Wednesday, September 29, 2010

answering emily

"you sounded sad.
everything okay?"
emily tapped on my heart today

and it's not that i'm sad,
but i find it strange
that traditions always take so long to change

why so many buildings
dividing our force?
why so few workers? why so many chores?

and why empty pews
every wednesday night?
why doctrinal, peripheral, preference fights?

but change is coming.
it's starting to start.
i see it in these words, straight from the heart:

"'if the Son makes you free,
you are free indeed!'"
jessica is learning to walk what she reads

"God gave me a thirst,
and i want it to grow!"
charlie will reap what leah now sows

"let's change the world.
where do we start?"
dan's friend dan is doing his part

and so many others
who know it is true
that what you believe is just what you do

i love them so much,
my dear family.
and the more we believe, the more you will see...

we're not Home yet.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

learning to be Mom

they say my love's not fickle.
they say my heart is true.
they say there isn't anything
i wouldn't do for you.

a mother's touch is soft, they say,
her eyes are always bright.
she'd throw away her days
to sit and watch you through the night.

it's true, i've never loved so sweet
and yes, my whole life changed
the second your lungs filled with air,
the moment you filled my gaze.

but child, you and your brothers are
a telling lot to me.
you rip apart my insides
and lay them out for us to see.

laziness here, impatience there,
selfishness all around.
so many words i've said when there
should not have been a sound.

you drop your stew. you fling your cup.
you squeeze the cat with vigour.
sometimes, when i pick you up,
you bite me on the finger.

you run to mischief. dance at midnight.
fall asleep in your supper.
you laugh at the corner i've put you in
for throwing all the Tupper-

ware and everyone who knows me
knows i'm cranky when i'm tired.
i know that this is good for me,
that this is how you're wired...

and so, i pray for mercy
as i chase you through each day:
that i'll grow up before you do,
that we'll learn to obey.

then, tiny rainboots run to me
and little hands lift up,
and as i warm them on my face,
our Father fills my cup.

going over to emily's to share a cuppa...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

trying for greatness

you shuffle down my sidewalk
cut-off joggers
and sandals with gray socks
and i love you

smoke wafts into my air
mouth full of four-letter words
heart empty of affirmation
and i love you

you stop on my lawn
child peering out from stroller
child peeking out from behind your legs
and i love you

but do i like you?

i can love you with my smiles
my time
my conversation
even some of my money

but can i like your family
with my family?

isn't there some line
in the schoolyard dirt
that separates the moms in blazers
from the moms in pajamas?

aren't there rules about
hockey/soccer/dance/voice lesson/
tropical winter vacation/summer sport camp moms
versus other moms?

and i know i'm none of those great things,
but couldn't i be,
if i tried?
should i be trying?

but as you stand on my lawn
with your stroller
you speak of what you know:

and as you stand on my lawn
in your cut-off joggers
you show me what you do:

and as we stand together on God's grass
with our children
becoming family
you teach me to ask:

what does it mean
to gain the whole world and lose my soul?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

little things

it's the little things --
fly on the picnic table,
pebble in the shoe,
dust on the dashboard
-- that get to us the most.

and it's the little things --
smell of mom's granola baking,
sound of skates on ice,
glow of buttercup under chin
-- that we remember best.

and it's even little things --
sparkle on third finger,
ink upon page,
arm around shoulder
-- that we use to testify love.

so why,

would we ever think ourselves
too small

to make a difference?

a few little things --
letter to politician,
hour in nursing home,
casserole for neighbour
-- could change people.

and a lot of little people --
people who pray,
prayers who love,
lovers who help
-- could change the world.

so, next time you get a paper cut,

it's all about the little things.

changing their small corner:

Sunday, September 19, 2010

seeing light

if i sinned
long enough and hard enough
to deserve nothing
-- no light, no grace, no peace --
well, it would only take a second, really.

and if i realized it
tripped upon a star in the dark
fell into light of holiness
-- revealing, stabbing, terrifying --
well, i would try to run for cover.

but if a hand
were to reach out from that star
shield my eyes graciously
-- the warmth, the scent, the almost-touch --
well, that would awaken me to love.

and i would stay
there on the edge of light and shadow
so dirty-ashamed, so peace-thirsting
-- calling, glancing, faltering --
well, just hoping against hope for the light to take me

to make me

and if i
were to learn that the light
had once become darkness-cursed for me
-- uncomprehended, reviled, soul-scourged --
well, that would rock me to the core.

and if only
i could believe hard enough
to accept the gift freely offered
-- light, grace, peace --
well, that would change me, wouldn't it?

make me

"Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart;
there is no fear of God before his eyes.
For he flatters himself in his own eyes
that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit;
he has ceased to act wisely and do good.
He plots trouble while on his bed;
he sets himself in a way that is not good;
he does not reject evil.

"Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
Your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
Your judgments are like the great deep;
man and beast You save, O Lord.

"How precious is Your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.
They feast on the abundance of Your house,
and You give them drink from the river of Your delights.
For with You is the fountain of life;
in Your light do we see light.

"Oh, continue Your steadfast love to those who know You,
and Your righteousness to the upright of heart!
Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me,
nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
There the evildoers lie fallen;
they are thrust down, unable to rise."

- Psalm 36

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

sharing some gleanings

here, two days after my 30th birthday, is my least poetic offering to date.
take these tips for what they're worth.

rub your wet face up and down with your bare hands,
and you won't need to fork out money for soapy cream with gritty bits in it ("exfoliant").

(to girls:) waiting for someone to pursue you might seem risky,
but in the end, it'll land you a man who knows how to take the lead (a good thing!).

(also to girls:) if you shave with a fresh razor while you have goosebumps,
you'll stay smooth a day longer (i learned this from my sister).

peanut butter:
get used to the just-peanuts kind
and ditch a lotta junk from your mornings (and, if you're like me, your afternoons, evenings...)

saving sex for marriage makes it a big, precious, exciting deal.
but don't forget that it can also be plain ol' relaxing, too.

strengthen your core like a madwoman,
and the last two trimesters won't make you wish for a walking epidural.

if someone tells you that she had one,
ask her, "how do you feel about that?"

sleep training:
if you enjoy cuddling your kid to sleep each night,
for pete's sake, keep doing it.

if it doesn't hurt you more than it hurts them, you're probably doing it wrong.
it's about producing godly character, not making your life easier.

the Kingdom:
"child-like faith" does not equate to "blind faith".
from watching my kids and reading the Bible, i'm guessing it means "faith that produces action".

bethany ann

p.s. get ready for some imperfect prose!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

awakening impossibilities

i just walked next door
to the building, empty on a tuesday
where sermons are spoken on sundays

i unlocked the door, went inside
found paper, a pen and two chairs
and sat down to cry

and sorrow gushed out
as questions filled paper
and silence filled the church

then the lady next to me began
to cry and to pray
and to preach

for mothers, elders, children --
lonely, tormented, abused --
needing faith, hope, love -- impossibilities.

"the world is no friend of grace," said she,
tracing the spot where she'd written the name,
"Richard Dawkins," another impossibility

and she led my heart to love
and she led my prayers to hope
and together, we asked in faith

because God has shown us
a universe, created;
Himself, wrapped in flesh

we have faith that is founded in reason
and faith is substance
and so faith began in that empty church this morning

as our prayers turned us
toward a God who delights to be asked,
freed to do the impossible

first, in us

then, with us

Friday, September 10, 2010

finding the Way

we're walking with broken feet
upon a path worn deep
where tears form mud
and mud fills fingernails
that cling to the slope

like mad

and we're climbing with tired feet
into the clouds of doubt
where comforts go cold
and light and shadow blur
but the echoes still call

like crazy

dare we believe our ears?
was home really hearth left behind?

dare we believe our eyes?
is there truly no up nor down?

dare we trust our hearts?
will this all get easier as we go?

we're plodding with blistered feet
along a trail laid painfully
through ages and pages
and nails and wood
where our leader hung

like a fool

and we're following with calloused feet
toward the hope of rest
with promised wisdom to guide
and promised adversity to try
all who thirst for mercy

like the sick

the sinners
called to repentance

the self-living
called to a cross

the sons and daughters
called to ask and receive

the wanderers
called Home.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


six filmy walls
sighing with the breeze

and here, within
is everything:

all our hopes and dreams and plans and prayers
all our deepest questions yet to be answered
the best secrets we've ever been told
the true stories we've started to learn
all we wish for this world
the best of me
the worst of me
and the small space between

oh, how our stars twinkle!

and on the other side
is everything else:

the campfire smouldering against the dark
the neighbourhood of flat lawns and boulevards
people doing whatever it is they do on labour day
all i fear is wrong with this world
all i know is right
all the adventures we will ever have
all the bullies we will ever face
and the small space between

and oh, the stars twinkle!

and our stars breathe lightly
as our six walls sway

and we sigh deep
then maybe, we'll sleep.

linking up with emily's friends tonight:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

fostering growth

high horizon dark before sunrise:
predators weighing the odds
black fur wet with dew
little life desperately calling
searching for familiar warmth,
thirsting for milk

so in need of help.

shapes taking form on the edge of earth:
ponytailed trucker bleary-eyed
steel-toed boots damp on grass
rough hands tenderly reaching
searching for the crying one,
thirsting for time

so wanting to help.

september sun climbing the sky:
daughter's mother-heart soft to the story
red van billowing dust
children hoping with abandon
searching for meaning to share,
thirsting to give drink

so humbled to help.

low horizon sinking into shade:
baby bottle making do
grandsons loving with eager hands
three weeks of life wrapped in a towel
finding warmth in human arms,
drinking to tomorrows shared

so helped, all of us.

and the ponytailed trucker smiles,
strokes his beard,
shares this meditation:

"Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking,
as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,
if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious."
- I Peter 2:1-3

(introducing Super-Winston Little-Einstein Snot-Muffin!
once we have nursed him to strength, we will return him
to my parents' farmhouse, where he will obtain many
cuddles and many mice, i'm sure!)

(oh, and my dad will call him "Boots".)