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.

Threadbare

I am weary, faded, and worn,
Like a threadbare cloth almost fully torn.
The threads of the warp and woof lay bare,
From the friction of the world and inner despair.

My heart is heavy from all that I see,
And the voices that scream so loudly within me.
Some days I feel so anxious and frail,
And overwhelmed by suffering’s massive scale.

How many times can a garment be repaired?
Is there hope that a worn one might still be spared?
Sometimes I feel like I’m just too far gone,
And I forget the promised hope of dawn.

My words are feeble, and I fear to speak.
But Lord, help me believe even when things look so bleak!
Don’t let me settle for mismatched, unshrunk patches,
Nor abandon myself to destructive fire and ashes.

Please don’t let these fragile threads break,
But oh, if they do, surely You can still make.
For, in Your skilled hands, nothing goes to waste,
Even holes and stubborn stains can be wholly erased.

You promised to finish every good work You ever began,
So help me to trust that You still have a plan.
You are still working, making like only You can do,
Making even seemingly hopeless things new.

New Days

Often, I dread the dawn on new days,
For they come already heavy with the weight of yesterdays.

The light hurts my eyes that are accustomed to the night,
And I feel too tired to give much of a fight.

My strength is depleted by carrying so many fears,
And the baggage of regrets from over the years.

I long to remain in the dark comfort of my blanket cocoon,
But my alarm screams that I must arise from it soon.

And that alarm is not the only sound I hear,
The adversary is already speaking to my groggy ears.

My body may be at rest but my mind is quickly in full gear.
And I begin to doubt that Hope remains near.

Even with the glory of the rising bright sun,
It sometimes feels as though the darkness has won.

But the darkness is not dark to Him on high,
Even in the night, He remains present and close by.

He knew me before this tired mortal shell came to form,
And He will not abandon me in this tumultuous storm.

Amidst these waves that seek to drown me,
Hope stands firm and steady on the raging sea.

He calls my name again and reaches His hand out,
And shows me grace despite my fearful doubt.

Even in the uttermost parts of this raging sea,
Hope is still with me, along with new and abundant mercy.

His steadfast love continues on and does not come to an end,
He is the rock on which I can build and depend.

I don’t know what this new day holds in store for me,
But He who is with me can clearly see.

And so, with the arrival of this new day,
I choose to hope and trust, come what may.

I cannot carry the weight of this day on my own,
But He is with me; I am not alone.

His [story]

History repeats itself and even when it doesn’t, it tends to rhyme.
Sometimes I find myself losing hope that it will be different this time.

The journey is a cycle disguised as an upward climb,
And soon I find myself in the same place, just at a different time.

Even poets need a break for a time,
From this scheme of never-ending rhyme.

I’m dizzy from these never-ending circles, I want to walk a straight line,
Yet I feel trapped within this dark labyrinth’s twisted confine.

But maybe there is still more to the story than these cynical words I speak,
Maybe there is still hope when all looks dark and bleak.

The past isn’t written with pencil upon paper, it’s carved in stone.
But to You on the throne, the future is just as well known.

My perspective is distorted, that is for certain.
But the truth is that You are still present here, among the hurting.

How long, oh Lord? How long must I wrestle with sorrow in my heart?
Give light to my eyes, for this night is dark and my heart is ripped apart.

The voices inside and outside of me snide and sneer,
Questioning why it seems You are no longer near.

Still, I’ve seen Your love in action and so I choose to trust,
Your love prevails even here in the thick cloud of pride-blown dust.

You see the beauty of the majestic mountaintop view You are creating,
When I see only the dirt and decay on the ground here in this time of waiting.

You are present and will make all things new,
And someday I will see things from a much higher view.

Now I see in a dim mirror confined by linear timeline,
But even in the darkest night, I see Your love’s sign.

History repeats itself and even when it doesn’t, it tends to rhyme.
Lord, I know You will make it different, in Your due time.

Love’s Communication

Our world is filled with every kind of mass-produced platitude,
But hollow words of encouragement yield only a hardened attitude.

Words are important but sometimes they are cheap too,
If not accompanied by some sort of follow-through.

For, I can say you are loved, I can say you are seen,
But without my presence, these words are almost mean.

Like a twisted blade instead of a carefully yielded scalpel,
The truth can be freeing or it can be just another shackle.

Nobody is helped by half-hearted, anemic words of comfort,
Shared by a desire to ease one’s own guilt and discomfort.

Communication is truly more than the words I am speaking,
So let me communicate with all of my being, following Christ’s leading.

Jesus saw the ones society tried to hide,
He spoke their name, calling them to His side.

He cherished the ones society abandoned to their transgression,
Giving them a clean start and the unmerited gift of redemption.

He ate with those known only by their shame,
Never condoning their sin but instead giving them a new name.

He took on a humble role of servitude,
Giving His life as a ransom for a multitude.

He cared for even the one who would betray,
For that is true Love’s chosen way.

He loved us with His life and loves us still today,
And calls us by name to humbly follow Him along His way.

To go to Samaria even when there is a way around,
Showing and telling of His grace that does abound.

To reach out to the weak, the sick, and the downtrodden,
Reminding them that they are not alone nor forgotten.

To love thy neighbor as thyself,
Serving without thought of praising self.

To bow down like our Savior did to wash His disciple’s feet,
Extending care and compassion to all that we meet.

To believe that the God who has plans for us has plans for them too,
Knowing that He can make even hopeless things new.

To speak life and not just words devoid of genuine care,
Pointing to the God who loves and came to repair.

He loved us first, and so by His Spirit we can love each other,
And not only by the words our lips can utter.

Words are indeed a vital tool of communication,
But true love speaks with both words and their application.

The tongue of the wise can indeed bring help and healing,
But only if it follows true Love’s council and leading.

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.

Empathy in the Rain

These days, empathy feels like a heavy burden to carry.
The road feels endless, though this time is temporary.

I try to remember the sun is still there when the weather is dreary,
But with so much bad news and hurt, I am weary.

I tend to internalize and swallow it all down,
Yet I know that the inevitable conclusion of that is a breakdown.

This burden is more than I can carry.
Casting it on Him is necessary.

When the burden is laid in His capable hand,
Empathy is a gift to help me do what He has planned.

To love when it hurts and it cuts so deep,
To be patient and kind with my fellow hurting sheep.

No dark valley is outside His watchful eye.
And in the rain, hope still shines in the sky.

None of this is okay, and neither am I.
But the Hope of the world still draws nigh.

He is teaching me to love as He has loved me,
And in that love, I am truly free.

Not free of hurt, not free of pain,
But free to love, and to praise Him while out in the rain.

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: