My soul like a sleeping swan

Today I was asking God what I should do to move onward today: having finished ministry school Friday, gradually working on writing my book, eagerly waiting for job(s) to come together, feeling stir-crazy and frustrated. I felt that He said, “Read some poetry.” I thought it was a good idea, but less “practical” than my mind preferred. Nevertheless, I got out a book of poetry. This particular book is Shelley’s Poems and is over one hundred years old. I flipped open to a couple sections and read. In my reading, I floated across this:

“Asia Answers” from Shelley’s “Hymn to Asia”

My soul is an enchanted boat,

Which, like a sleeping swan, doth float

Upon the silver waves of thy sweet singing;

And thine doth like an angel sit

Beside a helm conducting it,

Whilst all the winds with melody are ringing.

It seems to float ever, forever,

Upon that many-winding river,

Between mountains, woods, abysses,

A paradise of wildernesses!

Till, like one in slumber bound,

Borne to the ocean, I float down, around,

Into a sea profound, of ever-spreading sound.

And so, in my restlessness, I find the mental image of a sleeping swan: the promise of rest for those who dare to believe it is possible to rest while travelling down the river into the great ocean of destiny.  God has lived in Rest since creation, and through Jesus we are invited into it – not merely one day a week, but ongoing rest – the peace that passes understanding sort of rest. Ahhhhh… time to curl up our swan necks and tuck our heads into soft feathers, to travel while at rest. Sweet Jesus, making all things possible as usual.

“Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it . . .

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrew 4:1 & 4:16)

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One amazing story was of a poem I wrote at retreat called “Pencil-vania.” I didn’t know who it was for, but I felt it was for someone connected to Pennsylvania. I asked the people around me if anyone was from Pennsylvania. No one was, but one woman piped up that her roommate speaks Pennsylvania Dutch. “Is she from Pennsylvania?” I asked. “No, but she used to be Amish,” the woman answered. “What?! That’s amazing!” I laughed – because the poem was about God bringing someone from a place of black and white and grey to a place of color – from pencil to colors! hahaha! This woman left a world where people wore a lot of black and white and thought in a lot of black and white! Suddenly, she saw her roommate and called her over. The woman read the poem and was really astounded by the accuracy of the poem and very encouraged by the reminder of what God is doing in her life right now. It was a beautiful moment. And that is the kind of artistic encouragement I love sharing with people through poems. It’s really fun and powerful.

I relish being part of illuminating the real identity of people and places. I have had really encouraging feedback from those I’ve written poems for and I’m delighted to see more people know more clearly who they are and to be cheered into greatness by Holy-Spirit-kissed poetry! Wonderful! haha!