Advent 2019

In a season of waiting

Each morning unfolds

Open hands to receive

The story being told

Clenched or closing

Refusing new grace

Shackles old thoughts

No mercy embraced

Sun rises slowly

Brings light to new ways

Trusting the process

Turns color from grays

A blanket of snow

Warms earth underneath

To bear the cold season

Hope springs new relief

For so many years

God’s people were yearning

A Savior foretold

A long time of learning

The birth of a baby

In a manger of hay

The answer to prayer

In the Father’s way

The King who came walking

Just like one of us

His holiness hidden

To love and not crush

This love that was given

Is heavy to bear

Yet when I receive it

I learn how to share

From Advent to Christmas

I must travel alone

Hand in hand with Jesus

To learn what He knows.

True Christmas

For those of us who are hidden

By the twinkle of Christmas lights

Cloaked by the carols and merry

Our souls are shining bright

The Kingdom where it all began

Shimmers in everlasting position

The most lovely of all gifts is waiting

Filled with glorious redemption

Tucked underneath a Savior’s arms

Born into a world warring and blue

He holds the sacrificial present

A knight in shining armor kind of rescue

The dreams in our hearts that lie dormant

Our childhood fantasies seem failed

In a blink of an eye they awaken

To the pain of His hands that were nailed

This holiday we know has been stolen

By the rush of shopping and glee

And so we hide beneath tears of loss

But this lament is not where He leaves

Shadows removed by the lights of love

The twinkle can reveal rather than hide

A tree represents the remnant of God

The stump that seemed dead reignites

Hands lifting high we give in worship

What our souls and ours hearts truly need

A focus away from our own selfishness

Notice places of hunger craving seeds

Shifting holy ground is shaken by grace

What was hidden can emerge in mercy

Tears salt the earth and we celebrate

Rejoice in satisfying what was thirsty

Christmas steps into the lost and weary

With the journey of adventurous souls

Come out of hiding with heads lifted high

Walk forth in truth of the ancient scrolls.

It’s Your Story

“It’s your story”, she said. There was so much grace offered in those words. My heart received this truth with a kindness I had not known before. The ache of my past I could no sooner forget, was soothed with the healing balm of honesty. I think everyone must come to the place where they can look back and sew the years together. Leave nothing out. Tell the story to yourself, all of it, leaving none of the chapters out. It’s your story. And when it comes time to tell it, you tell it. Not with “Once upon a time” or “In the beginning”, but letting the full story wrap around the present. Let it be what it is. Let what was be what it was. Offer grace to your own heart like we so easily offer it to others.

Offer yourself grace.

When I take the time to look at the whole picture, there are parts that can’t be erased no matter what blemish seems to blatantly ruin . Like a pearl being formed in an oyster, the grit becomes the grace. The dirt becomes beautiful if you will just let it ride. It doesn’t disappear, but is covered. Not washed away, not removed. Built upon. Formed into something of value. It becomes a precious jewel.

God’s love has wrapped around my dirt and is forming something precious in me.

He saw my worth before I was worthy and paid the highest price for me. My sweet Savior. My Jesus came for me. By His stripes I am healed, and it’s time to let my story unwind in His light. A story that is already known to God. Now I need to let it be known to me. No more running from the places that hurt. If He walks me there I am ready to go. I can see the process of smoothing away the rough edges, covering and filling with grace. Pain can be transformed into a precious pearl. But you have to leave it in it’s place. Honor the moments that are hard to think about. It is in giving honor to the pain that we honor how we felt, and as time moves so does the smoothing power of God’s healing love.

He covers the dirt and makes a space for grace to grow in the secret place of our pain.

This is the hidden treasure of faith. Hoping for the things unseen. Even in the midst of the mess right before our eyes. Pearls are forming in the places where we still our hearts and rest in the shadow of His wings. When we acquiesce and conform to the silent disciplines of hope and faith, our pearls become more precious. The struggle becomes the very catalyst in creating these valuable jewels.

So tell the story. Be honest in the struggle. Don’t care so much about crafting the perfect story because you want others to see what you only wish yourself to be. Just be. Give yourself some grace. Believe what God says, and remember what Jesus did in the name of love. Live today without trying to make up for yesterday. Tell it like it is, if only to yourself. God already knows the ending. And in the meantime…

It’s your story.

Believe

Twinkling lights of Christmas cheer 

Joyous tunes for all to hear

Brisker air is blowing through

Smiles are wrapped in all we do

As we rock around the tree

Remind us of the gift that’s free

A Father’s love with hands of grace

The manger holds a baby’s face

Born of Mary, God’s true Son

Promise foretold, the war is won

When Old St. Nick comes to town

Help me remember the bloody crown

Beauty from ashes, darkness to Light

Turns feeling forsaken to merry and bright

Denying our pain does not make it true

But the love of our Savior will strengthen you

The most perfect gift we could ever receive

Is already ours, in our hearts to believe.