For my daughter: be kind

Be kind, little girl.
Life is hard
but it is also sweet.
Learn to see
past categories.
I know how you feel–
you feel insignificant, small
and fearful to fall,
and like maybe it’s not making any difference at all,
but, little girl, stand tall,
for it takes many bricks to build up a wall.
Be resilient and fond
of quirkiness.
You don’t have to belong
and that makes you strong,
so shake the earth
climb a mountain
break a wall
write a song
cross a sea
tell a story
for words
are
powerful.
Little girl, listen to mine.
Don’t be afraid to lay it all on the line,
for your mind outshines
the stars.
You were designed for the light;
don’t be defined by what is behind.
Let go, and fill your lungs with Everest air;
taste the dewdrops, play with bears.
Never let love fall into disrepair.
Don’t stop and wait for a trumpet fanfare
when all it takes is climbing stairs.
Always give thanks for simple fare,
and hold fast to the promises.
Be honest, astonished
at the mighty and the small.
Stand tall,
and be kind.
See the people,
listen well.
Each of them has a story to tell;
You’ll be surprised how you change yourself.
Look for needs
and introduce yourself to strangers.
But I know–
It’s not safe,
You have habits to break
And time it will take
And there’s things in the way
Your path’s never been straight
And besides, you’re not brave
You’ll just make mistakes
And all you want is escape
from the maze
and the chase and the haze,
and the days
only feel longer
and the darkness gets stronger
You feel outnumbered, surrounded
but stay grounded
cause girl, you are a songbird
so sing your song from the tops of trees
Embrace grace, and fly free.
He sees every sparrow,
so feel the air flow
underneath your eagles’ wings
as you’re raised on the wind
and the mountains ring.
Be kind.
Learn to see
and to be
faithful in the mundane, everyday.
Don’t complain, but be grateful and humble.
Though the earth rumbles,
if you stumble, he will catch you.
Delight in his Word
and make a habit of right.
Practice love and dwell in the light.
Keep his face in sight.
There is no mountain that’s too tall to climb.
Seek to find, use your mind,
and be kind.
For you’d be surprised
how the little things might make a difference
beyond just this instance.
So be persistent,
go the distance,
for you were born to be a path-maker
culture-shaper
world-shaker
wall-breaker
change-creator.
Be faithful and playful
Live life with a grateful mind
and always be brave, bold
and kind.

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For my daughter: be brave

Be brave, little girl.
Life is hard
but it is also sweet.
You could rock this world.
Some days, I know, you feel weak,
but you, my girl, are a nevertheless.
These days are the ones
that prove you are strong
so shake the earth
climb a mountain
break a wall
write a song
cross a sea
tell a story
for words
are
powerful.
Little girl, listen to mine.
Treasure the sunrise
and fear not the night,
for night
is the only time
we can see the stars shine.
A million miles away,
they burn with a fury
we can’t always see,
but they’re at their brightest when the sky is darkest so
I know
You will be afraid
You may feel ashamed
Your heart, it will break
You’ll lose what felt safe
And you’ll grow tired of the days
upon days
lived in a haze
You’ll keep trying to chase
what you wanted to say
But when you can’t find your way
be brave
because you’ll be surprised
by grace.
That’s the best thing about it–
it’s surprising.
Bare your colors to the world
fearless, unashamed,
exuberant in becoming.
Let loose your mind
and release your grasp
on all that holds you still behind
and fly.
Don’t be afraid of impossible falls or unscalable walls
You have the gall to withstand the squall
so stand tall!
Leap into the mountain air
Feel the feathers in your hair
Brush the treetops with your fingertips and
hold the dewdrops, golden-kissed
and live.
Feel the fullness of creation and
be whole,
realizing the beauty of it all.
Be a star amid the dark
and be brave,
for there will come a day
when all of this will fade
and I want you to be glad
that you made
a difference.
Be different, and unashamed.
Become the truest version of yourself
and learn to be a path-maker
culture-shaper
world-shaker
wall-breaker
change-creator.
It’s in the small things,
the little things in the quiet place.
For the silent people, you will speak,
And you will whisper in their ears:
Be brave.

When the morning dawns

Wrote this poem last week during National Poetry Writing Month. The last line of every stanza is taken from Psalm 46:1-5.

When my heart is faint and my courage weak,
And I know not for what I seek,
When the weight of the world drives me to my knees,
God is our refuge and strength.

When what I see is not what’s real,
And I’ve lost trust in what I feel,
You are my solid rock, my shield,
A very present help in trouble.

Though I may wander, your truth will remain;
Regardless of storm clouds, forever you reign.
Nowhere could I go to escape your domain!
Therefore we will not fear.

You are my constant, my compass, my chart;
You’re the North Star to my wandering heart:
Faithful and steadfast in light and in dark,
Though the earth give way.

He hems me in, before and behind;
Oh, where can I go that I may hide?
He’s in the depths and in the heights,
Though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea.

He’s counted every grain of sand;
He quiets the wind with his strong hand.
The sea is no match for his command,
Though its waters roar and foam.

Pick a star, he knows its name.
I long to look upon your face,
Content in your sufficient grace,
Though the mountains tremble.

Unto you I cast my cares,
Pile my stones into a cairn.
My lungs are full of mountain air;
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God.

In your true Word do I delight,
A light that does not fear the night.
I’ve fought the fight, at last to find
The holy habitation of the Most High.

I hear the voices of the saints;
One day he will call my name.
I long that those who know me say,
God is in the midst of her.

Because he is faithful, because he is true,
Because so far he went his passion to prove,
Because his command even death can’t undo,
She shall not be moved.

By the world unseduced, she is seeking the truth,
Hangs on to the faith that his promise will prove,
Clings to the Rock that she knows will not move;
God will help her when the morning dawns.

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From the Ground Up: The Lessons of the Trees

Their roots are tangled, twisted,
knotty with age–
and with strength!
carving through soil and stone with power.
Inside the dappled land,
they loop together,
as if the trees were holding hands.

Their trunks a senseless-seeming maze
No wrong turns,
no blockades, except the ones
the earth has made.
Broad and defiant,
they stand,
proud, unmoving and
united in diversity.
Under the stars
they are as they are–

until they break.
Their branches sway,
supple and alive.
They are expression
barren to the sky,
Caretakers of the screech owl
and the robin
alike.

Their leaves are fragile,
victims of the wind,
but lovely.
Spinning, life-filled art of earth,
diffusing sunlight to the world:
They will bear the seeds–
The lessons of the trees.

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Opposites – 1 John 4:18

Hate is not the opposite of love, and neither bravery nor courage is the opposite of fear. For courage is doing something in spite of fear; love is brave. Hate acknowledges a relationship with someone; fear refuses to give them a chance. That’s why fear and love are such perfect opposites: they prevent each other. They can’t both be in the same place.

But I know which is stronger.

 

To the Revolutionaries

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This one goes out to the world-changers,

the earth-shakers,

the custom-breakers, culture-shapers, change-makers.

This one goes out to the crazy ones,

the believing ones,

the brave ones,

the faith-filled ones.

The ones who are terrified to act

but more terrified of what it means if nobody does.

The ones who live with their eyes open and their hands free.

The ones who recognize that they’re only here once–

they only get one shot,

one chance,

one life,

one blip on the radar of time

–once, and they’re the ones

who try and make something of it.

The ones who go beyond influence

to impact.

The ones who leave their mark,

a legacy,

a torch still burning

to be carried by the next generation

of world-changers,

earth-shakers,

custom-breakers, culture-shapers, change-makers.

With one foundation forming their reputation

they go

and they live

the lives that we remember.

Together

we could be

the next generation of world-changers,

earth-shakers,

custom-breakers, culture-shapers, change-makers.

We could be

the ones that carry the torch,

ignite the flames

of change.

We could be

the generation to live,

to really live,

to live alive and thrive, not just survive.

Not looking to make it through

but to make it matter.

Not looking for my own glory, my own fame,

my own dreams, desires, wants, name.

But for something bigger, something

more.

I’m still looking out for number one

it’s just that maybe number one

has a different name than me.

His name

is Jesus.

And this December

there’s a day that we remember

not for lights,

not for food,

not for glitter and gold,

not for commercialism,

consumerism,

or commonplace contamination,

but for someone

who knew that we could never get to God,

never reach that standard of perfection,

made it so we didn’t have to–he offered me redemption.

It’s the awesome gift of grace:

we call it commonplace,

take it for granted,

because we don’t understand it,

but it comes in the shape

of a cross.

So say thanks

and start a movement

spread the blaze

there’s still time for change,

so be brave.

Change the world, shake the earth,

move a mountain if that’s what it takes

to step out in faith.

Take a risk,

take a chance,

because you only get one–chance, that is–

so make it matter, if you want to be a

world-changer,

an earth-shaker,

a custom-breaker, culture-shaper, change-maker.

The kind of revolutionary

that Jesus was. Carry the torch,

and march on,

in faith.

–Bre