I write silly books for kids, it’s true. (And we’re working on Book #3! You can follow along with that progress on my Instagram feed.) But here on the blog, I prefer to write to their moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas (and maybe the occasional aunt and uncle). So if you’ve ever lived and if you’ve ever hurt, this next series is for you.

Have you read any of Brené Brown’s work? DO IT. She’s a researcher on shame and vulnerability and courage and authenticity. She has several powerful Ted Talks and is an incredible storyteller. Your life will be better for hearing her. Brené says that “owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.” These poems over the next four weeks are my attempt at owning my most recent story. One that I think has been being written for far longer than I was willing to acknowledge. It was painful to live through, and my eyes still stare at the floor when I speak about it. But once I was able to embrace the story, difficult as it was, I was finally able to learn…and am slowly moving into the next chapter of that story. I know my experiences are not unique to me. It is my prayer that these poems will speak to you in your season and will encourage you in the faithfulness of God.


These last couple years have been a huge learning curve for me (and not just as a writer). After a number of difficult experiences, I felt wrecked. Beat up. Knocked down. But as I slowly regained consciousness and had more mental capacity to reflect, I realized that I had not fought people or circumstances but rather that I had fought God Himself. I was reminded of the story in the Bible where Jacob wrestled an angel and the angel touched his hip and left him with a limp. I felt like I had been forced to limp. That my breakneck speed had been abruptly stopped. And now, over a year since my life was interrupted, I can see that God had actually loved me in allowing my hurt…and that maybe, just maybe, He had even authored my pain. For my ultimate good. For His ultimate glory.


I Wrestled
by Sarah Steele

I wrestled a force
that was bigger than I
and I lost

Lost my strength
Lost my love
Lost my heart
Lost my mind

Everything that was
was gone

I don’t know how long
we fought.

When you speak so much,
you don’t really know
how long
the other
was talking.

When you run so fast,
you don’t really know
how many
you’re passing.

But suddenly
I was knocked out and
my arms wouldn’t raise
my love was locked up
my heart barely thumped
my mind was a whirl
or complete silence

The fight was over
and all I could feel
was that

Of course, that happens
when you wrestle a force
that is bigger than you.

As I lay there
stunned by the final strike
shaking from the final blow
I had an overwhelmingly
strange feeling
that this loss
was for

To lose
is gain?
To die
is life?

Can the loser be loved
by the winner?
Can the winner dominate
and yet beat so tenderly?

I tried to stand,
knees buckling
blood rushing
tears streaming

Over and over I tried

Bystanders came to help
I leaned on them
They carried me

To the doctor
to the hospital
to the emergency room
into surgery
to my bed
and finally
one hopeful day
back to my home

I reached out to thank them
touch the hands that had held me for so long
read the faces of those I loved
who had loved me

There was only one
In that whole room
One face
The one whom I had fought

My surprise
did not surprise him
My alarm
did not alarm him
My distress
did not distress him

I recognized the hands
that once had bruised me
I recognized the feet
that had danced around me
I recognized the face
unscathed by my attempts
to come out the victor

And he reached out
to touch me

But this time when I felt him
I didn’t fight

I learned for the first time
what it meant to
to something bigger than I

And when I did I
found a strength
not my own
found a love
that loves first
found a heart
that beats steady
found a mind
full of Truth

I wrestled
a force that was bigger than I
and I lost

And that was my biggest win.