Anatomy of a Panic Attack

My mind races
ten million places
thoughts scattered
world shattered
ragged breath
fear of death
restless nights
constant fright
living dread
fuzzy head
reluctant choice
shaky voice
craving peace
and stress to cease.


Stretching ever heavenward
arms raised in constant praise
reaching toward the sun
life’s storms strengthen
roots, trunk, branches
growing ever stronger
it’s sufferings make it solid
it’s life a ministry
to all who come to know it.


Wordless, I come
unsure what to say
eloquence silenced.

I listen for your words
and what I hear is your groaning,
interceding on my behalf.

Who says that prayer
must be impressive speech?

It is not a silver-tongue
but a broken spirit
which best captures
the heart of God.

Shadowed Valley

From Soil of the Divine

Cold, I sit
in a shadowed valley
light blocked
by my shame
and another’s treachery,
multiplying darkness.

I wait.

The beams of Your mercy
break the darkness,
the warmth of Your steadfast love
drives away the cold.

Lord, make me a torch bearer
bringing Your light
to a world
still shrouded
in shadow.

Make me to know Your ways, O LORDteach me Your paths.--Psalm 25:4

The Wrecking Crew

“RIIIIPPP!!!!” While enjoying a silent morning before my family arose, I heard a tearing noise coming from the family room. I went to check on the damage, already knowing the culprits, Benny and Joon, our rescue puppies, now several months old. I found them standing on a beloved quilt, yellow fabric scraps in their mouths. Exasperated, I hollered, “NO!” not caring if I woke up sleeping children. Add the quilt to the list of things damaged or destroyed by the dangerous duo: 3 love seats, 2 sofas, 1 coffee table, a television remote, lightbulbs, a brand new Under Armor sweatshirt. 24 one-dollar bills.  The list could on, but I think the point is made.

I cleaned up the damage and returned to my seat, no doubt with a scowl upon my face. Without hesitation, Joon jumped up next to me, and immediately rolled on her back for a belly rub. She knows that regardless of what happens, regardless of what she has done, I will still take her into my lap and treat her affectionately.

A lot of people wonder why we have dogs. Most days, I wonder myself. But this morning, their antics taught me an important gospel lesson. Even when I wreck things over and over, God still takes me into his lap. Even in my sin, he still treats me with affection.

I wish my dogs would stop wrecking stuff. I truly do, but regardless, they are a part of the family. In the same way, God will never reach a point where he looks at my destructive tendencies and says, “That’s okay. That stuff doesn’t matter,” but at the same time, I am his child and he loves me anyway.

Be Still

From Soil of the Divine

When all around me is shaking,
and I can barely stand;
God remains unmoving,
He takes my hand in hand.

I often live in fear,
of what people think and say;
I grant them so much power,
o’er my thought life every day.

But God is in my midst,
unmoving Rock of power;
His love is never ceasing,
omnipotent tower.

The world around is raging,
my heart joins in the throng;
the Spirit whispers “be still, My son,
and I’ll right every wrong.”

Be still, and know that I am God.
-Psalm 46:10

The Hardest Thing…and the Easiest

And above all these, put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.-Colossians 3:14

An expert theologian once asked Jesus, “what is the greatest commandment of all?” Jesus told him that the greatest commandment was to love God completely, with heart, soul, mind, and strength. He also said that the second flowed from the first, to love others as well as we love ourselves (Mark 12:28-31). As I was pondering Jesus’s words this morning, I wrote in my journal, “This is the hardest thing in the world to do. It is also the easiest.” The difficulty in the command is that we live in a society of sinners who are at times difficult to love. We treat one another poorly. We act disrespectfully, if not hatefully. The easy part, if we are willing to see it as such, is that we aren’t really given exceptions, or situations where love does not apply. It always applies, but will I heed?

I have decided to stick with love;
hate is too great a burden to bear.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sometimes, I think we lose sight of the reality that our battle is not against other people, but against evil. The devil specializes in creating discord. He isolates us from one another; accusations and temptations carry so much more weight when we have to bear them alone. Yet, we turn on one another. In Galatians 5:15, Paul says that we “bite and devour” one another. Meanwhile, the devil grins.

Are you angry about injustice? Love.
Are you confused? Love.
Do you feel misunderstood, misrepresented, or maligned? Love.
Do you disagree with how another person is acting? Love.
Are you afraid? Love.
Have you been betrayed? Love.
Have you been a witness to evil? Love.

Regardless of your circumstance, seek to put on love. You may fail. All of us do. But keep striving, day by day, to love better. In God’s economy, love is worth the effort.

And above all, love one another deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.-1 Peter 4:8 (NIV) 


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