I’m happy to announce the winners of the Beautiful Battle contest. A small committee (not involving me) picked their favorites, and here is their decision in no particular order. There were so many great entries, and we even experienced a tie, so I have decided to award the books to six folks.
Amaris wrote this poignant piece about loss and restoration. One judge wrote, “I love the progression from struggle to growth to victory, the Biblical allusion to Moses/the promised land, the variety and usage of poetic devices: repetition, pattern, allusion, subtle alliteration (“mourn for Moses”), and a bit of rhyme. The turning point halfway through (“But day by day…”) that’s reminiscent at once of a Psalm and a sonnet.”
A door slams shut.
A door opens on a place
I never wanted to go.
Everything is changed.
LORD, WHERE ARE YOU NOW?
Moses is dead, and we can’t find his body.
And all the children of God cry.
God said to me, “It’s time to let go of what was.
It’s time to mourn for Moses, and let him go.
I’m sending you to the Promised Land,
But you can’t take Moses in.”
Tears and tears and tears. Doubt and fear assail me.
But I don’t know! And I can’t see!
I want to walk, Lord, but I’m not free.
But day by day He hears my cry. He holds my hand.
He showers me with grace and when I begin to sink,
He pulls me to Him.
Hope begins to dawn. Trust begins to fill my heart.
I am like a weaned child – I calm myself in His arms.
I am going to be okay.
And one day – the hows, whens, and whys no longer matter.
The darkness can’t get a grip on my mind.
I sing with joy – I am trusting! I am trusting! I am trusting!
And God shouts with delight!
And together, we DANCE.
Vcradlebaugh wrote this hymn. One judge wrote, “The rhythm rolls, speaking of his steadiness even in the midst of a battle. The rhyme is artistic but not – for lack of a better word- cheesy, as some rhyming can be.”
Beautiful Battle Hymn
The Helmet of Salvation and the armor of God,
I don in preparation, each day before I trod.
A war of unseen danger, in forces dark to roam,
The foe that wages battle, defeated long ago.
Yet still he causes trouble, for those who love the Lord,
To Christ I cling for refuge, His Word my wielding sword.
The shield of faith surrounds me, fiery darts can’t penetrate,
On knees I face the battle with prayer I saturate.
Transformed to His own image, a miracle each day,
I’d linger in His Presence, He sends me on my way.
To serve the risen Savior, and follow His command,
Lost souls to bring to Jesus, and snatch from Satan’s hand.
For God so loved the World He gave, His one and only Son,
That whosoever should believe, would live forever on.
I’ll tell them how He loves them, from sin to set them free,
His blood He shed to save them, He died on Calvary.
I stay in prayer to wrestle; against the evil ones,
That’s where the strongholds crumble, and victory is won.
Sweet victory is given, when yielding unto Him,
To God give all the Glory, the Beautiful Battle Hymn.
Mining for Diamonds played this amazing song on her violin, and the story behind it resonated deeply. One judge wrote, “Her song is legit!” Another wrote, “This is personal opinion, but I love musical entries. Music can speak so strongly to our hearts (as can words if wielded well!). Her story along with her musical performance shares so much of what she is fighting for in her marriage and trust in God.”
This entry came from Sandra. One of the judges wrote, “My favorite part about her entry: the battle is won not by us, but by Him.” Another wrote, “I love her word choice (“rages,” “illuminating,” “battle,” “tenderly,”) showing the full spectrum of spiritual battle, embracing– like your title– the stark contrast between a battle and what HE can do through a battle. Visually, I like that the left side is straight and the right side of the lines are jagged– speaks of His firm foundation (the straight side) even beneath the rollercoaster of a battle.”
In the trenches.
Deep within this fallen world.
Confused by darkness; the battle rages.
Until the ray of truth arrives.
Illuminating the mind and heart.
The battle belongs to another.
Our hero and friend.
He sets the standard.
tenderly reminding us of the beauty within each moment – even in batte.
Through surrender and trust the joy surfaces.
And a grateful heart reaches heavenward with praise.
Victory in Jesus!
Beth Hall wrote this simple Haiku. One judge wrote, “Volumes are spoken in these 3 short lines. He is beside us yet ahead of us, not A warrior, but MY Warrior.”
My Warrior stands beside me
Leading my triumph.
This picture/essay entry comes from Leslie. One judge wrote, “I love that analogy she shares of the bridge (and verses as each plank in the bridge!) and releasing fears through trusting Him.” Another said, “I love the comparison she draws, the power of God’s word (each slat of bridge being a verse) moving us along in our battles, something we can stand on when nothing else is beneath us.”
I know I posted this image a few days ago [the 2012 picture for the year] but when I received your email about the Beautiful Battle contest, it seemed fitting to post it for the contest. This bridge looks nothing like the image of the first bridge I had in my mind a few years ago. The first bridge was rickety and strung across a deep ravine. That deep ravine held fears. Crossing that bridge to a more beautiful place meant facing those fears and trusting old slats of wood to hold me up. Each of those slats represented a verse. Would I trust God and take Him at His word and cross that bridge? Face those fears? God brought me through a very difficult time and used that image to remind me to stand on His word. This new bridge in the attached image is a reminder to me this year to look at the challenges of life, the battle, as not quite so difficult. To remember that God has shown me I can trust in His word and face the battle. Not that I have yet “arrived”. There are days that are still a struggle but God has given me a husband and a beautiful daughter as a constant reminder of His faithfulness. Out of the battle…He has brought me to a beautiful place…the other side of the bridge….life beyond the bridge. lhopedix @ juno.com