Week Eighteen

52 Weeks of Gratitude, Week Eighteen: The weather

Possibility

He sent her a thunderstorm
in a love letter,
sealed with an unexpected kiss
and filled to the brim with happy tears
emerging from months of cloudy, faithful waiting.

He sent her a thunderstorm
in a hopeful dream,
caught up in the joyful song of drums
that matched each precious heart beat,
dancing on a firm foundation of grace.

He sent her a thunderstorm
in a quiet embrace,
held together by unfinished stories
and a harsh yet gentle wind that blew
the tired sparks to life again.

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Week Seventeen

52 Weeks of Gratitude, Week 17: Something you took for granted

One year ago you entered Heaven’s gates rejoicing | to e.m.h.

“Keep serving the Lord for me.”

“Okay.”

I don’t think the missing you gets any easier,
but trying to go on living does.

I don’t think the tears that fall get any softer,
but trying to hold them back does.

From the moment I found myself sprawled in the dust,
on a foreign kitchen’s tiles in a foreign place,
listening to your plummeting heart beats,
I haven’t stopped trying.

From the moment your voice came through to me,
as I clenched my fists and cried for mercy,
searching for God in all the wrong places,
I haven’t stopped trying.

I haven’t stopped trying
to search for God in all the wrong places,
as I clench my fists and cry for mercy,
and it’s there your voice comes through to me.

I haven’t stopped trying
to listen for your strengthening heart beats,
from a foreign kitchen’s tiles in a foreign place
when I find myself sprawled in the dust.

Trying to hold it back gets easier,
but my tears still fall with bitter longing.

Trying to go on living grows gentler,
but I still miss you beyond any words I know.

“Okay.”

“Keep serving the Lord for me.”

Week Sixteen

52 Weeks of Gratitude, Week Sixteen: Simple things in life

Dryad

Her bones cut across the fabric of the sky’s blue dress,

and the hem barely skirted the grass like soft crocus petals

peeping their little heads above the ground after a long winter nap.

A crown of golden rod encircled her fair forehead,

and the nodding buds danced bright against her dark tresses

which flowed into the creek running behind the nursery window.

She groggily rubbed her forest green eyes to stare,

and the little girl in the garden noticed the leaves for the first time

as she showed off her freshly-ironed white frock and shiny new glasses.

Week Fifteen

52 Weeks of Gratitude, Week Fifteen: Things you like about spring

The Coloring Book in My Memory

My childhood was coffee ice cream.
Chubby legs hanging off the concrete front porch,
more ice cream on my overalls than in my mouth,
and sometimes there were blueberries.

My childhood was Cheerios in plastic cups.
Munching in time to the bird’s soaring song,
chortling laughter and Mama’s beaming smile,
and sometimes we could have second helpings.

My childhood was apple slices.
Road tripping under the glistening sun,
bathing our innocent faces in expectant joy,
and sometimes the ocean would flirt with our pink cheeks.

My childhood was the taste of spring.
The lawn mower clipping along with a friendly roar,
baseball gloves and their fresh leather scent,
and sometimes orange juice waited to renew our imagination.

~*~

What are some of your favorite childhood memories of spring? I’d love to hear about them!

A Posture of Surrender – Part Two: Be Still

If you haven’t read Part One yet or would like a refresher, I’ve linked it here.

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10)

In our fast-paced world of to-do lists, social media distractions, and steadily decreasing hours of sleep at night, the last thing we want to do is slow down. Slowing down, even stopping (the horror!) feels like a waste of time. We could be doing so many things during that time, so many things, even, for the work that God sets out for us.

God has given us work, yes. And work is good. But God has also given us rest, and we can’t wholly honor His call to us to work unless we also balance that work with rest.

We need look no further than the Lord Himself when seeking evidence for the importance of balancing work and rest. In Genesis we are told that “God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation” (Genesis 2:3). Only after this day of rest did God create man and woman. Throughout the gospels, Jesus continually sets the example of stepping away to rest. We are told how after feeding the five thousand people, Jesus “dismissed the crowds [and] went up on the mountain by himself to pray” (Matthew 14:23, ESV), and that He would “often slip away to the wilderness and pray” (Luke 5:16, NASB). Jesus, the high-demand counselor, healer, teacher, and minister, took time out to rest and be still.

If we are to follow Jesus’ example of ministry, we must not stop at His service. We must be obedient in all things, including the need for us to rest: to set time aside to recharge.

It begins with humility. We must recognize that we are not invincible and that rest is absolutely an essential friend of work. “Be still,” God gently and firmly commands us. This isn’t some imprisoning law meant to hinder our lives. This is a loving exhortation because God knows we need to be filled in order to fill others.

Being still is about stepping aside and refocusing. Being still is about blocking out the voices in our heads (though it isn’t easy) and quieting our hearts before God. It’s letting Him speak into the silence. We needn’t go into that space with an agenda. We just need to bring our hearts, our open hands, and our thoughts, even if they are wordless, and lay it all before God. He’ll take it from there, but we must adopt a posture of surrender.

God beckons us to know Him. When we open our hearts to His love, He fills us with new strength, and we are able to obediently follow Him into the work set before us. We are then able to return to work with a renewed vigor and deeper desire to walk in love.

Be still.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
– Jesus (Matthew 11:28, ESV)

Week Fourteen

52 Weeks of Gratitude, Week Fourteen: A talent you have

War

The pen strikes a pose, leaning against

the lines and lines and lines of words unspoken,

jittery with the expectation

of giving birth to something new, something extraordinary,

crying from the mother of imagination.

 

The pencil shuffles in, staring at

the floor of creativity with its hands folded

and humility written on its own harsh edges,

marked by hours of mistakes, days of sweaty palms

and fever-tossed nights of the draft.

 

The eraser is called up, a word’s been wounded,

fatally, and there’s no hope left for it

except to be put out of its misery, soon,

and the doctor bows his head, solemnly

as the dark figures march by, line after line after line.

Week Thirteen

52 Weeks of Gratitude, Week Thirteen: A challenge you’ve overcome

I’m Sorry

I’m sorry for being cliche,
but when the winds of change blew through
my castle in the sky,
I felt it in the marrow of my bones
and collapsed into someone else’s arms.

I’m sorry for being dramatic,
but as I ached for a glimpse
of the milky way galaxy to meet my expectation,
I searched too hard and fell,
tumbling into an emotionless abyss.

I’m sorry for not being strong enough,
but as I raised my feeble eyes to God,
trembling with weakness and insecurity,
I found there in His peace the key to overcome
and surrendered my heart to Him.