Secret Battles


I’ve learned a few things over the course of my life.

One of the most important lessons I’ve picked up is this: you can be around people on a regular, sometimes daily, basis and never know the secret battles they face.

People who put on a brave face and wear a smile can be fighting all sorts of demons– anxiety, insecurity, eating disorders, depression, self-loathing, self-harm.

Sometimes, a person will trust you enough to let you in a little. Often, you will never see all the cracks and broken places.

The beauty is that God sees. When you don’t know how to pray for someone you suspect is going through hard times, you can visualize leading that person to Jesus and letting Him envelop that person, His love filling all the broken places and wounds that person is carrying.

Christmas is all about Emmanuel who didn’t come from above to rescue us from on high, but came from beneath us to lift us up with Him. He became the lowliest of the low, born in a barn in a redneck little town to two nobodies.

The Bible says that as our High Priest, Jesus is able to sympathize with all our weaknesses. He knows all those secret battles you face.

I was reminded of an old favorite song of mine by Julie Miller. She was sexually abused as a child and was able to turn that great pain into great art in the form of some incredible songs. Here’s one:

“I have seen the night of a million tears,
I have seen an angel’s smile,
I have come of age and remained, these years, with the longings of a child.

Nobody but you can find my heart,
Nobody but you sees in the dark,
Nobody but you can call my name and scatter all my pain.

I have had the fears of an orphaned heart,
I have had a homeless soul,
I have been embraced in the arms of grace,
You have brought my spirit home.

Nobody but you can find my heart,
Nobody but you sees in the dark,
Nobody but you can call my name and scatter all my pain.

Nobody but you can find my heart,
Nobody but you sees in the dark,
Nobody but you can call my name and scatter all my pain.

Nobody but you, nobody but you,
Nobody but you, nobody but you,
Nobody but you, nobody but you,
Nobody but you.”


Music I Like

I’ve gotten to the point where I really don’t care how old the music or what format it is. If it speaks to me and tells me my story, I like it.

I used to look down my nose at country music. I thought it was too hick for me. Then I tried to listen to it and didn’t like it.

Later on, I found some Dwight Yoakum. It turns out that I really did like country music after all, just not the sugar-flavored pop with a twang that passes for country music these days. Yes, I just showed my age.

I have just about every kind of genre from just about every decade that music has been made. I like it all.

Lately, I find myself gravitating toward the road less traveled, musically speaking. I don’t tend to go for top 40 as much. I like more alt-country and Americana-style music.  But not to the point of being hipster. I’m not there yet.

There’s still nothing better to me than the right song at the right moment. It’s almost like the song becomes a part of the soundtrack of your life and the moment becomes etched in your memory.

I like the Grateful Dead, mostly because every time I listen to one of their songs, I think about Uncle Bob and how much he loved the Grateful Dead. It makes me happy. Hopefully he’s up in heaven smiling at my new musical broad-mindedness.

I also tend to avoid music awards shows like the bubonic plague. All they do is reward mediocrity and popularity over actual talent. Generally speaking. And that was my soapbox speech for the evening.

The beauty of music, as well as art, is that there really is no such thing as bad art. Art and music are subjective, and chances are that what turns me off completely may speak to you where you are and you may love it. More power to you.

As Uncle Mikey aka Mike Glenn says, that’s why Baskin Robbins has 39 flavors of ice cream. Not everyone likes Rocky Road. Not every one likes what I like in music. Some actually like Justin Bieber. God bless and keep listening. Just make sure you have your headphones on when you’re around me, please.



A Beautiful Prayer

“You are holy, Lord, the only God,
and Your deeds are wonderful.
You are strong.
You are great.
You are the Most High.
You are almighty.
You, holy Father, are
King of heaven and earth.
You are Three and One,
Lord God, all good.
You are Good, all Good, supreme Good,

Lord God, living and true.

You are love,
You are wisdom.
You are humility,
You are endurance.
You are rest,
You are peace.
You are joy and gladness.
You are justice and moderation.
You are all our riches,
And You suffice for us.
You are beauty.
You are gentleness.
You are our protector,
You are our guardian and defender.
You are courage.
You are our heaven and our hope.
You are our faith,
Our great consolation.
You are our eternal life,
Great and wonderful Lord,
God almighty,
Merciful Saviour.

Amen” (St Francis of Assisi).

Once again, I think this covers it. I found this through Daily Celtic Prayers and Inspirations on Facebook. See, there is some redeeming value to social media.

I’ve mentioned before that sometimes when you can’t find your own words to pray, it helps to borrow other words. Obviously, you start with the Psalms and other prayers from the Bible (including the Lord’s Prayer), but sometimes you can also pray the prayers of other men and women of God down through the centuries.

Here’s one more you can add to your list.


That Longing Inside

till we have faces

“The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing — to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from — my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back” (C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces).

It’s that longing. If you watch TV at all, you are led to believe that you can fill that longing with a new car or a new kitchen appliance. Or maybe if you drink the right beer or wear the right kind of sweaters. Just about anything and everything from fast food to cologne to mattresses will satisfy that deepest of longings inside of us, or so we’re told.

I think all of us have deep longings that nothing we do or buy or acquire can ever truly satisfy. For most of us, we’re unable to even name what that longing is or even pinpoint what it is that we truly desire.

That C. S. Lewis guy also said that if we have longings that nothing in this world can satisfy, then it means that we were created for another world. I think he was on to something.

I personally find myself longing more and more for a world I’ve never seen before, but one that I have dreamed about. I imagine it will look a whole lot like Mr. Lewis’ Narnia, especially the one described in toward the end of his book, The Last Battle.

“Death opens a door out of a little, dark room (that’s all the life we have known before it) into a great, real place where the true sun shines and we shall meet” (C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces).



The Kingdom Of God


“If we only had eyes to see and ears to hear and wits to understand, we would know that the Kingdom of God in the sense of holiness, goodness, beauty is as close as breathing and is crying out to be born both with in ourselves and with in the world; we would know that the Kingdom of God is what we all of us hunger for above all other things even when we don’t know its name or realize that it’s what we’re starving to death for. The Kingdom of God is where our best dreams come from and our truest prayers. We glimpse it at those moments when we find ourselves being better than we are and wiser than we know. We catch sight of it when at some moment of crisis a strength seems to come to us that is greater than our own strength. The Kingdom of God is where we belong. It is home, and whether we realize it or not, I think we are all of us homesick for it” (Frederick Buechner).

I think that says it way better than I ever could.

I posted this on Facebook two years ago today and it still has an impact on me. I still long for this Kingdom of God and for all the wrongs of this world to be made right.

I still think heaven will look a lot like Narnia with a little Middle Earth thrown it. Hobbits in heaven? I’d like to think so.



“For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazing. For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Maybe you don’t like the way you look.

Maybe you have a hard time looking at yourself in the mirror or watching yourself in videos or pictures.

Maybe you’ve felt like no one with eyes could ever be attracted to you.

Maybe you’ve thought to yourself, ” If only I could just lose 20 pounds” “If only I had a different face” “If only I were taller”. . . the list goes on.

Can I share something with you?

God loves you just the way you are. He looks at you and says, “Very good.”

In the above mentioned verses, the Apostle Paul says that we are God’s poiema, His workmanship, His finished product, His masterpiece. I really like how The Voice puts it– “heaven’s poetry etched on lives.”

You are not ugly. You are beautiful because God says so. He looks at you and delights in what He sees. And as the old saying goes, God don’t make no junk.

Remember that the next time you don’t like your own reflection. Remember that you are an image-bearer of God, reflecting a part of God that people will only see when they see you.

You may not be a 10 in the world’s eyes, but never forget that to Jesus, you’re to die for.

A prayer for My Future Wife in 2014



You know how tired I am from waiting. You know how weak my faith is and how unstable my belief can be.

I’m still holding onto that mustard seed-sized faith, clutching it with everything I’ve got, with all my heart and strength and soul and mind. I want to rest tonight not in Your promises or provisions, but in Your person, Your character, in You.

Lord, I’m still believing in the miracle that some woman will fall in love with me and want to spend the rest of her life with me. It seems impossible sometimes, but then I remember the words of a pastor: what seems impossible to me isn’t even remotely difficult for you.

I’m praying you will be with her tonight and envelop her with your peace and surround her with your everlasting arms. May her joy be full as she rests in you, completely comfortable in who You’ve made her to be and in Whose she is– Yours.

May she cast aside every hindrance, every distraction, every clamoring voice, and run only after You, her true heart’s desire. May she keep a single-minded focus on Your Son, Jesus, and not fall into the lies and deceptions that tell her she is not enough.

May you bring her into my life, but not until the time that both she and I are ready– and not a moment sooner. Help her faith not to falter and her trust to remain stedfast and secure in You only.

Help me to be the man who can win her heart and guard it until the day you ask for it back. Help me to become the man who will help her to unveil all the beauty and wisdom and lovingkindness you have placed in her so she will become all that you created her to be.

As always, I believe. Help my unbelief. And hers, too.


God Loves Even Hot Messes, Right?


I confess. I am a mess.

Ooo, I was just a poet and didn’t know it.

But I am a mess.

Sometimes, I frighten people with my friendliness. It comes across too strong a little too early. I am an acquired taste, a bit odd and unusual. And sometimes I confuse someone who is friendly and nice to everybody with someone who genuinely wants to be my friend.

In other words, I’m unique.

So are you.

Maybe you’ve tried way too hard to make someone like you or be your friend.

Maybe you’ve wondered why all the people in your life seem gradually withdraw from you and go away after a while. Maybe even family members. Or spouses. The ones closest to you who you thought would always be there.

Here’s the thing. To God, you’re beautiful. To God, you’re a priceless work of art. To God, your worth is more than the very lifeblood of His only Son, all the agony and torture of a painful death on a cross. You matter.

I’ve come to believe the right people will see your mess and stick around anyway.

The right people will call out the good they see in you and help you to see it in yourself. They will help you remember that song in your heart when you’ve forgotten the words.

Even a Van Gogh painting probably looked like a mess when it was still in progress. And that’s what you are, dear friend.

A work in progress. A masterpiece in the making. Heaven’s poetry etched onto lives, as one translation of Ephesians 2:10 puts it.

Don’t despair. Don’t give up or give in to the pressure to be someone else or (perish the very idea) try to be normal.

Take courage, dear heart. God made you to be you. He delights in you being you. He’s even helping you find your truest self, the “youest” you.

Christmas is all about messes. Do you think the manger scene was pristine? Do you think the place where Jesus arrived was a 5-star hotel? It was not.

If Jesus arrived in the middle of a messy manger, then He above anyone understands what messes look like and how to make them clean. Not better, not improved, but new.

Celebrate that you’re you and no one else. One day, you’ll find out that your part in God’s Story might not have been the leading role, but it was vital to the Story and you made a difference in the outcome.

These are just the thoughts of one hot mess directed to all the other hot messes out there.

What I Want for Christmas in 2013


You read the title and thought, “Aww, he’s going to wish for things like world peace and global sing-a-longs.” Not really. I have some selfish wants that I’m sharing as well as some (mostly) altruistic wishes. 

1) I would like world peace, but I know the heart of people too well. All I can hope and pray for is peace within the hearts of as many people as possible who are willing to surrender everything to Jesus.

2) One red Mini-Cooper, preferably with white stripes and/or a British flag emblem on the roof and/or on the sideview mirrors.

3) For a personal trainer or someone who will help me get more motivated to live healthier.

4) A MacBook Air ’cause they are so light and fluffy. And because PC laptops are just too slow and clunky.


5) For each person to see his or her true value in Christ and to know that true beauty comes from being uniquely and marvelously designed by a Creator and loved infinitely.

6) A trip to New England at some point in my life. Ideally in the fall but I’m not picky about when. I would love to try Mystic Pizza🍕 in Mystic, Connecticut and visit a few lighthouses while I’m there. 👍

7) A date with Kari Jobe. 😁 

8) For chocolate to not have fat grams and calories. 🙏

9) Gift cards to, Best Buy, Frothy Monkey, iTunes, and Ecko (so I can look swanky).

10) To see every cat and dog in a shelter find loving homes with loving people who will take care of them and treasure them.

11) That stone house in downtown Franklin with the red door that looks so homey.🏡

12) For Concord Road to be four lanes instead of two with a turning lane.

13) A really nifty cowboy hat.

14) Anything I’ve listed on my Amazon wish list.

15) For more kindness and compassion and understanding between people.


Counting Crows and Everything After


I drove home tonight with a Counting Crows CD playing in my car. I know the hipsters either listen to digital streaming or old-school LPs, but I still like my CDs. And yes, I was singing at the top of my lungs, not caring if I looked ridiculous to the fellow drivers.

Music takes me to a happy place. So does good writing.

I read something today that was written to women, but with a little work, I think I can take away something for me as well. It goes like this:

“You’re fine exactly as you are.
Your curves, words, flaws, strengths, thoughts.
You don’t have to change.
You aren’t fat, stupid, or worthless.
You are you.
You are amazing.
You are wonderful.”

I think those could be God’s words to His children tonight. No wait . . . I know those are God’s words to YOU tonight. Right where you are, sitting in your robe with curlers in your hair. Or sitting in your t-shirt and boxers with hair defying all the laws of gravity.

A random sire note: I spent too much time trying to find this on Pinterest again after I lost it the first time. I wanted to share it with a friend of mine who needs this reminder. I almost forgot that maybe it was me who needed reminding more than anyone else.

God loves you exactly the way you are. That makes you loveable. That makes you valuable. That makes you somebody. That defines and completes and identifies you.

You may need to lose 10 (or more) pounds. You may not always like the person who looks back at you from the other side of the mirror. You may hate your job and your life and even yourself at times.

But you are amazing. You are wonderful. You are beautiful.

And you are the apple of God’s eye, the delight of His heart, and His beloved Daughter or Son.

Don’t ever forget that.