Poetry · Practical · Responses

On Refugees: A Poem & A Few Ways to Help

dsc08915I could have been you.
I could have entered the world at war,
Could have seen horrors that echo,
Could have known nothing but danger and the desperation for escape.
But, somehow, I’m me.
I’m not where you are,
Don’t understand suffering the way you do,
Don’t know what it’s like to be hated in my core.

I could have been you.
But, somehow, I’m me.
So I choose to be your sister,
And fight so you’ll have a seat.
Your heart is safe with me.

I ache for my refugee brothers and sisters. But I also burn liquid hot with a growing passion to help them in every possible way I can. Here are some of the ways I have found, and encourage you to engage in as well:

Share the facts. Don’t let the voice of fear be the only one speaking. Be a voice of truth and of love. Share that the screening process for refugee entry into the US is already intensive, more rigorous than that of any other form of immigration. Share that the odds of being killed by a refugee-disguised terrorist in the US are 1 in 3.64 billion per year; you are more likely to be struck by lightning– while drowning. Share that “compassion and security are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, they are mutually reinforcing.” Share that the overwhelming majority of terrorism in the US has not come from foreigners. Share that “in cases where the religious affiliation of terrorism casualties could be determined, Muslims suffered between 82 and 97% of terrorism-related fatalities over the past five years.” Share that banning any human being from anything solely based on their religion or nationally is discrimination and an attack on religious freedom, period. Share that ignoring the helpless is ignoring Jesus, and He will not tolerate it. Fear is a liar. Love tells the truth. Let love win in you.

Contact your officials. It is actually wildly easy to reach your government officials and let them know you want action on an issue. This form lets you email the president, your representative, and your senators all at once and helps you figure out what to say. You also have the option to see their phone numbers and call them with your concerns. The greater the volume of voices speaking the same thing, the more likely they are to take notice. Do not relent.

Support those working on the front lines. There are a few main organizations my friends who work in humanitarian efforts have recommended to me:

  1. Preemptive Love Coalition. They are based in the countries facing ISIS right now, providing real-time relief and aid to the people there. You can also directly donate to the work they’re doing specifically in Aleppo. They do things right; their mission and their methods are simply holy.
  2. World Relief. From their website: “Through partnerships with local partners and churches, World Relief is providing help, temporary shelters, hygiene items, and psychosocial counseling to displaced refugee families, as well as sponsoring child-friendly spaces for mothers and children. In addition, World Relief has been empowering local churches to resettle refugees in the United States for more than 35 years.” Explore their website to find the specific way you feel led to help.
  3. My friend, Delaney. She works with refugees and is currently getting ready for a trip to Germany to meet physical and spiritual needs of the refugees in the camps in Berlin, specifically the unaccompanied children. This woman shines bright, and supporting her work is something you can be proud of.
  4. I am also adding the ACLU, the group that brought this weekend’s executive order to court and put it on hold just one day after it had been signed. They appear before the Supreme Court more than any other organization besides the Department of Justice, giving voice to those who wouldn’t otherwise have one. A different kind of refugee aid, but still important, especially given our current circumstances. The immigration ban is still being enforced despite the court ruling; we still have much work to do.

Be an advocate. You can sign petitions of solidarity, but you can also simply speak kindly of every race and religion, no matter what the people around you are saying. Align yourself with the marginalized; if someone wants to oppress refugees and/or Muslims, let them know they’ll have to face you first, not in an angry stance but in a poised, firm one. I am learning that we can be angered for righteous reasons, but our anger itself is not the righteous thing. Feel the anger– then let it go, instead of feeding it. Let the passion it awakened in you lead you forward, in love and in peace. We don’t fight fire with fire; we don’t fight fear with fear; we don’t fight hatred with hatred.

Keep creating. This one may not sound important, but it’s a way of pushing back darkness with light. I’ve talked about this before, about how putting our deepest loves into action in the world is how we kill the fear. Keep doing that. I don’t know what your passions are, but live them. We need that from you. We need what you have to give, whatever form that takes.

Pray. Genuinely, this is not a cliché or a cop-out. Your prayers reach the Father. And when you pray for refugees, you are praying straight into His own heart, because He is near to the broken, He takes up the cause of the oppressed, He avenges His children. Pray. It is not a fruitless thing. It is fuel for everything else you are doing. God is working, today. And He will not stop until every single one of His children is safe with Him.

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

-Matthew 25:31-46


A Peek at My Daily Poems

journals on deskI write a free-verse poem every night as a way to express and process, as well as to have some kind of creative discipline. For the past month, my poems have often ended up putting words to what the Holy Spirit is teaching me. I don’t normally consider sharing these little poems because they are such vulnerable, exposed pieces of me. But nearly every day last month, I had a desire to let others read what I had just written. That’s what I’m doing today. I hope you hear something in them like I heard as I wrote them, at least in some measure.

December 22, 2015–
On the bad days,
I hope your remember me.
I hope when you feel your holes, sore and gaping,
You remember I carry healing in my own.
I hope when you are restless from isolation,
You remember I choose you and seek you.
I hope when you host the burden of your questions,
You remember my arms are the answer, period.
I’m sorry you have bad days.
But I hope you remember me when you do.

January 1, 2016–
Not every day will be easy to live;
You’re a human, and humans hurt.
But you also know God.
And God heals.
Not every day will be easy to live;
But He’ll be with you in all of them.

January 6, 2016–
Today was a hard one.
It slowly wrung you out, in the same motion as suffocation;
You struggled to breathe.
I’m so glad you kept trying.
Rest tonight.
And know I am with you for all of it.
I will never leave you to ache alone:
I will do it, too.

January 7, 2016–
Let the happiness bubble out of you.
You don’t have to ask why He gave the gift;
It’s enough to Him that you loved it so much.

January 10, 2016–
We get to share this life with so many,
And I’m wildly in love with that.
But this life belongs to us alone.
You get to decide what we do with it,
And I’ll follow you in love.
And we’ll hope as many as possible still want to share in it.

January 14, 2016–
Sometimes we hold so tight
To our hurts, our ticking bombs,
Because they remind us of what we need.
Sometimes we are so afraid to let go
Of the hopes placed on our burdens,
Because the only part we choose to see is hope.
Sometimes, our fingers must be pried
Off the weights keeping us from life–
Because we are far too loved to be held down.

January 17, 2016–
I am cruel; you are kind.
I pray your thoughts invade my mind.
I am broken; you will heal.
You are here with me and you are real.

January 23, 2016–
You are always growing,
Always becoming.
And I am always in love with you,
Every stage.

January 26, 2016–
It’s in the pieces.
It’s there you can get stuck in the mess–
Or you can find joy in the beauty of

January 27, 2016–
I forgive you.
For this, and this, and this, and this.
Every day I will write these lists on my heart,
Will remember you did what you could.
I cannot stop forgiving you,
Or you will never stop hurting me.
Yes, I forgive you.

January 30, 2016–
The voice of fear is loud and close–
But it is cowardly.
Speak back to it, boldly.
It will run as fast as it wanted you to.


To The Warriors

You are a warrior.
They didn’t simply hurt you–
They ripped you apart.
And you,
With tears on your cheeks and layers on your body,
taken May 19, 2014You were forced to find the shreds,
To try piecing them together again.
Dear warrior–
You are whole.
You have been restored.
It can’t be erased, but neither can you.
You are a warrior.
And speaking, healing, sobbing, living–
This is how you fight back.
Your soul is strong, they couldn’t destroy it.
And the pain will leave, someday.
Until that day–
Sob. Mourn. Ache.
And allow me to do it with you, if I can.
I believe you.
And those who don’t?
You don’t have to believe them, because you know.
You used your voice, warrior.
That is a great, fearsome weapon.
You learned the power of your voice, the power of truth.
Don’t stop using it to fight.
You matter, and your value can never be stolen.
You remain undefeated.

[For S.L, D.C., K.H., and others. Normally I give commentary after my poetry, but I strongly feel I should leave this to stand alone; don’t let my interpretation get in the way of what you just heard in your spirit.]


From My Poem-a-Day Journal

taken April 7, 2014Recently I told you that I was inspired to write daily poems. As I’ve been doing it, a lot of clarity has found it’s way to me, and I’ve become even more grateful that Jesus would give me something like this; that He would give me a pencil and journal and words to see what He sees. I think He’d like for me to share some of the poems that have come out these past few weeks, so I’ve put the ones He’s pointing out here for you. Maybe you’ll find some of your words in mine.

“I don’t need it.”
I never believed that I did.
So why did my soul say that to me?
I have been clinging, coping,
And my head never understood.
Never understood that I felt I was lacking,
That I deeply craved pleasure–
That taking joy in right now would become an instant cure for my restlessness.
But now nearly all of me knows:
I don’t need it.

Sometimes joy is silent.
Sometimes all we need is the knowledge of what is happening,
And love for each other.
I couldn’t see or hear, but I knew.
And the joy was overwhelming.
When He plans it, He brings joy with Him
And throws it like rice at a wedding celebration.

I ache.
And sometimes I forget you do, too.
I ache more deeply when I turn my face from you.
I wish I could rip apart all that holds me back from showing you how much I love you.
Maybe I will.
Even if it makes me ache a little.

I’m screaming inside.
I’m questioning why I’ve been doing any of this.
I’m demanding answers from you so the worries will leave.
But you just say:
“My dear, it’s so much simpler than this.
“Just follow love.”



I don’t know what I want to do,
I never really did.(found on Pinterest)
But the pressure’s pressing harder,
And it’s like my future ran and hid.
My notions never stick for long,
And all my plans get lost.
I want to run to Neverland,
But I already see how great the cost.

I have a passion for creative words,
For going beyond the surface.
But could I really make it on that?
I just can’t seem to find my purpose.
For now I try to love everyone I can,
Because that’s all I know how to do.
I wish I could run to Neverland,
But I know somewhere there’s a dream aching to come true.

I hold a vague but beautiful picture
Of what my life could be.
It’s full of real love and Jesus by my side,
And hope that goes beyond what I can see.
So maybe I should just trust in Him
And He’ll lead me to what’s right.
I don’t need Neverland–
My future’s already perfectly bright!


Dearly His

Oh child, dear child, He loves you endlessly.

His fatherly love can fill that hole,

He knows what’s missing and holds it in His hands.

Oh child, His child, He’ll set your worries free.

Oh love, dear love, He loves to see your smile.

His arms wrap tenderly around you,

He thinks you’re the most beautiful girl in the world.

Oh love, His love, just wait for Him awhile.

Oh song, dear song, He loves to hear you.

His eyes shut blissfully when you’re sung,

He listens to you over and over again.

Oh song, His song, He’ll always hear you through.

Oh friend, dear friend, I love laughing together.

My thoughts and prayers are filled with you,

I know there will be a better day to come.

Oh friend, my friend, we’ll love you forever.


The Summer of Storms

You are the first of my summer of storms,
Since you showed your face again.
I know in my head that we’re not meant to be,
But these feelings are still creeping in.
God called me to love you without running away,
And I promise that’s just what I’ll do.
I’ll cling to Him, pushing my feelings aside,
So I can finally love you.

You are the second of my summer of storms;
You’ve been brewing for some time.
I didn’t know my hurt was buried this deep,
Like and old, abandoned mine.
You inflicted such pain those years ago,
And the wound is still so fresh.
But God is a Healer, and He’s working in me
So I can love you despite my flesh.

You are another of my summer of storms,
But you didn’t choose to be.
What’s been done to you fills my heart with fury,
And every day I pray you’ll be set free.
When you said what you did, I couldn’t stand by;
I acted, then begged and sobbed.
It kills me to not know where you are,
But I’ll love you until of my life I’m robbed.

You are yet another of my summer of storms;
You seem small, but I know the truth.
I know this storm will come rolling back,
So I’ll learn to brave it in my youth.
I threw you into the fire, you’re gone!
Surrender will make it all okay.
I’ve made mistakes, but He’s given grace,
And I can love you with purity today.

I am my own of my summer of storms,
The struggle, the war inside.
I’ve fooled everyone, even me, that I’m humble,
And it’s frightening to see what I’ve managed to hide.
Has all this been an effort in vain
To win respect or love?
Now I see I’ve always been nailing You down,
All because You’re not who I think of.
I need to feel Your loving arms again,
Or I fear my heartbeat will meet its end.

Sometimes these storms seem never-ending,
And all I want is an escape.
What I’ve just shared is a glimpse of the valley,
Where it feels like all aid comes too late.
But, Jesus, you’ve been here! You’re simply at rest,
Dreaming I’ll come rest with You.
You want me to trust You, to hold to my faith,
Quietly waiting for the storm to pass through.
Show me the way to Your peace from here;
Empty my mind, fill my heart, calm my fear.