A Soul Offended


When bitter strife replaces peace; offenses grow… and poison grace.          
When hurts flood in with dark deluge and pessimism guides our view.
When every path is blocked with battle; the heart turns cold and becomes fragile.
Our minds tell us to be on guard and we hear words through wounded hearts.
As we smolder in hurt and pain; where grace once grew, now judgment reigns.

With righteous heart we dish out blame, we feel like victims in life’s hard race.
We fix our focus on others’ faults, pointing our finger while blaming all.
We throw our shoulders back and say, “They’re the ones that need to change!”
We think we know the heart of man, when God alone knows their real plans.

O Lord show us our wayward hearts, expose our sin so pride departs.
Cast out that dark, offended spirit; give humble grace that knows no limit.
Help us see the offender’s way, through Your eyes and heart of grace.
Help us to pray before we speak… to know our understanding’s weak.
To know You’ve placed us where we are to test our faith, to try our hearts.
Help us to trust when life’s unjust …to see ourselves like others must.

Rhonda Shelford Jansen


hands 2

One month ago we were blessed with the birth of our fourth grandchild, a beautiful little girl.   In honor of her birth I’m reposting this poem I wrote in honor of our first granddaughter.

Tiny fingers newly formed wrap gently around my pinky.   I’m amazed at their delicate perfection and I stroke them softly.

Pudgy little fingers power grip mine as toddler feet learn to navigate the world, one step in front of the other.     I’m amazed at the determination conveyed through your grip and I curl my fingers to steady you.

Your warm, firm palm presses close to mine while we walk down the sterile school hallway; it’s your first day of kindergarten.      I squeeze your hand tight not wanting to let go… ever.  I squeeze tight as if I can pass all the courage your life will need through this act.  I lift your hand and kiss it.

A careful hand guides a pencil across wide rule school paper diligently copying each spelling word.   I marvel at the competency of those little hands and wonder what great accomplish-ments they will have in the future.

Your two hands encase mine offering comfort and encouragement; they are only a touch smaller than mine now. “You can do it mom” riding a roller coaster is terrifying to me.    I glimpse the compassionate young man you are becoming and my heart swells with appreciation.

Hands larger than mine wave through the air as you demonstrate the proper way to throw a curve ball; each finger wrapped around it in just the right way.     I observe strength and confidence in each movement and an eagerness to learn how to do it right; I want to will your success into being.  I want the world to be kind to you.

Triumphant hands pump the air then toss the graduation cap with gusto.  You shake hands, pat backs, and embrace all, but it’s the big bear hug that smashed my face into your chest while patting my back that brings me to tears.      My heart fills with a unique bitter-sweet pride. I see the funny little boy, searching teen and confident man all at once and I want to hold on and let go, simultaneously.

A simple gold ring slides onto your finger and your hands hold hers in dedication.     I pray that your hands will hold tight and never let go of hers, I pray you will remain a man of commitment.  I hope you will still hold my hand and hug me.

Tiny fingers newly formed wrap gently around your pinky.      You’re amazed at their delicate perfection and stroke them softly.  I watch as a love deeper than words passes from you to her, and I smile.


Debora Shelford Hobbs