Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Breath Prayers

 Malachi enjoys the Bible and Strong's Concordance.
He mostly enjoys taking out pages.

Yesterday Nate stayed home for half a day, so I went to the morning study at my church
for the third time this year.
We are going through a series of spiritual practices, led by Ruth Haley Barton, and based on her book Sacred Rhythms.

I almost never buy new books. I think the world is full of excellent books, and I wonder at people who continue to write. Don't they know that somebody has already written To Kill a Mockingbird and How Green Was My Valley? I am irritated at the plethora of sub-par Christian writings.

But this book. This book does not bug me (a lot of things bug me, you may have noticed).
Of course, it's not a novel. That helps. It's a guide.
I didn't realize I needed a guide.

The first spiritual practice was to name my desire for God.
This was so difficult.
How do I name my desire for God in a few simple words?
I think I have found the words, words I can easily breathe.

And I realize I have done this before.

When I had my first babies, I was young, immature and overwhelmed.
I began to cry from my heart (and sometimes, just cry):
"Help me Jesus."
That was my breathing, all day long, in a time of exhaustion and loneliness.

Then the years became busy, but somehow not so difficult.
My husband I and grew up, and we learned how to parent and do life together.
Until what we had constructed tipped over into a chaos of illness
and joblessness and a whole new level of despair.

Then my cry became,
"Come, Holy Spirit."
And He did.

He hears my heart's cry.
The simple words that I speak, that I breathe, from my heart into His,
are stored and treasured and always, always heard.

"You might think that your woundedness or your sinfulness is the truest thing about you. You might think that your giftedness or your personality type or your job title or your identity as husband or wife, mother or father, somehow defines you. But in reality, it is your desire for God and your capacity to reach for God that is the deepest essence of who you are." (Ruth Haley Barton)

An early snowfall makes a snow sculpture out of each object.
I will always think of these as "Grampa's chairs," since he often sat here and talked with Nate.

A tiny birdhouse with a fat cap of snow.

Early sunlight on new snow.
"Joy unspeakable and full of glory,
and the half has never yet been told."


  1. I also am annoyed by the lack of quality in Christian fiction. I've always wanted to write a book, but whenever I go to a bookstore, I am overwhelmed by all the many, many books out there, most of them not any good. I wonder what it is that gets a person published, since it seems to have almost nothing to do with quality of writing. So I go home and take a nap instead of writing. If God has something he wants me to write, I think He will lead me to write it in His time. If He does not have anything for me to write, I hope He will help me find some interest and satisfaction in organizing my belongings, which still sorely needs to be done after our move. (Truth be told, it needed to be done before our move, too.)

    In my mind, the quality of modern Christian fiction and the quality of modern Christian music are largely the same and for the most part sorely lacking.

  2. I find that many people are writing memoirs. These are often introspective in the extreme. Maybe God will call you to write a children's book, or Young Adult fiction? That doesn't seem as daunting, or as glutted in the market.

    I do like some Christian musicians. You can tell which ones by who I post on the blog.