That glass jar, the one I dwell in, it’s been shaken and stirred.

Upside down, spinning around.

It had the edges, the lines of clarity I so craved.

“Be nice.” “Be polite.” “Don’t show too much emotion.” “Don’t be angry.”

Those boundaries told me what I knew; what I should know.

But he who knew me better --

He knew that the shaken and stir would do.

Do as it should - shake and stir. And empty and fill.

It had to reveal the reality of the One.

He who exposes the pain, the truth, the realness, the fullness

He showed me the pain and then took it away.

I heard stories of those who had been shot, killed, and chased.

Of those who had babies but could not care because of the dire circumstances of life.

Then He showed me what hope is. And truth, and joy, and grace.

He said it was a smile - from an old man with white bushy hair, separated from his children.

He said it was a young woman - forced to marry at 14 and resilient enough to flee.

He said it was a teenager - born in a refugee camp, with no identity but a love for humanity.

He said it was an African man - scared of his own loud memories, whose mission is to win souls.

He said it was the faith of a young Iraqi boy - not allowed to believe, but worshipping Him anyway.

And the resilience of every single person, that in this life have somehow not forgotten how to smile, and to love.

And He said I could have this joy too. That He was the source. And that I had access.

He said I knew Him - and that He knew me.

That shaking and stirring might seem counterproductive

or counteractive, and most likely it goes,

against the psychological norms of the place I dwell.

But I thank Him for the uprooting of the bedrock - the mixing, that sifting of my soul, for I know that his love is genuine.

And unlike anything I have found common.

For had He not said “to Memphis you must go” and “the refugees you must meet”
I would be a little more afraid and trust in His name a little less.

For He hears the cry of the broken-hearted. He is merciful. And He is good.

-Erin Pipes