Just Happy to Be Here

This piece was inspired by a writing prompt from Tanner Olson
(@writtentospeak on Instagram)

So many times I’ve wanted to disappear,
To run away, escape the clutch of all my fears.

“Maybe if things were different,” I say,
“Things wouldn’t be this way.”

But I cannot ever escape from me,
So maybe here is where I need to be.

For here is where God designated,
Before my bones were even created.

Every circumstance I face is a tool in His hand,
That He uses to create the masterpiece He planned.

And wherever here is, whatever time and place,
He can meet me here, in that space.

And indeed, He meets me here,
He calms the waves of all my fears.

I am never alone, for He is here with me.
And where He is, is where I want to be.

Here will not last forever,
But I am His forever and ever.

So while I’m here I can be content,
Wherever I find myself in the present.

And maybe I can even truthfully say,
That I am just happy to be here today.

Healing Together in the Light

Bringing the plight of someone to light,
Whether brother or sister or stranger,
Doesn’t mean we are saying that everyone else is all alright.
It simply means we are caring for one who is suffering or in danger.

Pain is not a competition,
Nor is comparing it particularly helpful.
In fact, comparing it gives the enemy more ammunition,
And creates a vicious cycle if we are not careful.

God created us with emotions and feeling.
He is not intimidated by our inner turmoil or outer weeping.
Lamenting is not the opposite of believing,
If anything, it only means that we are more fully seeing.

He is near to the brokenhearted and crushed in spirit.
And if we are following Him closely,
Being among the hurting will be more than a short visit.
He did not call us out of death to live for our comfort only.

The cost of our own comfort or semblance thereof can be high,
It sometimes means further wounding those already hurting deeply inside.
But that truth is easy to ignore if you drown out their cry,
And live according to the desires of your foolish, selfish pride.

That pride seeks every way to devour,
But the Lord calls us to humble ourselves and be patient,
To grow in His love and to trust in His power,
Not to be self-absorbed, apathetic, and complacent.

Our Savior we claim to follow was no stranger to affliction.
He humbled Himself too and became the Lamb on the altar.
He forgave even those who conducted His crucifixion.
And by His blood, He reconciled us with the Father.

And if we belong to Him, then we also belong to each other.
For He did not give us life to live on our own in isolation.
We are strangers brought together to be sisters and brothers,
A family united in Christ, who is the firm foundation.

This family is not just a community for good times,
We are to share one another’s burdens and serve each other.
Any group of broken people inevitably gets messy sometimes,
But we are still better off together.

We are children of the Light, lamps made to illuminate the night.
We cannot leave hurt or injustice in the dark, concealed.
Our wounds and our sins must be brought out into the Light,
For only when we are vulnerable together, can we truly be healed.

Let us build up and encourage those we encounter,
And point to the Light of the world, Hope that is forever.
Remember we are sons and daughters of Him who has the power,
Through Him, we can learn to reconcile and love each other better.

For a Moment

For a moment I am in this moment,
One moment following another and another moment.
Too many moments on my mind and I become stressed,
But with so many unknowns and so much to do, how can I rest?

In the noise of the day, He still calls me to come and be –
Here, in this moment, for a moment, to taste and see.
Not to worry about what has been or what will come,
But to rest and remember where my hope comes from.

Just.
Be.

Be still and be in His presence.
To be in awe of His love and omnipresence.
For though He is outside of time and I am bound by it for now,
He chooses to meet me here in this moment somehow.

With His grace that abounds, He covers me,
For this moment and all of my moments that will be.
And though my mind inevitably wanders and goes astray,
He doesn’t leave me but faithfully, He stays.

In this moment He tells me to just be still,
To listen attentively and learn of His will.
In my doubts He reassures me,
That He is sufficient and in Him I’m free.

And as one moment with Him turns to another,
My anxiety begins to lose its great, overwhelming power.
He reminds me that these moments will someday be a memory,
And I will be with Him for all of eternity.

All the moments of this life together do indeed overwhelm me,
But that is not all there is to this story.
This life shall last but for a moment and that moment is short,
But I will cherish it each day until He welcomes me to His courts.

Until that day, He is with me for this moment,
And for the next moment and every other moment.
Too many moments on my mind and I become stressed,
But by His grace and power, I can rest.


Listen to a spoken version below:

Words on Prayer

He beacons me to come to Him in prayer,
But so often I am lackadaisical.
Sometimes I’m tired and sometimes I just don’t feel Him near,
Sometimes I’m too paralyzed by my pride and my fear.

And what words can I bring and say to the Word?
Before I’ve spoken, He has already heard.
And He knows the true motivations of every thought,
Even the words that come from a place of spiritual rot.

Sometimes it seems I have too many,
And other times, I don’t have any.
Sometimes I mean them with all my being,
And other times they are just words my lips are speaking.

There are some words I can barely articulate,
They feel like a burden of crushing weight.
Others feel like I’m just saying what is expected,
Even though I feel quite disconnected.

But thank God almighty that He understands what He hears,
Even when I have nothing but uncontrollable tears.
He hears the words that my lips do carry,
As well as the ones I seek to hide and bury.

And if I’m honest, that gratitude is often combined with a bit of dread,
For He knows all I’ve said and all that I’ve left unsaid.
Yet somehow though He fully knows me, He still loves me.
And beacons me each day to taste and see.

He is patient and kind with me and my attempts at prayer,
My brokenness is never too much for Him to bear.
He is teaching me what it means to pray without ceasing,
As long as this heart in my chest keeps beating.

I do not know what to pray for as I ought to,
But the Spirit intercedes and follows through.
I am broken and I am weak,
But by the Spirit, still I shall speak.

Yours

I am Yours and You are mine,
And in all of my running I’m still in Love’s confine.

For where can I hide from Your sight?
Darkness to You is just more light.

To You I am fully known and fully seen,
And by the cross, You are making me clean.

Day by day You are teaching me,
To live for more than what I can see.

I’m a long way from done,
But the war was long ago won.

Sometimes I still try to put up a fight,
And I chase that glimmering pyrite.

Pride’s hunger is never satisfied, it tries to devour,
I cannot beat it by my semblance of power.

But You, Oh Lord, are good and strong,
You have been with me all along.

You made me a daughter though I was a traitor,
For my sin was great but Your grace is greater.

I believe, help me in my unbelief, Lord!
And give me the strength to keep moving forward.

And in Your grace, help me follow You and Your pace,
Until that day I finally see You face to face.

The Sea & We

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, 6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever;

The sea is His, for He made it,
He knows every molecule within it.
He told the waves how far to go,
And created the creatures that call it home.

The sea is His, deep and vast,
Seemingly endless to us yet a mere drop to Him.
For we are finite but He is infinite.
No part remains uncharted or hidden to Him.

The sea is His, and sometimes He leads us to it,
And He commands even the winds that churn it.
Sometimes He calls us to walk on the water,
And is there to catch us when our doubts try to swallow.

The sea is His, and He has been known to use it,
And sometimes He uses even the big fish within it,
The fish isn’t appointed to simply devour,
But to rescue and change us, by His mighty power.

The sea is deep but we are in His hands.
For even if we find ourselves in its deepest depths,
Still we will be held in His righteous right hand.
Whether we are high or low, He remains firm like land.

We are His, for He made us,
He knows the number of hairs on our heads,
And sees all the days that we have breath.
Billions of people but no identical fingerprints.

We are His, vessels of wrath redeemed for His glory,
He knows us fully yet still loves us radically.
His love is more vast than any sea we encounter,
He has made us a part of His family forever.

We are His, and even when we start to doubt,
No waves intimidate Him from reaching His hand out,
No darkness impairs Him from seeing all.
When we are weak, He remains strong.

We are His, bought with a price at Calvary.
And in Christ there is no condemnation.
Nothing in all creation – not even the most raging seas –
Can separate Him from you and me.

Create In Me

Create in Me

In the beginning, God created and saw it was good,
Creating through His word, like only He could.
All of creation is testament to His artistry,
Even in the darkness, His creativity shines brilliantly.

He made everything from the magnificent starry night sky,
Where every massive star looks like a shiny pin way up high,
To the largest whale in the sea and the tiniest insect on the ground,
From every grain of sand to every molecular compound.

He formed the whole world and He formed me,
He knit me together in secrecy, carefully and intricately.
My frame was not hidden as He knit every organ and limb,
Even the number of hairs on my head is known to Him!

Even before I ever took a breath,
He knew me and saw my mortal days from birth to death,
He also sees me on that glorious day,
When all is made new and the old has passed away.

Sometimes I feel like a hopeless case,
And some days, even just a waste of breath and space.
But out of His grace and mercy, He still calls me His workmanship,
And beacons me to live with Him in relationship and fellowship.

And in this earthly life,
There will be pain and strife.
And even when the chaos of life refuses to cease,
He is working in the mess to make a masterpiece.

I am clay in the hands of the skillful Potter,
Being carefully molded as His beloved daughter.
He shapes this lump of clay not on some whim,
But rather with a plan, so that even dust may glorify Him.

Sometimes works in progress look like something gone awry,
But a caterpillar must first become a chrysalis to become a butterfly.
The most elaborate embroidery, pleasing to the eye,
Has a messy, tangled, abstract underside.

God was not and is not afraid of my life’s complexity,
What is overwhelming to me is still subject to His sovereignty.
My past, present, and future self are fully known and fully loved,
For He called me out of sin and shame, and calls me His beloved.

For all who are in Christ, a new creation has come-
Out of death, true life now flows from!
Not because of what I have done, but because of His grace,
I will not be abandoned nor sent to my deserved fate.

Oh Lord, create in me a clean heart!
Have mercy and remove my sins and spiritual rot.
Transform my crimson-stained attire,
And change my evil and selfish desires.

Oh Lord, You are the author of my story,
Let each word shout of Your great glory!
And help me to remember that what I now see,
Is merely a cropped image of what You are doing in me.

Oh Lord, weave together both the dark and light strands,
To create some beautiful tapestry, the work of Your hands.
Stitch me into your family of diverse believers,
Into a quilt more beautiful than myself or any individuals.

And when all I see is what I wish I could be,
Help me remember that You began a good work in me,
You will not abandon nor give up in frustration,
You entered my mess and will bring me to completion.

The Crazy Quilt Church

Crazy Quilt Church
We all have ragged edges,
yet somehow fit together beautifully,
A crazy quilt of splendid variety,
Stitched together with elaborate red stitchery.

Each piece unique in color and shape,
With different backgrounds and histories,
Yet united together to tell of the Maker’s glory,
More beautiful together than each piece separately.

Whether emotional and dramatic,
Or more somber and even partly tragic,
Every scrap has a story to tell,
Not just the bold but the quiet as well.

All coming from different places,
And purposefully placed in designated locations,
He brings together even clashing pieces,
And makes them united through His love.

Apart, not very helpful in longevity,
Yet together, purposeful for all of eternity.
Even the most odd piece can be a part,
Each piece He stitches in belongs in His work of art.

Lessons From Flowers

Lessons from Flowers

The flowers in the garden may be unable to speak audibly,
but they can teach us and remind us of so much visibly.
They speak through metaphors and brilliant imagery.

They all need sun and water to grow and survive,
But like us, only under certain conditions will they thrive.
There is more to life than being labeled as “alive.”

The first crocuses of early spring,
Tell of the promises that the season will bring.
Reminding us of the nows and not yets, promised by our King.

As the season marches on, flowers grow and reach towards the sun,
They remind us to set our gaze on God’s Son,
To grow in relationship with our Savior, the risen One.

Their mere existence on even cloudy and stormy days,
is a testament to the sun’s presence when we cannot see its rays.
And like the sun, hope remains when we cannot see it through life’s haze.

The flowers in a garden don’t all bloom concurrently,
They all grow but their times and rates of growth vary considerably.
But they don’t compare their speeds, or fret about the future wearily.

They come in all sizes, shapes, and colors,
But that diversity makes a garden full of beauty and wonders,
Reminding us to love and appreciate our different sisters and brothers.

Some flowers are deemed as nothing more than weeds,
But what is a weed to some is a treasure to others indeed.
A reminder that a little perspective is something we all need.

The lilies of the field neither toil nor spin,
Yet God adorns them, reminding us to not be anxious within.
We can trust Him who is, will be, and always has been.

And as the grass withers and flowers fade,
Our earthly bodies will die and decay.
So let us be thankful and content today.

 

Living in the Saturday

We Live in the Saturday

The events that unfold in this world can shake us to our core,
The dreams we once had can fall and shatter on the floor.
Darkness descends and weighs heavy upon our souls,
And then we truly realize we were never in control.

We may wonder if there is any reason to continue on,
Forgetting the promise of the coming dawn.
For even in the darkness, hope is never lost –
It was forever won long ago on the cross.

Love was nailed to a rugged tree,
A disturbing truth, a gruesome reality.
In fear, His followers were scattered,
And in grief, their hearts were shattered.

But the tears they cried were not the end of the story,
God gets the last word and all of the glory.
His followers then did not remember his prediction,
But his followers now know that after mourning came celebration.

Like those followers of ancient days,
We don’t always understand His mysterious ways.
It’s easy to slip under the raging waves,
Taking our eyes off the One who saves.

We live in the Saturday,
and the tension is too much to bear some days.
But in the darkest of dark nights,
Our HOPE still shines bright.

We live in the Saturday,
but our HOPE will not betray.
Our God is the Master Storyteller,
And will be faithful to us forever.

We live in the Saturday,
and while these vessels do decay,
He will make all things new,
His word is forever true.

So in all our sorrows, pain, and strife,
We can hold fast to the giver of true Life.
Our hope is steadfast,
We will see Sunday come to pass.