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Treasured Thoughts Poetry Joan Clifton Costner




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Poetry By Others Joan Clifton Costner


GUEST POETS
{Arranged In Alphabetical Order}

I'm sure you will enjoy scrolling through these wonderful poetry pages by others.
Enjoy!

Have a poem or story you wish to share?
Simply Not Excepting Poetry to fill out the form.

Sue Anne Aguilera William W Chadsey Joan Clifton Costner
DJ French Marian Jones Agatha Lai
Vickie Lambdin Joyce C Lock Martha Duke Manley
Carol D Meeks Tammy S Pearlie Duncan Walker



Biography of Joan Clifton Costner

Joan Clifton Costner

I'm just a country girl who has never been anywhere or done anything much. I was born and raised in Oklahoma. Rural for first 6 years. Came to Guymon from Woodward at the age of 9. My husband worked for the City and funds were never a lot though I subsidised our income with my photography.

We have 3 sons grown up now and 10 grandchildren if you don't count the foster children and the foster grand children. When I look back in my albums, I realize the rest is a gift from God.

We have had a good life already. I had the privilege of singing in a gospel trio (the low part) and although we only traveled within a 100 mile radius of our town, we sang together and loved each other for 27 years. Never had a disagreement and are still friends today. I am the oldest of the trio. Our lead singer would bring a lesson after we had sung about 10 songs, and I would draw an illustration using the flourescent chalk. It was such fun to praise the Lord in this way and hear the people take in their breath when we turned out the lights!

A wonderful friend I met on the internet, Joyce Lock, inspired me to share and helped me with all these writings for the last 2 years and then through her I met Shirley Miller (both are poets) and she set up Under His Wings Website for me. She manages it and is a wonderful friend. You must have visited HEAVENLY POETRY http://www.heavenlypoetry.com which was set up originally by my foster grandson and really opened the world to me. We are in the process of moving this website.

I am sorry to say, all the books are gone (it was a little hometown project) and the CD my grandson was going to help me with never materialized as he moved to another city.

May God bless you for honoring a small town grandma who is already blest beyond measure.
In His service, Joan Clifton Costner

E-Mail:jody@ptsi.net
http://underhiswings0.tripod.com




"NO OTHER GODS"
By Joan Clifton Costner ©


When the trumpet sounds
And the King of Kings
Splits the eastern sky ...

When the dead rise first
And the saved are snatched,
Forever to be by His side ...

Whenever I can,
Iíll bow my knee
To kiss the nail pierced feet.

For, I know all the scars,
That Jesus has,
Were put there just for me.

When the God of all
Sits on His throne
And men come, one by one ...

All knees will bow
and tears will flow,
Some regretting and some in awe.

Then, will they remember
The times theyíve bowed,
The times they have stood in line ...

For just a glimpse
Of someone on earth
Who had seemed so very sublime?

Since Jesus ascended
so long ago,
Not a single man on earth ...

Could answer the smallest
(Or largest) prayer
That was prayed for all it's worth!

Since the heavy veil,
In the holy of holies,
Split, from the top right down ...

Thereís no one to stand,
Between us and our Maker,
Giving nod or pious frown.

So, my knees are stiff,
Save when I come
To the great Creator of all ...

Of galaxies, matter,
And even of time.
Only then will I fall.

So gladly, Iíll give
My praise and my love.
So thankfully will I recall ...

My knees never bent
To imposters that crave,
But only to Lord of All!

"Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Exodus 20:3
"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness." Romans 6:16
TRIBUTE
By Joan Clifton Costner © 2002

Hereís to the men (of the red, white, and blue)
Whose patriotís hearts burned high,
To the women who served us,
on land and on sea,
Some even in the sky.

Iíd like to say, "Thank you," that weíll never know
The outcome if you had not gone
And to tell you Iíll never forget your deed,
As long as my life lingers on.

For, I was a child when the great war came
And you just a dozen years more.
Some of you fought on a distant beach.
Some died on a foreign shore.

Iíd hate to forget those heroes of old,
From the "War to end all wars".
Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm
Proved that men fight evermore.

God, help us all when brave men say,
"Not today. Letís just wait and see."
For, tyrants come in so many ways
And Iíve heard of complacency.

When integrity falls in the dust by the way,
When conviction fails to command,
When thereís no one to bugle or carry the flag,
What will become of our land?

So, hereís to the heroes and heroines true!
Hereís to the brave and the free!!
With my hand on my chest as the flag passes by,
I remember what you did for me!!!


"THE CROSS"
By Joan Clifton Costner © 2002


The Cross! The Cross!
Where Holy Blood all down did flow -
Where people stood on Holy Ground
And did not know....
Where angels gasp, and closed their eyes;
And foolish men, believing,
Became wise.

The Cross! The Cross!
Where Love divine and bitter gall would meet;
And tears would flow, not for Himself, but me!
Where even nature wept and trembled through -
Where darkness fell with force
Ere night was due.

The Cross! The Cross!
Where Satan laughed and thought that he had won,
But Christ knew when the deed was done
It would not be the devilís victory -
It would be souls that He, Himself
set free!

The Cross! The Cross!
The ugly plan of men to bring most pain
Has brought instead for us, a Heavenís gain!
The symbol of a horrid death depose and
Fill my heart with treasure Christ well knows.

The Cross! The Cross!
The insidious sign now made so beautiful!
The ultimate loss - ultimate gain!
The Son of God - dead but alive -
Forever more the same!

I cannot look upon the cross but know
There is no measure of the love that flows
There is no measure of the strength of Blood;
Oh, Holy Blood, sweep oíer me like a flood.
THE NAME
By Joan Clifton Costner ©

After the heat of the battle's long day,
John happened to pass where a young soldier lay;
Covered with blood, limbs twisted askew ...
And found, after all, his compassion still grew.

So, John moistened the dying man's lips and his face,
And lovingly straightened his limbs into place.
He listened, and prayed, and stayed by his side;
Trying to comfort him ere he died.

Jim looked up at John. So grateful was he.
And, as life slipped away, just a faint word could be.
A request for a paper was what John heard.
With a blunt lead pencil, Jim wrote his last words,

"Dear Dad, Receive John, I humbly pray.
For, he has made my last moments easier today.
He has done all he could, nor left me alone.
So for my sake, Dear Father, treat him as your own."
Love, Jim

The war ended soon and though John was ill clad,
He had promised to get Jim's last words to his dad.
So, he made the long journey. Weary and worn,
he found, at last, the way to Jim's home.

The father was wealthy; not used to such sights
Of tattered, bedraggled, rough soldiers at night.
What could an unkempt, ragged, man have to give;
Soldier or not, of least interest to him?

Then, the note was tenderly handed and read.
And, the weeping old father believed what it said.
For that trembling hand portrayed clearly to him
The familiar slant with the signature, "Jim."

The old father reached (though immaculate he)
And drew John as close as could possibly be.
He wept and he held John next to his breast;
Drew him inside for good food and rest.

He lay at John's hands anything he might need.
He dressed him in velvet and gave him his steed.
Jim's father loved John in a very special way,
Because of the name on that crude note that day.

Now, I stand in my tattered old rags of sod
Before an immaculate, pure, holy God;
In need, oh, yes, in such terrible need.
And, not one single part can be furnished by me.

But, I have a note and it's written in red.
He opens it up. As I tremble, it says,
"Father, open the gate for My sake I pray.
This one is mine, paid in full today."
Love, Jesus

All the glory and splendor of Heaven is mine!
I'm made worthy to stand in His presence divine!
Not for me, but for Him! Not my works, but His own
Have gained me a robe, and a crown, and a Home


"THE BROKEN HARP"
By Joan Clifton Costner ©


In the corner, of the basement,
Stood a cobweb covered harp.
Broken now and so forsaken,
There it stood back in the dark.

No one, in the little village,
Could repair the harp again.
And, you'd never guess the music ~
Or the places it had been.

Came a ragged man a beggin'
For a place out of the cold,
He was bent and slightly limpin'.
He was lookin' frail and old.

So, the houseman gave permission.
He could sleep upon the floor
Of the basement, where was kept
The harp - with melody no more.

Soon, the house was filled with music!
'Twas as sweet as angels bring.
And, the household came a-runnin',
Just to see the vibrant strings!

Dusted now, it stood in beauty.
Every web was cleared away.
And, the ragged man was singing
Very softly as he played.

In his song, he told the story
How he'd made that harp, when new.
Since he'd made its first beginning,
Fixing wasn't hard to do.

Dear friend, if you are needing
Just a touch from God above,
Just remember Who has made you.
He can "fix" you with His love.

He can fill the empty corners
Of your heart with song anew.
He can take each day and make
A special melody for you!
He can fix the broken pieces,
Better even than before,
And open wide the storehouse
Of His blessing evermore!
A TRIBUTE
TO THE MEN & WOMEN
OF THE U.S.S. COLE
By Joan Clifton Costner ©

My cargo, so precious, I carried with pride;
Brave men and women who stood side by side.

The stars and stripes, waving so high up above;
My country, my mission, any vessel would love.

My sailors all knew their assignment, full well.
They performed at top merit, their Captains would tell.

As a unit, they stood all together as one;
So deserving of honor, America's daughters and sons.

This wasn't a war, just a bright sunny day.
A sudden shudder tore my hull away;

A gaping hole, letting water inside.
With that thunderous blast, some had died.

My sirens were screaming, flames reaching high.
Sailors were moaning and so was I!

Work hard men and women! We must not fail!
Seal off the compartments! It's too much to bail!

All the medics were working, at a feverish pace;
Scenes of pure heroism all over the place!

The strongest were praying, while their muscles of steel
Assisted in any way they could see or feel.

When darkness fell we scarcely noticed at all,
Aching to hear every voice at roll call.

Finally, the moving memorial came,
Only because of those heroes so brave.

My stars and stripes, (lower), still flew just the same;
All our beautiful children accounted for by name.

Now I stood naked, before the whole world;
Men working feverishly where bombs had been hurled.

My heroes are living and healing and dead
And I will come home, just the way I am led.

You'll welcome me home, as you always do.
The cheers will be heard by all of my crew.

We're still wounded, still healing, but proud just the same
And the U.S.S. Cole will serve you again.

For you'll build back my hull, with a star and a story,
To the tip of the flagpole raise high Old Glory.

We'll always remember FREEDOM'S NOT FREE!!!
And we'll never forget HEROES LIKE THESE!

A TRIBUTE TO THE MEN & WOMEN
OF THE U.S.S. COLE


MIKE CHRISTIAN'S FLAG
By Joan Clifton Costner ©


Mike Christian is an American.
I donít know where he was born,
But I know that when in our service,
He was a prisoner - wounded and worn.

Mike found a bit of color and
With a needle - all by hand,
Inside his shirt he constructed
Colors dear to his own land.

Every night, when guards were weary
And had gone somewhat away,
Mike would hang his shirt upon the wall -
All of the prisoners would say ...

"I pledge allegiance to the flag" ...
"One nation under God "...
While their hearts enlarged within their breasts,
Longing for their own sod.

One day the guards came searching
And they found inside Mikeís shirt
The crudely constructed flag that served
To lift their spirits from the dirt.

Just outside the cell door,
Where everyone would hear,
For more than two hours they beat Mike up
And took that shirt, so dear.

They threw Mike (broken, bleeding)
To the men, so they could see
The penalties, the pay-off,
For Pledging to Liberty.

The group gathered, all around him,
To clean and treat his wounds.
They only loved their land the more
And the flag, their symbol of truth!

There wasnít much that they could do.
Their spirits sank so low.
They had seen the enemy faces
As they took their flag to go.

But, Mike Christian found a needle
And through bleeding, swollen, eyes,
His buddies watched in wonder,
As he began another surprise!

He took a bit of red,
a bit of white, a bit of blue.
He made the stitches, with torn hands,
and all of his buddies knew
Mike Christian was an American -
Through and through and through!
HIDDEN COST
by Joan Clifton Costner ©

Old man and his wife on the patio square;
In a swinging seat, no one else there.
Others were milling farther out on the grass.
And though none of my business, I finally asked,
"Have you children?" The aging old eyes held mine,
"Yes, three sons ... gone now, for a very long time.

They were young, patriotic, and we knew they would go.
Though mama did beg them to wait, it was, "No."
Jimmy, the oldest, was on Normandy.
Steven held out 'till a day called "D".
David seemed so young. But, we couldn't keep
Him from taggin' along, at his brother's feet.

By now, we'd probably be covered with kids.
Grandchildren, great grands might well have been.
But, they fought for freedom. And always we fly
Our flag so high, on the fourth of July!

On Veterans Day, they place on their graves
Small red, white, and blues. We never miss
The parade and the honor services set.
A lot of important people we've met.

Still, it would have been nice, a grandchild or two;
Someone to care and help you to do
The things that grow harder, each year that we live,
And to see (like others) the "traits" of the kids."

Now, I never lost a son in a war.
Do I pass it lightly? I won't anymore.
For, my own little "grands" play by my chair.
And, it's such sweet pleasure to have them there;

Free and unhampered, delighted with life ...
Causing me to remember how dear the price!
Some lonely old patriots gave more than a son.
We ought to remember what cost freedom's won.


GRACE AND GLORY
By Joan Clifton Costner © 2002


We thought there should be a photo, at least.
So, we pleaded ... with broken hearts, too.
Just one shot of the twins, with Mother,
Who was worn from the labor, we knew.

It was dismal and dull, and the times were hard;
Not enough work to go around.
These were the last, the hardest of all.
Now, one must go in the ground.

Mama was old for a baby at all,
Let alone identical twins.
"No wonder we lost him, no wonder!" we said.
Her face was pale and grim.

So, we laid little babies, one on each side,
And we dreamed of what might have been.
We all cried a little. But, her tears came down
Like a rushing, oíerflowing, stream!

There were things to do. A few brought food.
Then, the church people came and said
They were sorry, no services in the church,
For the tithe had not been paid.

For the rest of my life, Iíve carried the look
In my mind on mamaís face!
Sometimes, these 'religious' ones make it hard
To understand 'Loving Grace'.

ItĎs straightened out, now, and I do not hold
Any grudge against any man.
But, Iíve studied the likes of Jesus and find
Heís certainly not like that band!

Jesus would comfort and, maybe, weep, too.
Jesus would dry her tears.
He might even give her a glimpse of Heaven,
Simply to soothe her cares.

Mama had given so much of herself,
Always a smile and a cheer.
Mama was more like the Savior, that day,
Than any revealed all these years.

Now, theyíve all gone to Heaven and Iím growing old.
Iíll join them before very long.
By the Grace of God, only, Iíll find them all there;
Singing a heavenly song.

As long as I have, Iíll study His Word
So I can be more like Him.
For, God in His Heaven, knows very well
I never want to be like them!
My Plea, God
By Joan Clifton Costner © 2002

If any heart is broken, bruised, or bleeding ~
If any eyes are downcast, feeling blue,
If any soul is sad and lonely; longing
To leave this world and come and live with You ...

If thereís a voice that cannot make the music,
If there are lips that tremble, saying naught;
Oh, Lord, give me a heart full of compassion
And words to say just what You think I ought ...

To lift a heart, to brighten eyes,
To fire a soul for You!
To pass on hope and lighten loads,
Iíd surely for You do!

The time You measured out for me
Is slipping ever fast!
Lord, grant my deep desire to serve
Before my time is passed.

Within the heart of one young child,
Could I, Lord, leave a song ~
Or words for some boy serving in
A land thatís far from home?

Most of all, my plea is made
To never cause distress.
Create soft words of wisdom, Lord,
That produce happiness!


Does God Know?
By Joan Clifton Costner ©


Does God really know that a little girl hurts
When a brother is taken away?
Does He know that she aches Ďtil her little heart breaks
And feels darkness has come there to stay?

Does He care like He cares about grown-ups?
Does He offer her comfort and peace?
Will He pick out a day and say, "This is the one
When all of your heartache will cease"?

I wonder if little ones count just as much
As the grown-ups that everyone holds.
I wonder if God tries to speak to hearts.
I wonder if God really knows.

Oh, God counts the fall of one sparrow!
He numbers the hairs of your head!
God sent His own little Baby, down here,
So that we might rightly be led!

God loves each child in His keeping.
And, He tells us, in Matthew eighteen,
That our angels are there, beholding His face,
Keeping His eye upon us - so keen!

God puts His big arms around us
And, after awhile, we can see
That His arms are everlasting;
Holding us so tenderly.

So, donít doubt the comfort of Jesus,
Who never turns children away,
Remember, your brother is safe in His arms,
Where you, too, can be some day!
Matthew 18:10
Dear Mom
By Joan Clifton Costner © 2003

Donít be sad, Mom. Please donít cry.
The Lord called so quickly and suddenly,
I just rose up to meet Him in the sky.
And, Mom, I never did fear to die.
For, I could see Jesus was right by my side.

I can see you shedding tears.
But now, I see beyond mortal years,
Beyond limitations of mortal eyes,
To Godís final purpose ~ to Godís paradise.

The reasons are clear, Mom, and I understand.
How I wish I could reach down and just take your hand,
And whisper the Great Love in which I abide.
But, I am here and youíre on the other side.

Iíd like to just touch you, make you understand,
That I was just loaned, Mom, for awhile, in Godís plan.
Remember the good times. Forget all the bad.
Be thankful for all of the prayer times we had.

I canít come back, Mom. But, I love you still.
So, I trust youíll always seek Godís perfect will.
The blood of the Savior, the Pathway of Love,
Will lead you, quite safely, to Heaven above.

Sometimes, just be still, Mom, and listen to God.
And, He will show you the way you must trod.
On that great day of rapture, weíll meet in the sky;
The circle unbroken through eons of time!

Matthew 18:10


Dearest
By Joan Clifton Costner ©


Dearest, I still miss you,
Though a year has passed us by,
And I catch glimpses of you
From the corner of my eye.

I turn, on impulse, just to see
Someone I took for you.
There seems no valid purpose in
The things I used to do.

I wonder that the sun can shine
Or that the earth can turn.
I wonder how life goes ahead
When all I do is yearn ...

For one more day, an hour, one touch,
Again, your blue eyes shining!
I realize my life is spent
In hours of earnest pining.

I will always mourn you,
Always miss your precious ways.
Always, Iíll be yearning for
Those dear, sweet, yesterdays.

My heart will never fly, again,
Until your face I see
And, always, youíll be number one;
Most precious memory.
My Plea
By Joan Clifton Costner ©

God,
If any heart is broken, bruised, or bleeding ~
If any eyes are downcast, feeling blue,
If any soul is sad and lonely; longing
To leave this world and come and live with You ...

If thereís a voice that cannot make the music,
If there are lips that tremble, saying naught;
Oh, Lord, give me a heart full of compassion
And words to say just what You think I ought ...

To lift a heart, to brighten eyes,
To fire a soul for You!
To pass on hope and lighten loads,
Iíd surely for You do!

The time You measured out for me
Is slipping ever fast!
Lord, grant my deep desire to serve
Before my time is passed.

Within the heart of one young child,
Could I, Lord, leave a song ~
Or words for some boy serving in
A land thatís far from home?

Most of all, my plea is made
To never cause distress.
Create soft words of wisdom, Lord,
That produce happiness!


Angels
Joan Clifton Costner ©


Youíll never be an angel
Though sometimes itís hard to tell,
For you have ways becoming and
Youíd play an angel well;

But God made you uniquely -
Only one youíll ever find -
Iíll know you up in Heaven,
Youíll still be a friend of mine.

God made a lot of angels and
He gave them certain tasks.
A warrior, and a messenger -
They fly wheneíer He asks;

But we were made a different way
With wills to call our own, and
We decide with our free will
Our everlasting home.

I read about the cheribim -
(Ezekiel told it well!)
Gabriel, the messenger,
Michael making war on hell.

But Jesus was still Jesus
When He rose up from the grave,
We will know and recognize Him
In the land of endless day.

Youíll still be you - Iíll still be me
A million years from now;
No telling what the Lord will have
For us to do...Somehow

Iím glad, although I know weíll change
With bodies just like Jesus,
But Iíll still know you and see you
Just the way that Jesus sees us!

"We will be known as we are known" I Cor. 13:12
"Masterpiece created in Jesus" Eph. 2:10
"To us gave He power to become the Sons (daughters) of God." John 1:12
Today
© Joan Clifton Costner

Yesterday, we only see in distance.
Tomorrow, dreams of hope locked in a maze.
Today is all we have to grasp to manage.
Today is ours, but running fast away.

We never can go back to any yesterday,
Or leap ahead to deal tomorrowís cards.
But, if we live today, as Jesus said we should,
Neither Hope or memory will be hard.

We are so blest, remembíring deeds of kindness,
And to hope for good and peace for all mankind.
Todayís the key, you see. We learn, from memíry, to bless
with something new and leave a precious memory behind.

Then, when we come to those dull days of boredom
Where tomorrow we know we may never reach,
Still, we can sift the pages of our Yesterday
And have something wonderful to teach!


~Following~
Joan Clifton Costner ©


When I first found the footprints of Jesus,
I thought them so big and bold!
I skipped, ran, and played, as I followed
Such an easy image to hold.

But as I grew older and wondered,
Mistrusting my childhood days,
The footprints weren't easy to follow.
Sometimes, they seemed in a haze.

I found, when I prayed in the darkness,
The footprints grew luminous, then.
Each night, I would ask for His guidance;
In the morning, begin again.

I followed them through the glitter,
When youth kissed my cheeks with a blush.
When pride gets a hold, makes you stumble,
New ideas threaten your trust.

Finally, I followed those footprints
Right down to the edge of lifeís sea.
Footprints on water, I saw then.
These sure could not be for me!

I ran down the sandy beach searching.
(There must be some other prints there.)
But, I found I had followed those footprints so long,
No other prints could compare!

The waves were beating the shoreline.
The clouds and the tumult came!
I had to step out to follow.
The water resounded His name!

Lightning came, with the hiss of power.
But, its light revealed, up ahead,
The figure of One Whose footsteps,
All the way, through my life had led!

I canít take my eyes off that Figure!
So, my eyes growing dim now, with years,
Hold fast to the footprints, my Savior,
As the distance between disappears.

Soon! Oh, soon! Iíll have His hand in mine, now,
And the waves will all disappear!
Iíll be able to hear Him whisper,
"Heaven is very near!"

Blessed footprints of Jesus, my Savior!
From a child, all the way, they have been
Directing the way I should follow
To go home, at last, with Him!
A Fool for Jesus
© Joan Clifton Costner

Am I a fool for Jesus?
And is my faith in vain?
If I forgot His service
Would life be just the same?

Oh, the sun would rise in the morning
And the season come and go;
But if I failed my Savior
Iíd lose lifeís purpose, I know.

Am I a fool for Jesus?
Could I even walk another way?
Where then the song within my heart?
The lips that, trembling, say,

"I love You, Lord, my yearning heart
Seeks only, first, Thy will;
When days are dark and nights are long
Youíre there beside me still."

Iíll be a fool for Jesus
While wisest men confound,
Explaining what You spoke to be
In ways not quite profound;

Iíll let the world with tongue in cheek
Laugh heartily at me,
Then take Your hand and close my eyes
Content to stay with Thee.

And when I wake, where faith no more
Needs practicing for strength,
Where mansions and a crystal sea
Bedorn a golden length ~

Then let them laugh ~ or will they weep
That faithís reward is true?
Oh, blessed Jesus, Savior, Friend,
Iíll be a fool ~ for You!


Patches Of Sunlight
Joan Clifton Costner ©


My son, my tiny son,
For whom I labored
And finally won!

Oh, great the prize!
I see it in your tiny eyes;
My wonderful, precious, unique surprise.

Oh, I knew you would be you and God knew.
But, my farthest imaginings
Did not dent my first glimpse of you!
Cleft in chin (how like him), beautiful skin;
Features of my beloved can be found ...
Chubby face, so round.

And, do you bear resemblance, too, Of Him?
Does God have a dimple in His chin?
Your soul, so small,
Will grow with all we teach and tell.

Little soul, precious to us ...
Precious to Him!
God, help us.
The way is obscure, foggy, and dim.

Please ...
Patches of sunlight for us,
For him, we pray.
In My Weakness
© Joan Clifton Costner

When youíre lost in a sea of indifference,
When youíre drowning, but nobody cares,
When it seems all is lost, though youíve paid the high cost
And you canít pierce the ceiling with prayers;

When youíre standing for right ~ but alone in your fight ~
When your heart is breaking in two;
Dear friend, just recall the sparrows that fall ~
He really does care for you.

Sometimes in losing, we win more,
And sometimes the battleís not oíer;
Sometimes the struggle brings forth the strength
To raise us up where eagles soar.

When we have reached the high places
And we gaze at the valley below
The tapestry woven, will look from above
Like it never could from here below.

God does have a plan and a purpose,
And things never happen by chance;
What you see through the lens with study
Is not just the same as a glance.

So when troubles and trials beset you,
Hold on! And study with care!
And youíll find the trace of His finger -
Youíll know he is answering prayer!

It is not just the present and past He can see -
And itís not just the loss or the win;
But He sees beyond and He sees results -
He knows how the twig turns and bends.

I like to think that each twist and turn
In this gnarled old bark of mine,
Drove my roots deeper still, seeking guidance until
Theyíre forever entwined in Thine!

II Cor. 12:9 "And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee:
for my strength is made perfect in weakness.:


~Nine Eleven~
Joan Clifton Costner ©


The devil laughed and danced with glee,
"Iíve got them now, this 'Christian' country.
For, they have forgotten their very roots.
Theyíll believe any demon I care to loose!

When the towers fall, it will knock them flat!
They wonít know where their enemyís at!
So many years its been 'anything goes'.
Theyíll never guess who is really their foe!"

So, the living bombs came and the towers fell.
But, they were astounded in the regions of hell!
Like a laser of light, as the smoke descended,
Godís Name, in a prayer of unison, ascended!

A million prayers, as a shaft of light,
Besieging God to see our plight!
As a nation of one, we fell to our knees.
Words, once used with caution, came, now, with ease.

We wouldnít offend or mix God and law.
We silently let the protocol fall,
"Take out religion, the Bible, and prayer.
Our youth need their freedom, experience to share."

The things that we made available, then,
Were shameful to mention and steeped in sin.
But, the seed did not die! When the towers came down,
Brave, caring, hearts heard a beautiful sound!

The old songs of patriots, the beautiful prayers,
The scriptures of duty and love were all there!
Sometimes, in a tragedy, blessing will come.
You learn, by reaction, what needs to be done.

"If My people" - (it says it, so simple and plain);
The way to our Helper, our Savior and King!
Lord, take off our blinders. Let us understand
The basic and dominate roots of our Land!

The wicked shall be turned into hell,
and all the nations that forget God.
Psalm 9:17
Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord.










I do not share this looking for empathy from the reader.
Only to point out that in the midst of the deepest hurt,
God can bring home the understanding of His Great Love.

~ Bend In The Road ~

Understanding must be difficult for me, as my lessons have been hard.  Come to think of it, my heart has always been what got me in trouble.  But, one lesson stands out in particular, today.

My granddaughter, at 5 lbs. and 2 weeks of age, was quietly deposited into my arms.

I thought it was for the evening.  Only, it lasted for 3 years.  I will tell you that I tried desperately to remember that I was her mother-once-removed.  I was her grandmother.  Over and over, I said, "Remember, she is not your child."

But, what do you do when a baby is there 24/7, when you do the midnight bottle and change the diapers, sing the go-to sleep lullaby, and kiss the tiny tears?  Unless you are heartless, you fall in love, platonic love (the best kind), for such a helpless little soul.  And, I did.

Then, came divorce.  Since she was my sonís daughter, and I was convinced we would both die, the long battle began ... a battle I never wanted, but was forced to, after watching for these 3 years.

I just want to relate this one incident that taught me a deep truth.  I have always revered Godís love and, also, wondered at it.

One particular trip for visitation, I had to go alone, and God gave me such a lesson!

Having arrived at the home of her maternal grandparents, my granddaughter began to cry and beg, and hold on to me.  (She always fought going back so hard.  We had to run after her, catch her, and hold her to get her into the car.)  This time her mother was present, and it infuriated her. 

My granddaughter had locked her legs around my waist and fastened her arms around my neck.  Her mother grabbed her and pulled her viciously from my body.  (I hadnít known a child that small could hold on so tight.)  Then, her mother spanked her, in front of us, and carried her into the house.

There was a large picture window, inside the house, and this little 3 yr. old ran straight to it.  With tears streaming down her face and tiny arms stretched as far open as they would go, she was reaching to the window, with eyes fixed on me, emploring me..."Don't go, don't leave!"  I could read her little lips.  I canít even begin to tell you of the pain of those moments.

Getting into the car, I started home.  I couldnít see to drive, as the tears rolled down my face and I didnít even wipe them away.  My heart was completely broken, all because of love.  We both hurt because we loved each other.  I pulled over several times and, then, back onto the road.

The bend of the road where I began to tell the Lord I just couldnít stand it any more, stands out like a beacon to me yet today. I told Him it was as if every cell in my body was in contractions like unto birth.  I just couldnít bear it.  I loved her so much!
 
God responded, "I know.  That is the way I love every person in the whole world, everyone that has lived and everyone that will live ... which is the only reason I could let My Son die the death He did."

All of a sudden, I truly understood Godís love!  He had to be God to hold all that love and all that hurt.  Only God could do it.  I always knew God loved us.  But, never before had I understood the depth and greatness - the agony of that tremendous love.

I do not understand why people donít seek the most pleasant way, when there are divorces and disagreements.  For, children are the victims of such terrible pain.  Why anyone wants to add one moment of suffering is more than I will ever be able to understand.  But, I do know that, right in the midst of a great heartbreak, God can bring a message home that canít be misunderstood.

© 2003 by Joan Clifton Costner
http://underhiswings0.tripod.com







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