Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Long Walk Home

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Robert Frost

”Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death, [a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

The Long Walk Home

Before I was born You formed my feet in the womb
You knew the perfume of the flower to bloom.
When my little feet first hit the hard, cold ground
Unknown presence all around, angels resound.
Your spirit was with me coaxing me on
In the dawn, in the tickling grass on the lawn.
You ran with me to catch the firefly’s glow
Into the school I would know, backpack in tow.
In the first time I learned that kids could be cruel
The golden rule, the swimming pool, and every April fool’s
We continued our walk through the lessons of change
The mirror shortchanged, reflections seemed strange
That’s when I first learned You were there at my side,
No longer denied, I decide, catch up to Your stride
In high school we walked through the halls of rejection
In search of affection, always under inspection.
Once again, I felt alone in my walk,
Empty talk, round the clock, my stumbling block.
We walked out of the house in to the dorm
Tax forms, moral reform, philosophies swarm.
You were there when I first caught his glance,
His strong stance enchants, the dance of romance.
You too walked me down the aisle of pews
Pastels hues, cherished I do’s.
When happily ever after was only in fairy tales
Rocky trails, piles of bills, and endless details.
Walking through arguments where nobody wins
The “where have you been?”s, the living room spins
Then the news of our very first child
I smiled, eyes wild with the nursery styled.
Eighteen hours, you sat with me through the pain
But then she came, Unspeakable joy attained.
You waited with him while I put her above You
Motherhood so new, Priorities askew.
Then you showed us how to grow up together toward You
Renewed, we pursued a life of serving You.
You Word became a love letter on the bedside table,
No longer an ancient fable with a dusty label.
Now we search the pages with the questions of our life
Parenting strife, the in and outs of man and wife.
The road is still rocky, and problems still the same,
But You came, sins claimed, and took the blame.
On this long walk home, I know You are there
So I'll tell them--don’t despair, say a prayer, and we will meet Him up there.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Vessel of Contradiction

“Yet I am poor and needy;
May the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer,
O my God, do not delay.”
Psalm 40:17

“Prayer is the possibility to affect everything that affects us.” E.M. Bounds

Vessel of Contradiction

Lord, I come before you today
A Vessel of Contradiction.
Poor and needy, yet blessed and thankful.
Lost in a sea of bills, grateful my husband found his joy.
Worried about my bank account, glad to have him back.
So I bring it all to You today.
I lay it at Your feet.
Requests and praises
Hallelujahs and Help me’s
Courage and Anxiety
Belief and Doubt
Commitment and Questions
Wisdom and Ignorance
Gratefulness and Brokenness
Peace and Fear
Contentment and Frustration
Hope and regret
An overly emotional woman or a spirit longing for heaven.
Whatever I am
On this earth
At this moment
In this place
With every part of me
I am yours.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Delicate Balance

“For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
Corrie Ten Boom

Delicate Balance

“Nothing is impossible with God.”
They say this in church and everyone nods.
I tend to agree for the most part
But I must confess this small doubt in my heart.
They say “Ask and you shall receive.”
They say you’ll get it if you really believe.
When I pray for others, I know You are there
But to pray for my own needs in faith is rare.
Today I ask myself why, for I know it’s not right
Instead of prayer, I turn to worry at night.
Never worry for others; I know they deserve a blessing
But as far as my own needs, I leave myself guessing
But You are all I have when the busyness is gone
I can see You in my daughter’s eyes and feel You in the dawn.
Am I scared if I truly ask and I plainly don’t receive
That I will find it harder to pray, serve, and really believe?
Am I scared that my needs might seem selfish, petty, and vain
In a world full of so much hunger, suffering, and pain?
Can I ask for blessings when many others have so much less?
Can I really pray for my bank account and all the trivial stress?
Lord, help me find that delicate balance of faith versus pride
Humility versus doubt, Lord, please be my guide.
For if Your “eye is on the sparrow” up in the walnut tree
Then maybe you really are waiting to bless even little me.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

One Day's Confession

“I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.” Psalm 32:1

“A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.” Jonathan Swift

One Day’s Confessions

I used to think I was fine
I didn’t murder, steal, or drink
I was such a “good girl”
At least that’s what I liked to think.
But the more I read Your word
The wiser I become
And more aware of my sins
From the rising to the setting sun.
I know you love me anyway
And look at my true heart
So I want to confess my sins to You
I wonder where I should start.
No time like the present
So I’ll begin with today.
I woke up with a headache
A bad mood right away.
I felt guilty for getting behind
In my quiet times with You
So I read and wrote some thoughts
About what I should do.
I was distracted by the bank account
And my constant financial worries
I knew my daughter would wake up soon.
I knew I had to hurry.
That’s how the rest of the day seemed
Rushing from here to there
Doing housework, running errands
Forgetting to show You I care.
Forgive me for my haste
Forgive me for my laziness
Forgive me for mixed priorities
Forgive me in the busyness.
My heart wants to serve
But my actions don’t always show
That I can put into practice
Your Word that I truly know
You, then my husband,
Then my daughter, then my home
Then my job and friendships
These priorities I have known.
But I put the job above You
I put her above him.
I worry over insignificants
Like how to be more slim.
Thank you for infinite chances
To prove myself once again
And thanks for loving me anyway
Even in my present sin.
Tomorrow when I wake up
Remind me of how You died
And openly pleaded guilty
To the sins I have denied.
I will lift my face toward You
And though I know I’ll drift
I will strive to be more like you
To thank you for this costly gift.
Lord, I thank you for tomorrow
And I thank you for yesterday
For tomorrow I will be wiser
Than I was today.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Whittle Away

“Be confident in this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ.” Philippians 1:6

“The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but no vision.” Helen Keller

Whittle Away

You push to form the masterpiece
I feel every finger press, every knuckle driven in
You carve to make the image more lucid
You cut off unnecessary parts
I can remember the lump from which I started
A shapeless, selfish mass
Trying uselessly to form my own shape
I had a certain silhouette in mind
But every move of your hand
Seemed to contradict this preconceived piece
But I am beginning to trust
I am beginning to see the vision
I know there will be more,
More stretching, more pulling,
More severing, more whittling down.
But Go ahead.
Compose an orginal.
Strike hard.
Break at will.
I am here, Lord
Whittle away . . .

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Double Joy, Half Sorrow

“Shared joy is double joy; shared sorrow is half sorrow.” Nigerian Proverb

“ Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls and
has no one to help him up!
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Double Joy, Half Sorrow

Friends change things.
Silent cries to laughs out loud
Broken spirits to resurrected hope
Chasing dreams to embracing realities
Sleepless nights to restful days
Looming questions to answered prayers
Howling winds to tickling breezes
Trudging through the days to relishing the moments
Longing for belonging to believing and receiving
Suffering in the storm to rejoicing in the rainbow
Dried up well of confidence to overflowing fountains of courage
A struggling marriage to a blessing in disguise
The worn-out woman to the invigorated individual
Rigid shards of isolation to comfort padded cotton conversations
The untouchable mist of need to a tangible shoulder to cry on
A marred self-portrait to the unveiling of a masterpiece
A famous man in a book to a living messiah I see in them.

Thank you, circle of friends, for changing my life for the better.
I only hope I can return the favor.

Thank you Lord for my circle of friends and all of the other blessings I don’t deserve.
I only hope I can return the favor.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Unseen Miracles

“There two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Unseen Miracles

When I enter a smoke-filled restaurant
Let me see the miracle that I can breathe.
When I walk into the doctor’s office
Let me see the miracle that I can walk.
When I argue with my husband
Let me see the miracle that I have one.
When I can’t pay my bills
Let me see the miracle that I have a home.
When she throws a tantrum in the store
Let me see the miracle in her search for independence.
When my students give less than their best
Let me see the miracle that I have a job that I love.
When the weather changes my plans
Let me see the miracle of the seasons.
When others try to bring me down
Let me see the miracle of a temporary life on earth.
When I feel us drifting apart
Let me see the miracle that I am not too busy to notice.
When the “to do” list is too long and the hours too short
Let me see the miracle of another day.
When I make mistakes and say the wrong thing
Let me see the miracle of another chance.
Whenever life brings tragedy, disappointment, injustice
Let me see the miracle of trusting in You.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Ant Lessons

“Life begets life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich.” Sarah Bernhart

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” Proverbs 6:6

The project will take
Fifteen years in and out
Though he will surely die
Before the year is out.
He knows the end result
Is worth the present strain
Though he personally
Has nothing to gain.
He searches and gathers
With joy in his heart
He is happy just knowing
He has played some small part.
To stand out from the others
Doesn’t even cross his mind
There’s too much work to be done
To prepare for those left behind.
No one has to check up on him
Or remind him to stay on task.
Everyone knows he will do his job
Even if they never ask.
He spends himself
For the sake of the colony.
He thrives on order
His effort brings harmony.
Lord, I thank you now
For these lessons from the ant.
Erasing from my vocabulary
That useless phrase—“I can’t.”
“About my Father’s business”
You said is what you’d do
And I will do the same
And spend myself for the glory of You.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Learning my ABCs

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14
Learning my ABCs
Lauren, my two year old, is teaching me my ABCs
To Analyze every anthill, for they are always so busy but never seem stressed
To Bounce with each step because the journey is more important than the destination
To Cuddle for no reason and bless others spontaneously
To Dance in the silence to the songs of a joyful mind
To Expect fun around every corner, even at the grocery store
To Forget the pain of a fall in seconds
To Get back on whatever you fell from until you get it right
To Hop on every step and delight in the smallest accomplishments.
To Include each new person on your list of friends and opportunities
To Jump to your Father trusting in His arms
To Kiss with a loud noise so they know you really mean it.
To Love every animal, even bugs and snakes.
To Make the most of the moment by creating your own bliss
To Need others’ help and not be afraid to ask
To Offer comfort when you hear a cry for you know what that is like
To Play a new game with every mundane task with just a spoonful of sugar
To Quiet down for rest to get the energy to be loud again
To Run without feeling silly, in fact you hope that people look
To Sing as loud as possible especially original songs
To Think aloud for your thoughts are still pure and innocent
To Understand the people you stand under.
To Vacation in your home because that’s where you can be yourself
To Wear snow boots with sundresses just because you can
To eXperiment with everything, and try just to find out
To Yearn for a new toy and put it back on the shelf
To Zoom into rooms, sound effects and all.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Laugh it Up

“A little laughter can help you skate across thin ice and reach the other side.”
Dr. Steve Stephens and Alice Gray, The Worn Out Woman

“A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Proverbs 17:22

Laugh it Up

Bad news and all of a sudden
An explosion, a shove from behind
An unexpected trap, unwanted challenge
And I find myself
In a place I never wanted to be
Circumstances I wouldn’t have chosen,
A prison to most, an excuse to
Look down, get down, and fall down
But I am choosing to
Look up, laugh it up, and lighten up.
I laugh at how cunning the devil is
In his pursuit to bring my family down.
I laugh at the irony, the obvious attack,
No one is left out,
But I can see the truth and laugh
The cat chasing the dog.
The mouse scaring the elephant.
The devil trying to prove he’s God.
I laugh at my own humanity.
I laugh at my own mortality.
And I will laugh myself and my family
Across this thin ice
To the safety of the other side.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Missing Church

"You are members of God's very own family, citizens of God's country, and you belong in God's household with every other Christian." Ephesians 2:19b (LB)

For the first time in my life, I wish I was in church rather than on vacation! Far from home but close to family, I am facing a week of fun, stress-free activities and all I can think about is "Man, I wish I didn't have to miss church on Thursday and Sunday!" But I can stop and smile because I know what this really means . . . You answered my prayer. Thank you, Lord.

Missing Church

Church used to be a habit
A check on the "to do" list.
A routine carried out.
Something not really missed.
I always wanted to find You
But the pattern was too strong.
The services were too early
And the sermons were too long.
But I knew I wanted more
So I called out to You.
I wanted to go deeper,
Find worship that was true.
Relight a fire, a new start,
With my whole self,
No more dusty bible on the shelf.
But I knew I couldn't do it alone.
And I was in the lurch
But today I have seen your answer!
I'm on vacation and missing church!
Not just "missing" it
As in I'm not actually there
But really missing church
And all Your people who care.
The music that brings me closer,
The messages that show me You,
Your word read like a love letter,
Your presence, rich and true.
The is the true paradise,
The secret Hideaway,
Perfect vacation spot
Luxury getaway.
People spend thousands
On packages, cruises, and tours
But all they really need
Is to walk in through Your doors!
Lord, as we seek rest
With relaxation as our goal
Help us remember your church
As simply the spa for the soul.

Sunday, June 12, 2005


"These things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely,the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day." Habakkuk 2:3

"God is never in a hurry, but he is always on time." ~Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life


Most people like the intermission
So they can stretch and take a break
But I can't stand the waiting
I sit, but my legs will shake
I look at my watch again
Wanting to get on with the show
Aren't they watching the clock?
It 's past the time to go.
I've never cared for stop lights,
Detours, trains, yeild signs,
Restaurants before the meals is served,
Waiting rooms and long lines.
Why can't I ever relax?
And why do I want it now?
Why do I demand it so quickly?
And why do I not care how?
Why did I rush through childhood
Always wanting to be bigger
Older, smarter, wiser, skinnier
Awaiting my girlish figure?
Do I always need control?
Is that why it's so hard to pray?
Because it's hard to wait for You, God
I want my answers today!
The waiting may be difficult
But how can I complain?
For You waited on the cross
Enduring unbearable pain.
All of this was for us
Your love defined the mission
Lord, please forgive my selfishness
And help me rest in this intermission.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Love Specifically

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1 Cor 13: 4-7

Love Specifically

Love is patient
When waiting in line, in traffic, and for him to notice me.
Love is kind
When I stroke her hair and sing her to sleep.
It does not envy
When other women have better homes, cars, clothes, figures.
It does not boast
When I do the right thing, make the right call, say the right words.
It is not proud
When I get a compliment, receive praise, or enjoy being needed.
It is not rude
When he is late, forgets to call, or works too much.
It is not self-seeking
When I worry over appearances and strive for perfection.
It is not easily angered
When I'm hungry, tired, and it's that time of the month.
It keeps no record of wrongs
When the students get a new start and new chances every day.
Love does not delight in evil
When they gossip and mock others in the teacher's lounge.
But rejoices in the truth
When I go to Your word for answers.
It always protects
My family and loved ones,
Always trusts
That God will provide
Always hopes
Others will find You
Always perseveres
To grow, give, praise, pray, and love specifically.

Friday, June 10, 2005

From Pigtails to Proverbs

"She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
And faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed
her husband also, and he praises her.
Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."
Proverbs 31:27-30

Twelve lines. Seems simple doesn't it? But God, let's be honest here. It's hard work, sometimes it seems upstream, against the grain, just plain tough. I still feel like a little girl, but now I must "watch over the affiars of my household." Sometimes, I miss the days of pigtails, crawling into mom and dad's bed when the thunder was too loud. No bills, schedules, and expectations. Lord, lead me on my journey from pigtails to Proverbs.

From Pigtails to Proverbs

I long for the days of swinging ropes
Under apple blossoms
Brother Tarzan, Sister Jane
When impish dreams usurped the clock
When innocence smiles
Through crumb-covered cheeks
When hand-me-downs were just fine
Fears were few and easily abondoned
When the thunder got too loud
I crawled in bed with Mom and Dad
When accidents happened
Mommy was waiting
With open arms, band aids and a magic kiss
When I got embarrassed
Dad taught me to forget,
Stand tall, be brave and try again
Ambitions reformed moment to moment
From a caterpillar to racing bikes
Or kickball to four square.
But now
We have complications, duties, tasks
And the enemy of perfection.
Pulling fast and hard
Toward the "nexts" of our former selves
Away from the freedom we once knew
And the joy we ran to
With skinned knees ignored
And bruises unnoticed.
No more time for swinging ropes
Under apple blossoms.
But Lord, with your help,
I find the joy in the moment
Help me "laugh at the days to come"
A playful parent, a whimsical woman
Happy housewife, Adventurous adult
And when the thunder gets too loud
I will hold my child without fear
When accidents happen
I will read your Word
When I get embarrassed
I will run to You in prayer.
For this life is only the first chapter
For in heaven, there will always be time
For swinging ropes
Under apple blossoms.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Habit of Slippers

"Base your happiness on your hope in Christ. When trials come, endure them patiently; steadfastly maintain the habit of prayer." Romans 12:12

The Habit of Slippers

I'll need Your help on this one
I just want to panic, give in, give up,
Sigh, throw my hands up, roll my eyes
But, Lord, When everything seems wrong
Let me turn to You
A new habit of prayer, look in, look up
Breathe in your hidden presence
Like lavender and chamomile,
Or a warm bath, a comfy chair,
Like slippers,
Not too new, the perfect fit,
Portable pillows for my toes,
Just waiting
In the back of the closet,
Lord, Help me remember
How I can pull You in, keep You close,
Slip into the slippers of prayer.
Anytime, any place, anywhere.
Lord, help me remember
Your portable pillows for the soul . . .
Just waiting in the back of my mind.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

One Student's Search

"He made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark, but actually find Him." Acts 17:26-27

Lord, I often pray and fret over my students who struggle with life and have never heard the amazing offer you give to us, but today I lift up those who have been given a misrepresented, tainted glimpse of You through the actions of rule-driven religion and hypocritical judgment.

I gave my finals today. One prompt for the essay was to write (using Arthur Miller's The Crucible as a reference) a problem-solution essay on the topic of religion and morals. Interesting reading, to say the least. But one broke my heart. You know which one. Here's an excerpt of what your child said of your church.

"It feels like monotony, maybe clockwork. Every week, same day, same time, same place. The schedule was the same, except maybe different page numbers. Come in, sit down, kneal, and pray. Then stand and sing a song or hymn. Sit down and listen, turn the thin, crisp pages of the Bible as the priest deciphers the message. Eleven years I gulped down the information I was preached . . . I was forced into a religion that did not suit me. I was put into a religion because it was my grandma's, aunt's, uncle's, and father's . . .then I stopped going . . . I did not see how an unknown, unliving spirit made earth. why did I have to go to church to pray and listen to a guy preach something I could read at home? Why did I go to a small cubicle to tell someone what I had done wrong? . . . These were some of the many questions I had about my religion. I am happy now I don't have a specific religion. I don't have anything I must conform to or do anything to make others accept me."

Lord, forgive us! We failed her. We didn't show her the most important thing about you. Lord, I pray that she continues her search and doesn't end it here. She is so precious, sweet, smart, and gifted. I know you're waiting. I will wait with You . . .

The Missing Reasons

She walked through the doors
We made Your house so cold
A stuffy box of empty words
Statues, pillars, white and gold.
She never met the host
She never knew the reason
She left when she was ripe
Now she faces a new season.
Lord, I wish I could tell her
But I'm scared I've come to late
She has built a wall around her
Sealing her own fate.
How can we climb over,
Tear down, get in, break through,
So she can know how You love her
No matter what she chooses to do.
You don't want her to conform
You made her who she is
You just want her to know
The sacrifice was His.
She doesn't have to work at it.
She doesn't have to kneel,
Pray or chant a scripture,
This doesn't make it real.
How do I tell her about
All you've done for me?
How do I truly reach her?
How can I make here see?
Yes, it starts as a religion
Passed down from Mom and Dad
But then I was one my own
And You were the only thing I had.
I don't pray to be nice
Or read the Bible because I should
It's the only place to find true love
And something that is pure and good.
The only place to be yourself
never to be judged
The only being you will ever find
Who only wants you to be loved.
How did we make You so complex?
So unreachable, so far?
How can I explain to her
How I can feel You in my car?
How you've waited, loved, grieved and hoped
And will from beginning to end
And how you questioned along with her
Her silent cheerleader and unknown friend.
Now she says that she is happy
I am thankful she feels this way
But hopeful that her search hasn't ended
For you are the truth, the hope, and the way.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Other Cheek

"But I tell you hear me; Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, do not demand it back." Red-lettered Luke 6:27-30

The Other Cheek

When they cut me off in traffic
When the bill collector calls
When the neighbors get too loud
Can I choose to bless them all?
When they glare at my daughter
When the receptionist is rude
When the other teachers gossip
Can I keep a happy mood?
Lord, let me love them like You love them
Then it won't be so hard
To turn the other cheek
and not be on my guard.
I look in to the mirror
and see I'm just like them
Emotions ruling actions
They push and I will bend
Yet you choose to love me
Blessings I don't deserve
You gave your life for me
The least I can do is serve.
So I will fight a losing battle
To add some small bit of good
To this world full of evil
And not just because I "should."

Monday, June 06, 2005

Cumulus Humanity

"Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
let the fields be jubilant and everything in them.
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;
they will sing before the Lord, for he comes,
he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples in his truth."
Psalm 96:11-13

Cumulus Humanity

I lay in the plush green
Lost in endless possibilities of white

A narcissistic cupid aims his bow
At his mirror
Smirking slyly, thinking he's alone
Should I reveal my presence?

The skeleton of a fish tossed aside
Having played its part
Only to be unappreciated.
Should I chereish it?

A lonely traveler makes his way
Across a white desert
Dragging something . . . something important.
Would he share it with me?

A snake charmer lures gold coins
From the hands of small children.
Hands empty . . . eyes full of wonder
Stomachs empty . . . Hearts filled with delight
Should I demand a refund?

A huge cannon points to nowhere
Anticpated murder, ready to destroy
No one . . nothing
Should I disarm it?

A superhero shows off his biceps
While a helpless mother drowns
Saving her only child
Should I call 911?

Six basketball players
With six basketballs
Killing themselves to make the first basket
Identical jerseys reveal their shameful secret.
Should I keep it?

A cripple prays with a smile on his face
As a marathon runner
Takes the silver
Should I open their eyes?

Children play marbles
With the boogie man
Who is surprisingly whitty.
Should I call their parents?

A gaunt, elderly man in a top hat
Spits fire at a tiny child with wings
Who only wants to make a friend
Should I do something?

A pale World War II pilot
Smile sproudly
Scarf blowing bravely in the wind
As his airplane burns to dust behind him.
Should I tell him?

Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
Stroked gently by a middle aged woman
Distant eyes, wrinkled skin
Should I laugh or cry?

Two children dance in an embrace
One holds a little too tight
Should I stop them?

A lion eyes a demon
Licking his lips.
Do I offer a warning?

Lessons in white
Weigh heavy in my mind
Gradually my eyelids blanket them
Leaving my questions unanswered
Until my demanding world
Allows me to look up once more.

Lord, thank you
for knowing the answers for me,
taking care of the problems of the world for us,
and for judging so we don't have to.
I gladly give these cloud questions and all the others back up to You.
As my hands raise, I give thanks that Yours lower to carry the load.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Boxing and the Bedside Table

"You have put off the old self with its habits, and have put on the new self . . . which is God continually renewing his own image, to bring you to a full knowledge of himself. " Col 3:9-10

Boxing and the Bedside Table

The boxing match within
Will only end with my life on earth.
Two fighters training hard,
Waiting for that next bell.
How do I sway the fight?
My eternity is on the line.
Stacks of books on the bedside table
Understanding your Husband
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
The Purpose Driven Life
Potty Training Made Easy
Reaching Your Unreachable Students
Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother
Games to Play with Toddlers
The Power of Prayer
The Worn Out Woman
Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus
The First Days of School
How to be a better parent,
How to be a better wife,
A Better teacher, friend and servant
A better person, a better life.
Your Word is now on top.
There are no novels to put me to sleep
No plots to keep my interest.
Just new paths to finding You.
Better training for the "new self"
You silhouette is sharper.
Keeping the "old self" down,
Imprisoned, undernourished.
Out of shape, tired, and hungry.
The advantage is too great.
But the underdog is always hungry,
Passionate, determined.
Lord, with your Word on my bedside table
I will take it round by round.
Punch for punch
Word for Word
Me for You

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Whats to Evens, Ifs to Whens

"God remembered us when we were down,
His love never quits,
Rescued us from the trampling boot,
His love never quits,
Takes care of everyone in time of need,
His love never quits,
Thank God, who did it all,
His love never quits.
Psalm 136 (Msg)

Whats to Evens, Ifs to Whens

What if my child dies first?
What if my appendix burst?
What if he stops loving me?
What if I miss an opportunity?
His love endures forever.
Even if the bills aren't paid?
Even if we get to church late?
Even if the laundry is in piles?
Even if I don't always smile?
His love endures forever.
Even when I let them down.
Even when I fall to the ground.
Even when I do it all wrong.
Even when I stay too long.
His love endures forever.
Whats to Evens, Ifs to whens
My Faith is feuled by the love He sends.

Friday, June 03, 2005

"Good Work" and the Flip Side

"He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join Him in the work He does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing." Ephesians 2:10 (Msg)

I am a Chistian teacher in public school (a paradox in itself) facing the last few days I will meet with my students this year and walking towards the last minutes of opportunity to have a positive influence on their lives. Lord remind me they are your children. Remind me they are more than a number . . .

More than a Number
For my students, By Kristin Baker

I am more than a number.
I am someone’s child, will be someone’s parent.
I am Someone’s creation.
I came into this world chasing knowledge, ready to try anything.
I stacked blocks and counted to ten, but fall asleep in your math class.
I lived for trips to the zoo, but failed Biology last semester.
I sang my ABC’s to smiling faces, but my essays are covered in red.

I am more than a filled desk.
I have fears, questions, memories.
I have a Creator.
I came into this world with innocent dreams, innocent needs.
I said I would be an Astronaut, but will be lucky to get a diploma.
I couldn’t wait to show my Batman lunch box, but hate my levis when Abercrombie’s walk by.
I have a dad who rocked me to sleep, but he kicked me out again last night.

I am more than a label.
I have hidden talents, a future career.
I have a divine purpose to be here.
I came into this world with my fingerprints.
I kicked a ball at recess, now I am a dumb jock.
I wrote the wrong letter on the board, now I’m a slow learner.
I got quiet after the divorce, now I’m just another "goth" in all black.

I am more than an absence.
I am somewhere, may not be coming back.
I am “God knows where.”
I came into this world with a family who anticipated for months, years.
I had a decorated nursery four months before I arrived, but your classroom looks like a jail cell.
I saw happy tears when coming back from camp, but they sigh when I ask for make-up work.
I had thirty neighbors searching when I toddled down the street one day, but now it’s just “unexcused.”

I am more than a statistic.
I listen to you, have someone I want to be.
I have a calling.
I came into this world by myself.
I have a mom from Venezuela, but I’m just another Hispanic male.
I live in a small house that was always big enough for me, but my “economic status” made me “at-risk.”
I didn’t have a dad growing up, but now I’m just another pregnant girl with no self-control.

I am more than another student.
I have a past, a future.
I was placed in your class by two kinds of Counselors.
I used to be “a delightful child”, now I “show no apparent interest in learning.”
I used to get my sandwich sliced sideways with no crust, now I am a bar code.
I used to be mom’s “precious little angel”, now I’m an ID number, a class rank,
and one of thirty empty faces.

You failed me.
Oh, yeah . . .
I got an F, too.

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them." ~ Mother Theresa

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Joy in the Job even in June

In the midst of the last weeks on school when I am prone to stress, burn out, and frustration, I can feel the slow tick of the clock and sluggish turn of the calendar as I look forward to being a stay at home mom all summer. But I need to remind myself of the blessing of this amazing job and what a gift it is.
In Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven Life, He talks about finding your SHAPE and using it for God. (Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences.) I have opportunities to do this daily. Lord, let me end this school year with a bang. As they complain about finals and try to sleep in class, remind me of my passion for these kids.

“Another word for heart is passion . . . When you don’t have a heart for what you’re doing, you are easily discouraged . . . Passion drives perfection.”
Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life

“As a face is reflected in water, so a heart reflects the person.” Proverbs 27:19 (NLT)

To My Students

If I could clean your looking glass
To reveal the truth of what I see
A lead-footed figure stands before you
Like a steel cup of cold coffee.
Your dark eyes pound the glass
To record another failure
An endless search for imperfection
Like a ship without a sailor.
A crooked mouth turns with a sigh
To set free any lingering ambition
For dreams only lead to suicide
And hope—your ammunition.
Legs not thin enough to swim at the pool
Not strong or fast enough to win the next race
A mind filled with only choices
Between not trying and last place.
Ears made deaf to the words of truth
A nose too pudgy, arms that sag,
A fistful of borrowed anger
But it’s only your cleaning rag.
I know because I saw what you see
When I was just your age
Filled with thoughts of jealousy, failure,
Loneliness and rage.
If I knew the truth and had cleaned my glass
Oh, the things I could have done
The places I could have gone
And great battles I could have won.
If I could clean your looking glass
To reveal the lie of what you see
A majestic winged figure stands
Like regal royalty.
Your bright eyes look away
To the opportunities in the distance
Though your blindness hides them
I know you can reach them with persistence.
Your mouth holds the words prisoner
That I know could change the world
If I could only make you clean your glass
Your inhibitions would be unfurled
Legs that could take you anywhere
To glorious lands and adventures rare
A mind painted with dreams
And inventions no one would dare.
Ears that could open finally
To feed that ravenous mind
And that tightened fist full of cloth
With the power to seek and find.
Yet you stand by your glass
Haunted by those lead feet
When your wings are eager to soar
As they stretch and yearn to beat.
Oh, please lift your hand.
Oh, please see the truth.
For life is fleeting
And so is your youth.
I cannot clean your looking glass.
Though how I wish I could.
For only you can wipe away
The bad and see the good.
So fold your rag. Wipe the glass.
See your wings today.
So I can watch you find your dreams
And finally fly away.

"The journey in between what you once were and who you are now becoming is where the dance of life really takes place." ~Barabra DeAngelis

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Paradoxical Peace

"God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble. So humble yourselves before God." James 4:6-7 (NLT)
"Don't be so naive and self-confident. You're not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it's useless. Cultivate God-confidence." 1 Cor (Msg)

Paradoxical Peace

Tick Tock
I live for the clock
Schedules, deadlines
Structure, guidelines
I like knowing the endings
Don't like things pending
Formulas bring peace
So I fall to my knees
I call out to You
Find the Word that is true
But Life application
Life transformation
Sometimes seems muddled
Leaving me puzzled
Facing the strife
And Challenges of life
God confidence, a humble heart,
What does this mean? Where do I start?
Be bold, be meek
Rest, but go seek
Trust, but do
Be myself, no more like You
God is with you, he watches above
Fear God, but God is love
One is healed, another dying
Some laughing, someone crying
My uptight soul
Exploring the holes
Answers needed
Doubt deep-seeded
I take a breath
Stop, rest
I don't have to know
You don't have to show
A child trusts a father
So why do I bother?
I'll never know it all
I can't avoid the fall
I can't be the boss
When he died on the cross
Let go, give in
Dive in and swim
In the perfect balance of his
paradoxical peace.