“Concentrate”


They told me

I needed to be organized

     So I tried to be organized – except!

Nothing changed. 

            I was helped 

And I think I learned how 

     To adapt 

         So I made myself a motto 

   “It’s ok, I’ll figure it out” 


      So, I went to the med room 

To let just three tears slip 

           As I tried to focus – but 

My patient yelled

               And one paced  

     In the hallway, screaming out

            Profanities 

        And my preceptor asked me 

   “Will you be able to be organized?” 


         Thankfully,

My lungs worked rhythmically 

     Enough to take a breath – and then! 

My heart broke 

             As I realized 

   My sweet patient’s daughter 

         Had died 

            So, I tried to refocus and pray

       “Lord, at least help me to love” 


              It’s hard to love 

 While trying to be organized 

       For one moment I was fine – until! 

  A patient couldn’t cope 

              One couldn’t walk 

    And while I went to get a blood draw 

           One seized 

        And still, in the meantime, another asked 

    “Why can’t you help me?”


            Then, because I 

 Admitted to my preceptor 

           I needed help focusing – suddenly! 

I was being watched 

               And being timed

Carefully, I counted the minutes 

      Ten minutes 

   To place an IV and assess, so I said  

 “This will be possible” 


            Then somehow 

It was end of the shift 

        And in a span of – 12 hours!

God had taught me 

       Humility 

Being reminded of His strength 

      Is beautiful  

   And in my weakness 

“[His] grace is sufficient” 


            I truly love 

The emergency room 

           Because in its halls – full of despair!

     God always shows up 

         And crucified 

Become my abilities 

     As I learn to concentrate 

    On the reality of what He told me 

  “Just trust Me in the tension” 

“Hallways”

And Emergency: Part Two


We walk quickly

Down the hallways 

In the absence of

Silence.

Is it possible, still 

To hear you?


We walk into

curtained rooms

In the presence of…

Trying. 

So hard, it seems,

To see you


We kneel on the

Blood-stained floors 

As you call out – 

Crying.

Your pain, we try

To feel you


We sit at our

Small, wheeled desks 

And still we smell the

Dying – 

Of dreams, so quick 

To flee you


Yet as I walk

These hallways 

In the absence of 

Silence – 

Your heartbeat, still

I hear you


And Christ will walk

Besides me

And we will taste His

Presence 

My patient, friend 

He’s with you 

Photo credit: https://www.statnews.com/2020/01/24/patients-restrained-in-the-er/

“Vessels”

2 Corinthians 5:17-19
And for the amazing woman who called me several months ago to share this verse, I believe you know who you are. Thank you ❤

We are vessels 

Of broken glass 

Conduits of grace


How He uses,

Solely chooses 

Moments – not a waste 


Fragile vessels

Prone to breaking 

Shattering at will 


Stronger Healer 

Still He chooses 

Vessels to be filled 


Grace and mercy 

Love and justice 

Speaking to the poor 


He’s still moving 

Love providing

Still an open door


God please use 

Our blood-stained vessels 

Prone to breaking glass


And draw us closer

Backs towards sinning 

Love to shine outlast 


Photo credit: Franklin Institute. As shown on https://www.firstpost.com/tech/news-analysis/new-smartphone-app-can-help-detect-anaemia-without-the-need-of-a-blood-test-5685521.html

“My City”

Inspired by Brandon Heath’s song, “Give Me Your Eyes,” Andrew Peterson’s “Everybody’s Got a Song,” and the recent mass shooting in my hometown.

I never loved you enough,

My city. 

I spent too long, 

Wishing

I was somewhere else. 


Until I got to know you. 

My people. 

I started to learn, 

Loving

In my home.


You were always here 

My childhood.

You raised me,

Loving

As a friend.


And then I left you. 

My goodbye. 

My college travels, 

Calling

I thought away. 


And then I realized 

My mistake,

My loving city

Calling

Me back home. 


I woke up, city

My horror. 

What happened to you?

Crying

Blood on your streets. 


I’ll cry too. 

My city. 

I spent too long, 

Wishing

I was somewhere else.


Forgive me, 

My people. 

Who raised me, 

Confessing 

Is what I must do. 

Emergency (I Will Awake)

Thoughts before a shift in the emergency room

It’s a funny thing going to sleep to wake up for a shift at 4am. Maybe it’s because my responsibility hasn’t quite sunken in yet. Maybe it’s because I don’t remember that when I will awake, I will walk into an emergency.

Maybe it’s because emergency is a relative term; while one’s is a subdural hematoma, another’s is a stuffy nose. While one confesses to me that tonight they planned to die, another holds on to life so close that the very sliver away from normal drives them to seek out a place that will protect them. I suppose everything has the potential to become normal in a world of 8 billion plus different people. But still, I will awake to an emergency.

I don’t know who I will see when I walk into the emergency room doors at 4am. I could see you – I hope I don’t see you. I might see your mother, or your friend. But whomever I will see, I will keep my secrets. For the world can never know of the secrets confessed behind closed curtains and the shame that may be exposed. Yes, tomorrow I will enter your emergency.

I pray that you will see beyond me, because I am selfish. I think that is my emergency.

“Help My Unbelief”

A poem about life from the words of a father penned in Mark 9:24

Dear Lord,

Do you remember when 

You showed me how to trust You

In the midst of a nightmare? 

Do you remember how 

You taught me to find

joy in the spinning…

Hell. Objectively good and yet somehow

A trauma inside my mind

Burning. 

Crying…

Enough of that!


Dear Lord,

Help my unbelief. You showed me how

To live beyond circumstances

And to find joy in pain. 

And now, 

Now…

Somehow, here I am. 

And there is no joy to find. 

Because joy is all around!

Joy is everywhere now. 

No conjuring and no striving just

Presence. 


Dear Lord,

Why is it good? I learned over the years

 – not from You – 

To believe I don’t deserve 

Happiness –

Or at least the kind 

that comes from external gifts

And yet, here they are.

Gifts. 

Everywhere! How can I… 

Lord! Forgive me. 

I believe, but

Help my unbelief.


Dear Lord,

But why?

You did say that everything 

Works together for those

Who love You  

But I don’t deserve this good. 

No, not the conversations

At the café.

Not the church, not the friendships, 

Not the youth group, not the preceptor, 

Not the job, not the absence of…

Anxiety? 

Lord! Who am I to tell You what I need?

Lord, I believe but

Help my unbelief.


Dear Lord,

Help my unbelief!

You are good and I see that now,

I confess what I did not allow

Myself to believe was real – 

Love, joy, peace, patience, 

Kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 

Gentleness, self-control… 

They are 

You. 

Yes, You in your beautiful

And divine providence

Used my fear but the fear itself

Not you! 

Oh Lord, I believe 

But please, help my unbelief!


Dear Lord,

You. Are. Lord.

Sovereign beauty

In the good and the bad

Perfect Savior

In the clouds and in the clear

My precious Savior, forgive me. 

And please, 

Help my unbelief.

Reflections: On “Time” and Sustenance

I don’t know where to start. Although a writer, there are times when the flowing of my heart and the translation of my brain don’t quite communicate with my hands, and perhaps this is one of those times. Maybe it’s just the God-inspired task at hand. Or maybe it’s that it’s almost midnight. I digress!

Today I want to reflect on the song I posted on Sunday – “Time,” by John Lucas.

Although if I had the time I would love to duly focus on its entirety [cue: go listen to the song now if you haven’t!], I love the lyrics Lucas uses to pull us in to a different focus midway through the song:

“There is a time for everything / Until we crown the risen King.”

How true is this? Having, like the author of Ecclesiastes, assessed the nature of living and the essence of humanity, here Lucas draws the most crucial conclusion of the entire song. And I believe these simple lyrics are profound – not solely because of their poetic meter, artistic imagery, or of any stylistic feature -but simply because they point to what I believe is a truth often forgotten in the world.

Credit: https://everlastingjesus.tumblr.com
/post/139452339950

“Crown Him when you bury / And crown Him when you marry / And crown Him when your faith finds a spark.”

When life is about crowning the Risen King, circumstances don’t matter. Emotions can fluctuate, seasons can change, and even worldly death can pervade, but He doesn’t change (Malachi 3:6). Yet how easy is it to forget that He is our purpose in life.

“Crown Him for He’s faithful / And crown Him for He’s worthy / And crown Him for He is good.”

This is His nature! The Bible describes our King as life and light (John 1:4-5). He is faithful, even when we struggle to have faith (2 Timothy 2:13). Nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:31-39)! He tore the veil (Hebrews 10:20). He made us pure (Hebrews 10:21-23). He made us His (John 1:12).

“Crown Him for His promises / Cut through the blindness / Of children that have barely understood.”

Despite all of our individual and humanity’s collective brokenness, and despite our finite minds, God spoke of His Son through the mouths of and words penned by human authors.

And the entire Bible points to Him (Luke 24:44).


So, I chose this Sunday song because of its poetic truth. And I will close with the closing lines of our song. They remind me of all that He is; that He is our sustenance, and He is our King, and He is our Joy. And they can remind us that, in every situation, God is constantly painting beauty in pointing us back to His Son.

“And that death produces life / And that we are made alive / By the King who paints beauty with time. / By the King who paints beauty with time. / By the King who paints beauty with time.

And I don’t know the end, or tomorrow’s story / But I have found the one who gives me rest. / And I will make my bed in His promises / For He holds true when nothing’s left…

When nothing’s left.”


Lucas, J. (2015). Time. On Promised land [Spotify] Boone, NC: Everett Hardin.

Reflections from My Window Seat

On My Time at New City Cafe

In this café, here I sit 

Strangers once were we

People wave and people stay

And people talk to me


I say “my name is Kayla 

It’s just my first time here 

I want to know your story” – 

They tell me with no fear!


In my dreams this place exist’d

A place where people grow 

Where coffee brews and people sit 

And souls do overflow 


Christ is in the background here

And Christ is in the walls 

I can feel Christ’s presence here 

And I can hear his call 


In my life now this exists

Sole purpose not for me 

But for the people all around 

And for to set them free 

Out of the Trenches: A Letter to My Past Self

Dear Kayla,

Today I realized that I don’t know you.

Sure, I know the name. I know the college student, and the stories that made you who you were. 

But as I sat in bed reading your thoughts from the past several years, I found myself wishing that somehow you had the answers to your painful questions. So, my dear – here are the beginnings.

———————————————————————————————————————

Kayla – 

You will be free. Ridiculously free. And contrary to what you believe now, your freedom is not the result of any grand or philosophical conclusion on the part of yourself.

Jesus.

I want you to say the name again – 

But this time, not with any fear that you aren’t good enough for Him. 

Because, well, you aren’t.

Jesus. 

/

I want you to face that fact now. 

I want you to give up striving; no grades will make you perfect. 

But neither will any friends – nor leaders, mentors, nor any deep thought. 

And especially not anything you think you can prove to Him.

Simply. Jesus. 

/

You will learn what it is to sit and bask in the presence of the One who is worthy. 

And you will cry because you have no words to express His goodness. 

You will realize that you don’t have all the answers. 

Indeed – even what you came to know of what it truly means to follow Him will change. 

Your theology will change.

And you will realize that even I don’t have the answers. 

But you will have a knowledge and a wisdom so much sweeter than any knowledge you ever had sought or will seek to obtain. 

/

Jesus.

/

My dear, you will learn to love again, in all senses of the word.

Joy will radiate from the inner depth of your being at the thought of community.

And even when your community drastically changes – 

You will be ok. 

/

And finally, Kayla, you will learn to read the Bible. But not just read it. 

Study it. And love it. And cling to it. 

I pray I never give that up, because it is our sustenance. 

Our very bones ache at the thought of a day without it. 

————————————————————–

So, Kayla Marie. 

I don’t write you with answers or a quick fix, but I do write you with the hope of a new beginning – a beginning that starts with the knowledge that you will never be enough. 

Because only He is. 

It’s precious on the other side of the trenches, my dear. 

In the Absence

“For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” – 1 Corinthians 1:17

I have found the Breath of Life

Of Whom few words resound 

That scare tell of His mighty love

Which set me back around

To pictures tongues cannot suffice

Nor pen nor pencil tell 

Though etches vie – for Him, to show! –

His presence solely quells 

The searches of our aching hearts

The weeping of our souls 

And with no phrase our mind could hear

He made our living whole

So find me in the absence 

Of what is understood

He’ll meet you on the outskirts 

Of what you said He could

We’ll find Him in our beating hearts

Our souls now overflow’d 

Where minds won’t vie to demonstrate 

His power – precious so