Does Anyone Care? Finding Peace in the Storm

The other day, in the haze between sleeping and being awake. I saw myself standing on the shore of the ocean (one of my favorite places to be). This massive wave was building and rising and coming straight toward me. It was much taller than me, tall enough where I should have ran, but as I stood there, I saw a hand holding the wave and I didn’t flinch at all. In fact, I didn’t feel any fear. And seemingly in a moment, the wave receded back to the ocean as if it never even approached me.

Close your eyes, the wave is right in front of you, you can feel the mist, hear the roar, smell the salt water and just barely taste it upon your lips. Yet this same wave, does not consume you. Oh it comes close and it poses a massive threat to destroy you completely but there’s One more powerful than the wave. -EE Winkler

This is what peace looks like to me. The waves are still going to come right up to your face, but they’re not going to be able to consume you as long as your eyes are fixed on Jesus. I’d like to say that I don’t know emotional pain from personal experience. But before the COVID-19 pandemic I was going through my own personal pandemic of sorts. I was asking the same questions that people are asking now:

When is this going to end?

When can things go back to normal?

Am I really going to lose my home?

Where will I go from here?

I’ve lost everything, now what do I do?

Does anybody care?

I would love to tell you that in a divine moment of prayer with Jesus, that suddenly all of these questions were answered but truth be told, many of them remain unanswered, except for the last one: “Does anybody care?”

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Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

To that question, it’s like all of Heaven screamed:

YES! I care! Can’t you see it? Won’t you choose to receive it?

As humans, we’re trite enough to equate “caring” with getting what we want, when we want it and how we want it. But the way in which God cares extends beyond just provision, it’s that deep down, heart wide open, everything exposed kind of care. It’s the kind of care where he sees all of the ugly mistakes you’ve made and still smiles at you lovingly as if you never made one at all. His care, rooted in his perfect love is available to you right now. No one else is going to be able to fill that void you feel within and satisfy your soul in the midst of this land of question marks.

The beauty is that in him, we can have peace for all of the question marks. We don’t have to have an answer for everything to still follow him and enjoy our lives. That’s what He wants for you and for me — to love him, love others and enjoy our lives. He can safely and securely hold all of our question marks and our prayers don’t fall on deaf ears. He hears. He sees. He’s near. We don’t see him because we don’t want to see him but he’s here, there and everywhere. You don’t have to look for him because he’s found you. And he’s been waiting, pursuing, wooing you closer to his heart. It doesn’t matter the state of your life now or the mess that you’re in, you can come to him right now. He’s is peace. So you can’t pursue peace without pursuing him.

Rest assured, he cares. He sees your pain. He knows you’re tired. He knows that you’re worried. He knows every emotion that you feel that you don’t even want to admit. Come to him. He’s calling through the waves. Will you call upon him today?

Written by: Erica E Winkler

©Copyright Erica  E Winkler 2020 All Rights Reserved

How to Find Peace in the Midst of Pain & Suffering

Looking for peace?

You may not be in pain today, but inevitably, at some point(s) in time in your life, you will experience pain and suffering. And at times it might feel so intense, that you wonder, how it is possible to endure. But the good news, is that none of us have to walk through pain and suffering alone. There is a companion who is closer than a brother, closer than a friend, closer than a husband, closer than anyone and while you are suffering, He’s standing outside the door of your heart, knocking….knocking….knocking….to see if you will let Him in.

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Photo by Eric Muhr on Unsplash

Religion has done an awful job at making God seem far off or making Him seem cold and distant. But the nearness of God is closer than your actual breath. The love of God was displayed when He traded the throne of Heaven to be wrapped in swaddling clothes in a cold, dark, stable in Bethlehem. No earthly king has ever been recorded to trade his throne of riches for a life of poverty because it is only the love of the Almighty God, that would cause such an action in order to make a way for His creation to return to Him.

For some, the Gospel of Jesus has become common place. They’re no longer moved by it. They’re no longer in awe of it. Their hearts have become complacent or hardened from believing. Truthfully, it is indeed a love that cannot be found upon this earth. For not even the person who loves you the most would endure what Jesus endured for you, nor would they be capable of doing so.

God in the flesh, beaten until nearly dead, unrecognizable for all of the beatings and lashings that He endured, then hung on a cross, naked for six hours, pulling himself up by His nailed feet just to keep breathing for every minute of those six hours. All the while, people walked by, mocking Him as He suffered on the cross for you and for me. The soldiers who stood nearby, divided His garments among themselves like a game.

We have never seen anyone crucified in real life. But it was gruesome and horrific. What motivated Jesus, to endure the cross and all the shame? You. Me. Every human being that has ever or will ever exist. His motivation was pure, complete and total love. He knew that there was no way that we could ever “earn” our way to Him or “work” our way to Him. There’s no laws or pillars that will ever amount to “earning” your way to God. No human being can do enough good that would make him or her acceptable in the sight of God. It is only through the cross of Jesus. It is only in accepting and believing, confessing and receiving Jesus as Lord, Savior and God.

He hung naked on a cross with His arms wide open and when He breathed His last breath, it wasn’t the end. He rose from the grave and He is alive. Only God Himself could do such a wonderful, love stained thing. Jesus is God. One part of the Trinity –Father, Spirit, Son.

If you think that whatever you have done has somehow made God not love you or accept you, I’ve got good news for you. God loves you and accepts you right now, just as you are. You might be full of selfish pride, or full of heartbroken pain, regardless, God loves you. No person is better than the other. God loves us all and accepts us all. Jesus paid the price for our sin. If you’ve lived longer than a day on planet earth, then you probably have figured out by now that you have sinned. And so have I. And so has every person. It’s why we need a Savior. It’s why Jesus came to this earth.

When pain and suffering come into our lives (and they will, in various degrees and various ways), we can either walk through it on our own and try and “cope” someway or somehow, OR we can reach out and call upon the name of Jesus. How true to His Word He is. When you call upon His name, He will not turn you away. He’s been waiting for you to turn to Him. Regardless if you’ve never called upon His name or if it’s been a long time since you have, or if you’ve never known the PERSONAL love of Jesus, He’s waiting for you. His love is up close and personal. It’s real and tangible. It is a love like no other. The only love that can carry us through valleys of pain, suffering and darkness.

We live in a fallen world and no person will escape the troubles of this life regardless of their status, wealth or name. There is only one name that is above it all and that is the name of Jesus. He wants to walk with you through the pain you’re facing right now. He wants to comfort you and give you His peace and joy. He wants you to know how deeply you are loved and accepted and cherished. You don’t have to push Him away. He wants you. You don’t have to wait until you go to a church building, He is wherever you are right now. You can meet Him, right where you are. You can tell Him your story and your pain and not live in shame anymore.

His presence, the presence of Jesus, is the blessing of pain and suffering. His nearness in a way that is unexplainable. His comfort through weeping that seems to never cease. His mercy to provide blessings in the midst of brokenness. His peace to calm and quiet our fretful minds to sleep at night. His love to cover over all our sin and embrace us in His arms. Oh beloved, take your heart and entrust it in Jesus. He will never break it. He will never leave you. He will never forsake you. He has a plan and a purpose for your life. He has many good things in store for you. He wants to walk with you through this. His love can give you a good attitude, full of His joy even in the midst of suffering. Really knowing Him, makes you really love Him. I know I don’t deserve the love of Jesus and yet He loves me anyway. And you know what, He loves you too. Just as you are, disheveled, broken, smelly, fearful, however you are, He loves you.

Jesus wants you, do you want Him?

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

When: Say Goodbye to Fear, Doubt & Anxiety

When – an inspirational poem to encourage you to say goodbye to fear, doubt and anxiety. 

Poetry is one of the most beautiful expression of words that I know. I first fell in love with it as a young child. I started reading poets like Langston Hughes and Shell Silverstein and I was inspired by the beauty of their work.

When is an original poem I wrote to talk about issues like fear, doubt and anxiety.

Rose photo credit: Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

©All Rights Reserved

Broken

via Daily Prompt: Broken

Broken

By EE Winkler

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Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash

When you are broken you are at your best

still alive, you have withstood the test

humbled completely and compassionate

are breathed out from your brokenness

When you are broken the world is not as it seems

your lens is tainted based on what you see

and it’s hard to imagine all that you could be

but behold that there is a world of possibility

When you are broken don’t stay there

there is a Healer who desires to heal and repair

every broken place inside of you

with His Word he heals with peace, love and truth

When I am broken what my eyes can’t see

is His tender love that washes over me

His voice whispers to me and He calms all my fears

gives me hope for tomorrow and dries my tears

He holds my hand in my despair

and reminds me that His love has always been there

in my joy and in my pain

His perfect love pursues me all the same.

©All Rights Reserved

 

Dry

Dry

by EE Winkler

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Photo by Rubén Bagüés on Unsplash

Beware of what seems barren, empty and dry

don’t count it off as dead when from there He can breathe life

from the dust we were made out of nothing we see

and from the dust He still makes beautiful things.

Don’t be disturbed when your heart shatters

for only broken things that are restored can grasp what really matters

what seems like a thorn that will not cease

is being shaped into a beautiful thing.

The desert may be all that you see

but behold there is an oasis, a life giving stream

not around the corner but in the desert where you stand

the Living Water is walking with you through the sand

The journey may seem long, dark and unknown

but oh the treasures He longs to bestow

if only our eyes can be opened to see

that there in the dusty desert He is walking with me.

©All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

Affliction

Affliction

by EE Winkler

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Photo by Florian Bernhardt on Unsplash

Don’t get caught up in momentary woes

afflictions and trials they come and go

they have the power to shape our lives for the good

but only if we respond to them as we should

Some they blame affliction for their hate

and it gives them a platform for their complaints

but others see affliction’s tender blows

that births beauty, strength and growth

The afflictions of life they never cease

no matter your status or your wealth or pedigree

affliction bears its weight upon us all

and the truly strong at heart never crumble or fall

Afflictions in and of themselves are not a joyous thing

but when they are viewed from the right lens then great joy they bring

no affliction is never desired or yearned for

except by those who have tasted affliction’s rewards.

©All Rights Reserved

A Retrospective State of Mind

via Daily Prompt: Retrospective

A Retrospective State of Mind

by EE Winkler

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Photo by A. L. on Unsplash

A retrospective state of mind

doesn’t consider the future but only this moment in time

it gets swept up in the past and on momentary things

but neglects the joy that hope can bring

A retrospective state of mind

is determined and set out to find

something that can be gleaned from past events

something to prevent future hardships

A retrospective state of mind

in and of itself can be just fine

but coupled with a future tense

it has the power to make a lot more sense

A retrospective state of mind

contemplates on the memories that it finds

it has the power to be a strength or a weakness too

if you only allow yourself to see from the retrospective view.

©All Rights Reserved

 

Life Without Laughter?

via Daily Prompt: Laughter

Life Without Laughter?

by EE Winkler

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Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Unsplash

A life without laughter is not really a life

but simply an existence in the world does one abide

laughter is the medicine to our souls

to provide some relief in the midst of troubles and woes

A life without laughter is not really a life

without any real joy dwelling inside

when the serious matters are taken too seriously

how can one live life as it was meant to be

A life without laughter is not really a life

void of anything lasting it lives only to survive

take a moment to laugh in the middle of high stress

and a smile will calm your mind and give you a moment of rest

The power of laughter one cannot negate

it can give you the energy you need after a long day

it’s better with friends and those you love

to share a little bit of laughter and a lot of love.

©All Rights Reserved

 

Rivulets

via Daily Prompt: Rivulet

Rivulets

by EE Winkler

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Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash

I was walking in darkness I could not see

until I was awakened to His truth about what He has done for me

It was a day that I won’t forget

He was knocking on my heart and I let Him in

He poured out His love like rivulets

and he paid a price that I won’t forget

now I am alive because His spirit lives in me

set free from my bondage now I am free

Within His kingdom there is a place

for anyone and everyone that will profess His name

not as slaves but as children to the Father’s love

a love greater than any other I cannot completely fathom

He poured out His love like rivulets

and he paid a price that I won’t forget

now I am alive because His spirit lives in me

set free from my bondage now I am free

Grace, grace is what He gave

paid by the His body broken and blood poured out to save

Love, love is found in His name

purer than any other all for love to this earth He came

He poured out His love like rivulets

and he paid a price that I won’t forget

now I am alive because His spirit lives in me

set free from my bondage now I am free

©All Rights Reserved

Authentic You (an inspirational & motivational poem)

via Daily Prompt: Authentic

Authentic You

by EE Winkler

There is only one authentic you

not another one could do what you do

uniquely created by God’s loving hands

whose good thoughts about you outnumber the sand

There is only one authentic you

shaped and molded for good things to do

with a plan and purpose for your life

you can live at peace knowing God is right by your side

There is only one authentic you

perhaps you need to see yourself from another view

stop focusing on all the negativity

but see your potential and the possibilities

There is only one authentic you

beautiful, brilliant and accepted too

you will never be able to measure the depth of how you’re loved

with a love so deep that a billion words would never be enough

to describe the magnitude of His love for you

it would make you love yourself  and your neighbor too

There is only one authentic you

oh the peace if you only knew

that there has never been and never will be

another person just like you or me

you might find a twin

or have familiar looking kin

but none of this will change what’s true

that there is still only one authentic you.

©All Rights Reserved

 

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Parallel Lives

via Daily Prompt: Parallel

 

Parallel Lives

by EE Winkler

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Photo by Javier Graterol on Unsplash

We were walking parallel lives

but from two different parts of the globe in time

each traveling round on roads unknown

to learn about life outside of our home

while others around us stayed in their comfort zone

we destined out to unafraid and alone

We were walking parallel lives

each within the same lifetime

yet with all of the places that we trekked

we still somehow never met

we were both being shaped and prepared

for one another and the love we’d share

like a harvest there would come a time

when the fruit would finally appear on the vine

We were walking parallel lives

until suddenly our worlds collide

some might describe it as a cute first meet

while others say it was simply meant to be

you reached out your hand and I reached out mine

two parallel lines became one life

with all the years I waited for you

in a moment a thousand prayers came true.

©All Rights Reserved

 

Daily Prompt: Fret

via Daily Prompt: Fret

Why Fret?

by EE Winkler

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Photo by Nikhil Mitra on Unsplash

Why fret and worry your life away?

when one worry will not gain you an extra day

we only must live this life to the full

and make the most of every moment to do good

Why fret and worry your life away?

it does no good to get so carried away

on the things that are beyond our control

we can only have faith and trust as they unfold

Why fret and worry your life away

there’s more to this life than words can convey

have you ever seen a bird worry with a furrowed brow?

searching for food and hoping to build it’s house?

Does a bird have more faith then you?

To believe that God will provide it with food

Why fret and worry your life away

you are treasured and loved just as you are today

simply have faith and believe

that the God unseen will provide your every need.

©All Rights Reserved

 

Daily Prompt: Song

via Daily Prompt: Song

A Song for You

by EE Winkler

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Photo by Sergei Akulich on Unsplash

She wakes up in the morning

tosses and turns while she rubs her eyes

The sun is shining on her face

through the window pane so bright

There’s no telling what this day will bring

but she awakes with a smile in the presence of her King

And she sings…

“I wanna sing a song for you

I wanna make every line a melody so true

I wanna sing a song for you

cuz you gave me this voice and singing is what I do

oh, ohhhh, a song for you”

With a few steps out of bed she pours a cup of ‘Joe

and gets herself dressed from head to toe

With one last glance in the mirror she heads out the door

“here we go,” she says with a smile and on her way she goes

She stares up at the pale blue sky

and whispers, “if you’re listening I hope this one makes you smile,”

“I wanna sing a song for you

I wanna make every line a melody so true

I wanna sing a song for you

cuz you gave me this voice and singing is what I do

oh, ohhhh, a song for you”

She never would have guessed it that this very day

would be the last one of this earth before her heart gave way

A sudden accident and in an instant she was lifeless and cold

but when she opened her eyes again, her King, she could behold.

And she smiled said…

I wanna sing a song for you

I wanna make every line a melody so true

I wanna sing a song for you

cuz you gave me this voice and singing is what I do

oh, ohhhh, a song for you

©All Rights Reserved

 

Glimmer – Daily Prompt

Glimmer

Glimmer

by EE Winkler

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Photo by Yaoqi LAI on Unsplash

Watch it glimmer, watch it glow

a single flame that lights our way home

just a small flicker, a gentle light

that takes us onward through the night

Watch it glimmer watch it glow

we only see a little but still we know

there’s a purpose behind this journey we take

and very soon we will see more of the way

Watch it glimmer, watch it glow

our story still continues to unfold

the flame dances as the wind blows strong

we walk slow and steady and carry on

the night is dark but our flame glows bright

keeping us with our vision and our sight

Watch it glimmer, watch it glow

just a little longer, we’re almost home

we press on though weary and tired

we know this journey will be worth it when we arrive

Watch it glimmer, watch it glow

this single flame it seems to know

that there’s a reason why we’re rushing home through the night

someone awaits for us to behold Him with our eyes

©All Rights Reserved

 

 

Are You Ready to TESTIFY? “Master, I Want to See”

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Photo by Oscar Keys on Unsplash
What if the one thing that’s standing in the way of your testimony is you? What if you are the one that God is waiting for to participate with Him? What if we’re waiting on His timing, only to discover that He is waiting on us.
We cry out for help and healing and he’s ready to do it but we are not. Sometimes there is some sort of resistance in our lives. Maybe pride? Maybe unbelief? Maybe unforgiveness? Maybe hopelessness? Perhaps we are relying on our own understanding or past experience or present circumstances instead of relying completely on Christ. And so, He waits.
Is there anything in your life today that God may be ready to heal but that He’s waiting for you on? Cry out to Him. He’s listening. If you’re a human being on this earth, He loves you regardless of who you are.
In the story of blind Bartimaeus we read the story of a blind man sitting by the roadside who calls out to Jesus. Even when other people tell him to be quiet, he still cries out even louder until Jesus calls Him over and asks Him something so beautiful,
“What do you want me to do for you?”
What if Jesus is asking you today, “What do you want me to do for you?” Are you honest enough to tell him what you really need? Bartimaeus didn’t sugar coat it, at the heart of his blindness he just said what he desired, “Master, I want to see.”

Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you?

The blind man answered, “Master, I want to see!

 Jesus told him, “You may go. Your eyes are healed because of your faith.”

Right away the man could see, and he went down the road with Jesus.”

Mark 10: 51-52

Could it be that the obstacle is not God or someone else but you? Could it be that today is our day where we lift up our hands to him, humble our hearts and profess to Him, I’m ready now. “Master, I want to see!”
Are you ready to testify? I am. 

Choose Love

“Love is a choice. Beyond feelings, beyond a moment in time, it’s a daily deliberate decision to choose to love.  But in order to be able to love like this, you must first know how much you are already loved by Him.”  -EE Winkler

Choose Love

An original poem by EE Winkler

Choose Love when your enemy spits in your face

criticizes you and calls you harsh names
Choose Love when hatred feels like a fiery flame
seeking to destroy you and your name
Choose Love when everyone else is choosing to hate
with excuses that seek to justify their pain
Choose Love when every door is closing to you
you can open a door with kindness to a stranger caught aloof
Choose Love when your soul is in pain
when loving seems to be all in vain
Choose Love when the world seems calm
and when life serenades over you like a pillowy balm
Choose Love when the sun sets on your season
and you have to find in hard work a brand new meaning
Choose Love when there is no friend in sight
and you find yourself crying through sleepless nights
Choose Love when it all closes in like a storm
and you’re left with a sadness like never before.
Choose Love when it’s hard and not easy to do
in choosing you’ve selected the greatest option for you
Choose Love when a day turns into a night
and the hardest thing to do is just stay alive
Choose Love when no one believes in the truth
listen closely Love is rooting and cheering for you
Choose Love when it’s not popular or in style
you’ll find it’s always the better choice to go the second mile
Choose Love when it’s hard to persevere
when the going gets tough and the end is near
Choose Love when things don’t go your way
there’s a plan for you just wait and pray
Choose Love when you’re ready to give up
hang in there a little longer – beyond the corner is the mountaintop
You can love because He has first loved you…
Photo by Magda Fou on Unsplash

For All the Times You Hear “I Can’t”

An original poem by EE Winkler. Don’t ever, ever give up. 

For All the Times You Hear “I Can’t”

EE Winkler

For all the times you hear “I can’t”
Stop for a moment and consider the ant
watch how steadily and diligent he moves
to carry up to 10 times his weight over hills and grooves
you won’t hear him whimper or complain
but slowly, slowly he builds his place
no matter how small each item seems
it all adds up in the greater scheme
For all the times you hear “I can’t”
Consider the smallest plant
that starts as a seed buried underground
concealed in darkness it can’t be found
yet diligently it extends its roots
then out from the ground it moves
just a little glimpse of green but everyday
you’ll see the plant growing in the sun rays
For all the times you hear “I can’t
Consider this little chant
I can, I can, and yes I will
onward I’ll tarry across rivers and uphills
until I’ve reached the end of the race
I can, I will for all my days.
In Video:

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash (1st image)

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash (2nd image)

“Keep Your Eyes on Me,” He Whispers

Keep your eyes on Me,” I hear him whisper.

     Life is full of ups and downs. Even on the calmest day, I still have to pause and refocus. Where are my eyes? Where is my hope?
If I keep my eyes on myself, I’m headed for trouble.
If I keep my eyes on other people, then I’m headed for trouble.
But if I keep my eyes on Him, there I find peace and the meaning of life.
Apart from Him there is no hope. He is hope. So in Him, keeping my eyes on Him, I find hope.

Who is this HIM I’m referring to? It is no other than Almighty God. Father, Spirit, Son. The Great I AM. The One Who Was and Is and Is to come.
Maybe you have heard of Him or you know Him in a way that’s not true to His character. If you met Him today, you’d be pleasantly surprised that He’s absolutely crazy about you! He loves you more than you can imagine being loved.
Instead of waving a finger when He looks at You, His arms are wide open and He’s running to greet you. Politely, he knocks on the door of your heart. He waits for you to respond to Him. He doesn’t barge His way in. But when we allow Him in, we find all we’ve ever wanted. Finally, that part of us that we’ve tried to fill with a billion other things is complete because our Savior resides there.
Life will not always be smooth sailing, but the comfort and peace is found in knowing Him we can rest assured that we know the Captain steering our ship, and He is good, VERY good. Not everything that happens to you will be good. The world is a fallen place. But you can rest assured that He is always Good.
If you feel like you’re carrying a weight that’s too much for you, then cast it all on Him. He’s always available and He’s just waiting for you to say YES.