Juggle

I juggled so many glass balls, or at least so it seemed to me–
They all shimmered with such delicate beauty from what I could see.

With each careful toss though, I feared gravity’s eventual toll,
And how they’d be destroyed with no hope of being made whole.

Not only is shattered glass beyond best efforts to repair,
But the shards could hurt others without remorse or care.

So I kept juggling, though my arms were weary and sore,
Doing all I could to keep each ball from the hard, uncaring floor.

Yet though I juggled so many, there was one I long left on the shelf,
Afraid to touch it lest it falls or it breaks at the hands of my broken self.

It glimmered on the shelf for years, with beauty words cannot tell,
But though it was safe, it was so far from well.

What good is its beauty if it stayed tucked away?
It was not made to be hidden from the light of this day.

So, with fear and trembling, I finally reached out to embrace
And in doing so, the rest fell to the floor like they knew that was their place.

As they crashed to the ground, I discovered they are not made of glass at all!
But rather shining plastic that can withstand an occasional fumble and fall.

Still, this new one I now hold seemed much heavier, like a true treasure of glass
And oh, if I dropped it, what horrors would be sure to come to pass!

Yet its Giver assures me it is not like the ones I juggled with prideful dedication,
Nor it is just another ball to add to the ceaseless rotation.

To hold this gift is to be held in hands much more capable than mine,
Ones that do not juggle but rather hold everything in line.

And though my eyes see something delicate, like what I juggled before,
Somehow I know that even when I fail, this will not shatter on the floor.

Glimpses of Grace

When I trace the lines of the past’s confines I see a hundred threads of grace,
And each strand speaks of thousands more weaved together within Love’s embrace.

By grace, I’ve seen tears transformed into joys and lessons I now hold dear,
For when my dreams seemed far and dashed, His presence proved near.

By grace, the lives of those before me were woven into my story,
Leading me closer to Him for my good and for His glory.

By grace, He has used even the weaknesses I despise,
And led me to write these words from the strength He supplies.

When troubles come my way, the past reminds me that He is in control,
For His grace has already carried me through many dark nights of the soul.

I do not say these words to gloss over hurts of the past that still sting,
Nor do I say them to boast that I now understand everything.

Far from it – no – hindsight doesn’t give me 20/20 vision,
But it does give me a beautiful view of Love’s perfect work and provision.

There are still wounds in my heart and many things I do not understand,
But through these glimpses of grace, I trust what He has planned.

One day I will see more fully, though for today I see in part,
He is still creating, carefully weaving together His work of art.

Looking back, I know that His faithfulness was and will remain true.
Though trial and trouble may come, He will see me through.

That Joy and Grief Collide

It’s beginning to look a lot like that annual festive season,
But I’m not feeling so cheery and for a good reason.

There is an empty seat at the table and a missing impish grin,
And all the frivolous merriment is honestly wearing quite thin.

Every merry season’s greeting seems to sting by default,
And I cannot tell if it’s an antiseptic or if it is salt.

Still, under all the hollow exuberance is something I cannot deny,
A Hope so deep and true that runs steadily though all else has gone awry.

This pain is real, but it is not a reality in a vacuum alone,
There is also a gracious comfort, more than I’ve ever known.

Emmanuel is still Emmanuel and no pain can scare Him away,
He still draws near to the brokenhearted and weary today.

Yes, there is a dark shadow cast by death and loss,
But I cannot deny the juxtaposition of Hope from a manger and a cross.

And here I find, that grief and joy collide,
For even the deepest darkness cannot find a place to hide.

There is still light shining brightly in this season,
I cannot look away from it and for a good reason.

Kiln Fire

The Potter lights a fire and so it burns,
Till one thousand nine hundred degrees it turns.

The temperature is hot, but it is the only way,
It shall not destroy but rather transform simple clay.

The future outcome of the work never leaves the Potter’s sight,
And so, He continually feeds the flames even through the night.

Though the process to us seems long and slow,
He knows glaze will turn to glass and vessels will glow.

And what emerges from the fire will be what once only the Potter could see,
A beautiful, finished work of art in actuality.


Did you know?

Pottery often has to go through some sort of extreme heat or fire for it to actually be usable. In the case of simple redware pottery, the pieces are heated to about 1,900 degrees Fahrenheit. In the days before modern electric kilns, this meant constant monitoring and feeding of the kiln fire for 24-48 hours. Talk about dedication! Sometimes circumstances in life hurt. Sometimes circumstances are just downright hard. Yet God remains through it all. He stays even in the darkest part of the night. He gives peace and strength to endure. He uses these circumstances to make us grow. He uses all things for the good of those who love Him. Sometimes life feels like going through a fire, but God sees us to the end. Thanks be to God.

Read more lesson’s from the Potter’s Wheel here.

A photo of fire in the opening of a brick kiln at night

A Kind of Love

Oh what kind of love the Father has lavished on the weary,
A kind of love that surpasses every earthly notion and theory.

A kind of love that lays down one’s life,
A kind of love that is unafraid to enter into our strife.

A kind of love that casts out fear,
A kind of love that beacons sinners come near.

A kind of love that permits a betrayer to eat,
A kind of love that washes the dirtiest of feet.

A kind of love that forgives seventy times seven times,
A kind of love that keeps no permanent record of our crimes.

A kind of love that runs to embrace a prodigal child,
A kind of love that desires we be reconciled.

A kind of love that welcomes the broken with nothing to offer,
A kind of love that can change even a hardened scoffer.

A kind of love so strong yet gentle, patient and true,
A kind of love that can make everything new.

A kind of love that chooses to stay,
A kind of love that is faithful even when we go astray.

A kind of love that called by name,
A kind of love that will never leave us the same.

Oh, I don’t understand this kind of love, so wild and free,
But thank God almighty, Love understands you and me.

To Seek What He Speaks

Lord, some days it feels like you’re so far away,
And on those days, I am overcome with doubt and dismay.
Does Your perfect love really cast out fear?
Did I misunderstand the promise that You would stay near?

You said “I am with you” and I took You at Your word,
Even though many voices say those words are absurd.
I believe, Lord, but help my unbelief too!
It is so easy to look at the waves around instead of You.

Troubles without number surround me now and I cannot see,
I am weary and my heart faints and fails within me.
The darkness is closing in, but I know I cannot hide from Your sight,
So here I am again, calling for Your help tonight.

Even in my distress, I know where my help comes from,
Though I do not understand all the ways it can come.
My faith feels weak but by His mercy I still seek,
And so He draws near and in grace chooses to speak:

“I am with you in the valley, the mountain top, and the distance between,
In the joy, in the pain, and in the mundane routine.
I know you, I see you, and I will not leave,
You need only be still and still believe.

Even in the darkness, when everything is far from alright,
Do you see how the shadows prove that there is light?
So too, My love remains present and true,
Even when you struggle to keep it in view.

I am with you even in moments of deep doubt,
Standing on the water, reaching my hand out.
When you are weak, I will remain strong,
And when you cannot walk, I will carry you along.

Your fears may be fierce, but they do not get the final word,
My love will cast them out just like you have heard.
By My grace, dear one, you are reconciled,
And nothing can separate you now, oh weary child!

In these waters, I am with you so you can stand!
Even though you cannot now understand.
You are mine, and mine you’ll always be,
Seek me now, even when you cannot see.”

Prodigal

Have you been wandering? Do you feel you’ve lost your way?
Does the night seem to overcome the brightness of the day?
Are you afraid that you’re too far gone yet still sinking deeper?
Does your mind sometimes fantasize about meeting the grim reaper?

Take heart, oh weary prodigal soul, I know that place.
And I also know that you are not a hopeless case.
You may have wandered and squandered all on your own,
But you need not now starve in the desert alone.

I don’t know what you’ve done or what’s been done to you,
But I do know that none of those things disqualify you.
No brokenness is beyond His ability to restore,
And where sin abounds, grace still abounds more!

While we were enemies, Christ died so we could be reconciled,
And the Father is not ashamed to call a prodigal His child.
He is running with arms to rescue and embrace,
To bestow on you a celebration of amazing grace!

How do I know that these words are true?
Well, I’ve been the running prodigal more times than a few.
Yet, He has been faithful to me through all my years,
And He has called me back, delivering me from all my fears.

I speak these words today because of His grace alone,
And I do not speak them by any strength of my own.
God is faithful, steadfast, patient, generous, and true;
And His grace is for people like me and like you.

Into an Ocean of Grief

My dad passed away fairly suddenly on Valentine’s Day. I wrote these words a few days after, in a state of shock, haze, and grief. May this be a reminder of the fragility of life and of a hope that stands even when life is hard.


In the rapid falling of dominos in motion,
A whirlwind came and dropped me in the ocean.
Days drenched in hope quickly became days of despair,
With no sight of familiar shores anywhere.

His mortal shell could take no more of the domino toll,
For it was weary from all that cancer gave and stole.
Once so strong he quickly grew so weak,
And his spirit knew that the situation was bleak.

I’ll never forget those boney limbs and yellow skin,
Screaming of the multitude of cancer’s assaults within.
Nor will I forget eyes half-open yet seemingly unaware,
And arms that kept moving until our embrace found them there.

Twenty-seven years were not enough, no number ever would be,
But I didn’t expect to find myself so soon in this uncharted sea.
Normal will never return because he is not here,
Only days in and that truth is crystal clear.

Today the ocean feels so deep and vast,
Though I may see beauty too once time has passed.
For I know that the waters will someday turn tranquil,
When I look back on memories for which I am thankful.

Planes, trains, and grins that made me smile too,
And a special sense of humor that always shone through.
The smell of hazelnut coffee reminding me of my childhood,
And all the little things he did that made that time good.

Yet even in time, I know the waves will still sometimes churn,
For mourning has no timeline and tends to repeat and return.
Now and then, I will be tossed to and fro like I am today,
For that is grief’s cruel and callous way.

Yet whether now or then, I do not dwell in stormy seas alone,
For many others have been tossed into similar oceans of their own.
And even though the sea seems too deep to chart,
There is One who knows its every single part.

When the waves roar and I find myself flailing about,
He walks on water, reaching His hand out.
Though the Great High Priest and Lord of lords,
He doesn’t hide from the hurting, but instead moves towards.

I need not hide my tears or messy feelings away,
For they do not have the power to make Love sway.
Jesus Himself knows what it means to weep,
And He is present now as I swim in emotions deep.

He gives me relief in ways I would not have asked for,
Yet still it comes, in ways I cannot ignore.
He loves us both more than I can understand,
And in that hope, I now choose to stand.

God with Us

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
And man dwelled in the garden without façade.
But sin shattered communion like glass beyond repair,
And sorrow became our inherited share.

Yet even on that day when all was made broken,
A promise of hope was firmly spoken.
For Love would not abandon His creation,
And so, He planned a way for salvation.

His promise was passed down through prophets of old,
Yet in time, the hope of many grew cold.
It seemed as if God were no longer there,
And if He was, perhaps He didn’t care.

Yet when God seemed silent and far away,
He sent messengers into the world to pave the way.
Emmanuel was coming into our mess!
Light would shine again in the deep darkness.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among the broken,
Fulfilling what God Himself had long ago spoken.
But He came in what many deemed a pitiful sight,
Not robed in royal splendor nor with weapons to fight.

Indeed, He entered in one of the most vulnerable states!
For He came to draw near to those in desperate, dire straits.
Grief and affliction were His chosen lot.
And He carried our sorrows though we esteemed him not.

By His presence, grace was made known,
And by His blood, God’s mercy shown.
On Him, our transgressions and iniquity were laid,
So our insurmountable debt could be finally paid.

Communion was restored for all who would believe,
And a promise was given that He would not leave.
Emmanuel, God with us, to the age’s end!
Our Savior, brother, and truest friend.

Centuries have passed, yet His promise and presence remain,
And He is still with us through every sorrow and pain.
God has not left us nor will He go away,
Emmanuel who was is still Emmanuel today.

Tossed at Sea

Tossed by every problem, and every word with its tone,
Anxiety has set deeply into every single bone.
My stomach is seasick, my body is tense,
And my mind is jaded from all this violent turbulence

The waves of circumstance and others’ opinions rage,
And I find myself drowning in fear’s cruel cage.
I cannot hold my pride-fueled façade much longer.
For these waves are many and all of them stronger.

My energy is finite and fading fast,
By my own power alone I cannot last.
I cannot help but fear that I will perish in these waves,
To be buried alive among the watery graves.

Yet in this desperate predicament, I’m learning I’m not alone,
There is One who has been with me for longer than I’ve known.
He is the one who even the wind and waves obey,
Who came to me though I’ve tried to sail away.

To Him, the deep waters are thoroughly charted,
And He knew my life’s journey before it had started.
He is good and His love will never fail,
So here I am now, with a white flag as my sail.

In this storm, like every other, He chooses to stay,
He will not abandon, give up, or betray.
He leads me and helps me navigate the ocean by His grace,
And in time, I forget all about my attempts of saving face.

He sometimes even calls me walk on the waves that should swallow,
To do what I thought was impossible before I began to follow.
He calls me His daughter and tells me I am now free,
I no longer need bow to the whim of the fickle sea,

The sea around still seems so deep and vast,
But only when I take my eyes off of Him who is steadfast.
Storms will still rage and my mind will still sometimes tire,
But He is with me now, no matter what may transpire.

A peace I do not understand descends,
As I grow in the One on whom my soul depends.
Slowly, I know it will set deeply into every single bone,
I will not be tossed by every problem and word with its tone.