Foster Mom

It was Texas-July hot, with no chance of rain when, for reasons beyond the ken of ordinary foster moms, the air was filled with a host of juvenile butterflies. Tender and small, their origami wings beat the air, carrying some insistent message.

Perhaps about how fragile we are

Or how only God knows

how to bring the rain.

Ordinary Sadness

I am grateful for the rain

On this dry patch of earth

I know the difference between 

Accidents and miracles

And wish to thank

The God of ordinary sadness

Who sits next to me

on the sinking-in-the-middle



$35 couch

Willing to abide in the center

Of my vertiginous grief

He says

Take courage 

It is I

Do not be afraid 

When the rain comes

In the years of this drought I have questioned–what if the water does not return?

Sometimes we have gone months and months without a drop.

There are people in my life whose lives are desert-y lives. Not just sit on the couch desert, full-blown felony and addiction desert.

They challenge my faith. So I tell God–I believe, help my unbelief.

And He says–

It is unfair to the desert to judge it definitively when there is no rain.

Rain changes things. Rain brings life and washes away the dust. Rain makes rivers in the desert, streams of water where nothing could grow.

So I pray for rain.

Jesus says he is living water. Living water poured out for us. He does not just bring the rain, he is the rain.

My Monster

My monster sits
At the kitchen table
Gnawing on the hollowed bones
Finding scraps of meat left on them
they say you can choke on these broken shards of wings, thighs
The breasts of flightless birds

Few eat their filigreed
But when they do you can see through
Each vivisected chamber

He mutters only phrases
Like girl, you know…girl if only…
If only you had..
He is so very clever to leave out
All the
Proper nouns
Dependent clauses
Merciless verbs
years and years of completely merciless verbs

Ellipses for teeth
Never dulled to the task
Of separating bone from marrow
You tell me the vultures
Are being decimated
By poison and other modern perils
Leaving the dead all alone
In their towers of silence

And I know this must be true for Rizpah will shoo them off
Until God chooses to relent…

This drought will define us
Cotton-mouthed and bone-dry
So cavalier about our own now-
Forgotten prayers
For rain

Perhaps if birds

Perhaps if birds
Could bring the rain
We would seed our yards,
Learn their calls
Keep the cats inside.

/beckon to them with fields of sunflowers
/covet their myriad congregation along electrified wires
Build their houses
Guard their nests
Stay all our empty words

For a mated call to water

My children play
Duck, duck, goose
With rich adjectival muster-
medium-sized duck, superhero duck
Yell Goose! and always be prepared to run

Anthropomorphize these missing storms
See sparrows in each laden cloud

Sow the fields with barley
Surely they will love barley
And swoop down toward us
“with healing in his wings”

All our science is naught
Fruitless and pendant
Cotton in the mouth
We cry
medium-sized rain, superhero rain,

Or no rain at all
Because we have forgotten…

He said fire the next time

Bring the Rain

I have a short story I recite with my son–

It rains
And then the worms come out
Then the birds eat the worms.

You will notice it is both a celebration and a cautionary tale.

The worms don’t fare so well.

But at this point the story is almost entirely mythic. It does not rain here. My son does not know rain.

I have written about my misguided annoyance about this drought, this lack of rain. I used to think God was not listening to me. Now I know we are not listening to Him.

This is our drought.

Both California and Texas are experiencing historic droughts. Here in Texas we squander our water on fracking. In California they are paying people to remove their lawns and deep water drilling is big business.

And in our churches we ignore our glorious interventionist God.

We must pray for rain.

But first we must pray for the reign of God. Our lack of water is merely a sign of the drought of holiness that defines this generation of believers in Christ.

The message is simple and incisive and begins with a question not an injunction, an invitation to love, not a list of rules.

Ask yourself–

Are you in love with God? Do you long for Him the way a man in the desert longs for rain?

And if the answer is yes then the result will be apparent to all who know you.

You will bring that rain. You will bring that water.

The water of life. The city of God. A Man, a Word: Jesus.

There are no deserts of either holiness or love when He is close.

So keep Him close.

Bring the rain.

Clouds without rain

Two days this week we had beautiful storms. There were dark clouds full of rain. Thunder. Lightning.

Only the rain never came.

I told my kids that I had to hope that it rained somewhere in the state of Texas. But the lack of rain makes my heart ache. We need it.

I think of Elijah, praying for God to hold back the rain because of the sin of his people. Mine are no better than his, am I praying the wrong prayer?

This week I heard a story of ordinary sin and degradation. Well…several. This one particular story was disheartening because a number of people who claim to ascribe to a clear moral code registered little or no willingness to apply that code.

When our moral code lapses we are clouds without rain.. The phrase comes from James. He is exhorting a young church to be active in applying the good news and power of salvation to a broken world.

If we don’t because we are uncomfortable we are as useless and sterile as clouds without rain.

Hydrate, Darling. Hydrate.


I love sunshine, in fact the sun was a major factor in our decision to move to Texas years ago.

I love the sun.


The drought in Texas has been bad, really bad–historic bad for years.

Farmers lost crops.

Ranchers sold their cattle.

Trees died.

It has been bad.

So the presence of rain in any quantity has been a blessing meriting worship. I made a deal with God to thank Him publicly for any rain. I got the easy part of the deal. I always do with Him.

So the beautiful, steady rain has been this wonderful reminder of God’s blessing and grace. Even more so knowing that

He sends the rain on the just and the unjust.

I figure we are all unjust. So that would mean the rain falls on Jesus and the rest of us.

That is God for you. He rains blessings only Jesus deserves on all of us.

And in return we should not miss the parable of the drought–if we live in the absence of the Spirit of God, our lives will be dry, barren indeed.

Let justice flow down.
Let Jesus reign.

After the Dry Season

Used to
Take it for granted–
Rain come down

But now I don’t.

When the sky darkens
I hold still
Lightning snakes
Across the sky
I rejoice

Thunder calls out
The name of God
Alive still in the world

Rain falls
And I take nothing for granted
Splendor falls in a million pieces
Of refracted light
Makes gray avenues live
Each drop happy patter
From impossible clouds
Trees solemn in waiting
Doze above this parched earth
Gathering in it’s hands
Luminous pools
Of water