Poetry: Oh, Lord, Where Ya Been?

Image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay

Oh, Lord, Where Ya Been?

Poem by Doc Dalton

Been hiding out, lost, and confused for some time now,

Not knowing which way to turn, or what to even say.

Hurt by life’s bumps and bruises, struggling more every day,

Hanging on by the tips of my fingers so I won’t slip and fade away.

Sadly, I’ve been stumbling while searching for a clue,

Screaming like hell to the Heavens above in search of You,

Looking for a sign while taking life’s shots on the chin. What have I done that was so wrong? How bad was my sin?

The road has a been long one, and my journey’s been dark,

One that I felt would betray me and tear me apart.

This same journey I never dreamed I would be taking,

I beg of you, Lord, please don’t let me be forsaken.

Oh, Lord, where Ya been?

I’ve been crying out in search of You once again,

Standing here worried and scared, waiting just for You,

Lord, I beg of You one more time, please pull me through.

Sometimes God takes us on a journey to bring us where He wants us to be,

One that is long, confusing, and, at times, blinding to where we cannot see.

While the journey may be long, the travel is worth it—at least it was to this old fool,

Now I know You’ve been with me all along, even when life seemed so cruel.

Oh, Lord, now I know where Ya been.

Beside me all the while, guiding me once again.

Thank You for Your love, and thank You for pulling me through.

Please know, Jesus, this old fool always needs You.


About Doc Dalton

The Depressed Poet Doc Dalton has suffered from depression for over 30 years. Doc says poetry was a gift from the Lord because, while writing, his mind relaxes from the craziness and lets the calm walk in. Dalton is also the host of the podcast The Coffee and Prayer Series, “Where a Good Cup of Coffee, and Some Quiet Prayers Can Change the World.” Visit Dalton on his website for more information.


For more inspirational content, please visit our Lost Pen Pub Blog page. To download Lost Pen Magazine, visit our Magazine Issues page.

How Do You Handle the Whirlwind?

Image by Elisa CB (Unsplash)

Since being back at work after 6 weeks of rest, life has been a whirlwind. The magazine went out, submissions are coming in for the third issue, and I have a steady stream of editing projects on hand on top of my full-time job. There were days I felt like I wasn’t going to make it–days I told God that something had to give.

Sometimes, we really are doing too much. Other times, the pressure lasts for a time before it eases up. Discernment tells us which of those places we are in, and wisdom tells us how to properly handle the load.

Right now, thanks to God, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and by His strength I’ll get through. I’ve had to sacrifice things like my social media presence, newsletters, and outreach, but a human can only do so much. I’ve had to remind myself that I must give my energy to the things God has for me to do and let Him handle the rest.

Where are you at? Are you trusting in Him for wisdom, discernment, and perseverance? If you know you are holding on to too many things, then seek Him to know what must be let go. If you are on the verge of giving up when you know you must endure a little longer, cry out for strength.

God gives wisdom and strength to those who ask. So, just ask.

Blessings!

Special Note: The Lost Pen Magazine BLOG is open for submissions on an ongoing basis. If you would like to submit a piece (ex. a devotional, a testimony, an exhortation or a word of encouragement, or something similar), visit the Contact Me page to learn how.

Getting Candid About the Lost Pen Magazine: Interview

My last Lost Pen Magazine interview before the big release day! Leah Lindeman chats me up about writing and editing, and we get into the nitty gritty this time: how I started writing; about my fears, worries, and challenges; what I hope to accomplish and why; what I hope people gain from the magazine; how I started the magazine and who helps out, are some of the topics discussed.

Out of the interviews I’ve done recently, I think this is the most candid one yet. Leah wanted it to feel like we were chatting over coffee, and I think we achieved that. Enjoy and be blessed!

Confessions of a Christian Creative: Moving from Frustration to Purpose

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything. For the last few months, I’ve been on a journey of discovery, asking the Lord to show me more clearly what He wants me to do with my life. I was feeling overwhelmed with work, freelance work, and ministry, and, honestly, I felt about ready to ditch everything. Not because I wanted to, but because of intense frustration.

But you know how it goes. When we ask God for answers, He answers, and sometimes what we learn isn’t all “flowers and rainbows.” There’s something awful about, on one hand, seeing the potential that God put inside us, and, on the other, when He shows us how dreadfully unprepared and uncommitted we truly are. It’s like the facade that pride puts up that makes us think we’re ready to take on the world for Christ just crumbles away, and we’re left staring at the ugly, mangled truth: the selfishness and immaturity underlying and influencing everything we do. It’s ugly. It’s shameful. But it is real. And until we see it and deal with it, it will strangle the results of everything we do in God’s name.

I sincerely hope that I can properly express what I am feeling and that my experience will encourage and inspire you. There is no judgement here. What I described above was exactly what I saw in my own heart. I share it with you so you can see that, if you are in a similar place, you are not alone, and that everyone struggles. And I hope that you find freedom in that. Tonight, my prayer is that the Holy Spirit will speak directly to your hearts and cover any flubs or clumsy writing on my part.

“What is my purpose? What is the heart and soul of the Lost Pen Magazine?” are some of the questions I have been asking God for the last few weeks. Well, I’ll be honest. There were times I was begging. I just got fed up with the whole thing. Depending on what spiritual mentor or teaching I read or listened to, I would try this or that, or wait, or try whatever I could to get things going. I could sense God working, but I couldn’t see the whole picture, and it was driving me nuts. At the end of two years, I had worked really hard and had accomplished a lot, but I was also burned out. I’m not sorry for the good that came out of it all, though. I just felt that there must be a better way. But you know how it is. Of course, God has a plan. But He’s under NO obligation to reveal any of it to us when we ask, nor is He obligated to reveal anything at all! How amazing but also TREMENDOUSLY FRUSTRATING!!!!

So, tonight, I decided to have it out with Him. Of course, He won. And He wasn’t entirely as “warm and delicate” about it as I had hoped. His answer was more of a “Listen, I know you’re fed up. But that’s fine. Have your tantrum and then get up and get over it. There’s stuff to do.” Now I know what it feels like when I use my “tough love” approach on my kids and clients at work! Yikes!

For those who are curious, the actual verse He spoke to me through was Acts 1:6-8 New International Version:

6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

I didn’t react well at first to His answer, either. I was annoyed, and my pride was hurt. But then I began to look at it differently. I started to look at it as God saying, “Listen, don’t worry about things that don’t concern you. I know my plans for you, and I know when and how they’re going to work out. Just do what you know I have called you to do: serve Me, and outreach to those around you and to those I bring to you. That’s it.

While this was going on, my phone buzzed with an email from someone who had contacted me a few weeks ago through the website. He was struggling to understand his creative purpose and how to do what he felt God was calling Him to do. He had a lot of questions. I really wanted to give him answers that were rooted in wisdom and what I felt God wanted him to know. So, I prayed and answered as best as I could. Tonight, his email was full of hope and restored purpose, and he shared that he is focused on moving forward on his creative journey. I closed the email, bawled, and thanked God from the bottom of my heart that He had used my clumsy attempts to help someone find their way. What else could I do?

Even now, I shake my head. God is . . . incomprehensible, at times. I mean, how many times has He completely done the opposite to what I expected? Like, for two years, I have been building the Christian Creative Nexus, the Lost Pen Magazine, and working myself to the bone doing the social media stuff, newsletters, blah, blah, blah all to moderate results . . . and a few simple prayers and some thoughtful responses to a stranger in need is all it took for God to transform that person’s life—while utterly confounding me in the process. God is God. He saves us by throwing down our pride to reveal His sovereignty every time. And, thank God He does.

All this to say that this is how God showed me the truth I’ve been looking for. After bawling, thanking Him, and bawling some more, I picked up my Bible and asked God to speak to me some more. I flipped through various chapters and landed on 2 Corinthians 5:11-20 (bold is added for emphasis).

11 Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too. 12 Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us,[b] so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. 13 If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. 14 Either way, Christ’s love controls us.[c] Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life.[d] 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. 16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin,[e] so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

Tonight, I realized that nothing I could do creatively or in ministry could matter more than helping even one person realize their purpose in Christ, to envision themselves serving Him in it, and then walking it out. Obviously, salvation is the most important ministry of reconciliation, but I believe that the mission of the Lost Pen Magazine is to work to reconcile believers to their creative calling and ministry—to help everyday Christian Creatives realize that the Creator God has entrusted them with a unique gift that is theirs and their alone, and that it is up to them to use it for His glory and the furtherance of His kingdom.

There is a place for professionals. But there is so much more room for everyday people to be active doing what their soul and spirits are dying to do. Many of us are bound by fear, insecurity, doubt, anxiety, etc. But though we might struggle with them, they are not reasons for us to put our candles under a bushel (Luke 11:33)—not when the God of the universe is with us and in us to do all kinds of good works (2 Timothy 3:17). I don’t care if it’s hosting the exhausted parents of a busy family for a delicious meal at your house, making posters in church for the Sunday school, or knowing how to entertain bored teenagers two hours a week at youth group, do it and do it with all your might. If you sing, sing. If you can write, write. If you love photography, by all means capture God’s gorgeous creation on film or digital medium. But find your purpose, give it to God, and then serve Him with everything you’ve got.

The Lost Pen Magazine is first and foremost a safe place for believers to submit. Experienced creatives and newbies alike have published with us. We strive to be supportive and helpful, while also being professional and maintaining a high standard. So far, we’ve been focused on fiction, poetry, testimonies, and art. But, as you can see above, there is so much more to creativity than the standard genres. Whether people submit or not, our hope is that readers and contributors both will find encouragement and inspiration in the pages that will support them on their creative journeys, and, ultimately, help deepen their faith and relationship with our awesome, wonderful, and loving Father in heaven.

Blessings!

Testimony of Faith: Hold Her Hand

    -Testimony guest post submitted by Kari Tyree

Where I live, the Texas mountain laurels bloom mostly during February. Full-grown, they are gorgeous trees covered with purple blossoms that make the air smell like grape SweeTARTS. Wouldn’t you want to be that beautiful, if you were a tree?

One February, I held my daughter’s hand as she took tenuous steps along the rock border of our small raised garden bed. While watching her take slow, careful steps, I was reminded of something that happened almost nine years previously when I was in grad school and felt extremely unsure of myself.

At the time, I struggled with anxiety. During one Christmas break, I visited my mom and dad and went to their church for the Christmas Eve service. When it was time for Communion, we had a moment of silent, individual prayer in the peaceful sanctuary. My prayer went something like, “God, I know I need to be more like the woman who twirls around in big, flowing skirts at the top of bright, green hills with blue skies all around, her face shining as she looks up and laughs at the clouds. That woman is so exuberant and full of life. I need to be like that, but I’m not. I don’t trust You enough. I’m so anxious all the time.”

Then, amidst my insecure ramblings, a vivid picture, like a painting, came to mind. It was a picture of a young woman wearing dark-coloured clothes that fit her well but were not flowing skirts. She was walking along a pathway that wasn’t lit very well, and the whole background was fairly dark, too. But the woman was not alone. She was walking slowly while holding a hand whose owner was not visible. On seeing this image, I felt like weeping with relief. A sense of freedom came over me. God showed me this picture to tell me that, though I was going along slowly and didn’t have an outgoing, exuberant personality, I trusted Him and walked faithfully as the woman He made me to be. Though I was careful, I was just as beautiful as the bright, spinning woman on the hill.

When my daughter walked with careful steps along the garden border, she trusted me to catch her and to guide her in the new adventure she’d discovered. She was being completely herself and was completely lovely while doing it. If she’d been running along recklessly, I probably have been a bit frustrated, and she would have been more likely to hurt herself. There are benefits to being deliberate and cautious, even if they come with the burden of anxiety, at times.

Some people are quick to settle in, establish “roots,” find their niches, make friends, and adjust to new roles. Some are slower. The Texas mountain laurel is notorious for being a slow-growing tree that may not bloom for several years. We have one in our yard that we planted almost right away after we moved to our new house in our new city. After one year, there was barely any visible growth at all and certainly no blooming. My husband told me, when I was feeling a bit down regarding my ability to settle into my life as a new mom in a new place, that I was like the mountain laurel: slow to become established, but full of the potential to produce beautiful blossoms after a time.

When I look closely at our little, slow-growing tree, I can see new, bright green leaves at the ends of some of the older, darker green branches. When I look closely at my life, I can see improvement and growth—even growth as I move away from anxiety towards trusting God. Perhaps the growth is small, but it is there, nonetheless. Praise God, who always holds my hand and causes all kinds of growth—whether fast or slow, big or small, joyous in purple blooms, or deliberate in tender stems and leaves!

 

About Kari Tyree

Tyree lives in Texas with her husband and children. She homeschools her children and enjoys tinkering on the piano, crafting, reading, and (mostly) writing in her free time. Visit her at facebook.com/karityree.writer and at karityree.com.

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