~ strumming ~

Recently at work I heard the song "Killing Me Softly" by the Fugees playing in the background. The song makes me think of High School days and I've always liked it, esp. the beat and the singer's soulish voice.  But this time, I heard the words "HEALING me softly." I love it when Holy Spirit communicates to me through song.

I listened to the words as brand new, as Jesus sending me a note. His voice saying I am "strumming your pain with my fingers, singing your life with my words, Healing you softly with my song, telling
your whole life with my words."  Tears came to my eyes as I sat at my desk and stared at my computer screen.  "I felt all flushed with fever, embarrassed by the crowd, I felt he found my letters and read each one out loud, I prayed that he would finish, but he just kept right on...."

He kept on Healing me.
Strumming my pain.
Running his fingers lightly across every hurt and producing a melody, a new sound.
Playing our unique tune.


~ sunday morning ~

locked in between miles of linked-chairs behind and before me
shoulder to shoulder with strangers
feeling claustrophobic, wanting a little more personal space 
trying to relax after my morning coffee jolt and applying makeup while driving
playing beat the clock and rushing into the building, late again
i try to slow the pace of my mind
i look up on stage
dang, my fave girl is not here today
and then the next song starts
the music stills me
i know i know this one
but i can't recognize what song it is
the new girls sings familiar words
"your love has ravished my heart and taken me over and all i want is to be with you forever"
oh yes. this song.
one i love and play over and over in my kitchen
i close my eyes and open my mouth to sing, to you
"pull me a little closer take me a little deeper i wanna know your heart"
i breathe in and lift my hands palms open
singing "your love is so much sweeter than anything i've tasted"
my voice blends with those around me
hundreds are singing and we become one voice...
time to sit, no longer tense, settled.
the woman on my right says, "you have a beautiful voice"
"thank you."

~ This is what I seek
   to dwell in the house of the Lord
   to gaze up on His beauty and seek Him in his temple
   I hide in the shelter of his tabernacle
   I sing and make music to the Lord
   I lift my hands toward your most Holy place
   the Lord is my strength and my shield
   my heart leaps for joy, I give thanks to him in song
   Jesus, be my shepherd and carry me forever.
                                                            -from psalm 27&28


~Romans 8:6 poem~

"I can't hear Him right now." -Spirit (weak)

"What was the last thing He said to you?" -Soul (irritated)

"I can't remember."-Spirit (foggy)

"Think!"-Soul (mind)

"He said He loved me. I remember laying my head down on my pillow and saying, 'I love you Jesus' and then I heard Him say back to me, 'I love you more.'" -Spirit (smiling)

"Is that all? Did He say anything else? Did He give you an assignment or something?" -Soul (strong will)

"I don't think so, but the other day in the grocery store He said that He loved my heart." -Spirit (laughing in remembrance of the sticker on a banana that said 'I love your heart', a love note from Jesus)

"OK, He loves you and your heart, got it. But what else? This is important. How are we going to know what to do next? I want to know the next plan of action.  We're too idle." -Soul (frustrated and all business)

"I remember once He said that there is an appointed time for everything and that what I was going to deliver was for an appointed people and time."-Spirit (relaxed)

"So, you think it's not time yet? Because we can't miss it." -Soul (anxious)

"We will pray and wait for Him." -Spirit (growing stronger)

"That's a good plan I guess." -Soul (submitting)

"Remember, 'Wait upon the Lord.'" -Spirit (finally leading)

"That's Isaiah 40:31. I'm starting to feel better. -Soul (emotional)

"And as soon as He says go or move, we won't hesitate and we will be ready." -Spirit (renewed)

"Exactly." -Soul (content)

"The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace." -Romans 8:6

-Jennifer Bowden


Butterflies on the Beach

Last weekend was the first time I've ever seen butterflies on the beach, gobs of them, everywhere.  One tried to land on the flower on my hat. These 2 let me take their picture (and I didn't have to crop or enhance them).

flutter by me butterfly
let me see your delicate beauty

I remember a few months ago when I was driving to school and praying and I said out loud a simple, "I need you, I need you, I need you."  Instantly I heard Him whisper back, "You got me, You got me, You got me."  It wasn't deep or profound, but it was perfect and it anchored me.

Seeing the butterflies everywhere in SC was a reminder that He is with me and His beauty fills the earth in so many ways.

"For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call upon him?"  -Deut. 4:7

I'm so thankful to have "a God so near." 


Cocoon Poem


pressing against the barrier 
ready to break out of this slumber 
and stretch into an unknown place 
it's time
“oh, it's an awful thing to be a favorite of heaven”
a painful blessing

shocks of beauty surge through me
from when i was melted down and re-formed
on His anvil, by His hand
in a cocoon of protection 
fed the bread of adversity 
and given water of affliction to drink 

emerging from a past identity 
of a poisonous caterpillar
resurrected and loved much
happy birth day butterfly.

- Jenn Bowden Aug. 2012

*quotation by Charles Spurgeon


Happy May 19th

"and let the wife see that she respects her husband..."  -Ephesians 5:33

I respect you when you take your turn saying the prayer before our family meals.
I respect how hard-working you are and your drive for excellence.
I admire and respect your patience and stamina, with me and with life.
You have the strength and endurance of an ox. You're steady, always pushing forward.
I respect your consistent discipline of Lucy and the way you play with her.
I love how you submit to her hair and makeup play dates and have silly time with her.
I respect you when you sometimes have to tell me "No" and the way you gently lead our family.
You set safe boundaries for me and Lucy and I respect your wise decisions.
I'm thankful for the way you manage our finances, a place where I'm weak, but you are strong.

Sometimes I tell you "I love you" a thousand times in a one day and I love how you reply to me with a simple, "I know."
Thank you for always keeping our yard so beautiful.
Thank you for always spoiling me and loving me, especially when I am not easy to love.
Happy Anniversary my love.
je t'aime, te amo, i love you.


~ Mama ~

When you bake.....pound cakes just because, 
cakes with shaved chocolate on top of homemade chocolate icing for birthdays, 
melt in your mouth red velvet cakes at Christmas time...
You make more of heaven on earth and you do it with just two hands.

I saw how you learned to pray.
In my teen years, I stayed out too late and you stayed in knots too long.
I put you down and somehow you put up with me,
I was wild and you showed me how grace can be wilder still.
How many times did I get in trouble and you got a call from someone, 
you had to listen and hear the embarrassing thing that involved your daughter.
You learned that the way to move heaven and earth isn't with a strong arm, but with a bowed head.

You and Dad kept the vow to love when all the sparkle had faded,
but your love today is stronger than I've ever seen it, 
and you'll never know what that means to me and how glorious you are.

I can close my eyes, anytime anywhere, and see your hands and the blueness of your eyes, 
I can smell your cooking and remember its taste, 
how it satisfied my soul just as much as my stomach.
I can see your yard, all the trees you planted, 
the fullness of the flower beds, the growth along the front porch and the beauty its become.
You make more of heaven on earth and you do it with just two hands.

I love your embrace and how you smell like Perry Ellis perfume,
and how you sometimes kiss my cheek, so soft, like it might break me, and it does.

Mothers never stop being with child, you always make a space for me within you.
Thank you for the thousand ways you've shaped me,
my today has a lot to do with all of your faithful yesterdays.

- Jenn Bowden

*some parts of this poem are adapted from and inspired by Ann Voskamp


~ Kneeling ~

God speaks to me through visions sometimes.  

When I was 17, the week before being admitted to a mental hospital, God gave me a vision, a revelation.  I saw myself in the spirit and I was kneeling down, hands tied behind my back, head bowed and eyes closed.  In the position of defeat at the foot of my enemy, a man-creature in black, stood beside me holding a gun to my head. I was paralyzed by fear, but when Satan aimed the gun at my mind and pulled the trigger, only a little plastic flag popped out of the gun that said, "bang" like in a cartoon.  Immediately words like a bomb exploded inside of me, "NO. WEAPON. FORMED. AGAINST. YOU. SHALL. PROSPER."  The scripture became alive and it was sharp like a sword, dividing my soul and spirit.  Years later I heard a preacher speak the following words and I knew that Jesus was declaring them over me, "Do my prophet no harm. You didn't die for her, that's my property!" I do not kneel (physically or spiritually) in defeat anymore.  I kneel in surrender, I kneel in submission and I kneel in prayer.  I bend my knees in worship to my Lord and no other.  The enemy has no power over me and his weapons won't work.



Sometimes I close my eyes during worship at church
and just listen for his voice,
for personal dialogue.
This past Sunday, I silently said to Him,
"I just want everyone here to know how GOOD you are."
I felt like He was smiling at me,
squeezing my shoulders
and then He said, "Relax kiddo, I've got this."

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.
I am not the Coach
I'm one player on the team
doing my part for the win.


Mama Endurance

I wrote this poem about my 2 best girlfriends, Valerie & Jessica.

"i see my best friends
with babies in their arms
& toddlers wrapped around their legs,
other little ones are beside them pulling on their shirts saying, "Mama, Mama" in voices so sweet.
One friend even has a teenager stepson
she's tied a rope around her waist
dragging him behind her
he probably isn't even aware of it.

My best friends walk
carrying their motherload
one step at a time
pursuing God daily
consistent in prayer & reading his Word
Sprinting is impossible
they might fall & someone could get hurt
It's not time to run
the weight of their treasured cargo is heavy
& they must endure.
the perfect pace is
lifting one leg and then another
moving forward
building strength
walking out their faith.
eventually the children will step into
their own walk with Jesus
no longer being carried
but she's pointed them in the right direction
& must trust the Holy Spirit to lead them.
her desire is to see them pass her
the baton passed on
to the men & women she's raised
to be strong,
brave and fierce
their faces set like flint
unyielding in truth.
Thank you God
for Mama's Endurance."