Three Gratitude’s


Three Gratitude’s

Every night before I go to sleep
I say out loud
Three things that I’m grateful for,
All the significant, insignificant
Extraordinary, ordinary stuff of my life.

It’s a small practice and humble,
And yet, I find I sleep better
Holding what lightens and softens my life
Ever so briefly at the end of the day.

Sunlight, and blueberries,
Good dogs and wool socks,
A fine rain,
A good friend,
Fresh basil and wild phlox,
My father’s good health,
My daughter’s new job,
The song that always makes me cry,
Always at the same part,
No matter how many times I hear it.
Decent coffee at the airport,
And your quiet breathing,
The stories you told me,
The frost patterns on the windows,
English horns and banjos,
Wood Thrush and June bugs,
The smooth glassy calm of the morning pond,
An old coat,
A new poem,
My library card,
And that my car keeps running
Despite all the miles.

And after three things,
More often than not,
I get on a roll and I just keep on going,
I keep naming and listing,

Until I lie grinning,
Blankets pulled up to my chin,
Awash with wonder
At the sweetness of it all.

Carrie Newcomer

Listen to a podcast interview with Carrie Newcomer by visiting On Being

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There is an Ocean

Open up there is an Ocean at your Door

There is an Ocean

We, so small and plain
and self-contained,
we live lives full of
petty concerns, and selfish gain.

We, all wound up and tight
and self-absorbed,
we draw up the drawbridge,
and pull shut the door.

With our concern for self
we become confined,
we narrow our world,
until there’s only room for one.

With our focus drawn in
we are cut off from Him,
the source of our joy, our power,
our love, our very fulfilment.

Open wide, open up.
There is an ocean at your door.
There is a river that through you would flow.
Behind you is the author of it all.

His is the strength that propels,
His the love that heals,
His the song that delights our heart,
His the touch that soothes.

His the deep contentment,
His the answer to our questions,
His the almighty provision,
His the balm to our wounds.

As heaven is high, and the earth is wide
so we can uncoil;
grow up like a seedling to the sun,
and in His warmth feel our hearts thaw.

We, so small and plain,
and self-contained.
We, who live lives of fruitless striving,
and senseless pain.

We, all wound up and tight
and self-absorbed;
we can open to His touch,
fling wide the door.

And as we do so we can breathe.
Now what others think no longer matters.
Our fears haven’t power to haunt,
our illusions shatter.

Sons and daughters of a higher power,
adopted in His Kingdom;
we finally sense from whom we’ve come,
whose love is entwined through every living thing.

We can reach out and connect,
without plans or agendas.
We can in freedom relate and trust,
and to His will we surrender.

We can love and be loved,
and as bearers of His light;
we can know the beauty of giving and receiving,
for naught but His delight.

Open wide, open up.
There is an ocean at your door.
There is a river that through you would flow.
Behind you is the author of it all.

Ana Lisa de Jong

Source: Refresh – Journal of Contemplative Spirituality (Summer 2013-2014)

Ana Lisa de Jong enjoys her work for NZDF Chaplaincy as a Chaplaincy administrator.
Previously in her teens and twenties she loved writing, but her poems were romantically inclined towards her partner. Now she’s writing love letters to God and it’s like the fulfilment of a gift, being able to give it back to God.

Discover her website Joy in a New Way

Photo Credit: David Kracht via Compfight cc

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Between Here and There – I Am Waiting


Between Here and There

I am waiting
-for what?
To be there, not here,
To be somewhere else;
To have that, not this,
For ‘this’ to be over;
For then, not now,
To have tomorrow, today.
I am waiting for
The pain to be gone and
My future certain;
A sense of security and
My life to make sense;
My world to be different and
The landscape to change.

I am waiting for God to
See things my way and
Change His mind.

God is waiting for
My ‘there’ to become His ‘here’;
My ‘that’ to become His ‘this’;
My ‘then’ to become His ‘now’.
God is waiting for
Me to see things His way and
Change my mind.
God is waiting until
I see myself and my world

Through His eyes.
God and me, together, waiting –
Until there is no distance between
‘Here’ and ‘there’, ‘this’ and ‘that’, ‘now’ and ‘then’;
God and me, waiting together and
Both of us longing for
The waiting to be over.


by M. Jane Hansen

Jane Hansen is married to Jim, and is also mum and grandma. Jane enjoys country life
close to the Wairere Falls beneath the Kaimai Ranges, visits from family and friends and
writing in response to God’s grace in the blessings and challenges of everyday life.

Source: Refresh. Winter 2013

Photo Credit: red twolips via Compfight cc

A Prayer of One Who Feels Lost

Dear God,why do I keep fighting you off-
Dear God,
why do I keep fighting you off?
One part of me wants you desperately,
another part of me unknowingly
pushes you back and runs away.
What is there in me that
so contradicts my desire for you?

These transition days, these passageways,
are calling me to let go of old securities,
to give myself over into your hands.
Like Jesus who struggled with the pain
I, too, fight the “let it all be done.”
Loneliness, lostness, non-belonging,
all these hurts strike out at me,
leaving me pained with this present goodbye.

I want to be more, but I fight the growing.
I want to be new, but I hang onto the old.
I want to live, but I won’t face the dying.
I want to be whole, but I cannot bear
to gather up the pieces into one.

Is it that I refuse to be out of control,
to let the tears take their humbling journey,
to allow my spirit to feel its depression,
to stay with the insecurity of “no home”?

Now is the time. You call to me,
begging me to let you have my life,
inviting me to taste the darkness
so I can be filled with the light,
allowing me to lose my direction
so that I will find my way home to you.

By Joyce Rupp

Photo Credit: Sam Burriss

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God hath not promised skies always blue

God has not promised
God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.
God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.
But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.
God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain, rocky and steep,
Never a river, turbid and deep.

Annie Johnson Flint

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Poetry as a Safety Valve for Mental Health

Safety valves

We all need someone to confide in. A listening ear. Sympathetic company. Though some things are too close for comfortable sharing. Too painful to pass on to another.

They can remain hidden deep inside. Buried, to all intents and purposes. Or we choose to release in a different way. We vent. Rage. Cry. Or maybe express the inexpressible in a different form.

When adult life crowded in demandingly for me as a child, invading my mind and body with things it was far from ready to receive, I poured out my heart in words. Diaries locked with a key only I possessed. Journals. Notepads. Imaginary tales to escape into as I scribbled out stories with happier outcomes than mine.

Books became my safety valve. As I retreated into other worlds in my head, the one I inhabited in the flesh lost some of its power to cause me pain.

Poetry spoke to my soul. A balm to soothe a fretful heart. Here was understanding. Empathy. Every human emotion laid bare. An unleashing of feelings from another that brought a degree of healing to my own.

For many years, my personal poetry and prose remained hidden from prying eyes. Private. No entry. Until God began a deep work unearthing all the dark material to bring about emotional healing from childhood emotional and sexual abuse and the mental health breakdowns they contributed to.

An unfolding was precursor to my soul unfurling toward the warmth of God’s Light again and a grateful return of this prodigal daughter to her heavenly Father’s loving embrace.

Now, I read for pleasure and interest rather than escapism. And I write out my heart in poetry and prose in a way that helps release the pain of challenging circumstances in order to bring a light of recognition in another’s eyes.

Those “You too?” moments and sharing of woundedness are a comfort to others and a huge blessing to me too.

I have a great desire to support those who may be hurting emotionally from a painful past pervading the present or challenging circumstances.

My goal is to help set others free by sharing my story and how God is still in the process of deliverance and restoration.

We don’t have to live chained lives.

We can break free.

We can come alongside and support each other in our journey toward healing and wholeness

Poetry helps me so much. It blends the prosaic with the profound as a poet draws from observation of their own external and internal reality to present a deeper, universal truth hidden within.

As I write, spilling words on a page, it is undeniably cathartic for me, as well as a means to pave the way for those who read it to find release too.
I hope and pray that you will find some “Me too” moments as you read the poem below.

Safety valve

Sometimes our pain
gets buried
deep inside
locked up
in a safe place
where we hide
our true selves
from prying eyes
yet wounds will
fester when left
unattended over years
and seep their poison
through our systems
releasing more
anxiety and fears

We need an outlet
safety valve to
vent within constraints
a catching-place
for leaking holes
where what is
heard is veiled
yet has intent
I express myself
through poetic lament
to pour forth
words as water
releasing mercy drops
that may hit
the spot for other
thirsty souls

This is a guest post from Joy Lenton. Joy is a wife, mother, M.E. sufferer, avid reader, poet, blogger, communicator and full-time follower of Jesus and lives in Norfolk, United Kingdom. Discover more about Joy at her page

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Barry Pearman

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I am Yours

I Am Yours


Before God I stand
Hands bowed at my sides
Offering the little I can:
‘I am Yours.’
No frills, no bells, no whistles.
Just fear and pain and ordinariness.
All that I am:
The good, the bad and all that’s in-between.
A simple gift
Offered in simple words:
‘I am Yours.’


And God’s hand reached out to me
Accepting the gift in its totality
A smile of pleasure
In moist eyes.
And then an echo whispered
‘And I am yours.’
All that God is
Offered to all that I am.
My eyes fill with tears
At the enormity of the gift.
The God of the universe
Gifting mortal me God’s self.


I am unworthy
But not worthless.
I am not understanding
But totally understood.
I struggle to accept,
Yet find I am accepted.
I wrestle with such love,
And find I am still loved.
‘I am yours,’
‘I am yours,’
Echoes in two hearts

by Jo Anastasiadis

Jo Anastasiadis is a born and bred Wellingtonian, wife, mother of grown children and spiritual director. She enjoys being outdoors, particularly walking on the beach, taking time out for retreats, and utilizing creativity in her relationship with God.

Refresh – Journal of Contemplative Spirituality Volume 12, Number 1. Summer 2013. I

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Get my blog posts sent to you. Sign up to receive my blog posts for free via e-mail and get a copy of my popular e-book on Depression FREE.