Thursday, July 10, 2014

He knew me before He formed me Numbered my days Set out a path and a story and guarded my ways He set me in secret - A life with a plan And gave me a purpose while in this land And there in that place - covered in love I spent my days in joy until I went above. I heard my mother's prayer and felt her gentle hand As she thanked the Lord for this life He had planned I heard my brothers' giggles so exited I was there I heard my sisters' whisper with gentle love and care I heard my father's blessings spoken each and every night and imagined his face even before I had sight I longed to let them know the love that I knew In this secret, sweet place where I quietly grew I felt my mother's heart break watched it shatter all around As I stepped from this life to heaven's sacred ground I could not leave a note, a word, or a touch to let them know I loved them so much But as I walked forward into my new place I saw Jesus reach out and extend peace and grace I saw Him gather tears and bless each one I heard Him whisper to them "I'll take care of your son" So one day I'll meet them Here on heaven's shore and tell them I love them and so much more.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


A journey through the valley
has brought me here tonight
where earthly things are traded
for spiritual sight.

My faith, O Lord, has wavered
on this journey of loss
But time and time again
you brought me to the cross.

I know you know the pain,
have counted every tear
and how you have gathered me
in your arms so near.

So as I join this candle
with others on this night
I'm asking that my faith
be made clear sight.

Let me be reminded
that you have a plan
for every single life
you hold within your hand.

Not a single heartbeat
has echoed out in vain
But, You O God, have known
every one by name.

***This poem was written for the M.E.N.D. Texarkana group and was read at their December Candlelight Ceremony. *****

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In Memory of Ayden Brown, infant son of Jeff & KK Brown

A gift so small and fragile,
given from above.
So brief we held his tiny form
and showered him with love.
And though his time was short with us
Our heart and lives are changed
And aching from such a loss
We'll never be the same.
So, Father, now we beg of you
Please come and take our hand.
For this valley of sorrow
is unfamiliar land.
We do not know Your ways, O Lord,
We do not understand -
All that You have willed for us
or all that You have planned.
Speak peace, O Lord, to aching hearts
who long to hear your voice.
Remind us Lord that though we grieve
One day we will rejoice.
For standing on the other bank
of heaven's glowing shore
We will one day step across
to see our son once more.
And on that day he'll tell us
all that he has done.
Of all the games he's played there
of all of heaven's fun.
And once again we'll hold him
and see his sweet smile.
We will whisper his name again
and hug our dear child.
Till that day, O Lord, we ask
that you pass on our love.
Let it be a quiet lullaby
until we meet him in heaven above.

Ayden Brown.
Born June 14, 2011
Death October 3, 2011

To his family: You remain in our thoughts and prayers daily. May the Lord comfort and keep you in this valley of loss.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Suddenly, in a moment
the safety and sacredness is torn
When a child once living
in death and sleep is born.
We are left reeling
- a state of unbelief
Our world overwhelmed
by a tsunami of grief
And what shall we do -
grasping just for breath -
So suddenly overtaken
by this flood of death?
Driven to our knees
we long to understand.
And in the midst of agony
we feel your gentle hand
Pulling us closely
O, Lord, we fall into your love
We listen as you whisper
that our child is with you above.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

One Year

Father this pain revisited
Is as hard as the first
For a mother's arms left empty
Long for that living birth.
We're haunted with shadowy dreams -
Left longing for something more.
Reaching out across time and distance
All the way to heaven's shore.
They say time changes loss
and memories seem to dim -
But a mother's arms left empty
Never seems to forget them.
Our hearts are left longing
of what might have been
And we are left dreaming
of seeing them again.
Father this pain revisited
Is as hard as the first
So hold me as I weep again
over this loss of birth.

Friday, January 21, 2011

To Those Suffering Loss

To those suffering loss, in whatever its form (the loss of an infant, a child, a spouse, a friend, a family member) hold to the hope found in Christ. Our loss is not overlooked by our God. He hears our every fear and gathers each tear. Do not think for a moment that these things are not felt by our father. Jesus chose to step into humanity for the cause of drawing us close. His walk in human flesh brought with it the fullest range of emotions. He, too has experienced deep sorrow, anguish of soul, desperation, frustration, disappointment, anger, and hurt. He wept with His friends at Lazarus’ death. Although He knew in His infinite wisdom the plan – he felt the sorrow of His friends – he understood the impact of human loss. In His most desperate hour as the crucifixion drew near Jesus departed with His closest friends to pray. (This account can be found in all the gospels). Imagine His disappointment when he found His friends sleeping and the increasing frustration as He repeatedly asked them if they could not stay awake even one hour to pray with him. Bent in that garden our Savior came face to face with a tidal wave of human emotions – they overcame him like a tsunami turning his world upside down. There in that garden he cried out in his humanity to his Father. Notice that the father sent a comforter – an angel – to minister to his son. Jesus, wept even harder in the comfort of that angel. God does not expect us to be super Christians, clinging to religious beliefs, or doing the right actions, or saying the right churchy words. No - our father wishes for us to come just as Jesus and just lay it all out – to hold nothing back. There in that moment when we are fully exposed, when we are broken before the Lord – surrendered to His will – He will comfort us. Those things we hoped for may not come about, circumstances may not change, we may not be delivered out of the storm or lifted from the valley to the mountain top – but we are delivered into the perfect place of His grace and love. This encounter with the God of the universe will demand a choice. I like how it is stated in I Kings 18:21 “How long will you falter between two opinions…” and in Joshua 24 “…..choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” - - we must decide if we will surrender to His will – who we will serve. Will we follow His plan, even in the suffering? Will we choose His way and face our storms holding His hands? Will we walk this road not held in check by the worlds standards, religious expectations, or our own self-inflicted standards? I assure you that the worlds standards would not have allowed for the God in flesh to cry out as he did, but Jesus did not care – he approached His father in honesty and in all his brokenness. Because of this Jesus was lifted up, encouraged and able to fully surrender to the will of God. Choose this day what you will surrender to – and take comfort in the arms that are wide open – see the face of a Father who loves you more than anything else. Take courage in the one who is able to deliver you!
Many times over in our lives we may be required to walk in the valley. Let the God of the Universe, the Lover of your soul take your suffering and make it something more beautiful. Cling to the tragic beauty found in the cross – the ultimate act of suffering and sorrow that brought you into the courts of praise before a loving, mighty God. Remember Grace.

The Journey through the Valley of Shadow

My thoughts of God have been forever changed, that is how it is when you come face to face with the magnitude of His infinite grace and love – when you are consumed by it. For there are times that in this life that we must surrender it all, laying ourselves out on the altar – and at this time Father steps down from His throne to gently pick up His children and whisper His love. In this moment the grace and love that have flowed from His thrown since the beginning of time wash over you like a tidal wave and you realize for the first time just how great this God is that you serve, and how absolutely unworthy you are. You are faced for the first time with the evidences of his grace and love displayed throughout your life and you realize that it has always been this way.
I know that God brings us to things to make our lives more beautiful. Trials and suffering bring us into a new relationship with God – a new understanding of the vastness of his love. I can not with any honesty say that I look forward to trials, nor would I choose suffering if the choice were left up to me, but these things are a blessing for those who trust in God.
This year we were called to a journey in the valley of shadows…a time of desperate faith, clinging to the unseen as though we could see it until that unseen became a reality for us. It was a coming to knowledge of God’s grace and the love that shelters us in the midst of life’s devastating storms.
Our valley was the pregnancy of Caleb Levi Riddle. This was a time of leaning on God and claiming the promises found in His word. Our defense against the enemy’s attack was constant prayer. We had to train our eyes to focus on the cross of our Lord when our circumstances seemed so hopeless. In looking to our Lord we discovered a more beautiful world – that world that is spiritual and beyond description. In Christ’s love even the most desperate situations become bearable and we could see the hand of God and the grace that was being lavishly poured on us at every turn.
The following pages are the journey that we walked. It is the truth of imperfect people in a harsh world facing terrible odds depending on a perfect God that chose His loss so that we could be redeemed. It is the journey that has brought us closer into fellowship with God’s grace and has left us forever changed.
In this journey it is my hope that my life has been made more beautiful because of the suffering.