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Archive for the ‘Free Verse / Poetry’ Category

In the deepest part of our hearts – we all yearn to be loved, and each of us comes with the capacity to give love in return. We instinctually draw together in relationship with each other, and gather ourselves into communities.

 

And yet somehow we struggle to believe that we come from a God who embodies love, and who yearns to be in relationship with us.

 

In the deepest part of our hearts – we all yearn for justice, and each of us comes with an inherent sense of when that justice has been violated. Even as small children, no one has to teach us to cry out, “It’s not fair!”

 

And yet somehow we struggle to believe that we come from a God who embodies justice, and who would demand a price for sin.

 

In the deepest part of our hearts – we all yearn for shelter from the storm, and comfort in times of trouble. Something within us inherently knows to run for cover, and to seek a place of refuge.

 

And yet somehow we struggle to partake of God’s Spirit, who stands ready to manifest Himself as the “Comforter”, and who offers a peace that surpasses our understanding.

 

In the deepest part of our hearts – we all yearn for a sense of significance, and of belonging. It is within our very nature to fight wars, to fly banners, and to adorn ourselves in accolades, in order to establish our place in this world.

 

And yet somehow we struggle to believe that we were created in the image of God, and that we were meant to be the heirs of His Kingdom.

 

In the deepest part of our hearts – we all yearn to believe in something that is bigger than ourselves, and that is beyond what we can understand. From the beginning we are drawn to fairy tales, magic, legends, the depths of the ocean, heroes, outer space, Sci-Fi… or anything else that might carry us beyond the boundaries of what we have known.

 

And yet somehow we struggle to accept a God whose ways are much higher than ours and who can do abundantly more than we could ever ask for, or imagine.

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The day after your child is born

You realize that pain and discomfort can be worthwhile

*

The day after you utter piercing words

You realize that hurt cannot be taken back

*

The day after you are swindled

You recognize all the signs you should have noticed

*

The day after you receive that “thing” you thought would change everything

You recognize that no “thing” has the ability to do that

*

The day after you enact revenge on someone

You realize there is no satisfaction in it

*

The day after you lose someone you love

You recognize the void they filled in your life

*

The day after a “One Night Stand”

You find the emptiness within you

*

The day after you forgive someone

You realize that it is you who have been set free

*

The day after the “Dark Night of the Soul”

You find that God’s mercies are new every morning

*

The day after a tragedy

You realize how blessed you were two days ago

*

The day after you see one of your children step into their destiny

You find yourself being thankful for the sacrifices you made for them

*

The day after you compromise on the things you truly believe

You realize the power of shame

*

The day after you die

You’ll realize that how you lived really mattered

*

The day after Jesus comes back

You’ll realize that the truth was never really negotiable

*

(Proverbs 14:12)

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I could speak of the place that the Lord first found me

& of the great saints who have gone before

*

I could tell of the mighty battles that have been fought

& of the miraculous deeds that have been done

*

I could sing a hymn of God’s great holiness

& of the wonders of His ways

*

I could paint a portrait of the splendor of the heavenly city

& of the angelic host that await us there

*

But in truth

it is only the

faith

& hope

& love

that I carry within my heart today

that has the potential to change anything

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Last night, our daughter spent hours trying to convince one of her classmates not to end their life.  I wish I could say that this is a first, but all of our kids have been pulled into this sort of thing before.  It was late, and the situation was far from settled when I finally forced her off the phone.  This morning, she woke up troubled and exhausted.  As I sensed her emotional state, I was impressed to write it down.  Please pray for our young people, these are difficult times and their struggles are real.

 

Are You Still Here?

*

As my eyes reluctantly crack open, I can see that it’s still dark

And I wonder whether you’re still here

*

It was another night of tears and prayers

And words that seemed to fall to the ground

*

I tried everything I could think of

But eventually, I ran out of things to say

*

You seemed to have a counterpoint for every encouragement

And ultimately I could not carry you to a place you refused to go

*

When we hung up the phone, I cried out to God

But I knew that He wouldn’t force Himself on you

*

I know that you’re looking for someone who will take away the pain

But you’ve grown immune to the love that’s already around you

*

No one has the strength to pry the hurt from your clinched fists

No one else can provide you with the desire to go on

*

Hope can be an elusive thing

But it’s not because it’s complicated

*

You don’t necessarily need to believe that things will get better

But you have to be open to the possibility that they could

*

For whatever it’s worth, I really do love you

And it’s hard not to feel as though I’ve let you down

*

I keep searching for a remedy

But the shelves of the medicine chest look empty

*

So I lay here in the pre-dawn hours of the morning

And I wonder whether you’re still here

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I will call your name

But I will not plead for an answer

*

I will knock

But I will not open the door for you

*

I will invite you

But I will not beg you to come

*

I will speak words of life to you

But I will not bend your ear

*

I will set a table for you

But I will not push you into the chair

*

I will love you with all my heart

But I will not coerce you to accept it

*

I will bring you to healing waters

But I will not dunk you into them

*

I will instruct you in the ways of wisdom

But I will not mandate that you learn

*

I will warn you

But I will not compel you to take heed

*

I will make you aware when you have strayed

But I will not turn you around

*

I will guide you to a clear pool

But I will not induce you to drink of it

*

I will give you food for thought

But I will not demand that you think

*

I will bring you comfort

But I will not require you to be consoled

*

I will unlock your shackles

But I will not take them off of you

*

I will always tell you the truth

But I will allow you to believe whatever you choose

*

I will prepare a place for you

But I will not force you to dwell there

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You’re the One who gave me breath

even though You knew I’d use it to curse Your name

*

You’re the One that came off Your throne to find me

even though You knew I’d go my own way

*

You’re the One who gave me freedom

even though You knew I’d use it to liberate myself from You

*

You’re the One who gave me gifts

even though You knew I would use them to glorify myself

*

But in Your sovereignty You also knew;

that one day I would bless Your Holy name,

that I would find that my way leads to death

and

that I would see that apart from You there is no freedom nor glory

*

All praise and honor and glory be unto You O Lord

My hope and my salvation!

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Our culture has an endless fascination with the rich and famous, which becomes especially acute when an iconic star passes away (e.g. Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston…).  Last week’s untimely death of pop music star, “Prince” is a case in point.  For days, or sometimes weeks, the media is saturated with images of the star, clips of weeping fans, tributes from other celebrities, intrigue about the facts surrounding their death, a sudden burst of interest in their catalog from decades ago, often times revisionist retrospectives of their body of work, a slow parade of alleged insiders who claim to have some new tidbit of information, and sometimes even a star-studded funeral to send them off.  We tend to view their life through the lens of their glorious accomplishments and their vast renown; but I would suggest that more often than not they pass from this life broken and alone.  The myth of fame and fortune is stripped bare by death.  I doubt seriously that anyone has ever asked that their gold records, or Grammy award, or Oscar, or Olympic Medal be brought to their bedside as they face their final minutes.  Ultimately, the quality of a life isn’t defined by its shiniest moments, but by those day to day instances when no one is looking.  In the end, it will be about who we have loved, and who has loved us.  The piece that follows is something I wrote years ago to portray the emptiness of such an existence.  For me, fame and fortune is like this hollow mansion.

*

Hollow Mansion

*

My eyes flick open to the dim light of the pre-dawn morning

and my head throbs with the dull ache of the night before

There is a beautiful woman lying beside me

but I find myself straining to remember her name

When she wakes, I’ll have to pretend that last night meant something to me

but for now, I couldn’t be more alone

*

As I stare at the ornate ceiling of this massive room

I can see all the cracks along its edges

They not only speak of the sandy soil on which this estate was built

they testify to the weak foundation of this new life that I have established

While everyone else’s eyes are naturally drawn to the beautiful gold trim

all I can see is the fractured façade

While they all seem to notice the extravagant furnishings in each room

I find myself focusing on the vast empty space created by every high ceiling

*

These thoughts take me back to the water stained ceiling of my childhood bedroom

and I find myself wondering whatever became of that little boy

I also remember lying awake in a little trailer, many years ago

wondering how I was going to support my young bride & our new baby

Back then, paying the bills was my greatest struggle

but now that those debts are more than covered, I’m struggling with the price that was paid

*

I’d trade everything I’ve gained to erase the hurt and confusion in my children’s faces

as I pulled our family apart on the way to making my own dreams come true

I’d give it all back for the woman who loved me

when I had nothing to offer other than a desire to share her life

I’d gladly forfeit the drafty halls of this hollow mansion

for the warmth of the place that I used to call home

I’ve finally figured out that it’s better to have one person who loves you for who you really are

than to have ten thousand who love the person they imagine you to be

*

Unfortunately, by the time I came to understand this, it was too late

As the raging waters of my desire had already swept away any moorings for a bridge back

So as the first rays of the sun begin to creep across the windows

I swallow a couple of painkillers to prepare for the day that lies ahead

And as the beautiful stranger lying next to me stirs from her sleep

I push my face into a smile and utter, “Good morning darling”

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