Monday, June 17, 2019

A Bird's Eye View

...looking at life from a higher perspective:

I've been writing poetry since the 70's. In all that time, and of  all of those words that have managed to make their way from my mind and heart out onto paper, the poem that is perhaps my "signature" poem is My Father's Eyes. It is my husband's favorite poem. It is a poem that I wrote around the time of one of my birthdays. Usually a pretty upbeat time of life, but for me, more often a very pensive and introspective time. This is why . . .

My mother died on the operating table when I was born. I was her fifth pregnancy, and she had suffered some kind of abdominal injury years earlier that had weakened  the lining of her uterus. I don't know that they were aware of the implications of further pregnancies on that kind of injury. I don't know a lot of things about what exactly happened medically during that time. I only know that a mom and dad went to the hospital to have a baby that day, and the dad ended up coming home alone. It was completely unexpected. It was devastating. My dad was undone, and grieved deeply.  

This poem is a snapshot of my life. I must testify to the truth of God's faithfulness and goodness in holding me close through every part of it. When I was lonely. When I felt responsible. When I felt unloved. And, yes, when finally accepting the fact that I AM LOVED. May you experience that same awareness of His care in your life.

My Father’s Eyes

A lifetime ago the birth of a babe
Should have been a joyous affair.
Instead came the news of a mother’s death
And a father’s eyes filled with despair.

Over the years I longed for a look
From those eyes that would let me know
That I was enough to replace his loss,
But the sadness continued to grow.

I knew with my mind that his love was real –
But only because he MUST.
His grief was too heavy – his burden to bear;
His eyes never filled with trust.

My birthday was always a lonesome day –
A reminder of what he had lost.
And it seemed that his eyes reflected
How great and unfair the cost.

Year upon year had taken its toll
And his mind was no longer strong.
He couldn’t express his words or thoughts
And everything came out wrong.

Then came the day at the nursing home
When I stopped by to see my dad.
He saw me approach and his eyes lit with joy
And I knew that his heart was glad.

The look I had longed for was shining so bright
From the eyes of the one I held dear.
Soon the haze settled in and the look was gone
But my heart held the memory near.

For years I had waited, for years I had feared,
Not knowing that I was adored;
That the look of delight was there all along
In the eyes of my Father and Lord.

My dad, from the pain buried deep in his soul
Couldn’t share what was there in his heart.
But the look, had I noticed, from God’s tender gaze,
Was there from the very start.

© Liz Kimmel

(Reposted from an earlier blog, but important enough to share again.)
Image by HarryStueber from Pixabay (raptor)

Monday, June 3, 2019


Do you ever felt that things in your life are uncontrollable, that there are so many circumstances surrounding you that make you feel miserable? Do problems feel insurmountable? Do you feel vulnerable? Does finding a solution to all the hurt you are experiencing feel impossible? Does God feel unapproachable?

In the book of Hebrews, the Bible tells us that Jesus suffered and endured every test and temptation, so that he can help us every time we pass through the ordeals of life. (2:18, The Passion Translation). That reassures me that hope in Him is achievable. Jesus told a distraught father that all things are possible for one who believes. (Mark 9:23)

The answer to every one of our needs is available because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. When we stumble, we are forgivable! It may seem inconceivable, but this grace is receivable.

You are valuable to God. He went to great lengths to bring you close to Himself. He is reliable, and these are His words to you today: For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

And that is INCREDIBLE!

Image by Michael Drummond from Pixabay 

Monday, May 27, 2019


Imagine a family of five children under 8 years of age. The oldest three are boys, each rambunctious and curious. Then an eagerly awaited daughter adds sweetness and gentleness to the mix. And very soon baby #5 will be here. What a blessing that will be, whether boy or girl.

Imagine the excitement on the part of all as mom and dad head to the hospital. Who will be coming home with them, another brother or another sister? They can hardly wait for the news about their new sibling.

Imagine the confusion and chaos that ensues when their dad comes home alone. Mom died. We can't take care of a baby without her. She went to live with someone else.

Imagine the added perplexity in those young hearts when, seven short months later their dad remarries, and brings into the family not only a new mom, but also an older sister. And soon the baby girl is brought home to live with them all.

The sanctuary of their home has been turned upside down. Tumult reigns as they try to reconcile all of these changes in such a short span of time. How desperately this family needs the grace of God to serve as a shield and protector for their souls and spirits.

Encouragement comes in the form of Jesus' words at the start of his ministry on earth. The Lord has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are comfort all who give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes...the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit...that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. (from Isaiah 61:1-4, ESV)

Thank you, Father, for transforming our pandemonium by your peace.

To the fatherless he is a father.
To the widow he is a champion friend.
To the lonely he makes them part of a family.
To the prisoners he leads into prosperity until they sing for joy.
This is our Holy God in his holy place!  (Psalm 68:5-6 The Passion Translation)

Image by Finella S from Pixabay 

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Cowardly Lyin'

Most of us, if pressed, would say that we do not lie. Here is the first definition of that word at

Lie   noun
  1. a false statement made        with deliberate intent to        deceive; an intentional          untruth; a falsehood.
  2. something intended or          serving to convey a              false impression;          

The primary meaning of cowardly is lacking courage.

To put those two together as a description would be to say that we make false statements because we lack courage. I think I might be willing to admit to doing that, with the exception that I don't think of my "false statements" as malicious. I think they are a way to protect myself from anyone thinking poorly of me.

Of course we want to give a good impression to the people we interact with daily. Of course we want to appear as if we are doing well, no problems here, I've got it all under control. Yep...I'm just fine, thanks for asking.

It takes great courage to admit to weakness in your life. My family is aware of most of my quirky habits, and loves me in spite of them. My kids know that I am a very tactile person. Since I was a little child I would play with the corners of things...books, tables, shoelaces, pillowcases. My fingers just love to "worry" the edges. I looked up this behavior on Google and discovered that there may be some degree of obsessive compulsiveness going on. That maybe stress is a contributing factor. That maybe I'm not perfect.

This is what the Psalmist thought about the importance of being honest: I know that you delight to set your truth deep in my spirit. So come into the hidden places of my heart and teach me wisdom. Psalm 51:6  (The Passion Translation)

We don't need to be afraid to admit to who we are. We do not need to fear that we are any less loved if imperfection mars our nature. Another of God's promises to us is, You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32

Image by Ian Lindsay from Pixabay

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Neigh-borly Advice

My church is an amazing environment in which to learn about being neighbors. We are set in the center of the city, and surrounded by the world. On any given Sunday there may be friends from up to 25 nations worshiping together. There isn't a dress code. People may come in shorts and flip-flops or in gloriously patterned traditional African clothing, or anywhere in between.  Not everyone speaks English (many are just beginning to learn), but there are lots who speak three, four, five, or more other languages.

I had an excellent learning opportunity the other day. One of the pastors was preparing for an event this summer and kept referring to it as a "Reach-out Picnic." Of course, I, in my great wisdom and proper word-smithing skills, kept wanting to change that to an "Outreach Picnic."  It was probably just a language-barrier thing, right? 

But as we spoke, I realized that his intentions were more organic than organizational. This group of believers wants to connect personally with any and all who are hungry for an introduction to the Living Lord, even if they may not quite realize it yet. They want to reach out, to extend the hand of hospitality. They truly want to be the hands and feet of Jesus. And we should follow their example.

Letters went out that day with a sincere invitation to a "Reach-out Picnic."

We may not all wear the same clothes, speak the same language, like the same foods, or worship in the same way, but we are neighbors. When Jesus was asked "Who is my neighbor?" He went on to describe the Samaritan man who went to great effort to reach out to someone in need. 

Be on the lookout for someone the Lord has placed in your life today who would be blessed by a reach-out encounter. Then go and be a neighbor.

Photo by Fabian Burghardt on Unsplash

Saturday, May 11, 2019


Sometimes everything just seems to go wrong - all at once. The dishwasher breaks, you lose your house key, your car runs out of gas on the freeway, your best friend blows up at you over a silly argument, your dog gets sick all over the family room, someone in your family is diagnosed with cancer...

Life is challenging even on fairly normal days. But when the bumps in the road feel like you are driving across a piece of corrugated steel, what's a person to do?

Isaiah 41:10 reminds us of 5 really helpful things about God:

1. Fear not - I AM WITH YOU. (You are not alone in this difficulty.)
2. Don't be dismayed - I AM YOUR GOD. (I am bigger than your problems.)
3. I WILL STRENGTHEN YOU. (Draw on my reserves for the stamina you need.)
4. I WILL HELP YOU. (I am not going to leave you to struggle with this burden on your own.)
5. I WILL UPHOLD YOU with my righteous right hand. (I will carry you and support you when you feel you cannot continue any longer.)

God is not surprised at any of the circumstances by which we find ourselves surrounded. He is always close at hand to protect and to direct us through the maze of each difficulty we may face.

Image by Gidon Pico from Pixabay

Thursday, May 9, 2019

The "Irrelephants"

Hands down, my favorite animal is the elephant...for so many reasons. They are majestic and cute at the same time. They are social creatures who are both playful and helpful. They are powerful, yet possess hearts filled with tenderness.

Did you know that the collective noun for them is a Memory of Elephants? But do they ever feel like none of the other elephants remember them. Do they get mad at each other? Do they feel out of place, disconnected, ignored? It's hard to imagine, because it doesn't seem like they suffer the complications of life that people do.

If you have ever felt any of the above emotions, perhaps you feel that you are one of the "irrelephants." Maybe you feel that no one would even notice if you were not there, that your life is not relevant. 

First of all, God created you. In Genesis 1, after each of the days of God's handiwork, He saw that it was good. But after the 6th day, when He made man in His own image, He saw that it was very good. It was, and you are...very good in God's eyes.

Second, after the fall of man, when God had to provide the solution to our sin, He came to earth to be one of us. The Message says, in John 1:14, that "He moved into the neighborhood." He wants to be with us. That thought alone should negate any feeling of isolation that we might feel.

And third, Jeremiah 31:3 tells us these words, spoken by the God of the universe to the people of Israel: "I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have drawn you with loving kindness." 

God made you. He wants to be with you. He loves you beyond all imagining! That seems pretty relevant to me!

Photo by Richard Jacobs on Unsplash