A Blanket and a Basket

Wednesday, September 30, 2015



Take what you want, they said. The rest will sell.

A tisket,
a tasket,
a blanket,
& a basket.

Ink black hearts
spilled onto
pages of white.
Glasses,
once filled,
as empty as
the night.

How does one
take what has
already taken
her? A pillar,
a pen, a heart’s
chauffeur?
How does one
take the 
memories
made, or the 
place that made 
her first dream 
of Adelaide?

A tisket,
a tasket,
a blanket,
& a basket.

Ink black hearts
spilled onto
pages of white.
Glasses,
once filled,
as empty as
the night.

All that is
left of a
childhood full,
the rest no
one can pull
from the walls
and the windows
and the feel
of the night.
They’re lost,
all gone,
vanished from
sight. Is that
really right?

A tisket,
a tasket,
a blanket,
& a basket.

Ink black hearts
spilled onto
pages of white.
Glasses,
once filled,
as empty as
the night.

Take what you want,they said. The rest will sell.


m.s. reid 


--
P.S. I would really, really, really appreciate your feedback on this post. Did you like it? Would you like to see more posts like this?




It's Fall, Y'all // Good Vibes and A Good God

Monday, September 28, 2015




The season of color, pumpkin spice lattes, and bon fires is finally here, welcomed by the clap of tree limbs against one another and a parade of falling leaves. Fall is the grand finale of seasons. Like a firework show, the world shows its best yet with loud bursts of color and chilly breezes of promise. And then its ends with nothing. Nothing but leafless trees and  dormant wildlife. Everything hides, but a promise for better still hangs in the cool, dry air. 

 I could write a book on fall. It represents anything from new beginnings to happy endings. Fall belongs to mountain roadways and football seasons and memories, and I couldn't be happier with it's arrival.

The hope that hangs in the air is stronger than ever. To realize it, though, I've had to cross rough waters and  climb high mountains. And this I've learned: Life was never meant to be easy. It's not always fun, but it is never meaningless. Those Saturday morning cartoons? Yeah, those were easy, but what did you learn from them? You truly learn from the rough waters and high mountains.

As I write this, I think of the mountains I've climbed and the oceans I've nearly drowned in to get here, to this very spot. I am so loved by so many. Had I not seen it before? This life right here, these compilations of the good, bad, ugly, and sweet, this is the stuff we're made of. This is the stuff we're made to do. And this is the vibe of fall as it drifts through the air.

Fall. I like the sound of it. It reminds me that when I fall, there will be bruises, but I'll always bloom again. Because my Savior is there to pick me back up and put me on the right path for His name's sake. The mountains, oceans, and valleys, they're all from Him and for Him. There is one universal truth sounding from the depths of my soul: His grace covers me. This is all I know. All I need. 

I am loved by a Holy God, and I could never be more blessed. He has blessed me time and time again with the best friends a girl could ask. So here's to Him, and here's to them, my dearest friends and biggest cheerleaders.













P.S. The 777 challenge has been traveling its way around the Blogger blogs, and I was lucky enough to get nominated twice by the lovely Olivia and Hannah Joy. Click on their names to read their posts :)

Basically, you have to share seven lines from one of your manuscripts, starting at the seventh line of the seventh page. I, however, do not have a manuscript over seven pages, so I'm just going to tell it to y'all straight: Consider this post my 777 challenge because this is the kind of writing I do. Encouraging people in their faith is what I love, what I'm made for.So, really, this is the kind of writing I love most. This is what I want to share with y'all. I nominate anyone who wants to share their writing.






Happy Fall, Y'all!

For Those Days When You Don't Feel That Beautiful

Thursday, September 17, 2015





This is me. My eyes squint when I smile, my teeth sometimes look terribly yellow because of all the coffee I drink, and my hair is a mess because I let it do what it wants. And you know what? That's okay, because I've come to learn something about true beauty.

It's a struggle I've had to deal with since the day I was born: Why do I have to look the way I do? Why can't I have a different color hair or a different pair of legs? If there is one thing all teenage girls have to deal with, it's insecurity, and Satan has been targeting women with this since the beginning of time.

When Satan tempted Eve, he targeted her identity, and it hit her hard. Even after God looked at all of creation and called it very good, Eve  was convinced that somehow she wasn't good enough. When the God of the universe calls something very good, He means it. After all, His very character defines goodness. But even after God walked and talked with Adam and Eve daily, showing them just how beautiful of a relationship they could have, Eve fell. And the very reason she fell was insecurity.

So you see, what we teenage girls go through is a story as old as time. It's nothing that evolved because of super models or teen vogue covers. This is something that is implanted in every human heart, especially the female ones.

To really dive into this topic, we have to realize that there are two types of insecurity:

1. Insecurity from the Fall:

If you're a Christian, you have undoubtedly felt the insecurity that comes from the knowledge of sin in your life. When you look at God and look at your own sin, you see that you are sheer opposites, and there is no way that you can ever pay for your sin on your own.

You could call this type of insecurity "healthy"  because this is what brings us to the cross. This is what makes us appreciate Jesus' gift and accept it as our own, and it is present in all people, but some choose to ignore it.

2. Insecurity in the Christian's heart:

Alright, pour yourself a cup of coffee and pull up a chair because this is the focus of the majority of this post.

Girls, when you see magazine covers or celebrities, I know that there is at least some part of you, no matter how small, that wishes you could look like that girl, whether it's Taylor Swift or Blake Lively. Whether you think you're too fat or too skinny, it happens to all of us. I know because I've been there so many times

This is the same insecurity that Satan used to tempt Eve in the garden. It is different from number one because when Eve possessed this insecurity, God had already told her that she was good enough. In fact, He looked at her and called her very good. If you are in Christ, God has already told you that you are enough. Here are a few passages to prove it:

 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." 2 Corinthians 5:17

  • The passage goes on to say that Christ's righteousness was passed to us. Isn't that a beautiful thing? The fact is, we aren't enough, not by ourselves, but because of Jesus, we are beautiful and worthy.


"The LORD you God is in you midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness: He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing." Zephaniah 3:17

  • This passage isn't a joke; God really does rejoice over us! Because He looks at your heart and sees Jesus' perfect righteousness, He can rejoice over you and exult you with loud singing.

The point is, this insecurity that we Christians (especially girls) get is completely ridiculous, silly even, because look how the God of the universe feels about you!  Here's another encouraging passages from 1 Samuel:

"But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" (16:17).

To brush up your memory, God says this to Samuel when He is about to appoint David as king of Israel. David had all these brothers, and I imagine some of the older ones were pretty buff and kingly-looking. But you know what? God chose the little shepherd boy (reminder: he probably smelled like sheep, which isn't a good smell)  to be Israel's king because He saw his heart, and that was enough. 

This passage should offer hope to us, because Jesus has cleansed our hearts and made us pure. So if God looks at our hearts and not the outside, He sees Jesus and His beauty as our beauty.

In conclusion, insecure Christian, you are beautiful. 

Next time you look at a magazine cover or see a celebrity on TV and wish to look like them, remember that you have more than your looks; you have your heart that is washed as white as snow, and that is what God is concerned with. Christian, you are worthy and good enough, not because of what you've done, but because of what Jesus has done.

I'd like to end with the lyrics of a song by Blanca called Who I Am:

I am strong
Beautiful
I am good enough

I know people who are bothered by this line, and they should be if it was standing alone, but it's not. Here's the next part:

I belong

After all
‘Cause of what You've done

"'Cause of what You've done." See that? She is giving credit to Jesus for her beauty. She doesn't have to be insecure because Christ's light shine through her.

I know there are some Christians (particularly guys) who think that insecurity is a hoax, a scam, a joke put in place to get attention. On the contrary, it is very real. I know because I struggle with it daily. Each day I have to remember Proverbs 31:30: "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised." Fearing, praising, and loving God is so much more important than what your look like on the outside. Truthfully, I think insecurity is something that each of us will struggle with for a long time, but we must remember what God has told us: We are beautiful, worthy, and loved because Jesus has transformed our hearts and souls.Rest in this truth that will never fade; let Jesus' beauty shine through you! 


--
P.S. If any of you are struggling with this, I'd encourage you to email me at thereidwhowritesblog@gmail.com. I'd love to pray with you and encourage you! 


Sinners in the Hands of a Loving, Perfect God

Wednesday, September 9, 2015




- a throwback to that time it snowed in SC. oh, I miss it.-


We read an excerpt of Jonathan Edwards' most famous sermon in class, and this is what was going through my head as we read it.
“It is nothing but God’s mere pleasure that keeps you this moment from being swallowed up in everlasting destruction.”-Jonathan Edwards

It might sound harsh, scary, unpleasant, but it’s the truth.


We humans have deceived ourselves into thinking that we’re pretty great. Have you ever pondered how truly great God is, though? Have you ever taken a minute to try and fathom God’s holiness?


Here’s a passage from Revelation 1:12-18 to give you some perspective:


“Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around His chest. The hairs of His head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, His feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and His voice was like the roar of many waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, from His mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword, and His face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying, ‘Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.’”


If that imagery doesn’t wow you, I don’t know what will.


Do you see the significance of this? Those eyes of fire that John talks about are the eyes that see into the depths of your soul. Those feet of bronze are the same ones that were nailed to the cross. The same Jesus who said, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do,” is the same Jesus here.


This is our God.


This God has named the stars and knows the number of each of the hairs on our heads. This God has crafted each and every human personally and uniquely. This God is completely perfect, not lacking anything good because His very character defines goodness. This God stretches the span of His hand across everything that we have ever seen and more – everythingthat even the most skeptical humans believe in, the stars, the universe, all the galaxies, is charted territory in God’s eyes. He didn’t have to build a boat to sail across the ocean or a rocket ship to fly across space because He created it with no more than His voice. (Remember John’s imagery, the roar of many waters? That voice created the universe.)


 Puritan preacher Jonathan Edwards’ most famous sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an AngryGod, shows just what God could do with our filthiness. Edwards speaks of us as loathsome insects compared to God. By theory, God should abhor us; He should want nothing to do with us, and that’s how Edwards describes it.*


I, on the contrary, know that Edwards’ images are not completely accurate. Never once does he describe God’s love, God’s grace. Edwards’ view of God should be accurate; God should hate and despise us. He has every right to cast us into the depths of hell and never think of us again.
But He doesn’t.


In fact, God not only doesn’t cast us into hell, he loves us deeper and wider and longer and higher than anyone could ever imagine. He loves you more in a second than anyone ever could in a lifetime.


Readers, Christians of the past and present are living proof that God can take broken, despised, horrific, and loathsome beings and make them beautiful. God doesn’t look at our filth with indifference – He doesn’t let it slide. But He does offer to be the perfection that we can’t. Edwards describes God as dangling us over hell’s pit, but in reality, at least for now, He’s is holding out His hand, waiting for us to accept His free gift: Take my righteousness, He says,because I have already paid your debt. God knows that we as sinners have absolutely nothing to offer Him but our filthy, dirty rags, and He still offers us His righteousness. He accepts us because our debt was paid when God the Father turned His back on God the Son – when their perfect unity was broken for us.


A holy and perfect God who shouldn’t want anything to do with us diedfor a whole bunch of sinners. He carried the weight of every sin that was and will be committed. Yes, God is angry at our sin, but His love is so big that He became that sin for us.


I hope I never lose the wonder of this fact, and I hope you don’t either, because a fact this beautiful, this mind-blowing, is what turns the greatest rebels into children of a holy God.


--

* I would encourage y’all to read [this excerpt] from the sermon. Like I said, it's not completely accurate, but when you read it from the right perspective, it can be so refreshing.

Hello, September // gathering hope

Monday, September 7, 2015


I know this post is late. Sorry about that; I've been crazy busy.


It's finally here. The last two weeks of August decided to approach too quickly and trudge by at an annoyingly slow pace. But, September is finally here, and do you know what that means for my  southern family? FOOTBALL. (1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-C-L-E-M-S-O-N) Okay, sorry about that. I'm done. 


September always reminds me of new beginnings -- new school years, new friends, a new football season, and always a new me. Not one September passes where I don't learn at least one more thing about myself. It seems that the beginning of September is the last passing possibility of Summer. When the leaves change, so does everything  and everyone else. A new vibe fills the air, a hopeful one, like everyone is silently hoping for yet another victorious year. In September, everyone fills up on hope so they'll have enough until June.
September can be a truly hectic mess, but in a way, it has been a blessing for me. I've learned quite a few things this past August that I hope to carry with me through September:

Where sin runs deep, God's grace abound all the more.

I've struggled with sin a lot this past month. (Surprise there, right?) But something said in history class gave me a beautiful new appreciation for God's grace. We were talking about the history of the Hebrews, and when my teacher got the the part where Israel split, he said something about Judah. They could have gotten completely absorbed into the Chaldean culture like Israel got absorbed into Assyrian culture, he said, but they didn't. Keep in mind, I go to a public school, and my history teacher doesn't believe in God, so for him to say this surprised me. He went on to talk about the secret meetings that happened on the Sabbath, and how the Jews kept worshiping God (some of them, anyway). Eventually, in 538 BC, after the Chaldeans were conquered by the Persians, the Hebrews got to go home. Now, they still were ruled over by other peoples after that, but my point is this: God had every right to leave the Jews after all the times they had rejected Him. He could have let them disappear off the face of the earth and become nonexistent altogether, but He didn't. Because God promised them that a Savior would be born out of the tribe of Judah, He preserved the Israelites and His word to them. 

This seems so relevant in my life as I'm struggling with sin. I fail God so much and fall into temptation constantly, but He is always there and He will never break His promise to me. He will carry me through this life and show me my purpose, and in the uncertain times I have to trust Him. There will be fiery furnaces and lions' dens, but there is no place to sinful or too far away that God isn't there with me.

Putting your hope in worldly things will not satisfy.

Maybe it's my personality or maybe it's just who I am, but I am  terrible, and I really mean terrible, at putting people before God in my life. I'll yearn for someone to like me or to spend more time with me or to get more texts from someone instead of yearning for God and His word. Each time, I fall flat on my face into the pit of helplessness, and when I call upon the name of the Lord, He answers, and, oh, how sweet the sound is.

No matter how many times God answers my prayers, though, I always fall back into sin again. I'm beginning to realize how much of a constant struggle sin is, and the thought makes God's grace seem all the more great. Yet again I've realized my need for that daily grace. Yes, worldly pleasure don't and never will satisfy, but God's grace will always cover my sin, and that is the most beautiful thought.


Stressing only makes things worse; trust God's plan.

A widely hated synonym for school is stress. We all know what it feels like, and we all hate it. It's only three weeks into school for me, and I'm already up to my neck in stress. I'm going to keep this section short, because, honestly, who needs another back to school post? My advice to you all is this: do your homework, try your best, study for you tests, but do not stress. (That kind of rhymes. You're welcome. I've just given you a new rhyme to get you through the school year.) Stressing makes everyone and everything miserable. Enjoy those lunchtime conversations. Spend time with your friends. Eat that ice cream. Do you school work and study hard, but don't stress.

You can't live on a feeling.

Feelings are what most people base their lives on. They feel like they should be able to love the same sex, so they do. They feel like they should get to sleep a later, so they do. They don't feel like doing their homework, so they don't. Living this way is not only selfish, but frustrating. When you live on your feelings, you have a bad day because you didn't finish your coffee or a good day because your crush texted you. You'll have a bad day because you have too much homework or a good day because it's game day. Jesus calls us to put others before ourselves, so the next time your best friend is having a party but you don't feel quite up to it, maybe think of how much they would like it if you did come Next time you feel like looking up your homework on google, think about how upset your teacher would be. Next time you feel like cutting corners or slacking off, think of what Jesus would want you to do. And keep in mind, others might not always like when we live the way Jesus wants. In fact, most people won't like it at all, but we must be reminded that what Jesus says goes because He is One with the Father, and God's word is law.


Enjoy your September, readers. For those of you who are just starting school, good luck. For those of you who have been in school, keep at it. All of you, be diligent and hardworking and trust God always.


The last thing I'll end with is is playlist of songs I've been loving lately:

+ Dream Girl - Hunter Hayes
+ Everything Has Changed - Taylor Swift
+ Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) - Hillsong
+ Boldly I Approach - Rend Collective 
+ Cry With You - Hunter Hayes
+ Come As You Are- Crowder

God bless,
Mary Shelley