Grit and Mercy

Though flames dance and rise
around my tender flesh,
I do not fear the scorch.
There is a cooling hand
that holds my own;
One stands with me
in the middle of the blaze.
God, You are the
Wounded Healer,
the One who has
been burned;
You know well how
to bear scars.

You are here with me,
alone together.
I bear this burden
as You promise
to keep the bladed flames
from engulfing.
You are my shadow
of grit and mercy.

Reconstruct Me

But He knows the way I take;
When He has tested me,
I will come forth as gold.
-Job 23:10

 

I step through jagged
stones of glass,
cutting the innocent
softness of the underside
of my feet.
though I tread carefully,
pieces of the pain
embed into me,
a reminder that where I go,
I am fallen.
Walk with me.
when I crumble,
be the One
to reconstruct me.
You know my paths,
know which sands
will slice my skin.
You see me scream
my confusion into the
silent sheet of night.
Observe me,
but ready Your hand
to pull me from the mire
when I slip into
its cunning grasp.

 

Stand Wherever I Am

Tired after just day three back to work and counseling this morning. I’m feeling the effects of the week, up again in the night, thinking and heaving through fears and emotions. But I had a good talk with one of the baristas this afternoon at the cafe, talk of hope and hurt and the will to keep going. This is a reminder to hold fast.

Good. You are good, Papa. In my tiredness, in my fears and suppressed emotions, in my doubts. And You allow rest for restoration.

I’ve been off pace. Show me the right cadence, I briefly pray. And soon enough, I find my response in the vein-like pages of a poetry book I’ve picked up and am combing through.

Sometimes I need
  only to stand
    wherever I am
          to be blessed,

-Mary Oliver, “It Was Early”

 

Poetry is a textbook God uses to teach me beauty and reverence. This alone could be my prayer that reminds me to see and worship where I am, see the small, see the beauty, see the good.

 

***

This is part of an ongoing series that will share excerpts of my book-in-progress, tentatively titled Grappling for Good: Revealing grace to light the dark. It’s my journey through a year of unexpected circumstances and soul excavation to discover the goodness of God in surprising ways.

Into The Fire

 

It is a leap of faith
to step into the fire.
Whether or not
God keeps you from singeing,
you place your cards down
on the table and expect Him
to pull the upper hand.
You do not know
how fast the flames may rise,
how eager they will be
to taste your skin,
but no sense is stronger than
sight of the Refiner’s fire,
shaving off your stubborn edges
and smoothing your certainty
into an image that mirrors
His own.

 

The In-Between

We sit silent, waiting,
pondering the not yet,
the in-between,
the lack of wind that blows
to show us any direction.
We wait, unknowing when
the next movement comes.
We long, by a grave that gathers
both hope and doubt,
for a man who told us
the kingdom of God was at hand.
Is His hand still here in the dark?
In the stillborn, in the sniffling
of tears that tell us the miracle
had no time to come to life?
We ache in our hearts
for the dreams broken inside us
that cut our flesh from jagged pieces,
disappointment fresh as the
embalming fluid poured over
the body locked in the grave.
Tell us, when does light rise again?
We sit silent, waiting,
pondering the not yet,
the in-between.