Song for the Prodigals: Back in Your Love

When the dark night surrounds me, and I can’t find my way thru
Across the breakers like a beacon–You call my name and bring me back to You.
In the raging storm You calm me, with a pure love like I never knew,
Like a tree, You give me shelter, You comfort me and bring me back to You

Back to Your Love, Back to Your Light
Back to Your arms, You make it all right!
Back in Your Love, Back in Your Light,
Back in Your arms, You make it all right
when I come back to you.

In the heart ache, in the sorrow, it seems like there ain’t nothin true,
And I can’t even face tomorrow, but there ain’t nothin else to do.
That’s when Your sweet sweet love comes tumbling down, tumbling down,
to resurrect me from the tomb
You light the flames of Holy Passion, and then You draw me ever back to You.  (Chorus)


Coming Back Home (A country lament, sung waltz-style. Summer 1997)

(written while studying the parable of the prodigal son…we are all that prodigal, profligately wasteful.  But the worst thing is that some end up being the older brother…prideful and haughty and stingy with love and grace and forgiveness.

And who would I aspire to be like?  The one heart here that is tender and kind and generous.)


I’ve been on the road such a dusty long time,
felt the heat of the sun fill my head with cold chimes.
And freedom ain’t all that its’s cracked up to be,
cuz Your tough tender heart’s far away, far from me.

And I’m longing to see You, and look in Your face,
and listen to Your laughter filling my lonely place.
But I’m on my own now, so I howl at the moon,
and remember when You told me ’bout the dish and the spoon.

I’ve made lotsa money, but not many friends.
It’s a hard thing to figure–where one starts and one ends.
The wind blows so lonesome thru a heart I thought free,
and it rattles the memories of You loving me.

So I cling to the hope of Your welcome to me,
and I’d rather be Your slave than be lost but free!
So Master…no…Father…I surrender to You,
and I’m coming back home, I surrender to you.tumblr_n51bgpQYha1r2zs3eo1_500



Like A Seal Upon Your Heart (a song of Devotion, April 1993)

(This is a simple chorus, a song of devotion.  I wrote this for our home group, and we would sing it as I strummed the guitar and led the chorus.  I can’t play any longer, as the arthritis plays hell in my hands…but when I found this, jotted down on the back of an old church bulletin, it was indeed a pearl saved by Mama, and given back to me.

The interesting task of processing these all now, looking back with eyes that know my tender woman’s soul trapped inside this testosterone ravaged body, well, so far it has had the effect of helping me to embrace that I was not insane then, however crazy I felt.

I freely admit that it was lil songs like this that were all that kept me going.)

Set me like a seal on Your heart.  Wear me like a ring on Your finger.
Give to me Your love that is stronger than death,
and set me like a seal upon Your heart.       (Chorus)

Carve Your Name into my heart.  Write upon my life with Your finger.
Hold me to the cross my love, and pierce my ear forever,
and carve Your Name into my heart.          (Chorus)

Let me know the beating of Your heart.  I will give my life for Your pleasure.
There is nothing in this world that I desire more,
than just to know the beating of Your heart.         (Chorus)

For I love you, I love you!
With all my heart, with all my heart,
Yes I love you, I love you,my Beloved, I love you


The Wings of His Desire (A song, written in 1997 for a famous friend)

Well I see that you been walkin cuz that Cadillac broke down
But the desert won’t surrender for a dollar or a crown,
And the crowd is back the road a-piece just a-waitin for a ride, while you are
Fixing your eyes on the sky
lookin for that fiery chariot ride
to come and take you sailin’ on the wings of His desire.

The glitter and the grime have blurred the boundaries of truth
In that ghost town full of souls who search for fountains  full of youth,
And the flashback memories of the brainding iron’s searing sneer
Haunt your spirit like a curse
from a Pharisee’s gold-lined purse, and your heart is
Longing for the wings of His desire.

Hey Friend! Don’t you realise that He held you up to them, like a mirror!
Yeah, it’s you they stoned but it’s them they hate!
The stench of their hypocrisy just chokes their life away…

Hey Friend! Don’t you realise that He holds you in His Arms, you are His child!
Yeah it’s you that He was crucified for and ever does the sweet perfume
Zof His love fill the air you breathe…

So remember this sage fool’s advice as your pilgrimage unfolds
Let down your hair, Rapunzel! Cast away that pot of fool’s gold!
For angels cannot suffer, but they can’t taste of love’s sweet wine, and it is
Better that you have your being, spun out like a precious tapestry
Suspended on the wings of His desire.

Hey Friend! Lift up your eyes again and let the wind blow back your hair
Take courage once again for the stones they throw in a twinkling will
become the bricks of His steadfast love for you…
And the songs of praise shall rise again like a golden phoenix from the flame
And the prophet’s mantle will again rest on your shoulders like His Name
And it is better that you have your being, sung like a precious melody
And it is better that you have your being, sung like a precious melody
And sheltered by the wings of His desire.

Summer 1997



“Do not despise your past, Charissa”

These words have been echoing thru my heart for the last several days.  Mama has been digging, turning over ground long gone fallow.  She has taken me back…over old sermon notes, thru old class outlines and conference messages and topics.  I am remembering so many things, and most of all…

…I am remembering the songs.

Yeah.  I was a songwriter.  Big surprise to you all over here, right????  LOLOL!

I would imagine I have written well over a thousand songs, or more, if you include worship choruses and what not.

I only have a few dozen laying around now, and so many forgotten, gone into the history of my walk of devotion along with the yesterdays and yesteryears.  They are all part of the “us” that They and I are now, in the same way that the food you ate when you were 5, and 15, is still a part of you.

But I sense a purpose in all this:

Mama does not like Her daughter to be divided, has never liked the dissociation that I was forced to adopt.  And now that I am set free, She is bound and determined to bring all those things that were good materials and lay them in a work basket…and teach me to weave.  She and I will weave them into our relationship.   She says She will strip away my shame, my self loathing, and my sorrow and despair.

So for a while there will be appearances here in the blog of old simple songs…old funny songs…strange things…outlines of talks and homilies…whatever I think is still of value to anyone other than myself.  I think that sometimes I might try to turn them into poems…who knows?

One thing is for certain:  you are gonna get a glimpse into a heart…a heart that They chose to be involved with, and one that in its towering imperfection loves them as my only true light, life and hope…a hope certain and sure, and not merely wishful wistful thinking.

Love, Charissa248852_10150212535558180_823713179_7141081_5708839_n

River (1982)

(This will be the last of several posts of old old OLD poems!!  I marvel at the changes, the reductions and growths, the increases and diminishments, and always that distant empty place in the poems that is no longer there in what I write…sooo strange to me, these words so familiar and yet as if written by a stranger.  And so I was…a stranger.)


the river in its abundance
all about us, as we stood
on a warm rock to wash

smoothing with long
sliding strokes

our soapy hands along each other’s
slippery cool bodies

quiet and slow in the midst of
the quick of the
sounding river
Our hands were flames
stealing upon quickened flesh until

no part of us
but was
sleek and
on fire


Notes on the Third Year (1984)

(note:  this poem is the genesis poem of a previously posted poem

The Great and Long Reduction

My what a vast and measureless way we have traveled…and still here, in the present, and in our love!)


I have considered writing you
anonymous love letters,
fearing that my voice has grown
so familiar you will no longer hear it;
fearing that I talk too much

or that you listen with one ear (how silly of me!),

fearing that when I sing my best

there is no sound in the air;

fearing that you consider me the world’s

most accomplished maker of amazing,

silent, useless faces…

Three years in the making–Dear Collaborator!
This should be a love story!

Yes, it is.
It really is.


The Simplicity (1981)

I hide behind the simple things
(not the easy)                     so you’ll find me;
If you don’t find me, you’ll find the things.
You’ll touch what my hand has touched,

our hand prints will merge…
the august moon glitters
in the kitchen
like a tin-plated pot

(it does this because of what I’m saying to you)

it lights up the empty house
and the house’s kneeling silence,
always the silence remains kneeling.

Every Word is a doorway
to a meeting–one oft cancelled–
and that’s when a word is true:
when it insists on the meeting.


Rhythm (1981)

In bed, half asleep
I listen to you moving
“to and fro” around.

Hardly Poetic
Hardly the Grace of gesture
(or is it the gesture of grace?)


they are rhythms, and yours.
Clean, efficient, with a style
I’ve come to recognize

They Move Me More Than The Sound of Many Poems.