A lot of bottle

On the Bottle

Breast may be best
though bottle is better
for bonding-sharing
with any willing 
hands to hold 
these rabbit-skinned
imitations of infants
mewling beyond caring


and welfare
into tiny
and tums
hunger satiates

feeding comes
Glass left in sun
heats a daily dose
devoured by little ones
of nursery nourishment
nanny state provides
or lumped with ice 
at times to chill
our young insides

Clinking, lifted high
amber or clear froth
to wash away 
cares holding sway
Cheers, chin, chin,
down the hatch
drown our sorrows
for another day
Parents on the bottle
so we sit as children do
crisp munching
fizzy drink slurping
sweet crunching
drain the dregs
save the empties
for a coin or two



Our lives can be subject to bottle-necks as narrowing, constricting circumstances cause a busy traffic of thoughts, words and deeds to congest uncomfortably and make us feel confined and trapped.

They won’t go down easily. We choke over them. I did just that for years over my past.
Our choice is to have a lot of bottle – in other words, to display courage in the face of adversity, have firm intention, confidence and resolve to meet the challenges of difficult or frightening past and present situations.

It takes real nerve and determination to walk through hard times.

My courage is all God-given. Left to my own devices I’m a coward hiding in the corner until the storms pass. As I lean harder into Him then His strength infuses into me. The harder I lean, the more He gives grace to cope.

OR we can bottle out – lose our nerve and withdraw, put off the ordeal of confronting those issues and put off facing the problems for another day. Swallow them down somehow. That was how I dealt with problems for many years. 

Only they refuse to go away, get stuck in our throat, and end up constricting our very breath.

I have learnt, from seeing the results of doing so, not to bottle up my pain and problems, but to face them head-on, gulping heavily as I do so. Tears swell and fall as I pour them out.
My past was painful.
Shadows linger on.

The cup I drink from has a bitter taste at times. Who wants to swallow this?
I am learning to choose not to hold back or refrain from sharing (as God directs me to) about the areas that have wounded me; not if it means another soul can say “You too?” and feel they are not alone. 

Not if a cup of sorrow shared means a cup of joy to share too in the overcoming.

Our faith can be stretched taut as elastic and we feel it may snap and collapse.  

Insecurity and fear can make us fall apart or shut down when problems come. Denial may help us to go on for a while. Pain and problems kept suppressed can be like a bottle of pop waiting to explode one day and leak messily all over our lives.

Now, I can reminisce – as in the poem above – about my childhood, and do so with a degree of detachment and nostalgia for my early years.
For God is helping me to find courage in confession, relief from releasing, freedom in letting go of fears, resolve in refusing to give up on His best for me as I hand it all over to Him..For it is only in letting go of the bad that we have arms empty to receive the good.

And that’s His goal for you too. As we heal we can start to focus on the life ahead of us.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland” ~ Isaiah 43:18 -19

Take courage, friends, for God is as close as your next breath and He wants very much to help and heal you. Sometimes counselling helps too, or sharing with a wise and trusted friend or family member.

Whatever it takes, won’t you join me on the journey towards greater freedom and joy?

Linking here with Tanya as she currently hosts the Concrete Words series.

16 thoughts on “A lot of bottle”

  1. Dear Joy
    I love your words on leaning hard into our Lord for without that who can withstand all the storms of life. Especially to deal with all the memories of a painful past! Over via Tanya's.
    Much love

    1. Indeed, Mia. Leaning hard is just what the Lord wants us to do. These weights are too heavy for us to carry alone or work through without His help. Bless you 🙂 xx

  2. I love the punchiness and rhythm in your poem here – it's really good. I also love to see the ways in which you are becoming so courageous in your writing, lifting the top off the bottle, sharing, ministering through healing. Thanks, Joy. I've really enjoyed your concrete words posts – thanks for linking up with me.

    1. Thank you, sweet Tanya, for your lovely encouraging comment. I really appreciate it! I've very much enjoyed linking up with you and look forward to participating in concrete words again in the future. xx 🙂

  3. I like the flow of thought as you meditate on the idea. "Not if a cup of sorrow shared means a cup of joy to share too in the overcoming." I can really identify with that. x

    1. Thanks, Liz. The poem came first then the thoughts flowed a few days later as I pondered further on the topic. It helps us to feel less alone when we share our pain and struggle. There is also the shared rejoicing as we learn, grow, begin to heal and move beyond the deep wounding of it. xx

  4. Instead of cowering, I had to learn to stop fighting, to let Him fight for me, to hold back and wait on His calls. That's not saying I didn't have a lot of fears – I had a lot of that to overcome – but finally, I learned that there just wasn't me to fight for me – God wanted to do it!

    Congratulations, though, on entering the ring!

    Heart-felt poem – I remember those cool glasses of milk that cooled my insides:)

    1. Sometimes our resistance to face up to problems is a form of fighting against God. To "let Him fight for me" is a place of surrender where Grace takes over. We often fail to remember that our battles have already been fought and won on the cross; although seeing it as a reality in our lives can take a life-time.

      In the ring with you, my friend, bowed but not beaten!

      Yes, those were the days, with chilled milk at school break-time; no mollycoddling for us. Thank you so much for sharing here. I really appreciate it. xx

  5. Thanks for this – I'm old enough to remember forced cold milk drinking at school too!
    Sometimes when we're bottling things up we don't know we are doing it, because we don't always know exactly what we're dealing with & sure my bottles have exploded at times.
    But shared cups are the best ones aren't they & it's good to have a safe place to do this.

  6. Hi Jo. The subject matter seemed to stir those deep childhood memories. Glad you can connect with them too! We can definitely remain in ignorance about bottling things up until a trigger reminds us. In the past I had several explosive moments before gaining insight into the cause of them and still do occasionally as new things hit home.
    Sharing together in a place of safety and mutual understanding is a great way forward in being able to release some of the pain we carry. Then we can look forward to sharing a cup of joy as healing begins to come. I appreciate you sharing here. Thank you 🙂

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