A poem of reflection and hope for God at work in my life.
God bless
In the past, I found it in a circle of arms
of a changing family,
in clasped hands
of frightened sisters,
in silent standing
with the grieving,
in lung-bursting laughter
with the joyful,
in whispered prayer
in the hurricane hours.
Now, I keep finding it
in unbreakable words and
unshakable truths,
when I open my eyes to
storms or sunrises,
in the firm, steady presence
of soul-bound friends and kin.
Tomorrow, I will find it
in my days, years, breaths, and tears,
in sky and in flight.
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Love by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Grief prayer

For the many people I know who have recently lost loved ones and for the many in mourning who I do not know.
God bless

“Grief prayer”
Today, for you who grieve a passing
       or a passing soon to come,
I pray that the comfort of God
    be with you, nestled around your aching heart:
        an embrace and a whisper that beckons memory
     of joys, lessons, wisdom,
         bright eyes, loud laughter, and precious time.
May these final moments be richly filled with 
      hands held, tears shed,
         and songs sung.
  May there be arms around
      your shaking shoulders.
I pray you will speak, hear, and cherish
   both the vulnerable words and the brave words,
        trembling and true: 
At this passing of life, stand still. Feel
      the wings of a beloved soul
           brush you on its way by.

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Grief prayer by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Circle of Sisters

This poem was written for a group of women who meet in faithful fellowship, support, and love for each other and is also a tribute to the many women of the faith who have built up, reached out, and encouraged so many in their spiritual journeys.

God bless

“Circle of Sisters”
       standing in a city, 
              forest, river, 
                    small town, desert.
       weakness invades my bones.
a circle 
      of friends, 
         healing hearts, 
     warm smiles
           wraps around me when i think i am about to

this circle
             cocoons around me to help me 
         change, grow, become
i am pulled in
        to the circle.
to my right and left are 
         women of faith, anchors and believers,
and at their sides are more 
           faithful pilgrims holding hands
     in prayers and love.
circles are easy to wrap around 
         someone in the middle, 
like one giant embrace.
         circles spiral into existence 
             around the ones who stand
          strengthen the newcomer, 
      and then expand like rising dough,
making room for another to stand 
          at the right or left of a sister 
              who needs a new hand to hold.

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Circle of Sisters by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Up on the Shelf

Hi everyone,

A message of courage for anyone who needs it right now. Philippians 4:13: I can do all things in Christ who gives me strength.

God bless

“Up on the Shelf”
my courage sits quiet
   up on a shelf out of
it crouches inside a
    glass jar like a miniature red tiger
    on display, baring teeth
 it can’t use.
my arms aren’t long enough
      to reach that courage.
my hands shake too much
      to open the lid.
I sit on the floor and stare
     up at the restless
now more than ever 
    I need the dusty bravery
put away with too many 
old forgotten treasures,
                     so I turn to You.
You lift me up so I can reach
         that gleaming prize You gave me
       years and years ago,
                  that I lost on the top shelf.
I pick up the jar, cradle it.
You put Your big hands over mine:
            Let’s open it.
With Your strength
I lay new claim
       to the fire 
You lit inside my soul. 

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Up on the Shelf by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Hi everyone,
This poem has been in the works since the mission trip I went on last year to Crisfield, Maryland to clean up from hurricane damage. It describes one of the most powerful moments for me on this trip. It was on Palm Sunday at Asbury United Methodist Church, when the entire congregation gave an overwhelming response to their pastor’s prayer request. I tried to capture that moment here.
God bless
a single prayer request echoes over
the microphone at the front of the sanctuary,
and the congregation moves.
I stare, moved without moving,
a mere visitor in the pews today
as these storm-battered people
rise from their seats and wrap around
their pastor, who gives them
direction and prayers week after week and now
stands before them speechless,
shadowed by uncontrollable
circumstance. Hands reach out
to touch him and his ailing wife in an interlocking
wall of hands on shoulders,
firm and sure as a seawall standing fast
against the hurricane. Clustered together
in matching purple and white mission trip t-shirts,
we visitors watch this cloud of witnesses live the line from the old hymn
we wear on our backs today:
When the storms of life are raging, stand by me.
Acknowledgment: Request for a “cloud of witnesses” poem from Wesley Campus Ministry bible study group at University of Delaware. Hymn reference from United Methodist Hymnal, text also available here: Tindley, Charles Albert. “512. Stand by Me.” Accessed March 21, 2014.
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Seawall by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Carpenter’s Hands

Hi everyone,
Happy Easter! I recently returned from a week-long mission trip to Crisfield, Maryland where I worked with a wonderful, inspired team to help with relief from Hurricane Sandy. The damage in Crisfield is extensive, but in a week we were able to make a big difference fixing homes and giving many weary people new hope to press on.
This poem is a reflection on the work we did in Crisfield and is also inspired by the sermon by Pastor Todd Hurley at Asbury United Methodist Church, where we went for Palm Sunday service. He preached about our hands and how we should think about what kind of work they ought to be doing and how often they hold the Bible to read.
The poem was also inspired by our nightly devotionals. No matter how the day at the worksites had gone, we always took the time to share how we saw God that day in each other, in our environment, or in the people we met – we never ran out of ways that we saw Him working.
God bless!

“Carpenter’s Hands”
The raging storm ebbed away
months ago now.
Down along the shore
you see
buildings missing walls, floors, windows
sitting and waiting in marshy yards
as the cold winds of March
try to rattle their last strength out of them.
     you see
     wounded homes. 
but it is not all there is to see,
     for we see with new eyes
        opened by God’s Spirit in us,
    and amidst the aftermath
we see
hands gripping hammers, saws, screwdrivers 
hands lifting walls back into place
hands pounding in nails, fitting floors,
    wiping soot-streaked walls white,
    clearing out the broken for the new
hands writing cards to those who feel forgotten
hands steadying those shaken by the storm 
hands that hold and hands that are held.
now look even closer
you will see
the touch of a gentle, wise carpenter
guiding each working hand
to build as He did.

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Carpenter’s Hands by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Shaking Hands

Hi everyone,
This is a poem I’ve shared before. It was inspired by a Maundy Thursday service at my church one year. Maundy Thursday is the night that Jesus held the first Communion, and it was also the night he was betrayed and taken away for trial and, later, death on the cross.
The service was a wonderful time for reflection on the night Jesus made a new covenant and a deep, everlasting promise to us—that He would sacrifice all to save us for love. This poem reflects on the communion we had at church that night, where members of the church acted out the roles of the disciples and Jesus at the Last Supper.
God bless!


“Shaking Hands”
hours before You will
    be cut off
brutally from breathing in 
   and out,
You sit at the head 
of a table surrounded by friends,
   a seed of darkness tucked 
      inside one of their hearts.
hours before the ultimate
   test, moment, fear,
You lift bread and wine.
i watch this moment
   reenacted in a church service
tonight. my eyes fix themselves
on the man blessing the wine
   and cup, playing Your role.
his hands shake as
  he pours the wine from pitcher
    to cup. two thousand years ago
did Your hands shake? did You
  struggle to swallow with a dry 
     mouth? take a deep breath
before You turned to Judas 
  and told him to do what he must?
before You beckoned the storm
    to come? 
as this last meal is served 
   for us this night, i watch not
the faces, but the hands 
    of the men and women acting
       as the twelve, the hands
    of the children and elders
college- and middle-aged 
coming to reach out for that
    taste of mercy.
i see dry hands, wrinkled hands, 
   big, small, young, old 
hands curled with arthritis, 
    black, white, brown, red, yellow
willing hands, reluctant hands, curious hands,
    and above all linked and growing hands—
whether those hands be growing
   older and wiser or tougher and rougher,
  more gentler or more soft,
these are hands that change, 
   hands that reach, teach, create
       and hold on.
if Your hands shook, then all the more
   do ours, and i know all the more
You still them, grasp them,
   place the bread of grace
      and courage and hope
into our many palms,
         take and eat,
      take and drink,
          live and be
            children of this table,
                   of my heart.  

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Shaking Hands by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.