Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Unexpected

We brace ourselves for unexpected change

We'll know better next time

Until one day
the unexpected change coming

falls softly like starlight on velvet
lies gently as November snow
on Carolina evergreens

All our prickles and needling
are covered,
smoothed by feathered grace

Til what's broken
holds on long enough
To mend,
healing
 releases its last shells that no longer need defend




Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Master's Piece

Creator of hearts, bricolage, and of me: GOD
Will You intersect all my pieces with Your peace--
The peace that's found in experiencing You?

Will You kaleidoscope the disjointed pieces
Into rainbow-dyed prisms of promises kept and the still coming true?

Saved by Your healing;
Framed by Your grace,

Will You take the rough grains
And melt them with mercy

Divinely remake,
Intersect them
With You?

Til each shard is transformed to stained glass, God

All for You,
Til Your light's spilling through


Copyright 2014 Angela M. Byrd




Saturday, September 27, 2014

My Mending Heart

Letting go of my control
And my fears
Of all I know and still don't

Clinging close to Your truth
And Your presence
And the dreams You possess

Don't know why I have failed
Until now
For to see You
In ways that mean more

Than the first search
The Shepherd made
In seeking the lost.

I am that sheep who has wandered
Not to sin but towards brokenness

And you have found me and held me
As I have run into your arms
Before I wriggled free
Startled
By the power of a love so much greater and closer
Than my broken heart could swallow
After braving broken glass

You are waiting at the crossroads
That started the journey, off course and left 

It's okay to come closer, to hold me
Together--we'll start walking back

I'll allow myself to be carried.

This time I'll surrender it all.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Traveler's Rest

And there will come times of refreshing--

Fevered feet, cooling, touch mountain streams

For the point, where you truly are weakest

Will outsource grace and purpose you seek.


Farther on are oases and culverts

March on, though you long for long rest.

Past the summit that's blocking your vision

Lies a sunrise, surpassing aught else.






Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Inevitable

Why do things have to change?
Or, rather,
why do they bother me so when they do?

It's like the grownup child
inside of me
emerges every time
change comes

It's only the inevitable

Perhaps that's why I chafe at change

I watch old movies and read books published
Long before my birth
For the memories they've frozen
For the outsider view

And I internalize lost worlds
Like an atlas
Til I speed myself through them

It's the here and now
inconstant, soon
That evades me
like the steps of a waltz
or the Charleston
No matter how many times I study it

For the present is a shifting current river
And the water I hold
never the same in my hands

Give me quieter waters
sans stagnant
Let me study my hand
in the same light and same part of stream

That's the poor choice I would make if I had one
the way would seem right
but I'd perish in the end

It's the "such a time as this"
I am meant for

Letting summer fade and mellow the sweetness
it once held
when it was a lengthy stretch of uninterrupted days

Where is my innocent childhood and springtime
I wished away with the speed of a jet plane?

Where are the past lives
i can't live
but know outside in
like the back of my own hand?

They are past me now
They are somewhere
unromantic

I must believe
the best days are ahead

Romans 8:28 says
that's inevitable, too.


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Small Beginnings

"Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin..." (Zechariah 4:10)

For all these smallnesses, Lord
I thank You*

Small struggles
Small budget
small summer
smal stipends
small household
small dreams

Small struggles
that prepare me
for the larger fights and wars
reminding me that passing each of the small tests
and focusing alone on the small steps
is more important than worrying
about all the large tasks that await me
in the future
beyond my present tasks, my present strengths

Small budget
that teaches me how to be faithful with little means and yet avoid meanness
before and if I have the chance to see more funds, more knowledge accrue
multiplied joy in the saving and giving versus spending
as I formerly governed myself

Small summer
to make me appreciate the long ones
more aware of each season
more conscientious of what's near me
finding ways to better spend time
You have asked me to steward as well

Small stipend
to re-prioritize the wanted and the needed
that You somehow continue to stretch
in ways faith alone has made possible
exceeding and abundantly more mileage each paycheck
than I could ever dare dream
You are still the Ephesians 3:20 God

Small household
that reassures me Your timing's so right
for a family of my own
in the future,
God willing,
not present--
only me to look after
and for now, quite enough

Small dreams, God
You keep making bigger
the more You can trust me
Not the 40-page annotated blueprint of my own
when I thought it was easier to lay them before You and ask for Your blessing
instead of starting by requesting, truly requesting,
what You had planned for me instead
sans blueprint in hand
reminding me to trust You,
Your broad strokes, Your details

You are teaching me how to stretch my wings
as a newly-hatched butterfly
cupped so tenderly within Your scarred hand
that counts time
for the full dream revealed
when I am strong enough to greet it

The small things
left piling
So often steal peace

But Your presence
Your contentment
Help me see and not grieve.


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*First line borrowed from the poem that inspired mine: "For All These Smallnesses" by Ruth Bell Graham

Sunday, July 27, 2014

This Time I'll Lie Here

This time I'll lie here
Not the things
nor the symptoms

but the root and the cause

I'll lie here
Surrendered,
God

Don't listen to my wants
Don't listen to my "needs"
Search past them
Til You're deep enough
To see what's true for me

I don't want to vacate the space
in a moment
as I've done before

Or slide into a moment
discontentedly
and desperate

As I have also done
to somehow offset
minor pain

This time
I'll ease onto the cross
slowly
and committedly

I'll still brace myself for nails
but not squirm free of them
or swipe my arm away
before the nails...

not this time

because I trust You
to redeem from the suffering
more than you can
with who I now am

because I believe You
when You say
that resurrection
is always preceded
by suffering's fellowship

My life is Your life
and my life's in Your hands.

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Saturday, July 5, 2014

Dry Bones

"Can these bones live?"
God asked Ezekiel.

And sometimes
I am truly grateful
That He did not first
put that question to me.

We're so sure
On this side of it
What we would want to say.

We're so sure
we'd have faith to believe.

What a question!

"Thou knowest,"
Ezekiel says.

And God honors him
for the simple fact
that he told Him
he believed.

Not a vision of dehydrated
skeletons
will most of us see,
Lord

But there will be vision
tested
by the valley
between what You promise
and what is seen

I want to remember
when perhaps all things
seem hopeless

that You have strengthened my faith
to believe

The first milestone
didn't seem as helpless

the second turning point
amazed and awed me

that last battle
You fought while I trusted

Brought me here
So I'd say, "I believe!"


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Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Panorama Trail

Struggling with this rough draft, but it will be transformed eventually. just be patient, if you're reading this

Sometimes the only way out is up
The only ground gained
by the downward press of footprints
on narrow trails and steep
mountainsides
Losing ground below us
to attain the reach above, just
Switching back and forth
towards freedom
Under hot blaze of sun
Into night's drastic chill

The spiders come weaving doubts
And the snakes hiss out fears
Balance lost on stony ground
Seconds' rest on bouldered bounds

You walk down and up the wrong trailhead
No one else is coming
No one else knows where you are
Til you eek out a signal
And even then you are told to PRESS ON!

Turn around, retrace trail, find the path again
Labor far beyond your own strength

Follow light beams--
one stop, less,
moves you forwards

Focus deeply
on the Voice
Oft repeating,
"You can do this;
You're doing so great;
Yes, you can!"

To stop is death from hypothermia;
But striding onwards increases your life.

You do not tire out til the morning--
at the first stop,
you were sure you would--
or the next one
or the ten more after that one--
that came two grades shy of convincing you
there was no way to hike out this time

You just keep pressing til your
muscles, once jelly,
are transformed to the hind's legs you've found

He will not forsake you alone at the summit
He'll make a way where He carries you at last
Robed in comfort
Under stardust so luminous
You are singing
You've hiked out and into
your re-energized life.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Unwritten

There is no cartographer's guide the soul
Its river and highways
unique
to the one
it is given.

Uncharted sojourns begin
with our games of hide and seek

We take comfort in physical land marks
Neatly printed on a page
Spaces we can 
border,
outline,
demarcate
with the stroke of a pen
then tidily label
measure and
scale
our eagle-eye 
points of view

But it's the wide open places
that embrace us
beckon more spaces
even in cities
to wander
and wonder
and savor
explore

There's something bigger
A Creator
A desire, at once,
To find and be found
to be known
not alone

The beauty not halved
though it's shared

At the end of our strength and our knowledge
Rivers brim with His mercy and strength


Saturday, April 12, 2014

All of Me

God, I've never done things by halves
I've given my whole heart
My whole self
Unless I've found myself afraid

Sometimes I'm afraid of the deep end, God
Sometimes I'm so fearful to
Relinquish my cherished hopes and dreams

Despite your faithfulness
And cocooning love

I find myself fearful

Unless I remember

You use those times to teach me
The art and craft of surrender
My own inadequacies
Are the soil for Your grace and Your love, God
To lead me this far and still farther again
Until I am there again

Not withholding heart's longings
Not keeping You from owning every part of me

-------------------------------------------------------

I want to go there again, God
I want to give You all the core parts of me
and then
I want to give You 
every
part and participle of all that makes me, me

------------------------------------------------------

For I have found You
In the heart of surrender
I have listened to Your heartbeat
When I've surrendered all before

I have found Your peace and strength, God,
Have found You are everything I need

Only when I've come to the end of my stubbornness and strength

And it is worth it, always.

----------------------------------------------------------

It's not the laying down of things, God
But the laying down of me
that counts

It's the picking up my cross
Being brought from death to life again 
by the resurrecting power of You.

The "I will rise"
Here and now

Until the ultimate rising
then and there

I see Your handprints here
But there I'll see You face to face.

--------------------------------------------------------------

As Abraham laid down far less of Isaac
and laid down much more of himself, God

And found he could believe You to provide You, God
Not only as a substituionary ram
But also as the ultimate sacrifice of
bringing back the dead to life again 

------------------------------------------------------------------ 
Faithful steward, You are, ever to us, God
Of every hope and every dream,
Surpassing our ability to ask or think

Take all of me, therefore, God
Let me be Abraham and Isaac reenacted
My life be You and not myself, God

------------------------------------------------------------------

Thank You for loving all of me
Ever redeeming me
Proving each time I can trust You
No matter who or what I lay down

I'm giving You 
every part and hole, God,
I'm giving You
ALL of me!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Uncharted, Unwanted, Unknown

Ever find yourself scared to begin again?

Ever wonder how something undone could loom threateningly
As if it portended of things unlooked for, unmet?

Ever wonder how one opportunity
could garner gravity 
threefold
the times 
of minor leagues?


I know the feeling

Time to remember all is well

The Son will go on with 
His rising and setting
whether or not we succumb to
or push past this fear

why not make a go of it?

why not remember

it's adventure we're craving
and accepting challenges
is how we get what we've asked for

life all planned and mapped only once
Is not nearly enough of the life we should live.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Where All the Lines Rhyme*


And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:4, 5 ESV)


On the back side of a desert
Where the light creeps faintly, dim
I am lying aside all that says I am less
Than I am, God,

For I am Yours
And You are mine

For Your love ever wins!



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Title borrowed from a line of poetry written by Beth Moore.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

After All

It's when You are doing the new thing
When You are making ways in the wilderness
That I find You are ever amazing me, God,
That You are ever displacing me to awaken me
To Your goodness,
Your higher thoughts and higher ways

For I am awestruck by Your goodness
In the barrenest places
Where I have no reason to see aught else
But desert, God,
Where I have been challenged
But never deserted nor close to forsaken

For You are there, God, in the sun's piercing light
and in the evening's blanketed chills
You are with me
Awakening me to hope again
And believe You most radically
for the seeming impossibilities

Until I am sure You are bigger and far more encompassing 
than the struggles and the desert and the star-riddled sky
That sprinkle the horizon above and below
with their greatness--

never greater than You, Lord

And I look past the dunes and the cactus
And the creatures that anchor my eyes to the sand
Until, 

I just savor all You are, that You are to me, God
I just savor Your wonderful grace
and inescapable presence
that makes a way in the wildnerness
and a highway called Holiness
Where I know that I know that I know
Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light

And it is enough just to know You are with me
and in me
before me, 
behind me, 
beside me

before it,
and during it,
All to enable my faithful enduring it--
delivered, at last, 
AFTER ALL!









Saturday, March 8, 2014

You'll Get Through This

It's what we do with disappointment 
that matters more than 
how it finds out
All our secret places,
opening wounds we thought 
were long since healed
and find were only buried;
inoculated against 
only one strain

It's in those moments of poignant presence that 
Critical decisions are made

for better or worse
to love or divorce
to endure or fail

It's in those moments
That we need One to help us
Look past ourselves
And fix our gaze above those disappointments,
those imperfect people
Til at last all "the things of earth
grow strangely dim..."

Until we see He is working it out,
So you will get through this!

He endured the cross 
for resurrection!

So You can believe Him for what he says:

"So we do not lose heart."

And just in case, we do...

He did all that, too,
So we could pick up the pieces and
Surrender them to Him
Finding the courage 
to believe Him,
Trust His Word,
once and forever,
again.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Desert Spaces

I am facing a drought, Lord
It's a drought of unknown proportions

Just like You, God,
Are infinitely larger than it could ever be, 
though properly measured

I am facing a lonely place
Where the chasms are absent presences
and present absences

And it feels so hard and desolate sometimes,
Though I try to be mature about it and put things into proper perspective

The monotony of desert landscape
Unbroken by oases

Are just light and momentary afflictions really

but at the moment,
they are quite burdensome

Help me remember the secret rivers of the desert
Where I suddenly find refreshment and rest

Help me know I am ever in this world
a desert--
it only seems like an island at times--
it only seems as if there is something more to this nothingness void--
our lives here are void, God, without You in them
No matter how full they may appear

That's what it is to know You
To see the former emptiness
To watch it melt away
And find You fill it
Immeasurably more than we could ever dare dream

And even then,

With hearts full, near breaking,
We look for a building and a city, whose Maker is God
Another time and place away

Help me warm myself quietly in the sun-baked shelters and overhangs
that hide me in the cleft of the rock
and show me glimmers of Your goodness

Glimmers I would miss
if more mountainous or forested or riven
Were my view

Even here, Lord,
Even now

I see Your goodness

For Your goodness, as You, Lord,
Is forever
and good!


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Surrendered

Will You take them?
 these pearls, God?
Costume jewelry that they are?
Will You take this strand of things
that matter so to me
strung inside and out with my dreams?

Will You love everything
they are to me--
because You love me--
gently, cup Your hand around mine
til they're truly and only just Yours?

Some are shattered,
near breaking;
Some are brand new;
some worn--

But they are Yours, Lord,

Yes, Yours for the taking
Remaking
Reshaping

As You are of me--

In exchange for mere plastic--
Your pearls.


Inspired by a story of a little girl receiving real pearls from her daddy, once she surrendered her costume pearls. Unknown source.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Even Now


So, once again, before I'm compelled
To carve out spaces for the big rocks--
crowded out by the small stones,
growing ever bigger in the incubator of stress, Lord...

Before the nuclear reactors become critical
and repairs tools and fogging googles
make a Widowmaker of me. . .

Before I find I am powerless
to resist the dangerous tides that pull
back on me and suction feet in tidal pools...

Before all that

Allow me to sit here with You
in these moments
As the tide begins turning and creeping
shoreward
So You can keep waves at bay, God

Let me find these moments
of respite not in spite of
but rather because of
the waves You've decreed and their coming

Let me rest here, warmhearted,
and seated in heavenly places
Safe, within the heart of the Lighthouse

Nestled secure in the light
of the pilot's
Facing the sea and its troubles
at peace and secure, God,
With no need to take up arms 
against them . . .

Rather,
To lean on Your everlasting ones
be my passion and wisdom, God,

Until I'm singing and shouting and laughing and dancing
louder than the crash and pounding of waves
that otherwise would be spelling the death of me--
Courageously and supernaturally strong in the face of them--
Just as Your face leads me through them

And safely
delivers
me

at tide's ebb
and flow

at storm's
first wind

and at its
hardest,

highest

wave!

Because,
"Lo,
[You] are with me
always--

[When the end isn't here, God,
But it feels like it is
Like it might be the end
 of me, Lord, and my strength]--

Even
to the end
of the age"

Better things of Yours, begin, God,
When I'm found 
at the end
 of my strength.