Growing Still

Watching the grass grow gets a reputation quite jaded,
For if you watch it for an hour, you will have an hour wasted.

There is no difference to the inpatient eye in that short time,
Yet it keeps growing, embarking on its upward climb.

Give it a few days’ time away from your eye,
And my, oh my, you will notice it grows high.

Uninhibited and in the right conditions, it reaches higher towards the light,
Just not at a speed that can be perceived by our partial sight.

It was always growing, even in that seemingly wasted hour,
By the strength of the sun and a little rain shower.

We don’t see it growing but we can see its growth in time,
And maybe that is true of us too, here in this lifetime.

If we look inward and try to see growth in a short time frame,
We will find ourselves weighed down by frustration and shame.

But by the power of the Son and God’s careful leading hand,
We are growing too, according to the ways He has planned.

And in His patience, He watches us grow hour by hour, day by day,
For He is the one who brings about our growth and leads us along the way.

He sees the growth we cannot perceive in our current state,
And in His mercy, He continues to create.

In time, we will look back and more clearly see,
What He saw all along, the good works He has done in you and me.

And He will complete every good work He began,
All according to His will, and His perfect plan.

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

Eggshells on the Shores of Grace

Eggshells on the Shores of Grace

This is an attempt to explain my testimony.
But these words are ultimately not about me; they are about Him.

“God is love” or so I sang, with an on the spot melody.
Not a care in the world but attracted to the Light that loved me.
A faith so strong, a mind so sure.

But cares came quickly, and I started to flee from the Light.
Trying to run from disapproving glares, only to run into snares.
I took my eyes off of Truth and stared at the waves I created instead.

Unintentional middle fingers and petty thievery,
Webs of lies and never satisfied jealousy,
I was only a child but able to feel condemnation upon me.

Reading words that felt like a heavy burden,
I cried myself to sleep believing I surely blew it.
Fear spread through me like an uncontrolled tumor.

I was only in the single digits, but definitely double-minded.
Unstable in all things, I was the storm and the storm was in me,
Seemingly ripped in two, torn between God and this world.

Still, a part of me kept hoping for redemption,
Believing that God’s grace might indeed be for me.
This hope was a flicker of light in the darkness of night.

That fire, though dim, stayed lit through all these years,
Long smoldering coals, never fully extinguished,
A testament to His great grace and mercy.

But my soul seemed legally blind to the grace being offered,
Able to sense light’s presence but not see what it illuminated.
Pride held me like an abusive lover, and I held it closer.

In Sunday school, I became well versed in basic knowledge,
Like one who has read about and studied the ocean,
But never been in the actual water.

Day by day, clearly definable wrongdoings matured,
Becoming more and more covert, yet with a stronger hold.
Pride was my ultimate hunger, fuel, and ulterior motive.

And in that pride, I played a warped version of a favorite childhood game,
Except instead of pretending to be a princess, I pretended to be okay.
I managed to fool some, and even myself for a time.

The masks of this twisted dress up game became thick and elaborate,
Seeming to ever widen the distance between the Creator and me.
My anxieties grew exponentially, and rest completely evaded me.

And as the years went by,
I found myself walking on eggshells
When He had called me to walk on the water.

I couldn’t fully believe that God could love me,
Every step closer to the water made me tremble with fear,
I felt I was drowning with my feet firmly in the sand.

So I tiptoed along the shores of grace,
All while carrying heavy burdens that
I was never meant to carry.

I kept pursuing the world’s glimmering pyrite,
Plenty of ‘good’ things, but never the Best thing.
But all chase and no rest left me weary and stressed.

Every day felt like more than I could bear,
But even in the darkest darkness, He was there,
He sustained me even when I couldn’t see Him.

Never once did He stop pursing me,
The Light kept calling my name in that darkness,
Through songs, sermons, and studies.

He is the hero of this story, and not me,
He gave me more than I could handle so that
He could give me more of Him.

He took that spirit of fear that paralyzed me,
He gives me His spirit to replace it.
And He is faithful when I stumble and falter.

My sin was great but He is greater,
My guilt was strong but He is stronger,
And I am His both now and forever.

When troubles and doubts come to harass me,
And the fears once again charge against me,
He is my rock, my refuge, my protector.

He began a good work in me,
And He will be faithful to complete it,
For He lives in me and I am hidden in Him.

And in His goodness, He beacons me each and every morning,
To leave these eggshells on the shore and join Him on the sea.
And by His grace alone, I can do that indeed.