The Poems

My childhood was filled with mailboxes and old barns in rural Montana. (read “About This Blog” for further explanation on their significance)

My adult life has been filled with Mailboxes and Old Barns of God’s grace and design.  This whole blog is, therefore, just a bunch of mailboxes and a whole bunch of old barns.

This category called The Poems is my heart’s report of what God did when no one else could help me.  He gave me a glimpse of one of His mailboxes to show me where I was; or a silhouette of one of His old barns to assure me of shelter for the night.

When the intensity was the greatest and the despair was the deepest, or the vision of grace that God gave me at 2 pm on a Tuesday was at its clearest, I sometimes would scrunch my brain, grab a pencil and grind out a few lines to capture what I saw in that moment.   The act of writing helped focus my thoughts when focusing was difficult.

These poems are like the “stone altars” that Much Afraid carried in her pocket (Hinds Feet on High Places, Hannah Hurnard).  I can turn these poem altars over in my hands and my heart and remember what it was like, clinging to the mountain or hunkering down behind the Shepherd as I saw His grace.  He has not asked me yet, as He asked her,  to gather them up and cast them onto yet another altar of His making.

The Poems will always have mailboxes on them, and probably an old barn somewhere.  Some have been published elsewhere. All are copyrighted.

The 1993 publication of some of the poems was dedicated as follows:

Proverbs 20:4 (The Living Bible)

“If you won’t plow in the cold, you won’t eat at the harvest.”

This year’s late summer harvest in the northern plains states will be evidence that the farmer plowed the fields after last year’s harvest.

There was nothing very promising in the landscape of scattered snow flurries, early darkness and bird-stragglers flying south, but the farmer knew that if he didn’t plow in the cold of fall, the ground would not be able to retain moisture to nurture this year’s harvest.  So he plowed~~in blustery fall weather.

A friend gave me a ride home one evening.  She was curious and, in human terms, impressed with what God had done in restoring our marriage.  I shared  briefly how it had happened, describing some of the changes that had taken place in my thinking, in my assumptions, in my expectations.  It seemed, uncomfortably so, that I was being given credit for being an unusually wonderful person instead of simply being the object of God’s grace.  I eventually repeated the point that any Christian was a candidate for the transforming work of Christ.  She instinctively exclaimed, “Oh, no.  Not me!  That hurts too much.”

So she was willing to admire the harvest, but not interested in being a farmer: her reluctance to invest in real change is not unusual at all, though her plain declaration of it was.

Those who cheer the harvest are sometimes appalled by the prospect of plowing in the cold, and might even try to persuade the farmer to find a more comfortable way to get the job done.

There are also those encouragers who are wisely able to cheer both the plowing and the harvest.  They agree that the harvest is worth it, they understand the plowing and cheer the farmer on.

This volume is dedicated to those who are plowing in cold blustery weather.

The harvest is worth it. Plow on.


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