Wondrous Revelation

Wondrous Revelation
by Haley Donaldson

Colors are a wondrous revelation
I am constantly in wonder and awe
The wild and extraordinary depths
From the smoky peach skies of summer
To the icy white glitter of winter

The enlightening warm glow of the sun
Peeping above the cascading mountains
Spewing colors of golden pinks, oranges
yellows & purples
Setting the world asleep.

Rotating color palettes to dark skies
Brewing a whimsical storm that splashes
Mystical grays and deep hues of blues
Specklings of gold
Splatter the stratosphere

The glistening spark in a human eye
Swirling layers of greens & browns, hazel-blend
Opening the windows of our souls
Lighting a lamp
Extinguishes the darkness

Little dots sprinkled across the nose
Freckled cheeks tinted with rosy reds
Unique compositions decorate our skin
Covering our fleshly blood
Saved by spilled wine.

All the colors near, far, and in between
Painter, Potter, Artist, Creator
Glorious Wondrous Heavenly Father
Your works….
A masterpiece.




Haley Donaldson is a writer and creator nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Her heart beats to the sound of creativity, words, and following God’s footsteps. She is currently employed in vocational ministry, serving collegiate athletes and coaches and leading them into a relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church. In her free time, she dreams of becoming a writer and uses her hands to craft the beauty she envisions. You can find her routinely on her current blog thedivinesunshine.com, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Her spirit-led mission is to fulfill God’s calling on leading young women to discover their Godly, heavenly sunshine to bring joy and creativity to others. 

Carry This Shifting

Carry This Shifting
by Thelma Nienhuis

I carry the shifting in my bones.

The shortening days and open windows and the quiet ache to heat the kettle as the sun sets.

The faint pulse of seasonal change traces lines along skin and memory, reminding me of what the long winter days hold for my husband: meagre energy and ineffectual remedies and vigilant protection where possible.

My husband has lived with chronic pain and illness for more than a decade now. Nearly fifteen years of a progressive genetic condition, and each winter we find ourselves tracing the same hope: perhaps this year it won’t be so bad. Perhaps this year…

“Self-fulfilling prophecy,” someone scoffed once. As though thinking made it so. As though my preparation for winter was responsible for the persistent flare of his pain when temperatures drop and the climate keens to snow. Good vibes only, I suppose. The power of positive thinking? Sure. Maybe that works for some people (though I doubt it.)

Oh, how much would change if wishing made it so. Elimination of pain and tumors and skeletal deformities and constant fatigue and and and… if wishing made it so, my husband would be well by now. He would be whole and tall. He would reach again for the golf club and the tennis racquet, and he would enjoy the strength of his physical body doing things he loved.

There is grace when suffering lingers. When pain doesn’t mend and the bones warp and fatigue carves lines on his face. When he is pale and barely eats. Chronic life is a shared burden, and I speak of his condition in terms of ‘we’ – not to minimize his pain but to acknowledge my own. Watching love suffer is pain. Knowing seasonal change brings sorrow is pain. We carry this together.

There is grace when suffering lingers. Grace, as KJ Ramsey writes in her book This Too Shall Last, not to rescue, but to persevere. We may not be lifted out of the hard, but we are promised his presence in it.

And so I pause and hold space for the way my body and mind and heart remembers these days. I anticipate the days I will not see him and the nights where sleep will leave and pain will claw his nerves to pieces.

And I will remember how we make it through: not with good vibes or mind over matter. Not with plucky cheerfulness or stoic nonchalance. Instead, with grit-fortified grace. With lament and comfort. In utter dependence on the merciful presence of God. He is here, he has not dropped us yet. And he won’t.

I’ll take that over good vibes every day of every season.


Thelma Nienhuis

Thelma Nienhuis has walked the broken road of life long enough to know that grief and joy hold hands. She is a wife, dog-mom, author, and seminary student, and will never say no to donuts. When she’s not writing or studying, you’ll find her snuggling three mini Australian labradoodles on the couch. Connect with her on Instagram, Facebook and her website.

Barren Land and Plenty

Barren Land and Plenty
by Sarah Freymuth

Rough scrape of leaves across pavement. Trees blend of barren twigs for branches, burnt orange, red wine, apple yellow.

Invisible God manifested in the breeze cool on my face, gliding through my hair. Dome of blue sky arched around the perimeter of land, jet stream the only puncture of white in a space void of clouds. Ruffle of evergreen reminiscent of swan plume.

My brother and I share a small table on the side patio of the town café. Late October, all the customers stay inside, close to the steam of espresso machine and heat of the sandwich griddle. Out here in the shade, it is him and I, away from the world and lost in our own words. Vacant land across the parking lot lays empty but full for the imagination.

This is precious time we have entered. In the morning I will be strapped into the seat of an airplane and carried away from home and to my here. Back to cracked-open in multiple places, various roles I have yet to understand. Back to no touch except for hugs from the ladies at my church, once a week nurturing that I’m still starved for because it’s not enough.

But here, across the table, my brother’s heart is tied to mine and I am filled to the brim without even uttering one breath. I helped to grow him up and he, in turn, taught me the unending swell of love.

There is no place better than Autumn in Wisconsin. Grass stands a little too high, lush and leaning toward last rays of a butter sun. The familiar creak of our heavy wood door revolving siblings and parents and visitors through the kitchen and out to line of cars in the driveway.

Winter is coming, but for now the squirrels are scampering among the pines and all my people are around me. My heart beats easier, mind loosened from its constant knot. I have burrowed deep in the limbs of trees, crash of waves on sand, billow of clouds in a world of natural wonder. I can simply soak in the world around me with nourished heart and home stitched under my skin.

I really am meant to have a poet’s eye to see the beauty in the everyday, tiny details give words and life to the still frames of moments that otherwise pass into the caverns of history.

Here is where God resides closest to me. Here is where it all began, where His presence still pulses in rhythm to my own. We’re all on precious time, wherever we land. Whether we’re set where we want to be or in upheaval. What we have is our one breath, and then another.

My brother’s eyes fasten to the page before him, hand gripping pen and fusing heart to poetry. Full of wonder and what if. When he lifts his face to find mine, I am reminded afresh of how tender his heart rends, how much of myself I see in him. How love gives extravagantly without thought.

Rest. If only in this minute, this moment with my brother, the beat of my heart that God has put within me to remind that He is everywhere, in my barren land and plenty.


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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, and Facebook.

A Gift to the World

A Gift to the World
by Jana MacDonald

We timidly walked up to the old church building, a beautiful stone edifice that has ministered on the same street corner downtown for over a century. Years ago, the local soup kitchen purchased the building when the church had dwindled in size. For that reason, it was difficult to find the entrance to the meeting space that the church now rents on Sundays. We entered through the oversized front doors into the sanctuary only to find a few homeless men sitting in the pews. Boxes upon boxes of food and clothing were stacked on the pulpit – likely offerings from the community to serve the ever-increasing number of neighbors who need support.

Outside, a few of the regulars were eager to point us in the right direction. A gentle man, whose face told a greater story of battles fought and won, greeted me at the side door. “Are you here for church?” He welcomed us in, pulling out a few old folding chairs from a dark corner of the room. They weren’t expecting guests. This was a church service for a comfortable community, a small gathering of folks who had been coming here for years. This was my first time, though I didn’t feel like a stranger. I imagined that this is what an AA meeting would be like. A close circle of worn faces, in various stages of brokenness, coming together to experience Immanuel – God with us.

I listened to a female priest teach from the Gospel of Matthew. How refreshing to hear a woman’s voice from the pulpit, or rather from her chair in the circle where she remained one of us. No pretense, no arrogance, just a part of the body with a word for the weary; motherlike in nature.  Her interpretation of a familiar text was refreshing in its newness. In walked a younger gentleman. He’s late, and it appears he has a developmental disability. He’s loud and unaware of the social faux pas he makes as he barrels into the room, large in form and in personality. He falls asleep in the service and Mother Pastor gently wakes him to offer him communion. There is no shame, no scornful face or wagging of fingers, and no offense taken. She doesn’t want him to miss the opportunity to partake in this sacred ritual.

She offered prayers to every soul. Some people just wanted a general blessing, because perhaps that week had been gentle to them. Others requested prayers for their loved ones. “Please check on Lucy. She’s feeling really down and she’s talking about suicide.” Pastor Mother had already spoken to her. Another woman thanked everyone for their prayers – her struggling son is doing okay for now and just moved into his new apartment. It was a vulnerability you don’t often see in a church space. It was as if Mother Pastor was gathering her hens one by one to store under the care of her wings. I’ve never seen such intimacy at a worship service; such things aren’t often discussed on Sunday mornings – they’re hidden behind shame and this false belief that if we have the “joy of the Lord” everything should be going well with us. If we are right with God, then we will be blessed. If we’re struggling, perhaps we just aren’t faithful enough. It was refreshing to see God dwelling amid the darkness as I know He does. Immanuel, God with us.

That was the first and only time I visited that old stone church, but the character of Mother Pastor left an impression on my heart that is still very tangible. There are plenty of biblical maternal images for God in the Old Testament. There are six verses alone in the Psalms where God shelters his people under his wings, just as a mother hen provides refuge for her clutch. Jesus himself uses the same metaphor when he assumes that divine role in both the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Throughout the scriptures we see a God who is a provider, a protector, who is full of mystery and tethered to her children by love. What if we saw more of that care and vulnerability on Sunday mornings, from our pastors and ourselves?

Maybe our world would be kinder
and gentler.
Maybe we would extend more grace
and be freer to forgive.
Maybe we’d be more honest
and experience more connection.
Maybe we’d have more compassion, empathy and understanding,
and see more hearts transformed.
Maybe we’d be more inclusive,
and more loving.
Maybe we’d be braver
and the world would be more just.
Maybe we’d experience true peace, God’s kingdom revealed here on Earth.

Maybe this is the work that is ours to do – reflecting the motherlike character of God out into the world. Maybe this is how we actually change the world, by simply loving the people in front of us. Perhaps that is the gift we can offer the world, just as Mother Pastor did that day at a sparsely attended church service in a soup kitchen on a ragamuffin street corner downtown.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
May it be so.



Jana is a gentle observer, a gifted educator, and a passionate advocate for justice. She’s a wonderer and a wanderer, and she writes to make sense of the world around her. A wannabe homesteader, she lives in Northeastern Connecticut with her family and her happy flock of chickens. Jana seeks to live life simply and is always determined to learn something new; she enjoys backpacking, carpentry, and the challenge of keeping houseplants alive. Connect with her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and her website.


by Michelle Stiffler

The proud gather stones,
wait for acknowledgement,
a nod, an answer on which
to build accusation.
When wrongs are exposed,
the only stand is justice,
but Jesus stands His ground
by stooping, tracing His finger
in dust – the substance of us.

In Exodus, God’s finger on stone.
In Daniel, God’s finger on plaster.
In the gospels, Jesus’ finger in dust.
The clarity of one holy finger,
one consistent message:
I am God.
Stones fall one by one,
angry and accused scatter,
like dust.

And I confess, I’m comfortable
here, grace-blown back to
normal life, distanced from
holy fingers that reach for
brokenness and dirty feet,
press garden soil with blood-sweat,
take up the cross, then come
close and lift my chin to truth:
“This is love. Follow me.


Michelle Stiffler 2

Michelle Stiffler is a Trauma Specialist, podcast co-host, sunrise chaser & Barre instructor, as well as wife, mom, and Mimi. Her work has been featured with Fathom, Ruminate, The Redbud Post, Joyful Life, (in)courage, Truly Co, and other publications. She blogs about faith, struggle, and courage at www.onemoretruth.com. Instagram: @onemoretruth


by Leslie McLeod

As rain you come,
pouring down from above,
washing, refreshing, drenching me
in love.

Staccato song delights my ears;
you paint dusty earth in glossy hue.
Droplets touch my thirsty tongue;
I smell wet loam, rich and new.

Raising arms,
lifting face,
I laugh and twirl
as you fill this parched place.

Barriers melt and float away
as rain unites my neighbor and me.
Smiling eyes meet, a secret shared—
of rain-disguised divinity.




Living near Southern California coast, Leslie’s artistic leanings provide an alter ego to 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.   After losing 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 relational regret.   She emerges from 40 years wandering in her own see-saw wilderness,  elated to hear and share the voice of her soul’s Beloved.  Connect with her on Facebook and at www.lamcleod.com.

Autumn Leaf

Autumn Leaf
by Prasanta Verma

Leaf beautifully curling upward
Cupping droplets on its skin

I take my finger, wipe the drop.
Leave a skirmish behind

The red autumn leaf, a heart
Turned toward heaven

Singing in its death—I wonder,
Leaf, how many songs have you sung?


I wrap myself in a coat of leaves
Stand under a sheltering tree

Sing with the wind
Go to the one who sings over me

Cup my hands, raise them—empty
Here they are, here I am

Am I to be like that last leaf,
Stuck on the tree, alone?

And I am answered,
You are connected to the vine

Water spills over my hands,
Overflows, slips through my fingers.




Prasanta Verma is a freelance writer, poet, and artist. Prasanta was born under an Asian sun, raised in the Appalachian foothills in the southern U.S., and now lives in the Midwest. She has been published in Relief JournalBarren MagazineExhale Journal, Silver Birch Press(in)courage, and Tweetspeak Poetry. 

Writer’s Fall

Writer’s Fall
by Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Even as a child I didn’t really understand the excitement about new leaves, buds on trees, the denizens of the nests changing. I wanted everything to stay the same. Skeletons should not creak back to life. The dark sorcery of spring fazed and frightened me. The familiar faces made of barking knotholes, the shapes of wooden arms and fingers would disappear each year into unrelenting foliage, along with the stories we had created together. Drowning in green.

Two hundred seasons later, everyone still raves about pink blossom and the loud fullness of sap that follows it. I cover my ears and watch from my room, from behind the sliver of window I allow myself. That way I do not get overwhelmed. The crescendo of spring into summer becomes noise. The heat suffocates and lays heavy, unwelcome extra blankets on already sultry nights. Even the moon looks weighed down, wider than she should be, flattened out like a pancake, sizzling.

But soon it is my time. There is a golden harvest to gather, to glean from. The apples shine with rust and make the short leap to the ground when the time is ripe and the cord is twisted beyond brittleness. Birthings are soft and squelching, or they crown as dancers, leaves dusted with cocoa finally breaking free from their prisons and sculling downwards in pirouettes. They are dry hammocks filled with cool air, neither end tethered to anything but the whim of the wind.

This is my hearth, my heart-time. My skin is patchy and browning, thinning and creasing. I am letting my bark show. This is no longer the tower of a princess, but of a pacing crone. A madwoman in the attic who is so full of ideas that she must turn over a new leaf every day, and pour herself out in ink. This is how I bleed now.

I will spin gold from straw, and let the brambles climb up and entwine me in their magic. Time will stand still. There will be no winter, and I shall brook no spring.


Keren small headshot

Keren Dibbens-Wyatt is a chronically-ill contemplative, writer and artist. She has a passion for prayer, poetry, story and colour. Her writing features regularly in literary journals (Fathom, Amethyst Review, The Blue Nib) and on spiritual blogs (Contemplative Light, Godspace). She is the author of the book Recital of Love (Paraclete Press, 2020). Keren lives in England and suffers from M.E. which keeps her housebound and out of the trouble she would doubtless get into otherwise. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and her website.


by Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

I am sat just off the bark-strewn path. Legs curled seed-like underneath a spine glowing with the memory of pain. In my mind’s eye I come here often, cheating the seasons. That’s one good thing about having to travel by imagination. Now, when I come, the games teacher in the adjoining field cannot take umbrage at my taking photos of flowers and sheep home to paint from. The wheelchair attendant doesn’t talk on and on till I insist on sitting on the ground and still have to beg her for a few moments silence. Even then I could hear her thoughts chomping at the bit, revving their throttle. My sitting here is not now a delicious gulp of clear water thrown down my throat as quickly as possible, a slight wry smile at having to grab at eternity, but a soft, joyously sparkling spring, from which I can drink any time I choose.

I can sit here for as long as my heart can bear it, and the silence is not crushed in a vice, but spread out over me like a blue blanket. The sky is dancing with slender branches of silver birch and sweet chestnut. The robin who followed us by hopping along a dead tree trunk can take his time and bob up and down, sweetly doffing his feathered cap as often as he chooses, and he can let his aria swell with flaming chest and God’s glory with my heart held captive, for the longest concert of his dear, small life. It is of no matter. I am going nowhere. These weak legs and this sickly frame are rooted somewhere different now, and there is no desperation intruding on my time or my daydreams.

I have told you everything about it except the One Thing. Sat here at the Lord’s feet, in the woodland, amongst all the birdsong and the creeping tenderness of ground ivy and sweet violets, I have not mentioned the Holy of Holies. The bluebells. The cobalt chimes ringing out divine fragrance, their little elf hats swinging magically in the breeze, colouring the whole floor of the copse with such beauty that I cannot take even a fraction of it in.

They are why I have come and why I return, and their splendour built from delicate, short-lived late-April showers and shine, is what breaks my heart wide open, searching for the words to explain. Tiny fragments of fragile lapis blue have drifted down from heaven, and settled here on stalks, catching like sunrays on snow, and if this sight did not turn my thoughts to the wonders of eternity, then nothing on this earth could ever have bathed me in that fire.


Keren small headshot

Keren Dibbens-Wyatt is a chronically-ill contemplative, writer and artist. She has a passion for prayer, poetry, story and colour. Her writing features regularly in literary journals (Fathom, Amethyst Review, The Blue Nib) and on spiritual blogs (Contemplative Light, Godspace). She is the author of the book Recital of Love (Paraclete Press, 2020). Keren lives in England and suffers from M.E. which keeps her housebound and out of the trouble she would doubtless get into otherwise. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and her website.

Make A Way In Me

Make A Way In Me
by Sarah Freymuth

You hear, O LORD, the desire of the 
You encourage them, and You
listen to their cry.
-Psalm 10:17

You are faithful, even in the midst of the raging storm. You are the God who calms the seas; surely, You can calm the sea in me.

Calm the raging sea in me; say to my mind and soul, “Peace, be still.”
Help me to be still and know Your goodness, Your timing, Your ways, Your presence. Joy and hope amidst the hard, my God. I ask for joy and hope, a sound mind and secure heart.

You are my firm foundation and I climb on top to stand, however unsteady my hands and feet. You are the One who sees and knows all the swirls within me. And You love me, though it’s hard to feel. But faith is not based on sight, but stepping one foot in front of the other in the unknown, choosing to trust You are over all, You are over me.

Be over me, my God. My good Father, whose plans for my life are good, for hope and a future. You are making way for my good future. Just help get me through the storm, get in the boat and soothe me to sleep as You slice through the waves, guiding me. God, steer me through. God, calm me through the middle of the water, when there is no shore in sight, when I tremble with fear and am frantic for land.
Be in the boat with me. You know these waters well. You know me well; call out my name and speak to my deep places where You know better than I do what I need. You know what I need, my Counselor and Comfort.

You are my fixed point on a shaky axis. Rescue me, out of Your great mercy. Restore me through the suffering. Give me Your grace for today, but bring hope to my heart and healing to my body, mind and soul. You are able, and You are near.

Faithful One, be faithful to me. I want to see You, hear You, know and experience You in deeper and new ways. I want a way out, yes, but I want You too.

You always make a way. I may not know what that way will be or how it will look or when it will happen, but Lord, make a way in me. I need You. Oh Lord, You are my light when I’m sinking in the dark. Lift my eyes, let me see Yours, sink Your love deeper in my heart.

You are the God who makes a way and surrounds me. Oh God, calm this sea in me and carry me to steady ground. To Your firm foundation, the Rock in whom I choose to place my hope. Give me a glimmer of that hope on the horizon. Though the waves dash against the boat, the rocks, my mind and heart, You will take me safely through.

My God, do not leave me. Bring me close. Come to my rescue, my aid, and be that fixed point to still my racing mind and soul.

You are the God who calms the seas; surround me with Your strength, my God and Deliverer. Calm this sea in me. Clear the path, the storm, and make a way in me.



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Sarah Freymuth enjoys listening to the heartbeats of the world and conveying them through words. She is the editor of Awake Our Hearts, communications manager for Fellowship of Christian Athletes, writes for numerous publications, and has a strong affinity for dark roast coffee. Sarah is a member of the Proverbs 31 Ministries Contributor Team and Redbud Writers Guild, a vibrant and diverse movement of Christian women who create in community and who influence culture and faith. She enjoys her simple Midwest life in Wisconsin, especially when she’s on Washington Island. In the in-between moments, she likes to write narrative and lyrical essays exploring the longings of life and soul at www.sarahfreymuth.com and on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.