This is a little longer post than usual but I needed to get the words out. Thanks for stopping by friends!
Words are my love language…my love language to God. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always had a strong love of words. I spent many hours reading books or when I was really little being read to by my parents. But most of all, I was a kid who was content with pen and paper. My mom has told me that there were many times that I would sit at the kitchen table or on the floor of our living room and pour out my heart in words. All I needed was crayons/markers/pens/pencils and paper!
Recently my friend Dana started an adventure at her church using art in its many creative forms. She started an event called 4th Fridays. Dana shared her introduction talk on her blog. I just listened to it and my heart is now undone..undone as I remember why I started writing stories, poetry, etc in the first place. I don’t write words to be recognized for them (Don’t get me wrong, it is nice to be recognized for them but that is not the most important), but to remember where I come from; to remember that I am rooted in Christ and God’s love for me.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”–Ephesians 2:10 (New International Version) In some translations, the word handiwork is sometimes translated as workmanship. Handiwork/workmanship comes from the Greek word “Poema” which comes from our English word “poem.” In the words of my friend Dana, we are God’s walking poetry. Ummm…I don’t know about you but that makes me think about my life, my artwork in a whole new perspective.
How do my words share God’s love? How do my words connect me to God and connect others to God as well? How do my words show that God is with us through the sadness and the joy, the tears and the sorrow, and so much more? How do my words/ our words impact those around us?
There have been many times that I have lifted my words to God. I have lifted them through poetry when my mom was lying in an intensive care unit. I have lifted them to God when I didn’t understand why our family was struggling with the deep grief of a mental illness. I have lifted them to God as I have yearned for God to answer the desires of my heart. But lately, I have not truly taken the time to sit, listen, and let the words truly flow onto the paper or the page as I remember the vulnerability in sharing who I am through words that I have written to share.
Working at a church, I write sermons, lead worship and Bible studies, teach Confirmation class etc. And I am pretty comfortable doing that, but ask me to share a poem or my heart and immediately I am filled with fear; deep fear. There is something so incredibly scary about sharing truly who I am with the rest of the world and especially with those that I serve. Yet God wants us to share our stories with each other. There is pure gift in knowing each other’s stories and knowing that we are not on this journey alone. I cannot tell you the number of times that God has placed someone in my path because I needed that person to hear my story OR I needed to hear their story.
Too often in this world, words are used in a negative way. We use them to bully others. We use them to hurt peoples feelings. But God wants us to use our words for the greater good. God wants us to use our words to bring glory to him. I know that can be difficult especially in this world where we use words to hurt each other, but God always sees us and knows our heart. That is a promise that I still want to cling to daily. I think of a blog post I read earlier today where the writer shared this quote by Jen Hatmaker: “People may hate us because of Jesus, but let’s not make them hate Jesus because of us.”
So, my friends, I am grasping onto that promise that if only one person reads this post and this poem, that is a-ok with me because that one person may just be Jesus. And knowing that he is seeing me and my words, I am throwing out my fear and sharing my own words with you. This poem was written about two years ago as I was thinking about my mom, her journey with a mental illness and how very difficult that can and has been for me especially.
My Momma By Tara L. Ulrich
Talking about boys and life,
Picking out my wedding dress,
Sharing about my life and loves;
These are all things that I wish
I could do with my momma
Like my friends have with their mommas.
Yet she is still my momma.
My momma has always been my shining star.
She has always been one
Of the most kindest caring people in my life.
Yet she cannot do the things that I wish for
To the degree that I hope and pray for.
Yet she is still my momma.
I want to talk to her about boys and love.
I wish that she could come with me
To pick out my wedding dress someday.
I yearn for the day when our conversations
Will be more than a few minutes.
Yet she is still my momma.
Momma has taught me so much about life.
Momma loves my sister and I UNCONDITIONALLY!
Mmomma continually shows me that normal is relative.
Momma is and will always be my momma;
A momma who reminds me daily
Of what it means to be who God created me to be!
I am linking up with Anita at Inspire Me Monday, Holly at Testimony Tuesday and Kelly at the RaRa Linkup.
I love the thought of our lives are artwork! Thank you for your beautiful reminders of what our words should bring to others. Your poem is beautiful I can appreciate the scariness of vulnerability, so very lovely! Your neighbor at Inspire Me Monday.
I know when I heard Dana share about our lives as artwork, I was intrigued by that thought. I am glad you enjoyed my poem. Thanks for stopping by.
Tara, thank you for sharing your words with us! One has to be brave to put ourselves out there and share our words. Thank you for being brave. I also like your whole idea of our written words show the handiwork of God. That's a beautiful idea! You go girl! 🙂 ~ stopping by from #InspireMeMonday
Rachel, one does indeed need to be brave to put our words out there. Our written words showing the handiwork of God…that is what I want to show every time. Thanks Rachel.
Cheering you on as you move toward sharing more of your authentic heart/art. 🙂 It was Emily Freeman's book, A Million Little Ways, that pointed out that "poiema" verse. So good, eh?
Bless you, friend.
Thanks Dana! Glad to have you by my side cheering me on! I will totally have to check out Emily Freeman's book. Bless you too friend!
Your poem is a beautiful loving tribute to your Momma. I also loved to read, write, and create as a young child. My Mom still has many of my creations. You also prompted me to listen to Dana's 4th Friday post which has blessed my heart so much.. Thank you for opening and sharing your heart with us. Love you friend, Jolene
Thank You! Kindred spirits! 🙂 I am glad you took the time to listen to Dana's 4th Friday talk. Love you too Jolene!
PS I also wanted you to know that both yours and Dana's post inspired me to write a post. Here it is, if you want to check it out. Thank you again for sharing your heart. Jolene http://musingsofawifeandmommy.blogspot.com/2015/04/tuesday-at-10-comfort.html
Great post! Glad you were inspired by both of our posts!
Yes! We need to speak life with our words. Always. I can feel your pain and pride in your momma, Tara. Beautiful, life-giving words.
Blessings to you, Tara.
Blessings to you too friend!
I learned so much from this post. Learning that the Greek Word for Workmanship serves as the English form of "poem" spurred me on to be careful of my words in every way, my thoughts, verbally and in my writing. They say that we could be the only "Bible" people read!
I was also very struck by that verse in Habbakuk. It was like I saw it for the first time! The verse spoke to my feeling of how important it is to leave a legacy. I have a journal with inspiring quotes that have touched me, I use a journaling Bible where I write dates and notes, and I write a blog which is a testimony of insights the Lord has given me through the study of His word and in my life's experiences. I hope that when I am gone, my children will have the legacy of seeing how the Lord spoke to me and that their hearts will be encouraged and blessed.
Thank you for encouraging my heart today. 🙂
Karen, I am so glad you learned a lot from my post. Yes…our words could indeed be the only Bible people read. That Habakkuk verse struck me too. What kind of legacy are we leaving in our words? I am glad that my words encouraged your heart!
Love the poem. We take so much for granted! Makes me want to hug my mom!
Thank you! And hug your mom! 🙂
Thanks for sharing your heart. Its always a little scary once we click on that "publish" button, isn't it? Will they like me? Yet, the only one we need to worry about liking us is Gid, and he likes us and loves us no matter what! Thanks for letting us see your vulnerability. That's what makes a good post great.
Thanks Mary! It really can be sooo scary once we click on that publish button. God does indeed like and love us no matter what. Thanks for your kind words Mary!
What a beautiful post, Tara! I might not have found you had you not commented on my fmf post today. 🙂 My first encounter with thinking about our lives as poems is from Michael Card, who has an album called Poeima, and he sings about the "poem of your life." I, too, love words and write poems and yes it is vulnerable to put yourself out there for others to see. But God does use us and our words in ways we might not realize. Your poem about your momma is so heartfelt and beautiful. May God continue to bless you and your words!
Thank you Gayl! And I am so glad you found me. I am going to have to check out that Michael Card album. So cool! God does indeed use us and our words especially in ways we might not always realize. Thank you about my poem too. I have a whole binder of poetry that I keep. May God continue to bless you and your words too!!