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  • Writer's picturesadie.speaks

The Family Crest

Sadie Speaks is not my real name. It’s my pen name. On the early introduction pages of my blog, you’ll see how and why I chose to write with a pen name. Real person, different name.

To be clear, ‘Speaks’ is a genuine surname. Just not mine by birth. It hails from England and could have two different origins. One of those origins is that it’s root is the same as a carpenter bird better known as a woodpecker. Much like the woodpecker, this blog seeks to drive home a point. This blog speaks hope and healing to those reeling from intimate partner violence, domestic violence, sexual abuse and life’s tragedies; hard places and grief. Ms. Speaks would like her blog surname to wildly hammer the message; to repeatedly repeat the words that there is healing in Jesus’ Name and that there is a safe and sacred space to work out that healing. Through my poetry and writing; through my painting and advocating — this blog seeks to give you a birds’ eye view into the process and the practice and the pain of healing. Not in a sort of pounding one’s head against a brick wall but more, like the purposeful design of a woodpecker’s motion and manner, to watch the artistry of healing: knocking holes into rotten wood whereby nests of life can be birthed. Those nests offering up healing and hope. In short, woodpeckers are cool.

Crimson-Crested Woodpecker

That said, my intention was never to mimic a woodpecker or to have ‘Speaks’ as a blog pen name surname. In my mind, Speaks has always been and will always be a verb. Sadie speaks. Sadie finds her voice after abuse. Sadie tells the stories that laid isolated deep within her heart year after year causing profound loneliness long before the #metoo movement and long before any woman dared to speak of the horrors of crimes committed against her.

When one did speak, you weren’t believed. And when one wasn’t believed, you went back to the loudest of all lonely silences. Often, the only place to be heard was pen and paper. And quite often what I penned were prayers and poems; feelings and fear and faith all mixed in together— you couldn’t divide them out from one another if you tried.

My counselors told me I should write for others’ to read. They told me my words would make a difference. I'm still not sure I believe that. It took me 13 years from that first nudge to say yes to sharing myself in print. Sadie Speaks is about to celebrate its third anniversary.

I have been quiet the last two months. Earlier this year, I had a full-on life set back with nightmares, intruding memories and a deep wrestling with my self-image, worthiness and life’s deepest existential questions. The ‘gloater’ about healing and hope was feeling less than healed with no hope. Not to beat a dead horse, but I had a hard winter.

Sadie wishes to speak those words into your life, too. In this journey, being restored from your past trauma or current sorrow is a marathon, not a sprint. Some times, the race gets extra hard and extra long and you don’t feel like you can finish well — or finish at all. You need to know that in that space, you are also not alone.

You can finish.

Hold on to hope.

Hold tight to the lifeline.

Let loose of the pain.

Find your voice.

Much like a woodpecker insists on breaking through the rotten wood, repeat the victory chant over and over until your breakthrough comes.

Redemption is for you.

This poem is a little glimpse into the history of the Speaks family name. Their crest: to sing songs of redemption’s triumph. I am determined to sing the song of my people.

If you need healing from what ails, you’re my people. You’re my kin.

Join the victory chant of the ages.

‘Cause I come from a long line of people I never knew …


From Thieves, Whores & Vagabonds

I come from a long line

Of people that I never knew

Who walked roads I have no earthly idea

What they went through

Glimpses into painful stories

Painful pasts

And then, Redemption

Their cry became the Cross

Their song became a victory chant

And the thing about Redemption

Is that you have to keep on singing

It’s the song that never ends

It goes on and on, my friend

It’s better than 99 bottles of beer

on the wall

But you have to repeat Redemption’s chorus

Just as many times

And once we all join the Choir

It doesn’t matter where we’ve been

But it does take some longer

To learn the lyrics and the victory chant

The song repeats in around

From generation to generation

I once was lost

But now I’m found

And the Chorus crescendos

All the voices

Saved, in unison

Echoing the refrain

God is light

In Him there is no darkness

God is love

In Him there is no hate

God is mercy

In Him no contempt or judgment

God is grace.

And my family tree whispers,

Like the thief on the cross

‘Remember me,

O Lord’

A saved soul

A wasted life

Hanging like a thief

Hanging by a thread of God’s mercy

But I’d almost rather come

From thieves and whores and vagabonds

Than from Pharisees and rich men walking

Because it’s harder for them

To reach the eternal Kingdom

‘Cause the thieves

And the whores

And the vagabonds

Know mercy when they see it

The sinners know they’re sinners

And reach for the hem of the Savior

I’ve often thought my roots ruined me

But maybe they actually saved

‘Cause I saw dead men walking

Out of their self-made graves

And I saw sinners become saints

Well, I saw sinners be saved

But that is a heritage I’ll gladly take

I heard my relatives sing songs

Loud and robust and full

‘I’m so glad I’m apart of the family of God

I’ve been washed in the fountain

Cleansed by His blood

Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod

For I’m part of the family,

The family of God.’

And the thing about Redemption

Is that you have to keep on singing

You must keep reminding yourself,

And reminding your kin, of all the words

And join voices with the others

Sing loud so they hear the harmony,

Sing soft so they hear the parts

Just like the long line of sinners

Who came {and went} from places I’ve never been

God is light

In Him there is no darkness

God is love

In Him there is no hate

God is mercy

In Him, no contempt or judgment

God is grace.

Jesus saves.

Jesus saves.

The victory chant of the ages.

The lyrics of the saints.

I come from a long line

Of the unexpectedly redeemed

Repeating their cry, the Cross

Rehearsing their whisper for a thief’s mercy

And I am determined to sing alongside them

My story of unexpected redemption

And boast only of the Cross

And shout the victory chant

—At least rehearse it —

And perfect my song

Like the thieves, whores and vagabonds

I come from

Lord, have mercy

Save us

For you are Light

And in You there is no darkness

You are Love

In You there is no hate

And You are mercy

In You, no contempt or judgment

You are Grace.



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