Wednesday, October 11, 2017


When one of us hurts, oh, we all feel the weight of it.
When the world cries out, oh, we all know the state of it.
When the rain won't stop and the flood waters ascend,
When the hate is too much 
and it seems like nothing can mend,
When sickness invades, and poverty remains, 
and the killing is relentless,
What can we do to steady our souls 
in the dark of the night?
Should I wave the white flag or fight the good fight?
You restore my soul.
You restore my soul back to your light again.
Back to your light again is where I need to be.
When darkness surrounds 
and I can't make sense of it all,
Strengthen my heart; make steady my feet.
You lift my head, and you make me stand tall.
As I stand tall again, your grace rushes in, 
reminding me that you hold all things.
In the palms of your hands you hold your mighty plans.
You're in control, and, though, I don't understand,
You've never let me down in all of my days.
When I thought that you did, I wasn't trusting your ways.
I get wrapped in the evil that seems to invade 
on this side of the sun.
Grant me your eyes to see the work to be done.
Grant me fortitude to do the hard work, 
to look at my life and to see what it's worth.
Grant me the care to see the worth of another.
Because, when one of us hurts, 
oh, we all feel the weight of it.
Take "Courage, Dear Heart", 
and may my heart become made of it.


Monday, August 21, 2017

Two Steps Forward

Uninspired, feeling tired…
No desire, no spark, no fire, waking up to the daily drudgery that is this life.
What a sad state of affairs! What a dark cloud everyone bears!
Like sly little foxes, we try to check all the right boxes.
Like, “I did a good deed today.”
“Yep. I took a minute to pray.”
But, even the slyest of foxes gets caught in a trap.
It’s like navigating with no road signs or a map.
Someone’s bound to get lost.
I try to keep up appearances, but at what cost?
Two steps forward and then it seems I get knocked down.
I get knocked down on my knees 
as the chaos of a loud mind,
with all of its buzzing and humming
is whirring around like a swarm of bees.
Take captive every thought before your thoughts take you.
Made brand new…
Each morning, new mercies appear,
yet I’m full of fear.
Two steps forward.
The first is courage.
The second is freedom.
Walking in freedom, I can see the sun begin to shine.
Victory is mine. It’s never tasted so sweet.
Called Victorious because of Your great defeat.
Two steps forward.
I’m not wasting anymore time.
Two steps forward.
You lift my head.
Two steps forward.
Am I even moving? Are my feet made of lead?
Two steps forward.
I trust that You’re near.
Two steps forward.
Make my feet swift like a deer.
One step and I’ll gather my courage.
One more step and I can see the path up ahead.
Two steps forward.
I remember what You said.
You go before me.
Two steps forward and the chaos is quieted.
It must be quiet before the Holy One holding all things together.
Like a change in the weather, 
a breath of fresh air that fills my lungs,
I find freedom from frailty as I see where my help comes from.
Two steps forward.


Wednesday, March 08, 2017

This Is Me

This is me.
Small child, sitting on Grandma’s knee as she sang “hide it under a bushel.”
No way I’d be telling stories about it now;
No way I’d be talking about how
love came down for me without a hand constantly guiding me.
Left to my own devices, I find myself in a state of constant crisis,
a juggling act as I balance what I want and what He wants for me.
This is me.
A cornucopia of the finest is before me,
but I keep reaching for the fruit from the wrong tree.
Brother and sister, we never really fought-
spent Sundays listening to a man tell us that our lives had been bought,
and now we live not for ourselves but for the one who’s image we bear.
I still remember that day we stood in the water at the front of the church.
We both were baptized. J went first.
I had a childlike faith, but I also behaved just like a child.
This is me.
I’d be laughing with my friends in the church pew- third row on the left.
Grandma would turn and give me that stare.
I’d straighten up, especially when Grandpa would start to 
lead the congregation in prayer.
I took it for granted sometimes.
Oh what a life!
My biggest obstacles were the ones that I created 
when I confused truths for lies.
In an effort to fit in, I would go with the flow.
I’d just nod in agreement, instead of seeking counsel from the wise.
“But, I’m a good person”, I’d remind myself so much.
I read the Bible, but I wouldn’t share its good news, 
using fear and shyness as a crutch.
This is me.
At 17 and summertime, sitting in a large room, full of kids and leaders-
someone walked up and said I had a call.
It was one of those times when your heart hurts for your loved ones
and you wish you could be there with them all.
Moments later, walking back inside, 
a hundred voices sang a song that calmed me as I cried.
There is just something about a word fitly spoken-
the kind that are used to gently lift the broken.
It was a moment where the peace that passes understanding, 
that I’d heard about before,
overwhelmed me while I fell, and provided a soft, cushioned landing.
I never felt such a nearness in all of my days,
and it was then that I knew I had no choice but to fully surrender to His ways.
This is me.
I followed my brother to college.
I thought I had acquired all of the knowledge to get along in this world,
but I still questioned my purpose.
If my life had been bought, 
and now I live not for myself but for the one who’s image I bear,
why do I feel so worthless?
Sitting in an upstairs room, full of college students and leaders,
I heard a man read a verse from the book of Jeremiah.
I rolled my eyes and let out a sigh as he read,
“For I know the plans I have for you…”
I had heard it all before. It wasn’t anything new.
I wrestled and argued for years inside,
“Show me Your plans if that really is true!”
Seeking approval and clear-cut pathways, 
I clearly missed the point of it all.
I’d asked for His guidance, but failed at abidance.
Holding on to things that made sense to me, I couldn’t see
that He was laying out opportunity after opportunity 
for me to see His hand in things.
I tried in different ways to make my heart content,
and I still find myself trying today, because my heart is naturally bent.
Naturally bent to go my own way,
when I don’t seek Him every day,
I play the comparison game.
Then I’m reminded
that my life has been bought through His death on a cross.
I count it all as loss,
Because He said that I was worth it.
In all of my shortcomings;
in all of my scrambling to do something with this life,
He takes such great care.
All of my burdens He will surely bare for me just as He has promised.
I find solace from the Psalmist.
“Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.
For you, Lord, have delivered me from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.”
This is me.
This is where I’ve landed,
But I never really land.
In times of doubt,
I’m reminded that He holds each of us in the palm of His hand.

(Jer. 29:11, Psalm 116:7-9, Phil. 3:8)