So Will I

On this last day of April, I would like to share one of my all-time favorite poems/songs. The lyrics and music are beautiful beyond description, like the God about whom it is written, and the visuals on this rendition leave me breathless and overflowing.

So Will I (100 Billion X)
Words and Music by Joel Houston Benjamin Hastings & Michael Fatkin
© 2017 Hillsong Music Publishing CCLI: 7084123

VERSE 1
God of creation
There at the start
Before the beginning of time
With no point of reference
You spoke to the dark
And fleshed out the wonder of light

CHORUS 1
And as You speak
A hundred billion galaxies are born
In the vapour of Your breath the planets form
If the stars were made to worship so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve made
Every burning star
A signal fire of grace
If creation sings Your praises so will I

VERSE 2
God of Your promise
You don’t speak in vain
No syllable empty or void
For once You have spoken
All nature and science
Follow the sound of Your voice

CHORUS 2
And as You speak
A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath
Evolving in pursuit of what You said
If it all reveals Your nature so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You say
Every painted sky
A canvas of Your grace
If creation still obeys You so will I

BRIDGE
If the stars were made to worship so will I
If the mountains bow in reverence so will I
If the oceans roar Your greatness so will I
For if everything exists to lift You high so will I
If the wind goes where You send it so will I
If the rocks cry out in silence so will I
If the sum of all our praises still falls shy
Then we’ll sing again a hundred billion times

VERSE 3
God of salvation
You chased down my heart
Through all of my failure and pride
On a hill You created
The light of the world
Abandoned in darkness to die

CHORUS 3
And as You speak
A hundred billion failures disappear
Where You lost Your life so I could find it here
If You left the grave behind You so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve done
Every part designed in a work of art called love
If You gladly chose surrender so will I
I can see Your heart
Eight billion different ways
Every precious one
A child You died to save
If You gave Your life to love them so will I

TAG
Like You would again a hundred billion times
But what measure could amount to Your desire
You’re the One who never leaves the one behind

By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them
by the breath of his mouth” (Psalm 33:6).

For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?” (Matthew 18:11-12).

Sabbath Meditations: “Dragon Slayer” and Other Such

Here are three last luminous poems from the pen of Carol Simpkins Floyd~

Dragon Slayer  
                                             
Dragon-Slayer is his name….a white horse is his steed
He killed the dragons in her life…by meeting all her needs
Dragons large and dragons small…..spiritual…..unseen
Monstrous things…their evil claws…muffled all her screams
His heart could hear her crying…from her dungeon heart of stone
Captive…scared…her one desire was not to die alone
“Oh, help me God if you are there….please show me what to do
Free me from this awful place….and I will live for you”
He alone was full aware…how fierce her chains were bound
More fierce his Love that loosed them all…they fell without a sound
Not by sword or shield or spear…no weapon of this earth
He set her free by Love alone…her heart was virgin-birthed
He saw in her a promised bride…who’d one day be his Queen
Fair as the moon….clear as the sun….reflecting whom she’s seen
And she in all amazement….can scarcely comprehend
Her Dragon-Slayer is her Lord…. her Savior…and her Friend
Yes!…Dragon-Slayer is his name…he rides a charger white
He wears a vesture dipped in blood…his eyes a flaming light
He’s terrible in power…He took death’s blow and won
The Bridegroom and his Bride shall wed…The Church…and God’s own Son                  
 © Carol  Simpkins  Floyd, 2001    

And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written,
King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords” (Revelation 19:16).

Sabbath Rest
“A  Nuptial  Ode”
Song of Songs

Sabbath  swept…my  soul  is  drenched  in  rest
A  willing  slave  to  peace  extreme…held  captive  by  excessive  

Love  and  pardon  mingled…mercy  pouring  down
The  dew  of  Heaven  saturates  this  dying  soul  it  found

Gates  of  brass  are  lifted  up…iron  bars  lay  at  my  feet
The  all-embracing  grace  of  God  reigns  in  triumph  sweet

Crimson  flow…acceptance  of  his  death
And  resurrection  causes  me  to  enter  in  his  restful

Sacred  pause  and  loss  of  time…seat  of  calm  repose
Trusting  him  with  all  my  sin…knowing  that  he  knows  me

Threats  of  death  fall  impotent…scarred  hands  now  own  the  keys
That  opened  Heaven’s  floodgates…bringing  Sabbath  rest  to  me

Wedded  hearts…solitary  rhythm
Beating  to  the  Song  of  Songs…revelation  given

Of  choicest  fruits  and  Spirit  wine…Love’s  inebriation
Mandrakes  fuel  intense  desire  for  Holy  consummation

Focused  now  with  face  upturned…I  wait  for  Heaven’s  best
Till  my  Bridegroom  comes  to  take  me…we’re  engaged… in  Sabbath  Rest

© Carol Simpkins Floyd, 1998

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Adam to Image

Single  egg  and  seed
Mingled…..male  and  female  breed
Atom  to  Image  

To  behold  God’s  Son
We  the  church…..transformed  become
Adam  to  Image                   

© Carol  Simpkins  Floyd,  1990

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Psalm 139:14).

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid” (Romans 6:14-15).

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

P.S.—It’s not too late to share a poem! National Poetry Writers’ Month doesn’t end until April 30. 🙂

A Spring Carol

REST

O wrath of God…you’re quiet now and
God has rest…sweet rest
His only Son…our sacrifice
God gave his best…his best

O wretched death…Christ felt your sting and
Now he lives…he lives!
Inside of us and sings his songs
And we are his…we’re his!

O Sacred Love…forgiveness pours and
We are blessed…we’re blessed
Our sin is gone…our soul is saved and
We have rest…sweet rest

©—Carol Simpkins Floyd, May 10, 2016

Zephaniah 3:17- “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty. He will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy He will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”

Hebrews 4:10…”For he that is entered into God’s rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.

This striking poem (and verses) were shared with me by Carol—a newly discovered sister in Christ! She authored the poem I posted a couple of days ago (“I Do”), and I will share two more of her poetic gems on Sunday. One of the special joys of blogging is discovering new friends and family in Christ from around the world! I asked if I could share a little bit about her, and this is what she offers us—

April 20, 2020

Kathi and I came to know each other through e-mail correspondence. I was on line searching for hidden treasure in the Song of Solomon when I noticed Kathi’s blog. I thought her comments might have a softer heart touch than the other listed references. I opened her blog and began to read. I was amazed at the beautiful artistry and the clarity she paints with her words and photographs. So beautifully transparent! I saw a celebration not only of our Creator but I saw too, a celebration of the life He’s given us. I sent this correspondence to her, including the footnote.

Hi Kathi,

My name is Carol Simpkins Floyd. I found your posts on the Song of Solomon and I am blessed to see the revelation that God has given you. The Song has been and still is the rejoicing of my heart. I’ve memorized the 8 chapters. Here’s a little bit about me—

I married at 16 . . . which had its own set of problems. I was unable to finish high school. I earned my GED and worked at a lot of different jobs before I settled into the medical field. I became a Christian in 1975 at the age of 29. My husband Jack became a Christian 8 months later on Easter. He walked with the Lord for 2 years and we were so happy. But the storms and the trials and the cares of this life were too much for him and he slowly chose to go back into the world.  

We had 3 beautiful children (1 daughter and 2 sons ) and 17 years of marriage when he walked away.  I was devastated! I couldn’t believe it was happening! We’d been so happy serving the Lord together. 

But in my brokenness and confusion Jesus became more real to me than ever…His Holy Spirit drove me into his Word for my comfort. He began to give me songs out of His Song of Songs and poems from his heart.

After Jack left, I found a job working as a unit clerk and 2 years later at age 39, I went to school and received my certification for Respiratory Therapy. I transferred to Sleep Medicine the last 8 years that I worked. I received my Registry in Sleep 2 years before I retired. God is amazing to help us when we step out in faith!

I was single for 24 years before I remarried. Jim and I happily serve the Lord together and we’ve been married for 16 yrs. He is a wonderful man. He preached 14 years before he was filled with the Holy Spirit in 1972.  He traveled as an evangelist for 2 years and in 1974 the Lord directed him to build the church he still pastors (Christian Fellowship Church at Bowling Green KY).

Together we have 6 kids, 11 grandchildren and soon to be 20 great-grands. All the sons and daughters in law that we’ve been blessed with are as precious to us as our own children.  If the Lord allows, we may be able to see our 4th generation. Looking forward to that!

I will celebrate my 74th birthday next month and the journey so far has been real. I say that on this side of mountain-top joys and darkest-valley sorrows. Amazing how tears seem to accompany both walks. Through happy tears and sad tears, we keep breathing and life happens. But we’re never alone and we’re never unloved! Jesus leads the way. We breathe in his love with each breath we take.

I look back now at how things happened and I see God’s hand in my life. So precious! I love that he shares life with me! The ups and the downs! He’s my best friend! And he has an amazing sense of humor! I had only written one poem in my life and it was about a witch! When he began to move me to write, I knew the words that flowed from my pen were anointed with his Spirit. I treasure that…my words would have no life if not for Him. I pray these poems will be a blessing!  God Bless You!  Jesus Loves You!

Thank you Kathi for the opportunity to share,

Carol

Footnote: Thirty-two years after our divorce, Jack returned to Jesus. He served the Lord 4 years before the Lord took him home. He was a changed man….wild horses couldn’t have dragged him away from his Savior.

I Do

“How beautiful the sorrow
How exquisite all the pain
Without these tools of mercy
I could not have known your name

“For in my senseless journey
Strong needs were driving me
Each path I chose brought heartache
And still…I couldn’t see

“Your higher purpose for my life
The plans you had in mind
You saw the things that I would see
When I became un-blind

“Relentless love…O violent grace
Sweet heart of love so true
My tears were merely stones that
Paved the pathway back to you

“Royal groom…your very blood
Bought back your faithless bride
A marriage contract sealed the day
That you were crucified

“Thank you for our pain Lord
That betrothed my soul to you
I LOVE you Jesus … Savior. … God
I do . . . I do . . . I do !!!”  

—Composed and shared by a blog follower and sister in the Lord, Carol Simpkins Floyd, while reflecting on Hosea 2 and Revelation 21:9. Copyright 2011.

And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife” (Revelation 21:9).      

And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the Lord. And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God” (Hosea 2:19-20 and 23).

Thorny Crowns

The crown of thorns they placed on Jesus’ head
Adorned the king of kings with unjust shame.
It was for us his precious blood was shed;
He bore our weight of punishment and blame.

“Corona” is the “crown” of viral ill.
Contagious as the curse of sin and death.
Invisibly infecting whom it will
Through sharing touch or just the kiss of breath.

Do we deserve to die because we live?
Can we escape this cursed crown of pain?
Can we accept the crown of thorns and give
The blessed hope of life to those once slain?

When Christ was resurrected from the tomb
It proved not only that he was the King,
But also that a kingly crown has room
For thorns and sickness both within its ring.

We are your willing servants, Lord of Love,
So we will bear our crowns of shame and grief,
Until we meet you face to face above
And spring at last from suff’ring to relief.

In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory,
and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people” (Isaiah 28:5).

I wrote this poem after reflecting on a comment from one of my blog followers, who pointed out that “corona” means “crown,” and that the coronavirus is—in a way—the “crowning virus.” In this world we will experience both abundance and lack, joy and pain, goodness and evil. God calls us to believe, to love, to be faithful, to trust and obey. The rest is up to Him.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17).

When Pa Goes to Town

Ready for a zany poem about shopping? My father was the quintessential bargain hunter and was always coming home with at least a dozen of whatever was on sale at the Piggly Wiggly or Red Owl . . . along with unusual “new” taste sensations to expand our palates, like pickled kumquats, pig’s feet, or scrambled beef brain (I kid you not). “OOOOh, yukky!” 😦 With five children, Dad would dig deep into the bargain bins and day-old bakery supplies to keep us fed! A generation later, as a mother of seven (six strapping sons), I built on my father’s foundation and quantity shopping became a basic survival skill. Many a week, as I waltzed down the checkout lane with 7 gallons of milk and two baskets loaded to the brim, I would get a casual smile and, “Do you run a foster care home?”

At any rate, my oldest brother wrote this poem about my father, and in honor of April being GloPoWriMo (Global Poetry Writers Month) AND musing over my big COVID shopping-for-a-month spree a couple of days ago, I thought you might appreciate a bit of comic relief.

When Pa Goes to Town
(—Robert Ward, reflecting on our father’s shopping in the 1950’s;
Copyright 2019)

When Pa goes to town
All the grocers around
Go down in their basements and hide.
They cry and they scream,
And with eyes all agleam,
Lock the doors
So Pa can’t get inside.

But Pa with a glare
Like a buzzard’s cold stare
And nose like a beagle-sired bloodhound
Gets in where he can
And with swift-moving hand
Grabs all the bargains around.

Bread for a nickel,
Peaches a dime,
Dates for a quarter,
Pa’s having a time.

“I’ll take a dozen of those,
A gallon of that,
A gross of these,
Put the rest in my hat.”

Pa loads all his stores
On his trusty go-cart,
Cracks the whip to his kids,
And yells, “Do your part!”

Dad comes home with more stores
Than can fit through the doors.
He has yams and hams
And cans of canned Spams,
And musty old
Crusty old dates.

Ma in despair
Pulls the last of her hair
And muffles a fast-rising sob.
“You can try if you care
To fit more in there,
But the army says it’s an impossible job.

But Pa is not stopped,
Though some things are dropped.
He crams and pushes and groans.
And as the roof pops
And the second floor drops,
He returns for that special on dog bones.

She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens” (Proverbs 31:13-15). I know in most families the wife probably does most of the shopping, but my mother didn’t like to shop so my father took it on. They both taught school—Mom elementary and Dad college—so on school days, while my mother packed our lunches, my father made breakfast. Without a doubt, my mother was a virtuous woman, but looking back, I remember many ways in which my flamboyant and highly unconventional father was a good dad, too!

Bird’s Eye View on Social Distancing

Don’t shake my hand, least not today; just leave the bill on in my front door.
Don’t talk to me or look my way; let’s stay apart at the grocery store.

Though birds of a feather, we can’t flock together
Lest we spread our COVID in this warm spring weather.

So, keep hunkered down and isolace.
Let’s stay at home, sheltered in place.

For this sad state I have no words
‘Cept: “Social distancing’s for the birds!”

But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise
with healing in his wings” (Malachi 4:2).

*Credits—The lovely picture of the gulls on their nest is a photo I took from a little museum at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, but I am sorry to say I do not know who took the original. The rest are mine: from 1) Marquette, MI, 2) Bay Lake in Disney World, and 3) seagulls lined up for the ferry to Mackinac Island, MI (Well, maybe lined up, but you can see that only the last one is socially distancing himself properly! 🙂 )

Ode to COVID Confinement

I cannot walk wherever I want, but I can walk.
I cannot talk with whomever I wish, but I can talk.
I cannot see whoever I want, but I can see.
I cannot do whatever I want, but I can be.
I cannot eat whatever I want, but I can eat.
I am confined in many ways, but life’s still sweet.

I cannot hug, but I can love.
I can’t do all I’m dreaming of.
I cannot touch, but I can keep.
I cannot guard, but I can sleep.
I cannot save, but I can pray.
Thank you, Father, for this day!

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

(No, we’re not on vacation with our two youngest sons in Ireland this morning; I’m sheltering in place at home. But, I am very grateful to be alive and more or less well after significantly recovering from the flu or a light case of COVID-19)!

April is NaPoWriMo! Are You Ready to Celebrate?

Ever heard of National Poetry Writers Month (NaPoWriMo)? Well, this year it’s become GLOBAL Poetry Writers Month (GloPoWriMo), so let’s go, GloPo! The challenge is to write 30 poems in 30 days, and I’d like to encourage you to try . . . even for one poem in the next 30 days (which might be more my speed)! If you write a poem and would like to share it, please add it in the comment box below whenever you get it written, or you can email it to me with a photo (kathrynwarmstrong at gmail.com), as I’m hoping to feature some poetry by friends at some point this month.

During the insecure hush that’s fallen over our world, poetry might come more readily than during the crush of business as usual. Trying to write a poem would make a fitting assignment for a home school English class or a challenging occupation for a quiet evening’s reflection either alone or with family members all sitting around the kitchen table or fireplace!

When I was young, one of the hardest things about poetry was trying to make it rhyme and ensuring there were exactly the right number of syllables per line, but neither rhyme nor meter are mandatory requirements for poetry today. Modern poetry is often more about saying something worth pondering in an artistic way.

If you’re interested in exploring more about poetry, here are a couple of links that might help get you in touch with your poetic potential:

https://www.slowdownshow.org/ This daily poetry podcast is hosted by America’s former Poet Laureate, Tracy K. Smith, and yesterday’s reading (March 31, 2020, called “Interesting Times”) is perfectly apropos for the COVID crisis!!

http://www.napowrimo.net/ This website was developed by Maureen Thorson back in 2003 as a venue for sharing poetry. If you lack for ideas or inspiration, she will be suggesting prompts every day (which you don’t need to heed, of course!). You can also submit poetry into her comment box or submit a link to your website if you’re writing poetry on your blog for the 30 days of April each year. Maureen’s website is totally non-commercial and exists out of the generosity of her heart as a way of sharing people’s love for poetry.

My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer” (Psalm 45:1).

Blessings for St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I prepared this post before Covid-19 took the world by storm and I was thinking I’d be in Texas, so it may seem a little too lighthearted for the mood of our world, but then it occurred to me that we all we could all use a little cheer. Also, I’ve been sick with a wretched cold/flu (thankfully, probably not Covid-19), so I don’t have quite the umph to prepare a serious blog, although my hope is to begin sharing soon some ideas for what to do while we’re all confined. However, today I am praying over each of you who reads this some of these sweet blessings!

lll

“The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace” (Numbers 6:24-26).