More Like Love

“I just wanna look more like love.
This whole world is spinning crazy,
And I can’t quite keep up.
It’s the one thing around here
That we don’t have quite enough of.
So I just wanna look a little more
Like love.”

 

One of my favorite songs . . .

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Those Puritans had it goin’ on

“Help me to hold out a little longer

until that happy hour of deliverance comes

for I cannot lift my soul to thee

if thou of thy goodness bring me not nigh.”

– From “Need of Grace” in The Valley of Vision

I love reading and praying the prayers of saints who have gone before me. The Psalms, for example. Another one of my favorite books is The Valley of Vision, which is a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions. The beautiful language of the prayers illuminates truth to my soul and inspires me to pray and write deeply. The Puritans had faults—no doubt. But the writers of these prayers also had the Spirit. For anyone, but especially for my fellow Christian writers, I highly recommend you get this book.

What books (or articles) do you recommend on Christian art, poetry, or prayer?

(I also just got Awed to Heaven, Rooted to Earth by Walter Brueggemann, but I haven’t read as many of the prayers yet.)

2017: Listen

“Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” – James 1:19

In addition to setting some specific goals each year, for the past couple years I have also chosen a theme/word for the year. Last year my word was “share,” and this year my word is “listen.” I hate to admit it, but the truth is I’m a pretty bad listener. So there is a very literal aspect to my theme word because I do want to become a “better” listener this year. (Side note: I hate all the “betters” that New Year’s resolutions often entail because they are so difficult to measurably achieve). Still, I think of my theme words more broadly. Listening is an integral part of loving and empathizing with others. Listening involves humbly receiving criticism. Listening is inherently other-focused, and I think that’s the hardest part for me because I’m so self-focused. Additionally, I want to listen to God. I believe the primary communication tool God uses is His Word, the Bible. And similar to how I don’t want distraction to detract from my listening in conversations with others, I don’t want distraction to infiltrate my time in the Word.

I want to hear the pins drop in Scripture, and I welcome the truth to change me.

So 2017, I’m pleased to meet you. And I’m excited to hear what you’ll teach me.

~~~

My New Year’s Prayer

Faithful Father,

I know You are good.

I see You are good.

I hear “You are good.”

I feel You are good.

I sing “You are good.”

Quiet my heart with Your grace

Still my mind with Your peace

Close my lips with Your power

that I might listen

that all the praise that flows from my mouth reflect the truth of knowing You

Teach me to love with my ears first

Teach me humility from my ears,

receptive to correction,

open to wisdom

And Lord, I pray that the more I listen to You

the more I read Your Truth

the more I seek You

that my ears will grow accustomed to the sound

ringing more and more beautifully

that I resemble You more,

You who always hears my prayers

Lord, make my words a product of listening

make my thoughts entirely unoriginal and fully originating in You

This year I begin with open ears, an open heart, and an open Book.

One year!

Patting myself on the back today because it’s officially been over one year since I started this blog. I’ve infrequently posted, no doubt, but I haven’t abandoned it entirely, which is historically the path I’ve gone down with my blogs.

Maybe it’s because in the past I’ve blogged openly—sharing posts with my friends and encouraging people to read my blog. Frankly, I have a variety of mostly legitimate reasons for not continuing with my past blogs, but an audience, even a small one, can be a burden. The pressure of perfection hinders creation.

There is something freeing and exhilarating about posting something in a public forum that will nevertheless remain 99% private. I want to share this with my friends someday, but for now I don’t want pressure.

Cheers!

Weather or not, be content

Softly falling to the ground
Colored leaves are all around.
Summer’s sigh is autumn’s breeze
Or maybe it’s just winter’s tease.

Bronze skin now returns to white
Longer grows the dark of night
Cider brews upon the stove
Here, add just a bit more clove

Since we must endure winter’s chill,
Thank God for how he gently instills
Warmth in our hearts with vibrant trees
Beauty the hopeful will perceive

He turns down the heat outside
We move together to survive
The air feels different
For now this is sufficient.

It’s Grace

Knock, knock

“Who is it?” I yelled from my corner on the couch.

“It’s Grace.”

“Go away. You must have the wrong address.”

“No, I’m in the exact right place. Please come let me in. At least come open the door.”

“Fine,” I huffed walking over.

“That’s better, isn’t it?” Grace smiles soppily.

“Yeah, as I said before, you have the wrong address.”

“Kelly, you are Kelly. I know you.”

“I’ve literally never seen you before in my whole life.”

“Well then let me introduce myself. I’m Grace. I come bearing gifts.”

I stare. Is this some reality television show or something? I tilt my head to the side. “Um, well nice to meet you, but I don’t need any gifts.”

“But —“

“Really, I don’t deserve anything. I just—well I—I shoplifted a few things earlier—actually that’s only the cherry on top. But you know what, right across the street over there—that beautiful house—there’s a lovely girl who lives there, the sweetest thing you’ll ever mee—“

“I bought this gift for you.”

“Oh, okay.”

“Can I come in?”

“How about you just leave it on the front porch. Is there a gift receipt by chance . . .?”

“Kelly, this gift isn’t some mass-produced, plastic-covered—no, there’s no gift receipt. It’s priceless. But it’s worthless on the front porch. You need to bring it inside and open it up.

“Okay, I understand—it’s just—it’s kind of a mess in here.”

“All the better.”

“If you insist. Come in then. Just watch out for that pile of clothes over there—oh, and the DVDs right there.”

Grace walked in. Her brightly colored clothes brought some new light to a room that frankly would have been better off hiding itself in darkness. She set the package in the center of the floor. The wrapping paper glimmered—silver. It actually looked like silver.

“Well,” Grace gave her soppy smile again. “I think it’s time for you to open it up!”

“I—I don’t think this is right. It doesn’t belong here. It doesn’t belong with me.”

Grace’s smile calmed into a less ecstatic but ever so peaceful look. “A gift is a future belonging.”

“No, but seriously. I’ve lied, cheated, stolen, hated, and—” The tears started to fall.

Grace put her hand on my shoulder briefly then reached down to squeeze my hand. “Just open the box. I promise it won’t let you down.”

Tears now pouring, I did as she said, ripping aside the silver paper to unveil the gift. As I flipped back the sides of the box, a new light seemed to beam in the room. I looked inward. “Is it real?”

“Absolutely.” Grace affirmed.

I reached out to touch it. It felt like hope and it smelled like freedom. “What is it?” I asked.

“Forgiveness.”

El rosa me llama desde el papel

El rosa me llama desde el papel

“Ojo, ojo! es tu amigo fiel

Soy yo, el amigo que te mostré el amor

Soy yo, te encanto cuando salgo en el flor.”

Ah sí, yo recuerdo, oyendo mi nombre.

Y el rosa grita, “ven y comparte!—

El amor que te mostré (porque ya tú sabes)

Quedará en el papel si tú no lo vives

El que te mostré ya no es bastante.

Qué lo hagas, qué lo hagas” el rosa me dice.

Palace Plans

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity