Hello all,
Here is an end of the year poem inspired by the Longwood Gardens Christmas Lights event. They decorate the entire, huge garden with Christmas lights, and thousands of people come to see them. It reminds me of how creativity and beauty can bring us all together. I want to think of that as a new year comes.
God bless
We came to see the lights together.
They dance light-footed on branches of winter trees.
They wrap and spiral and bind our eyes to their beauty.
Excitement grips us. Each couple, family, and lone walker
jostles, pushes, squeezes, shouts, laughs, cries, stops, and stares
in the tour in the dark.
It seems we are as many in this crowd
as there are lights in the garden.
We walk beside a thousand faces
but do not know their names.
They are the kind of family you know only for a brief, shared moment of wonder.
Now we walk the night road home.
We make no sound: awe is our shared language.
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Listen by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Summer Night Prayer

Hi everyone,
This poem is a reflection I wrote a couple years ago. God listens to our prayers no matter our stages of life and ability, and His Words back to us help us grow as His children.
God bless

“Summer Night Prayer”
deep in summer dreams buzzing
       with cicadas and lawnmowers
              i murmur midnight prayers. what
amazes me and confounds me
      is the listening ear i find taking in
             each long list of worries, questions,
                            requests, and hopes. what makes 
me lie still as leaves hanging in humid
       noon sunshine is that silent reassurance
            that i’ve been heard and that since 
        my first wailing breath i’ve 
    been cherished close by family
here around me and up above. in clouds
        drifting over the moon, You’re up there
               cupping Your great ear
                  to hear my little voice.
back when i only knew words in patterns
        and rhymes, You listened. now, with my
              rambling prayers You
still listen, offer a guiding hand and a
        gentle voice in reply, a voice i hear
tonight amidst the buzzing of summer. it’s 
        delicate but deep with life and love
             and power beyond vast starry skies and imagination.
it says simple things to me, for a child’s ears,
        but simple things are wise and change souls.
                   if i set aside doubt for a minute, set aside
          scientific rationale and if onlys and what ifs,
i can feel a seed in my heart split open
         to sprout a shoot of faith. if i listen, rain falls
                      gently on me and the shoot grows leaves 
and branches. branches are beautiful because
              they reach—over and down and up in all
                     directions. Your Word is 
air around me, a fine cool mist, and nourishing
       sunlight for the faith
                   growing in me.

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Summer Night Prayer by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


Hi everyone,
Everybody at some point wonders: Is there a God? I know I have. The answers I’ve found to that question are often simple—and one of them that strikes me again and again is the incredibly intricacy of nature itself. From the stars to the mystery of the human body, there’s a clear mark of thoughtful purpose behind it all. I see God’s love in how complex we are and how amazing our world is. It’s a silent message to us that He is there, and He loves what He made deeply.
God bless

sometimes when I stumble
      it is Your creation that speaks the loudest
   to bring me back.
maybe the rocks don’t cry out,
           but they sing in the sunset 
                 over the mountains, and stars by the millions 
        peer down at me from an inky sky. summer leaves 
  with dazzling shades of green stretch for the clouds,
          and outside my window tiny brown birds fly on delicate wings—
  all too wonderful to be nothing 
                                                 but chance.
and then humanity,
          complex down to our DNA, with lungs full of songs
    and minds spilling over with stories, questions and dreams, 
             all too wonderful to be nothing
                                                 but chance.
these are the simple silent messages
          I admire the most, 
  Your world that speaks these words from You:
            “I made this with Love,
                  from the faraway star
            to your own hands
                        reaching out in wonder.
              My little one in this vast, vast world,
          know that I am reaching back
                in just as much wonder
          for you.” 

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

Songs in These Shells

Hi everyone,
I have shared this poem before, it seems like it would be a good one to share again after the tragedy in Philadelphia this week. This poem is for those who are mourning, hurting, and asking why. In your storms of life, God still sends messages of hope and stands by you through every difficult day. We sometimes have to listen closely to hear those messages, and sometimes we need someone else to point them out to us, but they are there, sometimes in the most unexpected places.
God bless

“Songs in These Shells”
i am sitting on a sandy black
shore lashed by winter storms.
i am like a pebble that escaped
a riptide only to be lost 
in a tumble of rough rocks 
                                    and sand.
this shore in the summertime
was all glorious golden yellows
and turquoise dream-away blues
above and beyond,
but this shore is shadowed now
by an abrupt storm i never
saw coming, never
                                   was ready for.
the gold sand is stripped away,
the blue waters have turned
dark and wild. waves like thieves
take the friends and family in those
cherished sunny photos
and hurl them out to sea beyond
my reach. and i watch them leave,
i am hollow from yelling my pain
into the wind and wishing it to go
away, but it comes back on a sea breeze
and whispers in my raw ears. 
the storm grinds me into the sand 
like heavy tires over rocks in the mud—
                                   pounding, rolling, endless.
i look down the gray-black beach
and see dots everywhere.
when i look closer i see shells—
whole shells, spiral shells, broken shells.
i pick one up, hold it to my ear.
humming softly is a song from across
the distance of the waves.  a message
from where my lost ones are:
be at peace, know we’re safe, know
                                   we love you, know we love you…
the shell in my hand is cracked, but 
it still sings when i hold it close to listen.
i would have missed this beautiful sound 
if the storm hadn’t washed this shell
onto shore. it doesn’t replace
the people missing from the photos,
but it promises me there are other shores
waiting, other photo albums to fill,
and waiting arms on the other side
                                    of this sea.
i stand up, face the wind, and watch
the horizon. there are storms on these waters,
but there are also songs in these shells.

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Songs in These Shells by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

For the girl who was told she couldn’t pray in a forest

Sorry it’s been a while, everyone. This is a poem I wrote a while back and have shared before. This poem came about from talking to a friend of mine once. She had been told she couldn’t pray in a forest, only inside in a place like a church. I don’t think God limits Himself to buildings, not when the Bible tells us how He created us in a garden and met Moses and His own Son on mountaintops. This is a three part poem for people who have trouble feeling like they’re being heard by God and need to know He wants to and does indeed listen.
God bless!

(P.s. I refer to Romans 8:38-39 in this poem (the letter) – (NIV) “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels not demons, neither the present nor the future, not any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”

"For the girl who was told she couldn’t pray in a forest"
this is for the girl who was told
            she couldn’t pray in a forest.
in simple words in a letter a long time ago
a man wrote a great truth that
nothing in the world, nothing in our imaginations,
            can take us away from God.
we are connected by His love
linked forever to His grace,
            a lifeline that cannot be broken.
so in the soft murmurs of a forest
             how can He not be heard
             and how can He not hear?
if He created the trees of the forest,
            their broad leaves and narrow needles, 
            the sweet smell of old leaves and fresh berries,
            the cool shade and the warm glade,
                        then can’t He meet you there in that garden?
this is for the children of God 
           who are afraid to lift their voices too loudly,
who are afraid to be heard, who have been told too many times
           their prayers and thoughts aren’t worth enough
                       to be of any concern to God.
your words don’t have to be beautiful or elegant or perfect.
            a parent praises a child’s first words, 
            and one who loves the child never stops listening
            when those words become sentences, become questions,
            become who they are struggling to explain in sounds
                        someone else can understand.
don’t be afraid to try and speak, don’t fear rock cold judgment 
            when what awaits you is warm open arms 
            and a ready ear for whatever words you say.
every whisper and worry and hope
            He’s waiting to hear, however you say them,
            wherever you say them.
i walk in a forest today and sing aloud to heaven.
            Listen closely—
            the forest is singing back His reply

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For the girl who was told she couldn’t pray in a forest by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.