Justify Me Not

Oh God, 
Please protect me from being so satisfied with myself that I look meanly on others.   
Give me a learning heart and guard it 
so my opinions are not rigid, self-serving, or damaging.   
Humble me and save me from the need to criticize, 
the fear of being wrong, and 
the arrogance of feeling justified. 
Mold my beliefs not from lofty place, 
but from an understanding nearer-to-the-ground 
and closer-to-your-heart.  
Open my heart to love all of your children, 
and show me more ways to be a blessing. 

Nighttime Prayer

Oh, Lord, I believe.
Help my unbelief.  
Please breathe on me tonight and keep calling to me
As I walk through my day tomorrow.
Please forgive me when I forget or ignore your voice,
and remind me again and again of my place in your kingdom. 
Put your love in my heart,
Your words on my lips,
Your work in my hands, and
My feet on your path.
I lay the longings of my heart before you, Lord,
and ask that my beloved ones be your beloved,
and that your beloved ones
Forever become mine. 
In your name I pray these things.

All We Knew

Once, we knew it and
it was all we knew,
The essence of our essence
Knitting our bones and muscles together
In that place where we were from, and one, and all-in-one.
Yielding to it was the first thing that we did,
And shall be our final act.
However much we twist toward something other,
The Creator’s Breath
Will hold us when all of ours have been exhaled.
As we lean into, and let out that Breath, our very last,
We shall know that we are home.
We shall know again.


I saw an old friend last night.
We sat together on the curb
Just outside the place we left our past behind.
We skipped stones toward it, across the rainy pavement,
And strained to see the things we should have seen back then.
But we didn't point them out. We both knew that they were there.
We saw the shoes we’d stashed the last time we passed,
For our return trip, just in case.
But we wouldn’t put them on again. Wouldn't even dare.
So we turned and went barefoot to a different place.


Once we gave my Nana a daisy-chain of dandelions,
And she tied flowers in our hair with ribbons 
from her grandmothers,
New wisps and old strands entwined.
And we sang in all our grandmothers’ voices,
"Aren’t our granddaughters wise and so joyful!" 
"Aren't our grandsons so loving and kind!”

Once we gave my Mama a bouquet of dandelion tufts,
And she blew wishes in our hair with wisdom
from her grandmothers,
New dreams and old longings combined.
And we sang in all our grandmothers’ voices,
"Aren’t our granddaughters wise and so hopeful!" 
"Aren't our grandsons so generous and kind!”

Once my children gave me a daisy-chain of dandelions,
and I braided wisdom in their hair with stories
from my grandmothers,
New and old notions enwoven.
And we sang in all our grandchildren's voices,
"Thanks for the dreams of our mothers!"
"Let our chains to their hearts be unbroken."

More Than

I am more than that small thing I did
And smarter than that dumb thing I said.
I'm wiser than the bad choice I made,
And stronger than the weak me you see.
I am truer than the faithless words that passed my lips,
And I'm braver than the easy path I took.

I was anyway.
Do you remember? Do you recall that me that I was going to become?

Do you remember when I sang a song of easy grace inside my heart
And I offered help with no strings or words attached?
Do you remember when I was so joyful that it made you smile
And I stood up when sitting down was small and mean?
Do you recall when I was so kind that it made you glad
And so loving that you loved me even more?

Oh God, please restore the bigger me.
Because the smaller me is taking all the room.

Policies and Procedures

  • Always stop at lemonade stands 
  • Smile when you make eye contact
  • Hold the door even if it takes a little longer
  • Sing in the shower and in the car
  • Apologize out loud
  • Follow your first instinct to help
  • Go out of your way more often than is convenient
  • Tip more than you should
  • Give anonymously
  • Be the first to laugh at yourself
  • Share without expectations
  • Forgive
  • Compliment on character
  • Thank others for their gifts
  • Indulge your generous impulses

Did You Ever Want a Friend Like You?

Did you ever get tired of people watching everything you did?
Tired of teaching grace 

To people who should have already known?
Tired of forgiving 

People who had failed and would surely fail again?

Did you sometimes want to be smaller
Than you were made to be?
With less expectations
And demands for your attention?

Did you ever long to just be one-of-the guys,
and have a friend like you? 

Or wish to be a sidekick,
With a smaller part that might cost less?

I know at least one time when you did.

Could I have been your friend?
Would I have tried to defend you,

absorb a blow, or carry a load for you?
With the force of my will, could I have
Saved your head or back or hands or feet
Or side?

Can I now
When you are publicly lashed because of our self-righteousness,
Mocked because of our weaknesses,
And crucified again because we fail you still?

You Bring Me Back

Oh God,
You have given me so much, I am filled beyond the top!
You love me even when I run off.
You chase me down and bring me back.
You give me back.
You hold me up and out,
And fast.

You keep me from falling into darkness.
You light my way and pull me up.
You are the top of the mountain and
My biggest admirer, reminding me
That I cannot lose your love,
Even if I slip or run again.

You make it OK for me to try too hard.
You calm my quaking voice
And still my knocking knees.
You whisper inspiration in my ear
And wait for me to hear it.

You put a tune on my lips before I rise from my bed and
Join me in song as I walk through my day. 
You ride beside me, singing as I sing along.
Your voice keeps me in tune
To your ears and with your heart.

You surprise me with unexpected grace
And sweet kindness
And remind me to keep it going.
You bring me back
And give me back.
Oh, how I love You, My Lord!


I move in the corner of your eye.
You turn to look.  Can’t see me.
I’m the sound you hear in silence.
I’m the prayer you can't get out 
I’m what you didn't do today. 
Don’t think about me.
I'm the knot in your stomach.
I'm the lump in your throat.
I’m everyone watching you.
I’m no one to talk to.
You created me.
I made you.
I'm the hope for change just up ahead.
I’m ugly truths you won't admit to.
I whisper speechless things you dread,
I'm the weakness you submit to.
I’m the shame you feel 
When you’ve done wrong.
I’m the fear of facing up.
 I’m the darkness all around you.
I’m the light escaping from you..
Just close your eyes.
I'm waiting.

Just a Speck

A Psalm of Light and Breath

How I want to praise you with all the talents You put in me.
With written word and happy song I will declare
Your countless gifts and
All the times You rescued and comforted me.
When I felt alone in the darkness, your light shined on me,
and came through me.
In that light was born the path unto my feet.
In your light, I cannot fall into darkness, even
if it pursues me unto death.

But whenever I stumbled into the dust of my earthliness,
You breathed your breath on me and re-created me in your image
Again and again
Making me to rise from the dust to be more like You
and less like the one who fell.

Today and every day, with your breath I want to sing and praise your name,
Yet I fear an unknown darkness,
which may silence my voice tomorrow.
Illumine me, that in your light
I become brighter than the darkness I most fear.

All of yesterdays’ joyful praises and shadowy sorrows,
I now roll into a beforehand prayer of plea and thanks
For these still unearned blessings,
and my eventual survival of suffering yet to come.
Let that cup pass, I ask, oh Lord,
Breathe on me again,
when I lose my breath in sighs too deep for words.