Self Portrait

Every time I stare in the mirror, I see the same face I’ve always seen:
Hazel eyes topped by dark brown brows, full lips, 
Average nose with a chicken pox scar on the bridge, 
High cheekbones- the right one with a little straight scar from a run-in with my grandmother’s coffee table.
No matter how much time passes, I feel I am peering into the same face.
I am me no matter how old I become.
I am in an instant thirty eight and twelve.
I wonder how that will feel with each passing decade.
Will I always just see me?
Or will I begin to see my age and my flaws first,
And myself last?
Long before I could imagine growing old,
I vowed to “age gracefully,” to let time fade my hair to gray and trace lines across my face.
I felt I would have earned those marks by a life lived fully.
Now that I look closer, I see that the creases around my eyes are growing deeper,
And the hair around my temples is showing more gray.
But I am not disappointed by these changes.
Each crease is a reminder of how often I smile and laugh.
Each new gray hair is an outward show of hard-earned experiential wisdom.
Each scar is a memory – my grandmother’s house, dance class as a little girl, homemade lasagna, pain I’ve overcome.
I see strength and grace and beauty and hope in every line and curve.
I see a child of God.
I am me, and I am enough.

From Psalm 116

Thoughts on Psalm 116:7, “Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.”

Dear Soul,
We have been in chaos.
I have been at war with you,
And I have won by shouting you down,
By declaring my desires are more important than your needs.
O my soul, I have wounded you.
I have arrogantly declared myself a king
And placed a throne where it did not belong
In the center of your heart.
My soul, I usurped your rightful King.

I sacrificed peace for anger, joy for pride,
And love for resentment.
I let the world carry my thoughts
And steal my heart for a time,
But soul, dear broken soul, no more.

In spite of my sin,
The Lord has lifted my head;
He has shown me truth and love
And filled my weary mind with his words.
O soul, your King is grace.

Come, dear soul, and drink
From God’s life-giving stream,
And feast on his bread of life and honeycombed wisdom.
Return to your rest, O soul.
I’ve laid down my burdens; I’ll fight you no more.

“From the Ends of the Earth”

At the end of earth I stop.

And wait.

And look for you.

All my life I have longed for you,

Even the moments I pretended you didn’t exist.

Now I stand here crying out for you to show yourself.


Come! And bind this broken soul.

Come! And soothe these parched lips.

Come! And put all of the pieces back together.

Just come and pull me close.


Whisper love to my soul and pour peace into my heart.

Breathe new life into my broken bones.

Lift up my head and show me the rock-

The mountain that is higher than I

And closer to you.


“From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:2 NIV

“Run Away Home”

Go. Go be With Jesus,
Go and dance with your man,
Go and play with my babies.
We can handle the rest.

Run. Run away home,
Run and never grow weary,
Run and finish your race.
We can handle the rest.

Fly. Soar up to heaven,
Fly and leave all the pain,
Fly and live forever.
We can handle the rest.

Dance. Dance on two legs,
Dance and sing your praise,
Dance and bask in the glory.
We can handle the rest.

Know. Know that you are loved,
Know that you are missed,
Know as you are known.
We know you have earned your rest.

A few weeks ago, my husband’s grandmother died after a long fight to recover from a car accident. This poem was my way to say goodbye and process the loss of a beautiful, humble, godly woman who adopted me as if I had always been her granddaughter.

“The Healing Power of Spit”

Jesus once healed a blind man

with spit

and dirt.

Theologians teach that this was a sign

of humility

and surrender.

Maybe so.

Or maybe my dog is right, and it’s a sign

of love

and acceptance –

The healing power of grace expressed

with intimacy

and immediacy.

I wonder.

Maybe the sole purpose of my dog’s tongue is to remind me

of gentleness

and mercy

And the healing properties of spit when properly applied

with love

and just enough dirt.

*A little note about this post: The poem was inspired by our German shepherd, Brook, who refuses to let me cry alone.  If she hears a sniffle or smells a tear about to drop, she comes to wherever I am and sits with me.  Sometimes she actually tries to lick the tears off my face, and she always sits close enough to rest her head on my shoulder or lap.  The photo is an old picture of Bear eating a candied apple, which really has nothing to do with the poem except that it’s the best dog tongue picture I’ve got.

“All Dreams Go to Heaven”

Where do dreams go to die?

Are they eternal as the souls that gave them thought?

Dreams are born in hope and imagination.

Theirs is a shadow life in deep-set caverns of the heart,

Glimpsing pure light only in moments of purest hope.

Sometimes, dreams come true,

And they are the happiest dreams of all.

No longer sentenced to continue the death march,

They are proudly paraded as the fruition of expectation.

But what of those dreams that can never be?

Where do they go to die?

“Deep Calls to Deep”

Deep calls to deep

glory yearns for glory

all of nature cries out for God

and my whole being longs

to see the One who sees me.

Deep calls to deep

and my spirit answers

waves of prescience wash over me

undercurrents of ohm drag me

into the vast omniscient sea.

Deep calls to deep

eternal draws eternal

my soul flies up and shouts “Eli”

and like Hagar I know

that I have seen the One who sees me.

*Psalm 42:7, Genesis 16:13

“Crowned with Grace, Clothed in Honor”

Crowned with grace and clothed in honor

Is all I want to be:

To put on love and hope like socks –

Mercy like my favorite jeans.

Crochet me a sweater of peace,

Or knit a scarf from joy.

Imagine glory and patience

For work-a-day clothing,

Truth and holiness for dress up,

And pajamas of bliss.

Each brilliant fiber spun by God,

Dyed in eternity.

This wardrobe is free, though it cost me

Every earthly thing

To be

Crowned with glory and clothed in honor.

“Thanksgiving Song”

What is more grateful than thanksgiving?

What is more exclamatory than praise?

Where are the words grand enough to express your worth?

There are times without hope or joy,

But you  have mended my soul –

Darned all the holes in my heart

And stitched them up with your love.

Now I know that your mercies are new every morning –

They are new with every breath.

And now you have given me a gift of hope

Beyond anything I could imagine,

And my soul is overflowing with wordless praise.