Monday, April 7, 2014

Formless & Void [devotional + spoken word poem]

I am beginning this week with a new series of posts, which I will write every two weeks or so. These posts will take the form of a devotional reading.  To restate my vision for these posts [and my blog overall]: to bring refreshment and renewal to those within the Christian community wrestling with loss, grief, or pain on any level. The sufferings we walk through to glory can be merely a loss of understanding our identity, or even the heart of our Heavenly Father, as we wrestle with the how of living through life's storms. Or, it could be a loss on an emotional or physical level and emerging through the trauma of those experiences.

 Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
To mould me, Man, did I solicit thee
From darkness to promote me?

[Paradise Lost, Book X 743-745]

 Recalling that place void of affection, purpose, and abundance of love, we might dare to utter these words in the secret place of our soul. Whatever manifestation of pain we face in this life, there is a natural freedom in arriving at this place. To utter words or to act in a way that we never once thought we were capable of. But suffering, in the way it isolates and shadows us, will intensely stretch and bend our capacities.

What if someone told us, in our writhing anguish, that this was okay?
To curse, to question?
The answer, always yes.  
It might startle the raging voice of the suffering into quietness, to rest. 

Our Father allows even the most detestable words to fall of our lips. He permits us to speak from our humanity. A man dealt a hard lot once spoke, "Do you think that you can reprove words, when the speech of a despairing man is wind?" [Job 6:26] The Lord, long-suffering with His children, did not speak for quite some time during that man's accusations and curses.

As stated by John Piper, "There are words with roots in deep error and deep evil. But not all grey words get their color from a black heart. Some are colored mainly by the pain, the despair. What you hear is not the deepest thing within. There is something real within where they come from. But it is temporary—like a passing infection—real, painful, but not the true person." [source]

The soul must be allowed to walk through this process in order to arrive at restoration. The pain presses in deeply and the Lord is patient to see His child restored because He knows the glory to be revealed in us, the joy to be fulfilled. There is nothing found which is not first lost. And there is no awareness of life without first experiencing death. Even in the Garden, before the first man and woman fell, there was no mental grasp for man to understand what it meant to live when death had not existed. We see this in the Cross. Our Creator could have made us all alive in Christ without the death of His Son. But we would not have known, in truth and experience, what it meant to be dead and in need of life if we did not know what Christ must suffer on our behalf. 

Darkness before Light. It is the mystery of Life. It is the comfort that supports us in our dark night. The sun always rises. 

This spoken word poem below is a spontaneous creation of mine. It was inspired by Genesis 1:1-5 and has not been edited since I scribbled it down in my notebook this past weekend.

Pursue the quiet
and listen.
Listen to the pieces
Listen to their lonely vibrations
til they wrack your brain with their monotony.
Listen to their piercing hammers
til you can hum their lifeless tune, the drumming
dead-end frequencies.
Listen until you know them well.
Translucent shards,
shatters of disappointment, grief, and horror
from the impact of
when flesh met reality,
when organ met scalpel,
when bone met decay. 
No allowances for who you wish you could be,
no permits for where you place your feet.
Your ears assigned to memorize
the clink
of your inner parts disassembling
at each gasp for oxygen
from the blow
of every loss.
in this suit of crusting skin,
convinced with a faithful vow
to instruct us
on the mechanical nature
of this body,
that all is a void
that all are varying degrees of complexities
chaotically organized to function sub-par.
And when the battery is low
there are no replacements
no recharge button
to resume our robotic rule
on the assembly line
of time.
You and I
not adding value,
but by nature
the rate of entropy,
emboldening the loss
of order,
if once there ever was.
where madness begins
to be
the most logical
the most probable
And order,
a theory
most irrational,
most unfounded.
Speak to ourselves
of wholeness
and words will ignite
a fury
motivating our will
towards a series
of crimes
to perpetuate the sequence
of degeneration
these layers of tissue.
The only certainty,
the lack.
Why does man journey
toward wholeness?
Was it intrinsically ours?
An identity we forgot?
I speak,
or is it you?
I take no responsibility,
no credit,
for this whimper of shame,
something like dependence
to hinge my canvas
on shoulders
that will bear the weight of me - this.
Myself - more like a thing
becoming inanimate,
a prop to mold into the void.
I speak,
and know not what I say.
a voice
unlike, but so like
my own,
"Let there be light."
My Creator,
separating Night
from Day. 
//yours truly, copyright April 2014//

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.


  1. This is a fascinating subject you've written. :) I feel so much better when I am honest with God and pray what I'm truly feeling, which has been feelings of uncertainty, at least lately. They might be clearing away though.

    And I really like your poem!, how it opens with repetitions of "listen" and closes with beginning words from the Creator. Lots to ponder.

    Question about your middle portion—Would you say that the fall of man was part of God's design, or...not part of it?

    Keep writing :)

    1. Jade, thank you for your reading. I think if more Christians knew it was O.K. to voice frustrations and laments at God, the way that David did in the Psalms, then they would be able to process through their struggles more quickly. I know I have struggled with guilt in this regard, thinking it would push Him away from me. But it certainly quiets me when I know He isn't leaving just because I am quite a mess.

      I realized that I left so many typos in my poem. >_< I went back to fix a few things. Can't believe I hit publish on this post! haha! It is supposed to be raw, but not that unedited.

      In regards to your question, I believe that because Christ and the work of the Cross was part of His plan from the beginning, God always knew man would choose to fall.

  2. This was absolutely beautiful! I loved the ending especially. Creation has been on my mind lately hehe. I love that you found a creative way to pour your heart out during this time. Art = Healing in so many ways. ♥

    1. :) Thanks, Alexis! The poem was kind of inspired by Frankenstein's monster. Lots of connections with identity in his story. hehe!

  3. Great text and lovely spontaneous poem. Sometimes we need the freedom to publish without editing too much. I absolutely love those first few chapters in genesis. Explains so much about humanity. Glad to find your blog. Rebekah.

    1. Thank you for visiting and commenting, Rebekah. :) I agree! It feels kind of refreshing to not be so caught up in editing every little thing we write. That kind of honesty and vulnerability can be beautiful.