-20-92
© Ladeena Ashley

Creative Inspiration
The poems I write aren’t planned, they are caught on paper as inspiration strikes! Most of my experiences writing poetry begin with one simple word or a suddenly meaningful phrase. Either a familiar one from a new perspective, an odd combination of words, or simply a random concept inspired by something I’ve seen.

My soul instinctively recognizes whether it is a moment to smile and reflect, or to swiftly grab a paper and pen to keep the inspiration for posterity. Thoughts seem to come from within and yet without; separate from but working in tandem somehow with my own thinking. Once the initial word or phrase is penned, another soon follows. Like a warm summer breeze, the inner prompting and “still small voice”of the Holy Spirit at once enlivens and calms my soul.

My heart, mind, soul and the Holy Spirit seem to dance together, swaying in a glorious rhythm to compose each line, expressing the very lyrics and steps of my faith. The harmony of my heart in full surrender to God silences all discordant fear and doubt. Without speculation as to the ending, I continue writing until the words cease flowing and I sense it is complete. Gleeful inspiration then gives way to reverent awe and peace. Often I lose myself in writing, and it’s only when I finally read my chicken scratch and scribbles that I begin to fully grasp what’s been created.

Blessed to Be A Blessing
I feel incredibly blessed to have such a close relationship with the God of the universe, and that He saw fit to grant me this gift to share with others. For me, the otherworldly peace, love and holy excitement I feel – in moments of everyday life, but especially when writing – are evidence of a real and living God. It is amazing to be known and loved so deeply and completely, and in thankful awe be able to convey the reason for my hope through verse and rhyme. It never ceases to amaze me. God never ceases to amaze me.

God will be close to you, too, if you let Him. The enemy knocks loudly, but the Lord whispers to our souls. Learn to quiet your soul in order to hear His still, small voice.

As believers, we’re all given gifts. Don’t hesitate to trust Him to help you use what He has given you to be a blessing to others, wherever you are.

Blessings to you, this day and always!

©Ladeena Ashley
2017 All Rights Reserved (blog content and photos)

The Simple Things

Hi, my name is Ladeena. I’m just a simple soul who enjoys nature, music, colors and the pursuit of perfect syntax. Actively I seek and find the best in everyone and every situation I encounter: tracking down the silver lining in difficult circumstances; ferreting out blessings and hilarity in the midst of the mundane.
Perhaps you’re looking to experience a bit more joy in your life. Or you’re looking for encouragement, some smidgen of hope in a world gone crazy. My aim is to provide all of the above — as one humble soul to another. Even if you are the only person who is encouraged through my electronic endeavor, this blog will be well worth the effort.

Some Background

Since the age of 13, I have been inspired to write hundreds of poems. Most are faith-based, because I am a follower of Christ. That being said, I simply wish to share some of my thoughts and struggles, in the hopes that you will identify with some of them and realize you aren’t alone in yours. Even if you aren’t particularly religious, my goal is to inspire you; or at the very least, serve up some food for thought as you walk along your own life’s path.

Once, years ago, a publishing firm was interested in printing my poems, but the price was too steep at the time, even for a “no-frills” pressing. So I passed on the opportunity, trusting that God would show me how and when to share my gift; because surely all that encouragement and reassurance isn’t simply for me! As scary as it is to share, I feel compelled to get the words out there. So here I am.

Plan / Format

I don’t have a set posting schedule, however I’m thinking once every week or two. Though the focus will be on the poems (prose & rhyming), I may post random dissertations on a thought or concept, or a free word association on a particular subject. Wherever the winds of whimsy carry me.

Without Further Ado…

Here’s an early poem that the publishing company thought was my “signature” poem for the proposed book. Now it’s the springboard for this blog. Enjoy!


“The Simple Things”

The simple things in life are what I truly enjoy:
Like the whimsicality of a little girl or boy.
A great big field of daisies, or a blazing orange sky.
Chasing up and down a beach as the crying seagulls fly.
A butterfly on powdery wings, the mystical full moon.
Lemonade in summertime, cherries of bright maroon.
All the springtime daffodils, the amber colors of fall.
Silent frozen snow caps, a sweet bluebird’s quiet call.
A simple song to hum along as I’m working through each day:
Ever praising my Heavenly Lord, who delights me in so many ways.

© Ladeena Ashley
8-20-91

© Ladeena Ashley
2016 All Rights Reserved (content & blog photos)