Through It All

Through It All

Through every hour of every day and every night,
Even in the moments I do not have the strength to fight,
You are present, holding me in Your capable hands,
And fighting for me, leading according to Your perfect plans.

Through all the tumultuous storms of this life,
And every kind of mortal earthside strife,
You assure me that You are still in control,
And You draw near to comfort and console.

Through the endless stream of man-made turmoil too,
And all the hurt us mortal beings to one another do,
You promise that Your way will prevail in the end,
And until then, You lead the way to love, reconcile, and mend.

Through the times I am overcome with fear,
And all the moments I cannot feel You near,
You say to cast my anxieties on You because you care for me,
And tell me that feelings do not always correspond with reality.

Through every tear I have ever cried,
And all the times I have come to You tongue-tied,
You listen and understand all that I need,
And when I have no words, Your Spirit is there to intercede.

Through all the moments when all hope seems gone,
When I am weary and not sure I can continue on,
You offer me the rest my soul does yearn for,
And remind me, once again, that I do not walk alone anymore.

Through all the dead ends I find myself stuck in,
By my action and inaction, that is, by my sin,
You make a way where there is no way,
And lead me out, never leading me on or astray.

Through all the walls I have built by my pride,
And all the times I have tried to run from You and hide,
You break through to reveal my transgression in loving conviction,
And bring me back, redeeming me from my terminal condition.

And through the valley of the shadow of death,
Even on the day that I take my last breath,
You declare that I am not alone,
And assure me that You will bring me home.

Through it all, You are faithful and true,
And You see things from a much higher view.
No circumstance here can thwart Your plans,
And even now in the chaos, I am in Your steady hands.

Continue

Three, two, one, another year is said and done.
The earth has made another revolution around the distant sun.

We’ve passed another quantitative marker on life’s journey,
Thanks to His provision and abundant mercy.

Nothing has really changed but the date,
But it marks another chance to love, serve, and create.

Life is not a sprint; it is a marathon.
And so, with the stroke of midnight, we must still continue on.

Continue to walk the narrow road and follow our Savior,
And grow in love for Him and our neighbor.

Continue to listen to the words He is speaking,
And believe those words even when they don’t match our feeling.

Continue to believe when doubt threatens to overtake,
And remember that He promised to never forsake.

Continue to acknowledge Him in all of our ways,
And know that He will never lead us astray.

Continue to embrace new mercies for new days,
And trust that His love for us continues now and always.

Continue to continue on only by His mercy and power,
And rest in Him and not our own resolve or willpower.

Each moment is a moment closer to dawn,
And so, as long as we have breath, we can continue on.

God is still working in us and He is not yet done.
Three, two, one, another year has begun.

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.

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:

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.

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.

 

New Mercies For New Years & New Days

New Mercy (1)

I almost always get in a really weird, not particularly good mood on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. It’s like regrets from the year coming to a rapid close and fears about the future are combined with a bunch of sentimental crap, making a poisonous concoction. It’s isn’t exactly deadly, but it certainly is sickening.

I also get annoyed by all the fanfare. Maybe I’m just a New Year’s Scrooge, but I can’t help it. People are celebrating all things new when really the only thing new is the year listed on the calendar. And so what? The numbering of years is just an earthy construct used to organize the passing of time. It’s useful, but not exactly earth-shattering. People make ambitious resolutions (and I have too), knowing full well that they will probably fail within the first month. These resolutions are usually good things – like eating healthy, reading the Bible daily, or exercising more – but rarely does one actually succeed in a resolution without falling at least a little. People shout “new year, new me!” as if they didn’t say the same exact cliché last year, only to be stuck in their same old ways by February.

As Christians, we can celebrate true newness every single day – not just one day a year. And this newness isn’t like the newness that the world parades with. The newness that the world offers is really just a mask on the same old deadness inside. The newness that God offers reaches to the deepest darkest places in our souls. It brings what is dead back to life and replaces cold, hard hearts.

As this year comes to a close, I’ve been thinking a lot about one particular passage of scripture: Lamentations 3:22-24. Read it once, and read it again.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”

(Lamentations 3:22-24, ESV)

Did you catch that? His mercies are new every morning. Not just the day you first believed. Not just the moment you first trusted Jesus. Every morning. Every single day. His faithfulness doesn’t end. For every morning we wake, His mercies for us are new.

Of course, it doesn’t always feel that way. More often than not, our hearts and minds are flooded with worries, doubts, pain, and the weight of yesterday as soon as the alarm sounds and our eyes open. Mornings are filled with dread and not celebration. In these groggy moments, it is so easy to lose sight of truth. Just like our eyes struggle to adjust to the bright light of day after hours of darkness, our minds struggle to focus on the Light of Christ after hours of sleep. These early morning moments can easily define the rest of our day – at least, they tend to do so for me. Most mornings I struggle to get up – fighting anxiety about the past and the future, doubts, guilt, and just sheer exhaustion.

Whatever I’m feeling though, that doesn’t make truth any less true. The truth is that God is faithful and His mercies are continually new. I don’t have to carry the weight of yesterday’s shame, failures, and struggles, nor do I have to carry the worries of tomorrow. For the past few weeks, my nightly prayer as been “God, help me remember your mercies when I wake.” God is faithful. He has reminded me of them. It makes me almost teary eyed to think of it. Mornings still feel like a struggle. I have to wrestle with the thoughts that flood to my mind. It’s a battle and I don’t always win. Still – God is faithful. His mercies are continually renewed. They were new today, on the last day of 2018. They will be new tomorrow, as 2019 dawns. They will always be new. And thanks be to God.