Today at The Grove, we have a very special someone writing for us. If you’ve been around The Grove much, then you already know her. From our very first week, Kristi Magi has continually gifted us with her words. She’s a way with words quite unlike anyone I’ve ever known. And I want you to know her, to know the person behind the poetry.
So I’ve invited her here today to share with us and to launch all of us into sharing our thoughts, words and art on the prompt “write.” Because, I’m telling you, something happens when this woman writes… –Danielle Wheeler
Write. I’ve always written. Write a blog post. I’ve never written one. Write for myself. Familiar territory. Write for others. The unknown. Write about myself. I’d rather eat stinky doufu and congealed duck blood. Yet I have been asked to share my story, to let you know “where this poetry is flowing from.” Do you see my dilemma? Yet, somehow, for some reason, I believe God wants me to share a very personal piece of my life with you. This story is not complete, so I don’t know where to begin or end. But I do know this story is about the Father’s work of restoration and redemption, so I want all glory to go to Him. I also know it’s bigger than me, so I want to draw you into it. Thus I write.
An almost tangible darkness closed in around me as I sat in the dim light of a desk lamp in a small city in northwest China. I was weeping uncontrollably wanting the pain, loneliness, and confusion to stop. Trying to make some sense of this spiritual darkness that enveloped me, I picked up my pen and put it to paper. Since junior high writing, especially poetry had been a way to sort things out – to process what was going on inside me. Not this time. Words splattered onto the page like blood from an open wound. Nothing was coherent or comforting. Instead the words were a reflection of what was going on inside of my head. Emotions, intellect, and Truth ran together. The internal storm had made these three parts of me bleed and run together as if rain were falling on a water color painting. Nothing made sense. I couldn’t write my way through this darkness. I didn’t write another poem for almost 15 months.
A Return to the Familiar
After only one semester, I returned to the States hoping that I would see the dawn. Instead the darkness became even more oppressive. Pennsylvania had been my home for my entire life, but it was not the place of refuge or the source of answers for which I had hoped. It was there among the familiar that Mercy’s wrecking ball leveled my life. My dreams were shattered. My identity dismantled. I was lost and at a loss. I spent the next year painfully sifting through the rubble of what had been my life learning that I was never meant to build my life alone and that I was not expected to rebuild it alone either. Instead I was to lean hard on my Maker and Re-maker, The Architect, The Builder, the Lover of my Soul.
February 2012, I again put pen to paper. The words came one drop at a time. It was just a trickle at first. But over the next few days, weeks, and months words began to pour out. The trickle became a gushing stream. God was speaking, and I began to understand. Finally, I could do more than groan in response. The processing process had begun. What God had poured into me over the past year began to pour out.
Beijing: August 2012- June 2013
I never thought this would happen. I thought I had been disqualified, but I was back in China. The only thing I was sure about was God wanted me here. Everything else was a series of question marks. Where would He lead? Would I be able (willing) to follow? Would I feel as alone in a city of more than 20 million as I did in a small city in western China? Would I be able to teach? Could I open myself up again to people that I didn’t know? Could I learn to negotiate a large Chinese city when I had so little experience negotiating any large cities anywhere? Sadly, the biggest question I had was whether or not God in His goodness would be with me in the things to which His sovereignty brought me.
Over the course of the year God answered my questions through His Word, songs, things I read, conversations, small group studies, sermons, and prayer. The Truth He gave became a part of me, and I offered it back to Him in poems that were born not only of sweat and tears, but also of contented sighs and smiles. God, in His goodness and by His sovereignty, was rebuilding my life on the sure foundation of Truth. Through the gift of writing the Father continues His work of recovery, reconstruction, restoration, and redemption. As I write Truth is contrasted with lies and the past with the present as I reach for the hope of a future.
The following was written in late May of 2013 as I ended my first “successful” year in China.
The Tower of Me
I took the tools that You gave me
The gifts fashioned by Your hands
And I used them to build a tower
A tower for myself for my glory
Sixteen and a half years of teaching
Fifteen years of coaching
Life experiences and deep relationships
Used as bricks and mortar
As I built a tower to Heaven
Choices made to earn my way
Trying to buy my crown
With wood, hay, and stubble
Because of grace and by Your mercy
You tore down the Tower of Me
There were warning tremors
And subtle shakings
Ignored in my desire to achieve
But You would not allow pride
To blind Your beloved’s eyes
Because of love, not one stone
Was left upon another
That life came crumbling down
Only then did You become my Refuge
My Strong Tower and Sure Defense
My heart desired You above all else
I sat in the ruins
And You came to me, stooping low
You lifted me up to Your side
Higher than the Tower of Me
Could have ever reached
Have you had dreams shattered, identity dismantled? How is the Father rebuilding in you?
It’s your turn to share with us at The Grove on the prompt “Write.”
- If you don’t have a blog, share with us in the comments. We have the amazing ability to post images in our comments! So post images of your art and/or share your words there.
- If you have a blog, write or make art based on the prompt.
- Be sure to add the Velvet Ashes link (https://velvetashes.com/the-grove-letter-to-self) to your blog post. Feel free to use the button code from our side bar.
- Please select the permalink from your post (so not your blog’s url,www.daniellenotyetthere.blogspot.com but your post url:http://www.daniellenotyetthere.blogspot.com/2013/11/todays-day.html)
- Use the blue linky tool below to enter your link.
- It will walk you through selecting which image you want to show up in the linky.
- Then your post will show up in The Grove’s linky.
- Then be sure to go visit other’s sites and share some comment love! It’s the rule. We applaud brave hearts!