Nigh

Hello everyone,
 
Continuing my theme of previously shared poems, this poem is one that was written on request from Rev. David Palmer at Newark United Methodist Church. His sermon on John 6:16-21 inspired the words.
 
God bless
 
“Nigh”
John 6:16-21
 
I ride choppy water
long into the night
to fish for a truth,
to seek out the light.
The storm finds me first;
I’ve got nowhere to go.
Doubts toss me aside
from all that I know.
My boat floats away,
my fears crowd and call.
I’m alone on the sea
gripped in a squall.
The shore is far gone,
I’m not sure what to do,
but in these dark moments
that’s when I see You.
Across choppy waters
You walk into the night,
fishing me out
and bringing Your light.
I call out to You
and You answer my cry.
Though I’m here in dark waters
I know that You’re nigh.
   
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Nigh by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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Seawall

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
 
“Seawall”
 
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.” Hymnary.org. http://www.hymnary.org/hymn/UMH/512. 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.

Faith

Hi everyone,
 
In this poem, I tried to put into words what I feel about faith. It is a beautifully complex part of my life that continues to challenge and shape me every day. May faith challenge and change you as well.
 
God bless
 

“Faith”
 
it’s burrowing snugly under my grandmother’s quilted
   blankets in a howling winter storm and it is
listening to the crescendo of an orchestra
     resounding with soaring melody out of every
         mouth and vibrating instrument.
it’s clinging to a cliff face with nails
       dug deep in the rock,
  as the wind pushes and pulls me,
    and it is the precious whisper
        of a child saying:
    can you see it?
it’s seeing the world from a mountaintop
   with eyes stretched wide open
      to seize every detail of the ancient
    stones and intricate, knotted trees,
and it is standing on that same mountaintop 
   to soak in the blurry landscapes
     still too far away to grasp,
  trusting that up close each leaf, blossom, 
      creature, path, and creek 
   will dazzle you with all the detail of a 
        stained glass window
      when you walk through those faraway lands
           someday soon.

 
Acknowledgment to Barbara Baker Scira, who provided feedback on this poem.
 
 
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Faith by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Prayer for those in pain

Hi everyone,
 
This poem is in response to the terrible shooting at the Columbia Mall in Maryland today. Prayers for everyone involved in this awful event and for all who are grieving from any loss – whatever the cause.
 
God bless
 
“Prayer for those in pain”
 
for the senseless unbearable pain
freshly laid on your heart in
a red coat of agony,
I pray for God to send you
someone to lean on,
weep alongside you,
listen to you with love, and
hold you in these new, frightening
empty nights and days.
 
I pray for strength
in the people around you
to hold you up when your legs give way
and for them to have gentle hands
to cradle your broken soul.
 
I pray that amidst this grief
you know that supporting you,
your loved ones, and your lost ones
with boundless strength and love
are arms that never let go,
even though you may not see them
or feel them in this numbing storm.
 
 
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Fortify Me

Hi everyone,
 
Sometimes we can feel under attack from fear, doubt, difficult situations, loss, and pain. We feel like we’ve lost our spiritual footing. In these times, we need to not live by our limits, but by God’s possibilities and power. He can fortify us to withstand storms and then lead us into a faith we can live strong every day. The first step is to call out to Him.
 
God bless
 
“Fortify Me”
 
Fortify me.
I am quaking inside
and feel shaken by questions,
tossed about by endless fears.
I need protection, inside and out.
So fortify me, God.
 
Strengthen me.
I want to stand in the hurricanes
and trust to the Rock beneath my feet.
I never want to leave Your side.
So strengthen me, God.
 
Lead me.
I want to follow,
I want to believe,
I want to run in freedom
and never, ever look back.
So lead me, God.
 
 
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Fortify Me 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,
                                                   alone. 
 
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.

Float

Hi everyone,
 
This new poem was inspired during my mission trip to Crisfield, Maryland, which I talked about in the previous post. Our theme was storms, and one day we focused on the Noah story in Genesis. The devotional that day reminded me that Noah had to put a lot of trust in God and His design of the ark to survive the flood that destroyed the earth. This is a lesson for us, too, in our own difficult times.
 
God bless!

 
“Float”
 

i need to
    float
      for a while.
i need to lay on my back
   and trust the water
      to hold me up
   like a cupped palm
      under a flower petal.
 
i need to stand on
     an ark
  built sturdy according to
     God’s direction.
i need to stand on the deck,
   stare out at the flood
and wait for the dove
     to return with an olive branch
  of hope:
     wait, float, pray
  in the silence over the flood.
 
i need to trust
    for a while
that when the waters recede
   there’s dry ground beneath,
that there’s life waiting to grow,
   that there’s more journey to go.
 
i cannot learn to trust and walk
    when the ground is easy to see.
i must learn when i’m floating above
   the storms of the raging sea.

 
Acknowledgment to the following devotional and the awesome people on the mission trip who assembled the great collection of readings for the week!
 
Lessons From Noah’s Ark. eDevotions.org. http://www.edevotions.org/docs/noahsark.html. Published January 9, 2000. Accessed April 16, 2013.
 
 
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Float by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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