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.

Post-Peak

Nature’s confetti rains down with the breeze,
Surrendering to gravity and the coming freeze.

The trees are pausing their toil as winter’s chill comes near,
But by the vibrant hues, it seems they do so with great cheer.

Soon, naked branches will lie dormant under a blanket of snow,
Able to survive the coming storms by learning to let go.

These bare trees may seem lifeless, but this change is not their demise,
The winter is merely a rest that their Creator graciously supplies.

In time, the trees will awake and respond to the thaw of the spring,
And what joy, beauty, and bounty shall they later bring!

Maybe that’s why it looks like nature is throwing a celebration,
For this season, though bittersweet, is a hopeful illustration.

Oh, the lessons these trees silently speak,
And we would be wise to heed in this season post-peak.

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.

How Many Times?

How many steps did I take today?
I do not know, I cannot say.
Yet He knew each one before a single one was done,
And though I planned, He established each one.

How many times was I caught up in the worldly fray?
I do not know, I cannot say.
Yet when all my cares have taken their toll,
His consolation cheers and restores my soul.

How many tears have I cried in dismay?
I do not know, I cannot say.
Yet as surely as He knows the number of hairs on my head,
He has seen every sorrow and the tears that I’ve shed.

How many times did I wander beyond the narrow way?
I do not know, I cannot say.
Yet in the wilderness I created, He never did forsake,
And He has led me back for His name’s sake.

How many circumstances have I still found Him my mainstay?
I may not know the number, but this I can say:
Through every unsure step, through every trip, every fall,
He has been faithful and with me through it all.

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.

Grace Upon Grace

Grace will meet you in the most unexpected ways,
And shine ever bright on even the darkest days.

Creative hands bestow it to fragile jars of clay,
In abundance each and every single day.

Sometimes it will take the form of a tightly closed door,
And other times an open one you weren’t looking for.

Sometimes it will take the form of difficult words,
And other times in the gentle ones often preferred.

Sometimes it will take the form of a rainbow after a storm is done stirring,
And other times it will be a peace that enters in during.

It is sufficient, even on the days we feel so weak,
And shines brightest on the days that seem so bleak.

Each little sign of His grace is also accompanied by a multitude more,
For He knows what we need when we don’t see or ask Him for.

The love of the Lord never ceases, nor do His mercies ever end,
Grace upon grace, so generously supplied we cannot comprehend!

What is Home?

What is home, but a cover from the weather,
A place where people can gather safely together,
A place where a table is set with today’s daily bread,
A place to nightly lay one’s head?

Surely there is more to ‘home’ than these physical necessities,
For there are other places to find such basic amenities.

What is home, then, but a refuge to run to,
A place of security when all is askew,
A place with peace and comfort confined inside,
A place where loved ones are at one’s side?

Still, these words describe only an idealized view,
And no place here fits that definition all the way through.

What is home, but a place to belong,
A place where we don’t need to pretend we are strong,
A place one knows and is known as well,
A place where the heart can openly dwell?

We’re getting closer, but even with all these answers combined,
There is something more to “home” left undefined!

Perhaps, when we feel most at home then, we are experiencing a preview,
Of something more than any place we have ever been to.
And maybe what we desire in our dwellings here is a reflection in the mirror,
While all our striving is an attempt to make the image clearer.

What if ‘home’ is not something we build but something drawing near?
Now the definition is growing increasingly clear!

For, no matter how secure we feel in what we call our abode,
We are still just sojourners out on the narrow road.
‘Home’ cannot be confined to words, time, or space,
But so I’ve learned, only in the arms of our Creator’s embrace!

We are strangers here, living in a foreign land,
Building tents for our days that He long ago planned.

What is home, but all the ways described before,
And more than we have ever imagined or hoped for?
Oh, how I long for it, though I’ve never seen it on my own!
What is home, where is home, who is home, but God alone?