Posts Categorized: poetry

Inked Hope

Inked Hope: Self Harm

Inked hope everywhere I could. Scrawled it
on bathroom stalls. Doodled, in
the margins of homework. Sketched
fragile bird, freed from captor’s
cage on my binder. Etched freedom
in bright red ink on my arm.

But whether cage or page, freedom wasn’t
tangible. It was a temporary ink, tattooed on
broken flesh. I was chained to a demon
past that roared and laughed
at all attempts to write a new story.

You took the pen from my hand, rewrote
my story with your love. Inked,
on your own wrists, side, and feet. No more
ink left. My well drained dry of any possible sacrifice.

You inked forgiven into my soul and
hope became firmly impressed into my heart.

Turning My Page: How God Inked Hope Through Jesus

Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.

Mark 5:5, ESV

I attempted to ink hope into my life in a multitude of ways. Abused, I tried desperately to take control of my circumstances through self-harm. So hard to express pain, when I didn’t have words for the emotional, physical, and spiritual wounds I experienced. There is simply something I needed that this world could not give me.

Inked HOpe
You Gave Me Freedom

Like the man who cut himself and cried out, nothing anyone has done has brought me relief, and then I saw him. Getting out of the boat, and something in my spirit stirred in recognition. Is this the one everyone talks about? The one who heals the sick and casts out demons. Maybe, just maybe he can ink something different into my soul. Hope. Oh, hope that will finally bring relief…

From the moment I met Jesus, twenty-four years ago, my self-harm ended. The yanking out of hair, the cutting, the anorexia, and the drinking. I have no other reason or explanation to give you, but a real tangible encounter with Jesus. It started with Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen” (NIV). God showed me what that verse meant through tangible provision.

I still feel pain, but I no longer want to escape what I feel, because Jesus has written something different in my life. He wrote hope, faith, and love into my soul, and nothing I experience in this life will ever compare to God’s love in my life.

Turning Your Page: Where to Find Hope

Self-harm can become addictive and therefore very difficult to break. It relieves for a moment the pain you cannot express. You are not alone, and if we are honest, there are many that attempt self-harm in small and big ways. Look for the transforming love of Jesus. His truth about your identity is etched on a cross. You were worth dying for and your pain is not the end of his story for you.

Here is an excellent resource to begin connecting with a God who cares for you and your suffering:

Help For Cutters and Others Who Self-Injure in Some Way

depression aired out

Poetry Hope for Depression

Poetry Hope for Depression

Aired Out

Sucking in the stale air
of depression, regurgitating
regret day after day.

Throw open windows!

You break the seal of
our tomb of circumstances.
Resurrect the fresh fragrance
of hope planted in the sunshine of our dreams.
Filter life through the curtains of our mourning soul.

Invite us to open our eyes to Spring.

Turning My Page

One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”

John 5:6 ESV

We couldn’t open our windows and I might have squealed when the installer replaced the old useless windows. Today the temperature finally dropped and we spent the day with the windows open. Throughout the day I found myself smiling and breathing in more deeply.

Depression also shuts down all avenues for fresh thought and truth to enter our souls. When I am in a pattern of fear, anger, doubt, and worry, I stop what I am doing and get outside. The sights, sounds, and illustrations of the outside remind me that nothing is impossible for God.

For example, my daughter’s plant she grew from seed, is now a flourishing loaded with plump almost ripe tomatoes. I thought it wasn’t going to make it. It was such a scrawny little plant at the start. We neglected it, but my neighbor spent time caring for it while we left for vacation. Ten days later, we came home to a plant loaded with buds. Now we water it every day. The plant didn’t change, its DNA told it what to do. My neighbor’s attitude changed ours. it was worth saving.

These illustrations in nature, remind me that I too must feed, water, and care for myself. When I feel fears, doubts, and worries closing in on me, a short walk outside, sitting on the porch, and photography at my favorite park all help expand my world. Despair is no match for a fresh perspective of hope.

Turning Your Page

Depression breeds in stale air. Therefore, in what ways can you begin keeping a fresh supply of new thoughts, memories, and experiences flowing in your life? Do you have a person who makes you laugh, or encourages you to step out of what currently feels safe? Reach out to them and see if they’ll send you a daily text, or go out for coffee. You may not feel better after opening your life to something new immediately, just as our eyes have to adjust after being in a dark cave, our soul has to find security in a new positive pattern.

  • Write down some things you’d like to do if you felt better.
  • Ask someone to take a short walk with you.
  • Do a word search on depression (despair), downcast in the bible. What does it say about the cause of these things and the remedy for them?

My struggle isn’t the end of the story. Open my eyes, Lord, to your love, provision, and answers through nature. Amen

Compassion for Old Hands

Rocking Chair Healer

I came to mend broken boards on a porch–just being neighborly–
and found my own clay restored
within your arthritic hands. “Lemonade, dear.”

Your voice, a windchime in the quiet
breeze, drew me away from
the incessant ding of my fast-paced phone. So
much unfinished work, on top of Jessica nagging
John Jr. needed new shoes and my layoff pressed into my soul like a branding iron. I never planned on being the neighborhood
handyman, I thought bitterly. “Sure.”

But even as I sipped your cool offering, the tension eased from my shoulders. “What did you put in this?” I asked warily.
“Nothing the Good Lord didn’t make.
Sugar and lemons,” you respond,
slowly working your bones into
rocking chair shape with your own glass
on the wrought iron table beside.

Silence spoke between us.
The rocking creak of your chair on the boards
was hypnotic. I snapped out of my trance and
realized I had long since placed the new boards and
my glass drained.
“That looks so nice dear, my sweet Paul
couldn’t have done it better. Refill dear? Come
sit in his chair and rest a while.”
I obeyed.
“Can I tell you about Paul?” You poured.
I listened.

He called me his ‘Rambling Rose’, you
pointed at the sweet fragrant
roses climbing the trellis in your garden.
“Planted those on our wedding day…”
The crickets resumed
their chorus as she rocked somewhere else.
“I miss him.”

Your voice was heavy with remembering.
Would I miss Jessica with the same weight in my voice?
I couldn’t remember the last thing I planted in my wife’s life.
“Got to tend to them daily.” You said as if listening to my thoughts.
With that, you got up, went to the basket at the end of the porch, put on gloves, and tended your roses.
I slowly packed my tools and returned them to my truck. Reluctant to leave.

But, my job was complete.
“Goodby MS Daphnie,” I said, tipping my hat in farewell.
You held up a crooked finger. “Wait, son,
I have something for you.” You handed
me a small pot with a freshly planted cutting from your rose. Your cray paper hand squeezed mine with surprising strength.
“It’s never too late dear.”
With that, you turned
and returned to your chair
rocking rhythm, sipping
lemonade, and gazing at Paul’s empty chair.

I climbed into the truck and cradled the
plant between my lunch pail and toolbox. And as your
frame shrunk behind me, my
heart suddenly longed for home.
John Jr. would be getting off the bus soon,
it would be nice to greet him for once.
He was getting so big. Jessica’s lopsided grin,
came to mind. She playfully splashed dishwater
as I read the Sunday paper this morning.
“I was irritated she got the sports section wet.” I cried out. I
shook my head, shocked at the bitter root I tended. I looked down at the cutting again. Never too late.

The dust trail kicked up behind me as I took the dirt road to our home. I watched Jessica come onto the porch as she usually did to greet me. She held two glasses of lemonade in her hand. Her auburn hair catching fire
in the evening sun. So beautiful.

I came to mend your porch Ms. Daphnie
but walked away with you mending me.
As I swept my surprised wife into my arms.
My heart filled with joy.
“Can we save up for rocking chairs?”

Turning Your Page: Become a Healer

For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastises every son He receives.

Hebrews 12:6 BSB

We need rocking chair healers in our lives. Those men and women who see our brokenness and do not turn away. They are the Ms. Daphnie’s of the world, who in slow and steady quiet, speak truth, and challenge our bitterness. Who do you have in your life that is a rocking chair healer? Write them a note of how their faithfulness has encouraged you. Take the opportunity to cultivate awareness of your neighbors so that you too can speak love, healing hope, and peace into their lives.

  • Describe a person who has encouraged you in simple or big ways. What gifts and talents did they use?
  • What areas in your life need encouragement? Seek out a friendship with a person who is strong in those areas. Ask them to mentor you.
  • Find a person to speak life into. Write a note of encouragement. Take opportunities to sit with, listen to, and be available when they are down.

Jesus you are my rocking chair healer. You sit with me, listen, encourage, and challenge me. Thank you. Teach me to slow down and be present in the lives of other hurting souls. Amen

Rocking Chair Healer

Here are a few of the Rocking Chair Healers in My Life:
Beth Moore– Breaking Free

Suicide Didn't Diminish Worth

Suicide CSI

When the dust settles on the grave,
the investigation begins. Dust for prints,
who’s to blame? Check every angle of motive
and spend countless hours of speculation.

None of it resurrects you.

No matter how often thought follows lead, the facts
remain concrete. I loved you. Valued you. And tore
up my knees praying over you.

What could I
have done differently
to save your life?

I spin the clock backward
toc-tic, toc-tic, until your heartbeat forms
in my womb. Rebirth of soul cradled in cells.
The tension of potential and unknowns recalibrated.

You are still not here.

Though I must pack up my crime scene tools,
press into living beyond your grave, I love you. I value you.
And I would do motherhood all over again still knowing…

You are not here.

Graceful Hope

Hope tilts the heavy head towards heaven,
widens weary eyes to witness rescue,
and laces up slippers for
you to dance in the fire of despair.

Ugly Duckling Interupted: Acrostic

You Were Always a Swan

You Were Always a Swan

Such an ugly duckling.” the others cackled, slapping the water in agreement.
(Your head ducked),
Under the burden of shameful stares.
(You swam away),
 Inclined to believe what others say.
 Couldn’t see the swan swimming smooth as silk on the other side of the reeds.
 Inside yourself for true identity.
(Your answers)
Decidedly never came.
Ended the story before your clouded reflection cleared.

Frozen Teenager

My walls look different.
My son’s sad eyes stare back
emptied of soul. Despair thinly masked
behind smile. A frozen teenager.
He doesn’t hand me new photos
of girlfriend, wife, or family,
at gatherings.

He stares.
Add photos to your story.

Hang snapshots of love,
forgiveness, generosity, and hope on
the wall of your soul–you are my new photos of him.

Turning Your Page

Our stories now overlap. I would love to frame a picture of you on my wall. Keep Jonathan’s story alive by living yours to the fullest, come what may. Email your story at [email protected]

Lord, bless the reader. Encourage their heart to see the possibility beyond suffering. Embrace them as they journey through this life, and may their walls be filled with the bigger picture of your story. Amen

Is Motherhood Worth The Climb?

I could have stopped climbing motherhood,
after you fell.
Sat in the crag of grief
and let death bury my scarred soul. 

We were supposed to view this summit together.
Your spirit strengthened and equipped,
ready for the difficult ascents of adulthood.
Teaching your siblings life is worth the climb.

You were my first heartbeat of adventure.
My own fearful expanse of the impossible
became a vibrant vista of God because
you lived.

The struggles of life became another rock to conquer.
And we did. I breathed joy more deeply because
we grappled circumstances. Our pain revealed
gems of truth—life to the fullest.

The muscles of motherhood burned 
when I first stretched out 
for the next handhold of hope after your death.
The ache of loss—you lived—crumbled resolve beneath my feet.

Did I make a mistake in motherhood?

No, you grew in the rich valley of youth.
Stumbled, yes, but you scrambled back up, eager to learn.
I look back at your tiny fingers wrapped
around mine as I swung you up and wiped your tears.
Every struggle was worth it.

The foothills became treacherous mountains.
Required sturdier equipment, a deeper trust, training, and
faith without seeing.
I watched you climb further away, testing
footholds that would not sustain. 

Was letting you go a mistake?

I wipe my dusty tears and jump
to the next ledge of trust.
I was never meant to make
secure your every step.
God you are faithful.
Sturdier in grief, because I loved.

Did I fail motherhood?

So many missteps.
I watched in agony as your grip on life loosened. Motherhood
stretched and strained to breaking. I prayed.
Pleaded. Don’t give up. God catch him!
Your life was a sunrise worth experiencing.

Does motherhood end?

No, because love always remembers life.
Your laughter echoes
in the canyons of my sorrow,  the memories
of your beautiful, valuable, life
stirs my warrior cry of joy.

Was it worth it?

I climb this mountain of motherhood—gut it out to the fullest
because my scraped knees of prayer
and bruised soul of faith
testify life is sacred, come what may.

Motherhood is worth the climb,
even if I see the vistas of heaven
without you.

Motherhood is Worth the Pain

Turning Your Page

… but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

John 19:25-27, ESV

Motherhood tests every spiritual and physical muscle you have. Your children may be grateful. They may hate you. Keep a short account. Be humble to admit when you are wrong. Embrace, love and hold them when their hearts are broken by this life. Celebrate life.

Do your best to steward your children, but know their life is their own. Motherhood is worth every bump, bruise, and yes, sometimes even loss.

  • What is motherhood like for you right now? Be honest with any bitterness you feel. Record what you love about moments with your children.
  • Pray for your children by name. Stormie Omartian has books that guide scripture prayers over your children. These are an immense help and encouragement in spiritual battles.
  • Your children have an enemy and they need you to fight well. Equip yourselves and gather others to pray and support you.
  • Write a story, poem, or list out scriptures that describe motherhood.

Father, motherhood is a mixture of pain and joy, love, and sacrifice. Help me to value the good moments and let go of attempting to control the outcome for my children. May your love be enough. Amen

Suicide & Prevention Hotline

National Suicide Hotline

If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call the National Suicide Lifeline at 988 or go to the website at