Below the Cross

I wrote this while reflecting on Christ’s sacrifice on Good Friday and His incredible strength and courage in the face of such pain and evil. By His grace, that strength is in us as well.

God bless

“Below the Cross”
 
for a mere moment
my eyes fall shut on the crowds below.
shouts and jeers rush into the darkness,
a surge of oily hatred.
I rally and force my bruised eyelids
back open and see a sea of enemies
that I love,
for whom I hang by
bloody wrists pinned to wood
by long, black nails.
 
they shove sponges of vinegar into
my parched mouth and bid me
save myself.
but oh, my little lost ones, I did not come
to save myself.
I cannot come down.
My mission looks bleak in the face of
hundreds of sharp eyes glaring from
the ground of the Skull.
i have walked among these people, healed
their sick, held their children, taught
their hearts truth,
but darkness stands tall and gruesome in this
late hour.
 
sagging, choking on my own weight and
the burdens one by one mounting on top
of my whipped shoulders with every call of
Crucify him I
keep my eyes open and
I tell you, children, though you cannot see
in the black hell you have summoned here,
I tell you I am stronger
than your malice and your fear.
for in losing all I have, I gain your freedom
by the name of grace abundant.
 
as you hear my dying cries, listen,
for I am crying that I love you.
Though in darkness you see me leave today
I will be back for you,
my little ones
at the foot of my cross.
 
 
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Below the Cross by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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

this circle
             cocoons around me to help me 
         change, grow, become
               stronger. 
 
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
alone
          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
                                           reach.
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
                                tiger.
 
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.

Travel by Night

Hi everyone,
 
Good times or bad, it seems like an obstacle always suddenly appears to stop us in our tracks and go a different, unexpected way. Whatever detours we face, we can choose to handle them with faith and trust in God. In Second Corinthians chapter 12, Paul faces an obstacle inside himself, the “thorn” in his flesh. Though God won’t take it from him, He tells Paul in verse 9, “My grace is sufficient for you.” I don’t believe God puts problems in our way. Instead, from this Scripture I read that when troubles attack, He gives us the tools, the grace, to get through what we face step by step. When we rely on that grace, it transforms us: Paul writes, “for whenever I am weak, then I am strong” (verse 10).
 
God bless
 

“Travel by Night”
 
been traveling by night.
    exhaustion’s got me in a vise,
    squeezing yawns out of me.
would be home by now, 
    but I missed my exit and kept on
    going.
 
been looking for another way,
   but the last chance I got
   is two hundred yards ahead 
   tied up in red and blue warnings lights.
Orange cones like
      impassible mountains
      force me off into unknown
      territory in the dark.
 
been winding on this detour and
     sinking deeper into teeth-grinding
     confusion.
why the red, blue, and orange
    when I needed a clear exit?
but there’s no roadmap to that
   answer.
 
been exploring for hours now,
    finding an odd, shaky kind of calm
    in just moving forward.
my car’s bright eyes show me
   some more of the road:
there is a turn 
   up ahead.

 
 

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

My Name Means Strong

Hi everyone,
 
I wrote this poem to reflect on how God has given me strength in my faith through His Holy Spirit, and how that strength remains with me even when I or my circumstances change. My middle name, Briana, means “strong,” and so I explored how this name and its meaning are part of me in my life and faith journey. God offers strength to all of us, whatever our names, so we can stand firm through all our hard times.
 
(The mustard seed reference comes from Matthew 13:31-31. The well reference is from John 4:4-26)
God bless
 

“My Name Means Strong”
Dedicated to my parents, who named me and taught me real strength
 
my name means strong.
 
  I face an uncertain answer and
   a road scuffed with question marks.
   I do not turn away.
my name means strong.
 
    it was given to me before I understood it,
   when my legs didn’t walk yet and
       my eyes were weak and new.
    it will be mine when I fall more than I stand
        and blindness dims my sight.
my name means strong.
 
     it was set like a precious stone 
        in the middle of three names,
    placed firmly at the core.
my name means strong.
 
    days come when I double over
 and cry.
     days come when I 
  stare, hopeless, at the dawn.
     days come when other arms
         carry me home.
my name means strong.
 
    it does not change, for it is
      watered by a deep well and
   grown from the stuff of
        mustard seeds.
my name means strong.
 
     failure cannot shake it,
  losses cannot take it,
     burdens cannot break it.
my name means strong,
     and I am 
                      Briana, Strong.

 
 
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My Name Means Strong by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Still

Hi everyone,
 
This poem was inspired by the different connotations of the word “still.” When exploring those meanings, I focused on the stillness I think of in Psalm 23 (“He leads me beside still waters”) and the enduring hope I saw in cancer survivors and affected families of those lost to cancer during my experience at Relay for Life (a fundraiser walk for cancer research). One of the laps we walked was after dark, during which we walked in silence “toward a cure” next to luminarias for survivors and the people who have died because of this disease. In this poem, stillness is strength and peace, which we find in the One who told us, “Be still, and know I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
 
Thanks to Rev. Mary Haggard, who gave me the idea for this poem.
 
God bless
 
“Still”
 
dawn hovers, tiptoeing on the edge
of cool waters, its one eye
watching dreamers hang onto sleep.
the world hovers, not breathing,
caught in the gray light like
an old photograph.
still.
 
candles glow by the dark path,
burning onward while quiet feet
step beside their light: feet
moving toward a new future, heedless of
midnight’s clutches, carrying each candle flame
forward,
still hoping.
 
in dawn’s soft air,
you can touch the peace that calms,
the peace that carries.
no matter how much time passes,
if you lift your eyes
it is there, strong.
 
 
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Still 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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Prayer for those in pain by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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