We Said

Hang on to your hat
as time rushes by.
The days crawl along
but the years, they do fly.
A long time ago,
seems like just yesterday.
We stood in a church
and “I do”, we did say.

We had each other,
what more could we ask.
At that moment in time,
there was no greater task.
But what did we know,
could we see ahead?
To the days filled with joy,
and the ones filled with dread?

We pinched every nickel,
and squeezed every dime.
As we started our life
with a steep uphill climb.
But climb it we did,
and continue to do.
Until we reach the top,
for a heavenly view.

There are things we did wrong,
and a few we did right.
But when God looks at us,
I hope He’s pleased with the sight.
The future’s not promised,
though we plan and we dream.
And nothing can stop us
when we work as a team.

The hurdles behind us
are more than a few.
Sometimes we tripped over them,
sometimes barreled through.
I would guess they’re not over,
there are more up ahead.
But we’ll face them together,
because that’s what we said!

© 2017 by Tom Lemler

Promises don’t always mean a lot to many people in our world today, so some find it remarkable that any marriage lasts for very long — or the ones that do, must have somehow been easy and avoided all the difficulties that can make marriage hard.  As I think this week about being married and muddling my way through so many difficult circumstances, this poem showed up in my mind as a reminder that we got through those circumstances together as we both honored our commitment to God and to what we said, “I do” — no “I might” or “I’ll think about it” or “I’ll try”, just a simple but profound “I Do!”.  So, as the 36th anniversary of our wedding day approaches, Happy Anniversary to the love of my life!  

In prayer,
Tom

 

Riding Together

This journey of life
can be quite a ride.
Made better or worse
by who’s by your side.
The road’s always changing,
and detours abound.
The person beside you,
changes what can be found.

But before you look back
on the years of your life.
And blame the person beside you
for all of your strife.
There was another
along for the ride.
And sometimes the problem
is the person inside.

It is far too easy
to look in the next seat.
When our gaze ought to focus
on our very own feet.
The path that we’ve taken
was ours to decide.
Who did we choose
to go along for the ride?

There is another,
we can’t see with our eye.
But he rides along with us,
between you and I.
He makes all the difference
for good or for bad.
Depending on our choice,
on which rider we had.

The One who is peaceful,
and loving and kind.
Is the rider between us
that you ought to find.
I can tell you for certain,
what a difference it makes.
When you ride with Jesus
on every road that you take!

So, as I look back
on this up and down ride.
I am very thankful
for who’s by my side.
A wife who has loved me
through paved road and sand.
And a Savior who guides us
when things aren’t quite as planned!

© 2017 by Tom Lemler

Anniversaries can be a time of reflection and my 36th wedding anniversary is this week.  As I’ve spent time reflecting recently, this poem came out of my prayer time.  In our married life we have definitely been on roads of every kind imaginable — both literally and figuratively.  It is by keeping Jesus in the midst of our journey that we’ve been able to discover peace, joy, and beauty even on roads that have been filled with potholes, mud puddles, or were simply dirt paths through the wilderness.  So, as the 36th anniversary of our wedding day approaches, Happy Anniversary to the love of my life!  

In prayer,
Tom

 

Trading Shoes

Walk a mile in my shoes
and you won’t get too far.
But a mile’s a mile,
by foot or by car.
And if you should travel
a mile in these shoes.
There’s something you learn
by the choice that you choose.
In the shoes of another,
I think you will find.
A view of their life
and a glimpse of their mind.

A mile that’s spent walking,
with shoes or without.
Can help you to learn
what a person’s about.
Perhaps you would see
the life that’s inside.
And know the great pain
that they do try to hide.
Or you’d see some great wisdom
that their life is about.
That you never have noticed,
it’s not something they shout.

And as you keep walking
perhaps you will see.
There’s not that much difference
between you and me.
There’s usually a reason
we act as we do.
And perhaps we would find it,
if we would trade a shoe.
This walking together
so we understand.
Is not just more pleasant,
it is just what God planned.

© 2017 by Tom Lemler

Often times we are quick to point out the faults of another while overlooking our own.  Jesus talks about our tendency to point out the speck in the eye of another while ignoring the plank in our own.  I think one of the reasons for that is we become accustomed to our own faults and because of our understanding of them, we easily make excuses as to why we don’t deal with them.  It is a lot easier to judge others than to “walk a mile in their shoes” in an attempt to understand them.  Perhaps if we would “trade shoes” for a day, or at least spend deliberate time watching the unseen life of another, we just might gain a greater understanding that is filled with much less judgment.  So, let’s keep walking together and “perhaps you will see; There’s not that much difference, between you and me.”

In prayer,
Tom

 

DSCN7676

Lemonade (A Heart of Compassion)

When life gives you lemons
and you make lemonade.
Will anyone join you
as you sit in the shade?
Will they share in the sorrow
from which this drink came?
Or turn a blind eye
with feelings of shame?

A heart of compassion
will pull up a chair.
And drink from your offering
of the pain you do share.
As you drink it together,
I pray you will know.
God’s compassion is with you
wherever you go.

So, what will you do
when the drink has been made?
Will you sit with the one
who feels alone in the shade?
Will you share in the suffering
and walk hand in hand?
For that’s the compassion
that God Himself planned!

Your walking together
will lighten the load.
As the suffering is lifted
from a single abode.
And soon you will find
that the drink can be good.
When compassion does sweeten
the way that it should.

© 2017 by Tom Lemler

As I spent time praying this past weekend, a number of partial poems filled my mind but none of them seemed suitable for sharing until today. People are suffering and each of us need to ask ourselves if we are showing true compassion (suffering with them) or are we showing a form of contempt as we don’t want to see the many forms of suffering taking place.  I share this poem and pray that it would be used by God to accomplish His purposes.

In prayer,
Tom

 

The Preacher’s View

I have a secret,
between me and you.
Sometimes the preacher
has the very best view.
The day was a beauty
but so was the bride.
As she stood in the doorway
with the groom by my side.
The planning was finished,
the work would now start.
As she walked down the aisle
to give her whole heart.

With each step moving closer,
I could see in her eye.
Some seeds of the tears
that she didn’t want to cry.
On this happy occasion,
as she walked toward her groom.
There was a good presence
that entered the room.
The bride and her father
were walking toward me.
And with them the presence
of her sister, Bre.

I stood for a moment
with a lump in my throat.
As I retrieved my glasses
from out of my coat.
I must continue,
so I drew a deep breath.
And heard a sweet voice,
not silenced by death.
“I can do all things
as He strengthens me.”
Was the opening whisper
that I heard from Bre.

And so I continued,
with a witness unseen.
And a beautiful couple
in this wedding scene.
There was another
who looked on from above.
For God is the author
of this thing we call love.
His presence was with me,
and I pray it’s with you.
As you glance for a moment
at this preacher’s view.

© 2017 by Tom Lemler

As I was resting Sunday afternoon following the Saturday evening wedding and Sunday morning preaching that I was privileged to do, this poem began filling my mind.  It was a great honor for me to officiate the wedding for my niece, but I knew the day would have its hard times as each family member would miss the physical presence of Bre — my niece, and the bride’s sister, who died in an auto accident almost a year ago.  As an uncle, I know that my loss doesn’t compare to that of Bre’s parents and siblings, but I wasn’t sure how acute that feeling of loss would be as I stood there watching the bride come down the aisle with my brother — her dad.  The lump in my throat was real as I looked into her eyes and wondered if I could finish what I hadn’t even started.  It was at that point the presence of God, and I believe the presence of Bre as one of the “great cloud of witnesses, reminded me of one of her favorite verse; “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Anyhow, as this poem about the experience came out of my mind, I shared it with my niece late Sunday as I felt she needed to see this first.  I share it more publicly now with the hope and prayer that God uses it as a means of comfort and encouragement to others who not only grieve, but who need the assurance of God’s presence and of the presence of the great cloud of witnesses that have gone on before us.

In prayer,

Tom

 

Raindrops (Cry Out to God)

They say that into every life
a little rain must fall.
Without its big, wet, frequent drops
you wouldn’t grow at all.
While I would guess that this is true,
what can a person do?
When all those drops cause you to drown
within a sea of blue.
Well, I suppose you have a choice
when all those raindrops fall.
Do nothing as you sink and drown,
or turn to God and call.

There is a story of a man
who walked upon a wave.
When he began to sink and drown,
he asked the Lord to save.
And Jesus reached right down to him,
and pulled him from the sea.
And set him in a steady boat
where he would be quite free.

So when you are about to drown,
and sinking in despair.
Cry out to God to lift you up,
and save you by His care.
Then He will come and rescue you,
to lift you from your sea.
And take you to the boat with Him
saying, “Child, sit with Me.”

© 2017 by Tom Lemler

Sometimes life feels like a roller coaster with its ups and downs, twists and turns, and being tossed back and forth throughout the ride.  I don’t think I’m alone when it comes to experiencing times of discouragement — even to the point of feeling like I’m going to drown in the waves of life.  I was at an event last night and was asked if I had quit writing poems.  I think my first thought was that I had never started writing poems, I just typed out rhyming lines that would fill my mind.  While those rhyming lines have not gathered in my mind lately in a way that consisted of anything I felt needed shared, this morning this poem showed up so I share it to be used by God to accomplish His purposes.

In prayer,
Tom

Follow the Leader

Follow the leader
is what we’ve been taught.
Get into line
and march like you ought.
While that could work well
if the leader is wise.
Following the wrong person
could be your demise.

So how do you know,
do you stay in this line?
Or look for another
that is better than mine?
Perhaps the best answer
is to look who’s in front.
Are they following God,
or doing what they want?

You see, following the leader
is not a bad plan.
When we’re following God
and not just some man.
So, ask God a question
before you just do.
Will following this leader
take me closer to You?

If the answer is no,
you better think twice.
The path you are on
will not end up nice.
But if it is yes,
then each girl and boy.
Should follow the Leader
that gives us great joy!

© 2017 by Tom Lemler

As I scroll through my social media news feed, I find a lot of postings that seem to simply be following someone that is viewed as a leader.  We seem to allow ourselves to get riled up by a person who carefully crafts a story using only the facts that fit their narrative.  Without seeking the full story, we let the designed emotional tug pull us into choosing sides that are often in conflict with God’s desire for His children.  Many times the leader we choose to follow isn’t taking us immediately into the opposite direction, but they continually draw us to the left or right of the center of God’s will until we can no longer even identify what the center looks like.  This poem came to mind as I thought about the childhood game of follow the leader.  Every now and then the chosen leader would be mean and try to lead in a way that could be harmful or embarrassing.  But if the leader was following the directions and guidance of the teacher, the game always ended with everyone having fun.  As Christians, we need to follow God and look for leaders who live the words of Paul who said, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”  I pray that you and I are not only following the right leaders, but we are leading others in the proper way as well.

In prayer,
Tom

The Unseen

Sometimes I wonder
     just how life would be.
If I were a person
     that people did see.
If I could be more than
     a burden to bear.
If I could be seen,
     would they really care.

If I could be seen,
     would I even be heard?
Or would people go on,
     ignoring my word?
Would I make a difference,
     or be in the way?
If I could be seen,
     just what would they say?

If I could be seen,
     would they argue and fight?
Would they do all they can
     to keep me out of sight?
What would it take
     to have a real voice?
If I could be seen,
     would I have a choice?

Sometimes it is easy
     to just close our eyes.
But does that really keep us
     from hearing the cries?
The unseen are many,
     some are yet to be born.
If I can be seen,
     my heart should be torn.

A torn heart should cause me
     to look deep inside.
Then look at all others
     with eyes open wide.
To look past the slogans
     and self-proclaimed rights.
And see all the unseen
     as beautiful sights!

But what do I do
     if the unseen is me?
If I walk through this life
     and no one can see?
If my voice falls on deaf ears,
     and no one does care?
If I am not seen,
     would God still be there?

I have the answer,
     at least to that end.
I’ll never be unseen
     by the One who’s my friend.
And even when people
     may pay me no mind.
God sought me out
     until Him I did find!

© 2016 by Tom Lemler

I have been referred to more than once as an invisible man.  All of my life I have felt that I’ve lived at some level of being unseen.  I know a big part of it is my brain wiring and the fear of people that produces.  I’m also not an aggressive salesman of myself or my ideas so the things I share are often easily overlooked in favor of that which is being pushed by someone with a “charismatic” personality.  As I began my weekend cleaning tonight and was thinking about being unseen, this poem quickly formed in my mind.  It didn’t take long as this poem was forming to realize that the very heart of it wasn’t about me being unseen but about the cry of an unborn child wanting to be seen and hoping, praying, believing, that being seen would make a difference in someone’s decision to let this baby live.  I pray that we would open our eyes to those who are unseen and show them the value that God has given them as His creation.  I pray that we would become “champions” for those who are given no value by the ones who should value them most.  I pray that we would know that even in our darkest and loneliest hours, we are never truly unseen.

In prayer,
Tom