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

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.

Mountain Perspective

An obstacle to overcome, a problem too great to bear,
Or an opportunity for a view to which none can compare.

What you call a mountain depends on your attitude,
And how you see it depends on your altitude.

If you want the majesty you’ll have to venture out,
And leave behind the baggage of comfortable doubt.

Then, once you’ve chosen to take the climb,
You must then take action one step at a time.

One step may seem small, but if you keep going you will see progress,
And you may even see beauty in the long climbing process.

For life springs forth from the decay and dirt on the ground,
Sometimes you just need to pause for a moment and look around.

So, embrace the journey as you continue the climb,
One step, one moment, one breath at a time.

The journey may get tiring, and your muscles will grow sore,
But in the pain is a lesson you cannot ignore.

Though your pride will likely protest,
Even the most athletic must come to a rest.

So, remember to rest, and to refuel too,
You must take care if you want to reach the top with its view.

After some time of rest and recuperation,
You can once more give the climb your full concentration.

Put one foot in front of the other once more and keep repeating,
Approaching the top and the promised view you are seeking.

In time and in steps, you will reach your destination,
With a combination of exhaustion and unprecedented elation.

And, if you look at the view of the mountains that now surround you,
You’ll feel so small but you’ll overflow with gratefulness too.

Mere words cannot articulate the beauty of what the eyes behold,
Some things must be experienced and not simply told.

As you take in the view so simply breathtaking,
Know that both the journey and this destination were of His making.

Keep your heart as open as your eyes and you’ll see,
That God was with you all along the journey.

He provided air in your lungs and reminders to rest,
And let you see hope and beauty in the quest.

He sustained you even when you did not notice His attention,
And He worked in ways beyond mortal comprehension.

He had every step of the way fully charted,
And was present in the valley before you even started.

A glimpse of what He is doing and what His hands have done,
Truly, there is no view that can be compared to this one.

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.

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.

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.

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.