Archives for March 2013

Empty Arms

Don’t you love how we can express ourselves in different ways? For some, their chosen avenue is music. For others, it is art. Still others find their creative outlet in photography or cooking or knitting. The list goes on.

We writers use words to share our hearts with the world. But even within that niche of words, we can choose different forms of expression. And you know what I’ve discovered? Sometimes a poem says it best. I pray that this one blesses you.

Empty Arms

No one warned her it was coming,
the lost feeling that hovered
when the caregiving stopped.
But a friend brought clarity
with two simple words—
Empty arms.

A different time, a different place,
he never dreamed how deep the void,
never knew what lost really meant
until heaven claimed his love,
until she no longer stood by his side.
Empty arms.

Across the way, a young couple grieved,
brokenhearted and alone.
The cherished dream would never be theirs,
A child of their own they’d never see,
a primal yearning withheld.
Empty arms.

A hurried goodbye on a college campus
and then tears the entire drive home.
Her daughter’s room so empty
yet bearing her mark,
the pain of letting go pours in.
Empty arms.

What can we do when such times come
how do we handle the ache?
Let’s turn to the One ever ready to help,
hand him each hurt until nothing remains
but the welcome relief of
Empty arms.

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:22a

*How has God helped you handle an empty arms situation in your life?

*Flickr photo by whatmegsaid

Midweek Morsel: Not Forgotten

5653784413_fbb8f58b0b_zLong term trials have a way of wearing us down—in more ways than one. Whether it’s ongoing illness, unemployment, marital problems, teenage rebellion, or any number of other anguish inducing situations, we soon grow weary physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We eventually wonder if God has forgotten us.

If today you feel that God doesn’t hear your cries anymore or that he doesn’t care about you, remember that he loves us so much he sent his only Son to be our Savior. Take heart with these words of encouragement from my poem Trust in Him:

“And when you finally feel
Like God has forgotten you,
He’ll show you He hasn’t—
Trust in Him.”

Father, show the weary and hurting your love!

“I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:15 NRSV

A blessed Easter to all!

*Flickr photo by Pink Sherbet Photography, Creative Commons License

A Lavish Gift of Love

Have you ever wanted to lavish a costly gift on someone—whether financial, emotional, or an investment of time and effort—but felt a little unsure about it?

I’m not referring to using your resources in an irresponsible way, one that would leave you unable to pay your bills or meet your current obligations. No, I mean questions you may have about whether it’s right to splurge on someone you love when millions around the world are so needy, when there are so many worthy causes that could benefit from your investment.

Consider this example from the life of Jesus. Matthew tells us in his gospel (ch. 26:6-13) about one—identified as Mary in the John 12:1-8 account—who lavished her love on the Savior just days before his crucifixion.

During a banquet given in Jesus’s honor, Mary came to Jesus and anointed him with a jar of very expensive perfume. She drew immediate criticism, however, from the disciples for what they called a waste. They pointed out that the perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor.

Jesus saw it differently, though. He said, “She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.” (Matthew 26:10b-11)

He went on to tell them that she would be remembered for this act of love wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world. Jesus approved of her lavish gift of love.

Today the same is true. Worthy causes and desperate need will always be present, but we won’t always have our loved ones with us.

I’m not saying we should forget the poor or hurting. Of course, we should give to help those in need. But I think we can also feel free to lavish a costly gift on a loved one occasionally. After all, it’s a beautiful thing to show someone the depth of our love. Just ask Jesus. I think he would approve.

“. . . love one another deeply, from the heart.”  1 Peter 1:22b

*What lavish gift of love have you received?

*Flickr photo by Aih.

It Might Be Time for Spring Break If . . .


Never let it be said that the Barkers don’t observe Spring Break. Here in the Heartland, by the time the middle of March rolls around, everyone is ready for a break whether spring weather has arrived or not. In other words, the operative word is break.

And so, a blogging break is on my agenda this week. I’ll skip my Midweek Morsel post this Wednesday but will return with a regular post next Sunday afternoon.

First some fun, though—a little guide to let you know if you might need a spring break, too :)

It might be time for spring break if:

  1. You’re regularly looking for items that, in fact, are right under your nose.
  2. Dates with your significant other have been reduced to an occasional lunch at Arby’s.
  3. You’re dangerously close to giving yourself a new “do”. . . by pulling out some hair!
  4. Your to-do list rivals the size of Santa’s naughty and nice list. Or . . .
  5. Your GPS system has been setting itself for an out-of-town trip.
So what are you waiting for? Get the heck out of Dodge! :)

See you soon!

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:” Ecclesiastes 3:1

*Do you have any spring break plans?

*Flickr photo by koalazymonkey

Midweek Morsel: The Generosity Boomerang

“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25

My husband Don is a generous guy. I think his spiritual gift must be giving. I make efforts to be generous, too, but for Don it comes naturally. He almost always outdoes me in the giving department. What can I say, he’s a giver.

The generosity principle found in the verse above—the generosity boomerang, if you will—has proven true in our lives time and again. We are so blessed. As they say, you can’t out-give God.

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38

Let’s think beyond the obvious for a moment. What are some ways other than financially that we can be generous? How might we refresh others? I’ll start us off. How about being generous with smiles? :) :) :)

*Flickr photo by tinyfroglet, Creative Commons License