Tag Archives: Prayer

The Beginnings of a Poem

This is the beginning of a poem I’m sharing for Meeting the Bar at dVerse Poets Pub, following the Oulipo option from Anna. Playing with language and poetry rules, I’m writing a poem with the following self-imposed rules:

  1. It’s a Terza Rima with 26 stanzas plus the ending line
  2. It’s in the style of a Hebrew acrostic, like Psalm 119, so that each stanza begins with a successive letter of the alphabet—in this case, the English alphabet
  3. Each stanza begins with a name or characteristic of God
  4. Each line is 7 syllables, because 7 is the number of perfection
  5. The first line and the ending line end with the word “love” because God is love

Anyway, it’s not finished. It’s much more than a 48-hour project. But I wanted to share what I have so far, the first 7 stanzas, and get some feedback. One thing I can’t decide is whether to use “Thy, Thee, and Thou” throughout or the more modern “You and Your.” This version uses Thy, etc.

Oh, and it doesn’t have a title yet. Here it is.

Adonai, my Lord of love
How I long to see thy face
Alight on me, Holy Dove

Bread of Life, strength for the race
Thy Word, my faith sustain me
Resting, resting on Thy grace

Creator, who made the tree
Sun and moon, all life, mankind
Thou gave us but one decree

Deliverer, oh so kind
Even though I break Thy law
Giving sight when I am blind

Elohim, I kneel in awe
Before Thy majestic throne
In Thee is nary a flaw

Father, mercy Thou hast shown
To Thy undeserving child
Though to wander I am prone

Good Shepherd, meek and mild
Keep me in Thy safe lockup
Bring me back when I’m beguiled

 

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Finding Light

This is the second poem I wrote during a poetry workshop at the Oregon Christian Writers’ conference last Saturday.

Finding Light

Lord, I’ve heard that You are light
then wonder why I close my eyes
and walk in darkness
as if I were deep in a cavern
without a headlamp or even a match

Stumbling, stubbing my toe on a rock
in plain sight if only I’d look
with the eyes of faith You’ve given me
But I don’t
I choose to stumble instead
and then complain about the pain
of a broken toe or a bruised ego

How long, O Lord, will I walk in darkness?

You are my headlamp in this dark cavern of life
brighter than a million, billion matches
and I long to see
the way, Your way
Help me find Your light

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My Schedule

I wrote this poem last Saturday during a poetry workshop at the Oregon Christian Writers’ 1-day winter conference. The assignment, if you will, was to write a poem similar to one titled “Holiday Concert” by Maryann Corbett. This is what I came up with. And when I read it to the group, it made me cry.

My Schedule

He needs my help; I don’t have time
I’m too busy with Bible study lessons,
calling all my ladies, leaving voicemails
They don’t want to talk
But he does, he needs me

He needs my help, my love, my advice
But there’s laundry to do, poems to write
Groceries to buy—milk, eggs, more canned goods
just like the ones already in the pantry
I’m just too busy, it never ends

He needs my help; I promise “tomorrow”
or the next day, but there’s a conference
I simply must attend, and a poem to write
and a funeral to drive to in another state,
and then work. Still he waits, patiently

But I wonder, does he know how much
I love him so, I want to help him
to listen to his woes, to encourage him
Once I’m done paying the bills and
doing the taxes and sorting the mail

One day I’ll look back and wonder why
he wasn’t a bigger part of the endless
schedule of less important things

3/10/15 Update: Linked this today for the Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub where Anthony is calling for confessions. This seemed to fit.

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I’m a Writer

I’m a Writer

I am a writer
How do I know?
It was in my DNA long ago

If I didn’t write
I think I’d go mad
from the sentences
swirling around in my head

I’ve written most days
of this crazy life
in so many forms
in so many genres

Briefs on construction law
and civil commitment

Short stories with not much
character development

Prayers to encourage
the lost and downtrodden

Private journal entries
to cope with my own problems

Blog posts now numbering
well over one thousand

Essays on life and love
and apologetics

But much to my dismay
the writer I am today
is a poet

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The Perfect Center – A Sestina

In Bible Study Fellowship we are studying the Life of Moses. One of the great truths about God that we are learning in Leviticus and Numbers is that God desires to be at the center of our lives, and that when He is at the center He provides for His people. I decided that I wanted to write a sestina about God as the perfect center of my life. Unlike the first sestina I wrote, this one is patterned after the original sestina so that each stanza has lines of 8, 11, 11, 11, 11, and 11 syllables, rather than each line being in iambic pentameter (not that I was successful with achieving iambic pentameter in my first one).

The Perfect Center

You desire to be my center
O God, You alone are worthy of my trust
Yet the deceit of this world plunders my faith
Where would I be without your immense mercy
Show me, Lord, clear direction I might follow
Guide me in Your perfect ways that I obey

Forgive me when I don’t obey
Bring me back, Lord, to You my perfect center
Never let me stray as Your will I follow
O Lord, You are the only one I can trust
Because of Your great compassion and mercy
I will forever believe, cling to my faith

I marvel at the strength of faith
That some days makes it effortless to obey
Resting in the bosom of Your great mercy
Focused on the cross, Your Son my center
Considering Your perfect decrees, I trust
With reckless abandon Your will I follow

Headstrong, my own will I follow
I marvel at the fragility of faith
Prone to trust in worthless things I cannot trust
On my own it’s too difficult to obey
Worldly possessions, Lord, become my center
I’m lost, alone without Your perfect mercy

I am thankful for Your mercy
Leading me back to the One I must follow
O Lord, You deserve to be my soul’s center
I pray this day I will attain perfect faith
I pray someday I’ll learn to always obey
You have proven, Lord, You are worthy of trust

Correct me when I fail to trust
When I do wrong, but then repent, have mercy
Grant me Your Holy Spirit, then I’ll obey
Fill me with Your perfect grace, then I’ll follow
Remind me You are faithful, then I’ll have faith
Make me desire to keep You as my center

When I follow I learn to trust
Growing faith feeds on Your mercy
You, the Center, help me obey

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Cardboard Evangelism (Miracles)—A Found Poem

This morning in church we had a visit from a group of men from our local Teen Challenge ministry. The sermon was about how God still performs miracles and these men shared how they are each a miracle. They did so in a very unique way; they called it their cardboard evangelism. Each man walked in front of the congregation with a cardboard sign. On one side they had written who they saw themselves as before they came to Teen Challenge; on the other side they had written who they are now—a miracle of God.

After the service I asked if I could write a found poem based on their cardboard evangelism and they said I could. So with the help of a few of the men I took pictures of the signs so that I could transcribe these miracles into this found poem.

TC Frown TC Smile

Cardboard Evangelism (Miracles)

Walking in a world of darkness
Found the Light in Jesus Christ

Lost cause; No foundation
Redeemed child; New creation

Chained down by addiction
Set free in Christ

Suicidal depressed broken spirit
Miracle Overcomer Healed

Young homeless lost with no hope
Found by Jesus who gave me hope for a better life

Abandoned, Dad was in prison
Found and free through my ultimate Father

Addicted to cutting myself; Hopeless, in pain
Christ bled enough for me. I am healed inside and out

20 years running with the devil
Now . . . running with GOD

Introduced to meth; it was killing me slowly. I hit my rock bottom
Repented to God. Now praying to be faithful

Bitter outcast looking for acceptance in a needle and a spoon
Passionate Jesus freak

Godless dirtbag
Fresh and clean with the Lord

Lost everything to alcohol
Gained everything through Christ

Overwhelmed by darkness
Overcome by Truth

On the street homeless, shooting meth, feeling hopeless
Overcame all with God’s love & forgiveness

Felt misled
Now have purpose

Had everything; wasn’t enough
Have Jesus; more than enough

Lost, broken, and hopeless
Found, healing, and hopeful

Junkie running to the needle every day
Delivered running to my Sword †

Imprisoned by drug addiction
Bailed out by Jesus Christ

Drinking away the past and the hurt
Trusting in Jesus to heal it all

Chasing dope daily, just to get high
Chasing God daily, and lifting Him high

Afraid I could do nothing right
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!

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Poetry from World War II

I had lunch today with a dear old friend. She has been an inspiration, mentor, prayer partner, and much more to me for many years. But sometimes I wish I knew her when she was younger—I’m sure she was a real hoot! We met at her modest apartment and talked awhile over her dining room table. I gave her a copy of my new poetry book because I knew she would love to read it. Lo and behold, she pulled a tattered piece of paper out of her Bible and said, “I’ve written some poems, though they aren’t as good as yours.” Now I don’t like to disagree with Norma because she is my elder (by 44 years!), but I have to disagree with her on this one. I think her two poems are wonderful! They were written when she was in the Army Nurse Corps in World War II on Army Nurse Corps stationery, with a few doodles thrown in for good measure. Here’s what the originals looked like:

Norma Poem 2 Norma Poem 1

I asked her if I could type them up so they wouldn’t be lost when that poor, tattered piece of paper finally crumbled to dust and she said yes. She also said I could share them here. So here they are, the musings of an Army nurse during World War II.

Just a Few Thoughts on Philosophy, by Norma Mohr

A tear, a laugh, a smile, a sigh
For these we ask the reason why
And on them ponder

For trials, tests, for happiness
For struggles to achieve the best
For love, for hate, for praise, for jests
We’ve sought the answer

For weary days, for happy days
For insights to life’s many ways
We ask these things, the questions raise
For what, this purpose?

And in our human frailty
We hope to solve the mystery
And also seek a remedy
For life’s vast problems

It is not ours to reason why
A higher power than you and I
Has put us here to live, to die
Nobly for others

*****

My Prayer, by Norma Mohr

I pray for love instead of hate
I pray for light instead of might
I pray for strength to carry on
And as I wake to face each dawn
I pray some soul I might inspire
Help him raise it from the mire
Of despair, to shining hope
And newer vision with which to cope
With life’s vast problems

I pray that I might always smile
At troubles, tests, and every trial
That from each one I may arise
Lift my eyes up to the skies
And bring all cares to Him above
Who in His sympathy and love
On us bestows in life’s dark hour
A greater sense, a greater power
To conquer strife

I pray His will, not mine be done
I pray that when each battle’s won
That I not in myself will glory
Nor cause offense or make Him sorry
That I might swallow self and pride
Let Him know I’m on His side
Striving also for that goal
To ignite anew in every soul
The joy of living!

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To Post-a-Day or Not to Post-a-Day

Last week I was fairly seriously contemplating giving myself a post-a-day 2015 challenge. I’ve done it before in 2011 and was extremely blessed by the experience. For awhile it seemed like a great idea to do it again. I know that when I post more frequently I get more page views and I gain more blog followers. Posting daily would also be a great way to both promote my current book and write drafts of additional poems for my next book.

Then today I decided I wanted to write a new Christmas poem. Nothing. I sat staring at the blank box on the screen for far too long for my current patience level with no original inspiration. Blogging about my quandary was all I could come up with.

I’m going to have to think on this a bit more and pray about it. Come January 1 we’ll see what I decided.

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Worth the Wait!

Book coverWaiting is a part of life. It seems like I’ve been experiencing a lot of it lately, and been learning patience in the process.

Some things are worth the wait. Cookies baking in the oven are worth the wait, especially if they are made with love and good ingredients. A visit from a good friend or family member is worth the wait, especially when the time together is precious. A trip to a warm and sunny destination is worth the wait, especially when one is tired of the cold.

The Israelites learned that waiting for the tabernacle to be finished was worth the wait. And it was a long wait. It took a year for all of the work to be completed. But when the tabernacle was completed, the Lord came to dwell with them and His Glory filled the tabernacle. See Exodus 40.

The birth of Jesus was also worth the wait. Hundreds of years before His birth, the prophets foretold of His coming and that He would be a ransom for the sins of many. The Israelites had waited a long time for His birth; some are still waiting. But for those who know the Lord Jesus, the wait was worth it.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I’ve been experiencing a lot of waiting lately. In my last two posts—here and here— I mentioned some of this waiting. But now the waiting is over! (Well, sort of. I’m still waiting for my author copies to come in the mail).

My poetry book, Light in My Darkness: Poems of Hope for the Brokenhearted, is now available on Amazon.com! I just approved the proof this morning and it’s already available for sale. It took over a year, longer than it took the Israelites to build the tabernacle, but the work God set out for me to do is finally completed. And one of my favorite parts is that my son designed the cover, drawing the original cover art in Photoshop.

My hope and prayer is that the Lord will dwell in the hearts of those who read it and be blessed by the Light in my darkness.

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Swimming with the Fishes Fearlessly

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I took a vacation to Maui. It’s only our second time to Hawaii. The first time we went, I missed out on the snorkeling trip he and our son went on because I was afraid of the water. I missed out on cool tropical fish, octopus, spinner dolphins, and more. Simply because of fear.

It all started when I took swim lessons at the Collier Park pool in Ramona, California in the third grade. I was a skinny little thing back then, with not an ounce of fat on me and pitiful lung capacity due to living with smokers. The instructor told us to get into the 7′ end of the pool, push away from the side, and tread water. I followed his instructions—and a sunk like a rock. I frantically tread water at the bottom of the pool, looking up at the surface of the water where life-sustaining air was in abundance, terrified that I couldn’t get to the top, until someone jumped in and pulled me out.

Ever since then, if I ever got in a pool, lake, river, or even the ocean—and it has been seldom that I have—I always stay in the shallow end and my hair and glasses stay dry.

But as we planned our trip to Maui, I felt a strong desire to snorkel so that I could witness the beauty of God’s underwater creation. I knew it was going to take more courage than I have on my own to overcome a decades-long fear of water.

So I asked several groups of friends to pray specifically that I would be able to overcome my fear and snorkel. I prayed myself that God would give me courage to experience a successful and enjoyable snorkeling adventure.

God is good. He answered that prayer in ways I never imagined. In fact, I realized afterwards that He had begun answering my prayer 29 years ago when I met my husband, long before I even knew it would be my prayer. God knew I would need more than courage—I would need encouragement and someone to hold my hand through the experience.

I started in the hotel pool with rented snorkeling equipment, including prescription goggles so I could actually see. My husband was patience and encouraging as he sat relaxing in the lounge chair by the pool. Once I had mastered the ability to put my face in the water and breathe through the snorkel, we ventured out to Black Rock just down the beach from our hotel. As we first began to snorkel, my husband literally held my hand and we paddled around together looking at the fish. When I got water in my snorkel and became frustrated and wanted to quit for the day, he didn’t give me a hard time but was understanding.

Although it was a short snorkel that first day, we snorkeled three more times during the week. As long as I needed him to, my husband held my hand. Once when I felt a little panic, I recited one of my favorite versesPhilippians 4:6-7and God’s amazing peace did calm my heart. Eventually I was comfortable in the water and was able to snorkel on my own around Honolua Bay and Honokohua Bay. I even saw an octopus, a turtle, an eel, and a ton of colorful fish and coral.

Are you letting fear hold you back from something you would love to do? Are you missing out on life’s abundant blessings because you are paralyzed by fear and anxiety? Ask God to give you the courage—and whatever else He knows you need—to overcome that fear. He is faithful and He will answer, “for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7.

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