Broken branches

It is heartbreaking how so many of our parents and grandparents have lost themselves to age. Sometimes we feel that we cannot reach them anymore. Perhaps these are the times we must let the Spirit intervene when our groans are too deep for words (Romans 8:26).

God bless.

“Broken branches”

Beyond the miles of a failing mind
you wait with a sun-tanned hand on the telephone.
On partly-cloudy days
you break through the forecast.
The voice of an oak comes through the line.
You have long, deep roots, but the branches are broken
and the leaves fall into a pile of memories I collect for you
and hold in my library.
When you need your stories I will pull them off the shelves,
leaf through to the right page, and let loose the perfect, musty scent
of knowledge printed long ago.

You were the arms that carried me,
and the burden that I carry.

I have asked God why, but He does not respond.
There is no why. I must ask a new question.
I hear you fall again, another branch lost to the wind.
On my knees gathering wood and leaves, I am beneath
what once sheltered me but the canopy is bare.
You summer life is gone, but mine is golden yet,
and I will pray for you in winter as you prayed for me in spring.

God who listens, God who speaks, hear our pain of tumbling leaves.
Whisper across the gap of time and words between us,
and connect our hearts with Spirit.

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


Empty Walls

Parting hurts. Whether it is parting from the ones we love because they’re moving to a new place or moving to the next life, we look for hope. I believe one of the greatest things the Holy Spirit does is unify us. It can pull us together in community, empower us in prayer, and connect us to people who’ve passed. As I go through partings in my own life, I take comfort in God’s Spirit and great gift to us.
God bless
“Empty Walls”
For Gram and Duncan
The walls are empty again,
pictures gone like glass in broken windows.
I stand in the bare hallway and ask what we are both wondering:
How did we get here, where these journeys take us so far apart,
where we say farewell
and think of what pictures are missing on our walls?
We count the days left between us.
Despite the ache of loss with each passing moment,
we wear brave faces and speak strong words
because we believe in a core we share beyond miles
and lifetimes. That core is Spirit.
Whether we feel it the same,
it holds us when we cannot see each other
with a firm but tender grip.
I am in an empty hallway.
You will collect your stories in golden-sand frames
and I will capture mine in rainy silver.
When the days apart have been counted,
we will talk over new pictures together in reunion’s radiant joy.
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Empty Walls by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Without words

This is a poem for when we don’t know what to pray, when the hurt is too much or we feel helpless.
God bless
“Without words”
I am without words for this moment.
They say the Spirit speaks for us at times like these,
and I wonder what it would say.
Maybe it is a poet: God, the terror confines him,
blinds him, binds him. Slip peace
onto the blisters of the unknown tomorrows
and soothe the heart that grieves for the easy days past
Maybe it is a chanting priest: Holy God, give peace. Holy God, give peace.
Holy God, give peace.

Maybe the Spirit sings, and maybe it clamors.
Maybe it shouts, maybe it whispers.
Maybe all it says is my name,
and God listens.
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Without words by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Wings of the Spirit

When we can’t be with the ones we love, in good times and bad, I believe God connects us with His Spirit in powerful ways.
God bless

“Wings of the Spirit”
despite the years I could run down the street
    to find you, turn a corner and embrace you, now,
when it seems to matter most,
my feet can’t cross
     the miles and my hands can’t 
reach your face. 
Ground and water lie between, and we are
       connected by fragile 
               phone lines like threads of tinsel
       laying over dark evergreen. 
Bridging the wound of
            distance now is heaven’s gift of spirit. I swear to you
                that my soul knows wind and sky by name and has flown 
      your way to watch over you, wrap around you,
and whisper peace to you. Turn the corner in your heart
        and I am there.

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Wings of the Spirit by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Changes are always rolling our way. Some we know about, some we don’t. After Jesus had gone, the disciples waited for the promised coming of the Holy Spirit, God’s presence and power with them for all the times to come. They had gone through a lot of changes, and more were to come, but rather than ignoring or hiding from these changes, I noticed that they spent time praying (see Acts 1:12 – 2). This poem is about following the disciples’ example to pray about change and seek ways we can be transformed positively by it, as they were by the Holy Spirit when it arrived in wind and fire.
God bless
we wait in the shadow
of the upper room.
We have been told that change
is coming again. I duck my head
and hold my breath.
pages from the past tell of
men who waited for change
in the upper room, but they
did not neglect the air they
needed. They
I hear it coming now, a bellow
to rattle the fragile and the new
stones I assembled in the wake
of the last blow. At last I look up and
It is here, a crash into my heart—
a shifting, a whirling, a pain.
I am not ready, but I am open now
to God’s Spirit, for when I learned to
breathe prayer in the waiting, I also learned
to speak in the wind. Standing in the blowing change,
I become a tongue of fire
and voice.
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Breathe by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Wings Will Come: Journey – Part 3 “Origami wings”

When my dad accepted a new job offer across the country last year, I learned to celebrate the journey even though I wasn’t the one embarking on it. It isn’t easy to do, but whether you are watching a loved one move, a child go to college, or parting ways for the final journey of all, I believe that in the Spirit’s grace and wisdom, we can find the strength to say our farewells with hope and love.
In this third poem from my collection “Wings Will Come: Journey,” I reflected on the day that my dad took his leap of faith, starting a whirlwind of events that I’ll continue to share next week with the fourth poem in the collection.
God bless

“Origami wings”
To Dad
the job offer is an origami crane
that can’t move,
a shelf ornament made in dreaming.
then, echoing through cool spring
air, I hear 
the wings move.
      you move.
I sit still, suddenly 
the shelf-sitter,
fragile as rice paper while you
take to the air and shake off
the dust.
shock flattens me.
I am a paper leaf, 
blank and white.
I want to fly with you,
I want to stay, want you
to stay,
but your wings are finally
moving and right now life
is what matters.
so I muster a breath of air
to lift you off:
Dad, that’s great!  
but weighing me down is
Daddy, I will miss you.

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

unexpected sister

Hi everyone,
This poem is about reaching out to others in need, whether we know them or not. It’s important to let the Holy Spirit guide us to give someone the words they need to hear or show them the kindness they need to see to keep going and move toward healing.
God bless!

“unexpected sister”
She sits
one seat next to me in church.
she’s not from here, but smiles in spite of
the whirl of English she can’t always understand.
she’s from far, far south in a country with a language
I have no idea how to speak,
but she knows the prayers, sings the songs,
closes her eyes in the music and lifts up her hands
reaching up for our God who knows no boundary
no country line, no language barrier.
When we pray, she curls over like an autumn leaf.
I have my eyes closed, but I hear she is crying.
I do not know her language,
I do not know her story,
but in that moment, the Spirit makes us
unexpected sisters
and I can offer her a comforting hug.
silent, no words, just the touch
of a person who cares.
I still do not know her story behind her tears.
I do not need to.
In that moment, all that was needed
was the comfort of family,
that quiet presence beside us
to show us we’re not alone.
Someday I may be the one
sitting there lost and fragile
and full of tears,
but I am not afraid of being alone.
I trust in the God who sends
unexpected sister or brothers
to let us know His family
is all around.
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unexpected sister by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.