WANDERING IN THE OH-TO-GOOD-TO-BE-TRUE NEWS

WHO IS GRACE?

Grace for Sunday’s best
She has been singing in the choir
for nine months.
She didn’t join to be seen, or perform
solos, or show off her musicality.
She wanted to belong and to demonstrate
her conviction that she belongs to Jesus
by singing His songs.
Last week she chatted with two other women
before choir practice.
She described them as, “part of the pretty women.”
When I looked at her in confusion she said,
“You know, the women with flawless makeup,
perfect hair and clothes that just make them . . .
look fortunate.”
I was baffled, because I’ve known my friend
for almost twenty years and she is one of the
most beautiful women I know.
But I guess she hasn’t been that fortunate.
She had a traumatic childhood,
she’s recently lost both parents,
her children are grown and gone.
I smile, thinking of the war she waged years ago
to get her daughter into the IB program,
expensive riding lessons,
a welcoming home where friends could hang out.
She was a stunning warrior,
but she really didn’t have time to
commit to 24 Hour Fitness.
My friend is in a lonely marriage
and she sure wishes her kids would call more.
Still, my unpretentious friend paints, writes,
explores Colorado history in some pretty cool ways,
has forgiven her family,
and prays – I means seriously prays –
for those who still suffer
with the inexplicable realities of
mental illness, sexual abuse, grief,
complicated marriage,
a nest haunted by missing children,
and transitions into . . . .?
Sure, she has a lot of wrinkles, a few scars;
but they are all clues to her magnificent,
unfolding story.
My friend continued to chronicle her choir encounter.
Two men approached the three
female choir members.
They were captivated by the fortunate women
and told them so,
“We’re so glad you’re in the choir and give us
something nice to look at.”
They didn’t even glance at my
unfortunate friend.
Grace, my heart is mad and sad
to see this glimpse into the church,
where we should know better.
Help us to remember that life
is not how it appears,
that all hearts are bursting to be seen,
all souls carry sorrow,
all belong to imago dei.
And that at our best,
we are most conscious of our fortunate fall,
admitting all of us into the unfortunates –
in desperate need of being loved
not for how we look,
how busy we are,
how much money we make,
or how noticed we are by others
but for who we are
deep down inside
where You always see us –
with eyes so overcome with Love as You whisper,
“There you are.
I have been looking for you all My life.”
Tomorrow it’s Sunday.
Grace, can we borrow your glasses?
©sharon hersh 2018 all rights reserved
#whoisGrace? #thisisaboutus
#fortunatefall #GodsglassesareLove
#churchtoo #silenceisnotspiritual

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grace for beautiful wrecks.

“I really messed up,” she said

as shame slithered in through

the crack under the door.

“I’ve disappointed everyone,

and lied about so many things.”

I could see the invisible ruins

all around her.

Fear. Humiliation. Dread.

Self-hatred.

I’ve sat in those ruins,

overwhelmed by the scent of

desperation.

I could see me in her.

I wondered if she could

see herself in me.

We sat in silence,

tears streaming down both our faces.

I thought of the most memorized

verse in the Bible.

Jesus wept.

I don’t think His tears were about

the wreckage of our lives.

He wept,

knowing what we could not know

yet.

Failures allow us to fall

into Grace.

Messes become our message

to other stranded travelers –

“there’s hope ahead.”

Disappointment reorients

our view of ourselves.

Lies worm their way into the

Truth – finally.

Wrecks are a relief,

revealing we cannot save ourselves.

We need a Savior.

Even the judgment of others

teaches us to say,

“I’m sorry.”

Wrecks.

I’ve had a few.

I brushed away my tears

and offered a sip of grace,

remembering it has to be drunk

“straight: no water, no ice,

and certainly no ginger ale;

neither goodness or badness.”

I repeated the words an old,

blue-eyed priest said to me

after one of my worst

disasters,

“You have been judged,

and you are forgiven.”

She didn’t move.

And then a smile flitted

across her face.

Beauty rising.

#whoisGrace? #thisisaboutus

#practiceresurrection

©sharon hersh 2018 all rights reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grace for more.

She carried a plate with a

pyramid of shiny red apples

and knelt down to place

them carefully on the floor.

I was in the nail salon,

and at first thought the

apples might be offered to customers.

Why did she put them on the floor?

And then she brought a

beautiful bouquet of spring flowers.

Those will look perfect

on the front counter, I thought.

But, again, she knelt down

and put them on the floor.

I excused myself from the

manicurist who was carefully

painting my nails red

and walked to the place

she had knelt.

Ahh, I recognized her corner

of worship.

A fat, ceramic Buddha

painted with red garments

(a shade darker than my nails)

looked with eyes that could not see

over the bounty of

apples it could not taste

and flowers it could not smell.

Before I could dismiss this

wasted offering,

I thought of my own attempts

to bargain with God.

If I read my Bible every day,

will You rescue my children?

If I don’t drink, smoke, or swear

too much,

will you bless my business?

If I eat my vegetables

(at least once a day),

will you preserve my health?

I don’t put apples and flowers

before a lifeless statute,

but I put control, trying harder,

and being better

before the One who was

crucified

and arose from the dead

so that I would never

worship something that’s

not even worth it.

“Anything I put before my God is an idol.

Anything I want with all my heart is an idol.

Anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol.

Anything that I give all my love is an idol.”

Grace reminds me that

He is a God who sees me,

and when He looks at me –

no matter what I offer –

He only sees Love.

He is a God who has

tasted suffering and death

for me,

so that He can pronounce –

despite my imperfections –

that It is Finished,

and I am clothed in

a righteousness I did not earn.

He is a God who smells

the fragrance of my offerings,

and is compulsive about my liberation,

so that any sacrifice I might make

smells like freedom.

Grace, give me a surrendered heart

to worship with more –

solely because You are worth it.

©sharon hersh 2018 all rights reserved

(Jimmy Needham, “Clear the Stage”)

#whoisGrace? #thisisaboutus

#worshipismorethansacrifice

#HeistheGodwhoseesme

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grace in the year of catastrophe.

In a moment

life

pulls the rug out.

An MRI with a surprise –

body broken,

a six-hour surgery,

an unbearable brace,

and the beginning of recovery.

I began to be followed by a voice saying:

Learn the darkness.

Gather round you all

the things that you love, name

their names, prepare

to lose them,  It will be

as if all you know were turned

around within your body.”

Grace, thank you for

faith in the midst of

unsettling surprises –

faith that you are making all things new.

Thank you for

hope in the form of friends and family

who give without being asked

and pray.

Thank you for

love –

your love that is becoming

the heart of me encased in

my broken, healing body.

And then in a moment

life pulls the rug out.

A dreaded phone call

from the hospital –

just two blocks away.

My daughter –

in the ICU,

blood shed

a rolled car with

every window shattered.

She was bringing me lunch,

and now has unwelcome

decisions to make

about so many things.

Grace, your voice is not always welcome.

“And still the voice stayed with me.

Waking in the early mornings,

I could hear it, like a bird

bemused among the leaves,

a mockingbird idly singing

in the year of catastrophe:

“Be ready.   Be ready.”

. . . and the voice asking:

“Change or slavery?

Hardship or slavery?”

And I was afraid, loving

what I know would be lost.”

Grace, when the landmarks of

faith, hope, and love are covered by

shocking images, pain, financial questions,

moments that change everything,

be my faith to believe that

You are not sleeping.

Be my hope in things unseen.

Be my love whose mercies are new

every morning,

so that I can let go

and drown in You,

body broken and

blood shed for me

in the moment that

seemed like the greatest catastrophe.

“And I asked: you mean a death, then?”

“yes,” the voice said.  “Die . . .”

Then I let go all holds, and sank

like a hopeless swimmer . . . ,

and at last came fully into the ease

and the joy of that place,”

drowning in Grace.

Grace, I hear your voice

relentlessly repeating:

“Every catastrophe is

about a beginning.

Practice resurrection.”

©sharon hersh 2018 all rights reserved

(With thanks to Wendell Berry for his poem

“Song in A Year of Catastrophe.”)

 

Grace and silence
#silenceisnotspiritual
I signed the petition,
because I am learning that
I must speak
for the woman abused by her pastor,
even though the church wants to
keep the mess under cover of silence.
I cannot remain quiet about the
sweet young man – homeless and
mentally ill – even though
corporations want to
move him and his fellows out of
their spotlight and into the
shadows of silence.
I have to say something to the man
who hits his wife and calls her a bitch
on Saturday
and silences her on Sunday while he
raises his hands in worship.
Grace, give me the courage to speak,
and give me the serenity
to be silent.
Because sometimes silence is spiritual.
I must be silent before I condemn
someone’s fall from Grace as I remember
Your kindness in my many tumbles
away from You.
I can remain quiet instead of seeking
the spotlight with words to prove and
protect myself,
because You are my ever-present Advocate.
I am free to say nothing instead of demanding
my rights, my way, my will,
because You are my Rescuer.
You see. You hear. You understand.
Grace, in this season of marches and protests
burn the story of the wordsmith, Dostoevsky,
on my lips:
The story of Jesus in the time of
the Spanish Inquisition.
He came before the Great Inquisitor who
in a flurry of furious words attacks, accuses
and threatens, “I shall have you burned tomorrow.”
And Jesus answered without one word.
He moved toward that murderous man,
and silenced him with a tender kiss
on his rough cheek.
His silence set the man of many words free
as He sealed his heart with a kiss.
Grant me courage to speak,
faith to be silent,
and Grace to know the difference.
#thisisaboutus #silenceisnotspiritual
#metoo #sealedwithakiss #whoisGrace?
©Sharon Hersh All rights reserved 2018.

Image may contain: sky, cloud and outdoor

All Grace wants for Christmas.
I made my list.
It started with the trivial.
I’d love Ghirardelli chocolate caramel squares.
An Uber gift card.
And family gathered around some Christmas meaning.
Grace whispered, “Is that really what you want? Really?”
I could barely find the courage to tell the truth.
Grace promised to be in the truth with me, and spoke His wish list into my too-easily seduced-by-the- material-world heart.
I really want Grace to cover, invade, envelope my children.
Grace told me that has been His intention from the beginning.
I really want my parents to enjoy these “golden years” free from worry or burden.
Grace explained their journey is really not about what I want.
He’s not done with their stories.
I really want peace among politicians, pastors, and pundits.
Grace laughed.
The Prince of Peace uses all that chaos to make us long for More.
And the More is not a tax bill or affordable health care or sanctuary for refugees.
In fact, Grace wove unfair taxes, utter lack of health care in a stable because there was no room for refugees in the “in”
to begin His rescue of us from ciphers of ease, numbness, and pleasure.
Grace still promises More when we bow at a manger where angels extravagantly promise that God is with us. Our deepest wish.
Maybe that’s not on your wish list.
Emmanuel. God with us.
Please let me know if anything from Amazon Prime brings peace.
I will buy it.
This is hard to admit, but my preeminent wish is to be done with suffering and pain.
I think I’ve had enough.
And now major surgery in February that topples all my plans and hopes and stirs all my fears.
Grace is quiet.
I almost stop listening.
And then I hear His wish list.
“I want you to trust. That’s it. Just trust that I have loved you before you knew what love is. That I have forgiven your sins, every one; that I will heal you with my suffering finished on your behalf.
It might look different than radical fusing of your spinal vertebrae. But is that all you want? Really?”
I mutter, “but, but … what about work and bills and pain and not wanting to be a burden?”
Grace tells me, plainly so that I can hear:
“Money, family wholeness, physical health, and societal harmony are a small list.
Dare to live a bigger story.
Only settle for Grace.”
I hear.
The longing from Grace,
from the humble manger
to the humiliating cross
to the improbable resurrection
Is that we not crave Fingerling Babies or a Laser X Gaming Tower,
but that we would crave Grace.
Grace, replace my heart with yours,
so that I don’t crave security, health, wealth, and wellness.
So that all I want for Christmas is You.
#whoisGrace? #thisisaboutus #allIwantforChristmas
©sharon hersh 2017 all rights reserved

Grace for sexual abuse.
I don’t know about you,
but the daily stories hurt me.
And then, strangely, I think about Grace.
Grace, body broken, blood shed.
Denied justice, not believed, blamed,
spit on, hung stripped and naked
to a tree, forced to carry His burden alone –
for women  like me
who can’t bear it.
This is in no way a free pass to abusers.
Abuse is like a blood clot.
It crucified Jesus.
It is a reminder that Jesus always
chose women to hang out with –
the prostitute, the adulteress,
the one with such embarrassing shame
it bled to the hem of her garment,
the woman hiding from other women
because she could not explain how she
came to live in the mud to then
be with man after man after man
after man after man after man,
the one addicted to perfectionism,
the one so codependent she could
do nothing but be by Him,
the ones with no husbands, with
children declared dead,
the broken ones who still
got up to face another day.
I’ve wondered why He abandoned
Power and Privilege.
but somehow I know He knew,
He knew,
He would suffer it all to
be with us.
God Incarnate. God in flesh.
Oh Grace, how great a debtor
daily I’m constrained to be.
Help me see the good news
In all of the bad, and trust that
as a Lover, with great empathy
and understanding,
“You are preparing a place for me
where there will be no more tears.”
©sharon hersh 2017 all rights reserved
#metoo #thisisaboutus #whoisGrace?
#Godwithus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grace for ungratefulness.

I have to say it.

I’m not grateful.

I’m not grateful for a world

of people who feel entitled to violate

and leave a legacy of betrayal to men and

women who didn’t ask for it.

I’m not grateful for families broken

by addiction and abuse;

broken into pieces that all

the King’s horses and all the King’s men

can never put together again.

I’m not grateful that in this world’s economy

Institutions win over individuals.

I’m not grateful that my client was raped

everyday until she was 13

and no one rescued her,

and her pastor knew.

I’m not grateful that the church

so often ingratiates itself to Power

rather than people.

I’m not grateful for the family

of four undocumented immigrants

who beg at my grocery store corner

because they lost their home,

were kicked out of their motel,

and have no money – and live in fear.

Grace always whispers to me,

“Give them everything you have.”

I’m not grateful for my family of four

who feels more broken than ever

during this “most wonderful season of the year.”

Grace always shouts, “Love does what has

been undone.”

I’m just not that good at that.

I’m not grateful for those who ask

me to be optimistic about this world.

Grace, I’m aware this is not the

picture most want on our national holiday.

Grace, thank you for reminding me that I’m

not a citizen of this world,

that Jesus was a man of sorrows,

and that He died a brutal death for

deniers, liars, abusers, and careless people

like me.

Grace, grant me gratitude –

not for the things seen,

but for the things unseen.

For those realities that are real.

Give me gratitude, mostly,

for a God who chooses again and again

and again and again and again

to be grateful

for me.

Thank you for saying again and again

and again and again and again,

“God remembers us when we are down,
His love never quits.
Rescues us from the trampling boot,
His love never quits.
Takes care of everyone in time of need.
His love never quits.
Thank God, who did it all!
His love never quits!’ (Psalm 136)

Give me the grace to be grateful

for the things that are not seen

in the midst of the things that are.

Give me Grace to believe that

there will come a day

when all the King’s horses and

all the King’s men will

bring a day

in the glory of Grace when
every knee will bow,

sin will not leave even a trace
in the glory of amazing Grace.
There will come a day,

There will come a day.

blur alcohol drink bottle at pub in dark night background

Grace for close calls

It was too late

It was midnight

Too late for old, raggedy women

to be out wrestling with a busted radiator.

Surprisingly, the broke-down car

was not the close call.

It was the broke-down woman.

I was tired, scared, out of grace.

At 1:45 a.m. I walked into a bar

close to last call,

but not close enough

for it not to be a close call.

I was out of faith, hope, and love

and thought I’d refill me

by abandoning me.

The young, beautiful woman

waiting to pour my close call

smiled at me and asked

what she could do for me.

Before I could tell her what

I thought I needed,

I caught a glimpse of a tattoo

engraved over her heart.

My old cried-out eyes

couldn’t quite make out all the words.

“What does your tattoo say?”

She smiled, ready to pour Grace

into my broke-down heart.

“It’s from the Bible,” she said.

“God is within her, she will not fall.

God will help her at break of day” (Psalm 46:5).

Grace seems to show up especially

for close calls,

when it’s too late,

and I’m too broke down to believe.

Grace reminds me

at a bar (can you believe that?)

from a cocktail waitress

fifteen minutes before last call

that when it was too late for Him,

He carried my pain,

was crushed by my disfigurements,

beaten bloody by all the things wrong

in this broke-down world.

Grace was broken for me

so that He could be with me at every break of day.

I thanked this accidental saint and

filled with Grace

I walked out

knowing yet again that nothing,

absolutely nothing happens

by accident,

even when it’s a close call.

 

Little boy, jumping and playing in muddy puddles in the park, rubber ducks in the puddle

 

Grace that smells like Resurrection.

I caught a whiff of it this past week

in some unlikely places.

I smelled new life

in the ruins of addiction
when a brave young man –
literally shaking in his boots –
stood to get a “desire chip”
in a musty church basement.

Keep coming back,” I whispered
as I hugged him.
I recognized the unmistakable smell
of life breaking through
the boozy ether of death.

The perfume of awakening wafted
across another gathering in a church
bathed in stained glass sunlight.
I counted one, two, three, and then four
people camouflaged
amidst the Sunday faithful.
These four had individually, silently,
angrily, or shamefully vowed to
never again risk the cacophony of smells
that can sneak up on you at church, of all places.
But there they were reeking with the
fragrance of risk.
I recognized my favorite perfume
poured from the Easter flask
of beginning again.

I didn’t know that scents could be heard,but I listened to resurrection last week
in the aromatic words, “I forgive you;”
in the fierce fumes of, “I’m not giving up;”
and in the sweet hope emanating from,“I see who you are becoming.

Grace, this world smells like death
everywhere –
high school hallways,
the presidential twittersphere,
a car bomb in Baghdad,
budget cuts on Capitol Hill.

Grace, keep us from suffocating
in the odors of this world.
Thank you for scents of another world
where gravestones roll,
death dies,
and all things live.
Keep us from missing a single whiff of it.
Give us the abandon to roll around in it
until it gets in our pores
and we walk around this dead world
smelling like Resurrection.

 

Antigua, Guatemala - March 22, 2015: Local father & daughter decorate cross shaped carpet with floral pattern of dyed sawdust using cardboard stencils for Lent procession to walk over on cobblestone street in colonial town with most famous Holy Week celebrations in Latin America.

Grace in The Shack.

My son was five years old

when he saw The Lion King in the theatre

and fell in love with the art of film.

He could not contain his dismay when

a friend chided his enthusiasm,

Movies are bad. Our family doesn’t go to them,

because we are Christians.”

With innocent faith my son silenced

the scoffers from this sanctuary,

I think God would say, ‘Enjoy!’”

Today I sat in an almost empty theater

in the luxury of a mid-day pause,

and I lost myself in a world far away from

work and politics, laundry and to-do-lists.

As the story of sorrow, doubt, and injustice

began to unfold, I thought of the words

of the great storyteller J.R.R. Tolkien:

You can’t keep the gospel out of stories.”

I could use some good news.

I think we all could.

I saw the good news today in high definition technicolor.

The Christ figure said, “Follow me,” and the

kindness in his eyes made me want to get out of

my theater seat and follow him wherever he was going.

The invitation resonated in my heart more than anything

I’ve heard lately from pundits or presidents or preachers.

Papa, the character of God, cracked light-hearted jokes

and entered human suffering.

He told the truth we Christ-followers know,

Love always leaves a mark.”

The art of the story made all my scars

look a little beautiful to me.

One lover of art wrote,

All sorrows can be born if you put them into a story.”

No wonder God tells His-story in us.

The personified Wisdom of God in this movie

reduced me to the ground of my being.

I saw myself in the protagonist.

I’ve tried to judge the world and only found the

weight of judgment pressing into me.

When Wisdom asked, “Will you trust Love

to be the judge of good and evil, of heaven

and hell . . . of you?”

I could not answer.

Tears of surrender mixed with my popcorn,

and I could smell the salty fragrance of relief.

My favorite moment was when the character

of the Holy Spirit showed off his garden –

absurd with untamed greens and flowers of every color.

The spectacle of beauty was not nearly as

breathtaking as its meaning.

When the character – whose name means breath –

explained that the beautiful mess is a picture of us,

I felt the breath of good news fill

my heart weighted down with old news.

Maybe the message is true,

this world has a way of making us forget that

we were ever created to fly.

And maybe the story is even more true –

that God loves us, cares for us, dreams for us

in wilder ways than we can imagine.

Today I believe the good news

of Grace in The Shack

and the wise words of a five year-old,

I think God would say, ‘Enjoy!’”

©sharon hersh 2017 all rights reserved

Valentines day table place setting. Holidays background

Grace for Valentine’s Day

It was my freshman year of college

and the big event of the Winter was

the Valentine’s Day Banquet.

I couldn’t wait.

I imagined the dress I’d wear

(a maxi-dress true to the style of the 80’s),

and the red rose corsage on my wrist.

But as February 14 approached,

I had not been asked.

Much like modern-day Bachelorettes,

I was frantic with desire for the rose –

the symbol of belonging,

of being wanted.

A week before the big day

another college freshman followed

me out of the Dining Hall.

I went to college in the ancient days,

when everyone ate dinner at the same time –

in assigned seats in rows of tables.

There were four men and four women at each table.

Jim caught up with me and began to stammer,

“Will . . .um. . . I mean. . . um . . . will you go to the

Valentine’s Banquet with me?”

Jim was not the most desirable man on campus,

but apparently I was not the most desirable woman.

I didn’t know whether to feel relieved or reluctant,

but I said, “Yes.”

“Thank God!” Jim proclaimed.

“I’ve already asked every other girl at the table.”

Humiliation stings me as I recall that Valentine moment.

There are have been other February 14’s

that have not been Hallmark moments.

Lonely, broken, disappointing days

of not feeling chosen.

And then I think of the humility of Grace.

I ask everyone else at the table –

looking for Love in all the wrong ways and places –

while Grace waits patiently for me.

I am the one Grace was thinking of when

He hung stripped and naked to a tree

for the love of me.

I was the joy set before Grace

when He arose from the dead.

Grace stands at my door knocking,

waiting to choose me.

The scars on His hands and feet

are the symbols of my belonging

to Him.

Grace never gets tired of waiting,

and Grace is never ashamed that

He asked me first.

©sharon hersh all rights reserved 2017

 

A woman in a very depressed mood covers his face

Grace for narcissists.

We have a new picture by the word “narcissist”

in the Dictionary.

I’ve been outraged, amused, sad, and a little afraid

by the self-absorption, self-adulation, self-congratulation . . .

I’ve been shocked that an entire country has allowed

one person’s world to become their own.

And then my outrage turns to conviction,

my amusement to sorrow,

my sadness to self-awareness,

and my fear starts to creep toward Love.

I feel convicted about my judgments of others

who don’t share my perspective or laugh at my jokes.

Grace, keep me from putting down others

as a path to identity.

I feel sorrow that the Way, the Truth, and the Life

can become a small story,

and that doesn’t make my story bigger.

It makes it so much smaller, because

when it’s all about me –

my pain, my problems, my ideas, my agenda –

the fabric of our country unravels;

our sense of connectedness erodes –

leaving us in the hollow of inner emptiness.

I feel sad, because I know my own heart –

prone to wander toward some soapbox –

only to find myself sitting in the ruins

and dust of chasing the wind.

Grace nudges me, whispers to me, and moves me

away from fear with the pull of Love.

Grace relentlessly asks, “Now, do you believe this is not about you?”

It’s not about your president, your perspective, your plan . . .

It’s about Love.

And that means it’s about God, because God is Love –

not the sentimental, gushy love of Hallmark cards –

but the Love that stretches “the tent” to make room for more,

the Love that is not willing that any should perish,

the Love that wants all to be rescued.

Grace, fill us with the Love of God,

and when we get off track,

because of press conferences, protests . . . and people;

breathe new life into our discouraged hearts

so that we might know – heart and soul – that

Nevertheless, You persist.

©sharon hersh all rights reserved 2017

 

heart and blood on wooden background, medical symbol concept

 

 

 

 

Grace for the desperate parent.

I’m awake at 4:00 a.m. filled with stories of parents desperate for their children.

Children who are depressed, who are addicts, who are afraid, who are filled with themselves, who are lost in a maze that seems to thick for them to ever find their way.

I don’t know what to tell these parents (so much like me) – if they should turn right or left just stand still.

Grace assures me, “I am the Way, so you don’t have to be.”

I’m not brave enough to enter this pain, all too familiar and close to home.

Grace knows. He reminds me of the astonishing truth, “Act brave, and you will become brave.”

That truth feels small when life and death or even Algebra and learning to drive are at stake.

Grace tells me the inexplicable mystery that He is the only Truth I need to know, so I don’t need the answers.

I’m praying for desperate parents to hold on, to feel steady,to believe that the Light always pushes through the dark.

It’s hard to believe at 4:00 a.m. in the morning. It’s still dark.

And this year it has seemed especially dark.

I have seen the death of children lost in the maze, I have smelled the rot of booze on the breath of those filled with so much promise.

I have seen the vacant eyes of depression in those who cannot even look for hope anymore.

Grace quiets my storming heart, “I am the only Life, so you don’t have to be.”

And then He draws me close, promising there is no age limit to His invitation, “Let the children come to me . . . for to such belongs the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 19:14).
© sharon hersh 2016 all rights reserved

Empty swing in nature, blurred green background

January Grace.

I used to believe January was for

new resolutions,

until I broke a few before February.

Still Newness haunts me in this month.

A new year.

A new president.

A new budget.

A new diet.

An old me,

who has lived too many Januarys

not to know

that in shiny new moments,

I take me with me.

In hours of promises kept,

I feel new on the outside,

but I’m still me on in the inside.

In months of exhausting work,

the possibility of new hides

around the next corner.

The January longings for new

stir old longings for Home . . . .

for a place where time will be no more,

where budgets and diets,

principalities and powers,

promises kept and broken,

will all be old shadows

eclipsed by the Substance

of Grace.

Dear God,

whose name is Grace,

remind me

when the news reports threaten

the end of insurance,

the treachery of Russians,

and injustice to immigrants

that I am not Home.

When politicians promise

new ideas, new leaders,

and new deals

that I am made for a country

whose builder and maker is Grace.

And when my life is haunted by old –

old struggles, old failures, old me –

that You are making me new.

Give me Grace to surrender

every moment of

tired, poor, yearnings to breathe free.

Give me faith to believe those surrendered

Moments become gold bricks paving

a new path in the Eternal City.

Give me January hope

that every surrendered moment

fits perfectly in the new place

You are preparing for me,

Grace, haunt me with new

that fills me with the joy of

knowing I am in the wrong place.

Grace me in between calendar months,

Inaugural parades, and all the starts

and stops of this new year

with Your promise

that I am not Home yet.

©sharon hersh all rights reserved 2017

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