Poetry and Images from a Christian

Thursday, October 17, 2013

God With Us

In this world we will have troubles; I am no exception to the rule. But I have found Jesus to be so faithful in walking with me. The poem below is about a fleeting experience, but  I have had many longer lasting troubles wherein He was/is just as faithful, just as kind and good, even when I was/am sometimes quite impatient.


They Call Him "God With Us"

It was a necessary medical procedure
Fraught with pain,
And I was caught in it
For long moments
Until the work was done.
No husband could stand beside me,
No mother or father
Or sister there;
No numbing,
No anesthesia applied.
With whispered voice
I called my Jesus,
Who fills all space and time.
Already there,
He laid His words upon my mind,
A chant, a focus point,
"I will never leave you, nor forsake you.
I will never leave you, nor forsake you."
My hand I moved to brush at tears
And gently stroke my brow.
"Again, " He said, "Again."
After hesitating, I complied.
And so the motion I repeated
And in His words and touch co-mingled
I lingered,
In pain, but comforted,
And, not alone,
Until the need had ended.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Small Crisis


When the little son who was my constant companion for six years or so suddenly became my husband's shadow most of the time, I had a small identity crisis. I was happy for my little boy to be venturing into the world of manly pursuits, but what about me...What was I going to do with all this new alone time? During a walk, the Holy Spirit impressed on me that now was a good time to just be still and know that God has a plan. God loves us as we are;  we are his creations.

Walking

I walk a long country black top
My mind vibrating with questions
Who am I now?
What should I do?
Countless possibilities vie to be weighed
Faster and harder I walk
My muscles tensing and relaxing
In turn
Footfalls quietly progressing

The warm breeze touches me
To capture my attention
The feathered grasses lining the roadside
Bend  in greeting
Shooshing gently against neighbors
Shooshing beneath the sun
I hear them
I hear
The sound of grass
Then stop to listen
Hands on knees
Beginning to understand

I will do
But already am
And the Breeze
And the shooshing
And the neighbors
Are important.



Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Church Plant

Recently, the church I attend celebrated it's 175th anniversary. I was honored to be asked to write a poem for the celebration. I was asked months ahead of time, which was wonderful. Although I thought about it and wondered what to write and even prayed for some leading all along, I was at a loss for ideas, until two weeks before the event. That was when the anniversary committee hung a lovely banner in the narthex of the church announcing the theme, "Continuing Branches of Faith." As I mulled over this theme in prayer one morning, the words began to fall into place. I am happy with the result, because it is a word of encouragement and hope for the church as we face a time of great change. I hope you will find encouragement in it also.

The Church Plant


Jesus is the Vine,
The Life and Spirit
Of an ever-growing church plant.
You are a branch.
I am a branch.
We are all gently grafted into the Vine,
Nurtured by branches who came before our own.
The Life of the Vine,
The Spirit of the Vine,
Flows through your branch,
And my branch,
And many others,
Quickening each,
Bringing forth buds and fruit,
And still more branches
Are grafted to ours.
And the Spirit flows through all the branches.

Jesus creates and calls the branches,
Grafts them into His Vine,
Directs all growth.

Jesus waters and feeds
Each branch,
Loves each branch,
Tends the fruit of each branch,
Sees and cherishes
The love, joy, peace,
Patience, kindness, goodness,
Faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control
He finds on each fragile limb.
Jesus trains and prunes each twig
For still more fruit.

You are a branch,
I am a branch
Thriving in the Vine,
Growing side by side,
Even intertwined,
Humbly interdependent,
Together joyously dependent
Ever and always
On Jesus,
The Vine.

I am strengthened by the Life in you,
You are strengthened by the Life in me,
As we live and work in the great plant,
Our roots in the Father,
Our life in the Son and the Holy Spirit,
The Vine and the Gardener.

We sway in the wind of voices saying,
"The church is a dying institution,"
Even as we feel and see and hear
The Spirit and the Life
Flowing through our branches,
Even as we hear Jesus calling,
See Jesus moving in the lives
Of our brothers and sisters
In the great plant.
We know Jesus lives.
We know He is eternal.
We know we must thrive on in Him.
He wills it.
We will it with Him.

We live and work and pray in Him,
Let us live and work and pray in Him,
"Nurture our branch, Oh Lord,
Tend Your church plant.
Train and prune each limb, each twig.
Increase the beauty and bounty of our fruit.
Graft in,
Do graft in
New branches.
Let Your life and Spirit
Flow through us to nurture them.
Let there be
No dying,
No end."



Bleeding Heart is one of my favorite plants. It's name and heart shaped blooms remind me that Jesus loved us so much he was willing to shed his blood and die to save us.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Housewife's Challenge

I have found as a homemaker that there is a certain tension between the creation of beauty and the keeping of order. These two aspects of homemaking need each other, and enhance each other, if we manage to maintain a delicate peace and balance between them. The effort is one of life's worthwhile struggles. Giving expression to that struggle is the theme for this poem.

Sister Spirits

Two sisters lived together,
Though they moved from house to house,
One the soul of Beauty,
The other Order's spouse.

Order, quite capable could carry on alone
And sometimes left, in anger's grip,
Crazed by chaos,
The wake of Beauty's walk.

But once alone, her value fell,
For everywhere she looked,
And in the mirror, lonely,
All she saw was straight and plain,
So aching, sad, she'd amble home.

Beauty, on her own, worked long,
And made a tremendous mess.
Somewhere she'd created a sumptuous cake,
But for flour and sugar containers, icing bags, and colorings,
Books of inspiration and sketches on scraps...
Where were those frosting flowers,
And where was that lovely cake?

Somewhere she'd crafted a carpet
Of jewel-like silken scraps,
But now she couldn't find it,
For all the pieces she'd considered and discarded
Were piled high and tangled
In silver threads she'd laid aside,
While stitching a tapestry she'd started,
Before finishing the carpet.

Beauty, all in tears,
Tired and disheveled,
Wandered room to room.
She worried, "Where is Order?'
She was tense and distraught.

This was the scene Order found,
All the color, all the clutter,
Scraps of silk and velvet,
Heady scents of sweets and cooking,
Passionate activity written everywhere she looked.
Her face relaxed into a smile.
Lines of pain smoothed out.
Sparkling joy danced in her eyes,
And a question,
"Where is Beauty?"

Order moved quickly all about the house,
Setting things to right.
She tidied everywhere she went.
She found the cake and frosting flowers
And put them together on a stand.
She found the jewel-toned carpet
And tenderly spread it out.
She sorted the mountain of scraps for future works.
She set the tapestry, unfinished, on display,
And gently laid untouched skeins of thread
In rainbow fashion
To soothe the artist's way.

And just as she was finishing this
Last and loving task,
She looked around the room
And there was Beauty,
No need for her to ask.

i

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Different Perspective

I saw a fabulous photo recently on Facebook, which has had me ruminating over a new poem for a few weeks. Working on the poem this morning, I felt the need for some boundaries. I was thinking along the lines of Haiku, sort of, but what I ended up with was something that borrows a little from Haiku, a little from the Limerick, and obeys neither as far as subject matter is concerned. I have decided to use my artistic license and call it Free Limku, which has 5 lines, a syllable per line pattern of 5,5,5,7,5, and reveals something.


Used with permission from Unreal Hawaii. Thanks, David.


Rainbow Trilogy

Reality

Forty-six years passed
Acknowledging the bow,
Accepting the gift,
Then a photo, startling,
Flashed the depth of Truth.

Fidelity

God named the rainbow
For my partial view,
But He always knew
The token of His promise
Was a perfect ring.

Humility

How my own doubts swirl,
Questions pray God-ward,
Salty tears fall, vain,
From earth-bound partial views, while,
God croons, "Faith, believe."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

In Remembrance of the 9/11 Tragedy

I wrote the following poem for a church service on 9/11 this year. The theme for the service was finding God in the events of the day. When I was preparing to write this I thought the theme was something like, "How did the tragedy of that day change us or make us better people?" I did not really have an answer for that, but God knew what the theme really was. I made a few notes about the ways I felt called by God to act in response to the tragedy. I live very far away from New York and Washington and Pennsylvania, so I felt I hadn't much to offer God, but I offered it to him anyway. I had no idea what I would write. Amazingly, when I laid pen to paper the thoughts started to flow very easily. I felt God taking my very little and making something special out of it. When the poem was finished, I offered it to the worship committee and they decided to use it, and ultimately the poem was shared in two worship services that day, once at our church and once at a church in another city. When we offer our little bit to God, we never know what He will do with it.  

Jesus Calling

Twin towers and a pentagon,
Hi-jacked planes,
Explosions,
Clouds of smoke,
Powder and ash falling like rain.

Suffering, death, injury, trauma,
Pressing grief
Falling like rain.

God.
Still God.
Still calling, "Follow Me."

Acts of bravery,
Acts of love,
Acts of service,
Words of faith
Flooding darkness and disaster
With love and light
At the center,
In the spotlight,
On the site.

Even here, far away
We hear His call,
"Follow Me."
Pray for these lost, these injured, these mourning.
Love these enemies; pray for their salvation, their transformation, their good.

Thank Me for the good you see.
Thank Me for new heroes
And Godly examples.

Open your hands;
Give to these who are in need,
Help these neighbors.

Go, go into public places
Unafraid.
Do not hide in fear.

Does this one resemble your enemy?
Could this one be your enemy?
Meet his eyes with compassion,
Smile, nod,
Greet him with kind words.
Remember how I love him.
Remember how I love you.
Follow Me.
Love him, too.

God.
Still God.
Still calling,
"Follow Me."

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Poems for My Little Boy

When my little boy, John, was a baby, I decided to write some nursery poems. He was wonderful inspiration then, as he still is today.


Pinky Dinky

Pinky Dinky, a little gray mouse,
Came as a Christmas present into John's house.
She has big round ears, all pink inside,
White wiry whiskers,
And a tiny pink nose.
She is stuffed with soft fluff
From her head to her toes
And she's ever so sweet
To hug in one's sleep.

My sister, Joyce Cole, drew this fine picture of Pinky a few years ago. When John first received Pinky, I named her Mr. Pinkney, but as soon as John could talk well he let me know that her name is really Pinky Dinky and she is a girl. Joyce and I stand corrected. Pinky now sometimes flies and loves to have long conversations with John, when an adult is willing to give her a voice.


Musings

Mr. and Mrs. Goldfish swim baby into dreamland
With night-lit bubbles and watery sound.
Then rainbow hued butterflies
Flutter round and round,
To meet his drowsy morning gaze,
While kittens just finding their mittens await on the wall
Right below Mr. McGregor's garden gate in paint.
Nice things for baby's musings---
All.


John, the Adventurer

John, the adventurer, takes to the lake.
He crawls through the cottage
Like lightning on knees.
He delves in the toy box
For pull cars and blocks
And sand pail and rake.
He splashes in pan-baths set out in the sun,
And babbles and squeals with excitement and fun.
He dons bright blue swimmers
To challenge the lake.
In his own yellow float,
He rides on the waves,
Kicking and giggling,
With Mama real close.
He eats all manner of interesting new things
That aunts and uncles to the table bring.
And when he grows tired,
He sways to and fro
On a carriage seat swing
With his Nana, who sings;
She sings all about John,
John on the water,
John on the lake,
John, the adventurer,
Out riding the waves.