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When your in the battle, in the battle,

In the raging battles of life

And there seems no end in sight

No rhyme or reason to the madness

The mad, mad battle that just keeps on.

It just rages.

 

Inside. Outside. It goes on.

It rages without mercy,

Without compassion, with no hope.

It just continues on

Killing as it goes unending

Devouring you in its wake.

 

It swallows you whole, and alone you will die,

you’ll be all consumed, but for those

ally or foe who stand

and stand firm in the battles of life.

Those who have learned firmness

To stand erect and stand strong and deep.

 

They will stand strong, strong in your battle.

They stand on your behalf.

On landslides and avalanches

On torrential thundering waters

They stand and remain unmoved

Solid in their mounted states,

 

Solid, as poles dug in the ground, set deep

Deep enough that they cannot be upturned

Not in hurricane winds

Not against tidal waves.

They remain and you remain, clinging

Clinging to life in their deep-set strength.

 

In their iron clad will, unbendable

Unyielding strength, they remain

Erect, firm, unmoved

And you with them,

Though perhaps slightly more

More battered, more bruised, diminished.

 

Yet, none- the- less alive

Alive in your strife, in your pain

Alive in your raging fears.

But still a survivor of that which

Is unsurvivable, that which

Kills, destroys, leeches, diminishes you.

 

And one day you too will learn, learn how

You will learn how to dig deep,

Spread deep roots that broaden

Into earth’s center and remain.

You too shall grow erect, tall-

Surmountable in your own unmovable state.

 

You will learn the art of standing

And standing firm, firm in your battles.

In your own raging waters and avalanches,

You too will one day remain undevoured,

You too shall become like a steel pole

Bolted and bolted deep into crumbling earth.

 

You too shall remain unmoved, a marker,

A sign, a hope to any who can see

Who stand in the battles of life

Soft and breakable as you once were.

And you shall be their pole,

Their firm and righteous strength.

 

You shall become that which

You never were, never thought to be.

So stand now in the battles of life

Clinging to the hopes that come,

Come steadily before you,

Engrained, unmoved, implanted in the earth.

 

Remain in them, the strong, as you would wish and

Wish deeply for one to remain in you, trust you

Clinging to that which you’ve learned

Holding on to that which you’ve weathered

Cleaving to that which you may become,

Becoming like them: strong unmovable, erect.

 

All in the name of the One who goes,

Goes before us all and stands,

Stands the firmest of all, erect and proud and strong.

God, in His greatness, His hope, His mercy

He goes before and paves the way

Makes provision for our lacks our wants, yet He stands.

And stands strong.

In The Battle

Frail Body, Death;

 

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This work is dedicated to my life long friend Elena- who is the strongest, toughest girl I have ever known and who is now walking the road of cancer taking her mother home. Love you ET. 

This frail body, these fragile organs,

this contained vessel, cell of muti-sytems.

How easy to end, how simple to die.

 

A hundred ways lend it hands-

to end a thing called a human life.

A thousand ways to go.

 

A single hole, ½ inch wide,

A knife slicing flesh ragged

A drink- calm, cool, turned savage.

 

Blazing liquid, fire to consume,

Ragged wiring producing charge,

All hell-bent on bringing hellfire’s end.

 

Cancer eating you alive,

Aches that call to that angel

Longing to go home, yet unwilling still.

 

All things to beckon that dark angel,

the unwelcomed monster, Death,

an enemy turned friend in the end.

 

So many ways to make one’s end.

So many ways destined on sending us

packing from one life into the next.

 

And all will go, one way or another.

This time or some other.

Mortality is as sure as the dawn.

 

What matters is what stands.

That which is true,

what is real survives.

 

God, in all His mercies,

His beauty-

He remains.

 

That blimp on the map

of history upon which all

cosmos’ orbit.

 

Who He is and what He’s done.

He’s bought us,

insignificant people of dust

 

To carry His mark, the everlasting,

bearing His witness,

claiming His cause.

 

Us, ragged people of flesh,

always running into the arms of death,

we are the chosen, His vessels

 

For what long time we have,

or little, we are redeemed,

the chosen bearers of forever.

 

And forever is all too near,

Though it may seem distant.

It’s but a beat, a single breath away.

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There is a light dawning in the darkness

A bonfire igniting in my soul

It rages through my veins

Bringing me to life.

 

A light that’s not dawned

In many years is coming to life

In the recesses of a dark soul,

A defeated heart, strength abides.

 

It’s an overflow, a whirlwind of

Raw power from the Source

It’s being poured out

It’s being gathered in me.

 

This desertland inside

It is coming to life.

It’s blossoming into a canopy

Where rest and fullness reside.

 

And I am becoming a tower

A pillar of strongholds.

So when you become weak

You can grab on and draw from me.

 

I will be strong enough.

I will pour out what’s been given me

I will be who I was made to be

Light in darkness so your road may be lighter.

 

 

Dawning in the Darkness

Forever Altered by Their Simple Presence

Door gate
Wooden door gate
I wrote this poem back in 2007 in honor of a friend who had come from Austria. He’d lived in the US for 5 or 6 years with his aunt and uncle and ultimately decided he would go back to his parents in Europe. That was heart breaking. Not just for me, but for all of us in our youth group. He was a kind hearted guy who was like a brother to me growing up in my teen years. This was the very first time someone close to me had left the picture and permanently. I mourned his loss a long time. Not because he died, but because our friendship changed and over time and seas, it died. I know he got married and is a dad now. He’s happy and that makes me happy. Still, I think of all the fun filled times we had together with our youth group fondly. Doing doughnuts in the church parking lot, stints to Miami. Laughing and singing together. Those were the songs of our youthful hearts.

But reading over this poem recently, I’ve realized that this wasn’t just for him. It’s as valid a statement in my life now as ever. And yes, I can say indeed God has been faithful in bringing me the friendships I always need to sustain me in the darkness as well as the light. So here’s to you! A sweet friend, who’s presence alters me forever…

~                    ~                   ~                       ~                        ~                      ~                       ~                     ~

Life is an incredible journey

That takes us to unimaginable places

And brings amazing people into our lives.

 

It is like riding a wave

With many ups and downs.

 

Sometimes we soar

And sometimes we sink

So deep we believe it is the end.

 

But it is in times like these

That a true friend finds us

And pulls us back up.

 

Each friend we make on our journey

Is special in their own way.

 

Many come and go.

Some we know longer than others.

Some we see every day,

 

While others, we may

never meet face to face;

each leaves us with a lesson.

 

Something we learned

through what we survived together.

 

During the course of our lives,

each lesson shapes us.

It makes us into who we are.

 

Though many friends may only

have a small impact on our lives,

There are a few that deeply change us.

 

Even though we don’t know where

Life’s journey will take us,

 

We can hold on to this:

We’ve been changed by these-

Forever altered by their simple presence.

 

They were meant to be- to be there,

In the midst of our lives and help shape

us into who we were always destined to be.

The Light

The Light

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There is heartbreak in my heart,

A gaping hole in my soul and

fear clutches at my very being.

I fall and cry out,

“Who am I, Oh God?”

but there is only silence.

I curl into a ball and

let the tears of agony fall.

The silence is deafening.

Only my screams are heard,

echoing through the hollow night.

Darkness embraces me, icy and cold.

In the vast darkness a voice rings.

It is soft and tender, inviting.

I strain to hear.

It sounds. It resounds,

In the deep hollow of my soul’s night.

It echos inside my empty heart.

But from within comes a warmth.

It fills me, amazes me.

I can’t explain it, can’t understand it.

“YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE,”

the voice reverberates.

It echos inside me.

My anguished depths cry out:

I once did, but no longer.

My words come without voice.

I am no one. I have become nothing,

This is the rebutal my torn soul gives,

the answer a shattered life spews.

Still, He hears. He hears ME.

Despite my lack of words He vibrates

within those awful confines called body.

Without warning,

out of the darkness

a piercing light comes to life.

It blinds me. Ignites my insides.

It consumes me, yet sustains me.

It is an ecstasy that burns me.

The voice thunders inside me.

YOU ARE MINE,

 A PRECIOUS JEWEL AMONG DIAMONDS.  

“YOU ARE A DELICATE FLOWER,

YET YOU’RE MY WORLD.

YOU HOLD THE LOVE OF THE ANCIENT OF DAYS.  

“YOU EXALT THE HEART OF THE GREATEST

WITH YOUR JUBILATION AND

TEAR IT TO SHREDS AS YOU DESPAIR. 

“YOU HOLD WITHIN YOU THE SPIRIT

OF THE MOST HIGH.

YOU ARE ALL THERE IS. MY EVERYTHING.  

“IT IS FOR YOU THAT I GAVE MYSELF,

FOR YOU I LONG IN THE DAYLIGHT,

AND FOR YOU I WILL ALWAYS FIGHT.

“YOU ARE MY HEIR, MY INHERITANCE

THAT WHICH I DESIRE TO BE NEAR.

BECAUSE I LOVE YOU, I WILL FIGHT FOR YOU.” 

The words penetrate my soul.

They pound with the beats of my heart,

filling the empty spaces.

They fill every space in between.

They are truth, they are Love,

They are Life, eternally.

I open my eyes and let in the Light.

The  darkness falls away.

Fear evaporates into oblivion.

Doubt ceases.

My mind quiets and my heart melts.

Fire consumes me and I soar.

I look into the heart of the God

that sees me, and I remember.

I recall my identity.

It is not in me, but within Him.

His essence creates me, sustains me.

Every moment, it completes me.

There in His soul is love.

Joy floods His heart seeing me fulfilled.

He offers me His hand.

I take it and

Love drowns me.

It makes me new.

Love sweeps me away

to that place of no return.

Where I’ll never be the same.

It is where Love meets us,

In our disparage, our worthlessness

And make us whole.

Love. It gives life.

Love is in the Light

and He is the Light.

Zombies in Victoria’s Courts

God adopting us as His own seems to be a reoccurring theme in my life this season. But truly, it’s a truth- an unbelievable one at that. I am blessed beyond measure to be called His- to be named his daughter. I am so undeserving of that title and yet, Jesus crowns me with it every day. He calls me by name into who I am created to be.

I wrote this poem a while back and now seems to be the time to post it. Here’s to the One who can when we can’t, to the One who takes in the disheveled orphan and calls them son and daughter.

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We come before the

spotless, magnificent

gilded throne of stones

disheaveled, disrobed,

wild, afraid, yet hopeful.

~~~~

We hope the eternal

everlasting King-

of wonder, of beauty,

of all that is good

will look at us and see.

~~~~

We want his mercy to

be enough, to overlook a

Frankenstein coming to

Victoria’s Courts, and seeing

us for what’s inside.

~~~~

But what hope is there,

in a corps of rotting flesh,

a diseased but beating heart

that drags in toxic air with

the flies and calls it living?

~~~~

A good life to a zombie

means nothing to the likes

of a Royal but for Him who

is Love and came to join

us in the stench and decay.

~~~~

He brought us rancid

souls the smell of roses,

the promise of life,

eternity in the courts

of royal nobility.

~~~~

He gave us the keys to

his palace and called us,

by name so that we would

be loved, and truly live,

he shows us what whole is.

~~~~

That one day, we will be

the ones- we will be the

guests at Victoria’s courts,

invited by gilded pens and

rejoiceing in newness.

~~~~

Revel then we will as invites

return and the zombies arise,

at the door, looking as toxic

and disheveled as we once

were and are no more.

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Hospital

red-school-blur-factoryMy mom was diagnosed with breast cancer  this year, and though she is doing well recovering from that diagnosis (they caught it early enough that she didn’t need chemo or radiation after surgery), I found myself walking the hospital that day, wondering around alone as I waited for her surgery to be over. It was the same hospital that my grandfather died in 15 years before. I was 14, but I remember it like it was last week. The way it smelled, the darkness of his room the last time I saw him. As I walked around that day waiting for my mom’s surgery to be over, I knew my mom would be ok. How? Why? The whole peace in the middle of the storm thing, yeah, God is not kidding! That’s all the how and why I can tell you. It had nothing to do with me.But as I walked those sadly familiar halls of Johnson Memorial Hospital I also knew there were others there who’s world just fell apart worse than mine had.

For some, there were no God assurances. They were just in the middle of a pain ravished hurricane, losing the battle against fear, against despair. Because well…

~     ~     ~

It’s the hospital. The place of death. The place where lives hang in between. Its cold here. Its gruesome. Its hard reality as it fullest.

It’s where your priorities properly align- probably for the first time; this is where vulnerability hits.

This is the place you discover money means nothing in light of a black diagnosis and all the power one’s hoarded might not be enough. It’s meaningless. It’s worthless.

All you really want, is those people you’ve pushed away, you want their warmth, their arms. The hospital makes you crave all that inner self you try to hide from day by day.

But the hospital is not just a despair mongering place. It is also a place of hope. It is a place where life can be granted a second chance.

Its where science-fiction meets reality with all sorts of frankensteinian ideas that come into fruition by the sheer will of genius imaginations and iron clad courage.

It’s where steady hands do their best work and doctors become rock stars as dauntless as  firemen running into the blaze, soldiers into gun fire.

This conglomeration of pathways is a separate journey for each one who walks inside those pristine white doors. So be extra kind.

You may not be the one traveling in despair through the white wash hallways, but others might. Just a smile from a stranger can make their invisibility fall away and remind them that they are not so alone.

The hospital is where we remember our humanity and that in it, we are terminal. It’s just a question of when. Remember, also, that a kind word will gratify the soul, but a hug can definitely fight off the walls of despair.