Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Three Parts of Me

I've been thinking about balance a lot lately.  Balance is not something I am proficient at.  Part of my problem is that I am a servant by nature, but also find myself with the unenviable quality of being a people-pleaser. I really WANT to help people and serve in whatever way I can.  And since I can't stand the thought of someone being upset with me, I typically say yes when sometimes I should say no.

I am also married to a man who loves me and wants to protect me from over-extending myself.  As a three-fold being, I have been considering my parts, body, soul, and spirit.  I am trying to figure out where I am at, what I'm doing well, and where I need improvement.  Out of those thoughts came this poem:

The Three Parts of Me


My spirit soars with faith in God, and reverence for His Word.
I love Him and I hope in Him, and praise for Him is stirred.
I long to be much closer than I feel I am today,
And pray that He will strengthen me to walk His narrow way.

My body seems to fail me as I move through middle age.
I don't think I've mistreated it--that's sometimes hard to gauge.
My senses still connect me to the world outside my skin;
Degeneration and disease have harmed me from within.

My soul (my thoughts and feelings), is the hardest to perceive;
With spirit strong and body weak, what should it believe?
The psalmist must have felt this:  "For my bones, Lord are dismayed!
My soul is in deep anguish. Deliver me I pray!"

I know that God can heal me, and I fully trust in Him.
I know He acts with reason, and never on a whim.
I know He will sustain me and enable me to live.
Pain or not, He's birthed in me a heart to serve and give.

Still, there is a struggle as each decade passes by.
Perhaps I don't believe enough, no matter how I try.
And yet, I know with all my heart that I am in His hands.
He'll give me all the strength I need to hope and trust and stand!

© Liz Kimmel

Friday, May 22, 2015

Have Faith!

As I revisit my blog after months of inactivity, I can hardly believe that this much time has flown by since my last post.  It seems that the entire year of 2014 was spent in one medical waiting room or another . . . trying to find answers, trying to feel better.  It took every bit of my energy to just go to work and then come home to rest before making my way to bed for the night.

I was able to do a fair amount of writing during this interim - but much of it was what I have come to think of as "gift-writing."  My daughter was married in June and I wrote them a poem; my new son-in-law and my daughter-in-law both turned 30 during this time and I wrote poems for them.  For the first time ever I was able to join the creative annual theme team at church and I wrote a "theme poem" to go along with Pastor Jim's 2015 theme - A Year of Favor.  This was also Pastor Jim and Annette's 25th year of ministry at Bethel, and I wrote poems for both of them.  The Minnesota Christian Writers Guild celebrated 65 years of existence, and it was my joy to commemorate that occasion with a poem.  There are a couple of new staff members at church, and on their birthdays, as has been my practice with ALL of the staff, I wrote them a poem.  It is one of my favorite things to do, and I believe that my friends and family appreciate the effort and love that goes into such a gift. 

There are things I haven't been able to get to - my project on the 50 states remains stalled at the 23rd state (I am creating puzzle worksheets for each of them in the order of their statehood, so I am up to Missouri now - can't wait to get to Minnesota!). They will be available for individual download on my new website--soon to be up and running. I will post the address here when it is ready for viewing. I have finally sent my grammar workbook to the publisher, and that should be available by mid-November.  It has been a long process, and I am excited to soon hold the results in my hands.

Where does the time go?  When can I focus on the things that my heart is so drawn to?  I suppose that might happen in about 12-15 years when I can expect to retire from my 9-5 job and spend the days blissfully writing, typing, thinking, designing . . .

In the meantime, as God provides the time and energy, which I know He will, I will write when I can.  I have faith in the Giver of all Gifts.

Have Faith

The greatest assurance that scripture gives - "I know that my Redeemer lives!"
Faith gives us victory over all things, and teaches our heart how to joyfully sing.
Our faith is not faultless, but fix your eyes on our Perfecter - He is the prize!
Faith as small as a mustard seed can move a mountain into the sea.
We must have faith to please our God; He sees behind our heart's facade.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; He will direct your way right from the start.
Faith thanks God in the midst of the story - trust Him in all things and give Him the glory!

© Liz Kimmel

Sunday, March 23, 2014


I was recently interviewed, along with another poet, on an afternoon radio program.  It was an interesting experience that I would love to repeat someday, hopefully when I learn how to be less verbally “stuck.”   The closing question that the host posed to us was, “What do you do when you get writer’s block?”  I had to admit that I rarely encounter that problem, and in fact, the only time I could remember struggling with it, I wrote a poem about it!  It was a humorous note on which to end the interview, but as I’ve been reflecting on the entire experience I realize that I do much more often feel like I have “speaker’s block.” 

I’ve listened to the download of the interview several times and am struck by the absolute poise and the beautiful, rich speaking voice of Darice, the other interviewee.  But then, I have always been one who wants to do well, speak well, pray well, and present myself well.  And when in a situation like I was in this week, it is only natural to notice that, in my estimation, the other person seemed to do a much better job of it than I did. 

I did not completely or even partially ruin my part of this interview, although I did misquote a scripture and stumble a bit as I was trying to explain its significance in my life.  It is the nature of radio to move quickly, and my thought processes do not tend to do that well.  As soon as we answered one of the host’s questions he was ready to move on, while my mind was still mulling over what else I could say to expound on what he had already asked. 

I am a “muller.”  I suppose that is why I don’t feel like I regularly have to deal with writer’s block.  If I sit down to write something specific and nothing is ready to come out on paper, I move on to something different.  That is the benefit of having a variety of projects happening at the same time.  I realize that whatever has caused me to pause just needs a little bit more time floating around in my heart and mind before it is ready to be transformed into something tangible.

It’s not that easy to do that with the spoken word.  When you are in conversation with someone or before a group of people or are called on to answer a question posed to you, you don’t have the luxury of “word-smithing” your answer.  That is why it is important to have your eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith (and perhaps our sentences if we let Him).  If He is ever present in our lives than He will be right there to help when we need to explain or defend or simply share what is on our hearts to share.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 
1 Peter 3:15   

The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things, and bring to your  remembrance all things that I said to you.  Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  John 14:26-27

I thank the Lord for His gifts in my life, and for the desire to use them for His glory.  Here is the short poem I wrote years ago when I was struggling with writer’s block.  Jesus, please help us all to be able to give an accounting of the reason for our hope whenever we are asked, and may our words lead others to the foot of the cross.


Dozens of thoughts going round in my head
Awaiting the moment when they will be said.
Blank piece of paper so glaringly white
Wants to be filled with whatever I write.
Ink from my pen wants to freely flow,
But try as I might, there is nothing to show.
How I long for the key that will help me unlock
This dreadful cage known as writers’ block.

© Liz Kimmel

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Fantastic Dads

There are not many commercials that I would say I love to watch.  But there are a few that are very clever, and some that are downright endearing.  My favorite is the Subaru commercial of the dad teaching his twin sons to drive a stick shift.  In the midst of their uncertainty and frustration, and yes, even their competition with each other, he remains a calm and steadying influence. 

This is thirty seconds of refreshing, authentic, heart-wrenching life.  This situation could go either way.  It could have the dad and sons fuming and yelling at each other, accusations flying between the front and back seats.  But thankfully the creators of this particular commercial chose to go against the flow.  So many dads in the media today are portrayed as brutish, lazy, irresponsible, or uncaring, to name a few.  To be honest, those are just my impressions of these characters based on my passing exposure to them in commercials – I would never choose to watch a show that had a character such as this in its lineup.  Not even if it was a cartoon. 

So I am delighted with the portrayal of THIS dad as patient, willing to offer clear instruction, and ready to give a word of encouragement.  His final words as the piece comes to a close – “You guys are doing a great job, seriously.” 

I thought about waiting to post this until Father’s Day, but that doesn’t come for three more months, and I felt that this was the time.  Dads – may the Lord bless you and teach YOU, so that you, in turn, can train up your children in the way they should go. (Proverbs 22:6)

Fantastic Dads

There are really special fathers
Occupying all parts of the earth.
They work very hard to protect their young,
Sometimes even before their birth.

The catfish dad swims all around
With his eggs held in his jaws.
He doesn’t eat for a month and a half –
An action that merits applause.

Very few insects care for their young,
But the water bug dad is one.
He keeps the eggs clean and dry on his back
‘Til the time of hatching is done.

The great horned owl must feed himself
And his mate so she isn’t stressed.
And when the eggs hatch, he feeds them too,
For they’ll freeze if they leave the nest.

The red fox dad loves to play with his pups
And teach them how to thrive.
He’ll bury some food for them to find
And show them the skills to survive.

There are human dads all around the earth
Who love and take care of their own.
They make every effort to train up their kids
Until they’re completely grown.

The ultimate dad who outshines the rest
Is our awesome and loving Lord.
He gave His all that His children would see
How His mercy and grace is outpoured.

© Liz Kimmel

Monday, March 10, 2014

You Were Meant to Mentor

We are in the midst of a new sermon series at church called Growing Maturity.  Actually the theme of this whole year is centered around growing in maturity. Pastor Ben, our youth pastor, was preaching yesterday about Spiritual Maturity.  One of his points, and there were many good ones, was that someone who is mature desires not only personal growth, but multiplication.  We've talked about that concept at church for a long time now, but the thought really captured me this time.

God doesn't desire that we clone ourselves - duplicates whose function and performance are identical to ours.  He doesn't need hundreds of Liz's running around trying to coordinate and organize and facilitate.  At face value that may seem like a good thing, but trust me - it's NOT. What he wants us to do is to mentor others so that they have the skills to listen and to walk in the path that the Lord has ordained for them.  He wants us to multiply.  That reminds me of a poem . . .

You Were Meant to Mentor!

A choice is before you – but you can’t decide.
A godly adult can be your guide.
If you make a wrong move, some may criticize.
What you need instead is one who’ll advise.
As we grow, there are ways we need to adjust.
Try to find someone you know you can trust.
In our lives there are those who simply pretend,
But others will prove to be lifelong friends.
When you’re trying to learn to make Jesus your center,
It helps to find someone to be your mentor.
In the Bible you’ll find there are mentors galore.
In their lives we see truths that we shouldn’t ignore.

Jesus called His disciples to follow His lead.
And He sent them out with the skills to succeed.
When Saul met the Lord many doubted his word.
But Barnabas defended him to all who heard.
Paul gave to Timothy much that he’d need –
Instruction, encouragement, and a desire to lead.
Naomi advised her dear daughter Ruth;
Samuel tried to direct Saul to truth.
Elijah was tutor in the ways of the Lord
To Elisha, who followed with one accord.
Priscilla taught others how to preach
So they could extend the kingdom’s reach.

So how do you serve as a mentor to others?
You treat them as if you’re their sister or brother.
You give them respect and you help them to learn.
You point them toward things that will help them discern.
You listen and love and laugh at their jokes.
That’s one way to share their heavy yokes.
Have fun with each other, believe in them,
You’ll soon discover they’re truly a gem.
Study together, be sure to pray.
There really isn’t a better way.
As you point their heart toward their loving Lord
A great satisfaction will be your reward.

© Liz Kimmel

Saturday, March 8, 2014

My Father's Eyes

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