Zella Matthews began writing inspirational poetry in 1998 after she and her husband, Richard, were baptized at His Glory Tabernacle in Crystal River. Since then she has written more than a hundred poems that she believes God has given to her for the purpose of ministering to others.
Mrs. Matthews, 54, owns Awesome Books and Gifts in Hernando. Between running the store and being a wife, mother and grandmother, she finds time each day to read her Bible. That, she says, is what serves as the inspiration for the verses that come into her mind later in the day.
"I feel it's God telling me something. That's why I write it down," Mrs. Matthews said. "I'll sit for hours sometimes just trying to get it the way I think he wants it."
Mrs. Matthews' poems speak of her devotion to God and her desire to serve him. They are, in essence, a journal of her Christian walk and a testimony to God's work in her life through good times and bad.
She shares them with customers at her store when she feels God leading her to do so.
"There was a man who used to come in here all the time and we'd talk. It turned out later he was diagnosed with cancer. He loved to read my poems, so after that when his wife would come in, I'd send poems home to him. She said, "You wouldn't believe how much those poems are helping him. He gets feeling down and he'll get them out and sit and read them.' He had them in a little pouch by his chair. I have a copy machine and I try to copy some off for people to minister to them. It's like God tells me which one to give them, and that's the one I pass out."
Mrs. Matthews hopes that one day someone will write music for some of her poetry.
"Some of the poems are like songs that the Lord gives me," she said. "Eventually, I hope some day that some of them will be popular songs."
It's difficult, Mrs. Matthews said, to say which of her poems she likes the best. Each has a special meaning for her. Emily Rose, written about her first granddaughter, is one of her favorites. She has it framed and hanging on the wall at her store.
Four of her poems have received awards at www.poetry.com by the International Library of Poetry. Back Then, Mrs. Matthews said, is scheduled to be printed this winter in a publication featuring 200 of the site's Best Poets of 2003.
Here Mrs. Matthews shares some of her poems.
The waves crash against the shore.
We listen to the sound of the ocean's roar.
As a dove makes its mournful cry
I am not lonely, no not I.
As lightning flashes in the stormy sky
The thunder crashes, some want to cry.
Some are afraid of what is to come,
But I'll walk with Jesus; I'm a chosen one.
He makes it clear, not to fear.
He does not want us to shed a tear.
I'll walk in faith, and I'll hold His hand.
He is our friend; He's our real life champion!
Beauty of the Land
Oh the beauty that's spread throughout the land!
You've made it wondrous as only You can.
You made the mountains in the East to see
With a puff of Your breath, they're called Smokies to me.
You made the streams go trickling down.
It's the River of Life, in nature that's found.
You made the plains, as flat as can be
For the crops to grow, as far as you can see.
You made the desert to bloom again
So life's precious cycle will never end.
You made the trees to reach for the sky
The birds of the air You gave the gift to fly.
The fish of the sea know how to swim.
The flowers you gave, just look at them.
The stars will twinkle, throughout the night
Makes the moon look so big and bright.
Lord I thank You for Your wondrous love
Also for the beauty, sent from heaven above.
Thank you for the blessings you so graciously give
As we look at this beautiful garden, in which we live.
The Great I Am
From a tiny little seed, you helped me grow
You nurtured me and protected me so.
You made me strong so that I might live.
You have a love for me to share and give.
I'll do your work, whatever that might be
Giving of the love that you gave to me
Giving hugs to people everywhere I go
Telling about my Savior, how He loves them so.
Telling about the faith that they must comprehend
Having belief in something, they cannot understand.
It seems so confusing, but have a little trust.
It's oh so much better than counting on luck.
He died for us, so that we might grow
Telling the world that you love Him so.
He'll give to you more than you can understand.
I'm so glad I know the Great I Am.
I am your little rag picker.
I go from street to street.
People think I look kind of funny.
I wear different shoes upon my feet.
I don't let the bad times get me down.
I try to never wear a frown.
I tell people about my Saviour, as I go about the town.
People are getting saved, as my love for Him abounds.
My apparel is not the best.
I'm not putting on a show.
I'm helping hurting people, no matter where I go.
We will read God's Word, Lord bless the seeds I sow.
Sometimes we hit rock bottom, just to make us see.
I don't like what's happened, take a look at me.
God is always there to pull you to the light.
He wanted you to call on Him, quit putting up a fight.
I'm here by choice, so I can talk to you.
God has picked me up; I was down there, too.
God has given me a mission, to walk here with you.
I'll tell you of the miracles He has in store to do.
Listen to His Word; let Him live inside your heart.
You are just getting ready for a brand new start.
Hand your troubles up to Him, don't look back, you see.
Thank Him, always and forever, down on bended knee.
Beautiful hair, beautiful face
Thanks to His holy grace.
Tiny fingers, tiny hands
Oh, thanks to the One so grand!
What a precious sight to behold
As we look upon this newborn that we hold.
Thank you my Lord and my friend
For the overflowing wealth that you send!
Pretty little baby eyes,
Oh so blue as the midnight skies
Little tiny, beautiful lips
Make someone's heart do a flip.
Only our wondrous Lord up above
Could make such a beautiful child of love!
This child is so trusting and new.
Keep it safe, Lord, 'cause I surrender to you!
Let this little child of love
Bring joy from heaven above!
Tiny nose, tiny toes,
God sent us His love, and she is called Emily Rose!!
Come on Baby let's do it again
Let's hold hands like we did back then.
We'll take a walk enjoying all God's beauty
Sharing our dreams, with you being my cutie.
Making our plans about what lies in store
With God's love it will mean so much more.
Everyone that sees us will know we're in love.
God has even blessed us, look He sent a dove.
He sent us babies to help us grow
We know they were a gift, how we love them so.
Now they are grown, and we can't go back.
We can't change a thing; He kept us on track.
In our minds we can always stay young.
We can always look back to where we came from.
I'll love you forever, now, as back then.
I thank you, Lord, for the wealth that you send.
You pick me up when I am down.
You'll hold my hand and we walk around.
We'll have our most private chats.
I can't get enough of things like that.
These memories cannot be taken.
My love for You will never be shaken.
You are the most precious One I've found
While this old world keeps spinning around.
If I do things that make you feel blue
You do things no one else would do
You might not always like what I do
You are so precious, and say I love you.
I'm sorry, Lord, if I've hurt you today.
I'll do my best to make it up some way.
I'll praise and worship, spread some love around.
I'll tell the world, how Your love can be found.
Strong and mighty, that's how it goes
Making the world, planting seeds that grow.
Sunshine or storms, taking care of the earth.
Dawn to dusk, doing all the work.
You are so powerful, to all your foes.
Lord, you are oh, so gentle to a newborn's woes.
I'll give you all the praise I can
Bowing in worship to the Great I Am.
Thank you, Lord, for using me
To be part of your family.
I can never say thank you enough
As you give me poems with love.
_ The poetry of Zella Matthews was used with her permission.
To learn more
If you would like to read more of Zella Matthews' poetry, visit her at Awesome Books and Gifts, 2780 N Florida Ave., Hernando. The store hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Call 637-1182.