I ate a bit of sunshine,
I drank some falling rain,
In only moments rejuvenating,
Recovering from pain;
As God has given all we need
We sing a new refrain,
And time will be when we
Will come to surely dance again.
Copyright 2017. L.L. Shelton.
Searching clouds on breezy days
Rolling down the hill
Giggling laughing howling now
Until our aching sides grow still,
Tears blotted from sodden cheeks
Cheers composed and chanted
Into the ear pressed forward
Thoughtful encouragement granted,
Little kisses on upturned noses
Foreheads the hand lightly stroking
Singing prayers into darkest hours
Tender words in kindness spoken,
Tucking children into dreams
To wonder at the night
Illuminating words of Light
Laced through with things we like.
Copyright 2016. L.L. Shelton
(A letter to one of special relation)
I wish that we had known one another when you were not yet so low on the resources required to actively love the silly slip of a hurting displaced young woman, full of false bravado, to whom your son first introduced you.
I wish that we had known one another before the world had whipped you into submission.
I wish I could have known you when you could focus on the hope in a child’s laughter for more than an instant.
I wish I could have known you in the long ago spring, when you were excited about the baby chicks from Sears and Roebuck that would soon arrive in the mail and the other things that would be coming as a result.
I wish I could have known you before the ordinary disappointments of life with their inevitable pain had combined with the traumatic stress unique to your own circumstance to bring you so far down…
And yet I remember…
I remember moments, however fleeting, when you threw out a witty one-liner or gave an account of something truly humorous, and together we laughed so hard we nearly cried.
I remember occasions when we witnessed a heart-touching scene on the silver screen and you turned to me with tears in your eyes to see the same mist in mine and we acknowledged one another in quiet understanding.
I remember moments when you confided in me something sorrowful and allowed me for a brief time to be some solace to you.
I remember how I admired who you must have once been when I learned of some of the hardships of the child of a south Alabama sharecropper’s daughter; when I discovered that you had been truly grateful for school and had been a good student, and that following your high school graduation you had unflinchingly boarded a bus for the city, with a watch and a few dollars to enter nursing school and make your own way in the world.
I remember how it tickled me when you so candidly related the story of your first date with your eventual husband, when you told how you asked him to let you out at a stranger’s doorstep pretending all the while it was your own, as you were sure he would not ask you out on a second date if he saw your actual humble dwelling; and how you, with even greater transparency, related being finally engaged and parking with your intended in front of the imposing sculpture of “Vulcan, The God of Fire.”
I remember learning of how you and your beau married before he finished school and so you worked while he completed his education, and I thought it was a courageous move, especially for the time.
I remember the common ground that we easily shared as “bargain hunters,” and the genuine excitement with which you would relate the tale of a particularly exciting find.
I remember how you appreciated showing me any new acquisitions, great or small, around the home you were continually building on the hill; how once as we stood in front of a lovely picture of an idyllic vista you said, almost as though speaking to yourself, “I’d love to go there someday,” and I was most amused as the picture was of nowhere specific- and then how one day, when your namesake was five, she stopped in front of a similar rendering and dreamily stated the very same. In that moment, it occurred to me again that we live on- sometimes in spite of our best efforts to do otherwise.
I am often reminded of a particular gem in my back pocket, where I compliantly placed many at your instruction. Some have proved most useful, and I thank you for them.
And yes, sadly I remember how you repeated to me several stories of traumatic memory over the years, the same recollections again and again, and I remember my ignorance.
I remember realizing your turmoil was great, yet the only help I could think to give was to remind you of Christ, of Scripture, and of the need for surrender and prayer. (All wonderful and true things, but a man who is bleeding to death can rarely focus on them before his wounds are properly addressed.)
I remember the many things that clearly indicate that you were suffering emotionally, uniquely and intensely, and that you were in need of greater understanding than I was able to give to you then.
I hope that somehow in your life now you can know that I grieve for you, and that I recognize how very much was lost to all of us.
I hope that somehow in your life now, you can realize that you were a large part of my motivation to seek the specific education I did, allowing me to practice as a counselor to others who are emotionally damaged, and I hope that it makes you glad.
And I hope somewhere, somehow, you know I have forgiven you your harsh moments, as I hope you have forgiven my offenses, and I want you to know that I loved you and I still do.
Copyright 2017. L.L. Shelton.
A word for wives and mothers, especially young wives and mothers:
Have you fallen victim to those books and articles that insist that if you simply do this or that- your marriage, your children, your family will become this or that… Burn those. The Bible does not offer any such guarantee.
God through The Bible, His Word to us, gives you and me one mandate: Do your best to learn of me and of my son who stands ready to save you; learn to love me, and to show your love through obedience to me… And you will have my blessing. Everything else is a surprise. Get used to it. And trust me.
Therefore, if we aren’t sure of what our own obedience looks like, we better dig deep into the Word and become sure; for while God offers no guarantees outside of our own salvation, He does insist that the best chance each of our loved ones has for a blessed and healthy life is to learn of such life and to begin to desire it because we model it for them. He also makes it painfully clear that each one we love may not come to know Him and that the ones who do come to know Him will be made to seek, find, trust, love, and obey on each one’s own private journey of faith. We will not be enabled to give anyone salvation. We will not be invited to directly participate in the inner journey. It is a very private lifetime encounter exclusively designed for the individual soul.
And while I remain convinced that no other work has the potential for greater positive impact on society than that of being a good wife and mother, personally I am truly grateful that by some miracle of grace, every time my job gets harder- I find the strength to pray harder and to work harder; and it is such a sweet surprise to realize that Our Father is working through me to bring about His best will in spite of my own sin, my own lack of this or that, my own lack of perfection. It is an additional gift from a generous Father, and it is available to all of his saved children. ❤️
Matthew 22 (22:36-40)
Copyright 2017. L.L. Shelton
Before The Fall
With no blood shed,
Under One Head,
Mine is to anticipate
Full return unto that state,
Under One Head,
With no blood shed,
One As All Living to be lead.
Copyright 2017. L.L. Shelton.
My Beloved Father in Heaven,
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to make this plea in a public place for I hope that it will find a home in the hearts of others who want these same things for which I pray.
Please forgive me when I fail you and provide me the strength to be more nearly representative of you each day.
By your Grace, please allow that I am never made to stand against my fellow human being. Yet if it must be, grant me the fortitude to bear it.
By your Grace, allow me rather in spite of all my human frailty to forgive, and yet in Truth to uphold your mercy and your justice knowing and accepting you to be the judge of souls and that your’s is the only legitimate judgement; giving me leave to enjoy others in both loving fellowship and loving witness and permitting me the discernment to realize the difference.
By your Grace, please allow my human American brothers within and outside of The Faith sight, that we may continue to imagine a pure vision free of the persecution of one another, and full of love for one another as human beings created in your image.
By your Grace, allow America to continue in true wisdom and to provide a secure home in which all have opportunity to worship you freely; a home for the weak, the downtrodden, and the oppressed- though it be of great cost to us, and do continue your blessing upon us and make a great human family of us in spite of our diversity and because of our commonalities.
By Your Grace, My Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.
2017, L.L. Shelton
I was your second mother,
Her arms held you first,
And every time I think this through
I think of you from birth;
I think of how she must have loved you,
Wrapped up in her arms,
Of how she must have felt each time
She kept you safe and warm.
I think of all she gave in hopes,
Your life would be sublime,
Of how she never dreamed there’d come
This awful space in time.
I long for her to know,
That I too loved you Dear,
That every time you came to me
I kept you very near;
For her to know I shared her love,
And now do share her pain,
My heart will ache until that day
We do hold you again.
L.L. Shelton, Copyright 2016.
To begin: There is only ONE good reason for getting married and for having children, and it is: Because GOD wants you to do it. And if it is HE wanting you to do it; it is because He wants you to be a part of what HE is building. He wants you to be a part of illustrating HIS story to a watching world. God desires for you to be a part of LOVE as defined by Him.
Don’t allow yourself to enter these arenas, the building of marriage and family, at the persuasion of any other than God in Christ, or without reading His Word and getting whatever grasp upon this that your maturity and His patience allow to you. These are not institutions for the faint of heart and will never withstand the difficulties that come along with them unless built upon a proper foundation. Marriage and family belong to Him. They are His design and He has said that they must be structured upon Him, upon the principles set forth in His Word, to be successful. And the terms for success in marriage must be and are determined by its Creator.
Maybe you have entered into these things lightly and without a proper amount of forethought. It is not too late. You must pray for GOD to make your partner willing and as He does this, the two of you begin (together in Christ) to tear down the old relationship and to start anew on the correct foundation. Seek out an older married couple in whom you see Christ (in other words, you observe them living together according to the principles set forth in The Bible for the living out of their shared faith). Approach them and directly ask for their active guidance and participation in your lives. If resources allow, find a Biblical counselor to assist you in building this new platform for your marriage.
Another issue may be that your partner remains unwilling to consider Christ. In this case, you must continue in earnest prayer, gentleness, and good will toward your spouse until such time as God releases you from the relationship, and you are free to start again; and this must be done with the greatest caution for two primary reasons. The first is that you must try with all your will to NOT push your partner away from either yourself or God in the hope that the other will leave soon. This happens often in such a case and is regularly realized only when an experienced helper points out to the Christian in the marriage that this is indeed what that one is doing. The second reason is that you are quite liable to abandon the frying pan in favor of the fire, unless you have spent an adequate amount of time in the judicious study of Holy Scripture concerning the Way of Life of a Christian in order that you may more easily recognize a fraud should there be opportunity for a next time around.
Paul reminds us in a letter to the early church that it is better not to marry at all than to enter the covenant casually. It is a choice open to the Christian to remain single and serve GOD fully from that position, rather than serving Him from the position of marriage. However, for God’s saved child, there is no choice as to serve or not to serve, and if your heart is completely without reservation His own; you will be compelled to serve despite your finest efforts to the contrary. (The difficulties and delights specifically associated with the Christian’s choice to remain single are beyond the scope of this short essay.)
In the end, I don’t wish to leave the impression that there are no joys associated with marriage but only trials, as that would be wholly untrue. There are multiple blessings to be had within the marriage relationship- true friendship, God’s allowance to fully know and to be fully known by another human being- to completely relate to another person, children within God’s favor and under the protection of a legitimate bond. I count it a great privilege to enjoy many of the wonders of marriage.
Now, in this day of much confusion concerning marriage and family, I implore you to search God’s Word for yourself to find that these very things that I tell you are true. And may The Lord God of All bless your every effort!
Copyright 2016. L.L. Shelton
My Young Friend,
Love has been tragically misrepresented and misunderstood. Love both requires of you and insists that you require of yourself; it is both a proper noun and a verb. It requires of itself what is best for another and gives it without reservation. Love demands sacrifice and sacrifice usually stings a bit. Often it is genuinely painful, at times even debilitating. Any one who has truly loved has felt both the joy and the bite of it. The idea that love is all pleasant and ever delightful is a gross adulteration.
I hear a great deal these days about fear of commitment, about lack of commitment, and inability to commit. I listen to tales of lack of intimacy and emotional distance in family relationships and in marriage. I am often told of loneliness, and the death of community. I believe these things are symptoms of a lack of love, and I do not believe it is commitment we are so afraid of, rather it is sacrifice that we fear.
Most of us have felt the confusion resulting from a person’s declaration of love for us followed by an expression of our sexuality, only to realize rejection at a later date. Some of us have felt the terrible vexation that comes when a parent who has claimed love for us has then neglected or abused us (or our other parent or sibling) and maybe even abandoned us or left the home. Each of us has been puzzled at one point or another by the expression of love and insult from the same mouth. Each of us has brandished both affection and grief with one tongue.
People are imperfect. We are incapable of either loving or hating perfectly. This is why we are taught to strive always to become perfect in love and to avoid hate altogether. We’re instructed to leave the hating to God. We are taught to learn of repentance and forgiveness and to become experts at both, and there is a Way.
Another method by which love has been horribly distorted is by the idea that love and sexuality can be one in the same. The two are never one. Human sexuality is and has always been one way in a million of expressing love. Obviously, it is often used in a perverse manner to express things that do not resemble love in the slightest.
For many reasons, one being to set the relationship above and apart from all others, and some that are mysterious and still known only to God Himself, we are told that His system is designed to function optimally for us (for all of us individually and as a corporate whole) when each of us limit the expression of our sexuality to one relationship with one person of the opposite sex (gender) for the entirity of our lives. Yet, we are encouraged by God to express our LOVE for everyone all the time!
My third and final offering concerning the misrepresentation of love is this: God is love, but love is not God. According to His Word, God is many things and love is ever a part of Him; His perfect Love motivating him continually. Love is only itself. Love is one of the many attributes of God and is nonetheless the epitome of holiness and the greatest thing. Love is perfect. God Himself is love, but love is not God. Therefore, we in our love are not God. God is bigger.
Lastly, in love I offer this truth from God’s Word. It is an expression of my love for you. May it allow you some clarity and grant you a bit of peace on earth.
An Old Friend
(Please see 1 John 3:16, John 13, 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13)
Copyright 2016, L.L. Shelton