Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Drawing Near to God

Hi Friends,

Got hit with a bit of a flu bug or something yesterday (no fun!), but am feeling improved today - just very tired.  So, I had some time to think and pray (and nap ... between sprints to the bathroom).  Here are a few poems that get to the heart of my prayers:

Pillar of Fire
based on Exodus 13

Lord, be to me a pillar of fire,
Illuminating my night.
Lead me, guide me
Through this desert of life.
Shine bright upon my path.
Protect me from the jackals.
Burn hot and deep,
Searing my soul with your light.
Be to me a pillar of fire,
Burning, unquenchable, in my heart.

The Moth 
As a moth is drawn to light,
So am I drawn to You, my God.
Though the darkness presses in around me,
And my wings have wearied in the night,
Though I beat against unrelenting glass,
Still my heart longs for Your light.
I will keep flying, fluttering, straining
To be closer, closer, closer yet
To You, my desire, my life, my love,
Closer to Jesus, my Light.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tornados and Truth . . .

Hi Friends,

It's been a strange week.  With so many of you, I followed the path of the Oklahoma tornado with horror and heartache.  I had a friend directly in the tornado's path.  We heard from her that the tornado was headed right for her, and her children's schools.  And then we didn't hear anymore.  Hours passed.  We saw the tornado's destruction.

And I spent an afternoon praying.  And crying.  And praying some more.

Finally, we heard from my friend.  She survived.  Her son's school was one of the ones hit, but he was okay.  Her daughter's school was barely missed.

But others weren't okay.  The tornado had wrecked destruction.  And I wept some more to see the loss. I am weeping now as I think about it.

And at the same time, I am writing my chapter on Resurrection for my new book, Wrestling with Wonder.  I am writing on hope when all seems lost.  On God's power to transform the most horrible things in life into glory.  I don't know how He does it.  I don't know how he can transform this tornado's horror into anything remotely for the good.

But I know he can.  I trust he will.

Because Jesus rose.

Here is something I wrote today in my chapter:

So, who is this God who rises from the dead never to die again?  Who is he who transformed death itself?  Who is He who calls us to live in the wonder of resurrection, and see our world transformed?
He is The God who Makes all Things New.  
He is the God who transformed the cross.  And if he can do it for two rough-hewn pieces of wood, he can do it for you, for me.  
Consider the symbol of the cross.
In Mary’s day, it represented horror and death, the worst kind of execution.  To the ancient Roman world, it was a symbol of everything horrible, bad, terrifying.  It was ugly.  It meant disgust and destruction.  It meant shame and agony and loss.  To see a cross was to see a symbol of the worst kind of death possible.
That’s what the cross was . . . until Christ transformed it.
Right now, in my jewelry box, I have several sets of cross earrings and necklaces.  I don’t wear them to let people know I’m a Christian, I wear them as a reminder of God’s power to transform.  
Because the cross is a perfect picture of how God transforms the ugly into the beautiful.  I wouldn’t wear a hangman’s noose or a guillotine or a gilded electric chair.  But I do wear crosses.  Why?  Because God has transformed the cross.  
We use it to decorate our homes.  We put it in the front of our churches.  It has become a symbol recognized all over the world.  And it doesn’t mean death and shame anymore.  It means life, salvation, redemption, love, and hope.
It’s where death turned to life, where joy triumphed over sorrow, where my life was redeemed.  The cross, once nothing more than an executioner’s tool, is now a symbol of God’s redeeming love.  It has become the thing that symbolizes everything that matters to us.  It means new life.
And that is a shocking transformation.
If God can do that for the cross, he can do it for you.  And he will.  He can take the awful things in your life and transform them, too, for His glory.  
Romans 8:28 says that “all things work together for good to those who love God, who have been called according to his purpose.” It doesn’t say that all things that happen are good, but that God can turn the hard things into good.  He can make them into a shining testimony of His love and faithfulness.  

The tornado is not good.  The destruction and death it caused is horrible.  But God is an expert and transforming the horrible into the holy.  

Nothing is now impossible.  Nothing is out of his reach.  So I will trust him.  Even now.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

You Are Allowed to Choose Life

Hi Friends!

I found a few more of my old poems today, and was so encouraged by the thoughts of how God calls me to live as a free person - to run, rejoice, dance, and just "be" in Him.  Last night, as I was going through a book I'm reading called Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership (by Ruth Haley Barton) I was struck by a single, simple line:

Remember, you are allowed to choose life.

Wow.  I am allowed, I am free, I am called ... to choose LIFE.  In every moment, for every day.  In every difficulty, in all the chaos, in everything ... choose Life.  I can choose Him.

That is a truth I'm pondering day, praying it will work it's way into the very deepest depths of my soul.  And as I ponder, I'm remembering the poems I wrote so long ago.  Here are a couple God has brought to mind (not the greatest meter, but somehow they still speak to me :-)):

My King calls out to me,
His voice filled with light,
With joy undimmed by other's sin,
Shining through my night.
My burdens fall at my feet
As I follow Him
Who makes my heart beat fast and firm,
All else grows far and dim.
Freed from all but Him I love,
Freed from fears so grim,
Free to laugh and dance and play,
Free to be free in Him.
His eyes, warm and gentle,
Draw me to His side.
"Come, live and love with me.
Come, be my bride!"

One day the King came to me,
His arms open wide.
Said He, "Child, live with me,
Come to be my bride."
But I would not hear of it,
I had so much to do.
"My burdens are far too great,
I cannot come with you.
Look at all this work of mine,
Oh, why can't you see?
Come again another day,
For now I am not free."
So the King withdrew from me,
Sorrow in His eyes,
I turned my back on Him,
Ignored His quiet sighs.
One day the King came to me,
Welcome on His face.
Said He, "Child, live with me,
Amidst joy and grace."
But I would not hear of it,
I knew I wasn't clean.
"I am dirty, my clothes, rags,
I am not what I seem.
See this awful filth of mine,
Oh why won't you see?
Come again another day,
I mustn't come with thee."
So the King withdrew from me,
Tears upon His face.
I turned my back on Him,
Ignored His offered grace.
One day the King came to me,
Wounds in hands and feet.
But I ran away from Him,
This King I could not meet.
No, I would not hear of it,
I was afraid of Him.
"I must not let Him find me.
He died a death so grim.
He will ask that I die too,
And leave my sinful life.
Don't come back another day,
You cause my heart such strife."
Then the King withdrew from me,
His head bowed with grief.
I turned my back on Him,
Denied all belief.
One day the King came to me,
Despite my sorry plight.
I was far too weary now
To run from Him in fright.
My clothes were yet sullied,
My work still undone.
"Lord, go away from me,
For I'm a sinful one."
He just smiled, held out His hand,
And said, "Come live with me."
I took my burdens, filth, fears,
And laid them at His feet.
Then the King drew close to me,
Joy upon His face.
I went to be His bride,
Amidst amazing grace.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Finding God's Love in the Crazies of Life

Hi Friends!

Been a bit of a crazy week, and a crazy day For example, Bria couldn't find her Sharks jersey this morning and had a complete and utter meltdown about it.  For nearly an hour.  Turns out the jersey was sitting on her dresser.  UGH. 

So, as I was trying to stop my head from spinning because of that, I began to think of all the ways  God communicates his love to me in the midst of the craziness of life.  Below is a poem that captures just a few of the ways God whispers his love into my life, and perhaps into yours:

His Messages of Love

A baby gurgles a laugh and claps her hands with glee.
A flower raises its radiant head to smile at the sun.
A raindrop giggles as it hits the pane and dances to the ground.
Do you see God?

Oak leaves whisper mysteries as the wind sighs and sings.
The ocean roars an ancient hymn to glorify its King.
The sparrow carols choruses that speak of Heavenly care.
Do you hear God?

Wildflowers woo honeybees to petals of blue and gold.
A pine tree waves green branches to bathe the wind with spice.
Chocolate chip cookies bubble and bake, welcoming you home.
Do you smell God?

A strawberry glows red and ripe as it anoints your tongue with nectar.
A child smiles sweetly and offers her ice cream cone.
Hot cocoa wiggles warm fingers to tickle your tummy with delight.
Do you taste God?

A breeze gently caresses your cheek, a breath from Heaven's throne.
A sunbeam shimmers across your brow, a benediction from above.
A friend clasps you in his arms to show that you are loved.
Do you feel God?

Along the folds of all the flowers,
Within the depths of every heart,
Across the canvas of each day’s moment,
God has left His messages of love.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Living TODAY with God

Hi Friends,
Today as I’m looking at all that needs to be done - a marketing packet for my new book, the next chapter for that same book, cleaning and laundry, taking care of kids, reading this, planning for that, picking up something else, getting kids here and there, cleaning cages and stalls, and of course, this blog ... God is whispering to me, reminding me of what’s true, what’s important.  He is calling me to Himself.  
Perhaps, in your busyness, He’s calling you too.  If so, here is a poem to ponder.  It encouraged me today - I hope it will encourage you too!
All God asks for is today,
To live today with Him,
Today walk and talk with Christ,
That now I be like Him.

He asks not for yesterday,
To change the days gone by,
Or fix all that has gone wrong
Before this breath in time.

He asks not for tomorrow,
For great dreams to be,
Or all I'll do for Him someday
When fortune favors me.

No, He asks only for today,
This moment that I live,
That here I kneel at His feet,
And live my now with Him.