Grace

Hurry up
But not too fast
This day
Might be your last

So don’t be afraid to pause
And notice the beauty
Surrounding you on every side
Take a long breath
Raise your head
Soak the sun and drink the sky

So walk on by
But not to quick
Today might be the only
Day you’ve left to live

Watch the wonder
In a child’s eyes
Read the tales
In the laugh-lines
Crinkling in the corners
Of your grandfather’s eyes

Rise, brave heart
Rise and face the day
Let each breath be a prayer
Of thanks for grace

Whatever you do
Wherever you tread
Whatever your path
Give thanks for the grace
Bestowed on your head

It is grace that sustains
Your weary heart
Grace bears you up
And each passing breath imparts

There Is an Ocean

Avila Beach, San Louis Obispo, California

Avila Beach, San Louis Obispo, California

There is an ocean

I’m standing on its shore

Without boundary or measure

After time and before

 

The waves lap my feet

And they call out to me

They speak of fathomless love

And undeserved mercy

 

I glance down at my grimy feet

And at my bloodstained hands

I’ve borne these wrongs for so long

Perhaps I should stay on the sand

 

What if the flood isn’t enough

What if the stains remain

How can I ever hope to be clean

Doubt weighs me down iron chains

 

But again lap the waves

Again beckons the flow

Again sings the flood

“Come, be washed pure as snow”

 

And the ocean waves

Are not a watery flood

The are scarlet red

The ocean is waves of blood

 

Can this blood heal my scars

Wash away every stain

Will I rise from the depths

Whole and sound again

 

Still the ocean calls

So I draw a deep breath

I walk down in the waves’ midst

And down to my death

 

For the flood washes me

Of all that is not clean

I died that day

No power—the past but a dream

 

But dear friend

It wasn’t the end

I live again

 

I am complete

No more do I sleep

Not glorified yet

But forever redeemed

So Peal the Bells

Mountain Sunrise

Sunday morning reflections…

 

Once more we give thanks

Once more we come

Once more we rejoice

For the work You’ve begun

 

Gathered again

At the rising of the sun

Voices in unison

To praise the Three in One

 

So peal the bells

“Come, come and partake

Christ accomplished what you could not

All the weight of your sin did take”

 

So rise believer

Rise up and approach

Draw nigh and kneel at your Savior’s feet

The sovereign, merciful, giver of hope

Survivor – Chalk Art

This week, I had the opportunity to participate in a chalk art competition hosted by the college I currently attend–Tarrant County College Southeast campus. The design was inspired by my grandfather: his time in the military and the years following. If you haven’t, please take a moment to read this poem. The final lines are the ones that ended up being incorporated into the design. This is the first  art competition I’ve participated in, and I ended up placing 3rd. I’m grateful for all the feedback and encouragement I received from professors, and fellow students. And a big shout-out to my awesome sister Bethany, who helped me brainstorm the concept of the design… and convinced me I needed to participate. The sidewalk slab is about 4ft by 5ft, and the design took me around 3 hours to complete. Below are a few photos… enjoy!

View from the front...

View from the front…

And a view from the right...

And a view from the right…

And one from the left...

And one from the left…

 

 

Soldier on the Rhine

This poem is for my dear grandfather. On Easter Sunday, April 1st, 1945, a stray German bullet impacted the sight of the gun he and his buddy were manning. His buddy was killed instantly. Papa survived. Some might call it luck or chance, but my grandfather–with tears in his eyes–recollects how it was only by the grace of God. If he had been a fraction of an inch to the left… or to the right… the shrapnel that still remains in his face and hands would have taken his life. But he wasn’t… and it didn’t.

 

On the bank of the Rhine

With bullets flying

No hope in sight

Will I die tonight?

 

Hardly more than a boy

I’m just a young man

Trying my hardest

To do all that I can

 

A lump in your throat

You know that it’s time

As we man our gun

On the bank of the Rhine.

 

War – It’s an ugly thing

You can almost smell the fear

It’s gut wrenching

The bullets strike too near.

 

Stars above – bright night sky

My friend I knew you well

Why did you have to die?

Fear’s a hard thing to quell.

 

Fire within my hand

I can feel myself fall

Here in this foreign land

Can you hear my voice call?

 

Lying alone – the hard ground

Time is now standing still

Can’t move – can’t make a sound

Darkness covers and fills.

 

Pain and agony are all that I see

Wounded men on either side

This one is struggling

To even breathe.

 

Cold…

The faces come and go.

Cold…

A nurse brings a blanket.

Why should she have to face this?

This insanity?

 

But merciful God…

You spared my life.

 

They showed me the sight

The frozen path of the bullet

Traced in the light.

 

By all accounts

I should be dead

Yet my life was spared

By the width of a thread.

 

Providence…

I am alive:

By the grace of God

I have survived.

 

Related: Survivor – Chalk Art.  A chalk art tribute to Papa Hiller.

Stronghold

Stormy-Nature

Assurance. How quickly we forget. How swift we are to remember our tiny cares and yet forget the extraordinary grace of our God’s promises–grace unmerited, yet granted freely.

 

Our God does not forget His promises. He does not change. Our hope remains steadfast in God; He is our stronghold.

 

The winds may howl

And the oceans rage;

Christ is my rock,

My hope and my stay.

 

The sun may burn

With feverish heat;

I will not be scorched,

Christ is my relief.

 

The earth may quake

And the stars might fall;

My hope is sure,

For Christ is my all.

 

And in that day

When all be consumed;

I will shelter in the cleft,

For I go not to doom.