Walk with Me

Walk with Me
by Allison Brown

Walk with me.
Walk with me and
notice…
notice the sound of the ocean waves. Notice the birds dancing in the shore break.
Notice the warmth of the sun that comforts your soul.
Notice children laughing, and loved ones holding hands.
Notice white feathers on the shore reminding you there is a higher vibration to exist.
Walk with me.

Walk with me.
Walk with me and
listen…
listen to the sounds.
Listen to your soul.
Listen to your inner knowings.
Listen as I whisper words of love to sustain you every day.
Listen to others.
Listen to their stories.
Listen with your whole body, mind, and soul.
Listen from a place where deep calls to deep.
Walk with me.

Walk with me.
Walk with me and
look…
open your eyes.
Look for the good.
Look for the light in you.
Look for the light in them.
Look with your hand over your heart in awe of my creation.
Look for joy.
Look for glimpses of my love.
Look for me every day.
I am here.
Walk with me.

Walk with me.
Walk with me and
embrace…
embrace the days your soul will cry.
Embrace the knowing that tears simply are your love pouring out, directly from the windows of
your soul.
Embrace your sorrow.
Embrace your anger.
Embrace all of the unanswered questions.
Embrace seasons of inner turmoil. Embrace the external chaos.
Embrace it all.
Walk with me.

Walk with me.
Walk with me and trust…
trust your heart.
Trust your body.
Trust your mind.
Trust Me.
Trust I am loving you every single day.
Trust you are enough.
Trust I am enough!
And when your soul feels like it is dying,
trust yourself enough to say those words that you have kept locked inside your soul for so long.
“I am not ok.” Say them out loud.
Trust and begin the journey of your return.
Trust I will carry you.
Walk with me.

Walk with me.
Walk with me from heaven to earth and back again into eternity.
Walk with me from your first breath to your last.
Walk with me and know there is a thin veil between these worlds.
Walk with me and find the truth each day at the center of your being.
Walk with me and bring heaven to earth if only for a moment in time.
Walk with me and know all the saints that go before you are singing Emmanuel – God is with
you.
Walk with me…
I see you.
I love you.
I know you.
Come, take my hand and
walk with me…

 

 

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Allison Brown is from Kitty Hawk, NC where she lives with her husband and three children. Being a mother is her most important work.  Allison is also the Director of Church Life at Kitty Hawk United Methodist Church.  Allison’s life motto is to “radiate love.” She believes each of us has a unique way of “Being” that is an expression of God that brings love to this world.  Allison is passionate about helping people discover and live out of their truest essence. Allison believes all true transformation begins and ends by learning to listen to your own inner spirit, God within.  Allison is certified in Spiritual Formation as well as  Spiritual Direction through Christian Formation and Direction Ministries in San Diego, CA.  She also received her BA in Psychology from the University of NC at Chapel HIll.  Allison also is a certified StrengthFinders coach through the Gallup Organization. Connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.

The Ultimate Sacrifice

The Ultimate Sacrifice
by Amy Remer

It was a cool September morning.  Dew covered the tips of the grass.  The house was dark and quiet.  Such a calm moment as I opened my eyes.  My husband was still asleep, as were our four children.  I just wanted to stay in that moment forever and not face the day that was in front of me.  But I had to.  It was happening whether I wanted it to or not.

I woke my husband up so we could get ready.  We didn’t say much, but small tears filled our eyes several times that morning.  We were scared of what was to come, but we knew it had to be done.  It had to be done to save my life.

The kids woke up and we said our goodbyes.  I have never held my kids as tightly as I did that morning.  It was the last time I would be able to hug them like that… and they knew it.  I could feel it deep in their souls.  The fear poured from their bodies into my heart as I held them closer and closer.  I reassured them that I would be fine, yet I had no idea if that was true. I kissed them goodbye and walked out the door – it was the last time they would see their mom “whole.”

We drove and drove to the hospital for what seemed like forever. This was a very familiar drive for us; we had made it many times over the last three years for numerous chemotherapy appointments, surgeries, radiation treatments, scans, and doctor’s appointments.  However, today the drive was different. Today, the drive represented the most drastic life-changing moment. My husband and I listened to our favorite songs.  We tried not to think about the next 12 hours but it was like an elephant in the backseat. ‘He is being so strong,’ I thought to myself as the hum of the road rang through my ears and the trees zoomed by.

After about an hour drive, we pulled into the hospital parking garage.  My husband put the car in park.  Then we froze. How in the world can someone walk herself into a hospital to get her entire arm cut off? Our bodies were heavy… we couldn’t move. We sat in that car for at least 15 minutes before mustering up the courage to walk in that hospital for my amputation surgery. It had to be done to save my life of this sarcoma I had been battling for over three years. I was choosing to trust in God, even when life seemed impossible.  I was choosing hope, even when all hope seemed lost. I was choosing life, even if it meant the ultimate sacrifice.

So in we went, hand-in-hand, and we never looked back. We pressed into our faith and stayed focused on this gift of life that we are given each day. That was over a year ago, and I thank God every single day that I am still alive and breathing. This life is short, and every day is a blessing.

 

 

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Amy Remer is a writer and speaker dedicated to sharing God’s faithfulness even in the toughest of times.  She has walked through the loss of a baby, a miscarriage, a child with special needs, cancer, an amputation of her arm, and the loss of her father.  Amy has been sharing her journey through social media and various speaking engagements.  She is in the process of writing her first book.  Amy resides in Swanton, Ohio, with her husband and their four children. Despite everything they’ve been through, it hasn’t stopped them from going on adventures and living life with no regrets! Connect with her on Facebook.

Woven

Woven
by Emily Boulter

He  weaves with thread
dyed colors you have
not yet seen.

Colors that fold in
and out
that frame and trace
your journey.

Do not thing you can undo
His work.
Tapestries are always
two-sided.

While you dwell…

gazing at the backside
ribbed with knots,

remember.

You only see distortion.
The bumps make smooth.
The broken threads are tied.
When He turns the fabric of your soul,

He sees His image sewn.

 

 

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Emily is a professional writer with a B.A. in English & Writing from Regent University. She has a deep passion for helping others through her writing and non-profit initiatives. Emily lives in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and can easily be found hiking, horseback riding, or reading in one of the local coffee shops. Connect with her on Instagram.

Dying in Beauty Reveals God in Goodness

Dying in Beauty Reveals God in Goodness
(Palindrome for Autumn)
by Michele Morin

Leaves fall down
(for life is short),
and dying in beauty
reveals God in goodness.

For
goodness in God
reveals beauty in dying,
and short is life
for down fall leaves.

 

 

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Michele Morin is a wife, Mum to four great men and three daughters-in-love, and Bam to four adorable grandchildren. Active in educational ministries with the church she calls home, Michele writes, speaks, and teaches from a desire to see women become Christ- followers & students of God’s Word. She writes every week about the books she is reading and the grace she is receiving at Living Our Days, and you can connect with her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

Steps to Picking Raspberries

Steps to Picking Raspberries
by Jody Collins

First, avoid the bumblebees
zooming in for latent sugar
dripping in the rain, their heavy
soaking reflected in drops
from satiated rubies you hope
to pop in your mouth.

Second, beware the mildew, mold
and bursting moisture of berries
too long on the vine, having missed
the summer sun as you did, wondering
at the absent heat lo, these many months.

Third, cast a watchful gaze
at ubiquitous spiders who’ve homed
themselves midst the leaves, hiding
from the birds and maybe you. Their webs
give them away, as do the smattering
of mottled globes in the bottom
of your small bucket.

Lastly, swallow them, tiny yet tasty,
fresh and fruitful on this first day of Fall.

*This poem is from Jody’s book of poetry, Hearts on Pilgrimage-Poems and Prayers

 

 

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Jody Collins is a blatant philologist and poetry lover living in the Pacific Northwest with her very patient husband. She uses both gardening and writing as therapy, often featuring her 6 grandchildren, whom she thanks God for daily. Jody’s been penning words since Smith-Corona typewriters graced the desks of her middle school, but nowadays you can find her thoughts at www.jodyleecollins.com. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram.

Autumn on the Island

Autumn on the Island
by Jodie McCallie

The wind sighing high in the tree tops sounds like the surf
until I reach the beach
where the waves crash ashore with a louder declaration
until they reach the sand
where they sough up the shoreline and sound like the wind
high in the treetops

where does the ocean end and the sky begin
where does the water start and the wind cease

Mangroves are master of this domain – reaching up to the sky
and out to caress the water
with long, thin fingers stretching down, where fish disappear
seemingly into the forest
while feathered friends easily travel from branches to brine
and from water to woods

where does the sea cease and the mud begin
where does the island start and the lagoon end

The rebirth of the sea grapes leaves a blanket on the floor
crunchy, drying leaves
on the branches, green yields to yellow, yields to brown
then yields to the ground
all submitting to the plant, as its branches free new spaces
for emerging leaves of green

where does the tree end and the ground begin
where does dying cease and renewal start

 

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Jodie McCallie is an Australian who has embraced her life in the United States. She is a part time poet, who makes her living in corporate America. Jodie loves nature and connecting with God through the beauty of His creation. She uses poetry to worship, and to make sense of the world around her, and is currently exploring the value of poetry as a gateway to healing and personal growth. Jodie lives in Georgia with her husband and two rescue dogs. You can find her on Facebook.

Light Dancing

Light Dancing
by Charlotte-Anne Allen

Light dancing on splashes
of gold, red, and orange
beckons to passers-by.

Greens and browns
wave their fronds,
seasons past and to come.

Evening’s chill
brings thoughts of tomorrow,
as time tolls; prepare!

Day’s warmth
welcomes memories
of life, laughter, and tears.

And so we dance,
welcoming light’s hope,
in quiet contemplation.

And so we dance,
resting sorrow
in those swaying boughs.

And so we dance,
for life’s joys
in our Creator’s being.

Light dancing on splashes
of gold, red, and orange
beckons to passers-by.

 

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Charlotte-Anne Allen is a writer and a creative blogger who loves to offer encouragement and to share thoughts about life and faith, through poems and reflections. She was a guest author for a daily devotional for homeschool moms and has served as a speech-language pathologist for over thirty-five years. Charlotte-Anne is a member of Compel (a writers’ group) and was a founding member of Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild. You can find her at her blog, The Still Small Voice – For Just a Weed.

Mountain Metaphor

Mountain Metaphor
by Leslie McLeod

Like the stoic evergreens that flanked the steeply ascending trail, our marriage had long survived—scarred but strengthened through seasons of drought, infestation, lashing storms.

Love compelled me to climb.  He had invited, hoping to inspire my fitness and long life.  I had accepted, hoping to share in his passion for the hike.

As the elevation increased, my lungs cursed the anemic air.  Impoverished of oxygen, my limbs and attitude grew leaden, balky.  I longed to turn back and abandon our quest for the elusive mountain lake.

“How much farther?” I asked a couple of descending hikers.  With halos visible only to me, they assured me it was close; and after I’d struggled on for another fifteen minutes, the welcoming water appeared ahead, flung with fleeting diamonds by a winking sun.

I sank to the earth near its banks, leaning against an accommodating boulder, inhaling enjoyment with all of my senses.  Aroma of pungent pine and primordial mud.  Brazen aspens, rustling golden leaves like dancers’ coins.  Cold alpine water, shocking, teasing my naked toes.  Breezes singing through treetops and mountain passes, counterpoint to the creek’s cheerful allegro.  Intense tang of hard cheese, spicy sausages, and sweet dried fruit.

Like our relationship—challenging, imperfect, enduring— the filter of our toil painted the scene’s layered beauty with intensity and value beyond measure.

 

 

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Living near the Southern California coast, Leslie’s artistic leanings balance her role as co-owner of a tech company with her husband. She picks up her pen again after a hiatus to raise their two children and develop a passion for painting. Having lost her parents a few years ago, she is writing a book to help other women walk through that painful season without the added burden of unresolved relationship regret. Leslie also writes articles, poetry, and a blog. She loves to share the voice of her soul’s Beloved. She writes and paints at www.lamcleod.com and you can connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.

When I Fail to be Faithful

When I Fail to be Faithful
by Leslie Jones

I watch the waves lap at the shoreline from my seat on the beach, the glistening Sea of Galilee spread before me. Kicking off my sandals, I lift my face skyward, relishing the warmth of the afternoon sun. My eyes close as a slight breeze ruffles my hair. Daydreaming about being in a fishing boat with Jesus, I pause my reverie to thank God for this trip of a lifetime, a 10-day tour through the Holy Land with members of my home church.

A bird squawks overhead, rousing me from my moment of prayer. As I burrow my toes in the sand, I picture Peter sitting here on this same beach, nibbling on the fish-breakfast Jesus prepared soon after the resurrection. I imagine the guilt roiling inside him as he recalled his faithlessness, denying his Lord three times despite having boldly declared just days before, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” I visualize the flush of shame on Peter’s cheeks as he waits for Jesus to confront his denial.

In my mind’s eye I watch the scene: Jesus asks three times, “Do you love me?” With each affirmative answer, Peter is challenged to shepherd those who belong to Him. While Peter may have interpreted the question as a rebuke for his three denials, I believe Jesus used this conversation as a redemptive act, a ‘recommissioning’ for Peter. A graduation from his role as a disciple to an Apostle who would deliver Jesus’ teachings to others.

I bow my head, searching my heart to see where I’ve denied Jesus in the past and where I’m denying Him presently. Am I denying His forgiveness, His healing, His truth? Do I believe that nothing is beyond His reach, that He will forgive the times I’ve turned away from Him? Am I boldly sharing the Gospel as He commands, unafraid of people’s reactions? Am I living out my faith in Christ or am I failing to be faithful?

Hot tears roll down my cheeks as I consider just how little faith I have sometimes. As much as I want to judge Peter for his faithlessness, I can’t because I know what it’s like to set out with good intentions and then slip up on the follow-through. I’ve felt my own face flush with shame when my words, thoughts, and actions prove I still question who Jesus says He is or what He says He’ll do.

Yet there on the shore, Jesus ministers to me as He did Peter. With holy tenderness, He asks, “Do you love me, Leslie?” I breathe in whispers of redemption and forgiveness as I breathe out, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.” He asks me twice more, my answer the same. Goosebumps ripple across my body as my soul rises to accept His forgiveness. This is my recommissioning, my recommitment to the challenge He lays before me: “Follow me.”

My failure doesn’t disqualify me from the holy assignment to care for His sheep. Though I’m faithless at times, Jesus remains faithful to His promise to be with me “to the end of the age.” Oh, what mercy there is in His faithfulness.

 

 

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A lover of words, running, and Jesus, Leslie Jones believes a strong faith is built one intentional step at a time.  Her most cherished roles are wife to restaurant-guru Kelley and mom to rambunctious Ryder. Her words have appeared in The Joyful Life and with Proverbs 31 ministries. In her downtime, she can be found training for her next long-distance race, sipping strong hot tea, or designing Lego creations with her son. She makes her home in the wild desert of Las Vegas. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook as @jonesleslieann.

Infinity Within

Infinity Within
by Sarah Freymuth

Smoke rises into the night, plumes of flame in the barrel. Stars scattered across the sky; Milky Way bow tie stretched against the black. My friend Jordan and his pipe, sweet scent of tobacco. We scan the dark, silent water, which stretches on and on, shrouded in the back of his family’s home. I tuck my legs tighter under my blanket and lean into the cool air, hidden from me for so long. I am continually in awe that I am in this moment, this breath, atoms of afterlife colliding with the now. How his family so graciously lets me into their lives, gives me space to stake my soul about the water.

He takes another puff of his pipe, expelling smoke to mingle with the ashes rising from the fire. I’ve waited a full year for this, to say goodbye to my unfamiliar, wavering life and head north of the tension line, to a palpable quiet on Washington Island, a forgotten existence. To rest in slowness, nowhere to go, no thoughts to think that raise my pulse.

So many stars splitting open wide the night. He teaches me to spot Polaris: North Star. Guiding light. I count out the spaces and marvel at how ordinary it looks, same size as its brothers in the sky.

How is God no beginning? he asks. I nod my head languid, drowsy with the freshness of island, saturation of my soul. Without knowing, I am lifted to the place I crave, where my heart rests, refuels, simply is.

How is there infinity beyond us? I counter. Or within us, for that matter? Flutter of bats silhouette across the bay. Deep glow of liner headlights crossing their nocturnal course. Rhythm of life silken and subdued. Right as it should be. My neck strains to the cosmos, eyes drinking in stars that burn in flashes, leave streaks among God’s windowpanes. In this vast canvas, constellations come to life, bold and more beautiful than fables explain. Celestial beings bend close, caress our conversation and hearts eager to solve the mysteries of the universe. We dissect philosophy, the unfathomable things of life, endless realm of infinity, the wonderings of God.

My limbs slip further into the fabric of chair. I pull my arms in the pockets of my sweatshirt, which burrows around me in comfort cocoon. The yard, damp with dew. Another whiff of tobacco, cherry, and bark. Breaks in the quiet, questions asked which will get no answers. That is the way of this world; still, we examine and toss the deep ends of our minds into the night.

How in this expanse are we significant?

Such a canopy before us, such delicate design. Jordan dumps the remains of his finished pipe into the fire but holds onto the handle, transferring warmth from the bowl to his hands.

Sleep comes for me with friendly fetching, hand on my shoulder, stirring me to bed. Stars still slash across the sky, dilate my pupils with their escalating light before dissipating behind the curtain of the supernatural other side. Clues to my faith I thought I wanted to find sit undiscovered in the unexplainable tonight.

Again, my eyes stray to Polaris. Guiding light. Looking identical to the other dots glimmering above except for the truth of its location. Eyes fall back to the fire. One last lick of flame before it’s doused, fogging up the airwaves. My skin shivers in this new coolness, bumps curve my flesh, hover the hairs on my arms. Ink still drying the dark pool of ether. Heart drinks it in, wrapping within my undisturbed spaces. With slow consent, I rise and fold my blanket, inhale the deepness of grass, charcoal log, lake reeds. Pulse of embers rife with awareness. Ring of light marshalling the new moon. Smile stretches my lips in nature’s rouse to dream, high above and close within.

I do not want to lose this part of me—the still soul, the lover of life, the dreamer. I cannot waste away the wonder. Cannot squelch the significance rumbling deep beneath my breast, beneath the exquisite arc of proof that I am so much smaller than I hope, brighter than I imagine. The significance of my infinity among the earthbound swells, expands.

 

 

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Sarah Freymuth writes at the intersection of beauty and the every day while grappling with God’s goodness when life projects otherwise. She is the communications manager for Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a member of Redbud Writers Guild, is the editor of Awake Our Hearts, loves a good cup of black coffee, and enjoys her simple Midwest life in Wisconsin. Connect with her at www.sarahfreymuth.com and Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.