My Dwelling Place

O LORD, You are my dwelling place,

But sometimes I will run away from home.

Among the empty, fruitless plains I roam—

And on I search, in vain, for something more.

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But nothing better can be found—

In You, LORD, I have deepest joy and rest.

Home, home is where this longing soul is blessed,

And, satisfied, I dwell in You, content.

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Contentment—oh, please take me back!

And I remember distant, better days

When I was taken up in awe-filled praise

Caught up in wonder—oh, to feel again.

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I turn around, abandon quest

For something better, which does not exist

(Oh, what a fool I’ve been, to think it did!)

And, homeward, I retrace my backward steps.

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At last, I see my heart’s Delight,

My Home—my God, my Love, my Joy, my Sight,

And filled with shame, I wonder if He might

Not welcome back this rebel runaway.

//

I could not be more wrong! For He

Comes running to me, holds me, won’t let go

This prodigal that He could now disown

Is welcomed back, with joy, into his Home.

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Enough

O heavy-laden soul, weighed down by a thousand failures,

Remember, that His grace abounds.

And His grace is enough—

Enough to bring to ruin

Every accusation,

Every lie,

And your fear of condemnation.

Enough to cover

Every fault, every misstep,

Every evil thought, every past regret.

O soul, don’t ever forget—

When He said “It is finished”,

He really, truly meant it.

The Heart

Lulled to the sound of my beating heart,

I lie there

Listening to the sound of the muscle

That with every thump, proves I live.

With every throb that happens in my chest,

I see my Creator sustaining me,

Giving me another second of life

As each heartbeat passes.

How is it

That something I rarely think about

Something that I can’t see, and take for granted every day,

A tiny, little muscle—

Is so complex,

With my whole life depending on its activity?

For if this little muscle were to stop,

That would be the end of me.

And that will happen someday.

But today,

As each thump passes,

I thank my God for giving me life.

Liberation

I feel the weight of this world upon my back,

It is too heavy for me to bear.

I look back on my early years,

Oh, those days when I was more free—

Curious about every little thing;

Learning about the world and how it works.

Oblivious to evil and immorality,

Not excessively burdened by stress, sin, or suffering.

That was me, back in the day—

Hardly a care in the world.

I didn’t know about murder and racism,

About poverty and dying people,

About spiritual warfare and the heaviness of sin

And all the hardships of life.

I was asleep, yet happy.

But why, when I reached adolescence,

Did the real world hit me so hard?

The knowledge of sin and suffering and evil came

And threatened to make me bitter,

Depressed, isolated, if I would allow it—

Causing me, in a panic, to build a fortress around my soul

So that nothing would hurt me.

I reached adulthood, it didn’t get easier.

The wall is still up, though I go through phases

Of tearing parts of it down, only to patch it up again

And I wish I could crumble it completely.

Where is the freedom I once had?

Where is my childhood innocence,

Not having a care in the world?

Why is the world such a scarier place?

Why did my life become so hard?

But, what if the loss of this so-called freedom,

This seeming innocence,

Was the means by which I would find another—

One new and more perfect?

Not a sort of “freedom” in which ignorance is bliss,

In which I am ignorant to the turmoil of this world,

But a difficult freedom, stripping me of happy oblivion

To open my eyes to the fact that I needed something more?

What if this seeming loss of freedom—

This introduction to pain and suffering—

Was indeed my liberation?

What if all the sleepless nights, the heavy battles,

The tears, the agony, the loneliness, the struggles—

Were the means by which I would at last be free?

What if Someone knew I needed Him,

And placed these hardships in my life so that I would find Him—

He, Who loves me with perfect love,

In Whom there is fullness of joy and fulfillment?

What if all the doubts and questions

Were what would cause me to dig deeper,

And to at last find what I am really looking for?

Because really, is oblivion freedom?

Is not knowing about sin freedom from it…

Or enslavement to it?

Is happiness actually happiness

If I am unaware of where I am headed?

…If I am hellbound?

And so I was, but didn’t know it.

So now I thank my God

For the loss of this jovial unconsciousness,

This falsely-happy sleep,

This intoxication of the mind,

And for using hardships and harsh realities

To tame my wandering soul

And bring me to Him, where I at last find freedom.

And although life is not easy,

And many battles will still be found

And many tears will still be shed

And many nights where I will lie awake…

This freedom that I have now—

Conscious of sin and darkness, yet, no longer a slave to it,

Aware of this world’s pain, yet bound for a new one,

Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing—

This is BETTER freedom.

A Rock

While stormy clouds come billowing

With anxious eyes I watch the sky

And think I cannot outwit this

Approaching tempest, and I cry—

for help! because my shelter is

A flimsy structure, built on sand

And if I hide in it, the rains

Will not let this poor shelter stand.

And then it comes, the waters drench

My skin, and I can’t take a breath

From all pressure coming down

Upon me—Oh, it feels like death.

This weary rain, these fearful winds,

That shake the soul and chill the skin.

This storm! Will I come through alive?

These winds! This rain! Will I survive?

And I cannot stand long enough

Until this downpour passes on.

So I collapse beside a rock,

The one firm thing to lean upon.

And it occurs to me that I

Had never thought it best to hide

Within the clefts of this large cave,

Where I’d be sheltered, dry, and safe.

Though strength is weak, I climb this mount

And soon escape the deathly fount

And safe at last, I wait until

The storm clouds clear, and all is well.

So may I never trust again

In shelters built on shifting sand,

But, Rock of Ages, cleft for me,

Oh, may I hide myself in Thee.

Words

These words, with wonder, make me seem to fly

While gravity, an anchor, stays my frame

And thoughtfully I gaze up at the sky

As I with bliss enjoy each word and name

That mark each page, creating melody—

No tune they make, but music nonetheless.

I see my Father’s creativity

In how, with gifts of words, He would us bless.

 

My Father’s like a poet, making poems

That one can read by seeing with their eyes—

The lofty mountains, and the crashing seas;

The myriads of stars that fill the skies.

 

LORD, as I revel in this poetry,

I pray that YOU, the Author, I would see.

Through Joyful Eyes

I’m oft weighed down with dismal thoughts.

Oh soul, what makes you so distraught?

Don’t you remember who you are

Because of One whose hands bear scars

That show the blood He shed for you?

My soul, don’t you believe it’s true?

Then soul, rejoice, and fight the lies,

And see the world through joyful eyes.