Anything

My sister-in-law recently gave me the book by Jennie Allen called “Anything”, and it’s really brought conviction and thought. Thus, it inspired this poem. 🙂 Happy thursday everyone!

Anything

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In the middle of the night she awoke in the dark. A small light shining through.
A voice beckoned to her, come out into the woods. Deep called to deep.
She grabbed a light sweater, running shoes on, and into the forest she flew.
Tired and weary, the midnight moon lulled her to sleep.

She lay against an elm, shivering. When out of the night the voice called.
Dear tired one. Keep moving forward, do not stop. You must rise, awake.
She knew of Him, had followed His voice thus far. But then, stop. A wall.
Not insurmountable, but a turn was taking place. It was a self-quake.

The things she thought she knew, truths, were heading somewhere south.
From seeing to knowing, she knew there must be more. But wait. Sacrifice?
Nudging her to the forest, into something deeper. Speak from the mouth.
I have your hand, I am with you. This is the only way to life. 

But dear Master, I am not ready. To say and do the things I must.
Yet, like a magnet of great force, You draw me, and I cannot turn away.
I will prepare. Provide. This journey is not for understanding, but of trust.
Deeper in you must go. Until you forget, what it was like to be afraid. 

See with each step you take, you will know My heart much better.
For when one of you is set free in the forest, it will lead others deeper. Free.
I never called you to live hindered, locked in your bedroom tight. But unfettered.
Free to follow my voice, even through the unknowns. Until You really know Me. 

I will choose You, I will. But the heart wants so many things, and it gets in my way.
I choose the good I’ve chosen, only to realize it wasn’t best. You don’t compare.
Please help me to say “anything”! To know You deeper still. Be brave.
This depth is my home, no turning back. New life before me, a trust dare.

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The cobbler and the girl

cob-re-cobblerThe sun brought beams of warmth through the dirty shop window that Monday morning. Rays of light shone fiercely, like they’d just escaped a grand darkness that they never wanted to experience again. A small spider weaved a web in the upper corner of the window as the bell above the door rang, signalling that the first customer of the morning had just arrived.

Frank finished tying his black apron around his robust figure and went to the front of the shop.

“Well good morning Mrs. Jackson! What have you got there?”

Mrs. Jackson was known in the community for a certain ‘air’ she had. Coming from a certain wealth, everyone in the town steered clear of the fiery darts of excitement in her eyes, not wanting to be her next victim of gossip.

Somehow, Frank had patience for her that few others had. He saw the humour in her quest for power; it didn’t escape him, but rather brought amusement, much to her frustration.

She pursed her pink lips a little bit tighter and stuck her chest out further, hoping to make a point.

“Well you see, Frank,” she said as though his name was a four-letter-word, “My daughter went and wore these boots right on through the mud this weekend. They’re absolutely filthy and I don’t know if they can ever be recovered. What do you think?” She asked as though she knew the answer already, and stretched out her hands, dirty boots and all.

Frank carefully lifted them from her hands, carefully unwinding the tight white-knuckled fingers of Mrs. Jackson. The noise that escaped her lungs was a combination of relief, hurt, and a hiccup. It was all up to the Cobbler now.

“Why don’t you go out shopping for a while; meander the streets. Come back in, oh, three hours. Then I’ll show you the new wonders of these boots!”

“You mean … you can fix ‘em?”

“Mrs. Jackson, I’ve been doing this a long time. I know what I’m doing. This here dirt doesn’t scare me!”

To Frank’s surprise, the upper left corner of her mouth rose to a near smile, or perhaps a twitch, and she whisked herself out of the store.

He smiled.

It was only a few minutes later and the tin bell over the front door rang again. This time, it was Anna. A sweet southern lady who always came for visits, and always took good care of what she’d been given. And nearly every time she came for a visit she thanked him profusely, and often with sweets.

“Mr Cobbler man, I do declare, you’ve done it again! You were right about these here shoes of mine,” she said with a drawl known only to her, as she lifted up the hem of her ruffled purple skirt. “I’ve just gone and lost that there polish you gave me and need some more! Can’t go wasting what good work you’ve done!”

Frank went to the back of the shop and came out with the polish he had originally recommended to Anna.

“Oh yes! That’s the stuff! I sure do love coming to visit you.”

“Care for a cup of coffee? I’ve got time.”

She responded without hesitation, hands clasped, “That would be lovely!”

And so for the next two hours Frank and Anna chatted about life. Her family. Her struggles. He was like a father to her and she melted into his comforting presence.

Frank handed her the newly cleaned shoes.

“There you are my girl. Nothing a little polish here and there can’t help!”

“Oh Mr Cobbler man you are the best. I tell everyone about how good you are. Oh!” she reached into her velvet purse, and pulled out a brown paper package, tied with strings (because before there was a Maria singing through the Austrian mountaintops, there was Anna 😉 ) “I made extra of this fudge, just for you!”

She hugged Frank, and walked out the door with a fresh skip in her step.

A little more time passed; the cobbler’s shop was quiet. No one coming in, and no one going out. Frank heard an old familiar song on the radio and turned it up louder. Music helped him create.

He took out some old leather and nails and began to form what he called “his special shoe”. It’s what he made for first time leather shoe buyers; the ones who’d never experienced a hand-crafted shoe like this. For the ones who after experiencing it, would never look at shoes the same. Those kinds of people.

The bell above the door rang for a third time. Frank looked around over his counter top.

“Hello?” He questioned the air.

“Hello mister,” came the tender voice from somewhere in the shop.

Frank stood up and looked over his counter top.

Before him, stood a young girl, about 7-years-old. Her blonde hair had clearly seen better days. Or maybe it hadn’t, and that was the real issue. Her tan skirt and white t-shirt looked like they were on day nine, perhaps 12. Her smile showed the innocent gap where front two teeth were missing; like they’d been stolen and never replaced.

As a cobbler would, Frank stared at her feet. Her bare dirty feet.

“Where are your shoes young lady?”

“I heard your music. Does it make you want to dance?”

“Yes. Sometimes it does. But people don’t usually see me dancing.”

“Can I see?” She smiled. And now he melted.

Carefully bending over, Frank took off his shoes, then his socks. His feet had seen better days, but not from lack of protection, but from the life in his years.

Frank put his arms in the air, as if to embrace a lady, and clumsily showed the little girl his dancing steps. Feeling silly that he was dancing alone, he took her two small hands in his and for a few moments, the little girl and the cobbler became one in movement.

She laughed. Innocent and free, forgetting whatever dirtiness and despair she had just come from.

When the song stopped, Frank fell onto his chair and the little girl kept twirling around the shop. The sunbeams followed her, as if their escape from darkness was meant for her alone.

“Little girl, can you tell me why you came in here today?”

She stopped twirling and became serious all at once. Looking guilt, her brown eyes locked with his, and in that moment Frank knew what he needed to do.

“I heard the music, and I just couldn’t help myself.”

“Have you ever heard of special shoes?”

“Special shoes?” her eyes shone with excitement and curiosity.

“Special shoes are made just for one person. No one else can wear them or they’d flop around and look funny. See, I’ve been working on these shoes. And I believe they are meant for you. Would you like to try them on?”

The little girl nodded her head without hesitation and ran towards him, placing her hands on his knees in absolute trust.

Frank melted again, and then pulled himself together to grab the box he had just put the finishing touches on.

The cobbler bent down on his knee, the good one, and looked her in the eye.

“These, my girl, have been waiting for you. And my music knew you were the one to wear them.”

He took her ankle in his burly calloused hand and the shoe slipped on. Perfection.

She looked up at him and threw her arms around him.

“Thank you mister!”

“Now you can dance in these. Just don’t forget to come in to get them cleaned any time you want and have a cup of hot chocolate with me, okay?”

“I won’t!” And the little girl ran out the door, the light following her as she ran out.

To some, he was just a cobbler; someone to fix things. To others he was known as Frank, a kind man who owned a shop, but someone they saw only once in a while. And to some, like this little girl who responded to the music, he became the very one who changed their world.

 

Copyright Lani Lupul, 2015

(image taken from Google images)

Make Room

The alarm blared as it went off early that December morn,
Kate rolled over, pressed snooze, and went back to where it was warm.
She’d asked and begged and pleaded til her knees were dark blue,
Lord, I need an answer, just what am I to do?

It appeared He was silent and Christmas was almost here,
But Kate would soon find out that her sign was very near.
The snow had fallen fresh throughout  the frosty night,
Before she knew it, a noise on the street caused her great fright.

Kate in her fuzzy slippers grabbed her purple coat,
With morning hair and breath to match as she threatened someone’s throat.
Whatever are they doing at this time of day on my street?!
At the end of her sidewalk was an orange sign waiting at her feet.

Making room for plowing, said the sign as she looked to and fro,
She moved her car and bid adieu to the man she’d never know.
A hot shower and a prayer, she stood their staring,
At her overflowing closet, trying to decide what she should be wearing.

I need to make some room in here, there’s just too much stuff.
She added it to the list of reminders – and that was enough.
Out the door with mismatched clothing and bright red lipstick,
Katie’s heart was heavy, still looking for that click.

Doesn’t God care, that I really want to know?
It’s a big decision and I’ve hardly time to be slow!
Work that day was busy, she hardly caught her breath,
Papers and phone calls blurred her mind ‘til there was nothing left.

Someone in the lunchroom had the gull to clean the fridge,
Making room for Christmas food – We need more than a smidge.
Driving home that night, she’d really had quite enough.
Her heel had broke, her stomach growled, she was tired of being tough.

Her Christmas list was long, so to Wal-Mart she went,
Even though her day had left her feeling completely spent.
The greeter he did smile, and the carols filled the air,
As she weaved from aisle to aisle, all she could do was stare.

Excuse me, she did ask to the clerk in a bright blue smock,
Why the bare shelves, you’re almost out of stock?!
The gentleman he smiled, as though waiting to be asked,
Out with the old and in with the new, we need room for everything in the back!

She paid for her items and drove home in silence, deep in thought.
No words came to her lips, just tears that kept getting caught.
For in that moment she realized, her busy day told her what she should do,
Make room, make room, for all that I want for you!

If I had prepared for Christmas as though Jesus were coming to stay,
I’d have found a parking spot, closet space, food for the fridge and chased the busyness away.
And here I am asking God for a sign of what my decision should be,
And all He asked was that I make room, so that He could come stay with me!

Christmas comes just one time a year, and we fill it with running and such,
Let’s not forget to make room for the King, and wait for His loving touch.
And the next time we wonder, “What should I really do here?”
The most important thing we need to do is make room for Jesus to be near!

Let every heart make room for Him.
Let every heart make room, for the King.

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Copyright 2012
Lani Ledingham

 

 

A Moment with the King – Part 2

Continued ….Bernice grabbed her branch with the intensity of a man at war, and prepared herself for her coming King.

“You make me laugh.”

“My mother said always be ready and resourceful,” responded Bernice, twinkle in the eye.

Gazing down the road, she began to see a man running towards them, shouting. At first it was distant, and only an echo. Then she soon heard the news she’d been waiting for.

“The King is coming! He’s about 10 minutes down the road!” Out of breath and dirty from the travels, the young man cut off a tree branch near by, and found his place, branch in hand, alongside the road and a young child appearing as eager as he.

The flies buzzed in the ears of impatient ones. Hungry ones. Curious ones.

The silence was broke.

“Does anyone realize what is happening today?” stepped out a man from the crowd, and turned, facing each side of the road alternately.

“Does anyone realize that our town will never be the same again, and ya’d better be ready to honor the King! If you’re here just for a show or a laugh, you best be going home! Now take off yer robes, garments and anything ya can spare and lay them on the road. That way the King will know we’re paving the way for him with our very own possessions!”

“Aw, come on Gaben! We’re just here for a good bit of entertainment! You know as well as I do that nothing good ever came out of Nazareth!” mocked a crude and unfamiliar face.

Gaben stared at the man intensely, and began to untie his robe. Almost in slow motion, Gaben was not one to make decisions lightly. Savouring every truth of the moment, the crowd began to follow suit.

Greens and blues and reds and every hue found in a garden began to fill up the empty spaces on the road. Bernice so carefully placed her own purple robe on the road, and returned back to Alpheus.

The palm branches gathered were lowered, as the coming of the King was only minutes away.

Eyes continued scanning the road. A child began to cry. A hearty laugh was heard.

The distant figures began to clear in the eyes of the searching crowd.

A man riding a donkey, accompanied by a gentleman on either side, was approaching. The man’s figure looked strong and protective.

Bernice squeezed Alphy’s arm.

Gaben, taking the lead again, started to shout.

“Hosanna. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”

Alpheus wasted no time in joining in and waving his branch in the air “Hosanna in the highest!”

Bernice was waving her branch passionately up and down, accidentally brushing the woman in front of her.

“Oh, I’m sorry ma’am,” apologized Bernice.

“That’s quite alright. Perhaps you should be up here. I don’t have a branch. Here, take my place.” She stepped aside.

Bernice, shocked by the gesture told her feet to move for her, please, just this moment – this moment with her King.

“Hosanna King! Hosanna in the highest!” she shouted in unison with the crowd.

The King was now visible. His kind eyes were looking over every person. Every gift lain on the road. Every act of honor. He wore a smile of deep pleasure and thankfulness.

The King, still on the donkey, approached the man who had earlier mocked his coming. No words were needed. The King paused long enough for the man to know he had been wrong. The King smiled at him, and gave a chuckle.

Raising His hand to wave to the crowd, they praised all the louder. His wave turned to a fist pumping in the air.

“Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”

Bernice’s heart nearly escaped her chest as the King began to pull the donkey towards her.

Could He be coming here? Could my dream be coming true?!

Bernice lowered her head, and said one more time, “Hosanna King”.

One of the men that had been accompanying the King touched her chin, and lifted up her head to look once more.

At that moment the world seemed to stop. The worries she had had that morning suddenly seemed so petty, as Bernice finally looked into the eyes of her King.

She adored Him, and He could tell.

The King reached out His hand from where he sat. She feared her legs might fail her, and before she knew it, Alpheus was behind her, helping her to her feet. Bernice placed her hand in the King’s and He uttered the two most fantastic words she’d ever heard, “Thank you.”

His touch was soft and firm. In that moment of truth, she knew the King felt her every dream. Her every wish. Her every fear. He knew it. And she didn’t even have to say a word.

She bowed her head, and the King carried on.

The crowds continued to shout hosanna and praises to the King they had longed to see. He had changed their hearts and they had just met Him. What kind of King could do that? Only a King who already knew them.

Bernice watched for a few minutes in her own silence, as the world around her continued to move. She was frozen.

Frozen in Alpheus’ arms.

“It’s like He knew everything I was thinking and wishing, all in that very moment. My one moment with the King.”

“I wish he could rub off some of that on me. I’ve been trying to guess what you think for the last several years!”

His humour brought her out of her divine moment, and into the present.

“You have?” she looked up at him, blushing. “Well keep working on it, you’re bound to figure it out. Some day.”

Cheeky smile and all, Bernice turned towards home.

Looking at the road one more time, Alpheus called out, “Don’t you want your robe Berni?”

Bernice turned. Hands clasped in front of her, smiling euphorically.

“No. It was a gift. I don’t take gifts back.”

He patted his heart in contentment. What a girl. Hmm, what’s this?

He reached into his pocket to find his very own gift. His grandmother’s ring.

Well, perhaps the King meant it for another day.

Another chuckle and the dust was swirling. He had a girl to win.

A Moment with the King

I wrote this short story in December 2007, based completely on my imagination expanded from a true Bible story. What follows is NOT Biblical fact. That’s my disclaimer! 😉  Read Mark 11 or Matthew 21 for the real thing. I know I’ve posted this before, but I just wanted to share a story about Jesus. Because sometimes we need a little imagination to truly realize how incredibly He has changed our lives.

Well…here’s a little from my imagination.  Part 1 of 2.

 

“He’s coming! He’s coming!” gasping for breath, Alpheus pushed the door open, bent over, hands resting momentarily on his knees.

Alpheus’ tall broad stature was always recognized from afar off, but this morning his long legs could barely get him where he wanted to go fast enough.

“The King is coming! Aren’t you ready yet? Pleeeease hurry up Berni, I want a good spot!”

He paused long enough to scratch his beard and rub his sore back. Alpheus was known to all as a patient yet strong man. He was the man every girl went to for advice and friendship. Yet one girl had captivated him. Bernice.

“Oh, Alpheus, I don’t know what to wear? I’ve never met the King before,” sighed Bernice. Her hair in disarray and her robe needing some mending, Bernice ran out of the bedroom feeling desperate.

Alpheus chuckled. He went to Bernice and grabbed her hands.

“None of us have met the King! That’s why we’re so excited! We’re all in the same boat Berni, we just want a glimpse of this man everyone is calling the Messiah! You’re not the only one feeling nervous today,” his strong, calloused hand rested on her shoulder. “You…look…beautiful.”

Somehow Alpheus always knew how to make her feel better. And blush.

Closing her eyes in determination, she breathed in deeply, gathered her purple robe in her hands, and made off into the bedroom for one last look – a squeal of excitement exiting the room with her. Her nerves had suddenly transformed into sheer joy.

The small home was nothing fancy, but Bernice’s domestic flair had created a place all her friends gathered at. This particular morning it smelled of fresh baked bread and the fresh white lilies she had picked that morning.

His eyes roamed the room looking for the loaf he knew was hiding somewhere. Finding it on the counter under a cloth, Alpheus ripped off a piece – figuring his patience had earned him the pleasure.

“Did you bring something for the King?” called Bernice from the bedroom.

He swallowed quickly and confidently replied “I sure did,” and patted his shirt pocket. “My grandmother’s gold ring. That is, if we even get close enough to the King to touch Him today!”

Silence hung like last week’s laundry – an unfamiliar experience when in the presence of Bernice.

Alpheus began to tap his fingers on the tabletop. After but a few moments, curiousity got the better of him.

“So, what are you bringing Berni?”

Bernice swung around the doorway with a cheeky smile declaring, “Me!” and swung back in.

She continued, “I’ve heard this King usually prefers gifts from the heart. I thought about it, and I figured giving my heart was the best I had.”

“Well now, isn’t that the most romantic thing I’ve ever heard,” retorted Alpheus.

Finally ready to go meet the King, Bernice slipped from her bedroom with a grace Alpheus had rarely seen. His throat nearly closing in on him, he watched as Bernice did a royal bow.

“How’s that? I’ve been practising!”

“You didn’t even bump the door on your way out. Nice.”

Recovering, Alpheus reached out for his friend’s hand. “Like I said. Beautiful.”

She wrapped her arm in Alpheus’ and looked up at him with her hopeful brown eyes.

“I think He’s the One Alphy. I think He’s the One we’ve been waiting for.”

Alpheus patted her soft hand, opened the door and responded, “I think you may be right.”

They wasted no time in getting where they needed to go. The enthusiasm of the King’s coming could be felt throughout Jerusalem that morning.

Shop owners waved to strangers – everyone was family that day. The comaderie was tangible.

Shouts of “Come on, He’ll be here soon!” resounded throughout Jerusalem as people ran to the outer limits of the town, palm branches in hand.

Alpheus squeezed Bernice’s hand as they passed by the town square.

“Here, we should stop here and grab some branches. Everyone will have one and whether we have a good view or not, I won’t show up without one!” suggested Alpheus.

Pulling out his coin bag, Alpheus showed Bernice again that he was a man that would take care.

He’s just my friend though. Began Bernice’s inner dialogue. She had told herself time and time again that Alpheus was just a friend, but something seemed different about him lately. He was more….attentive. It almost made her nervous. But before she could continue the thought, she gave herself a mental shake, pushed Alpheus out of the way and began running.

“Last one there has to clean my feet!” shouted Bernice so the whole neighbourhood could hear.

It’s when she does things like that I wonder what I’d do without her. And Alpheus stirred up his own dust and followed her lead to the town limits.

“Well, this is where everyone is,” commented Alpheus, out of breath again, as soon as he had caught up.

The rustle of the palm branches created a comforting sound that day. The branches were more than just plants that day. It was a gift – an honor to the King.

Each one found their place among the crowd; they joined the hush. The reverance. The wait.

Mothers carried wee infants in their robes, and fathers held toddlers on their shoulders for a better look. Children had ceased to play and be bothersome for a few sacred moments as the families stood and awaited the arrival of their King.

Bernice looked up at Alpheus and whispered.

“Alph, I thought I was ready for this. Ready to finally see the King. And now that we’re here, I’ll be so disappointed if I don’t get more than just a glance. I want to talk to him. Tell him my story. My dreams. My admiration for Him and what He’s already done. I somehow feel so…so…I feel so hungry to talk to Him Alphy.”

“I think that’s what happens when humanity meets Divinity. We get hungry.” Alphy reached out again and drew Bernice closer to his side.

She sighed something akin to relief. “I feel so human.”

“Somehow Bernice, I think He knows your hunger too.”

A tear escaped Bernice’s eye like a fugitive; not unnoticed.

“I hope so. I’d hate for Him to come here and He not know, and feel, how much I already care.”

Does she care for me at all? Does she know how I long to tell her my love for her? Crazy Alpheus. She’d never see you for more than what you are – a good friend. Get used to it.

Bernice grabbed her branch with the intensity of a man at war, and prepared herself for her coming King……

Part 2 to come soon…

Copyright Lani Ledingham