sin’s flower

by Elizabeth de Barros

Removing the Grave Clothes


I stand in anticipation

of your sun’s rising

I wrestle

to breathe

to manifest your glory. 


Yet in my quaking

I writhe

to loose the chains

to free my neck

to submit

to the dawn of your breaking

to the swallow of death

to the sting that is no longer there.


I wrestle to walk away from the strips of linen.


What is this oil


from my fingers

staining my feet

perfuming my skin 

 fragrant of myrrh and aloes?


Removing the Grave Clothes



©2005 Elizabeth DeBarros


I wrote this poem some eight years ago, at a time when the axe was falling at the root of my shame. Though I had been a Christian for 26 years, shame was still a viable part of me, restless and powerful, the drivetrain of so many hidden faults.

Deliverance came over a long season of dissembling and disintegrating — where God in His wisdom arranged the fires of purging and sent His arrows into my heart until I buckled under the weight of His undoing. The process found me uprooted from the place I knew so well — in servitude to chains of fear, discontent, self-absorption, and doubt — the many-headed phantom of my selfish past that kept me hobbling around in the lowlands.

And because self and shame clasp hands, surrender doesn’t happen without a fight. They each get an odd payoff. One doesn’t leave without the other. The seed of self has to die for shame to go.

See, God didn’t just wash away the crimson stain of sin, He rid me of the sticky resin of shame too.

He takes it all away.

Soli Deo Gloria.